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I read somewhere about a company that in a brilliant business hack, bought all the paint of another company, and sold it in what became a key moment in the company's history.
Was it Walmart in its early days, or another company in that period? Wish I could remember.
The Dow Company, in 1904.
Dow had a monopoly on bromine in the US, but not in Europe, where the powerful German cartel Die Deutsche Bromkonvention fixed the price at 49 cents per pound, and threatened Dow not to enter the Europe market, or Bromkonvention would flood the US market with cheap bromine.
Herbert Dow, being strapped for cash, decided to ignore the threat and sell bromine at 36 cents per pound. Bromkonvention retaliated by flooding the US market with bromine at 15 cents per pound.
Dow worked out a brilliant strategy: instead of meeting the 15c/lb price, he pulled from the US market, had undercover agents buy all the bromine from the Germans, then repackaged it and sold it in Europe at 27 cents a pound, along with all its internal production.
Founded in 1945 by Gilbert Tomes and Alec Tidmarsh, Centronic, or Centurion Tubes as it was then known, started life in the back bedroom of Gilbert Tomes' house in Kent, England.
Gilbert Tomes had worked in the research laboratory of Baird Television, pioneering the early development of television technology, before working with Alec Tidmarsh at Cinema Television Ltd. where they manufactured and developed photocells. His innovation combined with his hobby of beekeeping led to the invention of a "Queen Bee Detector", which made use of Geiger counter technology adapted from the work of the German scientists Geiger and Müller. The "Queen Bee Detector" enabled monitoring of movement within a hive by detecting the radioactivity from a spot of luminous paint applied to the body of the queen bee.
His work on electron tubes within the television industry and his interest in radiation detection led to the creation of Centurion Tubes for the commercial development and manufacture of cathode ray and Geiger-Müller tubes. He became sole owner of the company in 1949 when it became a limited company, 20th Century Electronics Limited. By concentrating on chosen specialities of radiation detection and optical sensing, the company grew rapidly to become a world leader in its area of expertise, with many cutting edge innovations arising on the way. With over 50 years&rsquo experience in meeting the challenge of change, the company continues to be as much as ever a "hive of activity".
From its inception in 1945 the business grew rapidly, largely through its development of Geiger-Müller tubes in association with the newly formed United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) at Harwell. This expansion soon necessitated relocation to larger manufacturing premises and by the end of the decade the company had started to export products and know-how around the world.
In 1951 the company made enormous strides with orders for Geiger-Müller tubes showing another dramatic increase and many new types being introduced. This gave the company its next challenge with the number of staff doubling to 48. In 1953 it moved to new, purpose-built, premises near Croydon where it had sufficient space to accommodate its increasing workforce and allow development of the now urgently needed devices for detection of neutrons. In conjunction with the UKAEA, the company produced Europe's first BF3 neutron detectors.
The boron-10 (10B) isotope is of great importance for neutron shielding and detection as it absorbs neutrons. At that time supplies of 10B were extremely scarce and in some of its more exotic forms boron was even more expensive than gold. A 50 foot high tower was built at the factory to accommodate a distillation column for manufacture of boron isotopes and the company became the world&rsquos first commercial producer of boron-10. Twelve larger, 75 foot, distillation columns were subsequently erected on site to meet the rapid growth in demand for stable boron isotopes, which were required for defence applications as well as for a wide variety of industries including plastics, metals and ceramics. This ensured that the company remained the worlds largest supplier of boron isotope products for some time. Work was also undertaken in the separation of other stable isotopes, such as carbon-13 which is used in medical applications.
By 1957 the factory had been significantly extended and a new group was created to work on photoelectric devices and the development of glass photomultiplier tubes. These were used for detecting scintillations in crystals activated by nuclear radiation. Photomultiplier tubes developed by the company in 1958 were, in fact, an integral part of the first UK satellite to be put into orbit.
Shortly afterwards, and at the request of the UKAEA, manufacture of metal ionisation chambers commenced for the measurement of radiation in nuclear reactors. The company therefore became involved at the early stages of the UK nuclear power generation industry, with the UK being the first country in the world to generate electricity commercially using a nuclear reactor. Since then such devices have been supplied to nuclear reactors worldwide.
No sooner had an extension to the factory been completed and occupied, then there were plans to build another and in 1960 further major factory extensions took place to accommodate an additional 100 staff.
The early 1960's saw interest in development of silicon solid state detectors for nuclear applications. The company funded its own research and development and within two years had entered the revolutionary world of the "silicon chip". Although initially developed for the nuclear industry, semiconductor devices followed which would be used as optical sensing elements in applications ranging from particle sizing to laser guided missiles.
Construction of the boron-10 distillation columns in the fifties had required the company to build its own mass spectrometer leak detectors, tuned to detect minute quantities of helium gas, since no suitable commercial models were available. This experience helped greatly in the development by the company in 1968 of quadrapole mass spectrometers for gas analysis. The systems into which these were incorporated were later to receive prestigious design awards.
The company's achievements were recognised in 1968 by the much-coveted Queen's Award to Industry. While the award was "in recognition of outstanding contributions to technology", it referred in particular to the company's work in the field of stable isotopes.
The late sixties saw the construction and opening of another factory building on the same site, which was to house a new machine shop and drawing office, and was required to accommodate a workforce which had now grown to around 350.
The seventies began with a celebration of the Silver Jubilee of 20th Century Electronics and the company was looking to reach even greater heights in the next 25 years. Manufacture of semiconductor based opto-electronic devices was now in progress and some of these were to be incorporated in a satellite to be launched from Australia. The satellite proved to be a considerable success and since then many satellites have been equipped with the company's optical sensors.
Manufacturing activities for the UK and nuclear power industry were continuing and were further strengthened with the supply of reactor control detectors to the latest UK Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGRs). The company was now also manufacturing neutron detectors for nuclear power stations worldwide (most notably the Canadian CANDU reactors) and also for defence applications.
With the end of the 20th century not too far away, there was a call to change the company name. Rather than a change to 21st Century Electronics when appropriate, an earlier change to a simpler company name was proposed. In 1978 the company began trading under the name Centronic, which was derived from the original name of the company, although the official change of name to Centronic Limited did not take place until a few years later.
September 1978 saw the formation of Centronic Optical Systems Limited to capitalise on the increasing demand for light measuring instruments.
Production of silicon photodiodes for laser detection was now well established and in 1980 this technology was applied to military training. The Centronic designed SAWES (Small Arms Weapon Effect Simulator) system used rifles, grenades, mines, etc., which were modified to incorporate a Centronic laser transmitter. The jacket and helmet of the targeted soldiers were fitted with Centronic laser sensors which would trigger an alarm on detection of laser fire. This principle was extended to include the targeting of tanks using rocket launchers.
There had previously been expressions of interest in acquiring Centronic, but in 1982 a small public limited company, First Castle Electronics plc, made a slightly different approach. First Castle wanted to expand, using Centronic as the flagship of its operation. The purchase of Centronic by First Castle was completed in 1982 and saw the end of Gilbert Tomes' business links with the company that he had created.
The eighties saw a further change in the ownership of Centronic when, less than four years later, The Morgan Crucible Company plc was to bid for the First Castle Group of Companies. The takeover was completed in early 1986 with Centronic and all the other First Castle companies becoming part of the Morgan Electronics Division. Under the new ownership a refocusing of Centronic on its core activities was to begin with the less profitable product lines being discontinued.
The early nineties saw a continuation of the refocusing process and Centronic was no longer manufacturing photomultipliers, cathode ray tubes or mass spectrometers. It had also divested itself of the weapons simulation business which now had closer links to the UK Ministry of Defence. In place of these activities Centronic had consolidated its radiation detector operation further through acquisition of the R.A. Stephens dosimetry business and then in 1992 the Philips ZP range of Geiger-Müller tubes. With the introduction of less labour intensive Computer Aided Design (CAD) for drawing work, and with it now being more cost-effective to sub-contract machining operations to companies with computer controlled machining facilities, the building originally constructed for these operations was to house the expanded Geiger-Müller tube business
It was at the beginning of the nineties that Centronic, with the help of its new CAD capability, won a contract to design neutron detection equipment for use in Nuclear Steam Raising Plant for marine propulsion. As a result of the success of this work further contracts were to follow which formed a significant part of the Centronic business in the nineties and continue to do so.
The nineties also saw significant Centronic activity in the civil nuclear power industry. A spares contract was awarded to Centronic to maintain the availability of detectors for the UK AGRs the UKs first Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) power station was under construction at Sizewell and was to incorporate Centronic neutron detectors and CANDU power stations, also incorporating Centronic detectors, were now being built in the Far East.
These and the previous achievements of Centronic were celebrated in September 1995 at the company Golden Jubilee, which was attended by co-founder Gilbert Tomes. The achievements of the company were also publicised in the September edition of the journal of The Institution of Nuclear Engineers, "The Nuclear Engineer", which was devoted to the Centronic Golden Jubilee.
The electro-optic part of the Centronic business was also the centre of much activity in the nineties. In order to meet the demands of the electronics industry for smaller components and increasing cleanliness, and also to allow for the projected growth in this part of Centronic, installation of a new, higher grade, clean room was commissioned. This went into service in 1998 and replaced the now ageing facility which was used at the outset of semiconductor detector manufacture at Centronic in the sixties and seventies.
The end of the nineties saw, however, the end of the isotope manufacturing capability at Centronic. Eagle-Picher Technologies, the worlds leading supplier of boron products, had targeted the Centronic boron isotope manufacturing facilities. After acquiring the production rights earlier in the nineties, the boron separation equipment was finally removed from the Centronic site in 1999. The tower which once housed distillation columns still continues to dominate the local skyline however, and with the expansion of mobile communications networks the tower now serves a much different purpose.
As the world saw the start of the new millennium, Centronic also saw the start of a new era as the company once again became privately owned. With the Morgan Crucible Company plc wishing to refocus on its own core activities, Centronic was now looking for a new owner. This paved the way for a management buyout, which was completed in August 2000.
With a clear agenda for growth, there was considerable activity in extending the company&rsquos capabilities, in terms of in-house design and manufacturing facilities, innovative techniques in processing new materials and improved product offerings.
2003 saw the acquisition of Raditec. The Raditec business was established by AEA Technology in 1985. On acquisition by the Centronic group the business was relocated locally to a new, dedicated facility in Didcot, Oxfordshire with production activities integrated in to the Centronic site in Croydon. With a strong product range backed by a staff of dedicated and innovative engineers and scientists, the Raditec business offers the design and manufacture of cameras and vision systems that are radiation tolerant and operate in harsh and hazardous environments.
Sadly 2008 saw the passing of the Centronic's founder Gilbert Tomes who died peacefully on 18th June aged 94.
Two further acquisitions were made by the company before the end of the decade, a precision wound components business in 2008 and Global Precision Engineering in 2009. Both of these businesses were fully integrated in to the main UK manufacturing site in Croydon and have flourished as part of the Centronic family of products.
