Back of the Net! Another Big Murdoch Money Deal For Coogan

Murdoch-hating coke and hookers aficionado Steve Coogan has an impressive record of slagging off Rupe while taking his money. Coogan has banged on about “Rupert Murdoch’s toxic legacy” and the “News International protection racket” for years, all while selling his shows Places of My Life and Mid Morning Matters to Sky for top whack. What do you know, Coogan has just agreed to trouser even more of the ‘Murdoch shilling’:

“Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are taking their fine dining, gentle bickering, ruminations on getting old and endless impersonations of Michael Caine to Sky TV. After two highly successful series of The Trip on BBC2, the third series will be broadcast on Sky Atlantic.”

Back in 2012, Guido bumped into Coogan at a Hacked Off rally and asked him if he thought the deals made him a massive hypocrite. He comically disagreed:

“I am aware of it but I see a flipside, I think it makes me even braver. It would be even more hypocritical if I took his money and didn’t criticise him. What I’m doing puts me in even more danger.”

Congratulations Steve on your bravery and your pay cheque!

Tory Manifesto Tracker Launch

Look out on this morning’s Sunday Politics for the launch of their new manifesto tracker analysing how well the Tories are doing at keeping their election promises. It’s a pretty hefty piece of work, recording progress on each of their 161 pledges over the next four years. George Osborne’s section will be worth keeping an eye on:

  • Eliminate the deficit entirely and start running a surplus in 2018-19
  • Cut government waste; plan a further £10 billion of annual savings by 2017-18 and £15-20 billion in 2019-20
  • Continue to control government spending in 2018-19, no longer cutting it in real terms, but instead growing it in line with inflation. From 2019-20, after a surplus has been achieved, spending will grow in line with GDP
  • Britain to become the most prosperous major economy in the world by the 2030s

Red lights appearing against these policies will highlight the Chancellor’s squandermania and properly hold the government to account on some of their more unrealistic promises. Well, Labour are hardly in a position to do it…

Job Culls Coming at Indy, Guardian, Telegraph

indy

Evgeny Lebedev is expected to close the Indy and Sindy print editions as soon as tonight. Of the 150 full-time staff, just 20 or so look like they’ll moving over to the i paper. It will not be difficult for the owners to find voluntary redundancies. Many journalists at the Indy will be loathe to work for the much-derided, clickbait-obsessed online offering.

Meanwhile the Guardian is imposing 20% cuts, with staff warned in an email this morning that “As our staff costs are by far our biggest overhead, one outcome of the budgeting process may be that redundancies are proposed”. They are looking at 100 redundancies, and according to Beth Rigby they want to start with their “on leave” columnist Seumas Milne. He is in line for a £90,000 payout.

Media sources tell Guido that the Telegraph is set to announce a jobs cull next week. Print journalists there are furious at the dumbing down of content for their own ‘digital first’, Indy-style clickbait-based website. You will often find the exact same traffic-farming stories on the Telegraph site as you will on the Indy online. See the Telegraph’s “Man with two penises writes tell-all memoir” and the i100’s “The man with two penises has now written a tell-all memoir”. 

The FT have some killer numbers:

“Fleet Street’s large newsroom may be unsustainable. The Times had 454 editorial staff at last count, The Sun 525, the Daily Telegraph 662 and The Guardian, following expansion overseas, 925.”

Online-only is the only option. The question now is how proprietors and executives will reconcile the trend for traffic-driving churnalism to the pay the bills with actual, old-fashioned journalism in the digital age. The future of journalism is specialism, the most profitable online media operations have focus, that generates specific audience demographics that can be packaged for advertisers at premium prices.

Lebedevs Looking for New Standard Newsroom

This week’s Estates Gazette makes interesting reading in light of today’s news about the Indy. A report in the property trade journal claims the Lebedevs are planning to move the Evening Standard from their current offices sharing with the Indy and the Mail in Kensington. Apparently they are looking for a new 40,000 square foot space in Zone 1. Will there be room for a new online-only Indy there too?

Rumours Indy / IoS Set to Close

indy

The Lebedevs look set to sell the i paper to regional publisher Johnston Press for around £24 million, escalating rumours that the Independent and the Independent on Sunday could be set to close. ESI Media, Lebedev’s company which owns the i, Indy, Sindy and Standard, admits this morning: “At this stage no decision has been made and we realise the uncertainty that this news will cause our employees and customers”. Following months of rumours, the Telegraph, Media Guardian, and the Times are all speculating that this spells the end for the Indy and Sindy.

ABC figures put the Indy’s average circulation last year at 61,000, compared to 280,000 for the i. The i is unusually profitable for a Lebedev venture, while the Indy lost £5 million last year, and London Live a further £6 million. Given the i’s content comes straight from the Indy, it doesn’t look good for the remaining Lebedev titles…

UPDATE: City Brokers Peel Hunt have put out a negative note to investors:

Potential ‘i’ deal. More print, and bad for JPR bond holders

Life at Johnston Press is never dull. Having just announced ‘a reduction of pension deficit’, JPR is now in advanced talks to acquire the i for c£24m. This looks to be a transaction multiple of c4.5x EBIT, and hence not supportive of JPR’s own current EV multiple. We cannot imagine bond holders or pension trustees will be happy. JPR had cash at hand of c£41m at H1, but gross debt of c£225m, and operating trends have been deteriorating sharply since then. We are in favour of print industry consolidation (see our Media Book published today). However, we are confused by JPR’s business strategy as a regional publisher, which has focussed on paring back print, in favour of digital. The i is an innovative product, but it is wholly print and national. Nationals is a very competitive space, with TNI amongst others rumoured to be in launch mode. Shareholder approval of this deal will be needed. 

