The Media Mogul- All you wanted to know about Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch, born in 1931 in Australia, is the founder-owner of News Corp- the second largest media conglomerate in the world. He had inherited his father’s The News, which later became the founding stone of News Limited and subsequently News Corp.
Murdoch, is the biggest Media mogul in the world, and is credited for introducing massive corporatisation and into the global media industry, and cross media ownership. His trademark tactic was to buy out the loss making publications and transform them by making massive editorial and management changes.
He introduced and popularised concepts like “cover price”, something that Times Of India back home borrowed.
After establishing his hold in the print media industry in Australia and New Zealand in the 1950s and 60s, he started making massive investments abroad. He acquired The News of The World in the UK in 1969, quickly followed by The Sun. In 1981, he took over The Times, one of the most well-reputed broadsheets of Britain.
In the 1980s, when the TV industry was rapidly expanding, Murdoch acquired US citizenship, which was a prerequisite for owning a stake in the US TV industry. By the time he forayed into this much sought after industry, he was already a well established print proprietor in Australia, UK and USA. He soon brought over 20th Century Fox in 1984, and became a naturalized US citizen the following year. He then launched the Fox Broadcasting Company in 1986 which went on to produce popular shows like The Simpsons and X Files.
Murdoch’s media empire started growing at a monumental scale.
When India privatised its TV in the 1990s, Murdoch was the first one to jump into the lucrative market of a billion people. He soon launched Star TV and Star News, the latter in collaboration with NDTV (Star and NDTV split in March 2003, with NDTV forming its own news channel).
Murdoch’s Star Sports made a shocking, but brilliant decision by collaborating with it’s biggest competitor- ESPN to broadcast cricket in India and launched ESPN-Star Sports.
In 1996, he entered the US Cable TV market by launching Fox News.
Even after becoming the biggest name in the global mediascape, he never stopped acquiring new publications. In 2007, he took over Dow Jones, which gave him The Wall Street Journal, among many others.
Everything was going fine for Murdoch, till a small newspaper called Guardian published the ‘coup of the century’ in 2011. The explosive investigation revealed that journalists at Murdoch’s British newspapers had been tracking the phone conversations of politicians, celebrities and even the royal family since 10 years, if not more.
Initially Murdoch had dismissed the allegations by talking of a stray rogue reporter, but he had to unwittingly admit the indulgence of his editors and reporters in unethical practices to provide a regular dose of celebrity and inside scoops. He was ultimately forced to shut down, a well running and highly profitable paper, the News of The World, and sack his editors- some of whom had to spend time in jail.
Murdoch suffered public humiliation, and is still being investigated by the police in US and UK.
Murdoch always believed in one mantra – “journalists should do anything to get the story” – and made his employees follow the same.
The reason why Murdoch’s enterprises could get away with unethical and even criminal practices for so long, was the fact no politician or political party could dare to take on him. That was the stature he had acquired.
His personal life is as interesting and scandalous as his professional life. He divorced his third wife, Chinese born-Yale graduated Windy Ding in 2013, after he suspected her of having an affair the British PM Tony Blair. This compelled him to end his long-standing relationship with the Prime Minister as well.
Even though News Corp split from 21st Century Fox in 2013, the following year, Forbes ranked “Rupert Murdoch & Family” as the 33rd most-powerful person in the world.
Today, he continues to be the biggest force in global media and some of his ventures and holdings include The Daily Telegraph, The Herald, Harper Collins, Dow Jones, The New York Post, The Times, Sunday Times, News UK, The Australian, GQ Australia, Masterchef Magazine, Vogue Australia and the Press Association.