Google CEO Skeptical About Charging For Online Content

    September 18, 2009

Google CEO, Eric Schmidt has added his voice to the debate about charging for online news content.

Speaking via video link with British broadcasting executives, Schmidt said there is so much free content online that many publishers would not succeed if they put their content behind a pay- wall.

Eric Schmidt, Google CEO
Eric Schmidt, Google CEO

He did say niche news providers of content such as business news could be successful with charging for access to online content.

Schmidt was responding to an announcement made by News Corp that it would start charging for content online.

"In general these models have not worked for general public consumption because there are enough free sources that the marginal value of paying is not justified based on the incremental value of quantity," he said.

"So my guess is for niche and specialist markets … it will be possible to do it but I think it is unlikely that you will be able to do it for all news."

News Corp’s The Wall Street Journal has announced it will begin charging mobile users to access its content beginning on October 24.

"Our new mobile subscription model will enable us to continue to invest in the world’s most essential news content and deliver it to our subscribers wherever and whenever they want it," said Gordon McLeod, president of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network.

"This transition also reinforces the value of our content on mobile, just as we’ve done online for more than a decade."