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THE KING OF ALL SPORTS: RUPERT MURDOCH PROFILED IN VARIETY
Published July 20, 1995
The billions of dollars Rupert Murdoch is pouring into sports broadcasting rights around the globe are radically changing "the rules of the game," and are helping him "tie up" viewer loyalty for his programming operations, according to this week's VARIETY. In addition to Fox Broadcasting, Murdoch is the outright owner or a key backer of free and pay TV channels in the U.K. (BSkyB), Hong Kong (Star TV), Australia (Channel Seven, Galaxy) and Germany (Vox). Michael Williams reports that popular sports are the "locomotives" to help get new programming services moving and this sports-based strategy is turning heads among broadcasters, who fear a sports "oligopoly," and sports promoters and enthusiasts, who want major sporting events to remain available on free TV. Williams notes whether it is the NFL on Fox or Chinese soccer for satcaster Star TV, sports rights are being used successfully to promote entire networks and increase subscriber bases (VARIETY, 7/17-23). MURDOCH STEPS UP LATIN AMERICAN PRESENCE: Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. recently announced a strategic partnership with Brazil's Globo to develop pan- regional pay TV. The as-yet unnamed service will go head-to-head with Hughes Communications' DirecTv Latin America and is slated to launch in early '96 (Andrew Paxman, VARIETY, 7/17-23).