Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag:

News Corp’s Revenue Falls For Third Straight Quarter

(Reuters) — News Corp’s quarterly revenue fell for the third straight quarter as income from its core news and information services business, which includes Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, declined further.

The company, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, said on Thursday revenue from its news and information business fell about 11 percent to $1.29 billion in the first quarter.

The business, which accounted for nearly two-thirds of its total revenue, has been struggling for the past few years as readers shift to digital media and newspapers’ advertising revenue slides.

News Corp has been diversifying its business to lower its dependence on print.

Revenue at the company’s digital real estate services business, which includes U.S. website realtor.com and a stake in Australian REA Group, jumped 70.5 percent to $191 million.

The net income available to the company’s stockholders rose to $175 million, or 30 cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30 from $65 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier.

Total revenue fell 4.5 percent to $2.01 billion.

Excluding items, the company had a profit of 5 cents per share from continuing operations and revenue of $2.09 billion.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 6 cents per share and revenue of $2.09 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

News Corp’s shares were unchanged at $15.35 in extended trading.

(Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar and Kshitiz Goliya in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

Photo: Passers-by walk near the News Corporation building in New York June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

News Corp. Nixes Hacking Joke At Emmy Awards

Sunday night’s Emmy Awards broadcast had glitz, gowns, glamour… and censorship.

Alec Baldwin had planned to make a joke about News Corp.’s recent phone-hacking scandal during the awards show’s opening sketch. FOX, which is owned by News Corp., removed the joke from the previously recorded skit. A network spokeswoman said the decision was made because the company did not want to appear to be making light of the serious hacking allegations.

According to The New York Times, “In the skit, Mr. Baldwin played the ‘president of television.’ While on the phone with an unidentified colleague, he paused and said, ‘Rupert, is that you? I hear you breathing, Rupert!’ The chairman and chief executive of the News Corporation is Rupert Murdoch.”

News of the World, a British News Corp. paper, was shut down this summer following reports that the paper had illegally eavesdropped on several occasions, including hacking into the phones of celebrities and victims’ families. The investigation is ongoing.

After the network cut the joke, Baldwin pulled out of the skit altogether. The sketch was re-filmed without the hacking joke, and Star Trek veteran Leonard Nimoy took over the role. Baldwin did not attend the Emmys, saying he had a prior commitment and insisting that his decision was unrelated to the News Corp. incident.

30 Rock, the NBC comedy in which Baldwin plays a General Electric boss who meddles in a television show, often takes jabs at NBC and network politics. Apparently, Murdoch and Co. lack NBC’s sense of humor.

On Sunday night, Baldwin wrote on Twitter that he understood why News Corp. killed his joke: “If I were enmeshed in a scandal where I hacked phones of families of innocent crime victims purely for profit, I’d want that to go away too.”

Whether watching awards shows or singing along to “Glee,” it’s easy to forget that FOX is owned by News Corp. But even when it comes to entertainment, viewers should always be aware of what message the networks are sending– and what they aren’t letting others say.

Documents Cast New Doubt on James Murdoch’s Denial Of Knowledge Of Phone-Hacking

LONDON (AP) — Lawyers and former executives have cast fresh doubt on the denials made by Rupert and James Murdoch over Britain’s phone hacking scandal, raising the prospect that the media tycoon’s son could be recalled for a new grilling by U.K. legislators.

In written testimony released by lawmakers Tuesday, former Murdoch lieutenants poked holes in the dramatic testimony delivered by their ex-bosses before Parliament last month, accusing them of misrepresentations, exaggerations and more.

Claims made by the Murdochs carried “serious inaccuracies,” ex-News International lawyer Jonathan Chapman said in a letter to the House of Commons’ media committee, rejecting the notion that the two had been kept in the dark by subordinates.

“Nobody kept Mr. James Murdoch or any other News International/News Corporation executives from being in full possession of the facts,” he said.

Other former executives contradicted James Murdoch’s assertion that he hadn’t been aware of a critical piece of evidence implying that illegal eavesdropping had been far more widespread than News International had previously claimed. The evidence, contained in an email apparently addressed to a senior News of the World reporter, appeared to rip apart the company’s fiercely-held claim that the illegal espionage campaign was limited to former royal editor Clive Goodman, who’d already been jailed over the practice.

James Murdoch told lawmakers he wasn’t aware of the email at the time, but his former legal adviser Tom Crone said that he’d specifically flagged it to his attention during a brief meeting in June of 2008.

“I have no doubt that I informed Mr. Murdoch of its existence, of what it was and where it came from,” Crone said in a letter.

Some of the most scathing attacks on Rupert Murdoch came from his former law firm, Harbottle & Lewis, which accused his company of misusing its legal advice.

