Rupert Murdoch says he expects to start charging for access to News Corporation\’s newspaper websites within a year as he strives to fix a “malfunctioning” business model, The Guardian reported.

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“That it is possible to charge for content on the web is obvious from the Wall Street Journal\’s experience,” he said at a conference in New York last night.

Mr Murdoch said that moves could begin “within the next 12 months‚” adding: “The current days of the internet will soon be over.”

Plunging earnings from newspapers led the way downwards as News Corporation\’s quarterly operating profits slumped by 47% to $755million, although exceptional gains on sale of assets boosted bottom-line pre-tax profits to $1.7bn, in line with last year\’s figure.

“People reading news for free on the Web, that\’s got to change,” said Murdoch speaking at The Cable Show, an annual cable television industry event, in Washington, DC last month.

Murdoch\’s newspaper empire includes the New York Post, the Times of London and other papers in Britain and Australia, which are available online for free.

The Journal had been charging for access for years before News Corp bought it.

Worst of advertising downturn \’now over\’

In a conference call last night, the media mogul also said that he expected the worst to be over.

The media giant\’s cable network programming and filmed entertainment segments showed increases in operating profits in the quarter.

“There are emerging signs in some of our businesses that the days of precipitous decline are done and that revenues are beginning to look healthier,” Mr Murdoch said.

The company expects operating profit in the full year to be 30 per cent below the previous year\’s $US5.13 billion ($A6.92 billion) result.

Mr Murdoch\’s upbeat comments came after News Corp reported a 47.5 per cent drop in operating profit to $US755 million ($A1.02 billion) for the third quarter.

News Corp\’s net profit for the quarter, however, of $US2.73 billion ($A3.66 billion) was in line with the previous corresponding period result of $US2.69 billion ($A3.6 billion), after it received a boost of $US2.4 billion ($A3.24 billion) from the partial sale of its stake in digital technology company NDS Group and a one-off tax benefit.