News Corporation, a Delaware corporation, is a diversified global media company with operations in the following eight industry segments: (i) Filmed Entertainment; (ii) Television; (iii) Cable Network Programming; (iv) Direct Broadcast Satellite Television; (v) Magazines and Inserts; (vi) Newspapers and Information Services; (vii) Book Publishing; and (viii) Other. The activities of News Corporation are conducted principally in the United States, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Australia, Asia and Latin America. For financial information regarding News Corporation’s segments and operations in geographic areas, see “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.” Unless otherwise indicated, references in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (the “Annual Report”) to “we,” “us,” “our,” “News Corporation” or the “Company” means News Corporation’s predecessor corporation, TNCL (as defined below), and its subsidiaries prior to November 12, 2004 and News Corporation and its subsidiaries from November 12, 2004 forward. Descriptions of transactions contained in this Annual Report that occurred prior to the Reorganization (as defined below) have been adjusted to reflect the consummation of the Reorganization.
On November 12, 2004, a reorganization was completed, whereby News Corporation became the parent company of News Holdings Limited (formerly known as The News Corporation Limited), a South Australia corporation (“TNCL”), and its subsidiaries (the “Reorganization”). The Reorganization was completed pursuant to schemes of arrangements under Australian law in which all ordinary and preferred shares of TNCL were cancelled and, in exchange, holders of those shares received shares of News Corporation voting Class B common stock, par value $0.01 per share (“Class B Common Stock”), and non-voting Class A common stock, par value $0.01 per share (“Class A Common Stock”), respectively, on a one-for-two basis.
In March 2005, Fox Acquisition Corp., a direct wholly-owned subsidiary of News Corporation, completed an offer to the holders of Class A common stock of Fox Entertainment Group, Inc. (“FEG”) to exchange 2.04 shares of News Corporation’s Class A Common Stock for each outstanding share of FEG Class A common stock (the “FEG Offer”) that News Corporation did not already own. Shortly after the completion of the FEG Offer, News Corporation effected a merger of FEG with and into Fox Acquisition Corp. In the merger, each share of FEG Class A common stock not acquired in the FEG Offer, other than the shares owned by News Corporation, was converted into 2.04 shares of News Corporation’s Class A Common Stock. After the completion of the FEG Offer and the subsequent merger, Fox Acquisition Corp. changed its name to “Fox Entertainment Group, Inc.” (for periods following the completion of the FEG Offer and the subsequent merger, referred to as “FEG”). As a result of the transaction described above, News Corporation owns 100% of FEG.
In December 2007, the Company completed its acquisition of Dow Jones & Company, Inc. (“Dow Jones”) pursuant to the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of July 31, 2007, by and among the Company, Ruby Newco LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company (“Ruby Newco”), Dow Jones and Diamond Merger Sub Corporation, as amended (the “Merger Agreement”). Pursuant to the Merger Agreement, each outstanding share of Dow Jones common stock was converted into the right to receive, at the election of the holder, either (x) $60.00 in cash or (y) 2.8681 Class B common units of Ruby Newco. Each Class B common unit of Ruby Newco is convertible into a share of Class A Common Stock.
In February 2008, the Company closed the transactions contemplated by the share exchange agreement (the “Share Exchange Agreement”) with Liberty Media Corporation (“Liberty”), whereby Liberty exchanged its entire interest in the Company’s common stock (approximately 325 million shares of Class A Common Stock and 188 million shares of Class B Common Stock) for 100% of the stock of a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company whose holdings consisted of the Company’s approximate 41% interest (approximately 470 million shares) in The DIRECTV Group, Inc. (“DIRECTV”) constituting the Company’s entire interest in DIRECTV, three of the Company’s Regional Sports Networks (FSN Northwest, FSN Pittsburgh and FSN Rocky Mountain) and approximately $625 million in cash.
In February 2009, the Company, two newly incorporated subsidiaries of funds advised by Permira Advisers LLP (the “Permira Newcos”) and the Company’s then majority-owned, publicly-held subsidiary, NDS Group plc (“NDS”), completed a transaction pursuant to which all issued and outstanding NDS Series A ordinary shares, including those represented by American Depositary Shares traded on The NASDAQ Stock Market, were acquired for per share consideration of $63 in cash. As part of the transaction, approximately 67% of the NDS Series B ordinary shares held by the Company were exchanged for $63 per share in a mix of approximately $1.5 billion in cash and a $242 million vendor note. As a result of the transaction, NDS ceased to be a public company and the Permira Newcos and the Company now own approximately 51% and 49% of NDS, respectively.
British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (“BSkyB”), which the Company owns an equity interest in, is subject to the information requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), and, in accordance with the Exchange Act, files reports and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).
The Company maintains a 52-53 week fiscal year ending on the Sunday nearest to June 30 in each year. At June 30, 2009, the Company had approximately 55,000 full-time employees. The Company’s principal executive offices are located at 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10036 and its telephone number is (212) 852-7000. The Company’s website is www.newscorp.com. The Company’s Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act are available, free of charge, through the Company’s website as soon as reasonably practicable after the material is electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. Such reports may also be obtained without charge from the Company, and paper copies of any exhibits to such reports are also available for a reasonable fee per page charge to the requesting stockholder. Any materials that the Company filed with the SEC also may be read and copied at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20549. The public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC (http://www.sec.gov).
The Company is a diversified global media company, which manages and reports its businesses in the eight segments described below.
The Company engages in the production and acquisition of live-action and animated motion pictures for distribution and licensing in all formats in all entertainment media worldwide, and the production and licensing of television programming worldwide.
Feature Film Production and Distribution
One of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures, Fox Filmed Entertainment (“FFE”), produces, acquires and distributes motion pictures throughout the world under a variety of arrangements. During fiscal 2009, FFE placed 25 motion pictures in general release in the United States. Those motion pictures were produced and/or distributed by the following units of FFE: Twentieth Century Fox and Fox 2000, which produce and acquire motion pictures for mainstream audiences; Fox Searchlight Pictures, which produces and acquires specialized motion pictures; Fox Atomic, which produced and acquired motion pictures targeting the 17-24 year old demographic audience; and Twentieth Century Fox Animation, which produces feature length animated motion pictures. The motion pictures produced and/or distributed by FFE in the United States and international territories in fiscal 2009 included Marley & Me, Taken, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler, The Secret Life of Bees and Notorious. FFE has already released or currently plans to release approximately 23 motion pictures in the United States in fiscal 2010, including Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Avatar, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel, Date Night, Gulliver’s Travels, 500 Days of Summer, Whip It! and Amelia.
Pursuant to an agreement with Monarchy Enterprises Holdings B.V. (“MEH”), the parent company of New Regency in which the Company has a 20% interest, and certain of MEH’s subsidiaries, FFE distributes certain New Regency films and all films co-financed by FFE and New Regency in all media worldwide, excluding most international territories with respect to television rights. Among its fiscal 2010 releases, FFE currently expects to distribute three films either fully financed by New Regency or co-financed by FFE and New Regency.
Motion picture companies, such as FFE, typically seek to generate revenues from various distribution channels. FFE derives its worldwide motion picture revenues primarily from four basic sources (set forth in general chronology of exploitation): (i) distribution of motion pictures for theatrical exhibition in the United States and Canada and markets outside of the United States and Canada (“international” markets); (ii) distribution of motion pictures in various home media formats; (iii) distribution of motion pictures for exhibition on pay-per-view, video-on-demand and premium pay television programming services; and (iv) distribution of motion pictures for exhibition on free television networks, other broadcast program services, independent television stations and basic cable programming services, including certain services which are affiliates of the Company. The Company does not always have rights in all media of exhibition to all motion pictures that it releases, and does not necessarily distribute a given motion picture in all of the foregoing media in all markets.
The Company believes that the pre-release marketing of a feature film is an integral part of its motion picture distribution strategy and generally begins marketing efforts three to six months in advance of a film’s release date in any given territory. The Company markets and distributes its films worldwide principally through its own distribution and marketing companies.
Through Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc., the Company distributes motion pictures and other programming produced by units of FFE, its affiliates and other producers in the United States, Canada and international markets in all home media formats, including the sale and rental of DVDs. In fiscal 2009, the domestic home entertainment division released or re-released approximately 1,017 produced and acquired titles, including 29 new FFE film releases, approximately 712 catalog titles and approximately 276 television and non-theatrical titles. In international markets, the Company distributed, produced and acquired titles both directly and through foreign distribution channels, with approximately 851 releases in fiscal 2009, including approximately 29 new FFE film releases, approximately 660 catalog titles and approximately 162 television and non-theatrical releases. In fiscal 2009, the Company continued its worldwide home video distribution arrangement with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (“MGM”), releasing approximately 1,358 and 774 MGM home entertainment theatrical, catalog and television programs domestically and internationally, respectively, as well as its domestic home video distribution arrangement with Lions Gate, releasing approximately 1,777 Lions Gate home entertainment theatrical, catalog and television programs. During fiscal 2009, the domestic home entertainment division released 141 Blu-ray high definition (“HD”) disc format (“Blu-ray”) titles, including 25 new FFE film releases and 106 catalog titles and 10 television and non-theatrical releases. In international markets, the Company released 110 Blu-ray titles, including 16 new FFE film releases and 94 catalog titles. The Company also distributed 51 Blu-ray titles (9 new releases and 42 catalog titles) from MGM domestically and 32 titles (two new releases and 30 catalog titles) internationally, and 72 Blu-ray titles from Lions Gate domestically.
Units of FFE license motion pictures and other programs in the United States, Canada and international markets to various third party and certain affiliated subscription pay television, pay-per-view, video-on-demand and electronic sell-through services. The license agreements reflecting the subscription pay television arrangements generally provide for a specified number of exhibitions of the program during a fixed term in exchange for a license fee that is based on a variety of factors, including the box office performance of each program and the number of subscribers to the service or system. Among third party license agreements that units of FFE have in place in the United States for television exhibition of their motion pictures are exclusive subscription pay television license agreements with Home Box Office (“HBO”), providing for the licensing of films initially released for theatrical exhibition through 2015, as well as arrangements with Starz Encore Group. The license agreements reflecting the pay-per-view and video-on-demand services arrangements generally provide for a license fee based on a percentage of the licensee’s gross receipts from the exhibition of the program, and in some cases, a guaranteed minimum fee. In addition, these agreements generally provide for a minimum number of scheduled pay-per-view exhibitions and a minimum video-on-demand exhibition period during a fixed term. Units of FFE also license motion pictures in the United States to direct broadcast satellite (“DBS”) pay-per-view services operated by EchoStar Communications Corporation, as well as to pay-per-view and video-on-demand services operated by DIRECTV and iN Demand L.L.C. In addition, units of FFE license motion pictures and other programs to third parties, including Apple and Amazon, for electronic sell-through over the Internet, enabling consumers in the United States to acquire the right to retain permanently such programs. In international markets, units of FFE license motion pictures and other programming to leading third party pay television, pay-per-view, video-on-demand and electronic sell-through services, as well as to pay television and video-on-demand services operated by various affiliated entities.
