News Corp. makes digital journalism moves

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. bought an electronic reading platform developed by Hearst on Monday and invested in a company which seeks to help news organizations make money on the Web.

The acquisition of e-reader platform Skiff from US newspaper and magazine publisher Hearst Corp. and the investment in Journalism Online are the latest moves in Murdoch's campaign to get readers to pay for content online.

Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed, but Journalism Online said News Corp. had bought a minority stake in the company launched by three US media executives last year and would have a seat on the five-member board.

"Today's developments underscore News Corporation's ongoing commitment to create strong business models that support journalism at a time of great change in our industry," News Corp. chief digital officer Jon Miller said.

"Both Skiff and Journalism Online serve as key building blocks in our strategy to transform the publishing industry and ensure consumers will have continued access to the highest quality journalism," he said in a statement.

As print advertising revenue evaporates and circulation erodes, US newspaper and magazine publishers have been looking to carve out a future on the Internet and with e-readers and mobile devices.

Murdoch has announced plans to eventually make readers pay for online access to all of the newspapers in the vast News Corp. stable.

The Wall Street Journal, a News Corp. title, currently charges for full online access and The Times and Sunday Times are poised to become the first newspapers in Britain to begin charging readers on the Web.

Skiff is an e-reading platform designed to deliver layouts for newspaper and magazine content to tablet computers, smartphones, e-readers and netbooks.

Skiff has also been developing an e-reader but the acquisition announcement from News Corp. did not mention any plans for the device, which has yet to hit the market and has been overshadowed by the release of Apple's iPad.

The Wall Street Journal, citing "a person familiar with the matter," said News Corp. was not interested in the Skiff e-reader and plans to fold Skiff into the rest of the company instead of letting it operate independently.

The Journal added that Skiff and Journalism Online could become the backbone of News Corp.'s plans for news outlets to collaborate on strategies and sales of digital subscriptions and advertising.

Journalism Online was launched in April 2009 with the goal of helping newspapers and magazines collect revenue from their online readers.

Journalism Online said Monday that over 1,500 publishers around the world have signed letters of intent to use its "Press+" e-commerce platform.

"Earlier this month, the first publishers to launch paid access began integrating the Press+ platform, which they are now in the final stages of testing and adjusting before launching their initial offerings to their readers," Journalism Online co-founder Steve Brill said in a statement.

"As we continue to talk to publishers about Press+, being able to assure them that we have both the resources and support of a major strategic partner will be enormously helpful," added Gordon Crovitz, another co-founder.

"Indeed, News Corp. is the industry leader in making the case that there is value in journalism online for which readers will be willing to pay," he said.

News Corp. also announced Monday that Jon Housman, who has been a strategic adviser to the company for several years, had been named president of News Corp.'s digital journalism initiatives.

"We believe in Journalism Online's vision, and that the flexible technology solution they have created will help a lot of organizations to monetize their valuable content," Housman said.

Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits