The News Corp CEO just said in an interview on Fox News that his son is happy running his businesses in Australia. And there’s no decision yet about whether Rupert’s other kids — including James and Elisabeth Murdoch — might play bigger roles once the media giant is divided into an entertainment company and a publishing one. “They have to earn it, and they have to want it,” Rupert says. He also told interviewer Neil Cavuto that he’s no longer interested in BSkyB. “We’ve moved on in our thinking….I’m much more bullish about America.” Europe is in for “a tough, long haul” and possibly a recession, while “we’ve got things to be very bullish about in this country.” No, he isn’t tacitly endorsing President Obama. “I’m taking a medium and long term view” of the economy. Indeed, he says that the presidential election might not have a big impact on News Corp although “if taxes go up, we’ll have less cash. If that happens, the economy will go down.”
The UK government and regulator, Ofcom, are taking the next steps to bring the Digital Economy Act’s mass notification system on copyright infringement into effect. After a court case slowed down the legislation, Ofcom’s new draft code is now expected to head to Parliament later this year. The code calls on ISPs to alert subscribers when their connection is suspected of being used to illegally share films or music. For now, the code covers ISPs with more than 400K broadband customers including BT, Everything Everywhere, O2, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin. BT and Talk Talk had previously argued that it was not for them to police their customers, but they lost on appeal. ISPs will also be required to explain to subscribers how they can protect their networks and where they can find licensed content. Copyright owners in turn are expected to invest in awareness campaigns and develop “attractive online services to offer their content.” The government, for its part, has put secondary legislation before Parliament that would see the notification system paid for by rights holders with ISPs paying a smaller element.
LONDON and SANTA MONICA, June 18, 2012 – Leading global film and television studio Miramax and BSkyB (Sky), the most comprehensive multichannel, multi-platform television service in the UK and Ireland, today announced the completion of a new licensing deal.
Under the terms of the agreement, Sky will hold exclusive rights to a substantial package of Miramax films including Academy Award® winning Life is Beautiful, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Spy Kids, and Starsky & Hutch among others. These titles will be delivered across the range of Sky Movies subscription channels in high definition (HD), through Sky’s on-demand service Sky Anytime+ and on the move via Sky Go.
A Labour Party motion calling for an investigation into Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s handling of News Corp’s bid for BSkyB has been quashed in Britain’s House of Commons. Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party prevailed in the vote, winning by 290 to 252. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg had called for his Liberal Democrats to abstain in what now looks like an effort to make a point in the face of Cameron’s earlier independent decision not to launch a Hunt probe.
Overall, Clegg cut a humble figure at Leveson saying he was basically relegated to the kids’ table the first time he met Rupert Murdoch. His party faced “indifference at best, and derision at worst” from Murdoch execs, he said. Still, regarding BSkyB, he was told by a Parliamentary aide that it “would be good for the Lib Dems to be open to the bid, otherwise we would expect no favorable treatment from the Murdoch press.” Clegg said he once questioned the timing of News Corp’s bid for the 61% of BSkyB it did not already own since news of the acquisition came right after the 2010 general election. Clegg said he was “quizzical,” so, he asked Murdoch at News International’s summer party that year, “Why are you doing this now?” The answer, Clegg said, was not revealing.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said he won’t launch a probe into whether Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt breached the ministerial code of conduct for Hunt’s part in overseeing News Corp’s ultimately failed bid for BSkyB. Hunt has been in the spotlight for his supposed close ties to News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch and son James, which raised eyebrows when he was handed a quasi-judicial role overseeing the $14B bid for the 61% of BSkyB that News Corp didn’t already own. During Hunt’s testimony today before the Leveson Inquiry charged with investigating UK media ethics, it was revealed he texted his congratulations to James Murdoch in December 2010 after News Corp’s bid cleared a regulatory hurdle. “Congratulations on Brussels,” Hunt texted to Murdoch after the European Commission ruled it would not block a deal. “Only Ofcom to go.” Not long after, Hunt was appointed the government overseer of the bid, which was scrapped in July as the phone-hacking scandal at News Corp-owned tabloid News Of The World erupted. Hunt told the inquiry today he would not have sent the text if he had known he was getting the overseer role. After watching Hunt today, Cameron said the Culture Minister acted “properly” throughout the period he was responsible for the bid.
The British Film Institute today laid out its five-year plan for the future of UK film funding and how it proposes to invest an expected total of £273M in Lottery money from 2012-2017. The org said £28.2M will go towards supporting British film on an annual basis, including an increase in production and development funds of 30% over the next five years. At the same time, the UK government has announced steps it’s taking to bolster the UK biz. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said the British Film Commission will create a strategic partnership with the UK Trade & Investment body and the BFI to provide an additional £400,000 to the BFC’s budget.
