Michael Pascoe writes:

Eddie Everywhere is finding out rather
rapidly that grabbing the title was the
easy part about being Nine Network CEO, with the fishwrappers today carrying
stories of advertising woes and what looks like a touchy performance at a
Collingwood function when someone dared asked about ratings.

The AFR and SMH both report Nine is offering discounts in an attempt to counter an advertising

Network chief executive Eddie McGuire started visiting media buyers this week
to shore up revenue support for the broadcaster, which has been hammered by the
Seven and Ten networks in the first two months of 2006 and has lost a string of
advertising deals.

In an alarming development for PBL’s top brass, some of the biggest
advertisers in the country have opted for two-network buying agreements with
Seven and Ten, leaving Nine to fight for the scraps when
“uncommitted” money is thrown open to bidding from all broadcasters.

The Fin reckons Nine has a 10% shortfall
in its advertising volume target for March. The paper quotes an anonymous
senior advertising buyer:“The Nine executives are emphatically
denying any widespread rate cuts, but they admit their fill levels are now
where they want them to be. That has set alarm bells ringing at Nine and
sparked a range of dirty deals to get volume.”

Eddie Everywhere denied Nine was cutting ad
rates, but reading between the lines of an AFR Rear Window item, he was none
too happy to be asked about Nine’s ratings woes at a Collingwood media conference
to announce a sponsorship deal with McDonald’s. McGuire told the Fin‘s reporter
to “go and Financial Review yourself over there”:

A flustered McGuire later said it was still early days in
the ratings season and he didn’t like being ambushed at a Magpie event
and being asked about Channel Nine. “I’m not having a press conference
every morning about what I do at my business, OK,” he growled.

Gee, it’s bad enough being a nominal CEO
when you don’t control your own budget, so please, don’t mention the war.