News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) plans to expand the Wall Street Journal and create new ad opportunities but the real opportunity is in the “expansion worldwide of its digital editions,” chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch told shareholders during today’s annual meeting in New York. (I listened via webcast.) The expansion will include “vertical internet websites, which we will be starting.” No mention of going free. This time, Murdoch’s focus was on premium: “We see a lot of demand from people who are prepared to pay very well” for up-to-the-minute financial information. Murdoch’s global focus goes beyond WSJ to other Dow Jones (NYSE: DJ) properties: “There’s a real hunger, not just in the United States but across the globe, for financial news.” As for integration, Murdoch said senior management has formulated a long-term plan to integrate the properties of Dow Jones with News Corp. assets. He repeatedly reminded shareholders not to expect instant results.
Fox Interactive Media: Murdoch reiterated his projection of “around $1 billion” in revenue for the unit in 2008. No breakout for MySpace, which he once again said turned profitable last year. (His mention at Web 2.0 of MySpace at $750-800 million sent some people into a tizzy.) He stressed the efforts underway to “better enable us to monetize its enormous traffic.”
Fox Business Network: The company plans to invest as much as $200 million in it over the next three to four years, double what the company initially said. About $70 million will be spent in this fiscal year.
Murdoch’s prepared comments are here.