Rupert Murdoch may turn 80 today – but he still appears to be playing the long game.
A ten-year deal to hive off Sky News into an independent company is the price that he is willing to pay in order to purchase the 61 per cent of BSkyB that he doesn’t already own and thereby secure multi-billion UK cash flows for years to come.
The UK has been Murdoch’s economic powerhouse and it is where he has had the greatest impact.
His legacy began with the relaunch of The Sun as a new type of tabloid in 1969 and the redtop remains hugely popular, profitable and influential.
His purchase of The Times in 1981 may have saved that paper and then helped it again through heavy cross-subsidisation provided by the other Murdoch papers. No-one can doubt that it remains a quality newspaper in every sense – this year it received more nominations than any other title for The Press Awards and it must again be a strong contender for the newspaper of the year prize.
The union-smashing move of his UK national newspapers to Wapping in 1986 is seen by many as paving the way for an era of profitable computer-based national newspaper production. And Sky News, launched in 1989, brought rolling news to UK screens and continues to set the standard in that sector – it is invariably the station which you find newsrooms across the country tuned in to.
As he begins his ninth decade Murdoch is seeking to reinvent journalism again – with his bid to persuade the public to pay for news online at the Times titles, the News of the World and – we expect – The Sun. And with his new iPad-only news magazine – The Daily.
Here’s a round-up of Press Gazette’s Rupert Murdoch coverage from recent years – the high point of which remains our exclusive in-depth interview with the great man from 2005 (at the bottom of the list of stories below).
Also particularly worth a read is our revealing 2009 interview with Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff which is published online today for the first time (at the top of the list below).