Demise of New York Times 'Would Be Nice', Says Murdoch

22 October 2007

SAN FRANCISCO: Addressing the annual Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco last week, Rupert Murdoch riposted "that would be nice" when asked if his plans for the Wall Street Journal were directed toward the demise of the New York Times.

The media magnate, now in his 77th year, expects to conclude News Corporation's takeover of Dow Jones and its newspaper crown-jewel by December.

But despite repeated assurances to DJ shareholders and WSJ staff as to the paper's continuing editorial integrity, the chieftain of Clan Murdoch is already espousing his own editorial intentions.

These are to move the WSJ beyond its financial platform with the intention of targeting mainstream competitors. He will increase coverage of fashion and cultural issues with the intention of expanding its advertising opportunities - a concept clearly modelled on the Financial Times

"We have a lot of plans and a lot of ideas that need to be refined," he told attendees, "but I want to improve it in every way: in what it does now in finance to start with, but I also want to add more national and international news."

Training his Gatling gun on other targets, Murdoch was dismissive of CNBC, the principal rival to his latest venture Fox Business Network, describing it as "half dead".

And although the mogul claimed "progressive plans" for his new burger, he declined to elaborate on the nature of the meat in the TV bun.

Inevitably, given the nature of the conference, the subject turned to the internet and the eyewatering values attached to hot properties of the moment such as Facebook - reportedly valued by its investors at around $15 billion (€10.52bn; £7.53bn).

Murdoch scorned such valuations, saying that they indicated that his own internet snip,, acquired in July 2005 for a mere $580 million, would now be worth around $50bn.

Such inflated prices had discouraged NewsCorp from acquiring more web assets.

"Everything's too expensive. We want a bigger presence, certainly, in the internet - but things are changing so fast, I don't know what things are going to be like in five years or 10 years. So why pay thirty times earnings for something?"

And in an endearing if unconvincing display of humility, the galaxy's mightiest media mogul declared himself happy to delegate online business decisions to henchmen who understood the web.

"The internet culture is different," he said. "We treat ourselves as trainees."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff