Business and the media with Rupert Murdoch

Business and the media with Rupert Murdoch

Peter Robinson: Welcome to Uncommon Knowledge.
I’m Peter Robinson. On the unexpected death of his father, Keith Rupert Murdoch became
the proprietor of the Adelaide News a the age of 22. Today, some five and a half decades
later, Rupert Murdoch owns the controlling interest in the News Corporation, which in
turn owns media properties on five continents; properties that include some 170 newspapers,
dozens of television stations, half a dozen television networks, a publishing company,
and a movie studio. The number of people who everyday receive
news or entertainment from a property owned by the man seated across the table from me
is some 200 million. Rupert Murdoch thank you for joining me. Rupert Murdoch: Thank you Peter. Peter Robinson: We’ll talk in a moment about
your underlying approach to business, but first one perfectly straightforward question.
When in July 2007, the News Corporation purchased Dow Jones, you paid $5 billion or $60 a share
which was premium of about two-thirds over the share price before news of your offer
became public. Why was Dow Jones worth $2 billion more to you than it was to the market?
Why did you see value that the market didn’t see? Rupert Murdoch: We saw in the Wall Street
Journal, and in the whole business of financial information. You know, a great central franchise
there, and something that we could develop as a national newspaper that could be unique
in this country. And that’s what we’re still working at very hard. And the fact
– but the price was it was a bit of it – like us, a bit of it was held by, in voting
shares. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: By a tight family that turned
out to be not quite so tight. And we, to get them to break or to move, you know, $6.00
was the sort of magic number. Peter Robinson: I see. Rupert Murdoch: Per share. Peter Robinson: But, well of course, since
you purchased, the advertising world has collapsed and…. Rupert Murdoch: Yes, it was different times. Peter Robinson: Of course it was different… Rupert Murdoch: I mean today they would have
been giving it to you probably. Peter Robinson: So, but no regrets about the
purchase or the price you paid at the time. Rupert Murdoch: None at all. Peter Robinson: All right. Segment one: On
the Cusp. Rupert Murdoch, February 2010. I’m quoting you. “The News Corporation is on
the cusp of a digital dynasty. Content is not just King, it is the Emperor.” Explain
yourself. Rupert Murdoch: It’s funny, because see,
Steve Jobs was in yesterday sharing his new iPad. And I went through that with him again.
I said, “Look you’re going to invent all these things. And they’re wonderful, brilliant,
but they mean nothing if you haven’t got content to put on them.” And he agreed completely. Peter Robinson: It’s… Rupert Murdoch: Yes, you’re going to have
iPods, anything you like, if you can’t do all these – someone’s got to supply. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: The information. Peter Robinson: Okay. So, I want to get back
to the digital world, the electronic world in a moment. But first let’s go to, to the
business to which you’ve dedicated most of your life. Newspapers, two sets of figures.
September 2007, just over a month after your purchase of the Wall Street Journal. Total
paid weekday circulation for the Wall Street Journal – 2,011, 882. Total paid weekday
circulation for the New York Times, 1,000,665. October 2009, the figure for the Wall Street
Journal is 2,024,000, up about half a percent. Circulation for the New York Times, 927,000,
down more than seven percent. And the New York Times wasn’t alone. Of the ten biggest
newspapers in the country, over that period only one, the Wall Street Journal, increased
circulation. How did you do that? Rupert Murdoch: I think we just kept improving
the quality. We didn’t do any special promotions. In fact we put the price up for subscriptions.
But we slowly brought in – widened the paper and it made it better and more, I think, more
reliable. I think I had much greater judgment now in coverage of foreign news. We have wonderful
correspondents. We’ve made – improved our Washington coverage greatly. We got a
long way to go in a lot of areas yet. But, we want to widen this audience, and specialize
in some other areas too, such as health and so on. Peter Robinson: And that doesn’t place at
risk the franchise of the business information, the business audience. Rupert Murdoch: Um-hum. Peter Robinson: You believe you can retain
that audience while broadening it to make it a truly national newspaper. Rupert Murdoch: Absolutely. You know, it’s
got, it’s called the Wall Street Journal. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: But for 50 years they’ve
been saying, “It’s the Main Street Journal.” It is for the small business owner, or businessman,
or person involved in business in anyway, all across the country. It’s not just for
Wall Street bankers. Peter Robinson: David Carr, writing in the
New York Times. Carr says that Robert Thompson, the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal.
And Jerrod Baker, the Deputy Managing Editor, quote, “The two men have had a big impact
on the papers in Washington coverage, adopting a more conservative tone and editing and headlining
articles to reflect chronic skepticism of the current administration.” Closed quote.
