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UK Newspaper Websites To Become Nearly Invisible

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-news-for-you dept.

United Kingdom 454

smooth wombat writes "Various websites have tried to make readers pay for access to select parts of their sites. Now, in a bid to counter what he claims is theft of his material, Rupert Murdoch's Times and Sunday Times sites will become essentially invisible to web users. Except for their home pages, no stories will show up on Google. Starting in late June, Google and other search engines will be prevented from indexing and linking to stories. Registered users will still get free access until the cut off date."

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454 comments

And nothing of value is lost (5, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359284)

People getting news will find other sources, and the advertising revenue will go to whomever to the competition.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359302)

Exactly. If Merdouche doesn't want to offer news for free, he'll be undercut by others who do.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359306)

I'm sure they'll change their mind when traffic to their website nosedives and they lose their advertising revenue; by then it may be too late.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (5, Funny)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359518)

Yeah it's a bit stupid but then dinosaurs always did have small brains.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359540)

When that happens the Murdorks[1] will complain the google is blocking them.

[1] Yes, plural. Always two there are.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (2, Insightful)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359728)

He'll find some way of blaming Google then.

The guy has been riding the media wave for some time now, I think he's due for a reality check. This is no longer the 1950's, media houses no longer control the information we get. Adapt or die out.

And something of value is gained (5, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359334)

People will be less likely to come across Murdoch tripe on the web. This is a Good Thing, as it should reduce the number of victims of his misinformation.

Re:And something of value is gained (5, Funny)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359526)

People will be less likely to come across Murdoch tripe on the web. This is a Good Thing, as it should reduce the number of victims of his misinformation.

Yeah exactly. If I wanted to pay to be lied to, I'd become a Scientologist.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (5, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359338)

I forgot to list this in my earlier post, but here are the scenarios that will happen with Murdoch delisting his news sites:

1: They get forgotten except by subscribers. Can the news sites make money without ad revenue alone? Can they get by and make profits just on these people? This may cause costs to rise per person to hundreds of dollars a year. If the news site has such a fan base that people would do that, it may work, but people would probably find their news elsewhere. If they are reading from an aggregate like news.google.com, they might not even realize that the Times sites are not present on the list anymore.

2: They become boutique sites like peer reviewed journals. There are a number of academic sites which are pay to play, and cost a hefty fee per PDF article. However, for general news, I don't think people would be interested in this. Maybe for back article research, but not for day to day items.

3: They wise up and start playing ball again. Ad revenue may not be the most money they can get, but compared to no revenue at all, it might be a fruitful decision.

4: They end up in the dust. There are a lot of unemployed journalists, it it wouldn't take much impetus for a startup news site to start up that is lean enough to run on ad revenue, perhaps having additional revenue streams for back article searches. No, this startup news site may not have enough money to pay for an AP wire, but those stories can always be come by other ways.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (4, Interesting)

martijnd (148684) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359508)

I don't think any (print) newspaper can survive off internet advertising income alone.

The world will simply become more extreme.

  • You will have free newspapers, with basic stories, handed out to commuters paid for by advertising
  • You will have paid for newspapers, like the financial times, that contain news worth paying a premium for, which they won't publish online.
  • You will have local newspapers, capable of raising money from local advertisers to support their existence covering local news stories.

And of course...

You could have national newspapers, but with local advertising. But since this is expensive to do (so many different print versions to distribute) they need to automate this.

Note that only 1 business model can survive mostly without advertisers -- the newspapers offering quality information for a high price to a specific subset of readers.

So they might just as well cut themselves off the net and take their chances with their readers. Swim or sink.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (4, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359616)

I don't think any (print) newspaper can survive off internet advertising income alone.

Print news has always been funded primarily by advertising. You don't think the Murdoch empire was built on the price of the paper, do you? This is just about RM's greed and envy getting the best of him, because google can sell ads while aggregating content. He's a fool, no-one will even notice his tripe missing.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (2, Informative)

wangi (16741) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359562)

4: They end up in the dust. There are a lot of unemployed journalists, it it wouldn't take much impetus for a startup news site to start up that is lean enough to run on ad revenue, perhaps having additional revenue streams for back article searches. No, this startup news site may not have enough money to pay for an AP wire, but those stories can always be come by other ways.