Competition. Motion picture production and distribution are highly competitive businesses. The Company competes with other film studios, independent production companies and others for the acquisition of artistic properties, the services of creative and technical personnel, exhibition outlets and the public’s interest in its products. The number of motion pictures released by the Company’s competitors, particularly the other major film studios, in any given period may create an oversupply of product in the market, which may reduce the Company’s shares of gross box office admissions and may make it more difficult for the Company’s motion pictures to succeed. The commercial success of the motion pictures produced and/or distributed by the Company is affected substantially by the public’s unpredictable response to them. The competitive risks affecting the Company’s home entertainment business include the number of home entertainment titles released by the Company’s competitors that may create an oversupply of product in the market, competition among home media formats, such as DVDs, and other methods of distribution, such as video-on-demand services.
The Company faces ongoing risks associated with controlling unauthorized copying and distribution of the Company’s programs. For a further discussion of issues relating to unauthorized copying and distribution of the Company’s programs, see “—Intellectual Property.”
Television Programming, Production and Distribution
Twentieth Century Fox Television (“TCFTV”). During fiscal 2009, TCFTV produced television programs for the FOX Broadcasting Company (“FOX”), ABC Television Network (“ABC”), CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
(“CBS”), NBC Television Network (“NBC”), Comedy Partners (“Comedy Central”) and F/X Networks (“FX”). TCFTV currently produces, or has orders to produce, episodes of the following television series: 24, American Dad, Bones, The Cleveland Show, Dollhouse, Family Guy, Glee, King of the Hill, Lie To Me, The Simpsons, Sit Down, Shut Up (a co-production with Adelaide Productions) and Sons of Tucson for FOX; Better Off Ted, Modern Family and The Deep End for ABC; How I Met Your Mother for CBS; Sons of Anarchy for FX; Futurama for Comedy Central; and Neighbors From Hell for Superstation Inc. (“TBS”). Generally, a network will license a specified number of episodes for exhibition on the network during the license period. All other distribution rights, including international and off-network syndication rights, are typically retained by TCFTV, utilized by other units of the Company or sold to third parties.
Television programs generally are produced under contracts that provide for license fees that may cover only a portion of the anticipated production costs. As these costs have increased in recent years, the resulting deficit between production costs and license fees for domestic first-run programming has also increased. Therefore, additional licensing is often critical to the financial success of a series. Successful U.S. network television series are, for example, (i) licensed for first-run exhibition in Canadian and international markets, (ii) released in DVD box sets, (iii) licensed for off-network exhibition in the United States (including in syndication and to cable programmers), (iv) licensed for further television exhibition in international markets and (v) made available for electronic sell-through and streaming, including individual episodes and full series. Typically, a series must be broadcast for at least three to four television seasons for there to be a sufficient number of episodes to offer the series in syndication or to cable and DBS programmers in the United States. The decision of a television network to continue a series through an entire television season or to renew a series for another television season depends largely on the series’ audience ratings.
Twentieth Television. Twentieth Television licenses both television programming and feature films for domestic syndication to television stations and basic cable services in the United States. Twentieth Television distributes a program portfolio that includes the Company’s library of television and film assets, and first-run programming produced by its production companies for sales to local stations, including stations owned and operated by the Company, as well as to basic cable networks. First-run programs distributed by Twentieth Television include the game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? and the court shows Divorce Court and Judge Alex.
Twentieth Television derives revenue from off-network, theatrical and first-run program sales in the form of cash license fees paid by both broadcast and cable licensees, and from the sales of national advertising units retained by Twentieth Television in its programs. Twentieth Television licenses such shows as How I Met Your Mother, My Name Is Earl, Family Guy, American Dad, King of the Hill, The Unit, M*A*S*H, Boston Legal, Bones, Malcolm in the Middle and The Simpsons to cable and broadcast networks. Twentieth Television also manages and distributes the long running series, COPS and America’s Most Wanted, and sells national advertising on behalf of other third party syndicators.
Fox Television Studios (“FtvS”). FtvS is a program supplier to the major U.S. and international broadcast and cable networks. FtvS is currently producing Burn Notice and White Collar for USA Network, Saving Grace for TNT, Mental and the upcoming late-night The Wanda Sykes Show for FOX, and Kendra and The Girls Next Door for E!. Other FtvS international co-productions include Persons Unknown, co-produced with Televisa for NBC, and Defying Gravity, co-produced with CTV and ProSieben for ABC.
Competition. Similar to motion picture production and distribution, production and distribution of television programming is extremely competitive. The Company competes with other film studios, independent production companies and others for the acquisition of artistic properties, the services of creative and technical personnel, exhibition outlets and the public’s interest in its products. In addition, television networks have affiliated production companies from which they are increasingly obtaining their programming, which has reduced the demand for programming from other non-affiliated parties.
Motion Picture and Television Library
The Company’s motion picture and television library (the “Fox Library”) consists of varying rights to several thousand previously released motion pictures and many well-known television programs. Motion pictures in the Fox Library include many successful and well-known titles, such as The Sound of Music, Mrs. Doubtfire, Planet of the Apes, the Die Hard series, Dr. Dolittle, the X-Men series, The Day After Tomorrow, the Ice Age series, Sideways, Walk the Line, The Devil Wears Prada, Little Miss Sunshine, the Night at the Museum series, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Slumdog Millionaire and Taken, as well as seven of the top 30 domestic box office grossing films of all time, which are Titanic (together with Paramount Pictures Corporation), Star Wars, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and Independence Day.
The Fox Library contains varying rights to many television series and made-for-television motion pictures. The television programming in the Fox Library consists of such classic series as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H, Hill Street Blues, Doogie Howser, M.D., L.A. Law, The Wonder Years, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, My Name is Earl, Angel, Dharma & Greg, In Living Color, The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and NYPD Blue, as well as such current programming as The Simpsons, Bones, King of the Hill, 24, Family Guy, Dollhouse, Futurama, Better Off Ted, How I Met Your Mother, Sons of Anarchy, American Dad and Lie To Me.
The Company is engaged in the operation of broadcast television stations, the broadcasting of network programming in the United States and the development, production and broadcasting of television programming in Asia.
Fox Television Stations
Fox Television Stations, Inc. (“Fox Television Stations”) owns and operates 27 full power stations, including stations located in nine of the top ten largest designated market areas (“DMAs”). Fox Television Stations owns and operates two stations in nine DMAs, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, the first, second and third largest DMAs, respectively.
Of the 27 full power stations, 17 stations are affiliates of FOX (“FOX Affiliates”). For a description of the programming offered to FOX Affiliates, see “—FOX Broadcasting Company.” In addition, Fox Television Stations owns and operates ten stations affiliated with MyNetworkTV, Inc. (“MyNetworkTV”).
FOX Broadcasting Company (“FOX”)
FOX has 217 FOX Affiliates, including the 17 stations owned and operated by the Company, which reach approximately 99% of all U.S. television households. In general, each week FOX regularly delivers to its affiliates 15 hours of prime-time programming and 90 minutes of late-night programming on Saturday. FOX’s prime-time programming features such series as House, The Simpsons, Bones, Fringe, and 24; unscripted series such as American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance; and various movies and specials. In addition, a significant component of FOX’s programming consists of sports programming, with FOX providing to its affiliates live coverage (including post-season) of the National Football Conference of the National Football League (the “NFL”) and Major League Baseball (“MLB”), as well as live coverage of the premier racing series (the Sprint Cup series) of the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (“NASCAR”) and the Bowl Championship Series (“BCS”) (excluding the BCS championship game). FOX also airs a two-hour block of direct response programming on Saturday mornings provided by Worldlink Ventures (“Worldlink”), a media sales firm. FOX’s agreement with Worldlink extends through the 2009-2010 broadcast season.
FOX’s prime-time line-up is intended to appeal primarily to target audiences of 18 to 49-year old adults, the demographic group that advertisers seek to reach most often. During the 2008-2009 traditional September to May broadcast season, FOX ranked first in prime-time programming based on viewership of adults aged 18 to 49 (FOX had a 3.7 rating and a 10 share, ABC had a 2.9 rating and an 8 share, CBS had a 3.2 rating and a 9 share and NBC had a 2.8 rating and a 7 share). The median age of the FOX viewer is 45 years, as compared to 47 years for NBC, 49 years for ABC and 53 years for CBS.
FOX obtains programming from major television studios and independent television production companies pursuant to license agreements. The terms of those agreements generally provide FOX with the right to broadcast a television series for a minimum of four seasons. FOX licenses its film programming from major film studios and independent film production companies. National sports programming, such as the NFL, MLB and NASCAR programming, is obtained under license agreements with professional sports leagues or organizations. FOX’s current licenses with the NFL, MLB, and NASCAR extend until the 2013 NFL season, the 2013 MLB season and the 2014 NASCAR season. FOX also has the right to broadcast the BCS through 2010.
FOX provides programming to the FOX Affiliates in accordance with affiliation agreements of varying durations, which grant to each affiliate the right to broadcast network television programming on the affiliated station. Such agreements typically run three or more years and have staggered expiration dates. These affiliation agreements generally require FOX Affiliates to carry FOX programming in all time periods in which FOX programming is offered to those affiliates, subject to certain exceptions stated in the affiliation agreements.
MyNetworkTV is currently a primetime general entertainment broadcast television network with 179 affiliates, including ten stations owned and operated by the Company, and reaching approximately 97% of U.S. households. Through the 2008-2009 television season, MyNetworkTV delivered two hours per night of branded prime-time programming every night of the week except Sunday. Branded nights of programming included entertainment shows on Monday, reality crime shows on Tuesday, comedy on Wednesdays, movies on Thursdays and Saturdays and WWE Smackdown on Fridays.
For the 2009-2010 television season that begins in September 2009, MyNetworkTV will be moving to a new distribution programming service model, distributing two hours per night of original and off-network programming for Twentieth Television and other third party syndicators to its affiliates. With this transition, MyNetworkTV is entering into new affiliation agreements with its affiliates. As of August 10, 2009, MyNetworkTV had 133 affiliates for the 2009-2010 television season, including 10 affiliates owned by the Company, which will reach approximately 83% of U.S. households.
Competition. The network television broadcasting business is highly competitive. FOX and MyNetworkTV compete for programming, viewers and advertising with ABC, NBC, CBS and The CW Television Network.
ABC, NBC and CBS each broadcasts a significantly greater number of hours of programming than FOX and MyNetworkTV and, accordingly, may be able to designate or change time periods in which programming is to be broadcast with greater flexibility than FOX or MyNetworkTV. FOX and MyNetworkTV also compete with other non-network sources of television service, including cable television and DBS services. Other sources of competition may include home video exhibition, digital video recorders (“DVR”), the Internet and home computer usage. In addition, future technological developments may affect competition within the television marketplace.
