Public figures of all kinds are aflutter after Oprah Winfrey’s dramatic announcement that she’s switching to cable. CNN did the thing where someone hands an urgent piece of paper to the anchor, the Daily Beast seems to have created a special “Life After Oprah” section, and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is already blaming the media. (Felix Gillette has the more sober view.)
Less dramatically, Rupert Murdoch’s son James, said that News Corp. will be focusing on cable too.
“In the business of ideas, which is the business that we are in, we do think journalism plays a role, and we do think there are business models there that will make a lot of sense, albeit perhaps not at the scale of some of our broadcasting businesses and other entertainment businesses,” he said.
“Is it going to be as big a role? No,” he said.
“Structurally, television is vastly more profitable and a big opportunity,” he told a conference in Barcelona.
Hard to argue. News Corp. brought in $495 million off its cable channels last quarter, up from $350 million in the same quarter last year. And then there’s newspapers. They brought in $25 million this year, compared to $134 million in the same quarter last year. A drop of $111 million, if you happen to be counting.