Mediaweek Roundup: Grant Denyer, Nova, 3AW, Booktopia, Telstra + more

Grant Denyer

• Live music recovery, Peter Newell, Peter FitzSimons, Australian Cricket, Noni Hazlehurst, and Chris Lilley

Business of Media

Australia’s biggest online retailer Booktopia preparing for December IPO

Australia’s largest online retailer Booktopia is launching early investor education meetings this week for an initial public offering scheduled to occur in December, reports The Australian’s Bridget Carter.

Working on the float is Shaw and Partners and Morgans.

It comes after the company experienced a 28 per cent lift in its new book sales during the 2020 financial year, with total sales topping $165m for the first time.

Booktopia has a customer database of 4.5 million, with 1.4 million active customers.

The company has been operating for 16 years and is the country’s largest vertically integrated Australian-owned book retailer.

It sold more than 6.4 million books in the 2020 financial year.

Chief executive Tony Nash this month told The Australian that part of Booktopia’s success to the fact that he was prepared to stock books many bookshop owners weren’t.

While an overseas expansion is “definitely on the road map”, Nash said expanding the domestic business remains the priority for now.

[Read more]

AC/DC and Kylie Minogue among acts sought for live music recovery

Australian fans of live entertainment have heeded the desperate “hang on to your tickets” pleas of promoters and artists as the industry plots a fresh calendar of major gigs and events to kick off the second half of 2021, reports News Corp’s Kathy McCabe.

Fans starved of live shows have kept more than 80 per cent of tickets to productions rescheduled in the wake of the pandemic shutdowns, according to TEG CEO Geoff Jones.

As Australia continues to control the community spread of COVID-19, promoters are now courting international acts for post-COVID tours with the wishlist topped by AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams.

Local live heroes including Midnight Oil and Powderfinger are also weighing up potential tours for next year.

Jones said the sporting hubs employed by the NRL and AFL to complete their 2020 seasons – and the incremental increase of crowd sizes – gave the live industry a blueprint to entice international artists back to Australian stages.

The COVID Safe model employed by events including Van Gogh Live! and Pixar Putt are also buoying the confidence of Australians to get out of the house for entertainment.

[Read more]

News Brands

Peter Newell, one of Wollongong’s greatest adopted sons, dies aged 71

Former Illawarra Steelers chairman, and former Illawarra Mercury editor and general manager, Peter Newell has died on Monday morning after a battle with cancer. Peter is survived by his wife Judy, children Karen, Steven, Robert and Kelly and their partners Leanne, Heather and Stephen, and 10 grandchildren. His friend, and former colleague, Nick Hartgerink, paid tribute in the Mercury to a man who made a great impact on those who knew him – and to the city:

Wollongong has lost one of its greatest adopted sons, with the passing of newspaperman and clubs industry leader Peter Newell OAM this week.

As a journalist, editor and general manager at the Illawarra Mercury from 1970 until 2000, Peter led many community campaigns, most notably the battle to greatly improve road safety on the notorious Mt Ousley Road, which had become a busy, single-lane death trap by the 1970s.

Peter Newell arrived in Wollongong to join the Mercury in February 1970, aged 21, having started in journalism as a cadet at The Manning River Times. His editor at The Times, David Lonsdale, had moved to the Mercury and invited his protégé to join him. Peter thought he might stay in Wollongong for a year, then head off with a mate from Taree on a long-planned trip to London.

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Former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is starting over at CNBC

Shepard Smith doesn’t have a bad word to say about Fox News, reports The New York Times.

Did the network betray you? “They never interfered with what I was doing.” Is it different from when it started? “Well, I think every network has evolved since 1996.” Did you leave because you were fed up? “You know, it was time.”

Smith, the former Fox News chief news anchor with an easy Mississippi lilt, abruptly left his television home of 23 years last October after clashing with one of the channel’s conservative stars and relentless taunts from President Trump, who denounced Smith for his skeptical coverage.

In the end, it was Smith’s decision to step away. Colleagues were stunned, but friends said he had grown disillusioned by the direction of the network – a frustration compounded when the Fox News prime time host Tucker Carlson mocked him on-air – and the disconnect between its pro-Trump punditry and the reporting generated by its newsroom.

Smith returns to television on Wednesday as the host of a nightly newscast on CNBC, declaring a renewed focus on “the facts, the truth, the news,” adding, “It’s a complicated time with so much information and along with it, disinformation, and we just want to just cut through the noise.”

[Read more]

Social Media

Peter FitzSimons: My 7 top tips for dealing with vicious trolls

Shocking social media attacks by trolls have been a feature of this plague – with people on all sides of the argument around restrictions being targeted. How do I deal with the brutes? Here are the seven key things, writes The Sydney Morning Herald columnist Peter FitzSimons.

