Day 3: Tears, TEN and Two out of Three

“Am I sailing this ship until they decide it’s over?” a TEN employee asks Fairfax. “I guarantee you, if they suddenly turn around and say, ‘We’re going with SKY News,’ a lot of us won’t even come to work the next day.

“It feels like millionaires and billionaires are controlling our lives, and we’re just the chess pieces.”

In the fall-out of TEN’s administration this week, there are conflicting reports about how it feels at the coalface.

“People were in tears,” one employee told the newspaper.

“This isn’t a normal redundancy round. Our company is in administration. We’re genuinely worried about our futures.”

But another says “It really is business as usual. Nothing’s changed, day-to-day, in the way I do my job.”

CEO Paul Anderson told staff earlier this week there were no redundancies are planned.

Meanwhile attention continues on the media reform package introduced in Parliament yesterday, but which still lacks enough support to pass.

The four One Nation senators are proposing an amendment to the two-out-of-three rule.

One Nation whip Brian Burston told The Australian a new three-out-of-four rule could allow a person to control radio, TV and newspaper companies but not, for example, a cable television ­network.

The party has also proposed ­establishing a two-out-of-four rule.

“Negotiations are progressing. We’re going to reconvene Monday next week,” Senator Burston said.

“The ideas were canvassed without any sense of whether they’ll be successfully negotiated. I think we’re making progress.”

Media buyers are confident TEN’s ad revenue won’t be affected by the corporate drama for some time.

Standard Media Index’s managing director in Australia, Jane Schulze, said, “Their programming, which is what the agencies are buying, is locked in into the foreseeable future. I would concur with others that it would be business as usual.”

7 Comments:

  1. timmydownawell

    They can dump the reach rule, but it’s imperative they keep the two-out-of-three rule, if we want to retain media – and particularly news – diversity. I do not fancy Murdoch holding a cross-platform monopoly.

  2. the fear of one owner of a network, owning 2 stations plus a paper and a radio station and therefore being able to push an agenda for News is interesting. Iam actually on the fence. Its not like WIN TV changes TENS News, news content, 9 Have their own regional News shown on SCA branded Ch 9, Prime7 show their own repackaged version of 7 News with 7 packs and a local presenter . ABC have a slant view on politics and have so for years, and they are a national station…. this means that they already have a wide enough audience to push anything. Adding paper and radio to that doesn’t seem to be that big a deal for me. All the journos i know discuss angles of stories anyway… I say bring on the changes and hope that the industry can thrive in the future… I need a job till i retire!

  3. Secret Squïrrel

    Agree with below comments. Don’t want Ten to fold but not keen on News Corp gaining control of a national FTA network either. That would likely have big implications for the major sports and no doubt Seven and Nine would do all that they could to at least maintain the status quo.

    News is probably the easiest thing to excise but it’s also the cheapest content to make. They could save some money by not crossing to junior reporters standing in front of buildings repeating what has already been said.

    The Reach Rule as it currently is, is quite simplistic, effectively equating a TV station with a radio station with a daily newspaper. While I appreciate the idea to include linear TV, perhaps a better Reach Rule would be one that actually takes into account “reach” – ie approximately how many people in total are watching your TV station+cable network, listening to your radio station,…

  4. “This round of receivership has been engineered to try to get TEN out of the free market and into sole ownership. And I’m guessing it will work.”

    Nothing wrong with that. The history of TV networks in Australia is one of them drifting back and forth between being publicly listed & privately held (& various degrees inbetween). If you look at all 3 commercial networks, their most successful times have been when privately held (either as individual stations or as networks).

    If Ten could’ve held the wolves at bay until the media laws changed (assuming they go the way all the players want), my bet would’ve been on Macquarie jumping in & doing much the same thing…

  5. Splitting TV into FTA and Subscription when it comes to overall control actually makes sense: purely because 2/3 rule was devised when pay TV was only a dream in this country.

    Foxtel’s virtual national monopoly over linear subscription TV in Australia, as well as News Ltd’s 50% stake in Foxtel, should be a major factor if News Ltd were to even attempt to takeover 10, post administration: not just with ACMA, but potentially with the ACCC, if 7/9 see it as a threat to stuff like sporting rights negotiations.

  6. It’s a complex business, but we should remember that for a television station, we the viewers are the product that they are trying to sell.
    We are valuable to the advertising industry and the more of us they can sell to, the more they will pay to the station.
    This round of receivership has been engineered to try to get TEN out of the free market and into sole ownership. And I’m guessing it will work.
    I have friends that work in the news department and I very much hope they keep their jobs, and I think they will, but right now it seems like a very challenging game of chess.

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