Wednesday 18 July 2018

The Punt: No bonus for John McCann

Italian Prime Minister Renzi. Photo: Reuters
Italian Prime Minister Renzi. Photo: Reuters Newsdesk Newsdesk

Spare a thought for John McCann, whose tenure at Wireless Group (formerly UTV Media) comes to an end without a bonus payment.

McCann, who first joined in 1983, is leaving the company next month with his pay having decreased by over £250,000 in 2015, the year when his gamble on setting up a new Irish TV station didn't work out.

The station, UTV Ireland, is now in the hands of ITV, after a year in which UTV Media repeatedly had to inform the market that it was going to lose more money than previously thought.

Pat Kenny was brought on board to much fanfare, but his chat show 'In the Round' was not renewed after its first series. Mary Curtis, who was the station's director at its launch on January 1 2015, announced in January 2016 that she would be leaving.

And Newstalk Breakfast's Chris Donoghue left the station's 10 o'clock news bulletin, saying he had been working across 19-hour days for a year and "something had to give".

In typical corporate understatement, chairman Richard Huntingford said in Wireless Group's annual report that it had been "an eventful year". It certainly was.

Huntingford said that at weekends, UTV Ireland's "absence of consistently popular programming undermined overall audience delivery and therefore advertising revenue projections".

It'll be interesting to see how ITV proceeds.

Voters not wanted, thanks

Much hilarity in Italy yesterday with the country's voters being asked to stay away from the polls in a referendum on oil and gas exploration rights.

The question was whether the country should stop renewing offshore drilling licences within 20km of the country's coast.

But in a remarkable turn of events Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi asked voters to stay away from the polls. His party is called the Democratic Party.

"This is not a political referendum, but concerns 11,000 workers, their future and Italy's energy supply chain," Renzi told reporters on Friday.

While the short-term impact of a 'Yes' vote would be minimal, it would have long-term implications, as by 2027 the offshore fields could account for more than 20pc of Italy's oil and gas production, Mediobianca analyst Alessandro Pozzi told Reuters. There has to be a 50pc turnout for the vote to be valid, so perhaps Renzi's really looking to keep the status quo without saying so. Ingenious!

Beers all round at Havas

Marketers Havas Worldwide Dublin picked up a big gong at the Association of Promotional Marketing Consultants (APMC) Star awards in Dublin's Marker Hotel.

The "best creative execution" prize was for the agency's innovative campaign for Heineken Ireland, entitled 'The Tiger Uncaged', which saw a massive moveable tiger sculpture prowl around the streets of Dublin in an effort to promote Heineken's brand Tiger beer.

The sculpture, quite a sight to behold, was created by Irish artists Andrew and Ger Clancy. Havas also picked up prizes for its 'Always Comfortable' campaign for Southern Comfort, and for the Lucozade Sport 'Conversion Challenge'.

Havas Worldwide Dublin boss Bob Coggins said the award "was the icing on the cake at the APMC Awards, as [the company has] invested heavily in creative talent over the last 12 to 18 months."

"We will continue to grow our team this year on the back of acquiring more great clients and will continue to organically grow our current client portfolio," Coggins added.

Other clients of the Leeson Street-based agency include Valeo Foods, Pfizer, Microsoft and the 'Yes Equality' marriage referendum group.

Irish Independent

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