Rupert Murdoch is still a believer in the written word, he has told staff in a memo confirming plans to split News Corporation into separate companies covering publishing and entertainment. The company is also to close its iPad venture.
The publishing operation, which includes News Limited in Australia and the company’s 50% ownership of Foxtel, will retain the name News Corporation. The other company, which will include the film and TV assets will be called Fox Group.
In a memo to staff, Murdoch wrote:
“Many of you know that a belief in the power of the written word has been in my bones for my entire life. It began as I listened to my father’s stories from his days as a war correspondent and, later, a successful publisher. It deepened when, starting in grammar school, I rolled up my sleeves and worked alongside fellow students to publish school journals. I witnessed the hunger people had for well-written, thoroughly observed stories … stories that provide not just information, but insight. That hunger is alive and well today; my personal mission is to serve and satisfy the human need for insight as well as I possibly can.
“Storytelling of a different kind has also empowered us to fuel the human spirit and enlighten the lives of millions of people through our film, TV and sports properties. We began more than 25 years ago with the acquisition of a modest but promising film studio and bucked conventional wisdom at every opportunity on our way to creating the world’s most successful media and entertainment portfolio. Fox Group will continue this mission and in doing so will engage audiences in a way that not only drives financial success, but also inspires the imaginations of millions of people around the world.
The announcement also confirmed Robert Thomson as CEO of the new News Corporation. Thomson, an Australian, worked as a writer on the Sydney Morning Herald and went on to edit the US edition of the Financial Times, The Times in London and the Wall Street Journal in the US.
News Limited’s Australian publishing assets include The Australian, The Telegraph in Sydney, the Courier Mail in Brisbane, the Herald Sun in Melbourne and news.com.au. The company also publishes magazines including Vogue, GQ, Delicious and Donna Hay.
The company also announced that it was closing its loss-making tablet publishing venture The Daily. Murdoch said in a press release: “From its launch, The Daily was a bold experiment in digital publishing and an amazing vehicle for innovation. Unfortunately, our experience was that we could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term.”