Media Bitch's Diary 23 February
Conde Nast's Nicholas Coleridge and MediaCom's Sue Unerman are scribbling away to meet literary deadlines, while BBC Magazines rules out bids from porn barons and EMI celebrates its 'more manageable' debt. PLUS: Switch off your mobile: a salutary tale from the seamier side of media...
Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza, the Mexican ambassador to London, with Jonathan Newhouse, international chairman of Conde Nast, at the launch of Conde Nast Worldwide News
Which publishers will appear in Coleridge’s next ‘fiction’?
No-one does glamour like Condé Nast, whose launch party for its in-house shop Condé Nast Worldwide News (below) drew a polished crowd that was blow-dried and coiffed to within an inch of their lives - and that was just the men.
Rachel Johnson, editor of The Lady, caught up with CN’s general manager Albert Read, the husband of former Tatler editor Catherine Ostler, while current Tatler editor Kate Reardon added the likes of columnist Celia Walden and BBC creative director Alan Yentob to her already bulging little black book.
"Isn’t this lovely," twinkled managing director Nicholas Coleridge, gesturing to the walls adorned with magazine covers and revealing the cocktail zone had been transformed from the publisher’s accounts office.
Coleridge, who has already written five novels, also told Bitch he has almost finished his next work of fiction, which he is toiling on between 07.30 and 11.30 at weekends. So which thinly veiled publishing characters will appear in this masterpiece? The person to ask is Coleridge’s PA Katherine Barton, who apparently types up his longhand notes into a presentable form for über-agent Ed Victor.
Sue Unerman’s truth will out… eventually
Meanwhile, MediaCom’s chief strategy officer Sue Unerman is battling to complete 60,000 words by June after striking a deal to co-author a business book with Jonathan Salem Baskin.
Perhaps inspired by MEC chief executive Steve Hatch, who co-wrote Rigorous Magic, Unerman signed up for the project after hitting it off with the US author when he gave a "provocative" talk at MediaCom’s book club for its top 100 clients.
Unerman’s sister is a published children’s author, so explaining why "brands should behave like an open book" should be childsplay. Not so, says Unerman, who reveals the pair have only completed one chapter and are arguing over the book’s title.
As the pair’s progress website The Brand Truth Project states with admirable honesty: "Defining truth is a lot harder than it should be."
BBC Magazines rules out top-shelf tenders
Peter Phippen, managing director of BBC Magazines, was upbeat about the company’s continuing search for a business partner at the publisher’s pre-ABC breakfast briefing last Wednesday. "The process is going exceptionally well and we are talking to a huge amount of people," he enthused, adding that the Corporation hopes to have completed the process by the summer.
No light was shed on which companies are on the shortlist for the deal, but a BBC mole revealed the company has a list of criteria for potential suitors, which includes having plenty of cash, a strong track record in developing brands and, most intriguingly, no previous involvement in adult magazines.
That’s Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell out of the running then - although with Zoo providing borderline top-shelf fare, Bauer's joint bid with H Bauer is arguably on similarly thin ice. So could this be the real reason behind Bauer’s sudden decision to tone down Zoo’s risqué content? Bitch is sure the strategy was explained in detail at Bauer and H Bauer’s joint board meeting last Thursday, when both publishers’ senior executives were locked in top-level talks for the entire afternoon.
Newly afloat EMI parties like it’s 1999
It’s a shame the most jaded individuals attend some of the industry’s most glamorous parties, with MTV executives overheard complaining bitterly about their ‘tiresome’ run of the Baftas, the Elle Style Awards and the Brits last week.
However, for those who could summon the energy to enjoy the free champagne and high-octane musical performances from the likes of Take That, the Brits were a night to remember, with Adam Crozier presiding over the ITV table and Andy Coulson spotted enjoying the Universal Music afterparty at The Savoy.
It was also good to see that EMI didn’t let the minor upset of almost breaching banking covenants on £3.4bn of debt earlier this month dampen its enthusiasm for hosting an after-Brits booze cruise for 400 of its closest friends.
Well, with EMI’s debts reduced to a mere £1.2bn thanks to new owner Citigroup, why shouldn’t chief executive Roger Faxon (pictured below, left with rapper Tinie Tempah) and EMI Music president Andria Vidler enjoy the free bar until the Silver Sturgeon docked at 12.30am? Cheers!
PLEASE don’t leave me hanging on the telephone!
Phone hacking has dominated the headlines in recent months, as allegations continue that the News of the World’s staff used to go to a lot of effort to ‘overhear’ the personal moments of the rich and famous.
However, one media industry celebrity spared the tabloid the trouble by absent-mindedly leaving his mobile phone on a call as he enjoyed two of his favourite pastimes in a hotel bedroom.
As luck would have it, the NoTW didn’t get its paws on that particular blow-by-blow account - but it did cost said executive his relationship with his (then) partner, who was regrettably listening in to the entire interlude.
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk
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