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News Corp. moves to charge for news content

Acquires e-reader Skiff from Hearst; invests in Journalism Online venture

As promised, News Corp. is diving deeper into the paid content biz, cutting a deal to acquire Hearst Corp.’s e-reader platform Skiff LLC and making an investment in the Journalism Online platform that aims to serve as a hub for publishers to charge readers for broad access to news content.

“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,” said Jon Miller, News Corp.’s chief digital officer. “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.”

Jon Housman, who has worked for News Corp. for the past few years as a strategic advisor on various projects, has been named prexy of News Corp.’s digital journalism initiatives. He has also served as a managing director of the Wall Street Journal Europe.

Skiff was designed by Hearst specifically for displaying newspapers and magazines. Journalism Online was co-founded by former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz and Steven Brill as a platform to allow publishers to set their own business terms for online access to the websites of participating news and journo orgs.

Financial terms of the Skiff acquisition and the size of News Corp.’s investment in Journalism Online were not disclosed.

“We’re especially pleased with this investment because 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,” Crovitz said.

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