News Corporation is a $28.66 billion diversified media and entertainment company. The Company operates in eight business segments: Filmed Entertainment, Television, Cable Network Programming, Direct Broadcast Satellite Television, Magazines and Inserts, Newspapers, Book Publishing and Interactive Media primarily in the United States, Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, Asia and the Pacific Basin.
News Corp. has been a media and entertainment company focused on newspapers and television until it acquired MySpace two years back for $580 million. Since its acquisition, MySpace has experienced record traffic and registered 70 million active monthly unique users in June 2007 and two billion page views from May to June 2007. On average users spend over 200 minutes per month on MySpace (comScore) but News Corp. has failed to successfully monetize it. News Corp. recently bought Photobucket as one of MySpace’s monetization efforts. MySpace earns revenues from advertisements and also from the sale of songs via Apple’s iTunes and Snocap.
The Management is considering strategic steps to better enable the company to capture the opportunities of operating in a more globalized and digitized society. The Company has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Dow Jones & Company to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Dow Jones in a transaction valued at approximately $5.6 billion. This will give the company a strong presence in the online business and finance space and access to approximately one million subscribers.
The Company has taken a strategic decision to sell nine of its FOX network affiliated television stations and is exploring strategic options for the News Outdoor Group. These are clear indications of the Company divesting its non-core businesses like Gemstar, News Outdoor and some of its smaller TV stations and focusing on those, which have robust future opportunities.
The Company is looking at reducing its exposure in the stagnant U.S. television market and is focusing on penetrating new TV markets overseas that represent faster growth opportunities. The Company is exploring underdeveloped television markets in Turkey, Poland, Serbia and Indonesia. The Company is continually rebalancing its assets, trying to make sure that it has maximum exposure to growth areas like digital / multi-channel in high growth verticals in first world markets, as well as television businesses in emerging markets.
In subsequent parts of this series, we will explore, primarily, News Corp’s Web 3.0 efforts.