The L.A. Times offers a little more insight into the forthcoming online subcription model that News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch touched on yesterday during the company’s third quarter earnings call.Dawn C. Chmielewski writes:
People with knowledge of the situation said that Murdoch is poised to announce details of plans to form a consortium that would charge for news distributed online and on portable devices. News Corp. executives met with publishers last summer to discuss joining forces to collect fees from readers who access stories via the Internet or their gadgets.
Under the proposal, diverse news organisations would contribute stories and videos to a website that could be accessed by those who pay subscription fees. The participants would each be compensated on a pro-rated basis, determined by the amount of content they contribute to the site.
News Corp. would provide the technology to power the subscription news offering, drawing from systems that already exist to power the Wall Street Journal’s online site, people familiar with the proposal say.
Meanwhile, Peter Kafka over at All Things Digital points us to some background on a “subscription/pay wall plan that may or may not be what Murdoch was talking about today.”
It goes by the code name Project Alesia, “a moniker that comes from a vicious siege from ancient times widely considered to be one of the more decisive battles in history,” according to All Things D’s Kara Swisher, who wrote about the shrouded digital content effort in December.
You’ll have to read through Swisher’s entire post to understand how the historical context of this famous Roman battle is supposedly informing Murdoch’s digital strategy, but think about this:
“Traditional media companies are interested in investing in innovation too, so the idea of just putting up walls around content is a red herring,” said the source. “The idea is to find new ways of distributing media that also makes money, because why should journalism in [digital] ones and zeros be any different?”
Of course, with new stats showing sites like Google News and Yahoo (YHOO) News as the place consumers are going to get more and more of their news, that is a big issue in a longer fight, which will grind on for a very long time and well before any side can ever declare victory.
We’ll be waiting to hear more in three to four weeks.
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