2010 and onwards&hellip
This decade has seen continued growth at Centronic as the company has continued to invest in its engineering and manufacturing capabilities, and work hard on developing close customer relationships worldwide.
This was rewarded in 2013, as Centronic was acknowledged in a report on the fastest growing SMEs&rsquo in the UK, carried out by London Stock Exchange. Centronic was selected as one of the &ldquoTop 1000 companies to inspire Britain&rdquo which was published in the Daily Telegraph.
In 2015, Centronic celebrated its&rsquo 70th anniversary. Since its inception in 1945 which started with the invention of the &lsquoQueen Bee Detector&rsquo in the back bedroom of Gilbert Tomes&rsquo house in Kent, UK, Centronic has grown to become a world leader in radiation detection and sensing solutions. During this decade Centronic has continued to expand its product range which now includes fuel rod position detectors, and has had products qualified on to new reactor technology platforms.
Today, Centronic maintains its market-leading position as a manufacturer of a comprehensive range of standard, customised & bespoke sensor solutions for photonic & ionising radiation including Gas-Filled detectors, Silicon Photodiodes, Geiger-Müller tubes, Coil Wound components & high precision machining. Still based in Croydon, UK, Centronic employs more than 90 people and serves some of the world-leading manufacturers and operators within the Nuclear, Defence, Oil & gas, Aerospace, Research & Medical industries in a wide range of applications including radiation monitors & dosimeters, x-ray imaging systems, aerospace & defence instrumentations, particle accelerators and numerous nuclear power reactors worldwide such as PWR, VVER, BWR, CANDU & AGR.
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Hollywood History, Part 5 - The Rise of the Studios
Firstly, the transfer of power from New York to Hollywood accelerated until the west coast became the dominant region not just of American cinema, but also of World cinema, and it remains so to this day.
Secondly, the large number of small competing studios reduced dramatically through mergers and amalgamations. Several famous movie moguls, future household names, began to make their mark, notably Carl Laemmle, Adolph Zukor, Jesse Lasky, William Fox and Cecil B. deMille.
It was apparent to these sharp businessmen who ran the early studios that the success of their enterprises depended on three factors: Production - creating the product Distribution - getting the product from the film studio to the movie theater: and Exhibition - showing the product to the public.
The changeover from Silents to Talkies was very costly and caused a shakeout among the smaller companies which led to a further consolidation of power into the hands of the large studios. They began to put emphasis on contracts, usually long term, for their stars, directors and technicians.
Eventually, the nucleus of the so-called Studio System was left, including some of the most famous names in the history of cinema: MGM, Paramount, Fox, and Warner Bros. and the new RKO Radio - followed by the four mini majors - Universal, United Artists, Columbia and Walt Disney. These studios would dominate and control every aspect of movie-making in Hollywood for the next 30 years
1) Universal Studios
In 1912 Laemmle amalgamated IMP with other up and coming studios, Pat Powers Picture Plays and Bison Life Motion Pictures, owned by Adam Kessel and Charles Bauman, together with the Nestor, Rex, Champion and Éclair studios. The new creation was named The Universal Film Manufacturing Company and in July of that year Laemmle, the prime mover in the partnership, was named President. Eventually Laemmle bought out all the other partners.
The new company was vertically integrated, which meant that it contained the three elements of the modern film studio - Production, Distribution and Exhibition.
In 1915 Laemmle opened the 230 acre Universal City in the San Fernando valley, and proceeded to make some 250 films during the year.
Future Hollywood giant, Irving Thalberg, began working for Universal in their New York offices. In a meteoric rise he became in 1919 the youngest studio head in the history of Hollywood. After four years, aged 24, he left Universal, partly due to a failed romance with Carl Laemmle's daughter. He became head of production with Louis B. Mayer Productions and went on to become the Hollywood "boy wonder", one of the driving forces of the industry.
Back: Charles Chaplin, Daryll Zanuck,Sam Goldwyn
Front: Mary Pickford, Joseph Schenk, Douglas Fairbanks
3) United Artists
Their first film, 'His Majesty, the American', written by and starring Fairbanks, was a commercial success, but in its first few years, UA saw difficult times and did not enjoy reliable profits until the late 1920s.
The original idea had been that each of the partners would produce three pictures a year but this quickly proved unworkable as both Chaplin and Pickford were already committed to their original studios. The target was reduced to two pictures per partner, but this, too, proved impracticable.
The new studio made some brilliant movies such as 'Broken Blossoms' in 1919, 'Pollyanna', with Mary Pickford and 'The Mark of Zorro' with Douglas Fairbanks the following year, but they had to put second-rate fare alongside such as Mack Sennett's 'Down on the Farm', also in 1920.
So the studio started with only a handful of films, and it didn't break into reliable profits until the late 1920s. The first film Chaplin made for the new outfit was the experimental 'A Woman of Paris' in 1923 which the critics loved but which was not a big hit. It was only in 1925, with 'The Gold Rush', that Chaplin began to make a difference and the reputation of UA began to grow.
The studio was strengthened with the addition of producer Joseph Schenk, who brought new product from his actress wife, Norma Talmadge, Buster Keaton, Gloria Swanson, whom he lured across from Paramount, and independent producer Sam Goldwyn.
By the late 1920s the Studio could boast Keaton's 'The General' and Doug Fairbanks in 'The Gaucho', both in 1927, and Gloria Swanson's production of 'Sadie Thompson' in 1928. They had well and truly arrived.
C.B.C. developed a reputation for producing low-budget movies, particularly westerns and comedies, and was referred to contemptuously as “corned beef and cabbage" in their early years. In 1924 the partners changed the name to Columbia in an effort to improve the studio's image. It was difficult and extremely rare for a small studio to successfully compete with the large studios like MGM and Paramount, and Columbia continued to have a "Poverty Row" reputation for many years.
Columbia did not own any theaters but had complete control of production and distribution. The exhibition side of the business would prove a constant problem as they tried to find outlets to show their films. Nevertheless, the studio gradually attained respectability, making cheap two reelers with adventure, comedy, sex and romance making up their standard fare. Jack Cohn and Joe Brandt ran the business from New York whilst Harry Cohn ran the production side on the West coast.
The company's climb was a accelerated with the arrival of an ambitious young director, Frank Capra who, between 1927 and 1939, directed a string of successful and profitable movies which cemented Columbia's status as a growing and healthy company.
In 1932 Jack Brandt left the studio. Harry Cohn assumed the Columbia presidency and was now the unquestioned boss, remaining so until his death in 1958. Two years later the Capra comedy 'It Happened One Night' won all five top Academy Awards - best film, director, actor, actress and screenplay - a record which stood for more than forty years. Columbia had escaped its humble beginnings. It was now one of the major studios.
5) Walt Disney
They started with a series of live-action/animated films collectively called the 'Alice Comedies', but in 1927, they decided to move instead to an all-cartoon series starring a character named Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. They made 26 0f these cartoons but then discovered that their distributor had secretly signed up almost all their animators, hoping to make the Oswald cartoons for less money without Walt Disney. Disney learned his lesson and from then on, he made sure that he owned the rights to every character he created.
A new cartoon character was soon created, called Mickey Mouse. After two silent films which did not sell they made a third Mickey Mouse cartoon, this time with fully synchronized sound, and a star was born. 'Steamboat Willie' opened to rave reviews in November, 1928. Micky was followed by Minnie, Goofy, Donald Duck and the rest of the well known cartoon gang.
The company continued to specialise in what they were good at - animation. They soon produced another set of cartoons — the Silly Symphonies — to go with the Mickey series and their first full length animated feature, 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves', was released in 1937 to worldwide acclaim.
6) Warner Brothers
The brothers began in the movie business in 1903, when they played films from a portable projector around Pennsylvania. One of the first pictures they showed was Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery, the first motion picture to tell a definite story. By 1908 they had acquired 200 film titles and were trading as the Duquesne Film Exchange, distributing their films around the local area.
Realizing, however, that the large profits from movies would come not just from distribution and exhibition, but also from production, the Warners moved to California and established a small production base at 18th and Main Streets in Culver City. Their first full-scale picture, 'My Four Years in Germany' premiered in 1918 and grossed an astonishing (for that time) $1.5 million.
Later that year, the Warner brothers purchased property in Sunset Boulevard, and the Warner Bros. West Coast Studios was born. With Harry as president and Albert as treasurer, guiding the company's finances, Sam and Jack focused on production, incorporating their new movie studio in April, 1923.
And although Warner Bros. was now established as a complete film company, showcasing both successful commercial and artistic properties, it lacked company-owned theaters and thus struggled to compete in the Hollywood community. Until the coming of Sound.
In May 1925, Sam and Harry were apprised of “talking pictures” in the New York offices of Western Electric.Recognising the massive potential of this new technology they immediately installed the new sound equipment in their recently acquired Vitagraph Studios in Brooklyn.
On October 6, 1927, Warner Bros. Pictures released The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson, and a whole new era began, bringing the Studio to the forefront of the film industry. The Jazz Singer played to standing-room-only crowds throughout the country and earned a special Academy Award for technical achievement.
In 1928, the brothers bought The Stanley Company of America for its theater chain, which included one-third ownership of First National Pictures. Later that year, they purchased the rest of First National, acquiring a newly built studio in Burbank (in California’s San Fernando Valley, which today remains the home of Warner Bros. Studios). The Warners invested heavily into converting the new studio into the finest movie sound facility in the world. Stages were soundproofed, and underground conduits linked each stage with a special state-of-the-art sound building where recording could take place under exacting laboratory conditions.
The Studio’s “contract players” became some of the greatest stars of all time: Bette Davis, James Cagney, Paul Muni, Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson and Errol Flynn, among others. Behind the camera were Hal Wallis, Darryl F. Zanuck, Busby Berkeley, Michael Curtiz, William Wellman, Howard Hawks and Mervyn LeRoy, to name just a few. Warner Bros. had well and truly arrived.
Louis B. Mayer
was founded on November 19, 1916, by Samuel Goldfish partnering with Broadway producers Edgar and Archibald Selwyn using an amalgamation of both last names to create the name, Goldwyn. Goldfish liked the name so much that in December 1918 he changed his own, unusual name, to Goldwyn.
Goldwyn Pictures was successful and produced and distributed hundreds of silent movies with big name stars such as Lon Chaney and Mabel Normand. In 1917 the company's logo of a reclining lion was designed by lyricist howard Dietz, together with the words "Ars Gratia Artis" ("Art for Art's Sake"), which first appeared on the film 'Polly of the Circus' in 1917.
As the company grew bigger, Goldwyn had major disagreements with his partners and in 1922 after six successful years he sold his shares in Goldwyn Pictures.
Loew purchased the company, and its lion logo, in 1924 to improve the quality and variety of his picture stock and also for its 40 acre Hollywood studio lot. As Goldwyn had left the company 2 years earlier, Loew needed someone to effectively manage his expanding Hollywood empire. He found the ideal man in Louis B. Mayer and his production chief, Irving Thalberg.
