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Rupert Murdoch at All Things Digital

Rupert Murdoch was interviewed at the All Things Digital conference yesterday by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.

The News Corporation boss made some revealing comments about technology, the media and US politics.

Here is the video and some key quotes:

On movies and the future of distribution:

I would love to see all windows closed …but there are lots of people’s interest to consider.

The theater owners are powerful, but we will try and move to close that gap as much as possible.

On whether newspapers have a future in a digital world:

I’m totally technically neutral – I don’t care what platform our news appears on, if it’s on printed paper, or the web or mobile or whatever.

If you look at the last 6 months, the average newspaper is down 10 to 30 per cent in advertising revenue.

They [newspapers] are going to deteriorate tremendously

On the change that is needed at the Wall Street Journal:

Every story at the moment [in the WSJ] is worked on by 8.3 people [on average]. That is ridiculous.

On MySpace:

We came to [the Internet] late. We’d been asleep.

We found they [MySpace] were like 3 days away from being bought by Viacom, so we said ‘what does it cost for you to lock yourself in a room with us for the weekend?’.

They said ‘an extra $50 million’ and …we came out with a company.

Facebook came in an did a brilliant job – went past us all.

On Google:

Google is so good. They’ve established the best search engine by far.

It’s gushing money and you can see exactly why Microsoft is worried.

You’ve got all these bright people at Google with unlimited ambition.

On Yahoo:

There was a possibility at one stage that we’d add to the portal.

Here is the second part:

On Hulu:

It is changing every week. We are putting more and more [content] on each week.

As far as we were concerned we want to control our own copyrights and we thought this was the way to do it.

On choosing not to sue YouTube like Viacom have done:

We had mixed feelings about it. We felt it was doing more to promote our shows than it was to hurt them.

On Fox News:

People laugh when I say fair and balanced. All it does is give both sides, which the others (media) haven’t done in the past.

On Barack Obama:

I think you’ve probably got the making of a complete phenomenon in this country.

Politicians in Washington …are despised by 80% of the public.

You’ve got a candidate who has put himself above that and said he’s not the average politician.

And he’s become a rock star – its fantastic.

On John McCain:

He’s been in Congress a long time and you’ve got to make too many compromises.

What does he really stand for?

He’s a very decent guy. I say this sympathetically [but] I think he’s got a lot of problems.

On Apple:

They are brilliant marketers and beautiful designers.

On the recession:

The average family is [being] squeezed to death.

On the energy crisis:

I’d let people drill off the west coast. We didn’t buy Alaska to save a couple of elk.

You can read more detailed notes on the interview at the AllThingsD website here.

> All Things Digital conference
> Find out more about Rupert Murdoch at Wikipedia