Media Wrap: Foxtel cools Ten merger talks; Fairfax mulls NZ spin-off; Ad market flat for election

By AdNews | 9 May 2016

Foxtel cools Ten merger talks

Foxtel has cooled talk it could acquire Ten Network if ownership rules are relaxed, arguing such a deal could compromise its relationship with other free-to-air broadcasters, the Australian Financial Review reports. Foxtel boss Peter Tonagh says the competition regulator would also closely scrutinise any deal betwen the pay TV broadcaster and Ten. Foxtel owns a 13.8% stake in Ten and shares the same sales house, MCN.

Tonagh admits ad complaints a challenge

Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh has admitted advertising on the pay TV service attracts many customer complaints, Fairfax Media reports. Foxtel launched two decades ago ad-free, but today has an average of an average of 6.7 minutes of adverising per hour, about half the amount on major free-to-air commercial channels. Foxtel pledges to have no advertising during sports broadcasts and during shows on 20 channels. Tonagh says the nature of TV's 30-minute schedules made advertising unavoidable and hoped more targeted advertising delivered via MCN's programmatic platform would help alleviate frustrations.

Media buyers warn of flat ad market for election

Media agency heads believe the election will have little overall effect on the advertising market, The Australian reports. OMD chief executive Peter Horgan says the election is likely to "scare off" advertisiers as much as it will attract ad spend due to the "clutter" and expects a moderate lift to spend. Dentsu Aegis Network boss Simon Ryan says the market will remain pretty stable or slightly down while MediaCom CEO Sean Seamer clients had "already planned through it" adding "it will have an impact on advertisers that are buying short".

Fairfax plans $200m NZ spin-off

Fairfax media could offload its $200m New Zealand business via demerger, trade sale or IPO, The Australian says. The NZ assets include the leading news website and mastheads The Dominion Post, The Press and magazines. Motivation behind a sale would be to shore up a better sharemerket valuation, which is currently being weighed down by "structurally challenged print assets". Meanwhile, Fairfax boss Greg Hywood has again reiterated the company could shut down its seven-day print cycle for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in favour of weekend-only newspapers with websites providing daily news. Hywood has hinted that such a move could happen next year.

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