The Oz co-brands with the WSJ. I wonder how all the hard working and high priced business and finance journalists working on The Australian feel now that their paper’s bosses have seen fit to ally them with the family-owned Wall Street Journal? The new look business section was actively promoted in large ads in the Weekend Australian. It had been started last week with the co-branding at the top of every page and the home page. The co-branding is everywhere: “The Australian Business, with the Wall Street Journal.”

There’s a real cultural cringe associated with that co-branding. The Australian’s business pages principally report (and are doing it a lot better than the Australian Financial Review) on Australia and Asia, areas where the Wall Street Journal is deficient to being myopic and ignorant. The Financial Times has a far better understanding and level of reporting on Asia, especially China and Japan. Bloomberg is superior in the region, compared to the Journal’s efforts. There’s no such need to co-brand the online web pages of the Times business section in London, so why The Australian? Such a move in the UK would create a furore.

It’s an insult to the local reporters and commentators that the paper’s bosses somehow thing the brand they have created isn’t strong enough, and needs bolstering by association with the Wall Street Journal. — Glenn Dyer

Seven’s big win. The Seven Network had its biggest win of the regular ratings season over Nine and Ten last week (excluding the Olympics in August). Seven won with a share in 6pm to midnight All People of 30.1% (30.7% the week before from Nine with 25.3% (25.9%), Ten with 20.5%, (19.5%), the ABC with 18.8% (18.7%) and SBS with 5.3% (5.2%). Seven won Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Nine won Sunday and Thursday. Nine finished third on both Friday and Saturday nights. Seven won all five metro markets. Seven had nine of the 10 top programs last with Packed To The Rafters on top with more than 1.8 million people. — Glenn Dyer

Foxtel growth slowing, bring out the smoke and mirrors. Telstra’s finance boss, John Stanhope, says Foxtel’s subscriber growth is slowing, (as opposed to a Foxtel spokesman who says that the subscriber base “continues to grow”). Stanhope sees the figures from the weekly and monthly reports from management and for him to go public means the slowdown in Foxtel subscription growth must be real. Is this the reason for the new marketing campaign for Foxtel where it says new subscribers can have free installation, the first month’s subscription free and you can do this on a 12 month plan?

Installation costs vary, but let’s call it $130. The average subscriber cost varies, but let’s go for Foxtel’s cheapest at around $40 a month. Trying to work out the real value of the Foxtel offer is next to impossible because there’s a bit of fine print. Foxtel will try and start you not on the cheapest package, but on the more expensive platinum:

For your first month, we’ll put you on the all-you-can-eat Platinum package for $89, instead of the regular $106. That’s an additional saving of $17.*

And what does that asterix mean? Well at the bottom of the Foxtel webpage is this:

Offer ends 8 November 2008. New standard metro installs. Min cost if you call in the first month to switch to Get Started (Basic Package): $89 payable upfront (1st month Platinum) + 11mths x $40. Cancel fee applies.

Another line on the page says:

Pricing and Packaging on this page effective from 1 November 2008.

So looking at the various lines, it seems this new package is going to be available for a whole eight days. That’s mighty generous of Foxtel. The most telling part of the new Foxtel campaign is the having of the minimum period from 24 hours to 12 months.

That’s the real concession. It means higher marketing costs this time next year in trying to keep any subscribers picked up in this campaign to rollover. The churn will rise as well as existing subscribers drop off because they are finding the cost too much and Foxtel won’t deal. Renewing subscribers have to go jump. Foxtel added a whole 64,000 new subscribers in the six months to June 30. — Glenn  Dyer

Rupert Murdoch: Decision to make Sky reduce ITV stake was a ‘huge injustice’. The billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch today railed against British regulators for dealing a “huge injustice” to BSkyB over a potentially costly bust-up surrounding the broadcaster’s minority stake in rival ITV. Speaking at the annual meeting of his News Corporation empire, Murdoch attacked the Competition Commission for ordering BSkyB to cut its 17.9% stake in ITV to less than 7.5%. — Guardian Media

Audi’s vision of progress not great for dogs. The new Audi ad from Venables, Bell & Partners claims that “progress is beautiful.” As evidence, it shows a living room being renovated over time from old and stodgy to modern and snazzy—and the old car in the driveway being likewise replaced by a shiny new Quattro. Which all seems great, unless you’re a dog. The first dog we see vanishes into thin air a mere 12 seconds into the ad, and is replaced by a second dog. — Adfreak

Who the hell really uses 3G mobile content anyway? The introduction of 3G mobile technology a few years ago was accompanied by a fanfare of downloadable content, in addition to the benefit of increased network speeds and capacities. Who remembers the launch of 3 Mobile in Australia? Their big innovation and appeal was video calling over the 3G network. As well as being expensive at the time, the quality was…well…pretty crap. Hey, I’m being kind. — PC World 

Sarah Palin Establishes Her Legacy. The highlight of Sarah Palin’s career? It’s not her guest spot on Saturday Night Live, or her scary stump speeches in front of screaming crazy racists. It’s this cover for the upcoming Tales From the Crypt comic. Sporting a hockey stick—and heaving breasts reminiscent of the comic’s golden days—she asks the fleeing ghouls, “Didn’t we get rid of you guts in the 50’s?” It’s a reference to Palin’s book-banning ways, as well as to the wave of censorship that forced Crypt’s original publisher to shut it down in 1955. — Gawker

Peter Fray

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