Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on how Jeff Bezos built a tech business within the Washington Post. Over the past four years the Post has become both a technology business and a journalism institution, a mix it believes is essential to succeed in media in the future. Douglas believes Bezos has done a good job of evading the potential downsides of a tech entrepreneur buying an impartial news organisation. He said “the downsides could have included: interference; technology innovation at the expense of investment in journalism; an Amazon strategy shoehorned into the publishing business; too much distance, that is, money without intelligence. None of these outcomes have emerged because Bezos has evidently not interfered with the Post’s content at all. He has applied a strategic framework and some tactical elements to generate a means of investing more in journalism in the short and medium term”.
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the prospect of Mr Murdoch and his sons to sale 21st Century Fox prime film and television assets to Walt Disney. Claire said “you will not find the Murdochs selling a damn thing unless they are forced to — or humiliated politically. They’ve never been sellers and don’t need the money”. She added that James Murdoch was particularly personally invested in acquiring Sky, saying “he has spent 10 years trying to buy it. [James] has always been a one-track guy”. Six years ago, the family’s reputation took a knock from the phone-hacking scandal, which led to Rupert Murdoch apologising to MPs and the eventual withdrawal of its first Sky bid. Claire said “there are huge reputational advantages to James and the Murdochs of this [latest] deal clearing”.
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on Walt Disney’s exploratory talks with 21st Century Fox to buy the bulk of Fox’s entertainment assets. Alice told TVBEurope she is sceptic about the deal as the Murdoch family has always been "buyers not sellers". The younger sons are still in their 40s, they’re very active in the assets that they have, they see entertainment and media as being their forte as opposed to newspapers which is their father’s passion. So from a human element, you have to say why would the Murdoch brothers want to sell to anybody, not just Disney?". She added "I think the existence of talks masks a much broader set of options that are being considered for eventually a collaboration or maybe a sale, although we see Disney as not really needing to buy Sky or 21st Century Fox. Disney occupies a very unique space in the studio market, and the heart of what it’s doing is selling entertainment and products to children. It’s not absolutely clear what it would be seeking to get out of a hook-up with 21st Century Fox as a studio". However, Alice said the distribution side of Fox's business could be what's attracting Disney. "Of course 21st Century Fox owns 39 per cent of Sky today and presumably in the future will own 100 per cent of Sky potentially. Obviously Sky is the most interesting pay-TV operator in Europe for a US studio. So Disney probably doesn’t need studio assets but it might enjoy having a footprint outside the US in the distribution area".
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on Walt Disney talks about buying assets from 21st Century Fox, including much of its international business. The news not only drew attention in Hollywood and on Wall Street, but also in London, where industry watchers immediately wondered what the news means for European pay TV giant Sky. After all, Fox owns a 39 percent stake in Sky and last December offered to take full control of it in a $15 billion deal, which U.K. regulators are still reviewing. Consequently, what does all the news mean for the regulatory review in Britain of Fox's bid for all of Sky and Fox's commitment to the deal? Alice said "I doubt very much this would interfere with the [U.K. regulatory review] process, which after all concludes in early March 2018. It has been rumoured that this would lead to 21st Century Fox withdrawing from the Sky deal, but I doubt that very much. Relatively, 100 percent of Sky is worth much more than 39 percent".
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on Anna Wintour, Vogue's editor-in-chief, which according to Forbes Magazine is the most powerful woman in the media and entertainment. But why is Dame Anna top of the tree? Alice has a theory, she said "it's pretty simple why Anna Wintour is number one - Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Google's Susan Wojcicki are not included in that list. By media, they mean the printed press and performing arts. They (Forbes) have studiously segmented out the advertising genius of Facebook and Google, despite these two companies being advertising behemoths today". Despite that, Wintour has still squeezed out other big names including Bonnie Hammer (number two), the chair of media company NBCUniversal. Alice explains "Anna Wintour is the most influential woman in the printed press simply because Vogue magazine is the pinnacle of taste-making and women's fashion. She incarnates the transatlantic bonds of commercial fashion endeavour today, spanning the continent where fashion was born to the dynamic innovation of the British and American fashion houses".
