News Limited is an Australian newspaper publisher. Until the formation of News Corporation in 1979, it was the principal holding for the business interests of Rupert Murdoch. Since then, News Limited is now a wholly owned part of that company.
Rupert Murdoch inherited the Adelaide News in 1952 following the death of his father, Sir Keith Murdoch. This paper has been described by Bruce Page as the "foundation stone" of News Ltd (and News Corp).
Over the next few years, Murdoch gradually established himself as one of the most dynamic media proprietors in Australia, quickly expanding his holdings by acquiring a string of daily and suburban newspapers in most capital cities, including the Sydney afternoon paper, The Daily Mirror, as well as a small Sydney-based recording company, Festival Records. His acquisition of the Mirror proved crucial to his success, allowing him to challenge the dominance of his two main rivals in the Sydney market, the Fairfax Newspapers group, which published the hugely profitable Sydney Morning Herald, and the Consolidated Press group, owned by Sir Frank Packer, which published the city's leading tabloid paper, the Daily Telegraph.
In 1964, News Limited made its next important advance when it established The Australian, Australia's first national daily newspaper, based first in Canberra and later in Sydney. The Australian, a broadsheet, gave News Ltd. a new respectability as a "quality" newspaper publisher, and also greater political influence since The Australian has always had an elite readership, if not always a large circulation.
In 1972, News Ltd. acquired the Sydney-based Daily Telegraph from Sir Frank Packer, making Murdoch one of the "big three" newspaper proprietors in Australia, along with Fairfax Media in Sydney and his father's old Herald and Weekly Times Ltd in Melbourne. In the 1972 elections, Murdoch swung his newspapers' support behind Gough Whitlam and the left wing Australian Labor Party, but by 1975 he had turned against Labor, and since then has almost always supported the rightist Liberal Party.
Over the next ten years, as his press empire grew, Murdoch established a hugely lucrative financial base, and these profits were routinely used to subsidise further acquisitions. In his early years of newspaper ownership Murdoch was an aggressive, micromanaging entrepreneur. His standard tactic was to buy loss-making Australian newspapers and turn them around by introducing radical management and editorial changes and fighting no-holds-barred circulation wars with his competitors. By the 1970s, this power base was so strong that Murdoch was able to acquire leading newspapers and magazines in both London and New York, as well as many other media holdings.
On the 12th July 2006, News Limited announced the creation of a new division, News Digital Media. The operations of News Digital Media includes the news site NEWS.com.au; the online marketplace sites, carsguide.com.au, truelocal.com.au http://www.truelocal.com.au and careerone.com.au as well as the partly owned realestate.com.au, foxsports.com.au and related activities involving foxtel and the company’s newspapers and the Australian versions of Fox Interactive Media sites MySpace and IGN. Chairman and chief executive of News Limited, John Hartigan, announced the appointment of Richard Freudenstein as chief executive of the division.
Murdoch's desire for dominant cross-media ownership manifested early—in 1961 he bought an ailing Australian record label, Festival Records, and within a few years it had become the leading local recording company. He also bought a television station in Wollongong, New South Wales, hoping to use it to break into the Sydney television market, but found himself frustrated by Australia's cross-media ownership laws, which prevented him from owning both a major newspaper and television station in the same city. Since then he has consistently lobbied, both personally and through his papers, to have these laws changed in his favour. This occurred in 2006 when the Liberal-National Coalition Government, having gained control of both houses of the Australian Parliament, introduced reforms to cross-media ownership and foreign media ownership laws. The laws came into effect in early 2007.
News Limited has nearly three-quarters of daily metropolitan newspaper circulation and so maintains great influence in Australia. Internal News Limited documents reveal a brazen offer during the 2001 Federal election campaign to promote the policies of a major party in its best-selling newspapers nation-wide for almost $500,000. Other documents include a marginal seats guide written by a senior business manager for internal use. It evidences a corporate strategy to target marginal seats at the 2004 election. Some of the documents appeared on Media Watch but received very little coverage.
Murdoch moved to Britain and rapidly became a major force there after his acquisitions of the News of the World, and The Sun in 1969 and The Times and The Sunday Times in 1981, which he bought in 1981 from the Thomson family. Both takeovers further reinforced his growing reputation as a ruthless and cunning business operator. His takeover of The Times aroused great hostility among traditionalists, who feared he would take it "downmarket." This led directly to the founding of The Independent in 1986 as an alternative quality daily.
Murdoch made his first acquisition in the United States in 1973, when he purchased the San Antonio News. Soon afterwards he founded the National Star, a supermarket tabloid, and in 1976 he purchased the New York Post. Subsequent acquisitions were undertaken through News Corporation.
As a part of News Corporation, News Limited operates the following: