Mediaweek Roundup: 10 exits Supercars, MAFS, OzTAM, SAS: Who Dares Wins + more

• Netflix, Jamie Pandaram, defamation reform, George Pell, Nick Cave, and New York Times

Business of Media

10 confirms Supercars exit, Seven in pole position

Network 10 has pulled the pin on negotiations for a potential return for V8 Supercars, leaving Seven West Media in the box seat to be the free-to-air broadcaster of motorsport from next year, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

In May, The Australian Financial Review revealed that 10 was preparing to walk away from Supercars as it was a loss-making endeavour for the network.

It is understood that Supercars and 10 were discussing a two-year deal, worth in the mid-to-high single digit millions.

However, the ViacomCBS-owned broadcaster confirmed to the Financial Review that it would not be the free-to-air broadcaster beyond 2020.

“Network 10 will not renew its contract with the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, which expires at the end of this year,” Network 10 director of sport production Adam Cush said.

“Network 10 has enjoyed a great relationship with the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship over the past six years and it’s been a privilege to bring our audiences world-class racing.

“We look forward to finishing on a high with the 2020 Bathurst 1000 in October. We wish the drivers, crews and all those behind the scenes the very best for the 2021 season.”

The current six-year record $241 million deal between 10 and Foxtel, signed in 2013, began in 2015 and finishes at the end of the 2020 season. It was brokered by then Supercars chief executive James Warburton, who is now Seven chief executive and has a small stake in the Archer Capital-owned racing body.

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Telcos tackle traffic spikes Netflix brings streaming back up to speed

Australian telcos are gearing up to deal with extra pressure on their networks as US entertainment giant Netflix and video-sharing site YouTube return the video quality of their programming to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Netflix and YouTube were among a group of services to reduce the amount of data used for video streaming in an effort to help the networks cope with the extra traffic as social-distancing restrictions forced a large segment of the public to work from home.

The media platforms compressed their bit rates – the amount of data per second consumed on a digital network – of their streams. Netflix uses many different streams for a single film or television show, some with higher bit rates, but the decision meant the highest bandwidth streams had been removed. At the time it told consumers they may notice a “very slight decrease” in quality.

However multiple telco and streaming sources have confirmed that YouTube and Netflix are no longer reducing bit rates, a decision which has coincided with heightened restrictions in Victoria. Netflix declined to comment. A YouTube spokesperson confirmed that the company had starting lifting restrictions on a “country-by-country basis”.

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News Brands

NSW Police demand journalist Jamie Pandaram show shopping receipts

Police said they were targeting shoplifting offences, but their ‘proactive operation’ left The Daily Telegraph’s award-winning sports journo asking why he was the one singled out – again:

I always imagined myself to be a militant warrior in a situation like this, writes Pandaram in The Daily Telegraph.

Having observed so much of the filmed injustice in the United States and Australia recently, I had a warped sense of my own courage – if ever I was confronted unfairly by police, I’d have my phone out, asking questions, demanding answers.

It’s what I do for a living – have done since I became a journalist 18 years ago.

But now, surrounded by three NSW Police officers demanding to see receipts to prove I’d paid for my groceries at Marrickville Metro, I’m ashamed to say I froze.

By the time I’d been shown their badges, told I was being recorded, surrounded in a way that I was cornered, and asked to produce receipts for each item in my grocery bag, I was too stunned to talk, let alone whip out my phone and record this encounter.

It took a few minutes before the shock turned to boiling anger.

It was 10 years ago that I was pulled over by police in Redfern and asked if the car I was driving belonged to me.

That day, just like today, I was wearing a baseball cap.

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Law reform: Curb on defamation mega-payouts to celebrities

A new defence for public interest journalism and an effective cap on defamation payouts are key features of a national model law that awaits approval on Monday by state and territory attorneys-general, reports The Australian’s Chris Merritt.

The scheme aims to end massive payouts in which celebrities have won more for harm to their reputations than injured workers could win for the loss of a leg.

The changes in the model bill are the result of the first stage of a national defamation reform project now examining defamation responsibilities and liabilities of internet platforms.

The model law’s restored cap on damages is aimed at reinforcing the original goal of ensuring defamation awards for harm to a person’s reputation – known as non-economic losses – have a rational relationship to the size of payouts for physical injuries. When the cap was introduced in 2005, it was indexed and now stands at about $400,000.

However, judges have applied it in a way that has allowed them to exceed the cap – in some cases by 100 per cent – which has broken the relationship with compensation for physical injuries.

Actor Geoffrey Rush won $850,000 for harm to his reputation when the cap was just under $400,000; the four Wagner brothers each won $750,0000 from Macquarie Radio when the cap was $398,500; and actress Rebel Wilson and barrister Lloyd Rayner each won $600,000 when the cap was $389,500.

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Media companies heading to mediation over Pell contempt charges

Media companies will go to trial on contempt of court charges over their reporting connected with Cardinal George Pell‘s conviction on sexual abuse charges if a mediation ordered by a Supreme Court judge fails to resolve the case, reports The Age’s Adam Cooper.

