The New York Times David Carr is weighing in on Rupert Murdoch‘s announcement last week that he plans to start charging for every last bit of information his company puts on the Internet. Carr says that Rupe’s “shouting from the top of a pay wall is a bit of a head scratcher” and speculates that may be all it is — shouting.
Setting aside the execution risk of such a plan, it’s difficult to tell how serious Mr. Murdoch is, given his history of grand statements that were only that. Perhaps he was making an unsubtle effort to change the subject during a bleak earnings call for News Corporation: fourth-quarter operating income, adjusted for certain items, dropped more than 30 percent and after taking $680 million in charges, mainly from the unit that houses MySpace, the company reported a net loss of $203 million.
If that was Murdoch’s plan it certainly worked! (Perhaps it was the media equivalent to “get off my lawn!”) It also makes a whole lot more sense than Murdoch actually believing that financial success can be found in a blanket pay wall plan. That said, regardless of whether or not it all pans out, it’s hard not to conclude that our days as freeloading readers will be coming to a closer sooner than later.
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