In a surprise move, News Corp. Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch is calling on the major digital publishing gateways -- specifically Facebook and Google -- to begin providing “carriage fees” for republishing news content from publishers.
Striking an analogy to the TV industry, where cable operators negotiate retransmission and affiliate fees for distributing cable and broadcast networks and TV stations, Murdoch said it is time to rethink the Internet’s economic model for republishing content in a similar way.
“Facebook and Google have popularized scurrilous news sources through algorithms that are profitable for these platforms but inherently unreliable,” Murdoch said in a statement released by News Corp., a major publisher of print and digital news content, including its flagship, The Wall Street Journal. “Recognition of a problem is one step on the pathway to cure, but the remedial measures that both companies have so far proposed are inadequate, commercially, socially and journalistically.”
Noting that there “has been much discussion about subscription models,” Murdoch complained that he has “yet to see a proposal that truly recognizes the investment in and the social value of professional journalism.
“The time has come to consider a different route,” Murdoch continued, adding: “If Facebook wants to recognize ‘trusted’ publishers then it should pay those publishers a carriage fee similar to the model adopted by cable companies. The publishers are obviously enhancing the value and integrity of Facebook through their news and content but are not being adequately rewarded for those services. Carriage payments would have a minor impact on Facebook’s profits but a major impact on the prospects for publishers and journalists.”