The question remains what damage does this blind chase for dollars do to social cohesion when a corporation is bent on portraying the world no the nation we live in in such negative terms simply to improve their bottom line. It’s like watching a game of cricket where one side threw away the rule book and simply came out with knuckle dusters encouraging the audience to join in. Because the ulimate prize was even bigger than simply witnessing that. Where that prize was agreed to behind locked doors. Murdoch’s in town (ODT)
Media analyst Steve Allen, of Fusion Strategy, believes Sky’s right-wing brand makes commercial sense. “They have to fight harder at nighttime because free-to-air networks take the lion’s share of viewers,” he says. “Unless you’re to the right of what’s being offered, you’re not going to get an audience.” There’s no point targeting progressives, Allen adds, because they’re likely to be younger, with less money to spend on Foxtel subscriptions – and many are loyal to the ABC.
Anchors David Speers and Laura Jayes criticised their employer on Twitter while commentator Craig Emerson quit in disgust. American Express, Huggies and Specsavers pulled their ads. And Victorian transport minister Jacinta Allan ordered Sky’s removal from Melbourne train platforms (though commuters only saw its news and weather bulletins, not its commentary).
Of course, Sky is no stranger to controversy. Since adopting its “right at night” strategy – replacing news with conservative opinion in prime time – it’s endured public criticism, bitter in-fighting and dramatic staff departures. One wag suggests Foxtel could edit these highlights into a reality show: The Real Housewives of Sky News.