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Jan 13, 2010

Will Aussies pay for Murdoch's news?

It’s going to be the media issue of the new decade: whether or not Rupert Murdoch can succeed in his plans to persuade newspaper readers to pay for content online. New research doesn't look promising.


It’s going to be the media issue of the new decade: whether or not Rupert Murdoch can succeed in his plans to persuade newspaper readers to pay for content online.

It’s a grand experiment, with success or failure likely to determine a great deal of the future of journalism.

Today, News Limited blew the bugle by using the front page of The Australian to announce a corporate restructure. The national broadsheet will be spun off into a new division in anticipation that it will lead the push to putting quality content behind paywalls.

The Australian, Rupert’s newspaper flagship in the Pacific region, is being trimmed for the risky new voyage.

But while Rupert has been making his plans, Australian researchers working with the international World Internet Project have conducted their first survey on whether and how much Australians will pay for content online. The results have been released to Crikey, and they are depressing for Rupert.

Seven out of 10 Australians would not consider paying anything at all. Young people were particularly against the idea, with three quarters saying they would not pay.

It gets worse.

News junkies — those who turn to the web for local or national news several times a day — are actually the people least prepared to pay for online news, according to what they told the researchers. Yet those who turn to the web for news once a day are the most likely to pay. Go figure. It should be said that the numbers or respondents involved are small, so the results for this question should be treated with caution.

The survey also looked at willingness of readers to consume large amounts of text online, and found that those who were prepared to read long articles and essays were slightly more likely to consider paying for them — but still under half were prepared to pay.

This suggests that ease of reading could be important, and is relevant to the reports that Rupert’s plans include a “cool new toy” or exclusive deal with one of the e-readers shortly to hit the market.

There are some other interesting variations when the survey results are cross-tabulated by region. The numbers involved are small, so the results should be treated with caution, but they suggest that readers in states with limited access to quality local newspapers are more likely to consider paying for online news. West Australians and Tasmanians — particularly those in urban areas — are the people most likely to be willing to pay for news, although even in those regions the numbers prepared to pay do not top 50%.

This survey was undertaken by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation at Swinburne University’s Institute for Social Research, and is part of the World Internet Project, which is the leading international source of research on how people use the internet.

In late 2009, 800 Australian internet users were asked how much they would be prepared to pay to read an online newspaper, given that a daily print newspaper cost about $1.50.

The detailed results, with cross tabulations for age, locality and degree of news-junkiness, will be on my blog later today.

Now, surveys only tell part of the story. It is one thing to ask readers in the abstract whether they would pay for news, when at the moment they are used to getting it for free. How they would actually behave if much of their favoured material became otherwise unobtainable is another issue.

The “cool new toy” is also likely to have an impact. We know that people are willing to pay small amounts for data that is available elsewhere for free, if it is delivered to them on a mobile.

Nevertheless this new Australian data tends to back up other surveys done overseas.

This recent article in The Economist, which quotes a British survey suggesting that newspaper readers are “shamelessly promiscuous” in their online reading habits, and would quickly shift to free online sources if newspapers tried to charge them.

“The theory underlying most papers’ online strategies is that people will buy a favourite newspaper and then go to its website for breaking news and extras such as blogs. But fans of the Daily Telegraph, for example, the most popular quality daily paper, got just 8% of their online news from its website. They spent twice as much time visiting the BBC’s news website and more than twice as much reading other quality papers.”

In the Australian context, the fact that a “cover-all” news service from the ABC will remain free is likely to be a key factor, just as the BBC has become News Corporation’s enemy No.1 in Europe.

On the other hand, another survey by the Boston Consulting Group, gleefully reported by The Australian last year, focused on the kind of stuff people might consider paying for. It came up with slightly more encouraging results, suggesting that almost half of Australian internet users would be willing to pay a small monthly amount for news that was either unique, or timely — such as a news alert service.

However, even this survey concluded that the amounts people were prepared to pay would have only a “negligible” impact on overall industry revenue.

The surveys could all be wrong, of course, and Rupert could be right. We also know that he is not planning to merely replicate newspaper content online, but to offer targeted packages of niche content. This is bound to change the picture.

Nevertheless, at this early stage of the story, you would have to say that the signs are all against Rupert. If he overcomes and succeeds, then the history books might well represent the paywall push as the most significant and audacious part of his already incredible career.

