Feeds

Rupert Murdoch was never Keyser Soze

Childish media and creepy politicians created this myth

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Loss-maker

Two years ago, the group lost $5.6bn in 2009, on revenue of just $30bn. Every one of Murdoch's UK newspaper properties lost money, even such long time cash cows such as the Sunday Times and the NoTW.

The Pay-TV operation BSkyB is only now making tidy profits for its shareholders, the largest of which is News Corporation of course, but only on the back of 20 years of massive, bet-the-company borrowing. BSkyB's subscription revenues have grossed £3.9bn in the nine months to March; Google's will be around £2.5bn this year, significantly larger than ITV's. It is not so far behind.

The much-feared Fox News is mostly ignored by Americans: with 5.3 million viewers last year, it is twice as large as the Bloomberg financial channel, and half the size of CNBC. Most of Fox's splenetic stories get no traction in the rest of the US press.

In the UK, the BBC is still the 800lb gorilla, dominating news consumption. Most people, over 70 per cent, get their news from TV. The BBC dominates TV news with 63 per cent reach, and this is where news is most trusted. And according to the University of Leicester, almost all of the increase in current affairs output last year was viewed on the BBC. Its dominance grows.

Leicester researchers also found that news consumption grew fastest amongst the 18-23 and 24-34 age group, largely thanks to the internet. And that's where the Murdoch "empire", after failing to keep pace, has now given up competing for large audiences. The paywalls have gone up, ensuring its reach won't grow. News Corp's audience loss has been the BBC's gain.

The tinfoil hat argument then turns to cross-ownership. But when Ofcom examined the overlap between popular consumption of Murdoch papers and Sky News, when BSkyB Murdoch swooped for £940m of ITV shares in 2006, it found that barely 15 per cent absorbs both.

And let's not forget that the Competition Commission ordered Murdoch to sell this stake; that Murdoch declined to buy Channel 5, when News Corp could have done so for a quid. Or that it is bureaucrats, not James Murdoch, who ultimately set the wholesale price of the right to broadcast sports events that Sky has acquired on the open market, and the terms under which it must wholesale these rights. Ofcom is now looking into Sky's acquisition of first-run movies. If Sky is a beast, it's a shackled beast.

I'll pause the mass of stats to reiterate the point behind them. There is no reason politicians went beyond a cordial relationship, and had to keep tugging their forelocks. The real Murdoch was under control. Yet the Mythical Murdoch had a life and power of its own, one that existed in their imaginations.

There's a consequence to all this which hasn’t been mentioned. Organisations that decided that the Murdoch Empire was "evil" (rather than a savage competitor) began to see themselves as "good".

This has manifested itself in some interesting ways.

High performance access to file storage

Next page: Bad Santa

More from The Register

next story
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.