Judge Posner posted a very insightful entry on the Becker-Posner blog concerning family control of voting stock in media companies, a topical subject given Rupert Murdoch’s overtures to the Bancroft family regarding the Wall Street Journal.

Of interest is this quote, which shows how well he “gets” the internet:

The effectiveness of this strategy depends, however, on the aggregative character of a newspaper–on the fact that it contains a hodge-podge of interleaved material, so that you get the editorials even if you just want the classified ads. The rise of the Internet media has resulted in the disaggregation of media components. You can get pretty much any media component (classified ads, health advice, celebrity gossip, sports, food tips, etc.) separately, without having to peruse the news or editorial pages. Newspapers are no longer an effective medium for educating or edifying an uninterested public.

The post is doubly interesting, because similar considerations also apply to News Corporation itself. Murdoch, who has recently been quoted as saying: “I can’t put down $5 billion of my shareholders’ money and not be able to run the business”, himself only owns about 29% of News Corporation — but has control because the stock is split into voting stock (which his holding entirely consists of) and non-voting stock.