Opening up a new front in the paid content debate, News Corp heir apparent James Murdoch announced Friday that mobile apps are a threat to print newspaper sales. 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." The comment made the rounds over the weekend. Portfolio
, among others, picked up the story.
"For one thing, everybody thought that free websites were cannibalizing print newspapers, before we changed our minds. Rupert Murdoch, of course, was the loudest such person, saying that 'an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting.' And so long as such statements are based on gut feeling rather than any kind of quantitative analysis, they’re pretty worthless."