The New York Times has been saying what a great relationship it has with Google as the search giant launches its alternate way to view the news, to see it as a “living story”.
The “living story” project is interesting and all that, and much fun I had looking at the timelines and wealth of content that it is serving up in its testbed with The News York Times and The Washington Post, but I’m slightly under whelmed.
Isn’t it just another way that people can spend time looking at news for free on oh yeah Google? Not sure what the New York Times gets out of it other than more of the same (traffic).
Still Janet Robinson, president and CEO of The New York Times Company and Jim Follo, Vice-President and CFO are happy. They were talking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference earlier this week and were sharing the love with Google.
“We have a very significant relationship with Google, and a very good relationship with them. A distinctly successful one, unlike some of our competitors’ relationships,” Follo said.
I hope Rupert Murdoch was listening to that? Probably not. No doubt he was off penning another one of his desk banging Wall Street Journal leaders. Is it me or is he at any moment going to start shouting “Rosebud”? No surprise really if your own paper does give Google Eric Schimdt an Op Ed slot to “blame you”.
“With dwindling revenue and diminished resources, frustrated newspaper executives are looking for someone to blame. Much of their anger is currently directed at Google, whom many executives view as getting all the benefit from the business relationship without giving much in return. The facts, I believe, suggest otherwise,” Schimdt wrote.
While Schmidt has been taking part in a spot of reverse blame storming one Josh Cohen, Google News’ senior business project manager, has been telling people that Google News has a great relationship with News Corp (although apparently he hasn’t heard from Murdoch in, you know, like “person”).
“I certainly haven’t heard specifically from Rupert Murdoch-he’s above my pay grade,” Cohen told the New York Observer.
Cohen added that the News Corp and Google row was mostly a media concoction that “makes for a good story”. He forgot to add “free” story.
Meanwhile The New York Times has been taking its good old time getting to grips with its paid content strategy, which is a subject the NY Observer said they dodged at the UBS shindig.
Follo said that the decision wouldn’t be “dragged out very much longer”. An implicit acknowledgement that it has been “dragged out” thus far.
Robinson added that the NY Times had to achieve a “frictionless” reader experience. That sounds good although I’m sure what it means or how they will pull it off. It was going to announce a decision “within week” five weeks ago. Nothing yet. I’m guessing friction is the cause.
You have to wonder if this is this what Murdoch’s Times is going for in London? Frictionless, I mean. PaidContent revealed a few details of what kind of pay wall we can expect when the paper relaunches online next year.
It sounds like everything will be put behind it. Some observers have wondered if there’s more to Times Online’s strategy than meets the eye; perhaps only parts of the site, for particular audiences, will be chargeable… but no, it sounds more like one big wall.
News International’s strategy and product development director Dominic Young told the site that Times Online wants “to innovate…it may be a commercial necessity … we want to find more compelling ways of getting our journalism across. We’re doing so now, in preparation for what’s to come. We will differentiate our product.”
“Pay wall sounds like this prison … undoubtedly, there’s a lot of shades of grey—payment isn’t a barrier to buying things – but the price has got to be right.. you need to create contrast in the market,” Young said.