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Rupert Murdoch 1 – Google 0

2 December, 2009

Under pressure from Rupert Murdoch, Google has agreed to limit the number of times that users of their search engine can access subscription content on-line.

Under the First Click Free programme, publishers can now prevent unrestricted access to subscription websites.

Users who click on more than five articles in a day may be routed to payment or registration pages.   BBC here

Google is not the only company to come under fire for allowing free access to subscription material, but it is the first to agree to set limits. Publishers of newsprint and on-line news content been increasingly complaining about wide dissemination of their material on the internet, especially as they have seen their profits undercut as more people turn to the internet for the latest news, gossip, scores, and op-eds. The loss of subscription also affects revenue from advertisements, a major source of income for the traditional news industry.

[ Murdoch’s] Newscorp, which owns the Times and the Sun newspapers in the UK, has also been affected by the downturn.

In June, it announced losses of $3.4bn (£2bn) for the previous 12 months, describing the year as “the most difficult in recent history”.

It has also revealed plans to begin charging for access to all its online content. The corporation currently charges for access to its US title the Wall Street Journal.

It remains to be seen whether readers will subscribe to news or simply look elsewhere for information. I spotted a poll the other day at blogworld which asked whether bloggers would pay to read favored blogs. The vote went to the Nays.

Perhaps the internet has opened a door to a new (and free) world for its users and they simply will not step back inside, Rupert Murdoch notwithstanding.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 6 December, 2009 21:15

    Alas we here at The Placemaking Institute fear that “we the people” will be forced to step back inside.

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