As an example take a look at the Caledonian Mercury: http://caledonianmercury.com/ [caledonianmercury.com]

Re:And nothing of value is lost (3, Interesting)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359610)

People generally only visit these academic sites if they can claim the cost on expenses from their employer. There isn't anything in the Times that people need in order to do their job in the way that there is for the Financial Times, the Economist or the Wall Street Journal. I read somewhere that they need to get about 10% of their current readers to subscribe to replace the lost ad revenue. I don't think subscription numbers will be anything like that high.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (2, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359612)

5) They make themselves available as paid articles for the iPad, make them glossy enough, and actually make some money, whilst at the same time allowing Google limited access to to their headlines to act as a teaser to draw people in

Not saying it's right, not saying it'll work, just saying the timing is right

Re:And nothing of value is lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359714)

The vast majority of people reading academic papers are subscribing. The per-article price is a complete joke.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359768)

Yay!

NewsPirateBay
FreeNews
LimewireNews
BaiwhateverinChinese News linker
FKNews

Someone should patent a spider to grab news.news articles and compare them with non-news articles and only cache the difference, and order the 'pay' news link last.
As most newso's copy each other, in superman terms the only advantage the DailyPlanet has was a 'scoop'. If I am getting neither - I can't see the punters parting with coin.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359352)

Not only is nothing of value lost, but finally Murdoch does something good for mankind.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (5, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359396)

As I understand it, that's Murdoch's point (or hope, anyway). He's not been able to make enough money off his news sites through advertisement based revenue streams, so now he's going to try and make people pay for the content and make his money that way. That only works if the content is not available for free elsewhere, even if it's only the first paragraph on a news indexer like Google's site as that is all many people would read.

Sure, a lot of people will go elsewhere for their news, but as long as more money comes in from those who are prepared to pay for their content then Murdoch will improve his bottom line, albeit probably by nowhere near the amount he is hoping for. I think we've seen what happens after than with Cable TV; despite paying for the service, you'll start getting more and more adverts anyway because Murdoch is nothing if not a greedy bastard. Unlike with Cable TV however, these adverts will be to logged in and thus trackable users, meaning adverts will be much more targetable and slightly more lucrative to Murdoch.

The scary part is what happens if his model actually works, or at least is better a better source of revenue than the current model? Chances are in that case at least some of the potential alternative news outlets will go the same way and the remaining choices might not exactly be bastions of sound journalism. I suppose there's always the BBC since they are funded by the license fee, but even they appear to have been restricting some overseas access of late to things like iPlayer videos embedded in stories.

Freely available international news coverage is not something that I want to see in the position of being the one eyed man in the kingdom of the blind.

A gambit to get laws passed? (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359468)

I wonder if this is a gambit to get laws passed limiting the availability of articles, where the Times and other sites lose money, then end up whining to the governments of US and Europe that "news piracy" or some other tripe like that is affecting them and causing them dire losses. Of course, with a sympathetic ear, I wonder if some provision to ACTA might be added to persecute news aggregation sites, or make them liable similar to how MGM vs. Grokster set the basis of making Grokster liable for inducing infringement.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (5, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359532)

As I understand it, that's Murdoch's point (or hope, anyway). He's not been able to make enough money off his news sites through advertisement based revenue streams, so now he's going to try and make people pay for the content and make his money that way

I don't believe that. I think he's hoping to lead a newspaper revolution. He wants all newspapers to go paywalled, so he can try and create an artificial scarcity and maintain pre-internet pricing models.

The scary part is what happens if his model actually works, or at least is better a better source of revenue than the current model?

I read somewhere that the Guardian (another UK national paper) reported advertising income from its web site of 40M. If that's true, Murdoch needs upwards of 200,000 weekly subscribers to match that. I can't see that happening. I think people who have that sort of investment in the Times probably take the dead tree edition, and won't want to pay for the information again. He'll get a handful of corporate subscriptions, of course, but even internationally I can't see that equaling lost revenue.

The casual readers, of course, will stay away in droves

Freely available international news coverage is not something that I want to see in the position of being the one eyed man in the kingdom of the blind.

Isn't going to happen. The trouble with the strategy is that it funnels readers (and therefore ad revenue) to the non-participating papers. The more papers that follow Murdoch's lead, the more profitable it becomes to offer ad-supported news. Even if he's successful beyond all reasonable expectations, there's still going to come an equilibrium point.

