They say a week is a long time in politics, and if ever that particular phrase was proven it has been during the past seven days.
Parliament appears to have finally reasserted some influence over one of the most powerful media groups in the world, Ed Miliband has discovered a political instinct that nobody believed he had in him, the Prime Minister is on the back foot for the first time since entering number 10, and Gordon Brown put in the sort of barnstorming Commons performance in the debate over News International that once made him the scourge of the Conservative Party.
In among all of this, Rupert Murdoch and co have decided to close down one of the most iconic newspaper brands in the world, and rumours suggest that he is seriously considering walking away from the other newspaper titles in which he has a stake in the UK, the Sun and The Times.
I was genuinely gobsmacked when I learnt of his plans to abandon the News of the World. Love it or loathe it, the NoW was a profitable publication, and as I said earlier, iconic, and with a history stretching back over a century.
However, such is News Co’s determination to get its hands on the much more profitable BskyB, they were prepared to sacrifice the jewel in their print media crown.
Murdoch has been the architect of many media revolutions, and clearly his vision of the future is increasing traffic in the area of online and TV media, and the continued decline of traditional newspapers.
How many people have got out of the habit of paying for a daily paper now? Indeed, among the under 30’s, how many of them ever purchase a newspaper of any kind? With 24/7 Sky News, news bulletins flying into our inbox as frequently as we like, and the opportunity of commenting on what is happening in the world through social media such as Twitter, is print media dead?
Murdoch’s latest moves demonstrate that he thinks so, and though he has withdrawn his BskyB bid this week, it appears more likely that Everton will sign Ronaldo than News Co giving up on their BskyB ambitions long term.
That may all change, of course, if allegations continue to emerge of illegality and wrongdoing within the Murdoch empire. Another wise man once said ‘events, dear boy, events.’ Events may yet prove Murdoch’s ultimate undoing, and his BskyB dream may be scuppered forever. We can only hope, hey!