MediaFile

from Commentaries:

Counter-Revolution?

FoxTVRupert Murdoch used News Corp's fiscal fourth quarter conference call on Wednesday to say he wants to be paid ANYTIME his news is read online. Perhaps he was just in a cranky mood, but most of the reporters listening to the call thinks he's going beyond what he's said many times before on the topic.

The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive methods of distribution, but it has not made the content free. Accordingly, we intend to charge for all news websites.

The Sun, 6 Aug 2009That's not just for newspapers and websites, but also for his TV news channels, like Fox, and by implication, Sky, when viewed online, Murdoch said.  However, when asked if he will be charging for celebrity photos from newspapers such as The Sun or News of The World, it was by no means clear he's figured out how to make visitors pay to view these other than by watching ads.

He said he's prepared to be first among his competitors to do this and considering introducing a paid-content plan for News Corp web sites in the company's current fiscal year that ends in June 2010.   

Of course, there's nothing counter-revolutionary about content creators wanting to get paid. It just made the blog posting trifecta work.    

Sun Valley: Execs join reporters in bar exile

Allen & Co might have thought they were being helpful to executives by shutting out the working press from the usual mingling with the executives at the Sun Valley Lodge bar. Its annual media and technology conference includes the reminder to its attendees that they’re not supposed to talk to the reporters who fly out, uninvited but not unwelcome, to try to get the big guys to talkMaybe it wasn’t so helpful. At least four CEOs told MediaFile and other reporters privately here that they were less than impressed with the decision. Executives who wanted to speak with individual reporters or hold court with several at a time had to do it outside the bar. And that’s just what many of them did, opting to hang with each other and various journalists in the lobby outside the bar, leaving the wonderful staff of the lodge’s bar to ferry drinks out to the crowd.Google CEO Eric Schmidt held his annual sit down with reporters on Thursday by the fireplace in the lobby of the Sun Valley Inn, and a bunch of other top movers in the media world from Hearst Magazines chief Cathleen Black to News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch and Time Warner Inc CEO Jeff Bewkes seemed to think little ill of jawing with the press during cocktail hour.The hired security at the event said Allen & Co made the decision on Tuesday after someone complained. The decision reversed years of tradition here where the press and executives mingle in the evenings to have off-the-record chats and trade gossip.On Saturday, the last day with just one (MediaFile) reporter left, the security seemed to relax a little. The head of security told this reporter, “I’m letting you get away with murder because you’re the last guy here.”Let’s see if we can apply that policy to the bar next year. Everyone can use a little social lubricant, especially executives and the reporters who make their living off covering what they do.

Sun Valley: Murdoch has nothing to say on wiretapping

When it comes to wiretapping in the UK, the key question for Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp, is what did he know and when did he know it?

Murdoch’s News of the World is caught up in new allegations that its journalists intercepted mobile phone voicemails of Hollywood celebrities and athletes. British police have said they are not re-opening a 2005 investigation, which saw the firing of then News of World editor Andy Coulson.

Many want to know how far up the chain of command did knowledge of this alleged activity went. So what does Murdoch have to say on this matter?

Live Blogging from Sun Valley (Day 3)

Reuters reporters Robert MacMillan, Yinka Adegoke and Alexei Oreskovic will be sending live updates from the Sun Valley gathering. Read their updates below or follow us on Twitter.

Sun Valley: A Who’s Who in pictures

Nearly every powerful media and technology executive you can think of will be camping out in the idyllic and affluent ski resort town of Sun Valley this week. Here are just a few…

Robert Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, Michael Larson of Cascade Investments and Ron Meyer, president and COO Universal Studios arrive at the Sun Valley Inn.

Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and her husband Barry Diller, chairman and CEO of IAC/InterActivecorp, arrive at the Sun Valley Inn with Eric Eisner.

Live Blogging from Sun Valley (Day 2)

Reuters reporters Robert MacMillan, Yinka Adegoke and Alexei Oreskovic will be sending live updates from the Sun Valley gathering. Read their updates below or follow us on Twitter.

Sun Valley: David Carr’s advice for reporters

The Bald Mountain resort in Sun Valley offers moguls for advanced skiers all winter long. Media reporters show up every July for the other kind of mogul, who lands among the picturesque Idaho mountains on a private jet and has a name like “Rupert Murdoch” or “Barry Diller.”

Reporters are supposed to be part of the scenery — not part of the conference itself.* They must stand around and hope that one of the more than 200 invitees decides to speak to them, and hopefully dispense a few nuggets of news. Fortunately, this week’s weather is supposed to be sunny, dry and warm during the day, and comfortably chilly at night.

For a Sun Valley freshman like this Reuters reporter, it sounds scary terrifying, despite the clement weather forecast. I asked New York Times media columnist David Carr, who covered the conference in 2007, for some advice. Here are some excerpts from our phone conversation;

Sun Valley: Reuters returns to Idaho

Nearly every powerful media and technology executive you can think of will be camping out in the idyllic and affluent ski resort town of Sun Valley this week. They have aimed their Gulfstreams squarely at Idaho so they can show up at the 27th edition of Allen & Co’s media and technology conference, which investment banker Herb Allen holds every summer here.

That means nearly every media reporter you can think of will be hovering among the hedgerows and parking lots (and in the bar, naturally), waiting to get a few precious seconds with super-wattage movie executives from DreamWorks’s Jeffrey Katzenberg to Paramount’s Brad Grey, technology heavyweights such as Michael Dell and Bill Gates, media kingpins Philippe Dauman and Rupert Murdoch and fresh-faced startup darlings like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Evan Williams and Ning’s Gina Bianchini.

Reuters, of course, will be among the press crew at the scene. Reporters Yinka Adegoke and Alexei Oreskovic will show up, as will I, and photographer Rick Wilking will be shooting the pictures that at Sun Valley often tell a more eloquent story than any text dispatch can.

Murdoch on newspapers (and other things)

News Corp Chief Executive showed up for his latest interview on the Fox Business Network (which he owns) on Monday. Here is a transcript of some of his remarks. He covered a lot of ground, from tonight’s union concession vote at The Boston Globe to the future of newspapers and the inclusion of software on computers sold in China that will block access to certain websites. We are providing excerpts — we trimmed for length, most notably excising his comments on healthcare and taxes (We know it’s the Internet, but we had to shorten it up a bit. You can see or read the whole thing here.

On FOX Interactive possibly looking at job cuts:

“It’s too early to talk about job cuts. … We’ve put new management in there, they’ve been there three weeks and they’re making a close examination of it and they’ll no doubt set some new directions, strengthen other very strong parts of it, and you know, the advertising is at least double what Facebook has and it’s in pretty good shape. But there will be, I’m sure, changes with the new management.”

On Chase Carey assuming the titles of deputy chairman, president and chief operating officer July 1:
“No, we’re not making any commitments on that [being an heir apparent] at all. Chase is coming in to be my partner and right-hand, he was with us for 17 years before. I think he’s like coming home.”

News Corp shareholder fails to make the cut

Today’s important lesson for shareholders: If you want to try to change the way things work at News Corp, you’d better make sure your paperwork is in order.

News Corp publicized in a government filing on Thursday an effort by investor Kenneth Steiner to force the media conglomerate to change the way it counts shareholder votes. Steiner outlined the proposal in a letter to News Corp that asked that his proposal be included. Here is what he said:

RESOLVED, Shareholders request that our board take the steps necessary so that each shareholder voting requirement in our charter and bylaws that calls for a greater than simple majority vote be changed to a majority of the votes cast for and against related proposals in compliance with applicable laws. This includes each 65% shareholder voting provision in our charter and/or bylaws.