News Corporation has just dramatically increased its political-influence footprint in Australia, but it’s a story that hasn’t made it much past the business pages. It should.
In recent months, News Corp has added strategic ownership stakes in the Ten Network and APN newspaper/radio organisation. (see Echonetdaily story at http://www.echo.net.au/2015/03/murdoch-buys-stake-in-north-coast-publisher/
The company — through its director, shareholder, management or ‘associate’ proxies, now owns or has the key influence over:
• The vast majority of metro newspapers;
• The vast majority of suburban newspapers;
• The majority of regional daily newspapers;
• Two key radio networks;
• One of three free-to-air TV networks; and
• Australia’s only pay-TV network.
Apart from the smaller online players, which have widely dispersed ownership, that leaves a diminished Fairfax, Kerry Stokes (who has close relationship with News), the Nine network and a few smaller radio networks as the only other real players across the entire Australian media of influence.
How could any politician or government resist this kind of influence? There has never been anything like this in any mature democracy in history.
News Corp may be a predominantly ‘old media’ company, but there’s nothing old about its influence on Australian politics, policy and government. (crikey.com.au)
Murdoch hands Fox CEO job to son James
New York [AFP]
Meanwhile, Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox says its board has approved a shake-up that puts the 84-year-old tycoon’s son James in the chief executive job effective July 1.
The media-entertainment conglomerate’s board approved the plan in which the Australian-born magnate would step down as CEO and become co-executive chairman with his other son, Lachlan.
The succession plan, which was leaked last week by sources close to the company, allows Rupert Murdoch to ease out of the day-to-day management of the group, with his sons sharing many of those tasks.
Tuesday’s statement said the company’s corporate functions and its global television and film operations ‘will now jointly report to Lachlan and James Murdoch’.
‘It has always been our priority to ensure stable, long-term leadership for the company and these appointments achieve that goal,’ Rupert Murdoch said in the statement.
‘Lachlan and James are each talented and accomplished executives and together, we, as shareholders and partners, will strive to take our company to new levels of growth and opportunity at a time of dynamic change in our industry.’
Lachlan and James Murdoch said in a joint statement: ‘We are both humbled by the opportunity to lead, with our father and the talented team of executives at 21st Century Fox, this extraordinary company.’
The statement added that Chase Carey, the deputy chairman, president and chief operating officer, will become the executive vice chairman and serve in that role through June 30, 2016.
James Murdoch, 42, will hold the CEO job at the group, which owns the Fox studios in Hollywood, and Fox’s television operations in the US and around the world.
He ran the Asian and European operations for his father’s group and was thrust into the position of crisis management in the phone-hacking scandal that rocked the company in Britain.
James managed News Corp.’s musical division and later headed BSkyB, a satellite broadcaster in which the company had invested, before resigning amid the phone-hacking scandal.
21st Century Fox was created two years ago when Murdoch split the struggling publishing operations from his News Corp. empire from the faster-growing media and entertainment operations.