News Corp’s Miller: Paywalls And Free Model Can Co-Exist

By Jane Martinson: Jonathan Miller, head of digital media at News Corporation (NYSE: NWS), said today that “dual revenue streams” are likely to co-exist as media organisations try ways of making money online.

Miller claimed the media industry had to return to charging, whether through subscription or some other method. “The choice between paywall or free is not mutually exclusive. They can co-exist based on quality of content and geography,” he sai.

“Dual revenue streams got lost in the early days of the internet,” Miller told delegates at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit.

Miller’s boss Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp, has spoken out against content providers that continue to give away media content for free and is planning to start charging for his company’s websites later this year.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi yesterday, Murdoch called on Gulf states to open up their markets to global competition by cutting regulation and ending censorship.

Miller’s fellow panellists today included Tim Armstrong, chairman and chief executive of AOL (NYSE: AOL), the company Miller left after it scrapped its subscription model for a free, ad-supported one.

Armstrong, a former Google (NSDQ: GOOG) executive, said the first wave of internet media companies had been stymied by “problematic plumbing”. AOL had scaled back internationally to fix its own “plumbing”, he added, but intended to return to expansion mode as soon as next year.

The audience was also told that, in an RTL experiment in the Netherlands, 92 percent of people chose to watch six minutes of pre-roll advertising rather than pay

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