All the buzz these days may be about new tablet PCs, the growing list of e-readers and the constant change coming to smartphones.
On a conference call to discuss second quarter earnings Tuesday, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch addressed the growing presence of these devices but called them “empty vessels” without the content - things like newspaper articles, TV shows, Hollywood movies or any of the other forms of digital media that fall under the News Corp. umbrella.
“Content isn’t just King anymore but rather the emperor of all things electronic,” he said. Bigger and flatter screens are nice, but without the content, the devices will be “unloved and unsold.”
As for the quarterly financials, the company did better than it did a year ago. Excluding one-time charges, News Corp. (NWS) posted earnings of 25 cents per share on sales of $8.7 billion, beating Wall Street’s estimates of 20 cents on sales of $8.23 billion. (Statement)
One of the highlights of the quarter was the release and success of Avatar, which has been nominated for Picture of the Year. Murdoch notes that the success of the movie will not only resonate for months to come but also highlights a shift in the content, notably 3D.
Executives didn’t have much to say about MySpace, other than to say that the site is “not yet really where we want it to be” but that there are signs of “traffic stablization.”
Murdoch said that the subscription model for the WSJ Online is becoming one of the models that other news outlets are trying to replicate.