Rupert's iPad newspaper: D.O.A.?

Murdoch's new "The Daily" will try to take "free" out of the web
What every web reader wants - yesterday's news tomorrow

By Walter Brooks


Rupe is pending $30 million to stop free news online.

Rupert Murdoch is really pissed at the web and its free content. He is presently in the process of locking down every online version of his vast media empire from the Wall Street Journal to The Cape Cod Times.

But placing everything previously on the web for free behind a pay wall isn't enough. Now he is creating a daily newspaper app for iPad which will you must pay for from day one.

David Carr's column in today's NY Times pretty much sums up Murdoch's problem:

In July, The Times of London and The Sunday Times - both owned by the News Corporation - went behind a pay wall, and the company recently reported about 100,000 payments in the first four months of the effort, only half of which were for more than one-off purchases of a story.

Subtract out subscribers to the print product, as well as Kindle and iPad users - as the digital thinker and writer Clay Shirky recently did - and the number of actual opt-in customers could be in the low tens of thousands. That compares with a pre-paywall audience of six million unique visitors, according to estimates from the research firm comScore.

The difference between free media and paid

A "pay wall" means that only one paying subscriber can access the page. You can't hand the link or the page to your spouse to read. That means the article can never become the starting point for a wider conversation beyond the small pool of subscribers.

It is precisely the porous nature of free media online which makes it so powerful.  And the presence of web capable devises like iPhones and Android phone in everyone's pocket coupled with the eminent explosion of Android powered Tablets hitting the market daily means that we can all go to the actual web sites for media rather than need to install or buy an app.

It's pretty obvious that about to turn 80-years old Rupert Murdoch doesn't get it.

Below are two more takes on Rupert's Revolution:

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