News Corp logo at its headquarters in Sydney
(Image: AAP/Dean Lewins)

News Corp's big problems didn't start with the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns -- they were just the final, devastating nail in the Murdoch empire's heartland.

Back in 2016, the company made a costly investment to expand its print business, when it should have been cutting. News Corp made the $36 million purchase of regional daily and weekly newspapers from the former APN News and Media, the old employer of current News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller.

Around the same time, News bought control of Sky News. If it had continued to share control with Nine and Seven, it would have had others to share the slide on revenue and losses.