Lachlan Murdoch describes ’emotional’ return to News Corp, drives print future line

News Corp 'Come together Event' for Business and Media. (L-R) CEO News Corp (US) Julian Clarke, Co- Chairman News Corp, Lachlan Murdoch, Sarah Murdoch, Foxtel Australi,a Richard Freudenstein, CEO News Corp (Australia) Robert Thomson.

News Corp ‘Come together Event’ for Business and Media.
(L-R) CEO News Corp (Aus) Julian Clarke, Co- Chairman News Corp, Lachlan Murdoch, Sarah Murdoch, Foxtel Australi,a Richard Freudenstein, CEO News Corp (US) Robert Thomson.

Lachlan Murdoch has delivered his first public speech since rejoining News Corp outlining his reasons for returning to the company after an absence of almost a decade and reiterating the company’s commitment to print and “quality journalism”.

Murdoch parted ways with the company in 2005 after his father Rupert Murdoch allegedly failed to back him in a power struggle with senior executives Roger Ailes and Peter Chernin over the company’s direction.

Last night Murdoch fronted the second News Corp ‘upfronts’ presentation in Melbourne, after making an appearance at last week’s sister event in Sydney where he did not make a speech, and described his return as “emotional” but emphasised the opportunities ahead of the company.

“Coming back to News felt right emotionally for many reasons,” Murdoch told the audience in Melbourne. “But the reasoned side of why I am so excited to be working more closely with my father, with (global CEO) Robert Thomson, with Julian (Clarke), and  with the rest of the team in London, New York and here in Australia, is because I can see a myriad of opportunities ahead.”

He also touched on the challenges facing the company which include dramatically declining print circulation and advertising revenue.

“Yes, challenges too, but far more opportunities than challenges,” he said.

He went on to claim no media company was in a stronger position to face the uncertainties of the digital age than News Corp.

“We lead the way at the cutting edge of the media, publishing and education industries,” he said. “We have an aggressive digital expansion plan, as well as innovation and new initiatives within even our most well-established market and sector leaders.”

Murdoch emphasised the company’s strength in print with publications in the US such as The Wall Street Journal, the Sunday Times and The Sun in the UK and Sunday Telegraph and Herald Sun in Australia as well as the company’s subscription television provider Foxtel.

He also made the claim that News Corp was ahead of the pack when it came to the digital space, and  had been so long before the company’s competitors.

“We have encouraged and nourished a passion for change and, in many ways, a start up, anti-establishment culture in many of our businesses,” he said. “We’ve had that culture since before it was trendy to do so.”

This follows comments by Thomson in The Australian on Monday that the company believed there are “decades” left in the print media industry.

Murdoch also revisited the company’s decision to split the film and publishing divisors of company due to their increasingly “unwieldy” nature and that this had enabled Fox to focus on film while News Corp was now able to: “focus at its very core on the craft of journalism”.

He finished by remarking on the fact he had not been in the News Corp Holt Street Headquarters for a decade and that a few weeks ago on his return he encountered the remains of an old printing press in the underground car park – and stated that while the company was in a  “leading position” in the digital space he used the anecdote to make the claim that “printed papers will for many years to come be a foundation for this company”.

Robert Burton-Bradley


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