Rupert Murdoch, the News Corp media magnate, evangelised about a digital future that would put that power in the hands of those already launching a blog every second, sharing photos and music online and downloading television programmes on demand. "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," he said.
The owner of Fox News added: "Never has the flow of information and ideas, of hard news and reasoned comment, been more important. The force of our democratic beliefs is a key weapon in the war against religious fanaticism and the terrorism it breeds."
"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," he said, predicting a future in which "media becomes like fast food" with consumers watching news, sport and film clips as they travel, on mobile phones or handheld wireless devices.
"Great journalism will always attract readers. The words, pictures and graphics that are the stuff of journalism have to be brilliantly packaged; they must feed the mind and move the heart."
News Corp spent $400m on MySpace.com, the social networking phenomenon that has proved hugely popular with 35m regular users on both sides of the Atlantic. Murdoch admitted he underestimated the power of the web. "It is a creative, destructive technology that is still in its infancy, yet breaking and remaking everything in its path. We are all on a journey, not just the privileged few, and technology will take us to a destination that is defined by the limits of our creativity, our confidence and our courage."