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Murdoch may start charging for access to online newspapers within a year

London, May 7 (ANI): Aussie media mogul Rupert Murdoch has revealed that he will soon start charging people for obtaining access to News Corporation’s newspaper websites.

The change is expected to take place within a year, as he strives to fix a “malfunctioning” business model.

Encouraged by booming online subscription revenues at the Wall Street Journal, the billionaire said on May 6 that papers were going through an “epochal” debate over whether to charge.

“That it is possible to charge for content on the web is obvious from the Wall Street Journal’s experience,” the Guardian quoted him as saying.

Murdoch, 78, said that even his British papers-such as the Times, the Sunday Times, the Sun and the News of the World-were being considered for the change.

“We’re absolutely looking at that,” he said.

Plunging earnings from newspapers led the way downwards as News Corporation’s quarterly operating profits slumped by 47 percent to 755 million dollars, although exceptional gains on sale of assets boosted bottom-line pretax profits to 1.7 billion dollars, in line with last year’s figure.

Dwindling advertising revenue across print and television divisions depressed the News Corp numbers despite box office receipts from Twentieth Century Fox movies such as Slumdog Millionaire and Marley and Me. But Murdoch said he believed signs of hope were appearing.

“I’m not an economist and we all know economists were created to make weather forecasters look good,” he said.

“But it is increasingly clear the worst is over.

“There are encouraging signs in some of our businesses that the days of precipitous declines are done, and things are beginning to look healthier,” he added. (ANI)

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