That Rupert Murdoch is one sly fox. His News Corp.
News Corp.'s current results look healthy enough, even though they were built around the old-line Fox movie-studio and TV-network assets. American Idol owns the top of the television charts week after week, and while Fox's holiday slate of DVD and theatrical releases was stronger last year, The Simpsons Movie pulled through and set the stage for Juno to deliver a massive return on investment in the near future.
Of course, that cheery outlook assumes an impending end to the ongoing writers' strike. COO Peter Chernin has been spotted in the recently renewed negotiations, alongside Disney
So that's the present and the near-term future. Further out, the company really does need those writers back to work, because a sizable chunk of its operating profits comes from the production of movies and TV shows. But News is diversifying with the purchase of Dow Jones, which Murdoch plans to springboard into a mostly-online global content giant. Murdoch's earlier MySpace buyout dovetails nicely into that.
In addition, the digital future of entertainment has become obvious in the house that Murdoch built. Fox is putting no-fuss digital copies of its movies on its DVDs now, so that you can watch the content you bought on a variety of electronic devices. That's a much less piratophobic (fear of pirates) attitude than we've seen in the past, and one can only hope that the likes of Viacom
Ahem. So News Corp. is ready for the future, and starting from a well-balanced position today. If I wasn't such a big believer in the magic of the Mouse, I'd look at this stock next. You look so good, Foxy.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund is a Disney shareholder but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. He does watch way too much TV. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like. Foolish disclosure is always a hot ticket.