Media Perspective: City slickers want a piece of media and theyneed your help

No, you're not wrong. It's me here and not Mr Darby, the normal occupant of this space. He's away on holiday and those nice folks at Campaign have asked me to make an 'Arry Redknapp-like comeback to a column I used to write before the day job here at Haymarket Towers took me off to other worlds.

Talking of other worlds, the City smoothies who inhabit the hot new world of private equity seem keen to get a bit of the action in Medialand. Whether it's backing Greg Dyke or Roger Parry in their will-they-won't-they bids for ITV, sizing up the Daily Mail & General Trust's regional newspapers or snapping up the runt of the GCap portfolio, the private equity boys seem to be everywhere (see opposite).

I can't say I'm surprised, really. The one thing these City boys are good at is sniffing out the money and, what with all this talk of convergence and quadruple-plays, media is one of the sectors where it's at.

Now, the reaction of most people to the private equity market is to cross themselves, wave garlic around and mutter darkly about the Anti-christ.

Any time a bidder looks at ITV, the press tends to run scare stories along the lines of: "Will Corrie be safe?" To which the answer is: of course it will. These boys aren't stupid. They may squeeze the pips harder and tread on more toes, but they don't want to kill the golden goose. The best description of them is that they're just like anyone else, only more so. As The Who put it in Won't Get Fooled Again: "Meet the new boss ... same as the old boss."

Moreover, while they may not have the first idea about what triple-play really means or how many journalists you need to staff a regional daily, their success or otherwise depends on them finding someone who does.

Which is where you, the media stars who read this column, come in. Because they need people who know how media businesses operate. The result is plenty of employment opportunities for media practitioners with top-level agency or owner experience, people who can lift up the bonnet of any business, wield a mean spanner and get the engine running smoothly. Better still, there's no shortage of this type, often indiscriminate casualties of the media titans' constant reshuffling. Take your pick: Capital, Clear Channel, Trinity Mirror, ITV, the Telegraph Group, Scottish Media Group, Interpublic, and so on. All of them have already, or will in the not-too-distant future, throw up some likely suspects - names such as Roger Eastoe, Stevie Spring, Mick Desmond, Richard Eyre and, if they hadn't already jumped back into the agency world, Graham Duff and Mark Cranmer.

They used to say being 40-plus and between jobs was death in media. Wrong.

It couldn't be better.

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