Inside Story: Planet Murdoch

No other media company can lay claim to the global power wielded by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Saeed Shah explores the worldwide assets of its $60bn empire

NORTH AMERICA

FOX ENTERTAINMENT GROUP: (82% owned)

Fox Broadcasting Co

(35 Fox television stations, covering nearly 45 per cent of US homes, from New York to Salt Lake City). In 1986, News Corp bought six local television stations and launched Fox Broadcasting, the first new US television network since 1948; Through 188 affiliated stations, Fox reaches 98 per cent of US homes. Hit series include Ally McBeal and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It forms the backbone of current Fox Entertainment Group, which is 82 per cent owned by News Corp. Stake worth $29bn.

Employees: 5,300

Cable Network Programming

(includes Fox News, Fox Sport World, 50 per cent of National Geographic channel) Fox News channel launched in 1996 - now more popular than CNN.

Employees: 1,929

Twentieth Century Fox Film

In 1985, Murdoch became a US citizen to enable him to purchase more American media assets. That year he acquired Twentieth Century Fox film business. The business has enjoyed a string of hits, including this year's The Day After Tomorrow and I, Robot.

Employees: 3,700 worldwide

GEMSTAR-TV GUIDE INTERNATIONAL (41%)

A provider of printed and interactive television-viewing guides. Part of the magazines and inserts (carried in newspapers) business, which in the US includes The Weekly Standard. News Corp's various magazines and inserts assets are valued at $3bn.

Employees: 1,892.

DIRECTV (34%)

Acquired stake in satellite broadcaster DirecTV in 2003 for $6.6bn after 20-year chase for a distribution network in the US. Will use it to take on cable TV which leads the pay-TV market in the US. DirecTV serves 13m customers in US and 1.5m in Latin America. Stock market value of News Corp stake $8.4bn.

Employees: 3,400.

NEW YORK POST

First bought 200-year-old New York Post in 1976 but subsequently forced to sell it for regulatory reasons. Acquired again, when paper on brink of bankruptcy, in 1988, for just $25m.

Employees: 930

THE WEEKLY STANDARD

The paper has proved to be the intellectual cheerleader of the neo-conservative right. Highly influential in right-wing circles. Launched in 1995, the Washington-based weekly political magazine has a circulation of 60,000.

Employees: 28

UK

NEWS INTERNATIONAL

The Times

The Sunday Times

The Sun

News of the World

TLS

Times Education Supplement

The company's UK newspaper business, News International, is at the centre of a global newspaper empire, estimated to be worth $11bn. Murdoch acquired the News of the World in 1968 and the Sun in 1969, which was then relaunched as a red-top tabloid. The Times and the Sunday Times were bought in 1981. The papers were moved to a new site in Wapping, east London, in 1986, provoking one of the most bitter industrial disputes of the Thatcher era, but revolutionising the process of newspaper production by bringing in computer printing technology. The UK accounts for some 60 per cent of News Corp's newspaper revenues. The News International titles have about one third of the national newspaper market in Britain.

Employees: 4,000

NDS (78%)

In 1988, News Corp obtained an exclusive licence to encryption technology developed in Israel; a Jerusalem-based company - later merged into NDS, whose headquarters are now in Middlesex - was created to market it. NDS makes smart cards for pay-television businesses, including News Corp's own. It floated on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York in 1999. The company has been accused in the past of industrial espionage and helping pirates to copy the smart cards of rivals. Run by an ex-commando from the Israeli army. The technology is supposed to have come out of the Israeli army. News Corp's stake is worth $1bn.

Employees: 1,500

THE WIRELESS GROUP (25%)

News Corp's holding in Kelvin Mackenzie's radio venture is worth around £15m. Wireless owns talkSPORT and a number of local radio stations.

BSKYB (35%)

Now wholly digital, it offers more than 400 channels, including its own Sky News, Sky Sports, Sky Movies and Sky One. Launched in 1989, merging with its rival, British Satellite Broadcasting, the following year. Dominates the UK pay-TV market with 7.4 million subscribers. Aims to have 10 million subscribers by 2010. Sky channels are also available through cable and digital terrestrial. Sky is valued at about £9.7bn on stock market, making the News Corp stake worth £3.4bn. Chief executive is Murdoch's son, James.

Employees: 10,000

GLOBAL

HARPER COLLINS PUBLISHING

A leading worldwide consumer book publisher. In the late 1980s, acquired US publishers Harper & Row and Williams Collins. Merged in 1989 to form HarperCollins which principally operates in US, Canada, Australia and the UK.

