News Corporation (NYSE: NWS) CEO Rupert Murdoch is clearly brimming with confidence, following his company’s successful run at Dow Jones (NYSE: DJ). During his interview at the Communacopia conference, he predicted a boom in demand for financial media, driven by a global population that’s moving out of poverty, and naturally he sees Dow Jones in a good position to exploit this. He’s just as excited about the rest of the company’s businesses. Even in newspapers, Murdoch is pleased, because their assets aren’t particularly reliant on classified ads.
On MySpace and Facebook:
Murdoch still seems to regard Facebook as a trivial competitor. He evaded a question about Facebook’s openness, saying “if you wanted to stalk a young girl on facebook, it would be very, very easy” (although the questioner did suggest that perhaps it was easier to stalk people on MySpace). He added that MySpace still dwarfs Facebook and that MySpace’s domestic growth is slowing only because the company is reaching the limits of the US population — not because its popularity is on the wane. As for recent rumors that the company had been in talks with Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) about some kind of partnership, he insisted that no such talks had occurred.
On Fox Business:
Predictably, the plan is for Fox Business to position itself as an alternative to CNBC the way that Fox News played off of CNN when it first launched. Whereas CNBC is all about Wall St., claims Murdoch, Fox Business will be about Main Street. The channel will launch with a footprint of 33-34 million potential viewers. As for how the Wall Street Journal (which has a relationship with CNBC) can contribute to Fox Business, Murdoch suggested that it will contribute with respect to non-business content, like political or international news.
–Murdoch gave his strongest statements to date the WSJ.com will go free following the purchase. He says they haven’t made up their mind completely, but that the company doesn’t feel it would hurt subscription revenues and that any lost revenue would be more than made up from increased readership and search engine traffic. “Will you lose $50 million to $100 million in revenue? I don’t think so…If the site is good, you’ll get much more.”
–When asked about Wall St.’s fears that News Corp might make another big, costly move, Murdoch mused “well I might make another good move”, referring to MySpace and Fox News, both of which were deemed foolish, but have turned out rather well.