Clever like a Fox: Is Murdoch planning a takeover of all local TV and newspaper news? 5/16/07Posted by Steve Boriss in Affiliates, Fox, Local news, Murdoch.
Ron Berryman, who has responsibility for the online strategy of Fox’s local TV affiliates, sure seems impatient these days waiting for his stations to create more original local content. What could Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox be up to? Hmmm. Let’s play out the next 5-15 years. Local newspapers will have moved online, perhaps totally. Web-based TV (IPTV) will have made local TV affiliates obsolete — there no longer being a need for each metro area to have its own local stations to transmit and retransmit broadcast signals that can only be received within about 75 miles. So, former newspapers and former local TV broadcast news will be battling it out head-to-head on the web, one mouse click away from each other.
Now, visit the web sites of your local newspaper and TV affiliates. Chances are, you’ll notice that only one of them is preparing for this competitive environment of the future…that is, if you happen to have a Fox TV affiliate in your town. Newpapers have not invested in video content and generally have crummy web sites. And among the TV affiliates, only Fox can operate its news independently, without guidance or material from the local paper, the NY Times, the Washington Post, or the AP. That’s because only Fox is backed by a corporation that develops its own original and comprehensive content in national and international news, major league sports, and entertainment (business news is coming soon if Fox acquires Dow Jones). Now compare your local Fox affliliate’s web site to those of other Fox affiliates throughout the U.S., and do the same for the network affiliates. Note how only Fox is selling a unified “Fox” brand name, while most of the others are only promoting their stations, using their individual, alphabet-soup call letters as brand names. Note also that Fox is teaching its affiliates how to make money off the web — “Fox on Demand” video downloads generate advertising and fee-based revenue that is shared with affiliates. Sure seems to me that Berryman is whipping his local Foxes to gain an even bigger jump on their hound-like local competitors, who may not even be aware that the horns have sounded and the chase has begun.