You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Candid Rupe comes clean on down year

Mogul admits to 'disappointing' figures in film, TV divisions

ADELAIDE, Australia — In unusually candid remarks to shareholders, News Corp. chief executive Rupert Murdoch today said the global media conglom had endured a downbeat fiscal year due in part to “a couple of stinking films” and “disappointing ratings” at the Fox Network.

Flanked by his newly elevated scion, 29-year-old deputy COO Lachlan Murdoch, and president and COO Peter Chernin, Murdoch said the film division had “a particularly disappointing year,” later adding “our greatest dilution came from making a couple of stinking films.”

“I think we made some mistakes in the films we made and we took some pretty nasty losses,” Murdoch said, but added things were picking up thanks to titles like “X-Men” and “Big Momma’s House.”

The Fox Network had “a disappointing year with disappointing ratings,” Murdoch said, despite investing a lot in programming and recruiting new execs, but he was confident of “a much stronger position” in the new calendar year.

“We had a bad first quarter for the network and had to spend a great deal promoting awareness and our programming and network advertising was generally pretty poor, but our stations and cable channels have done well,” the 69-year-old media titan said.

Murdoch added News Corp’s 23 U.S. TV stations were “having a great start to the year, but I have to say the immediate future looks a little uncertain with some signs of weakening in the next couple of months.”

Murdoch said pan-Asian satcaster Star TV is “reducing losses, I know I keep telling you that, but it’s already making money in India on Star Plus, thanks to a well known program called ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ taking our channel from a lowly position to absolute domination.”

While limited by SEC rules from commenting in detail on Sky Global’s upcoming IPO, which he hopes will be “a company-transforming event,” Murdoch said News Corp. was conducting negotiations with potential strategic partners including DirecTV and EchoStar.

“We along with other people have been talking to them,” he said. “Either one would be welcome to join us.”

Admitting Vivendi’s need to sell its BSkyB stake was a complicating factor, he said Vivendi may end up with some Sky Global stake in return for exiting BSkyB but would have no active management of Sky Global.

When asked about stock market volatility affecting the Sky Global IPO, Murdoch said, “I’m glad I wasn’t out there last week.”

Such volatility and fluctuating currency values led him to say, “I don’t know what our outlook is like for the next nine months.”

Looking fit and tanned, Murdoch said he had no plans to retire and swatted off with good humor questions about dividends and executive salaries and share options.

More Biz

  • the firt Motley Crue books Nikki

    Motley Crue to Tour in 2020?

    Even though Motley Crue signed a legal document confirming that their 2014-15 “Final Tour” would be their last, the group is plotting a trek in 2020, sources tell Variety. Rolling Stone reported today that Def Leppard and Poison will be joining the group for the trek, which it says will include stadiums; reps for the [...]

  • Republic Records Names Mel Carter Senior

    Republic Records Names Mel Carter Senior VP of A&R

    Republic Records has named Mel Carter as senior vice president of A&R, executive VP Rob Stevenson announced today. In his new role, Carter will scout, sign, and foster new talent for the Republic roster. Additionally, he will continue to oversee the current roster on his imprint, Hikari Ultra, under its joint venture with Republic. In 2018, Carter began consulting for the company and eventually [...]

  • T-Mobile President and CEO John Legere

    John Legere to Step Down as T-Mobile CEO

    John Legere, after more than seven years at the helm of T-Mobile and leading the takeover of rival carrier Sprint, will resign as CEO next spring. Legere will be replaced by Mike Sievert as CEO, effective May 1, 2020. Sievert is currently president and COO of T-Mobile, and his new title will be president and [...]

  • Legendary Celebrity Photographer, Terry O'Neill, in

    Terry O'Neill, Celebrity Photographer of '60s and '70s, Dies at 81

    Terry O’Neill, the British photographer known for his famous shots of celebrities in the ’60s and ’70s and his marriage to Faye Dunaway, has died after a bout with cancer. He was 81. O’Neill’s agency told the BBC that he had prostate cancer and died at home on Saturday night after a long illness. O’Neill [...]

  • Hollywood celebrated the individuals redefining "on-screen

    Media Access Awards Honors Individuals Increasing Representation for Disabilities

    Hollywood celebrated individuals redefining “on-screen representation for the disability community” with the Media Access Awards, in partnership with Easterseals, at the Beverly Hilton Thursday. Norman Lear and Jimmy Kimmel kicked off the event, which featured Camryn Manheim, CJ Jones, Coby Bird and “The Peanut Butter Falcon” actors Zack Gottsagen and John Hawkes presenting awards along [...]

  • 'Roxanne' Singer Arizona Zervas Signs With

    'Roxanne' Singer Arizona Zervas Signs With Columbia

    Hotly tipped singer-songwriter Arizona Zervas, whose viral hit “Roxanne” is in the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100,  has signed with Columbia, Variety has confirmed. Since the release of the track on Oct. 10, “Roxanne” has reached nearly 50 million streams on Spotify. The single topped Spotify U.S. top tracks chart for an uninterrupted [...]

  • Jax Media at Variety New Leaders

    Jax Media Accepts Variety's Creative Leadership Award at New Leaders Cocktail Party

    This year’s Variety New Leaders event, presented by City National Bank, honored innovative visionaries in entertainment. The cocktail party was hosted on a chilly Thursday night in Lower Manhattan’s Jimmy Rooftop Bar at the James Hotel. Patrick McCarthy, senior VP and head of marketing for City National Bank, kicked off the event highlighting the new [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content