Amazon's ( AMZN) Kindle lit a fire that's now swept up News Corp. ( NWS). Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp., which owns media outlets like The Wall Street Journal, New York Post and MySpace, said the company is exploring a wireless e-book device strategy with manufacturers for a product similar to the Kindle, according to reports by Reuters and Bloomberg. Like the fading music industry, the news business needs its own iPod moment to move into the digital age, wrote New York Times ( NYT) Media columnist David Carr about four years ago. This could be that moment.
Murdoch toldTheStreet's own Dan Freed last week that he has feared the news industry would be destroyed at the hands of news indexers on the Internet. He continues to be an outspoken critic of Internet news aggregators like Google ( GOOG) and Yahoo! ( YHOO) that distribute copyright material with little or no money flowing back to the media companies. Murdoch seems ready to take the digital distribution process into his own hands with a wireless device that he expects to have available in "a year or two." As for how to collect the money, Murdoch suggested to TheStreet it would be less like an Apple ( AAPL) iTunes small payment approach, and more like a recurring service charge. "We're still thinking our way through this, and there will be micropayments as part of it," Murdoch said. "But I'm thinking much more along the lines of subscriptions like The Wall Street Journal does." In addition to Amazon, Sony ( SNE) makes an e-book reader, and Barnes & Noble ( BKS) is rumored to be considering one.