News Corp. energized for change

Company reducing its emissions, saving money at same time

NEW YORK -- News Corp.'s key entertainment units, including its film division, broadcast, cable network and satellite TV operations, create about a third of the media conglomerate's overall greenhouse gas emissions. But its cable networks create more revenue per carbon dioxide ton used than any of the entertainment empire's other operations.

These are two of various data points and tidbits about the firm's entertainment operations contained in a detailed report, which News Corp. recently published on its Web site, about its Global Energy Initiative that is designed to make it carbon neutral by 2010.

The biggest source of the company's emissions are its newspaper division, which accounts for 32%, compared with the combined entertainment businesses' 35%, and the category of "other assets" includes Fox Interactive Media, pay TV technology firm NDS Group and outdoor operations in such countries as Russia and parts of Eastern Europe, where a lot of coal is used for energy creation.

Within the entertainment units, broadcast TV is the biggest emissions creator with 18% of the company's total, followed by filmed entertainment with 9%, satellite TV -- mainly Sky Italia -- with 5% and cable networks with 3%.

News Corp. has said its 2006 global carbon footprint -- the summary of its emissions from all operations in 52 countries -- amounted to 641,150 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents.

The group's cable networks are the most efficient when it comes to revenue generated per CO2 ton of greenhouse gas emissions with $314,320.

Satellite TV is a distant second but slightly ahead of the filmed entertainment unit's ratio of $111,310 in revenue per carbon dioxide ton. Broadcasting TV with $40,480 is far behind, with "other assets" ranking lowest with $14,830.

In a letter contained in News Corp.'s energy initiative, chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch emphasizes that "addressing climate change is good business practice." He added: "We will improve the bottom line by cutting energy costs and investing in renewable resources."

The nonprofit Climate Group, which News Corp. recently joined, in a brochure describes some of the financial benefits of doing business in a more environmentally friendly way.

For example, IBM saved $747,000 in 2005 through real-time monitoring of electrical usage alone plus $917,000 via energy use optimization through HVAC and other systems, it said.

At News Corp.'s entertainment operations, changes already are in the planning stages or have already been launched to reach the goal of making the conglomerate carbon neutral.

One first step was the recent Fox upfront presentation and party, which for the first time in its history was carbon neutral, a company spokeswoman said. The upfront events' carbon footprint was measured at 177 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, a Fox spokeswoman said.

Measures used at this year's Fox upfront, such as the use of biodiesel generators, recycled carpets and signage and hybrid car services, also have already been used for "American Idol" parties, the company said.

Meanwhile, on the Fox studio lot in Los Angeles, a review of lighting found that 45% of electricity could be saved if more energy-efficient lighting is used, according to the energy manifesto on News Corp.'s Web site.

Indian satellite TV operation STAR found that in its headquarters in Hong Kong one out of every three light bulbs could be removed in some areas while still providing enough light, it also states.

New entertainment facilities already are being planned with the environment and the threat of climate change in mind. For example, the new Fox studios building on the Fox lot will be News Corp.'s first building certified by the U.S. Green Buildings Council. And "our new Fox Networks Center in Houston will utilize the latest light-emitting diode lighting technology in all of its master control rooms," the firm's energy report indicated.

Recycling and focusing on the use of renewable energy also are key for News Corp., the company said. For example, the Fox lot in Los Angeles already recycles 80% of its solid waste, as well as paint, batteries and electronics, according to the energy document.

It also highlights the opportunity for reducing emissions with the help of information technology measures. "Electricity consumption associated with computer use in our offices and data centers is growing," it said. While News Corp. is "actively pursuing initiatives" in this area, the company also is "encouraging our people to turn off PCs, TVs and lights when they're not in use."

In one office, just turning off an automatic screensaver reduced power consumption of computers by a third, according to the energy report.