This week Murdoch’s News Corp. annouced that they are developing a device that would be used to read newspaper content on a large screen. Murdoch says “its time consumers started paying to read Web content.”
Mobile technology could save the ailing newspaper industry, according to Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of News Corp. and one of the world’s leading media barons. The problem is well known: Newspaper sales and advertising is declining steadily because publishers, fighting tooth and nail for eyeballs, have made most of their content available for free on the Web. Think of it as a price war where the price has dropped to zero.
Murdoch said the project is in its early software development stages, and he provided few details on what he introduced as a potential solution to the problems ailing the publishing industry. “People are used to reading everything on the net for free, and that’s going to have to change,” Murdoch said at the cable industry’s largest annual gathering in Washington, D.C.
Why News Corp. is going to the expense and hassle of developing a dedicated device when the Kindle and its rivals already exists is unclear. Today, Americans can download and read the Wall Street Journal (owned by News Corp.), for example, each day on the Kindle for $10 a month. While neither the Kindle, nor its enhanced successor, the Kindle 2, is perfect, they have been widely lauded for providing a relatively easy reading experience on an electronic device.
Moreover, Amazon is also breaking new ground with its business model. Rather than subsidising the device, as a mobile operator might do, Amazon has priced the Kindle high, but doesn’t charge for the 3G airtime needed to download new titles, so that users can typically buy publications for less than it would cost them to purchase paper copies.
Of course, Murdoch may want a device in which both the hardware and the software are highly-optimised for the delivery of breaking news, potentially pushing headlines, sports scores and other fast-changing content out to his customers as they happen. But is there really room in consumers’ pockets, handbags or brief cases for another dedicated device, especially when they cost several hundred dollars apiece?
The Question for the MOCOM 2020 community is looking into the future: When will somebody bring out the first eNewspaper Reader for free? As the Kindle is sold for few hundred dollars right now, the vision of giving away eBooks or eReaders for free or for 1 USD is not far away.
When do you think this will happen?
And would you take an eNewspaper Reader for free?