Rupert Murdoch has come out swinging in defence of his plans to charge for News Corp content.
Faced with a barrage of criticism after his announcement that his news empire would begin charging for news content in a bid to lure readers away from news aggregation sites, Murdoch accused everyone from Ask.com to the BBC of stealing his stories.
In an interview with Sky News' political editor, David Speers, Murdoch said that News Corp had sleepwalked into letting people get news content for free, adding, "It's cost us a lot of money to put [it] together".
The idea of charging micro-payments for content appeals to Murdoch because he believes it will help to ensure it is of high quality. "A news service has editorial judgement, quality of writing and quality of reporting," he said. " Everyone can afford a newspaper and it will be even cheaper when it is delivered electronically."
Reader loyalty is what is important to Murdoch, and he has no interest in receiving hits from news aggregators. He fingered Ask.com, Microsoft and Google's pages for stealing his copy, and poo-pahed any advertising revenue that these occasional visitors would bring.
"The people who pick up everything and run with it? They steal from us. What's the point in someone coming occasionally because they like a headline? We'd rather have fewer people coming, but paying," he said.
"They are just 'search people'. Who knows who they are, or where they are. They don't suddenly become loyal readers of our content. I think we will remove our links from Google when we go paid-for," he added.
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