Elisabeth Murdoch, the founder of the Shine TV studio and daughter of Rupert Murdoch, suggested that News Corp. has landed in its U.K. turmoil by straying from a value system that needs to be
recaptured going forward. As a phone-hacking scandal emerged last year, the company shuttered one of its U.K. papers and continues to deal with the fallout.
Elisabeth Murdoch said News Corp. is “currently asking itself some very significant and difficult questions about how some behaviors fell so far short of its values. Personally, I believe one of the biggest lessons of the past year has been the need for any organization to discuss, affirm and institutionalize a rigorous set of values based on an explicit statement of purpose.”
She also took issue with comments her brother James made a few years back about the pursuit of profit. She said that “profit without purpose is a recipe for disaster” and it “must be our servant, not our master.”
“We need to learn how to be comfortable with articulating purpose and reject the idea that money is the only effective measure of all things or that the free market is the only sorting mechanism,” she said, according to a transcript of a lecture delivered Thursday at an Edinburgh TV festival.
Elisabeth Murdoch sold Shine, which produces shows such as “The Biggest Loser,” to News Corp. last year for close to $700 million. It’s a move she said made sense, but wasn’t necessarily her first choice.
With her father as News Corp. CEO, she said “in many ways it was the very last place I wanted to go. But ... News is first and foremost a content company, and it believes in taking long-term investments (and) creative risks.”
She indicated that News Corp. also allows Shine to operate independently, but gives it help via financial underpinning.
“Our strategic independence from a legacy studio system, combined with significant financial muscle to invest in our talent and our programs allows Shine to follow our creative instinct with security, and provide new commercial models that challenge the structural design of Hollywood,” she said.
Speaking about the roots of “creative excellence” at Shine, she said “it's a place that demands personal accountability, collective responsibility and true self-determination.”
Murdoch also said she supports the system where British taxpayers pay a fee to support the BBC.