Wednesday, June 07, 2006

So Channel 9's gutting their NewsCaff Department...

Ratings are down, money's heading out the door to those pesky mobile phones and iPods, what''s an executive to do?

Well, to start with, chop off $15 million from what was once the proud pinnacle of Australian TV News.

"The size of the staff cuts - almost 20 per cent of Nine's 450-strong news and current affairs team are being targeted for redundancies - shocked the industry. Such large cuts would have been unlikely during Kerry Packer's reign, but since his death, Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd chief executive John Alexander and James Packer have demanded cuts be made to lift Nine's profitability."

It's an interesting course of action.

"Seven's news and current affairs (who have been taking Nine's market share in News and Current Affairs over the last year - not that you can really call "Today Tonight" current affairs) chief, Peter Meakin, who left Nine in February 2003, said programs would have to be "gutted" to meet the cutbacks, and questioned Mr McGuire's recent decision to spend more than $2.5 million signing up exclusive interviews with the Beaconsfield miners.

"I'm very surprised - amazed - they've done this," he said. "If you think of how many changes there have been there in the past few years, all you can read into it is a lack of confidence and panic. One minute they're writing $2 million-plus cheques (for Beaconsfield) and the next they're putting 80 people to the sword."

Let's put that one in perspective for a second. Seven were mighty pissed off that they missed out on the Todd and Brant show so there's bound to be a little acrimony.

But to my mind the most interesting quote comes from Peter Fullerton, a debt analyst at Moody's Investors Service.

"You don't have to be the number one television station to achieve the highest profit margins."

Now that's something you would NEVER have heard during the Kerry Packer years. It just goes to show the difference between the old guard and the new.

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