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

In The News Lewis to head new digital unit at TMG - TMG named Will Lewis, editor-in-chief, as managing director of digital to run a new division to be housed in Euston.

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

Details of the venture remain unclear, but his appointment is being viewed as a signal of the major digital plans at TMG.

Lewis will retain his role as editor-in-chief of The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and

Lewis's deputy, Tony Gallagher, has been appointed editor of The Daily Telegraph.

Stat to Steal

Increase in revenue from overseas sales of British-made programming in 2008
Source: Pact

"Expect to see reductions in some kinds of programmes and content... and a close examination of the future of our service portfolios once switchover is achieved" Mark Thompson, BBC director-general

Mindshare Direct to handle Harley Medical work

Harley Medical, the cosmetic and non- surgical specialist, has appointed Mindshare Direct for its estimated £3m media planning and buying account after a three-way pitch against incumbent All Response Media and Starcom MediaVest Group.

Virgin launches dynamic on-demand TV ads

Virgin Media has launched its first foray into on-demand advertising with three of its biggest brands. From 25 November, ads around Living, Virgin1 and Bravo on-demand became dynamic, meaning they are inserted before and after content in real time. Thirty-second pre and post-roll ads have been matched to the programme being watched. Launch advertisers include L'Oréal, Sony Ericsson, Kellogg's and Microsoft.

Jobs threat as ITV takes charge of GMTV
ITV has taken full control of the national breakfast-time Channel 3 licensee, currently held by GMTV, after acquiring the remaining 25% equity stake in the business from The Walt Disney Company Limited. ITV has made a one-off payment of £18m for Disney's 25% stake in GMTV, together with a further payment of £4.25m in respect of Disney's share of the forecast cash balance in the business at year end. The move is expected to lead to a restructure, with the broadcaster unable to rule out redundancies at a later date. GMTV employs 300 people, including Clive Crouch, chief operating officer, Simon Poole, sales and marketing director, and Ian Williams, head of business development.

ESPN signs Rugby World Cup archive deal
ESPN, the Disney-backed sports broadcaster, has struck a rights deal with the Rugby World Cup's organising body to show archive matches and footage from the history of the tournament. ESPN Classic will have access to 40 hours of rugby content per year, until 2013, from the entire Rugby World Cup archive.

Evening Standard axes early afternoon editions
The London Evening Standard is to push back the daily print runs of its early afternoon editions to after 4pm in an attempt to cater for the day's late-breaking news. From 4 January, all 600,000 copies of the paper will circulate during the time of its current West End Final, although there will still be a second edition with an updated front and back cover.

Telegraph and Indy suffer double-digit readership falls
The Daily Telegraph and The Independent were the only two daily national newspapers to suffer double-digit year-on-year declines in readership, according to the latest National Readership Survey. The Daily Telegraph had an estimated daily readership of 1.8 million in the year to September, down 10% on the year, despite its high-profile exposé on MPs' expenses, which dominated its front pages. The Independent's readership dropped 12% to 636,000, while The Guardian fell 8% to 1.14 million. However, The Times nudged up 2% to 1.8 million.

DMGT offloads 50% of Australian radio business
Daily Mail & General Trust has sold a 50% stake of its Australian radio operations, DMG Radio Australia, to Lachlan Murdoch, eldest son of Rupert Murdoch. The sell-off came as the group reported a 23% slump in pre-tax profit, which fell from £262m to £201m in the year ending 4 October. DMGT's flagship newspaper brand, the Daily Mail, continued to defy the difficult economic climate and recorded the second-highest profit in its history.

Tyne Tees and Borders to pilot local TV news service

The Government has selected the Tyne Tees and Borders TV region as a test area for its proposed model of delivering regional TV news in the future. The Tyne Tees and Borders pilot region, in addition to one in Scotland and Wales, will trial so-called Independently Funded News Consortia. It is envisaged that these consortia - to comprise press, radio and TV groups - will be part-funded by cash designated for digital TV switchover.

Lachlan Murdoch raises $27m in share sale...

Lachlan Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert, has sold millions of his shares in News Corp, raising about $27m, as he continues to increase his business interests outside the media giant. The latest regulatory filings by News Corp show that Lachlan sold 2,295,400 shares to an Australian investor, Antium Pty Ltd ATF LKM Investment Trust. He sold the shares at about $12 each. Following the sale, he holds 9.97 million shares in News Corp.

...and eyes media purchases
Reports have suggested Lachlan Murdoch is making a joint offer to acquire trade magazines, including Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter, from Nielsen Business Media.

Absolute to offer iTunes tagging service

Absolute Radio will be the first European station to launch the iTunes tagging software that will enable iPod Nano users to directly purchase songs they hear on the radio through the iTunes store. Through UBC Media Group, the media industry content and software supplier, when users hear a song they like on Absolute Radio through their new iPod Nano, they can tag, preview and purchase that song when they next sync to iTunes. 

Newspaper websites' popularity rises

All the UK's national newspaper websites continue to gain popularity, with the top three again attracting more than 30 million unique users in October, while three other sites achieved double-digit rises month on month. Guardian News & Media's website network, which includes content from The Observer and, remains the most-visited UK newspaper site despite a near-4% monthly fall to 31,693,844 unique users in October, according to ABCe's latest figures.

Adconion purchases Joost assets
Adconion Media Group, the independent ad network, has acquired certain assets from Joost, the online video service. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. Joost put its UK arm into administration earlier this year. Adconion said it will use the assets to beef up its online video ad offering.

News International sells Globrix stake back to founders
News International has sold its 50% stake in property search engine Globrix as it continues to draw back from the online property search sector. NI sold the stake back to Globrix's founding partners for an undisclosed sum. NI made a multimillion-pound investment for the stake in Globrix in 2007, adding at the time to its investment in Propertyfinder, another property search engine.

Future reports 61% pre-tax drop

Future, the specialist publisher, has reported a year-on-year slump in pre-tax profit of 61% after its US operations suffered a difficult year. Group revenue for the year ending 30 September was £153.1m, a fall of 6% on the year. UK revenue, which accounts for 69% of total revenue, was £106.5m, down from £115.6m the year before. US revenue, hit by a freefalling advertising market, slumped 22% to £47m.

Skymag rebrands with extra pages and greater frequency
BSkyB has renamed its customer magazine, Skymag, as Sky Magazine and is upping its frequency from 10 to 12 issues per year. The name and frequency are just two of several changes to the magazine, which is mailed to more than 7.5 million Sky subscribers. Further changes include new content, layout and design, as well as a 20-page increase in pagination. The first issue of the new-look magazine, which is slightly smaller in format, is the December edition.


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