Each of the stations owned and operated by Fox Television Stations also competes for advertising revenues with other television stations and radio and cable systems in its respective market area and with other advertising media, such as newspapers, magazines, outdoor advertising, direct mail and Internet websites. All of the stations owned and operated by Fox Television Stations are located in highly competitive markets. Additional elements that are material to the competitive position of each of the television stations include management experience, authorized power and assigned frequency of that station. Competition for sales of broadcast advertising time is based primarily on the anticipated and actually delivered size and demographic characteristics of audiences as determined by various rating services, price, the time of day when the advertising is to be broadcast, competition from the other broadcast networks, cable television systems, DBS services and other media and general economic conditions. Competition for audiences is based primarily on the selection of programming, the acceptance of which is dependent on the reaction of the viewing public that is often difficult to predict.
Star Group Limited (“STAR”) engages in the development, production and broadcasting of television programming, primarily in Asia. STAR offers 69 channels in thirteen languages. STAR’s owned and affiliated channels are distributed in the following regions: India; Greater China; Indonesia; the rest of South East Asia; Pakistan; the Middle East and North Africa; the United Kingdom and Europe; and North America, reaching approximately 300 million people in 136 million households.
STAR’s programming is distributed primarily via satellite to local cable, internet protocol television (“IPTV”) and direct-to-home (“DTH”) operators for distribution to their subscribers. STAR is one of the leading providers of television programming in Asia. Of the 69 channels currently offered by STAR, 35 channels are wholly-owned and operated by STAR, including, among others, STAR PLUS, STAR CHINESE CHANNEL, CHANNEL [V], STAR WORLD, STAR MOVIES, STAR CHINESE MOVIES and XING KONG WEI SHI. STAR’s channels are distributed on both a pay television and a free-to-air basis.
STAR also provides 34 channels that are joint ventures between the Company and other entities, including channels owned and operated by Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings Limited (“Phoenix”), ESPN STAR Sports, Media Content & Communications Services (India) Private Limited (“MCCS”), Vijay Television Private Limited (“VPTL”) and Asianet Communications Limited.
STAR has an approximate 18% interest in Phoenix, a company listed on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited. Phoenix owns and operates Chinese language general entertainment, movie and current affairs channels, all of which are targeted at Chinese audiences around the world and are primarily distributed on a free or an encrypted basis via pay television platforms in Asia and Europe and pay television platforms in the United States. ESPN STAR Sports, a 50/50 joint venture between STAR and ESPN, is the leading sports broadcaster in Asia and operates 17 channels in different languages. MCCS, an approximate 26% STAR owned joint venture with the Ananda Bazar Patrika Group, owns and operates three Indian language 24-hour news and current affairs channels. In January 2009, STAR expanded into South India regional programming by forming STAR Jupiter, a joint venture with Asianet TV Holdings Private Limited to provide television services for South Indian audiences. The joint venture consists of a 80.9% stake by STAR in VTPL, which owns and operates the Tamil Language channel VIJAY, and VTPL, in turn, holds a 62.9% stake in Asianet Communications Limited which owns and operates the Malayalam language channels ASIANET and ASIANET PLUS, the Kannada language channel SUVARNA and the Telugu language channel SITARA.
In addition, STAR owns an approximate 26% stake in Balaji Telefilms Limited (“Balaji”), which is one of the largest television content production companies in India, the shares of which are listed on The Stock Exchange, Mumbai and the National Stock Exchange of India. Balaji currently produces serials broadcast on STAR PLUS and other general entertainment channels in India. STAR also holds a 20% stake in Tata Sky Limited which owns and operates a DTH platform in India, an approximate 22% stake in Hathway Cable & Datacom Private Limited, a multi-system cable operator in India that also provides broadband Internet services, and a 49% interest in Channel [V] Thailand which owns a Thai language music channel and licenses its Channel [V] brand to a third party in Australia to operate a music channel. STAR also has a 50/50 joint venture with Den Digital Entertainment Networks Private Limited to operate a television channel distribution business in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, which exclusively distributes STAR’s owned and affiliated channels in these territories. In fiscal 2009, STAR expanded into television home shopping in India through a 50/50 joint venture with CJ O Shopping Co. Ltd., a leading home shopping company in South Korea and China.
STAR also holds a 20% interest in PT Cakrawala Andalas Televisi (“CATV”), an Indonesian free-to-air terrestrial television broadcaster. In June 2009, STAR entered into an agreement with the other shareholders of CATV to consolidate CATV with TVOne, another free-to-air terrestrial television broadcaster. Under the agreement, STAR will acquire a 7.5% interest in the consolidated entity. The transaction is subject to certain closing conditions and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of calendar 2009.
The primary sources of programming on STAR’s owned and affiliated channels include rights to broadcast over many territories in Asia and other parts of the world: (i) original Indian, English and Chinese television programming produced, commissioned or acquired by STAR, including programming in HD; (ii) many of Asia’s most popular sporting events, such as International Cricket Council cricket; (iii) an extensive contemporary Chinese film library comprising over 650 titles; and (iv) an extensive Hindi film library comprising 731 titles and an extensive Hindi television program library comprising about 480 titles. STAR’s other sources of programming include rights to broadcast music videos, as well as music and youth-oriented programming, produced and carried on Channel [V]. STAR and Twentieth Century Fox jointly produce and distribute films in Asia in the Indian and Chinese Languages.
Competition. Generally, STAR competes with various channels for a share of subscription, distribution, channel position, ratings and programming.
In India, the pay television broadcasting industry has several participants, and STAR’s Indian entertainment channels compete with both pay and free-to-air channels since they are delivered by common cable. STAR also competes in India to acquire both Hindi film and programming rights and, through its 50% owned sports joint venture, ESPN STAR Sports, for sports broadcast rights, such as cricket rights.
In mainland China, STAR competes primarily in two distinct markets for which it has received government approvals to distribute its services. One is among three-star and above hotels and other approved organizations and institutions that are allowed to receive overseas satellite television channels throughout mainland China. The second is among general households in Guangdong that can view local Chinese channels.
In Taiwan, STAR competes with various local and foreign satellite channels, depending on programming genre.
In the Middle East, STAR competes with both pay channels (in the South Asian and English languages) as well as free-to-air channels for viewership, program rights, distribution and advertising sales.
Cable Network Programming
The Company produces and licenses news, business news, sports, general entertainment and movie programming for distribution to distributors in the United States and internationally.
FOX News. FOX News owns and operates the FOX News Channel, a 24-hour all news national cable channel currently available to approximately 97 million U.S. households according to Nielsen Media Research, as well as the FOX Business Network which launched to 30 million subscribers in October 2007 and currently has over 50 million subscribers.
FOX News also produces a weekend political commentary show, FOX News Sunday, for broadcast on local FOX television stations throughout the United States. FOX News, through its FOX News Edge service, licenses news feeds to FOX Affiliates and other subscribers to use as part of local news broadcasts throughout the United States and abroad. FOX News also produces and runs the websites, FOXNews.com and FOXBusiness.com, and owns and produces the national FOX News Radio Network, which licenses news updates, long form programs and the FOX News Talk Channel to local radio stations and to satellite radio providers.
FSN. Fox Sports Net, Inc. (“FSN, Inc.”) is the largest regional sports network (“RSN”) programmer in the United States, focusing on live professional and major collegiate home team sports events. FSN, Inc.’s sports programming business currently consists primarily of ownership interests in 12 RSNs, including numerous sub-regional feeds (the “FSN RSNs”) and National Sports Programming, which operates FSN (“FSN”), a national sports programming service. FSN, Inc. also is affiliated with, through FSN, an additional nine RSNs that are not owned by FSN, Inc. (the “FSN Affiliated RSNs”). FSN provides the FSN RSNs and the FSN Affiliated RSNs with national sports programming, featuring original and licensed sports-related programming, as well as live and replay sporting events. The FSN RSNs and the FSN Affiliated RSNs currently have approximately 91 million subscribers and have rights to telecast live games of 68 of 82 U.S. professional sports teams in MLB, the National Basketball Association (“NBA”) and the National Hockey League (“NHL”); collegiate conferences; and numerous college and high school sports teams.
FX. Currently reaching approximately 95 million U.S. households according to Nielsen Media Research, FX is a general entertainment network that telecasts a growing roster of original series, as well as acquired television series and motion pictures. FX’s lineup for the 2009-2010 season includes popular original programming such as the Emmy® and Golden Globe® award-winning drama series Nip/Tuck and Damages and the critically acclaimed Rescue Me. Also included in the 2009-2010 season line-up is the fifth season of the comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the second season of Sons of Anarchy. Current syndicated series include That 70’s Show, Spin City, Malcolm in the Middle and The Bernie Mac Show. During the 2009-2010 season, FX will also showcase the television premieres of theatrical motion pictures, including Live Free or Die Hard, Superman 3, Kung Fu Panda, and The Simpsons Movie. The Company also produces and distributes FX HD, a 24-hour national programming service produced and distributed in HD.
SPEED. Currently reaching over 73 million households in the United States according to Nielsen Media Research, SPEED brings viewers into the world of auto and motorcycle racing and the surrounding lifestyle, showcasing significant NASCAR races (including exclusive coverage of the annual All Star Race), events and original programming, as well as other top racing series, such as Formula One, Grand American Road Racing, American LeMans, the 24 Hours of LeMans, American Motorcycle Association, AMA Supercross, Monster Jam, World Superbike and MotoGP racing and events. SPEED’s popular original series PINKS All Out is a reality-based racing show in its third season that pits amateur racers against each other in a unique drag racing format. SPEED’s original series, Wrecked, will return for a second season in 2009 as well as the new series, Dangerous Drives. SPEED also is distributed to subscribers in Mexico, Canada and Latin America. The Company also produces and distributes SPEED HD, a 24-hour national programming service produced and distributed in HD.
FUEL TV. FUEL TV is the only domestic 24-hour programming service dedicated to action sports and the lifestyle surrounding it. FUEL TV covers both competitive and performance action in the arenas of skateboarding, surfing, BMX, freestyle motocross, snowboarding and wakeboarding. Programming includes U.S. and international action sports events and competitions, as well as original series and specials about top action sports athletes and their music, art and culture from a global perspective.
Fox College Sports. Fox College Sports consists of three regionally-aligned networks, FCS Pacific, FCS Central and FCS Atlantic. Fox College Sports provides live and delayed collegiate events from the nation’s top collegiate conferences, coaches’ shows and collegiate highlight and magazine-format programming from the FSN RSNs and certain of the FSN Affiliated RSNs across the country.
Fox Movie Channel. Fox Movie Channel (“FMC”) is Hollywood’s first and only studio-based movie network. FMC airs Twentieth Century Fox films, as well as documentaries and original series that explore the moviemaking process from script to screen.
Fox Soccer Channel. Fox Soccer Channel is an English-language programming service offering comprehensive coverage of world-class soccer. Top properties include the UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, Italian Serie A and Major League Soccer, along with daily soccer news programs and a weekly viewer call-in show.
