Casino Wars Examined, by Greg Tingle - November 2010
entertainment and media news junkies, casino and media
millionaires and billionaires, and one and all. With
all the talk of the Australian media wars, we thought
we would explain a little more about what they are
main "war" at the moment concerns the Australian
television landscape, with James Packer buying up
big in Network Ten shares. Some insiders say Packer's
but into Ten has more to do with online gaming and
gambling than one might otherwise think. Packer historically
was much closer aligned with Network Nine Australia,
of which his late father owned and run, and where
his long time mate and associate, David Gyngell works.
Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com
offer up the latest on Packer VS Gyngell, and much
much more on the famed 'Australian Media Wars'...incoming!
simply terms the Australian mainstream news media
landscape consists of the following mains groups:
print (newspapers and magazines), radio, new media,
internet / new media, and the "what will they
think of next"? / others sector.
this feature we will mainly focus on television (commercial
TV), to a lesser extent pay TV (Foxtel, Fox Sports
- Premier Media Group etc), and the internet, which
is part of the convergent media sector. Media Man
is more a convergent media company, having a number
of website portals (but not owning a TV station, radio
station or print publication) to help give you an
Gyngell, Packer Mate And Rival Running Things At Network
Nine and PBL Media
rise from the Network Nine Network to running its
parent, PBL Media, tells us a few telling lessons.
He's extremely well-regarded by its owners (private
equity firm CVC especially, which is understood to
be looking to float the company on the stock market,
but that date is speculation. It confirms that he's
not going to be poached to run Network Ten once the
share raid on its share register has settled. It once
again is a wake up call for everyone what a turbulent
media world is in Australia.
is a long time friend of Packer. Packer used to be
his boss at Nine but now holds 18% of Network Ten,
and a half share of Consolidated Media, alongside
Kerry Stokes' Seven Media Group, which has a quarter.
ConsMedia has a small stake in PBL Media, a quarter
stake in Foxtel and half of Fox Sports, as does Packer's
other business mate, Lachlan Murdoch, in his capacity
as a director of News Corp, which also just happens
to own one of this down unders' 2 major newspaper
groups. Murdoch's private company holds 9% of Prime
television, and he is now its deputy chairman, and
half of Nova's holding company, DMG Radio. As well
as his responsibilities in running Nine, as chief
of PBL Media, Gyngell also runs NBN Television, ACP
Magazines and has a say in NineMSN, Ticketek and Sky
News...which is a joint venture between PBL, Seven
and British Sky Broadcasting, which is controlled
by ... News Corp, now making a bid for full ownership.
Murdoch buy half of Packer's stake in Ten, its register
will be dominated by a trio of two billionaire media
moguls...Packer and Win Television's Bruce Gordon...and
the son of one. Gyngell's elevation also shows us
how competitive commercial television might be next
year. Cricket tests - 20 / 20s, football codes and
Aussie drama are just some of what's on the Aussie
TV menu. PBL chief executive Tim Parker, who's also
a partner at its private equity owner CVC, thinks
Gyngell is the man to take the moguls on! Last night's
statement said: "We are thrilled to have the
best media executive in the country to lead the business.
Nine Network, including Channel Nine and the Go and
GEM multi-channels, are in the ascendancy in an enormously
competitive environment. The performance of Nine is
a credit to David and his team." Television is
about to get even more competitive if Ten's news strategy
weathers the storm of the Packer-Murdoch attack and
it wins at least some of the audience who have traditionally
switched off Ten at 5.59pm once its news is over,
to watch some more on Channels Seven and Nine. With
the departure of current PBL chief executive Ian Law,
Gyngell's elevation is also a reminder of how critical
television is to PBL's performance.
TV Industry On Fire Thanks To Packer, Murdoch Jr And
the fast paced tech changes affecting how news and
entertainment is delivered to your television, computer
and wireless watsy, there is clearly a threat to the
old way of doing business. But generational change
is also happening now. David Gyngell, 44, now takes
the lead of one of Australia's biggest media concerns,
PBL Media, owner of the Nine Network.
longer in the hands of the powerful Packer family,
PBL Media was acquired from 2006 to 2008 by private
equity company CVC Asia Pacific. Its board has elevated
Gyngell to chief exec because it sees him as the best
man to help sell the company to investors in an expected
$5 billion stockmarket float next year. Gyngell's
best mate, James Packer, 43, last month spent $280
million buying an 18% cent stake in Ten and wants
to revamp the network's internet strategy to make
better use of the opportunities emerging. He has been
keen to install Paul Bassat, 42, who co-founded the
successful job search firm Seek. Bassat and his brother,
Andrew, have built a $2.4bn online employment and
education empire in the past decade.
