@ AOP: Murdoch On Paywalls Is ‘The Flip-Flopper In Chief’

Paying-for-content was the hot topic at this year’s Association of Online Publishers summit in London on Wednesday, thanks to Rupert Murdoch lighting the blue touch paper under the issue in May. But how are people really interpreting the News Corp (NYSE: NWS) chief’s ambitions… ?

Brent Hoberman, co-founder, PROFounders Capital & Lastminute.com, with the line of the day: “He’s a flip-flopper, isn’t he? He’s the flip-flopper in chief. It’s manna from heaven for the smaller players, the Huffington Posts of the world.”

(Murdoch, of course, had made soundings about taking WSJ.com free, before maintaining its subscription and deciding on paywalls for the rest of his news portfolio).

Julie Meyer, CEO, Ariadne Capital: “I think what he’s doing is segmenting. He’s finding out who is going to buy, why. The feedback he gets will be as valuable as how much money he makes. He seems to be willing to do things, learn and fail publicly. To have that ability to learn is relatively useful.”

Mark Cridge, CEO, Glue Media: “He’s just seeing what response he’s going to get. He’s trying to see if there is an appetite for this.”

David Montgomery, CEO, Mecom: “He’s usually right. It will take some time but he usually wins through and I suggest we should follow his lead.”

Perhaps tellingly, News Corp’s News International, currently looking at making a pay-for Sunday Times site, brought amongst the largest contingent of delegates to the summit on Wednesday.