Louis B. Mayer Pictures
Set up in 1918 by Louis B. Mayer, its first production was 1918's 'Virtuous Wives'., Mayer had a proven success record as a producer and was an obvious choice for Loew. He was named head of studio operations and Loew's vice president, based in Los Angeles, reporting to Loew's longtime right-hand man Nicholas Schenck. He would hold this post for the next 27 years. Before the year was out, Mayer added his name to the studio with Loew's blessing, renaming it Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. As Goldwyn had already left Goldwyn pictures he, amazingly, never owned or worked for the new company which was formed in 1924 and which bore his name - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
In 1925, in its first full year of operation, the new company produced over 100 films including the highly successful 'Ben-Hur' and made almost five million dollars profit. Its success continued under Louis B. Mayer and his Head of Production, Irving Thalberg who began to create a philosophy of star making. They created and glamorised a host of star names including Greta Garbo, Lon Chaney, William Powell, and Joan Crawford, and hired top directors to take charge of the movies, including King Vidor, and Erich von Stroheim. When Talkies arrived in the late 1920s, new stars were brought into the studio including Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Jean Harlow and Myrna Loy.
The result was a spectacular and glamorous company which established a reputation for quality, and sophistication. It was the only Hollywood studio that continued to pay dividends during the 1930s and until the mid-1950s, the studio could make a claim its rivals could not: it never lost money.
8) RKO Pictures
The new studio became famous for its string of glamorous musicals in the 1930s such as 'The Gay Divorcee' in 1934, 'Top Hat' in 1935 and 'Swing Time' in 1936, all starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The studio was responsible for two of the most influential and famous films in Hollywood history: 'King Kong' in 1933 and 'Citizen Kane' in 1941 and had many top stars on its books including Katharine Hepburn, Irene Dunne and Cary Grant.
9) 20th Century Fox
The Fox Film Corporation was formed by William Fox on 1 February 1915. Fox worked in the fur and garment industry as a youth. He started his own business in 1900 and sold it four years later in order to buy his first nickleodeon. He continued buying theaters and became a highly successful film exhibitor. He took a firm and brave stand against the Thomas Edison Motion Pictures Patent Company which enabled him to start his own production company in 1913 which became the Fox Film Corporation in 1915.
His company eventually controlled over 1,000 theaters and made successful pictures starring early Silent actors such as Tom Mix and Theda Bara. Fox also became famous for the 1927 news series 'Movietone News', the first commercially successful sound film.
Fox pioneered the widescreen film with 'The Big Trail' in 1930 but in the same year he lost control of the Fox Film Corporation in 1930 during a hostile takeover. Fox, himself, was seriously injured in a car accident and because of the expense of converting 1,100 theatres to sound equipment and the economic crisis of the early 1930s, his empire crumbled. He declared bankruptcy in 1936 and in 1942 served a term in prison for attempting to bribe a judge and for committing perjury. Paroled in 1943, he found himself a pariah in Hollywood. For the remainder of his life he lived quietly in Long Island, New York.
Twentieth Century Pictures was created in 1933 as an independent production company by Joseph Schenck (the former president of United Artists) and Darryl F. Zanuck from Warner Bros..The highly intertwined, incestuous nature of the film industry at this time.can be illustrated by the fact that finance for the new company was provided by Schenck's younger brother Nicholas Schenck, who was president of Loew's, the theater chain that owned MGM, and by the head of MGM himself, Louis B. Mayer. The company's movies were distributed by United Artists and they leased studio space at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios.
Twentieth Century-Fox was formed in 1935 by the merger of the two companies - Fox Film Corporation and Twentieth Century Pictures. At first, it was expected that the new company was originally to be called "Fox-20th Century", even though 20th Century was the senior partner in the merger. However, 20th Century was more profitable than Fox and had considerably more in-house talent, which meant that its name came first.. The new company, 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation, began trading in May, 1935. In 1985 the hyphen was dropped to give it the name by which it is known today.
After completion of the merger, fresh young talent was recruited by Zanuck, including Tyrone Power, Carmen Miranda, Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney and Betty Grable. He also built up the career of seven year old Shirley Temple, already on the studio's books.
The company's films retained the the searchlight logo used and owned by 20th Century Pictures was retained on their opening credits as well as its opening fanfare, and is indeed used to this day.
These Are the 10 Best-Selling Products of All Time
Creating the most popular product of the year will make consumers and investors happy. But making an all-time bestseller can transform an industry and define a business for decades.
Many of the best-selling products were first in a new category. Apple, which has sold more than 500 million iPhones, was the first to introduce a touchscreen smartphone that could seamlessly handle music, web browsing and phone calls. Other bestsellers took a niche market and made it mainstream. Before Star Wars, film was either comedy, romance or drama. The Harry Potter book series was so successful that The New York Times Book Review created a separate children&rsquos bestseller list in 2000 to account for the series&rsquo popularity.
In some cases, top-selling products were a simply better than their competitors. Before the Sony PlayStation, video game consoles were largely cartridge-based. With the advent of the PlayStation, which relied on the new CD-ROM format, game files could be large enough to support 3D gameplay and full-motion video. Lipitor, which has become the world&rsquos best-selling drug with $141 billion in sales, was far more effective than previously-released drugs at lowering bad cholesterol.
A number of these products continue to be dominate their markets. The iPad remains the world&rsquos best-selling tablet, with a 32.5% market share last quarter, despite challenges from Amazon.com&rsquos Kindle Fire and Samsung&rsquos Galaxy tablet lines. The PlayStation 4 has sold over 7 million units since it launched last year, well above the Microsoft Xbox One.
Despite their success, some of these products face challenges. Sales of Pfizer&rsquos Lipitor dropped each year after its maker, Pfizer, lost patent protection on the drug in 2011 and cheaper generic drugs came on the market. The ongoing Star Wars saga may lose its status as the all time best-selling movie franchise to Walt Disney&rsquos Marvel Franchise. The Avengers broke box office records, grossing $203.4 million on its opening weekend.
To determine the best-selling products of all-time, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed categories of products widely purchased by consumers and identified individual products that had the highest sales in their category.In some cases, we gathered figures from multiple sources and estimated the final sales figure. In other instances, where one company had a clear market lead, figures reflect data from previous years.
These are the best-selling products of all time.
> Category: Video game console
> Total sales: 344 million units
> Parent company: Sony
When Sony released the PlayStation in the United States in 1995, its 32-bit processor was the most powerful available on the console market at the time. Sony sold more than 70 million PlayStations worldwide by the time the PlayStation 2 was released in 2000. The PlayStation 2 also sold very well in the U.S. and abroad. Sony released the PlayStation 3 in 2006, and it sold 80 million units to retailers by November 2013. The latest generation, the PlayStation 4, has been wildly successful thus-far, already selling 7 million units as of April.
> Category: Pharmaceutical
> Total sales: $141 billion
> Parent company: Pfizer
Pfizer&rsquos Lipitor is prescribed to lower LDL (or bad) cholesterol &mdash high levels of bad cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease. Lipitor is classified as a statin, a class of drug used to reduce the risk of heart-related ailments. However, Lipitor sales have plummeted in recent years after its U.S. patent expired in 2011. Lipitor has lost patent protection in other major markets since. In 2013, Lipitor sales totaled $2.3 billion, down from $9.6 billion in 2011 according to Pfizer&rsquos 2013 annual report. Still, since its introduction in 1997, no other drug came close to Lipitor&rsquos commercial success. The closest competitor for all time sales is Plavix, which had slightly more than half of Lipitor&rsquos lifetime revenue, according to Forbes.
> Category: Vehicle
> Total sales: 40.7 million units
> Parent company: Toyota (NYSE: TM)
Toyota announced last month it sold 1.2 million Corollas in 2013, a 5% year-over-year increase. Since its introduction in Japan in 1966 &mdash the car became available in the U.S. in 1968 &mdash Toyota has sold more than 40.7 million Corollas, more than any other car model. The Corolla&rsquos success on the market is likely due to its reliability, relatively low gas mileage, and affordability. The newly redesigned 2014 Corolla is the model&rsquos 11th generation, and it claims to have better gas mileage and a slightly larger interior. Brand new, the Corolla&rsquos starting MSRP is $16,800.
4. Star Wars
> Category: Movies
> Total sales: $4.6 billion
> Parent company: 20th Century Fox
Only &ldquoGone with the Wind&rdquo brought in more money than the original Star Wars movie. Combined, however, the original trilogy grossed $2.4 billion, accounting for inflation. When Star Wars: Episode I was released more than 20 years later, it grossed $675 million, considerably more than the later installments &mdash episodes two and three &mdash which each still grossed more than $400 million. In total, the Star Wars movies, including special editions and re-releases, grossed $4.6 billion adjusted for inflation in the U.S. While 20th Century Fox still owns the rights to the original Star Wars, Disney purchased the Star Wars universe &mdash Lucasfilms &mdash for $4 billion in 2012. Disney will release the final three movies under J.J. Abrams&rsquo direction. The first of the three is scheduled to hit the box office in 2015.
> Category: Tablet
> Total sales: 211 million units
> Parent company: Apple
Despite losing market share in the first quarter, Apple&rsquos iPad is still the best-selling tablet. The iPad held 40% of the tablet market in the first quarter of 2013, but only 32.5% in the first quarter of this year, according to market research firm IDC. Close rival Samsung picked up much of that market share. IDC analyst reported that iPad lost some of its market share because consumers are holding onto their tablets for longer rather than immediately purchasing the newest version. Apple sold 16.4 million units in the second quarter alone, and more than 211 million since the iPad was first introduced in 2010.
What The Disney-Fox Deal Means For Hollywood
While California continues to burn in the wake of tremendous wildfires, even more major news is coming out SoCal and shaking up Hollywood, in the form of on of the largest merger deals of all time. On Thursday, December 14th Disney acquired key 21st Century Fox assets with the price tag of (only) $66.1 billion. Despite the dust still settling, questions continue to swirl about studios, not to mention other businesses within the entertainment industry. Hollywood Branded included.
So what exactly will happen afterwards? What does the future of the entertainment world look like? Just how big of a deal is this? In this blog, Hollywood Branded will explore this new merge, answer prominent questions, and explain Disney-Fox deal means for Hollywood.
The 'House Of Mouse' Adds Historic Fox To Ranks
As amazingly predicted by The Simpsons in "When You Wish Upon A Star" (Season 10, Episode 5) first airing in 1998, Disney has bought out Fox. No, we're not kidding, the writers can actually see into the future:
Fast forward some odd thirty years to the present and Hollywood is on fire, wildfires aside, with this major studio shake up in the newest example of media consolidation to round out 2017.
So What's The Big Deal?
