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iPad apps eating into News Corps. Newspaper profits

WSJ, News of the World and The Times of London among those affected

Rupert Murdoch headed News Corp. is apparently losing out to iPad apps when it comes to newspaper sales. This revelation was made at the Monaco Media Forum by Rupert Murdoch's son and Asian/European operations head James Murdoch, stating those iPad apps and other mobile reading apps are increasingly taking away from News Corp's, newspaper sales. The affected business units included The Wall Street Journal app as well as News of the World and the Times of London. The degree to which the above newspaper sales have been affected was however not spoken of by the top honcho.

James Murdoch also commented that iPad apps and other mobile reading apps prove to be
much more directly cannibalistic than the web since subscribers often read and treat them like the traditional format as opposed to web users, who read differently. However News Corp. is pretty comfortable using iTunes as a medium to reach readers, as it was apparently frictionless and didn’t alter cost expectations versus the print medium by a massive scale. This is owing to the fact that the overhead payable to Apple was equivalent to what would be incurred in pressing and delivering physical copies. Murdoch observed that both Apple as well as newsagents and newsstand guys charge a percentage, but the latter does a substandard job for the amount charged by not even ensuring proper merchandising and the like.

A number of devices feature News Corp. content, take for instance Amazon's Kindle, the Sony Reader Daily Edition and other devices, although the exclusive junction where all such content by the Media giant is widely read remains to be Apple’s tablet. The Wall Street Journal on Thursday put out an Android Tablet Edition which is aimed at the Samsung Galaxy Tab as well as the plethora of devices expected to debut in the future that might use a somewhat similar resolution and screen size.

Rupert Murdoch although, is pretty optimistic about tablets with special reference to the iPad and believes that it would someday soon account for users paying for the news they read. The top boss does not even mind sacrificing high amounts of readership, which has even gone up to scary 90 percent, all done in an attempt to secure greater profitability by  not encouraging free, ad-supported news and off late, instituting  paywalls on sites that were previously free.

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Pallab Jyotee Hazarika, 2010-11-16 (Update: 2012-05-26)