Murdoch: TV industry needs “serious competitor” to Netflix

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch

The TV industry needs to provide a “serious competitor” to Netflix and Amazon, according to Rupert Murdoch.

Speaking at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ:D conference in Laguna Beach, California, the 21st Century Fox chairman said that despite differences in the past, the partners in the Hulu online video joint venture were now “all on the same page”.

“As an industry, we need a competitor — a serious competitor — to Netflix and Amazon,” said Murdoch.

Hulu partners 21st Century Fox, Disney and NBCUniversal have not always sat easily together in driving the joint venture.

Hulu’s partners made a failed attempt to sell the business last year, but 21st Century Fox president Chase Carey subsequently said the service could emerge as a viable alternative to Netflix.

The JV’s CEO Jason Kilar and CTO Richard Tom left the company last year and subsequently founded a separate online video venture, Vessel. The partners subsequently appointed Fox Networks Group CEO Mike Hopkins to take charge.

At the Laguna Beach conference, Murdoch was more skeptical about HBO’s move into the direct-to-consumer space in the US with plans for a domestic HBO Go OTT service. He noted that HBO was likely only to target non-cable customers in order to avoid conflict with pay TV partners. He said he expected the service to sell at the same price as HBO on cable so as not to upset existing affiliate relationships.

Reflecting on past mistakes, Murdoch admitted that News Crop had “messed up” its acquisition and development of MySpace, describing the experience as a “series of expensive, lost opportunities”.