Fair? Rupert Murdoch: I don’t think it’s become
a conservative – maybe a little more balanced. I, if you read into every story, you know,
very carefully. You certainly, it certainly hasn’t become conservative. Were there,
in the past, a few correspondents there who had a bit of a left wing tinge in what, in
the way they covered stories? Yes, probably. Peter Robinson: Can I? According to the Gallup
organization, 20 percent of Americans call themselves liberals, 40 percent call themselves
conservative. I think we can accept, given the various polls that have done, been done,
through the years that there is newsroom surveys that overwhelmingly newspapers in this country
are dominated by editors and reporters who are liberal. Why shouldn’t the Wall Street
Journal be quite straightforward about saying, “We intend to be a newspaper for the rest
of Americans, and incidentally that market is twice as large.” Or is there a danger
in being explicit about it? How do you think that through? (Crosstalk) Peter Robinson: How do you think that through? Rupert Murdoch: We want to be objective, as
you, as one can be. And as thorough as one can be. And we think the rest of the press
is monolithically very often unfair. But you’ve forgot to mention the 40 percent of Americans
and to call themselves independents. Peter Robinson: Yes. Rupert Murdoch: Now, there are people who
don’t like either party. They’re not about to join the Republican party or – or the
Democratic party. This country is, I’d say, vaguely center-right in mood. And if you look
at me, and a few people you might say, “We’re a little bit more right than that.” But
the paper, I don’t think it’s the – there’s no question that the editorial
writer, the opinion pages of the back of the paper, of the front section. I consistently
take a, take a pretty conservative attitude. They’re never endorse candidates. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: But, they look very skeptically
at big government and what’s going on in Washington. Peter Robinson: All right. Segment two –
newspapers in the electronic age. Let me quote a golden age of freedom. This is a book
based on the Boyer lectures you gave in Australia. This is not available on Amazon, it’s only
available in Australia by the way. Let me quote you, “I have a simple and provocative
proposition. Winging about technology will get you nowhere. The more serious challenge
is the complacency and condescension that festers at the heart of some newsrooms.”
Would you care to name any of those newsrooms? Rupert Murdoch: I think, no. But I think most
newsrooms are very concerned with loss of jobs, loss of circulation, what’s happening,
lots of readership to the Internet. And don’t see really what they are. Newspapers seen
as tangible tactile things. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: I think we’ve got to look
at these organizations as news organs, and news organizations so that we don’t mind
how our words are read by the public. Whether they’re on the new iPad or the Kindle, or
other things that have – are coming – or, on paper itself. But the words should
be the same. Peter Robinson: All right. Last summer, former
CBS anchor Dan Rather. Delivered an address at the Aspen Institute, during which he actually
became teary eyed. Let me quote him. “It’s time the government made an effort to ensure
the survival of the free press. If we do nothing more than stand back and hope that innovation
alone will solve this crisis, then our best trained journalists will lose their job.” The government is bailing out the banks. The
government is bailing out the auto industries. Why shouldn’t the government bail out the
newspaper business. Rupert Murdoch: I think you’re talking rubbish
and I – and very dangerous rubbish. We don’t government money in that we want a free press.
It’s essential to the democracy that we have a free, and as far as possible, competitive
press. Or competitive information industry if you will. And you won’t get that if you
start having government dollars coming in. Peter Robinson: Now, you, I am to quote again
from the Golden Age of Freedom, “Readers want what they’ve always wanted. A source
they can trust. In short we are moving from newspapers to news brands.” Explain what
you mean by brand in that context. Rupert Murdoch: Well I think the Wall Street
Journal, maybe the New York Times, maybe the London Times, maybe you know, The Post for
that matter are known for what they are. And read and enjoyed for what they are. And I
think they should keep that. And we’ve got to strengthen those brands very much because
as the old printed newspaper becomes less. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: And the new electronic newspaper
becomes much more, the cost of entry in the competition…. Peter Robinson: Right, right, right. Rupert Murdoch: Is going to be a lot easier. Peter Robinson: Right, right. Rupert Murdoch: Which is a great thing for
the country, isn’t it. It’s not so good for companies like mine. Peter Robinson: Well, that… Rupert Murdoch: I’ve always said we have
to protect ourselves by getting better, and better. And being trusted in just 100 percent. Peter Robinson: So, that – I’ve got here
today’s New York Post, and The Journal. And of course you can see in the physical
object you’ve got a lot of ways of communicating the brand. Here’s the, the New York Post,
the shape of the paper, the feel of it says, “tabloid journal.” We’ve got a, a sort
of a classy broad sheet and feel. The size of the headlines, the placement of the photos.
And you can just, you can communicate the brand – the feel of the newspapers, literally,
in some ways the feel of the newspaper. Rupert Murdoch: I love that, I love it but
you see it so happens, New York Post, they are a tabloid, for what that means in America.
