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Friday, October 20, 2006


Phillip Molly Malone

How do you explain Kerry Stokes using the new laws to start to buy up Western Australian News Papers?

Ben Barren

first you float 9, maybe with or not with acp. then foxtel (with partners). float 9msn. then ipo some of the other online assets. lots of IPO's coming downunder. appetite for growth assets : gaming and online. if seek is worth more than $2b do the maths.

Rob Irwin

What Packer needs to keep in mind is that he can own all the casinos in the world, but if he loses the media interests, he loses a lot of voice in Australian life and, particularly, political circles. This is something his family has known for generations and, hopefully, the message has sunk in, that to keep the ears in Canberra, etc (which can be very useful things when planning things like casinos), he needs to remain a media player as well. It will be interesting to see how he plays that.


The Austereo network is why I don't listen to the radio anymore. Even a cracked iPod isn't enough to make me listen to that crap ever again.

Michael Air

It's worth noting that with this sell off, PBL still retains the controlling stake of the media assets. So, James has kept control of PBL's media assets while gaining potentially up to $8 billion* in capital which funds their gambling expansions.

* Figure quoted from Bloombergs

Phillip Molly Malone

I recon James should put it all on Red, myself!


Seek is worth $2b+? Eeek!! I am eversomuch in the wrong business, and apparently have been for a while. I installed the data cabling in their Windsor office back before they had even started.

Now they're worth $2b, and I'm worth, well, less. Slightly.

On a more useful note, I think that Old Media has just passed middle age and should be looking forward to retirement. New Media is a teenager full of enthusiasm, brio, and a million ways they're gonna change the world. They may still have a few things to learn the hard way, but I'm sure looking forward to the Brave New World!

Rob Irwin

Hey Colin, show me a piece of new media that the old media isn't doing.


Hmmm, tricky question. Let me see. Um. Um. Oh yes - media for FREE! ;-)


Actually, to be fair, that's a fairly glib answer.

Something more constructive would be - what I want, when I want it. Foxtel's iQ (and things like TiVo) are a good first step, but I still have to wait until it's been on before I can watch it later. Proper video on demand would be preferable.

Another thing would be - a chance for someone who doesn't 'fit the mold/pigeonhole' to have a chance. That English girl who put her video on YouTube, and then got a record contract is a good example. Record labels are highly focused (understandably) on making money, and so many talented people can't get a chance to shine, unless they can use new media to prove themselves.

Will that do for a start?

Rob Irwin

So with regard to the glib answer... old media is free online in this country. Well, apart from the notable example of the AFR, but that's pretty darn niche.

Foxtel iQ and TiVo (if you own a hacked one from the US or something), are examples of old media doing interesting things... but where is the new media equivalent?

See, this is the crux of my question. I see people talking about new media and, kinda like the guy in 'The Castle' it's all about podcasts and blogs and... it's the vibe, man. But my question is how is the old media not doing all that stuff anyway?

I know it takes away the unique selling proposition of the new media (and thus drives Reilly bonkers), but it's the truth. I don't see anything in the new media, being embraced by the mainstream, that an old media outlet isn't doing itself.


Um, actually, old media is not free online. First, when was the last time you tried to look up an old article? At least on smh & TheAge you have to pay. Don't have to pay to pick up that old newspaper I had kept because of the interesting article, but then I had to pay for the newspaper in the first place anyway!

Apparently you can buy TiVo here now, and it doesn't have to be hacked (maybe it's pre-hacked?) I presume that your concept of old media doing interesting things is where Nine are suing IceTV over their program guide (which simply provides public domain info in a convenient format)? Anyway, as you (and I) said, iQ & TiVo are really just old media using new media technology to bring a better user experience. A question is - if old media is so good, then why bother?

