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Global Publishing Trends. Lecture 10 Publishing Principles and Practice ACP 2079. Is cross-media ownership a local or global issue?. Last week we looked at Australia’s cross-media ownership laws: what they are designed to do, how they worked up until 2007.

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global publishing trends

Global Publishing Trends

Lecture 10

Publishing Principles and PracticeACP 2079

is cross media ownership a local or global issue
Is cross-media ownership a local or global issue?
  • Last week we looked at Australia’s cross-media ownership laws: what they are designed to do, how they worked up until 2007.
  • What changes to these laws have occurred in 2007, and is this easing of restrictions a local or global trend?
changes to cross media ownership laws in australia 2007
Changes to cross-media ownership laws in Australia 2007
  • In 2007 Senator Helen Coonan introduces major changes to Australia’s cross-media ownership laws, these include:
  • Ownership limits lifted (with some caveats)
  • Restrictions on foreign investment removed
  • No new fourth commercial TV network
  • Digital TV to go on between 2010 and 2012
  • Source:
changes to media ownership in australia in 2007
Changes to media ownership in Australia in 2007
  • The legal reforms have led to widespread changes in media ownership in Australia.
  • Media Watch on the ABC (9/7/07) includes a good summary.
  • Some highlights from this source follow:
some changes in 2007
Some Changes in 2007
  • Kerry Stokes sells half of Channel 7 to foreign equity investors KKR and takes 16% of the West Australian. He also takes the Australian titles of Time Inc.
  • James Packer sells 75% of Nine as well as his magazine business and other media assets to the Hong Kong equity group CVC.
  • Rupert Murdoch targets Federal Publishing, picking up magazines like Vogue and a raft of East Coast local newspapers.
  • The Canadian Asper family failed to find a buyer for Channel Ten, so they took advantage of the new laws to take control of the network instead.
changes in 2007 cont
Changes in 2007 (cont.)
  • Billionaire media player Bruce Gordon, owner of WIN TV, has snapped up Channel 9 Adelaide and Perth.
  • Fairfax buys Albury/Wodonga’s Border Mail then merges with Rural Press, bolstering its stable with 240 regional and community newspapers across Australia.
  • The Macquarie Media Group already owns 87 radio stations across the country, now it will buy from Fairfax, nine commercial radio licences in South Australia and Queensland.
  • And MMG will pick up Southern Cross's regional television businesses in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and Southern Cross Television in Northern Australia, Central Australia and Tasmania.
global implication of cross media ownership
Global implication of cross-media ownership
  • The recent changes in Australian media ownership not only involve players on a global stage, the issue of foreign ownership of media is an ongoing issue and global trend.
  • For example, in the USA, single-company ownership of media in a given market is now permitted up to 45% (formerly 35%, up from 25% in 1985) of that market.
  • A media company in Canada may not be more than 20 per cent foreign-owned.
  • Axel Springer AG is one of the largest newspaper publishing companies in Europe, claiming to have over 150 newspapers and magazines in over 30 countries in Europe. (Sources: Wikipedia).
are the australian trends reflected globally
Are the Australian trends reflected globally?
  • Last week we looked at a snapshot of the current statistics of the Australian book publishing industry
  • But what trends are indicated when compared with earlier statistics, and
  • Are these trends similar to global trends?
australian trends
Australian Trends
  • Publisher income static but profit up from 5.6% to 9.7%
  • Expenditure dropped by 5.1%
  • Author royalty payments fall
  • Operating expenses fall by 35%
  • Exports drop for first time in 10 years
  • Imports up
  • 30% increase in overseas printing.

Sources: ABS figures released 2005, and Australian Bookseller & Publisher Sept 2005, Thorpe-Bowker.

reading between the lines
Reading between the lines…
  • The figures quoted indicate various trends, but the decline in sales of literary fiction is one of the most significant trends that is not spelled out.
  • Mark Davis argues that literary fiction is in decline around the world and Australia is no exception.
  • This is an echo of what Jason Epstein argued in the article we read from Book Business
epstein in a nutshell 1
Epstein in a nutshell (1)
  • The shopping mall bookstores in the suburbs rely on bestsellers moving fast.
  • The independents with diverse stock including many backlist titles can not generally pay the high shopping mall rents and many are being forced out of business.
  • Internet retailers require large backlists to work, but economy of scale is still a problem.
epstein in a nutshell 2
Epstein in a nutshell (2)
  • Epstein acknowledges the success of stores like Borders who have diverse catalogues, offer coffee and some even have second hand books
  • Epstein tried to get together a consortium of publishers to agree to common warehousing of titles, frontlist and backlist, then sell over internet. Easy in theory, hard in practice.
mark davis melb uni adds
Mark Davis (Melb Uni) adds…
  • Six major companies control most of the Western world’s media: Time Warner, Viacom, Bertlesmann, Disney, News Limited, Vivendi.
  • Consolidation of media, including book publishing concerns, will likely mean profits will override cultural concerns.
  • Genre/popular fiction provides more reliable cashflows, less risk than literary fiction.
fragmentation of the market
Fragmentation of the market
  • Interactive multimedia, niche markets and narrowcasting have fragmented mass markets.
  • Chris Anderson, (USA) author of The Long Tail (Hyperion, 2006), says digital-era marketing companies are now taking advantage of an enormous number of niche markets which can make up half a company’s profit or more (digital jukebox example).
  • This fragmentation is exacerbated by a decline in schools focusing on literary texts, as opposed to film, media and multimedia texts and popular culture.
final points
Final Points
  • “My guess is that future publishing units will be small, though they may be related to a central financial source…book publishing may therefore become once more a cottage industry of diverse, creative and autonomous units.” (Jason Epstein)
  • “The increasing difficulty of getting published too, has fostered a search for new paradigms, reflected in the rise of alternative literary festivals, a live reading circuit, and self-publishing. Such developments point to how literary culture might become a do-it-yourself culture.” (Mark Davis)