A bad result for the TEN Network. Despite a sharp improvement in its ratings performance this year, especially in the past two months or so, the company’s TV business lost heavily in the third quarter and the news won’t be of any help to its 56% owner, the struggling Canwest group of Canada which faces another debt deadline next Tuesday.

There had been speculation that Ten would announce another attempt to raise more capital today to pay down debt, but there was no statement. It failed with an attempt earlier this year to raise money at 75 cents a share. Ten shares traded around $1.11 this morning.

Ten though did its best to avoid any comparisons or reference to the big story in its 2009-10 third quarter figures out at Midday. There were few comparisons with the 2008-09 financial year and previous quarters this year, but there was a lot of talk of a ratings rebound now underway paying off later in the year and in 2010, but no mention of the “L” word in the release.

No wonder, a rough calculation based on reports for the third quarter and last year showed the company suffered a nasty 76% drop in earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation in the quarter ended May 2009. And it was all that was down to the slump in the company’s TV network, off the back of a 15% (around $26 million) fall in TV revenue.

Save up to 50% on a year of Crikey

Choose what you pay, from $99.

Sign up now

You had to dig into the company’s online archives back to the third quarter report for 2008 to find that the country’s third biggest TV Network had suffered the sharp third quarter downturn, which in turn helped produce a 36% plunge in earnings in the first nine months of the 2009 year.

In the past two months Ten has been the most successful TV channel in ratings terms and over this year so far, is outperforming Seven and Nine in growth in ratings across all demographics. But with ad revenues down (15% fall in the third quarter), it’s tough and not even out performance can find its reward. — Glenn Dyer

The Age asks the tough questions:

Indeed who is Gordon Grech? Any relation to Godwin Grech, of Utegate fame?

Utegate: the story that writes its own headlines. This OzCar imbroglio has already given us the term “Utegate” (and we appreciate Radio Australia’s ‘loot-for-ute‘ riff on this). Sub-editors across Australia are making sure they get as much mileage (heh) as possible out of the nation’s latest frenzied political scandal.

The car angle:

The Oz loves a bit of bull:

Some more for the road:

Crikey work experience kid Cameron Magusic

More on BBC Worldwide’s commercial tendencies. BBC Worldwide is happy to promote the recently acquired (2007) Lonely Planet on their licence funded homepage in a special travel widget. Clearly they desperately need to generate some return on their poorly timed investment.

How to be a photo-journalist in a warzone. Lesson 1: Keep the essentials in your backpack. Expect that, at some point, your suitcase is going to get left on the tarmac somewhere. Clothes and a toothbrush you can buy anywhere, but try finding a charger for the latest Canon SLR in a country without a central government. Lesson 2: Get what you can, when you can. On dozens of occasions, I’ve thought, “Oh, I’ll come back and that get photo later.” It almost never happens and so I’ve learned to grab whatever I can, even though the conditions may not be perfect. — Lens @ The New York Times

Wired editor steals content for book about how content should be free. Chris Anderson has been caught lifting huge chunks out of Wikipedia for his book Free. The irony speaks for itself. But it’s worth noting that the Wired editor’s excuses are disconcertingly clichéd. Like so many plagiarists before him, Anderson claims his act was unintentional. The Virginia Quarterly Review first reported his copying, and the explanation he gave us is that he and his editors decided to kill Free’s footnotes “at the 11th hour;” though much attribution was restored within the body text, Wikipedia sources were not. — Valleywag

Rahm Emanuel: media machine. Perhaps no White House chief of staff in modern history has worked the media as aggressively and relentlessly as Emanuel. Drawing on his long-standing relationships with journalists, Emanuel serves up on-the-record quotes, background spin and the sort of capital gossip that lubricates relationships. The former Chicago congressman also seeks their take on events and floats possible administration tactics. “He thinks like a journalist,” says Obama senior adviser David Axelrod. — Washington Post

Iran election coverage sparks TV news revolution . As foreign journalists have been systematically expelled from Iran, television news is increasingly looking like a web page, with “unverified” YouTube video and grainy cell phone snippets supplanting traditional news footage. News organizations across the board are directing resources to the task of vetting sources on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook as well as their tip lines for authenticity and angles. It all adds up to a story that’s being covered like none before it. Despite the violent crackdown by state-sponsored militias, Iranians continued to document the unrest in their country. — Broadcast & Cable

AP issues toughest ever social-networking guidelines to staff. The Associated Press is adopting a stringent social-networking policy for its employees, informing them to police their Facebook profiles “to make sure material posted by others doesn’t violate AP standards.” The policy comes weeks after an AP reporter was reprimanded for posting a comment to his own Facebook profile criticizing the Sacramento-based newspaper chain McClatchy, whose stock has become nearly worthless after a string of costly acquisitions. The AP’s social-networking policy comes as the media at large begins adopting Facebook and Twitter guidelines during a time of explosive growth in online social media. Wired

Daily Star to pay Beckham damages. David Beckham has accepted “substantial” libel damages from a newspaper which claimed he “made a play” for model Mariann Fogarasy. The 34-year-old footballer was not at London’s High Court for the settlement against Express Group Newspapers over the article, published in April. The Daily Star claimed Mr Beckham had been emailing Ms Fogarasy with “private party” invitations since they met. The paper has retracted the claims and accepted he did not behave that way. — BBC

The Brangelina industry. “These weeklies no longer have any interest in actual reporting,” Jennifer Aniston’s publicist, Stephen Huvane, told me via email. Richard Spencer, the editor-in-chief of In Touch, insists that all his stories are double-sourced. But maybe these disagreements over journalistic ethics miss the point. The weeklies are their own world, with their own rules. Their priority is to keep the rollercoaster of a star’s life – romance, betrayal, marriage, separation, reunion – moving as quickly as possible. Real facts play a role, but not always a leading one. “A tabloid version of a fact isn’t exactly a lie,” is how one editor at a prominent celebrity weekly puts it. “But it isn’t the truth. You know what I mean?” — Guardian

Our media landscape is amongst the most concentrated in the democratic world. Big media businesses are marred by big media interests. If you want the full, untainted picture on important issues — our environment, corruption, political competence, our culture, our economy — Crikey is required reading.

I am a private person that takes online privacy very seriously but I wanted to contribute my words to this campaign as I genuinely believe that we will improve as a country if more people read publications such as Crikey.

Josh
Sydney, NSW

Join now and save up to 50%

Subscribe before June 30 and choose what you pay for a year of Crikey.

Save up to 50%