The new media equivalent would be something more like Democracy Player, which uses new media technologies like BitTorrent, to get much, much closer to VoD. I don't want ads, I don't want whatever the old media thinks is going to be this years hot thing, and I definitely (and I don't give a fig how well they rate) want Big Brother or Idol. I don't want to watch programmed crap - even if it's free (to air). I'd rather pay to watch what I want, when I want. Which I can't do. So much for old media.

The reality is that media is simply a delivery mechanism. Old old media was gypsies, or travelling minstrels, or perhaps merchants who wandered around the countryside telling you what was happening in the village 10 miles down the road that you'd never visited. The old word of mouth system.

Old media is based on the printed word, which is being moved quite effectively to the 'displayed' word. Problems with this though, are historic methodology, and limited resources, which means that what old media offer you is what they think you want to see or hear, or even worse, what advertisers think you want. They have to cater to the lowest common denominator, which means I get stuck with weeks of boring shit about a crocodile hunter and a race car driver, and let's not even think about that game with the rugby ball where they get a point for nearly getting a goal! Booooooring!!

New media is based on the fact that there are millions and millions of people out there, with many and varied interests, who now have the technology to share their opinions and interests with like minded individuals, thus enriching their lives and embiggening their minds (possibly). It's all about niches - I have many niche interests, and I'm sorry, but The Age or the SMH can only offer me a few percent of interest. Specialist magazines fare better, but nothing beats the internet. And when I invest $1,000 in a new camera, I'll start with the magazines, progress through to the specialist web sites, and make up my mind based on the experiences of thousands of enthusiasts all round the world who have been there and done that already.

Old media simply cannot give you the broad, unbiased, view of the world that new media can.

Cameron Reilly

Colin, Rob's just baiting you mate, don't buy into it. He doesn't really believe any of this stuff, he's just playing black hat

Oh and the main difference between "old" and "new"? New media isn't owned by a handful of rich white guys. It's open, it's diverse and it's interactive. The tools of production are now in the hands of the proletariat.

Rob Irwin

Old media simply cannot give you the broad, unbiased, view of the world that new media can.

Well, interesting you think that way because people who think they're journalists working within the new media are often some of the most opinionated, biased folk I've come across.

Example: You have two Mac fanboys. One works for a computer magazine (not a Mac-specific one), and the other has a blog.

Because of his love for Apple, the one writing for the computer magazine feels a burning desire to point out how awful Windows is each and every time he has to write about it, but he can't because, even if he did, the sub is going to cut the comments out 9/10, if they aren't relevant to the piece. Further, any comments which seem a bit 'iffy' are also going to be thrown back to the writer, by the sub, for a fact check before they run.

The other guy, meanwhile, writing on his blog, can mouth-off at will about Windows. All day, every day. Anything he wants to say, no matter how blatantly one-sided (or even flat-out wrong), he might be.

Result? The guy working for the magazine is churning out balanced copy that's passed through at least three sets of hands before the reader even gets near it. Meanwhile, the guy with the blog isn't. This is something that new media fans are absolutely blind to.

Miriam Parkinson

I wouldn't worry about Colin. He's just flexing his verbal muscles.
He only just discovered how much fun blogs can be.
At least while he's arguing with Rob he's not arguing with me. I'm usually pretty good at churning out bs but he has a tendency to stonewall me even when I *know* I'm right. Very annoying!


The guy working for the magazine is churning out balanced copy that's passed through at least three sets of hands...

Sorry, but I don't call that much of a result! Three sets of biased hands vetting an article? Compare that to the tens of thousands of readers of the guy with the blog. I think you must be assuming that readers never know as much as writers, which is a definite assumption. There will be people reading his blog who are far more informed, perhaps only in one fact, but that's enough. The errors, misinformation, ignorance, and possibly even lies will be quickly highlighted, and often cross referenced with more accurate or factual sources. In fact, it's quite likely that people will eventually dismiss his blog completely, and just stop reading it, which would make your argument moot.

