Murdoch Counts Cost of Attacks

11 October 2001

Speaking at NewCorp’s annual general meeting in Adelaide, Australia, Rupert Murdoch revealed the media titan had lost around $100 million as advertising slumped after the September 11 attacks.

“The immediate effects over the first few days of that cost us at least $100 million, and advertising bookings in the next two weeks were pretty non-existent,” he said, adding that forecasting the group’s future performance was currently “difficult”.

However, he revealed that the ad market had already recovered, with bookings at their strongest for months, though he expects advertising at NewsCorp’s British properties to fall this financial year. In addition, Murdoch said news gathering costs had jumped at Fox News due to the international crisis, but: “We expect to get that back with increased ratings and increased advertising before the year is out, or at least a large part of it.”

The media mogul also revealed NewsCorp is still attempting to buy General Motors-owned US satellite broadcaster DirecTV. The group has been trying to fashion a deal with GM for months, but has been hit by a rival bid from Echostar and fears that falling share prices following last month’s devastation could destroy the bid.

“It would be wrong for me to say there is a deal but we are having friendly and useful discussions,” said Murdoch, who once called the purchase of DirecTV a “dream”. However, he rated the chances of NewsCorp emerging victorious as only “50-50”.

News sources: BBC Online Business News (UK); Wall Street Journal