Hot Topic - Italian Media
Only so much internal austerity can hold together a media company facing external austerity, advertising retreat and digital quandary. Off-loading assets – and people – only goes so far when debt burden is compounded by inertia. Restructuring is often the best strategy but only when it goes far enough.
Every tabloid editor knows what moves eyeballs. It’s a skill passed on generation after generation, unbound by geography. Dirt on celebrities and politicians is fine but nothing beats that grainy photo of a well-known somebody starkers. Brilliance is causing talk on the street, any street, and maybe a lawsuit. Leveraging a better business deal is genius.
This century has illustrated boldly the world of media moguls, their ambitions and business practices. Tough, tireless and maybe a little crazy they go after what they want, relishing in the fight. Some of this is admirable. Some of it is a crime, particularly when mixed with the ruthless pursuit of power.
The TV battle In Italy between two titans – Prime Minister Silvia Berlusconi who is also said to be the country’s richest man – and Rupert Murdoch, said to be the world’s most influential media mogul – has heated up again.
Advertising people are used to taking knocks. Their ads are too loud or too long. Some are too rude, more than a few just dumb. Mostly media people complain that ad people aren’t spending enough.
Internet access, rights to and fro, is a hot topic, the cyberwar between China and Google grabbing recent attention. Leaders of governments with a particular orientation have become obsessed with internet because of its wealth and its power. It’s all about money and control.
Local media gets short changed in almost every way. Advertisers and other funders ignore them. Politicians and measurement services can’t find them. Odd, though, audiences get excited about them.
Carlo de Benedetti, the chairman of the Italian Gruppo Editoriale L’Expresso gave the Reuters Memorial Lecture at Oxford University this week and what he had to say about newspapers and democracy deserves a wider audience.
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