UK Phone-Hacking Could Haunt Murdochs For Three More Years
Rupert Murdoch could be 84 years old before the British police complete multiple investigations into The News of the World phone-hacking scandal. Deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers, who’s in charge of three overlapping probes into alleged criminal wrongdoing by journalists, said the task may continue through 2015, according to the Guardian. Akers, who is retiring in October, told a Commons home affairs select committee that “resources have been factored in for the next three years.” She said the force had identified more than 4,700 potential phone-hacking victims and found 1,069 were likely to have had their voicemail messages intercepted. So far 79 people have been arrested including former News International legal adviser Tom Crone, former chief executive Rebekah Brooks, her husband Charlie and Prime Minister David Cameron’s former spin doctor Andy Coulson. Akers said the Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service would consider the likelihood of further criminal prosecutions, adding, “We are now prioritising getting cases through court.” Scotland Yard still has 185 officers working on the investigations.

Network Ten Shares Slide To Record Low
Australia’s Network Ten board members Lachlan Murdoch (chairman), Gina Rinehart and Jack Cowin seem powerless to stop a steep slide in the company’s fortunes. The share price hit a record low of 37.5 cents today, down from 80 cents in March, and broker Commonwealth Bank Global Markets Research forecasts it will sink as as low as 30 cents. Ten’sratings have taken a hit from the failures of three Australian shows launched after the London Olympics, Everybody Dance Now, I Will Survive and Don’t Tell the Bride, which resulted in the exit of chief programmer David Mott. The only new show that has any traction is Puberty Blues, a drama inspired by Bruce Beresford’s 1981 feature. The ratings of Ten’s main channel have declined by 5% this year while Nine is up by 5.3% and Seven is off by 0.3%. The broker said Ten is “working hard to reposition itself and build out a new programming lineup, however we see continued ratings/revenue share risk given the large number of hours that need to be replaced and expect the TV ad market to remain challenging.” – Don Groves

China’s YOU On Demand Contracts With China Network’s Future TV
YOU On Demand Holdings Inc., China’s leading Pay-Per-View and Video On Demand platform has signed a distribution deal with China Network Television’s officially approved Internet TV platform Future TV. The deal increases the number of customers who can view the movies offered individually or via subscription on YOU On Demand. YOU On Demand has content deals Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, Miramax and Magnolia Pictures plus content from independent and Chinese filmmakers.

Nine Entertainment Sheds Magazine Group
The debt-laden private equity owners of Australia’s Nine Entertainment Co. confirmed the sale of ACP Magazines to Germany’s Bauer Media Group. No price was disclosed but media reports valued the transaction at $A500 million ($513.7 million). CVC Asia Pacific, which bought Nine Entertainment from James Packer for $5.5 billion in 2007, had been seeking to offload the magazine publisher, the largest in Australia and New Zealand to raise cash to pay down debt. Some $2.8 billion in senior debt needs to be repaid or refinanced by February. ACP publishes more than 80 titles including The Australian Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, Dolly, Cleo, Zoo Weekly and Madison. The sale is expected to close in four to eight weeks. Founded in 1875 and based in Hamburg, the family-owned Bauer Media Group publishes about 400 magazines and more than 100 online products in 15 countries worldwide. The deal enables Nine Entertainment to focus on its remaining assets, Nine Network Australia, NBN Television, Australian News Channel, Ticketek, the Allphones Arena and a 50% stake in NineMSN. – Don Groves