To get a better understanding of why this is SUCH a big deal, we're going to do another time jump to the year 1904, when Hungarian immigrant William Fox started hand-cranked film screenings in New York. Soon, the single theater grew to twenty-five, and in 1915 Fox moved to Los Angeles, leading up to the 1935 merger with 20th Century Pictures.
The following years would see classics come to life with Cleopatra, The Sound Of Music, and in 1977 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope made it's galactic debut (who funny enough would make the hop to Disney ahead of the studio down the road, but that's another story). In fact. check out our blogs on Brand Partnerships Leverage Star Wars The Force Awakens Infographic and May The Branding Force Be With You, Brands Leverage Star Wars or Star Wars Promotion Partners Awaken A Force Of Brand Alliance
Disney has done really well with their Star Wars brand partnerships!
In more recent years the 2010 release of Avatar by director James Cameron raked in $2.8 billion, making it the No. 1 highest grossing film of all time. Also noteworthy, in 1981 Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation bought into Fox, completing the ownership deal in 1984. Murdoch would then launch the Fox Broadcasting Company in 1986, which still runs to this day.
From there the rest is history, making Fox one of the largest and well-known studios of all time.
Which is why this new deal with Disney is taking the entertainment world by storm, a huge player in Hollywood has now been essentially gobbled up by another even bigger company! Taking with it the many films, television, and potential SVOD rights with them, and expanding Disney's power within the industry.
And if you're worried about Rupert Murdoch and his family, he is going to be A-Okay. According to recent reports from Time, the media outlet has confirmed the 86-year old media mogul (and by extension his family) now own 5% of Disney, roughly translated into an increased net worth of about $518 million, and when the deal eventually closes in full he'll find himself about $4 billion richer. Not to mention, as part of the agreement the Murdoch's have secured future seats on the company's board of directors.
So don't worry, Rupert and the rest of the Murdoch's are going to be just fine.
And before you ask, no, Disney doesn’t own all of Fox, only 20th Century Fox studios, both the film and television side, I.E. Fox’s 22 regional sports channels, cable entertainment brands FX and National Geographic. Additionally, Disney also acquired 30% share in Hulu which Fox HD previously held, making Disney the new majority shareholder in the streaming service -- which is a major win for the Mickey and Co.
Post-Merge Growing Pains
It isn't all smiles and pixie dust right now. With company mergers job redundancy is looked at immediately following in a classic 'too many cooks in the kitchen' scenario, and according to recent reports Disney is already clearing out cubicles . Rich Greenfield , BTIG analyst with a long history crunching numbers in terms of Disney discussion, believes an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 jobs could be on the axing block. Greenfield provided a written explanation saying, “Disney expects over $2 billion in synergies from the Fox acquisition, with the overwhelming majority of that from cost-savings–meaning job cuts.” Of course immediate thoughts go with the expected lessening of film releases, which in itself is a form of job reduction that will have even bigger ramifications on production crew job loss in Hollywood, however it's believed more prominent layoffs are on the horizon. Greenfield continued, “In order to reduce costs by upwards of $2 billion, we believe Disney will need to cut well-over 5,000 jobs and the number could easily swell toward 10,000 given the high degree of overlap between the two companies around the world.”
This is a tremendous amount of people in Hollywood who won't be able to be immediately absorbed back into the economy as new hires. Some of these people will be at a senior level, even close to retirement, and while we would hope their pensions (if they exist) and long-terms holdings are taken care of there are no guarantees when it comes to the entertainment industry. Another large majority will include newcomers to the workforce taking the infantile steps in what had hoped to be a long-term career, now they will most likely find themselves without a lot of established experience that will not exactly help lock in future job opportunities.
More news will likely follow in the next few weeks as to where and what departments will feel the brunt of the shake up, but for now the tension is definitely palpable going into the Holiday season.
Two Worlds, One Family? The Future Of Films
What do you get when a family-friendly powerhouse assumes a film company who regularly produces Oscar contenders? A lot of questions and uncertainty. Disney's bread and butter has always been with family kid-friendly content, and in recent years they have stretched out to explore blockbuster, popcorn flicks with purchases of Star Wars rights as well as nerd nexus Marvel.
However, 21st Century Fox is no stranger to adult films especially Fox Searchlight Pictures who every season eyes the Oscars and already boasts three awards for Best Picture for the films Slumdog Millionaire, 12 Years A Slave, and Birdman. Granted, Searchlight's parent company 20th Century Fox has yet to win any Academy Awards for Best Picture, however they continue to make films for possible contention. Most recently, The Post starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep coming to theaters Friday, December 22, has already been generating Oscar buzz .
That isn't to say Disney has never seen the Oscars. On the contrary, the company has 23 Academy Awards but none of them for Best Picture. Renowned classic Mary Poppins remains the only film nominated for Best Picture (at the 37th Academy Awards), however lost to My Fair Lady directed by George Cukor. The majority of the nominations -- and wins -- lead the Best Original Song category, the most recent winner of the title being 'Let It Go' from Frozen in 2013, adding to the expansive and impressive shelf.
Thus, the question remains: w ill Disney allow Fox to continue making movies aimed at a wide variety of audiences, I.E. adult-orientated films? Or will Disney wedge Fox into the same box as its other subsidiary studios, like Marvel and Pixar, who are responsible for a set number of films per year, all of which are expected to achieve certain box office benchmarks? More has yet to follow since the deal was struck, but if that’s the case, film fans will have lost something great as far as expansive plots, genres, and entertainment that speak to a more mature audience beyond the PG ratings. For now though, it's a waiting game.
Where Do Brands Go From Here?
Looking to navigate the uncertain waters of product placement of brand integration in Hollywood movies? Seeing as Disney is slowly becoming the largest market read a previous blog by Hollywood Branded for a comprehensive list of all Upcoming Disney Remakes (AKA Family Friendly Partnership Opportunities) , and download our Product Placement 101 guide to find your footing in the new age of entertainment!
20 Lessons from a Century of General Electric Storytelling
Over the last 15 years, over 52% of the Fortune 500 companies have gone extinct. A common theme among all of the failures is a lack of attention to storytelling. GE has endured for over 100 years due to it’s storytelling, messaging, and advertisements. The GE brand has outlived empires, two world wars, global Communism, and most of its competitors. The power commanded by the General Electric brand evolved over the span of more than a century. To command a brand for a commendable feat — but a century? Only the best of advertising and marketing can guarantee that kind of dominance.
To fully understand the power and depth of GE, you have to go back to its roots and understand that the GE we know today is an amalgam of different companies and innovations. Like all great ideas, it starts with a light bulb and a good cup of coffee.
A placard showing the use of Edison Electric Light Company (to become GE in 1892) lighting. “The use of Electricity for lighting is in no way harmful to health, nor does it affect the soundness of sleep.”
(1) When introducing something entirely new to the marketplace, anticipate consumers’ concerns about health and safety. Never assume that they won’t ask.
“Heated inside without fire, it does perfectly alone what others do with outside head and extra work.”
In 1892, Edison Electric Lighting Company became General Electric, rolling out everything from light bulbs to irons and even train locomotives.
(2) When you have the consumer won over to your new technology, hit them in the pocket first. They’re going to assume something new is going to be pricey because it often is. Don’t be afraid to play up the fact that prices are coming down.
As time progressed, GE positioned itself at the forefront of human progress and optimism. With their technology working its way into every home and even spanning the Panama Canal, they capitalized on massive leaps in human ingenuity at the beginning of the 20th century. (3) Co-opt the Zeitgeist of your time to be associated with the best your era has to offer.
Simultaneously, GE didn’t allow itself to be painted into the corner of cold, unfeeling industry. If the Zeitgeist of the early 20th Century was that of progress and innovation, it was also one of inhuman industry and the growth of mass commercialization over craft production. If there’s one thing that defines the GE brand — even with a name as un-exciting and un-humanized as ‘General Electric’ — it’s humanized technology. Early General Electric adverts place humans front and center with their consumer technology. (4) Sell your experience and paint a picture that is familiar to consumers. Throw them into the marketing.
As technology progresses, consumers discover bumps along the way. A growing kitchen turns out to have few norms or ideas for organization. Replacing the icebox with a refrigerator means that the latter is going to break and somebody has to fix it. Electricity in every home brings with it dangers of electrical fires. In other industries, we see automobiles bringing car accidents, smartphones bringing tunnel-vision screen-binging, and texting killing the art of making a phone call.
A well-crafted brand doesn’t ignore the negative perception of change but instead leverages it to its advantage. Technological dangers and discomforts open up opportunity in the market for superior technology — and superior brands — to fill the void instead of forcing a regress to times before the technology. (5) Capitalize on consumers’ worries and fears to offer a superior product and optimistic vision for technology.
The 1930s thrusted the television set into the American home (powered by GE for the first broadcast!) and made the consumer-facing aspect of GE even more prescient, yet this didn’t stop GE from taking a holistic approach to their brand. (6) If you learn to coopt the positive elements of the Zeitgeist, also learn to fight the negative. 1940 brought with it a world embroiled in war and the dark side of modernization, but GE continued its push for progress. This also parlays well into a recruiting move, which GE continues to play up to this day (more on that later).
The conclusion of the Second World War hastened the Baby Boom and a spike in consumption and mass production. Just as with the first spike in the beginning of the century, GE led the charge in home appliances, lights, televisions, radios, and any easily mass-produced electric system for the consumer. With mass production of consumer goods came with it a radio (and later a TV) in every home. Radios and TVs in every home brought with them the opportunity to delve into entirely new forms of advertising. Like the technology that precipitated its entrance, GE was once again at the fore of this advertising with a well-known movie actor named Ronald Reagan.
GE Radio Theater was one of the first successful examples of branded content leveraging major celebrities. Reagan, who himself was well-known as a movie actor at this point in his career, hosted an anthology of guests that ranged from James Dean to Zsa Zsa Gabor to the Marx Brothers. The show was not an informercial for General Electric products. Far from it, GE Radio and Television Theater focused on plays, short stories, and anthologies with the primary motivation to pull the consumer in and entertain them. Once they were pulled into the show, Reagan would offer updates on GE’s technological research and new products hitting the market.
For the short eight years that the show ran on television and radio, GE Radio Theater offers a plethora of lessons in branded content.
(7) Understand the power of branded content. GE Radio Theater is a major departure from the print advertising that had defined GE until 1954. Before the distinction between branded content and sponsored content was a thing, GE led the charge into both. Doing more than simply offering advertisements at the end of shows, GE Radio Theater made itself distinct from broadcast advertising. Each episode ended with an update on GE’s work that tied back into the entertaining and optimistic Zeitgeist of the postwar boom. This gave listeners a reason to listen in through the broadcast and not turn off the show when the update came. Reagan traveled the country speaking to researchers and workers at GE’s facilities and learned about the new innovations they were working on while simultaneously leading audiences to these revelations. Traditional sponsored content follows a model like this: [ADVERT] CONTENT [ADVERT]. GE’s branded content was a model closer to CONTENT BRAND CONTENT CONTENT — not just reading an ad and instead informing the listener along the way allowed GE to take a huge step towards distinction.