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on the prospective sale of Waterstones. Analysts have said that new ownership of Waterstones “makes sense”, following reports that its Russian owner, Alexander Mamut, has appointed banker N M Rothschild to contact potential buyers for the chain. But the development has sparked anxiety in the wider trade, with concerns over any uncertainty affecting the crucial retailer. Douglas said that Waterstones’ reported £40m profits would "give the owner some leverage and reinforces why the timing of new financing could be attractive". He added that if Waterstones increases its profits in its next results, the "responsible thing" to do would be "to re-engineer its financing on a more stable footing”. Douglas elaborated “there are a range of possible outcomes - same owner, same owner and other owners, other owners - but essentially with any outcome the company should be looking for more flexibility to invest in the company, greater security for the long term."
Tom Harrington was quoted in an article on the Great British Bake Off, which reaches the biggest young audience for TV series this year. Bake Off’s move from the BBC to Channel 4 was controversial and the latest series has also attracted criticism because one of the contestants. But the latest viewing figures suggest Channel 4’s decision to spend £75m on showing the programme for the next three years has paid off. These figures make Bake Off the biggest Channel 4 series since Big Fat Gypsy Weddings in 2011 and also the biggest series for 16 to 34-year-olds on any channel this year. Tom said “it has been a great success, outdoing most expectations both critically and in terms of viewership with the final likely to be the most watched show on the channel in the past 15 years. That’s pretty impressive when you take general viewership decline into account. It’s quite rare for a programme to move channels when at its peak. Big Brother was in decline when it moved to Channel 5, but even there it provides great value for that channel, along with Neighbours, which had experienced great popularity on the BBC”. He added “of course it is difficult to track those titles that move to the SVODs [subscription video on demand, such as Netflix], such as Black Mirror, Ripper Street or The Grand Tour, as viewing information is not released, but it would be fair to say that viewing on those platforms is still very small when compared with linear television [such as BBC and Channel 4]”.
Tom Harrington was quoted in an article on Apple who has hired Jay Hunt, former controller of BBC One and chief creative officer of Channel 4, to join its video team. Ms Hunt was responsible for TV shows including Sherlock and Luther at the BBC before helping Channel 4 sign up the Great British Bake Off. Her title at Apple will be creative director, Europe, worldwide video. Tom said "it seems like Apple is going for a worldwide push already, even though it hasn't yet made much headway in the US. Jay Hunt is exceptional in the commissioning space. She's exceptional at finding programmes that fit the outlet she's working at. He added “she could have worked anywhere she wanted".
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on the presentation he held at the Press Gazette’s Digital Journalism Summit. Douglas highlighted that small and medium size businesses are now spending more with Facebook than they are with local newspapers. He said that this switch had happened in the space of just a few years, overturning a business model which has sustained journalism for centuries. He also noted that the rate of decline in newspaper circulations is accelerating because of the rise of smartphones. He said “Smartphones interrupted the news bundle much more than the desktop experience. Adding that “older demographics and demographics more likely to read popular newspapers are adopting smartphones. As a result the decline in print is accelerating”. He said that whereas the average length of time spent with a newspaper is 36 minutes per day, only the BBC website achieves more than an hour per month with its readers. He estimated that Facebook now delivers two thirds of the traffic to some news websites and said that Google and Facebook now account for a majority of the traffic to most news websites.
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment scandal, which is causing more headaches for 21st Century Fox’s 11.3 billion pound bid to take full control of U.K. cable network Sky Plc. Revelations that U.S.-based Fox News renewed O’Reilly’s contract after he settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for $32 million came just a month after Britain’s culture secretary asked competition regulators to review the takeover. Alice said that U.S. settlements are generally much larger than those in Britain in regard to sexual harassment cases, so that alone would not change the situation. She said “we’re not at a point that we’re looking at something that is going to be the smoking gun”, adding that the O’Reilly revelations and the eye-watering sum will simply “reinforce existing impressions on questions of corporate governance issues”.