Murdoch says announcement will come next week; talks about the growing importance of the Internet and mobile programming to both his company and TV stations.
News Corp. Chairman/CEO Rupert Murdoch confirmed that Fox will debut Fox Business Channel this fall. He said an official announcement would come next week.
He added that Fox is already enlarging its New York studios in anticipation, but wouldn’t announce any programming specifics yet because, he said, “CNBC would copy it immediately.”
The confirmation came at McGraw-Hill’s Media Summit in New York this morning where Murdoch was the subject of the keynote Q&A session, questioned by Steve Adler, editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek.
Looking to the future, he emphasized the importance of the Internet and of mobile phones. Right now, he said, 1% of his corporate revenue comes from Internet-related advertising, but that within 10 years that will be up to 10%. And, he said, Fox’s O&Os will get 10%-15% of their revenue from the Internet “within the next few years.”
“Television is uniquely positioned to help you launch a Web site,” he added, saying that the sites that advertised on this year’s Super Bowl averaged an 80% increase in hits.
When News Corp. bought Myspace in 2005 there was no advertising revenue model there, he said, but now, Murdoch predicted, it will approach $1 billion in revenue per year in just a few years.
He also said that he is not angry with Google (with whom News Corp. has an advertising partnership with) for buying YouTube and not doing a deal with Fox for carrying material. But he said that he thought YouTube is “hard to monetize,” plus it was only going to have increasing copyright problems “as we’re seeing this week with [NBCU CEO Jeff ]Zucker’s critical comments yesterday and Viacom’s demand that it take down content.”
Distributing Fox and News Corp. content, including newspapers, on mobile phones will “be huge,” Murdoch said, “because there are three times as many phones out there than computers” so they are aggressively pursuing the mobile market.
In response to a question on My Network TV, he said: “We had to come up with something, it hasn’t worked so we’ll try something else. We can afford to make one or two mistakes.” Telenovelas were a good bet, he said, but in hindsight, it was too big a change going from UPN’s male, heavily minority audience to a program format that was primarily female directed.
When asked about his decision to sell DirecTV, he said that, in the long term, he doesn’t think satellite can compete with cable or phone companies because it can’t deliver broadband and can’t compete with cable companies’ ability to offer the “triple play” component of phone service.
In addition, he said, he’s no longer worried, as he once was, about cable operators not carrying Fox content and needing DirecTV as a pathway into homes.