Media Perspective: The media sector's comeback kids may have thelast laugh

The theme for this week is bouncing back. Steve Coogan's comedy character Alan Partridge may have plumbed the depths when his breakdown led to an epic drive to Dundee in bare feet, compulsively gorging on Toblerone, but the phase passed and he returned with his own local radio show and a biography entitled Bouncing Back.

OK, so the book had to be pulped, but Partridge's disastrous experiences are nothing compared with the crazy lows to which Channel 4 slumped last week. Jade Goody may never work again, but many observers seem to think that Channel 4 and its chief executive, Andy Duncan, are equally damaged.

Compared with Goody and Duncan, however, those who have recently announced that they are returning to the media world have every chance of bouncing back. Top of the pile is David Pattison, the outdoing PHD Worldwide chief executive, who will join i-level as its chief executive in May.

This seems a great move for Pattison, who is also the outgoing IPA President. Not only does he get a move to the digital side of the business, but also to a company with serious ambitions to grow its offering. While Pattison is not really "bouncing back" since he never really went away, he has landed a meaty challenge with every prospect of enhancing his already considerable career and reputation.

Then two similar e-mails hit my inbox on the same day - both from men who had seemingly disappeared from the frontline of the media scene. The first was from Nigel "Oddjob" Allmond, the founder of The Allmond Partnership, the agency that was dissolved 16 months ago after losing its flagship BT account. The second e-mail came from Douglas McArthur, the former Radio Advertising Bureau chief executive, who got out of marketing the medium just as the bottom fell out.

Both were announcing their plans for the future. Allmond seems to have had a tough professional ride of late - forced to close his business and apparently disappearing from public view. But while TAP went the way of many an ill-fated company, Allmond reckons he's on to a sure thing this time: he has become the commercial director of mobile marketing company MoBuy, which offers WAP solutions, mobile browsing and shopping services. "It owns a newly patented product that I think is going to transform all our business lives!" Allmond predicts.

McArthur's e-mail was more circumspect and he's returning to consultancy - relaunching his business, Planning for Results, that he had wound down after joining the RAB.

It remains to be seen if both Allmond and McArthur can echo the Alan Partridge mantra of "Needless to say, I had the last laugh", but it's reassuring to know that there is still room for men of age and experience.

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