The Media in Today's Press 28.10.09

In times of crisis, there will be casualties. The newspaper industry is by no means an exception.…

Second year Journalism student, Alan Robertson, of Strathclyde University, takes a look at the media stories making it into the pages of today’s papers….

The commercial viability of print media was dealt a bitter blow yesterday with the announcement that the free, evening paper, London Lite, is on the verge of closing.

Publishers, Associated Newspapers, which also publishes the Daily Mail, has admitted entering a period of consultation over the future of the freesheet, “which may result in closure”.

Today's Scotsman quotes Steve Auckland, managing director of Associated Newspapers Free Division, saying: “Despite reaching a large audience with an excellent editorial format, we are concerned about the commercial viability in this highly competitive area.” (Business, page 3).

Under the headline, ‘London Lite Surrenders in Final Blow of Freesheet Wars,’ the Guardian (page 27) says the announcement was widely expected in light of the recent closure of News International’s rival freesheet, the London Paper, and the decision by the London Evening Standard to go free.

The Daily Telegraph carries the story also, while The Times reports the London Lite has been experiencing losses of about £10 million a year (page 52).

The Independent, meanwhile, offers insight from David Elms, a media partner at KPMG, who says: “There is a more limited market for advertising in the evening, and with the Evening Standard’s heritage, it was always likely to command more of the revenues.” (page 40).

In other media news, Lord Mandelson is to unveil plans designed to combat those who take part in illegal downloading. “Internet connections will be cut if they are used for illegal downloading, Lord Mandelson will today reveal,” the Scottish Daily Mail reports. The story also features in The Daily Telegraph, which reveals £180 million is lost within the music industry as a result of piracy.

And the BBC has come under fire once again, this time from politicians and lobby groups who accuse the Corporation of being “institutionally politically correct” and “paranoid” over its reaction to comments made by Andrew Neil on BBC One show, This Week (Scottish Daily Mail, page 7).

Other media stories:

* Scottish comic, Frankie Boyle, has challenged a BBC Trust ruling saying his comments on Olympic swimming champion, Rebecca Adlington, were “humiliating” and “offensive” – Daily Record (page 25), The Daily Telegraph (page 13).

* Greg Dyke, former BBC director general, and Richard Eyre, the former chairman of GCap Media, are competing for chairman of Channel 4 job – The Times (page 52).

* A councillor claims local authority newsletters have helped, rather than hindered, local newspapers – The Independent (page 40).

* Harris Associates has cut its stake in Edinburgh-based newspaper group, Johnston Press – The Herald (page 26).

* US police have arrested two men for plotting to attack the Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005 – The Times (page 38), The Scotsman (page 26).

* Microsoft UK head, Ashley Highfield, predicts television could guess what you want to watch with depending on your mood within five to 10 years – The Daily Telegraph (page 5).