Fox Pan American Sports. The Company has an approximate 33% equity interest in Fox Pan American Sports LLC (“FPAS”), with HM Capital Partners, LLC owning the remainder. FPAS owns and operates Spanish-language sports businesses, including the Fox Sports Latin America network (a Spanish-language sports network distributed to subscribers in certain Caribbean and Central and South American nations outside of Brazil) and Fox Sports en Español (the first Spanish-language sports programming service to be distributed in the United States).
Fox Reality Channel. Fox Reality Channel is a 24-hour national programming service that airs original, off-network and syndicated unscripted programming made popular on major U.S. and international networks.
Big Ten Network. The Company owns an approximate 49% interest in the Big Ten Network, a 24-hour national programming service dedicated to the Big Ten Conference and Big Ten athletics, academics and related programming, and Big Ten Network HD, a 24-hour national programming service produced and distributed in HD.
National Geographic. The Company holds an approximate 67% interest in NGC Network US LLC, which produces and distributes the National Geographic Channel and the National Geographic Channel HD in the United States, with NGT, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Geographic Society (“NGT”), holding the remaining interest. The National Geographic Channel currently reaches approximately 69 million households in the United States according to Nielsen Media Research.
The Company also owns a 52.2% interest in NGC Network International LLC and NGC Network Latin America LLC (collectively “NGC International”), with NGT holding a 26.8% interest and a subsidiary of BSkyB holding the remaining 21% interest. NGC International produces and distributes the National Geographic Channel in various international markets. NGC International also produces and distributes the National Geographic Channel HD, the Nat Geo Adventure channel, the Nat Geo Wild channel and the Nat Geo Music channel in international markets. The National Geographic Channel is currently shown in 34 languages and in approximately 166 countries internationally, including the United States.
The National Geographic Channels air documentary programming on such topics as natural history, adventure, science, exploration and culture.
Fox International Channels (“FIC”). FIC owns and operates channels in various countries in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, including: the Fox Channel, Fox Life, FX, SPEED and Utilisma in Latin America; FOX, Fox Crime, Fox Life, FX, CULT, NEXT and The History Channel in Italy; FOX in Germany, FX in the United Kingdom; FOX and Fox Life in Japan; FOX, Fox Crime, Fox Life, Next and FX in Portugal; the Voyage Channel and Fox Life in France; FOX in Spain and Korea; The History Channel in India; Fox Life and Fox Crime in several countries in Eastern Europe; Fox Life in Poland; and Fox Life, FX, FX VOD, FOX Sports and FOX Sports HD in Turkey. FIC also manages the Universal channels in Latin America.
The FOX, FX and Fox Life branded channels have first-run and library series programming and theatrical movies acquired primarily from major film studios, as well as original productions. CULT is a factual entertainment channel featuring arts and cultural programming. The History Channel provides factual series and specials acquired primarily from A&E Television Networks. The Voyage Channel is focused on travel related programming. Fox Crime is focused on crime related programming and NEXT is a HD documentary channel.
FIC owns a 55% equity interest in LAPTV, a partnership which distributes three premium pay television channels (Movie City East and West, Cinecanal East and West and its multiplex channel Cinecanal 2) and one basic television channel (The Film Zone East and West) in Latin America (excluding Brazil). Such channels primarily feature theatrical motion pictures of Twentieth Century Fox and three other studio partners in the English language with Spanish subtitles. FIC has voting control over an additional 22.5% interest in LAPTV.
FIC also owns a majority equity interest in Elite Sports Limited, a company that owns and distributes BabyTV, a 24-hour channel dedicated to infants and toddlers under three years old to over 65 countries outside of the United States.
General. Cable network programming is another highly competitive business. Cable networks compete for distribution and, when distribution is obtained, for viewers and advertisers with free-to-air broadcast television, radio, print media, motion picture theaters, DVDs, Internet, wireless and portable viewing devices and other sources of information and entertainment. Important competitive factors include the prices charged for programming, the quantity, quality and variety of programming offered and the effectiveness of marketing efforts.
FOX News. FOX News Channel’s primary competition comes from the cable networks CNN, MSNBC and CNN Headline News. Fox Business Network’s primary competition comes from the cable networks CNBC and Bloomberg Television. FOX News Channel and FOX Business Network also compete for viewers and advertisers within a broad spectrum of television networks, including other non-news cable networks and free-to-air broadcast television networks.
Sports programming operations. A number of basic and pay television programming services, such as ESPN and Versus, as well as free-to-air stations and broadcast networks, provide programming that also targets the FSN RSNs’ audience. FSN is the leading programming service distributing a full range of sports programming on both a national and regional level. On a national level, FSN’s primary competitor is ESPN and, to a lesser extent, ESPN2 and Versus. In regional markets, the FSN RSNs compete with other regional sports networks, including those operated by team owners, cable television systems, local broadcast television stations and other sports programming providers and distributors.
In addition, the FSN RSNs and FSN compete, to varying degrees, for sports programming rights. The FSN RSNs compete for local and regional rights with local broadcast television stations, other local and regional sports networks, including sports networks launched by team owners and distribution outlets, such as cable television systems. FSN competes for national rights principally with a number of national cable services that specialize in or carry sports programming, including sports networks launched by the leagues and conferences, and television “superstations” that distribute sports. Independent syndicators also compete by acquiring and reselling such rights nationally, regionally and locally. Distribution outlets, such as cable television systems, sometimes contract directly with the sports teams in their service area for the right to distribute a number of those teams’ games on their systems. In certain markets, the owners of distribution outlets, such as cable television systems, also own one or more of the professional teams in the region, increasing their ability to launch competing networks and also limiting the professional sports rights available for acquisition by FSN RSNs.
FX. FX faces competition from a number of basic cable and pay television programming services, such as USA, TNT, Spike TV, HBO and Showtime, as well as free-to-air broadcast networks that provide programming that targets the same viewing audience as FX. FX also faces competition from these programming services in the acquisition of distribution rights to movie and series programming.
Direct Broadcast Satellite Television
The Company engages in the direct broadcast satellite business through its subsidiary, SKY Italia. The Company also owns equity interests in BSkyB and Sky Deutschland AG (formerly Premiere AG) (“Sky Deutschland”), which are engaged in the DBS business (for a description of the businesses of these equity interests, please see discussion under heading “—Equity Interests”).
SKY Italia currently distributes over 180 channels of basic, premium and pay-per-view programming services via satellite and broadband directly to subscribers in Italy. This programming includes exclusive rights to popular sporting events, newly-released movies and SKY Italia’s original programming, such as SKY News, Italy’s first 24-hour news channel. As of June 30, 2009, SKY Italia had approximately 4.8 million subscribers.
Competition. The number of pay television subscribers with services in Italy, other than SKY Italia, is growing and is expected to continue to increase. SKY Italia’s competition includes companies that offer video, audio, interactive programming, telephony, data and other information and entertainment services, including broadband Internet providers, digital terrestrial transmission (“DTT”) services, wireless companies and companies that are developing new media technologies. The Company is currently prohibited from providing a DTT service under regulations of the European Commission. Competition is encouraged through the regulatory environment that requires SKY Italia to wholesale its premium programming, to limit the length and exclusivity of certain of its premium programming contracts, as well as to provide third parties with access to the SKY Italia platform.
Magazines and Inserts
The Company engages in marketing operations, primarily the publication of free-standing inserts, the provision of in-store marketing products and services and magazine publishing.
News America Marketing Group
The Company’s U.S. marketing operations are organized under News America Marketing Group (“NAMG”). NAMG consists primarily of free-standing insert publications and in-store marketing products and services.
NAMG is one of the two largest publishers of free-standing inserts in the United States. Free-standing inserts are multiple-page marketing booklets containing coupons, rebates and other consumer offers, which are distributed to consumers through insertion primarily into local Sunday newspapers. Advertisers, primarily packaged goods companies, pay NAMG to produce free-standing inserts, and NAMG contracts with and pays newspapers to include the free-standing inserts primarily into the newspapers’ Sunday editions. NAMG produces over 69 million free-standing inserts more than 45 times a year, which are inserted in approximately 1,500 Sunday newspapers throughout the United States. NAMG, through an affiliate, also produces over eight million free-standing inserts approximately 15 times annually, which are inserted into over 200 Canadian newspapers in Canada.
NAMG is a leading provider of in-store marketing products and services, primarily to consumer packaged goods manufacturers, with products in more than 50,000 supermarkets, drug stores, dollar stores, office supply stores and mass merchandisers worldwide.
SmartSource® is the brand name that is linked with NAMG’s vast assortment of marketing products, including, among others, free-standing inserts, NAMG’s instant coupon machines and various shelf advertising products. The SmartSource® brand currently reaches approximately 150 million consumers weekly.
The SmartSource iGroup manages NAMG’s portfolio of database marketing and on-line marketing products and services. The database marketing business, branded SmartSource Direct, provides database marketing and technology solutions for both retailers and manufacturers. The SmartSource Savings Network, which includes SmartSource.com, is an Internet-based network of approximately 230 newspaper, retailer and lifestyle sites connected through a common platform that currently delivers printable coupons, samples and other consumer marketing to an audience of approximately 65 million consumers.
Competition. NAMG competes against other providers of marketing products and services, including those that provide promotional or advertising inserts and direct mailers of promotional or advertising materials, as well as those that provide trade and in-store advertisements and promotions. Competition is based on, among other things, rates, availability of markets, quality of products and services provided and their effectiveness, and rate of coupon redemption.
News Magazines Pty. Ltd (“News Magazines”) produces both direct sale magazines and inserts for the Company’s Australian newspapers. News Magazines publishes over 25 direct sale magazines, including food titles such as donna hay, delicious and super food ideas, lifestyle titles such as INSIDEout, Vogue Australia, Vogue Living, GQ Australia, Notebook and Gardening Australia, and specialist titles such as ALPHA—Mad About Sport, which is a sport and lifestyle men’s magazine. News Magazines also publishes Sunday Magazine, which is an insert in the Company’s Australian newspapers in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Company published The Weekly Standard, a weekly magazine offering political commentary in the United States, through June 2009 when it sold the magazine to the Clarity Media Group.
Competition. The magazines all compete for circulation and advertising revenue with other published products, in their same categories, as well as other forms of media. Competition for circulation is based on the editorial and informational content of each publication and its price. Competition for advertising is based on circulation levels, reader demographics, advertising rates and advertiser results.
Newspapers and Information Services
The Company is engaged in the newspaper and information services business, primarily through its subsidiaries News International, News Limited, Dow Jones and The New York Post.
News International Limited (“News International”)
News International publishes The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and News of the World in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Sales of these four newspapers account for approximately one-third of all national newspapers sold in the United Kingdom. Both The Times, a daily published Monday through Saturday, and The Sunday Times are leading quality newspapers. The Sun, published each morning Monday through Saturday, and News of the World, published on Sunday, are both popular, mass market newspapers. The average paid circulation for each of these four national newspapers during the six months ended June 30, 2009 was approximately: The Times—599,009; The Sunday Times—1,214,603; The Sun—3,022,058; and News of the World—2,993,776. News International also publishes thelondonpaper, a free newspaper distributed by hand in central London each afternoon Monday through Friday.
