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News Corp to publish newspapers for ‘decades and decades’

Chief executive Robert Thomson, who oversees more than 100 newspapers including The Wall Street Journal and The Times of London, rejected fears the medium was finished/FILE

Chief executive Robert Thomson, who oversees more than 100 newspapers including The Wall Street Journal and The Times of London, rejected fears the medium was finished/FILE

SYDNEY, May 26 – The head of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp on Monday said the group will be publishing newspapers for “decades” and hit out at the “morbid mindset” of those who say print is dead.

Chief executive Robert Thomson, who oversees more than 100 newspapers including The Wall Street Journal and The Times of London, rejected fears the medium was finished as the industry battles a slump in advertising and circulation revenues.

“It’s a sign of a morbid mindset that afflicts not just in this country but, internationally, some media groups,” Thomson told The Australian broadsheet, a News Corp newspaper.

“Fatalism can be fatal. I think people have failed to articulate enough the power of print as a platform.”

He added that News Corp’s newspapers would be in print for “decades and decades and decades … print will continue to evolve in the same way that digital is evolving”.

His comments came just days after he extolled the value of newspapers in a media and advertising event in Sydney, saying they played an important role in his company’s multimedia future and that advertisers were still attracted to print.

Thomson added on Monday that his support for print did not indicate a lack of understanding of digital media.

“It’s because we get digital that we fully appreciate the power of print,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s as if the executive doesn’t stick up for print because he’s almost personally embarrassed. It’s not about the image of the executive, it’s about the fundamentals of the sector.

“You need to have the platform permutations that suit the reader and advertisers.”

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News Corp, which was founded in Australia, was broken up into two firms last year as the company sought to insulate its profitable entertainment assets from newspapers.

One firm retained the News Corp name and focuses on news and publishing while the other company, 21st Century Fox, manages its television and film assets. Murdoch remains in control of both.

News Corp reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit of US$48 million earlier this year despite a fall in newspaper revenues. Its shares in New York have strengthened since the split to add about US$2.0 billion to its market capitalisation.

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