The London-based firm said it was asked to perform a narrow review of emails at the News of the World following an employment claim made by Goodman, who’d lost his job after pleading guilty to phone hacking in 2007.

In Parliament, both Murdochs presented this as evidence that Harbottle & Lewis had thoroughly vetted the paper — something the law firm rejected.

“There was absolutely no question of the firm being asked to provide News International with a clean bill of health,” the law firm said in a statement. It denied Rupert Murdoch’s assertion before Parliament that Harbottle & Lewis was commissioned to “find out what the hell was going on” after Goodman’s conviction, saying that if it had in fact been asked to do what the elder Murdoch described, it would have refused.

“It appears there has been some confusion in the mind of Mr. Rupert Murdoch, or perhaps he has been misinformed, about the role of the firm,” it added.

The attacks on the Murdochs’ testimony are latest to pile the pressure on News Corp., which has already had to close the News of the World tabloid and scupper its multibillion pound (dollar) bid for satellite broadcaster BSkyB as the scandal rumbled on through the summer.

The controversy — which centers on allegations that reporters routinely listened to phone messages of public figures and bribed police officers to score scoops — has also claimed the jobs of Prime Minister David Cameron’s top media aide, two top Scotland Yard officials and several long-serving newspaper journalists.

The near-daily revelations about past misbehavior have largely stopped, but the focus is shifting to the issue of whether James and Rupert Murdoch told the truth when they denied knowing what was going on at their newspapers.

Former newspaper editor Paul Connew told Sky News television that the publication of the new allegations that the pair misled Parliament “has been one of the startling developments of the saga so far.” He predicted that Rupert Murdoch “will have to look very carefully at whether James’ position is tenable.”

The long-simmering scandal was first aired in 2006, when Goodman was arrested.

The correspondence released Tuesday included a 4-year-old letter by Goodman warning of what many have long suspected — and what News International has long denied — that eavesdropping was widely used at the News of the World and that senior figures there approved the practice.

The letter also alleges that Goodman was repeatedly promised his job back as long as he did not implicate anyone else at the News of the World during his trial — buttressing allegations that the newspaper group had tried to buy his silence.

“If Goodman’s letter is accurate … the whole foundation of the company’s defense for the last three years collapses,” opposition lawmaker Tom Watson told Sky. “Day by day, week by week, we’re slowly getting the facts.”

Watson was one of the committee members who said it was likely to recall James Murdoch to answer more questions about phone hacking at the News of the World, telling journalists earlier that “it is likely we will take Murdoch back.”

“There seems to be a question as to whether James Murdoch himself misled the committee,” Watson said. “We have not reached a conclusion on that.”

Committee Chairman John Whittingdale said there are no plans to recall Rupert Murdoch, who gave evidence to the committee alongside his son on July 19.

Meanwhile, police are investigating claims the News of the World illegally accessed cell phone messages and bribed police to get information on celebrities, politicians and crime victims.

News International said in a statement Tuesday that “we recognize the seriousness of materials disclosed to the police and Parliament and are committed to working in a constructive and open way with all the relevant authorities.”

It did not address the specifics of the allegations made against the Murdochs.

British Phone Hacking Whistleblower Found Dead as Scandal Continues to Grow

LONDON (AP) — Scotland Yard’s assistant commissioner resigned Monday, a day after his boss also quit, and fresh investigations of possible police wrongdoing were launched in the phone hacking scandal that has spread from Rupert Murdoch’s media empire to the British prime minister’s office.

Prime Minister David Cameron called an emergency session of Parliament on the scandal and cut short his visit to Africa to try to contain the widening crisis. Lawmakers on Tuesday are to question Murdoch, his son James and Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of Murdoch’s U.K. newspaper arm.

In a further twist, a former News of the World reporter who helped blow the whistle on the scandal was found dead Monday in his home, but it was not believed to be suspicious.

Murdoch shut down the News of the World tabloid after it was accused of hacking into the voice mail of celebrities, politicians, other journalists and even murder victims.

The crisis has roiled the upper ranks of Britain’s police, with Monday’s resignation of Assistant Commissioner John Yates — Scotland Yard’s top anti-terrorist officer — following that on Sunday of police chief Paul Stephenson over their links to Neil Wallis, an arrested former executive from Murdoch’s shuttered News of the World tabloid whom police had employed as a media consultant.

The government quickly announced an inquiry into police-media relations and possible corruption.

Home Secretary Theresa May said that people were naturally asking “who polices the police,” and announced an inquiry into “instances of undue influence, inappropriate contractual arrangements and other abuses of power in police relationships with the media and other parties.”

The Independent Police Complaints Commission also said it was looking into the claims, including one that Yates inappropriately helped get a job for Wallis’ daughter. Wallis, former executive editor of News of the World, was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications.

