Do you like Fox? No, not Fox News, Fox Entertainment. Love Bones, Glee, New Girl, Simpsons? Okay, we can all probably do without Anger Management, but Fox Entertainment has been innovative, modern, underivative (there are no franchises like C.S.I. or Law and Order). If you are on this site, you probably are not a fan of Fox News, unless you are a troll come on here to harass us. What about the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, NewsDay Long Island? I used to love NewsDay. I grew up on it. Now, it’s unreadable, barely less tabloidy than the New York Post.
In the aftermath of the New International hacking scandal in the United Kingdom, there is talk about Rupert Murdoch’s empire being split up into at least two, possibly three divisions – entertainment, newspapers and television news. The entertainment division is very profitable and successful, while the newspapers are a real drag on the empire’s fiscal condition. The television news division is very different from country to country, and in most countries is actually very liberal, unlike the American version which is either a mouthpiece for the Republican Party or controlling the party’s message. The latter assessment came from a Republican Congressman who was getting burned by the Tea Party that Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity were promoting.
The entertainment division includes 20th Century Fox film studio, the broadcast network and Faux News, and generates $23.5 billion a year in revenues. The publishing division, which includes book publisher Harper, Collins, generates $8.8 billion a year. The splitting of the divisions has been under discussion for some time, with both family members and the investors considering the newspapers a drag on the company, but newspapers are Rupert Murdoch’s first and greatest love, and he has always been reluctant to risk losing them because of the shrinking market for newspapers. Buying the Wall Street Journal allegedly made Murdoch happier than any of his marriages.
Just the rumor of a split impacted News International’s stock value, rising to over $21 a share on the Australian markets. The reports refer to creating at least two “publicly traded companies” but that is something of a misleading description. There is a small core of major investors, the Murdoch family and a few others and none of them can sell their shares on the open market unless the rest of the group agrees, and then there are the “little people” who own the stock that is traded on stock markets. They have virtually no power in making corporate decisions, as was shown during a shareholders’ meeting two years ago when they questioned Murdoch’s decision to give $2.5 million to the Republican Governor’s election PAC and to the U. S. Chamber of Commerce for their SuperPAC. Murdoch basically told them to bugger off.
The one potential consequence of splitting off the publishing division would be the closure of some of the papers. Newspapers are a dying media, and a paper as marginal as the New York Post might not survive without the support of the entertainment division.
News Corp has confirmed that it is seriously considering the division.