2014 Annual: the year that was – May

It was another year of continual change in the media and marketing world. Over the next 12 days, Mumbrella’s Miranda Ward provides a month-by-month recap of the major stories and developments that affected the industry.

May was the month of bizarre stunts and the news you never expected to read, for sub-editors everywhere it was a good month.

News Corp packer gyngell watermarked photoThe month kicked off with the bizarre news that James Packer and David Gyngell had brawled in the streets of Bondi. Media outlets entered a bidding war for the photographs taken, with News Corp emerging the victor.

Nando’s Australia was forced to pull down a tactical social media post after using one of the copyrighted images of the brawl without permission.

Police opened an investigation into the brawl, with the pair receiving infringement notices for “offensive conduct”.

In depressing news for the newspaper industry, Fairfax Media announced a proposal that would see more than 70 positions go from its newspaper arm Australian Publishing Media (APM) across its editorial production, lifestyle and photographic sections. The proposal saw Fairfax staff at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age strike.

In other sad news, well respected Ten Network TV journalist Harry Potter died after a battle with cancer.

On the agency side of things, Meat & Livestock Australia appointed BMF and The Monkeys to its roster of creative agencies following a pitch and the massive proposed merger between holding groups Publicis and Omnicom was called off.

WorkSafe Victoria appointed a panel of three agencies following a long-running pitch which saw incumbents Grey Melbourne and The Shannon Group retain their place on the roster joined by McCann Melbourne and Ford brought all of its agencies into one office to establish a set-up known as ‘Blue Hive’.

In TV news, Channel Seven and Channel Ten faced off in court over programmer John Stephens. During the court battle it emerged that Ten had offered to pay Stephens hundreds of thousands of dollars to not work for rivals Seven or Nine after he refused Ten’s job offer. Seven accused rival Ten of trying to “buy an anticompetitive result” by seeking to stop Stephens from working for other channels for two years. Ten ended up losing its bid and was told to pay Seven’s legal costs.

Channel Ten’s breakfast show Wake Up was axed after six months of poor ratings. As Ten sought to cut costs, the early and late news shows were also cut, with 150 jobs going in the process.

The safe after police had forced it open

The safe after police had forced it open

May ended as it began bizarrely when the bomb squad was called to Ninemsn’s Australia square offices after a PR stunt for a video game went wrong. The stunt saw a black safe delivered to the offices along with a “suspicious” letter which told a reporter to “check your voicemail”. Ubisoft, the gaming company behind the stunt, apologised for the stunt, admitting it did not go quite as planned.


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