News Corp invests in “digital renaissance” but warns turmoil not over

News Corp chief executive Rupert Murdoch has stressed the importance of the new generation of electronic and mobile devices to future revenues in the annual report from the media group.

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Murdoch, who has just unveiled The Daily, a news product for the US iPad, says: “We see tremendous opportunity in all of the new devices, e-readers and smartphones coming to market, because they will allow consumers to access our news, sports and entertainment. The latest Wall Street Journal and Times apps, for example, have been early successes – attracting leading advertisers.

“All of our newspaper brands around the world are collaborating on iPad, e-reader and other mobile device offerings.”

He stresses that News Corp is dedicated to creating new revenue models “to ensure fair payment for our journalism” and adds: “At News Corporation, we are focused on working with other leaders in the publishing and technology fields to re-imagine the entire news and publishing industry. Our long-term goal is to harness the power of technology and today’s devices to advance the consumer media experience in totally new ways.

News Corp owns the Fox cable network, STAR India satellite operation, Twentieth Century Fox film studios, publisher Harper Collins and numerous newspaper operations along with a stake in BSkyB.

Full-year revenues in 2010 rose 8 percent to $32.8 bn (£20.1 bn) and net income for the full year was $2.5 billion (£1.53bn).

The company says that its revenue growth was spurred by a “noticeable turnaround in world advertising toward the end of calendar 2009 … not only in our local TV markets in the U.S., but across our worldwide newspaper properties.” and highlights that The Sun newspaper delivered its highest year ever in advertising revenues in 2010.

He adds that the company is well positioned “fiscally, operationally and strategically – for further growth across all of our markets” but does warn that the “turmoil” is not over yet and says “Sovereign debt pressures, soaring deficits and unacceptable U.S. unemployment levels are key obstacles to the global economic recovery. Others may see more positive signs, but I believe until these issues are addressed, markets, governments, currencies and consumer behavior will be unpredictable.”

The organisation is keen to buy the 61% of Sky that it does not own and is waiting to see if its bid is to be referred to the Competition Commission.

It has also signalled that a sell off of its social media operation MySpace is under consideration.

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