James Murdoch: Rivals Will Follow Times Down Paid Route

A few weeks before the UK’s Times and Sunday Times become News Corp.’s first big consumer titles to go paid online, News Corp (NYSE: NWS) EMEA CEO James Murdoch is under no illusions it’s a contrary – and entirely necessary – step to take…

“I’ve had to get our team comfortable,” Murdoch told paidContent:UK Thursday evening. “On day one, there’ll be less customers – and you build up and you go out and make the argument. It’s going to take time, but it’s an imporant step to take.

“I’m not suggesting this goes in a straight line – but if we don’t (do it), it could be much worse.

“I see a lot of the rest of the industry basically really ceding any notion of leadership – from an intellectual point of view, a business point of view – about what are we going to do out here.

“You look at the job losses; how big are our newsrooms? I really believe that others will follow. it’s been a real lesson looking at how others react.”

Earlier Thursday evening, Murdoch had delivered a lecture to University College London that rarely touched on the paid news strategy specifically but which cast the move as a small part in a grand and urgent need to hold on to notions that intellectual property creators deserve fair recompense and protection in digital realms.

Many agree with this notion, but Murdoch, in his lecture, did address a lingering scepticism that the genie can go back in its bottle…

“Do not be misled by claims of high principle in this debate. When someone tells you ‘content wants to be free’, what you should hear is