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News Corp Earnings

Will Murdoch convince the Bancroft Family to sell Dow Jones? Will he sweeten his already oh-so-sweet $5 billion offer for the Wall Street Journal's parent?

There's no better place to find the future than in the past -- in News Corp's case, fiscal third-quarter earnings. Net income increased 6.2%, led by the movie division whose revenues grew a whopping 82% to $410 million, a record for the quarter.

20th Century Fox may not have brought home many Oscars last year, but it scored big at the box office, led by Ben Stiller's "Night at the Museum," which sold $570 million in tickets worldwide, and in DVD sales of "Borat" and "The Devil Wears Prada," which were well-received, relatively low-budget winners.

Another highlight: Fox's cable business earnings grew 34%. But earnings at the overall TV unit dropped 4.5%. None of Fox's success could compensate for its 'MyNetworkTV' disaster, a failed attempt to replace its UPN affiliates.

And when it comes to News Corp's newspapers, Murdoch does need a new growth plan. The division's revenues increased 11% but earnings only rose 2%. News Corp may have started with a newspaper, but it's clearly moved away from that business, as Dow Jones is moving to emphasize online, and rely less on print operations. Murdoch likely sees DJI as the way to transition his paper division to the faster-growth Internet-ad driven online, paper business.

Is the Dow Jones bid part of a bigger buying spree? Murdoch's not just looking at multi-billion dollar purchases; MySpace is buying Photobucket, the top photo-sharing site. The New York Times reported that story, saying News Corp is spending a reported $250 million. MySpace started by playing hardball, accusing Photobucket of violating terms of its agreement, blocking its photo slide shows and videos on MySpace pages.

But it's more than just MySpace snapping up a potential copyright-violator... Murdoch's not letting another hot Internet property pass him by -- the media mogul reportedly was miffed he lost the YouTube acquisition to Google.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.