Is this a brand worth buying?

With extremely rare exception, I watch Fox NOTHING! If they approached reasonable humanity, someday, in the political management of their content, I’d consider changing my attitude. Of course.

There is also no shortage of great sports programming, short fiction, long-form film-making, musical entertainment…you name it…to be found within the multiplicity of channels streaming from watchable sources available damned near everywhere. More than I can keep up with.

So, screw the pricks sucking up advertising dollar$ that benefit the current and future waves of fascist, racist, bigoted ideology that keeps the shit-end of human beings from being as poverty-stricken as their hearts and cruel minds.

More may join Ford in boycotting Murdoch’s sleazy newspaper

NOT on the way to deliver newspapers for Rupert

T-Mobile is considering joining Ford by pulling its advertising in News of the World following Monday’s allegations that the newspaper hacked Milly Dowler’s phone after she went missing.

A T-Mobile spokesman told the Telegraph: “We’re currently reviewing our advertising position with News of the World, following the recent allegations, and await the outcome of the ongoing police investigation.”

It is also understood that Currys and PC World are reviewing their options.

On Tuesday afternoon, it emerged that car manufacturer Ford has pulled its advertising in the News of the World. They…said in a statement: “Ford is a company which cares about the standards of behaviour of its own people and those it deals with externally. We are awaiting an outcome from the News of the World investigation and expect a speedy and decisive response. Pending this response we will be using alternative media within and outside News International Group instead of placing Ford advertising in the News of the World…”

A spokesperson from Halifax bank told the Telegraph on Tuesday they would be “reviewing and considering their options with regards to future advertising” in the News of the World, following Npower and Ford’s decision to consider places ads in the Sunday tabloid…

Twitter and Facebook were from Monday busy with users urging advertisers to boycott the News of the World. Many threatened specific companies that they would withdraw their custom unless those companies dissasociated themselves from the newspaper. There was also a Facebook page campaigning for a boycott.

Murdoch’s tradition of opportunism, sleaze and sensationalism — as a substitute for journalism — appears to be reaching a potential qualitative change among advertisers. Who do you want your brand to be associated with, after all? Reputable journalists, hard copy or online? Or creeps who hack into a kidnapped girl’s cellphone hoping for an extra special headline?

Face it. The only aspect of “ethics” that can impress a thug like Murdoch is a reduction in profits.

Murdoch’s iPad newspaper, THE DAILY, debuts today

News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch introduced a news publication tailored specifically for Apple Inc.’s iPad, a bid to expand his media empire with a new business model for delivering content digitally.

Called the Daily, the publication will cost 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year, the companies said at a news conference in New York today. Apple unveiled a subscription payment system for the Daily and said it will soon be available for other publishers.

Murdoch, News Corp.’s chairman and chief executive officer, is betting the popularity of Apple’s iPad will draw subscribers and advertisers to the digital publication run by Jesse Angelo, the former managing editor of the News Corp.-owned New York Post. The Daily will feature general news, sports, arts and opinion sections, along with high-definition video and 360-degree photos.

The iPad demands that we completely reimagine our craft,” Murdoch said at the event. “I’m convinced that in the tablet era there’s room for a fresh and robust new voice…”

Murdoch developed the Daily after Apple demonstrated there’s a market for tablets, which blend the functionality of a touch-screen smartphone with a notebook computer. He said News Corp. has spent $30 million to get the publication off the ground and that it will cost about $500,000 a week to operate.

The editorial position of the publication will be “in the hands of the editor,” Murdoch said.

Angelo said the target demographic is everybody. “In terms of our editorial page, at the highest level, we are patriotic,” he said. “As for specific issues, read the editorial page every day…”

Cue said a subscription system for other publishers will be announced “very soon.” With the Daily, users can pay the 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year through an iTunes account.

You can try the online paper for these first couple of weeks for free – via a subsidy from Verizon. An advertising troll awaits. In any case, the app is free.

I’ll be trying it if for no other reason than a chance to examine the tech smarts, how well the subscription model works for me. The politics will be – I imagine – stultifying at best. But, that’s me. I do agree with Steve Jobs’ analysis of such projects vs. traditional newspaper pundits. That is, they all think their product is worth more than the paper they used to print it on – and it ain’t. An inexpensive subscription model results in expanding profits. If he’s right – Rupert is out to prove it.

“The Daily” will be first iPad-only newspaper

Rupert Murdoch, head honcho of the News Corp. and Fox News, is investing $30 million and a staff of about 100 to create and run The Daily, the first newspaper available only on the iPad and other tablet devices, scheduled to roll out early next year…

The New York Times media columnist David Carr explored the prospect: The Daily will still retain some of the more archaic aspects of a print newspaper in that it will be produced into the evening and “printed” in the morning. Updates will come, but not like we’re used to with news websites now.

