Media chief attacks 'establishment' figures

LONDON — Rupert Murdoch has attacked those who seek to rein in his British media activities as “small thinkers.”

Delivering the inaugural Margaret Thatcher Lecture Thursday to right-wing think-tank the Centre for Policy Studies, the News Corp. topper said that many of the defining moments of his career had been in Britain.

One of those was launching Sky — now known as BSkyB — in 1989, where News Corp. “built satellite television service from the ground up after others had abandoned hope and investment.”

Murdoch added: “At the time, one of my lordly critics suggested that this new enterprise was worse for Britain than the Blitz (in World War II).”

While he noticeably avoided mentioning his controversial plan to buy the 61% of BSkyB stock not owned by his company, the mogul said that when outsiders like himself make an impact, more traditional interests attempt to intervene.

He said: “I am something of a parvenu, but we should welcome the iconoclastic and the unconventional…

“Yet when the upstart is too successful, somehow the old interests surface, and restrictions on growth are proposed or imposed. That’s an issue for my company.

“More important, it’s an issue for our broader society.

“These are the small thinkers who believe their job is to cut the cake up rather than make it bigger.

“In my own industry, for example, digital technology is offering a chance for British companies to make their mark here and across the world.”

Murdoch, whose speech was his first high-profile U.K. address since he gave the Edinburgh Television MacTaggart lecture in 1989, praised Blighty’s new government for its tough stance on public spending.

Meanwhile, in quarterly results, announced Friday, BSkyB announced another set of impressive figures.

In the three months to Sept. 30, 96,000 new subscribers signed up to the paybox, leaving it within touching distance of its target of having 10 million customers on board by the end of the year.

Total revenues were £1.53 billion ($2.41 billion), a 15% rise on 2009.

CEO Jeremy Darroch said: “We have made a very good start to the year with… a record take-up of our additional subscription products.”

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