Posts Tagged ‘Murdoch’


Murdoch’s bold new plan: News Corp announces split of Entertainment and Publishing

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

News Corp announced on Thursday that their board unanimously agreed on a plan to split its company’s entertainment division (which includes Fox News, 20th Century Fox, and Fox Networks) from the publishing division (which includes The Wall Street Journal, Harper Collins publishing, and The New York Post), reports The Economist. This comes as music to the ears of News Corp’s investors, who for years blamed the publishing arm for weighing down the entertainment division. (The entertainment division is responsible for 75 percent of the company’s profits.) Splitting the company in two is the “ultimate dream” of investors, says Michael Nathanson of Nomura, a stockbroker. News of the split sent News Corp’s stock up 10 percent.

This announcement and Rupert Murdoch’s “never say die” commitment to his beleaguered publishing arm come as little surprise to those of us who have followed the News Corp over the years. In a Thursday morning memo announcing the split to the News Corps employees, Murdoch made it very clear Family Guyto everyone that his long love affair with publishing is far from over, and even spoke optimistically about his portfolio of newspapers and publishing companies. “Our publishing businesses are greatly undervalued by the skeptics. Through this transformation we will unleash their real potential, and be able to better articulate the true value they hold for shareholders,” stated Murdoch.   

You have to admire the bold vision Murdoch unleashed for his new publishing entity, especially in the wake of the News of the World hacking scandal in the UK, and at a time when two of his newspapers – The New York Post and The London Times – are losing money, comments PaidContent.org. Even though newspapers may be on life support, they are still emitting a slight pulse. In The Economist article linked to earlier in this blog post, Jeff Logsdon of BMO Capital Markets added, “The newspaper business may not be growing, but it generates enough cash flow to sustain itself.”

Murdoch points to new global markets and platforms as major reasons for this publishing arms rejuvenation, with plans to accelerate growth into Australia and Latin America and citing the fact there are over 75 million tablets worldwide ready to receive information. “Our publishing company will deliver on the promise of a well-informed society as we aggressively grow our business across borders and new global platforms,” Murdoch is quoted as saying in this Wall Street Journal article.

While many remain a bit skeptical when it comes to publishing, especially newspapers, my colleague Johna Burke confirms in a recent Fresh Ideas post, Mobile Aids Growth of Traditional Media. She writes, “[…]unless you are seeing your coverage from ALL types of media, you won’t have an accurate representation of how your messages are playing out and influencing ALL of your audiences. […] a digital focus alone, that doesn’t include traditional media, is blindingly misleading and can be equated to looking at the Grand Canyon through a straw. Sure, it’s pretty, but you miss more than you see!” 

So, in 2012 one thing remains clear: content remains king and nobody knows that better than Mr. Murdoch.

Part 1: Licensing – Monetizing Content in a 30-Second World

Monday, January 24th, 2011

My name is Dan Schaible. In past lives, I accrued 27 years working in newspapers for large media companies including Newhouse, Murdoch, Thompson, and Hearst. I worked in advertising, production, labor, and IT.  I currently handle the relationships with content providers for the pre-eminent American brand in full-service media monitoring, planning, and measurement – BurrellesLuce. This position, with the experience of those past lives, allows me a broad view of the media industry and the challenges it faces.Copyright sign

The challenges are formidable and immediate. More importantly, however, I see tremendous opportunity.

Let me start by saying that content is not free. But let me also quickly emphasize that content must not be perceived as expensive either. It has to compete with free or at least the perception that content is free.

Information is, ultimately, created by people with mortgages to pay – even corporate titans have a roof expense; some are just larger than others.

People, individually and as part of an enterprise, want more and more of this information, and they want it in real-time. The information-consumer is not really concerned with the technology. They just want what they want, when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it. Most users of content are not going to go beyond their usual routines to get info. They are not really concerned with platforms or formats. They are all about convenience; their convenience. In general, they are impatient, conditioned as they are by the 30-second sound bite, the 140-character tweet, and of most importance, the compilation of “hextracts” (headline/extract) and associated links as search or news results, which, by the way, will continue to defy monetization. Oh, and they want this all for free.

I am convinced that, even in the digital world, there is still and there will continue to be a place for full publication and page formats. This falls mostly within the areas of individual use and first use. These formats have an advertising and/or subscription component to provide some support for the creators’ mortgage payment, as long as the payments have been modified.

The 30-second formats are now clearly the largest format in use for the delivery of content to the user. The users receiving information in this “bite” format represent both individual and enterprise, initial use and reuse and generally do not provide support from advertising – except when the consumer occasionally follows the link to the article. These 30-second formats are all about the article format standing alone. Focus on monetizing the article will provide the big win/win for the consumer and the provider. Did I mention this is my view we are talking about here?

So, pretty simple right? Just come up with a way to charge for the use of the article when somebody reads the whole article instead of the hextract. Do this regardless of whether that somebody is the first reader of the article or the recipient of it being passed along in an email. Make the charge a passive transaction and at a price the consumer considers fair (I can hear Clay Shirky from here on that statement).The technology to do just this is actually, for the most part, already in existence.

Then why hasn’t it been done?

In my next post, I will provide my own take on this.