We will never know what David Carr would have written about last week’s announced 21st Century Fox and National Geographic Society joint venture in his New York Times The Media Equation weekly column. I’d like to think Carr would wait a couple of months before pronouncing the venture catastrophic because Rubert Murdoch is the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox. Murdoch is an admitted climate-change denying skeptic who might be seen as a conflicted symbol of NGS’s mission to educate through science and exploration.  

image via proof.nationalgeographic.com

image via proof.nationalgeographic.com

It is implausible to me that Carr would overlook how the collaboration might benefit National Geographic Society more so than 21st Century Fox, which already has the world’s premier portfolio of cable, broadcast, film, pay TV and satellite assets. The Media Equation was, after all, a column focused on the intersection of media and technology. 

Emily Steel of NYT’s Media section was fairly even-handed in her Sept 9th report on the joint venture. Below are my selected excerpts from her article in support of my opinion that Rupert Murdoch will just leave National Geographic magazine the hell alone instead of turning it into some sort of cheap porno rag. 

The Britannic, a massive British steamer and sister ship to the Titanic, launches from Belfast Harbor in 1914. The Britannic sank two years later after encountering a German mine field in the Mediterranean sea. National Geographic Creative - no photo credit given.

The Britannic, a massive British steamer and sister ship to the Titanic, launches from Belfast Harbor in 1914. The Britannic sank two years later after encountering a German mine field in the Mediterranean sea. National Geographic Creative – no photo credit given.

In response to the concern about conflicting outlooks, executives underscored that the agreement builds upon an 18-year partnership between the two groups for National Geographic Channels, a moneymaking venture of domestic and international cable TV channels available in more than 500 million homes in 171 countries. …

Mr. Knell said that during that time, Fox had not exerted “any sort of political or editorial interference.” …

Fox will own 73 percent of the new venture, called National Geographic Partners, and the National Geographic Society will own 27 percent. The two owners will have equal representation on the board and share governance. …

The first successful aerial color photograph—which depicted the Statue of Liberty—used the Finlay process, 1931. PHOTOGRAPH BY MELVILLE B. GROSVENOR, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

The first successful aerial color photograph—which depicted the Statue of Liberty—used the Finlay process, 1931.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MELVILLE B. GROSVENOR, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

The deal is one of the first major developments at Fox since James Murdoch was named chief executive in June. He said that the deal had been in the works for a number of months and that it was consistent with his strategy to focus the business “around big brands, building platforms around those brands, and making sure those brands matter in an increasingly competitive and digital environment.” …

♠♠♠

 NOTE: Carr might say the joint venture couldn’t be any worse than what Sam Zell did to the Chicago Tribune (see Page One: Inside the New York Times.

 

Advertisements