Rupert Murdoch is most recently known for leading the charge to create paywalls. Given his massive ownership of newpsparers, including most of the Newspapers in Australia, the The Times UK and the WSJ amongst many others, this is a serious proposition and a dangerous one in my opinion. Murdoch’s business model can best be summed up by this excerpt from Citizen Kane.
Despite his questionable practices as a newspaperman, he may be responsible for keeping newspapers alive for a while longer. As his newspaper empire continues to bleed, his other properties (fox news, fox studios, Internet properties, etc) have provided the profits for him to continue to lose money in newsprint. He could continue to do so for quite some time to come. But he’s 79 and it’s unlikely that his heirs or successors will have the same passion for losing money. So the Murdoch model of making money elsewhere to pay for the losses in newspapers may not have an indefinite lifespan. Maybe that’s why he’s getting desperate and trying paywalls.
If you’re interested in an inside look at Mr. Murdoch you could read: The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch by Michael Wolff. Wolff is a reporter who had permission from Murdoch to get an inside look at his operation, but in the process he seems to have become a little to taken with his subject.