News Corporation has moved into the “second phase” of its plan to charge users for access to content across its newspaper websites, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The paper obtained an internal email sent by News Corp’s digital chief executive, Richard Freudenstein, reassuring staff that research had been conducted into the proposed change to paid-for content, and the company was proceeding to the next stage of development.
“News has conducted some audience research here in Australia and in the UK and US, which gives us confidence that, if we get the product and delivery system right, people will happily pay for news content online, on their computer, mobile, e-reader or other device,” Freudenstein told staff.
“Here in Sydney we are about to move into the second phase of the project.”
News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch announced earlier this year that he intended to charge for access to all his newspaper websites – which include sites for the Sun, News of the World, Times and Sunday Times in the UK – by the end of next year.
Murdoch recently announced that the Wall Street Journal will charge for mobile content on Blackberrys and iPhones, charging $1 per week to subscribers and $2 for non-newspaper subscribers for access to the mobile version.
Earlier this month Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, said it was unlikely that a paywall model on general news websites would prosper because of the ubiquity of alternative news sources.