Worth $2.2bn.

Employees: 3,000 worldwide

LATIN AMERICA

SKY LATIN AMERICA & DIRECTV LATIN AMERICA

Holdings include Sky Mexico and Sky Brasil, each of which has more than 700,000 customers and 100 channels in its respective territory. DirecTV Latin America and Sky Latin America are in the process of merging, which will give them a combined 3.3 million subscribers. The companies also broadcast to Chile and Colombia.

EUROPE

SKY ITALIA (80%)

News Corp entered the Italian pay-TV market in 1999 with acquisition of a stake in Stream. In 2003, it bought Vivendi Universal's Italian pay-TV business Telepiu and merged it with Stream to form Sky Italia. The clear market leader, with some 2.7 million customers forecast for the end of this year. However, Sky Italia is loss-making, the country has large numbers of people illegally watching pay-TV for free, through pirated smart-cards, and the Italian market is dominated by terrestrial channels, including those belonging to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Estimates of the value of News Corp stake put it at up to $4.9bn.

SKY RADIO

Growing European network. Owns the leading popular music radio station in the Netherlands. In September 2003, Sky Radio Group, which also has a majority stake in the Dutch Classic FM radio station, launched Radio Veronica in the Netherlands, reviving an iconic 1960s radio brand. Two months later, Sky Radio Denmark was launched as that country's first commercial FM radio station and had an audience share of 6.2 per cent by 2004. The Sky Radio operation in the state of Hessen, Germany, has 18 FM licences.

NDS FRANCE

A software development venture.

BALKAN NEWS CORPORATION

News Corp launched bTV, Bulgaria's first national private television station, in 2000. Has since achieved 40 per cent market share.

NDS DENMARK Develops games software for television.

NEWS OUTDOOR (75%)

The leading billboard advertising company focused on emerging European nations and Russia.

ASIA & THE MIDDLE EAST

STAR TV

A wholly owned subsidiary of News Corp, acquired between 1993 and 1995, Star broadcasts across the Asia-Pacific region, through a mixture of cable, satellite and free-to-air services. Star has more than 40 channels, some wholly owned and some jointly owned, in seven languages and reaches more than 300 million viewers across 53 Asian countries.

Its main operations (marked) are in Asia. Channels include Star Chinese Channel, Star Plus, Xing Kong, Vijay, Phoenix Chinese Channel, Channel [V], Star Sports, Star Chinese Movies, Star Mandarin Movies, Star Movies, Phoenix Movies Channel, Star News. Valued at $3bn.

Countries served: Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Mainland China, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Bangladesh, Brunei, Macau, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE, Yemen.

Employees: 1,700

PHOENIX SATELLITE TELEVISION (38%)

Hong Kong based. Phoenix operations include a subscription movie channel in China, and a 24-hour news outlet, InfoNews, which is broadcast via cable in Hong Kong and via satellite to Taiwan, mainland China and the rest of East Asia. In mainland China, it reaches more than 42m households, or 140m viewers, broadcasting in Mandarin Chinese.

CHINA NETWORK SYSTEMS (20%)

Cable television operator based in Taiwan; News Corp acquired its stake in 2001.

AUSTRALIA

NEWS LIMITED

The Australian

The Weekend Australian

The Daily Telegraph

The Sunday Telegraph

Herald Sun

Sunday Herald Sun

The Courier-Mail (42%)

Sunday Mail, Brisbane (42%)

The Advertiser

Sunday Mail (Adelaide)

The Mercury

Sunday Tasmanian

The Sunday Times

Northern Territory News

Sunday Territorian

Rupert Murdoch inherited two Australian newspapers from his father in 1952. Launched The Australian, the country's first national daily, in 1964. News Corp now has more than 100 Australian newspaper titles, with 40 per cent market share.

Employees: 8,000.

FOX STUDIOS AUSTRALIA Opened in 1998, the first major studio development for 20th Century Fox outside North America. Home to movies such as Babe: Pig in the City, The Matrix trilogy, Mission Impossible II, Moulin Rouge and episodes two and three of the epic Star Wars series.

Employees: 129.

FOXTEL

Australia's leading subscription television provider, started in 1995.

NATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE (50%)

OTHER TERRITORIES

INDIA

HarperCollins Publishers,

Hathaway Cable (25%)

NDS India (research and development plant in Bangalore).

ISRAEL

NDS Israel (research and development plant in Jerusalem).

FIJI

Fiji Times, Sunday Times, Nai Lalakai, Shanti Dut.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Post-Courier (63%)

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