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NOS chief says Eredivisie investment shows “Fox is afraid”

Jan de Jong, the chief executive at Dutch public-service broadcaster NOS, has said that News Corporation’s recent investment in the Eredivisie, the top division of football in the Netherlands, is an “insurance policy” for the media conglomerate.

Earlier this month, Fox International Channels, a subsidiary of News Corp, acquired a 51-per-cent stake in Eredivisie Media and Marketing, the company that owns the media rights for the Eredivisie. EMM is jointly owned by the Eredivisie football clubs and production company Endemol. The league’s domestic rights have since 2008-09 been exploited on EMM-owned pay-television channel Eredivisie Live.

De Jong said in a blog post on the NOS website: “That [News Corp chairman and chief executive Rupert] Murdoch set foot in a relatively small country like the Netherlands has no offensive action. It is a defensive [move]. Fox sees the unprecedented growth of YouTube, and Netflix, Apple TV and the Googles of this world with sorrow. These parties… have budgets at their disposal that developing countries would be jealous of. In short, Fox is afraid.”

De Jong added: “One media mogul fears being swallowed by new, young, dynamic media giants whom a few years ago did not exist. The Murdoch empire, however powerful and impressive, may not withstand an attack by the new media superpowers. What looks like expansion and growth is actually taking out an insurance policy… an attempt to survive.”