Rupert Murdoch is without question the best known media tycoon since William Randolph Hearst. Like him or loathe him, his News Corporation single-handedly defined the nature of the modern media corporation from 1975 until its partial break-up in 2013. No other group has come close to emulating its combination of broad-ranging assets and ground-breaking technology and strategy. And while other groups were forged by many hands, News Corporation was very much the result of one man's personal vision. Yet the phone hacking scandal at his British newspaper division, which reached a crescendo in 2011 and threatened to spread contagion to other parts of the group, created the biggest threat to-date to the empire. Partly as a result of these problems, Murdoch demerged the global publishing business into a separate entity in 2013. This took on the name News Corporation, while the old parent company became 21st Century Fox. The bulk of News Corp's business now comprises traditional newspaper publishing, and its digital equivalent. Other old school assets include book publisher HarperCollins - now the global #2 by revenues behind Random House Penguin - as well as coupon and in-store marketing division News America Marketing. The latter is undergoing a strategic review in 2019 and is likely to be sold. News Corp also now controls Australian satellite broadcaster Foxtel (with Telstra as minority partner). However its fastest-growing and most profitable business by far is its collection of digital real estate websites in the US, Australia and South East Asia. These include Realtor.com, Moving.com, Realestate.com.au and iProperty.com.my. Rupert Murdoch will turn 90 in 2021, yet he still maintains direct personal control over all aspects of his wide-ranging empire as executive chairman, even if most day-to-day responsibility is now delegated to his eldest son and co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch and chief executive Robert Thomson. Revenues for the year to June 2020 were $9.0bn and a net loss of $1.6bn, reflecting a $1.7bn impairment against Foxtel in Australia and News America. Digital real estate accounted for less than 12% of revenues but 29% of combined profits.
Capsule checked 22nd July 2019
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Historical profile information for News Corporation
Adbrands Daily Update 31st Jul 2020: In a comparatively rare example of dissension within the Murdoch family ranks, Rupert Murdoch's younger son James Murdoch announced his resignation from the board of News Corporation. "My resignation is due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the company's news outlets and certain other strategic decisions," he said in a statement. He no longer has any formal role at the family's other media enterprise Fox Corporation, having resigned as the CEO of its predecessor 21st Century Fox following the sale of most of that company to Walt Disney. Unlike his highly conservative father and his elder brother Lachlan, James Murdoch is positioned towards the political left, and has donated large sums to a committee supporting Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Aug 2018: Net losses at Murdoch-controlled News Corporation more than doubled in the year to June 2018 to $1.4bn as a result of impairments and costs associated with the merger of Australian pay-TV channels Fox Sports and Foxtel and also against US-based marketing arm News America. Revenues rose 11% to $9.0bn, with almost half the uplift coming from newly consolidated Foxtel. The group's star performer was once again the digital real estate division, comprising Realtor.com and Move.com in the US and RealEstate.com.au in Australia. Its revenues soared 22% to $1.1bn, and operating profits jumped 24% to $401m, accounting for around 40% of group profits. Revenues in the core newspaper division edged up just 1% to $5.1bn but operating income slipped 5%.
Adbrands Weekly Update 24th Jun 2018: Cannes Lions 2018: And so Cannes Lions 2018 draws to a close. Two separate campaigns won different Grand Prix with a similar theme of recreating a lost voice. The Grand Prix for Creative Data went to Irish agency Rothco for 'JFK Unsilenced', a campaign for the Irish edition of News Corporation's The Times newspaper. On the day John F Kennedy was assassinated, he was on his way to the Dallas Trade Mart to deliver a speech. The speech was already written but he died before he could deliver it. Rothco used vocal extracts from 831 other speeches delivered by JFK to recreate the one he never gave, spoken in his own voice. A similar concept lay behind Australian agency BWM Dentsu's 'Project Revoice' campaign for The ALS Association. ALS sufferer Pat Quinn helped to launch the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge - a huge viral triumph four years ago - while himself suffering from the early stages of the disease. He is no longer able to speak, so BWM Dentsu pioneered a technique for cloning and rebuilding his voice so that he can communicate naturally with his carers; the same technique can now be deployed for other sufferer of the disease. This was the worthy winner of the Grand Prix for Good.
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