Sales of newspaper apps for devices like the Apple iPad are eating into physical newspapers sales and changing the landscape of paid content, James Murdoch, head of News Corp’s Asian/European operations said at the Monaco Media Forum.
Murdoch said that the apps were “much more directly cannibalistic” than web sites, as subscribers read the apps in a manner similar to how they read traditional newspapers. Web readers apparently consume their news somewhat differently. While he didn’t disclose sales numbers, Murdoch said that the newspapers affected include the Wall Street Journal, News of the World, and the Times of London.
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.
James Murdoch welcomed the opportunity to sell through Apple’s iTunes online store, despite the fact that Apple takes 30 percent of the publisher’s revenue.
“We go to the iTunes store because it’s frictionless,” said Murdoch. “They charge a percentage but the guy on the newsstand and the newsagent charge a percentage, and they don’t even merchandise it properly,” he said.
But he said apps for mobile devices, with which readers typically engage far more than they do with computer websites, were more dangerous to print sales.