Posts Tagged ‘Smart Company’

Is Print Media Dead? Ask Fairfax


The future of print media as we know it in Australia was dealt a body blow this week when Fairfax Media announced that they would shed 1,900 jobs, shrink the size of their print versions of key news titles and charge for subscriptions to their online sites.

This is obviously devastating news for the people affected by the job cuts, but beyond those immediate concerns, there are questions being asked about what these changes mean for the future of the media in Australia.

I’m all in favour of both The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age moving to a smaller size – it’s not the size that matters (!) it’s the content and the editorial charter.  What may affect this more deeply, is the loss of so many journalists; with pundits assuming one in every four or five Fairfax journos being shown the door.

I’m also in favour of purchasing online content because we need to place value on high-quality online content.  Fairfax has been running with this model for quite some so an extension to their SMH and Age titles is a natural and sensible progression.

What is frightening is that soooo many wonderful and talented journalists will be unemployed and it’s unlikely that any of the Murdoch titles have the capacity to take many on – although I do suspect some interesting cherry picking to ensue!

However, with every cloud…

This move by Fairfax may in fact create a significant wave of change in Australia’s media make-up if some of the sacked Fairfax journalists follow in the footsteps of their previous Fairfax colleagues – I refer to of course Amanda Gome at www.SmartCompany.com.au and Alan Kohler at www.EurekaReport.com.au.  With the possibility of key Australian journalists left wanting to ply their craft, they may create their own online media outlets –meaning we may in fact get the opportunity to relish increased diversification in our media through innovative and passionate ex-Fairfax reporters.

Perhaps the sadness in all of this is Fairfax’s grand underestimation of the value of its brand. Fairfax holds a unique place in the Australian media landscape with flagship titles such as The Australian Financial Review and BRW in addition to Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.  It seems to me that rather than playing to their strengths, they’ve been overtaken by their weaknesses – for this the management needs to answer…


Yours in PR

Buffett Bullish About Future, Admits Mistakes


Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders is much anticipated by his followers around the world. It is almost as carefully read as this blog… I said ALMOST!

In case you missed it, here are pearls of wisdom from the letter, extracted for your reading pleasure, as summarised by our friends at SmartCompany.

The successor question has been answered, at least internally

Buffett is not naming names, but he has revealed that Berkshire Hathaway does have his replacement picked.

Buffett’s still hungry for a big deal

Last year, Buffett warned his “elephant gun” was loaded looking for a big acquisition. That hasn’t changed.  “Over time, the businesses we currently own should increase their aggregate earnings, and we hope also to purchase some large operations that will give us a further boost. We now have eight subsidiaries that would each be included in the Fortune 500 were they stand-alone companies. That leaves only 492 to go. My task is clear, and I’m on the prowl.”

Buffett’s big bet remains on the US economy – and it’s already paying off

When Buffett bought railway group Burlington National in November 2009, he described it as an all-in bet on the US economy. And despite the fact the US looks weak, Buffett’s American businesses are performing well.  “Our major businesses did well last year. Unless the economy weakens in 2012, each of our fabulous five should again set a record, with aggregate earnings comfortably topping $10 billion.”

A one man economic stimulator

Buffett can’t keep the US economy going by himself, but it’s clear Berkshire is having a crack through the way it spends.  “In total, our entire string of operating companies spent $8.2 billion for property, plant and equipment in 2011, smashing our previous record by more than $2 billion.”

Berkshire Hathaway has its own “big four”

Forget the Australian banks, there is a new “big four” in town – Coca-Cola (Berkshire has a 8.8% stake), IBM (5.5% stake), Wells Fargo (7.6% stake) and American Express (13% stake). These are the rocks on which the company’s portfolio will be built.  “A decade from now, our current holdings of the four companies might well account for earnings of $7 billion, of which $2 billion in dividends would come to us.”

Buffett was wrong on the housing market…

As usual, Buffett used his letter to fess up to some dud calls, including an investment in a Texas gas company which was “a major unforced error”. But his biggest dud call was on one of the key sectors in the US.  “Last year, I told you that “a housing recovery will probably begin within a year or so.” I was dead wrong.

…but hormones mean he’ll eventually be right

But he still contends housing will bounce back for a simple reason – hormones will eventually create new demand for housing.  “That devastating supply/demand equation is now reversed: Every day we are creating more households than housing units. People may postpone hitching up during uncertain times, but eventually hormones take over.

Why Buffett is slow to sell underperforming companies

Buffett admits that several companies in his manufacturing division are underperforming, and takes the blame for being the person who over-estimated their long-term prospects. But he won’t hear of dumping them because of what he says is a commitment he made.

How one of Berkshire’s subsidiaries bounced back from the Japanese tsunami

Berkshire’s cutting tool company Iscar (it owns 80%) bounced back from its own little disaster in 2011, when a company Iscar owns called Tungaloy suffered damage in the tsunami that hit Japan in early 2011.

America’s most prolific investor and corporate mogul always has great wisdom to share, and it is equally refreshing to recognise that sometimes even The Buff gets it wrong.  Gives us all hope, doesn’t  it?


Yours in PR

Leading Company New Monthly E-Mag for Business

It is with great pleasure that Publicity Queen would like to welcome to the monthly e-magazine block a fabulous new business publication, Leading Company.

Under the capable leadership of James Thomson, formerly of Business Spectator and BRW, Leading Company is a publication for company founders and managers from the SmartCompany team, designed to help company founders and senior executives meet the challenges of leadership and strategy.

The inaugural edition features Jack Welch on fighting complacency, Amanda Gome discusses thinking big while on holidays, and Leon Gettler gets to grips with what the new carbon tax will mean for management – the challenges and the opportunities.

Congratulations to James, Amanda and the team from Smart Company, we will be reading with interest.

To read more about Leading Company, click here and to read the other must-have monthly e-mag for business, (even if we do say so ourselves) our very own Queentessentials, click here

Publicity Queen
Yours in PR,

The Smart Company 2009 Awards

awards2009The Smart Company 2009 awards have just opened, so get your entry in!

There are five major categories which include The Top Website Award, The Top Exporter Award, The Top Franchise Award, The Fastest Growth Award and The Most Outstanding Entrepreneur Award. All companies which enter The Smart Company 2009 awards and meet the specific criteria will be considered for all major awards which are relevant to their business.

An award program like this is a great PR opportunity and according to The Smart Company, will raise your profile and attract a range of press and radio coverage.

Entries close on the 3rd August 2009, successful applicants will be notified by the 13th of August and the official awards ceremony will be held on the 17th of September.

Wishing you the best of royal luck!

Publicity Queen

Yours in PR

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