May 7, 2009

Murdoch: More newspapers to charge online

News Corp. Chairman Robert Murdoch said 360,000 people downloaded applications in three weeks to view The Wall Street Journal on iPhones.

In a conference call, Murdoch said the current system of Internet access was malfunctioning and likely to change to a fee-based system within a year, CNN reported Thursday.

We are now in the midst of an epochal debate over the value of content and it is clear to many newspapers that the current model is malfunctioning, he said.

Access to The Wall Street Journal online would soon move to a paid system. Customers would pay handsomely for accessing the Web site, he said.

News Corp., which publishes The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, The Daily Telegraph and several other British newspapers, said quarterly profits dropped 47 percent to $755 million in the first quarter. Many newspapers, including The Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune have seen revenues plunge as advertisers flock to the Internet.

News executives are starting to recognize that online advertising revenues are not enough on their own, Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University said.

The current days of the Internet will soon be over, Murdoch said.