iPad affecting newspaper sales

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Today at the Monaco Media Forum, another nail was pounded into the coffin of that cornerstone of traditional media, the newspaper.

News Corp's Asian/European operations lead, James Murdoch, noted that the switch to iPad and other mobile reading apps has had a direct effect on newspaper sales. Murdoch said that the apps were "much more directly cannibalistic" than web sites, as subscribers read the apps in a manner similar to how they read traditional newspapers. Web readers apparently consume their news somewhat differently. While he didn't disclose sales numbers, Murdoch said that the newspapers affected include the Wall Street Journal, News of the World, and the Times of London.

News Corp isn't making as much money on subscriptions through mobile apps, but is happy with selling news through the iTunes model. Apple's 30% take isn't that bad when the cost of printing and distribution of traditional newspapers is taken into account. Murdoch mentioned that "the guy on the newstand and the newsagent charge a percentage, and they don't even merchandise it properly."

While the iPad is the current leader in electronic news sales, News Corp just delivered an Android tablet version of the Wall Street Journal yesterday and also provides a version for the Amazon Kindle and other e-readers.

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