Murdoch, 39, is also eyeing a co-investment in Ten.
The investments are a sure sign of confidence in traditional
media that was not thought of a year back. The changes
are rapid. Packer has said privately to friends he
has been surprised by the success of the new multichannels
Australians can access on their TVs and that have
attracted new advertising. Newspapers, such as The
Australian, are launching across new platforms such
as the iPad and new revenue streams are opening up.
The last great boom of technology in media and communication
companies was in swing a decade ago. How was that
for a bit of a history lesson.
Ten Loves Internet; Visa Versa...
is thinking about Ten's news and online strategy,
but Ten exec are also considering a strategy when
it comes to the web. The network, which recently inked
a deal to use MCM Entertainment's video platform movideo
to play video on its website, typically divides full-length
programs into 6 parts, which enables it to show an
advertisement, dubbed a pre-roll, before each part.
Yahoo7 and Ninemsn show fewer ads on their full-length
catch-up TV content on their Plus7 and FixPlay services
chief digital media officer Nick Spooner said movideo
technology would enable the network to experiment
with new ad formats and recommend similar programs
to visitors who have watched a video on the site.
MCM group CEO Tony McGinn said movideo technology
would allow Ten to serve videos across all digital
platforms, including internet-delivered TV, or IPTV.
video views were up 31% year on year to 60 million
views of premium content within 12 months, Mr Spooner
said. "It provides a better experience for the
audience in a range of ways," he said. "These
include supporting much closer links to social networking
engagement around our programs.
a client perspective, we currently run pre-roll advertising,
and movideo allows us to trial new advertising formats."
video advertising is a small but burgeoning market
in Australia, estimated at $25 million for the 2010
financial year, although that figure does not include
video-sharing website YouTube. According to eMarketer,
US online advertising revenues will grow at more than
30% a year until at least 2013, when they will be
worth $US4 billion. MCM group CEO Tony McGinn said
the online video platform market was worth about $480
million worldwide. MCM group, which also operates
a music and media syndication business and a digital
design agency, began marketing its video player to
third parties in March, and is now expanding into
Asia. Media Man is part of the wave of new media,
will you be?
Murdoch Prime Media Group Sells Assets...
Media Group Ltd has sold its non-core outside broadcast
assets amid reports its deputy chairman Lachlan Murdoch
is in talks to buy half of James Packer's new stake
in Ten Network Holdings Ltd. Prime said it had sold
OSB Australia to UK-based Gearhouse Broadcast Pty
Ltd for $8.5 million in cash and $3 million in instalments
between December 2012 and December 2014. OSB Australia
provides outside broadcast facilities and services
for professional sporting events.
will hold a 15 per cent interest in the merged OSB/Gearhouse
business, which has extended its agreement with Fox
Sports for rugby union coverage through to 2015. "The
sale of OSB Australia continues our program of divesting
non-core assets to re-focus on maximising earnings
from television and radio," Prime chief executive
Ian Audsley said in a statement. Prime in July sold
its New Zealand outside broadcast operator, OSB New
Zealand, to Sky Television Ltd and also announced
the sale of Moonlight Cinema to Amalgamated Holdings
Ltd. Prime will incur a $1 million impairment on the
sale of OSB, but will avoid $13 million of capital
expenditure that is required for OSB Australia.
proceeds of the sale will be used by Prime to pay
down debt, which stood at $96 million at the end of
June when the company recorded a $54.5 million full-year
net loss, a widening of its $45.5 million net loss
for the previous financial year. Separately on Thursday,
Fairfax reported Mr Murdoch's company Illyria Pty
Ltd was likely to buy 50 per cent of Mr Packer's 17.88
per cent stake in Ten acquired last week. Mr Packer's
surprise $280 million purchase marked his return to
free-to-air television after years of focusing on
the gambling sector.
Fairfax reports, citing "a well-placed Murdoch
source familiar with the discussions", said Mr
Murdoch saw the possible deal as a "turnaround"
story. A price had not been agreed upon, the report
said. Ten declined to comment, while Prime was being
sought for comment.
was also being sought from Consolidated Media Holdings
Ltd, where Mr Packer is deputy chair. Shares in Prime
closed steady at 65 cents, Ten shares dipped almost
two per cent to $1.50 - the same price Mr Packer paid
for his shares in the broadcaster - and Consolidated
Media shares were two cents softer at $3.35.
