Rupert Murdoch is reported to be building a newspaper pay cartel that will see free newspaper sites disappear along with News Corp sites in the next 12 months.
According to the LA Times, News Corp’s Jonathan Miller mas met with major news publishers including New York Times Co., Washington Post Co., Hearst Corp. and Tribune Co. The report did not note the success or otherwise of the talks
The move by News Corp makes sense form their perspective: they can’t put up the pay wall and succeed if the competition continues to offer their content for nothing. In theory, most major newspapers doing pay at the same time would maximize sales opportunities for the pay sites; well, that’s the play book News Corp is running by.
The move though raises serious anti-trust issues; the four companies named account for around 80-90% of the US newspaper market, and collusion would lessen competition.
On a bright note, the market in 12 months time for new media startups is going to be even better now all the newspapers are signing up to commit ritual suicide.