Unless he's looking at aggressive takeovers of the dissenting papers, of course. But that's only viable if the number of targets is comparatively small, and I doubt he'll get that many buying into his Master Plan.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (5, Insightful)

VendettaMF (629699) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359632)

>> He wants all newspapers to go paywalled, so he can try and create an artificial scarcity and maintain pre-internet pricing models.

In essence he wants laws passed and customary behavior established that ensure that no vehicle may travel without at least 2 standard Buggy Whips and a bag of oats aboard.

Re:And nothing of value is lost (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359664)

The Guardian has 37m readers, the Times has 1.2m readers. When the Times goes behind the paywall, most people will read another paper like the Guardian or the Telegraph instead. The other papers probably won't gain that many extra new readers, because I expect most people are like me and already read the Telegraph and the Guardian in addition to the Times.

Rupert Murdoch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359290)

And nothing of value was lost.

Re:Rupert Murdoch (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359408)

Actually - since something of negative value was lost - value was gained ;)

No News is Good News from the Murdock Empire (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359300)

I would think that most people would appreciate getting less "news" from Rupert Murdock and his Right Wing tabloids. Though the Idle section on Slashdot may never be the same.

Nothing happens in the UK anyway (0, Troll)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359304)

The place is a little island that smells like Europe farted it out and it just exists like a museum for some retarded queen. Stinky!

A great disturbance in the Force? (5, Funny)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359308)

It's as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced...but no one cared.

Re:A great disturbance in the Force? (4, Funny)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359486)

I felt a great reduction in the Bullshit, as if millions of voices crying out errors were suddenly silenced.

...I think this is pushing the meme to its limits (1)

Cougem (734635) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359614)

Why would a million voices cry out if nobody cared? Come on, at least use the recycled memes appropriately...

Re:A great disturbance in the Force? (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359624)

It's as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced...but everyone clicked on something else and were fine.

...Until Rupert Murdoch bought that too.

Invisibility means no readers (1, Insightful)

jonfr (888673) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359312)

If Times and Sunday Times are going to be come invisible on the internet. They should prepare them self for closing down there web pages as a next logical step.

If nobody can find you on the internet, nobody is going to read you too. There drop in traffic is going to measure up, and make someone else popular instead.

Re:Invisibility means no readers (5, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359434)

Not necessarily.

Let us assume for the time being that the Times' website is losing money hand over fist. This is a perfectly valid assumption - hell, the print version of the times hasn't made money in years.

In which case, switching to a paid subscription will do a few things:

1. Drastically reduce traffic to the website. This may actually be a good thing because it means all of a sudden the amount of infrastructure (and associated cost) required to host it will plummet.

2. Give a consistent, known amount of revenue per reader. Mr. Murdoch probably only needs a few thousand customers worldwide for it to have been worthwhile - and if he's got any brains at all, he'll have streamlined the operation such that news that is printed is selected and brought into the website in a fairly automatic process which means the site just sits there doing its thing 90% of the time. Considering the amount it costs to buy a UK paper abroad (usually three or four times the cover price, assuming you can find one and it isn't a week old), there may well be enough ex-pats who think that £2/week is a good deal.

Put another way, do you as a /. reader think Rupert Murdoch is an idiot? He's an idiot who is almost certainly worth about a million times what you are, and I guarantee quite a few businesses which put news content on the web will be watching this very closely. If he's right (and I accept it's a big if), he'll turn the website from a loss-leader into a quiet little machine that just sits in the corner ticking over and making a fair bit of money. Once that happens, there won't be a quiet movement of other news sites going pay-as-you-read. There'll be a stampede.

Re:Invisibility means no readers (2, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359510)

This will backfire. Say all news sites decide to immediately join and not have a single article on the Net. Nature abhors a vacuum. Someone will come in and fill the gap, be it more firms discussing how nifty the latest gadget is, or political figures will start sites and call them news.

I can see a political mouthpiece taking advantage of a dearth of news by filling in the vacuum with his/her rhetoric. His or her site would go from what it is now, to expanding to fill the void. It would have local chapters to get news in cities and states, E-mail, chat, and social networking, and end up being a "one stop shop" for almost anything.

End result: True news sites that try to obey journalistic integrity get pushed to the side, and mainstream news becomes run by the political pundits.

