Good morning! Today’s newsletter is brought to you by Chris.
News Corp cuts driven by Murdoch mission to prop up news assets
Murdoch’s desire to cling onto influence by propping up News Corp’s news assets is running headfirst into an equally malign group – its shareholders. Faced with plummeting profits of 47% year-on-year in the final three months of the year for its media assets, analysts have been quick to point out that the value of News Corp could be significantly higher if parts of the news media stable were cut loose.
“Investors in Fox, a cash cow that makes more than $3bn in profits annually, had been concerned about being used as a ‘financial umbrella’ to prop up weaker publishing assets that newspaper-loving Rupert is loth to cull.”
The weaknesses and issues putting stress on those underperforming assets – including The Sun which was written off as a worthless asset in 2021 – aren’t going anywhere. Newsprint costs are increasing, and while the company is quick to claim its digital revenue is growing, it still only accounts for 37% of the title’s overall revenue.
On this week’s episode we spoke about the mounting pressure on Google and Meta from Microsoft, Apple and Amazon. Well, not to be outdone, a collective of EU telecoms companies has won approval from the EU to take the fight to Big Tech when it comes to digital advertising. In a few years, the digital advertising landscape is going to look veeery different.
Something stinks about this whole story. For our readers outside the UK, the chairperson of the BBC Richard Sharp was recently discovered to have ‘facilitated an £800,000 loan facility’ for the former Prime Minister Boris Johnson – a fact which he failed to disclose during his application for the position. You can’t run a public service broadcaster facing down a trust crisis when you are yourself less than trustworthy.
Aaaand if you were worried we’re not keeping true to our promise to reinvent ourselves as Med.A.I. Voices, here you go. This is a really interesting inadvertent companion piece to our discussion this week. For Poynter, Jenna Burrell picks apart a number of the current fatal flaws in AI that mean it can’t replicate journalism.
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On this week’s episode, we hear from Sarah Ebner, Executive Editor and Head of Newsletters at the Financial Times. She tells us about her role leading the newsletter team at the FT, and the value of newsletters in subscriber acquisition and retention but also as paid products in their own right.
In the news roundup we take a thorough look at what the integration of ChatGPT and Bard into search results means for news and magazine publishers. In the news in brief, the Mastodon Bump has levelled out, DC Thomson announces 300 job cuts, and we ask why subscription revenue is outperforming expectations.