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Murdoch on Subscriptions and the iPad

12 May 2010

News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch has supplied observers with much food for thought in recent days. In this weeks Q3 earnings call which reported better than expected results, he discussed plans to unveil an innovative subscription model "to deliver digital content to consumers wherever and whenever they want it," paidContent reported. This may well coincide with the launch of paid Times and Sunday Times websites.

Murdoch mentioned a press conference in three to four weeks where more details will be revealed, and the subscription mechanism will charge for entertainment as well as news, he said. PaidContent speculated that a Times subscription might be bundled with at BSkyB satellite TV subscription, for example, or even with cinema tickets. When questioned on whether the new payment system would compete with iTunes, Murdoch replied that it would.

As newspapers seek ways to make more money online, a company such as News Corp, which produces a wide range of consumer content across different platforms, may offer some kind of package involving newspaper/TV/movie subscriptions.

Murdoch also expressed enthusiasm at the potential for news publishing on tablets such as the iPad, paidContent noted. "I believe it will lead a revolution in media consumption and create added value for both our news and entertainment content," he said.

In an interview with Fox News, he expressed his belief that the iPad would be the "savior" for newspapers, in that unlike the Kindle, News Corp keeps 100 per cent of the revenue of Wall Street Journal subscriptions on the iPad - this is because the app itself is free to download, and the subscription is via the WSJ itself. There are currently more than 64,000 active users of the WSJ iPad app, Murdoch confirmed.


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