Publishers such as News Corp should embrace the internet, rather than blocking users' access to free news stories, internet service provider Entanet has said.
Google said this week that it will allow publishers to limit the number of stories users can access free via the search engine, after some companies threatened to remove their content from the search engine and move to rival Bing.
“Murdoch and News Corp are fighting a losing battle,” Entanet said in a statement. “If they are unable to access stories from one publication, web users will simply find the story elsewhere.”
In an article for the company’s opinion site, Entanet’s head of marketing Darren Farnden wrote: “Personally I think News Corp is shooting itself in the foot. I understand it favouring quality over quantity and its protectiveness over content. However, to presume readers will be loyally prepared to pay a subscription to read its stories, despite the fact that the same stories will be available elsewhere for free, is flawed.”
“This argument comes down to a traditional industry struggling to understand the true benefits the internet can bring if it is prepared to change its traditional distribution models. Instead of blocking Google, why not embrace the additional traffic it delivers and take full advantage of the advertising opportunities it provides?” he added.
News Corp already limits web access to the Wall Street Journal to paying subscribers, with similar plans in the pipeline for The Times and Sunday Times.