McCarthy offloads Fairfax shares. Fairfax Media CEO, Brian McCarthy has sold 350,000 shares to cut his holding in the publisher by around 12%. The shares were sold last week for $1.335 a share. The sales raised a gross $465,250. They were sold out of his direct holding in the company which was cut from 1,127,163 shares to 777,163. He still has 736,880 in his family super account and 694,479 in his Fairfax executive plan. — Glenn Dyer
UK media collapse. Pay TV channel Setanta is expected to go bust in the UK today after failing to find a white knight at the weekend. London reports say the channel’s intense struggle to survive that has consumed it for the past month, ended when previous groups said to be interested, walked away. At the same time the tottering Independent News & Media group (which controls APN News and Media in Australia) is said to be considering a deeply discounted cash issue to raise enough money to keep staggering on.
The two companies’ woes are symptomatic of the intense pressures still on the media sector in the UK, although in the case of Setanta, there are claims of poor management. UK media reports say Setanta plans to appoint Deloittes as administrators if there’s no money forthcoming in the next few hours. Len Blavatnik, the Russian-born US citizen and billionaire who offered Setanta a 20 million pound lifeline a fortnight ago, has walked away.
Setanta missed its deadline to make a 10 million pound payment to the Premier League for its soccer broadcast rights on Friday night, our time. The media reports said that triggered a loss of its rights to broadcast football fixtures next season. Those rights were its major asset, as they are the main attraction for most subscribers. BT’s television arm has stopped selling subscriptions to Setanta Sports.
Rival Broadcasters have until the end of business Monday (London time) to bid for the rights to Setanta’s 46 English Premier League games. BSkyB and ESPN, are expected to buy the rights to 23 games each. Setanta had paid 392 million pounds for these 46 live games. Setanta’s has contracts to show the Scottish Premier League, golf and some other sports. It also broadcast the Six Nations Rugby series in Australia.
The reports say 1100 people in the UK and Ireland will lose their jobs if Setanta folds, as is now expected.
Meanwhile Independent News & Media is considering making a quick rights issue to shareholders to raise less than 100 million euros (85 million pounds). The desperation for the cash can be seen in the share price last Friday for INM of 32 cents. To get any money and attract interest, the discount would have to be half that to get any interest. 200 million euro of 10 year bonds were due for payment last month and a six-week standstill agreement to repay that loan ends this Friday. — Glenn Dyer
News from the North. Where would the NT News be without crocodiles?
Give us our saturated fat! NT citizens demand McDonalds:
UK Tele overstates Utegate. This is the headline from the London Telegraph story about the so-called Utegate/Tailgate story involving Mr Rudd: ” Australia’s Kevin Rudd faces call for resignation from opposition over SUV” From the pictures on weekend news programs the SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) referred to in the headline is something of an overglossing by the conservative London broadsheet. Wasn’t it a battered old utility? — Glenn Dyer
Times reporter escapes Taliban after seven months. David Rohde, a New York Times reporter who was kidnapped by the Taliban, escaped Friday night and made his way to freedom after more than seven months of captivity in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mr. Rohde, along with a local reporter, Tahir Ludin, and their driver, Asadullah Mangal, was abducted outside Kabul, Afghanistan, on Nov. 10 while he was researching a book. Mr. Rohde was part of The Times ’s reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize this spring for coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan last year. — New York Times
Graf launch on Australian city streets. Newly launched media agency FrankVizeum has revealed on its website that it has commissioned an ambient agency to illegally spray stencils onto streets in Sydney and Melbourne to promote itself. Street stenciling, originally the work of graffiti artists, have become increasingly attractive to brands looking for low cost media and to connect with an urban audience. Other brands to have done it recently in Australia include Virgin Mobile and Absolut vodka. But city councils have been cracking down. It was reported yesterday that City of Sydney Council is currently examining a graffiti campaign by Warner Music on behalf of Green Day. — Mumbrella
At least 23 journalists and bloggers arrested in Iran. Iranian authorities have arrested 23 journalists and bloggers since post-election protests began a week ago, according to a media watchdog that says reporters are a “priority target” for Iran’s leadership. Among those arrested was the head of the Association of Iranian Journalists, Reporters Without Borders said Sunday. “It’s becoming more and more problematic for journalists,” said Benoit Hervieu of the Paris-based group, also known by its French acronym RSF. — Editor and Publisher
Facebook tell-all released into wild. Facebook’s creation myth left the building, or so we hear: Fortune is said to be readying an excerpt of Ben Mezrich’s tell-all book and movie about the social network. And another publication is, naturally, trying to ruin the scoop. We hear the New York Times ‘ Brad Stone has been calling around frantically, trying to get hold of a galley himself and spoil Fortune ’s exclusive. The media scramble for galleys of Accidental Billionaires just goes to show Facebook remains something of an “it” company in Silicon Valley, even as it grows out of its startup phase and gropes for revenue. It also proves that respected media outlets have no trouble taking seriously a project created by a busted, fabricating author and adapted for film by a would-be crack smuggler, about a money-losing company. — Defamer
Boston Globe reporter starts new life go-karting. When the Globe first started to go down the gurgler, I tried a more conventional survival strategy: I stayed up all night writing a cover letter, updating my resume, searching JournalismJobs.com, and looking on Craigslist. I applied for a gig at the China Daily newspaper, debating whether it would be worse to be unemployed or to be employed by a communist government. I seriously considered writing appraisal reports or editing college essays. In my sleep-deprived haze, the most promising offer was from a loving couple who would pay $10,000 for the eggs of a fertile woman under 32. And that’s when it came to me: Go-karting could be my future. — Fortune Magazine
Lily Allen sues the Sun. Lawyers representing singer Lily Allen have started legal action against the Sun for an article claiming she called Victoria Beckham a “monster” and The X Factor judge Cheryl Cole “stupid and superficial”. The article, headlined “Ranting Lily”, was published in the 7 May edition of the News International-owned redtop. Law firm Atkins Thomson, representing Allen, has issued proceedings in the high court for libel and false attribution of authorship, arguing that she never made the comments. — Guardian
News papers and iphones trump Kindle. The Kindle also has a few obvious advantages over print newspapers. It’s cheaper than the national dailies—subscriptions, it’s more portable than a newspaper, giving you the ability to carry several dailies at a time and to read on a train without elbowing your fellow commuters in the face. Plus, you can take the Kindle along with you on vacation, it never gets drenched in the rain, and your neighbors can’t steal it in the morning. But both versions of the Kindle are missing what makes print newspapers such a perfect delivery vehicle for news: graphic design. — Slate