Tatler Considering New Mark Clarke Profile

Rumour has it Tatler are looking at profiling scandal-hit Tory Mark Clarke for a second time. The society magazine infamously glammed up ten rising stars of the right back in 2008, transforming Clarke et al into “top Tory totty”. A person with knowledge of the proposed piece says any new profile would be less of a “where are they now?” type article, and more of a focus on Clarke’s recent career developments. Tatler has had its name in headlines about Tory bullying for the best part of four months. A follow up would make sense…

Peston Over-Promoting

ITV’s new political editor Robert Peston is pumping away promoting his big scoop: getting hold of Deborah Mattinson’s “secret” report on the Labour election defeat.

It would be impolite of Guido to rain on Peston’s parade, though the BBC did “reveal details” of the Mattinson report 24 hours earlier. Mattinson herself explained her findings on the Sunday Politics. The Beeb reported the detail on their news bulletins and website throughout the day yesterday.

As Mattinson went up on the Sunday Politics, she published her findings in detail over on the Progress website. A day before Peston’s scoop…

Indeed, Mattinson’s damning criticisms of Labour were first revealed by Rachel Sylvester in the Times back in December.

In fairness, Peston was the first to get hold of the actual whole report. It’s just a shame all the juicy bits had already been reported…

UPDATE: The Indy reported all the juicy quotes as far back as last October.

Guido in The Sun on Sunday

Read Guido’s column in the Sun on Sunday to discover the fate of Labour’s 20 discarded chicken suits. Don’t miss out on:

DOCTOR

  • Just what the junior doctor ordered… tax deductible Val d’Isere Doctors Winter Conference

UBER

  • Why UKIP are Uber flip-floppers

MAY

  • Theresa May swerves the opportunity to back Britain staying in the EU
  • The Labour MP who heckles Commons opponents by telling them they’ve been blocked on Twitter
  • Why the Tories are telling the LibDems to pack their bags all over again
  • Labour’s never-ending hypocrisy on zero hours contracts
  • Minister Sniffed Poppers at Cabinet Table

You can read it all today, for free, here

Muslim Women Gagged at PM’s ‘Freedom for Muslim Women’ Speech

David Cameron is speaking from a secret venue today announcing more money to boost female migrants’ language skills, in order to help them escape the “control” of men in some communities. So it looks pretty bad that Downing Street aides are preventing the Muslim women there from speaking to journalists.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Guido in The Sun on Sunday

See Guido’s column in the Sun on Sunday for the BBC’s refusal to deny that they chauffeured Jihadi Sid to interviews so he could spout his pro-ISIS views on national television. Don’t miss out on:

PLOT

  • RED ON RED: Labour MPs say they are victims of a Corbynista revenge plot

MENACE

  • How George Osborne is menacing Tory ministers and MPs

RORY

  • Why armed police were called to a Tory minister’s office this week
  • BRUM BUNFIGHT: Radical left-winger Salma Yaqoob DID try to join Labour, decision now with NEC
  • Mark Reckless’ Dirty Secret

You can read it all today, for free, here[…]

+ READ MORE +

Fanatical Europhile Appointed to Ofcom Board

Outers will not be reassured by the news that Ofcom have appointed fanatical Europhile Bill Emmott to their board. Readers will remember Emmott as the ex-Economist editor who was blasted by IPSO for making a spurious claim against the Telegraph, when he wrongly accused them of publishing inaccuracies about the EU.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Kay Burley: “Happiness in Her Eyes”

Kay proves scientifically that dogs can read human emotions, live on Sky News. And shuts down the Twitter meanies once and for all…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Media Guardian Pulls “Disgraceful” Bowie Video

Media Guardian were not impressed with Channel 5 for showing Angie Bowie in tears on Big Brother, with editor Kath Viner tweeting that the footage was “disgraceful“. So disgraceful that the Guardian posted the clip in its entirety above their article.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Beeb Slaps Down McDonnell’s #BBCDP “Private Company” Fib

John McDonnell is doing his best to keep Labour’s hopeless row with the BBC going, this time bizarrely – and wrongly – accusing the Daily Politics of being produced by “a private company”. McDonnell claims in an interview with Politics.co.uk:

“Remember, this is not an attack on the BBC and it’s not an attack on Laura Kuenssberg either. 

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Life on Moir?

This double page spread in today’s Mail is terribly unfortunate. Planet earth is blue and there’s nothing they can do about that headline…

H/T @henrymance
[…]

+ READ MORE +

Guido in The Sun on Sunday

Read all about Keith Vaz and the Russian glamour models in Guido’s column in the Sun on SundayDon’t miss out on:

  • Security Shocker: Jeremy Corbyn in his own words, wants an “end to Nato”

radical

  • Despite complaining when Zac Goldsmith called him a “radical“, Sadiq Khan called himself radical 19 times

CAULI

  • Mystery of the Reshuffle Cauliflower Solved
  • Something of a fallout between Corbyn and McDonnell
  • High-Friers: Meet the Tory Two Who Worked Together at McDonald’s
  • “I’ve no idea what you’re talking about, but you’re probably after my sister” – Awkward Eagle Reshuffle Moment

You can read it all today, for free, here

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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