In fact, we are on exactly the same story, which is the economic crisis. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: As the Wall Street Journal
is, and naturally, being a popular paper, we’re on about the Super Bowl, which is
two days away. Peter Robinson: Right, right. But when you
look at these, when you reduce this post and the journal to the iPad that Steve Jobs was
showing you yesterday. Rupert Murdoch: Um-hum. Peter Robinson: Same size screen. Totally
flat, pixels. In other words, isn’t, isn’t it going to be harder to communicate a feel
for a paper. To communicate the brand over the Internet? Rupert Murdoch: No, I don’t think so. Peter Robinson: You don’t think so. Rupert Murdoch: We’re working very hard
about it. (Crosstalk) Rupert Murdoch: Some people may lose it. I
think if it just comes out looking like a dotcom if you will, you’re in great danger
of losing it. Peter Robinson: So design is going to be essential. Rupert Murdoch: Design and presentation. Peter Robinson: The feel of the story. Rupert Murdoch: Yes. And we’ll be in there
doing a lot of work now. We’ve got people working all over the world on it. As other
people have. And there’ll be many experiments. And we’ll see, what people, how people like
to read their news. Peter Robinson: Right. Let me – this business
about the barriers to entry dropping, and the question about branding. I’ll fumble
as I put this to you but I think there is an important question here. Say the Huffington
Post. Rupert Murdoch: Yes. Peter Robinson: No fixed costs of printing
presses or distribution, no department that knows how to hype, how to purchase newsprint
cheaply from Kent. They don’t have to worry about any of that. Are they going to be able
to develop a brand identity quickly enough? Will they be able to catch up with the Washington
Post, or indeed the Wall Street Journal? Or brands – is it the nature of a brand that
it takes decades to develop? Rupert Murdoch: I think it takes decades but
not necessarily. I think that the Huffington Post is a non-profit organization virtually.
They’re going to have to charge for it. Peter Robinson: Fighting words? All right. Rupert Murdoch: No, no, no – nobody makes
money on the internet, depending on display advertising. Peter Robinson: All right. Rupert Murdoch: They’re not going to make
any real money off search and Google. And I think they’re going to be under threat
from Apple and other people. They’re going to see some very interesting battles in Silicon
Valley between the giants. But they’ll be the two giants that will clash rather than
Microsoft. Peter Robinson: So new ventures. Your judgment
then is that new ventures such as the Huffington Post had better be on your radar because they
do have a chance at it if they’re smart. They can develop brand identity for… Rupert Murdoch: Yes, they can if they want
to, yes. I mean, we might even – we’re looking at one of them, one of the business
models we’re looking at is offering on the iSlate a bundle of newspapers, and which would
include some competitors. Peter Robinson: I see. Rupert Murdoch: And we’re not having, averse
to putting competitors with different views. All for one price which might be five, six
dollars a week. Is that right? I think, give people a number of newspapers. Peter Robinson: I see, okay. All right. Segment
three. The proprietor. A number of features appear again, and again, throughout your career.
One is the impulse to build. When your father died and you took over the Adelaide News one
regional newspaper within a few years, which is to say while you were still in your twenties,
you purchased the Sunday Times in Perth. You purchased Suburban and provincial newspapers
in New South Whales, Queensland, Victoria, the Northern Territory. And you purchased
the Daily Mirror in Sydney. Your father didn’t do that sort of acquisitive building. You
did in your twenty – where did that come from? Where did that come from? Rupert Murdoch: Well he did well because he
was, I thought, a great man. But he was the, he had built a great newspaper, group if you
like. But as an editor and then a managing editor, and onto chief executive. He didn’t
own them. And was in Melbourne, and I experienced that sort of life. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: And couldn’t imagine any
other life as good as that, as running newspapers or being in that… so involved in current
affairs and everything. And there I was into the Adelaide, and with the Adelaide News in
a, in an interesting and cheeky war against their much bigger paper. And we did buy some
things but they were all things that were going broke. And so we’re going to try and
turn things around. Peter Robinson: Was there a moment… Rupert Murdoch: And baffle them, and they
were very opportunistic things that, in the effort to be bigger than just Adelaide. Peter Robinson: So, did you say to yourself
as a business matter I have to build in order to continue competing in Australia. Or did
you say to yourself, equity, I want to own properties? Rupert Murdoch: No, in order to compete because
so much we could – there was so little we could do just in Adelaide. You know, we were
buying cartoons and stories from features, from bigger newspapers, and bigger cities.
And I said, and that one later my same motivation in television from a little television station
in Adelaide. Having to take programs from bigger things. And then, finally, I got bigger.