Even more bizarre: “The Daily will have no inbound links from other sites, and nothing outbound either.”

For the most part, it will produce original content, although Fox Sports will provide some video. Murdoch is bringing some heavy hitters into the new project: The New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones, ABC News TV producer Steve Alperin and Page Six’s Richard Johnson.

While millions of readers were lost when News Corp. moved The Times of London and The Sunday Times behind a pay wall in July, the Daily can start with a clean slate having never been free. It will have an “easy payment” format…

John Koblin at Women’s Wear Daily reported more details: The Daily will be in beta mode before the new year, around Christmas, and will cost 99 cents for a 7-day week subscription, or $4.25/month. WWD also reports that the newspaper will go beyond the iPad to other tablet devices beginning in 2011, so they won’t be missing those growing number of Android consumers…

Sounds like Rupert has actually been paying attention to Steve Jobs. His primo criticism of all the business models attempted for print media spin-offs has been what newspaper types think they can sharge for unlimited access to their product.

Maybe Murdoch has it right? Unless he screws up content like his TV Faux News.

The latest rumor, btw, has a debut press event sked for 9 December – headlining both Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch. Will Rupert wear a black mock turtleneck? Sure as hell Jobs ain’t wearing a suit and tie.

Times/Sunday Times online – paywall drives away 87% of readers!

More than 100,000 people have paid to go behind the Times and Sunday Times’ new online paywalls but visits to their websites have fallen by about 87%.

Times Online was registering about 21 million unique users a month to its front page earlier this year but the figure fell to 2.7 million last month…

Times editor James Harding said the papers were “hugely encouraged“…

The subscription figures have been eagerly awaited by publishers and advertisers since the two papers went behind an online paywall four months ago…

BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas said many people in the industry had been sceptical about the paywall move, and that there would be intense analysis and debate over the significance of the figures…

The interviews with Rupert Murdoch flunkies toe the party line, e.g., anything for “free” is economic suicide. Someone really must explain that to Google or, say, Saatchi & Co..

The Paywall will fail!

No – Murdoch’s not feeling sorry for himself, yet
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

If you are reading this article on a printed copy of the Guardian, what you have in your hand will, just 15 years from now, look as archaic as a Western Union telegram does today. In less than 50 years, according to Clay Shirky, it won’t exist at all. The reason, he says, is very simple, and very obvious: if you are 25 or younger, you’re probably already reading this on your computer screen. “And to put it in one bleak sentence, no medium has ever survived the indifference of 25-year-olds…”

His predictions for the fate of print media organisations have proved unnervingly accurate; 2009 would be a bloodbath for newspapers, he warned – and so it came to pass. Dozens of American newspapers closed last year, while several others, such as the Christian Science Monitor, moved their entire operation online. The business model of the traditional print newspaper, according to Shirky, is doomed; the monopoly on news it has enjoyed ever since the invention of the printing press has become an industrial dodo. Rupert Murdoch has just begun charging for online access to the Times – and Shirky is confident the experiment will fail.

Everyone’s waiting to see what will happen with the paywall – it’s the big question. But I think it will underperform. On a purely financial calculation, I don’t think the numbers add up.” But then, interestingly, he goes on, “Here’s what worries me about the paywall. When we talk about newspapers, we talk about them being critical for informing the public; we never say they’re critical for informing their customers. We assume that the value of the news ramifies outwards from the readership to society as a whole. OK, I buy that. But what Murdoch is signing up to do is to prevent that value from escaping. He wants to only inform his customers, he doesn’t want his stories to be shared and circulated widely. In fact, his ability to charge for the paywall is going to come down to his ability to lock the public out of the conversation convened by the Times…”

Instead of lamenting the silliness of a lot of social online media, we should be thrilled by the spontaneous collective campaigns and social activism also emerging. The potential civic value of all this hitherto untapped energy is nothing less, Shirky concludes, than revolutionary…

“The final thing I’d say about optimism is this. If we took the loopiest, most moonbeam-addled Californian utopian internet bullshit, and held it up against the most cynical, realpolitik-inflected scepticism, the Californian bullshit would still be a better predictor of the future. Which is to say that, if in 1994 you’d wanted to understand what our lives would be like right now, you’d still be better off reading a single copy of Wired magazine published in that year than all of the sceptical literature published ever since.”

RTFA. Interesting, provocative. Having wandered through this cyber-landscape for a larger number of years than either the protagonist or antagonist – I’ve been online since 1983 – I have a passing acquaintance at least with each facet of the discussion.

Like Shirky, I agree with him because I want to. Though that’s an equal part reflection from someone who is a hermit in real life as much as online.

