Media Satchel

Bits and bobs from the media beat...

- A new media buying site called Lil Birdie is due to launch next month, reports B&T. The site, which stresses is not a dumping ground for hard-to-sell inventory, aims to connect media owners with as many advertisers as possible without outlaying major marketing dollars.

- AdNews/Yaffa Publishing has announced it will be bringing us "The Glossy Awards", an awards program recognising creativity in magazine advertising sponsored by Renault. The awards aim to help lift the bar on creative advertising and will add further weight to the potency of magazines in the new-media environment. The Glossy Awards join the annual AdNews/Yaffa Australian Magazine Awards. And to think GWAS was an inch away from calling this site's annual celebration of editorial mastery "The Glossy Awards"; instead deciding to go for the infinitely more esoteric and brand-happy "The Satchel Awards", as seen in a sidebar near you, alongside "The Glossy Yearbook"... that was close. 

- The Big Issue Australia is partnering up with The Body Shop to help homeless women. In honour of the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day next week, the two organisations are running a month-long 'Strength in Numbers' campaign throughout March. Customers of The Body Shop will be able to purchase three and 12 month subscriptions to The Big Issue in one of 82 stores around Australia. "For as little as $39 people can be part of a movement that will create lasting social change to Australian women," says Sally Hines, head of the Women's Subscription Enterprise at The Big Issue. 

- The New York Times Magazine is getting a new look, reports WWD: [New editor Hugo] Lindgren’s new design is focused on making sure that "the stuff of the magazine is really pressed forward." "It looks different," he said. "We stayed true to our readers. We didn’t try to turn it into anything kaleidoscoping and weird or anything. It’s clean, strong." Lindgren is also launching a blog for the magazine’s staff on Wednesday to accompany the redesign in print. The blog will be called The 6th Floor, after the magazine’s office space in the Times building. Lindgren joined the Times last year after stints at Bloomberg Businessweek and New York Magazine.

- The By-line Gap – i.e. the lack of female voices in esteemed publications – has been brought to light by Elissa Strauss of The Jewish Daily's The Sisterhood blog in light of VIDA's study of male-to-female staff ratios on American literary magazines: "I believe the disparity is mostly a result of the somewhat invisible web of social and cultural gender constructs that continue to hold women back despite the fact that, generally speaking, the law and most people are on our side..."

- The Australian advertising market grew 13.7% in 2010 to $12.4 billion, heralding a renaissance in spending on traditional media, reports Lara Sinclair for The Australian. With the exception of consumer magazines, whose revenue grew 1.7% to $657m, all other mediums experienced growth above that predicted by auditors PwC, which has revised its Advertising Market Update 2010-14. Free-to-air TV revenue grew 16.6% to $3.675bn; cinema rose 16.5% to $104m; out-of-home rose 25.7% to $503m; newspapers grew 9.7% to $3.808bn; internet grew 20.5% to $2.272bn; pay TV grew 18.4% to $349m; radio 6.3% to $995m; and filmed entertainment 16.5% to $104m.

Sinclair writes, "The turnaround in newspaper advertising is attributable to the medium's continuing mass reach despite circulation pressures, while the relative lack of momentum in magazine advertising is due to long printing lead times, a lack of exposure to retail advertising and the fragmentation of the market, the report suggests. Media sought comment from ACP and Pacific about the future revenue potential of magazines and none was forthcoming."

- The big story outside the "glossy-sphere" in
Mr Murdoch Senior and Homer Simpson
Australian media of late is Lachlan Murdoch's appointment as acting CEO of the Ten Network after the board gave Grant Blackley the boot. Fingers have been pointed at comparatively modest ratings for George Negus' new news show, 6PM with George Negus, (perhaps too delightedly by his media contemporaries), as well as Neighbours' and The Simpsons' poor performance over at Ten spinoff Channel Eleven and its brother digital sports site, ONE. While a program trading scheme is likely to ensue, a strategic review of Ten's operations – and its commensurate weak ad revenue – is reportedly underway. Stay tuned.

- Meanwhile, the AFR reports that in light of the uncertainty advertisers have pulled $40m of advertising from the network, allocating it to Seven and Nine networks instead. Ouch. However, Ten refutes this report by way of The Australian today.

- Allan Sloan writes on Rupert Murdoch for Fortune, "The Murdoch family owns only about 12% of News Corp, but Rupert Murdoch sure runs the place like a wholly-owned family candy store. The company, blurring the distinction between public and family business, makes deals with family members, using shareholder money to get them into the corporate fold."

