Mipcom: James Murdoch Takes a Shot at Windows

CANNES — James Murdoch, co-chief operating officer at 21st Century Fox, took a shot at release windows during his keynote interview at TV market Mipcom on Monday.

“We have these windows that are set up. They were set up in order to make more available to customers not less,” he said, referring to a time when there were fewer outlets for films and TV shows.

“Now, serving ones and zeroes from the cloud — from streaming services — the necessity of windowing from the infrastructure point of view isn’t really there,” he said.

He added: “Windows have already started to contract, and there are new windows emerging.”

In the future, there would be “more multi-window exploitation, where you will have more available earlier,” he said. The market would have to agree a price for that, he said.

“Everyone along the chain would need to be part of that decision about how ultimately you get paid,” he said.

He said the television industry had been “pretty progressive” in finding new ways for people to watch shows.

Talking about the role of search engines in the fight against piracy, Murdoch said: “There is no question that they could do more. A lot more.”

“Copyright is the font of innovation,” he added, and those that “enabled infringement should be held accountable.”

Asked about what he had learned about leadership during the phone-hacking scandal at News Corp newspapers in the U.K., he quoted Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

He said that the support of the News Corp organization and his colleagues, as well as his own perseverance and willpower helped to get him through the experience.

James Murdoch said that it had been 30 years since Rupert Murdoch bought 20th Century Fox, but the formation of 21st Century Fox last year was like a fresh start.

“The journey is only just beginning in this super-dynamic century we are in,” he said.

“What we are seeking to do at 21st Century Fox is to be one the great homes for creativity and storytelling, and really take it forward for many decades,” he said. “It is about being a place where we can attract the best talent, and make an environment where people can do the best work of their lives, and give them the opportunity to take risks that they may not be able to take elsewhere.”

He said that the business environment was constantly changing. “A lot of the barriers between the different lines of businesses that we may have, a lot of the business rules, are breaking down,” he said.

He said that 21st Century Fox was similar to most other businesses, despite the dominance of the Murdoch family. “Essentially we just try to look after the business,” he said.

Addressing the recent merger of Shine, Endemol and Core, he said: “We felt that the opportunity to create something that would be a global leader in terms of scale by merging Shine with Endemol and Core was something that shouldn’t be passed up.”

He added that for a large organization like that to succeed “you can’t over-synergize in these businesses. You have to allow people to run their own show, and create a platform for the best people to come and do that.”

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