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Murdoch forms new Oz unit

Blomfield named chief

SYDNEY — To overcome the ban on it having an Australian terrestrial presence, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has tapped Jim Blomfield to helm a new unit called News Broadcasting Australia.

News Australia topper Lachlan Murdoch said Blomfield, who was chief exec of News Broadcasting Japan and has served as an exec with News’ Oz cabler Foxtel and Kerry Packer’s Nine web, would help News “expand Australian broadcasting activity” and offer “greater freedom of choice in entertainment and information services” with the company, which was formed “in response to the new and exciting era of broadcasting, digital TV and datacasting.”

But Rupert Murdoch’s American citizenship and News’ domination of Australia’s newspaper market means it is prevented from holding terrestrial TV licenses by Oz’s cross media and foreign ownership regulations.

Blomfield told Daily Variety vigorous lobbying against such restrictions is a major part of his brief, adding “that’s why we are forming this company.”

“We advocate greater deregulation; we’re not stopping short of anything and will be looking at the regulations that stop us doing what we want to do,” said Blomfield, adding News was also considering ventures in less regulated areas like radio and datacasting. “We have very strong opinions on some of the regulations.”

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