Will the Tribune company empty the Internet tubes?

April 8th, 2007

Real estate magnate Samuel Zell’s offer for the Tribune Company was accepted last week. He’s supposed to be a smart guy, and must be since he became a billionaire as a real estate entrepreneur. So what are his plans for the second-largest newspaper publisher in the US?

Sell the Cubs is one idea. Dump the Internet tubes is another, according to the WaPo’s article Zell Wants End to Web’s Free Ride

In conversations before and after a speech Zell delivered Thursday night at Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, Calif., the billionaire said newspapers could not economically sustain the practice of allowing their articles, photos and other content to be used free by other Internet news aggregators.

“If all of the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content, how profitable would Google be?” Zell said during the question period after his speech. “Not very.”

Both Zell and the WaPo reporters for this article seem to be a bit confused about the role of search engines like Google. I wonder what he makes of social media and user generated content?