Murdoch, News Corp’s CEO for Europe and Asia, said during the Monaco Media Forum that, “The problem with the apps is that they are much more directly cannibalistic of the print products than the website. People interact with it much more like they do with the traditional product.”
But I saw just one story that questioned Murdoch’s central premise and that noted News Corp has been leading the same fight against the Web. Reuters’ Felix Salmon wonders where the data is:
So where is the data? Fewer than 10 million iPads have been sold globally this year. Meanwhile, WAN-IFRA reports that 1.7 billion people read the newspaper every day. Tablet readership, in comparison, is still a drop in the bucket.
And even if we focus on one newspaper, for instance News Corp’s Wall Street Journal, I can’t see any “iPad effect” on print readership. In fact, though the Journal has a popular mobile app, the paper saw a slight bump in its weekday circulation this year.
To be fair, Murdoch may have intended more nuance in his comments than has been reported. Tablets are more engaging for readers, especially in time spent, than the typical website.
But given some of the arguments Rupert Murdoch has made in the past, James Murdoch’s comments could just be a finely-tuned salvo designed to sway the paid content debate in News Corp’s direction.