Key Points:

Just because you are a big fish in the Australasian media does not mean you are immune from the press pass apparatchiks who control access to big sporting events. Fairfax Media chief executive David Kirk has secured a press pass to the Rugby World Cup competition, but only after lodging a protest with the powers that be.

Fairfax spokesman Bruce Wolpe said the application for press accreditation had been a bit late and had initially been rejected by "one of the Munchkins" handling the applications, who clearly did not know his background. Of course, Fairfax could buy its Captain Kirk the best seat in the stadium. And the IRB wouldn't have Kirk - who led the winning All Blacks team at the inaugural World Cup in 1987 - camped out in the cheap seats with a warm Diet Coke and some cold pommes frites.

But Kirk did not seek accreditation just to enjoy the view. Wolpe said he would be writing material for Fairfax papers while on the job. Presumably he'll be getting an out-of-town allowance on the usual journalist union rates.

Box brownies

Veteran rugby photographer Peter Bush says security is getting tougher and tougher for World Cup events, but Kirk could have relied on plenty of International Rugby Board officials to ensure he had a place at the press bench.

"It's like getting into the Kremlin for these events, but rejecting him would be bizarre, given that the IRB uses a picture of him holding up the cup to promote the competition."

Bushy - as he is known in the rugby and photography fraternities - has secured his press pass to the fifth World Cup. He says security is tougher for photographers on the sidelines and especially now that the IRB gets "applications from every peanut who ever held a box brownie".

Radio wars

Listeners can expect lots of wacky publicity stunts and promotions as radio stations soften up listeners for the Auckland radio ratings survey, which runs for six weeks from September 1.

Aucklanders will have noticed commercial radio broadcasters have already been swamping TV commercial breaks with advertising so they are top of people's minds.

The Auckland survey normally held once every six months is particularly important because the market is the country's largest and most volatile.

But this one has big potential for change in audience size, with millions of dollars of ad revenue at stake.

That is because the Radio Broadcasters Association - dominated by the duopoly of MediaWorks and The Radio Network - cancelled the last six-monthly survey and this one will be the first in a year.

Auckland radio signals are transmitted off the Sky Tower and at the start of this year the RBA told advertising agencies that routine maintenance made some shutdowns inevitable and they had to give the March survey a miss.

Some ad agencies were sceptical over "the painters are in" explanation but they had to allocate money using their old figures and their own nous.

Was the cancellation necessary? This week David Innes acknowledged that, in hindsight, the Sky Tower maintenance programme caused little disruption to signals and would not have made much difference to surveys.

But they had to be sure there were no variables. In any case, expect to hear talkback hosts making particularly controversial remarks that get them free editorial coverage, and music stations offering lucrative prizes.

It must be a particularly good time for our highest profile radio man to launch his own commercial venture - Paul Holmes-brand olive oil.

Exit strategies

US cinema giant Greater Union is said to be among parties who have expressed interest in buying SkyCity's cinema chain - if and when Sky City decides to sell.

Insiders say SkyCity paid over the odds when it bought Village out of its 50 per cent stake two years ago to fully own the company which dominates Auckland cinema.

No wonder Sky reported that it was not delivering a high enough return on capital and was earmarking it for sale.

Greater Union would make an interesting new owner. The company is active in the Australian cinema market, but usually in ventures with Village, which has itself been going through troubles and only recently left the New Zealand market.

The other name mentioned in dispatches is cinema sector veteran and former New Zealand Film Commission chairman Barrie Everard.

Meanwhile, arch-rival Hoyts, owned by James Packer interests and West Australian Newspapers is looking at a sale of its cinema chain.

The upside of the cinema business is that there is very little stock and it's a cash business. The downside is that owners have to pump a lot of capital into refurbishing to keep the venues attractive.

Chipped china

The New Zealand economy is riding on the coat-tails of the economic boom in China, so how committed are the country's media to getting a Kiwi eye on the emerging giant? Not very, it seems.

Former TVNZ Asian correspondent Charlotte Glennie is speaking at a seminar on New Zealand business in Asia in Auckland next week. She was part of a concerted push into China with new correspondents when Bill Ralston was in charge, but the $500,000-a-year Hong Kong office was scrapped as part of TVNZ cuts.

Glennie was hired as correspondent with the ABC TV international service in Beijing, where she says media companies are arriving each day to set up new bureaus before the Olympic Games next year. She says New Zealand is missing out with no media based in the country.

Another former TVNZ staffer, Trish Carter, agrees. Carter launched the Asian bureau for the Al Jazeera channel in Kuala Lumpur and says New Zealand is missing out on several significant business developments. She has suggested to the New Zealand Press Association that New Zealand media could set up a small office in Asia, sharing material across different media to save costs. She offered to work with TV networks off her own bat to make it work.

NZPA chief executive Lincoln Gould said there were no such moves and nothing was planned at this stage.

We'll still have Paris

TVNZ has ended its search for a new marketing director and Jason Paris will remain in the role. Paris was going to move on to head the broadcaster's emerging business operation - which includes high-tech new media ventures such as tvnzondemand - but after interviewing some candidates TVNZ decided to stick with the tried and true.

Spokeswoman Megan Richards said chief executive Rick Ellis decided it was best to have continuity and Paris would also have his role overseeing new markets.

Which makes sense since there have been arguments that TVNZ has been focusing on new media and ignoring the core business of TV One and TV2.

It's a family affair

Never mind the new TV2 drama Brothers and Sisters. The state broadcaster has its own family dynasty. TVNZ quietly confirmed this week it had established a new position of marketing director for its embattled channel TV One, confirming the job had been awarded to Susan Brown.

Brown is a former TVNZ sales executive who is the sister of former TVNZ marketing director Annemarie Duff and sister-in-law to Alistair Duff. Brown had worked for some time with her brother-in-law, who headed a TVNZ division that sells advertiser links to programming.

Annemarie Duff resigned last year at the end of the Ian Fraser era, a time when TV One crashed in the ratings. She has since been on contract to TVNZ, involved in a project aiming to improve the marketing for One News. TVNZ says her contract ends in three weeks. Meanwhile, husband Alistair Duff has been promoted to general manager of television sales, the number two job at TVNZ sales.