Declaration: I am employed part time at the Institute of Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology. However, I had no role in conducting this research.


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95 thoughts on “Will Aussies pay for Murdoch’s news?

  1. Most Peculiar Mama

    Define ‘news’.

    News is definitely not celebrity tosh served up as ‘content’.

    If Rupert (or anyone) wants to charge they’d better lift their game a heck of a lot better than what they’re currently offering.

    With most news stories broken by unpaid “citizen journalists”, how is the model going to work?

    Why should I pay for news that I created or gave them?

  2. Most Peculiar Mama

    Does this qualify as news:

    “Andrew Bolt Appointed As Age Editor”


  3. Perry Gretton

    Why would you pay to be presented with news that’s passed through Rupert’s lopsided, ill-considered, and self-serving opinion filters?

  4. kate

    If surveyed, I would have been one of the 70% “no way” respondents. And yet I pay for crikey – is that inconsistent?

    I guess I agree with MPM (which is a first) – define “news”, define “content”, define “something worth paying for”.

    Crikey has it, Murdoch – not so much.

  5. Evan Beaver

    I too think Rupert has got this one wrong, partly from a demographics point of view. I can’t imagine their normal readership feeling that their news is so important that they must pay for it. Most of their tosh will remain free through other channels.

  6. kinghitz

    I already subscribe to a number of news services all of which are free. I have news.com bookmarked to read when required (several times a day) but …

    I will not pay Rupert or his lackey’s a cent for his news service! No way, no how! I already pay for his newspaper. In fact I would probably drop that subscription as well.

  7. Pete from Sydney

    now there’s a reasonable cross-section of Australians Margaret, 100% against…yet they all pay for Crikey…is Crikey that good or is a strong sense of self-righteous Murdoch bashing at the core of this? Fairfax have been charging for Fin content for quite some time, no sense of outrage about that.

    The bottom line is, if you don’t pay for journalism you get ‘citzen journalists’ as Most Peculiar Mama said…quite frankly I’d prefer the news served up by professionals.

  8. David Reid

    I think there needs to be some assessment of how much of The Australian’s content is actually worth paying for. I think the answer would be not very much.

  9. jeebus

    If content is divvied up into packages cable-TV style I would have no problems paying for a quality investigative journalism stream.

    However, if the journalism and news components are lumped in with opinion from Bolt, Ackerman and Albrechtson, I will not pay to support their wages.

    The article raises a good point about a greater willingness to pay for mobile content through micro-payments, though I would contend this is due to the emergence of reliable and easy to use distribution platforms like Apple’s iTunes store. Anyone with an iPhone can purchase an ungodly amount of content from anywhere at any time.

  10. A government big enough to give you everything, is strong enough to take everything you have.

    Clive Hamilton is gay for pay…

    so maybe some of more liberal pusseys might like to pay for that.

  11. Tom McLoughlin

    I commented on a Mark Day piece today, which didn’t go forward on the The Oz screen. Mmm. It was about Rupe and Google pseudo rapproachment. The gist was that web development had to be invented to outflank the Big Media hierarchy and anti democratic revolving door with Big Media.

    This process grew through the 1990ies out of a desire for freedom. So if paywalls seek to block that the same desire which saw Obama outflank the traditional money politics will do the same to say Rupe or Google if they rollover to same.

    It’s mainly about real democracy. This remains true whether citizen journalists are crap or decent reliable news source. So Rupe or successor proxy will have to adjust to this socio political reality (at least in the west?), not just the technicalities. In short the SunGod wasn’t “asleep” when web 2.0 got up on its hind legs. He was getting spanked, but just doesn’t want to admit it.


    As for consumer preference: Methinks some have faced this choice over pay tv news and entertainment. A minority (?) like me have never been interested in paying for ABC lite at Sky News. Or ABC 2 for that matter via set top box etc.

    But caveat to that: If Rupe or other commercial news machine has what I call ‘the juice’ then of course it will be marketable, just like Hollywood scopes out a demographic, writes a script, packages it and sucks the dollars out of that audience. Ta da – Avatar!


    So why do I pay for Crikey? Because it has pioneered a serious news and current affairs divergence from Big Media as per the thesis above first re democratisation of the sector which was way overdue given the systemic editorial corruption and biases involved in the small pond that is Australia.

    Whether that remains the case as the credible online sector grows is another thing. For instance I would never subscribe to Wall Street Journal when I can access grist, or Mother Jones, etc for free. But then that’s just my tastes.