People want something to read on the Internet in the morning, and if the news sites refuse to provide this, then someone will, and it likely will be someone who has political gains by doing so.

Re:Invisibility means no readers (1)

analyst-cz (1386075) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359582)

Absolutely agree. My very first reaction was: if such a PR market is getting unclaimed, I have to speak with leaders of my favoured politic party - they gain PR potential and I can get some money for IT contract ;-)

Re:Invisibility means no readers (2, Insightful)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359702)

So the "web news" will cease to be the traditional, journalistic news, and will be replaced by casual "bloggers"?

I think there is a chance that this strategy will work. Considering that Mr. Murdoch has traditionally been a smart and cunning business man, I think he expects this too.

However, nothing remains the same forever, and better models may evolve. Therefore, to think that this would spell the end of the free Interwebs or society or anything like that is just plain stupid. For instance, it may come to pass that some publishers would like to expand their market share, so they may make deals with aggregators to offer "teasers" and deep-link to their content as loss-leaders--but this time at more reasonable terms for them, so that both sides make money out of it.

>> People want something to read on the Internet in the morning,

You forget one thing, there was a time when people didn't have "something to read on the Internet in the morning," yet the world turned, the sun rose and set, and people purchased subscriptions of bought their newspapers at the corner newsstand. The fact that there was always a guy at the traffic light giving out his self-published periodical for free did not much sway those that wanted more substantive and professional publications.

People only want something to read on the Internet in the morning for free, because currently it is free; they are just used to this. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that this is not sustainable, so it may change soon. People will adapt and the world will continue turning, the sun rising and setting, and someone will make money.

          -dZ.

Re:Invisibility means no readers (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359762)

People here may know the difference between true journalism versus some tripe on someone's Wordpress site, but I don't think the average user on the Internet really does. Look how popular "articles" are which are just blurbs on a blog that point to links elsewhere.

What will happen is that people will still go to the same sites. However, if first tier news sites hide behind a paywall, the well written articles will be replaced by articles from primary sources from someone else citing Billy Joe Jim Bob who happened to saw something between swigs of moonshine.

That, or journalists who know what they are doing, but can't find work in the old school places will end up forming a startup and succeeding in bringing first tier news where the AP and the paywall sites fail.

Re:Invisibility means no readers (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359636)

Or it will simply make people read BBC (which is most likely way at the top already) more often; considering they are also one of the most sensible news services on the web, I can see only benefits.

Re:Invisibility means no readers (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359736)

Put another way, do you as a /. reader think Rupert Murdoch is an idiot? He's an idiot who is almost certainly worth about a million times what you are

Is he an idiot who knows what the red herring fallacy is?

Actual plan or threat? (1)

Elgonn (921934) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359322)

Will this actually happen or is it just a threat? Murdoch isn't that stupid.

Re:Actual plan or threat? (2, Insightful)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359742)

I believe this is what he is currently planning on doing. It shows that he is putting his money where his mouth is, for all those, in Slashdot or elsewhere, who demanded that he do this in order to prove that it wasn't just the loud musings of a crazy old fart.

He may be crazy, but he is showing that he really believes in what he is saying, and is willing to explore non-traditional means in order to find a viable business model for web publication.

Even if this proves successful, it is still A Good Thing; he is not decrying the advent of the Internet and claiming that newspapers have a right to exist (he could just get out of the Internet completely and try to survive off-line, but he is not doing this). He is actually embracing the Internet, or trying to. In essence, he is confirming with his actions that traditional print media may be obsolete and that the Internet is the new medium to exploit; it is just a matter of finding the proper, sustainable business model.

We have not yet, and this may not be it, but I am positive that whatever model arises eventualy, it will not be free-for-all, come-as-you-go, user-generated, hippie-lovey content.

      -dZ.

good luck with that (0)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359324)

reporters had the purpose of gathering information from witnesses to various events, and redistributing that information.
today, some bloggers can read a few other blogs from witnesses, and redistribute that information.
yes, it will take some time to get this new system to work properly, but advertisers will give money to bloggers instead of reporters, so ...

i don't know. maybe some bloggers will be good enough so that readers will prefer to pay them directly instead of seeing adverts on the blog, but i really don't see where a big media mogul fits into all this.

