news corp

You are currently browsing articles tagged news corp.

News Corp. is looking to sell off Amplify after a failed experiment in the education and educational technology business. The coup de grace was a $371M write down announced yesterday. The NYT suggested “the moves highlight the difficulty that has confronted News Corporation and others looking to move teaching into the digital age, relying on the Internet and tablets to update traditional curriculums.”

Moving teaching into the digital realm is, indeed, difficult. But does anyone disagree it’s a bad idea? I understand teachers over 35 are having difficulty getting acclimated to new devises, e.g., interactive whiteboards, assessment clickers, curriculum apps and education software, but passing advanced chemistry in high school wasn’t a walk in the park either. It’s a learning thing.

Professional development in K12 is such a big business because many teachers don’t get the new technology. Layer that with new Common Core standards and you are beginning to see the “perfect storm.”

Amplify will be bought by either Pearson or Google (or a smart super-rich tech spender) who will reengineer how to teach teachers to teach, using a new digital curriculum. It won’t be easy, but when it works (and it will), the results will change U.S. education by leaps.

Ar-ne Dun-can, clap, clap, clap clap clap. (Baseball stadium reference.)



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

What’s wrong with the newspaper business is the “paper” not the “news.”  And paper is also a metaphor for the old centralized news, ink and engine business that hasn’t really changed for hundreds of year.


I posted yesterday about how Rupert Murdoch and News Corp are best positioned to transform the newspaper business.  No one else has amassed the resources and other media expertise to translate the news “paper” business into the news “digital” business. Microblogger sites such as Twitter have shown us a glimpse of the future, in terms of real-time reporting, but we all know that the best news and analysis come from professionals — with editors and fact checking as part of the equation. All of which in the digital age should be easier, not harder.


News gathering and reporting are a special competence of news organizations; printing and distributing are not. The former must be brought up to date.  


Today it was reported that Rupert Murdoch’s #2 executive, Peter Chernin, is leaving. Allowing him to go is a huge mistake. Mr. Chernin is the entertainment, social media, non-newspaper guy on the team. My timeframe for News Corp’s delivery of newspapers 2.0 was 2 years.  Jeff Dachis — a transformative executive himself – is on record as saying 2 years is too soon.  Now I wonder if it can be done in 4 years. Or at all…by News Corp. 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

(Not that kind of greening.)

MySpace is acknowledging its soft ad revenue by redesigning its home page to be less cluttered and more advertiser-friendly.  It is also updating its nav bar in the hopes of making MySpace a little more adult friendly (my theory.)  You see, one of the reasons News Corp’s social networking darling isn’t bringing in the ad revenue it had hoped is the demographics are too young. Think of it like TV advertising on Saturday morning. 
Facebook, though its user base is older, also isn’t making big ad revenue because they, too, are not hitting the ideal user base demo.  Let’s face it, this demographic group barely see ads online. Zude, which we like to refer to as a “social computing platform that provides users an unprecedented level of freedom and design customization” (mouthful, I know,) is an online property designed to make it easier for users of all technical abilities to build and manger web content. And that includes not just the young, but all consumers. As those who are in the high-spend demographic enter the social computing age, thanks to more usable online properties, advertisers will start to spend more money to reach them.    
Advertisers will pay for consumers who will pay. It’s a fact.

Tags: , , , , , ,

A Senior Moment?

Rupert Murdoch seems to be having a senior moment. One day he’s meeting with Jerry Yang in an effort to align News Corp with Yahoo and Google, the next he’s talking about working with Microsoft to take over Yahoo. Either way it sounds as if he’s trying to get someone who knows the space to handle his Fox Interactive Media, owner of MySpace. 


I’m getting the impression Mr. Murdoch is more interested in “the deal” than the “vision.” Frankly, he knows how Microsoft makes money, so I’m betting that the Microsoft play is where he’s likely to land – if he does land. And that’s debatable given some of these tactics. Maybe his recent dinner with Jerry Yang was strictly intell gathering. If it was, I bet Roy Bostock was not at the table.


PS. I wrote some time ago that Mr. Murdoch’s purchase of The Wall Street Journal, would lead to creation of the world’s biggest business social net. That would have been vision. 

PPS. For a fun look at a Visual Guide to the Yahoo Mating Dance, click on the Dan Farber link:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For the life of me I can’t figure out how MySpace’s big music announcement with Universal Music Group, Warner Music and Sony BMG is going to play out. The geezer planner in me says it is headed for disaster, because MySpace is about friends, not selling music. And whenever a property thinks they know more than their customers about being a consumer, they fall into traps.  If given a choice to buy Music from Apple, maker of the iPod, or MySpace maker of “thanks for the add,” I’d choose Apple. But look how Wal-Mart ascended in music downloads. 
The strategy of selling music in all device formats is smart, though it hasn’t driven crazy growth at Amazon. The strategy of 360 degree deals, selling all band purchase-ables: tees, tix, loads, pix, vids, is also smart. And convenient. And after “friends,” music is a big driver of traffic to MySpace, and therefore consumers have in a sense already voted for music as a MySpace app. Hmm.
But bringing in three labels, notorious competitors, and then stirring up the bees nest of small indies (a franchise) vs. the big labels and that will create cause some anomy. More hmm.
Though I’m kind of on the fence here, I’m going to say, it will be a small bust.  News Corp. will putz this thing up because there will be too many cooks in the kitchen. Plus the MySpace overall mission is now off-kilter. When was the last time you thought of your favorite music store as “a place for friends.”

Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m a brand guy. I like to know what a brand stands for and what its mission is. If people on the inside know what a brand stands for, presumably people on the outside will too. The Wall Street Journal has always stood for financial reporting and analysis. Rupert Murdoch, as it was reported in the New York Times this morning, 
has been pondering upping the content on hard-hitting news and political reporting in the Wall Street Journal when the News Corp ownership becomes formal. Indeed, he is considering the removal of the Marketplace section of the paper next year.   Marketing is a component of financial news — certainly a driver of it, in many cases — so that section of the paper is on message and on brand. Replacing it with something more general, in my mind is a mistake. Competing with the New York Times and other more generalist media properties will water down the WSJ mission, also a mistake. Mr. Murdoch’s new plans might make the “Journal” (yes, there have even been discussions about removing “Wall Street” from the title ) more profitable near-term, but it is not be a good long-term solution. 
Should they to move this route, in will step The Financial Times to fillthe void and the Journal will get really dinged. Stay tuned.

Tags: , , , ,

Business 3.0

Prediction Time.

As Jerry Seinfeld might say “So what’s up with Rupert Murdoch?” News Corp has four parts to its business: 20th Century Fox Films (underperforming,) Television (performing moderately well), Newspapers (holding their own in a tough market,) and Other which comprises Fox Interactive and MySpace (doing quite nicely.) Rupert’s latest two pursuits, MySpace and Dow Jones, are the source of my prediction.
Coming to a computer near you will be a new online business network that will be an amalgam of LinkedIn, Monster, Ning, Harvard Business Review and The Wall Street Journal. Think the three martini lunch meets Red Bull. 
This new entity, launching in 2008, will be like nothing we’ve ever seen in the business world. I’m still trying to figure out who will run the show. When I figure that one out, I’ll post it. Who do you think it should be?

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,