News Corp reader revenues

Overseas audiences looking to social media for insight on Australian issues will likely get them from one source only: News Corp Australia. As The Australian reports, “Apple’s subscription news service News+ has launched on Tuesday in Australia with News Corp Australia the exclusive local provider of news”.

“Exclusive” because, according to a statement given to AdNews, Nine — which publishes The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review — chose not to participate because the platform’s “non-negotiable terms do not sustain a significant investment in quality, independent journalism”.

Elsewhere there was the debut of the News Corp-owned Sky News’ Facebook-exclusive social media program “Unpacked” following a content partnership announcement with Facebook. The program appears daily on the Facebook Watch platform, taking “a deep-dive into a major news story each day … reporting from the field to provide a unique point of view from everyday Australians on the news making headlines online”.

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In light of this, it’s no wonder that News Corp CEO Robert Thomson went gushing (after years of bitter criticism) about a new relationship with social media companies in an analyst briefing released in August:

“We are still at a relatively early stage of this tectonic transformation, but there will surely be an ongoing transfer of value to creators in coming years, which should be a great benefit to News Corp and its investors … And discussions are under way with other digital companies, though I am not at liberty at this moment to provide more detail. What I can say is that the terms of trade and the tenor of our talks are now vastly different to even a year ago.”

Given the relationship between News Corp and the Morrison government, Apple’s News+ and Facebook pushing out content from the Oz and Sky News will likely prove just another avenue to push Coalition talking points — climate denialism included. With News Corp’s financial hurdles (including the black hole of Foxtel) it’s not surprising that the company would take what allies it can get.

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Australia has spoken. We want more from the people in power and deserve a media that keeps them on their toes. And thank you, because it’s been made abundantly clear that at Crikey we’re on the right track.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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