THE DAILY BEAST. August 1, 2020

Those decisions are bound up in how the family businesses, grouped together as News Corp is being reshaped after the sale of 20th Century Fox and its entertainment assets to Disney for $71.3 billion in a deal completed last year.

At the time, Robert Thomson, News Corp’s chief operating officer, promised that the new, far smaller company would “cultivate a start-up sensibility” and would build new business models around its properties and content—presumably taking old media like print into the digital age.

Media analyst Peter Kreisky, who has closely followed the company’s moves, told The Daily Beast, “So far only Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, has fully lived up to that promise. It has successfully embraced digital and video and leveraged the value of its large and high quality subscription base.

“The striking disparity in performance between Dow Jones and the rest of News Corp newspapers was acknowledged in the full year earnings report on Thursday,” says Kreisky,  “which, for the first time, broke out Dow Jones from the rest, showing a 13 percent rise in the bottom line for that business, while revealing the other newspapers’ results, compounded by the effects of the coronavirus, were down a whopping 71 percent.”

Kreisky believes that the family became split over whether and how to pump new life into the British newspapers, like the tabloid The Sun, that were once cash cows but have suffered huge falls in circulation and failed to challenge competitors like The Daily Mail, with its phenomenal tabloid site Mail Online: “The strategic focus has now shifted investment to Dow Jones, clearly the crown jewel, while there will be drastic cost-cutting to stem losses in the other newspapers. Rupert Murdoch is unwilling to spend what is needed to bring them into the digital age and long-term Lachlan lacks his father’s passion for the legacy newspapers.”