The Guardian‘s annual list of the 100 most influential people in media is out. Granted, “influential” refers to their significance in the UK, but the top 10 features more than its fair share of international superstars.
Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page top the list and Steve Jobs (No. 6) and Steve Ballmer (No. 7) are in the top 10. But the big story is that Murdoch’s heir-apparent, James (No. 2), is now officially more influential in the UK than his dad, who’s only No. 5. So how did James, the last Murdoch child left in the family business, leapfrog over his dad?
The Guardian: James Murdoch’s promotion to run all of the News International titles, including the Sun, Times, Sunday Times and News of the World, confirmed him as the heir apparent to his father’s $30bn (£15bn) global media empire.
Murdoch Jr is also in charge of News Corp’s other interests in Europe and Asia and is chairman of BSkyB, where he was chief executive for four years until his appointment to his new job at the end of last year. It makes him the most influential media executive of his generation.
He oversees the most powerful newspaper group in the country, the largest pay-TV company, and has links to top-tier internet properties such as News Corp-owned MySpace.
While Rupert focuses his energies on newly-acquired Wall Street Journal parent Dow Jones in the US, James has become the dominant figure in the family’s sprawling UK media empire, straddling print, broadcasting, broadband, mobile and the web.
“James Murdoch is more important in the UK than Rupert,” said our panel. “The only thing Rupert wants to talk about now is the Wall Street Journal.”
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