Thursday, November 5, 2009

Murdoch admits delay in introducing newspaper website charges

Rupert Murdoch is finding it harder than expected to introduce charges for readers browsing his newspaper websites and may miss a target of next June for the introduction of so-called "pay walls".

Murdoch admitted last night that the schedule was slipping for the start of online charging at papers including the Sun, the Times, the New York Post and the Australian. The initiative, which has divided the media industry, is an attempt to recalibrate the business model for struggling print media.

Three months ago, Murdoch announced that he intended to introduce website charges by the end of News Corporation's financial year, which runs to June next year. Certain rivals, including the New York Times, are planning similar moves But others, including the Guardian, intend to remain free and pose a potential competitive threat.

When asked about his self-imposed deadline yesterday, Murdoch said: "I wouldn't promise that we're going to meet that date."

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