Google CEO On Murdoch’s Online Pay Plan: It’s Crazy Talk

It’s pretty damned tough to compete with free, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told a bunch of British broadcasting executives Thursday.

Schmidt made his comments to the group via video link in response to an announcement last month by News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch that he planned to start charging for all news web sites by next summer.

From Reuters:

“In general these models have not worked for general public consumption because there are enough free sources that the marginal value of paying is not justified based on the incremental value of quantity,” Schmidt said.

“So my guess is for niche and specialist markets … it will be possible to do it but I think it is unlikely that you will be able to do it for all news.”

Murdoch’s company in 2007 purchased the Wall Street Journal, one of the few daily publications that charges a subscription for its online content. News Corp. also owns the New York Post, Britain’s News of the World and The London Times as well as numerous newspapers in Australia. In addition News Corp. owns Fox Broadcasting Company and Fox Interactive Media, which includes Foxsports.com.