The printing of all four of News International’s national newspapers (except Saturday and Sunday supplements) takes place principally in its four printing facilities located in England, Scotland and Ireland.
News International also publishes The Times Literary Supplement, a weekly literary review.
News Limited is the largest newspaper publisher in Australia, owning approximately 146 daily, Sunday, weekly, bi-weekly and tri-weekly newspapers, of which four are free commuter titles and 102 are suburban publications (including 16 of which News Limited has a 50% interest). News Limited publishes the only nationally distributed general interest newspaper in Australia, the leading metropolitan newspapers in each of the major Australian cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and Darwin and the leading suburban newspapers in the suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. News Limited’s daily and Sunday newspapers account for more than 69% of the total circulation of all daily and Sunday newspapers (excluding suburban and regional newspapers) published in Australia.
News Limited’s principal daily newspapers in Australia are: The Australian; The Daily Telegraph, published in Sydney; the Herald Sun, published in Melbourne; The Courier-Mail, published in Brisbane; The Advertiser, published in Adelaide; The Mercury, published in Hobart; and the Northern Territory News, published in Darwin. The Australian, which is Australia’s only general interest national daily newspaper, is printed in six cities and distributed nationwide. News Limited’s other principal daily newspapers in Australia are mass circulation, regional newspapers with broad-based readerships and are published and distributed regionally. The average Monday to Friday paid circulation of each of these daily newspapers during fiscal 2009 was approximately as follows: The Australian—138,000; The Daily Telegraph—373,000; the Herald Sun—520,000; The Courier-Mail—218,000; The Advertiser—186,000; The Mercury—46,000; and the Northern Territory News—22,000. The average Saturday paid circulation of each of these daily newspapers during fiscal 2009 was approximately as follows: The Weekend Australian—310,000; The Daily Telegraph—327,000; the Herald Sun—509,000; The Courier-Mail—305,000; The Advertiser—255,000; The Mercury—62,000; and the Northern Territory News—32,000.
News Limited’s principal Sunday newspapers in Australia are: The Sunday Telegraph, published in Sydney; the Sunday Herald Sun, published in Melbourne; The Sunday Mail, published in Brisbane; the Sunday Mail, published in Adelaide; The Sunday Times, published in Perth; the Sunday Tasmanian, published in Hobart; and the Sunday Territorian, published in Darwin. All these newspapers are mass circulation, metropolitan Sunday newspapers with broad-based readerships reflecting the diversity of the populations of the cities in which they are published. The average paid circulation of each of these Sunday newspapers during fiscal 2009 was approximately as follows: The Sunday Telegraph—653,000; the Sunday Herald Sun—616,000; The Sunday Mail (Brisbane)—557,000; the Sunday Mail (Adelaide)—307,000; The Sunday Times—321,000; the Sunday Tasmanian—60,000; and the Sunday Territorian—23,000.
The other newspapers that News Limited owns and publishes in Australia are distributed to a wide range of readers in urban, suburban and rural areas and are principally weekly publications. The majority of such newspapers are free-distribution suburban publications. In the Sydney suburban markets, News Limited owns 23 weekly newspapers; in Melbourne, 33 weekly newspapers; in Brisbane, 19 weekly newspapers; in Adelaide, 11 weekly newspapers; and in Perth, News Limited’s 50% owned suburban group publishes 16 weekly newspapers. The aggregate average weekly circulations of these suburban newspapers for the six months ended March 31, 2009 was approximately 5,119,000 homes.
In addition to these newspapers, News Limited also publishes four other publications (three monthlies and one weekly) with an average circulation for the six months ended March 31, 2009 of approximately 130,000 homes for the monthly titles and approximately 40,000 for the weekly title.
News Limited’s suburban newspapers are leading publications in terms of advertising and circulation in each of their respective markets. News Limited’s other newspapers in Australia are regional newspapers, circulating throughout broader, less densely populated areas.
Except for 36 of its suburban newspapers and four regional newspapers, News Limited’s Australian newspapers are produced and printed in facilities owned by the Company.
Dow Jones provides global business and financial news, information and insight through multiple channels of media. Dow Jones’ consumer media business includes The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and MarketWatch franchises (including print, online, television and radio), and its enterprise media business includes Factiva, Newswires, Client Solutions, Indexes and other products and services. Dow Jones’ local media business provides news and information of general interest to local communities throughout the United States.
Consumer Media Group. Dow Jones’ consumer media business offers business and financial information content to the consumer market around the globe.
The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal is one of the United States’ largest daily national newspapers. During fiscal 2009, The Wall Street Journal had an average print circulation of 1.7 million. The Wall Street Journal’s three major national editions are printed at 21 plants (including contract printers), of which 12 are owned by Dow Jones. The Wall Street Journal also sells regional advertising in 18 regional editions and pre-printed advertisements in various subsets of the circulation.
Barron’s. Barron’s is a weekly magazine that caters to financial professionals, individual investors and others interested in financial markets. In fiscal 2009, Barron’s had an average weekly circulation of 310,000. Barron’s is printed at 19 plants, including the 12 plants owned by Dow Jones, as well as additional contract printers.
The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. The Wall Street Journal Digital Network consists of WSJ.com, Marketwatch.com, Barron’s.com, and related sites and, as of June 30, 2009, served 34 million visitors per month with more than 550 million page views. WSJ.com is the largest paid subscription news website on the Internet, with over one million subscribers as of June 30, 2009. Certain sections of WSJ.com are also available to non-subscribers. MarketWatch.com covers the pulse of the markets for engaged investors, and is a leading provider of business, company and market news, financial information and analytics. Barron’s Online is a stand-alone subscription product, which had more than 150,000 subscribers as of June 30, 2009.
International Editions of The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal Europe, which had an average circulation of 81,000 during fiscal 2009, is headquartered in London and printed in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The Wall Street Journal Asia, which had an average circulation of 80,000 during fiscal 2009, is headquartered in Hong Kong and printed in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Dow Jones also publishes The Wall Street Journal Special Editions, which are a collection of The Wall Street Journal’s pages in local languages.
Other channels of distribution and publications. Dow Jones’ consumer media business also includes other channels of content distribution, including: television; radio/audio; online video; consumer electronic licensing; and The Wall Street Journal classroom, campus and Sunday editions. Dow Jones also publishes The Far Eastern Economic Review, a Hong Kong-based monthly periodical. In addition, eFinancialNews Holdings Ltd., based in London, serves the European financial services industry with print, online, training and events businesses.
Enterprise Media Group. Dow Jones’ enterprise media business offers business and financial news, information and solutions to financial services firms, businesses and government institutions around the world.
In fiscal 2009, the Enterprise Media Group reorganized its business to better align to market opportunities in ten key customer and industry segments—Wealth Management, Investment Banking, Investment Management, Sales & Trading, B2B Sales, Researchers & Knowledge Workers, Public Relations & Corporate Communications, Private Markets, Risk & Compliance and Energy & Commodities. The Enterprise Media Group is focused on developing new products and services tailored to the specific needs of the professionals in those segments.
The Enterprise Media Group provides real-time news, research, aggregated content and information solutions to organizations through the following products: Dow Jones Factiva, Dow Jones Newswires, Dow Jones VentureSource and specialty publications and databases. Dow Jones Factiva is a leading provider of global business content with approximately 1.8 million paying subscribers as of June 30, 2009. Dow Jones Newswires is a premier provider of real-time business news and information for approximately 438,000 financial professionals around the world as of June 30, 2009. As of June 30, 2009, Dow Jones Newswires had a dedicated staff of approximately 900 journalists, in addition to drawing on the global resources of The Wall Street Journal and Agence France-Presse. Dow Jones VentureSource is a database of over 43,000 venture-backed companies and over 11,000 private capital firms across the United States, Europe, Israel and China
Also, the Enterprise Media Group’s Dow Jones Indexes business licenses the Dow Jones Industrial Average and other indexes as the basis for trading options, futures, unit trusts, annuities, exchange traded funds, mutual funds, derivatives and specialized structured products. Dow Jones Indexes offers more than 130,000 indexes, including a variety of specialty and hedge fund indexes. It also sells or licenses the data behind various indexes for benchmarking purposes. Through Dow Jones Reprint Solutions, Dow Jones sells print or electronic reprints of The Wall Street Journal’s and Barron’s stories.
Local Media Group. Dow Jones’ Local Media Group publishes local media print publications, including eight general interest dailies published in California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania, and related local websites. During fiscal 2009, average print circulation for these dailies was approximately 247,000, with Sunday circulation of approximately 282,000. The Local Media Group also publishes 14 weekly newspapers and more than 30 other publications.
SmartMoney. SmartMoney is a 50/50 joint venture between Dow Jones and Hearst. SmartMoney magazine, published monthly, had circulation of more than 800,000 copies in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009. SmartMoney also includes SmartMoney.com and SmartMoney Custom Solutions.
Vedomosti. Vedomosti is a joint venture owned equally by Dow Jones, Pearson Plc and Independent Media, which publishes a Russian language business daily. Vedomosti had circulation of over 55,000 in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009, and includes original content and content from The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times translated into Russian.
STOXX, Ltd. (“STOXX”). STOXX is a joint venture owned equally by Dow Jones, the Deutsche Borse and the Swiss Exchange. STOXX develops, maintains, distributes and markets the Dow Jones STOXX indices.
DJ/IAC Online Ventures, LLC (“DJ/IAC Online Ventures”). DJ/IAC Online Ventures is a 50/50 joint venture with IAC/InterActiveCorp that operates a community-driven, personal finance website.
New York Post
The New York Post (the “Post”) is a mass circulation, metropolitan morning newspaper published seven days a week and distributed in New York City, Baltimore, Boston, Florida and California. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009, the newspaper had an average weekday circulation of approximately 550,000. The Company prints the Post in a printing facility in the Bronx, New York and uses third party printers in its other markets in the United States.
The Company’s Community Newspaper Group also owns several local newspapers and other publications distributed in the New York metropolitan area.
General. The newspapers published by the Company compete for readership and advertising with local and national newspapers and also compete with television, radio, the Internet and other communications media in their respective locales. Competition for newspaper circulation is based on the news and editorial content of the newspaper, cover price and, from time to time, various promotions. The success of the newspapers published by the Company in competing with other newspapers and media for advertising depends upon advertisers’ judgments as to the most effective use of their advertising budgets. Competition for advertising among newspapers is based upon circulation levels, readership levels, reader demographics, advertising rates and advertiser results. Such judgments are based on factors such as cost, availability of alternative media, circulation and quality of readership demographics.
In recent years, the newspaper industry has experienced difficulty increasing or maintaining circulation volume and revenues. This is due to, among other factors, increased competition from new media formats and sources and shifting preferences among some consumers to receive all or a portion of their news from sources other than a newspaper. The Company believes that competition from new media formats and sources and shifting consumer preferences will continue to pose challenges within the newspaper industry.