(8) Understand that marketing is not give and take. It’s give-give-give-give-give-wait-take. Marketing is markedly different than sales. Sales can be described as a process of give-and-take. What we learn from iconic campaigns like GE Radio Theater is that marketing is much more than give-and-take. Putting a warm, human face like Ronald Reagan’s at the front of the brand made it possible for GE — a company that made cold, electric devices and employed scientists in far-off cities in unseen laboratories — to build a brand that would transcend different products and inspire an entire category of marketing research to this day. A consumer thinking of purchasing a GE blender or a Westinghouse blender may feel more affinity for GE because of growing up listening to Reagan’s anthologies on the radio, despite those being decades prior. The giving done by GE Radio Theater continues today.
(9) Don’t paint yourself into a corner by being preachy. Entertain, don’t inform. A hamfisted approach to what GE achieved with Radio Theater would be a show interviewing GE scientists and researchers and letting them talk about all of the amazing things that GE is researching and developing. This is the straightforward and the analytical approach. It’s also the wrong approach unless your primary target audience is overwhelmingly straightforward and analytical. This is captured today in podcast interviews with experts on highly technical subjects — these pale in comparison to shows like Welcome to Night Vale, This American Life, and Serial. The GE approach was more roundabout. The primary stakeholders in GE’s marketing were the people in the home. This could be housewives charged with choosing new appliances for the household, children interested in getting a new radio or television set, or the husband looking to buy industrial tools. These people are, for the most part, not looking to be informed about the best technical matters of the newest research. They may be looking to be wowed at the pace of technological progress but that is a separate point and more of the emotional and storytelling sale than the analytical sale. Focus on storytelling — even seemingly irrelevant stories will do more to build rapport with the viewer or listener than preaching.
(10) Dominate new media to capture a specific image. Before a radio was commonplace in every home, GE Radio Theater was already on television. For a company associating itself with progress (so much so that the show opened with “Progress is Our Most Important Product”) being on the most high-tech media paid off at a premium. Whatever your value is that you want consumers to understand, know that the medium is the message. If you want to be associated with technology and progress, dominate drones, virtual and augmented reality, and immersive video. If you want to be associated with nostalgia, dominate podcasts-ala-Radio Theater and blogs-ala-print.
(11) Let your listeners and viewers pickup where they want to. GE Radio Theater was the podcast format before podcasts existed (in fact, as we discuss below, GE has brought back Radio Theater as GE Podcast Theater). One of the reasons podcasts capture the audience they do is because they are modular. You can pick up on episode 115 after stopping at episode 95. The anthological nature of GE Radio Theater made it easy for a listener to pick up an episode in their car and then tune in after missing a few episodes for another several weeks later. This was particularly important in the historical context of the time when streaming and reruns weren’t a thing. If you missed an episode, you’d be out of luck unless you were able to procure a physical recording.
(12) Let your audience guide you. Take a moment to check out the list of all of the guests from GE Radio Theater. Every guest was a massive hit in their time. GE knew that Radio Theater was to sell the average consumer on their products and the association between their products and progress. Rather than put scientists or unknown celebrities on the show, they followed what consumers were already chasing and put them behind and in front of the GE logo at the beginning and end of Radio Theater. Don’t try to lead your audience. Let your audience lead you.
Reagan’s tenure at GE Radio Theater was brought to an early close after he attacked the Tennessee Valley Authority as an example of “big government,” and was fired by General Electric. Radio Theater’s replacement, GE True, only lasted a season and featured another anthological format but fell victim to attempting to combine two then-iconic brands.
(13) Put your brand at the forefront. The quick demise of GE True can be tracked to GE attempting to combine its brand with that of True magazine. While working together to feature GE content in True or to somehow feature True magazine in GE advertising could and does work to this day, taking a new medium like television and attempting to combine two iconic brands together results in both being pushed forward a little. Ultimately, the show ran under the title True after GE killed the first season.
(14) Invoke Nostalgia. The future was better in the past. Nostalgia is your friend, even if the events of the past paint a cloudier picture. Position your brand in such a way that you can issue a challenge and take up the altar of the optimistic future of the past for yourself. For General Electric, this was easy. The company came about during the single largest expansion of capital in human history and was originally founded by a businessman who would become a titan of industry in the American collective consciousness: Thomas Edison.
For the next 40 years, GE continued on its march as a company branded by progress, science, and innovation. At the height of the Cold War, the GE brand could be thought of as the American brand painting an optimistic future for what western capitalism could look like up against far eastern communism. (15) Leverage your unique position against something to be avoided to fully live out the GE lesson in branding from this era.
Fast forward to nearly thirty years since the collapse of the USSR and GE, now an iconic brand at risk of being perceived as “stodgy” and “old-fashioned” has a new challenge it never had to deal with before: don’t let yourself be perceived as the dinosaur in the room that just makes appliances.
GE’s compatriots in the “stodgy, and old-fashioned” category of American industry are defined by their lack of humanness. These large, faceless corporations operate as hubs of work for most Americans but are defined by little more than a stock of consumer-facing products and a stock ticker. This makes everything from sales to recruitment difficult, especially when these companies face attacks from smaller upstarts chipping away at their different verticals and are recruiting heavily from the best talent in the country.
The focus of GE’s contemporary advertising in light of this challenge is to (16) humanize, humanize, humanize. Take the time to look at any number of advertisements on the GE YouTube channel and you’ll notice that they all play up human elements like “What my mom does at GE,” “how many women GE wants to employ,” and how GE can use humor (the most human creative element) to promote their products.
The company's Board of Directors consisted of 16 individuals at the time of its break up:
- Rupert Murdoch (Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer)
- José María Aznar (Former Prime Minister of Spain)
- Natalie Bancroft (Director)
- Peter Barnes
- James W. Breyer
- Chase Carey (President and Chief Operating Officer)
- Elaine Chao
- David F. DeVoe (Chief Financial Officer)
- Viet Dinh
- Sir Roderick Ian Eddington
- Joel I. Klein (Executive Vice President)
- James Murdoch (Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Europe & Asia)
- Lachlan Murdoch
- Álvaro Uribe (Former President of Colombia)
- Stanley S. Shuman (Director Emeritus)
- Arthur M. Siskind (Director Emeritus, Senior Advisor to the Chairman)
List of companies and businesses owned by News Corporation prior to its formal split on June 28, 2013. All media and broadcasting assets, except media assets owned by News Limited, now belong to The Walt Disney Company and Fox Corporation (successors to 21st Century Fox), its legal successors. Meanwhile, newspapers and other publishing assets, including media assets under News Limited, were spun off as a new News Corp.
- book publishing company
- HarperCollins India
- Inspirio – religious gift production.
- Australia published by News Limited.
- The Australian (Nationwide)
- Community Media Group (16 QLD & NSW suburban/regional titles)
- Cumberland-Courier Newspapers (23 suburban/commuter titles)
- The Courier-Mail (Queensland)
- The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
- The Cairns Post (Cairns, Queensland)
- The Gold Coast Bulletin (Gold Coast, Queensland)
- The Townsville Bulletin (Townsville, Queensland)
- The Daily Telegraph (New South Wales)
- The Sunday Telegraph (New South Wales)
- Herald Sun (Victoria)
- Sunday Herald Sun (Victoria)
- The Weekly Times (Victoria)
- Leader Newspapers (33 suburban Melbourne titles)
- MX (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane CBD)
- The Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, Victoria)
- The Advertiser (South Australia)
- The Sunday Mail (South Australia)
- Messenger Newspapers (11 suburban Adelaide, SA titles)
- The Sunday Times (Western Australia)
- The Mercury (Tasmania)
- Quest Newspapers (19 suburban Brisbane, QLD titles)
- The Sunday Tasmanian (Tasmania)
- Northern Territory News (Northern Territory)
- The Sunday Territorian (Northern Territory)
- The Tablelands Advertiser (Atherton Tablelands and the Far North, Queensland)
- Fiji Times (National) (10%)
- Nai Lalakai (10%)
- Shanti Dut (10%)
- Papua New Guinea Post-Courier (National) (62.5%)
- News Group Newspapers Ltd.
- The Sun (published in Scotland as The Scottish Sun and in Ireland as The Irish Sun)
- The Sun on Sunday
- The Sunday Times
- The Times
- The Times Literary Supplement
- The New York Post
- Community Newspaper Group
- The Brooklyn Paper
- Bronx Times-Reporter
- Brooklyn Courier-Life
- TimesLedger Newspapers
- Consumer Media Group
- The Wall Street Journal
- Wall Street Journal Europe
- Wall Street Journal Asia
- Barron's – weekly financial markets magazine. – Financial news and information website.
- Far Eastern Economic Review
- – global, real-time news and information provider. – provides business news and information together with content delivery tools and services. – stock market indexes and indicators, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
- Dow Jones Financial Information Services – produces databases, electronic media, newsletters, conferences, directories, and other information services on specialised markets and industry sectors.
- Betten Financial News – leading Dutch language financial and economic news service.
- Ottaway Community Newspapers – 8 daily and 15 weekly regional newspapers.
- Bayside Times, Whitestone Times, Flushing Times, Little Neck Ledger, Jamaica Times, Astoria Times, Forest Hills Ledger
- SmartSource Magazine (weekly Sunday newspaper coupon insert)
- The Weekly Standard
- Alpha Magazine
- Australian Country Style
- Australian Golf Digest
- Australian Good Taste
- Big League
- Donna Hay
- Fast Fours (Australia)
- Gardening Australia
- InsideOut (Aust)
- Lifestyle Pools
- Live to Ride
- Overlander 4WD
- Modern Boating
- Modern Fishing
- Pure Health
- Super Food Ideas
- Truck Australia
- Truckin' Life
- twowheels scooter
- Vogue (Australia)
- Vogue Entertaining & Travel
- Vogue Living
- Inside Out magazine
Music and radio
- Fox Film Music Group (acquired in June 2016, encompassing UK & Ireland radio stations Virgin Radio, TalkSport, U105 Belfast, LMFM (Louth-Meath), Q102 Dublin, FM104, 96FM Cork)
- Majority ownership of the Brisbane Broncos (68.9%) and full ownership of the Melbourne Storm rugby league team.
- Colorado Rockies (15%)
- : 20th Century Fox's parent company : a film production/distribution company
- – specialized films. – general audience feature films.
- Fox Television Studios International
- Fox World Productions
- The Simpsons - "Deep, Deep Trouble" music video (animated by Anivision)
- MADtv - Spy vs. Spy shorts (produced for Klasky Csupo)
- 2003 Wendy's "Go Wild" commercial starring the Looney Tunes characters, promoting Looney Tunes: Back in Action 
- 59th Primetime Emmy Awards - Brian and Stewie Griffin opening number
- Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow
- – television distribution (syndication). – low scripted/budgeted television production company. – animation production company. (productions)- market specific programming e.g. COPS and network television company.