Packer Media News...
Network chairman Nick Falloon may be getting ready
to leave as media moguls James Packer and Lachlan
Murdoch join forces on the network and we ponder could
Falloons loss end up as Murdochs gain?
Meanwhile, BHP Billiton moves to squash talk that
its PotashCorp bid is set to crash and burn in Ottawa.
as the political offensive against the ASX-SGX merger
intensifies investors may be losing faith with the
exchange operators and AXA SA seals a heavyweight
China deal with the worlds most valuable lender
ICBC. With Ten Network Holdings reportedly set to
welcome two heavyweight media moguls as its major
shareholders the rumour-mill has gone into overdrive
with reports that James Packers planned overhaul
of the network may have claimed its first victim.
Unsurprisingly, the unfortunate victim is reportedly
the networks executive chairman Nick Falloon.
to The Australian, Falloon has agreed to relinquish
his position after a meeting with Packer. Rumblings
that Falloons head was on the block took hold
pretty much as soon as Packer pulled of his share
raid last week and The Australian reports that his
departure is yet to be formalised. The news comes
as media scion Lachlan Murdoch looks set to take a
board seat at the network with confirmation that his
Illyria Private Limited was in talks with Packers
Prime Capital to buy 50 per cent of its 17.88% stake
in Ten for around $155 million. The deal between the
two moguls is expected to be finalised in a month
or so and interestingly there is talk that Murdoch
will not only push for a board seat but could possibly
be a candidate to become Tens chairman.
has reportedly set his sights on culling Tens
planned foray into news and current affairs and return
the focus on the low-cost 16 to 39 demographic. While
the plans seem to have been broadly welcomed by Tens
major shareholders there are detractors out there
especially analysts who point out that a return to
youth-friendly programming could actually end up costing
the network more money and with the inception of multi-channel
offerings from Seven and Nine cutting into the market
the new approach may not be as successful as first
way its great reading for the the Gambling911 and
Media Man loyal following. All we can say is don't
bet against Packer.
er, punters, how did you like our special Australian
Media Wars Explained feature? Tell us in the forum.
you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over
it, and for God's sake, have fun.
Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911
is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal
development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors
including gaming and offer political commentary and
Casino Wars: The Art Of War, by Greg Tingle -
5th November 2010
Ten Nick Falloon No Fool; Likely To Dodge Board Of
Ten executive chairman Nick 'No Fool' Falloon will
avoid standing up for re-election at December's AGM.
move is tipped to be a talking point for his new major
shareholder James Packer, and friend and associate,
should ordinarily be required to resign his possy
and offer up his head for re-election following the
expiry this year of his 3-year term as executive chairman,
but his appointment late last year as MD means he
will not need to stand. Are you still with us?
the ASX listing rules, the MD of a listed company
such as Ten Network Holdings is exempt from rules
requiring directors to be up for re-election at the
annual meeting every 3 years.
appointment will essentially stop Packer and his soon-to-be
fellow Ten investor, Lachlan 'Lucky Money' Murdoch,
from seeking to have 'No Fool' Falloon voted off the
Ten board at the AGM next month.
shareholders, namely Perpetual and WIN TV owner Bruce
'Grinning' Gordon were expected to strongly support
the push. If need be, push will become shove, but
the extra force shouldn't be required.
a series of meetings last week 'Our James' is understood
to have requested for Falloon's immediate resignation!
Falloon agreed to step aside, bust asked for a further
14 months in the role. Perhaps he's just after a few
more fat pay days... aren't we all.
confirmed last Monday that Falloon had agreed to transfer
to a non-executive role before Packer's cunning chess
move last month to spend $280 million to buy an 18%
stake in the hot youth orientated network.
and Murdoch are now expected to question why Falloon
can retain the title of managing director after shifting
more than 2 years back to a part-time role, a move
that cut his base salary from $2.2m to only $1.1m.
You've go to feel sorry for him (Not, as comedy creation
Borat would say).
general counsel... legal eagle Stephen Partington
confirmed that, in recent correspondence with shareholder
activist Stephen 'Crikey' Mayne, Network Ten had made
(good) use of the existing listing rule exemption.
we hope you're still with us in our describing of
the complex 'Art Of War' tactics here.
the exit of Canwest from the Ten register late last
year, Nick Falloon was appointed to the role of managing
director of Ten," Partington documented.
