Rupert Murdoch: 11 Best Lines From His Candid 'Fortune' Interview
The News Corp and 21st Century Fox boss talked about the almost purchase of Facebook, Republican presidential contenders in 2016 and succession.
Rupert Murdoch, the octogenarian chairman of News Corp and its sister company 21st Century Fox, gave a rare, in-depth and unusually candid interview to Fortune magazine.
During the discussion, he touched on everything from the future of newspapers to the health of the movie business to his relationship with his children.
Here are 11 of Murdoch's most interesting thoughts from the interview.
On the future of 20th Century Fox:
"The film company is doing very well, and of course it's got a bonus now with the Netflixes and the Amazons coming in buying programs. We plan to step up our production of major films."
On the Avatar sequels:
"If we make it, it will be the first time Jim Cameron's been on time or on budget. But he's never lost me. When he finally comes through, they're just huge hits."
On the possibility of hiring Dreamworks CEO Stacey Snider:
"I would like to. I'm a great admirer of hers. And I've had long talks with her. I think they're at a stage ... It would be improper to talk more about that. It's really for [Fox Studio chief] Jim Gianopulos to hire her."
On starting Fox Sports 1 to compete with ESPN:
"Well, it's a pretty big bet. We certainly expect to lose a couple hundred million dollars for a year or two, and then we expect it to turn, and we'll gradually make it into a major alternative to ESPN. We're not going to put ESPN out of business. I think the public deserves the choice."
"ESPN is a very, very good operation, and it's a gold mine. It's an even bigger gold mine than Fox News. Not that Fox News won't get there. Fox News is going to make over $1 billion this year, and can do a lot better. No cable company in the world is going to drop it unless they want their houses burned down. (Laughs.) But ESPN has managed to ride this Monday Night Football to the point where they're charging every home in America with cable. Over $5 a head. How many people watch ESPN? A third of the public? Half the public?"
On buying Myspace for $600 million:
"I think that was one of our great screw-ups of all time."
On News Corp's almost purchase of Facebook:
"I remember Mark coming down to visit my ranch. He was a very shy, quiet young man of about 20 or 21. And he was all for us getting together. And I didn't take him up on it. I think he's done a brilliant job."
… and its current value:
"The people in Silicon Valley don't agree with me, but I think that $200 billion [market cap] for that, no matter how good the company, is going to be very hard to justify in the long term. I don't have confidence in the permanence of any particular social app or social network, you know?"
On the Republican contenders for president in 2016:
"Slightly, in order of preference: Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, [Chris] Christie could recover, Scott Walker --whom I don't know -- and Rand Paul, whom I agree with on a great number of things but disagree strongly on some things, too strongly perhaps to vote for him."
On the future leadership of News Corp:
"I'm going to be here for a long time. And so will [21st Century Fox president and COO] Chase Carey and Robert Thomson, the CEO of News Corp. Robert is the youngest of the three of us, so we'll get more years out of him. [James] certainly will be reporting to Chase, but a lot more people [than before] will be reporting to James."
On his often fractious relationship with his children, Lachlan, James and Elisabeth:
"We're a very, very close family. You know what close families are like. They meet at breakfast. They meet at dinner. And they have good arguments. That doesn't mean they don't love each other or have room for each other in each other's lives."