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Can Murdoch Help Bing Challenge Google and Shift the Content Equation?

Rupert Murdoch
AP
Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch's latest gambit has the potential to have huge impact on the value of content industry wide; he could also risk losing a huge chunk of News Corp's readership.

News Corp's CEO is looking to be compensated for all his newspapers' content online; now he may get Microsoft to compensate News Corp for its search results.

Microsoftand News Corp are in talks about removing News Corp results from Google's search index, and making them exclusive to Microsoft's Bing search engine.

This raises 3 Big questions:

Could this kind of partnership transform Bing into *the* news search site?

Microsoft should look at this as a way to make its "Bing" search engine the definitive destination for searching for news content. Microsoft would be wise to use a deal with NewsCorp as a way to get other major news organizations -- the Reuters, AP, and New York Times , on board, to give it virtually exclusive access to search valuable content.

Partnering with Microsoft is also more valuable to News Corp if other major media companies jump on board. As the only news venture exclusively on Bing, it's not necessarily enough to be a big draw for consumers and would be unlikely to have a significant impact on Bing's 9.9 percent marketshare. This kind of partnership is also more valuable If Microsoft pays to include links to Bing's content, would be most worth it if Bing can use a deal with News Corp to get other publishers on board, it could make itself *the* destination for professional journalism content.

Would it deal a huge blow to Google?

No. Google dominates the search business with 65.4 percent of U.S. marketshare. Google has said it doesn't need news content to survive. The search giant also says it's happy to *stop* indexing content if a company requests that. The company also says it figures that companies that put their content online want it to be indexed so people can find it -- a comment that indicates how odd they think that kind of move is. The only risk is if Bing builds up an arsenal of exclusive content to steal marketshare, but that's a ways off from happening.

Could this save the newspaper business?

It would be a massive shift in the way content is valued if search engines start placing a tangible value on the ability to index that content. It would be great for professional content producers, but let's not go too far. Alone, a tiny new revenue stream won't save the newspaper business. The newspapers industry can use all the revenue it can get, but this will only be powerful if it leads to more compensation for reading content online, not just searching for it.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.