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Television Media

It's Official: News Corp to Buy DirecTV 273

Posted by chrisd
from the fox-news-on-500-channels dept.
Guppy06 writes "According to this Washington Post article, the heads at both News Corporation (owners of Fox) and DirecTV have agreed to a $6.6 billion deal to secure the purchase of DirecTV by News, with GM getting a little less than half of that total in cash. All that remains now is the actual exchange. For the record, EchoStar was going to pay $30 billion before the FCC shot them down."
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It's Official: News Corp to Buy DirecTV

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  • by andih8u (639841) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @07:21AM (#5700158)
    Except for CNN and MSNBC mysteriously vanishing in favor of fox news
    • Hey, two more channel slots to be filled with Pay per View!! Spiderman, every half hour on the half hour, whether you want it or not!
    • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @09:01AM (#5700618)
      Except for CNN and MSNBC mysteriously vanishing in favor of fox news

      MSNBC is accomplishing that quite nicely on its own, thank you very much. And although the war has driven viewership of all three cable newsers up, the real losers have been the Old School "News By Appointment" telecasts on the broadcast nets. Check the ratings [usatoday.com] for the past three weeks. I mean, really, who wants to wait until the "Friends" re-runs are over to find out what is happening in Iraq?

      News on TV -- Now, Today -- must be two things: Immediate, and Entertaining. If I want deep analyses and differing perspectives (and I do), I get them on the 'net. Twenty years ago I read the NY Post, Times, Daily News and my local Gannett paper every day. Now I read twice as much news from papers around the world, and I don't have to wash the newsprint off my hands afterwards. The broadcast outlets fail at providing those two criteria. Fox succeeds in spades, and their numbers are reflecting this.

      The Fox News "phenomenon" is better understood not as a "right wing conspiracy" but a failure of one by the left wing that has been percolating for 30 years. It is, rather, the "mainstreaming" of the news. People "enjoy" seeing the news delivered by preenters who clearly share their perspective on the events they are reporting. This may not be good journalism, but it is turning out to be good television. Golly, who knew...?

      They may not float your particular boats, but it does seem that a not insignificant majority of people in the US share views closer to those of O'Reilly and Hannity than of your average Ivy League University Latino Studies Profeessor. And Murdoch would be insane to ignore that fact. The broadcast news outlets have had their collective heads in the sand on this topic for years, and are now imperiled.

      • The majority Americans are socially liberal and economically moderate when polled. Just because the conservative echo chamber seems loud dosen't mean that it is.
        • The majority Americans are socially liberal and economically moderate when polled. Just because the conservative echo chamber seems loud dosen't mean that it is.

          "Socially liberal and economically moderate" would not put them out of lock-step with the "conservative" talk show hosts/entertainers who are in the front of the new media bus. (But I'd still like to see your source of that stat...)

          My point here is that TV News is Show Business, and that Fox -- with whatever political party label you classify i
      • Hardly a majority, let alone a significant one. The overwhelming majority are neither right nor left wing idealogues, liberals or conervatives. Fox News succeded becasue there was an untapped market of angry conservatives who like to be pandered to. And when it comes to pandering News Corp is the world wide expert. Look at the ratings many more people are watching Sponge Bob or WWE than are watching O'Reilly etc. On the radio Limabaugh is the number 1 show, the number 2 & 3 shows are NPR's Morning E
        • O'Reilly... Sponge Bob

          I always get these two mixed up... who is the one who is always crying out "I HAVE ISSUES...?"
      • Fox succeeds in spades, and their numbers are reflecting this.


        Hear, hear! When the war started, I, of course, turned to CNN. But, then, I realized that CNN was boring, if I wanted to be entertained, I turned to Fox News. Everyone knows it's sensationalism at it's worst, but it's so entertaining!

