Mediaweek Roundup:Facebook, Marty Sheargold, netball TV + more

marty sheargold

• Michelle Guthrie, Chinese Communist Party, Media Law Reform, Paul Fletcher, Condé Nast, and 2020’s best drama

Business of Media

ACCC alleges Facebook misled when promoting app to ‘protect’ users’ data

The ACCC has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Facebook, Inc and two of its subsidiaries for false, misleading or deceptive conduct when promoting Facebook’s Onavo Protect mobile app to Australian consumers.

Onavo Protect was a free downloadable software application providing a virtual private network (VPN) service.

The ACCC alleges that, between 1 February 2016 to October 2017, Facebook and its subsidiaries Facebook Israel Ltd and Onavo, Inc misled Australian consumers by representing that the Onavo Protect app would keep users’ personal activity data private, protected and secret, and that the data would not be used for any purpose other than providing Onavo Protect’s products.

In fact, the ACCC alleges, Onavo Protect collected, aggregated and used significant amounts of users’ personal activity data for Facebook’s commercial benefit. This included details about Onavo Protect users’ internet and app activity, such as records of every app they accessed and the number of seconds each day they spent using those apps.

This data was used to support Facebook’s market research activities, including identifying potential future acquisition targets.

“Through Onavo Protect, Facebook was collecting and using the very detailed and valuable personal activity data of thousands of Australian consumers for its own commercial purposes, which we believe is completely contrary to the promise of protection, secrecy and privacy that was central to Facebook’s promotion of this app,” said ACCC chair Rod Sims.

Ex-ABC boss Michelle Guthrie to chair games developer Mighty Kingdom

Former Australian Broadcasting Corporation managing director Michelle Guthrie has become chairman of games developer Mighty Kingdom, which is eyeing an ASX listing in early 2021, reports The AFR’s Simon Evans.

Mighty Kingdom has completed a $4 million pre-IPO fund raising which chief operating officer Tony Lawrence said was heavily over-subscribed.

He said the appointment of Guthrie as chairman of the group – and Megan Brownlow as a director of the company – was part of a strengthening of the corporate governance framework, and injecting outside skills in preparation for a public listing.

Brownlow is a former partner with PwC and led its national industry practice for technology, media and telecommunications until April 2019.

[Read more]

News Brands

Chinese Communist Party tied to local media outlets

The Chinese Communist Party has close links with nearly three-quarters of Australia’s Chinese-language media outlets, allowing Beijing to use them – along with offshore WeChat accounts – to channel propaganda to up to one million Australian Chinese, reports The Australian’s Ben Packham.

New research by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute reveals 17 of 24 Chinese-language outlets in Australia have connections with the CCP through its United Front Work Department overseas influence operation.

Four of the 24 companies were directly owned by the CCP or received financial support from the party.

[Read more]

Media law reform: ‘Cleared’ journalists to get a heads up

The Australian Federal Police will tell journalists when they are no longer persons of interest in an investigation and warrants relating to the media will be contested by public interest advocates, under reforms agreed to by the Morrison government, reports The Australian’s Rosie Lewis.

Attorney-General Christian Porter has accepted recommendations from the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security’s press freedom inquiry, including that only Supreme Court or Federal Court judges can issue search warrants against journalists for disclosure offences.

The government will also be required to consider extra defences for public interest journalism for secrecy offences.

Michael Miller, News Corp Australasia executive chairman, said the recommendations, 14 of which were adopted by the government in full and one “in principle”, did not go far enough to address the country’s press freedom problem.

[Read more]

See also: Press freedom reforms welcomed, but more needed say media companies by Nine’s Lisa Visentin.

Politicians have a right to question but not threaten the ABC

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has opened up a new front in the federal government’s long running fight with the ABC by questioning a Four Corners episode entitled “Inside the Canberra Bubble” about allegedly inappropriate relations between two ministers and female staffers, comments a Sydney Morning Herald editorial.

The Herald has already argued that it thinks the ABC was mostly justified in its decision to report on the issue. Since #MeToo and Malcolm Turnbull‘s ban on affairs between ministers and staff, the boundary between private and public has shifted dramatically.

There are, however, valid criticisms that can be made of how the ABC reported this story. The program went too far in its moralising tone and its assumption that women cannot choose to have consensual affairs with their bosses.

Fletcher, a moderate, is not usually counted among the culture warriors who oppose “their ABC” on principle as biased against the Coalition. He should hold the line at a time when there are worrying signs that the broadcaster’s independence and role are under threat.

[Read more]

Test cricket great Mike Hussey guest edits The Advertiser

Former star Australian batsman Mike Hussey has turned his hand from picking his best Australian XI for the first Test against India at Adelaide Oval to guest editing The Advertiser, reports News Corp’s Andrew Capel.

