Tag Archives: NEWS CORPORATION

Why the Sunday Sun is a No-Brainer

There’s lots of talk now that Murdoch is going to sell up his UK newspapers, all his newspapers, and that he’s not going to launch a Sunday edition of The Sun. They may all be true. But if he did any of those, he’d be throwing money away.

2011 07 Newspapers in UK

Take a look at the readership figures, courtesy of the National Readership Survey – Latest Top line Readership. All the UK newspapers have a Sunday edition, with the exception of the Financial Times. And, with the exception of The Times and the Sunday Times, there’s a close relationship between those who buy the dailies and the Sunday, in terms of numbers, and of their socio-economic group:

To me it’s pretty obvious that the News of the World was, in essence, the Sunday edition of The Sun in all but name. Of course, Murdoch may have bigger fish to fry, but in raw numbers, the way to go is obvious.

The Big Boys’ Mea Culpas

I find it interesting that companies can get things so wrong. News Corp just sold off Myspace for a fraction of its original price today, effectively admitting it didn’t get social media.

Microsoft famously came late to the table with the Internet, and then has been late to more or less every party since. It’s now come out with Microsoft 365, an awful name for a product that is basically an admission that Google Docs is good enough for most people, and that Microsoft Office is largely toast (an incorrect assumption, I reckon; I still can’t do without it.)

Then we have Google. Google has made a surprising number of missteps: Buzz, Wave (dumping it as much as hyping it, in my view.) Now, with the launch of Google+, they’re also acknowledging that they got the Web wrong: Instead of seeing it as a network, they saw it as a library. This from AllThingsD’s Liz Gannes, who asked Vic Gundotra why he and Bradley Horowitz had spent so much of the launch self-flagellating about why Google was so late to the social media dance:

Google Opens Up About Social Ambitions on Google+ Launch Day – Liz Gannes – Social – AllThingsD: “Gundotra: It’s just sincere. I don’t think it’s anything more than that. We do have a mission that we’ve been working on for a long time: organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and available. And when you look at the web today it’s obvious it’s not just about pages, it’s about people. It’s not just about information, it’s about what individuals are doing. So I think we have to do that in a coherent way. We think there’s just tremendous room to do great stuff.”

Well put: Google really didn’t get the the web. And probably still doesn’t; one might argue that the algorithms they use to rank pages are having to be constantly updated because they don’t really reflect the dynamic nature of most web pages these days. I am not sure what I mean by that so I’ll leave it for now.

Finally, what might one ask about Apple? Where have they gone wrong? MobileMe is a pretty small misstep. Quibbles with OSX are relatively small: I get the sense that a lot of the things wrong with the OS aren’t because they keep tweaking things (the usual complaint from Windows users) but that there’s a stubbornness about not changing things: A weak file explorer (Finder), an inability to resize windows except from one corner, a confusing division of function between dock icons, menu bar icons, menu bar menus, in-window menus etc etc…

But apart from those gripes with the Mac OS, you gotta hand it to Apple. No big mea culpas, at least in the past decade.

Murdoch’s Search Engine

It’s interesting to see how Rupert Murdoch has come around to the Internet, although it does have something of the feel of the late 1990s to it: Bloomberg.com reports that

News Corp., the fourth-largest media company, is in talks to buy a controlling interest in an Internet search engine as the company seeks to build advertising sales on the Web.

The investment would be in “what we think is a wonderful search engine,” News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch, 74, said yesterday on a conference call with analysts after the company announced earnings. Murdoch said the price will be  “insignificant’” and declined to identify the business.

This is part of a $2 billion push in into the Internet, which seems to centre on plans for

a site featuring a search engine and links to Web pages focusing on News Corp.’s movie, television and sports businesses, Murdoch said. “We already have the assets to be a dominant player on the Web,” Murdoch said.

That sounds horribly like a portal of old, to me. I do hope Murdoch gets the Internet, and isn’t just grabbing it.

News Corp., Bloomberg says, has bought Intermix Media Inc. for $580 million, owner of the Web sites Flowgo.Com and My Space.com, and has also recently purchased Australian real estate Web site Real Estate.com.au for $92 million, and Scout Media Inc., a Seattle-based owner of 200 sports Web sits and 47 magazines for about $60 million.

Was the News Corp Offer for Skype Real?

Was the story that News Corp nearly bought Skype for $3 billion really true? British paper the Independent on Sunday seems to think so:

 According to well-placed sources, Skype entered into talks with News Corp over a potential $3bn sale. This would have made a massive profit for the two founders and their backers – Hotmail investor Howard Hartenbaum and four venture capital firms – which together put just $20m into the business.

However, talks fell apart last month, just before Rupert Murdoch’s son Lachlan quit his father’s empire. Skype would have fitted in well with News Corp’s satellite TV interests, which include controlling minorities in DirecTV in the US and BSkyB in the UK.

This was originally reported a week or so ago by the PBS’ Bob Cringely, but lacked sourcing and was knocked down by several folk, including Techdirt.

Unfortunately The Independent’s sourcing is not much clearer than Cringely’s:

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is understood to have made a bid approach to the fast- growing internet phone group, Skype, which may have valued the two-year-old operation at almost $3bn (£1.7bn).

Talks have broken down and Skype has denied it is for sale. But sources in the telecoms industry say they expect it to be taken over shortly.

Anyway, one potential clue about the sourcing is in the last paragraph:

Bob Cringely, a US technology expert, said: “What’s most interesting about News Corp and Skype isn’t that the deal fell through, but that News Corp even knew Skype was available.”

So, was Bob a well-placed source for this story, or just a commenter?

What’s Going to Happen to Skype?

Interesting piece over at Techdirt about Skype: Is it a viable business and if so, as what? Techdirt:Going Rate For Skype Apparently Now $3 Billion concludes:

While it’s likely that Skype will be sold, its value isn’t as a business or a service, but as a technology

On the way the piece discusses an alleged near-deal with News Corp (no I can’t find any sourcing for it, either) and a link to Om Malik’s suspicion that the recent price cut on some calls has more to do with a lower than expected takeup of SkypeOut credits than with it being Skype’s birthday.

I love Skype, but I suppose we should steel ourselves for the possibility that it doesn’t last, at least in its present format.

(Thanks, Buzz)

News: Another Shot In The Foot For The RIAA

 The RIAA PR dept may not like this, but then again, they must have been pretty busy the past coupla months: The New York Post reports that The Recording Industry Association of America is suing a 12-year-old New York City girl.
 
Brianna LaHara was among 261 people sued for copying thousands of songs via popular Internet file-sharing software ? and thousands more suits could be on the way. They could face penalties of up to $150,000 per song, but the RIAA has already settled some cases for as little as $3,000. The Post quoted RIAA spokeswoman Amy Weiss as saying, when asked if the association knew Brianna was 12 when it decided to sue her: “We don’t have any personal information on any of the individuals.”