Mar 31 • 40M

Media Unmade - Chapter 22: Polarising, Paying and Staying

In which News Corp shifts its first priority from advertisers to subscribers; Sky News goes partisan; Rupert Murdoch sells to Disney; and son James walks out, leaving the path clear for Lachlan

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Insights into the media and marketing industry from an Australian perspective, from the founder of Mumbrella and the author of the best selling book Media Unmade, Tim Burrowes
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Welcome to the latest Unmade podcast. Today’s edition features another extract from the audio edition of my book, Media Unmade, which is published by Hardie Grant and available online and in book stores.

In today’s chapter, I explore the dramatic evolution of News Corp in Australia and around the world during the last decade.

I analyse the insights offered by News Corp Australia’s executive chairman Michael Miller when I interviewed him on stage in 2018. It came at a point that the company was recognising that in television and in news, it was building subscription products for narrowly targeted, polarised audiences.

That included Sky News Australia, which the company took full control of in 2016 and began moving towards opinionated, mostly right-leaning commentary under new boss Paul Whittaker.

Globally, sister organisation 21st Century Fox failed in a 2014 bid to take over Time Warner with proprietor Rupert Murdoch later taking the decision to sell most of the company’s assets to Disney instead.

Lachlan Murdoch, left, took poll position as successor to Rupert (centre) after the exit of James (right) | Getty Images

The aftermath of the 2019 Disney deal saw Lachlan Murdoch become the boss of the new Fox Corporation, parent company of cable giant Fox News in the US, setting him up as the likely successor to his father. That looked even more likely when James Murdoch walked out in 2020.


If you enjoy hearing the podcast, please do give it a five star rating on whichever podcasting app you use. That helps other people find it, and gives me some much needed validation.

Audio production on Media Unmade comes courtesy of Abe’s Audio, the people to talk to about voiceovers and sound design for corporate videos, digital content, commercials and podcasts.

As ever, I welcome your thoughts to letters@unmade.media.

Time to let you go about your Friday. Have a great day.

Toodlepip…

Tim Burrowes

Unmade