News Corp Australia

Last updated

News Corp Australia
Type Subsidiary
Industry Mass media
PredecessorNews Limited
Founded Adelaide, South Australia
1923;98 years ago (1923)
Founder James Edward Davidson
Area served
Key people
Michael Miller
(Executive Chairman)
Products Newspapers
Services Pay television
National Rugby League
Market research
DVD and film distribution
Film and television production
Parent News Corp
Subsidiaries Foxtel (65%)
Brisbane Broncos (69%)
Australian News Channel

News Corp Australia is one of Australia's largest media conglomerates, employing more than 8,000 staff nationwide and approximately 3,000 journalists. The group's interests span newspaper and magazine publishing, Internet, subscription television, market research, DVD and film distribution, and film and television production trading assets. [1] News Pty Limited (formerly News Limited) is the holding company of the group.


News Corp Australia owns approximately 142 daily, Sunday, weekly, bi-weekly and tri-weekly newspapers, of which 102 are suburban publications (including 16 in which News Corp Australia has a 50% interest). News Corp Australia publishes a nationally distributed newspaper in Australia, a metropolitan newspaper in each of the Australian cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin and groups of suburban newspapers in the suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. The company publishes a further thirty magazine titles across Australia. [2] According to the Finkelstein Review of Media and Media Regulation, in 2011 the group accounted for 23% of the newspaper titles in Australia. [3]

With interests in digital media, the company's sites include, Business Spectator and Eureka Report,, and It has a 55% stake in which was sold in 2016, a share in REA Group that operates, as well as websites for most newspaper and magazine titles. The company's other Australian assets include Australian News Channel, 65% ownership of subscription television provider Foxtel, (which in turn owns Fox Sports Australia) [4] and shares in the Brisbane Broncos NRL team.

Until the formation of News Corporation in 1979, News Limited was the principal holding company for the business interests of Rupert Murdoch and his family. Since then, News Limited had been wholly owned by News Corporation. In 2004, News Corporation announced its intention to reincorporate to the United States. On 3 November News Corp Limited ceased trading on the Australian Stock Exchange; and on 8 November, News Corporation began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. [5] On 28 June 2013, News Corporation was split into two separate companies. Murdoch's newspaper interests became News Corp, which was the new parent company of News Limited. [6] The group adopted the new News Corp Australia name following the listing of the new News Corp on 1 July 2013. [7]


Early days

News Limited was established in 1923 by James Edward Davidson and funded by the Collins Group mining empire for the purpose of publishing anti-union propaganda, [8] [9] when he purchased the Broken Hill Barrier Miner and the Port Pirie Recorder . [10] He went on to purchase Adelaide's weekly Mail [11] and to found The News , a daily newspaper in Adelaide, South Australia.


Sir Keith Murdoch acquired a minority interest in the company in 1949. [12] Following his death in 1952, his son Rupert Murdoch inherited The News, which has been described by Murdoch biographer Bruce Page [13] as the "foundation stone" of News Limited (and News Corporation).

Over the next few years, Murdoch gradually established himself as one of the most dynamic media proprietors in Australia, quickly expanding his holdings by acquiring a string of daily and suburban newspapers in most capital cities, including the Sydney afternoon paper, The Daily Mirror , as well as a small Sydney-based recording company, Festival Records. His acquisition of the Mirror proved crucial to his success, allowing him to challenge the dominance of his two main rivals in the Sydney market, the Fairfax Newspapers group, which published the hugely profitable The Sydney Morning Herald , and the Consolidated Press group, owned by Sir Frank Packer, which published the city's leading tabloid paper, The Daily Telegraph .

In 1964, News Limited made its next important advance when it established The Australian , Australia's first national daily newspaper, based initially in Canberra and later in Sydney. The Australian, a broadsheet, gave News Limited a new respectability as a quality newspaper publisher, and also greater political influence since The Australian has always had an elite readership, if not always a large circulation.[ citation needed ]

Also in 1964, News Limited made Rupert Murdoch's first overseas newspaper investment – a 29.57 percent stake in the Wellington Publishing Company, subsequently part of Independent Newspapers Limited, INL, New Zealand's largest publishing group. The News Limited holding in INL fluctuated over the years and was just over 49 percent in 1997. The INL business was bought by News Limited's main rival in 2003 – Fairfax Media.

