On the Levenson report

I have been viewing the outcomes of the Levenson Report from afar and decided to revisit my first post on all this:

In the grand scheme of things the impact wasn’t that big. Whilst the News Of The World (NoTW) closed down, the replacement paper by News International has only managed to sell roughly half the NoTW’s circulation. I suspect that this is less about outrage and more about the disappearance of a well-loved brand – I was mildly surprised by the value in the NoTW brand.

News Corporation’s resilience. What is probably most interesting about the whole debacle is the way Rupert Murdoch has used the opportunity to split the firm in two and structure News Corporation for future growth. The company has also changed its approach towards its news media properties. With the split, there is a less sentimental approach and something similar to a fast-failure model has been in play. But this has also spurred innovation:

  • Closing down The Daily
  • The Times adopting a subsidised tablet model in a clear nod to the mobile phone industry

It was interesting that News Corporation used it as such a catalyst for change, either way it’s rivals will be competing against a leaner more dynamic business. They would have been better off with the status quo.

The confluence of interests. Whilst the Levenson Report was quite measured compared to some of the sentiment expressed, there was no way that it was going to get through on all recommendations. This would have upset the eco-system too much and there would have been likely blow-back in the future for the body-politic. Who knows the exact motivations but David Cameron’s administration took things about as far as they could. If one looks at the overall stance on the media industry from the Digital Economy Bill onwards, any greater moves would have been very out of character. The established media industry still has friends in power.

More information
The News Of The World: it’s probably not the revolution that you think it is
An enquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press by the Right Honorable Lord Justice Levenson – executive summary (PDF)