Saturday, 15 December 2007

Murdoch and (not) the International Herald Tribune

An article in yesterday's International Herald Tribune (Murdoch takes helm as owners of Dow Jones; Friday December 14, 2007) reported, in the last paragraph, that Murdoch has 'publicly taken aim at The New York Times, hoping to win readers, advertisers and influence'.

A few things spring to mind:

  • Can anyone send me an accurate report of Murdoch 'publicily taking aim at the NYT'? I am sure he may well have, but I haven't had time to look for a reliable source on this. I would love to know his actual words.

  • Did this public statement say he was 'hoping to win readers, advertisers and influence' OR is that 'opinion' rather than fact?

  • Why has the IHT not mentioned in this story that it is owned by the NYT? I think most IHT readers know this, but it always used to the case that, whenever a business story was published concerning the NYT (or back in the day, the WP), IHT copy editors would dutifully remind its readers of this fact, as part of the full-disclosure in the news piece in order to maintain its credibility.

My guess is that there are more IHT readers who need to be told the IHT is a NYT property, than IHT readers who need to be told that Singapore Airlines is an Asian carrier (see previous post).

Who knows what Murdoch has in mind for Dow Jones but while everyone is looking at how he might use it to take on the NYT in the USA, perhaps he is thinking more about how he could use the WSJ and The Times of London, and some of his Australian broadsheet content providers, to take on the IHT internationally.

One thing is probably for sure: Murdoch and the executive board of News Corp know one hell of a lot more about international English-language publishing than Pinch and the executive board of the NYT, company or newspaper.

In fact I'd go further than that and say Murdoch and his people probably know a hell of a lot more about life and business outside of Manhattan than the NYT gang.

We'll know if he's up to something if he seduces a couple of current senior IHT editors or business executives away from the IHT, but for all their woes, he has already got his hands on the distribution and international advertising expertise of the WSJ Europe and Asia.

Furthermore he has considerable experience of distributing The Times of London internationally, even if to a predominantly British audience.

The Times of London could serve as that core domestic audience in Europe (that the IHT hasn't got), combined with the WSJ in the USA, to be put together as an advertising package like the NYT has with the IHT and its Euroreach partners - a package that that could be a seriously compelling proposition to advertisers.

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