Why Local Media Tie-Ups for Celts May Be Inspired

Article excerpt

Usually when you hear someone extolling the virtues of cross-media ownership the rational reaction is to reach for a revolver or have a snooze. The term has a humbug factor as high as 'synergy',"level playing fields', and even good old 'multimedia'.

Everybody knows there are no obvious benefits to be had from owning newspapers and television because they are two different animals, except perhaps for a slightly enhanced ability to rip off advertisers with combined packages.

Television predators buy newspapers or vice versa for their own reasons, such as wanting to be bigger, trying to avoid takeovers, fashion, or because they have campaigned for the right to do so and can't help themselves ploughing ahead. Then they set about concocting spurious reasons to justify the decision.

Last week, Gus Macdonald, chairman of Scottish Television, came close to providing a sensible explanation of why he should have paid [pounds]120m for Caledonian Newspapers, publishers of The Herald in Glasgow. Against all the odds, there might be some point to it for both the company and advertisers. In a tartan speech to the FT New Media conference, Macdonald invoked images of Braveheart and Culloden and claimed all the Murdochs as Scots one and all, even Sam Chisholm, BSkyB's chief executive - clan motto 'I am fierce'. Not for nothing does Macdonald believe the company's USP is its Scottishness. With only bagpipe music missing, Macdonald outlined plans on how regional newspapers and associated consumer and lifestyle magazines could be used to create an ascending tier of local advertising opportunities. …

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