        ~Will
      • ...is what Fox News is all about. It is *not* the "mainstreaming" of news, or anything like that. It's more like slasher films, where we all go to see how bad they are, or to laugh "at" them. When Bill O'Reilly shoots his mouth off, a few people may like him, but the real reason for his ratings is everyone tuning in to see what that crazy clown is saying this time. This isn't about conservative vs. liberal politics, bad vs. good journalism, or anything of that nature. It has more in common with a child
      • But you see, the Iraqi Freedom Show is much cheaper to produce.

        All the special effects and actors' salaries are paid for by the US taxpayer. (excluding the top 1%, who get the giant tax cut this year.)

        Now THAT'S entertainment!
  • by joebagodonuts (561066) <cmkrnl@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @07:23AM (#5700164) Homepage Journal
    "For the record, EchoStar was going to pay $30 billion before the FCC shot them down."

    The article neglects to mention that Murdoch has offered more (much more) in the past
    He had planned a more than $20 billion offer for the company in 2001, and an even larger, $30 billion-plus offer in 2000.

    I found the above info in a google search. We do contract work for DTV and I remember kind of scratching our heards when the Echostar bid was the one accepted. Directv accepted the offer from Echostar, even though iirc Newscorp offerd more. No one was confident that the Echostar deal would get approved. The rumor was that the management at Directv was scared that if Murdoch bought the business they were all out of work.
    Now Murdoch gets Directv at a much better rate.
    • So, is this the "helping hand of government" or is it a case where someone just got the finger?

      The people who support this meddling keep telling us it is somehow a good thing. Maybe good things are not that obvious here?
      • So, is this the "helping hand of government"

        Well to the extent that I think the goverment can ever help the "free" market out...yes, yes it is. DirecTV was beign sold, and the choices were to sell it to the only other USA satalite TV system, or to sell it to some media content conglomarate. One of those radically reduces the consumers avilable choices of satalite TV delevery (from "not much choice" to "no choice"), and even if you accept DISH/DTV's viewpoint that they compete with Cable TV systems the

        • I accept that argument, I just switched from Cable to Dish Networks on Friday. I got tired of the horrible analog signal on my "digital" cable. I'd have gone to DirecTV, but they don't have local channels in my area, and we're in an NRTC zone, meaning that you're locked into buying your DirecTV from your local licensed retailer, and can't get them off the 'net from places like American Satellite.

          So yes, the satellite networks are competing with Cable.
    • by s.a.m (92412) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @07:47AM (#5700231) Journal
      Ummm, no.

      They DON'T own DTV now, they just control ~34% of the stock. Sure they may be the largest stakeholders but by no means do they outright OWN it.

    • EchoStar offered $30 billion to buy Hughes Electronics.

      Murdoch also offered to buy Hughes Electronics.

      This deal isn't about Hughes Electronics, rather he has now offered $6 billion to buy Hughes Electronics 20% interest in DirecTV.

      "Now Murdoch gets Directv at a much better rate."

      But he doesn't get Hughes Electronics. Hughes is the GM satellite services group... they launch all sorts of commercial broadcast satellites. DirecTV was part of that, but so is XM radio and Onstar system and a whole slew of o
    • Also, when it becamme apparent that Rupert wanted DirecTV (at the height of the media bubble), there was talk of him buying General Motors outright and selling off the non-DTV assets, because it would be cheaper to buy all of GM than to just buy DirecTV.

  • by Eric Ass Raymond (662593) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @07:25AM (#5700170) Journal
    We're heading for a one world government that's not going to be feared but loved by the public because the media monopoly tells it that everything's just great.
    • "We're heading for a one world government"

      Actually I believe we are heading for three namely Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. The Ministry of Truth will tell me everything I need to know and the Ministry of Love will protect me.

