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Media briefs

Aug 16, 2012

Media briefs: Smith v Murdoch ... ciggie front pages ... ad revenue data ...

In today's Media Briefs: Smith v Murdoch: an exercise in vanity ... Front Page of the Day ... News Corp announces anti-corruption boss ... Getty Images bought by private equity ...

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Smith v Murdoch: an exercise in vanity. Dick Smith likes to remind everyone that he was “hopeless” at school. It’s a claim few would dispute. But the unspoken message behind his boast is that education — and, by inference, educated people — can’t really know much because he quickly went on to become a millionaire.

It’s this anti-intellectual streak that seems to motivate much of Smith’s current scattershot campaign against over-population, foreign ownership, and — without a hint of self-knowledge — what he calls “the widening gap between rich and poor”. What is it about wealthy, middle-aged, self-made men that makes them think (once they’ve made their pile), that they know what’s wrong with the world and how to fix it?

And they’re never reluctant to use their money as a megaphone. Today’s Sydney Morning Herald, Age and Australian Financial Review included a glossy, full-colour, 28-page insert titled Dick Smith’s Magazine of Forbidden Ideas That You Won’t Read About in the Mainstream Media. Even in today’s depressed print market, this curious offering must have cost a small fortune in production and insert charges. — David Salter (read the full story here)

Newspaper ad revenue collapses: Advertising revenue for metropolitan newspapers plummeted by 32% last month, the biggest drop since records began five years ago. The latest figures from the Standard Media Index make last week’s circulation figures — showing double-digit drops at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age — seem positively rosy.

Ad revenue for regional newspapers slumped by 29.8% while magazines weren’t much better, suffering an 18% year-on-year decline. Online display advertising, long a strong performer, suffered a surprising 12% drop — the first fall in three years. Cinema and pay TV were the stand-out performers, growing by 30.5% and 18% respectively.

The SMI measures ad spending through media agencies — which makes up around half of all newspaper ad revenue — but does not include classified or direct advertising. The overall agency ad market fell 7.2% in July, the largest drop since September 2009. — Matthew Knott

Murdoch internal memo: we’re on track. Rupert Murdoch has sent an internal memo to News Corporation staff updating the company’s review of compliance with bribery laws. He writes: “I assured parliament and the Leveson inquiry that we would move quickly and aggressively to redress wrongdoing, co-operate with law enforcement officials and strengthen our compliance and ethics programme company-wide. With the support of our board of directors, I am pleased to tell you that we have made progress on each of these important steps.” Read the full memo here …

Is High Court ruling front page news? Yesterday’s High Court ruling paving the way for the introduction of the plain packaging of cigarettes in Australia sent shock waves through the tobacco industry and made headlines in Australia and around the world. Locally, today’s Fairfax papers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age led strongly with the story. It also appeared today on the front pages of prominent international newspapers such as the International Herald Tribune, South China Morning Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Hindustan Times and the Bangkok Post so far.

But what about News Limited papers in Australia? Crikey noticed something strange among the 10 News Limited metro tabloids and its broadsheet leader The Australian this morning. Eleven newspapers and, apart from a small article in The Oz, not a story on any front page. The Australian was the only News Ltd paper today to cover (in any way) the plain packaging ruling on its front page. There was not a mention, nor break-out-box, nor above-the-masthead-lead, on any other News Limited paper’s front page.

There are 10 News Limited metro tabloids in Australia, each front page measures 376mm high x 262mm wide. The Australian broadsheet front page measures 550mm high x 376mm wide. If you collate the entire available front page space across all metro News Ltd front pages it equates to a total of 12,912,760mm².

The Australian devoted a 62mm high x 88mm wide article on the bottom right hand side of its front page today on the story. As a percentage of the total available space available to News Limited in its front pages this represents 0.042%. We wonder why. — Leigh Josey

Front page of the day. Meanwhile, on a stretch of the East China Sea lies the Diaoyu Islands where currently an international row is brewing between China and Japan as 14 Hong Kong activist landed on the sought after islands, embarrassing Tokyo and raising tensions between the two countries:

News Corp announces anti-corruption boss

“News Corp says its general counsel, Gerson Zweifach, has been designated the company’s chief compliance officer, in charge of a review of its anti-corruption controls. ” — The Australian

Getty Images bought by private equity

“The world’s biggest picture agency, Getty Images, has been acquired for $3.3bn (£2.1bn) by the private equity firm Carlyle Group.” — The Guardian

Female image protesters target Cleo

“Cleo has been targeted by a protest group which wants the young women’s magazine to stop Photoshopping images of girls.” — mUmBRELLA

 Hackers post false story on Reuters

“The Reuters news agency says hackers have broken into one of its websites for the second time in two weeks and posted a false story saying Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister had died.” — Huffington Post

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