Digest: Mag body’s death throes; huffy journos; hungry TV networks; and Penbo’s apology

Right. 35 minutes til I jump on a plane to Adelaide. I reckon I can knock over this week’s media and marketing digest in that time. Let’s see what takes the eye of a time-pressed journo.  

Usually, the story that most grabs me is somewhere inside The Australian’s Media section. But today it’s on the front page.

Trade body Magazine Publishers of Australia has been on its last legs for a while – I’d already heard rumours that once its current funding run out, that’ll be that.

Now ACP has left the organisation, reports The Oz. It follows the decision of the MPA board – led by Pacific Magazines’ Nick Chan – to get behind Newspaper Works to develop an alternative readership measurement system to Roy Morgan Research’s.

There’s another walkout on the front page featuring a casual ABC journo outraged at his treatment in a Media Watch story. Which does kind of seem to miss the point. Media Watch  needs to be free to behave independently of the ABC. So resigning (if you can do that when you’re not on staff) in a huff from the organisation seems something of a pointless gesture, regardless of the rights and wrongs of the story.

Speaking of which, 25 minutes til my walkout…

And free TV is on the agenda too. According to Amanda Meade, the TV networks would like to add one  more minute of advertising per hour. Because that’ll help arrest the audience decline, for sure.

Still on the subject of free TV, Michael Bodey focuses on this week’s arrival of separate ratings for Nine’s new digital channel Go. The last few days have seen the figures lumped in with the main Nine channel. It will be interesting to see if Eddie McGuire’s Hot Seat can carry on winning without the help of Bewitched.

Meanwhile, Fairfax appears to be preparing for a scrap with Business Spectator. Publisher Michael Gill suggests the site has been nicking Australian Financial Review stories, which reside behind a digital pay wall.

20 minutes…

ACP’s tabloidisation of its editors continues, says The Oz, with the magazine publisher scouring the UK for more talent. That can’t be a fun story to read if you’re a current ACP editor.

17 minutes…

The paper’s diary highlights the embarrassing issue of David Penberthy’s apology to the English cricketer Bilal Shafayat for repeating a mate’s offensive comment about him. I won’t repeat them here, although they have been widely disseminated online.

 Mind you, there do seem to be two separate versions of events. Readers of Penberthy’s apology (and sister title  The Oz) might draw the conclusion that he’s doing it voluntarily, and that he’s deleted the original article for the same reason. Those who read other media might draw the conclusion that the apology was part of the settlement, which also reportedly included “significant damages and costs” according to the BBC.

Seven minutes… (that should be more than enough to cover up this morning’s Australian Financial Review round-up of what’s not happening in media and marketing)

In summary (and I hope that Michael Gill doesn’t come after me for this), the paper reveals that the Photon group isn’t thinking about buying any companies. And in a twist on that, the STW group isn’t thinking about buying any companies either. Also, media minister Stephen Conroy isn’t currently thinking about issuing a licence for a fourth commercial TV network.

And I’m thinking about grabbing a taxi to the airport.

Tim Burrowes


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