Amid howls of “media diversity sacrifice” complaints, the Channel Nine takeover of Fairfax is a, seemingly, last ditch play for survival by a company bereft of advertising revenue in the new media landscape. Indeed, both Nine and Fairfax have been cut off at the legs by the advent of the internet in the 21C. Traditional media companies everywhere are being decimated daily by the new behemoths, Google and Facebook. Advertisers have taken their marketing budgets to the new digital media channels. The Nine Fairfax entity survivor show will pit it against these international giants going forward.

A Digital Future for Australian Advertisers

Digital advertising spending of more than $8 billion in this country commands more than half of the total spend predicted in 2018. TV is around $3.8 billion and newspapers just $1.5 billion, according to a recent report by PwC Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook. Google and Facebook are, now, more than click link search list portals for businesses, they, also, control display ads and video advertising platforms across multiple media outlets. The coalition government’s decision to reverse media ownership laws in Australia has been defended as a means for our media companies to compete with Google and Facebook.

The Battle Between Journalistic Integrity & Advertising Dollars

The age-old battle between editorial integrity and advertising dollars driving the news business has now entered a, seemingly, terminal stage. Journalists, as we used to know them, are becoming obsolete in the new media landscape. They are morphing into a PR infomercial beast, beholden only to those businesses that hold the purse strings. The smugly smiling CEO of Nine, beamed out his assurances of maintaining the formal charter of editorial independence that Fairfax journalists previously fought for and established, in an interview on the ABC’s  7.30 program. It did not look like a great start to the new corporate entity relationship between these ill-suited partners.

The Merging of These Disparate Cultures

It will be interesting to witness the Nine Fairfax entity survivor show and whether animal cruelty free haircare will save the scalps of these old-time adversaries. It is difficult to process the merging of these disparate cultures and value systems. Will a winning corporate culture honour the, perhaps, anachronistic values of yesteryear? Most pundits cannot see Nine Fairfax surviving the new media landscape for long in any case. It all may be an instance of too little, far too late.