Wednesday, December 2, 2009

FTC Considers Main Stream Media Bailout as Google prepares to Charge For News

Rupert Murdoch - World Economic Forum Annual M...Image via Wikipedia

We will now be charged for the news we subsidize as taxpayers.

Wall Street Journal reports:
The head of the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday the agency will study whether government should aid struggling news organizations, which are suffering from a collapse in advertising revenues as the internet upends their centuries-old business model.

FTC Chairman Jon Liebowitz's comments came during day one of a two-day "workshop" sponsored by the agency that became a forum for arguments among the heads of a diverse array of news organizations over the future of journalism.

Mr. Leibowitz said his agency will examine whether government should change the way the industry is regulated, from making news-gathering companies exempt from antitrust laws to granting them special tax treatment to making changes to copyright laws.

The Federal Communications Commission is already reconsidering rules that prevent a company from owning newspapers and TV stations in a single market.

Mr. Leibowitz said other ideas include extending government subsidies to commercial news organizations, granting them special tax treatment or an exemption from antitrust regulations.

Meanwhile, Skynews reports:

Google is to limit the number of news articles users can read for free on its website. The search engine said it was changing its First Click Free programme so that readers would not be able to look at more than five pages in one day.

The move follows scathing criticism of Google by Rupert Murdoch over the way it provides free access to newspaper articles in his News Corp media group.

Google said users who click on more than five articles in a day may be routed to payment or registration pages

Some users have been able to get around paying subscriptions or registration by accessing news articles through Google.

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