ABC managing director Mark Scott has rejected plans by commercial news outlets to charge for online content.
Speaking at an AN Smith Memorial Lecture in Journalism entitled “The Fall of Rome: Media After Empire”, Scott took a stab at News Limited chairman Rupert Murdoch’s plans to charge for online content, calling it, “a classic play of … empire in decline – believing that because you once controlled the world, you can continue to do so”.
He said the assumptions underpinning the News Corporation plan to charge for access to its websites would probably only serve to strengthen its rivals.
He added that much of the content on the web will most probably still be free and that it will “certainly be free online at the ABC.”
However, News Limited says it is only considering charging for unique or exclusive content.
Murdoch reiterated his position last week in a speech given in Beijing, saying bloggers and sites like Google should not be able to use his company’s news for free.
“The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content. But if we do not take advantage of the current movement toward paid-for content, it will be the content creators, the people in this hall, who will pay the ultimate price, and the content kleptomaniacs will triumph,” he said.
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