I finally had to take him to Hollywood and it all led to me taking the opportune –
when it came, many years later – the opportunity to actually have a studio where you make your
own product. Peter Robinson: All right. I still think there’s
something exceptional there even though to you it all felt like a natural progression. Rupert Murdoch: Um-hum. Peter Robinson: It’s a striking progression… Rupert Murdoch: Well it was opportunistic
and then it was like London. I worked as a cadet almost. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: After I left Oxford for a
year on the London Daily Express and just loved every minute of it. And knew all the
people there. And 15 years later in the midst of coming to the end of a huge war. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: Tabloids in Sydney. I couldn’t
understand how three of us could survive in Sydney if only just and there was only one
in the whole of Britain. Peter Robinson: Right, right. Rupert Murdoch: So, you know. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: I took the first opportunity
I had to jump in there. Peter Robinson: Here’s another feat –
you’re leading to another feature of your career which is taking on the establishment.
Taking on various establishments. I, you become proprietor of your father’s paper, the Adelaide
News. And the big newspaper in town, the Adelaide Advertiser leans on you and sends your mother
a letter. Rupert Murdoch: Um-hum. Peter Robinson: Pressuring her to sell to
them. And what did then, 24-year-old Rupert Murdoch do? He published the letter on the
front page of the Adelaide News and started a circulation war with the Adelaide advertiser.
And did pretty well out of it. Rupert Murdoch: Right. Peter Robinson: Years later you’re in Britain.
The printer’s union is choking the newspaper business in Britain. You see Critley begin
putting state of the art printing presses in a warehouse in Whopping. An undistinguished
suburb of London. And then you suddenly announced that you are moving the Times of London, this
mythic property from Fleet Street out to the warehouse in Whopping. And you just took them.
In fact, you tell what happened as a result of that move? The unions did not like it,
to put it mildly. Rupert Murdoch: We had a horrible strike.
We always had the London Sun and a different pub, which was printing four million copies
a day and to some respects less. Those are the times…. Peter Robinson: The Sunday… (Crosstalk) Rupert Murdoch: The Sunday Times was a big
property. Peter Robinson: The Sun was and I believe
still remains the biggest circulation English language newspaper in the world. Is that not
so? Rupert Murdoch: Oh, yes – yes, certainly. Peter Robinson: Correct? All right. Rupert Murdoch: And his dinks still very,
very well. But what happened was. I mean the unions – I can’t begin to describe. The
old craft unions and how they behaved, and continued to behave. We all are newspapers.
There wasn’t a newspaper that didn’t miss an edition once a week or so something. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: Or appear full of mistakes
because people are fighting for anything. And the publishers at Worth, always get together
once a week as they were going to stand together. And then, before they got back to their offices,
someone had broken down and given into it. So, I just waited until I thought I was big
enough and strong enough. And things changed but we, but out of a labor government or conservative
government, although we didn’t get. We never had any contact or asked for any help. They
automatically did at least protect us with a lot of police, and some. But yes, when the contracts came to an end,
we presented them with a new contract which we knew they would reject. So we just went
on printing but edited from place. And with different distribution over the whole country,
which had been planned in great detail for a year with a huge operation and very, very
nice. Because we immediately had thousands of people at our front gates. And, uhm… Peter Robinson: Willing to work. Rupert Murdoch: No. Peter Robinson: The protesting, you mean. Rupert Murdoch: Protesting. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: Not just us strikers but… (Crosstalk) Peter Robinson: He got violent. He got violent. Rupert Murdoch: It’s amazing in the middle
of the ‘80s. It doesn’t sound so long ago. The people like their worker’s revolutionary
party, the trotskyites, or whatever. They all came out on the Saturday night and a Wednesday
night. That was like a big night out for them. And the police would be there, and the horses.
And they’d be throwing darts into the back of the horses who would rear up. And the television
lights would come on. And we, what was really interesting was the major industrial figures.
People like the head of ICI, and so on, went on the BBC and said, “This is not the British
way to conduct relations.” But we couldn’t get to those players anyway. After a couple of weeks I had a deal with
a, with the head of the union, secretly. And he was the, a very nice lady. And I never
heard from her again. She couldn’t summit to the union at all. Peter Robinson: Um-hum. Rupert Murdoch: So they stayed out. And a
year later they settled that they’d never come back and take one week pay for every
year they’d been working for me. And, which was half of what I’d offered a year before.
And that was it. Peter Robinson: You tricked them on. Rupert Murdoch: And there’s still a lot
of bitterness around but not much. Peter Robinson: Right, right. You faced them
down. Rupert Murdoch: We faced them down. Peter Robinson: You faced them down. Rupert Murdoch: And it was yes. Peter Robinson: What establishment… (Crosstalk) Rupert Murdoch: That was an epic battle. It
was the first major in fifty years or certainly, 40 years – industrial dispute that had been
won in Britain by the, a private employer. Peter Robinson: And if… (Crosstalk)
Peter Robinson: I would argue that it’s, that it teed up Mrs. Thatcher’s battle,
the decisive battle with the TUC over the coal mines, you know. Rupert Murdoch: It followed that. Peter Robinson: It followed that? Rupert Murdoch: It followed that. Peter Robinson: Oh, okay. Rupert Murdoch: That was somewhat of a cue
to me. Peter Robinson: Oh, I see. All right. So what
establishment are you taking on now? Rupert Murdoch: Oh? Nothing like that. But
certainly I would say the somewhat monolithic liberal press here. I can’t buy any newspapers
here – and to buy them, any number, for next to nothing. But my shareholders would
be in revolt. Not that they can throw me out but it would be very destructive of values.