News Corp agreed to sell eight of its television stations to Oak Hill Capital Partners for approximately $1.1 billion as of December 22, 2007. The stations are US Fox affiliates. These stations, along with those already acquired by Oak Hill that were formerly owned by The New York Times Company, formed the nucleus of Oak Hill's Local TV LLC division.
- (Fox), a US broadcast television network , a US broadcast television network , a group of owned and operated Fox television stations
- , United Kingdom & Ireland (39.1% holding). In practice, a controlling interest. , New Zealand (44%) (100%), Italy's largest pay TV service (previously owning part of Stream TV) (54.5%), Germany's largest pay TV provider (30%), an Indian DirectToHome TeleVision Service Provider. (in partnership with Tata Group (70%)) (25%), Australia, a joint venture with Telstra (50%) and Consolidated Media Holdings (25%) , Italian Broadcast and Production Company (with 2 HDTV) , an Asian satellite TV service having 300 million viewers in 53 countries, mainly in India, China & other Asian countries (17.6%), satellite TV network with landing rights in Hong Kong, and select provinces on Mainland China.
Cable TV channels owned (in whole or part) and operated by News Corporation include:
History of Phelps Dodge Corporation
One of the largest copper mining concerns in the world, Phelps Dodge Corporation operates several manufacturing businesses to insulate the company from the cyclicality of copper prices. Phelps Dodge's copper business is conducted through the company's Phelps Dodge Mining Comp any subsidiary, which also produces silver, gold, and other minerals as a byproduct of its copper operations. Its Climax Molybdenum Co. un it is the world's largest molybdenum producer. The manufacturing side of the company's business operates through a division called Phelps Dodge Industries, which has expanded aggressively during the 1990s. T he manufacturing businesses include Columbian Chemicals Company, one of the world's largest producers of carbon black (used in inks and ti res) Phelps Dodge Wire & Cable and Phelps Dodge High Performanc e Conductors, which manufactures specialty conductors used by the aut omotive, computer, and aerospace industries.
In 1834 founder Anson Phelps, a New York entrepreneur thoroughly expe rienced in the import-export trade and well-connected in his targeted British market, formed Phelps, Dodge & Co. Along with his junior partners, sons-in-law William Dodge and Daniel James, Phelps supplie d his English customers with cotton, replacing it on the homeward jou rney with tin, tin plate, iron, and copper, for sale to government, t rade, and individual consumers in the United States. Before long, Phe lps started a manufacturing company in Connecticut called the Ansonia Brass and Battery Company, and in 1845 he helped organize the Ansoni a Manufacturing Company, which produced kettles, lamps, rivets, butto ns, and other metal items.
Phelps steered his fledgling empire grimly through a seven-year panic that began during 1837. His reward came during the following 14 year s of national prosperity, when large numbers of his products went wes t with new settlers, accompanied travelers on the rapidly expanding r ailroads, and provided a modicum of comfort for miners at the recentl y discovered Sierra Nevada gold deposits in California. Even broader markets came from such inventions as the McCormick reaper and the ele ctric telegraph, whose need for cable wire would swell Phelps Dodge c offers well into the next century. By 1849 the company was capitalize d at almost $1 million, and its profits were almost 30 percent.
Phelps's death in 1853 gave his son and each of his two sons-in-law a 25 percent interest in the business, with 15 percent going to a youn ger son-in-law. This second partnership was scarcely five years old w hen Anson Phelps, Jr., died. On January 1, 1859, the partnership was revised again, to increase the firm's capitalization to $1.5 mill ion and to give William Dodge and Daniel James each a 28 percent shar e. With reorganization complete, the company turned its attention to developing industries such as mining.
An interest in timber had begun in the mid-1830s, when Phelps, Dodge accepted timberlands in Pennsylvania in lieu of payment for a debt. L ater it built the world's largest lumber mill there, establishing a t imber agency in Baltimore, Maryland, to send its products to domestic and foreign customers.
Despite these diversifications, the principal interests of the compan y were still mercantile. However, through the advice of James Douglas , a mining engineer and chemical geologist, Phelps, Dodge was persuad ed to take a large block of stock in the Morenci copper mine in what was then the Arizona Territory. Morenci was owned by the Detroit Copp er Company, which exchanged the stock for a $30,000 loan. Douglas was also enthusiastic about prospects for another claim called Atlan ta, situated in Arizona's Bisbee district, about 200 miles southwest of Morenci. In 1881 the company bought the Atlanta claim for $40, 000.
Two years later Phelps, Dodge had a chance to purchase the adjoining Copper Queen mine, which was then producing about 300 tons of ore mon thly. The partnership decided to buy Copper Queen when Douglas hit th e main Atlanta lode in 1884, at almost the same time that a Copper Qu een tunnel penetrated the lode from a different spot. Arizona mining operations at the time stuck strictly to the "rule of the apex," acco rding to which a claim owner could follow a vein of ore onto another claim, if the deposit had come closest to the surface on his land. Th is had occurred with Copper Queen, and Phelps, Dodge, rather than ris k losing this strike to the Copper Queen owners, purchased the Copper Queen mine, merging it with the Atlanta claim.
In August 1885 Phelps, Dodge & Co. decided to streamline its oper ations by incorporating the subsidiary Copper Queen Consolidated Mini ng Company in New York, with James Douglas as president. Cautiously, Douglas made no major acquisitions for ten years. Then, he bought the Moctezuma Copper Company in Sonora, Mexico, from the Guggenheim fami ly. Two years later he purchased the Detroit Copper Company.
20th Century: A Focus on Copper
A large increase in domestic iron production during the 1890s plus a two cents tariff on each pound of imported tin plate instituted in 18 90 combined to make profitable metal markets hard to find. These fact ors and the fast growth of the company's mining interests forced it t o withdraw from most ventures other than copper mining and selling by 1906.
Phelps, Dodge still retained its Ansonia Brass and Copper Company, ho wever, which had become one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of copp er wire for the new telephone industry. Other products included brass wire, sheet copper, and rolled brass.
The shift to mining interests led to a need for another reorganizatio n. In 1908 the old Phelps, Dodge & Co. partnership was dissolved, to be replaced by a corporation called Phelps, Dodge & Co., Inc. Capitalized at $50 million, the new concern consolidated all the various Phelps, Dodge mining interests: Copper Queen Consolidated Mi ning Company Moctezuma Copper Company Detroit Copper Mining Company and Stag Cañon Fuel Company, a subsidiary consisting of coal and timber properties near Dawson, New Mexico, purchased in 1905 to supply the mines and smelters with fuel.
By this time there were 10,000 employees working in the mines, the sm elters, the company railroads, and other ventures. There was also com petition from other mining companies, which were able to mine copper, but lacked smelting facilities for processing. To provide these comp etitors with more efficient service while handling the smelting for i ts own copper mines, Phelps, Dodge abandoned its old Bisbee smelter a nd erected a new one some 23 miles away.
Following the 1917 entry of the United States into World War I, deman d for copper for munitions and communications exploded. The company s melters turned out 600 to 700 tons daily. Also in 1917, Phelps, Dodge & Co., Inc. transferred its assets and subsidiaries to Copper Qu een Consolidated Mining Company. Copper Queen became the operating co mpany and changed its name to Phelps Dodge Corporation.
With all enterprises operating at capacity, the Bisbee miners went on strike in July 1917. One factor was the powerlessness of mine manage rs to make policy decisions on behalf of top management in New York. Another was the shrinking supply of experienced workers, who were goi ng into the military or being lured away by higher salaries and bette r working conditions.
The International Workers of the World (Wobblies) easily caught the a ttention of the miners working for Phelps Dodge. At issue were better working conditions, a wage increase to $6 per day, and abolition of the unpopular physical examination to which all applicants were s ubjected before obtaining a job. Many suspected the exam was a filter to exclude prospective miners with undesired political affiliations.
When the strike was two weeks old, Phelps Dodge Director Walter Dougl as instructed an employee of the El Paso & Southwestern Railroad to transport about 1,200 strikers to Columbus, New Mexico, where they were to be turned loose. After the commander of a nearby army camp r efused permission to unload the cars, the workers were released in a small Mexican town called Hermanas, where they lived at starvation le vel until two carloads of food arrived from the U.S. Army base at nea rby El Paso, Texas. Though 25 participants in the Bisbee deportation were indicted, no particular blame was attached to any individual and the matter petered out.
The end of World War I brought a need for downscaling of all operatio ns. Government warehouses were packed with more than 800 million poun ds of copper, and more was coming in from Chilean mines at low cost. To counter these new challenges, Phelps Dodge and other large U.S. co pper mining companies cut production and formed the Copper and Brass Research Association to seek out and promote new uses for copper. At the same time, the companies founded the Copper Export Association, p ooling 400 pounds of copper for exclusive sale in foreign markets.
Suffering acutely from the postwar slump in demand was the Arizona Co pper Company, with holdings adjoining the Phelps Dodge Morenci proper ties. Part of this company's assets was a huge deposit of low-grade o re that it could not afford to develop. Phelps Dodge bought Arizona C opper and merged it with its Morenci holdings in 1921 in exchange for 50,000 shares of capital stock.
By 1925 business expansion was demanding record amounts of copper. In that year almost 1.75 billion pounds of refined copper were produced all over the country. Arizona's contribution to this total was more than 800 million pounds, a quarter of which came from Phelps Dodge mi nes. The stock market crash in 1929 brought the bonanza to an end, ho wever. Demand for copper dwindled everywhere, the price falling to 18 cents per pound from a high of 23 cents. Effects of the crash were f elt immediately. Sales, which had been $46.1 million in 1928, wer e down to $38.7 million in 1929, though net earnings were $4 million, up from $2.6 million the year before.
In April 1930 Walter Douglas resigned as chief executive of Phelps Do dge. In his stead came Louis S. Cates. Cates's first priority was to integrate the Phelps Dodge operations and to cut costs and allow for the Arizona tax of two cents on every pound of copper processed. Cate s then, also in 1930, acquired the Nichols Copper Company, which had an electrolytic refinery on Long Island, New York.
In another important 1930 acquisition, Phelps Dodge bought National E lectric Products Corporation, a large manufacturer of copper products for electrical and building purposes, with an annual capacity of mor e than 200,000 pounds of fabricated copper products and 150,000 pound s of steel. National Electric brought the company eight plants and a major interest in the Habirshaw Cable and Wire Corporation.
Cates reorganized all subsidiaries into two efficient organizations. The first, the National Electric Products Corporation, consisted only of the National Metal Molding division. This division's main interes t was steel products, and it eventually reverted to its original owne rs by an exchange of stock. The second division was headed by a new s ubsidiary called the Phelps Dodge Copper Corporation. This division w as charged with operating all the fabricating divisions including Hab irshaw Cable and Wire.
