The Golden Age of Publishing Is Upon Us (Or Is Rupert Murdoch Crackers?)
So my compatriot Rupert Murdoch is about to launch the Daily, an iPad only new -- it can't be called a 'newspaper' -- so let's call it a 'newsapp.' And, for his efforts he has been widely criticized, derided and ridiculed.
Putting his politics aside let us take a look at why Murdoch is doing this and see if indeed he has a 'a few 'roos loose in the top paddock'.*
Murdoch has reportedly moved a staff of 100 to the 26th floor of his New York City citadel to build this new business. Among others, his biographer Michael Wolff has been savage in his criticism saying 'Murdoch has no feel for, knowledge of, or interest in technology, and has staffed his effort with like-minded newsroom technophobes.' We must ask ourselves: Is Murdoch crackers?**
What Mr. Wolff and other Murdoch detractors fail to understand is that Rupert may not 'get technology' but what he does understand, arguably better than any other person in history, is distribution. It is NOT technology that drives the news business - or any business for that matter -- it is distribution. Murdoch knows that without distribution his empire is dead.
Before the Internet (and now mobile) disrupted the delivery of news, Murdoch realized that if he owned the technology (printing presses) and the trucks (distribution) to deliver the news, he had a winning formula. In many cases a monopoly. To the chagrin of many, this was the case no matter what he printed. And the third leg to his phenomenal success is, indeed, what he printed: Murdoch has always covered the stories that people want to read.
Now Rupert is no wally*** He realizes that distribution is the key to his success. If he does not embrace the iPad and online and mobile distribution he risks losing everything. His critics should realize that he is simply replacing one technology with another - the truck for the tablet . What won't change is the stuff his journalists write about.
And, with Murdoch's uncanny ability to understand what people want to read and the vast resources of the NewsCorp empire to dig deep to find that stuff, there is no doubt he will be successful in this new age of digital distribution.
Just like the innumerable times that he has been written off by the pundits before, Rupert Murdoch will live to fight another day and will, of course, be laughing all the way to the bank****
*Australian saying meaning a few sandwiches short of a picnic: a stubbie short of a six pack; senile.
**Australian for a few 'oos loose in the top paddock
***Australian for idiot
****Australian for laughing all the way to the bank
Apart from being an Australian living and working in media in the US, Cameron Yuill is in no way affiliated with the NewsCorp or Rupert Murdoch. On a few occasions he did share a beer or two with Rupert's son Lachlan but he is pretty sure Lachlan wouldn't recall him or if he did, he will surely deny it.