Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Fairfax/Murdoch Merger Grows Nearer

It doesn't sound like it would be legal, but they're open to discussing it anyway :

Fairfax Media managing director Brian McCarthy said he would be "happy to talk" to rival News Corp about charging readers for online news content.

Mr McCarthy's comments came after Fairfax posted a net loss of $380 million for the year to June 30, due to a downturn in advertising and writedowns forced by the financial crisis.

"We're looking at all the options and if that's one of the options we'll look at it," Mr McCarthy said on a teleconference on Monday.

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp, said in August his global media group would start charging for access to online news content this financial year to combat falling advertising revenue.

Mr McCarthy said if News Ltd chairman and chief executive John Hartigan were to ring him: "I'd have a chat and we'd look at it".

"It certainly would be something we'd be open minded to at this stage."
Mr McCarthy remembers the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission :
"There is a group called the ACCC and whatever we do, we have to make sure we're doing it within the law.

"Putting that to one side, as I said I'd be happy to talk to anybody about any suggestions."

The Los Angeles Times reported on its website on Friday that News Corp's chief digital officer Jonathan Miller had met with executives from the New York Times, Washington Post, Hearst Corp and Tribune Company to discuss the formation of a consortium to charge for online news content.
The Murdoch and Fairfax media already both fund and share the content of the Australian Associated Press news agency.