News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch was on Fox Business yesterday talking about the business model for media content on the Internet.
Here’s what he said he had to say about search engines:
“Search on the Internet, whether it be Bing or Google, whatever, is free. And they simply take all our expensive and we think very good content, such as Wall Street Journal or whatever, and what they call their scraper, and they use it for search. It gives them their raw material for nothing. And then they have this very clever business model of charging for searching it. We don’t get any of that. They are technologically brilliant, they are a long way ahead, but they do not have the right to do it if we want to stop them.
“They say, ah yes but because when somebody searches for something and a page comes up for a newspaper it’s registered as a unique visitor and you sell your own advertising along side that. But that is nothing like a, that’s peanuts, compared to the cost of producing a real quality newspaper. And we just need to…it’s not a question of old media vs. new media or anything like that. We’re a new media company in many many ways, look at Avatar, that’s new media.”
So Avatar good, Google bad.
It might not hurt to remember though that search engines send news sites A LOT of quality, monetizable traffic every single day, for free. Natural search can account for 10-20% of a news site’s total traffic, sometimes even 30-40%, so maybe it’s not such a bad relationship after all.