But, no, we’ll get there. And have, I – we believe by making far the best newspaper
in this country it will rub off onto others. Peter Robinson: Is there room for two national
newspapers in the United States? Rupert Murdoch: There should be. Peter Robinson: The Wall Street Journal and
the New York Times. Rupert Murdoch: With New York Times. We outsell
the… outside New York, we outsell the New York Times, by about three and a half to one.
In New York, they outsell us by about two to one. So we’re starting a new edition,
all right, in New York with an extra ten pages or so. I don’t know how many pages, I think
ten pages, or – of just New York years. Peter Robinson: You just can’t resist a
flight. Segment four, liberty. As an undergraduate at Wooster College, Oxford, you attended meetings
of the Communist Club of Oxford. And you kept a bust of Lennon in your rooms. Three decades
later, you’d become a friend and champion of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Explain
yourself? Rupert Murdoch: right, I grew up. But I say
it wasn’t the communist party. And there was, it was a labor… Peter Robinson: Were you just playing at it
when you were… Rupert Murdoch: It was the labor club. Peter Robinson: Labor club for it. All right. (Crosstalk) Rupert Murdoch: And, uhm… Peter Robinson: But you supported labor when
Clement Atlee was Prime Minister. Clement Atlee was in his final year if I remember
it correctly. He was Prime Minister…. (Crosstalk) Rupert Murdoch: Oh yes, I remember all my
tutors were lecturing me, that, you know, that the world had changed. And the welfare
state was the new thing, and so on and I’m done. Yes. (Crosstalk) Peter Robinson: So at the age of 21 you’d
bought it. Rupert Murdoch: And Kevin Atlee wasn’t all
that bad a Prime Minister. It so happened, it was his cabinet that it was his problem.
But, you know, things are different in those days. The conservative party was pathetic.
We didn’t have the real philosophical things going on that you have today. Peter Robinson: Okay, but. Rupert Murdoch: You know, I’d yes, you know,
I’ve. I guess being in business and, uhm, just growing up. Peter Robinson: Just growing up. All right.
Prime Minister Thatcher privatized one industry after another between her taking on the TUC,
your taking on the printers’ unions. Rupert Murdoch: We supported her all the way
through. Peter Robinson: All the way through. Ronald
Reagan cuts, cut taxes and reduced regulations, and in both Britain and America today, two
decades later, the impulse is just the reverse toward expanding this state, toward rolling
back the Thatcher achievements and the Reagan achievements. Are you surprised? Did you think
Thatcher and Reagan had made permanent progress? Are you surprised to see it? Rupert Murdoch: I thought they had and I still
think they have. (Crosstalk) Peter Robinson: You’ll have to do. (Crosstalk) Rupert Murdoch: I mean just look at what’s
happening here and what the mood of this country is today. The western part of the world, if
you will, right? North America and Europe are questioning all the precepts of capitalism.
The two countries that are screaming for more capitalism are China and Brazil. And, I think
we’re getting into some very dangerous territory here where, with these deficits, and where
China is now our greatest creditor and let’s us know every week, and as rudely as they
can. Peter Robinson: Right, now you right –
you’re right again and a golden age of freedom. In late 1978 Deng Xiaopeng faced a China devastated
by years Miles misrule. He made a courageous decision to embrace the market by every measure
– diet, education, life expectancy. Chinese today are better off than their parents or
grandparents. The Chinese have been liberated. To what extent does the fantastically rapid
growth in China represent an opportunity for the United States. And to what extent does
it represent a political, perhaps even a military danger? Rupert Murdoch: Well I hope it’s not a military
danger but I – fear that. Peter Robinson: You do feel that – you do
fear it? You consider it… Rupert Murdoch: Well, slightly, slightly… Peter Robinson: You do… Rupert Murdoch: I think, you know, we should
be doing a lot more. I mean the Chinese navy is already building better submarines than
we are. And more of them. They’re expanding into Africa enormously. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: Buying anything they can get.
