Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone, taking aim at media rival Rupert Murdoch, chastised the News Corp. chairman for investing in newspapers and said the “ink” industry will be out of business in two years.
Redstone, who controls New York-based Viacom and CBS Corp., criticized Murdoch for paying $5.5 billion in 2007 to purchase Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal. He called News Corp.’s New York Post “a gossip” publication and said there “won’t be any newspapers in two years.”
“You have to be careful of any newspapers that Rupert Murdoch runs,” Redstone said yesterday at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California. “He’ll put anything in them, except himself.”
Teri Everett, a spokeswoman for News Corp., declined to comment. The New York-based company this week started a local edition of the Wall Street Journal, challenging the New York Times for ads and readers. News Corp. also owns the Twentieth Century Fox film business, Fox TV network and cable channels Fox News and F/X.
Redstone said his media businesses are better positioned for longevity than newspapers owned by Murdoch.
“He lives in ink, and I live in movies and television,” Redstone said. “Ink is going to go away, and movies and television will be here forever, like me.”
Redstone, 86, for the second straight year told an audience at the event that he plans “to live forever,” and that he continues to “eat and drink every antioxidant known to man.” His family holding company, National Amusements Inc., was forced to sell CBS and Viacom stock in October 2008 to satisfy lenders.
CBS Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves, speaking in an interview at the event, said advertising “is not back to pre- recession levels, but business is very good.”
Ad sales at CBS’s television network are approaching pre- recession levels, Moonves said, and are recovering faster than local advertising at television stations. Radio advertising has increased for the first time in five years, he said.
Viacom, the owner of Paramount Pictures, MTV and Comedy Central, fell 80 cents to $35.80 at 10 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares had gained 88 percent in the past year before today. CBS lost 32 cents to $16 and has almost tripled in the past 12 months.