      Read a classic...........1984.
      .
  • FOX? (Score:5, Funny)

    by johnkoer (163434) <johnkoer@y a h o o.com> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @07:32AM (#5700184) Homepage Journal
    I couldn't help thinkin of the Simpsons on this one:

    Lisa: It's wonderful to think for ourselves again.
    Bart: You said it, sister!
    TV: You are watching Fox.
    All: [Zombie-like] We are watching Fox.
  • by Joshuah (82679)
    I had Telocity DSL. GREAT SERVICE! then Directv buys them to make Directv DSL. I had that service until i had to move, and with 1 month left on the contract, they said i had to pay a $150 early cancel fee, i even offered to just pay the last month, no deal. so, after being kinda pissed about that, i move, find out that directvdsl is the best service i can get, i give them a call up and they give me $40/mo. static ip 1.5/256 connection for 12 months to make up for the $150 they robbed me.

    well, that lasted
  • by standards (461431) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @07:35AM (#5700194)

    It's great to hear that the world-wide media industry is getting more and more efficient over time. With only a few large players in the industry, billing can be consolidated and redundancy of equipment and programming can be minimized, saving globs of cash.

    In the end, this is sure this will bring higher quality service and programming at significantly lower prices!

    Alas, the savings and increase in quality will happen only over an extended period of time.

    And with inflation and government regulations, we customers might perceive lower quality and higher prices.

    But no... it'll be much better than it would've been... just look how radio has improved in the past 20 years!

  • GM said it would receive about $3.1 billion in cash, and the remainder would be paid in News Corp. preferred American Depositary Receipts (ADRs).
    ADR's? No thanks. [adr.com]
  • For us non-usians (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rf0 (159958) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @07:40AM (#5700205) Homepage
    Could someone explain which coporations on what? Here in the UK its basically the BBC + Sky but not sure about any other major players

    Rus
    • AFAIK Sky is owned by News Corp.
    • Re:For us non-usians (Score:5, Informative)

      by ItaliaMatt (581886) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @08:09AM (#5700313)
      O.K. - for the people who aren't in the states here is the breakdown: There are 5 major and 1 minor (based on Nielsen ratings) television news outlets in the states. This is in no particular order of importance, preference, or popularity.... 1. American Broadcasting Company - ABC - Owned by the Disney Corporation 2. National Broadcasting Company - NBC - Owned by General Electric 3. CBS - Owned by Viacom 4. Cable News Network - CNN - Owned by AOL Time Warner 5. Fox News - Owned by News Corporation The one minor player is the Public Broadcasting Service and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the annual support of viewers like you. Thank you. ;)
      • Someone should make a graphical nodemap of what companies own what other companies.

        I have a feeling it would be quite shocking to see just how bad it has become.
    • Could someone explain which coporations on what?

      Sure, it's pretty simple really. Directly or indirectly, News Corp (the owner of everything with FOX in it's name) pretty much owns half of all of the noteworthy media companies in the USA, and has global conquest on it's mind, so watch out!

      For more details, check this out http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool /giants/ [pbs.org], and prepare to realize that there are really only 6 companies providing all the media in the US.

    • Here is a link, not just news but also radio, televsion and recording (the major players in the US at least):

      http://www.cjr.org/owners/index.asp [cjr.org]

  • by I-Rev (101115) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @07:43AM (#5700217)
    Does this mean that there is less choice in the US over who supplies the news? If it is, it's got to be a bad thing.

    You only have to look at the past few months, with camera men being sacked for editing photos for publication in major news papers, and footage of the Iraqi war to show that news groups need to be more honest - and have competition to measure their views.

    Views on the push by the US forces ranged from "Hurrah, the people are free", to "Look how the Americans allow people to loot" - with all the channels showing the same footage. One side said it was the whole city rising up, with another saying only a few hundred were celebrating.

    So far this morning, the BBC have said both!

    I find modern news channels being more political than ever before, and views on the same thing seem to contradict each other.

    It all makes it harder to find out the real facts - especially if a company wants to be classed as friends of a political group to get more information - would they really state the facts if it was going to hurt a 'friendly' political group?

    Ian.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      If you want to find out how well the US is doing in the war, you watch Fox News.

      If you want to find out how badly the US is doing in the war, you watch CNN.

      If you want to find out how evil the US is, you watch Al Jazeera.

      By combining all 3, maybe the opposing waveforms cancel out leaving a small speck of truth. But in reality, I suppose you just have to be there.

