Rupert Murdoch said his introduction of so-called ‘pay walls’ is ‘a work in progress’. Photograph: Saul Loeb/Getty Images
Rupert Murdoch is finding it harder than expected to introduce charges for readers browsing his newspaper websites and may miss a target of next June for the introduction of so-called “pay walls”.
Murdoch admitted last night that the schedule was slipping for the start of online charging at papers including the Sun, the Times, the New York Post and the Australian. The initiative, which has divided the media industry, is an attempt to recalibrate the business model for struggling print media.
Three months ago, Murdoch announced that he intended to introduce website charges by the end of News Corporation‘s financial year, which runs to June next year. Certain rivals, including the New York Times, are planning similar moves But others, including the Guardian, intend to remain free and pose a potential competitive threat.
When asked about his self-imposed deadline yesterday, Murdoch said: “I wouldn’t promise that we’re going to meet that date.”
He declined to comment on the reasons for any delay except to say that he was talking to rival publishers including the Telegraph group in Britain. “It’s a work in progress and there’s a huge amount of work going on,” Murdoch said.
News Corp revealed an 11% increase in profits to $571m for the three months to September, aided by Twentieth Century Fox’s blockbuster box office takings for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, the highest grossing international animated movie of all time.
The film helped push profits from News Corp’s movies business up by 55% to $391m, offsetting a plunge in profits from newspapers, which saw their earnings plunge from $134m to $25m.
Murdoch’s cable television stations, which include the popular, right-leaning Fox News network in the US, enjoyed a 41% surge in profits to $495m.
But News Corp continues to struggle with its digital offerings. Murdoch revealed that the social networking website MySpace has failed to deliver on a minimum level of web traffic it guaranteed under an advertising tie-up with Google three years ago. As a result, it will not receive all of the $900m that Google had agreed to pay for the right to offer search and advertising on MySpace.
Parece que la cosa no era tan sencilla, al final…