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Media briefs: Nine locks down… $15 million to Guardian Australia?… Keating responds …

The Guardian’s financial accounts reveal clues about how much money the Australian operation got from Graeme Wood. And other media tid-bits of the day.

Nine stops giving away video. Fairfax and News Corp will no longer be able to use video from Channel Nine for free, as the network has decided to boost its own digital media properties rather than those of its rivals.

Crikey understands the TV network’s publicity team used to send short clips of its programs to the major print websites to prompt stories about its coverage. But a Nine spokesman confirmed to Crikey that “all video going forward will appear on the Nine News website”.

There were never any formal contracts with News Corp or Fairfax about the use of Nine video, so the change is relatively easy to implement. Channel Nine will also be launching a new website to highlight its content.

Channel Nine, through its parent company Nine Entertainment Co’s digital company Mi9, has an indirect relationship with the Daily Mail Australia, so the upstart tabloid will still be able to use Nine video in its own stories. Other Mi9 properties like TheFIX and the Ninemsn will also benefit from exclusive access to Channel Nine video.

Video is an important driver of online traffic, not least to popular websites such as Fairfax’s smh.com.au and News Corp’s news.com.au. Video also allows publishers to sell video ads that run before playback.

Channel Nine is far from the only provider of video to News Corp and Fairfax’s popular websites. Wire services like Reuters currently provide video, as do Nine’s rival networks. Both companies have also invested in their own video production capabilities. But for breaking Australian news as well as entertainment news, it’s hard for legacy print publishers to match the vision captured by the TV networks. — Myriam Robin

Wood’s Guardian loan. Guardian Media Group, the parent company of the British paper as well as the local digital operation, has posted a pre-tax profit of 549.2 million pounds ($1 billion) in the 12 months to March 30, a result boosted 619.0 million pounds ($1.13 billion) by the sale of its 50.1% stake in Trade Media Group in February. If this windfall is taken out, the company posted an operating loss of $74.38 million for the year, of which $35.37 million came from its media division.

The biggest change in The Guardian’s balance sheet from last year to now is a massive jump in its “cash and investment fund”, which increased from $462.3 million to $1.534 billion. That’s a big funding pool for a rainy day, and it’s why the The Guardian’s continuing losses are actually more sustainable than they seem, provided they don’t grow. As Press Gazette reports:

If GMG reaches its target of making 5 per cent interest a year on [the money in its cash and investment fund], it means the group can afford to lose up to 40 million pounds a year. GMG reported an overall operating loss for 2013/2014 broadly in line with this target, at 40.8 million pounds (down from 46 million pounds a year ago).”

The accounts also reveal a bit more about the loan to establish the Australian operation by Wotif millionaire Graeme Wood. The accounts state:

The Group has received investment to finance the expansion of  the Group’s activities in Australia. Subject to certain performance conditions being met, these unsecured borrowings are expected to mature no earlier than 2018.”

In the account statement for borrowings by The Guardian not due in within a year, a loan of $14.9 million is recorded. This is the only non-current loan mentioned in the statements, suggesting this is all Wood’s loan. It’s a similar amount of money to what he donated to The Global Mail to get set up.

About a third of Guardian Media Group’s profits now come from its digital operations — that figure has increased to $126.71 million from $101.9 million the year before. — Myriam Robin

Setting the record straight. Paul Keating writes to the SMH.

Where to cover Indonesia? Australia’s nearest neighbor, and one of the world’s most populous countries, had an election yesterday. The Australian thought this was big news — it’s on page 1. It’s on page 14 of The Age, page 21 of the Daily Telegraph, and page 16 of The Sydney Morning Herald. We went through the Herald Sun twice but couldn’t find it anywhere — rockets fired from Gaza took up most of the “World” section.

Front page of the day. Punctured dreams in Brazil …

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  • 1
    Geoff Keogh
    Posted Thursday, 10 July 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t Papua New Guinea Australia’s nearest neighbour?

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