Forget ITV, Ten is looking to sell. “UK network in talks with Ten,” blared the bottom of page 1 story in The Australian Financial Review this morning, claiming that United Kingdom commercial channel ITV was in talks with Ten about a possible stake.Well, according to ITV watchers in London, that’s a case of Ten trying to talk up itself as an attractive candidate to any dumbo out there mad enough to be thinking about investing in Australian free-to-air TV.
There are lots of reasons why ITV would not be interested. The AFR reported (the first story from new AFR London correspondent James Chessell) that ITV executive vice president of corporate development Tom Bowman held talks in Australia in January with Ten. He is not a senior ITV executive and doesn’t feature in the list of senior execs, according to the 2013-14 annual report. The story also mentions a number of takeovers by ITV in the past year or so, but fails to appreciate that these are TV production companies in the UK and United States (where ITV is now the biggest independent TV producer). The purchases have not been TV broadcasters; in fact, ITV passed on buying Channel 5 in the UK a month or so ago because the price was too expensive.
The story failed to mention that ITV had a 15% stake in Seven West Media, which it has sold down. But ITV still has a production deal with Seven that generates programs such as Downton Abbey, plus a host of second- and third-tier programs (Lewis, Inspector Morse in the past). ITV would not give that up for the chance to buy the worst TV business in a weak TV market. ITV knows the Australian TV market very well and knows there are just three commercial players (Seven, Nine and Foxtel). Ten is a basket case. — Glenn Dyer (read more online)
Shane Maloney outs himself as critic. The decision to publish reviews with initials instead of full bylines has been one of The Saturday Paper‘s unique editorial decisions, and a mystery that’s captivated Australia’s literary scene since the paper launched in March. But one of the paper’s secret book reviewers has been outed — by himself.
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In a March 31 blog post, first noted on the Wheeler Centre’s blog yesterday, well-known Victorian author Shane Maloney writes that he’s reviewing Lost for Words by Edward St Aubyn for The Sat Paper (a review of the book did appear in the May 10 edition, under the initials PV. Maloney wrote his “nom-de-samedi” was Pepe Verboten). Maloney writes:
“The Saturday Paper’s policy is to publish its book reviews pseudonymously. The editor thinks this is a good idea. He is 25 years old. This is what he looks like. The idea is that not publishing reviewers’ names will free up writers to have a red hot go at each other’s work. Apparently Australian writers can’t be trusted to not engage in flagrant log rolling whenever the opportunity presents itself.
“Personally, I like the idea. It means I can take a cursory glance at a book, toss off a half-baked impression and collect my fee. Money for old rope, as they say.”
Crikey called editor Erik Jensen asking if he had any reaction to the outing. He said he had read the Wheeler Centre’s piece, but was heading into a news conference and didn’t have time to speak this morning. Speaking to Jonathan Green on ABC Radio National in December, Jensen said he feels “sometimes, reading the weekend papers, that there’s a timidity there and critics — particularly critics who are also book authors — are not necessarily saying all they’re thinking”.
Maloney is best-known for his Murray Whelan series of crime thrillers. — Myriam Robin
‘Labor’s own Crikey‘ looks for editor. Good news journalists: the Labor Herald is hiring. It wants a founding editor to lead its politically branded news and analysis publication, which it estimates will have direct readership of 500,000 people through a mailing list and social media. From the job ad:
“You will be expected to write, commission and produce stories that help to grow what is already a strong audience, working to clear targets for audience numbers, stories written and stories broken. The right candidate will have experience in online media, be aware of current techniques to grow and engage audiences, understand creating visual and interactive experiences, and forming a lively, involving platform for debate. You will be tenacious, enjoy working to tight deadlines and have a commitment to quality editorial content including short and timely news stories, longer length feature pieces and commentary and will have the capacity to illuminate content via information-rich graphics, video and photography.”
The ad doesn’t mention pay, but when fundraising for the newsletter, national secretary George Wright said he was seeking $95,000 to pay the editor. Which isn’t bad for a media job these days.
Triple J stands by Efstratiou choice. Triple J Hack’s audience, among them a number of Crikey readers, were rather unhappy about the program’s choice to interview conservative small business owner Carla Efstratiou about the budget last Friday. Efstratiou made a number of insensitive assertions about young people (“I know so many people on Newstart who are saving money and going overseas and blowing it”) and the homeless (“There’s no reason to be homeless in this country. Most people who are homeless have mental illnesses”) that set off an avalanche of criticism of the program’s choice to have her on.
On yesterday’s program, the first since the controversy, host Tom Tilley explained and stood by the program’s choice to interview Efstratiou:
“She was a Liberal supporter, [so] she’d give us political balance alongside comedian Dan Ilic … She also studied journalism, had been involved in the Young Liberals, and is running a small fashion business. She’s politically engaged, directly affected by the way our government is run, and potentially represents the views of lots of other Australians. She was absolutely within her rights to air her views, and I think it was a great show, representing the true diversity of the views young people hold.
“You could say her responses lacked empathy — but that’s OK, she’s entitled to that. I must admit I was a little disappointed with her responses to some of the questions where she was over-stretching her knowledge.”
Tilley said her comments on carbon pricing, as well as those on mental illness, jumped out at him during the show as completely untrue. He devoted part of yesterday’s show to fact-checking Efstratiou’s claims about mental illness and homelessness. — Myriam Robin
Video of the day. The Republican Party’s strategy for undermining Hillary Clinton, or how a concussion became a “brain injury” and 66 became ancient …