    Also I think there is another aspect to marketing a paywall – news junkies want to know what the mass audience is consuming. In this sense something is only ‘true’ and ‘relevant’ if it’s in the minds of the greater majority, and this necessary to analyse and deconstruct for real politik reasons. Mandela makes the same point in his book from the gaol cell – the press is not just what they say but what people generally also read. Meaning if paywall knocks down the mass appeal it could spiral down and burn because it loses critical mass.

    For the same reason I don’t get too fussed monitoring Q&A, Unleashed, The Punch, The Drum, New Matilda. They don’t have that real politik critical mass no matter how worthy. At least not yet.

  12. Tom McLoughlin

    …err opening para should read ‘revolving door with Big Politics’

  13. RaymondChurch

    MPM certainly not news, dream world comedy perhaps.

  14. FunkyJ

    What most commentators seem to fail to recognise is most people don’t buy newspapers for news.

    The Herald Sun is Melbourne’s top selling newspaper because of the AFL.

    If Murdoch somehow managed to block sporting results from hitting the web in a timely manner, I reckon people wouldn’t think twice about paying for it.

  15. Frank Campbell

    “targeted packages of niche content”

    The Foxtel strategy, minus the “basic package”

    All depends on how good/unique the “content” is…currently most of it is neither unique nor particularly good…

    No doubt some IT, Higher Ed section etc readers would pay something. Can’t see anyone bothering for the arts, sport, etc. Or business…

    The Oz is a generalist daily paper. There’s the rub. Unless the Dirty Digger can entice the best writers/journos and rejig the entire enterprise as a series of top-quality specialisms, the Oz will continue to be Rupert’s indulgence (and ideological blow-hole).

  16. Jahm Mitt

    Rupy the Bear All…. and his heavenly hosts of sleaze and stupidity.

    As Roberto the Omnipresent stated, “Life seems to be a never ending advertisement”.

    So would I pay for news, perhaps I might, if;

    a) It was factual instead of sensationalist;

    b) It was up to date, and with a very broad base;

    c) That the articles were REAL articles, and not “copy paste” articles from other peoples sites;

    d) and the journalists were not dick heads typing up tripe in “Our glorious corporate speak” (All Hail Rupy the Bare)

    Perhaps I might…

    But then again – Rupert, you and your sleaze sheet lackies shit me.

    I guess it’s a case of “Rupert – you and your news papers can fuck off.”

  17. Daniel

    Why start now.

    Here’s the thing, music and movies are both behind ‘paywalls’ of a sort, and I can still get those for free. What makes news any different?

  18. peach1

    Murdoch news isn’t even fit to be used as toilet paper, on line , paper , etc.
    You pay for toilet paper but not for M news.

    He has to realize that he is in charge of a dinosaur empire.

    Why pay for news at all?? It pours out everywhere, radio, TV, the net, mobiles, local newspapers and all for free. Most of it is a repeat of what you heard or saw on another medium.

    How much news can a person cope with?? I rather read a good book, the classics preferable, at least it makes you think.

    News these days is produced for the me and now generation. It is produced in small bites because that is all pea brains can digest.

    My advice, read Philosophy at least it challenges your brain and thus enhances your thought processes.

  19. taust

    Stratfor is apay for news service already operating (apprantly quite successfully). So what is its secret?

    Perhaps :_ Niche service delivering high quality analysis. Alongside news dervide from but many resources not mainly press releases. The relibility of the various sources given some assessment.

    In effect are people willing to pay for high quality and is journalism willing to provide it?

  20. bennpackham

    People pay for the rubbish served up by Crikey everyday, why wouldn’t they pay for a quality product?

  21. John Ryan

    What quality product Ben,Murdocks papers your kidding or a troll

  22. bennpackham

    The Australian is undoubtedly a quality product in its own right that would stand up well against any broadsheet. The tabloids are quality tabloids and reflect their markets and their audience. Both break big stories regularly that are followed up by other media players and provide fodder for sites such as this to create their own content off the back of.
    It’s unsurprising to hear anti-Murdoch opinions on Crikey.
    It’s readers – who are in the vast minority of media consumers – are predisposed to dislike mainstream media products and hence fork out to pay for this niche newsletter. Btw – I’m using my real name.

