Press Freedom medals awarded. The Australian Press Council has awarded this year’s press freedom medals to journalist Peter Greste and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists director Gerard Ryle. Accepting the medal at an event hosted by Twitter in Sydney this morning, Greste said the award was a great honour. “This award is a chance to keep reminding people why press freedom matters,” he said. Greste joined previous recipients, investigative journalist Kate McClymont and News Corp’s national editorial counsel Michael Cameron, on a panel to discuss press freedom, as part of the UN’s World Press Freedom Day today.
News Corp: digital platforms ‘damage journalism’. News Corp’s submission to the ACCC’s inquiry into digital platforms’ impact on the news media has been published, and, unsurprisingly, it has taken aim at the “anti-competitive behaviours” of online giants Google, Facebook and Apple. In a statement, News Corp Australiasia executive chairman Michael Miller said the cost of those free services was substantial to competition and consumers. “These costs include reducing access to a diversity of original journalism, promoting unreliable content and echo chambers, and intrusively collecting personal data; and for publishers, digital platforms are undermining our efforts to develop new advertising and subscription models and preventing us from competing on the merits,” Miller said.
Facebook’s submission, published last week, downplayed its dominance in the market, but Free TV, which represents commercial TV networks, called for greater regulation of the digital platforms.
Apology for ‘devastating’ gun ad. Florida’s Sun Sentinel has apologised for placing an ad for a gun show on the same front page it placed stories about gun violence, including a tribute to Alyssa Alhadeff who was killed in the Parkland school shooting.
The Sun Sentinel is the hometown paper of Parkland, and has reported strongly on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. It had already banned gun ads on its front page, but said it now has a moratorium on all gun advertising. “We deeply regret placement of a gun advertisement on our front page Wednesday morning,” the paper said in a statement. “We understand how the juxtaposition of certain ads and news stories can appear extremely insensitive, and we failed to prevent such a juxtaposition today.”
A letter to the editor signed by some of the school’s alumni called for a formal apology that goes further than that statement: “[This placement] showcases your power to reopen a wound that has not yet healed and undermines your ethical commitment to serve our community … Your current apology is not sufficient for this level of ineptitude.”
Editor-in-chief Julie Anderson said the placement was “personally devastating”, and the paper has changed its processes so all front pages will now be printed out for checking.
Fairfax shares higher. Fairfax shares hit a two-month high on Wednesday as punters ignored another lacklustre update on its core newspaper business and instead focused on, well, not much else. The shares rose more than 5% to 75 cents, the highest they have been since early January (and higher than on April 20 when ‘merger’ talks with Seven West Media were reported in The Australian). More importantly, eager punters ignored the continuing silence on the performance of the Stan streaming video business jointly owned with Nine. Fairfax CEO, Greg Hywood merely went over the comments issued in the February interim result and missed a good opportunity to sell the successes of the country’s second biggest video streamer (after Netflix).
Domain, which listed as a separate company on the ASX last November, saw a 13% rise in revenues (up 12.5% at the half way mark) and radio group Macquarie Media, which is 54.5%-owned by Fairfax, saw a rise of around 4% (down 1.3%).
Hywood said newspaper industry advertising revenue as a percentage of the total Australian advertising pie has shrunk from 23% to just 8% between 2012 and 2018. That is not going to improve and its also why the claimed merger talks with Seven West Media (which has magazine and newspaper operations in the same boat as Fairfax) won’t happen unless the print businesses can be somehow separated. — Glenn Dyer
Regulator approves transmission sale. The ACCC has approved the purchase by the Seven and Nine Networks to buy Network Ten’s stake in TV transmission joint venture TX Australia (TXA).
Seven and Nine sought the ACCC’s approval in early March and the deal was greenlighted in quick time. This deal does open the way for Nine or Seven to buy the other’s shares, or to sell to a third party with the ACCC concluding that the sale of the Ten shares “was not likely to substantially lessen competition in any relevant market”. The Commission established that Broadcast Australia is the viable (and only) competitor of TXA.
TV transmission is yet another duopoly market in Australia. Transmission services are essential for television broadcasters to reach viewers and require access to transmission towers and electronic transmission equipment. TXA and Broadcast Australia (which provides transmission services to the ABC and SBS) are the main providers of digital television transmission services in metropolitan Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. — Glenn Dyer
Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. MKR (1.87 million) meant it was Seven’s night, though the ABC’s second Wednesday line up did very well — Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery with actor Rebecca Gibney was a classy first up ep (858,000). Seven’s Sunrise continues to whack Nine’s Today — in the metros yesterday 275,000 to 249,000.
Its been that way now for weeks (with the odd morning where Today is closer). In regional markets Seven News was on top with 609,000, above MKR with 599,000, Seven News/Today Tonight with 519,000, Home and Away with 448,000 and the 7pm ABC News was with 360,000. Read the rest on the Crikey website.