Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Kent Newspaper takeover - How things change

How attitudes change over the years, I recently stumbled across this document published by the Competition Commission, basically it is a small snippet from an report concerning the aquistion by Trinity Mirror of a regional newspaper group MIN (Midlands Independent Newspapers) and I suppose, is really ancient history in media terms, dating back as it does  to 1997.

Currently as I understand it, the Office of Fair Trade, are consdiering evidence and comments from interested parties as to the likely effect of Kent Messenger Group's takeover (click here for  postings on this subject) and back in the nineties, things were different in the media, the internet was just becoming mainstream and Bignews Margate was still nine years away.

Now here are some of the comments which whilst addressing a different scale of newspaper acquisition (national publisher buying a smaller regional player|) it still has a relevance in the context of Kent Messenger Group taking over Northcliffe Newspapers Group's Kent arising from imput by Kent Messenger Newspapers " acquisition of smaller newspaper groups by larger newspaper groups was no longer in the public interest" now KM Group are not in the same league as Northcliffe Media but they have a bigger slice of the market with their radio stations and newspapers.

Although Kent Messenger was refering to large corporations acquiring smaller newspaper groups I think this is also think this excerpt from that report are relevant to the current situation  "corporations which had their own monopolistic reasons for paying a high price, perhaps even over-paying.
6.9. KMGN argued that, wherever a local or regional newspaper was acquired in this way, the public lost: (a) a company which completely and entirely focused on the good moral and financial health of its own region; (b) a company which was entirely composed of staff dedicated to the regions in which they operated; and (c) a company which maintained high editorial standards; in order to make larger profits to pay for greater investment by the purchasing party, savings were often made in the editorial department, which were never replaced.

I hope that the OFT take great care in reaching a conclusion as to the benefit of newspapers in Kent being owned by one company which has so far not in my opinion managed to produce a quality newspaper product in East Kent such as the Gazette in Thanet,  prime example the KM Extra.


  1. Let's hope that Thanet is left with more than one Newspaper

    Imagine a world with just the Extra and a couple of blogs

  2. I know how keen you are to hear the view of someone who has studied the globalist agenda Tony... no, don't switch off yet.

    As I have mentioned before, we are now moving towards an authoritarian type system.

    The monopolists that run our world have always given us, in the West, a semblance of choice because they know that a populace that believes it is free is more productive than one that is under the cosh.

    However, our industrial period is over, we have served our purpose, we are now surplus to requirements.

    The time for 'choice' and 'democracy' has ended as far as the ruling class are concerned. Our standard of living is being lowered and the jackboot, all too familiar to our brethren in the lesser developed countries, will slowly and incrementally take the place of the perceived 'freedom' we have enjoyed thus far. Albeit, a velvet jackboot in our case.

    This agenda extends to the media, it is easier (and cheaper) to have a limited number of 'friendly' media groups to deal with, while those that do not toe the line will find themselves being squeezed out by underhand methods, such as lack of advertisers. (Murdoch had a taste of that, although in his case he deserved it.)

    If the OFT overturn this takeover bid I shall be pleasantly surprised. In 1997 I'm sure they would have rejected it without a doubt, but in 2011, I'm not so sure. It will depend how many good people we have working there and how many letters and emails they receive from the concerned people of Thanet.

    Perhaps the OFT should look into why one paper can survive financially, while the other cannot... but don't hold your breath.

  3. The UKCOLUMN.org is the only real paper worth reading in Kent all the rest are complete rubbish in comparison and its free.

  4. I have been following this development with interest as a local resident and small business owner. I have seen nothing to say that if this goes ahead the Times and Gazette would simply close. Companies sell off bits and merge other bits all the time, it's actually quite rare and not particularly cost effective to buy something just to close it down. Surely it's feasible that they would look at the best elements of the three papers (well, two, the Times has no "best bits" IMO) and put them together.
    It's true that the KRN titles "report" the council more, if by "report" you mean "constantly criticise even when the story is a positive one." it's boring and I only thank heaven that their website is atrocious because the only thing stopping their negativity affecting people's decisions to visit Thanet is that they can't find it. If the Extra had half the resources of the Gazette, it could be a great paper. Whatever happens, they need to drop that childish superhero character rubbish if they want to be taken seriously enough to last another five years.

  5. If it doesnt go through one will close anyway.
    As for getting something better dint hold your brieath