NewsCorp Back in Black, Murdoch Labels UK Press ‘Paranoid’

14 May 2003

News Corporation leapt out of the red and into to a $275 million (€239.06m; £170.82m) profit in its fiscal third quarter, boosted by the success of 'reality' TV programming such as Joe Millionaire and American Idol, sales of movies on DVD – and the lack of any major balance sheet mishaps such as last year's $4.1 billion write-down on the value of its controlling stake in Gemstar-TV Guide.

Revenues in the three months to the end of March rose 14% to $4.4bn and operating profits leaped 25% per cent to $685m.

This would not, however, lead to a ‘shop-until-you drop’ jag, assured chairman Rupert Murdoch , the most vociferous of the lobbyists on Capitol Hill demanding relaxation of present media ownership rules. “We do not see ourselves going out on a buying binge of television stations. We do not have any plans at this stage to be going out buying newspapers in America.”

The 72-year-od magnate then turned a saurian eye on the UK and his former homeland, Australia – where the media were “a little bit paranoid” about his acquisition plans, he complained.

“There’s some theory that, in the present media legislation in Britain, I’ve done a deal with the government so that we can buy channel Five,” Murdoch said. “I've never asked to buy Channel Five and if it ever went to a vote of the Sky board, I would vote against it.”

[And you can’t get much more unequivocal than that - this month!]

Data sourced from: Multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff