Jim Kennedy had joined Sony Pictures in 2005 after working as a Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary to President Bill Clinton and as head of communications for the White House Counsel’s office, Vice President Al Gore, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut Attorney General’s office, and the Clinton Foundation. He has been overseeing media relations for SCA at Sony’s New York headquarters since October 2011. Here’s today’s release about him running communications at the “new” News Corp: READ MORE »
Shares are down about 2.7% in postmarket trading after News Corp reported disappointing results for the quarter ended September 30. The company generated net income of $38M, up from an $83M loss in the period last year, on revenues of $2.07B, -2.9%. Analysts expected revenues to come in at $2.2B. Earnings at 5 cents a share matched the consensus forecast. The News and Information Services unit — which includes The Wall Street Journal — was hit hardest, with revenues -10% to $1.5B. The Australian newspapers weighed on the results, with revenues -22% accounting for a majority of the decline. But the company says it also saw “moderating declines at Dow Jones and News UK.” Ad sales fell 12%, and circulation was -6%. In Book Publishing, which includes HarperCollins, revenues fell 7% to $328M. News Corp says e-book sales were up 30%, accounting for 22% of revenues, but were offset by the company’s divestiture of the Women of Faith live events business and softness in Christian publishing. Revenues would have fallen 5% without the one-time changes and fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.
On October 14, Rupert Murdoch tweeted: “Big media trials in London in 2 weeks. Remember, everyone innocent until proven guilty, entitled to fair trial in most countries.” Murdoch was referring to the criminal trial related to phone hacking at his now defunct News Of The World tabloid. This morning, eight defendants including former Murdoch employees Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson made it to court amid a media frenzy for what some are calling the “Trial of the Century.” It may feel like a century once the proceedings wrap sometime around Easter 2014 and after an expected 100 witnesses have been called. Jury selection began today with the prosecution starting later in the week.
While Murdoch, Brooks and Coulson are no longer linked professionally, the outcome of the trial has the potential to impact the mogul’s business going forward. Even the News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal wrote that the courtroom drama “could further embarrass both the media giant and the British government.” One of the lines of questioning during the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics, the probe hatched by Prime Minister David Cameron in the wake of the News Of The World scandal, focused on the relationships between politicians and newspaper proprietors and editors. With Brooks and Coulson now standing trial, this could put News Corp’s relationship with the UK government back into the spotlight. Brooks was head of News Corp‘s UK press arm, News International (now News UK), until the phone-hacking scandal first exploded at the News Of The World in July 2011. She has denied the five charges against her including conspiracy to hack phones, conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office by paying officials for stories, and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Coulson was formerly editor of News Of The World. He went on to become Cameron’s spin doctor, a post he vacated in 2011. He is facing three charges related to phone hacking and conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. They are joined by six other defendants who have all pleaded not guilty, including Brooks’ husband Charlie, a longtime Cameron friend.
This is a shift for Institutional Shareholder Services, and a recommendation that it has to know is doomed to fail. The investor advisory firm endorsed all of the board candidates last year when Rupert Murdoch‘s entertainment and publishing properties were combined at News Corp. But ISS is upset that the mogul adopted an anti-takeover plan called a poison pill in June when he split his assets between two companies: 21st Century Fox for entertainment, and News Corp for publishing. ISS now wants Fox shareholders to oppose Murdoch, his sons James and Lachlan, COO Chase Carey, and five Murdoch allies when they’re up for election to the board at Fox’s first annual meeting on October 18. In addition, the firm wants shareholders to support a resolution calling for an independent board chairman — Rupert is CEO and chairman — and to end the two-tier stock system that enables the Murdoch family to control 39.4% of the votes even though it owns just 14% of the all shares.
This is a complicated annual exercise for 21st Century Fox — and its predecessor, News Corp — as it tries to comply with U.S. laws that bar a company from owning TV station licenses if non-citizens control more than 25% of its total voting shares. …
News Corp has paid out nearly $200 million in the past year alone in settlements related to the ongoing phone hacking scandal. Late last week, the company made it very clear that it doesn’t intend to make a payment to Eunice Huthart, a former body double for Angelina Jolie. In a June civil complaint, Huthart became the first person to file a hacking-scandal suit against News Corp and its UK press arm News International in the U.S. On September 20, News Corp filed back, asking the federal court to dismiss Huthart’s privacy violations case on a series of grounds. “The Court should dismiss the complaint on the grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. But it need not even reach those issues — instead, the Court should dismiss this lawsuit under the doctrine of forum non conveniens with instructions that it be re-filed, if at all, in the United Kingdom,” said the motion by the company (read it here). A hearing in the case is scheduled for January 6.
