“A certain concentration is needed in a nation of 20 million people because we can’t sustain an unlimited number of (media) players for economic reasons” — Prime Minister John Howard, yesterday. 

Are these the “economic reasons” he is talking about — the net profits of the major Australian media players (minus News Ltd, whose Australian profits aren’t separated from News Corp’s global figures) in the financial year 2005-06?

  • Seven Network: $108 million profit (up 28.6%)
  • Ten Network: $46 million profit (down 56.8%)
  • West Australian Newspapers Holdings Ltd:  $69 million  profit (down 28.15%)
  • Austereo: $42 million profit (up 3.1%)
  • John Fairfax Holdings Ltd: $227 million profit (down 7%)
  • Southern Cross Broadcasting: $50 million profit (down 22%)
  • Publishing and Broadcasting Limited: $610 million profit (up 25.7%)
  • Rural Press: $113 million profit (up 12.2%)
  • APN News & Media Ltd: $150 million profit for the 12 months ended December 2005 (up 16%)

That’s around $1.415 billion in net profit, plus another $200 million or so for News Corp’s Australian activities.

Doesn’t sound very unsustainable to us.