Thirty journalists and news organisations are accused by Victorian prosecutors of breaching a suppression order imposed by the County Court, which in December 2018 prevented media from reporting the guilty verdicts a jury reached against the cardinal. Their reporting did not name Cardinal Pell or the offences involved.

Barrister Matt Collins, QC, appearing for the media, raised the idea of mediation before Justice John Dixon on Thursday and told him settlement negotiations between the parties had “gone off the tracks”.

The Office of Public Prosecutions proposed having one of the court’s judicial registrars oversee the mediation.

But Justice Dixon ruled out the use of a judicial registrar.

“Having regard to the nature of the allegations that are before the court it would be inappropriate for a judicial officer to be involved in a mediation process,” he said.

However, he approved the appointment of former Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein, QC, to act as a private mediator to facilitate talks between lawyers for the media and prosecutors to help iron out points of difference before the trial.

The parties are to attend the mediation before Finkelstein in August and then return to Justice Dixon on September 2.

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Entertainment

Nick Cave’s global streaming concert hit by technical issues

Hundreds of Nick Cave fans are demanding refunds after the global online streaming event was plagued with buffering and freezing glitches, reports London-based Latika Bourke in Nine newspapers.

Organisers have emailed those who purchased tickets to apologise. They said the performance would be put online for ticket holders to watch from Friday afternoon until Sunday.

The show, Idiot Prayer: Nick Cave Alone At Alexandra Palace, went online at 8pm on Thursday.

It was streamed on the platform Dice but within minutes of the concert starting, users experienced buffering problems and turned to social media, only to discover they were not alone.

Promoters had billed the event as a one-off global live streaming event that would not be put online afterwards.

But in an email to ticket holders, Dice said: “We’re aware that you may have experienced technical issues with tonight’s stream.

“We apologise that it wasn’t the experience you expected, and thank you for your patience.

“The film will be made available to all ticket holders from 4pm AEST Friday 24th July until 4pm AEST Sunday 26th July.

Passwords and links would be emailed at 3.30pm on Friday, the company said.

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Podcasting

New York Times pays $25m for company behind hit podcast Serial

The New York Times Company has agreed to buy Serial Productions, the company behind the hit podcast Serial, The Times said on Wednesday, in the paper’s latest move to broaden its digital journalism.

The arrangement will allow Serial Productions to increase the number of shows it makes, said Julie Snyder, the executive editor of Serial Productions, and will allow those shows to then be promoted on The Times’s website, in its newsletters and through its other channels.

“The idea is to drive New York Times readers and listeners toward Serial projects,” Sam Dolnick, an assistant managing editor who oversees The Times’s audio efforts, said in an interview. “There’s going to be ways that we can help Serial tell more stories, bigger stories and, down the road, figure out how our newsroom and theirs can coordinate even more deeply.”

The Times paid about US$25 million for the company, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

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See also: Podcast Week: Fail with Greta Lee Jackson, Madeleine West’s smooth series, Michelle Obama, Audiocraft Fest Saturday, Acast Marketplace

Television

The delay to television ratings is set to drag on into next week

Sources have told TV Tonight that the delay in the release of daily TV ratings is likely to stretch into next week, which would delay launch numbers for Australian Ninja Warrior, Farmer Wants a Wife and Between Two Worlds.

Nielsen has confirmed it is a victim of ransomware, after TV Tonight broke the story on a cyber attack this week.

“Nielsen has become aware of an unexpected disruption relating to the Australian TV Audience Measurement (TAM) data centre environment,” a spokesperson said.

“This disruption is derived from a ransomware attack in which Nielsen was the victim. As a result, TV ratings data remains unavailable. Nielsen can confirm, however, that all households are still collecting viewing data and that referencing sites have not been impacted.”

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Roxy Jacenko, Honey Badger, Candice Warner in SAS reality show

Candice Warner and Roxy Jacenko are confirmed to compete in the Australian version of British reality show, SAS: Who Dares Wins, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

Confidential can verify the wife of cricketer David Warner and prominent Sydney publicist Jacenko will be put through their paces in military special service challenges on the Channel 7 reality show.

Seven is yet to officially confirm any talent for the production but Confidential can also reveal the cast includes Olympic swimmer James Magnussen, former Biggest Loser trainer Shannan Ponton and Shane Warne’s son Jackson.

Filming is now slated to take place around Jindabyne in the NSW Snowy Mountains over the coming weeks.

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MAFS star claims psychologist spilt contestants’ secrets to TV producers

Former Married at First Sight bride Jessika Power has alleged a psychologist on the show gave confidential information from contestants to TV producers, reports News Corp’s Nui Te Koha.

Power, who appeared on the Channel 9 show last year, said the network provided counsellors to assist with mental health issues.

“Channel 9 said there are people you can talk to,” Power told reality TV podcast, takeoverau. “These personal things you speak to them about are supposed to be confidential and private, but every time you talked about something, it would get back to a producer.”

Power claimed: “I had two people from my season say to me, ‘Everything I told the psychologist got back to the executive producer.”

Power also claimed MAFS producers made Power and her first groom, Mick Gould, re-enact a fight that happened off-camera.

Channel 9 said it had no comment on Power’s claims.

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