The announcements were made today in response to a UK film policy review that was published in January and which notably called for a “reward for success” scheme. The idea being that BFI development funds should be returned to companies who’ve used them successfully and then be reinvested in future projects. The BFI has confirmed that Lottery investment will be restructured to reward success while the government said the group will set up a cross-industry task force charged with examining ways in which the business can reduce overall dependency on public funding.
The debt rating service says that bond holders have no need to fear the fallout from a parliamentary report yesterday that says Rupert Murdoch’s handling of the UK hacking scandal made him “not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” The media and entertainment giant’s “significant cash balance and strong free cash flow generation mitigates the uncertainty of additional financial fallout from the phone hacking scandal,” Moody’s Investors Service concluded today. News Corp has a strong Baa1 senior unsecured rating; it generates about $2.5B a year in cash and had $9.4B in its coffers at the end of 2011, equal to more than 60% of its $15.5B in debt. Moody’s says that after “cutting through the highly politicized hyperbole” it concluded that News Corp can “mitigate potential costs” from the scandal. The report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee “represents an opinion without any direct regulatory implications.”
On an earnings call this morning, BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch said the company should be judged based on its “track record as a broadcaster.” He was addressing the issue of UK regulator Ofcom’s ongoing investigation into whether James Murdoch and News Corp are “fit and proper” persons to hold a broadcast license on behalf of BSkyB. (Murdoch stepped down as CEO of BSkyB in early April, but he remains a non-executive director.) Darroch emphasized that Sky and its largest shareholder, News Corp, are “separate companies” and said, “We think it’s our track record as a broadcaster that’s the most important in determining our fitness for a license.” He added, “It’s important to remember the broader contribution that SKY makes to the UK…We think that shouldn’t be lost in all of this.” The satcaster’s results for the 9 months ended March 31 come one day after a UK parliamentary committee said Rupert Murdoch was “not a fit person” to run an international company.
Final Phone-Hacking Report From UK Committee Divided On Rupert Murdoch, Calls Him “Unfit” To Lead Company
Breaking News, Refresh For Latest…
UPDATE, 4:37 AM: The report is not a united one. It passed 6 votes to 4 with 3 voting against the inlcusion of a line that reads that …
Embattled British politician Jeremy Hunt told reporters today in London that he would hand over private correspondence to the UK inquiry into media ethics. Hunt has come under fire since it was revealed Tuesday that …
Early in Rupert Murdoch‘s testimony today, he said “Someone took charge of a cover-up which we were victim to and I regret.” He was talking about the phone hacking scandal at the News Of The World on his 2nd day of giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into UK press ethics. Questioned on the cover-up, Murdoch said he thinks it came from inside the newspaper, from a “friend of the journalists, a drinking pal” who was a lawyer “who forbade people to go and report to (Rebekah) Brooks or to James (Murdoch).”
Although today’s affair touched on politics and the aborted bid for BSkyB, the proceedings focused more heavily on phone hacking than any of the other days of Murdoch testimony this week. Counsel for the inquiry Robert Jay and Lord Justice Leveson spent a great deal of time trying to work out how high the knowledge of questionable journalistic tactics went at the paper. Leveson pressed Murdoch at one point saying, “Print ink was running through your veins…this wasn’t just a commercial interest…this was the very core of your being, so that’s why you’re being asked: were you not intensely concerned about what was going on?” Murdoch replied that some papers are closer to his heart than others, “but, I also have to say that I failed,” he added. When asked why he closed NOTW rather than “tough it out,” he answered that when the Milly Dowler situation was first given huge publicity, “you could feel the blast coming in the window and I’ll say it succinctly, I panicked.”
Breaking News … Refresh for latest live-blogging from London …
Although both James and Rupert Murdoch were expected to be giving evidence this week with regard to the phone hacking scandal, the whole process has taken a decidedly different tack. The fallout from James’ testimony on Tuesday resulted in the resignation of a top Parliamentary aide on Wednesday and a growing brouhaha inside Prime Minister David Cameron’s government. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s aide, Adam Smith, resigned after emails read on Tuesday showed a possibly inappropriate relationship between the minister’s office and James Murdoch during the BSkyB bid process. Hunt asked Lord Justice Brian Leveson to move up his scheduled testimony date but Leveson said yesterday he was going to continue with his planned timetable. Hunt will appear before the inquiry in May while Cameron and Tony Blair are expected in May or June. Also, the FSA, Britain’s equivalent to the SEC, is understood to be examining whether the email exchanges constitute market abuse. Rupert Murdoch’s testimony on Wednesday was squarely focused on his relationship to politicians. Day two of his evidence will begin soon and should last for a couple of hours this morning. It’s possible they’ll get to the phone hacking scandal today. All times below are UK local time.
