TODAY’S PAPERS: Secrecy over readership plans; Is Mitchells on the Vodafone list?; Freeview confusion

It’s Monday, so it’s the biggest day of the week for media and marketing in the metro papers.

The Australian Financial Review:

The murkiness of research company Roy Morgan’s plans on how it will measure newspaper readership in the future is tackled by Neil Shoebridge in his column today. He points out that it is 17 months since trade body The Newspaper Works hired research Ian Muir to review the system, saying that “the newspaper industry has opted for secrecy”. He reports that the state of affairs is frustrating media agencies who hear rumours that there may be no changes until 2011.

Vodafone’s review of its media account – featuring incumbent Ikon, PHD and Universal McCann – may be on hold because of the proposed merger with 3, saysthe paper. When the link-up was first announced, Mumbrella speculated that Mitchell Communication Group might try to get on the list through its links with 3-owner Hutchinson, despite the fact that it also has connections with rival brand Optus. But at the time Vodafone claimed it was “business as usual” for the pitch.

Free TV’s revenue decline is getting worse, says the AFR. It quotes one TV exec as describing the last two weeks of this month and the first two weeks of March as “a big black hole”. However, it also reports that the outlook is healthier in the regional markets.

The Australian

Mark Day also has questions about media measurement, confessing:

“Newspaper readership figures are causing their regular head-scratching. How can it be that when the number of copies sold – that is, circulation – drops by 2.5 per cent, readership figures (that is, the number of people who read the publication) can climb by 23 per cent? That’s the Morgan Research score card relating to the weekend edition of The Australian Financial Review.”

He also raises the delay in the next set of radio ratings which have been blamed on extreme weather, “an explanation that, on the face of it, seemed so odd that it caused much speculation and a search for another reason. Could it be that the survey results were so different, so startling, so unsettling to the status quo that they had to be run again?”

Ratings measurement is also tackled by Steve Ahern, who confesses that when his family took part in the process, he fiddled his mother’s results.

Media coverage of the bushfires continues to be a focus for The Oz’a media section. It features a piece from journalist Gary Hughes, who survived the disaster, on the occasional excesses that he witnessed.

Australian ad agencies face gloomy prospects, says Hamish McClennan, the global boss of ad agency Y&R. The Aussie tells The Australian:

“There is no doubt that Australia will catch cold and I think it will be a very severe cold.”

The ABC behaved like a commercial broadcaster, serving up rubbish during the non-ratings season, says Errol Simper. He says:

“Summer television schedules are always ghastly, insulting things to behold. Yet it could just be that the ABC surpassed itself in summer 2008-09. It was as though someone deep in the bowels of the organisation, possibly Marie Antoinette, had declared: ‘Let them eat crust.'”

Aussie media organisations are waking up to the possibilities of Twitter to connect with readers, says The Oz. It focuses on Marie Claire magazine, which has 271 followers. (Should you wish to join Mumbrella’s 963 followers, you can do so here.)

The Cannes Lions will see several Australian jury representatives, reports The Australian. The list of 11 local jurors includes Naomi Parry of Black Communications, who will be on the first ever PR jury, and Vince Frost who will be a juror in the design category, which is in its second year.

WPP’s media agency MindShare and ad agency JWT have put together a special unit to handle client Kellogg, in a move that The Oz’s Lara Sinclair described as “reintegrating the advertising business“. However, the move – named K1 –  is not an entirely new one for WPP. Team Detroit is the company’s US-based link up looking after client Ford, while the holding group has also taken a similar arrangement for managing its client HSBC.

Freeview’s marketing campaign is confusing customers, manufacturer Sharp tells the Oz in comments that Freeview refused to respond to.

Daily Telegraph

The Nine Network may have landed the first interview with former Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks, reports the Tele’s Sydney Confidential page. It says a chauffeur at Sydney airport was last week seen holding a sign saying “David Hicks, Channel 9”.

Sydney Morning Herald

Ten should not expect somone to ride to its rescue, says the SMH, suggesting that ownership changes could be triggered within days.


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