TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Adapt to New Web Technology or Die Murdoch Tells Newspapers

Adapt to New Web Technology or Die Murdoch Tells Newspapers

Agence France Presse (
Mon, 13 Mar 2006 23:44:13 -0600

The newspaper industry needs to embrace the technological revolution
of the Internet, MP3 players, laptops and mobile phones or face
extinction, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch said.

"Societies or companies that expect a glorious past to shield them
from the forces of change driven by advancing technology will fail and
fall," he said in a speech to the Worshipful Company of Stationers and
Newspaper Makers.

"That applies as much to my own, the media industry, as to every other
business on the planet. Power is moving away from the old elite in our
industry -- the editors, the chief executives and, let's face it, the

"A new generation of media consumers has risen demanding content
delivered when they want it, how they want it, and very much as they
want it. For many readers these days, something like 'one click to
read RSS' is where things are at. If they cannot get it from us, then
they'll get it from other sources on the web."

Murdoch, whose News Corporation empire ranges from newspapers and
magazines to television and film interests across the globe, described
the 21st century as "the second great age of discovery".

The greatest challenge for the traditional media now is to engage with
more demanding, questioning and better educated consumers, adapting
their products for new technology, the Australian-born media mogul

"There is only one way. That is by using our skills to create and
distribute dynamic, exciting content," he said.

"But -- and this is a very big but -- newspapers will have to adapt as
their readers demand news and sport on a variety of platforms:
websites, iPods, mobile phones or laptops.

"I believe traditional newspapers have many years of life but,
equally, I think in the future that newsprint and ink will be just one
of many channels to our readers. Note how hundreds of papers these
days use internet media such as RSS to distribute their material at
no charge to computer users. They understand the importance of keeping
their name in front of readers; they are not worried about a couple
cents worth of _actual news content_ for which (using RSS for example)
they are not getting paid as traditional newspapers get paid. New York
Times is one example; many of my media are also. Having your presence
as the source of news out there is much more important; we understand

Murdoch sparked one of Britain's most bitter industrial disputes over
the introduction of new computer technology for journalists and

In January 1986, he moved his British newspapers The Times, The Sun
and The News of the World overnight from their historic home on Fleet
Street, central London, to a purpose-built facility in Wapping, in the
east of the capital.

It was credited by some with not only breaking the stranglehold of
print unions on a hitherto unprofitable industry crippled by strikes
but paving the way for developments such as colour printing,
supplements and websites.

Copyright 2006 Agence France Presse.

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