News Corp talks paid content – content bundling

News Corporation’s new digital boss Jonathan Miller has been banging the paid content drum. His spin was “content bundling” kind of like the charging equivalent of pick ‘n’ mix.

Speaking in New York at the Hollywood Reporter’s Digital Power event, Miller said News Corp wants to see a model established for charging online. He said he envisioned “a return to multiple revenue streams” and that part of that model could include paid-for journalism, which echoes comments made recently by his boss Rupert Murdoch.

On the kind of shape such a service might take, Miller gave a hint of what a media firm as diverse as News Corp might consider. He suggested bringing together content from different arenas under one charging umbrella – not unlike the way that digital/cable TV firms already charge whereby customers buy online, mobile, phone and TV services from one provider.

One scenario he suggested was that News Corp’s various papers or
various New York media, including the New York Post and the circulation
of the Wall Street Journal, could be bundled together. “What works for consumers, I think — and this has to be tested — are bundles,” Miller said.

Looking at the future of ad funded online video joint venture Hulu, Miller said it was “an environment for premium content”. Suggesting that the video freebie might not be free for long.


  • Mark Wooding

    Hi Gordon.
    What the web sites for newspaper brands need to be able to do is to sell the space on the site more effectively and then we might be able to get the content free of charge as we do now? But that is not going to happen I suspect and the ‘free’ content honeymoon will end – probably sooner than we all expect. However, ‘bundling’ sounds like a bad idea to me and a way to erode any real brand differentiation there is between the titles. How would you like to be bundled with Campaign for example – but then I guess you already are in many respects through BrandRepublic? The whole concept of paper versus computer screen or mobile is a moot one at the moment isn’t it? The way that people want to consume media is changing rapidly and the fact that we are having this conversation illustrates that rather well.

  • Carolyn Morgan

    I think this approach of bundling whole media brands misses the point. Much of the content on newspaper sites will always have to be free as it is widely available elsewhere. People want less info, not more, and find relevance more valuable than sheer volume. Better to work out what individual groups of users want and create bespoke packages, which leave out the extraneous content. See my post on how traditional media businesses can create online subscription packages:

  • Gordon Macmillan

    @mark the honeymoon is certainly over. I think bundling is a nice idea. Not necessarily the right one. But for a media firm with such a diverse range of properties it might make sense. I think what’s important to remember is that the solutions are not universal. What might work for one company won’t work for another, but as people feel their way forward it will be abouit experiment with different models.

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