Murdoch says News Corp will thrive in new media

Rupert Murdoch, the News Corporation chairman, has said the media industry is on the verge of a golden age and that his company is set to benefit because people still need content. Murdoch made the comments in a lengthy, live interview conducted by Jeff Randall and broadcast on BBC Five Live. Randall quizzed Murdoch on whether Google was going to conquer old media empires, but Murdoch responded by saying that News Corp would probably be doing things with Google, although he would not be drawn on specifics. "I think we're on the eve of a golden age for media, but all these wonderful inventions are nothing if you can not put something on them. You've got to have content and that's what our business is, creating or reporting news and creating entertainment," he said. Early in 2005, Murdoch admitted that News Corp had been slow on the uptake when it came to new media and last year the company invested heavily in Internet properties, including videogame and movie website company IGN Entertainment, which owns GameSpy and Rotten Tomatoes, for $650m (£365m) and for $580m. Last night, he told Randall: "The Internet is just beginning, it's really only taking off now with broadband, with a few tens of millions, maybe 100m or 200m people at most in the world able to get it. In 20 years time, everybody in the world is going to be able to get broadband and express themselves on it." Murdoch responded to criticism about News Corporation's share price, which has remained stagnant over the past three years despite growing profit at the company, and investors not believing in old media by accusing them of behaving like sheep. At the moment, they are unsure as to which companies will be able to cope with huge changes that are coming for the media industry, but he confidently predicted that they would come back to News Corp. He also remains upbeat about the future of the newspaper industry. "Newspapers in this country are better than they've ever been, there's better journalism and they're doing pretty well," he said. "You can say that some of their circulations are declining, but if you look at the full reach, if you add their printed circulation to their Internet circulation, they're probably extending their reach, if anything." However, he admitted that it was "entirely possible" that in 10 to 15 years' time, people would be reading his newspapers on a screen -- although he said there would still be a printed version. He also mooted the existence of spoken versions of newspapers, played via iPod-like devices. Commenting on the UK political scene, Murdoch implied his loyalties would remain with the Labour party and that he liked Chancellor Gordon Brown "very much". In contrast, he said that new Conservative Party leader David Cameron did not seem to be presenting much of an alternative to Labour. The interview is available to download as an MP3 file for free from the BBC Five Live site. UKFast is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

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