  23. Perry Gretton

    The Australian and its tabloid siblings aren’t worth reading because, as I said earlier, they present news and opinion reflected through Murdoch’s prism.

    And I’m using my real name too.

  24. bennpackham

    All media organisations have a market, an agenda and their own slant on the news. Even the ABC.
    Crikey is no different. It’s one of the worst offenders for dressing up opinion as news.

  25. Daniel

    Wow, thanks for the crash-course in entry-level media studies Benn. Enlightening, although your analysis could benefit from a Wikipedia link or two.

  26. Perry Gretton

    “All media organisations have a market, an agenda and their own slant on the news.”

    At least some make an effort to be impartial.

  27. bennpackham

    I don’t need Wikipedia links. I’m speaking from experience.

  28. bennpackham

    Case in point – from the piece above.

    “On the other hand, another survey by the Boston Consulting Group, gleefully reported by The Australian last year, focused on the kind of stuff people might consider paying for.”

    Why is it “gleefully” reported. Looks like someone not making much of an effort to be impartial.

  29. kuke

    I haven’t paid for Crikey yet, though I think it’s a cut-above most Australian journalism. (I don’t think I’ve ever paid for other online “content”, but that’s another story).

    Like the iPod for paid music, eReaders yes could be huge for news. Providing the resolution improves.

  30. John Ryan

    Gee Ben i would think seeing as how you love Murdock’s slanted newspapers that FOX NEWs would fil you with joy,what a fine unbiased truthful organ that is.
    Re The Telecrap,you are kidding I lived in Sydney for 27 yrs and avoided buying it I much prefer the SMH,at least they dont BS as much as Murdock’s minions,or tell lies as much either.
    Then we have the gem in QLD the Curious Snail,it was run when I lived in QLD by oddly enough the same gent who runs the Australian,TBH he did not improve the OZ by moving to take over that paper.
    I like Crikey it good for a read, and at least you don’t have Ackerman,Bolt,and the rest of the Murdock bum kissers in it,besides what would you call anyone who hires one S. Palin,an all round moron because she is.

  31. Daniel

    Reminder that Ben Packham is a journo for the Herald Sun.

  32. Mergenthaler

    Absolutely no way! The News Ltd mastheads – aside from The Oz – are dumbed-down frippery, particularly here in South Australia where no even the sub-editors have a grasp of grammar and the hierarchy is compromising news standards all in the name of frippery.

  33. bennpackham

    I said I was using my real name.
    I’m sick of the view that mass market equals poor quality.
    You are effectively saying the millions who read these newspapers everyday are stupid while the few thousand who read this newsletter have discovered the truth. It’s rubbish.

  34. Most Peculiar Mama

    You have to love the meeja acolytes disparaging Murdoch.

    The Fairfax media ’empire’ are a joke.

    A pathetic rabble of shrieking harpies, rapid green loons and leftist garden-dwelling fairies.

    Their readership levels tells the story and the numbers don’t lie.

    At least Murdoch has the common sense to allow a divergence of views.

    Shifting your editorial stance too far either way is death.

    The SmAge giving Miranda 6 paragraphs every second Tuesday is hardly balancing the overtly partisan ledger that has crippled a once decent news organisation.

  35. Evan Beaver

    What do you think of Miranda MPM? Or Gerard for that matter.

  36. bennpackham

    You can bet if Murdoch works out a way to make people pay, Fairfax will be onto it quick smart.

  37. C J

    I hope that Freudy taking over The Australian will lead to an improvement in the Media section which has become an embarrassing joke.

  38. nugget

    Ok I’ll pay for Murdoch’s news if he pays me to read it and then for subsequent pschological counselling I will need.
    For those kooks paying for crikey, crikey all u gotta do is keep changing your email for 22 free days!

  39. Most Peculiar Mama


    I preferred her father.

    Gerard is at least intelligent…I can’t say the same for Peter Hartcher or the woeful Catherine Deveny.

    And then there’s Elizabeth Farrelly…in a class all by herself.

    Fairfax has such a shallow gene pool of journalistic talent. A fact they seem more than happy to celebrate.

    You’ve got to laugh at company who trade’s at less than book value.

    That type of value-destruction takes talent…and Fairfax management has it in spades; now with GroceryBoy at the helm (explain that??).

  40. Tom McLoughlin

    Hi Benn, good to have your view and engagement.

    My view – 30% of Australians have tertiary education. Now that’s not to be snobbish – I’ve done just about every grovel job there is, over serious time too.

