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The Tickle File is ftm's daily column of media news, complimenting the feature articles on major media issues. Tickle File items point out media happenings, from the oh-so serious to the not-so serious, that should not escape notice...in a shorter, more informal format.

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Week of September 4, 2017

Television’s future is global reach, sports the big catch
play ball

Days ago media watchers were literally all atwitter at the US$600 million bid for Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket streaming rights from social network and advertising magnet Facebook. “The fact that Facebook was willing to put up that kind of money is a big, bold declaration that the company will write real checks in order to get its hands on must-see sports content,” said recode.com (September 4). In other words, Facebook is serious about TV and sports is the chosen vehicle.

Alas, the Facebook bid failed, as did bids from incumbent Sony Pictures Network, BeIN Sports and several others. Envelope please: the winner was Star India, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox. The number for the global five-year all-rights deal was US$2.55 billion. Apparently, the IPL wanted less complication through a single rights-holder. (See more about sports and media here)

Flattery was rife that Facebook might chase US pro football rights in some form. The number would certainly be astounding… but not out of the range of possibility. Facebook is sitting on US$6.25 billion in cash. By contrast Apple has, according to Reuters (September 5), US$260 billion in cash on hand. Apple wants into TV land, too, and is bidding - against Amazon, of course - for rights to the James Bond movie franchise: suggested price US$2 to US$5 billion, projected Hollywood Reporter (September 6).

There are 1.3 billion people in India, all are cricket fans. Then there’s the large Indian diaspora, all cricket fans. If anything, Facebook executives - with 1.8 billion fans - grasp the concept of global reach, very important to the advertising people. For 21st Century Fox, holding global rights to the IPL is not only an opportunity to strengthen the position of Star India but give the Sky Sports franchise a bonus.

Publishers plea for advertising fair-share
remember the old days

Publishers of the more traditional variety have tried almost everything break the downward, decades-long decline in advertising share. They’ve moaned and groaned, threatened and cajoled, consolidated and collided, even sued. Before the digital revolution - for those who remember - publisher’s ad share was up there with TV. Now both have been eclipsed by digital platforms.

Advertisers should “contribute” to “corporate media responsibility,” said Gruner+Jahr (G+J) chief executive Julia Jäkel to German business daily Handelsblatt (September 5). "The media world is changing, everyone has to decide: do they want to support media, research and create transparency and pluralism, or do they channel their advertising money onto platforms that do not produce their own content and are very difficult to distinguish between true and false.” (See more about media in Germany here)

It is a “galloping, asymmetrical condition,” she continued, as “billions” are spent with “fake-news ridden social networks while gradually abandoning the established media landscape.” Recently Frau Jäkel referred to Facebook as “anti-social.”

"In the US, we are already experiencing a desolation of regional diversity, verbal excesses even on the serious TV channels, social extremism and a president regularly defaming classic investigative media - from the New York Times to CNN."

Viewing the remarks, German advertisng people were “restrained” and, some, “skeptical,” noted German advertising and media portal meedia.de (September 6). “At the end of the day, media spending is an investment that should pay-off through tough competition,” said saleshouse Serviceplan chief executive Florian Haller. “To do something good for society - this is hard to sell.”

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