News Corporation was well advanced in setting up online charging for its newspapers around the world, chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch has stated declaring the company on the threshold of a new era of profitability.
News Corp was putting the finishing touches on the industry’s biggest structural change in 30 years, Murdoch said as he boasted about the company’s content.
“Excuse the immodesty, but News Corp’s pre-eminence as a content creator comes as the debate over the primacy of content is over,” he said. “Content is not just king, it is the emperor of all things electronic.”
Murdoch said the latest gadgets such as tablets, e-readers and smartphones would be an “empty vessel without any great content”.
“Without content, these ingenious and wonderful devices would be unloved and unsold.”
Murdoch said he was having “very substantive conversations” with device makers, as well as other media outlets, around developing the right subscription model for News Corp’s content.
The Wall Street Journal, which charges for online content and has about one million subscribers, recorded a lift in both advertising and circulation revenue in the second quarter.
In the UK, the Sunday Times is set to trial an unknown paid-for content model on a standalone website later this year.
The “content clan has gathered around our ideas,” Murdoch said, and “instead of an existential debate about value, we are now merely haggling about valuations.”
Let’s hope Mr Murdoch doesn’t underestimate the challenge of charging for online content.