Friday 21 August 2009

'Murdochs must collaborate with rivals'

David Prosser in a comment piece in the Independent today on News International's decision to axe thelondonpaper notes that at one time media analysts thought a merger with Associated's London Lite was on the cards to create one profitable free newspaper for the capital.
He suggests the way forward for the Murdochs and plans to charge for NI's news content on newspaper sites would be to collaborate with rivals.
Prosser writes: "The London Paper may have been an expendable vanity project, but closure isn't an option for News International's online operations.
"With that in mind, the way forward may lie in taking exactly the approach that News International has rejected with The London Paper: collaboration. Many media analysts believed that the Murdochs were considering merging their title with London Lite – and that a single afternoon freesheet in the capital might have a shot at profitability.
"If News International is to deliver on online profitability, it will have to reconsider its reluctance to work with its rivals.
"For one thing, if everyone else stays free, its titles stand less chance of making a go of paid-for. For another, the best model for the UK press may be to appoint an agent or distributor to sell across all its constituent titles using a system of micropayments. The days of the newspaper wars through which Murdoch senior built the empire might then be over."

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