    But higher ed does one thing – well it’s supposed to help with critical thinking. So the Terror and the Hun, no doubt Courier, Tiser in Adelaide undoubtedly aim for the 70% who have wisdom of life experience but not necessarily the scalpel of truth. So what runs the big media/politik revolving door dynamic in that scene? The cartoon book approach – sensation, crash, pow, boob or two, tradie humour etc. All very strine, and Barry McKenzie too. Penberthy updated it a bit for multiculturalism which was good.

    But it’s still a cartoon book. Now don’t get me wrong I like Spider Man and Phantom comics, Tintin, Asterix etc. So cartoon is not even the problem. It’s editorial bias that really counts. Rupe in his recent 30 mins on Sky obviously invited a no holes barred/fawn (new word nohobawn, nawn? bawn?) but when they got to the editorial interference bit …. about 3/4 through, let’s just say there was a subtextual frisson that would play in a Lie To Me US sitcom.

    Murdoch lost the last US election – know what I mean?

  41. Daniel

    ‘You are effectively saying the millions who read these newspapers everyday are stupid while the few thousand who read this newsletter have discovered the truth. It’s rubbish.”

    Actually, no.

  42. kate

    @Daniel: ‘ ‘You are effectively saying the millions who read these newspapers everyday are stupid while the few thousand who read this newsletter have discovered the truth. It’s rubbish.”

    Actually, no.’

    No, you’re not saying people are stupid; or no, it’s not rubbish?

  43. nugget

    No daniel, all we are saying is that if you pay for rubbish you are stupid.

  44. Daniel

    I’m saying that Ben’s argument is a complete figment of his imagination.

    Nobody has said that the readers of the newspapers are stupid, and I think everybody who reads Crikey recognises this sites limitations. People have been criticising the quality of the Murdoch and Fairfax papers, but Packham dishonestly believes this leads to criticising the readership as well because it fits in with his dumb “Crikey elitists” argument.

  45. Daniel

    Yeah thanks for proving me wrong Nugget.

  46. mook schanker

    Yawn MPM or JamesK or whatever your real name is. Just keep on spewing out what’s on your mind….Try, http://www.conservapedia.com if the lefties in your dreams turn into a nighmare…..

    Anyhow, back on topic,

    As for paying for News Inc, I think anyone can see people won’t pay for general news as ABC, BBC and a gazillion other outlets already provide this free as stated in the article. (Why Mudorch & Son keeps moaning, boo hoo….)

    As for specialised contect, there’s maybe a market for business reports, factual analysis, ringtones, nudey pics…we shall see…

    As for political or other targeted news, why pay when there’s so little objectivity in writing and presenting balanced thought in News Inc and other majors? Somehow Ben thinks if you’re a “professional” of a major, your analysis is better? Pah, give me niche writers any day. (They may be partisan, but the articles are generally more informative for me….)

    I think that’s where Crikey is for many readers, a niche market, with the News model heading into troubled waters for having generalistic output anyone on the web can feed you….

  47. Johnny B Good

    What ignorant, self-serving tripe from the chattering classes. Why, can you tell me, is Murdoch defined by Fox and the Daily Tele when he is also the proprietor of The Times of London, BSkyB and The Wall Street Journal (among, obviously, many others). Might it not suit your agenda? I wonder where I’ve seen other such selective use of facts on this site…
    Also, that there are a couple of hundred people (at best) willing to pay to read the savagely biased churnalism that is spewed out by Crikey, makes me think that Rupert probably won’t have a problem capturing a market where people can read acutal news. However, it is hardly suprising that the people who mount these ignorant arguments are also the same people who chose to get their “news” from Crikey…

  48. Perry Gretton

    I doubt if any subscriber relies on Crikey solely for their news.

  49. bennpackham

    Here here Johnny B Good.

  50. RaymondChurch

    Johnny B have you ever read The Times of London, BSkyB and The Wall Street Journal among others? Right wing media out and out.

  51. bennpackham

    Crikey likes to trade on this hip, new media thing. But in my view its best work is far behind it.
    Mostly it is reaction and commentary on what’s been reported first elsewhere.
    It is also very often wrong. That’s fine, we all make mistakes. Yet it’s the first to criticise mainstream media, especially News Ltd.

