Murdoch: iPad Key to Paid News Online

News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch has his eye on paid online news content, and he expects Apple’s iPad will play a role in making his dream come true. He thinks the iPad, along with other tablet-like devices, are perfect for delivering up to date news, and that readers are willing to pay for that content, according to The Australian.

“We are rolling out a paid content strategy across our newspaper Web sites. Already The Wall Street Journal is the largest of its kind in the world with 1.1 million paying subscribers online,” Mr. Murdoch said. “It’s going to be a success. Subscriber levels are strong. We are witnessing the start of a new business model for the Internet.”

Apple’s iPad looks to be helping drive interest in his paid news content with, as Mr. Murdoch put it, “tens of thousands of readers” who are using apps to view Wall Street Journal, The Times and The Australian content.

Assuming Apple’s iPad stays popular with consumers, more potential readers could be lining up for paid news content. “It looks like [Apple] will sell around 15 million iPads this calendar year and more than 40 million by 2012,” Mr. Murdoch said, which makes for a potentially large — and lucrative — subscriber base.

The iPad was introduced earlier this year to long lines and buyers still have to go on waiting lists to get their hands on one. The multimedia tablet includes a 9.7-inch multitouch display, built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking, runs most iPhone apps, and some models include built-in 3G data access, too.

So far, however, most online news is available for free, and there seems to be a large number of people that would prefer it stays that way. Information, according to the argument, wants to be free.

From Mr. Murdoch’s perspective, that notion is wrong, and people will pay for their online news. “The argument that information wants to be free is only said by those who want it for free,” he said.