Summary:

The UK’s biggest national newspaper publisher has a new boss: longstanding editor of The Sun, Rebekah Wade, has been promoted to CEO of News…

Reb. Wade
photo: AP Images

The UK’s biggest national newspaper publisher has a new boss: longstanding editor of The Sun, Rebekah Wade, has been promoted to CEO of News International, News Corp.’s UK newspaper division which also publishers News of the World, The Times, The Sunday Times and thelondonpaper as well as Sun Online and Times Online. Wade has been Sun editor for six years and before that was NOTW editor for three years. She takes up the new role on September 1 when James Murdoch, News Corp.’s CEO in Europe and Asia, becomes News International’s executive chairman. This can only intensify speculation that James is a likely successor to Peter Chernin as COO of News Corp (NYSE: NWS) overall.

Rupert Murdoch says in the release that with Wade place he is “confident that we have the right team to lead News International as we develop a new model for our industry.” So what model is that exactly? Wade will certainly have her work cut out developing it — so here are what we think are the top three challenges she has to think about this summer…

1. Make paid content work: Both Murdochs will expect Wade to be investigating ways to get readers to part with cash for content. In a sense, she’s already built successful online revenue streams through Sun Bingo and Sun Bet, which generate 80 percent of Sun Online revenues — but will she be the UK newspaper exec to jump first and create a premium news subscription model, perhaps based around the high-brow Sunday Times? If she does, it will be at the expense of online ad revenue and a large proportion of readers but as she said at her reading of the annual Hugh Cudlipp lecture this year: “We give away our expensive editorial content free online without an economic model that compensates for the loss in traditional revenues.

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