    • Views on the push by the US forces ranged from "Hurrah, the people are free", to "Look how the Americans allow people to loot" - with all the channels showing the same footage.

      I want to make one thing clear, the Military is NOT trained as a police force. They are trained as a killing machine to go out there and DESTROY the enemy, not police it.

      That doesn't mean they can't get the job done, but when they aren't even fully deployed in Baghdad or Basra and the chaos of war is still ensuing can you honestl

  • I wonder is security measures are gonna be upgraded, or maybe prices. Many claims that prices go up are due to piracy and illegal use of the satelite system. Something is gonna happen when Newscrop gets into that mess, and it won't be nice for the consumer :)
  • by lingqi (577227) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @07:50AM (#5700239) Journal
    A lot of posts has been about "we well all be brainwashed" etc. But really - I stopped watching TV a long time ago, and never missed it.

    I do, however, miss DirectTV DSL, which used to be Telocity, the ONLY nationwide provider that does static IP for 50 bux a month, and don't mind if you run servers, NAT, whatever.

    Why did they go under, anyhow... sigh. SBC is just not the same... not the same....
    • For a while I couldn't watch TV due to having a lot of work to do, and getting very little sleep, but when I got more free time and turned it back on, the commercials were just so inane and the content at an all time low (ie "reality" tv), that I just decided to find other things to do.

      I think TV is a progressive sort of a addiction that once you break the habit for enough time to lose track of the devolving context, it's easy to not go back.

      Yes I read the Onion article. I used to always tell people that
      • Well if you didn't watch South Park last night you missed the most brutally truthful assessment of the War I have seen to date. Which is why we gang up in front of the boob tube when a new ep is going to air. They manage to combine extreme comedy with biting social commentary.

        There is a reason the underpants gnomes are a staple of /. culture. That episode took on the whole anti-corporation mindset and the .com economy while also leaving you on the floor laughing your butt off.

        Granted most of TV is a wa
  • Isn't it against some anti-terrorism law to transfer that much cash? See News Corp being charged under the Patriot Act with the papers and websites "owned" by the federal government like they were some warez site. =]
  • by 1337_h4x0r (643377) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @08:02AM (#5700286)
    Murdoch is famously against HDTV, so I think this is the kiss of death for HDTV on DirecTV. Which is too bad, I've enjoyed High Definition on DTV for over a year. Wonder how cheap I can pick up some Dish Network hardware..
    • I may be misinterpreting, but I never thought he was against HDTV. He was against letting anything other than market forces dictate its deployment. In other words, he didn't think it made any sense to spend all of the extra money to build the broadcast infrastructure necessary to provide HDTV to a market so small that it couldn't support its upkeep.

      But I may just be misunderstanding his position.
      • If you aren't in favor of having the government ram it down everyone's throat you are against it. Regardless of the issue. Standard PC groupthink.

        But seriously, left to it's own devices the market won't be doing much in HDTV anytime soon. No demand from anyone but the 1% fringe that a) cares enough, b) can tell the difference and c) can afford the hardware and d) would be willing to trade channel count for fewer HD signals.

        Let HD pass for now, it was pushing the tech way out in front of where it should
  • by kiwi-matgar (627781) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @08:14AM (#5700328)
    Funny how Murdock is the Republican party's largest donator, Fox is promoting the war 24/7 in the typical fashion of "all the way with GWB", and who would have guessed it, regulators "suddenly" allow the buy out with no questions asked.

    Funny how on one hand we have GWB scream about the terrible and corrupt regeme of Iraq, yet, something like this just slips through and worst still, the US isn't like most countries. Most countries have a publicly funded television network that allows a voice of opinion to be broadcasted that isn't always "politically acceptable". Just look at Fox and the pro-war stance and the number of suckers sucked into the vacuum.

