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Goodbye News Corp

George R [PersonRank 10]

Thursday, May 27, 2010
9 years ago3,241 views

A story by Holly Sanders Ware at The New York Post says that beginning in late June, News Corp will on some of their sites only let search engines index its home page. nypost.com/p/news/business/sea ...

The Times
home page: thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/
robots.txt: thetimes.co.uk/robots.txt

slashdot coverage: news.slashdot.org/story/10/05/ ...

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

There are plenty of others waiting to fill any niche vacated by News Corp.

But News Corp knows this. I can't help feeling that this step must be a prelude to something else.

ianf [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

Well, Rupert Murdoch has warned earlier he'll take News Corps' news off the line, and now he's doing it. He's quite experienced in disrupting established news-production and delivery methodologies – remember en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wapping_ ... – so there's no doubt this first is but an opening salvo.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

<<The papers, which plan to start charging users for access to their newly redesigned Web sites in late June, will prevent Google and other search engines from linking to their stories ... Except for their homepages, no stories will show up on Google.>>

Worth noting that there's a difference between blocking a crawler, and between that crawler's search engine not showing links to that site... as it could have found the URL elsewhere.

As for this move, I got a feeling that it doesn't matter from a global perspective, or from Google's perspective, because there's enough news outlets out there which have similar stories than the UK Times and Sunday Times. (Even in the highly unlikely case that all existing newspapers would shut Google out, I'd imagine new services would quickly spring up to fill the niche, e.g. by licensing Reuters content... even Google itself could do that, right...)

ianf [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

Mind you, Philipp, neither Reuters, nor AP are enthusiastic about licensing their hard-earned source news without specific restrictions. They fight a losing game, but, as long as they fight, they're still in the game, and Google can do zit about it.

Also, Murdoch has a couple of "hard" assets up his sleeve – The Times/Sunday Times in London, UK, the closest to a daily newspaper of record Europe has (to some extent shared with Financial Times and The Economist), and The Wall Street Journal in the USA – the latter of which is among the absolute handful of sites that have profited from paywall publishing. So let's wait and see how this develops.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

Today The Times launched its iPad app, which has a very "newspaper-ish" feel to it (flicking from page to page, with a similar layout to the paper edition).

News Corp must be hoping to pick up a fair bit of revenue from iPad owners (who presumably tend to have above-average income).

ianf [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

I haven't seen this one yet (no iPad, and no plans for getting one thus far), but I've read extensively about other prototype newspaper issues including the second, native-iPad version of the WiReD magazine which everybody praises (their first attempt was of Air/Flash, but this new one is iPad-only product.) It's publisher wants to sell us monthly digital copies of that for US$5 apiece, while a year's subscription of the analog version in the USA costs around $12.

It's early days, so the publishers have yet to learn the hard way that tabloid- and larger sheet-size papers do not translate well to an A5-sized, or smaller, tablet screen. Also that electronically-delivered news should cost quite a bit less than their paper versions. May Murdoch learn that sooner rather than later!

George R [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

Interfacelab has a critical review of iPad magazine apps in general and Wired's app in particular. Among their criticisms was limited functionality, very large size, slowness, and a resource hog. One commenter suggested that a publisher distributing a magazine as images of their print edition pages lets the magazine add the iPad issues to their circulation when computing advertising rates.
interfacelab.com/is-this-reall ...

ianf [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

An update of sorts. Signed up for the 1-month trial of "Times+", the password-protected access to The Times and The Sunday Times, which will become paid-content-only in July. Registration, currently "facing technical difficulties. Please contact the administrators" @ www.timesplus.co.uk/iam/app/su ... was pretty straightforward though divided into several screen fulls.

On the final screen, just ahead of the "Subscribe" button, there's a link to "Terms & Conditions" @ timesonline.co.uk/tol/tools_an ... with an extremely long, practically unreadable ream of paragraphs – none of which apply specifically to the "Times+" service. Instead, that is covered in another website entirely @ mytimesplus.co.uk/terms/

Those terms also are unreadable, thought in a different fashion. Once finished, one receives a Welcome "thank you for registering for your exclusive preview" confirmation email with those winged instructions:

"To log in, all you need to do is visit thetimes.co.uk or thesundaytimes.co.uk , click on an article and in the ‘Already a member’ area enter the email address and password that you selected when you registered."


i47.tinypic.com/iodmj6.jpg


The login does not seem to be cached, ie. requires reentering the data upon subsequent access. Once inside, there are no visible changes to the websites' structure, something that's underlined in a linked article "Behind the story: Our new look: First feedback" of February 5 2007 (when both websites apparently were redesigned) thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/fee ...

The preview itself is covered in "The Times and The Sunday Times launch new-look, pay-to-view websites" which states "from June, users will be offered a week’s subscription for £2, or a day’s access for £1, to two new sites — thetimes.co.uk and sundaytimes.co.uk " @ thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/in ...

Alongside new paywalls, The Times (but not The Sunday Times – they are two different newspapers with separate editorial staffs etc) has also launched "the iPad edition of The Times" (OBSERVE: iPad, NOT tablet), which will contain 100% of the print issues; issues may be accumulated; can be read offline; and also will "feature spectacular interactive graphics, picture galleries and, of course, video. In other words it will be the newspaper but, we hope, even better."

thetimes.co.uk/tto/technology/ ...

In the introductory embedded video [ streamed off BrightCove servers, a commercial sort of YouTube: brightcove.com/en/video-platfo ...] the iPad Times app is shown solely in portrait mode, with sideways, not up/down, one-finger scrolling only.

This edition costs £9.99 for a 28-day subscription. Judging from the comments, neither this, nor Times+ subscription will give access to the other. Nor is there a mention of a Sunday Times iPad edition in the making.

That's it, Rupert Murdoch has spoken. Much as I dislike the concept of balkanization of the web, I find the Times+ pricing structure of £1/day; £2/week to be pretty humane. I am sure there will be enough customers to make it pay for itself, at least in the short run. I'm witholding judgement of the iPad edition until I've had a chance to try it out in RL.

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