  52. Most Peculiar Mama

    @mook schanker

    “…Yawn MPM or JamesK or whatever your real name is. Just keep on spewing out what’s on your mind…”

    Oh dear…another insightful contribution.

    But then…light breaks:

    “…They may be partisan, but the articles are generally more informative for me…”

    That’s because they avoid using big words.

    Good huh?

  53. Most Peculiar Mama


    “…have you ever read The Times of London, BSkyB and The Wall Street Journal among others? Right wing media out and out…”

    Specious, dull and boring argument.

    For every one of those “right wing media” there are ten that are unashamedly “pro- Left”.

    Choose the meeja that makes you feel smarter…mook schanker has. And it shows.

    Move on.

  54. Tom McLoughlin

    Just to say in my experience the high rep financial press are indeed most accurate wether AFR or WSJ.

    But, and here’s the emerging misconception in the string – famously an election is ‘NOT ABOUT THE FIN REVIEW’ (or words to the effect – wtte!) which apparently Gary Gray then federal ALP secretary had up on the wall of the bunker. Not big enough circulation you see.

    So it’s not about stupid readers of one other paper, it’s about audience size and time frame of plausibility. To put it in Aussie context:

    A false story in the Courier Mail last week of a Qld election about a n*de ‘Hanson’, was proved in a timely way to be wrong some days before the vote. Did the swinging voters punish News Corp for the misconceived big air swing by going ALP? To the avowed feminist Bligh, rather than Coalition rivals more to their business leanings?

    Not really sure, but in Qld false electioneering can land you in gaol. Certain news corp staff might count themselves lucky. In this scenario the AFR wouldn’t even have run it, because they don’t do infotainment like that.

  55. RaymondChurch


    “…have you ever read The Times of London, BSkyB and The Wall Street Journal among others? Right wing media out and out…”

    Specious, dull and boring argument.

    But of course to you mpm it would be, as it was a reasonable response to an earlier assertion. Reasonable hardly falls into a description of yourself.

  56. Elan

    ‘At least Murdoch has the common sense to allow a divergence of views.’

    Does he really? Well bugger me!

    I have no intention of paying a razoo for ANY bleedin’ news, and for damn sure, not this blokes’ stuff. Anyway, we will listen to/read whatever the hell we choose. Right/Left/Right Left Right;- ALL of it now is ‘reported’ from the vantage point of the writer.

    Probably always was that way, but I reckon it’s worse now.

    Nugget had the right answer (first post):


  57. Johnny B Good

    Instead of just attacking these media outlets for having a perceived right wing bias why don’t you explain why it is wrong to present a right wing point of view. There would hardly be a single outlet that does not swing one way or the other, even though objectivity may be their underlying modus operandi.
    The world would be a much worse place if our media was completely dominated by either the right or the left. But you fail to see the benefit that Australian media organisations that may lean right, ie the Oz , offer in countering the overhwemingly Australian left-wing media, i.e Fairfax, the ABC, SBS etc etc etc.

  58. mook schanker

    @ MPM

    “…For every one of those “right wing media” there are ten that are unashamedly “pro- Left”….”

    Yes insightful contribution eh? Going to back this up with sources, statistics or anything of the like or do you just expect us to take your words for granted?

    Benn, there’s nothing wrong with criticising News media, Crikey, or me. The media is happy to criticise who the fvck ever for circulation or other reasons, so in my eyes, fair game….It’s all healthy for democracy right?

  59. David

    Johnny B G…my reading of Raymonds entry was, he didnt attack those outlets for being right wing, but stated they were.Big difference.

  60. tigerchelle63

    I’m a crikey squatter. You get the odd article here that’s a gem but overall it’s so biased I won’t pay for it. I like to get an overview of all so I have a gander here. That goes for all online news media IMHO. The only way I’d maybe consider paying( but probably wouldn’t) for the Oz online is if there was NO ADVERTISING at all. I don’t see why I should pay to have that crap come to my screen. If I want to read adverts I can get them free elsewhere. I’m not paying to read them.

  61. Perry Gretton

    I have no problem with right-wing media; I have a problem with distorted media, right or left. Unfortunately, Murdoch doesn’t understand “fair and balanced”.

  62. bennpackham

    You say “Murdoch doesn’t understand fair and balanced” – that’s basically saying we journalists who work for him slavishly distort our copy. Again, rubbish. We write for an audience, pure and simple.