Are they going to try and, you know, make the Indian Ocean a Chinese lake, or the Pacific
Ocean. I mean there, there are big things to say, but… Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: I think, you know, it, within
the Chinese character. They’re very, very proud of the material progress that they’ve
made. And the position where there are greatest debtor) and they, you know, they’re making
up for the bad few hundred years that the western powers gave them. (Crosstalk) Rupert Murdoch: They have long memories. Peter Robinson: Right, right. Let me take
you, let me take you to the particular point of friction at the moment. Google – Google
in mid-December detects a cyber attack. I’m quoting you now from Google documents. “Google
loses intellectual property of its own. It discovers that at least 20 other companies
are targeted in this attack.” And I’m quoting the Google document. “A primary
goal of the attackers was accessing the accounts of Chinese human rights activists.” What
is Google doing about it? I quote again, “We will be discussing with the Chinese government
the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine, if at all. We recognize that
this may well mean having to shut down Google China, and potentially our offices in China.”
Is Google playing this right? What do the Chinese think they’re doing? Rupert Murdoch: Well, I’m in a minority
here. But I believe they are. Peter Robinson: That Google is playing it
right. Rupert Murdoch: Yes, and I’m probably in
a minority even if I know the people who are running Google. But at least one of the major
controllers, and earners are Google who had his youth in Russia. Had made this a great
point of principle. And I think that… Peter Robinson: And he is right to do so. Rupert Murdoch: Yes, and I, I think it’s
very brave. I don’t think it’s, I think they’re going to lose their business. I
don’t believe that… Peter Robinson: The Chinese will stand on
it, will stand firm. Rupert Murdoch: Oh yes, the Chinese are not
going to… The Chinese are not going to lose face and change their rules. Peter Robinson: Okay. Rupert Murdoch: Not, not under the glare of
this publicity. Peter Robinson: Should Google… Rupert Murdoch: I mean, you know, I’m, in
a matter of five-years time it may be quite different. (Crosstalk) Peter Robinson: Could Google have handled
it quietly? Could Google, should Google have handled it more quietly. Or you, you think
they’re exactly right to face the Chinese and make a point of… (Crosstalk) Rupert Murdoch: I think that. Yes. Peter Robinson: You do? Rupert Murdoch: Yes. Peter Robinson: Do the Chinese…? Rupert Murdoch: I mean they could have gone
and complained privately and so on. But it wouldn’t have changed anything. And they
would have had to explain why they were pulling out. Peter Robinson: And do the Chinese understand
the repercussions of this throughout the western where every businessman who’s doing business
with China is now, now says to himself, “Wait a moment. At the next shareholder’s meeting
somebody’s going to stand up and say, ‘why am I not being as brave as the, as Google.
Where is our – where is the principles of our?’” Isn’t that going to put everybody
who’s doing business with China, including you in a tight spot? Rupert Murdoch: I don’t do business with
China. We have a few minor events and we don’t operate anything in China. Peter Robinson: Oh, you don’t? Oh, all right.
Everything is based outside. Rupert Murdoch: Um-hum. Peter Robinson: So but, do you reckon the
Chinese know what they’re doing here? Rupert Murdoch: Now, you’re going through
a period in China where the regime, or the, those who are in control of the regime, who
had the majority of the regime. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: Are clamping down very, very
hard on any sort of free expression. And their own local newspapers and everything. And,
you know, they’re term will be up in about three years. And then we’ll see. I think
there are a whole lot of opinions going on, you know, within. I’m speculating, but within
the sort of central council of, the inner central council of nine and the conservatives
have the majority at the moment. But you’re going to see when the next regime comes in.
Nothing dramatic but the beginning of an opening up. Peter Robinson: From a Golden Age of Freedom:
“By 2025, about 520 million Chinese should reach the upper middle-class. These people
want the same things we do. Good housing, a first rate education for their children.
By 2025, will the Chinese also want and perhaps have obtained some measure of democracy?” Rupert Murdoch: 2025 is pretty soon, but yes.
I believe, you know, you’ll have the communist party like an umbrella. But there are wings
of the communist party and the debates that go on between them now behind closed doors
will begin to go on, you know… Peter Robinson: In public. Rupert Murdoch: In the public eye. The Chinese
are, you know, are very nationalistic, and very patriotic people. I don’t see it falling
apart or there being a revolution there at all. But will, you know, political debate
become more open? Yes, I think it will. Peter Robinson: All right. Segment five, our
final segment. The difficult task of getting paid. Rupert Murdoch in his December testimony
to the Federal Trade Commission, “We need to do a better job of persuading consumers
that high quality, reliable news and information does not come free. The critics say people
won’t pay, I believe they will.” You believe because that’s a gut instinct based on all
your years of business. You believe because you’ve focus tested it. Fill me in, fill
me in. (Crosstalk) Rupert Murdoch: Oh, focus tested it, yes but
I don’t have great faith in focus tests. Peter Robinson: You don’t. Rupert Murdoch: But, a point – an example.
