According to media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, the newspaper industry needs to embrace the technological revolution of the Internet, MP3 players, laptops and mobile phones or face extinction.

"Societies or companies that expect a glorious past to shield them from the forces of change driven by advancing technology will fail and fall," he said in a speech to the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers.

"That applies as much to my own, the media industry, as to every other business on the planet. Power is moving away from the old elite in our industry — the editors, the chief executives and, let’s face it, the proprietors.

"A new generation of media consumers has risen demanding content delivered when they want it, how they want it, and very much as they want it."

Murdoch, whose News Corporation empire ranges from newspapers and magazines to television and film interests across the globe, described the 21st century as "the second great age of discovery".

The greatest challenge for the traditional media now is to engage with more demanding, questioning and better educated consumers, adapting their products for new technology, the Australian-born media mogul said.

"There is only one way. That is by using our skills to create and distribute dynamic, exciting content," he said.

"But — and this is a very big but — newspapers will have to adapt as their readers demand news and sport on a variety of platforms: websites, iPods, mobile phones or laptops.

"I believe traditional newspapers have many years of life but, equally, I think in the future that newsprint and ink will be just one of many channels to our readers."

Murdoch sparked one of Britain’s most bitter industrial disputes over the introduction of new computer technology for journalists and printers.

In January 1986, he moved his British newspapers The Times, The Sun and The News of the World overnight from their historic home on Fleet Street, central London, to a purpose-built facility in Wapping, in the east of the capital.

It was credited by some with not only breaking the stranglehold of print unions on a hitherto unprofitable industry crippled by strikes but paving the way for developments such as colour printing, supplements and websites.

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