PLANET MEDIA: Media Week's weekly news round-up

Commercial radio sector divided over Digital Economy Bill - After years of debate, the Government's key legislation - the Digital Economy Bill - for the media sector was unveiled last week. However, the commercial radio industry is deeply divided following publication of the report, with a breakaway fraction of the industry blasting it "out of tune with listeners".

PLANET MEDIA: Media Week's weekly news round-up
PLANET MEDIA: Media Week's weekly news round-up

The Bill aims to enable all commercial radio stations to work to a time frame for digital switchover in 2015 and provide greater flexibility in the existing localness rules.

The move has been welcomed by the commercial radio industry's official body, the RadioCentre, which claims the proposed digital radio upgrade will offer a better service for listeners, as well as improved opportunities for all commercial radio stations.

UTV Media, UKRD Group and The Local Radio Company have called on Peers to "stand up for listeners and local radio" by rejecting the Bill.

The commercial groups claim the proposed legislative changes fail to prioritise the future security and sustainability of local commercial radio.

"The UK's previous approach to media regulation has stifled innovation and made it very difficult for independent commercial operators to make a profit"
Jeremy Hunt, shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport


The number of AOL staff who will lose their jobs worldwide - a third of its workforce

Aegis revenue shows small upturn

Aegis, parent group of media agencies Carat and Vizeum, has reported a 1% year-on-year nudge up in revenue for the first nine months and claims its new business momentum is strong going into next year. But the group, headed by chairman and interim chief executive John Napier, reiterated its stance that it does not expect any upturn in revenue in the second half of the year.

AOL rebrands ahead of spin-off

AOL has unveiled a new brand identity ahead of its spin-off from parent Time Warner into an independent company next month. The new identity is an AOL logo wrapped with a series of changing images. 

Adconion partners with Goldbach for Euro push
Adconion Media Group has struck a deal with Swedish mobile media business, Goldbach Media Group to expand its presence across mainland Europe. The tie-up will extend Adconion's advertising and agency partnerships across central and Eastern Europe in markets including Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Russia.

Bebo sales to absorbed by AOL
Bebo's UK sales team is expected to fold into parent company AOL's sales force as part of the 100 planned layoffs across the globe at the social networking site. The majority of the 20-strong Bebo team in the UK are in a 30-day consultation period, which is believed to include the four members of the Bebo sales team.

ITV appoints Norman as new chairman
ITV has appointed former Asda chief executive and Conservative MP Archie Norman as its new chairman. The appointment of Norman, a high-profile business figure, brings an end to a two-month search for a successor to Michael Grade. Norman will take up the role of non-executive chairman of the broadcaster in January, when Grade will leave at the same time. Norman is credited with turning around the fortunes of Asda in the 1990s, before it was sold to US retailing giant Wal-Mart.

Endemol buys three producers from IMG
Endemol has acquired UK producers Tiger Aspect, Darlow Smithson and Tigress from media group IMG. Following the deal, for an undisclosed sum, Endemol will represent the portfolios of all three companies via Endemol Worldwide Distribution.

Trust puts block on BBC Worldwide commercial activity

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, will no longer be able to expand its activities through mergers or acquisitions, as it did with travel group Lonely Planet two years ago. The BBC Trust has announced a series of changes to the future commercial remit for BBC Worldwide following an 18-month review that effectively rules out any such deals "unless there are exceptional circumstances".

Ennals takes chief executive role with Digital Radio UK

Ford Ennals, former head of TV switchover body Digital UK, has been appointed to the position of chief executive of the digital switchover delivery body Digital Radio UK. In the new role, Ennals will coordinate the industry's efforts as it moves towards the 2015 digital switchover target, working with radio companies, multiplex operators and radio and car manufactures. He joins Digital Radio UK from Nike, where he was president of global commercial for its footwear and leather goods division. He has previous marketing and commercial experience at Universal Music and Pictures, Lloyds TSB, British Airways, Reebok and Mars.

Media giants link-up for regional TV news pilot scheme

Publisher Trinity Mirror, news agency the Press Association and TV production company Ten Alps have formed a consortium to bid for the regional TV news pilot scheme planned for England. It emerged earlier that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport will appoint an independent selection panel later this month, which will oversee the tender process for a pilot in Scotland, Wales and one English region. A spokesman for the North East consortium said it would bring together Press Association's expertise in covering and commissioning content, Trinity Mirror's on-the-ground news-gathering strength and Ten Alps' award-winning programme-making skills.

Burns quits Condé Nast Digital commercial role

Condé Nast Digital commercial director Serena Burns has left the business after nine years to focus on a new venture. She aims to launch her own business in the New Year.

Fuller to leave IPC managing director post
Eric Fuller, managing director of IPC brands including NME and Loaded, is to leave the magazine publisher after nine years as part of a restructure of its operations. Fuller will leave his board-level position as managing director of IPC Ignite at the end of December. Under the new structure, IPC will subsume two of its flagship divisions - TV weeklies (TX) and Ignite (lifestyle) - into its three remaining divisions: Connect (women's weeklies), Southbank (upmarket women's titles) and Inspire (men's).

Smash Hits returns with Take That special edition
Bauer's teen music magazine Smash Hits has returned for the second time this year - with a Take That special issue. Smash Hits, which closed in 2006 after nearly 30 years, returned to newsagents' shelves in July with a one-off Michael Jackson tribute issue. The 84-page Take That special is now on sale, priced at £2.50.

Informa confirms interest in purchasing Springer
Informa, the events and publishing group, has confirmed it is in talks to acquire German publisher Springer. Responding to several press reports, Informa confirmed to the City that it is in discussions with shareholders about "acquiring Springer". It added that it has been given access to due diligence materials for a deal - the terms of which were not disclosed.

JCDecaux wins scrolling billboard contract in Southampton

JCDecaux has won the exclusive ongoing contract to develop scrolling billboards at key entrances to Southampton city centre, after a competitive pitch held by the local council. Under the new contract, JCDecaux is developing four scrolling billboards: two for sites at the western entrance to Southampton city centre, close to the West Quay shopping centre, and two at the eastern entrance, near the Itchen toll bridge.


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