Dow Jones Online Publications. Dow Jones’ online publications compete with other websites that offer continuously updated coverage of business news, as well as licensing of electronic content. Unlike WSJ.com, competitors do not, for the most part, utilize an online paid subscription model, and most remain free sites. Competitors of Dow Jones’ online publications include FT.com, New York Times Digital, TheStreet.com, Bloomberg, Forbes.com, Yahoo!Finance, CNET, CNN Money, MSNMoney/CNBC and Google Finance.
Dow Jones Enterprise Media. Dow Jones’ newswires compete with other global financial newswires, including Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg L.P., as well as many Internet-based providers of financial news and information. Dow Jones’ newswires maintain a stronger market position in North America than internationally. Dow Jones Indexes competes with the indexes distributed by various organizations, including Standard & Poor’s, FTSE (the index company that is jointly owned by the London Stock Exchange and the Financial Times) and MSCI, Inc. Factiva competes with various business information service providers, including LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, Hoover’s and OneSource. Factiva also competes with various Internet-based information search services, such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!.
HarperCollins Publishers (“HarperCollins”) is engaged in English language book publishing on a worldwide basis and is one of the world’s largest English language book publishers. HarperCollins’ principal businesses are HarperCollins Publishers LLC (“HarperCollins U.S.”), headquartered in New York, HarperCollins Publishers Limited, headquartered in London, and The Zondervan Corporation LLC, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan. HarperCollins primarily publishes fiction and non-fiction, including religious books, for the general consumer. In the United Kingdom, HarperCollins publishes some titles for the educational market as well.
During fiscal 2009, HarperCollins U.S. had 165 titles on the New York Times bestseller list, with 15 titles hitting number one, including Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, Anathem by Neal Stephenson, Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld, Marley & Me by John Grogan, The Grand Finale by Janet Evanovich, Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong, Wings by Aprilynne Pike, Goldilicious by Victoria Kann, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis, A Very Marley Christmas by John Grogan and The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore.
Competition. The book publishing business operates in a highly competitive market and has been affected by consolidation trends. This market continues to change in response to technological innovations, electronic book devices and other factors. Recent years have brought a number of significant mergers among leading book publishers. There have also been a number of mergers completed in the distribution channel. HarperCollins must compete with other publishers, such as Random House, Penguin Group, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Livre, for the rights to works by well-known authors and public personalities. Although HarperCollins currently has strong positions in each of its markets, further consolidation in the book publishing industry could place it at a competitive disadvantage with respect to scale and resources.
Fox Interactive Media
Fox Interactive Media, Inc.’s (“FIM”) digital media properties include MySpace.com, FoxSports.com, Scout.com, IGN.com, RottenTomatoes.com, AskMen.com, Photobucket.com and other Company web properties. These businesses create original entertainment, news and information content and leverage the Company’s current and archived video assets, and derive revenue principally from the sale of Internet advertising and sponsorships, as well as from subscription services and e-commerce, including the digital sale of video games, television programming and other entertainment products. The Company has a search technology and services agreement through August 2010 with Google Inc. (“Google”), pursuant to which Google provides search and keyword targeted advertising on an exclusive basis for a majority of the Company’s web properties domestically and internationally.
MySpace is a technology company connecting people through personal expression, content, and culture. MySpace.com had approximately 68.4 million unique U.S. users in June 2009 according to comScore Media Metrix. MySpace is a social networking website that integrates personal profiles, photos, videos, mobile, messaging, games, and the world’s largest music community.
MySpace Video (formerly MySpaceTV) continues to distribute premium and user generated video content and tools to its users and recently announced programming partnerships with HBO and Endemol (for the web original “Married on MySpace”).
MySpace launched a number of new features, services and initiatives during fiscal 2009, including MySpace Local, a social community of small business profiles that empowers users to discover new businesses, create reviews and ratings and share their experiences at their favorite local restaurants, MySpaceIM, a web based instant messaging feature, and Profile 2.0, a new profile option that comes with a set of customizable layouts and editing tools that allow users to easily modify the content as well as the look and feel of the profile.
MySpace Music, LLC (“MySpace Music”) is a partnership between MySpace, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Group Warner Music Group and EMI Group/Capitol Records. The MySpace Music service launched in September 2008 and combined the MySpace music community with comprehensive catalogues of music content, offering music streaming, MP3 digital downloads, ringtones and other features.
IGN Entertainment, Inc.’s (“IGN”) network of video game, lifestyle and entertainment-related Internet properties represent many of the top web properties in their respective categories across the Internet. IGN’s Games sites (IGN.com, GameSpy, FilePlanet, TeamXbox and others) is the number one gaming information network on the Internet with over 14 million unique users and 232 million page views in the United States in June 2009 according to comScore Media Metrix. In addition, IGN’s Direct2Drive is a digital distribution site and IGN’s GameSpy Technology group provides technology for online game play in video games. IGN also owns and operates one of the most popular movie review websites on the Internet, RottenTomatoes.com, and one of the leading men’s lifestyle websites, AskMen.com.
FOX Sports Interactive, which includes FOXSports.com, FOX Sports Mobile, Scout Media and WhatifSports.com, is a leader in digital sports programming, offering sports fans a comprehensive mix of news, exclusive analysis, fantasy games and one of the Internet’s largest collections of online sports video. FOXSports.com, FOX Sports Interactive’s flagship site, had an average of 13 million unique users and 334 million page views in the United States during June 2009 according to comScore Media Metrix. FOX Sports Interactive produces more than four hours per day of original video specifically for the Internet, which is distributed on FOXSports.com, within MSN video and, for FOX Sports Mobile, on millions of mobile devices in the United States. FOX Sports Mobile also includes live event programming. Scout Media provides college football, college basketball, NFL and MLB fans with exclusive access to team-specific insider information and a comprehensive database and video library of the top high school athletes in the United States. Whatifsports.com is the leading provider of sports simulation games and game prediction statistics.
The Fox Audience Network is an online advertising network and technology services provider specializing in advanced targeting for FIM’s websites and third-party clients, and serves advertising across over 500 publisher sites as of June 2009.
Photobucket.com, Inc. operates one of the Internet’s most popular sites, linking billions of personal photos, graphics, slideshows and videos daily to hundreds of thousands of websites worldwide. In June 2009, Photobucket had over 24 million unique visitors and approximately 692 million page views in the United States according to comScore Media Metrix.
Competition. These digital media properties compete with other Internet sites for advertisers, users and traffic. These properties develop new tools and features to remain competitive in the Web 2.0 world. These new tools and features are key competitive factors in keeping users engaged with these digital media businesses.
News Outdoor Group (“News Outdoor”) operates outdoor advertising companies. News Outdoor owns an approximately 73% interest in Media Support Services Limited (“MSS”), the largest outdoor advertising company in Russia. In certain limited circumstances, the minority stockholders of MSS have the right to sell, and News Outdoor has the right to purchase, the minority interests at fair market value. News Outdoor also owns or has interests in outdoor advertising companies in Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Southeast Asia.
The Company has announced that it intends to explore strategic options for News Outdoor in connection with News Outdoor’s continued development plans. The strategic options include, but are not limited to, exploring the opportunity to expand News Outdoor’s existing shareholder group through new partners. No agreement has yet been entered into with respect to any transaction.
The Company operates Fox Mobile Entertainment, which includes Jamba (known as Jamster in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and other English-speaking territories), a leading international provider of mobile entertainment, offering mobile products directly via mobile phones, including branded content from content providers around the world. Such content includes music, mobile games, video and original content made exclusively for use on mobile phones. Jamba currently distributes mobile content to consumers in over 25 territories around the world.
The Company owns or has interests in the following free-to-air, general entertainment television stations: bTV and GTV in Bulgaria; Channel 10 in Israel; LNT and TV5 in Latvia; Fox Televizija in Serbia; and FOX TV in Turkey. In addition, the Company owns or operates interests in Bulgarian and Russian radio stations.
News Digital Media is the Company’s Australian online division. In addition to maintaining the Company’s Australian websites, News Digital Media is responsible for online advertising and transactions in Australia. News Digital Media sites include carsguide.com.au, news.com.au, MOSHTIX.com.au and truelocal.com.au. News Digital Media also has a 50% stake in CareerOne.com.au.
The Company holds an approximate 39% interest in BSkyB. BSkyB’s ordinary shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and its American Depositary Shares, each representing four BSkyB ordinary shares, are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”), in each case under the symbol “BSY.” BSkyB operates the leading pay television broadcast service in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as broadband and telephony services. BSkyB acquires and commissions programming to broadcast on its own channels and supplies certain of those channels to cable operators for retransmission by the cable operators to their subscribers in the United Kingdom and Ireland. BSkyB also retails channels (both its own and those of third parties) to DTH subscribers and to certain of its own channels to a limited number of DSL subscribers. For more information on BSkyB, please see its reports filed with the SEC.
The Company holds an approximate 49% interest in NDS. NDS creates technologies and applications that enable pay television operators to deliver digital content to televisions, set-top boxes, DVRs, personal computers, portable media players, removable media and other mobile devices securely.
The Company, Telstra Corporation Limited, an Australian telecommunications company, and Consolidated Media Holdings, an Australian media and entertainment company, own and operate FOXTEL, a cable and satellite television service in Australia with 25%, 50% and 25% interests, respectively. At June 30, 2009, FOXTEL had approximately 1.6 million managed subscribers (including subscribers to Optus, an Australian telecommunications company). At June 30, 2009, 100% of the FOXTEL managed subscriber base was connected to FOXTEL’s digital service, which delivers over 150 channels on cable and satellite.
SkyNZ. The Company owns an approximate 44% interest in Sky Network Television Limited, a land-linked UHF network and digital DBS service in New Zealand.
Hulu. The Company has an approximate 32% equity interest in Hulu, LLC (“Hulu”) which operates an online video service that offers video content from Fox, NBC Universal, The Walt Disney Company and over 100 other third party content licensors. Hulu’s premium programming is available at Hulu.com and over 35 destination sites online, including AOL, IMDb, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo!.
Sky Deutschland. As of June 30, 2009, the Company owned an approximate 38% equity interest in Sky Deutschland, the leading pay television operator in Germany and Austria. Since June 30, 2009, the Company acquired additional shares in Sky Deutschland, increasing its ownership to 39.96 % as of August 5, 2009.
Various aspects of the Company’s activities are subject to regulation in numerous jurisdictions around the world. The Company believes that it is in material compliance with the requirements imposed by those laws and regulations. The introduction of new laws and regulations in countries where the Company’s products and services are produced or distributed (and changes in the enforcement of existing laws and regulations in those countries) could have a negative impact on the interests of the Company.
