7 Aug 2009

NewsCorp plans to charge for online news content

9:56 am on 7 August 2009

Media giant News Corporation is plans to start charging for its online news content, after it made a full year loss.

The company, which owns newspapers around the world, posted a net loss of $US3.4 billion for the year ended 30 June, due to writedowns and plunging advertising revenue, compared to a net profit of $US5.4 billion a year earlier.

Chairman and chief executive, Rupert Murdoch says the worst may be over, but he warns there are no clear signs yet of a fast economic recovery.

To help turn things around, Mr Murdoch plans to charge for access to all the company's newspaper websites, as it already does for the Wall Street Journal's website.

"Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalising its ability to create good reporting," he said.

Shareholder activist Stephen Mayne says that is a high-stake gamble when so many other sites continue to provide free news and information.

Mr Mayne says News Corp needs to do a deal with search engine companies such as Google in order to make money.

News Corp owns news agency Dow Jones, MySpace, 20th Century Fox movie studios, cable and satellite television broadcasters in various markets, and newspapers in Australia, the US, the UK and elsewhere.