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Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Ball: was he first to blink?

Ball: was he first to blink?

Tony Ball, one-time Clan Murdoch enforcer and erstwhile ceo of NewsCorp’s UK satellite fiefdom BSkyB, has pulled out of his protracted job negotiations with Britain’s largest commercial broadcaster ITV plc, according to a report on the BBC’s website today.

Ball was tipped by this blog as ITV’s choice for the ceo’s hotseat six weeks before it emerged publicly that he had entered into i-dotting and t-crossing negotiations with ITV’s board and major shareholders.

Having set this weekend as the deadline to agree terms, Roller-Ball won the day vis-a-vis the number of trailing zeros that would have adorned annual paycheck.

But he was seemingly the first to blink in his stare-out with ITV honchos over his demand to veto the company’s choHeadtoHeadice of a new chairman – former Reed Elsevier ceo Sir Crispin Davis, currently languishing in the publishing giant’s departure lounge.

As the BBC commented with exquisite delicacy: “Many will understand why ITV’s board felt it inappropriate that a chief executive should have a veto on who should have the role of holding the very same chief executive to account.”

The moneymen were mildly miffed at the news, with ITV shares slipping 1.2 pence to 45.3 pence.

Staff morale, however, is believed to have soared!

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Darwin, he aint!

Clan Murdoch versus the 'Creationists'!

The scion of a media mogul and bearer of a fine old Caledonian name (who himself was the scion of a media mogul of that ilk) stood before an audience of his peers in Scotland’s ancient capital on Friday 28 August and socked-it to ’em in a manner of which poppa would have been proud.

Reminiscent of a cyborg Daniel in the lion’s den, the chairman/ceo [by proxy*] of News Corporation, Europe and Asia stood, before the arrayed hostility of the Edinburgh International Television Festival and manfully delivered this year’s keynote MacTaggart Lecture.

Murdoch minimus didn’t, of course, jet-in solely for the glory of delivering this annual set piece to the British TV establishment. No Siree. He had something to get off his chest – just like poppa when he delivered a similar paean to unfettered capitalism in 1989.

Wee Jamie [*who owes his present position to the disinclination of elder brother Lachlan to work under Rupert’s yoke] inveighed against the British government in general – and the BBC in particular – for failing to operate in accordance with the principles upon which the Murdoch dynasty was founded and has prospered.

An unlikely Murdoch ally?

Rooting for Rupert?

Citing this years’ centenary of the publication of The Origin of the Species, Murdoch minimus compared the BBC and the UK establishment with the ‘creationists’ who railed against Charles Darwin’s upturning of the Christian myth.

And whilst it’s invidious to mention Darwin and wee Jamie in the same breath – there are those [including this scribe] who agree wholeheartedly with some of the latter’s cavils, e.g …

Yes, the BBC is saddled with a top-heavy management structure and a controlling trust chaired and populated by out-to-grass members of the British establishment.

Yes, the BBC does appear to be vying with its commercial rivals to peddle populist formulaic crap to the proletariat.

Yes, the BBC has failed miserably to cater for those who prefer a TV diet free from the endless round of so-called ‘reality’ shows, cop sagas, hospital and other soaps, in-yer-face sitcoms, property makeover programmes and ancestral anus-gazing.

And yes, the present British government is responsible for the creation of communications regulator Ofcom – a  fatuous hybrid whose primary activity appears to be digging holes for the sole purpose of filling them in again.

Pops and Jamie don’t care for this situation one teensy bit. The Beeb eats into Sky’s market for mind-numbing TV trivia, while the publicly-funded corporation’s extra-curricular activities provide unwelcome, cross-subsidized competition in the internet and publishing arenas.

But at the end of the day, aren’t the former and present UK prime ministers, Blair and Brown, and Clan Murdoch birds of a feather?

All are driven by the quest for self-enrichment and power while a docile population – drugged by media mediocrity –  obediently performs its obligation to consume, consume and consume again!

Media dinosaurs battle it out!

Primeval media monsters ...

For those who relish Kong-like spectacles such as a fight unto the death between primeval media monsters, MoonWink reproduces (courtesy of MediaGuardian) the following exchange.

“At an official dinner following the [MacTaggart] speech, Murdoch and [over-exposed BBC business editor] Robert Peston – who were sitting with the Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark and BBC chairman Sir Michael Lyons – became involved in a discussion about banking deregulation which progressed to the flashpoint of whether or not the BBC was patrician.

“According to those who were there, Murdoch apparently banged the table and shouted: ‘How dare you?’ with Peston shouting back: If you think you can get fucking angry, I can get fucking angry.'”

By such informed debate between the representatives of Mammon and the Establishment are our drab lives shaped!

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Having a Ball

Ball's Up !

Divination being one of MoonWink’s myriad skills, he predicts that before this week is out, the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster ITV will have opened the box to reveal the identity of its new head honcho.

The name inside will not be that of the current frontrunner Simon Fox (see today’s FT) but that of Tony Ball, former ceo of NewsCorp’s BSkyB and one of Rupert Murdoch’s few henchmen able to out-stare his boss.

You heard it first from MoonWink!

Postscript: Any such appointment would have no connection whatever with BSkyB’s current (unwanted) 17.9% stake in ITV. As if !

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According to today’s Wall Street Journal, Publicis Groupe ceo Maurice Lévy has not ‘looked at Interpublic’ with a view to buying it.

Maurice Lévy

M. Lévy (pictured) n’est pas si stupide, being one of the few folk in adland who can, and does, out-savvy Sorrell. But buy Interpublic? Interpublic???!!!!!

Even a dummy like Moonwink – let alone a seasoned warrior such as Lévy – is not that crazed that he’d bid mid-recession for a debt-beset agency conglomerate in the throes of recovering from a financial disaster incurred whilst the good times [remember them?] still rolled.

According to the WSJ:  “Analysts have said Interpublic could be an interesting acquisition target for Publicis.”

Interesting, you betcha, for analysts! A breed as desperate to drum-up trade as it is unaccountable for its speculations.

MoonWink’s recommendations? Sell IPG; buy Publicis. Emigrate to Liechtenstein.

In the interim, don’t watch this space.

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