Murdoch proceeds with PPV online news in the UK

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

The Times and the Sunday Times are to start charging for content online in June. Users will be charged £1 for a day’s access and £2 for a week’s subscription for access to both papers’ websites.

The News International chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, implied in a statement that its other titles, the Sun and the News of the World, would follow…

The Times and the Sunday Times are the first UK papers to fully charge for digital content. While a daily payment will give users access to both sites, the weekly subscription will also include an e-paper and new applications. Access to the digital services will be included in the seven-day subscriptions of print customers to the Times and the Sunday Times…

In August 2009, Rupert Murdoch announced that he would introduce charges for all his newspapers, saying that News Corp wanted to prevent readers moving to free sites by making its content better and differentiated from other publishers.

He obviously feels he can milk a useful amount of money from online readers who prefer his flavor of conservative balderdash over more traditional flavors. Maybe Flash and sports is enough?


Blame for MySpace turmoil belongs to NewsCorp and Murdoch

Why is this man not smiling?
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Days after MySpace, the struggling social network site, replaced its chief executive, a leading media pundit has said that interference from its owner, Rupert Murdoch, has left the business in a state of “total desperation”.

Last week the site, which was bought by Murdoch’s News Corporation in 2005, made the shock announcement that Owen Van Natta was stepping down as chief executive after less than a year in the job…

Michael Wolff, author of The Man Who Owns the News, a biography of Murdoch, said that the roots of MySpace’s problems were much deeper. “It certainly is not [Van Natta’s] fault – he inherited a business in which you could only manage decline,” he said.

Instead, he suggested, the reshuffle is indicative of a wider panic over the way in which News Corp deals with its online businesses.

The thing that’s going on at News Corp right now is total, total desperation over this digital stuff,” he added. “Rupert is saying, ‘What’s going on with MySpace? What’s happening? Why isn’t this working?’ It’s impossible to explain to him that it’s not working because it’s over, because this is the way the technology business goes. Once it’s past, it’s really past. There is almost no way to get that back…”

While the site has generated plenty of cash for News Corp – at one point, advertising on the home page alone was valued at $1m a day – a series of missteps has left it in turmoil, struggling for success and flailing in the wake of its rivals…

Figures from comScore, the internet traffic analysts, suggest that MySpace has about 57 million users in the US, down from a peak of more than 75 million. Facebook, meanwhile, has experienced incredible expansion in the past 18 months and now boasts more than 400 million users worldwide…

I used to have a modicum of respect for Murdoch’s business acumen. Turns out it hasn’t moved much beyond the end of World War 2.

He brags about NewCorp’ jump in revenues and profits – the bit that derived from Avatar – which is wholly James Cameron’s creation. He failed at trying to make DirecTV a stepchild to SkyTV – and bailed out in months. And, now that MySpace has fallen victim not only to the simple passage of time in Internet years – but, has become a turnoff since he made the home page look like the front of the advertisers’ weekly own paper – he looks for someone else to blame.

He’s getting what he deserves.

Guardian editor rejects Murdoch’s paywall

The Guardian editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, has delivered a riposte to Rupert Murdoch’s campaign to introduce paywalls to newspaper websites, claiming that it could lead the industry to a “sleepwalk into oblivion”…

Last year Murdoch revealed that he would introduce charges for access to all his news websites, including the Times, Sunday Times and the News of the World by this summer. Last week the New York Times confirmed that it too would introduce a paywall to its website by 2011.

Rusbridger pointed out that News Corp has frequently used the price of news to attack rivals. “Murdoch, who has in his time flirted with free models and who has ruthlessly cut the price of his papers to below cost in order to win audiences or drive out competition (‘reach before revenue’, as it wasn’t called back when he slashed the price of the Times to as low as 10p), this same Rupert Murdoch is being very vocal in asserting that the reader must pay a proper sum for content – whether in print or digitally,” he said.

“Fleet Street is the birthplace of the tradition of a free press that spread around the world. There is an irreversible trend in society today which rather wonderfully continues what we as an industry started – here, in newspapers, in the UK.

“It’s not a ‘digital trend’. It’s a trend about how people are expressing themselves, about how societies will choose to organise themselves, about a new democracy of ideas and information, about changing notions of authority, about the releasing of individual creativity, about resisting the people who want to close down free speech.

“If we turn our back on all this and at the same time conclude that there is nothing to learn from it then, never mind business models, we could be sleepwalking into oblivion…

The Guardian editor told an audience of academics and journalists in London that it is more important than ever to focus on journalism: “If you think about journalism, not business models, you can become rather excited about the future. If you only think about business models you can scare yourself into total paralysis.”

RTFA. Please. If you care to learn about where a major stream of journalism is going on the Web.

Murdoch will relegate his empire to decline and dusty signs along disused secondary roads. Just like a great deal of Route 66 alongside Interstate 40.