New York: New York-based News Corp. will increase subscription revenue from The Wall Street Journal(WSJ), its website and Dow Jones by more than $300 million (Rs1,401 crore) annually over the next two-three years, its chairmanRupert Murdochsaid.
“They’re grossly undersold,” Murdoch said on Wednesday at a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. conference in New York.
Local television ad sales in the US are “bad”, hurt by a drop in spending by auto makers, Murdoch said. News Corp. will rely on cable channels, Sky Italia and the Fox Interactive Media group, to counter weaknesses in consumer advertising, he said.
Murdoch, 77, said News Corp. won’t be buying more newspapers. The company sees the slower economy as a “great chance” for its existing cable networks and newspapers to gain market share, he said. News Corp. is expanding its subscription-based services, such as in new media and cable networks, he said.
WSJ this week unveiled a redesigned website, limiting business news to paying readers, to increase subscriptions and attract advertisers.
News Corp. class A shares fell 83 cents, or 6.3%, to $12.46 at 4.02pm in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have declined 39% this year.
“The fact we take long-term bets and they’ve paid off well” is the most under-appreciated facet of News Corp., he said, in response to a question. “You show me someone with a better record than us in the industry in the last five-eight years.”
In the new television season, News Corp.’s Fox will likely be the most-watched TV network among viewers aged 18-49 for the fifth straight year, Murdoch said. Fox, which carries the top rated show American Idol, on Wednesday night aired the second episode of its new show Fringe, a science-fiction thriller from Lost creator J.J. Abrams.
News Corp. also plans to invest more outside the US, taking “small bites” in emerging economies such as India.
Mint has an exclusive content partnership in India with WSJ.
Murdoch also blamed Wall Street analysts for News Corp.’s falling share price. “Every time we’ve done something in the last few years, the analysts have killed us,” Murdoch said. “They thought I was crazy starting Fox News.”
Created in 1996, the channel overtook Time Warner Inc.’s CNN as the most-watched news network in 2002. Last October, News Corp. launched Fox Business Network, its finance-focused version of Fox News.