31 August 2009

Murdoch, again

The UK newspapers are stilling giving space to discussion on James Murdoch's lecture, in part knocking it, in part revealing that, surprise, surprise, other media barons agree with some of what he said. In an earlier post I listed the holdings of News Corporation, headed by James's Daddy, Rupert - it consists of about 100 companies. And while James is telling his Edinburgh audience about the evils of the BBC and its 'chilling' hold on news distribution, etc. in the UK, Daddy's annual report for 2008 is on the Web for all to see. What does it tell us?
There is no doubt that asset values are under pressure in some parts of the world and that financial institutions are, quite rightly, re-evaluating risk, but money continues to flow to sound companies and to clever ideas. we are in the fortuitous position of having a group of complementary properties whose global reach and digital potential puts us in a position to flourish while others are floundering.

Not much recognition of damage from the BBC there, then.
Meanwhile, in Australia and the U.K., our newspapers are doing very well in challenging environments. And on the global digital front, Fox Interactive Media saw a five-fold increase in operating income. results like these are the reason that News Corporation can report double digit growth for both revenue and operating income. And they reinforce our drive to take advantage of the opportunities arising in a fast-changing media landscape...

So the shareholders don't need worry too much about the impact of the BBC, then? Seems not:
We are the leading publisher of english-language newspapers throughout the U.K. and Australia...

Sales of our four national papers in the U.K. accounted for approximately one-third of all national newspapers sold last year.

News Limited is Australia’s largest newspaper publisher, with almost 150 titles. last year, we sold more than 12.8 million national, metropolitan and regional newspapers each week in Australia, reaching 9.4 million readers each day. Melbourne grew its circulation to 623,000 copies each week in 2008 – nearly three times the circulation of its rival paper.

I find these statements pretty 'chilling', James!

However, Rupert will do business with the BBC when it suits him - witness the deal between MySpace (a NewsCorp company) and the BBC to deliver video of some BBC programmes through MySpace - so, not a force for evil in the communications world, but a valued business partner!

Clearly all this has an impact on the bottom line and in these hard times, NewsCorp reported income of $32,996,000,000 - or, as near as dammit - £20 billion. And the BBC's income for 2008/2009? £4,606,000,000,
or, about $7.5 billion at today's exchange rate - the World Service alone, uses a very small proportion of that budget to deliver programmes in 32 foreign languages to a worldwide audience of approximately 236 million listeners. Now, exactly what would happen to that one service of the BBC if it was hived off into commercial hands? You know as well as I do, James, that within six months it would be wound up, and 236 million people would be deprived of relatively unbiased news and a whole raft of entertainment and educational programmes. Would Fox TV step up to fill the gap?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting text. You have a nice blog. Keep it up!