Execs at MediaNews and A.H. Belo said that they may pull their content from Google, joining Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in flirting with the idea.
MediaNews, the company that owns the Denver Post, the San Jose Mercury News, and many other dailies and weeklies, has been talking about paid content since forever (CEO Dean Singleton is also chairman of the AP) but making one’s paid content invisible to the biggest search engine takes cojones to say the least.
A.H. Belo, according to PaidContent, is being more cautious: “EVP James Moroney says his company…hasn’t made any decisions yet, [but] is considering instituting pay walls at some of its newspapers websites, and the article suggests that such a move could coincide with delisting the paper’s content from Google News.”
We’ve talked about the walled garden ad infinitum, so won’t bore you with a long explanation of why this will or won’t work. Murdoch is betting that the subscription revenue from his loyal readers (as well as the cash Bing may end up paying for News Corp’s Google invisibility) is worth more than the ad revenue from fly-by readers. It’s worked reasonably well with financial news (FT.com, WSJ.com except for the “leaky wall”) but will it work with daily, commoditized news? Your thoughts?