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News Corp. Says Paywall Improved Times’s ‘Economics’

Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- News Corp.’s digital chief Jonathan Miller said the “total economics have improved” at the Times of London since the newspaper put its online content behind a paywall in early July.

“There’s a transition there that’s tough, which unfortunately means not every company can do it,” Miller said today at the Business Insider Ignition conference in New York. “We’ll make it, but in all honesty because we can afford to.”

In an interview afterwards, Miller said that while revenue from paying online subscribers hasn’t yet fully replaced a falloff in advertising sales, it’s on an “immediate path” to do so within a matter of months.

“It’s relatively on target,” he said. “The Times has a very loyal base” of readers.

The Times of London and The Sunday Times have more than 105,000 paying subscribers to the newspapers’ websites, iPad application and Kindle edition, News Corp.’s international unit disclosed last month. About half are monthly subscribers. Ad revenue was hurt when the newspapers’ websites lost more than 40 percent of traffic in the first several months after the paywalls were implemented, according to data from Nielsen Co.

The sites are available for one pound ($1.58) a day or two pounds per week. The Times iPad app costs 9.99 pounds a month.

News Corp. fell 1 cent to $14.31 at 4:30 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The New York-based company’s shares have gained 4.5 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Rabil in New York at srabil@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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