Name: News Corp.
Rupert Murdoch’s multimedia empire develops virtually no technology itself. Nevertheless, it has mastered convergence, successfully selling intellectual property across multiple platforms and regions. Murdoch is also a strong proponent of paid content, charging for online access to the Wall Street Journal and threatening to opt out of Google’s search index.
Stock Symbol: NWS, NWSA
Location: New York City
Telephone: (212) 852 7000
Year Founded: 1922
Number of Employees: 55,000
Chairman and CEO: Rupert Murdoch
Bio: Murdoch studied Philosophy and Ancient History at Oxford University. He inherited ownership of one Australian newspaper, from which he began building his media empire.
Board Members and Advisors:
José María Aznar
Kenneth E. Cowley
David F. DeVoe
Andrew S.B. Knight
Thomas J. Perkins
Stanley S. Shuman (Director Emeritus)
Arthur M. Siskind
John L. Thornton
Total R&D spending: not available
R&D as a percentage of revenues: not available
Percentage of employees engaged in R&D: not available
News Corp owns or part-owns some of the world’s largest digital content destination sites, including MySpace, AskMen.com, Photobucket, and Hulu. It is likely that News Corp will continue to expand on its technology offerings through acquisition strategies rather than in-house R&D. News Corp does not think of itself as a technology company, but a media company with technological capabilities to distribute their content digitally. Consequently, as the company continues to think about next steps and where to spend money, it is likely it will continue to focus more on content and less on developing platforms.
As the largest media company in the US, News Corporation operates in a variety of markets; filmed entertainment, television, cable network programming, direct broadcast satellite programming, integrated marketing services, newspapers, and books. Almost every media related property, including content websites and portals can be seen as competitors to the News Corporation, but primary competitors are Time Warner, Viacom, and Disney. The entire media market is currently struggling, mainly because of the difficulty in generating advertising dollars for Internet properties and printed news media. News Corp. gets over 50% of its revenue from advertising, a dependence which has hurt it significantly in recent years. Unlike many of its competitors, News Corporation has been aggressive in offering subscriber-only news, rather than free content.
News Corp has a number of strategies planned for 2010. It wants to continue to build upon digital initiatives, making all of its content available through the Internet. A new position has been created within the company, that of Chief Digital Officer, whose prime responsibility is to oversee the digitization of every content asset; the position has been given to former AOL exec Jonathan Miller. The CDO is also taking over the restructuring of MySpace and 2010 will hopefully see the social network heading back towards profitability and growth.
Like many other companies in this economic environment, News Corp is also making a big push to distribute more content and information to developing nations such as India and China. Murdoch and his team see a huge untapped market of consumers who are increasingly connected to the rest of the world through modern technology and they want to make sure News Corp is at the forefront of this distribution. For instance, News Corp has been aggressive in its expansion and funding of STAR India and STAR Jupiter, the two largest national broadcasters of Hindi entertainment.
Challenges and Next Steps
News Corp’s biggest challenge as it moves forward will be successfully managing the gigantic portfolio it has amassed. The media giant is known for buying up media properties in controversial transactions that many industry analysts think are foolish (such as their $250M 2007 acquisition of pre-revenue company Photobucket.) News Corp must deal with the fact that many of its properties are burning through cash and declining in revenues year over year. If News Corp is going to be successful in their quest to charge for “premium” content, they must first trim the fat to allow their other more successful brands, such as the Wall Street Journal and Hulu, to grow.
Compiled by Jen Novak