October 18, 2016 Last Updated 10:18 am

Fear and loathing – earnings time must be near once again

Morning Brief: Bauer Media Australia reportedly to trim magazine portfolio; Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra sorry for Conde Nast cover some saw as insensitive to Indian immigrants

Three weeks, three weeks and this will all be over. We hope. An entire nation is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder… and we have been ordered back to the front for three weeks more of frontline duty. Make it stop.

Meanwhile, it is that time again, or at least it is getting near. Another quarter ended two weeks ago and soon publishing executives will be releasing their quarterly report cards, with more C’s and D’s, and a few F’s sprinkled.

Apple will be reporting on October 25, one week from today, and some financial reporters are beginning to predict a “beat”. The problem is that their reasoning is pretty suspect: they just can’t imagine Apple reporting yet another quarter of disappointing results. That is hardly solid reasoning.

As for the big magazine publishers, the rumor mill has been rather silent of late. The thinking is that many of the moves (read: layoffs) have taken place late this summer and so there won’t be a need for more staff announcements.

I disagree. The first issues of the 2017 year are, or have, closed. Executives are looking at the results and determining if now might be a good time to announce a title shuttering. I’ve heard nothing specific but one magazine sales executive recent told me that there is fear that some titles may have to go simply because company sales realignments have left them dangerously under staffed, with most sales people let go, other transferred to corporate sales.

Financial Review (Australia):

More magazines to go as Nick Chan outlines his Bauer Media strategy

here’s fear and loathing in the halls of Bauer Media following an address to staff by CEO Nick Chan in which he announced plans to streamline the operation and cut loose magazines he considers surplus to requirement.

At a company-wide meeting on Monday, held (prophetically enough for those who are now praying for their jobs) at the Uniting Church’s Wesley Conference Centre adjacent to Bauer’s Park St HQ, Chan is understood to have told the assembled masses the time had come for a company-wide reckoning.

The revenue model needed changing, he said, the brands that are working needed to be extended – and those that were not performing were to be assessed for their “viability” and ultimately jettisoned.


Priyanka Chopra sorry for Conde Nast cover ‘insulting refugees’

cnt-uk-cover-300Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra has apologised after being criticised for modelling an “insensitive” top on a Conde Nast Traveller magazine cover.

The top has the words “migrant”, “refugee” and “outsider” crossed out while the word “traveller” stands out.

Both the actress and Conde Nast were criticised over the “privileged” message, with many pointing out that being a refugee was “not a choice”.

Conde Nast told the BBC their intention was to highlight labelling of people.

The Guardian:

The hypocrisy of Facebook’s silence on Peter Thiel’s support for Donald Trump

“Facebook stands for helping to connect people and giving them voice to shape their own future,” he (Mark Zuckerberg) wrote. “But to shape the future we need to understand the past.”

One might expect that those words were aimed at Peter Thiel, the Facebook board member who has bucked Silicon Valley political orthodoxy by backing Donald Trump’s xenophobic, Islamophobic, sexist, anti-science, and increasingly dictatorial campaign for president. After all, Trump’s ideology represents a direct threat to Facebook’s stated mission to “make the world more open and connected”.

But in fact, Zuckerberg’s reproof was directed at another board member, Marc Andreessen, for an ill-advised series of tweets that appeared to express nostalgia for colonial rule of India. Amid Trump’s ongoing campaign to undermine his supporters’ faith in the country’s democratic processes, Andreessen’s transgression seems almost quaint.

And yet, Zuckerberg and Facebook remain silent on Thiel, who has not only served as a delegate and convention speaker for Trump, but this week donated $1.25m to support Trump’s campaign, even as a flood of allegations of sexual misconduct scared off major donors and leaders of the Republican party.

The New York Times:

Reluctantly, Tech Notices the Election

Tech is aimed largely at people and companies of means, who are interested in gaining more power and autonomy. Many of government’s obligations are to the poor, the elderly and children. In other words, people with little power.

President Obama, speaking Thursday at a White House Technology conference in Pittsburgh, identified the problem. One part of his speech, starting at the 1:09:20 mark in the video, is worth quoting at length.

“Government will never run the way Silicon Valley runs because, by definition, democracy is messy,” he said. “Part of government’s job, by the way, is dealing with problems that nobody else wants to deal with.

“So sometimes I talk to C.E.O.s, they come in and start telling me about leadership, and here’s how we do things. And I say, well, if all I was doing was making a widget or producing an app, and I didn’t have to worry about whether poor people could afford the widget, or I didn’t have to worry about whether the app had some unintended consequences — setting aside my Syria and Yemen portfolio — then I think those suggestions are terrific.”

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