James Murdoch on Making Mistakes, 21st Century Fox's Plans for Its BSkyB Stake

8:10 AM PST 07/23/2013 by Georg Szalai
Miguel Villagran/Getty Images
James Murdoch

"If you become paralyzed by your failures, you won't grow," the 21st Century Fox deputy COO says and lauds a "creative renaissance" in TV.

LONDON -- 21st Century Fox deputy COO James Murdoch is not afraid of making mistakes, the son of Rupert Murdoch told those at a dinner event Monday.

Speaking at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo., he also signaled that the entertainment company has no current plans to acquire full control of U.K. pay TV giant BSkyB, Fortune reported.

21st Century Fox currently owns a 39 percent stake in BSkyB. A previous attempt to buy full control had to be dropped in 2011 amid the phone-hacking scandal. On Monday night, Murdoch said 21st Century had no current plans to acquire the rest of the company.

"We have no intention of bidding for the rest of BSkyB today or in the near future," according to a transcript of his comments. "We have no plans about that." 21st Century Fox also doesn't plan to sell its stake though, he emphasized.

Analysts have suggested that following the recent split of his father's media empire, 21st Century Fox could, down the line, take another run at buying full control of BSkyB.

James Murdoch in his Fortune conference appearance also discussed how he thinks about mistakes. "If you become paralyzed by your failures, you won't grow," he said, according to Fortune.

It also reported that the 40-year-old then ran through a list of mistakes that his father's media empire, which split into entertainment company 21st Century Fox and publishing firm News Corp as of midyear, has made. He cited the phone-hacking scandal, the launch of iPad newspaper The Daily, which was shuttered last year amid continuing loses and the $580 million acquisition of social network MySpace, which the conglomerate later sold for just $35 million.

Asked about the company split, James Murdoch said it was a rational move as "each business would make much more sense separately," Fortune reported. "This split is going to be one of the most refreshing and empowering things" for traditional media.

While he didn't share many specifics, Fortune said he suggested that big journalism brands could have a lucrative future.

Asked about the state of TV, Murdoch said: "The television business is going through a creative renaissance. It's a great period for TV."

With the Internet allowing new content to gain exposure, Murdoch said networks and program creators will have to avoid putting out "middle-of-the-road" shows, Fortune said.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

 

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