In 1972, News Limited acquired The Daily Telegraph from Sir Frank Packer, making Murdoch one of the "big three" newspaper proprietors in Australia, along with Fairfax Media in Sydney and his father's old Herald and Weekly Times Ltd in Melbourne. In the 1972 elections, Murdoch swung his newspapers' support behind Gough Whitlam and the left wing Australian Labor Party, but by 1975 he had turned against Labor, and since then has almost always supported the conservative Liberal Party.[ citation needed ]

Over the next ten years, as his press empire grew, Murdoch established a hugely lucrative financial base, and these profits were routinely used to subsidise further acquisitions. In his early years of newspaper ownership Murdoch was an aggressive, micromanaging entrepreneur.[ citation needed ] His standard tactic was to buy loss-making Australian newspapers and turn them around by introducing radical management and editorial changes and fighting no-holds-barred circulation wars with his competitors. By the 1970s, this power base was so strong that Murdoch was able to acquire leading newspapers and magazines in both London and New York, as well as many other media holdings.

To gain subscriptions for its new pay television business, News Ltd recruited rugby league football administrators, clubs and players to form a new competition, sparking the mid-1990s Super League war.

On 12 July 2006, News Limited announced the creation of a new division, News Digital Media to manage the operations of the news site; the online marketplace sites,, and as well as the partly owned, and related activities involving Foxtel and the company's newspapers and the Australian versions of Fox Interactive Media sites Myspace and IGN. Chairman and chief executive of News Limited, John Hartigan, announced the appointment of Richard Freudenstein as chief executive of the division. [14]

In February 2018, News Corp Australia announced a partnership with Taboola to launch an integrated native content creation, booking and distribution platform. The Taboola Feed will be implemented on desktop, mobile, web and in-app across the News Corp Australia digital network. [15]

Editorial conduct issues

In the wake of the News International phone hacking scandal in the United Kingdom, in July 2011 News Limited announced a review of all payments in the previous three years. [16] On 22 July it was reported that two retired Victorian Supreme Court judges, Frank Vincent AO QC and Bernard Teague AO, were appointed to act as independent assessors of the conduct of the review and also assess the outcome. [17] The editorial and financial review concluded in early November and found no evidence of phone hacking or payments to public officials, [18] [19] with Vincent and Teague declaring that the review process did not bring " light any systemic issues with respect to the making of payments to third parties and any substantial amounts paid to individuals in respect of illegitimate activities." [20]

Despite this the Australian division of News Corp has not entirely escaped scandal with allegations in 2012 that News Corp subsidiary, News Datacom Systems (NDS) had used hackers to undermine pay TV rivals around the world, including Australia. Some of the victims of the alleged hacking, such as Austar were later taken over by News Corp and others such as Ondigital later went bust. NDS had originally been set up to provide security to News Corp's pay TV interests but emails obtained by Fairfax Media revealed they had also pursued a wider agenda by distributing the keys to rival set top box operators and seeking to obtain phone records of suspected rivals. [21] The emails were from the hard drive of NDS European chief, Ray Adams. It was also revealed that Australian Federal police were working with UK police to investigate hacking by News Corp. [22]

Corporate changes

On 28 June 2013, News Corporation split into two publicly traded companies focused on publishing, and broadcasting/media respectively. At this time News Limited was renamed News Corp Australia and became part of the publishing company, News Corp, with Wall Street Journal editor Robert Thomson replacing Rupert Murdoch as CEO. Murdoch remains a chairman and major shareholder for both companies. [23]

On 9 August 2013 it was announced that Julian Clarke would replace Kim Williams as the CEO of News Corp Australia. Williams had replaced John Hartigan, who served as CEO between 2000 and 2011, who had in turn succeeded Lachlan Murdoch. [24]

On 9 June 2015, it was announced that Peter Tonagh would replace Julian Clarke as the CEO of News Corp Australia with Michael Miller to be appointed to the role of Executive Chairman. [25] Peter Tonagh and Michael Miller's first day in their new roles was 16 November 2015 [26]

