When you're a billionaire media mogul, you have the luxury of saying just about whatever you want on social networking and mircroblogging sites. Rupert Murdoch's recently registered Twitter account underscores this, and the fact that he's making more waves in two weeks than Charlie Sheen did during his prolonged meltdown proves he's either using Twitter entirely the wrong way or exactly the way it should be. Quite frankly, we're having trouble deciding.
It only took billionaire publishing mogul Rupert Murdoch about 48 hours on Twitter to enrage an entire nation all over again. in the wake of last year’s UK phone hacking scandal that resulted in News of the World being shut down, Murdoch suggested in a tweet that the British have too many holidays for a “broke country.” Oh, snap.
The debate over whether or not MySpace could have fended off Facebook with a different set of managers at the helm is one for the ages, however, in a recent News Corp shareholder meeting CEO Rupert Murdoch was pretty candid as to what went wrong, but also deflected the blame. When it came answering questions on their role in mishandling the once dominate social networking giant, Murdock admitted that following the acquisition, “We proceeded to mismanage it in every possible way and all the people involved with it are no longer with the company.”
Less than a month after it announced its disbandment, notorious hacking group LulzSec returned on Monday to strike the website of the Sun, a UK paper owned by media (and phone hacking) baron Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. You can read more about Lulz Security’s latest caper after the jump.
Maybe you know Rupert Murdoch as the crotchety old man who shakes an angry fist at the free news model inherent on the Internet. Others know him simply as the CEO of News Corp. Google knows him as the guy who wants to make his sites' links invisible to search. Some of you are probably asking, "Robert who?" Apple iPad owners now know him as the man who brought the first news app designed from the ground up for their magical tablets.
It looks like News Corp might finally be ready to dump its faltering MySpace social network, according to Paid Content. News Corp has taken a $275 million charge on its most recent quarterly earnings thanks to all the losses incurred by MySpace. Management seems not to be satisfied with just redesigning the site an laying off staff, they're ready to get out. News Corp COO Chase Carey said the new metrics were looking up, and they were looking at "strategic options". "But the plan to allow MySpace to reach its full potential may be best achieved under a new owner," he added.
The site was once the darling of the social web, but after its acquisition by News Corp, the site's fortunes quickly turned. With the decrease in traffic, advertising revenue was down quarter after quarter. Most observers believe the cuts in recent months were made to get the division ready for sale. This talk about good metrics is probably mostly bluster to put a happy face on things. News Corp is hoping to attract offers, but who would be willing to take the risk?
It's been two weeks since the popular London Times started charging a monthly subscription for online content, and so far, the results have been sobering.
According to paidContent, 15,000 paying customers have signed up for the service, which at a glance doesn't seem all that depressing. But that number represents just 10 percent of the people who participated in the free trial offered beforehand, and a mere 1.2 percent of its total readership. That's what we call perspective, folks, and it isn't pretty.
The question is, does this represent a failure of the paid subscription model, or is the fee simply too high? At $4/week, readers are being asked to fork over about $16/month to read an online rag that had previously been free (the first month runs $2). Whether or not a lower price would make a difference is a point of debate, and something Rupert Murdoch and company will have to figure out. That's right, the London Times falls under the Murdoch-owned News Corp. umbrella, which means there's little chance the subscription model will get pulled.
It's not just the U.K. that's rejecting paid news, either. As Christopher Null over at Yahoo News points out, New York-based Newsday earlier this year played around with a subscription model, and three months into the experiment, only 35 readers took the bait. A much smaller rag, granted, but not very encouraging nonetheless.
When News Corp bought MySpace back in 2005, it couldn't have predicted the social network's current plight. Once the most popular social networking site, MySpace is now an eyesore in News Corp's portfolio. Just as rumors and denials of a possible sale abound, talk of MySpace Music, a hitherto free music service, switching to a paid model is picking up.
According to a Cnet report, quoting an unnamed source, MySpace Music execs are considering a subscription-based revenue model and have already discussed the idea with major labels. The ad-backed service is said to be reeling under the weight of streaming royalties and haemorrhaging money at an alarming pace.
Courtney Holt, MySpace Music president, was quick to rubbish such rumors when contacted by Cnet. "We're always exploring new monetization opportunities, but have no plans to change our current service which includes streaming free music," Holt said.
The standoff betweent News Corporation's Rupert Murdoch and Google may have just come to an end. Murdoch, who in a recent interview said he was considering making his sites invisible to search to prevent aggregrators like Google from profiting from the works of others, is likely to back down now that Google has tweaked its "First Click Free" policy, which previously allowed users unfettered access to subscription-based content.
"Previously, each click from a user would be treated as free," Josh Cohen, Google Senior Business Product Manager, said in a statement. "Now, we've updated the program so that publishers can limit users to no more than five pages per day without registering or subscribing. If you're a Google user, this means that you may start to see a registration page after you've clicked through to more than five articles on the website of a publisher using First Click Free in a day."
Google hopes the announcement will put to rest concerns in the newspaper industry that the search giant is using newspaper content unfairly and profiting from that use. Under the revised First Click Free policy, users will no longer be able to avoid paying subscription fees by looking up pages through Google. The reason this was possible before is because Google searches often link directly to newspaper articles, bypassing subscription systems.
Is Google's latest move a fair trade off? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
When Rupert Murdoch announced that he was thinking of taking his News Corp web properties out of the Google search index, speculation as to Microsoft and Bing's involvement was rampant. Turns out, there might have actually been something to the rumors for once. According to the folks over at The Financial Times, Microsoft is willing to grease Murdoch palms to go exclusive with Bing, a move that newspapers will no doubt welcome.
The idea is essentially to force Google to pay for content, something it has historically never done. The news certainly came to the disappointment of Google which tends to endorse the "openness of the web", but Google's UK director Matt Brittin told a conference last week that Google doesn't need news content to stay afloat. "Economically it's not a big part of how we generate revenue" he said. In the end Google will likely still gain indirect access to the content by crawling third party websites that link to News Corp stories, but it will certainly impact Google News and start a new and possibly disturbing trend.
Steve Ballmer has admitted that he is willing to spend heavily for many years to make Bing a serious rival to Google, and Rupert Murdoch is but one of many struggling old media mongrels eager to cash in on the competition in search. If the two parties do end up inking an agreement, expect to see Bing advertise heavily as the only place to find The Wall Street Journal and possibly more deals to come.
Will this earn Bing market share? And what effect do you think this will have on the open web?