The brilliant left-handed batsman, who averaged 51.52 in 79 Tests after making his debut at age 30 in 2005, oversaw the newspaper’s cricket coverage on the eve of the Australia-India day-night blockbuster, which starts at The Oval on Thursday.

Hussey said he enjoyed editing a newspaper for the first time, alongside editor Matt Deighton and sports editor Aaron Spirdonoff.

“It was a bit nerve-racking, being held accountable for how the paper looks before such a big occasion, but it was also exciting and enjoyable,” he said.

“There’s plenty of good stories to be told and this Test match, the Adelaide Test, is always one of the highlights of the summer, a great occasion, and hopefully the whole city gets behind it.”

[Read more]


Marty Sheargold says Nova show with Kate & Tim was groundhog day

New Triple M breakfast host Marty Sheargold has taken a swipe at his former Nova FM colleagues Kate Ritchie and Tim Blackwell saying he quit their drive show as it was like groundhog day and he was sick of compromising and being censored, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

“I had had enough of that show. I’d lost interest in that show,” Sheargold said of his decision to quit.

Melbourne-based Sheargold, 49, was a key part of Nova drive since 2011 and had been teamed with Ritchie and Blackwell in that shift since 2015.

“It was the same show everyday, it had a real groundhog feel to it and it was really that I wanted an opportunity to go and build something myself.”

Sheargold is replacing Eddie McGuire in Triple M breakfast next year with Troy Ellis moving from Nova to anchor his show.

[Read more]


Anna Wintour leads Condé Nast’s new global content strategy

Condé Nast this week unveiled its new global content strategy, leadership teams and structure. The company will transform its creative operations to better serve audiences and advertising partners by appointing global leadership teams to its storied brands. This new strategic approach to content creation brings an emphasised focus, across the company’s worldwide portfolio of brands, on quality and reach.

In Australia, News Corp licenses a number of Condé Nast brands including Vogue and GQ.

The complete redesign and investment in editorial operations will transform how the creative teams create, share, translate, adapt and distribute content across platforms and formats. By strengthening each brand’s ability to bring talent and the very best in journalism and storytelling together across a global media infrastructure, the company will more effectively meet advertisers and audiences where they are now and where they will be in the future.

Leading the transformation is Anna Wintour, who has been named chief content officer for the company, worldwide. Wintour will also now serve as global editorial director of Vogue while continuing her oversight of Vogue US. Christiane Mack, chief content operations officer, who has largely been responsible for the unification of the creative teams across video, digital and print, will continue in her role, reporting to Wintour and Condé Nast Entertainment president Agnes Chu, to continue implementing the rollout of the global operating model.

Condé Nast has also appointed global editorial directors of AD, Condé Nast Traveler and GQ, with the remaining global brands to follow in early 2021. The global unification of the brand editorial teams will enable the brands to create the best version of each global story or piece of content and distribute it in customized ways for each local edition. The global editorial directors will continue to oversee the edition of their title in their home market in addition to their new global brand responsibilities.

Wintour has held the position of editor of Vogue US since July 1988, and was named US artistic director of Condé Nast in March 2013. Most recently, she was appointed global content advisor of Condé Nast in August of 2019.


TV critics at The Age & SMH choose Stateless as 2020’s best drama

A panel of TV critics at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald has chosen the ABC series Stateless as the best Australian show of the year.

The panel consisted of Debi Enker, Michael Idato, Paul Kalina, Kylie Northover and Louise Rugendyke.

Other shows named as 2020 highlights were:

I May Destroy You (Foxtel)
Staged (ABC)
Halifax: Retribution (Nine)
The Test (Amazon Prime)
Normal People (Stan)
Bluey (ABC)
High Fidelity (ABC)

[Read more]

Sports Media

Telstra to review prices after 420% increase in netball TV subscription

Netball fans have pushed Telstra to review its current subscription pricing after the telco removed the annual subscription price from its app, effectively making the yearly price more than five times more expensive, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Sarah Keoghan.

This year subscribers could pay a yearly fee of $29.99 to watch both Super Netball and international netball games via the Netball Live app provided by Telstra. Channel Nine plays a selection of Super Netball games, with international fans unable to watch any Super Netball games from outside of Australia without the app.

But on Tuesday, fans noticed Telstra had removed the annual subscription option with fans now only able to purchase monthly or weekly subscriptions.

The price of a monthly subscription is $12.99 meaning a year’s subscription will now cost $155.88, an increase of 420 per cent, making the app more expensive than Amazon Prime or Netflix’s base price.

[Read more]

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