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Media briefs: HuffPo eyes Australia … Forbes sells … enough is enough …

Forbes magazine has been sold. The Press Council wants a new chair. Plus other media tidbits of the day.

The Huffington Post says it’s coming (again). There’s been no shortage of delayed launches for The Huffington Post in Australia. But after seemingly calling off all active discussions to focus on expansion in Asia and Europe, the AOL-owned online juggernaut has its sights once again Down Under. HuffPo International GM Koda Wang told the ABC’s Download This Show that the company is looking to launch in Australia in the first quarter of 2015. While The Huffington Post has been dragging its heels, The Guardian and Mail Online have already established local presences.

Banking on good coverage. There was a fascinating bit of table management this morning buried in the PR effort by The Australian media editor Sharri Markson, about last Tuesday night’s 50th birthday celebrations for the paper in Sydney. Sharing a table with Rupert Murdoch at the Horden Pavilion in Sydney’s old Showgrounds were “Glenn Stevens, Paul Keating, Noel Pearson, John Howard, Ian Narev, Paul Kelly, Richard Goyder and Catherine Livingstone.” N.b. Ian Narev, head of the Commonwealth Bank. And why is he important? Well, CBA is a long-time banker to the Murdoch empire in its various forms (and with the Time Warner chase in the United States, Rupert will need a billion or so from the bank, for old time’s sake). Perhaps that explains why the Murdoch papers in Australia never bothered to really chase down the CBA financial planning stories that Fairfax business reporter Adele Ferguson and others have been chasing for the past couple of years. The Oz often complains that other media (aka Fairfax) don’t chase its “scoops” — so why were the Oz and other News papers not spotted hard on the trail of the CBA and the appalling financial planning rorts? —  Glenn Dyer

A new head for the Press Council. Press Council chair Julian Disney steps down in January 2015, and his job is up for grabs.

Here’s the ad (from Friday’s AFR). It calls for someone with a high public standing and profile, with “independence from the media industry”. It’s a 20- to 25-hour-a-week job, according to the ad.

Forbes family sells out. Despite all the cheering from business media for Rupert Murdoch’s overpriced bid for Time Warner, pressures on existing media groups (including Fox and News Corp) roll on around the world. In the past week we have seen close to 500 job cuts announced in broadcast and print media in the United Kingdom, while in the United States, Forbes magazine and its associated businesses were sold for what appears to be the attractive sum of US$475 million, but was an admission of failure by long-time owners the Forbes family.

Still, that’s a lot of money to spend on a fading magazine and its one big remaining asset — the Forbes 400 list and other tables of wealth for sport, entertainers and the like.

The Forbes sale was significant for two reasons. The first was the fact that it marks the exit of yet another of America’s dwindling list of great media owners and moguls. Recently, media has lost the Chandlers, owners of The Los Angeles Times; the Bancrofts, who sold The Wall Street Journal to Murdoch in 2007; and the Graham family, who earlier this year sold The Washington Post to Amazon.

The second is that business and news magazines don’t have a much of a future in these post-GFC, internet, smartphone times — with the exception, it seems, of The Economist in the US (which says it is a paper, although it appears very much like a magazine). In Australia, The Bulletin died in 2008, as did BRW in 2013, though it remains as a website owned by Fairfax Media.

Forbes magazine was started 97 years ago and prospered as the leading populariser of US business and private wealth under Malcolm Forbes. But that cheerleading role couldn’t protect it against the pressures of the internet and the GFC, which it found as tough to battle as any other print outlet in the US, Europe or Australia.

In November 2013 the company was marketed to potential buyers and last Friday, the winner was announced — a curiously named Asian syndicate called Integrated Whale Media Investments, which is led by an investment company that reportedly focuses on the technology, finance and telecommunications sectors, and Wayne Hsieh, co-founder of ASUSTek Computer.

According to US advertising sources, Forbes’ circulation has been steady at around 930,000 a month since 2009, but ad revenues have been falling – an 11% drop in the number of ad pages was reported in 2013.  —  Glenn Dyer

Front page of the day. Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf  declares “enough is enough”, demanding that NATO intervene in the Ukraine …

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  • 1
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 21 July 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    How much is that lack of negative advertising PR worth to the CBA - that the bank doesn’t have to spend $big on countering (like the way the Labor Party has to spend up big with Murdoch - to counter Murdoch’s negative campaign against it, from the devotion of his elite resources con-trolling such a lump of our hate/viewsmedia)?
    Not a billion on it’s own, surely?

  • 2
    hpouwels4@bigpond.com
    Posted Monday, 21 July 2014 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Dutch paper De telegraaf is a right wing paper. Not in the league of”the Daily Telegraph’or The Australian but on the “right” side nonetheless. The newspaper world in The Netherlands has always been very diverse, with most political views covered. There are at least eight national papers.With many more provincial (State)and regional papers, as well as city based publications. For a small nation with a population less than Australia’s (17mill to 22mill)there is much more choice of views ,less concentration of ownership.

  • 3
    Posted Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    It’s kind of scary to think that Rupert Murdoch isn’t even top of the food chain - have banks and Big Finance been in charge all along?

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