“I wouldn’t promise that we’re going to meet that date.”

At the Guardian’s Media blog, Roy Greenslade spots a potential problem for Rupert Murdoch’s plans for a Paywall Construction Company. From Roy Greenslade

Note the exact exchange – and the irony of the questioner being a Daily Telegraph reporter, who simply asked for an update on Murdoch’s previous announcement that News Corporation’s news sites would start charging for content by the end of this fiscal year (ie, June 2010). Murdoch replied:

“No. We are working very, very hard at this but I wouldn’t promise that we’re going to meet that date. I’m not prepared to comment on that all. It’s a work in progress. There’s a huge amount of work going on, not just with our sites, but with other people like your company.”

A work in progress? Your company? So Murdoch is in cahoots with the Telegraph Media Group. It may not be a surprise that News Corp is pursuing informal talks with rivals. But it sounds from that quote as if the “work in progress” is altogether more structured and formal. If so, it raises questions that competition regulators should surely investigate. Are the companies – and, perhaps, others, such as Trinity Mirror and Associated – working together to co-ordinate the building of paywalls? That might be ok, but what if they are planning to set a similar fee structure? Then there would be genuine reasons for regulatory concern because that would amount to the forming of a cartel.

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  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Pete, I hold no candle for Murdoch, but you’ve misunderstood what he meant. Rupert was merely reminding the DT hack that he’s well aware that the DT is likewise working on trying to see if it too could clamber behind its own paywall. He certainly didn’t mean that Press Holdings & NewsInt were working *together*, as opposed to them trying to do the same sort of thing at the same time for their respective titles. Which they of course are, and have to, for as long as the BBC destroys all prospect of ‘free-to-air’ private sector websites being able to turn an advertising-only funded profit.

    And in case any pensioners miss the point, if I, or more plausibly, Rupert or the Twins, want to run a blue chip NEWS website, and see that paid for by advertisers rather than from paywall subs, we have to confront the problem of the World’s Biggest Website (and one funded by the bottomless pockets of the poor old taxpayer too – v different that to trying to pick up ad revenue). So yet again, the BBC destroys competition, diversity, private sector endeavour, and, as a result of that, gets to pump out its hegemonic, left-liberal viewpoint. Which while it’s certainly a ‘result’, definitely isn’t a ‘gain’.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    My apologies – I really am going to have to start always wearing these vile spectacles fate has recently cursed me with – I see now that you’re merely quotable Reliably Wrong Roy. Or the fisherman’s accomplice as I like to think on him.

  • borderline

    As a Nationalist who is completely pissed off with the British poppy fascists of BBC NI imposing their Anglocentric worldview on NI, I should be quick to sympathize with you Darth, even on this issue alone.

    But I laugh as loud as any TU.

    To see Murdoch squeal about the BBC making free something he thinks people should pay him for.

    Like the way he made us pay to watch English soccer which we used to enjoy for free.

    GTF Rupe.