Will the iPad Mean the End of Free Online News?

If you thought online news would be free forever, perhaps it’s time to think again. Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., announced on its third-quarter earnings call that in “three to four weeks” the company would be announcing a subscription model for news and other digital content. The impetus? None other than Apple’s iPad.The Wall Street Journal iPad app is free to download but carries with it a subscription fee of $3.99 per week, or about $200 a year. Since the iPad launch last month, 64,000 users have downloaded the WSJ app for the tablet — a clear signal that while many balk at paying for online news, many others are willing to shill cash for premium content. The app’s success has inspired Murdoch to launch a payment plan that could set the standard for other publications, which could mean the death of free online news. Murdoch also envisions fees for entertainment content.

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