News Corp's Hinton: tablet subscriptions soar

Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:16pm GMT

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* Company has 200,000 paid subscribers for tablet editions

* WSJ publisher Les Hinton: mobile users pay for content

BOSTON, March 10 (Reuters) - Paid subscriptions to read News Corp's (NWSA.O) Wall Street Journal on tablet devices such as Apple Inc's iPad and electronic readers have quadrupled to 200,000 in the past year, a top executive said.

Les Hinton, publisher of the Journal, gave the figures while speaking to reporters after a speech in Boston on Thursday.

Hinton, who is also chief executive of News Corp's Dow Jones unit, said the figures were surprising and showed how even though consumers have many choices online, they are willing to pay to read certain content on tablets.

"The actual proliferation of these things is so rapid," he said of the devices. "What surprised us is that other periodicals than ours (also) seem to be getting good traction" for their own tablet content.

Dow Jones counted about 50,000 paid Wall Street Journal tablet subscribers a year ago. The subscription figures refer to sales on mobile devices including Amazon.com's (AMZN.O) Kindle, the Nook device from bookseller Barnes & Noble (BKS.N), the iPad, and tablet devices running Android software from Google Inc (GOOG.O).

The company also sells access to WSJ.com on smartphones, but did not break out subscription figures.

The company charges users a general subscription rate of $3.99 a week for access to products like WSJ.com and associated applications, though it makes some content free via wsj.com. By way of comparison the company said the Wall Street Journal's print edition circulation was 1.6 million.

Hinton spoke at the Boston College Chief Executives Club of Boston.

(Reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by Richard Chang)

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