Turnbull a boon for media stocks. It’s been a pretty miserable year for media companies, as far as the sharemarket is concerned. If it had not been for the efforts of Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull in trying to boost media stocks with his comments on regulation in February, the first quarter of 2014 would have been particularly ugly.
Take Ten — for all Turnbull’s efforts to boost the share prices of media stocks (Fairfax Media and News Corp have been the biggest beneficiaries) — Ten Network investors have grown more jaundiced about the TV company chaired by Lachlan Murdoch (who shares a near 19% stake in the company with James Packer). On Friday, Ten shares closed at 27.5 cents, the low for the year and a fall of 11.3% for the week. That went unreported in all the stories this morning and at the weekend on Ten.
And poor old News Corp. Until Turnbull opened his mouth and started sprouting off about media law changes, News Corp shares were weakening and hit a 2014 low of around $US14.50. The shares recovered sharply off the back of market speculation, rising to a peak of $US18.53. In fact, that was the highest since the Murdoch company split into Fox and News Corp. The shares closed at $US17.58 in New York on Friday. Before that, News Corp shares had fallen by around $US4 a share, or more than 20%. By way of comparison, Fairfax Media shares jumped by more than 40% to a high of $A1.02, before easing back to close at 92 cents on Friday.
And now it’s bye-bye to Australia from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Group after shareholders voted heavily in favour on Friday in New York to delist from the ASX . Class B shareholders, the only group with voting rights, overwhelmingly approved the proposal at Friday’s special investor meeting. The Murdoch family controls the company via its 39.4% stake in the voting shares, as well as the help of a Saudi Prince and a big US investment fund. Fox will make its official request for removal from the ASX this week, with the delisting likely to take place by May 8, according to company statements. The reason for delisting in Australia? To cut costs. It only does 2% of its business here. That’s Australia to Rupert Murdoch — merely a cost saving. — Glenn Dyer
How Boland boned ‘fantastic’ Doyle. Yesterday, in a fluffy profile on Seven newsreader Melissa Doyle in News Corporation’s Sunday Style, ex-Seven producer Adam Boland had nothing but praise for Doyle — “She’s looking fantastic. She looks happy.” — and the chemistry she generated with David “Kochie” Koch for so many years on Sunrise:
“Television doesn’t lie. Viewers very quickly expose a fake. Mel and Kochie had to be genuinely them, and part of that was that they were different to other TV-type people. They were relatable. They were normal.”
Here’s Boland again, via a leaked email in The Australian today, talking with Seven executives about boning the Sunrise pair in 2011 to arrest declining ratings:
“I think Mel performed very well on Sunday night — so I’m sure we can find things for her to do. Kochie could arrange a breakfast radio shift for next year if we give him enough notice. We could keep him as our network finance guy — and even develop a Bill O’Reilly-style show with him — ‘Koch’ — if you felt inclined. Solo, he’s fine and still has very good cred.”
Gee, television is a two-faced business. — Jason Whittaker
Mind the comma. We’ll let this picture speak for itself …
The most powerful internal PRs in the country. Recruitment firm Salt & Shein has come upon a neat form of publicity — profiles and interviews with the people it deems the most powerful corporate affairs executives in the country. There’s plenty of media heads on the list, such as Seven West’s Simon Francis, the ABC’s Michael Millett, Network Ten’s Neil Shoebridge, and from News Corp, the group policy director of corporate affairs and community relations Adam Suckling (where’s News Corp corporate affairs head Stephen Browning?). The names are listed in alphabetical order, with no ranking attached. — Myriam Robin
Front page of the day: The International New York Times was censored by its Pakistani printer to remove a story about what the country’s intelligence services knew about Osama bin Laden. About 9000 copies were printed with the lead article removed. The author of the piece, Islamabad-based Carlotta Gall, tweeted this yesterday.