If anyone thought the fading online audience at The Times would dishearten News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). when it comes to charging online, think again. The News of The World is already trying its own variation and News Corp. is watching it closely for hints of what to do about the Sun. One thing is certain, says James Murdoch: the Sun will have “a strong paid component.” (He also talked about plans for The Daily; story here.)
Murdoch made the comments in an on-stage interview an on-stage interview at DLD in Munich, sticking with the line that News Corp. is “generally happy” with The Times, that fewer paying subscribers are better than the masses, and that charging for copyright content is an imperative. Following the session, Murdoch told me News Corp. doesn’t plan a one-size-fits-all solution for the various sites, but will try to craft solutions that match each one.
He is frank about the dwindling numbers of Times readers, insisting it’s what they expected and what they intended. He’s less frank about what the actual numbers are but promises to deliver another batch of stats this quarter. Meanwhile, the paid iPad app is increasing engagement. “The problem is they stop buying the newspaper.”