Magazine article Management Today

Cutting Room

Magazine article Management Today

Cutting Room

Article excerpt

NYSE finds it no longer has room for al Jazeera; which directory enquiry service? - it's your call; petrol retailers feel the heat; fat economics ... Evan Davis at large.

How nice, at this time of geo-political turmoil, to see the New York Stock Exchange strike a blow for freedom, international understanding and the American way. It has banned the Arab news station al-Jazeera from broadcasting on its premises.

You might have thought that opening the doors of western institutions to Muslim viewers would be just what the world needs. Yet, according to the NYSE, such notions of nation speaking peace unto nation are gratuitous. The exchange chose the fifth day of the war to 'prioritise' the allocation of its broadcast space, and kick out al-Jazeera's reporters.

No other broadcasters have been removed. And there's no suggestion of complaint at the way the Arab station covered the exchange's own affairs. No, it seems it was just fed up with al-Jazeera's reporting of the war in general. Indeed, one press officer, Ray Pellecchia, admitted as much. 'It's impossible to say that thought was not in the minds of those looking at this question,' he told me.

Perhaps when broadcasters report from the exchange in future they should warn viewers in the usual way: 'The following item comes from inside the stock exchange and is thus subject to reporting restrictions.'

We are now a few months into the new regime for directory enquiries, and what an interesting PhD thesis the study of this market will one day make.

You'll recall that last December new enquiry operators opened to compete with the traditional 192 service, which closes in August. All the new companies use six-digit numbers starting with 118. BT, for example, is 118 500.

The market seems to be in turmoil, with different services competing on tariffs that are hard to compare. Other services listed on the Oftel web site seem not to exist at all, and some numbers take you through to generic enquiry operators, providing a directory for several different companies.

Most strange of all is that, despite competition, the price of BT enquiries has gone up. BT's 192 directory costs 40p. The new parallel BT service costs 25p, plus 30p a minute.

It's true that there are opportunities for saving money. …

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