Cates's next challenge was the long-operative Copper Queen mine, whos e high-grade ore was becoming inaccessible and too expensive to mine. Phelps Dodge acquired the Calumet & Arizona Mining Company, a lo ngstanding rival with Bisbee acreage adjoining Copper Queen. Overridi ng the objections of Calumet President Gordon Campbell, who resigned in April 1931, the purchase became final in September, giving Phelps Dodge title to a low-cost New Cornelia mine 150 miles away at Ajo, Ar izona. Phelps Dodge consolidated the Calumet & Arizona and Copper Queen operations to reap economies of scale.
The Depression continued, however the end of 1932 showed sales of ju st under $22 million, as opposed to $50.3 million in 1931. In an effort to pare costs and keep pace with lower demand, Cates cut p roduction at the Copper Queen. He also suspended all operations at Ne w Cornelia, and closed both the Stag Canyon coal operations and Moren ci.
Nevertheless, Phelps Dodge bought the United Verde Copper Company des pite a steep price of $20.8 million. With about 6,100 acres of cl aims in Arizona, United Verde proved its worth in 1937, when reserves of 6.9 millions tons of ore were produced. In 1937 the company went ahead with long-held plans to expand operations at Morenci, where a c lay ore-body was prepared for open-pit copper mining, refining, and s melting, at a cost of $32.6 million.
By 1939 the Depression years were part of the company's history. Sale s reached $75.5 million, yielding total income of $15.5 milli on, and the number of employees, recorded in mid-1938, reached about 9,000.
World War II once again found plants operating at maximum capacity. S tepping in for employees on military service, women and Navajo Indian s ran the Morenci mine, smelting facilities, and refining plant. Typi cal of pay rates was the wage for rock-shoveling: 64 cents per hour.
Once again operating at full capacity, Phelps Dodge supplied condense r tubes for the navy and cables for communications and electric power . Other orders were harder to fill, notably a specialized lead pipe i n 50-mile lengths, which was laid under the English Channel to supply Britain's troops with gasoline for the Normandy invasion.
Already looking towards the war's end in 1944, the company began to b uild the Horseshoe Dam on the Verde River, about 55 miles northeast o f Phoenix, Arizona, to allow for water conservation while filling the needs of its Morenci operations. Year-end 1944 sales figures of $ 168.1 million more than doubled the $80 million figure for 1940.
Post-World War II Expansion
By 1950 Phelps Dodge was the second largest domestic copper producer, contributing 30 percent of the country's output. It was also one of the world's top three, its position as a purely domestic supplier mad e even more secure by a two cents per pound import duty. Characterist ic of the 1950s was government activism in the industry, partly as a result of the Korean War. At the end of 1950, the government institut ed price controls for copper, placing a cap of 24.5 cents per pound. Other moves came as a result of a 1947 Federal Trade Commission study , emphasizing the surprisingly low level of competition in the indust ry, and intimating the power was concentrated in the hands of too few groups.
Though not specified by the report, there was also a belief that copp er resources could be exhausted, because copper companies were doing little to find additional reserves, and that this situation should be remedied. Negotiations between the government and the mining compani es followed. Over the next two years, the country's copper-mining cap abilities increased by 25 percent, thanks to seven new mines.
Phelps Dodge's contribution to this effort was the Lavender Pit mine, opened in 1954 to develop an extension of the Bisbee operations know n as the Bisbee East orebody. As was the case with most of the compan ies, terms of the agreement were that the open-pit mine should be dev eloped and equipped with a smelter at a cost of $25 million, enti rely corporate-sponsored. In return, the company asked for a guarante e that the government would buy its copper at protected prices. By 19 56 Lavender Pit produced 80.3 million pounds of copper.
Another important development was the Peruvian Project, a joint ventu re between Phelps Dodge and three other mining companies intended to provide ownership of three southern Peru mines, together containing a n estimated one billion tons of low-grade ore. Phelps Dodge's 16 perc ent share of the costs was $24.3 million. The peak sales year of the 1950s was 1956, when sales reached $540.3 million, yielding a total income of $153.9 million.
At the end of the 1950s, the company spread its wings beyond its Cana dian subsidiaries, venturing into several developing countries. A 51 percent interest in a 1957 enterprise called the Phelps Dodge Copper Products Corporation of the Philippines gave it a new source of insul ated wire and cable for electrical use. Another venture blossomed in 1960, when the United States Underseas Cable Corporation was establis hed jointly with several U.S. companies and a West German company. Th ere was also a San Salvador affiliation called the Phelps Dodge Produ cts de Centro America S.A., which manufactured electrical wire and ca bles for the Central American market.
Despite these overseas connections, however, Phelps Dodge kept its ma in activities in the United States. This policy protected its copper from politically inspired import tariffs, as well as from taxation, s trike activity, and fluctuating prices found in foreign bases includi ng Chile. By the end of 1963, this policy yielded $327 million in sales, from annual production reaching 261,400 tons.
Another advantage of domestic concentration was vertical integration. Now one of the country's three largest copper producers, Phelps Dodg e through its fabricating subsidiaries provided outlets for its coppe r. This hedge against price swings also gave it immunity against purc hasing at high prices to make sure that fabricating subsidiaries had an adequate copper supply.
By 1965 the price of copper rose from 34 cents to 36 cents per pound. Plastics, lead, aluminum, and zinc had advanced far enough to threat en long-term copper markets. Phelps Dodge President Robert Page felt it desirable to keep copper prices moderate enough to maintain demand for the metal.
Still, the new opportunities aluminum offered could not be ignored. I n 1963 the company formed the Phelps Dodge Aluminum Products Corporat ion, producing aluminum wire and cable to complement the copper line. Though the aluminum enterprise produced 17 fabrication plants by 197 0, the company foresaw little long-term profit in it, and therefore m erged its company with the Consolidated Aluminum Corporation in 1971.
In July 1967 an industrywide strike began that lasted until the end o f March 1968. The Phelps Dodge operations most affected were the More nci, Ajo, and Bisbee mines, as well as the El Paso refinery. Run by a coalition of 14 unions led by the United Steelworkers of America, th e strike called for companywide bargaining for all operations, regard less of competitive and geographic differences. Eventually, an averag e increase of $1.13 per hour in wages and benefits sent workers b ack to their jobs after the administration of President Lyndon B. Joh nson intervened. Post-strike operations recommenced without raw-coppe r shortages, since most refiners were able to reuse scrap copper to a ugment their reserves.
Company Chairman Robert Page handed the helm to George Munroe in 1969 . Still holding the presidency (the office of chairman was abolished) , Munroe oversaw the establishment of a new mine at Tyrone, New Mexic o. Formerly known as Burro Mountain, this was a low-grade ore deposit that previously had been too expensive to work. New technology made the mine economically feasible, boosting total capacity by 20 percent annually. The expansion brought its reward the decade ended with sa les of $672.1 million.
In 1969 Phelps Dodge swapped 800,000 of its own shares for a 26 perce nt interest in Denver, Colorado-based Western Nuclear, Inc., a compan y concerned with uranium mining, milling, and exploration. Initially, an open-pit uranium mine and mill were erected near Spokane, Washing ton. Three years later, Western Nuclear became a wholly owned subsidi ary, undergoing a $71 million expansion and modernization program to improve its production capacity at other facilities in Wyoming.
With the Clean Air Act of 1970, environmental concerns came to the fo re. The most critical problem Phelps Dodge faced was at Douglas, Ariz ona, where its smelter regularly processed 7 percent of the nation's annual copper production. By 1973 Arizona anti-pollution laws require d $17 million worth of emission-control adaptations to this smelt er, although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was still unde cided about its requirements. This left a strong possibility of confl ict between state and federal regulations. Fears of a clash were disp elled when federal standards proved to be lower than those of Arizona state regulators were still dissatisfied, despite the money spent o n emission control equipment. Phelps Dodge officials protested, claim ing that these expensive standards would force the company to shut th e smelter down, putting almost 2,000 people out of work.
Because of sluggish demand and foreign competition, production cutbac ks followed at a new mine called Metcalf, and at Morenci, Ajo, and Ty rone. The shift showed up in net income figures: $121.7 million f or 1974, $46.3 million by the following year, and $17.9 milli on by 1977. The smelters kept operating 24 hours a day, however, to c ope with the large amount of ore that had accumulated during the shut down for the installation of pollution controls.
By 1978 there were voluble industry complaints that piecemeal EPA reg ulations made long-term antipollution planning impossible. The $2 billion initially spent plus frequent updating added about ten cents per pound to production costs, bringing the consumer's price for cop per up to about 75 cents per pound.
Coupled with cheaper foreign competition and sluggish demand, this br ought a business-cycle trough to the industry. Company executives bla med the crisis on the waning uranium market (Western Nuclear had lost its biggest customer, the Washington Public Power Supply System), th e demand slump caused by the slowdowns in the automobile and housing industries, and environmental protection woes. Many outsiders thought it was time to expand Phelps Dodge interests beyond copper.
In the first quarter of 1982 the company revenues showed a $19.1 million deficit. In April Munroe laid off 3,800 workers and closed al l four mines and three out of four smelters. He also instituted salar y cuts at all levels, and reluctantly took on short-term debt to cove r operating costs.
The following year the United Steelworkers instituted an industrywide strike. Kennecott Corporation, the country's top copper producer, se ttled quickly, exchanging a three-year wage freeze for a cost-of-livi ng allowance reaching $1.87 per hour at 6 percent inflation. Usin g this settlement as a model, the strikers then approached Phelps Dod ge management. The company counteroffered abolition of the cost-of-li ving allowance, a three-year wage freeze, and lower wages for new wor kers.
By the end of August 1983 the stalemate had led many workers to cross picket lines, despite sharp harassment from hard-line strikers. At M orenci, the company called in the National Guard, fomenting more rese ntment. The strike ended uneasily the following fall, with the compan y refusing to budge on its position, and the miners voting to decerti fy the 13 unions that had long been present at the mines and the smel ters.
Now, management turned its attention to reorganization. First on the agenda was a strategy to reduce production costs to less than 65 cent s per pound, and lessen dependence on copper. The economy drive began with the 1982 move of company headquarters to Phoenix. At the same t ime, the Morenci, Ajo, and Douglas smelters were closed and replaced by a $92 million solvent extracting-electrowinning plant at Moren ci that produced 100 million pounds of copper annually by mid-1987. E lectrowinning is a process of recovering metals from a solution throu gh electrolysis.
Electrowinning capacity grew further in 1986, when the company built a $55 million plant after buying a two-thirds interest in New Mex ico-based Chino Mines Company from Kennecott (the remaining third was acquired in 2003). In the same year, the company sold a 15 percent i nterest in the Morenci mine for $75 million. Also sold was the ur anium-mining business.
