James Murdoch Says Apps Cannibalize Newspapers

By: E&P Staff

Reuters

Sales of newspaper apps for devices like the Apple iPad are cannibalizing sales of physical newspapers, James Murdoch, head of News Corp’s operations in Europe and Asia, said on Friday.

News Corp in June closed its free Times of London website. The Times, the Sunday Times and Britain’s best-selling Sunday tabloid the News of the World — also owned by News Corp — are now available online only to paying subscribers.

News Corp’s British newspaper arm News International said this month the titles had lost up to 90 percent of their online readership and now had 105,000 paying customers, including those who had bought the iPad and Amazon Kindle apps.

The exercise is being closely watched by the newspaper industry, which has lost readers and advertising revenues to free alternative news sources online and is seeking new business models for the digital age.

Rupert Murdoch, News Corp’s chief executive and James’s father, has called the iPad a game-changer for news media, and many in the industry agree, thanks to the iPad’s large screen, high resolution and capacity for interactive features.

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