How long will it last? (1, Redundant)

Kickboy12 (913888) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359328)

I am willing to bet that eventually they'll start loosing more money than they are now. They are probably making a decent amount of money on advertising right now, and they will probably end up making less on paid subscriptions than they currently do on advertising. Will they eventually reverse course in 6months to a year?

I guess we'll see... but for the majority of the internet, this means the death of murdoch's online news dominance. Good Riddance.

Re:How long will it last? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359402)

I am willing to bet that eventually they'll start loosing more money than they are now.

LOSING. Say it with me now. L-O-S-I-N-G. Loosing is totally different. You may not care but it makes you look like an uneducated moron.

Nothing to See Here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359336)

This is like a store in a busy shopping area boarding up its windows and saying, "You must come inside to see what we have to offer!"

Re:Nothing to See Here! (2, Informative)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359568)

Actually I'd say it's more like those membership stores like Costco that make you pay a fee for the privilege of shopping there.

It's admittedly successful, but that's only because there are certain people that while a relatively small percentage of the total population, can be relied upon to be so stupid as to not only submit to such treatment but to do it happily and regularly.

Similar business model when it comes to Fox News.

Go on, clear off (1)

dugeen (1224138) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359340)

Good to see that howlin' mad Murdoch is taking the advice that I and so many other Slashdotters have offered him. He could have done this at any time if he'd really wanted his pages out of the indexes.

Hrmm (1)

acehole (174372) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359346)

Gone by June, Back by July.

Personally I think the guy is the worst thing that has come out of capitalism. He's also poison for any democracy.

Good - after the ridiculous election coverage (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359350)

I expect it from the Sun, but the Times and Sky News should at least pretend to be unbiased.

James Murdoch makes a scene at the offices of the Independent: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/apr/22/james-murdoch-independent-dodge-city [guardian.co.uk]
Adam Boulton, Sky anchor, frankly loses the plot during an interview. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2010/may/10/adam-boulton-alastair-campbell [guardian.co.uk]
Kay Burley, another Sky anchor, well I'm actually speechless: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2010/may/08/kay-burley-sky-news-twitter [guardian.co.uk]

Between 'em, they managed to generate over 1500 complaints to the broadcasting regulator: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/may/12/sky-news-adam-boulton [guardian.co.uk]

Rupert can go boil his head.

Re:Good - after the ridiculous election coverage (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359556)

Off-topic, but I just had to say that I enjoyed very much the 'Sack Kay Burley' article because of one issue it raises:

Burley, ever the pro, responded at first with that glinting smile of hers: "Democracy in action right behind me." Many newsreaders have that annoying habit of declaiming sentences without verbs – but Burley has it particularly bad. She can go for hours without the slightest hint of a doing word.

I'm glad that I'm not the only one that gets annoyed by this. The BBC also do this a lot on their news programmes.

Google are stealing by adding value? (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359358)

This is weapons grade idiocy in action. Murdoch chose to make the material freely available, inviting anyone with a web browser to come and read it. Google merely advertised its existence, to his benefit and ours, hooking up browsers with the content. And simple because Google could find a way to make money from the value they added (to both producer and consumer!) what they are doing is "theft"?

The Murdochs of this word are dinosaurs, moaning in hunger-maddened anger as the forests give way to grassland that they're not equipped to browse on. If dinosaurs had had lawyers, they've had sued the grass for displacing the cycads.

Re:Google are stealing by adding value? (5, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359414)

The thing is that Murdoch is a genius and a kingmaker. He has shaped the landscape of US and UK politics radically. The guy isn't dumb, and he knows his stuff.

What is happening here is hubris. He scored big on his companies making blockbusters (the movie Avatar helped fill his coffers up, so he isn't lacking for much.) However, he expects people to pay for news articles like they happily pony up money to see a Na'vi kick some corporate enforcer derriere in 3D. This is his mistake.

News aggregation sites will keep on going. They will just not index his news sites' stuff. Going to news.google.com and reading about events is not like going to see a movie. People are not going to pay per article when they can read all day free. And unless the whole Internet is replaced by a walled garden like a Compuserve (which I'm sure a lot of very well heeled people want), it will likely remain this way.

Re:Google are stealing by adding value? (3, Interesting)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359528)

The thing is that Murdoch is a genius and a kingmaker. He has shaped the landscape of US and UK politics radically. The guy isn't dumb, and he knows his stuff.

