It's all about digital: Decoding Rupert Murdoch's acquisition of VCCircle, Screen
Here are a few facts that will help you decode his new-found love for India
In a move that shook up the Indian digital media space, Rupert Murdoch yesterday announced two acquisitions in the country. While NewsCorp bought out VCCircle, another company from the Murdoch empire, Star India, acquired film magazine Screen from the Indian Express group.
The media tycoon had in 2000s a presence in the digital space in India. News Corp had then picked up stakes in Indya.com and Baazee.com. After the dotcom bust, Baazee was acquired by eBay.
So why is Murdoch making a come back? Here are a few facts that will help you decode his new-found love for India:
1) Revenue from print media business is declining for News Corp
The company has realised that digital is where the buck is. According to this report in Forbes, the company's advertising revenue from the news and information services business fell from $3.86 billion in 2009 to $3.71 billion in 2013. "...In the long run, digital publishing should help the company revive its advertising and circulation pricing," the report notes. The latest move is in line with this strategy.
2) Prior to these buyouts, the company had made two acquisitions - a 25 percent in realty portal PropTiger.com in November for about $30 million and BigDecisions.com, a financial planning website.
According to the Forbes article, NewsCorp "has been aggressive in digital real estate acquisitions". According to this report, majority of the company's revenue in the December quarter came from book publishing and digital real estate business. This explains Murdoch's interest in PropTiger. With BigDecisions, he probably wants to make sure that he is very much present in all areas of the consumer internet space.
3) An earlier report in The Times of India had said News Corp is making "targeted investments" in digital space in south-east Asia. "Because it is widely known that News Corp has no debt and started its new journey with $2-billion plus in cash, I am constantly and relentlessly pitched by investment bankers on potential deals. If it makes strategic sense, I tend to take a closer look and from that point of view, most of Asia, including India, will always be on the radar," News Corp's senior vice-president for strategy Raju Narisetti was quoted as saying in the report.
4) According to a report in The Economic Times today, both VCCircle and Screen will help the media group offer "a full bouquet of products across TV and digital medium".
5) NewsCorp's deals once again proves that if anybody wants to be big in the digital business, he just can't avoid India for e-commerce in the country is growing at a scorching space. The government's Digital India initiative only adds spice to the unfolding story.
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