Murdoch Claims News of the World Was “a Tiny Part” of News Corp — Was it?
2:24 pm, July 19th | by Amy Tennery
Let’s face it: Rupert Murdoch made few odd claims during his Parliament hearing today. But when probed over his knowledge — or, he claims, lack thereof — surrounding the rampant alleged phone hacking at News of the World, one of Murdoch’s excuses stuck out. This was due, in part, to the fact that he repeated it on a couple of occasions, of course.
“News of the World is less than 1 percent of our company,” Murdoch claimed at one point. Later he added, “it’s a tiny part of our business.” But is it necessarily? Some data would suggest otherwise.
There’s one obvious flaw to the 1 percent statement, of course: how is he quantifying this? Less than 1 percent in terms of staff size? Less than 1 percent in total revenue? Less than 1 percent in some other, bizarre way that we haven’t thought of?
Let’s evaluate the numbers we can, shall we?
The News Corp company, on the whole, employs (or did, before the News of the World shutdown) around 51,000 people. News Corp’s total revenue was at $32.778 billion in 2010, according to Google finance.
Since it would appear that News of the World employed just 200 people, he was right on that first front. In that regard, it was a pretty minuscule part.
But then, there’s the matter of revenue. And that’s where things get a little tricky. As a recent item in Fortune pointed out, News of the World raked in nearly a billion bucks in ad revenue annually. So that means that not just 1 percent but, in fact, 3 percent of News Corp’s total revenue came from ad sales from that one publication alone.
Figuring out News of the World’s circulation revenue proved a little more challenging. But, just for example, in April 2011, News of the World’s monthly circulation was at roughly 2.61 million. So we’d guess that wasn’t a totally insignificant part of the News Corp revenue puzzle either.
We could also go into News of the World’s intangible factors that could have (or, maybe in retrospect should have) attracted Murdoch’s attention: the fact that it was 168 years old, that it was such a visible title, that it routinely attracted controversy, et cetera. But the numbers seem fairly demonstrative, no?