It’s hard to say that the write-down hurt the publishing operation for the fiscal year that ended in June. The noncash charge, disclosed today in the company’s first annual report since being separated from Rupert Murdoch‘s …
I don’t know whether Rupert Murdoch was familiar with Southeastern Asset Management and its billionaire CEO O. Mason Hawkins before today — but I can assure you that he is now. The Memphis-based investment firm says …
NEW YORK– News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; Temp. ASX tickers: NNC, NNCLV) announced today that it has sold the Dow Jones Local Media Group, which operates 33 publications, including 8 daily and 15 weekly newspapers, to an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC.
The Dow Jones Local Media Group daily newspaper franchises include the Times Herald-Record (Middletown, N.Y.); Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.); The Record (Stockton, Calif.); The Standard-Times (New Bedford, Mass.); The Pocono Record (Stroudsburg, Penn.); The Herald (Portsmouth, N.H.); The Mail Tribune (Medford, Ore.), and The Daily Tidings (Ashland, Ore.). In addition to daily and weekly newspapers, the Dow Jones Local Media Group operates other print and online community media, including web sites, magazines as well as news and advertising niche publications.
Cairo-based Al Resalah is an Islamic satellite channel that is part of Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Rotana Group, the media company of which News Corp owns nearly 19%. The prince said in a tweet this weekend …
Global Showbiz Briefs: Hrithik Roshan Back To Work After Brain Surgery; David Harewood Joins Cop Drama ‘By Any Means’; More
Hrithik Roshan Shrugs Off Brain Surgery, Returns To Work
Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan is to go back before the cameras for local Fox feature Bang Bang in mid-November. The actor underwent brain surgery to remove a blood clot last month, putting the film on hiatus, but now says he is “doubly charged and looking forward to resuming” production”. Siddharth Anand is directing the film, which also stars Katrina Kaif. “Hrithik is raring to go and his enthusiasm is infectious,” Anand said according to NDTV. The release of the film has been moved from May to October 2, 2014, to take advantage of the four-day Dussehra weekend holiday. Roshan is one of Bollywood’s hottest stars and next will be seen in Krrish 3, which bows November 4.
David Harewood Passes Up A Dance For ‘By Any Means’
Erstwhile Homeland CIA director David Harewood turned down a slot on BBC series Strictly Come Dancing last month, but he will appear in another show on the network. Life On Mars and Death In Paradise producer Red Planet Pictures is putting the finishing touches on six-part drama series By Any Means and has added a handful of well-known British guest stars for the first season. Along with Harewood, Downton Abbey‘s Amy Nuttall, Mr. Selfridge‘s Nick Moran and legendary Bond Girl Honor Blackman will all appear. The drama revolves around a clandestine police unit living on the edge and playing the criminal elite at their own game. Regular cast includes Warren Brown (Luther), Shelley Conn (Mistresses), Andrew-Lee Potts (Primeval), Gina McKee (The Borgias) and Elliot Knight (Sinbad). Belinda Campbell and Tony Jordan are exec producers for Red Planet, and Polly Hill exec produces for BBC One.
Global Showbiz Briefs: FoxCrime Launches In Africa; News Corp Seals Mobile Deals For Soccer In Asia; More
FoxCrime Channel Infiltrates South Africa
Fox International Channels announced the South African launch of its global crime and investigation entertainment network, FoxCrime. The launch adds 1.6 million subscribers to the brand’s 25 million existing global households. The South African FoxCrime schedule combines FIC original co-productions such as The Bridge with franchise acquisitions including Criminal Minds, CSI and Blue Bloods. The channel also boasts a Classic Crime block that launches with NYPD Blue, Remington Steele, CHiPs and The Streets of San Francisco and includes an African-focused slot entitled Case Files: Africa, covering infamous crime stories from across the Continent.
News Corp Secures Exclusive Mobile, Internet Soccer Rights
News Corp said Monday that it has secured exclusive mobile and Internet clip rights for England’s Barclays Premier League and several additional major leagues in Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia beginning this month. In addition, mobile and Internet rights have been secured in those territories for Bundesliga (Germany), Ligue 1 (France), Serie A (Italy), FA Cup (England), Championship (England), Capital One Cup (England), Brazilian Championship, and Major League Soccer.
