Terry Television spent his Sunday morning flicking madly between stations and once again concludes that the ABC’s Inside Business is the best offering.
With the ABC program Inside Business holding the high ground, Nine’s Business Sunday is looking a bit like Today for business on Sunday.
But for all the expertise on both programs, Michael Pascoe on Seven’s Sunday Sunrise slipped in with the interview of the week – Michael Chaney, CEO of Wesfarmers and about to be National Australia Bank director and chairman.
It was a good coup, not for what he had to say, but to get this normally reticent CEO talking ‘sensibly’ about his company and the National. And also about the key to managing a business and how to do it successfully as you can see from the transcript here.
Business Sunday and Inside Business both had good interviews with Malcolm Broomhead of Oricam who reinforced the approach of Michael Chaney. Oricia has boomed since he took over, without the big swinger approach of some other CEO’s, especially in the media.
It is quite simple according to Chaney, concentrate on maximising shareholder value. That’s a message that will be lapped up by NAB shareholders, but banking is a little different, because banks have so many customers who are also shareholders, and have more customers with a direct financial stake in their relationship with the company. Few other companies have that.
So what is good for maximising shareholder value might not be good for customers, who these days have more and more examples of financial groups able to mix that approach quite successfully. The ANZ, St George and Westpac for example!
The NAB has been pushing the shareholder line for years and look where it got them!
But Inside Business also had a story on the use of schemes of arrangements in takeovers, a specialist story with an appeal to a small group of people. No one was prepared to say ban them completely and there was a fair bit of special interest pleading, but hey, that’s money.
It also had a nice story, very Melbourne, on the Grollo construction family.
As I said it was at the top end of the market on Sunday mornings, having slipped into the spot Business Sunday used to fill.
Business Sunday has the “quick, don’t let them get bored”, Today Show approach. All that is needed is a male host to sit next to Ali Moore. Maybe Ross Greenwood can do a Kochie on Sunday?
Business Sunday had Malcolm Broomhead, who rightfully received the Institute of Chartered Accountants Business Sunday Business Leader of the year award as you can see here.
In his mild, unaffected way Broomhead has saved Orica from a fate worse than death – or takeover by scheme of arrangement! And here’s his interview on Inside Business which reflected the lack of background Inside Business has with the Orica story.
If doubling up on Broomhead wasn’t enough, both progrmas also caught up with Chris Caton, the talk a minute, very sensible chief economist of BT with some smart insights into life for the US and us after the American Presidential poll.
His remarks about the different moves of stockmarkets (up) and the US dollar (down) since the poll is something the Bush cheer squad in the Australian Government and in the US are conveniently ignoring.
Business Sunday looked at the News Corp/John Malone situation with Terry McCrann, who wasn’t too HMV on the issue. Serious, but no mention of the utter cynicism of Murdoch’s approach to it all.
Business Sunday then had a panel on the subject later in the program with Michael O’Sullivan of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors and Sandy Easterbrook of Corporate Governance International.
An interesting, somewhat after the event discussion notable for Easterbrook’s continuing optimism and O’Sullivan’s wondering, almost cynical raising of the point of whether News Corp knew what was going to happen with Malone, even as the shift of domicile was winding down and moving through the Australian courts this past week.
This was again cut short because Business Sunday had tried to stick everything into the program. And why was the travelogue on Croatia so much more important compared to the content of the US panel or the News Corp panel?
The US panel could have been dispensed with or reduced to an interview with Caton. It would have been more informative. Easterbrook and O’Sullivan clearly had more to say, but that opportunity has gone.
To get a proper perspective on the News situation, you had to listen to Michael Pascoe’s short commentary on Seven here.
The whole News Corp situation has an Alice in Wonderland feel to it, with an overlay of Mad Hatter’s Tea Party!
Or, As Alan Kohler said in one of his columns this week in the Fairfax Press this week: why should we be worrying about what is happening in this American company?
That’s quite true. How long before all Rupert’s voices and courtiers in Australia wake up to the fact that they now have a shrinking relevance in Australia, the local media and business?
But that’s also a warning for Business Sunday. That Today Show, lite and bright approach with colour and movement is slowly watering down the franchise.
Seven can’t pick it up because it is cramming politics, business and colour into an hour, while Inside Business is only half an hour and too Melbourne-centric.
All this in the biggest stockmarket boom for a generation, when investors are crying out for solid, unbiased information – not the once over lightly approach!