‘We have to change our model’: TV, radio and news CEOs on media reforms

In this session from the Radio Alive 2017 conference, News Corp, Ten, Fox Sports and Nine bosses share their views on the recent media reforms.

During the following session from Commercial Radio Australia’s Radio Alive 2017 conference, which took place a few days before the media reforms were passed, Patrick Delany, CEO Fox Sports, tells the audience “in the sports area, I think it really is a bit late.”

Delany adds: “What happens is regulation can shape business decisions, and a lot of the decisions we make are long dated. The contracts that we entered into on the NRL and AFL are five year contracts. I think the laws have encouraged massive investment by the free to airs into the areas they’re protected in. As a result we may be over-invested in certain sports.”

“The world has moved beyond those laws in many ways.”

When asked by News Corp’s Miranda Devine about the rumours of a merger between Nine, Fairfax and Southern Cross Austereo, Nine CEO Hugh Marks says, although “it’s unlikely I’m going to make a breaking announcement on this stage today”, the reforms are a “reflection that the world has changed. There are some massive companies worth half a trillion dollars that have ended our market.

“We as businesses, what that means is that we are so aware that we have to innovate, we have to change our model,” he says.

“Having the flexibility and the removal of laws which frankly had no time and place in this modern environment was just an important step in that pathway that we’re all looking for, which is about innovation.”

Michael Miller, executive chairman, News Corp says his company would partner with “anyone”, and that in order to continue to exist, media owners are going to have to get comfortable with that idea.

“To compete with what is a very rapidly changing market, you’re going to need to look at who you’re able to work with to develop a scale – that’s a scale not just of audience, but a scale of data, a scale of technology, scale of brand, scale of audience – and really coming up with what our advertising partners want, being a campaign solution, not just specific media solutions.”

Grant Blackley, CEO, Southern Cross Austereo and former Ten CEO says what has happened to the network over the years has been “a sad affair.”

“Interesting enough I think, CBS are a very large company, they have enormous capital behind them,” he says of the network’s recently completed merger with the US TV giant.

“They will put the right amount of resource, in my opinion, to make it a very worthy candidate in the free to air sector, I think that will stabilise the free to air sector, and arguably the tide will rise with them being a more stable financial position.

When asked how traditional media can compete with Google and Facebook, Blackley replies: “Carefully”.


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