FFE is subject to the provisions of so-called “trade practice laws” in effect in 25 states relating to theatrical distribution of motion pictures. These laws substantially restrict the licensing of motion pictures unless theater owners are first invited to attend a screening of the motion pictures and, in certain instances, also prohibit payment of advances and guarantees to motion picture distributors by exhibitors. Further, pursuant to various consent judgments, FFE and certain other motion picture companies are subject to certain restrictions on their trade practices in the United States, including a requirement to offer motion pictures for exhibition to theaters on a theater-by-theater basis and, in some cases, a prohibition against the ownership of theaters.
Other International Regulation.
In countries outside of the United States, there are a variety of existing or contemplated governmental laws and regulations that may affect the ability of FFE to distribute and/or license its motion picture and television products to cinema, television or in-home media, including copyright laws and regulations that may or may not be adequate to protect its interests, cinema screen quotas, television quotas, contract term limitations, discriminatory taxes and other discriminatory treatment of U.S. products. The ability of countries to deny market access or refuse national treatment to products originating outside their territories is regulated under various international agreements, including the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and General Agreement on Trade and Services; however, these agreements have limited application with respect to preventing the denial of market access to audio-visual products originating outside the European Union.
In general, the television broadcast industry in the United States is highly regulated by federal laws and regulations issued and administered by various federal agencies, including the FCC. The FCC regulates television broadcasting, and certain aspects of the operations of cable, satellite and other electronic media that compete with broadcasting, pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the “Communications Act”).
The Communications Act permits the operation of television broadcast stations only in accordance with a license issued by the FCC upon a finding that the grant of the license would serve the public interest, convenience and necessity. The FCC grants television broadcast station licenses for specific periods of time and, upon application, may renew the licenses for additional terms. Under the Communications Act, television broadcast licenses may be granted for a maximum permitted term of eight years. Generally, the FCC renews broadcast licenses upon finding that: (i) the television station has served the public interest, convenience and necessity; (ii) there have been no serious violations by the licensee of the Communications Act or FCC rules and regulations; and (iii) there have been no other violations by the licensee of the Communications Act or FCC rules and regulations which, taken together, indicate a pattern of abuse. After considering these factors, the FCC may grant the license renewal application with or without conditions, including renewal for a lesser term than the maximum otherwise permitted, or hold an evidentiary hearing. Fox Television Stations has pending renewal applications for a number of its television station licenses. Six of the pending applications have been opposed by third parties. On June 13, 2007 and May 15, 2008, Fox Television Stations entered into agreements with the FCC that preclude it from objecting, on the grounds that such action is barred by certain statutes of limitations, to FCC or other governmental action relating to (i) petitions to deny or complaints that have been filed against several owned and operated stations relating to programming that is alleged to violate the prohibition against indecent broadcasts, or (ii) inquiries from the FCC regarding compliance with its sponsorship identification rules.
On June 12, 2009, all full-power broadcast television stations were required to cease transmission in analog and convert to all digital broadcasts (“DTV”). By that date, the 27 stations owned and operated by Fox Television Stations terminated their analog transmissions and, as required by law, each station surrendered one of the two broadcast channels it had been allotted in order to facilitate the transition to DTV. All Fox Television Stations continue to transmit digital signals on their remaining channels. Under FCC rules, television stations may use their second channel to broadcast either one stream of “high definition” (“HD”) digital programming or to “multicast” several streams of standard definition digital programming or a mixture of both. Broadcasters may also deliver data over these channels, provided that the supplemental services do not derogate the mandated, free-to-air program service. Fox Television Stations is currently formulating plans for use of its digital channels. It is difficult to assess the impact of cessation of analog broadcasting and how the conversion to DTV will affect Fox Television Stations’ business.
On June 2, 2003, the FCC concluded the 2002 biennial review of its broadcast ownership regulations required by the 1996 Telecom Act by amending its rules governing the ownership of television and radio stations and by replacing its newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership ban and the radio/television cross-ownership restriction with a new set of cross-media ownership limits (the “June 2003 Order”). In the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, Congress increased the national television station ownership cap to permit an entity to have an attributable ownership interest in an unlimited number of television stations nationally, so long as the audience reach of those stations does not exceed, in the aggregate and after the application of the UHF Discount, 39% of U.S. television households.
Several parties appealed the June 2003 Order. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (the “Third Circuit”) stayed the effectiveness of the new rules and, on June 24, 2004, remanded the FCC’s June 2003 Order for additional justification or modification of the revisions the FCC had made to its ownership regulations. On February 4, 2008, the FCC issued an order that concluded its 2006 review of its broadcast ownership regulations and addressed the issues raised by the Third Circuit’s remand (the “February 2008 Order”). The Commission decided there should be no changes to its rules relating to the ownership of multiple television stations in the same market. Those rules (i) permit the ownership of two television stations with overlapping coverage areas if the stations are in separate DMAs; and (ii) permit the ownership of two stations in the same DMA if their Grade B coverage areas do not overlap or if eight independently owned full power television stations will remain in the DMA after the stations that had been independently owned become commonly owned, and one of the merged stations is not among the top four-ranked stations in the market, based on audience share. On the question of common ownership of a broadcast station and a newspaper in the same market, the Commission modified its rules to create a presumption that such combinations are in the public interest in the top 20 DMAs provided (i) only one television station and one newspaper are involved; (ii) at least eight “major media voices” will remain in the DMA after the combination; and (iii) the television station is not among the top four-ranked stations in the market, based on audience share. Any other newspaper/broadcast combination is presumed to be inconsistent with the public interest. The presumption may be overcome if certain criteria enumerated by the FCC are satisfied. The February 2008 Order has been appealed by several parties, including the Company, and the appeal is currently pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. It is not possible to predict the timing or outcome of the Court’s action on this appeal or its effect on the Company.
Fox Television Stations is in compliance with the rules governing ownership of multiple stations in the same market and with the national station ownership cap established by Congress. Fox Television Stations retains an attributable interest in the Post and two television stations in the New York DMA. On October 6, 2006, the FCC reaffirmed the Company’s permanent waiver of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule, which allows the common ownership of the Post and WNYW(TV), and granted a two-year temporary waiver of the rule to continue to allow the common ownership of the Post and WWOR-TV (the “October 2006 Order”). The WWOR-TV/Post combination is not entitled to a positive presumption under the FCC’s revised newspaper cross-ownership rule because of the Company’s ownership of a second television station in the New York DMA. The Company is seeking a permanent waiver of the prohibition from the FCC on the grounds that it satisfies the criteria to overcome the negative presumption contained in the new rule. Parties opposed to the October 2006 Order filed a petition for reconsideration with the FCC, which was denied on May 22, 2009. Other opponents of the October 2006 Order have asked the FCC to reconsider its May 22, 2009 decision and have filed an opposition to the Company’s request for a permanent waiver. It is not possible to predict the timing or outcome of the FCC’s action on this request for reconsideration or its effect on the Company.
FCC regulations implementing the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 (the “1992 Cable Act”) require each television broadcaster to elect, at three-year intervals, either to (i) require carriage of its signal by cable systems in the station’s market (“must carry”) or (ii) negotiate the terms on which that broadcast station would permit transmission of its signal by the cable systems within its market (“retransmission consent”). Generally, the Company has elected retransmission consent for the stations owned and operated by Fox Television Stations. On November 30, 2007, the FCC resolved issues relating to carriage requirements for digital broadcast television signals on cable systems by concluding that cable operators are required to ensure that all “must carry” television signals remain viewable in homes with only analog equipment. In addition, the FCC reaffirmed that “must carry” stations that “multicast” several streams of digital programming are entitled to the carriage by cable systems of only a single “primary” programming stream. The digital signals of stations that elect retransmission consent may be carried in any manner consistent with the agreement between the cable system and the broadcaster. The Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999 required satellite carriers, as of January 1, 2002, to carry upon request all television stations located in markets in which the satellite carrier retransmits at least one local station pursuant to the copyright license provided in the statute (“Carry One, Carry All”). FCC regulations implementing this statutory provision require affected stations to elect either mandatory carriage at the same three year intervals applicable to cable “must carry” or negotiate carriage terms with the satellite operators. Satellite carriers are expected to seamlessly replace stations’ analog signals with digital signals. In March 2008, the FCC decided that its Carry One, Carry All policy also applies to local stations’ HD DTV signals; however, satellite carriers may phase in the carriage of all HD DTV signals in a DMA over a four year period beginning in February 2010.
Legislation enacted in 1990 limits the amount of commercial matter that may be broadcast during programming designed for children 12 years of age and younger. In addition, under FCC license renewal processing guidelines, television stations are generally required to broadcast a minimum of three hours per week of programming, which, among other requirements, must serve, as a “significant purpose,” the educational and informational needs of children 16 years of age and under. A television station found not to have complied with the programming requirements or commercial limitations could face sanctions, including monetary fines and the possible non-renewal of its license.
FCC rules prohibit the broadcast by television and radio stations of indecent or profane material between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Beginning in March 2004, the FCC implemented a new policy regarding this prohibition and generally stepped up its enforcement of indecency violations. Under the new policy, the single use of certain forbidden expletives, or variations of those expletives, were deemed “indecent” and “profane.” The FCC also warned broadcasters that serious multiple violations of the indecency prohibition could lead to license revocation proceedings, and that fines could be imposed for each incident in a single broadcast. Under the new FCC policy, both complaints about indecency and FCC enforcement actions have increased, and several complaints alleging the broadcast of alleged indecent or profane material by Fox Television Stations are pending at the FCC.
On March 15, 2006, the FCC determined that the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards programs, both live broadcasts on FOX, violated the prohibitions against indecent and profane broadcasts because they contained isolated uses of the forbidden expletives (the “March 15 Order”). However, since these broadcasts preceded the FCC’s March 2004 policy, no forfeiture or other penalty was imposed. Nonetheless, in April 2006, Fox Television Stations appealed the March 15 Order to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (the “Second Circuit”). On June 4, 2007, the Second Circuit granted Fox’s appeal, vacating the FCC’s decision in the Billboard Music Awards cases as well as the FCC’s new policy on “fleeting expletives” in its entirety on the grounds that both were arbitrary and capricious. The United States obtained review by the U.S. Supreme Court, which reversed the Second Circuit’s decision and remanded the case back to the Second Circuit for consideration of the constitutional issues that had been raised before but not yet decided by that court. It is not possible to predict the timing or outcome of the Second Circuit’s action on this case or its effect on the Company.
On February 22, 2008, the FCC issued an order imposing forfeitures of $7,000 each on 13 FOX Affiliates, including five stations owned and operated by the Company, on the grounds that an April 7, 2003 episode of the program Married by America violated the prohibition against indecent broadcasts. On April 4, 2008, the United States commenced an action in federal district court in the District of Columbia against the five Company-owned stations to collect the forfeitures imposed by the FCC. One of the stations, WDAF-TV, subsequently paid the $7,000 forfeiture and was dismissed from the case in connection with the sale of that station by the Company to Oak Hill Capital Partners in July 2008. The Company moved to dismiss the suit on several grounds, including that the FCC’s forfeiture order is unconstitutional. It is not possible to predict the timing or outcome of this case or its effect on the Company.
