BACKBITE by Claire Beale

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.

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

way forward.



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.



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