I think people pretty much figured out that if Murdoch was to make a go of charging for his product online, the BBC would have to become a target, especially its web operations. Sure enough, here's Murdoch junior:
There is a land grab going on – and it should be sternly resisted. The land grab is spearheaded by the BBC. The scope of its activities and ambitions is chilling. Funded by a hypothecated tax, the BBC feels empowered to offer something for everyone, even in areas well served by the market. Rather than concentrating on areas where the market is not delivering, the BBC seeks to compete head-on for audiences with commercial providers to dampen opposition to a compulsory licence fee. The corporation is incapable of distinguishing between what is good for it, and what is good for the country.
Uh huh. How dare an organisation funded by taxation offer something to everyone. What a terrible thing it is for the country when it does. And here’s what awaits us in Murdochworld.
The UK and EU regulatory system also tightly controls advertising: the amount per hour, the availability of product placement, the distinction between advertising and editorial and so forth.
No, I can’t wait either. Somebody who complains about the fact that you can’t mix editorial and advertising shouldn’t be permitted to run a news operation.