Chai Khana

Rupert Murdoch: The media mogul

Keith Rupert Murdoch, AC, KCSG founded News Corp and is regarded as the media mogul.

Murdoch was born on 11 March 1931 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Murdoch’s father, Sir Keith Murdoch, was a war reporter and editor who became a senior executive of The Herald and Weekly Times publishing company, covering all Australian states except New South Wales.

Murdoch attended Geelong Grammar School, where he was co-editor of the school’s official journal The Corian and editor of the student journal If Revived.

He worked part-time at the Melbourne Herald and was groomed by his father to take over the family business.

Murdoch studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Worcester College, Oxford in England, where he kept a bust of Lenin in his rooms and came to be known as “Red Rupert”.

He was a member of the Oxford University Labour Party, stood for Secretary of the Labour Club and managed Oxford Student Publications Limited, the publishing house of Cherwell.

Murdoch completed an MA before working as a sub-editor with the Daily Express for two years.

After his father’s death from cancer in 1952, Murdoch aged 21, returned from Oxford to take charge of what was left of the family business.

After liquidation of his father’s Herald stake to pay taxes, what was left was News Limited, which had been established in 1923. Rupert Murdoch turned its Adelaide newspaper, The News, its main asset, into a major success.

He began to direct his attention to acquisition and expansion, buying the troubled Sunday Times in Perth, Western Australia (1956) and over the next few years acquiring suburban and provincial newspapers in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory, including the Sydney afternoon tabloid, The Daily Mirror (1960).

The Economist describes Murdoch as “inventing the modern tabloid”, as he developed a pattern for his newspapers, increasing sports and scandal coverage and adopting eye-catching headlines

Murdoch’s first foray outside Australia involved the purchase of a controlling interest in the New Zealand daily The Dominion.

In January 1964, while touring New Zealand with friends in a rented Morris Minor after sailing across the Tasman, Murdoch read of a takeover bid for the Wellington paper by the British-based Canadian newspaper magnate, Lord Thomson of Fleet. On the spur of the moment, he launched a counter-bid. A four-way battle for control ensued in which the 32-year-old Murdoch was ultimately successful.

Later in 1964, Murdoch launched The Australian, Australia’s first national daily newspaper, which was based first in Canberra and later in Sydney.

In 1972, Murdoch acquired the Sydney morning tabloid The Daily Telegraph from Australian media mogul Sir Frank Packer, who later regretted selling it to him.

 

In 1974, Murdoch moved to New York City, to expand into the U.S. market; however, he retained interests in Australia and Britain. In 1981, Murdoch bought The Times, his first British broadsheet and, in 1985, became a naturalized U.S. citizen, giving up his Australian citizenship, to satisfy the legal requirement for U.S. television network ownership.

In 1984, Murdoch was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for services to publishing.

In 1999, Murdoch significantly expanded his music holdings in Australia by acquiring the controlling share in a leading Australian independent label, Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Records; he merged that with Festival Records, and the result was Festival Mushroom Records (FMR). Both Festival and FMR were managed by Murdoch’s son James Murdoch for several years

In 1986, keen to adopt newer electronic publishing technologies, Murdoch consolidated his UK printing operations in Wapping, causing bitter industrial disputes. The greater degree of automation led to significant reductions in the number of employees involved in the printing process.

His holding company News Corporation acquired Twentieth Century Fox (1985), HarperCollins (1989), and The Wall Street Journal (2007).

Murdoch formed the British broadcaster BSkyB in 1990 and, during the 1990s, expanded into Asian networks and South American television. It has dominated the British pay-TV market ever since pursuing direct to home (DTH) satellite broadcasting. By 1996, BSkyB had more than 3.6 million subscribers, triple the number of cable customers in the UK.

By 2000, Murdoch’s News Corporation owned over 800 companies in more than 50 countries, with a net worth of over $5 billion.

In July 2011, Murdoch faced allegations that his companies, including the News of the World, owned by News Corporation, had been regularly hacking the phones of celebrities, royalty, and public citizens. Murdoch faced police and government investigations into bribery and corruption by the British government and FBI investigations in the U.S.

On 21 July 2012, Murdoch resigned as a director of News International.

On 1 July 2015, Murdoch left his post as CEO of 21st Century Fox.

However, Murdoch and his family would continue to own both 21st Century Fox until 2019 and News Corp through the Murdoch Family Trust until 20th Century Fox itself was purchased by Disney.

In July 2016, after the resignation of Roger Ailes due to accusations of sexual harassment, Murdoch was named the acting CEO of Fox News.

In 2003 Murdoch bought “Rosehearty”, an 11 bedroom home on a 5-acre waterfront estate in Centre Island, New York

According to Forbes’ real time list of world’s billionaires, Murdoch is the 34th richest person in the US and the 96th richest person in the world, with a net worth of US$13.1 billion as of February 2017. In 2016, Forbes ranked “Rupert Murdoch & Family” as the 35th most powerful person in the world. Later, in 2019, Rupert Murdoch & family were ranked 52nd in the Forbes’ annual list of the world’s billionaires.

Murdoch has a seat on the Strategic Advisory Board of Genie Oil and Gas, having jointly investing with Lord Rothschild in a 5.5% stake in the company which conducted shale gas and oil exploration in Colorado, Mongolia, Israel and, controversially, the occupied Golan Heights.

In 2003 Murdoch bought “Rosehearty”, an 11 bedroom home on a 5-acre waterfront estate in Centre Island, New York.

In 1998, Murdoch made an attempt to buy the football club Manchester United F.C., with an offer of £625 million, but this failed. It was the largest amount ever offered for a sports club.

In November 2015, former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott said that Murdoch “arguably has had more impact on the wider world than any other living Australian”

In connection with Murdoch’s testimony to the Leveson Inquiry “into the ethics of the British press”, editor of Newsweek International, Tunku Varadarajan, referred to him as “the man whose name is synonymous with unethical newspapers”

 

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