Ask James Murdoch, co-Chief Operating Officer, 21st Century Fox, about a market that he is thinking about and excited about, and the answer is India. “We’re a global business and we like working in a lot of places in the world. But I have to say that I see the greatest opportunity in India over the next 5-10 years because they really have the functioning, they have an incredible entrepreneurial society, they have a huge appetite for media and entertainment, there’s an explosion in terms of Internet growth...the access points are just getting multiplied in the next few years. It’s our biggest business in Asia, it’s had its ups and downs, but India is an emerging superpower – an extraordinary place to do business,” Murdoch said.
“We’re also focused on our South American business, Latin business, the other big chunks of our super national portfolio,” he added.
Murdoch made these comments while speaking to The Economist’s Alexandra Suich on stage at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2015. He also spoke about Hotstar, a free content streaming app developed by 21st Century Fox-owned Star India, that has seen huge success and 20 million downloads so far.
ON DISAGREEMENTS WITH DAD RUPERT MURDOCH on the future of the business
Not much. His vision from when the company first acquired Fox Studio in the late 80s was very, very clear. The creative business is something that is just going to grow in value from multiple customers, find new ways to tell stories and that is very much his vision even now. It’s going to continue. It’s been about 30 years since we acquired the studio, and we’re both a 30-year-old company that’s since then built Fox network, cable channels, the Sky business and so on but we also feel like a new company after the creation of 24th Century Fox. It feels like a new company and in a way that has to go and build itself all over again.
ON POSSIBLE DISAGREEMENT WITH HIS BROTHER LACHLAN WHEN HE BECOMES CO-CHAIRMAN
The family is obviously a big shareholder in the business. We are very invested in each other’s successes and it’s very much a partnership. We see eye to eye on the business. I think it’s a question of making sure we’re all keeping our eyes on the ball and the goal and understand the opportunities in front of us.
ON POSSIBLE changes to Fox News in the future
At Fox News, I think it’s the culture inside our company which is the challenge and it’s about that appetite for change. It’s really fundamentally about the customer. It’s about understanding the customer and respecting and understanding the customer is smart and giving them more choice.
ON one change he would like to make to the film business
We’ve got great leadership in the film business and they’ve really done a great job. Last year, we had the record year for the business and for the industry in terms of studios’ results and there was a real diversity. It wasn’t just a bunch of big franchises, there were new franchises and adaptions like Grand Budapest Hotel to franchise pictures like the Last X-Men. That’s the kind of diversity that can inspire us to do as much as we can. The one thing from the studio business is, how do we make more? We have a long partnership with James Cameron. Every movie made by us was at the time the most expensive movie ever made. The reality is, the tools used for storytelling, the technology developed on the screen are very clear for audiences to see and get their money’s worth when they go for a Cameron movie. For the right pictures, people invest a lot.
ON WHETHER HE WANTS TO SEE HIS children run Fox One
I’d like them to pass fifth grade!