Thats why all the time he never wanted google to stop indexing his pages. He rather wanted Google et al. to pony up some dough for the privilege of advertising his newspapers....

Re:Google are stealing by adding value? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359570)

I agree he is in no way dumb but it is worrisome that with all the resources available to him and huge staff he has at his beck and call it was very, very clear from all his ranting that up until this announcement he couldn't understand the concept of a robots.txt file. In any case, I won't be surprised if Murdoch and Steve Jobs don't have something cooking -- the locked down, DRM friendly iPad is a new tech savior for old school media dinos still alive in the print media world.

Re:Google are stealing by adding value? (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359576)

He's a kingmaker AND and dinosaur.
Most US and UK voters are dinosaurs electing their true representatives.

Re:Google are stealing by adding value? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359578)

Murdoch is doing this just at the point where people are buying ipads. I think he is looking at a situation where people subscribe to news on locked down tablets.

Re:Google are stealing by adding value? (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359672)

If he can get people to subscribe on the iPads/Kindles/Nooks/etc. of the world, more power to him. However, the majority of news readership will still be people on computers looking at websites.

Who knows, it may work. IMHO, I just don't think there are enough people who are not just owners of a tablet device, but who are willing to pony up for a subscription. I don't the money is there to float a company on, just on this market segment.

Re:Google are stealing by adding value? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359730)

If he can get people to subscribe on the iPads/Kindles/Nooks/etc. of the world, more power to him. However, the majority of news readership will still be people on computers looking at websites.

Also, we'll see how Google approach to tablets will turn out (they are doing fine with mobile phones...); I wouldn't be surprised if Google cooks up a nicely optimised, for such device, version of Google News.

Re:Google are stealing by adding value? (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359504)

If dinosaurs had lawyers they would have won the patent for the Homo Erectus gene, leading to licensing cost so high no mammal could ever compete with them. They would have gone extinct taking us with them, leaving only the lawyers to inherit the earth.

But seriously, great post. This should be the new guideline, is someone adds value he is entitled to a slice of the pie, just honest market competition... By that same logic the Pirate Bay are the good guys, they have a distribution mechanism that benefits me the consumer by giving easy access to the combined pool of this worlds culture for near-zero cost, and they save the MAFIAA billions in distribution cost. It's added value and turtles all the way down!

Re:Google are stealing by adding value? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359594)

Yeah, I don't get it. Why wouldn't he make headlines and a taster of the content publicly accessible and indexed by the search engines? He needs to hook people in, not disappear from the internet.

Re:Google are stealing by adding value? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359690)

I can't wait till he sees the number at the end of all this.
Of course, he will never admit it. Na, that's admitting failure.

Instead, he will say about how proud he is with his 11 subscribers and blast all others calling them pirates of the digital age.
Damn pirates not wanting to enter their information in to awful websites with idiots in control of it who spread disinformation! DAMN THEM!

Who owns the NY Post? (2, Interesting)

whencanistop (1224156) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359366)

Not that I don't agree with the article, but it is worth pointing out for full disclosure that the New York Post is owned by News Corporation [wikipedia.org] as is The Times and The Sunday Times [wikipedia.org].

It'll make it interesting when Slashdot has to start putting up stories from niche websites instead of mainstream if they all go behind paywalls.

Re:Who owns the NY Post? (0)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359536)

It'll make it interesting when Slashdot has to start putting up stories from niche websites instead of mainstream if they all go behind paywalls.

The community will ensure that stories with those links never get modded up enough to appear on the home page.

As a side note, I have not found any UK media worth reading or watching. US media is the best anyway.

Re:Who owns the NY Post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359604)

Your opinion only, obviously.
Personally, and in my opinion, most of the US media is trash.
The New York times is about the only semi-decent thing coming out of the country, and it's nowhere near as good as its reputation would have you believe.

The Economist, Le Monde, The Financial Times... that's how you find out what's going on in the world.

Re:Who owns the NY Post? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359688)

The community will ensure that stories with those links never get modded up enough to appear on the home page.

As a side note, I have not found any UK media worth reading or watching. US media is the best anyway.

Make sarcasm more clear next time, some AC already didn't notice it and there are surely more to follow...