1.Accept trolls as a fact of life. The incontrovertible truth is that in this third decade of the 21st century, if you are going to poke your head anywhere above the parapet of public life and have any presence whatsoever, vicious trolling comes with the territory. A TV journalist friend told me 30 years ago that doing a stand-up with a camera anywhere in public was a sure-fire “idiot magnet”. There might be 2000 people going up and down a busy street. How to find the dozen idiots? Start talking into the camera. Within 30 seconds, those dozen idiots will be jumping up and down behind you. Ditto, with trolls.

2. Death threats aside, do not take them seriously. If you say something clever or even just standard-brand sensible like, say, “I accept that the experts are right and that restricting movement will help restrict coronavirus and will save lives”, set your watch. Within 60 seconds you will be besieged by people who – despite the fact they can’t spell – know better than winners of the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

3. Take it as a badge of honour. If people this nasty and this ignorant are against you, you must be doing something right. Just imagine how troubling it would be if you had them on your side. Just how wrong would you have to be on, like, everything? It would be like being lauded by Alan Jones’ old talkback audience – you’d have to ask yourself, just where have I gone wrong?

[Read more]

Media Tech

Telstra lays down 5G gauntlet for NBN Co with fixed-wireless product

Telstra is about to launch a 5G fixed-wireless product to directly compete against the NBN, getting the ball rolling on selectively using its 5G mobile network to try and steal customers away from the $57 billion fixed-line network, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Supratim Adhikari.

With Telstra and its peers locked in a tussle with NBN Co over the high wholesale prices charged by the company in charge of the national broadband network, the launch of the ‘5G Home Internet’ product sets the scene for Telstra to keep more money in its pocket by bypassing the NBN.

The telcos can avoid paying the wholesale price to NBN by connecting a home directly to their 5G fixed-wireless services, which offer high-speed plans at prices comparable to existing NBN plans.

The 5G service, to be launched on Wednesday, is priced at $85 a month and will offer 500GB of data to eligible customers. Telstra said it expects customers to achieve typical download speeds between 50Mbps (Megabits per second) and 300Mbps.

Optus already has a 5G fixed-wireless service in the market and is planning to launch two new high-speed plans, priced at $75 a month and $90 a month respectively, later this year.

[Read more]


Grant Denyer explains fight with former Sunrise producer Adam Boland

Gold Logie winner Grant Denyer says he “nearly killed” his former boss, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

Detailing an extraordinary blow-up on the set of breakfast show Sunrise, the 43-year-old claimed the monumental blow up with former executive producer Adam Boland took place while on assignment in Hawaii.

“It wasn’t his finest hour, it certainly wasn’t my finest hour and so I just blew up,” the father of two, with another on the way, said in a new episode of his It’s All True? podcast with wife Cheryl Denyer.

“This is not something that I am particularly proud of but is something that did happen in the workplace.”

Denyer presented the weather on the top breakfast show from 2004 to 2012 before making a shock exit from the prime spot.

It was this altercation, he said, that formed part of his reason for leaving the show.

The Hawaii blow up, he explained, is one of two fights he has had in his life. The first was in year four of primary school.

“I am ashamed of my actions and I would do it differently now but I had a fight with the boss of Sunrise, the EP, the executive producer, his name is Adam Boland,” he said, adding that he and Boland had since cleared the air.

[Read more]

See also:

Podcast Week: Nothing but the truth with Grant & Chezzi, Trace reveals Gobbo’s return

Podcasting calling axed Nova 106.9 Brisbane announcer Katie Mattin

Radio announcer Katie Mattin admits she felt lost in the wake of her sudden axing from Nova after nine years with the network, reports News Corp’s Amy Price.

Mattin, who presented the morning show, as well as afternoon presenter Jack Tree were made redundant earlier this month – despite both their contracts extending until December next year – as part of Nova’s cost-cutting strategy in response to the ongoing challenges of the global pandemic.

Sydney presenters DC and Smallzy are now being broadcast to Nova’s Brisbane audience, while Adelaide also lost their local daytime shows.

“It was Friday 11:55am doing my last (talk) break, I had a feeling, ‘this is my last break’. At 12:30pm they said ‘We are making your role redundant and that was your last show’,” Mattin said.

Still hosting her popular podcast Am I A Bad Mum? with Rachel Thaiday – who she met through her Nova radio show with Sam Thaiday – Mattin is already planning a move full-time into podcasting through her husband Jay Walkerden’s new company, Podshape, which has recently notched up 1 million downloads.

Mattin and Thaiday will add a second podcast, called Girls + Wine = Inappropriate Conversations, next month, which will be a weekly girls’ night where nothing is off limits.

