The venture fills a hole in News Corp’s publishing business that only Mr Murdoch, an old man in a hurry, can see.
When even the FT doesn’t see the point in launching a new paper, especially one it concedes ‘may even be profitable’ then we are getting close to the point when there will be widespread consensus that there is no future for paper based news products.
The next step will be that newspaper companies become undervalued and canny private equity investors will step in, hoping to make a killing buying them on the cheap. Whether they succeed will depend on whether their models predict a fast enough decline in circulations. It is easy to underestimate the speed with which early adopters and even the bulk of the mainstream switch to new products and formats, but it is equally easy to underestimate how long it will take for the laggards to switch.