Monocolumn: A Dent To The Murdoch Empire

A new front has opened up in the ongoing battle between media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and the rest of the world.

Monocolumn is Monocle’s daily bulletin of news and opinion. Catch up with previous editions here.

Monocolumn-  A dent to the Murdoch empire

A new front has opened up in the ongoing battle between media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and the rest of the world.

The focus remains on London, where The Times’s website is now sequestered behind a pay wall and New York, where The New York Times is using ingenuity to battle The Wall Street Journal’s encroachment on its local news beat (Times vendors now sell copies on the doorstep of Murdoch’s Avenue of the Americas headquarters).

But in Australia, the land of Murdoch’s birth, his subsidiary News Ltd finds itself encroached upon by the government-funded independent broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC News 24, a digital channel that will directly compete with pay TV operator Foxtel’s Sky News, launched last night to the general unhappiness of the Murdoch empire, which publishes most of the national and metropolitan papers and has a significant stake in Foxtel.

ABC1, the corporation’s flagship channel, broke into normal programming for the debut. First reviews were favourable and admiringly noted that none of the national broadcaster’s famed technical glitches derailed the debut.

The news channel, with its gleaming blue and white set built in the lobby of ABC’s Sydney headquarters, is the brainchild of the ABC’s expansionist managing director Mark Scott, a former government adviser, education reporter and newspaper executive. “He’s the only mogul in town,” comments one seasoned Australian journalist on Scott’s land grab amid the media downturn, which includes a suite of digital channels, an internet player and a boisterous blogging site called The Drum, which gets its own ABC News 24 show.

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