Falloon was originally appointed to Ten in the roles
of executive chairman and chief executive and continues
to hold these positions. On this basis and in accordance
with the company's constitution and the ASX listing
rules, Mr Falloon is now no longer required to retire
Network Ten spokeswoman declined to comment further.
insiders agree that the change could benefit the Ten
board in the battle with Murdoch and Packer if the
board wanted to retain Falloon.
Media Man spokesperson said "While these maters
of the Australian media wars are complex, especially
pertaining to the changes afoot at Network Ten, Fallon
is no fool, nor are Murdoch, Packer or Nine's Gyngell.
All smart and cashed up smart cookies indeed. The
media's love affair with covering media continues,
and we're guilty of that also, and the global readership
is just loving it and lapping up every move of the
chess board. Art of war media style at its best".
media movements have generated extra interest to potential
investors and Media Man and other convergent media
companies are tipped to buy into the the situation
in more ways than one ala share portfolio expansions,
adding yet more fuel to the fire that is the Australian
Ten Network Chairman Nick Falloon To Resign!...
chairman Nick Falloon has surrendered to considerable
pressure to leave the firm, advising he will go in
order to make way for billionaires James Packer and
company yesterday said Falloon had agreed to resign
from Ten after the AGM next month if his departure
"would assist in the resolution of the outstanding
issues" between the company, Packer and Murdoch.
deep throat leaked Packer and Murdoch were still trying
to obtain a 3rd board position, but did indicate they
were "prepared to negotiate."
Packer - Murdoch 'dream team' have been offered 2
seats on the board but are seeking a 3rd, understood
to be for Seek chief exec Paul 'Ballsy' (MM) Bassat.
leak also shrugged off rife speculation that Murdoch
wanted to snatch Falloon's chairmanship.
and Murdoch have been in negotiations with the network
since the beginning of the working week.
offer to leave Ten came days after he said he was
prepared to shift into a non-exec role...reports stating
he would fight for his life to remain at the company
he had helped successfully run since 2002.
confirmed on Monday that it had offered the dynamic
duo 2 board positions following speculation Packer
was preparing to offer his friend, and sometime business
partner, Murdoch half his 18% stake in the company.
Casino 'King Of The Castle' Packer made a cunning
grab on Network Ten last month when he bought 18%
of Ten's stock to become the largest shareholder at
an investment of a cool $280 million, pocket change
has yet to speak publicly to reveal his strategy for
buying into the company, but various media commentators
including Media Man say it's part of his master plan
to make a huge splash into online gaming and gambling,
adding to his Betfair business. A convergent media
aspect is understood to be on the whiteboard for gaming
linking Packer media businesses to Packer and affiliate
- partners online gambling products, and Packer and
co are understood to have been watching the tactics
of PartyGaming, bwin, Virgin Games, Aspers, William
Hill, Paddy Power, Centrebet and others.
advised discussions were continuing but no final agreement
had been reached.
discussions to date, Ten Holdings has offered Messrs
Packer and Murdoch the opportunity to take up two
directorships on the basis that the company's board
would be expanded to 10 directors," Ten said.
offer of two directorships to Messrs Packer and Murdoch
is contingent upon their agreement that the company
put in place appropriate board protocols."
Ten shares closed at $1.46.
traded as high as $1.59 last month followings Packer's
share-buying raid which generated massive world wide
headlines and sent the industry into a spin.
agree that thus far the latest venture between Packer
and Murdoch looks to be a 'dream team' pairing, unlike
their previous business deal with a telco start-up
that proved to be disastrous for the duo. Both have
appeared to have learnt their lessons well, and are
on top of the media world at the moment.
er, punters, how did you like our latest on the Australian
Media Wars? Is it all part of Packer's online gambling
master plan? Tell us in the forum.
you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over
it, and for God's sake, have fun.
