Publisher Lays Out Plan to Save Newspapers

Springer, which publishes the biggest daily in Europe, the tabloid Bild, as well as other newspapers in Germany and Eastern Europe, says it wants publishers to get paid for their work on the Internet, at a time when many people assume that online news should be free. Instead of separate pay walls around individual newspaper Web sites, Christoph Keese, Springer’s head of public affairs and an architect of its online strategy, wants publishers and Internet companies to work together to create a “one-click marketplace solution” for their online content. In that system, Google or other Internet gateways would display links to newspaper articles, videos and other content from a variety of providers, as search engines do now. But some of the items would include something new: a price tag. Readers could also buy flat-rate packages providing access to content from a variety of media companies, Keese said, just as they can subscribe to unlimited data access plans via mobile phone networks. Axel Springer’s plans are contingent on cooperation with Google, a company that Mr. Murdoch has accused of “theft,” contending that it earns billions of dollars of advertising revenue on the back of newspapers’ journalistic endeavors. But Mr. Keese said Axel Springer was happy to work with Google, acknowledging that publishers could not match its expertise in monetizing digital content.


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