Best of 2012, #10: Alan Jones' Radio Show Pulls All Advertising
Here at Business Review Australia, we like to aggregate a wide selection of news stories and feature contributions that may range from national and global headlines and market trend analysis, to business tips and those “Only in Australia” types of stories (spider inhabitation, Apple Maps fiascos and marijuana use, oh my!)
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Radio broadcaster Alan Jones’ weekly breakfast show will run without advertising, a decision reached by 2GB as numerous sponsors continue to cancel their promotions – costing the station $80,000 a day – in light of the recent controversy surrounding Jones’ name.
2GB, the station on which Jones broadcasts, has reportedly pulled all advertising from the program in an effort to protect these businesses from the “cyber bullying” campaign launched as a result of Jones’ proclamation that Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father had “died of shame” over her “lies” two weeks ago.
"The nature, tone and volume of the reaction to Jones's remarks, and in particular the threats being made through social media to companies advertising on Jones's program and the disruption being caused to their businesses, have made it necessary for MRN [Macquarie Radio Network] to call 'time out',” said Macquarie executive chairman Russell Tate to Perth Now.
Online petitions and Facebook groups calling for Jones’ sacking have been popping up and gaining thousands of online supporters. Many small businesses have reportedly been threatened to pull their support from the program as well.
The most prominent advertiser to pull out has been Mercedes-Benz, who not only ceased their advertising with 2GB, but also repossessed Jones’ $250,000 sponsored sedan. Arriving to work this morning in a silver Lexus, Jones has reportedly lashed out at Mercedes-Benz corporate communications manager David McCarthy for the company’s actions, calling him a ‘gutless wonder.’
Twenty-two year old Sydney student Nic Lochner, who started the Change.org petition “2GB and Advertisers: Immediately cease association with Alan Joes over ‘died of shame’ comment,” has called the decision to cut advertising from the breakfast show “a ploy to short-circuit the controversy.”
"They don’t address the two issues at play here - that Alan Jones is a serial offender when it comes to hate speech, and that the response from the Australian public has been a genuine groundswell of disgust to this appalling kind of behavior,” said Lochner.
"This is not about cyber-bullying. It is about customers exercising their right to call companies to account about the kind of behaviour they want to see in Australian society.
"This campaign has been about calling for civility and decency in public debate and we have gone to great strides to ensure that discourse is conducted appropriately.”
Advertising did eventually return to the radio broadcast – some even returned only to pull out once again – but not before the Macquarie Radio Network was hit with "somewhere between $1 million and $1.5 million" in lost profits.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.