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Tuesday night’s soireee at Rupert Murdoch’s apartment and today’s Guggenheim press conference were just the beginning for the News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) marketing machine. Murdoch’s next stop was an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business Network, where even questions some might see as softballs wound up with a few curves. Turns out Murdoch hopes Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) might back off its 30 percent take after a year. Some excerpts:
Murdoch: … No one cares on their credit card, $0.99.
Cavuto: You hope not.
Murdoch: They’re worried about their wives’ $100.
Cavuto: I want to ask you, how much are you making on that? Because it’s $0.99, but typically, typically Apple takes a third.
Murdoch: That’s correct.
Cavuto: Now, is it taking a third here?
Murdoch: At least the first year, yes. We’ll be getting $0.70.
Cavuto: All right. But it goes — so you say at least the first year. It goes down after that?
Murdoch: We — no. Up, we hope.
Cavuto: But down for Apple.
Murdoch: That’s subject to negotiation.
Number of subs needed:
Cavuto: OK. So how many subscriptions would you have to get to break even, to make this worthwhile?
Murdoch: Oh, half a million would be no problem. But we’re not talking about half a million. I want to beat American Idol … I really believe that everybody in America who can afford one is going to buy a tablet.
Cavuto: But you’re competing with yourself, right? … “Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Market Watch, New York Post.
Murdoch: Fox and Friends competes with Channel 5 and Channel 7 here in the morning.
Cavuto: You’re right, You’re right. But are you worried that net (ph) you don’t gain anything from that?
Murdoch: Oh, there may be some expensive changeover. Net-net I think we will get.
And about that editorial page:
Cavuto: Got you. The editorial direction of this, I’m told it’s agnostic. … it’s not liberal or conservative. Then, what is it?
Murdoch: Oh, I wouldn’t listen to that too much. We’ve said what it is. It’s a very patriotic American newspaper that newspaper that believes in free thinking and free markets and freedom for everybody. And you can read what you like into that. I don’t think that’s very different to anything else.
Cavuto: So when I see journalists, Rupert, from the “Atlantic,” “New Yorker,” AOL (NYSE: AOL), even the “New York Times,” that’s a pretty unusual mix.
Murdoch: They were there. Well, you know, every journalist is … being laid off and here I’m hiring them. So, it’s fine.
Cavuto: But there will be — the editorial page will look like what?
Murdoch: Like an editorial page. It’ll look like a normal page. It’ll say Opinion above it.
Cavuto: Will it be conservative?
Murdoch: That’ll depend on the editor and on the day.
Forget the end of the print:
Murdoch: I think this is the end of the laptop.
Cavuto: You do?
Murdoch: Here we have the man who invented the personal computer, then the laptop. He’s now destroying them. That is an amazing life.