Monday, October 01, 2007

This corner of the Planet too Lonely for some

Met by a roar of indifference, Lonely Planet has caused a quirky individual cultural icon based in a struggling suburb in a small nation in the South to be swallowed up by a vast British media beast:

Lonely Planet, which is famous for its international travel guides, is being sold to BBC Worldwide by founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler, and advertising magnate John Singleton who became a shareholder in 1999.

Cue vaccuous weasel-word tripe:

'Joining BBC Worldwide allows us to secure the long-term future of our company within a globally recognised media group,'' the Wheelers said in a statement. ''In our discussions with (BBC), we felt that BBC Worldwide would provide a platform true to our vision and values, while allowing us to take the business to the next level.''

De da da da. They can publish 500 titles but can't come up with a sentence free from inane jargon to explain their decision. I mean, the next level? Does Maureen want to be Secretary General of the UN?

With significant operations in Australia, the US and UK, Lonely Planet publishes about 500 titles including specialist activity guides, shoestring guides and phrase books in various languages. The company also produces and develops factual programming for international broadcasters through Lonely Planet Television and online.

Times are tough.

I know, I'm not making any real point, they're entitled to do whatever they want and no-one has any dignity in business. It's just a shame.

They lead their field, they are already global. They have built so much out of their warehouse digs in Footscray and are an exemplary Aussie start-up and exporter. Despite the considerable handicap of not being based in one of the two nations who think they are entitled to completely dominate most aspects of publishing and the media, they've managed to go round the world and back and completely change travel publishing. If they can't stay here, how can anyone?

Hey Tony and Maureen, would it be that hard to drop the drivel and just say "we did it for the money"?

1 comment:

lucy tartan said...

The company has actually been struggling for a while. They have some serious competition in the guidebook market now especially in the US and Europe. Within Australia they are still way out in front, but not elsewhere.