On Friday, 2nd February 2007, I read that media baron Rupert Murdoch has given each of his six children $100 million in News Corp. stock, a company spokesman in New York said Friday. I read further in The Financial Times that Murdoch’s move comes as News Corp. completes a stock swap with John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp., raising the Murdoch family’s voting share in News Corp. to 38 percent from 30 percent.
In regulatory filings Friday, the Murdoch Family Trust said it distributed slightly more than 26 million News Corp. class A shares, which do not have voting rights, worth just over $600 million at Friday’s share price.
“The distribution from the Murdoch Family Trust was made equally to each of Mr. Murdoch’s six children,” the News Corp. spokesman said.
I read that Murdoch, 75, controls News Corp. through the trust.
On Monday, 26 March 2007, I read the announcement that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and NBC Universal would launch an online library of big media video assets that could be licensed by any online distributor, provided they accept the terms and conditions set forth by big media. Towards such ends, the new big media joint venture also announced that Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, and MySpace had signed up as licensees and distributors.
Given the significant difference between a web of text vs. that of video for Google, the big media companies made a very smart move last week.
Although not necessarily a checkmate, it was a “check” on Google. If all the other media companies fall in line as well, then it could become a “checkmate” against Google when it comes to big media content.
In other words, Google would have no choice but to accept the demands of the big media companies for the licensing and distribution of their content. The only way for Google to regain leverage against the big media companies, at that point, would be to change the game altogether (e.g. by owning content and becoming a full-fledged media company, as I had suggested they might in my last post).
But at the end of day, it may turn out that both sides of this titanic struggle were merely pawns in a higher-level game benefiting one single player… Rupert Murdoch.
Using Google as the red herring, Murdoch may actually have succeeded in rallying all of his competitors to join forces by contributing their combined digital video assets into one pool (which he has significant control over). But through his ownership of MySpace, Murdoch is in a very unique position relative to all his big media brethren.
Namely, he will be the only one that ends up owning both content (via the new joint venture) and distribution (via MySpace) in any material and meaningful way.
Owning the whole value chain has always been a strategy that has served him well, and by the looks of it, he’s going to continue enjoying such advantages. Not only that, Murdoch could very well have out-maneuvered Google by positioning MySpace to ultimately become what YouTube was supposed to be.
On Thursday, 8 February 2007, I read that Rupert Murdoch announced the launch of Fox Business Channel in the United States this fall by his News Corp. media conglomerate.
The new channel, developed by Fox News Chief Executive Roger Ailes, will be “business friendly,” Murdoch told a New York media and technology conference. He characterized NBC Universal’s CNBC financial cable network as “negative” toward business.
Murdoch would not disclose programming details because, he said, CNBC “would immediately copy” them. But he said his channel would not “leap on every scandal.”
Ailes said the new channel would “extend the Fox News brand” to business journalism.
The network, based at News Corp.’s New York headquarters, has 30 million subscribers under contract through Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and Charter Communications, Fox officials said.
Murdoch has said he would only launch the channel, talked about for the past two years, if he had enough distribution in place.
“I look forward to introducing new competition and a new voice to the business-news arena,” Murdoch said.
On Friday, 9 February 2007, I read that British lawmakers are trying to prevent media baron Rupert Murdoch’s British satellite TV company from controlling the country’s commercial ITV network.
More than 60 lawmakers signed a motion calling on the government to bring the matter before Britain’s Competition Commission, Member of Parliament John Grogan says.
Murdoch BSkyB owns 17.9 percent of ITV. Controlling ITV would also let Murdoch control ITV’s news channel, The Independent reported Friday.
BSkyB controls 40 percent of all British television revenue — almost twice that of the BBC, the newspaper said.
I read between the lines that Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown — widely expected to be elected the next Labor Party leader, replacing Tony Blair as prime minister — faces a dilemma, being afraid of retaliation by Murdoch’s newspaper Sun in the September election, once he would support Labor lawmakers.....read more