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Murdoch: News Corp. still strong

9 October 2002 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

ADELAIDE, South Australia -- Speaking at the 23rd annual general meeting of News Corporation here Wednesday, chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, gave an upbeat forecast of the company's fortunes, signaling a significant turnaround in advertising revenues for its TV assets, and double digit growth across the group over the next year. Murdoch was flanked by News Corp. president and chief operating officer Peter Chernin (also chairman and CEO of the Fox Group), as well as sons Lachlan, News' deputy chief operating officer, and James, chairman and CEO of Murdoch's Asian satellite broadcaster, STAR. Noting it's "always a pleasure to come back to this beautiful city where our roots started," Murdoch said that in the past fiscal year the company had an 11% increase in operating revenues to $19 billion, and the company aims to achieve similar kind of growth over the current fiscal period. Overall net debt has been reduced to $6 billion. He said that filmed entertainment revenues rose 78% to $474 million in fiscal 2002, while the company's home entertainment division had "spectacular" results on the back of theatrical releases such as Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack Of The Clones and Ice Age. He also gave a glowing report card for Fox's U.S. TV production interests. In cable, with its successful Fox News Channel, the company has seen "tremendous" earnings growth to $199 million. Murdoch said News' "single most profitable" business segment was its U.S. TV channels, which now number 35 throughout the United States He said that a "carefully executed strategy" of creating duopolies in nine key markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, had helped generate significant savings and margins of up to 60%. »

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