News Corp eyes online news consortium, claims report

Executives at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation have been meeting with major news publishers with a proposition to form a consortium to charge for news distributed on the internet and portable digital devices, a report has claimed.

The success of the Wall Street Journal Online has spurred News Corp’s chief digital officer Jonathan Miller to position the company as the leader in a proposed consortium, the Los Angeles Times claimed today.

The New York Times Company, the Washington Post, the Hearst Corporation, and Tribune Company are all reported to have been appraoched.

A spokeswoman for News Corp in the UK declined to comment on the claims made by the LA Times.

Earlier this month, after seeing his media empire’s fortunes take a backward step by announcing losses of $3.4bn (£2bn), Murdoch decreed that he would shake up the newspaper industry by introducing charges for access to all his news websites, including the Times, the Sun and the News of the World, by next summer.

Charging for online content has become an increasingly hot topic in recent months. Journalism Online, a US company seeking to help publishers make money from online content, claims to have signed up more than 500 publications as partners to use its suite of online payment platforms.

The Financial Times is also in talks to revolutionise the online news culture by introducing a ‘pay-per-article’system inspired by the Apple iTunes store model.

The paper is believed to be discussions with a number of payment facilities companies to establish a simple ‘one-click’system to allow users to easily pay a small fee for each article with executives hoping to have the system in place by next year.

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