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News Corp: iPad apps cannibalizing newspaper sales

updated 10:40 am EST, Fri November 12, 2010

News Corp says iPad taking newspaper users

The switch to iPad apps and other mobile reading apps has taken away from News Corp's newspaper sales, Rupert Murdoch's son and Asian/European operations lead James Murdoch observed today at the Monaco Media Forum. He explained that they were "much more directly cannibalistic" than the web since subscribers often read and treated them like the traditional format rather where web users read differently. The executive wouldn't give sales numbers, but these included both the Wall Street Journal app as well as News of the World and the Times of London.

Despite not making as much profit as would be possible with direct sales, the media giant was also comfortable with selling through iTunes since it was "frictionless" and didn't really change the cost expectations versus print. Whatever overhead Apple was asking would already exist in pressing and delivering physical copies.

"They charge a percentage but the guy on the newstand and the newsagent charge a percentage, and they don't even merchandise it properly," Murdoch said.

The executive's father Rupert has been enthusiastic about tablets and the iPad in particular. He has hope that the medium would reverse time and get users back to paying for news. News Corp's founder has been dismissive of free, ad-supported news and has lately been instituting paywalls on sites that were previously free, in many cases sacrificing as much as 90 percent of readership for higher profits.

Apple's tablet has been the near exclusive home to tablet-oriented newspapers, but the WSJ just on Thursday put out an Android tablet edition targeted at the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the future wave of devices that might use a similar resolution and screen size. Amazon's Kindle, the Sony Reader Daily Edition and other devices also get News Corp content but have to have much of the layout and imagery stripped out to fit the grayscale e-paper display.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. bleee

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2002

    +1

    Merchandising on tablets isn't that much better if

    The problem with going digital is that they've made the process too black and white, and killed the Try before you Buy experience. Great example, the New Yorker recently released an App for the iPad a friend of mine posted it on his wall on Facebook, I tried downloaded the App which was free, fantastic the process was seamless.

    The problem starts when you first launch the App the New Yorker doesn't give you a preview of what's in the current issue not even the Table of Contents is accessible until you buy the issue the only thing I can see is the cover. If you take in contrast the newsstand approach, at the very least I can pick up an issue and flip through it maybe skim a few headlines and see if anything catches my interest.

    The other problem is fair use, if I have a print copy I can drop it on my coffee table and anyone coming over can read it borrow it whatever. I can drop it on a co-workers desk with a stick to page 12... can't do any of that with the iPad version. What would be great is if you can copy text and send an excerpt and email it to a friend, alot of news sites including MacNN append the url of the article you're on if you copy text from the site... example below.

    The switch to iPad apps and other mobile reading apps has taken away from News

    Read more: http://www.electronista.com/articles/10/11/12/news.corp.says.ipad.taking.newspaper.users/#ixzz155L2eJlb

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999

    -1

    The Wall Street Urinal has been

    Going down into the cesspool since Rupert Murdoch took over. The contents and editing are no longer worthy of ink on paper, so it's been going steadily down the toilet for a while. The iPad came along to drive the last nail in the coffin.

    Murdoch: It's the LACK of quality of your publication, not the iPad—although iPad accelerated the flushing anyway.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: Merchandising

    The other problem is fair use, if I have a print copy I can drop it on my coffee table and anyone coming over can read it borrow it whatever. I can drop it on a co-workers desk with a stick to page 12... can't do any of that with the iPad version.

    Sure you can. It's called "Drop the iPad on your friends desk". Because what if your friend doesn't have an iPad? Or is that assumed.

    And why should newspapers/magazines be treated differently than Apple treats music/videos/apps/books?

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999

    -4

    Jodie Fisher is a perfect case in point

    For a few minutes, second-rate/interns at WSJ didn't verify the facts and clicked on 'go live' with the 'Foster' 'news' bit.

    WSJ is just another worthless dirty rag now.

  1. bobthenob

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2004

    +1

    Cannibalization

    Cannibalization : In marketing strategy, cannibalization refers to a reduction in sales volume, sales revenue, or market share of one product as a result of the introduction of a new product by the **same producer**.

    This misuse is fingernails on a blackboard for me. Uuugh. :(

  1. Schatz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004

    +1

    Huang

    Actually, the iPad version of the WSJ is excellent from a technical standpoint. I get my local small town paper in print and the WSJ on iPad.

    The obvious issue for publishers with these electronic forms is the low cost advertisers are willing to pay. Same as the web. Everyone expects things for free when it is electronic.

    The WSJ Journalism is a separate issue, and is also excellent. Not sure where Huang gets his information but I suspect it is the Huffington Post or similar trash. Perhaps NPR's bias and censorship is more his style....

    Have you even read the WSJ Paul? They have pretty pictures too!

    When you grow up and enter the real world you may see things differently.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    @Paul

    Murdoch: It's the LACK of quality of your publication, not the iPad—although iPad accelerated the flushing anyway.

    Except they're talking about how iPad sales of the WSJ are taking away from paper sales.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    Re: Cannibalization

    Cannibalization : In marketing strategy, cannibalization refers to a reduction in sales volume, sales revenue, or market share of one product as a result of the introduction of a new product by the **same producer**.

    OK, so how exactly does the WSJ iPad sales taking away from the paper sales not be cannibalization? Is it not the same producer?

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