10:09 Counsel Robert Jay asks Murdoch about David Yelland, editor of The Sun in the late 1990s. Yelland once said in an interview that “all Murdoch editors go on a journey where they end up agreeing with everything Rupert says…You look at the world through Rupert’s eyes.”
Murdoch: “I understand what you’re saying but I think it’s nonsense and should be taken in the context of Yeland’s strange autobiography,” in which he admits he was drunk most of the time at The Sun.
Murdoch: “I certainly do take part in the policy decisions of The Sun, I think that’s my job.”
Murdoch: “Generally speaking, the issues that we get interested in and fight for you’ll find them in The Sun and you’ll find that I would agree with most of them if not all.
10:12 Jay turns to Murdoch’s relationship with politicians and asks if they would know what Murdoch is thinking or his views by knowing him over time.
“I really only see very little of them. I’m only in this country less than 10% of my time…And, I think they know my philosophy, yes.”
Rupert Murdoch Testimony Analysis: News Corp Boss Grilled On Relationships With Politicians, Tweets And BSkyB
Rupert Murdoch‘s been called any number of things in his lifetime, but one of the big takeaways from today’s testimony is that he’s a pretty funny guy. Appearing this morning in such a highly …
James Murdoch’s Testimony Leads To Resignation Of Top Parliamentary Adviser; Financial Watchdog To Get Involved?
James Murdoch‘s evidence to the UK media ethics inquiry has already claimed one victim. Adam Smith, the adviser to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, resigned today amid calls for Hunt’s own resignation. Adding fuel to the fire, Brtain’s Financial Services Authority could be interested in investigating emails revealed yesterday that surround News Corp‘s aborted bid to acquire the part of BSkyB it does not already own.
Hunt’s name came up most often in Murdoch’s testimony yesterday as evidence of email exchanges between Hunt’s adviser Smith and Murdoch’s public affairs chief Fred Michel during the BSkyB bid process were read aloud. The communications could fall into “market abuse” territory, The Financial Times reports.
Breaking News … Refresh for latest live-blogging from London …
When Rupert Murdoch settles into Lord Justice Brian Leveson’s hearing room in London today, it will be the mogul’s first such appearance since last July when he sat before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee. In the thick of the phone hacking scandal at the News Of The World and the revelations of intercepted voice mails on the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, Murdoch told that panel it was the “most humble” day of his life. He was later the target of an attack by a shaving foam pie thrower. It’s unlikely such a thing will occur again. What will come up again, though, are the phone hacking scandal, Murdoch’s relationship to British politicians and News Corp’s bid for BSkyB. The political and BSkyB aspects of James Murdoch’s testimony yesterday ended up overshadowing the proceedings where many thought phone hacking would be the focus. It’s likely today that unflappable counsel to the inquiry Robert Jay QC will hone in on Murdoch’s association with government. Let’s follow along, shall we? (All times below are local UK time.)
10:05 The hearing is off to a late start, but Murdoch has arrived at the High Court.
10:11 Lord Justice Brian Leveson begins by reading a statement saying he is approaching the proceedings with an impartial stance. He also says he understands the press will draw their own conclusions. In light of the reaction yesterday and this morning to James Murdoch’s testimony, he wants to explain something of the judicial process. “I understand some of the reactions yesterday,” but he says he is “acutely aware” documents such as the emails read yesterday can’t be taken at face value. He says he’s not taking sides but wants to say he needs to hear all sides before his findings. He says everyone involved will appear, seeming to hint that culture secretary Jeremy Hunt may give evidence at a later date. Leveson’s heard calls for other inquiries but feels this one needs to end before further investigation.
Murdoch is sworn in, he has legal aid by his side to help with documents.
10:14 Jay says: Is it fair to say you’ve been following British politics for 60 years? Murdoch answers yes, laughs and says “with varying intensity.”
The state of media in this country is vital to all its citizens, Murdoch says. He welcomes the opportunity to appear at the hearing to “put certain myths to bed.” He says abuses go further than phone hacking.
James Murdoch Testimony Analysis: Political Ties Are Main Focus As UK Culture Secretary Comes Under Fire
James Murdoch sat for more than five hours today to answer questions on the phone-hacking scandal and News Corp‘s acquisition of BSkyB. But the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics seemed to be focusing on someone other than the embattled scion. And therein lies the twist: The person who is likely to come out of this hearing with the most to answer for is not a Murdoch, but UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Reams of emails show possibly inappropriate exchanges between Hunt, who was involved in approving the BSkyB deal, and Murdoch, who contended a “very large public affairs engagement is normal in such a big merger.” The Labour Party has called for Hunt’s resignation in the wake of the revelations.