Influence in Australia

Murdoch's desire for dominant cross-media ownership manifested in early 1961 when he bought an ailing Australian record label, Festival Records, and within a few years it had become the leading local recording company [ citation needed ]. He also bought a television station in Wollongong, New South Wales, hoping to use it to break into the Sydney television market, but found himself frustrated by Australia's cross-media ownership laws, which prevented him from owning both a major newspaper and television station in the same city. Since then he has consistently lobbied, both personally and through his papers, to have these laws changed in his favour. This occurred in 2006 when the Liberal-National Coalition Government, having gained control of both houses of the Australian Parliament, introduced reforms to cross-media ownership and foreign media ownership laws. [27] The laws came into effect in early 2007, [28] with further changes in 2017 abolishing 'two out of three' restrictions that had previously prevented news companies from owning newspaper, radio, and television services within the same city. [29]

News Corp Australia has nearly three-quarters of daily metropolitan newspaper circulation and so maintains great influence in Australia. Internal News Corp Australia documents reveal a brazen offer during the 2001 federal election campaign to promote the policies of a major party in its best-selling newspapers nationwide for almost A$500,000. [30] Other documents include a marginal seats guide written by a senior business manager for internal use. It evidences a corporate strategy to target marginal seats at the 2004 election. [31] Some of the documents appeared on Media Watch . [32]

Murdoch wanted a way to influence politics in his native land. He saw a way to do that through the News Corp publication TheAustralian. [33] The national daily has been used to support Murdoch's political interests over time, such as John McEwen with the National Party of Australia and Gough Whitlam with the Australian Labor Party. [34]

A parliamentary petition initiated by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for a Royal Commission investigating the diversity and integrity of print media, focused primarily on News Corp, raised more than 500,000 signatures in November 2020. [35]



Murdoch moved to Britain and rapidly became a major force there after his acquisitions of the News of the World , and The Sun in 1969 and The Times and The Sunday Times in 1981, which he bought from the Thomson family. Both takeovers further reinforced his growing reputation as a ruthless and cunning business operator. His takeover of The Times aroused great hostility among traditionalists, who feared he would take it "downmarket." This led directly to the founding of The Independent in 1986 as an alternative quality daily.

United States

Murdoch made his first acquisition in the United States in 1973, when he purchased the San Antonio News . Soon afterwards he founded the National Star , a supermarket tabloid, and in 1976 he purchased the New York Post . Subsequent acquisitions were undertaken through News Corporation.


News Limited expanded its newspaper holdings in 1987 when it acquired The Herald and Weekly Times, which published two newspapers in Melbourne (in 1990 these papers would be combined to form the Herald Sun ) as well as large stakes in several other newspaper publishers. News Limited went on to acquire the remaining shares of Brisbane's Queensland Newspapers (owner of The Courier-Mail ), Adelaide's Advertiser Newspapers (owner of The Advertiser ) and Hobart's Davies Brothers (owner of The Mercury ).

In 1991, News Limited spun off its longtime magazine house, Southdown Press, as Pacific Magazines and Printing, and sold the former Advertiser magazines, renamed Murdoch Magazines, to Matt Handbury. News Limited re-entered the magazine market in 2000 with the start of News Magazines. In 2006, News Limited returned to being a major player in the Australian magazine business with the purchase of Independent Print Media Group's FPC Magazines ( Delicious , Super Food Ideas , Vogue Australia ). [36]


News Corp Australia operates 170 newspaper and magazine titles in Australia, including the following:



New South Wales
South Australia
  • The Advertiser including the monthly insert the Adelaide* magazine
  • Messenger Newspapers, including:
    • Eastern Courier Messenger
    • Leader Messenger
    • City North Messenger
    • East Torrens Messenger
    • Mitcham & Hills Messenger
    • The City
Northern Territory




New South Wales
South Australia
  • Messenger Newspapers, including:
    • Northern Times Messenger
    • Weekly Times Messenger
    • Southern Times Messenger
    • Portside Messenger



NRL properties


See also

Related Research Articles

Rupert Murdoch Australian-born American media mogul

Keith Rupert Murdoch is an Australian-born American billionaire businessman, media tycoon, and investor. Through his company News Corp, he is the owner of hundreds of local, national, and international publishing outlets around the world, including in the UK, in Australia, in the US, book publisher HarperCollins, and the television broadcasting channels Sky News Australia and Fox News. He was also the owner of Sky, 21st Century Fox, and the now-defunct News of the World.

