Southern Star for sale? Fairfax Media is said to be testing the market for a possible sale of Southern Star, only weeks after the production house lost its Big Brother deal with the Ten network and less than a year after Fairfax paid an estimated $150 million for the business when it helped Macquarie Media break up Southern Cross Broadcasting. It’s not a formal decision to sell it, just some quiet soundings to the TV production and financial community.
Big Brother was a major loss for Southern Star: it was run in a joint venture with the format owner, Endemol (Endemol held 51%, Southern Star owned 49% and had management control and booked the TV payments as revenue share).
A major problem for any prospective buyer (and for the Nine Network and Pay TV which are toying with the idea of breathing new life into BB next year) is the huge annual payment Endemol demands for the format’s use. According to industry sources it’s $22 million a year.
Southern Star generates much of its revenue from selling other producers’ programs in international markets. Home And Away from Seven would be one of its largest deals, but it also markets McLeod’s Daughters and Blue Water High, Meerkat Manor, Hi-Five, Rain Shadow, Love My Way. Southern Star’s sales income for these and other productions has been slashed by the surge in the value of the Australian dollar in the past 15 months from around 78 US cents to 95 US cents.
Fairfax Media CEO, David Kirk, was on the ABC radio program, Sunday Profile, last night talking about his company’s future and strategy. Southern Star was discussed, but no questions were asked about its future role at Fairfax. — Glenn Dyer
Q&A goes for carbon: The ABC’s Q&A this week might be make or break for both Liberals and the ALP. With the Liberals on the verge of their big decision on an emissions trading policy, Malcolm Turnbull (who was the last pollie interviewed on Sunday yesterday. He waited until the very last minute and said no to other programs) faces Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, Mr Green, Tim Flannery and the chairman of Harris Farm Markets, a fruit and veg chain, Catherine Harris. She’s the mother of Kev Rudd’s spindoctor, Lachlan Harris, a former chancellor of the University of NSW and a former S-x Discrimination Commissioner. — Glenn Dyer
When a court hands you lemons, turn them into lemonade. The News of the World prides itself on its irreverent attitude — but the paper’s ad in today’s Press Gazette is cheeky even by its own standards. — Guardian’s media monkey.
Did Qantas pay for that ad placement?