Another Murdoch paper to charge online readers

14 January 2010
SYDNEY: The Australian, a Rupert Murdoch-owned broadsheet newspaper, is to put some of its online content behind paywalls.

Access to information provided by the outlet's IT and business sections, rather than general news, will be charged for under current plans.

Murdoch titles currently using this "specialist content" model include The Times of London.

An alternative model, through which users are charged a subscription fee for accessing general content, is employed by the Wall Street Journal, published in New York.

The move comes as part of a wide-ranging restructuring of News Limited, which runs Murdoch's papers in Australia.

Under the plans, The Australian is to form a single division of News Limited operations.

Extra investment has also been earmarked for distribution of the print version of the newspaper.

Commenting on the restructuring, John Hartigan, head of News Limited, said: ''By creating a separate division and deploying more resources, we aim to enter an unprecedented era of growth."

Jack Matthews, ceo of Fairfax Digital, an online media provider, said: ''It's an interesting move that tends to support the idea that we're in the news business, not the newspaper business.''

The general migration of readers from paid-for print titles to free internet news over recent years has put providers under pressure to charge for online content.

Meanwhile, tech firms including Apple are also heavily rumoured to be developing tablet or "slate" computers, which could revolutionise the presentation of online news and increase the popularity of the sites still further.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by Warc staff
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