Keith Murdoch (born September 8, 1971), is the elder
son of media mogul, Rupert Murdoch and the former
Anna Torv. He resigned from his executive positions
at News Corporation on 29 July 2005. However, Lachlan
is still on the Board of Directors at NewsCorp and
is a company consultant. Subsequently, younger brother
James Murdoch is now viewed as his father's heir-apparent
by the press. Their sister Elisabeth Murdoch, an able
businesswoman in her own right, is married to publicity
wizard Matthew Freud. Lachlan is married to Sarah
Murdoch was born in London, England, but was raised
in a wealthy Manhattan neighbourhood, where his father
owned the tabloid, the New York Post. He received
his education at the exclusive Aspen Country Day School
in Aspen, Colorado, as well as Phillips Academy, in
Andover, Massachusetts, and earned a bachelor’s
degree in philosophy from Princeton University in
1994. During summers he would work jobs ranging from
cleaning printing presses to sub-editor at The Sun
and The Times. At the age of 22, he was appointed
general manager of Queensland Newspapers, which publishes
The Courier-Mail in Brisbane. One year later, he became
publisher of Australia’s first national paper,
The Australian. In 1995, he was appointed Deputy CEO
of News Limited, Executive Director of News Corporation
since 1996, Deputy Chief Operating Officer since 2000,
Senior Executive Vice President from 1999 to 2000,
and Chairman of STAR since 1995.
has been criticised as a "rich brat" for
his "poor handling" of Murdoch interests
in One.Tel, which lost the empire
millions of dollars. In this venture, Lachlan worked
with Australian businessman James Packer, the son
of Kerry Packer. Lachlan has also been attacked for
trying to "Americanise" Australian newspapers.
Lachlan has publicly supported the idea of Australia
becoming a republic (for example in National ABC Radio
AM 8.21am interview on 22nd September, 1999).
married Australian model/actress, Sarah O'Hare in
1999. They have two sons, Kalan Alexander, born in
2004, and Aidan Patrick, born on May 6, 2006. Prior
to 2003, Lachlan and Sarah were owners of "Berthong",
a house in Elizabeth Bay, Sydney, which was subsequently
bought by Russell Crowe. From time to time, Lachlan
and Sarah host fundraising dinners for the charity
"Murdoch Children's Research Institute".
Lachlan is considered to be a friend of Australian
actress Nicole Kidman, New Zealand actor Russell Crowe
and director Baz Luhrmann.
has a strong personal interest in Australian rugby
league. On March 30, 1995, Lachlan Murdoch was at
the first Super League meeting in the Atanaskovic
Hartnell offices in Sydney. He and former Broncos
chief John Ribot signed up leading Bulldogs players
on documents which were not legally effective.
the year 2001, Murdoch earned a salary of au$2.59
million . In June 2005, Murdoch received the Press
& Outdoor Advertising "Media Person of The
Year" award in Cannes . Lachlan is one of the
founding patrons (along with Anthony Pratt, Peter
Lowy and Lisa Fox of an organization called "Advance",
formerly known as "YAPA" (Young Australian
Professionals in America).
July 29, 2005, he announced that he would be resigning
from executive roles with News Corporation and moving
with his family to Australia, although he would retain
his seat on the board.
his resignation, Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox
News Channel, was named chairman of News Corp.'s group
of television stations. The abrupt and unexplained
departure of the 33-year-old Lachlan Murdoch apparently
dashed News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch's
hopes that his son would one day take over as CEO
of the global media empire, which includes the Twentieth
Century Fox movie studio, the Fox television network,
several satellite broadcasters including DirecTV,
and newspapers in Britain, Australia, and the New
the weeks after his resignation, however, he began
a new venture, lodging applications to set up a new
Australian company called Illyria Pty Ltd, in which
he acts as sole director and secretary.
February 2006, Murdoch attended the memorial service
for Australian businessman Kerry Packer.
of February 2007, Murdoch is taking part in a joint
venture with swimmer Ian Thorpe in the hopes of aiding
the HIV epidemic in Papua New Guinea.
is interested in adventure sports and he is a very
good sailor (having competed in Sydney to Hobart race),
skindiver and spearfisher.
article contains content from the defunct wiki, HierarchyPedia,
used here under the GNU Free Documentation License
* "Good journalism is good business practice;
good business supports great journalism." (Andrew
Olle Media Lecture, 18 October 2002)
* "You can see here that the Australian media
elite define their club through standards designed
only to exclude." (Andrew Olle Media Lecture,
18 October 2002)
* "One of the problems with American newspapers
is that the design, the look, and the feel lack any
sort of vigor, that's a pity"
* "He (Lachlan) was a gentleman, and he called
to be sure that the contretemps last week was between
him and the New York Daily News, not between him and
Auletta, writer for The New Yorker, after a story
that the New York Post was losing $40 million a year),
Man Australia does not represent Lachlan Murdoch