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Media briefs: SMH headlines … money to Fox … multichannel ratings …

The Oz wasn’t the only one to get a slap-down from the Press Council. And other media tidbits of the day.

SMH headline wasn’t fair. The Australian isn’t the only publication in the Press Council’s sights today. The Council also handed down a rebuke to the Sydney Morning Herald for an article about an ALP supporter it described as “Chris Bowen’s lieutenant” accused of being landlord to an illegal brothel. Frank Carbone, the subject of the article, complained that the report got the name of the business wrong, that the headline implied he knew what was going on in his property (even though the article made clear he did not), and inaccurately described him as a Bowen lieutenant.

The Press Council concluded “the publication did not take sufficient steps to ensure fairness to Mr Carbone” in its headline. It also disagreed with the paper’s description that he was a Bowen lieutenant — apparently his only involvement with Bowen’s campaign was through handing out how-to-vote cards.

However, the Council concluded the newspaper was fair and accurate in calling the business a brothel and did not uphold this aspect of Carbone’s complaint.

The story was published only a few days before the last federal election. Given it dealt with a political figure, “there may well have been good cause for further investigation before publishing the story”, the Press Council’s adjudication concluded. — Myriam Robin

In praise of commas. Here’s a tweet sent by the Associated Press earlier today. And don’t worry, there was no crash-landing, only a poor choice of either words or punctuation.

Might the AP have had more room to explain if it didn’t feel the need to put “BREAKING” up the front? Don’t get us started on that — how can a totally expected arrival be “breaking”?

The AP went on to clarify:

Cash to America (for Time Warner bid?). The reshuffling of the Murdoch family’s broadcast empire in Europe will move forward tonight with a three way deal that will see more than US$12 billion in cash pushed back to 21st Century Fox, to help the parent company’s ambitious assault on Time Warner.

At its financial results announcement tonight, our time, BSkyB is expected to confirm that it will buy Fox’s 57% stake in Sky Deutschland and all of Sky Italia in a consolidation move to create Sky Europe — a move that has media analysts and writers in London slavering in expectation. The deal is effectively a huge related party transaction with only one group of beneficiaries — the Murdoch family who control 21st Century Fox. The billions raised will go to paying the 40% cash component of the US$85 a share offer for Time Warner that the target company has rebuffed. A higher bid will require more cash, not more non voting shares from the Murdoch’s company. A figure of around US$12 billion from the BSkyB deal would finance a big part of the cash component of the offer — put at more than US$34 billion. Fox has more than US$6 billion on its balance sheet as well — the rest would have to come from a huge series of bank loans and then bond issues of up to US$24 billion.

This is the bottom line for the transaction happening now, according to London deal merchants, as expressed in the pages and websites of their bible, the Financial Times. All talk of synergies (cost savings, job cuts etc) are really a load of hot air. The three Fox controlled companies already share technology and work closely on upgrades, programming ideas, marketing and advertising. BSkyB has always been the senior company of the three with its greater revenues, earnings and know-how in satellite broadcasting. Despite the laudatory reporting of the plan, it’s only aimed at benefiting 21st Century Fox (which will still control the company through its 39.1% stake in BSkyB), and the Murdoch family, which will control the whole shebang through their 39% stake (including Rupert Murdoch’s 1% holding) in the voting shares of Fox (and 12% stake in both the voters and non voting stock). — Glenn Dyer

PANPA noms announced. Good news for The Australian  — it’s on the short-list to reclaim its title as the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers Association’s Newspaper of the Year. The title was the Oz’s in 2012, but was awarded to The Age last year, prompting what Crikey called a “dummy spit” of a 1900-word piece slamming the awards.

But if a News Corp title takes out the gong, perhaps this year will be different. There’s a relatively straight-forward news piece in the Oz today telling us that it’s been nominated. We wish it and all the nominees luck. But we do note the travesty of the industry body not letting Crikey into the club (we can’t enter, for obvious reasons). Every daily metropolitan newspaper in the country is a finalist, apart from the Canberra Times and the Hobart Mercury. We do sympathise.

A leaf from Ten’s book. Ten’s been playing Family Feud on all three of its channels and issuing a combined ratings figure, which has raised eyebrows including here at Crikey, where our TV guru Glenn Dyer wrote last month:

Ten is pulling a swiftie — it’s simulcasting the program at 6pm on its digital channels, ONE and Eleven, as well as on its main channel. But it is not breaking out the data for each channel, just aggregating it under the main channel. Last night’s figures show Family Feud beat Seven News in Sydney 253,000 viewers to 224,000 — which it didn’t. Seven News was broadcast on one channel, Family Feud on three.  It’s not against the rules, but it is poor form.

Prompted by Ten’s decision, TV critic David Knox has done something interesting on his blog. He’s added up the hourly ratings for all the other channels too, showing how the ratings would look if everyone took Ten’s lead and put their programs on all their channels. Turns out Seven and Nine would still be ahead, but not in all time slots.

Although, Knox notes, “it’s just not what multichannels are meant for, people.”

Video of the Day. John Oliver asks, how are the Commonwealth Games still a thing?

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  • 1
    Duncan James
    Posted Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Ah, even Crikey forgets the NT News is a daily metropolitan newspaper. Wasn’t just the Canberra Times and Hobart Mercury that missed out (though it’s easier to understand why they missed the list than the brilliant NT News).

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