<i>Herald Sun</i> Australian tabloid newspaper

The Herald Sun is a daily newspaper based in Melbourne, Australia, published by The Herald and Weekly Times, a subsidiary of News Corp Australia, itself a subsidiary of News Corp. The Herald Sun primarily serves Melbourne and the state of Victoria and shares many articles with other News Corporation daily newspapers, especially those from Australia.

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<i>The Australian</i> Daily newspaper in Australia

The Australian, with its Saturday edition, the Weekend Australian, is a broadsheet newspaper published by News Corp Australia since 14 July 1964. As the only Australian daily newspaper distributed nationally, its readership as of September 2019 of both print and online editions was 2,394,000. Its editorial line has been described over time as centre-right to right wing. It is owned by News Corp Australia.

<i>The News</i> (Adelaide)

The News was an afternoon daily tabloid newspaper in the city of Adelaide, South Australia, that had its origins in 1869, and finally ceased circulation in 1992. Through much of the 20th century, The Advertiser was Adelaide's morning broadsheet, The News the afternoon tabloid, with The Sunday Mail covering weekend sport, and Messenger Newspapers community news.

<i>The Advertiser</i> (Adelaide)

The Advertiser is a daily tabloid format newspaper published in the city of Adelaide, South Australia. First published as a broadsheet named The South Australian Advertiser on 12 July 1858, it is currently a tabloid printed from Monday to Saturday. The Advertiser came under the ownership of Keith Murdoch in the 1950s, and the full ownership of Rupert Murdoch in 1987. It is now a publication of News Corp Australia. Through much of the 20th century, The Advertiser was Adelaide's morning broadsheet, The News the afternoon tabloid, with The Sunday Mail covering weekend sport, and Messenger Newspapers community news. The head office was relocated from a former premises in King William Street, to a new News Corp office complex, known as Keith Murdoch House at 31 Waymouth Street.

<i>The Courier-Mail</i> Daily tabloid newspaper in Brisbane, Australia

The Courier-Mail is an Australian newspaper published in Brisbane. Owned by News Corp Australia, it is published daily from Monday to Saturday in tabloid format. Its editorial offices are located at Bowen Hills, in Brisbane's inner northern suburbs, and it is printed at Murarrie, in Brisbane's eastern suburbs. It is available for purchase throughout Queensland, most regions of Northern New South Wales and parts of the Northern Territory.

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Lachlan Keith Murdoch is a businessman and mass media heir. He is the executive chairman of Nova Entertainment, co-chairman of News Corp, executive chairman and CEO of the Fox Corporation, the founder of Australian investment company Illyria Pty Ltd.

Messenger Newspapers

Messenger Newspapers is the publisher of 9 free suburban weekly newspapers together covering the Adelaide metropolitan area. Established by Roger Baynes in Port Adelaide in 1951, Messenger has since acquired other independent suburban titles to become Adelaide's only suburban newspaper group. The paper is a subsidiary of News Limited. The Messenger is delivered weekly to 9 different suburban areas, each paper targeting content to its distribution area with some shared content.

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Fairfax Media Australian media company

Fairfax Media was a media company in Australia and New Zealand, with investments in newspaper, magazines, radio and digital properties. The company was founded by John Fairfax as John Fairfax and Sons, who purchased The Sydney Morning Herald in 1841. The Fairfax family retained control of the business until late in the 20th century.

The Sunshine Coast Daily was the only daily newspaper specifically serving the Sunshine Coast region of Queensland, Australia. It is owned by News Corp Australia. It was originally founded as a print newspaper, however since 2020 the publication is only available in digital forms.

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<i>The Gympie Times</i> daily newspaper in Queensland, Australia

The Gympie Times was a daily newspaper serving Gympie in Queensland, Australia. The newspaper is owned by News Corp Australia and was published from Monday to Saturday but ceased printed publication in June of 2020. The final printed edition was on Saturday 26 June, 2020. The Gympie Times remains an online only news source.

The Coffs Coast Advocate is a bi-weekly newspaper serving Coffs Harbour in New South Wales, Australia. The newspaper is owned by News Corp Australia.

Seven West Media

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