Rupert Murdoch has stunned his critics and supporters alike by announcing that the paper with over 168 years in the business is to shut after the weekend edition after the recent phone hacking scandal.
Considering that there is currently an attempt by News Corp to purchase BSkyB this could have real and lasting implications for the entertainment industry.
The News of the World is Britain’s biggest selling Sunday paper but was rocked by the culmination of 5 years of allegations about phone hacking. The death knell was sounded by an allegation that a private investigator hacked into the voicemail of the murder victim, Milly Dowling. As more allegations came to light, the newspaper started to haemorrhage advertisers.
Yet it is fair to say that no one expected Rupert Murdoch to go this far. Sack his Chief Executive who was editor at the time? Yes but close down the paper? No one expected that the 80-year-old Australian born media baron would do that.
In a statement, James Murdoch who heads the British branch of the corporation, said:
“News International today announces that this Sunday, 10 July 2011, will be the last issue of the News of the World,”
“The good things the News of the World does … have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong. Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our Company. The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself.
“This Sunday will be the last issue of the News of the World … In addition, I have decided that all of the News of the World’s revenue this weekend will go to good causes.
“We will run no commercial advertisements this weekend.”
The paper sells 2.6 million copies a week.
Twitter speculation is that The Sun will extend their publication to a seventh day with individuals claiming that the domain name ‘thesunonsunday’ was registered just two days ago.
There is also speculation that the move was aimed at saving Rebekah Brooks, the current CEO, who is close to Murdoch. Philip Schofield Tweeted:
“I feel sorry for the majority of good, honest people who will loose their jobs on the paper. Is it the sacrifice of a pawn to save a king?”
The issue first came to light in 2006 when Prince William suspected that his phone had been tapped. This lead to the arrest of the paper’s Royal Editor, Clive Goodman and it spiralled from there.