On June 15, 2006, the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act was signed into law. This law raises the maximum amount the FCC can impose for a violation of the prohibition against indecent and profane broadcasts from $32,500 to $325,000 per incident. Some members of Congress have supported extending the indecency rules applicable to free-to-air broadcasters to cable and satellite programming, and/or requiring multichannel video program distributions (“MVPD”) to provide their subscribers with the option of purchasing programming on a channel by channel (or à la carte) basis or to provide them with a family-friendly program tier without obligating the subscriber to purchase any other programming channels or tiers.
Modifications to the Company’s programming to reduce the risk of indecency violations could have an adverse effect on the competitive position of Fox Television Stations and FOX. If indecency regulation is extended to cable and satellite programming, and such extension was found to be constitutional, some of the Company’s cable programming services could be subject to additional regulation that might affect subscription and viewership levels. Regulation requiring à la carte or family-friendly program options might decrease the distribution of the Company’s cable services and increase their marketing expenses, which could affect results of operations.
The FCC continues to enforce strictly its regulations concerning political advertising, children’s television, environmental concerns, equal employment opportunity, technical operating matters and antenna tower maintenance. FCC rules require the closed captioning of almost all broadcast and cable programming. Although not required by FCC regulation, the Company has committed to provide program ratings information for its broadcast network programming for use in conjunction with V Chip technology, a technology that blocks the display of television programming based on its rating. FCC regulations governing network affiliation agreements mandate that television broadcast station licensees retain the right to reject or refuse network programming in certain circumstances or to substitute programming that the licensee reasonably believes to be of greater local or national importance. Violation of FCC regulations can result in substantial monetary forfeitures, periodic reporting conditions, short-term license renewals and, in egregious cases, denial of license renewal or revocation of license.
STAR broadcasts television programming over a “footprint” covering approximately 53 countries. Government regulation of direct reception and redistribution via cable or other means of satellite television signals, where it is addressed at all, is treated differently throughout STAR’s footprint. At one extreme are absolute bans on private ownership of satellite receiving equipment. Some countries, however, have adopted a less restrictive approach, opting to allow ownership of satellite receiving equipment by certain institutions and individuals but allowing them to receive only authorized broadcasts. At the opposite end of the spectrum are countries where private satellite dish ownership is allowed and laws and regulations have been adopted which support popular access to satellite services through local cable redistribution.
Most television services within STAR’s footprint, whether free-to-air or pay television, are also subject to licensing requirements, although these requirements are imposed on the local broadcast operators who collect the subscription fees rather than on program suppliers, such as STAR, which license local broadcast operators to receive their programming. In addition, most countries in STAR’s footprint control the content offered by local broadcast operators through censorship requirements to which program suppliers, such as STAR, are subject. Certain countries also impose obligations to carry government-operated or terrestrial channels or require a minimum percentage of local content. Other countries require local broadcast operators to obtain government approval to retransmit foreign programming.
Most countries within STAR’s footprint, including in STAR’s primary markets (India, Indonesia and Greater China), have a regulatory framework for the satellite and cable television industry.
India. In India, private satellite dish ownership, including DTH, is allowed. Television viewers receive broadcast television signals primarily through terrestrial and cable delivery and, in more recent years, through DTH delivery. Terrestrial broadcasting remains the domain of government-owned broadcast stations. In September 2008, the Indian government liberalized regulations to allow broadcasters to provide signals to IPTV operators.
All cable television operators are required to carry certain government-operated channels. Retransmissions of foreign satellite channels, such as STAR’s channels in India, are permitted, subject to licensing requirements and compliance with local applicable laws, including censorship codes. The Indian government also places certain restrictions on advertising and requires that certain media, whether produced in India or abroad, must be certified by the Central Board of Film Certification prior to exhibition in India.
Limits are imposed by the Indian government on the increase in the year-on-year prices payable by cable operators to broadcasters for certain channels, including certain STAR channels. In addition, maximum retail prices have been mandated for different categories of cities.
In certain metropolitan areas, viewers are required to buy or rent a set-top-box from cable operators to access pay television channels, which allows viewers to choose the pay television channels they wish to subscribe to on an à la carte basis, rather than on a bundled basis. Further, cable operators are required to provide a pay television channel at a capped retail price, of which the broadcasters’ share is restricted to 45%. Broadcasters and cable operators must execute standard format agreements regarding the provision of television signals in certain metropolitan areas.
There is no tariff regulation for DTH; however, broadcasters are required to offer their channels to DTH platforms at 50% of the rates charged to analogue cable operators. Broadcasters such as STAR are required to publish basic distribution terms specifying the bouquet and “à la carte” rates within a price matrix formula to enable the distributors to take channels at their discretion. Broadcasters are also required to provide their channels on non-discriminatory terms to all distributors if no carriage charges are being sought from broadcasters.
China. In mainland China, private satellite dish ownership is prohibited except with special approval for hotels, government and foreign institutions that can receive only authorized broadcasts. Local cable and free-to-air terrestrial operators are required to broadcast a minimum percentage of local content and retransmission of foreign satellite channels by local operators is prohibited except with special approval.
Taiwan. In Taiwan, private satellite dish ownership is allowed. The maximum subscription fee chargeable by cable television operators is set by both the national and local governments. Cable television operators offer analog basic channels in a single package and digital premium channels in packages or on an à la carte basis as a buy through to their basic analog service. All channels offered in Taiwan must be licensed. Retransmission of foreign satellite programming by local cable operators is permitted, but local cable operators are also required to carry terrestrial channels and broadcast a minimum percentage of local content.
Additional categories of regulation of actual or potential significance to STAR within its footprint are restrictions on foreign investment in platform, television programming, production or channel businesses, uplink-downlink licensing regulations, content protection under copyright or communications law, limitations on exclusive arrangements for channel distribution and non-discrimination requirements for supply or carriage of programming.
Cable Network Programming
FCC regulations adopted pursuant to the 1992 Cable Act (the “Program Access Rules”) prevent a cable operator that has an attributable interest (including voting or non-voting stock ownership of 5% or more or limited partnership equity interests of 5% or more) in a programming vendor from exercising undue or improper influence over the vendor in its dealings with competitors to cable. The Program Access Rules also prohibit a cable programmer in which a cable operator has an attributable interest from entering into exclusive contracts with any cable operator or from discriminating among competing MVPDs in the price, terms and conditions of sale or delivery of programming. The cable networks operated by the Company are not currently subject to the Program Access Rules.
Program Access Conditions
In connection with its approval of the transfer of licenses controlled by DIRECTV to the Company in 2003, the FCC imposed several conditions relating to the carriage and availability of its broadcast and cable programming services. All the conditions terminated when the Company divested its interest in DIRECTV in February 2008 except for the commercial arbitration condition, which required the Company to enter into commercial arbitration if negotiations with an MVPD over retransmission consent for its television stations’ signals and/or carriage of the regional sports networks it owns, controls or manages, reached an impasse. The Company asked the FCC for immediate termination of the arbitration condition on the grounds it was no longer necessary in light of the Company’s divestiture of its interest in DIRECTV. The FCC granted the Company’s request and terminated the commercial arbitration condition effective June 15, 2009.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (“COPPA”) prohibits websites from collecting personally identifiable information online from children under age 13 without prior parental consent. The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (“CAN-SPAM”) regulates the distribution of unsolicited commercial emails, or “spam.” Online services provided by the Company may be subject to COPPA and CAN-SPAM requirements.
Congress and some state legislatures are considering legislation that would regulate how businesses operate on the Internet, including measures relating to privacy and data security, as well as specific legislation aimed at social networking sites, such as MySpace.com. Members of Congress have announced they will introduce legislation that would regulate the collection of data about consumers’ Web browsing activities across the Internet that is used to serve targeted advertising. In addition, in February 2009, the FTC’s staff released guidelines for Internet publishers (such as MySpace.com) and Internet advertising networks (such as Fox Audience Network) to address concerns about consumer privacy, transparency and control raised by such collection and use of online behavioral data, and called for self-regulation. On July 3, 2009, the industry released a set of self-regulatory online behavioral advertising principles. It is unclear whether these industry efforts alone will address the concerns expressed by some federal and state officials. The effect of possible privacy and data security legislation on the Company’s business cannot be determined.
Some foreign governments are raising similar safety, security and privacy concerns. In particular, the European Union (“EU”) is actively evaluating the privacy implications of online behavioral data collection and usage. Different policy options, including new regulations, are being considered at both the EU and member state levels. Most of this activity is in its early stages and it is therefore unclear how any government action would affect the Company’s business.
The Company monitors pending legislation and regulatory initiatives to ascertain relevance, analyze impact and develop strategic direction surrounding regulatory trends and developments.
As a major publisher of newspapers, magazines, free-standing inserts and books, the Company utilizes substantial quantities of various types of paper. In order to obtain the best available prices, substantially all of the Company’s paper purchasing is done on a centralized, volume purchase basis, and draws upon major paper manufacturing countries around the world. The Company believes that under present market conditions, its sources of paper supply used in its publishing activities are adequate.
The Company’s intellectual property assets include: copyrights in motion pictures, television programming, newspapers, books, magazines, websites and technologies; trademarks in names, logos and characters; domain names; patents or patent applications for inventions related to its products, business methods and/or services; and licenses of intellectual property rights of various kinds. The Company derives value from these assets through the theatrical release of films and the production, distribution and/or licensing of its films and television programming to domestic and international television and cable networks, pay television services, pay-per-view, video-on-demand services and direct-to-home satellite services, operation of websites, and through the sale of products, such as DVDs, books, newspapers and magazines, among others.
The Company devotes significant resources to protecting its intellectual property in the United States and other key foreign territories. To protect these assets, the Company relies upon a combination of copyright, trademark, unfair competition, patent, trade secret and Internet/domain name statutes and laws and contract provisions. However, there can be no assurance of the degree to which these measures will be successful in any given case. Policing unauthorized use of the Company’s products and services and related intellectual property is often difficult and the steps taken may not in every case prevent the infringement by unauthorized third parties of the Company’s intellectual property. The Company seeks to limit that threat through a combination of approaches, including offering legitimate market alternatives, deploying digital rights management technologies, pursuing legal sanctions for infringement, promoting appropriate legislative initiatives and international treaties and enhancing public awareness of the meaning and value of intellectual property and intellectual property laws. Piracy, including in the digital environment, continues to present a threat to revenues from products and services based on intellectual property.
Third parties may challenge the validity or scope of the Company’s intellectual property from time to time, and such challenges could result in the limitation or loss of intellectual property rights. Irrespective of their validity, such claims may result in substantial costs and diversion of resources that could have an adverse effect on the Company’s operations. Moreover, effective intellectual property protection may be either unavailable or limited in certain foreign territories. Therefore, the Company engages in efforts to strengthen and update intellectual property protection around the world, including efforts to ensure the effective enforcement of intellectual property laws and remedies for infringement.