TODAY’S PAPERS: Fires, Hulu and gang warfare between Seven and Nine

The Australian:

Today’s media and marketing section of The Oz leads with the story of how old and new media rose to the bushfire disaster, focusing on the work of ABC 774 Melbourne.

Meanwhile, veteran crime journalist Gary Hughes has a memorable first person piece on the newspaper’s front page in which he vividly tells of his own family’s close escape as they fled their burning home. It would be no surprise if it won him another Walkley Award.

papers-feb-9-09An intriguing line about the online TV service Hulu is buried in an opinion piece by commentator Louise McElvogue. Writing in the Oz, she says: “A Hulu delegation visited Australia last year to sound out broadcasters about a local launch.” Since NBC and News Corp launched Hulu in the US in 2007, it has revolutionised viewing habits.

Memorable insults are swapped by the teams behind tonight’s Nine premier of Underbelly and Wednesday’s Gangs of Oz on Seven. Journalist Steve Barrett comes in the firing line with a Nine spokesman telling The Oz:

“Steve Barrett slinging off at Underbelly is like pitting a dinghy against the US fleet. He simply wouldn’t know. Steve ‘covered’ most of his stories from the pub.”

The Oz also focuses on last week’s Crikey story of a row between journalists and management at The ABC after a pay offer that the union had believed was on the table was withdrawn.

Anne Parsons, boss of media agency Mediacom, is doing her best to talk up the sector, using her column to say:

“We are now in the Year of the Oxen. It is associated with prosperity through persistence and hard work. Most notably, people born in the year of the Ox have a strong aversion to extravagance and debt.”

Online advertising is so far holding up, say the latest figures from the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The last quarter of 2008 saw growth of 20 per cent on the same period of last year. However, IAB boss Paul Fisher warns that January was “very poor”.

Australian Financial Review:

The IAB report also features in the Fin, which predicts that falling classified volumes and growing inventory will squeeze the market.

And Anne Parsons is in the Fin too, as she continues what starts to look like a one-woman optimism crusade. She tells the paper that her TV spend for the second half of last year was down just one per cent, with a similar outlook for February and March.

Rivalries are renewed between Seven and Nine in the AFR too, with speculation that the two will get into a “fierce” bidding war for the next studio deal with Warner Bros, which is currently held by Nine.

The paper also reveals that Nine has postponed the launch of its digital channel until the second half of the year. Ten is to launch its sports digital channel One next month, with Seven at around the same time.

And AFR’s Neil Shoebridge appears to be joining Anne Parsons in looking on the bright side. He also reports how McDonald’s is upping its media investment to grab market share in the downturn and that Photon’s field marketing businesses are coining it in.

And in the latest sign that media planning is a new battleground, he reveals that STW has increased its stake in Brisbane-based ad agency Junior with plans to use it as a “beachhead” to set up media, design and research agencies in Queensland.

The AFR also predicts bad news for the glossy mags market when the quarterly circulation figures come out on Friday.


Cartoonist First Dog On the Moon expresses a view probably held by his counterparts on every newspaper in Australia today, Twittering this morning: “How does one come up with a cartoon on a day like today?”

The Sydney Morning Herald:

The SMH also looks at the IAB stats, suggesting that if growth does continue, it will go through the $2bn mark by the end of the year.

Child abuse is to be tackled in a shocking new way, reports the SMH. An ad by Whybin TBWA Tequila which airs tonight will see a father joking about it in a wedding speech.


More follows…


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