Rupert Murdoch has proven to be a transformative and prescient entrepreneur, business leader, visionary and dealmaker across every medium of the media industry throughout his nearly 70 year career. He is the Chair of Fox Corporation and Executive Chair of News Corp, two of the most recognized and influential media companies in the world. Mr. Murdoch was Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox, one of the leading portfolios of cable, broadcast, film, pay TV and satellite assets, from 2015 to the closing of the merger of 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company in March 2019. Mr. Murdoch served as CEO of 21st Century Fox from its inception as News Corporation in 1979 until 2015 and as its Chairman from 1991 to 2015.
Rupert Murdoch’s passion for the news media business was sparked by the legacy of his father, Sir Keith Murdoch, chairman of The Herald and Weekly Times and head of News Limited, an Australian-based public corporation.
He inherited his father’s interests in the Adelaide newspaper The News in 1952, becoming editor, publisher and a member of the board of News Limited the following year. In 1954, Mr. Murdoch took control of News Limited and embarked on a path that would redefine the media landscape. His entrepreneurial instinct led Mr. Murdoch to expand his interests into the growing medium of television. His company founded the Southern Television Corporation and pushed its newly licensed Channel 9 to be first to air in 1959 in South Australia.
Global expansion under his leadership began as News Limited bought the Sydney-based Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror in 1960, which was followed by the launch of The Australian, Australia’s first national newspaper, in 1964. The Company gained control of the U.K.’s News of the World and The Sun in 1969 and subsequently acquired several publications in the U.S. including the New York Post, New York Magazine and The Village Voice.
In 1980, News Corporation was established as a holding company to consolidate international operations of its growing roster of newspapers, magazines and television assets. The Company’s growth continued with the purchase of The Times (London) and The Sunday Times in 1981 and in 1983 Murdoch’s News International became the majority owner of Satellite Television, the first satellite-to-cable channel in Europe. News Corp also made its foray into book publishing with an investment in Collins in 1981 and then Harper & Row in 1987, which were then merged in 1990 to create HarperCollins.
In 1985, Mr. Murdoch significantly expanded his interests in the film and television industry when he took ownership of Twentieth Century Fox as well as a number of regional television stations in some of the top U.S. markets.
The following year, the FOX Television Stations group was created, comprised of 25 stations across the U.S. that became the foundation for the launch of FOX Broadcasting Company in 1986. This historical development would not only reshape network television, but pave the way for the groundbreaking NFL broadcasting rights deal that served as the launch pad for FOX Sports, which just kicked off its 30th season. By 1996, the FOX network was the top-ranked television group in the country, a position it held for a record eight consecutive years, thanks to such defining programming as “In Living Color,” “Married with Children,” “The X-Files,” and “The Simpsons” which is now in its 35th season on the network.
FOX News Channel – now the undisputed leader in 24-hour news service for over twenty years – made its debut in October 1996. FOX also successfully established globally renowned cable networks, including FOX Sports Network, FX and the National Geographic Channels.
Murdoch launched Sky Television in the United Kingdom in 1988 and expanded the offering with the launch of Sky News in 1989, as the first 24-hour news television channel in Britain. In 1992, Sky acquired the rights to the Premier League, in an upstart deal that put Sky Sports in a league of their own.
News Corporation simultaneously grew its cable business outside of the U.S. with the establishment of Foxtel in Australia in 1995 and cable news channel SkyNews Australia in 1996.
In 2007, Mr. Murdoch led News Corporation’s acquisition of Dow Jones, including The Wall Street Journal in a landmark deal.
Mr. Murdoch oversaw the continued expansion and development of the Company and in June 2013, established 21st Century Fox as a stand-alone international media and entertainment company and News Corp as a global company comprised of distinguished brands across a range of media, including news and information services and book publishing. The acquisition of Move, Inc., operator of Realtor.com®, in 2014, leveraged News Corp’s and its existing majority investment of REA Group Limited’s real estate and digital expertise.
In 2019, led by Mr. Murdoch, Fox Corporation was launched as a standalone, publicly traded company following the separation of 21st Century Fox in a deal that yet again redefined the U.S. media landscape. As Fox Corporation, the company produces and distributes content through some of the world’s leading and most valued brands, including FOX News Media, FOX Sports, FOX Entertainment, FOX Television Stations and Tubi Media Group.
In recognition of his storied career, Mr. Murdoch has been awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia (A.C.) for services to the media and to newspaper publishing in particular. In 2014, he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. He and his family have been closely involved with, and made generous contributions to various educational, cultural, and medical charitable organizations throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Asia and Israel.