Murdoch hints at pay-wall delay

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Troubled timetable for pay-walls

Rupert Murdoch has admitted that the deadline for introducing pay-walls on News Corporation websites may be slipping.

This summer, the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation shocked media commentators by declaring that readers would have to pay to access content on its newspaper portals next year. Under the plan, pay-walls will be rolled out across the online offerings of the Times, the Sun, the Sunday Times and the News of the World by June 2010.

Murdoch backtracks on implementation date

However, Mr Murdoch has now admitted that the timetable may have to be extended in a conference call with journalists. When asked for a progress report on pay-walls, he replied: "We are working all very, very hard but I wouldn't promise that we're going to meet that date."

Although he refused to comment on specific reasons for the delay, Mr Murdoch emphasised that the project is still moving forward. He explained: "It's a work in progress and there's a huge amount of work going on. Not just with our sites but with other people."

The conference call followed the publication of News Corporation's results for the quarter ending September 30th 2009. In the official figures, the company's newspaper business reported a decline in quarterly operating income from £80 million in 2008 to £15 million this year