Rupert Murdoch is talking to himself in his old age, telling himself that his paywalls will work and that he has nothing to worry about with an article appearing in News Corp owned The Australian and syndicated in his own Wall Street Journal quoting himself. iPads are the future. iPads are the future. iPads are the future.
In what is essentially a letter to himself and his staff, he said to The Australian that there are already tens of thousands of downloaded apps for The Wall Street Journal, The Times and The Australian on the iPad. He reckons that bedmates Apple will sell over 40 million iPads by 2012, so there’s a definite market for putting his papers on tablet PCs. Rupes also said he’d be exploring other tablet PCs.
“The argument that information wants to be free is only said by those who want it for free,” Murdoch said of his paywall that recently went live in the UK. However The Digger has put up the rate for the White House to gets its Wall Street Journal subscription to $600,000. Not to do with offsetting lost dosh or anything like that, of course.
Since the iPad’s launch Rupert has made no secret of his love for tablet PCs. He was quoted several months ago saying paid press subcriptions are the way forward compared to Google aggregating and nicking all of his precious news, though in a sense the strict paywall is stopping his UK monopoly from getting his stories to spread virally through social notworking.
Times Tweeters such as columnist Caitlin Moran have microblogged defending the paywall – we’re paraphrasing but to the effect of the great unwashed complaining: “Waah, waah, we can’t get any more free news.”
But Google is trialling a similar service in Italy which has a far more flexible pay option so the Digger may be shaking a fist at ‘Ogle from the Aussie Outback yet.
When the iPad launched in the UK, The Times decided to dedicate half a page splash on page 3 not on the Lahore Mosque attacks at time of print, and not even carrying on its front page lead until pages 8 or 9, but to the iPad’s launch. There was thinly veiled advertising masquerading as copy promising that The Times’ “iPad Edition” would feature “beautiful picture galleries,” “spectacular interactive graphics” and claiming that “in other words, it will be the newspaper, but with even more.”
It then dedicated a double page splash starting page 18, another advert for The Times’ iPad app and a column bylined by Nic Fildes titled “Readers are willing to pay for best news sites,” shamelessly printed just to the right of the app advert.
And so the iPad, applications and News Corp outlets get promotion from one to the other, disguised as copy, in an effort to build up the paywall. News Corp papers are different enough in style for the casual reader to not bat an eyelid, but we have a feeling if James Murdoch wasn’t looking after The Sun on News’ behalf, it would fall over itself to run a man with news empire monopoly in bed with man with technology monopoly shocka.