Ten hits out at media reform proposals, ‘It is now obvious to everyone that SCA plans to merge with Nine’

ten-logoTen’s newly appointed boss Hamish McLennan has issued an angry statement in response to the government’s media reform proposals.

He has called plans to scrap the 75% audience reach rule “staggering” and said it would enable Nine Entertainment Co’s widely rumoured merger plans with the TV assets of Southern Cross Austereo, formerly known as Southern Cross Media, to go ahead.

McLennan said that it was now “obvious to everyone” that Southern Cross Austereo plans to merge its TV assets with Nine and suggested that “whispers have taken place over the back fence” between media minister Stephen Conroy and the potentially merging parties.

The merger can only go ahead if a rule that prevents networks broadcasting to more than 75 per cent of the population is scrapped, which would happen under the media reform proposals.

SCA and Nine are widely rumoured to have been in merger talks, although SCA – a publicly listed company – has not disclosed its intention to merge with Nine.

McLennan said in a statement:

“The Government’s determination to rush through the removal of the 75% audience reach rule is staggering.

“All Australians have the right to know what whispers have taken place over the back fence, and what conversations have been had with the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.

“On March 4 this year, a statement issued by Southern Cross Media said it was ‘reviewing a number of strategic options’ and ‘the board has not, at this stage, formed a view as to any preferred option’.

“It is now obvious to everyone that Southern Cross Media’s intention is to merge with Nine Entertainment Co.”

“But Southern Cross Media remains silent. Its shareholders have a right to know if the company’s directors are meeting their continuous disclosure obligations. Its shareholders have a right to know how detailed and advanced the discussions between Nine and Southern Cross Media are, and what has been discussed with the Government.”


  1. Welcome Aboard
    14 Mar 13
    1:10 pm

  2. I am curious if these comments are being forwarded from the bunker of News Limited in NY from the in-coming CEO ?

  3. Ben
    14 Mar 13
    2:17 pm

  4. What will Bruce Gordon do with WIN? Surely they wouldn’t be foolish enough to sell Ten…

  5. offal spokesperson
    14 Mar 13
    2:26 pm

  6. Wait, lets ask the media to tell us if new media “Regulations” are a good idea.

    The lets ask if …

    Tony Abbott want to see a lowering of the budgie smuggler tax


    How Julia Gillard feels about stopping news polls.

  7. not a bogan
    14 Mar 13
    2:37 pm

  8. Yes lets see if we can make Bogans even more stupid

  9. Lindsay.
    14 Mar 13
    2:56 pm

  10. Given the history of Ten in getting things wrong maybe the government has got these reforms right.

  11. media observer
    14 Mar 13
    5:06 pm

  12. It’s hilarious watching News Ltd, TEN, Seven and Fairfax complain about the reach rule.

    They were all in agreeance when they thought they could stitch up a good deal. Now they’ve seen but a taste of what could come and they’ve gotten cold feet.

    In a SXL / Nine merge the day would (potentially) look like this:

    Breakfast: Won by b/fast radio – Austereo;*
    Morning: Won by combined Austereo / Nine
    Afternoon: Won by combined Austereo / Nine
    Drive: Won by Drive radio – Austereo
    Evening: 2nd with Nine programming (Seven winning most nights).*

    * We all know that despite the hype Sunrise and Today don’t have nearly have the audience that breakfast radio does. Same goes for night time, once people are home and switch on the TV noone cares what Hot 30 countdown is on the FM dial.

    Now assume that the Austereo programs heavily promote Nine during the day and no longer give Seven tentpoles any love then you can see Seven shows being hustled out of the public conciousness… naturally people will watch whatever others are talking about and the breakfast radio talkback (i.e. having guests from Block vs MKR) is a great way to get this to happen.

    That leaves DMG with the dregs of the 18-39 demo to pair up with either Seven or TEN. Both would want to make sure they have a stranglehold on this. To have any hope of competing against a Nine/SXL merge.

    So the very vocal complaints that are coming from the media companies are not because they are concerned about the freedom of the press – it’s because the last 5 years they’ve been doing deals trying to position themselves as the dominant force in Aus media and these reforms are going to pull the rug out from under them.

  13. Media Smoguls
    14 Mar 13
    5:43 pm

  14. Media should be formed and operated as a tool to serve the people. To inform, educate, alert, entertain etc

    It should not be used to create assert power and agenda.

    News Ltd wants to assert power and lets face it they have many agenda, the main one is greed. Should they and the other ‘mob’s be regulated / or reined in a little – bloody oath they should.

  15. Media Smoguls
    14 Mar 13
    5:43 pm

  16. smart phone pigeon English re comment 7…