Subscribers give

NY Times a lift

The New York Times's future is looking better thanks to its new porous online paywall, according to one analyst, Jon Janedis from USB. The paper now charges online readers once they have read 20 articles, and the financial magazine Barron's reports that Mr Janedis has raised his rating from "sell" to "neutral", given its better-than-expected online and print revenue. He expects the newspaper to have about 350,000 paying subscribers to its online edition a year on from its introduction in March. The newspaper said it had 100,000 digital subscribers in an update on April 21, just weeks after introducing a widely-watched online payment model.


Simon the pilot

wings it for new ad

After nearly 20 years of flying that private jet around, and apparently never making it to Tahiti, Simon the pilot has been called on again to spruik the "everyday luxury" of Cussons Imperial Leather. The much-spoofed ad, which first aired in 1991, centred on a man enjoying the high life, as he sipped champagne in a bubble bath on his private jet, ordering Simon to change course because "Tahiti looks nice". The ad has been remodelled to sell Cussons's shower gel, Foamburst. PZ Cussons managing director, Wayne Horrobin, said: "This ad had so much equity, people loved it, it was one of those classic commercials." Clare Kermond


Slow going for deal

with Foxtel, Austar

The courtship between Foxtel and Austar took a decade, and the engagement is now taking a while, too: the regional pay TV company told the stock exchange yesterday that the conditions on which its city-based suitor bid $1.52 a share for the company had yet to be satisfied. It said talks about "definitive agreements" between Austar, its major shareholder Liberty Global and Foxtel were continuing, and repeated its caveat that "no assurance" that the bid would lead to a "definitive transaction". Austar shares closed at $1.31yesterday, up from sub-$1 levels at the start of the year before talk of a merger proposal emerged. Tim Dick


Gaga effect works

magic for vinyl

Music sales in the US, for the first half of this year, rose 8.5 per cent over the same period last year, according to a report by Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks unit sales. Album sales eked out a 1 per cent gain, the first increase in seven years, the Los Angeles Times reports. Digital track sales were up 11 per cent and digital albums 19 per cent. Vinyl sales were up 41 per cent, helped by Adele and Lady Gaga. David Bakula, Nielsen's music analyst, said labels were being more aggressive on price, packaging and promoting back-catalogues.


Spencer's on-air spat with peer

Lord Christopher Monckton, the controversial climate change sceptic, locked horns with Adam Spencer, the host of ABC 702 Breakfast, at one point telling Spencer to "shut up and listen" before Spencer terminated the interview. A short while later, Lord Monckton, pictured, was back on air for another round and, just before the 7.45am news, Spencer bid farewell with a partial apology for hanging up on him in the first instalment. Lord Monckton said: "Please don't conduct an interview like that again, it wasn't very pleasant".

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