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Media briefs

Nov 14, 2012

Media briefs: Seven’s AGM optimism … Hun digs pig … BBC probe …

Seven's AGM optimism ... Hun digs the pig ... BBC probed by the enemy ...

Investors confused on Seven’s forecasts. Is the phrase “intelligent investors” a contradiction in terms or just a convoluted way of explaining away the oddities of the stockmarket? Why else would investors, who have spent months pounding the shares of Seven West Media down to record lows, suddenly chase them higher yesterday (they closed up 11% at $1.29) after the company revealed another profit downgrade and cost cuts?

Investors ignored the fact the forecast for $250 million of earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) for the six months to December for Seven West was $59 million under the $309 million EBIT earned for the six months to December 2011. No, they concentrated on the news that under new CEO Don Voelte, the company would be cutting investment by $14 million and finding cost cuts and improving revenue by $60 million.

Much of Voelte’s savings won’t kick in to 2013-14 — a lot can happen between now and then. Investors ignored that and shook off their negativity towards Seven West and media stocks generally — optimism that came on a day the market staged its biggest fall for two months. The cost and revenue measures confirmed comments Voelte made at Seven’s 2013 TV launch last month when he told a Sydney audience he would reveal new “cost and revenue” initiatives at the AGM. They were, but not in detail. No word on whether the initiatives include job cuts as we have seen at Ten.

Voelte, speaking with the approval of chairman and largest shareholder Kerry Stokes, told the AGM at Crown Perth: “Very little is sacred in the terms of costs or the way we do business. Despite the success of our businesses, there is no emotional attachment to any aspect of our processes and assets.”

Investors would like to see that bit of hard-nosed managerialism tested when the CEO goes to Stokes with a proposal to sell the TV business, Pacific Magazines or West Australian Newspapers. — Glenn Dyer

That’s not kosher. They don’t do things by halves over at the Herald Sun’s culinary department. Check out the bacon requirement for this recipe for meatballs, which appeared yesterday. Some people do dig their pig, but 25 bacon rashers per person?

BBC News probed from below. There is an amusing irony in that BBC’s current round of problems. Nick Pollard, the former head of Sky News, is running the inquiry into BBC News/Newsnight and the handling of the Jimmy Savile child s-x story that was canned by the former head of Newsnight in late 2013. Pollard is a former BBC journalist and also worked for the commercial ITV News. The head of BBC News, Helen Boaden, and deputy Steve Mitchell stood aside from stories involving Savile, but they continued to be in the chain of command for the rest of news.

They have have now stepped aside completely, pending the outcome of the Pollard review. But there are London reports both have consulted lawyers. The irony is the BBC has traditionally treated Sky and ITV journalists as second-class reporters. Now one of them is inside the tent probing the biggest failure by the BBC news division for years. It is also an irony Rupert Murdoch will appreciate. — Glenn Dyer

Front page of the day. There’s nothing the US tabloids love more than a good political s-x scandal — let alone one that involves the country’s (former) top spy boss David Petraeus. Here’s the latest punny effort from the New York Daily News:

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