Pity the subeditors. If you’re feeling a bit confused and overwhelmed this morning, don’t panic — it’s not just you. Struggling to capture the heady mix of life, death and liver failure that was yesterday’s Melbourne Cup in a few snappy words, headline writers across Australia found themselves busting out their best overwrought cliches.

The Daily Telegraph ran rings (sorry) around its competitors with the brutally terse “Triumph & Tears”, while The Courier Mail showed it wasn’t above flogging a dead horse (last one!) with the alarming “Race to the death” — “EXCLUSIVE inside story of a Cup tragedy”.

Not to be outdone, The Australian waxed lyrical on the tender fragility of equine life with a solemn subeditor penning “Tears of joy, tears of pain: Protectionist gallops to glory, with tragedy in his wake” before presumably walking off to stare wistfully out a window until the feelings went away.

Finally, an honourable mention to The NT News for giving us a pun on the winner’s name that doesn’t involve us frantically leafing through Das Kapital – “Perfectionist”.

Triumph, tragedy and tears — the tabloid trifecta. — Paul Millar

Time Red Inc. Not such a promising first profit report as an independent company for Time Inc with weakening revenue and magazine sales growth. It reported overnight that net profit fell 29% for the September quarter as revenues from circulation and print ads fell. Net income totalled US$48 million, on flat revenue US$821 million against US$818 million a year ago.

The company that owns TimePeople, Sports Illustrated and InStyle, cut its full-year revenue outlook  from between US$3.29 billion and US$3.37 billion to between US$3.27 billion and US$3.3 billion. It also said the high-end of its estimate for full-year operating income before depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) will be US$535 million, down from US$547 million estimated previously. “As a result of the weakening of print advertising trends late in the quarter, we are taking steps to counter the revenue headwinds,” said Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp, in a statement with the profit announcement.

Time Inc’s earnings and revenues were aided by several transactions in the last year, including buying several magazine titles from American Express and ending its CNNMoney.com partnership. Without the benefits of those deals, ad revenues would have been down 5%, against a flat US$428 million. Print advertising fell 1%, while digital advertising rose 5%, but that gain wasn’t enough to offset the fall in the larger dollar value of print ads. Circulation revenues fell 2% to US$279 million. Subscription revenues fell 1%. Newsstand revenues were down 7%. — Glenn Dyer

Fox the all-powerful. 21st Century Fox, the Murdoch clan’s major global media company, saw its dependence on US cable TV increase in the September quarter with a sharp rise in revenue and income from the likes of Fox News, FX and the growing Fox Sports channels. A major improvement in the contribution from Fox’s film studios also helped boost revenue and earnings, offsetting flat results from the company’s free broadcast TV and production business. But the star was the cable business where the likes of Fox Network News dominates as the Right-wing heartland of American politics and culture.

Fox this morning reported quarterly revenues of US$7.89 billion, up 12% on the September quarter of 2013, thanks to a 15% increase at the Cable Network Programming segment from higher affiliate and advertising revenues, and a 17% growth at the Filmed Entertainment segment led by higher theatre revenues. The September quarter marked the start of the midterm election spending bonanza, which continued up to overnight, meaning another solid rise is in store in the current quarter.

“Our strong earnings and revenue growth in the quarter were driven by continued momentum at our Cable Network Programming and Filmed Entertainment segments, reflecting sustained increases in affiliate fees as well as the global box office success of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and The Fault in Our Stars,” chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said in the statement.

Fox’s cable business had revenues of US$3.231 billion, up from US$2.810 billion; or 41% of total revenue for the company of US$7.887 billion, against a share of 39.7% of the US$7.061 billion of revenue in the same quarter of 2013. Earnings rose to US$1.038 billion from US$991 million, or 58% of group operating profit of US$1.779 billion, down from 61% of the previous quarter’s earnings of US$1.618 billion.

Analysis provided by the company shows that fees paid to Fox from affiliates (such as the owners of Fox TV stations and cable companies) rose to $2.32 billion from US$2.10 billion, a rise of 17%. Subscriptions rose to US$1.354 billion from US$1.305 billion, advertising revenues totalled US$1.734 billion, up just US$69 million from the same quarter a year ago and content was US$2.62 billion, up from US$1.912 billion as the film studios and movies boomed in the quarter. The film studio and movie distribution business saw a big gain with revenue up 17% to $2.47 billion, from US$2.12 billion, with earnings up by more than a third to US$458 million from US$328 million. TV revenues were flat on US$1.048 billion, while operating earnings fell to US$174 million from US$231 million.

The result shows that in the US, Fox is perhaps the most powerful of all the many media groups with the profit and opinion machine at Fox News and the associated cable channels, including the emerging Fox Sports 1 and 2 channels. The free to air TV business is now the smallest of Fox’s major groups, such has been the growth in the cable network operations, including the Right-wing argument machine, Fox News. No other media company has the political clout that Fox News and Murdoch’s cable business has (it dovetails well with the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by news Corp, of which Murdoch is executive chair). Disney might be bigger, Time Warner an elusive cable target, Comcast and NBC a giant, but Fox controls the biggest and loudest money making machine in US media. — Glenn Dyer

CNN starts its mid-term election coverage. Because sometimes quantity helps as much as quality …

Front page of the day. While the rest of the country’s papers celebrate/lament the Melbourne Cup, The Cairns Post proudly announces its indifference. But we feel someone should point out to them that you don’t need to fill your headline with SEO keywords if it’s for the paper edition …

Peter Fray

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