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It only took him 13 years, but Rupert Murdoch is finally ready to leave the 20th century behind -- at least when it comes to the name of his company.
The media mogul has announced that the entertainment production giant known as Twentieth Century Fox will boldly go into the modern day and henceforth be known as 21st Century Fox, a radical name change that revealed itself "after much exploration and valuable input from our executive team," according to an official letter from Murdoch himself.
Murdoch also seems to be embracing the blip-bloop Twitter culture of the day as the company switches from the much more formal spelling of "Twentieth" to the much more abbreviated "21st."
Don't look for a change to that classic logo opening for Fox-produced movies, though, as the film and television studios of the company will still be known as Twentieth Century Fox, "in recognition of their rich histories and strong connections with audiences across the globe." That "strong connection" includes riling up "Star Wars" fans over the years, as the 20th Century Fox (hey, it's a number in the logo) sign with its revolving spotlights and drum- and trumpet-heavy music served as the official warm-up to the latest Episode from a galaxy far, far away.
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation was founded on May 31, 1935 as the result of the merger of Fox Film Corporation, founded by William Fox in 1915, and Twentieth Century Pictures, founded in 1933 by Darryl F. Zanuck, Joseph M. Schenck, Raymond Griffith and William Goetz.
Murdoch's News Corporation, the world's second-largest media conglomerate (behind the Walt Disney Company, which will be doing the "Star Wars" fan riling from now on), acquired Twentieth Century Fox in 1985. By 2000, News Corporation owned over 800 companies in more than 50 countries with a net worth of over $5 billion ... and then it went and bought the Wall Street Journal in 2007, too.
Murdoch's complete letter, which details News Corporation's rich history with Fox, can be found below. There is no official "start date" to the name change though it may be safe to assume that it's effective immediately.
It's with great enthusiasm that I share with you today's news that we've chosen a new name for the media and entertainment company that will be formed as part of the proposed separation of News Corporation.
After much exploration, and valuable input from our executive team, we've chosen the name 21st Century Fox to take us into the future. 21st Century Fox is a name that draws upon the rich creative heritage of Twentieth Century Fox, while also speaking to the innovation and dynamism that must define each of our businesses through the 21st Century. Our new name is inspired by the very first company we acquired nearly thirty years ago as our initial foray into the awe-inspiring world of entertainment.
And what a journey it has been.
Over the years, we have built a global portfolio of companies that has consistently defied conventional wisdom, and succeeded where others have failed because we are driven by a steadfast belief in great ideas, the power of imagination and the desire to thrill and engage audiences with stories and experiences that endure forever.
This has fueled incredible success and driven us to create the world's leading entertainment, news and sports brands that now reach more than a billion people each day in 100 languages around the world.
We began nearly three decades ago, acquiring and transforming Twentieth Century Fox's film and television studios into the industry leaders they are today. Both studios will maintain the name Twentieth Century Fox in recognition of their rich histories and strong connections with audiences across the globe.
Our film studio is the most consistently profitable film studio in Hollywood and, more importantly, has created stories people around the world have enjoyed and loved for decades, including films like "Avatar," "Die Hard," "X-Men," "Life of Pi," "Planet of the Apes," "Slumdog Millionaire," "Ice Age," "Titanic," "Home Alone" and many more.
Our television studio -- Twentieth Century Fox Television -- has mirrored that long-standing success both financially and creatively, with shows like "The Simpsons," "The X-Files," "Glee," "Modern Family," "M*A*S*H," "How I Met Your Mother," "Sons of Anarchy," "Family Guy," "Homeland" and "24."
In the world of three television networks, when everyone told us there wasn't room for more, we decided to make room. By creating exciting, entertaining, provocative shows like "In Living Color" and "The Simpsons," our network began as a disruptive upstart, and that spirit continues to animate us, even as the nation's #1 network eight of the past 10 years.
Starting in the 1980s, our aspirations turned to Europe and Asia as we bet that there was an audience yearning for true choice in their television experience. We created BSkyB from nothing and today more than 10 million customers choose Sky's world leading 21st century digital television and broadband service. In the years that followed, we created Sky services in Germany, Italy and India – which, combined with BSkyB, now serve nearly 30 million households across those markets. We also built the number one network in Asia, STAR TV, which broadcasts 33 channels in eight languages and reaches more than 400 million viewers across India and Asia.
By the early 1990s, our nascent FOX network was growing, but was still looking for a true programming anchor. We found it in the National Football League, and proceeded to redefine the business of sports broadcasting in America. We cemented our leadership in sports by establishing Fox Sports as the home of Major League Baseball, NASCAR, college football -- and, beginning in 2015, the World Cup. We do it with innovative ideas and technology that take viewers closer than ever before, while our on-air personalities create the brash, irreverent attitude that is synonymous with Fox Sports. Our sports commitment has grown internationally and now includes coverage of the world's most popular sporting events in Latin America, Europe and Asia. This summer we will bring our sports programming to another level with the launch of a new, national, multi-sport network called FOX Sports 1.
The incredible growth of cable and satellite distribution in the US affirmed our view that by fostering an environment of originality and giving freedom to creative minds, we could continue to deliver something fresh and new to TV audiences. We launched FX in 1994 -- and soon will add FXX -- and rapidly delivered some of TV hottest shows, like "The Shield," "Nip/Tuck," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Sons of Anarchy," "Louie," "American Horror Story" and most recently "The Americans."
Two years later, we bet on an entirely different television segment, but one that we again believed presented the opportunity of an underserved audience. We launched Fox News Channel in 1996, and later Fox Business Network, to complement the award-winning local news programming from our 27 owned-and-operated television stations around the country. In the process, we created a ratings juggernaut, with millions of households trusting Fox News to deliver the most valuable and most watched journalism on television.
Of course, we are the most global of media companies, and have consistently pushed the envelope of international expansion with our Sky and STAR businesses and the Fox International Channels group. Our programming efforts now extend to more than 50 countries. From the explorations of the National Geographic Channels, to baseball in Japan, to the wildly popular shows that have made STAR the most successful and dynamic broadcaster in all of India, our commitment to the global audiences continues.
Together, as 21st Century Fox, we have the creative magic, innovation and global footprint required to wow consumers around the world -- every day. We haven't forgotten our roots in the entertainment world, and the legacy we inherited and built will guide us as we drive forward towards what is undoubtedly a future of even greater heights throughout this 21st Century and beyond. I can't wait to get started.