Re:Who owns the NY Post? (0)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359748)

Eh? I am not being sarcastic. The TV shows from UK are absolute artificial crap and the written material is wordy, high handed and lacks realism. For me, other than a few episodes of Top Gear, all other UK media sucks.

Re:Who owns the NY Post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359732)

Couldn't possibly be that you're from the US. Personally I find US media to be sensationalistic and ridiculous (more so than other countries').

Re:Who owns the NY Post? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359684)

Thing which are relevant and worth putting on Slashdot will most likely find their way on large websites certainly remaining free. Or is, say, BBC suddenly a "niche"?

Re:Who owns the NY Post? (1)

whencanistop (1224156) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359720)

Well, apart from the fact that my post was a bit of a dig at the fact that we seem to upmod only large websites, you are right. James Murdoch has been very ouspoken about the BBC, so you might start finding in the future that stories broken in the mass media aren't immediately published on the BBC (if he gets his way).

The BBC Perspective [bbc.co.uk]
The Times perspective (for as long as it remains up on the site) [timesonline.co.uk], just for both sides of the argument.

And nothing of value is lost... (4, Insightful)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359392)

Considering the newspapers News International publishes, I don't really consider this a loss. The less of "The Sun" and "News Of The World" seen on-line the better, really; only the "The Times" and "Sunday Times" could really be considered any kind of a loss.

Now if only we could get "The Daily Mail" to follow suit.

Re:And nothing of value is lost... (1)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359478)

I'll subscribe to keep the Daily Mail off the web - where do I sign?

Re:And nothing of value is lost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359752)

Subscribing to any competing news paper would seem to be a good start...

More traffic for The Guardian (4, Interesting)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359422)

_Some_ people get the whole thing about distribution costs plummeting and the need for new business models. Example: The Guardian.

Others don't. Example: Rupert Murdoch.

For people interested in these matters, I suggest techdirt.com -- I am not affiliated, but I love reading their stuff.

I view this as a reminder you have a choice (1)

niks42 (768188) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359424)

I've already removed the Times as a news RSS feed, switching to the Guardian instead. Until all of the quality feeds follow Murdoch down this particular rabbit hole, he is going to lose out. How long does he have before he sees that he is charging off by himself "Yup, go for it Rupie, we're right behind you" (tee hee)

I would feel slightly more sympathy if I wasn't already paying a Sky subscription, so I feel that I already have a licence for the IP.

kthxbye (3, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359482)

Ever since Google News debuted, I've been trying to figure out a way to block Murdoch's evil media empire content from being shown, just so that I don't accidentally click on any of his links. I'm very glad to see that he's going to do it for me.

Will people notice a change in news bias? (4, Interesting)

Eternal Vigilance (573501) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359498)

I'm very curious to see whether people will notice the change in news bias if most of the major MSM sites go behind paywalls.

For decades the MSM, which functions essentially as the marketing department of the business/government/media oligarchy, has been western society's way of defining reality.

How might people's view of the world, and their own worlds, change as paywalls muffle that particular voice and allow others to be heard?

If this does lead to of any kind social change, it will be quite beautiful that it was their own unstoppable quest for more money that led the plutocracy over the cliff.

Re:Will people notice a change in news bias? (1)

dontbgay (682790) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359584)

Nah.. It won't get to that. They'll wise up beforehand. I've gotta ask though. Do you have any links to this MSM organization? And where do I apply? I'm in the wrong business.

Website changes robots.txt (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359502)

This is newsworthy?

Thats what it is for!

It has always been up to the site owner to choose which parts are to be indexed. Shouldn't be any more news than a rewrite of the site's css-file.

But here Murdoch gets rewarded with news coverage not because he changes the indexing rules, but because he finally stops playing stupid and recognizes that it is up to his company to set those rules in the first place!

This is great news. (1)

John Sokol (109591) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359524)

All Rupert Murdoch news is heavily biased and full of propaganda anyhow. Maybe now the general public will get a chance to read unbiased, uncontrolled news and wake up.

robots.txt (1)

carou (88501) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359566)

Lots of web sites have got robots.txt files, how come Murdoch's merits a front-page slashdot story?

"centre of the world" viewpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359586)

They sell paper with information on it, and advertisements in them.

Digital information is too uncontrolled and cant be metered like electricity and so its not for them.

