Big future seen for Dow Jones assets


At yesterday’s, 09/18/07, Goldman Sachs Communacopia XVI Conference in New York, News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch said people thought he was an idiot for starting Fox News Channel and buying MySpace, so it’s no wonder they think he’s an idiot for buying Dow Jones & Company. He sees a big future in demand worldwide for financial information as more and more people come out of poverty and begin to participate in world economic markets.

With closing of the 5.6 billion bucks deal expected around year end, Murdoch said there is about 100 million in savings from the "low-hanging fruit" post-merger, but in the long run the focus will be on expanding revenues. Will he keep the Wall Street Journal website subscription based, or open it up to build ad revenues from more users? Murdoch said that is a front-burner issue, but no decision has been made yet.

As for the soon-to-launch Fox Business Network (FBN), Murdoch says it will be very different from CNBC, but you’ll have to wait to see how different. "It’s done nothing for 10 years," Murdoch said disparagingly of CNBC. "CNBC is a financial channel for Wall Street. We’re for Main Street," he said. As for the exclusive deal that CNBC has with the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch noted again that it applies only to business news and non-camera appearances by WSJ reporters, but not other areas – political news, for one thing, he said. And he noted that after a few years, the deal will end and FBN will get the WSJ rights that CNBC now has.

RBR/TVBR observation: Rupert would do well to look at the history of CNBC if he thinks "Main Street" consumer news is the way to go with FBN. That was the original plan for CNBC – Consumer News and Business Channel. If failed miserably. NBC only made CNBC a success by throwing out all of its research on what consumers supposedly wanted, buying its spunky chief rival, Financial News Network (FNN), which didn’t have the money for fancy research, and substituting the successful FNN format for the original failed CNBC format. People will tell researchers they want "consumer information." In truth, there is plenty available and they don’t watch it. The stock market addicts watch CNBC religiously.