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Murdoch predicts gloomy future for press
Rupert Murdoch has forecast a gloomy future for newspapers with the growth of the internet, saying he doesn't know "anybody under the age of 30 who has ever looked at a classified ad".
The owner of the Sun, Times, Sunday Times and the News of the World, who once described newspaper classified advertising revenue as providing "rivers of gold", now says: "Sometimes rivers dry up".
"This is a generational thing; we've been talking about a 15- or 20-year slide on this," the News Corp chairman and chief executive tells trade paper Press Gazette in a rare interview.
"Certainly I don't know anybody under 30 who has ever looked at a classified advertisement in a newspaper. With broadband they do more and more transactions online."
But Mr Murdoch denies he has been forced into "panic buying" internet companies because of falling ad revenues. At a conference last month, the WPP group chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, accused Mr Murdoch of buying web operations "willy nilly".
"There's no panic, and there was certainly no overpayment," he says. "It was a very careful strategy to go for the two biggest community sites for people under 30. If you take the number of page views in the US, we are the third biggest presence on the internet already.
"Now we're not the most profitable, or anything like it; we have a huge amount of work ahead to get that whole thing right. And we're working very hard to keep improving."
News Corp began its $1bn new media spending spree in July when it bought myspace.com parent company Intermix.
Fox Media Interactive, a News Corp subsidiary, bought US online and magazine sports publisher Scout Media and online video gaming company IGN Entertainment.
And UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB, in which News Corp is the largest shareholder, paid £221m for broadband outfit Easynet.