  63. John Ryan

    Rubbish Ben you do what you are told

  64. Evan Beaver

    I think you’re splitting hairs pretty seriously there Ben. You don’t distort your copy, yet you write for an audience?


    It’s probably fair to say that your average Crikey reader is not likely to pay for access to the Murdoch world!
    But that aside it seems to me that Rupert has lost the plot. Newspapers as they used to be are a broken business model – rendered obsolete by the internet. They have gone the way of the buggy whip, but news proprietors don’t yet realize it. I haven’t seen readership figures recently but I would bet that readership of traditional newspapers is strongly inversely correlated with age, i.e. people who developed their information grazing habits prior to the internet still use them to some degree, but young people don’t.
    But Rupert is no idiot and perhaps his game plan here is to get one last suck on the sav and try to milk the aging baby boomers before they all go senile. Once that happens, the game is over for traditional news & journalism. Welcome to the new world.

  66. Perry Gretton

    Given Rupert’s misguided purchase of MySpace, I don’t rate his chances with a paywall.

  67. Perry Gretton

    Here’s a new [url=http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10433893-93.html]poll[/url] that supports what many have been saying here.

  68. nugget

    Johnny B G did you fart in this chat room or do I detect the air of conservative superiority?
    Don’t develop a persecution complex, what you are feeling is something called a conscience, somewhere amongst the doc martens and goose step.

  69. Most Peculiar Mama

    I love how the ideological mavens here rail against Murdoch’s talk of paying for content, yet conveniently ignore Fairfax’s mainc pursuit of the same financial lifeline for itself.

    Hilarious stuff…and oh so predictable.

    Rupert has one thing Fairfax and Crikey don’t and that’s reach…and that means relevancy to the global conversation.

    But of course that’s all a VRWC.

  70. Perry Gretton

    Leaving aside the subscription-based, online AFR, I wasn’t aware that Fairfax was proposing a paywall as well. You’re obviously better informed.

  71. alan tidwell

    The suggestion that we’re only now paying for Murdoch’s news is a misnomer. We’ve been paying for it for years, it’s just he’s finally gotten around to taking it out on us financially.

  72. Elan

    Nice one Alan!!

    ‘Rupert has one thing Fairfax and Crikey don’t and that’s reach…and that means relevancy to the global conversation.’

    (‘Rupert’. How sweet. There’s a fella elsewhere who always refers to one Thatcher as: “dearest Margaret”. Even sweeter!!).

    It occurs to me MPM that you give a great deal of attention to an irrelevant Crikey.

    I wouldn’t bother, if I were you. It only adds to the irrelevance.

  73. Most Peculiar Mama

    @ Elan

    “…It occurs to me MPM that you give a great deal of attention to an irrelevant Crikey…”

    As a cure for your media myopia might I suggest you venture outside the Crikey petri dish occasionally for a little conversational variety.

    Big world out there….lots going on.

    You sound a little claustrophobic.

  74. rossco p coltrane

    Ummmm, yes, and I was never ever ever ever going to pay for TV either..now, god bless Foxtel IQ, couldn’t live without it, just goes to show, with the right ingredients and a bit of time, things can change.
    I’d happily pay news corp a fee, say $100, per year, for the access to a bundle of content.
    How about the WSJ, The Australian, The Times, a movie or two and a book or two from their publishing house, all delivered on my spanking new iSlate or Que reader or Sony ereader thingyee.

  75. Elan

    Yeah but,.. no but,… yeah but,.. no…

    You write such flowery twaddle MPM: ‘media myopia’ / ‘petri dish’ !! Oh I say!! How fraightfully fraightfully!!

    But….howsabaht an answer, not a discourse on how clever you think you are.

    (Or are ‘you’ appearing on various topics in your bog standard ‘I’m a cut above’ type flowery rhetoric, simply to generate a flow of responses).

    ’tis more common than tha thinks, tha knows.

  76. Most Peculiar Mama


    This is Australia.

    We speak English here.

    Did you have a question?

  77. Elan


    This is Australia.

    We read English here.

    I have already asked it.


    (This is going to be fun).

  78. Elan

    I’m thinking mpers;-would you like me to spell it out? You appear to be struggling.

  79. bennpackham

    Nugget, I can’t bear either – conservative superiority or leftist elitism.

  80. nugget

    Neither can I, conservative superiority or leftist elitist whinging.

  81. Elan

    Oooooooohhhhh me too!!