Is the Kindle, which I don’t, which is great for reading books but it is not a great newspaper
experience. But almost without solicitation about 30,000 people buy the Wall Street Journal
on the Kindle everyday. Peter Robinson: Really? Rupert Murdoch: Yes. Peter Robinson: With all, with no marketing
effort to speak of. Rupert Murdoch: None from us, no. Peter Robinson: So, that’s okay. It’ll
be totally different when you get the iPad. I was going to say, “What? Is the iPad?” Rupert Murdoch: And there will be other I-slates,
so whatever, you get it in four colors. You’ll be able to do anything on that. You’d be
able to do your search, your buy – your buy books. See what you can watch movies,
television shows, and certainly any number of newspapers. Peter Robinson: All right. Here. Emily Bell
who runs the website of the Guardian, which is a big website. The Guardian has a big online
readership. Rupert Murdoch: They do. They’ve made a
bigger, long-term investment. Peter Robinson: Yep. And her reply to the
notion that readers will pay for online comment runs as follows, and I am quoting her: “Rubbish,
bonkers, a form of madness.” Now in your mind this is not even a debate anymore. She’s
just wrong and that’s all there is to it. Rupert Murdoch: Yes. Peter Robinson: All right. Thank you very
much. Just over a week ago as you and I talked the Wall Street Journal went behind a paywall.
You can’t get it unless you pay for it now. Can you tell results? What’s the metric
by which your going to… Rupert Murdoch: Yes, we’ve actually had
an increase in circulation, electronic. Well, the Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: Yes. Was always behind a pay
wall, except for all the editorial comment and op-ed pages. Peter Robinson: Right. You, that’s. Rupert Murdoch: You can put a lot of that,
now, behind a pay wall. And it’s caused a reaction upwards into, into – in people
buying the W, and subscribing to Peter Robinson: So, it’s working. Rupert Murdoch: Yes. Peter Robinson: Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google,
quote: “In general, the models that require readers to pay for online content have not
worked for general public consumption. So my guess is that for niche and specialist
markets it will be possible to charge for online content but I think it is unlikely
that you will be able to do it for all the news. So if I were to take Schmidt’s observation
and play devil’s advocate, I’d say, “Mr. Murdoch, you’re going to be able to pull
it off with the Wall Street Journal because that has such a clear brand, and because so
many people rely on it for a specific kind of information, financial information.”
But although it moves me to tears to say so because I so love it, the Post might not work
online. And how do you reply to that? Rupert Murdoch: Oh, I disagree totally. Peter Robinson: You do? Rupert Murdoch: Absolutely. I think people.
There are certain sections of the Post, particularly, and I think it’s a very intelligent paper
in the way it handles politics, no. But what people like about the Post, I mean, there
are groups of people who just, women who live on page six. I can’t understand that. But
much, much bigger groups of people. Peter Robinson: Page six is the gossip page. Rupert Murdoch: Who recognize that it’s
the best sports paper, and best sports coverage. And they’ll buy it. But, you know, they
might be buying it at these prices. We might be using paper. We will not be, we won’t
be using trucks. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: It’ll come out at, on the
wi-fi and be picked up on these, on these readers. And we’ll be able to, you know,
make a very economic and attractive package to be able to… Peter Robinson: Let me ask you a question
about that then. So, this stuff isn’t expensive print, a newsprint and the distribution. Rupert Murdoch: You bet. Peter Robinson: Five years from now? Ten years
from now? When will this cease to be available as a physical object? Do you have a plan in
mind or at least a notional number? Rupert Murdoch: No, no… Peter Robinson: How long can you afford to
carry those…. Rupert Murdoch: We’ll talk about it. (Crosstalk) Peter Robinson: … fixed costs. Rupert Murdoch: We think Peter, we’ll be
buying papers, and enjoying papers, and the tactile experience of reading. Probably for
decades but certainly for one, but at least two. Peter Robinson: All right, all right. Okay.
Final couple of questions. Rupert Murdoch: But we have, we will reach
a vastly bigger audience. Once you see things like the iPad out there. Peter Robinson: You love the iPad. That’s
going to make a difference. Rupert Murdoch: Well, I’ve been sold on
it because they were up here yesterday with it. But it, and we were all playing with it.