    What the US needs first is a publicly funded broadcasting corporation that is at an arms length of government and receives no funding from the private sector. This is the only way to ensure media independence as the number of "media outlets" strink.
    • by DASHSL0T (634167) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @08:58AM (#5700595) Homepage
      What the US needs first is a publicly funded broadcasting corporation

      I agree. We need something like Iraq TV. Baghdad Bob, come back, we need you for the 5 O'Clock Eyewitness News.
    • The Iraq war coverage frequently mentioned that the U.S. military had been making efforts to take Iraq's state-run broadcasters off the air, and had found it difficult because there were so many backups (such as mobile transmitters). Clearly, both sides regard control of broadcast media to be an important asset. Yet, back home in the U.S. the government is giving that control to media mega-conglomerates. Why?

      I think there's a lot of "quid pro quo" going on between the government and the media. Murdoch
    • What the US needs first is a publicly funded broadcasting corporation that is at an arms length of government and receives no funding from the private sector.

      Ugh! Don't, please. We (Italy) have it, and it's awful (although it served its purpose last century).
      My take is that you can't get 'unbiased news' from a government controlled TV : the most you can get is two sets of opposite very biased news (both with very little informative content).

      I believe the money spent on government TV would be better s

    • "What the US needs first is a publicly funded broadcasting corporation that is at an arms length of government"

      It's called PBS and NPR.
    • Most countries have a publicly funded television network that allows a voice of opinion to be broadcasted that isn't always "politically acceptable".

      I've seen some pretty rambunctious stuff on PBS and NPR in my day ... that pesky one- or two-digit channel number makes PBS easier to miss all the time!
    • What the US needs first is a publicly funded broadcasting corporation that is at an arms length of government and receives no funding from the private sector. This is the only way to ensure media independence as the number of "media outlets" strink.

      How aboutPacifica Radio [kpfk.org]! Not funded by government or corporate sponsors, just listeners. So they can (and do) say what they want. They have a few shows that are real gems, like Digital Village [digitalvillage.org], and The Car Show right afterward. There's a lot of crap too, bu
  • The deal really is about Hughes [hughes.com] whose main product is DirectTV - but I think they also have some stakes in the wireless data sector. Let's hope he brings some of that back with him to Australia.

  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @09:18AM (#5700783) Homepage Journal
    As a DirecTV customer, I'm very happy to see this happening. Any media service owned by News Corp. is one not owned by Microsoft. This is not a troll/flamebait -- I was truly worried about someday having to either switch or cancel because a company I refuse to give my money to takes over a service I use. It would be better if there were room for lots of small players, but at least the big players keep each other in check. It's best when they hate each other, too -- when they don't, they start cooperating, and that tends to screw any small/free players that are still around.
    • As a DirecTV customer, I'm very happy to see this happening. Any media service owned by News Corp. is one not owned by Microsoft.

      Uhhh.. I hate to burst your bubble, but we aren't out of the woods yet. You see, the first time around when Murdoch made a bid for DirecTV, he brought Microsoft with him to the table. You can find a little more info on this here [thestandard.com].
      Microsoft really wants to get its software into all these set-top boxes, you see.

      But what happened behind the scenes is more interesting. Microsoft wa
  • The total amount of Hughes Electronics (the company behind DirecTV) that News Corp. will own will only be 35%. The 51% needed for true ownership isn't here just yet, even though it's clear enough that it'll probably happen soon enough anyways.
  • News, Corp buys DirectTV..
    Clear Channel buys News, Corp..
    Microsoft buys Clear Channel..

    Oh no.. the Umbrella Corporation, coming soon!

  • that this is a little "thank you" present from FCC Chairman Michael Powell (Colin Powell's son) to Fox for supporting his dad's foreign policy. "Liberal Media", my ass...
  • "I'm Rupert Murdoch, the billionare tyrant, and this is my skybox."

    Come on people, anyone who has been on the Simpsons (and yes, that was Rupert's voice in the superbowl episode) can't be all that bad.

    As for all the raging conspiracies about 'liberal bias' or 'right-wing media' is just crap, at least in the context of the article at the top of this discussion. Granted, Ted Turner (primary owner in AOL-Time Warner, who own CNN) and Rupert Murdoch (primary owner of News Corp) both have political leanings

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