Here's a wrap of what's going on in today's national newspaper media sections.
Plan to scrap reach rule nears completion
The federal government could finalise plans to abolish rules within three months that prevent rural and regional broadcasters from merging, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Western Australian senator Dean Smith, chairman of the Coalition's backbench committee believes a plan could be circulated internally in the first quarter of this year. It would scrap the reach rule which prevents city broadcasters and their country affiliates from merging, allowing broadcasters to save costs and avoid tense negotiations over advertising revenue, which was highlighted in recent talks between WIN and Nine.
Three-way merger could 'change landscape'
Proposed changes to cross-media ownership laws could lead to a tie-up between Fairfax Media, Nine Entertainment Company and Southern Cross Media Group, the Australian Financial Review has reported. The group would account for 20% of Australia's advertising market. The government has proposed a relaxation of media ownership laws that prevent media companies from operating a TV station, radio station and newspaper in the same market.
Nine and WIN strike deal
Nine Entertainment Company will receive nearly half of WIN Corp's advertising revenue after the broadcasters struck a last minute deal to keep the regional TV station on air for another six months. Increased cooperation between the two could lead to a merger that would create a $1.8 billion broadcaster, pending the reported abolition of the government's reach rule, Fairfax reported. WIN previously received most of Nine's content for 39% of its ad revenue, but the city broadcaster argued it carried too much risk and has negotiated a larger share, believed to be about 47% of its affiliate's ad revenue.
Playstation pushes into home entertainment
Sony has told Fairfax it is looking to position its popular Playstation 4 gaming console as a home entertainment theatre, following a similar path trodden by rival Microsoft's Xbox One. Recently, Sony announced it would add Foxtel and Seven West Media's Presto subscription video on-demand service to the console, meaning it now has access to Netflix, Stan, Presto, Quickflix and Foxtel Play. Although PS4 launched to the tagline 'This is for the players', Sony Computer Entertainment Australia managing director Michael Ephraim says the company needs to educate consumers that the console does much more than gaming.
Hersov to leave Nine
Commercial development director Martin Hersov is to leave the Nine Network, The Australian has reported.
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