Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Murdoch: Technology Driving Vast Changes in Media

Murdoch: Technology Driving Vast Changes in Media

Media Magnate Discloses Desire to Add Another Newspaper to His Stable of NY-based Publications

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch warned that "technology will continue to destroy all of the old ways and old assumptions, especially in the media" during an April 2 speech on "Creative Destruction: News for the 21st Century," sponsored by the McDonough School of Business.

"We have one certainty - we can never be sure where the industry will end up," Murdoch said in a Gaston Hall address about the changing face of media. "It is true that technology is changing accepted ways of doing business. It's making us work harder for our customers."

The ultimate effect, Murdoch predicted, is more access to news and entertainment for people who cannot traditionally afford it.

Murdoch is the chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp., one of the world's most extensive media conglomerates. Its holdings include TV and radio channels, movie studios, Internet sites and newspapers. In his speech, he said technology's effects have permeated every aspect of News Corp., from the social networking on MySpace to the type of articles printed in local newspapers.

Consumers, especially the younger generation, have a chance to shape the inevitable changes by demanding content based on personal preferences, he added.

"Unlike traditional media, choices in the future will be generated from the bottom up, not top-down," Murdoch explained. "A 13-year-old girl in Delhi is not going to want the same news and entertainment as a 50-year-old executive in Chicago . . . Our challenge is to personalize the experience for these people so we can reach them both."

Murdoch foresees the end of traditional mass media with consumers receiving news and entertainment from limited sources. Media companies need to diversify to survive, which is one reason his company purchased MySpace in 2005, he said.

The CEO claimed News Corp. is at the forefront of providing individualized content. His company's news media outlets reached three-quarters of the world's population and are published in more than 30 languages.

Murdoch hinted for the first time publicly that he is looking to extend that reach by acquiring Newsday, a Long Island-based newspaper owned by Tribune Company. That, Murdoch said, could bolster another News Corp. holding, The New York Post, and compete for revenue against The New York Times.

However, he acknowledged the U.S. Department of Justice might stand in the way based on antitrust concerns, because News Corp. also owns The Wall Street Journal.

When asked about bias in the media, Murdoch dismissed claims that his outlets show biases, saying that his personal opinions are not reflected in the news cycle.

"People laugh at Fox News because we call ourselves fair and balanced . . . The fact is that CNN was always extremely liberal and never had a conservative, Republican voice on it. The only difference is that we have equal voices on both sides, but that seems to have upset a lot of liberals," he said. "We believe the more voices, the better and let's have variety and opinions coming from all sides. Society is growing more intelligent and people can absorb this, they can accept or reject it."

Murdoch also denied that his company wants to create a news monopoly by saying, "We're just a tiny fraction of the media landscape. There are millions of voices out there. Everything we've done, in my opinion, is to create competition , , , We think that's a public service. We want to give people choices. The more choice there is, the better it is."