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Rupert Murdoch In Beijing: ‘The Philistine Phase Of The Digital Age Is Almost Over’

News Corp (NYSE: NWS) Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch took to the stage at the World Media Summit in Beijing Friday to quote a little Confucius and paint his version of the digital future for his Chinese hosts. Murdoch’s endeavors in China have met with mixed success and some of that frustration showed, especially when he talked about India doing a better job of welcoming foreign investment. Murdoch urged the Chinese to see the internet as an opportunity, using the example of the potential he sees in having “2 million or so” Chinese-language readers of His most scathing words, though, were reserved for news socialists (not his term, mine after reading it) who want to resist his paid-content movement and his media colleagues, describing the large media submission “in the face of the flat-earthers who insisted that all content should be free all the time. The sun does not orbit the earth, and yet this was precisely the premise that the press passively accepted, even though there have been obvious signs that readers recognize the reality that they should pay a price.”

Murdoch blames “inarticulate institutions which were unable to challenge the fallacies and humbug of the e-establishment. … The Philistine phase of the digital age is almost over. The aggregators and the plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content. But if we do not take advantage of the current movement toward paid-for content, it will be the content creators, the people in this hall, who will pay the ultimate price and the content kleptomaniacs will triumph.” Full text is embedded below.

Prepared text of Rupert Murdoch’s World Media Summit speech
I am delighted to come to Beijing and share thoughts with my colleagues in the media and my friends from around the globe. Confucius noted that those who seek constant happiness must often change

2 Responses to “Rupert Murdoch In Beijing: ‘The Philistine Phase Of The Digital Age Is Almost Over’”

  1. I will… And, I have to Congratulate Mr. Murdoch!

    Finally someone said what should have been obvious from the beginning: the so called "free" that is ad-supported internet is a mistake and a failure as a business model that can be adopted and sustained by the ENTIRE Web. The paid-for model is a lot better, and even cheaper for the users in the long run.

    Is this free internet a "new socialist" ideology? Is it an ideology at all? I don't think so. Staci D. Kramer puts a wrong label here, clearly, trying to make Murdoch's comments look political and anti-liberal. Clearly and unnecessarily.

    The free Internet isn't an ideology at all; rather — it is an ordinary, calculated get-rich scheme to benefit a few smart guys now. And, it is not socialist for sure, given the enormous concentration of benefits (ad-revenues) in the pockets of only a handful of Web players — while the rest, the millions of content creators and publishers in the long-tail (the proletariat of the Internet?) are left out with nothing but satisfaction, fame rather than fortune.

    Why do you have to politicize Murdoch's comments? Why to make them anti-socialist or new-socialists? Shouldn’t economic arguments be enough for a publication that is supposed to be about the economics of content?