Murdoch: ‘The current days of the Internet will soon be over’

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News mogul believes media sites can’t survive failing business model

By Mike Sheehan

The billionaire CEO of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, is sounding the death knell for free Internet news delivery.

At least for Fox News and the many other online media outlets Murdoch controls.

With traditional print newspapers on the decline as ad sales plunge and readers turn to the Web for news and information, media companies are struggling to find ways to profit.

Murdoch feels that, despite the global economic turndown, charging for access to news is not only the right thing to do, it’s the wave of the future.

     

This despite the global economic turndown, which Murdoch feels is on the wane.

“There are encouraging signs in some of our businesses that the days of precipitous declines are done, and things are beginning to look healthier,” he says.

Murdoch is so bullish on the near future that he expects moves to charge readers at the websites of Fox News, The Times, The Sun and others within a year’s time.

“W’re absolutely looking at that,” says the Australian-born media titan.

“The current days of the [free] Internet will soon be over.”

Murdoch cites success with “booming subscription revenues” at the online version of The Wall Street Journal, whose parent company News Corporation recently purchased.

“That it is possible to charge for content on the Web is obvious” from the Journal’s experience, he says.

Some might argue that Murdoch is grasping at straws as his vast portfolio flounders.

News Corporation’s operating profits dropped 47% in 2009’s second fiscal quarter, compared to the same time last year.

The conglomerate has also cut thousands of jobs over the last year, though Murdoch says “creative” personnel were largely unaffected.

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