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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Murdoch Ultimatum - Bing or Google

Actually the title is misleading since Howlin' Mad Murdoch is looking to take that choice away and Microsoft are paying him to do it.

The latest development in Rupert's war on free online media access has been stepped up a notch thanks to Microsoft's answer to Lycos (let's face it you can't compare it to Google can you). It seems that Murdoch has been offered a cash incentive to make his content available exclusively to Bing, essentially taking Google out of the loop.






For further info, analysis etc read the following:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2009/nov/24/rupert-murdoch-charging-for-content

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/organgrinder/2009/nov/23/rupert-murdoch-news-disappear-paywall

Friday, 20 November 2009

The Worst of Times - Online

Following on from my previous Murdoch rants and his efforts to rid the world wide web of any free news content, it seems their audacity knows no bounds (again no suprise there).

Not content with disparaging the BBC and campaigning for the disbandment of state - run media, charging for online content and ensuring it is blocked from Google and other search engines, it seems Murdoch's media machine is not beyond a spot of plagiarism. Anyone who tweets on Twitter and is an avid follower of writer/director Edgar Wright would have borne witness to the controversy, not to mention the tweeting equivalent of fisticuffs between Wright and The Times newspaper online.

The saddening news was broadcast/published of the passing of Edward Woodward on Monday 16th November 2009, aged 79. Tributes poured in from all over mourning the loss of this legendary actor. One such tribute came from Edgar Wright on his blog "edgarwrighthere.com" a heart felt and well written piece recounting his personal recollections as a yongster having seen Woodward in the critically acclaimed television drama Callan to his delight and honour of working with the great man on Hot Fuzz (of which Wright was director and co-writer along with Simon Pegg). The Times, rather than assign one of their own stable of highly paid writers to pen their own tribute, lift Wright's piece from his blog and execute what is tantamount to literary butchery before posting it on their website, without even contacting the author for approval or providing an opportunity to edit his own work for them.

Naturally Wright was unhappy about this not just because his work was stolen (that has legal and ethical concerns of its own) but that it was edited in such a brutal fashion it made him appear, according to his tweets, "ill informed and unfeeling". They even omitted his recounting of the time he worked with Woodward which was an essential part of the piece.

Since then, The Times, seemed to have acquiesced to Wright's calls for his piece to be published in full and will be making a donation to Woodward's memorial . I find it intriguing, however, that Rupert Murdoch spouts off about quality jounrnalism and integrity as well as a need for protecting the future of his on-line content by ending free access. If this is the sort of quality journalism one can expect from Murdoch's media outlets, and then have the cheek to charge for somebody else's work published without their permission (especially when that work can be viewed for free) then I suspect profit loss from falling advertising revenue might seem like a storm in a teacup.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Media Mogul Murdoch Out of Touch With The Modern World

It comes as no surprise to learn that Rupert Murdoch is considering blocking Google from listing any content from his online news outlets.

This comes in the wake of recent statements by James Murdoch and his attacks on the BBC and essentially calling for an end to free access media content, with plans by Murdochs Senior and Junior to charge for access to all their online news sites which include Sky News, The Sun, The Times, New York Post and The Wall Street Journal. The Murdochs also seem convinced that other media oulets will follow suit. The reason for this is a slump in advertising revenue, when really it is nothing more than a pitiful display of greed and showing a lack of understanding how the internet works.

Lets just say for the sake of argument that all the major newspaper and broadcasting companies (except for the BBC) start charging for access to their news items online. There are still many ways to get news stories for free that don't involving buyng a copy of The Times or venturing onto Sky News Website. Aside from television and radio, how about free newspapers such as Metro (assuming they don't follow the same monetary path) which are given out everyday to those commuting to work. Most offices have free copies of newspapers to read all of which can be copied/revised and then posted onto the internet. One of the biggest sources of news are social networking sites (look at the role Twitter played during the post election protests in Iran) and of course blogs such as this one. Properly maintained the blog is an excellent source of news stories from all walks of life and the best part is that you don't have to pay for them as many blogs generate enough revenue from advertising or have been created for the pure pleasure of writing and posting stories.

At the end of the day when people like the Murdochs, who are already obscenely wealthy and powerful try to squeeze more pennies from the common man/woman they only end up hurting themselves, not to any detrimental effect but enough to make a dent. They may be able to control their own content to some degree through subscription TV and internet access but all this will do is encourage people to find other sources and thus they end up losing customers. They cannot own and control every item of news on the internet, it is simply too vast to try. This is where they have lost touch with the world.

Contrary to what Gordon Gekko said in Wall Street Greed is not good and ultimately Rupert Murdoch could well end up a victim of his own greed.