Close it up. After 25 years on the streets, and two years online, Adelaide indie music rag Rip It Up is closing at the end of the month.


South Australia’s longest-running music and entertainment magazine is the latest victim of declining digital ad rates. It went digital-only in 2014, but it is closing as “digital advertising revenue did not follow our online experience”, editor Walter Marsh told readers yesterday.

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Rip It Up publisher Opinion Media also runs literary street rag The Adelaide Review and fashion-focused Clique Mag. Both are free print magazines reliant on advertising. “We’ll be incorporating our continuing coverage of the state’s music and arts scene into and, and over the next month will reveal the new online home of the much-loved gig guide that started it all,” Marsh wrote. — Myriam Robin

Just when you thought it was safe to got back in the water. The Jaws-inspired front page of yesterday’s West Australian has stirred up controversy for scaremongering over shark attacks.

Following two fatal attacks in WA last week, the paper questioned whether the attacks justified a re-instatement of the controversial “cull” policy, which was abandoned by the state government in 2014. Today’s cover, a mock-up depicting two children frolicking in the surf while a black shark fin looms ominously behind them with the headline “WILL IT TAKE THIS?” seems to leave no doubt as to where the paper falls on this issue.


Professor Peter Harrison, director of the Marine Ecology Research Centre at Southern Cross University, told 720 ABC the “unhelpful and frightening” image “clouds the debate”.

But West Australian editor Brett McCarthy defended the choice in an interview with 6PR, saying it was about provoking debate rather than fear, and reflected the concerns of the community:

“One of the things that has been said to me time and time again in the past week in particular, both from readers and people in the community is, will it take an attack on a child for something to be done?”

The West Australian has itself been reporting on the controversy. A poll on the bottom of the article shows most readers think it went a little overboard … — Crikey intern Charlie Lewis


US ad spending boom. Amid the annual five-year PwC outlook for US media (its reports on Australia and NZ have been released in the past week) was the stunning forecast that ad spending on the 2016 US presidential and congressional elections will hit US$4.4 billion and that this (with the Olympics on NBC) will be enough to boost TV ad spending in America by 4.4% in 2016.

The main message from the outlook is the continuing rapid growth in mobile advertising to the point where PwC says the surge in mobile video will push digital advertising revenues to US$75.3 billion in 2017, topping the $70.4 billion going to US TV broadcasters. So the biggest advertising gains are expected in mobile advertising, which was responsible for 34.7% of total internet ad revenue in 2015 at $20.7 billion and is projected to rise to 49.4% by 2020.

And nowhere is that best illustrated by the rapid growth in mobile ad in the current US election campaign. PwC forecasts television advertising spending will reach US$4.4 billion for this election, from US$3.8 billion in 2012 — with spending on digital advertisements projected to grow tenfold to more than US$1 billion.

Of the US$4.4 billion, an estimated $3.3 billion will be spent with local TV stations in the US. On top of this is the so-called free advertising candidates such as Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have gained from media coverage of rallies, debates and set piece speeches. Trump’s “free” coverage was valued at more than US$600 million in May, for example, according to estimates issued last week by an analytics firm. — Glenn Dyer

Vodafone turnaround. New Zealand’s Sky Television and UK-owned mobile phone company Vodafone have agreed to merge their New Zealand businesses in the second proposed media merger in a month. The deal will have Vodafone emerge with a controlling stake in Sky, meaning it will revert to being foreign-controlled for a second time. News Corp sold its substantial minority stake in early 2013 ahead of the split in the Murdoch empire at the end of June of that year.

The latest deal is effectively a partial takeover of Sky TV by Britain’s Vodafone Group and comes after APN News and Media announced the spin-off its Kiwi print and radio interests, and then the merging of those with of Fairfax Media. That deal is still in the planning stage with regulators, led by the NZ Commerce Commission being asked for approval of what seems, on the surface, to be a competition reducing transaction.

Sky TV will first “buy” Vodafone New Zealand in a deal that would value the loss-making telecommunications firm at a massive NZ$3.4 billion. But the British-based Vodafone Group will emerge with a 51% stake in the combined business, putting it control of the combined business. Vodafone NZ boss Russell Stanners will be CEO of the merged firm, while Sky TV boss John Fellet has agreed to stay on for two years as chief executive of its pay television arm (he is the biggest loser from the deal).

Like the APN and the Fairfax deals, this transaction deal will need shareholder and Commerce Commission approval. But what is odd is that in the space of several months Vodafone NZ has gone from being a possible seller of its assets to TPG, the rapidly growing Australian telco, to being the dominant media/telco firm in the country — which is quite a turnaround. — Glenn Dyer

‘Situation awareness’ on Bernie backlash. Bernie’s bros aren’t giving up on the Democratic nomination without an ugly fight. The Associated Press issued a memo to its domestic staff overnight:

“Some AP staff have received angry communications in the form of emails, social media messages and phone calls. We have not received any specific security threats. If you need to respond to complaints, feel free to point the public to the statements on our blog as appropriate … It is always good to practice situational awareness around AP bureaus and offices.”

AP was the first to call the race for Hillary Clinton after sounding out super delegates ahead of a formal declaration and more primaries yesterday, something Bernie Sanders publicly criticised. But The Huffington Post reports one New York Times reporter received multiple threats to “hunt me down in the streets” over her coverage, while The Washington Post reports on numerous other attacks on female reporters. And you thought Donald Trump’s army was ugly … — Jason Whittaker

Front page of the day. Bless you, NT News


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Peter Fray
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