What an exciting merry-go-round the media industry has been these
past few weeks. Just when journalists up and down the Hammersmith Road
are settling into their summer somnolence with the comfort that nothing
happens in July, everybody else has decided it’s time for action.
First off the block last week (though it was through no good planning of
its own) was ITV. And it was a few years late, but better late than
later. ITV chiefs have finally confirmed Richard Eyre’s appointment as
chief executive of ITV Inc. The ITV coup (snatching Eyre from Capital
Radio, where he was chief executive) has been greeted with the right
grunts in the advertising industry, where Eyre is considered one of our
own, having been a media director himself.
At Channel 4 things are moving a little more swiftly since the arrival
of Michael Jackson as chief executive. Last week, the channel lost its
highly respected sales and marketing director, Stewart Butterfield, to
Granada Television, where he becomes managing director. Butterfield,
like Eyre, is a former media director who has proved his mettle on the
media owner side.
While many media owners are still naive enough to bury their heads in
the effluence of the old order (like salesmen bonused on the share of
ITV revenue they take, or newspaper publishers who sit on day-of-week
circulation figures) it takes a broader perspective to appreciate the
Both Eyre and Butterfield have years of media owner experience under
their belts but the respect they elicit from clients and agencies - and
their eligibility for some of the most important posts in the industry -
testify to their appreciation of both sides of the fence.
And with their healthy six-figure salaries, we can expect to see more
media agency chiefs chasing the media owners’ pound, which can only be
beneficial for all involved in the communications process.