So, i can see their point of view. Still I doubt that the world articles don't all come from them.
their "centre of the world" viewpoint will probably be their downfall ultimately.
Time will tell, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

ineffectual posturing (1)

chilvence (1210312) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359588)

Everyone I know who actually reads a paper is over 40 and does it the old fashioned way - sitting back with a cup of tea with it spread over the table. Anyone else either gets the news from TV, or reads the BBC website (it doesn't have to be the BBC, but the point is it is free and people find their reasons to trust it). Anyone else still either doesn't give two shits what is happening elsewhere or reads the sun, mainly to look at the tits on their lunch break. The third group of people isn't even inherently political, and could do well without their opinion being subtly subverted by the offal that gets printed in that trash, but unfortunately they've found a good place to leech the thoughts of the general public and no one knows how to get rid of them...but they're nothing but rich fucks trying to talk down to the everyday persons level. Only a bunch of narcissistic cunts could imagine that people really want to hear about what brand of nose hair removal wax the Beckhams are using this week (yes I'm sure theres something more topical than those two attention whores, but I wouldn't care to know about it). 90% of their audience probably have more personal integrity than Murdoch could ever dream about.

So since I don't value Murdoch's opinion that highly, I don't think I am very phased about this news at all :)

Re:ineffectual posturing (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359670)

the problem is the quality of what they are reporting is so low now days most people who would pay for it are too distracted by video's of monkeys shitting on youtube to buy it anymore.

The start of a positive trend. (4, Insightful)

VendettaMF (629699) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359638)

If only Fox and CNN can be persuaded to follow suit with their websites, and maybe move their televised channels to a subscription model as well.

Less printing, more information. (1)

qwerty8ytrewq (1726472) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359646)

The Big News guys are clearly getting desperate. Essentially I think this is a move to boutique magazine status, or peer journal as someone else said above, for the Times'. I think it is great, that news and The News are now parting company, we can get info of quality at slashdot and others, and there is less (?) digging through piles of propaganda, ads and lowbrow white noise that essentially were required to pay for newspaper's monopoly, running a huge printmachine, using newspaper, and distributing newspaper.The big picture is heading towards efficiency. Our brains win.

Aren't physical newspapers sold at a loss anyway? (1)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359650)

I was always under the impression that the ads are what pays for the newspapers, not the minimal fee we purchase them for.

Considering that, it would be ridiciolous to charge for online articles, rather than have them be ad-supported. The costs of running a website are insignificant compared to distributing tons of paper around the world.

Not "his" to begin with. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32359682)

Theft of "his" material???? What an assclown! "His" material is news about people and world events. "He" didn't create it in the first place, just reported it.

The difference between price and value (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359686)

People are willing to pay for the paper edition because it gives them several benefits over the same content on a website edition. The biggest is convenience: you can take the content with you and read it where ever you happen to be. No need for batteries, internet connections. You can read it in normal daylight and you don't get reflections off the screen (who decided that matte screens were a bad idea, so that all you can buy now are glossy ones that are impossible to view?).

You can read it on the train, you can read it on the lavatory - and if you run out of toilet paper ..... there's something else you can't do with a laptop. You can even line your parrot's cage with it.

What Murdoch is about to find out is that the value people place on the content is quite small, especially when most of it is celebrity gossip, ill-informed and bigoted columnists and rants disguised as stories - written purely to promote the owner's politics. The real value of the newspaper is it's ease of use. Once you take that away the disadvantages of a web-only publication far outweigh the lower price. He will also find out that just because news costs money to gather, script and present doesn't mean that people are willing to pay that cost and that presentation is a much bigger part of the deal.

In unrelated news (2, Funny)

WinstonWolfIT (1550079) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359740)

Murdoch has exited the Forbes top 100. Except nobody noticed, because only his pay sites mentioned it at all.

What a bad title (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#32359750)

UK Newspaper Web Sites To Become Nearly Invisible

Given that we are talking about one Rupert Murdoch web site, this title is bad even for slashdot. The Times of London used to be an important paper, comparable to the New York Times. Then Rupert Murdoch bought it, and it rapidly ceased to be significant. (As far as I can tell, any news organization taken over by Murdoch rapidly ceases to become a significant news organization.) To say that this is all of the British press going silent is simply ridiculous. Try reading the Independent [independent.co.uk] or the Guardian [guardian.co.uk] if you want a taste of the British news that is not going silent.

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