Say what you like about Rupert Murdoch, there’s no doubting his instinctive feel for the news cycle.
Time was News Corporation ran its annual meetings from an Aussie investor-packed hall in Adelaide. Cute. Down home. It’s been New York for a while now, and this year the word from the News AGM will come from the Big Apple again, with Rupert presumably railing one more time against the kleptomaniacs who conspire to pilfer his content and boost the profits of the likes of Google. (Google for the record boosted profit 27% to $US1.64 billion in the last quarter on revenues up 8.5% to $US4.38 billion. That’s a profit margin of 37%.)
For Murdoch, not so much. Of course he won’t be telling anyone in this latest report back that he was wrong and overpaid for the Wall Street Journal (close to $US3 billion at last count, a 50% discount), nor will he own up to his role in the other $US7 billion in asset devaluations and losses on some other “inspired” investment decisions.
And for Australian investors and commentators — among the most vigorous critics of the doings of News — it will all come second-hand, late and way beyond the reach of the Saturday papers. Because in the great traditions of “put out the trash Friday” — that burial ground for hospital waiting list stats and auditor-general reports — Murdoch will face the analysts at 10am New York time. Which is to say somewhere past midnight tonight here in eastern Australia. Vanishing with barely a trace — unless someone here aggregates the US content and runs with it. Which would be stealing, you know.