TODAY’S PAPERS: Magazine ad meltdown; Cameron’s ABC exit; Fat soldiers exposed; Will the plug be pulled on Ten?

Today’s media and marketing press

The Australian

There’s little to be cheerful about in The Oz.

The paper’s media section leads with January’s dramatic decline in advertising expenditure. MediaCom boss Toby Jenner says a shift away from magazines may be triggered by a temporary move from brand building to more direct response media.

Meanwhile, media owners are begging governments to keep spending on public information campaigns, reports the Oz. It quotes Chris Wharton, CEO of West Australian Newspapers as saying:

“The media industry does not need a taxpayer-funded bailout, but the media industry does need governments to lead the way to stand firm on marketing and government expenditure — this will help the industry stay healthy.”

John Cameron, the ABC’s outgoing director of news, writes a valedictory piece for the paper in which he says:

“It is an organisation that sometimes creaks and groans. Its bureaucratic and industrial wheels don’t always turn smoothly. Change is constant and necessary, but it can make for a frustrating journey in an organisation with its roots in the public service.”

Errol Simper speculates in his column (no link yet available) on whether a trip to Doha may be on the agenda for Cameron, with a potential berth at Al Jazeera.

The Oz’s media section is planning to produce what looks like a magazine to mark its tenth anniversary later this month. An ad appears on page two. The cover of the mag – which looks not unlike Media Week – features a photo of Nine’s boss, captioned “David Leckie tells how he keeps Nine on top”. So it’s fair to assume there won’t be any advertising from Seven in the mag.

Somewhat curiously (as it happened 11 years ago) it also promises a feature on “the rabbit who saved Kelvin McKenzie”. That’ll be Live TV’s News Bunny then.

(Update: That’s not quite correct – the magazine is actually the original Media cover from ten years ago – see Amanda Meade’s comment below for more.)

Chase Carey, head of US pay TV giant DirecTV and potential new boss of News Corp, is to headline the Australian pay TV industry’s conference later this month, says the paper.

New whistleblowing legislation may not cover fat soldiers talking to the press, reports the paper in its latest campaigning article in its Your Right To Know camapign.

In a reverse piece of branding, News Ltd’s masthead is going to be applied to its Simply Food print properties, says the Oz.

It currently seems that Saatchi & Saatchi has far more ex-employees than current ones. That’s an impression reinforced by the launch of new Sydney agency Disciple, headed by Peter Buckley and Tim Brown.

Australian Financial Review

A management restructure is imminent at Fairfax Media, says Neil Shoebridge. He quotes boss Brian McCarthy as looking at “different models” to bring the company’s newspaper and online divisions closer together.

Paul Leeds, CEO of Starcom MediaVest in Australia until his retirement in 2007, re-emerges into the public eye, with the plac ement of an ad in the AFR. In it, he advertises for a Sydney-based agency to “join an established group in Australia with offices in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Auckland” of which he is the chairman.

Marketing group Photon wants to buy more businesses, but will bow to market sentiment and keep its wallet shut, says the AFR. It quotes chairman Tim Hughes as saying:

“It’s the best time in the world, but we aren’t going to buy anything. It’s pretty tough at the moment to convince the market we should be buying businesses and we aren’t going to take on new debt in the current environment.”

But Mitchell Communications Group is back in the market, says the paper. CEO Stuart Mitchell says: “We are very conservatively geared and have room to move where we see opportunities and bargains.”

The Australian Comeptition and Consumer Commission’s nearly two year old legal action against Google is still plodding on, reports the AFR. The ACCC is taking the search giant to court because it says Google’s paid and free search results are not sufficiently differentiated.

Ten Network’s owner is still on a debt knife-edge. The AFR says that CanWest has won a short extension to renegotate a line of credit – but only onther ten days. “There is some evidence that lenders are just waiting for a better time to pull the plug,” says the paper.


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