Freudenstein: ABC boss Scott’s paid content claims are laughably inaccurate

ABC boss Mark Scott’s prediction last week that the organisation would come under attack in the paid content debate proved correct today, with News Digital Media CEO Richard Freudenstein returning fire in The Australian.  

In a lengthy piece, Freudenstein accuses Scott of “bold but entirely inaccurate claims, which demand correction”. Freudenstein argues:

“As the head of a company that takes in excess of $800 million every year from Australian taxpayers, (Scott’s) claim that the ABC’s online news content ‘will certainly be free’ is as laughable as it is disingenuous. Similarly, he has some gall to criticise the ‘old proprietorial model’, which he says ‘operated as a form of protection from harsh realities the businesses might otherwise have faced’, since this precisely describes the ABC’s government-owned model.”

In the piece, Freudenstein asserts: “I am not attacking the ABC’s content or its right to exist, simply advocating a plurality of independent voices.”

Meanwhile, The Australian’s media columnist Mark Day also joins the debate, pointing out that those who predict News Ltd will fail to get people to pay for content do not yet know what the product will be. Although he claims not to have been briefed, he says new News Ltd  sites will be “built in the style of social networks”.

In last week’s speech, Scott had accused News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch of being like an emperor who was unaware that his empire was in decline.

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