Rupert Murdoch admitted overnight in New York that the online world is the way of the future.

It may be 20 or 30 years before newspapers are entirely digital, Murdoch said, but after that the news medium has a “very bright future” without the overhead of paper, printing plants and employees to operate them.

Murdoch’s comments were made at Goldman Sachs’ annual media investment conference and, brief as they were, showed more insight than the churlish speech late last month in Edinburgh from his son, James, the heir apparent. That was a speech full of naked self interest.

So it was up to dad to set things right overnight.

Online newspapers, TV and other forms of data and content will need more and more bandwidth, that is stable and faster: cable, fibre, wireless will all be the carriers of Rupert’s electronic editions of The Australian or the Herald Sun.

The Financial Times, which already charges for access after a certain level of use, understood the importance of Murdoch’s comments:

Rupert Murdoch, a proprietor known for having ink in his veins, has hailed the day when electronic reading devices will do away with the need for newsprint and the costs that go with it.

Devices such as’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader could take 20 years to displace newspapers, the News Corp chairman told Goldman Sachs’ annual media conference, “but I do certainly see the day when more people will be buying their newspapers on portable reading panels than on crushed trees”.

“Then we’re going to have no paper, no printing plants, no unions,” said Mr Murdoch, who battled printing unions at his Wapping plant in London more than 20 years ago. “It’s going to be great.”