Yates said he had done nothing wrong.

“I have acted with complete integrity,” he said. “My conscience is clear.”

In another development, police confirmed that a second former News of the World employee was employed by Scotland Yard. Alex Marunchak had been employed as a Ukrainian language interpreter with access to highly sensitive police information between 1980 and 2000, the Metropolitan Police said.

Scotland Yard said it recognized “that this may cause concern and that some professions may be incompatible with the role of an interpreter,” adding that the matter will be looked into.

The prime minister is under heavy pressure after the resignations of Stephenson and Yates, and Sunday’s arrest of Brooks — a friend and neighbor whom he has met at least six times since entering office 14 months ago — on suspicion of hacking into the cellphones of newsmakers and bribing police for information.

Cameron’s critics grew louder in London as he visited South Africa on a two-day visit to the continent already cut short by the crisis. He dropped stops in Rwanda and South Sudan as his government faces growing questions about its cozy relationship with Murdoch’s media empire during a scandal that has taken down top police and media figures with breathtaking speed.

Parliament was to break for the summer on Tuesday after lawmakers grilled Murdoch, his son James and Brooks, in a highly anticipated public airing about the scandal. Cameron, however, said lawmakers should reconvene Wednesday “so I can make a further statement.”

Cameron insisted his Conservative-led government had “taken very decisive action” by setting up a judge-led inquiry into the wrongdoing at Murdoch’s now-defunct tabloid News of the World and into the overall relations between British politicians, the media and police.

“We have helped to ensure a large and properly resourced police investigation that can get to the bottom of what happened, and wrongdoing, and we have pretty much demonstrated complete transparency in terms of media contact,” Cameron said.

Opposition leader Ed Miliband, however, said Cameron needed to answer “a whole series of questions” about his relationships with Brooks, James Murdoch and Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor whom Cameron later hired as his communications chief. Coulson resigned that post in January and was arrested earlier this month in the scandal.

“At the moment, he seems unable to provide the leadership the country needs,” Miliband said of Cameron.

Rupert Murdoch, too, faces a major test Tuesday in his bid to tame a scandal that has already destroyed the News of the World, prompted the resignations of Brooks and Wall Street Journal publisher Les Hinton, and sunk the media baron’s dream of taking full control of a lucrative satellite broadcaster, British Sky Broadcasting.

At the televised hearing, politicians will seek more details about the scale of criminality at the News of the World. The Murdochs will try to avoid incriminating themselves or doing more harm to their business without misleading Parliament, which is a crime.

Meanwhile, Internet hackers took aim at Murdoch late Monday, defacing the website of his other U.K. tabloid, The Sun, and shutting down The Times of London.

Visitors to The Sun website were redirected to a page featuring a story saying Murdoch’s dead body had been found in his garden.

Internet hacking collective Lulz Security took responsibility for that hacking attack via Twitter, calling it a successful part of “Murdoch Meltdown Monday.”

The group posted taunting messages on its Twitter account like “we have joy we have fun we have messed up murdoch’s sun.” It added what it claimed were details of hacked internal staff data from The Sun and eventually redirected the paper’s website to its own Twitter feed.

Lulz Security, which has previously claimed hacks on major entertainment companies, FBI partner organizations and the CIA, hinted that more was yet to come, saying “This is only the beginning.”

It later took credit for shutting down News International’s corporate website.

Another hacking collective known as Anonymous claimed the cyberattack on The Times’ website.

The website breaches came just hours ahead of Murdoch’s testimony to British lawmakers and as James Murdoch — chairman of BSkyB and chief executive of his father’s European and Asian operations — appeared increasingly isolated following the departure of Brooks.

James Murdoch did not directly oversee the News of the World, but he approved payments to some of the paper’s most prominent hacking victims, including 700,000 pounds ($1.1 million) to Professional Footballers’ Association chief Gordon Taylor.

James Murdoch said last week that he “did not have a complete picture” when he approved the payouts.

Rupert Murdoch is eager to stop the crisis from spreading to the United States, where many of his most lucrative assets — including the Fox TV network, 20th Century Fox film studio, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post — are based.

News Corp. on Monday appointed commercial lawyer Anthony Grabiner to run its Management and Standards Committee, which will deal with the phone hacking scandal. It said the committee will cooperate with all investigations on hacking and alleged police payments, and carry out its own inquiries.

Meanwhile, one of the first voices to blow the whistle on the phone hacking — former News of the World journalist Sean Hoare — was found dead Monday in Watford, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of London. Police said the death was being treated as unexplained but was not considered suspicious, according to Britain’s Press Association.

Hoare was quoted by The New York Times saying that phone hacking was widely used and even encouraged at the News of the World under Coulson.