Britain’s Channel 4 News has obtained letters sent by Rupert Murdoch to two British MPs in an attempt to clarify statements he made to Sun staff that were secretly recorded in March and revealed earlier this month. In the correspondence to MPs Keith Vaz and John Whittingdale, Murdoch says he regrets his choice of words in a “highly emotional meeting”. In the original transcript, which was published by Exaro News, Murdoch says that the practice of making payments to police officers for news tips had “been going on a hundred years” and was the “culture of Fleet Street”. In the letter to Vaz (read it here), Murdoch says, “I did not intend to suggest that any violations of the law are tolerable or acceptable.”
News Corp announced today plans to move its entire London operations to a single location in The Place on the south bank of the Thames River. The locally based businesses and staff of News UK, Dow Jones and HarperCollins will be housed together for the first time and will begin relocating to the new site in the summer of 2014.
“Our new London location in the vibrant borough of Southwark will allow us to realize one core objective as the new News – to work more closely and creatively, and leverage our collective resources,” said Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp.
The Place resides alongside The Shard at the heart of the London Bridge Quarter, a major redevelopment surrounding one of the best-connected travel hubs in the UK. The project is an important part of the redevelopment of south London, contributing to the further regeneration of the local area, and is a significant milestone for the capital.
When News Corp announced plans to divide into two distinct entities, questions remained about chief Rupert Murdoch‘s aspirations for full ownership of Britain’s BSkyB. Talking to watchers this week, an issue that arises is what effect comments Murdoch made to Sun staffers about News Corp’s handling of bribery and hacking charges could have on his interest in the pay-TV giant. One analyst tells me they don’t think that any business in which Rupert or son James Murdoch has a substantial role “will ever be allowed to buy a single more share” of the company. This person allows, however, that it’s hardly clear from the secretly-recorded tapes whether there was conspiracy to encourage misconduct in a public office, “I’d think the evidence is marginal.” Still, if any serious evidence does emerge from a Parliamentary hearing or a police investigation, most are agreed that UK regulator Ofcom could take another look at Murdoch’s relationship to BSkyB.
The phone-hacking scandal led News Corp in 2011 to withdraw a bid to acquire the 61% of BSkyB that it didn’t already hold. This was considered a blow to Murdoch who had long coveted full ownership. Analysts have held that News Corp would make another run at BSkyB in a few years’ time with the entertainment division, 21st Century Fox, putting forth a bid after the dust had settled around the publishing arm. But the dust may be kicking up again.
The secret recordings of Murdoch talking to Sun journalists, exposed last week by Exaro News, reveal him saying that the practice of making payments to police officers for news tips had “been going on a hundred years” and was the “culture of Fleet Street.” Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee yesterday invited Murdoch to appear and discuss the comments and he has accepted the invitation. The Committee itself has no real teeth (and has to be careful not to prejudice any ongoing criminal cases), but it can influence Ofcom.
UPDATE: News Corp Defends Rupert Murdoch After Secret Tape Shows Him Acknowledging UK Bribery: Video
UPDATE, 4:15 PM: News Corp has just released a second statement that more directly defends Rupert Murdoch against the UK revelations today (see the Channel 4 report below). Here’s the statement: “Mr. Murdoch never knew of payments made by Sun staff to police before News Corporation disclosed that to UK Authorities. Furthermore, he never said he knew of payments. It’s absolutely false to suggest otherwise.”
PREVIOUS, 3:16 PM: “I don’t know of anybody, or anything, that did anything that wasn’t being done across Fleet Street and wasn’t the culture. And we’re being picked on,” Rupert Murdoch told journalists at UK’s The Sun in March in a secretly recorded conversation about his company’s handling of bribery and hacking charges. The recording was disclosed today with a full transcript on the website Exaro as well in a report on the UK’s Channel 4. It shows Murdoch alternately angry and sympathetic as he assured staffers that he “will do everything in my power to give you total support, even if you’re convicted and get six months or whatever. I think it’s just outrageous.” Regarding “payments for news tips from cops: that’s been going on a hundred years, absolutely. You didn’t instigate it.” He added that “the worst thing that’s going to happen is that some of you will be charged shortly, and some of you will be released shortly. And the bulk of you will be made aware after three or four months. It’s just disgraceful that they’re [the police] doing, but we’ll see.” The News Corp chief assured one staffer that the company Management and Standards Committee hasn’t “given [police] anything for months.” Later he added that the committee “has told the police…No, no, no — get a court order. Deal with that.”