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By Charles Arthur: Content is king, as we so often hear. The problem is, the internet is a republic; which means that the most exalted conte…

By Charles Arthur: Content is king, as we so often hear. The problem is, the internet is a republic; which means that the most exalted content has to muck in with everything else that’s out there.

The biggest technology companies don’t sully themselves with creating content: Google (NSDQ: GOOG) generates none (except Street View); nor does Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), or Facebook, or Twitter. Even Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), which has bought a company called Associated Content, is better known for the content on its photo sharing site Flickr. There’s no room for kings among that democratic mess.

So how does Rupert Murdoch, a man who is fiercely certain of the value of content, restore it to what he sees as its rightful place as a money-earner in its own right? In effect, by making sure that it stays off the wider internet. BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) is a perfect example of controlling the endpoint of consumption: you need to have Sky’s satellite dishes and Sky’s receiver and Sky’s encrypted card

This article originally appeared in © Guardian News & Media Ltd..

  1. Excellent article, with lots of valid points. Rupert really is an enigma – while his operations and plans are apparently “transparent”, none of us really know what he’s thinking. Bert Hardy, late of the London Evening Standard, once described Murdoch Snr as “the only man I know who can see around corners”. I have no reason now to doubt that judgement. And with News International trying to [re]gain full control of SKY, I also wonder how James Murdoch’s thought processes are working…
    Post your view at http://www.contentetc.wordpress.com

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  2. Nokia Cuts Forecast As Competition Takes Its Toll

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  3. The author clearly lays out the (almost insurmountable) challenge to Murdoch in successfully controlling and monetizing content in the age of the ‘serially unfaithful’ consumer. However, the mention of the BBC is a little puzzling. The ‘Beeb’ is the unique position of having guaranteed annual funding (currently circa £3.5 billion) from a licence fee plus another £900 million or so from its commercial arm. In an age of virtually limitless choice, the licence fee has actually risen. As a global player, the BBC is a formidable opponent with what could not unreasonably be seen as an ‘unfair’ advantage, even against the likes of the mighty News Corporation.

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