[Read more]


Remembering former 3AW announcer David McGee

3AW announcer, producer and official station historian, Simon Owens, has paid tribute to former 3AW announcer David McGee:

1955, the year before television started in Melbourne, David McGee began work as an announcer at 3AW in a career that would last 31 years.

Within a year his talents were recognised and David was quickly promoted to senior announcer. David was popular with listeners and clients of the station.

Surviving the onslaught of television, radio evolved by taking the focus off its former prime time shows and concentrating more on the morning programs. David was there through it all.

In 1964 when the government first allowed the replaying of recorded phone calls on the wireless David was working alongside Norman Banks on his program “I’m On Your Side” which was among the first programs to adapt to these new permissions.

Talkback radio was next when it became legal in 1966, and that was the fateful year that David partnered with Peter James. Peter had joined 3AW in 1959.

Both were successful in their own right but their on air chemistry was noted by management and they formed and hosted the “Ansett Pioneer Show”.

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Noni Hazlehurst: COVID “a perfect excuse to drop local quotas”

Networks are using the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to drop local quotas they have long wanted to dispense with, according to industry veteran Noni Hazlehurst, reports TV Tonight.

“They’re just taking advantage of the fact that they can say, ‘Now we’ve got the perfect excuse to cut all these quotas.’ It’s very, very disturbing, indeed,” she tells TV Tonight.

“They’ve been trying to do that for years. The reality is they put so much money into sport, which certainly came back to bite them on the bum, and stretching the boundaries of what constitutes Australian content.

“I just feel so despairing,” she continued. “They’re all in financial dire straits – all the networks. In one sense, understandably, because they’ve not really given people much that’s worthwhile. So people are seeking out other forms of entertainment, quite rightly. So, it’s a bit of a chicken and egg argument.”

Hazlehurst, currently presenting Every Family Has a Secret for SBS, has long been passionate about Australian content, awarded an Order of Australia for her services to children and the performing arts and inducted into the Logie Hall of Fame.

[Read more]

Adam Briggs says Chris Lilley won’t learn from ‘blackface’ TV shows

Indigenous rap star Adam Briggs says blackface comedian Chris Lilley won’t learn from his offensive TV shows because the “teachable moment” has passed, reports News Corp’s Nui Te Koha.

Chart-topper Briggs said Lilley’s blackface characters, featured in four shows dumped by Netflix over claims they are racist, are part of a bigger problem in the TV industry.

“Chris Lilley didn’t do these shows last week, and he’s not the only one,” Briggs told Confidential. “He became the poster child for that cancel moment … but you can still download and buy his products. It’s not like he’s going anywhere.

“But anyone who knows how TV shows get made; there’s a lot of people that sat around, let it happen, and thought it was a good idea. But this isn’t a teachable moment yet because he hasn’t learnt. He hasn’t accepted the ramifications of what he’s done.”

After Netflix ditched his show, Lilley posted deleted scenes of his blackface character Jonah Takalua on his YouTube channel.

Briggs is the guest editor of GQ Australia’s September-October edition, now on sale. The magazine features pieces on artist Reko Rennie, actor Nayuka Gorrie, musician Barkaa, and Corey Tutt, founder of Deadly Science, an initiative that provides science books to remote schools, and the Rumbalara Netball Club in Shepparton.

[Read more]

Sports Media

Cricket Australia to keep cricket clean with Dettol sponsorship deal

Australia’s cricketers will show clean hands in more ways than one this summer after Cricket Australia (CA) announced a new four-year sponsorship deal with hygiene brand Dettol.

Along with supporting elite men’s and women’s cricket, Dettol is set to supply hygiene products to the 3,455 cricket clubs around the country as Australia continues its battle with COVID-19.

Cricket Australia

Dettol will now be front and centre during men’s one-day and T20 internationals on Australian soil as the naming rights partner for the white-ball formats, as well as featuring on the kit of the support staff and supporting the Australian Women’s Cricket Team.

CA has been exploring the use of disinfectant on cricket balls following the International Cricket Council’s move to ban the use of saliva to shine the ball.

Dettol got wind of this move and will now work with CA to develop hygiene protocols for players, staff and community cricket.

The new ball-shining rules were first in place during England’s Test summer against the West Indies and Pakistan.

Players predominantly used sweat to shine the ball, but old habits arose a few times when players instinctively used saliva.

In those instances, the umpires cleaned the ball and returned it to the bowling side. However, should a player repeatedly use saliva during a match, they will be given a warning from the umpires, with two warnings resulting in a five-run penalty to the batting team.

Australia’s international summer began on Saturday with Meg Lanning‘s side facing New Zealand in Brisbane.

The men’s international schedule is yet to be finalised, but men’s domestic cricket returns from October 10 when the Marsh Sheffield Shield begins in South Australia.

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