It is the interactive nature of blogs, combined with thousands or even millions of informed readers, who provide a natural, effective, and rapid set of checks and balances. Not three people. Far from being blind to it, this is something that fans of new media embrace - information with a natural set of checks and balances.

Incidentally, fact checking in the press appears to be on a downward trend, as witnessed by multiple journos being sacked around the world as a result of a lack of it - and being exposed by bloggers! I can understand it though - these poor buggers are under huge pressure trying to keep up with the speed of new media, so they're bound to take a few shortcuts.


What do you mean Rob doesn't believe any of this stuff Cam? He doesn't believe that the days of old media as we know it are numbered? And here I was thinking that he might have actually still believed that the world was flat!

Rob Irwin

Hey Colin, when was the last time you saw a blogger read his comments section and say, "Gee, you know what? You guys are right... I'm going to change the post..."?


Rob Irwin

As for the state of old versus new media, I am on the record multiple times through this blog and elsewhere on the Web as saying the new media have given the old media the tools with which to proceed into the 21st century. Old media's not going anywhere mate. It's going to be using exactly the same tools as the new media. It's called evolution. Something the new media folks seem to think old media is incapable of. My, won't they get a surprise when they look back on these comments in a decade.

Cameron Reilly

I'm more than happy to adjust my position on topics when someone can give me good reasons to change.


In today's announcement of 700 job cuts at NBC Universal comes a shattering admission from TV division chief exec Jeff Zucker: NBC will stop scheduling scripted comedy and drama 8pm-9pm, in favour of cheaper reality and gameshows.

So NBC thinks it is no longer commercially viable to run comedy and drama in its early primetime schedule - and this from the broadcaster that gave the world a string of 80s and 90s hits including The Cosby Show, Cheers, LA Law, Hill Street Blues, ER, The West Wing, Friends, Frasier and Seinfeld.

NBC is also cutting its news operations as part of plans to save $750m a year - and re-invest some of the money into digital media.

Miriam Parkinson

I doubt he's ever seen that Rob. This is the first blog he's ever read other than mine.
Sites like boing boing change their posts with new evidence presented by readers and not only do they change it they leave the old version with the incorrect stuff crossed out in red so that it stands out visually to readers. In my opinion that is better than simply changing it quietly. It's admission of guilt.

Rob Irwin

Well it wouldn't be guilt if it was originally written in good faith. Guilt suggests it was done deliberately, then they were busted. But I know what you mean.

Miriam Parkinson

I'd love to say that I hate reality tv but some (and I mean *some*) reality tv is really quite addictive. However it doesn't compare to shows like Entourage. It can't really. It's virtually impossible to fit a proper narrative curve to reality television. The more resources networks pour into reality the more effort its going to take for them to claw their way back when the world gets sick of it.

Old media, fit into as flexible a format as new media and *without* the DRM bullshit would be highly successful. Even DRM isn't a huge issue so long as they stop screwing around with fair use.

However, it is ridiculously close minded to suggest that new media doesn't make some very important contributions.
Given the choice of listening to Cam ranting or Hughsie (sp??) pulling off his toenail I'd choose Cam any day and one of the most addictive shows I've seen recently has been the lonelygirl15 thing on youtube.

Yes, I still read the newspaper but I compare that to what blogs have to say about the topic as well. Old media has a place but that is alongside rather than above new media.

Miriam Parkinson

Yeah I knew that I had the wrong word but my brain turned to goop and it was the closest I could come up with. I'm not really in the right mindset for devastating arguments and quick wit. My brain likes to abandon me without warning every now and then, particularly when I haven't had exactly the right amount of caffeine :-)

Btw Rob, you're fun to argue with you but I'm on to you. You did debating at school didn't you? You're following the classic technique of finding the weak point in the oppositions argument and attacking it. The only lines you ever quote are the ones based on opinion rather than evidence.

Miriam Parkinson

bah! I changed what I was saying halfway though a sentence and then missed the extra word on my read through. I hate it when that happens.

What I need is my own personal editor ;-)

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