viernes, mayo 04, 2007

Murdoch sale de compras

La noticia que el Rupert Murdoch había lanzado una OPA hostil sobre Dow Jones golpeó fuerte a la industria de los medios en EE.UU.
Los casi US$5 mil millones que ofrece por la firma, no sólo le darían el control sobre el Wall Street Journal, sino también un elemento más al considerable poder que ya maneja News Corp. El dueño de la cadena Fox y de decenas de periódicos en Europa, Oceanía y EE.UU., es visto como un villano por algunos de sus biógrafos y por periodistas como Robert Fisk. El corresponsal del The Independent no pierde oportunidad para destacar como Murdoch despojó de toda independencia al Time sólo con el mismo fin ideológico que persigue con la cadena Fox. Es un hecho que Murdoch es el paradigma de los medios convertidos en industria, competencia y pragmatismo. En su trayectoria este último es el calificativo que más le calza: rechazó las nuevas tecnologías y luego compró, fue un abierto partidario de la política internacional (Irak incluido) de Bush y hoy cree en el retiro de las tropas del Golfo Pérsico. Este texto es quizás el mejor perfil que se ha hecho de Murdoch. Fue publicado el 2003, pero es el mismo Murdoch de ahora.
No civics text has the stomach to describe Washington's "wait in line" industry. When a famous witness is to appear before a committee of Congress, or a famous case is to be argued at the Supreme Court, tourists imagine they can drop in to watch; but they discover that the line for admission formed well before dawn. Professionals in town—lawyers, lobbyists—can't afford to be left out, especially if clients' money is at stake. So they hire services to do the waiting for them. On the days of big events, lines resembling those outside soup kitchens or for-pay blood banks snake through marble corridors in House and Senate office buildings and spill out onto the sidewalk long before most staffers show up for work. At 9:45 or so, for the typical 10:00 A.M. committee hearing, taxis and town cars begin depositing passengers who have come from breakfast or early meetings at their firms.
The paid placeholders hold up little signs with names on them, like limo drivers greeting arrivals at an airport, and the switch occurs. Someone with wild hair or wearing several sweatshirts leaves his place in line or his seat in the hearing room, and someone in a nice suit steps in. Economically the arrangement makes sense, but it's a little too crass a reminder of the different standing of citizens before their democratic government.

A line formed outside the Russell Senate Office Building early one morning this May, in anticipation of a session that would combine glamour and money. Congress was beginning to pay attention to pending changes in the rules that restrict the number of radio and TV stations a person or company may own. The proposed revisions were highly technical, but if the changes went through, they would provoke a wave of buying, selling, and consolidation in the media business. In particular they would allow, and therefore presumably encourage, a large number of mergers or takeovers among newspapers and TV stations. Supporters argued that this would be economically efficient and productive, opponents that it would give too much power to too few companies. A Senate committee chaired by John McCain had summoned several expert witnesses to discuss the implications of the changes that morning, along with a man who was not directly involved in the debate but who seemed to personify media power: Rupert Murdoch.

At this hearing, as in most of his public appearances, Murdoch would dismiss the idea that he is anything like a media "baron" or that the holdings of his company, News Corporation, constitute an "empire"—a term he dislikes. The company is generally referred to as "News" or "News Corp"; politicians often pronounce the name "News Core," as if it were akin to the Peace Corps or the Marine Corps. Its main holdings are the Fox broadcast networks and Fox News, Fox Sports, FX, and other Fox cable channels in the United States; 20th Century Fox studios; thirty-five local U.S. TV stations; the New York Post plus The Times and The Sun of London; the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard; the publishing house HarperCollins; the Sky satellite system in England and the Star satellite system in Asia; the Los Angeles Dodgers, which News Corp is selling; and various publications in Murdoch's native Australia. In addition, Murdoch is now seeking federal approval to buy a one-third share in DirecTV, the leading satellite-broadcast system in North America.
To someone not named Murdoch, this might sound like a lot. But Rupert Murdoch frequently points out that the three established TV networks in the United States are part of conglomerates much larger than his. Last year the total revenues of News Corp were about $17 billion. CBS belongs to Viacom, which also owns Paramount Pictures, Simon & Schuster, Blockbuster, Infinity radio, and so on, with total revenues of $25 billion. ABC is part of Disney, with revenues of $26 billion. NBC is owned by General Electric, whose total revenues were $131 billion. Murdoch's upstart Fox News Channel, founded in 1996, has for more than a year consistently beaten the better-known CNN (founded in 1980) in cable-news rankings. CNN is part of the AOL Time Warner combine, whose revenues last year, despite the historic AOL collapse, were $42 billion—two and a half times News Corp's.


1 Comentarios:

Blogger Carlos V dijo...

El NY Times publica un artículo muy interesante sobre por qué el WSJ no publicó la noticia de la propuesta de Murdoch, pese a que la conocía antes que muchos. Ya vemos, ni los medios más prestigiosos sortean incólumes la prueba de reportearse a sí mismos.

3:17 p. m.  

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