NEWS CORP. | För två år sedan såg hela Rupert Murdochs medieimperium ut att vara hotat. Idag står han starkare än någonsin.
I juli 2011 var han tvungen att inför en panel av parlamentsledamöter svara på förödmjukande frågor om den telefonavlyssning man ägnat sig åt på bl.a. News of the World.
Bara dagarna innan hade man tagit beslutet att lägga ner tidningen.
Men idag har Sun on Sunday – Murdochs senaste publikation i Storbritannien – fler läsare än konkurrerande söndagstidningar.
Felix Gillette, Bloomberg Businessweek, skriver:
“We started off with phone hacking, and along the way the business of police corruption, long suspected, also came out in the public,” says Claire Enders, the founder of the London-based media research firm Enders Analysis. “These issues have grown and grown without there being any commensurate damage. It’s simply unbelievable.”
Today, Murdoch survives at the helm of a global entertainment and publishing company that, far from being diminished, has soared in value. The day before Murdoch appeared in Parliament, the stock closed at $14.96 a share. On April 12 it closed at $31.54. The company is now valued at $73 billion. Revenue and earnings are up. The company has $3.3 billion in cash. Since July 19, 2011, the Murdoch family’s 38 percent stake of News Corp. Class B voting shares has grown in value from $5.1 billion to $9.5 billion.
Given his track record, it should come as no surprise that Murdoch has slipped away. “Time and again when his plans have gone awry and he has found himself facing calamity, his superb survival skills have saved him,” the Australian journalist Neil Chenoweth wrote in a biography of Murdoch published in 2002. “Just before he hits the wall … he feints this way and that, and then he sets off with undiminished speed in a new direction. This is Murdoch’s genius: not that he gets into a jam, but that he is able to walk away afterward, an implausible winner.”
“The big win for Murdoch is that as much coverage as it got in the U.S., the crisis didn’t jump the Atlantic,” says [advokaten och krishanteraren Richard] Levick. “They were able to cordon it off as largely a British story.”
In February 2012, seven months after closing News of the World, Murdoch rolled out a new Sunday version of his daily tabloid the Sun—effectively reoccupying the niche his company had made such a big deal of leaving. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, between September 2012 and February 2013, the Sun averaged 2.3 million daily readers—significantly more than its closest rivals, the Daily Mail (1.8 million readers) and the Daily Mirror (1 million). Over the same time period, the Sun on Sunday has averaged 1.9 million readers, topping its competitors, the Mail on Sunday (1.7 million) and the Sunday Mirror (1 million). Murdoch’s papers may not be as popular as they were before the crisis, but, then again, few newspapers are.
The first half of the Leveson Inquiry—the government’s investigation into the press’s role in phone hacking—has come and gone. The second laborious chapter, which will focus on the role of the police, will take place at some later date. Meanwhile, Murdoch remains the most read publisher in the U.K.
Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är Bloomberg Businessweek den 22-28 april 2013.