And we were all very impressed. Peter Robinson: Okay. Umm, final couple of
questions. Rupert Murdoch: Any little. Okay, but there’ll
be so many applications on it that they have, which usually, if you have an iPhone you’ll
be able to starting with it. Peter Robinson: Right. Rupert Murdoch: That a lot of people will
go to an application like where’s the best restaurant. Peter Robinson: It will be… Rupert Murdoch: The right suburb or where’s
this, or that. That you’ll find, that will eat into the Google search. Peter Robinson: I see. Rupert Murdoch: Which is an interesting sideline
to this. Peter Robinson: I see, all right. This year
Fox News is expected to brew some $700 million in operating profits. 20th Century Fox, you
haven’t even started to book the profits from Avatar, which apparently is going to
be the biggest selling movie in history. Rupert Murdoch: Not necessarily the most profitable,
but yes. Peter Robinson: Well, it was an expensive
picture to make on the market. Rupert Murdoch: Very expensive picture to
make. Very expensive picture to distribute and so on. And, you know, we’ll do, probably
$700 million or so in this country, of which…. (Crosstalk) Peter Robinson: $700 million net, or gross? Rupert Murdoch: No, no, no, no. Gross. Peter Robinson: Okay, all right. Rupert Murdoch: Of which 60 percent would
go to the, through the Fox coffers should we say. Peter Robinson: All right. Rupert Murdoch: And internationally the rest
is about 42 percent or something like that. In the case of China it’s about 15 percent. Peter Robinson: I see. Rupert Murdoch: That thing goes into the pond.
We get, we get a distribution fee on the lap. The director gets a – a percentage. And
then we lay it off to, to be those – a risky film. We let a lot of the risk off. Peter Robinson: Don’t tell me it would credit
default swabs. Rupert Murdoch: No, no, no. But what it means
is that we were never in danger of losing my seat. (Crosstalk) Rupert Murdoch: Okay. We run a very conservative
studio. But we will do very nicely out of it, don’t worry. Peter Robinson: I’m Avatar. All right, all
right. So television, film. Hugely profitable. And yet everybody who knows you will say that
Rupert Murdoch still cares about newspapers. Rupert Murdoch: Sure. Peter Robinson: Why is that? Why did you just
say, “Oh, let’s just carry these. But just – let’s. All our emphasis on these
new, on film and television. These wonderfully profitable new avenues.” Rupert Murdoch: Well, I’m just a curious
citizen. And I’d love to know what’s going on in the world and be part of it. And it’s
different everyday. And it’s a, it’s a great challenge, particularly what I love
about a newspaper is, you can always produce a better one the next day or the next edition.
It’s a constant work whereas, you know, to make a film it’s often two years of agony. Peter Robinson: Right. Your grandfather was
a minister. Your father. I’m quoting once again from a Golden Age of Freedom. This is
you: “I was raised in a newspaper family by a father who believed that newspaper was
among the most important instruments of human freedom. My father said that the press must
be more than merely free, it must be fact finding, and truth seeking to the limit of
human capacity and enterprise.” I put it to you that hard boiled businessman though
you maybe. At some level you’re a missionary. It may drive your investors mad but at some
level you feel a missionary impulse. Rupert Murdoch: Thank you. Peter Robinson: Will you let that stand? Or
will you… Rupert Murdoch: I will let it. I will let
that stand… Peter Robinson: You will, you will let that
stand? Rupert Murdoch: Proudly and I thank you, yes. Peter Robinson: Rupert Murdoch, thank you
very much for joining us. Rupert Murdoch: Thank you. Peter Robinson: Rupert Murdoch, founder and
chairman of the News Corporation, thank you. I’m Peter Robinson for Uncommon Knowledge.
Thanks for joining us. Rupert Murdoch Interview ? Page 22 of 22 ?

16 thoughts on “Business and the media with Rupert Murdoch

  1. @Federalist306 You need to have the Bankers backing you …and the CFR …
    his news is mass manipulation media …just like all the others …..

  2. What an awful interivew The interviewer is practically star-struck by him, and not asking any serious questions. Also, the fact that he presumes that the British Labour Party, merely for being left wing, concludes that it is the communist party, shows how dumb he is.

  3. Very smart man, wouldn't want to stumble into his lair during a superbowl ….. scary.
    Sadly, his corporation, as he no doubt knows, is extremely manipulative in attempting to change society through so many manners. Psychologically, culturally, politically and economically are just some of the methods. Imagine what great feats he may have achieved if he directed his empire instead of the promotion of corporations but to the good of mankind.

  4. How many people have died because of Murdochs Propaganda Media Machine, always biased & mainipulative. As always mixing the truth up with the lies so that people can never really figure out what really is going on. They'll tell you what they want you to beleive & not report on the real issues when something big is going down if they choose so as not to imform you on to achieve the goal they wish to seek. Alternative media is the way to go, Mainstream Media is totally corupt

  5. @wighto73 what condescending rubbish. " instead of the promotion of corporations but to the good of mankind." What the hell does that mean? Is there any corporation that doesn't act in its own interests? What about HUMAN BEINGS? What, is Al Gore some super man who is acting out of the goodness of his heart?

    His interests are decidedly more selfish and parasitic than any corporation's.

  6. @paulhughes1379 they might as well be communists considering they flushed Britain's economy and healthcare down the toilet. Kruschev could only be so envious.

  7. I wonder if any of the 9 people who disliked this video didn't even watch it, but simply disliked it because they disagree with the point of view of Fox News.

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