Media giant 21st Century Fox built its empire on television and movies. But, as the world moves increasingly toward a digital media landscape, traditional mass media companies need to evolve to stay relevant and in business.
And some experts believe James Murdoch could be the one to make those changes for Fox.
On Thursday, CNBC reported that sources close to the situation said Rupert Murdoch would soon step down as chief executive officer and controlling shareholder of 21st Century Fox. The mantle would be passed to son James Murdoch, who would handle the day-to-day management of the mass media empire with help from his older brother Lachlan and his father.
James has already shown leadership in moving the company toward a digital-leaning future. For example, it is believed James is the one who convinced Rupert to invest in Vice Media, said NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik, who wrote the book "Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires." Folkenflik said James has also showed interest in appealing to younger demographics, including investing in hip-hop label Rawkus Records, which launched the careers of Mos Def and Talib Kweli.
"He's shown some initiative and some charm," Folkenflik said. "He's different from his father, and doesn't particularly agree with him ideologically."
Fox declined to comment and turned down requests for an interview with James Murdoch.
The youngest Murdoch son has been outspoken about his belief that digital media is the future. Deadline reported that at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in December 2014, James told investors that the pay TV was no longer the best model for consumers.
Instead, he spoke highly of streaming video platforms like Hulu and authenticated video on demand, adding these options offer more viewer customization. What's more, James was integral in Fox's purchase in 2014 of digital advertising firm TrueX.
Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who has a 6.6 percent voting stake in Fox, praised James' digital chops to Reuters in April. Alwaleed spoke especially highly of James embracing digital media.