PBL pay freeze. This is an email message from PBLM CEO Ian Law to staff:

All,

I am writing to give you some outline of the approach to salary increases across the PBL Media group this year.

As a general guide there will, unfortunately, be no increase in salaries or wages for anyone on an annual review within PBL Media group this year (2009/10).

This policy will be applied equally to me, the senior management group which includes the CEO’s of all our businesses within PBLM, and any employee or executive at ACP Magazines, the NINE Network, NBN Broadcasting, Ticketek or PBL Media head office.

The only exceptions to this policy on wages will be where an individual’s employment conditions are prescribed by pre existing arrangements such as an employment contract, or an industrial instrument. I realise that even this approach will create some inequities where people covered by an industrial instrument or a prior existing arrangement will get an increase and some others around them will not. But there is nothing that can be done about that and we have no choice but to honour arrangements set in place before the impact of the global economic crisis.

I realise that the concept of no increase in wages is difficult for individuals.

And I am aware there has been a lot of uncertainty in recent months with a number of staff reductions across the group. We have had to work hard to get the business through this economic downturn and this meant our cost base had had to be amended to reflect our lower revenue base.

The freeze on salaries and wages will apply for 2009/10 and we will review the situation this time next year. It is to be hoped that conditions have improved by then and normal procedures will apply.

Kind regards,

Ian

Ian Law
Chief Executive Officer

PBL Media Pty Limited
54 Park Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Union takes the long handle to SBS:

Dear SBS members,

Many of you have raised concerns around several issues in SBS lately. There is the ADO issue in broadcast operations (see attached letters), the removal of ADO’s in the program library without consultation as well as the removal of camera operators and the resulting increase in workload/decrease in quality from studio.

On a more general note in light of the fiscal problems SBS is claiming to be experiencing due to the global financial crisis, I thought you might find this article as interesting as we did:

“There could be an urn in it.”

Paul McIntyre
July 9, 2009

IN A bid to poach advertising revenue from the commercial TV networks, SBS is spending up to take powerful media buyers to Britain next week to see the Ashes cricket series first-hand, as part of its broadcast arrangements.

Junkets such as this are increasingly rare these days in adland and some of the most influential media buyers have already pulled out due to heavy workloads.

Rival commercial networks admit there are benefits in “building relationships and rapport” with advertisers and media buyers although a few cited SBS’s public funding pot as paying for the escape.

SBS’s commercial director, Richard Finlayson, played down the cost of the trip, saying international bartering group Active International had been used to trade SBS air time for business class flights and hotels.

“For us it’s an opportunity as a smaller [TV] network to get really valuable face time with key market stakeholders,” he said.

I will be at the coffee shop across the road from SBS today from 2pm before a 3pm meeting with Radio staff. If you are concerned about your conditions at work please come and speak with me.

If you are not yet a member, it is more important now than ever to join.

Only together can we make a difference in your SBS.

Yours in unity,

Damon Hodges
Field Organiser
Phone: 02 XXXX XXXX
Mob: XXXX XXX XXX
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.cpsu.org.au

New York Times asks subscribers: is it wrong to charge for online content? The New York Times is testing a price point of $US5 a month for access to nytimes.com, with a 50 percent discount for print subscribers. The Times e-mailed a survey to print subscribers Thursday afternoon inviting their reaction to that pricing plan and asking a range of questions about online pricing. New York Times Co. spokeswoman Catherine Mathis confirmed the Times had sent the survey, but said no timetable has been set for a decision and no decisions have been made about online pricing. Poynter Online

We can’t talk about new phone-hacking claims, says Murdoch company. The News of the World‘s parent company, News International, today broke its silence over the phone hacking affair, saying it was “prevented by confidentiality obligations” from discussing “certain allegations” made by the Guardian. The company said in a statement that its journalists fully complied with relevant legislation and codes of conduct from February 2007 — after the News of the World‘s royal editor, Clive Goodman, and a private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, had been jailed for four and six months respectively for hacking into the mobile phones of royal household staff, and the paper’s editor, Andy Coulson, had resigned over the affair. — Guardian

Murdoch: not looking for the silver lining. Rupert Murdoch must think the woes of the world are upon him at times. There he was at the now legendary Sun Valley media talk fest in the US this week with wife Wendy and instead of being aggressive and upbeat about the outlook and his campaign to make the spongers of the internet pay, Murdoch found his fellow other moguls and mogulettes all gloomy, as Reuters reported:

“I’m shocked at the business mood, which is talking about either that we’re at the bottom or going lower, but that it’s going to take years and years, like five years at least, before we see any real growth coming out of this,” Murdoch told Fox Business Network television in an interview at the conference.

Gee, reality intruding into the gilded life of a media mogul, like Rupert. Next he’ll be telling us again that all he is is a “umble journo”! Rupert Murdoch being shocked doesn’t bear thinking about: the sight is too awful to contemplate. How many jobs will it cost to calm him down. — Glenn Dyer

Maziar Bahari Canadian scapegoat in Iran. Iran’s jailing of Maziar Bahari, a journalist and filmmaker who lived in Canada for 10 years and became a Canadian citizen, carries echoes of a traumatic incident in Canadian-Iranian relations, the arrest and beating death in 2003 of Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-born photojournalist from Montreal. There is little concrete that Canada can do that will actually have an impact, short of Prime Minister Stephen Harper making the case to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran. He should do so. — Globe and Mail

Handy new grammatically incorrect interactive feature. Fairfax has added a handy little interactive feature to its websites that tells you how many people are reading the same story, and invites some social interaction (lookout Twitter!).

Shame about the grammar earlier on today, “Join the conversation… 1 people are reading this now.” I was the one people reading this story.

In Canada eat local and eat lots. The “typical Canadian family dinner” in this Real Food Movement ad is huge. I had no idea Canadians ate that much.

The rest of this spot is surprisingly informative, with a level of detail generally missing in softly xenophobic public advisories. The corresponding Web site, EatRealEatLocal, is a hub for regional food awareness efforts and radiates levels of Canadian pride that we hadn’t seen before. How they feel about being sponsored by Hellmann’s/Best Foods, a multinational company with branches in some of the countries they’re complaining about, is, however, left unaddressed. — AdFreak

Local group launches investigative journalism website. A group of journalists who worked at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer have launched a Web site focused on investigative journalism. Called InvestigateWest, the site is set up as a nonprofit organization that aims to do investigative and narrative reporting of issues in the Western US and Canada. It’s hoping that its work is picked up by other media outlets. InvestigateWest has received a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism and in-kind help from other organizations, as well as donations from individuals. — The Seattle Times