Murdoch restates paywall strategy

News Corp CEO and chairman Rupert Murdoch has criticised Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger’s recent views on paywalls during a News Corp results conference call.

Rupert Murdoch

On being asked to comment on Rusbridger’s views that putting paywalls around newspaper sites would lead to the industry “sleepwalking into oblivion”, Murdoch replied, “I think that sounds like BS to me.”

Murdoch said there will be major developments in its charging strategy ready to announce in the “next two months”.

Times Online is set to introduce a paywall this spring and will charge for 24-hour passes to the site in addition to a subscription model (nma 18 November 2009).

Murdoch restated that his online properties would charge for content. “We’ll be charging for online wherever we have publications. Consumers are willing to pay to be entertained and informed,” he said. “Our mission is clear and coherent: it’s to create great content and customise it to suit our audience around the world. We’re in advanced discussions with other media companies around the world, all of which have turned to our company for ideas and evolution.”

News Corp’s newspaper and information services division made a profit of $259m (£161.6m) during the quarter, up from $59m (£36.8m) the year before.

News Corp, which includes BSkyB, Fox News and Twentieth Century Fox, posted second quarter growth of 10%.

The company reported income of $254m (£158.5m) for the three months to 31 December compared with a loss of $6.4bn (£3.99bn) for the same period a year ago.

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