The Oz goes for gloss

The Australian is about to copy Fairfax and introduce a free glossy mag, rumoured to be called Wish. The first edition is tentatively slated for October and will appear monthly on a Friday, the same frequency of The Australian Financial Review’s magazine and Fairfax’s monthly magazines for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

This is a very profitable market. The pioneer and benchmark magazine, Fairfax’s Good Weekend, has annual revenue estimated at around $1 million a week, and most (but not all) of the others are also doing well.

Nine – still the ones for spin

Former New Idea editor Jenny Gilbert has been head-hunted by Sam Chisholm to be the Nine Network’s new head of corporate spin, working alongside publicity head Jamie Campbell.

This means Nine and PBL are close to forming a cricket team of PR mavens. Over the past few years they’ve had a list comprising Andrea Keir (who was good), Brendan Moo (now at Foxtel), Heidi Virtue (now in fashion), Jamie Campbell (still there), Jill Campbell (fled to AMP), Wendy Squires (left Nine for ACP’s Madison magazine), David Hurley (now back running A Current Affair) and Prue McSween (out on her own and consulting).

This turnover of PRs and spinners means there’s little chance of consistency of message or line.

Can Nine retain the Qantas news contract?

One of the biggest deals in Australian TV is up for grabs. The contract to supply Qantas with its in-flight news broadcasts is a low profit deal, but with 2.6 million people flying with Qantas domestically and internationally every month, supplying the news is excellent PR.

At present the Nine Network supplies Qantas with its three news shows each day (one around 5:30am and the other two in the afternoon), and with James Packer on the Qantas board you’d reckon that Nine can’t fail to retain the contract.

So why are other networks bothering to put in bids on what seems quite a forlorn chase? Mainly to force down the income from the lucrative contract that’s worth at least a couple of million dollars a year. Nine will be forced to drop its price to keep the work because losing the contract would mean sacking four or five producers and at least two newsreaders.

But the newsroom, like every department at Nine, has to lose staff over the next six months. ACA, Sunday and Business Sunday are said to be looking to use natural attrition to reach tier savings. And News will need to do the same.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey