Catalano “boys club” complaint. The Australian Financial Review reports today that shortly before former Domain CEO Antony Catalano suddenly left the business, a formal complaint about the the workplace culture at the recently-listed company was lodged. The Fin quotes the complaint:

In no uncertain terms, it is a total ‘boys club’ in Melbourne. I have witnessed female colleagues made to feel uncomfortable because of names like ‘doll’, ‘babe’ and subjected to behaviour that’s nothing short of bullying. It’s like working in an office in the 1980s. I recently witnessed a disgraceful display of such in a meeting where, when questions were asked about why a certain event was taking place, my [female] boss was yelled at, belittled and spoken to in a completely unprofessional way. Others in my team report men telling them to ‘smile’, being ‘perved at’ and being objectified.

Catalano’s sudden resignation came just two months after Domain spun off from Fairfax (though is still majority owned by the company, which also publishes the Fin). In a statement when Catalano resigned, Fairfax said it was due to family reasons. 

Yahoo7 restructure. In a cryptic press release, Yahoo7 has announced it will “make changes to its structure”. Without specifying whether any departments or staff would be cut, the company, owned by Seven West Media and Oath, said it would “focus resources on local content creation and monetisation”.

“Of course, making changes is always difficult, especially involving our talented people, but ultimately this will ensure Yahoo7’s continuing success,” the statement went on.

The company said it would not comment further, and didn’t say what the difficult changes involving their “talented people” were. The release said that Yahoo7 would be making greater use of Oath technology, and that the site’s local brands wouldn’t be affected by the “back-end” change.

Good feud guide. Studio 10 co-hosts Ita Buttrose and Denise Drysdale are reportedly not talking at all off-camera, in a feud that “reached boiling point” when Drysdale threw Brussel sprouts around a Christmas photoshoot last year, in Buttrose’s direction. reports that Ten denies the tension, but their source says Drysdale is also unhappy about Buttrose getting preferential treatment on the set, including her own dressing room.

LA Times for sale. The Washington Post is reporting that US newspaper publisher Tronc is about to sell the troubled LA Times and the San Diego Union Tribune for a reported US$500 million. The deal is said to be imminent. The buyer is Patrick Soon-Shiong, an LA pharmaceuticals billionaire who invested in Tronc in 2016, buying a 13% stake, was made a director but has fallen out with the company’s biggest shareholder, Mike Ferro. Mr Soon paid US$70.5m for his 13% stake in Tronc nearly two years ago.

The Los Angeles Times has not been a happy place of late. On top of losses from falling advertising and circulation revenue and difficulties getting a sustainable digital presence, it has been riven by management instability. There have been a series of staff cuts in the past two years and now the leadership of the paper has been badly compromised by incompetence and allegations of sexual harassment. The paper’s editor-in-chief Lewis D’Vorkin was replaced by Chicago journalist Jim Kirk last month following clashes with the newsroom, which recently voted to unionise (for the first time in the paper’s history). Ross Levinsohn, its publisher and chief executive is on leave amid an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour at previous places of employment and reports he paid to settle a harassment claim made against him.

Tronc bought the New York Daily News last year and has encountered similar questions about senior management it has installed there. Some US analysts say the US$500 million sounds too high for a cash deal and would have to include the taking over of debt/and or pension liabilities, as Tronc did with the Daily News last year. — Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. Seven’s night as My Kitchen Rules (1.76 million nationally) and The Good Doctor (1.61 million nationally) dominated with highs for 2018. Nine was left behind with Married At First Sight (1.61 million nationally) hanging in there. Ten’s I’m A Celebrity came back to earth with 901,000 which was still OK. Nine was let down, again by One Night With My Ex — 356,000 nationally from 9pm. From 10pm, Beauty and the Beach — 218,000. A woman from Idaho in the US travels to Thailand to have a “mummy makeover”. It is reality crap of the lowest kind and a cynical exercise as Nine programs crap against The Good Doctor (which starts at 9.15pm) so they don’t waste a program considered to be a better rating offering.

So Nine is in effect ceding the night to Seven, which is very good sign of the financial strains in commercial TV today. 

In regional markets MKR won with 565,000 viewers, followed by The Good Doctor with 551,000, then Seven News with 535,000, Seven News/Today Tonight was fourth with 482,000 and Home and Away was fifth with 440,000. So an emphatic win for Seven in the regionals to go with the metro victory. Tonight its MKR against the second T20 tip and run on Nine (from Hobart), Celebrity on Ten and Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell on the ABC. — Read the rest on the Crikey website.

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Peter Fray
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