1980s-90s: Diversification into Manufacturing
The 1986 purchase of Columbian Chemicals Company for $240 million diversified Phelps Dodge interests to include the manufacture of car bon blacks, used to strengthen tires and to make toner for copiers. A lso providing profitable diversification was Accuride Corporation, a manufacturer of steel wheels and rims for trucks and trailers, which merged with the company in 1988 at a cost of $273 million. That s ame year, all operations were divided into two new operating division s, headed by the Phelps Dodge Mining Company and Phelps Dodge Industr ies.
By the end of 1989, the company had an income of $267 million, on sales of $2.7 billion. A year later, net income leaped to $4 54.9 million, on sales of $2.6 billion, partly with the help of a joint venture between Phelps Dodge and Sumitomo Electric Industries, to sell magnet wire in the United States.
Although Phelps Dodge continued to expand its copper activities durin g the 1990s, particularly overseas, an emphasis was placed on develop ing the manufacturing side of the company's business during the decad e. The acquisitions of Accuride, Columbian Chemicals, and Hudson Inte rnational during the latter half of the 1980s were important forays i nto new fields, creating a foundation the company would build on duri ng the 1990s as the manufacturing division, operated under the contro l of Phelps Dodge Industries, took shape. The largest segment of the company's manufacturing business was wire and cable production, gover ned by Phelps Dodge Magnet Wire Co., the largest magnet wire producer in the world. Expansion of this business was achieved through acquis ition and expansion, beginning in 1992 with the purchase of three Ven ezuelan wire and cable manufacturers and the establishment of a wire and cable plant in Thailand. Two years later, two magnet wire product ion facilities were acquired, one in El Paso, Texas, and the other in Laurinburg, North Carolina, to serve regional demand not met by the company's Hopkinsville, Kentucky plant, the largest magnet wire plant in the world. Capacity at the El Paso plant was doubled in 1996, fol lowed by a commensurate increase in production at the Laurinburg faci lity in 1997.
The investment in the Phelps Dodge Industries division paid off hands omely in 1995, as the company's carbon black, truck wheel and rim, an d wire and cable businesses each registered a record high in sales. F or the year, record financial and production totals led to what Phelp s Dodge Chairman, CEO, and President Douglas C. Yearley described as "the best year in the 162-year history of our company." The progress achieved within the Phelps Dodge Industries division played an import ant part in engendering the banner year, but the company could not cl aim such a victory without realizing significant gains in its copper business, upon which it was heavily dependent. The average price of c opper in 1995 surged to $1.35 per pound, 28 cents higher than the previous year, and Phelps Dodge reaped the benefits, registering rec ord production totals at its Morenci, Candelaria, Chino, and Hidalgo mining facilities. On the heels of this resounding success, the compa ny planned to focus its exploration efforts in South America, Africa, and the Far East, intending to increase its annual copper production total to two billion pounds during the ensuing five years.
In 1996, Phelps Dodge's manufacturing businesses continued to perform admirably, with the exception of Accuride Corporation, which suffere d from weak demand for heavy wheels. Phelps Dodge's wire and cable bu siness rallied forward, its progress highlighted by the company's fir st entry into the People's Republic of China through a joint venture called Phelps Dodge Yantai Cable Company that allowed Phelps Dodge to acquire, expand, and operate the power cable manufacturing facility in Yantai in the Shandong province. As this historic project began, t he company initiated a three-year expansion program aimed at increasi ng Columbian Chemical's carbon black production capacity by 25 percen t. Another notable development during the year was the acquisition of Nesor Alloy Corporation, which was combined with Hudson Internationa l Conductors to form Phelps Dodge High Performance Conductors, organi zed as the newest addition to the Phelps Dodge Industries division.
The late 1990s saw copper prices sag from 1995's level, but the compa ny recorded meaningful progress in its manufacturing operations, help ing to offset troubling developments in its mining activities. An unc ertain regulatory environment concerning mining and exploration promp ted Phelps Dodge to close its U.S. exploration offices. Falling coppe r prices forced the company to close a mine in Chile and another mine acquired in a $105 million hostile takeover of Cobre Mining Co. in 1998. Along with these closures, Phelps Dodge also sold 90 percent of Accuride to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 1998, gaining $480 mil lion from the sale. On the positive side, Phelps Dodge opened a new w ire magnet plant in Monterrey, Mexico, in 1998 and purchased the carb on black assets belonging to Brazil-based Copebras for $220 milli on, as well as an 85 percent holding in the carbon black operations o f Kumho Group of South Korea.
Ups and Downs in the New Millennium
The company's use of technology was evolving as it entered the new mi llennium. GPS, first introduced at the Morenci mine in the mid-1990s as a surveying tool, was adapted to new applications such as guiding machinery for bulldozers, electric shovels, and drills.
Copper prices hit unfamiliar lows in 1999, due to the lingering effec ts of the Asian financial crisis. According to Barron's, while copper was selling for just 61 cents per pound (after a decade of av eraging more than $1), the company needed another few cents per p ound to break even. However, there was a bright side to the crisis in that the company was able to stake its claim on future leadership of the industry. In the ensuing round of consolidation, Phelps Dodge ac quired Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, which had been preparing to merg e with ASARCO. However, Grupo México SA de CV bested Phelps Do dge's $700 million bid for ASARCO (which soon stumbled into bankr uptcy). The $1.8 billion Cyprus Amax purchase made Phelps Dodge t he world's second largest copper producer after Codelco of Chile, and the largest producer of molybdenum. It ended the year with revenues of $3.1 billion.
Douglas C. Yearley retired as chairman in May 2000 and was succeeded by J. Steven Whisler. According to American Metal Market, Year ley had been a big advocate of industry consolidation and earning a r eturn on capital. Yearley's hand-picked successor, Whisler, had begun working at a subsidiary in 1978 and had been Phelps Dodge president and CEO since 1995.
In late 2000, as copper prices showed signs of improvement, the compa ny proposed selling off Columbian Chemicals and PD Wire. These busine sses presented their own management challenges. "Wire and cable alway s had problems because they're in developing countries," Yearley told American Metal Market. Of the turbulence-free mid-1990s, he s aid, "It all looked too good--and it was."
In spite of a number of economic difficulties in Asia and South Ameri ca, the sale of the manufacturing businesses would be called off by m id-2001. The improvement in copper prices stalled. In addition, skyro cketing energy prices and the threat of shortages prompted Phelps Dod ge to scale back copper production and cut the workforce at three min es in the western United States.
Company headquarters was relocated from Tempe to ten floors in the ne w 20-story, $78 million Phelps Dodge Tower in downtown Phoenix in November 2001. The company consolidated other local offices there an d eventually employed 400 at the site. It had 13,000 employees worldw ide. The company's operations at the Candelaria mine in Chile, in whi ch it owned an 80 percent share, employed 950 people. About half of t hese workers went on strike in 2003.
Phelps Dodge Corporation had revenues exceeding $7 billion in 200 4. Phelps Dodge Mining Company accounted for more than three-quarters of the total. While copper was trading above $1 again, thanks in large part to demand from China's booming economy, energy costs rema ined a concern. Phelps Dodge announced an $850 million expansion to a Peruvian mine in October 2004.
In 2005, the company was planning to add a new copper processing plan t at its Morenci, Arizona, mine. There was a moderate shortage of ref ined copper, fueled by demand from China's construction and consumer goods industries, Whisler told Reuters. Copper prices were reaching l evels not seen since the 1980s, prompting Dodge Phelps to increase pr oduction and hand out dividends to shareholders and bonuses to employ ees. Short of help, Dodge Phelps was mining the Arizona workforce for talent to fill a slew of positions. The company had about 5,000 empl oyees in Arizona.
Principal Subsidiaries: Ajo Improvement Company Alambres y Ca bles de Panama, S.A. (78.1%) Alambres y Cables Venezolanos, C.A. (Venezuela) Arizona Community Investment Corporation Cables Electr icos Ecuatorianos, C.A. (Ecuador 67.1%) Cahosa, S.A. (Panama 7 8.1%) Chino Acquisition Inc. Cobre Cerrillos S.A. (Chile) Colu mbian Chemicals Company CONDUCEN, S.A. (Costa Rica 73.4%) Cypr us Amax Minerals Company Dodge & James Insurance Company, Ltd. ( Bermuda) Electroconductores de Honduras, S.A. de C.V. (59.4%) H abirshaw Cable and Wire Corporation James Douglas Insurance Company, Ltd. (Bermuda) PD Candelaria, Inc. PD Cobre, Inc. PD Ojos del Sal ado, Inc. Phelps Dodge Africa Cable Corporation Phelps Dodge China Corporation (USA) Phelps Dodge Chino, Inc. Phelps Dodge Corporation of Canada, Limited (USA) Phelps Dodge Development Corporation Phel ps Dodge Dublin (Ireland) Phelps Dodge Energy Services, LLC Phelps Dodge Exploration Corporation Phelps Dodge Hidalgo, Inc. Phelps Dod ge High Performance Conductors of SC & GA, Inc. Phelps Dodge Ind ustries, Inc. Phelps Dodge Mercantile Company Phelps Dodge Mining S ervices, Inc. Phelps Dodge Molybdenum Corporation Phelps Dodge More nci, Inc. Phelps Dodge Overseas Capital Corporation Phelps Dodge Re fining Corporation Phelps Dodge Safford, Inc. Phelps Dodge Sales Co mpany, Incorporated Phelps Dodge Suzhou Holdings, Inc. (Cayman Islan ds) Phelps Dodge Thailand Limited (75.5%) Phelps Dodge Wire and Cable Holding de Mexico, SA de CV (99%) Savanna Development Co. , Ltd. Soner, Inc. The Morenci Water & Electric Company Tyrone Mining, LLC.
Principal Divisions: Phelps Dodge Mining Co. Phelps Dodge Ind ustries.
Principal Operating Units: Phelps Dodge Mining Co. Phelps Dod ge Wire and Cable Climax Molybdenum Co. Climax Engineered Materials Columbia Chemicals Co.
Principal Competitors: BHP Billiton Corporación del Co bre de Chile (Codelco) Rio Tinto PLC.
Rough Draft Studios
Most projects produced by Rough Draft Studios are animated overseas by Rough Draft Korea.
Show Year(s) Client Notes 1990s The Maxx 1995 MTV Animation Futurama 1999-2003 2008-2013 The Curiosity Company
20th Century Fox Television
Title Year Client Notes 1990s The Thief and the Cobbler 1992 The Completion Bond Company ink-and-paint RoboCop 3 1993 Orion Pictures "Johnny Rehab" commercial animation 2000s Duck Dodgers: Attack of the Drones 2003 Warner Bros. Animation theatrical short The Whizzard of Ow A Fairy Tale Christmas 2005 Waterfront Pictures TV special Futurama: Bender's Big Score 2007 20th Century Fox
Rough Draft Korea
Rough Draft Korea, RDS' sister studio based in South Korea, has produced animation for the following series, features and specials:
- Community Newspaper Group
- The Sun (published in Scotland as The Scottish Sun and in Ireland as The Irish Sun)