Michael Pascoe writes:

Fairfax CEO David Kirk let everyone know
what he thought about old media on the weekend – “very challenged business
model”, “under a lot of threat”, “in long-term decline” were among the phrases
used on the ABC’s Inside Business. And, no, Fairfax certainly wasn’t interested in buying any, it’s so yesterday.

But yesterday Captain Kirk completed the
$155 million acquisition of that paragon
of new-wave media, The Border Mail, as well as tossing $15.1 million into the
hat to pick up two Melbourne suburban newspaper publishers. The Smage modestly headlines its report, “Fairfax realm
expands”.

Of course the old medium Captain Kirk was
talking about on Sunday was free-to-air television, but pretty much everything
he said could have been applied to newspapers, if it wasn’t against his interests to do so.

Can we now look forward to some bold plan
to go where none has gone before with The Border Mail? Perhaps it will tie in
with Kirk’s professed fondness for acquiring one of the digital spectrum
licences, allowing the broadcast to mobile phones of someone reading The Border
Mail
.

On Sunday Kirk also reckoned there
would be no big bidding war for media assets, just cosy little agreed mergers –
the sort of thing to fuel the Packer/Fairfax conspiracy theories. He was
probably right about something.

Peter Fray

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