The champagne is on Rupert, as the head of global media clan Murdoch pockets an annual bonus of nearly $19 million (€15m; £10.5m).

The chairman/ceo of News Corporation saw this year's payment rise by almost 50% over 2004, reflecting the company's strong fiscal 2005. Earlier this month it reported 39% higher net income of $2.1 billion.

The report in a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows that other top execs at NewsCorp were also handsomely rewarded.

Peter Chernin, president and chief operating officer, was awarded a bonus of $18.9m, up from $8m in each of the two previous years. Chief financial officer David DeVoe received $5.8m, up from around $2.4m in 2004. The recently departed Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert's eldest son and former deputy chief operating officer who quit the firm last month, also walked away with a handy $5.8m, up from $2m in 2004.

NewsCorp, under siege from Australian investors over the extension of its 'poison pill' defense against the feared predations of US cable TV pioneer John Malone, will on October 21 hold its first annual shareholder meeting on US soil.

It shifted its corporate domicile last November from Australia to the business-friendly state of Delaware.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff