Media agencies deliver their verdict on the News Corp split

News Corporation's decision to split into two divisions has today (28 June) prompted fevered speculation about the motives behind the move. Here media executives offer their take on today's news.

Adrian English, Catherine Becker, Chris Locke and Alex Altman
Adrian English, Catherine Becker, Chris Locke and Alex Altman

Adrian English, head of media investment, CaratAdrian English, head of media investment, Carat

"The News Corporation split is confirmation that News International is up for sale. This is all about News Corp consolidating its ownership of Sky.

"It needs to clear out some assets to do this. But this decision is indicative of how tarnished News International’s business has become.

"Its reputation, and the travails of the print market generally, is a double whammy that, possibly, it will never recover from.

"Perhaps new ownership, a clean slate, will reinvigorate the business. 'Print', whatever that means these days, still has a bright future, even if printed matter does not.' 

 

Catherine Becker, chief executive, AdConnectionCatherine Becker, chief executive, AdConnection

"This is a PR opportunity so as to be seen as distancing the entertainment division from the phone hacking scandal. Rupert Murdoch is still effectively (chairing) running both companies so how genuine this split is debatable.

"It is part of a trend to separate companies for legislative ends, like the Lloyds TSB/Project Verde split.

"News International has always played around with divisions to ensure profitability. News International/News Corp is already well established with the Rupert Murdoch brand so will be difficult to get away from this.

"It won’t effect consumers view who are either loyal to the papers/websites or not. Or the advertising as operationally it will be the same." 

 

Chris Locke, UK trading director, Starcom MediaVest Chris Locke, UK trading director, Starcom MediaVest

"Rupert Murdoch has two very different businesses, one that’s growing one that’s contracting and now this will make each business stand on its own, so I think it’s good for both businesses.

"I think with Sky and Fox that’s where the volumes are and the profit and I think that the newspaper business has to address how they turn their properties into a profit.

"With The Sun and The Times one makes a lot of money, one loses a lot of money and you have to look into how you facilitate that situation.

"It’s now important for News Corporation to look at the future of the businesses and assess what they want out of both sectors of the business.

"This allows News Corporation to look down the track rather than across the track if you like."

 

Alex Altman, chief executive, InitiativeAlex Altman, chief executive, Initiative

"Putting aside politics and profit for a moment, we are entitled to feel a little sad at the news. Rupert Murdoch – in my view an undisputed media visionary – had a vision some years ago of an 'all media company'.

"The news sees that vision fail and we are left with a disintegrated company. There are obvious benefits for the Entertainment division but I very much hope it doesn't point to the end of News Corporation's relentless investment in newsbrands.

"If it does, we may all look back on this day with a huge amount of regret."

 

Andrew Stephens, founding partner, GoodstuffAndrew Stephens, founding partner, Goodstuff

"News International will prepare itself for sale and the business will go through a period of uncertainty and staff churn.

"The more interesting questions are who will buy News International and how Murdoch comes out of this a winner, which he almost certainly will.

"It’s probable there will be two buyers given the inherent editorial inefficiencies in a tabloid and broadsheet operation but who?

"Would ITV see what Desmond has done, consider the marketing and content efficiencies and take a look at The Sun?

"Again with The Sun, could Virgin Group resist trying to do right where Murdoch did wrong? And which oligarch could resist the proprietorial folly of owning mighty The Sunday Times?

"So how does Murdoch comes out of this looking all rosy? Beyond using the cash to increase his stake in Sky can we expect 'News Int: The Film' to be a box office smash from 21st Century Fox, which then goes PPV on Sky Movies before its broadcast premiere on Sky Atlantic? A story you almost couldn’t invent."

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