News Corp's Carsguide in trouble? ... ruling in parliamentary gym dispute ... Canberra media movements ...
Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
Trouble in the car classies?
Making money from classified advertising is increasingly tough, and we've heard a rumour that Carsguide
-- half-owned by News Corp -- is struggling. Carsguide appears in News Corp papers and is also online. It contains lots of ads for cars as well as reviews and stories (sample: "The truth about grid girls
"). Anyway, a mole told us: "News plans to close down its motoring brand Carsguide, the website will be closed."
We put that to a News Corp spokesman, who said: "The claims are completely false." There are certainly some car industry insiders who would benefit from circulating false rumours about the brand's demise.
But it's true that the car classifieds market is dominated by rival Carsales.com.au. Even The Australian
says Carsales (which is not owned by a media company) is "streets ahead" of Carsguide (News' joint venture with car dealers). Fairfax shut down its Drive car classifieds earlier this year. We talked to another automotive insider who reckoned the relationship between Carsguide and its car-dealer shareholders is strained. There's apparently some manouvering by dealers to keep advertising costs down, and News Corp may be the loser. It sounds like Carsguide is becoming more independent of News, moving out of Holt Street and having a separate ad sales team. And it sounds like News might not be entirely happy with the way the JV has panned out ...
Gym dispute ruling.
You may remember the fracas over the gym in Parliament House -- Coalition pollies want the telly on Sky, Labor prefers ABC24, and it all seemed to be heading down the path of Crimea. We can report a peaceful solution has been found (via the ABC's Simon Cullen):
So you'll need to watch for fitness sessions on ABC24. Michael Rowland and Virginia Trioli are as lean as whippets, so they'd have some good tips. We've heard it's ABC24's turn tomorrow, so get your tracksuit ready.
Canberra media movements.
The exodus of staff from The Canberra Times
(the Fairfax daily) to the City News,
a free weekly glossy
, continues. Last week's City News
cover welcomed Lynn Mills, who has been snapping social pics for the Crimes
for a very long time. Mills, a popular and friendly figure around the Crimes
newsroom, has long been a fixture on Canberra's social scene with her camera poised.