During News Corp.’s earnings call, a triumphant Rupert Murdoch asked listeners to pardon his lack of humility, but he boasted that the company’s “content is not just king, it’s the emperor of all things electronic.” While the company’s results were fueled largely by the strength of its cable and film units, which produced the blockbuster hit Avatar, not much was said about the company’s digital side. Although the WSJ Digital Network was up 17 percent, dollars at the social net MySpace shrunk. “Far too many companies were meek and mild in the face of predatory forces,” but that was not the case at his company, Murdoch trumpeted. “Without content, these genius mobile products would be lifeless.”
Murdoch has been particularly vociferous about the need to charge and value content for online news. Speaking ahead of the Q&A, Murdoch did not shed any new light on his pursuit of better deals with device makers, beyond saying that News Corp (NYSE: NWS). is currently in talks with manufacturers on addressing those issues.
MySpace is seeing traffic stabilize, thanks to the new management. Again, no word about revenues.
News Corp. COO Chase Carey offered an early outlook for the TV ad market, with stations’ revenue expected to be up 18- to 19 percent in this current quarter.
When the subject of e-books came up, Murdoch hardly needed any prodding when it came to tweaking Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN). He said that Amazon’s $9.99 uniform price devalues books and hurts retailers. He expressed much more hope about dealing with Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) for its new iBookstore for the iPad. “Apple will still be cheap, but they won’t be the pigs that Amazon is.”