On Monday I posted about freed Iraqi hostage Douglas Wood and his big-buck, $400 000 deal with the Ten Network.
It seems that quite a few people have rasied their eyebrows at the whole deal. Wood's decision to sell his story to the Ten Network is "grubby and poor journalism," David Marr told ABC Radio National this morning. As Glenn Dyer explains via Crikey, Wood's deal with Ten has completely re-written the rules of chequebook journalism:
"The deal is a "co-production," which means greater control lies in the hands of the talent and not the media outlet. If it becomes the norm, it will mean audiences will have less chance of obtaining an independent and explainable version of these stories.
Unlike similar stories on 60 Minutes, Today Tonight or Four Corners, this not independent in any way - it's no more than an officially sanctioned version of the story.
The Australian and The SMH missed the point on Tuesday, but The Age had most of the important detail, including the involvement of Steve Vizard, a part-owner of Wood's management company Profile Talent Management. Vizard, who was known in the 1990s for "clipping the ticket" across a wide range of arts industry deals, is clearly back in the game. Industrial barrister Mark Klemens, the front man for the agency, is Molly Meldrum's manager and was the beak who got Darryl Somers off a drink driving charge three years ago.
Nine's 60 Minutes apparently had the deal all but in the bag until the Ten co-production idea and more money surfaced. The Age and TV sources say the Ten bid was around $400,000, but the co-production arrangement makes that difficult to work out. Because of revenue sharing deals from any on-sales, Ten could have bid low and offered PTM a bigger share of revenues at the back end from any on-sales, say to the US, which is interested in the story because Wood lives in California."
Without doubt Ten and Douglas Wood have blown a big hole in the comfortable world of chequebook journalism.