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Murdoch media to charge for online news
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LONDON: The era of free online access to some of Britain’s best-read newspapers will soon be over with Rupert Murdoch’s Times group planning to start charging for its online news content.

This was announced by Mr. Murdoch on Tuesday following an alarming slump in the earnings of his company News Corp which owns The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and the News of the World.

Mr. Murdoch described 2009 as the “most difficult in recent history” as his company lost £2 billion because of recession and collapse in advertising revenues.

He announced that he planned to make up the loss by charging customers for access to online news content of his newspapers. In the U.S., they would include the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.

Mr. Murdoch said the “digital revolution” had opened many new and inexpensive methods of distribution and he was “satisfied” that his company could produce “significant revenues from the sale of digital delivery of newspaper content”.

“Accordingly, we intend to charge for all our news websites. I believe that if we are successful, we will be followed by other media. Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalising its ability to produce good reporting,” he said speaking in New York.

To retain its current online “readership” and attract new readers, News Corp planned to make its make its online content “better and differentiate it from other people”, he said. The new fee-paying regime is expected to be introduced next year.

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