- Competition between Sydney's two tabloid Sunday newspapers is about to get hotter, reports Sally Jackson for The Australian, which devoted 3/4 of one of its broadsheet Media pages to the competition, in addition to a debrief with Daily Telegraph editor Garry Linnell accompanied by a generous picture. Fairfax's The Sun-Herald, edited by Rick Feneley and selling 442,650 copies, and News Limited's The Sunday Telegraph, edited by Neil Breen (former editor of sports magazine Alpha) and selling 617,824 copies, "need to stay fresh through constant reinvention, while maintaining the consistent identity of the masthead" in a climate of increased competition for readers "not just from rival papers but also all other forms of media and entertainment, increasingly including digital media". Feneley says, "There's no reason to dumb it down on a Sunday", while Linnell says he wants to out-sell The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturdays and has targeted women with less "shouty" headlines and "more of a lifestyle feel".

- Peter Fray has been named publisher and editor-in-chief of the SMH following Lloyd Whish-Wilson's retirement. And Fairfax prefers the "freemium" approach to content.

- News Limited's The Sunday Mail is launching a new magazine supplement on March 13, reports Mediaweek: "Printed in full colour, stitched and trimmed to ¾ compact size, U on Sunday has been created by a dedicated editorial and design team from the ground up, to appeal specifically to 30-45 year old readers, both male and female. U on Sunday is edited by Belinda Hickman-Newton who explained: "Built around a core of conversational journalism that’s designed to both engage and inspire the reader, the content of U on Sunday is unlike anything that’s been tried before in a lift-out of this kind. All of the favourite things that Queenslanders love to catch up on every week, such as food, fashion and the social scene will be blended with a mix of contemporary, thought-provoking features and new columnists."

- Two new recruits have joined the ranks at Mia Freedman's mamamia as the site goes from strength to strength. Rick Morton joins the team as News Editor and Natalia Jastrzab as Mia's PA and Office Coordinator. Mamamia 3.0 will be debuting soon, while updates will go from three posts daily to five or six. Rupert Murdoch, eat Mia's shorts.

- Caroline Overington of Media Diary reports on the launch of a GRUBSTREET Media blog,, which "promises to 'proffer the kind of opinions that invariably infuriate the chattering classes'." Overington also had an amusing exchange with The Daily Telegraph's John Hildebrand in aid of 'Ten Questions'.

- Neil Shoebridge has an update on readership measurement for The AFR: apparently Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood is reconsidering his company's stance on sticking with Roy Morgan when all the other newspaper publishers have joined the Ipsos MediaCT party. Of the predicament, Simon Davies – head of print media at buying agency OMD – told Shoebridge, "this needs to be managed by the publishers or it will result in confusion about the numbers, which would, in turn, result in a perception of less accountability, when the ultimate aim of setting up a new system is more accountability."

- "Maybe magazine publishers and distributors would see an improvement in the performance of magazines in newsagencies if newsagents had the opportunity of more attractive commercial terms." - Newsagent Mark Fletcher

- Academic Paul Williams writes, 'It's petty to take the gloss off Anna Bligh over Women's Weekly photo shoot' for The Courier Mail. "Aren't political leaders supposed to engage with voters? Or should pollies be excluded from the fun elements of popular culture, allowed instead only to participate in dry political discussions through arcane networks?"

- Fashion Copious has posted Vogue Italia's blog response to the John Galliano debacle, as well as Gabriel Bell's considered response to said post at Refinery 29. 

- Deborra-Lee Furness has defended an adoption infomercial she filmed with Elmo from Sesame Street, which aired on the ABC during Adoption Awareness Week last November after three years of campaigning, on the grounds that Elmo "has no political agenda, he just wants cookies". (Source: The Sunday Telegraph)

- The ABC's new-look 7:30 Report, which is yet to unveil its new look, has also come under fire for missing some of the year's biggest stories, including the Queensland Floods, Cyclone Yasi, the Egyptian People's Revolution, the return of federal Parliament, deaths of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan and the earthquake in Christchurch, due to set building. Leigh Sales and Chris Uhlmann will finally front the revamped show on March 7.

- The ABC is looking to recruit a Multiplatform Youth Online Editor based in Sydney; Fairfax Media is looking to recruit an Assistant Brand Manager - Magazines.

- Dan Gillmor writes, 'Who's a journalist? Does that matter?' for Salon.

- Trouble distinguishing your journalism from your churnalism?

Girl With a Satchel


Kate Moore said...

Awww, a big shout out to Belinda Hickman-Newton. Belinda's an industry pal and pal in general. Big hugs to her. Also a little hello to Rick, of Mamamia. I met the fella at the Guides Say launch. He'll need to be getting used to those rude Sydney commuters now. Well done.