Newspapers still have life left: Lachlan Murdoch

The News Corp heir discussed the direction of the media industry, including the role of dynamic advertising at the Mumbrella360 event

News Corp's Lachlan Murdoch
News Corp's Lachlan Murdoch

News Corp's Lachlan Murdoch believes newspapers still have a "tremendous amount of life left in the them" despite a huge shift to digital technologies.

The non-executive chairman of News Corp made an appearance at the Mumbrella360 event in Sydney today, discussing the direction of the media industry and why it's important to challenge the status quo.

Murdoch believes print newspapers are not on their last legs.

“It's a challenge, certainly, and the future is digital, absolutely... but newspapers have a tremendous amount of life in them still. It's a powerful medium, and people are still actively buying the papers every day... this will be a core part of our business for years to come,” he said.

Murdoch described the scenarios and opportunities for organisations to advertise and sell across both print and digital.

“We maintain our different categories of content and more and more we're learning how to sell and use inventory across both print and digital, that’ll be big trend, particularly on mobile devices,” he said.

It's important to remember, he added, that the first iPad tablet wasn't released until April 2010 – a mere four years ago. “So much has happened in that four years...so we're still at the beginning of learning about, understanding, and shifting to all the new devices and media outlets.”

Murdoch said journalism was rapidly growing into a digital business and "it's a tremendously exciting time for all of us."

“We work in the greatest industry in the world, at the greatest time to work in this industry. It's a time full of dramatic and exciting change, it's a time where the barriers to entry are the lowest they've historically ever been, and consumers' habits are changing dramatically at a pace faster than we've ever seen before,” he said.

Murdoch advised media and marketing graduates at the event to be disruptive if they wanted to make a splash in the media industry.

“The best way you can thrive in that world is to be disruptive. Find new opportunities, don’t settle for the status quo, and always take risks,” he said.

While discussing the journey of television, Murdoch said more and more people want to watch television on their own terms, whether it be live, recorded or on-demand.

“It's about capturing the audience,” he said, when discussing how to adhere to viewer demand and engage viewers to all programs and advertisements.

“This can only be done with dynamic advertisement... so I can serve an ad on a Sunday night but I'd serve a different ad to a viewer on Tuesday night," he said.

"We can provide that dynamic advertising and capture a real seven-day view of our audience. I think that's where we need to go on the television side, and I think that's where we are going, it's just a question of how long it'll take to get there.”

On the topic of media regulations in Australia, Murdoch said we need a regulatory framework that takes into account a long term view of the media industry and all the activity within it.

“In the past several years if you looked at the channels you could market on, there were 50 different channels, versus hundreds and hundreds of channels today – and I think we need a regulatory framework that reflects the reality of how people are consuming, working, and investing in media today,” Murdoch explained.

“We don't need people to come and change media regulation around the edges... changing cross-media rules won't work effectively by themselves. We need to work on a holistic approach...

“[We need to] put a framework around media regulation that looks forward 20-30 years into the future,and not mediums and technologies that are 20-30 years old,” he said.

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