MediaNews, A.H. Belo May Join The ‘Block Google’ Faction
Rupert Murdoch’s ‘Block Google’ movement is picking up some new steam. Top executives at MediaNews and A.H. Belo (NYSE: AHC) (NYSE: BLC) say that they too may pull their content from Google (NSDQ: GOOG) News. The assertions, made in interviews with Bloomberg News, come as Murdoch has declared that News Corp (NYSE: NWS). may block search engines, including Google, from crawling the company’s online content and has flirted with charging Microsoft’s Bing for some sort of exclusive access.
A.H. Belo’s and MediaNews’ statements are more nuanced, however. MediaNews CEO Dean Singleton, says his chain will only block Google from crawling content that it charges for online, while it will likely continue to allow Google to link to free content on the company’s newspaper sites. MediaNews said this month that it would experiment with partial paywalls at its Chico, Calif.-based Enterprise-Record and the Daily Record of York, Penn. beginning early next year. (Singleton is also the chairman of the AP and has talked extensively about “protecting” news content online).
A.H. Belo EVP James Moroney says his company, which owns the Dallas Morning News, among other papers, hasn’t made any decisions yet. A.H. Belo, however, is considering instituting pay walls at some of its newspapers websites, and the article suggests that such a move could coincide with delisting the paper’s content from Google News.
That has to be a blow to Google, which has made a point of saying that Google News can work well with paid content. “If you’re making content paid, it’s as important if not more important to make sure that you’re still discoverable from search,” Google News’ Josh Cohen told us earlier this fall.