  82. Kevin Herbert

    Poor old Rupe…..the locomotive of reality has taken him out..but he doesn’t know it yet.

  83. Kevin Herbert

    Those plebs who breathlessly expose the media as ” inherently left wing” are showing their total lack of appreciation of the modern world. Most of the above comments sound like an undergraduate political science tutorial.

    Of course the media is left wing……if left wing means challenging any society’s establishment order. The terms ‘left’ & ‘right’ become interchangeable.

    And it always will be…despite an obvious contradiction such as Fox News USA…Rupert’s ultimate pander to the US right wing establishment (make that any right wing establishment anywhere in the world who has money to advertise)…only for a return on his investment…Rupert is apolitical, and couldn’t give a shit for your carping on right versus left….he sneers into his breakfast cereal over such simplistic views…

    But still, even though I admire his perspicacity…and his embodiment of someone who was born with ink in his veins…his time is up. The net is ending/severely amending many an institution globally…and Rupert’s unique pre- internet empire happens to be one of them.

  84. twobob

    I wont pay, I wont pay, na na no way,
    cos ruperts Australian’s a dog

    And MPM’s a goose

  85. philiseedogollomoo

    I don’t think poor is an appropriate adjective.
    If media ownership is concentrated then it doesn’t necessarily challenge societys’ establishment order unless it suits the bottom line.
    Threrefore it could be left/right or both wings depending on which way the wind is blowing.
    And MPMs a goose.

  86. kuke

    Who wouldn’t pay for this?

    Man opens bag of Cheese Rings, finds one

    In other news, this may spur the paywall:

    Can Apple’s tablet do it again?

  87. Swifti

    Why do people bother trying to answer this question, discussion over. It was summed up in the first comment by nugget NO!

    and MPM is a goose

  88. Swifti

    Oh and MPM..

    ” This is Australia We speak English here? ”

    1 Who is we? Indians? Lebanese? Muslim? Christian? Chinese?

    2 In the 2001 census, 2,843,851 Australians reported speaking a language other than English at home, including 50,978 speakers of Indigenous languages.
    Chinese (all): 371,357
    Other or unspecified: 363,062
    Italian: 316,890
    Vietnamese: 278,236
    Greek: 252,220
    Cantonese: 244,553
    Arabic: 243,662
    Mandarin: 220,601
    Serbian: 95,365 (2006)
    French: 93,593
    Spanish: 78,878
    German: 76,443

    Macedonian: 67,836
    Croatian: 63,611
    Polish: 53,387
    Turkish: 50,693
    Hindi: 47,817
    Maltese: 41,393
    Netherlandic: 40,188
    Tagalog (Filipino): 39,643
    Korean: 39,529
    Indonesian: 38,724

    Other Chinese: 36,764
    Russian: 36,501
    Japanese: 35,111
    Persian: 25,238
    Hungarian: 24,485
    Tamil: 24,074
    Portuguese: 23,688
    Samoan: 22,711
    Sinhalese: 20,600
    Unspecified South Slavic: 14,606

    Other languages spoken in Australia, according to Ethnologue, include Adyghe, Afrikaans (12,655 speakers), Basque, Western Cham, Estonian, Scottish Gaelic, Fijian Hindustani, Hebrew, Indo-Portuguese, Northern Kurdish (11,000 speakers), Cham, Latvian (25,000 speakers), Lithuanian (10,000 speakers), Cocos Islands Malay, Mambae, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic (30,000 speakers), Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, Nung, Piemontese, Pukapuka (140 speakers), Romanian, Traveller Scottish, Senaya, Slovene, Sylheti, Tai Dam, Tongan, Turoyo (2,000 speakers), Unserdeutsch, Uyghur, Northern Uzbek, and Eastern Yiddish.

    Yeah it is okay for you to scrutinise everyone elses contribution isn’t it? Or is it?

    MPM is a goose!

  89. tigerchelle63

    So you stroll into your local Woolies and speak any one of the number of lingos listed above to the tellers do you SWIFTI? English is the official language spoken in Australia.

  90. harrybelbarry

    Twobob , iagree , but don’t pick on dogs and geese.

  91. RICK68

    HALLELUJAH! Andrew Bolt on ABC Insiders this morning Sunday February 7. Watch him tell the story to his bosses requirements—Murdoch the man who renounced his Aussie citizenship for American Capitalism. Regards Richard Ryan.

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