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Sweet Deal... Now the Web Costs More, Too... Franco Fan...

DailyCandy has been scouting for a buyer for some time, and on Tuesday it finally found one.

NOW THE WEB COSTS MORE, TOO: Rupert Murdoch was pleased on Tuesday that his News Corp. reported its sixth consecutive year of profit gains — and then revealed plans to further increase those in the coming year by, among other things, boosting the price of wsj.com. On a conference call with analysts from Beijing, where he’s attending the Olympics — after announcing that he will be launching a string of TV channels in India — Murdoch said the online edition of the Wall Street Journal would increase in price, but didn’t say by how much. The Web site costs $89 a year. He said the goal is for all of News Corp.’s newspapers to be available in every way possible. “Dow Jones is at the forefront of the digital revolution,” he noted, with wsj.com as one of the leaders. Wsj.com has 1.1 million subscribers. The increase in the online price mirrors a rise in the print version, which recently went up to $2 a day.

News Corp. reported fourth-quarter net income up 27 percent to $1.1 billion. The increase was attributed in part to the sale of Fox Sports Bay Area and Gemstar-TV Guide International. Operating income rose 21 percent to $1.5 billion and revenues were up 17 percent to $8.6 billion. “All of our business segments generated year-over-year gains, with record profits reported at our satellite broadcasting, cable programming, film and television businesses,” Murdoch said. “Although we clearly face more challenging macroeconomic conditions in fiscal ’09, we’re well positioned to deliver continued, if somewhat less robust, growth.”

Meanwhile, over at MySpace, where the market is a bit weaker, home page takeover ads are on the rise — for example, Warner Bros. recently took over the MySpace home page, which resulted in 70 million streams of the trailer for “The Dark Knight.”

In the newspaper and information services division, operating income increased by $59 million to $262 million, with Dow Jones contributing $24 million. — A.W.

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