Mediaweek roundup: ABC, Mark Taylor, Fuel TV + more

• 10 daily, Mix 94.5, Stephen Beers, BBC Studios, Disney+, WA Family Court judge, Craig McLachlan, U2 frontman Bono, Vanuatu ban + Terry McCrann

Business of Media

10 Daily appoints Belle Stewart to drive sales and commercial revenue

Network has appointed Belle Stewart (pictured) as commercial lead for its news and lifestyle site 10 Daily.

In this role, Stewart is responsible for driving sales and commercial revenue for 10 Daily. Her appointment is effective immediately.

Network 10’s digital sales director Sophie Hicks Lloyd said: “It’s fantastic to be welcoming Belle to the team at a time of rapid growth for 10 Daily. Belle has deep digital commercial acumen and knows the digital publishing landscape well. We have some really exciting plans for the site in 2020 and she is the perfect person to lead the sales charge for the site, well into the future.”

Stewart joins 10 from Concrete Playground where she was a senior business manager. Prior to Concrete Playground, she gained experience in the UK as brand strategist at Tastemade, responsible for the company’s brand and partnerships strategy. Stewart also spent time at Pedestrian Group as advertising and partnerships manager, responsible for managing and developing sales and partnerships across Pedestrian.TV.

Stewart said: “10 Daily has great momentum among readers and out in market. Having such a strong editorial team and being the official online ‘home’ of Network 10’s noisy shows like The Bachelorette, The Project and I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! means we have a really powerful and unique proposition for brands to partner with.

“10 Daily’s first 18 months have been huge and in 2020, the site has big plans to grow its audience and commercial opportunities. I’m really excited to be part of the team and can’t wait to be the 10 Daily mouthpiece out in market.”

BBC Studios appoints two general managers for APAC region

Jon Penn, executive vice president of BBC Studios Asia Pacific (APAC), has announced the appointment of two general managers to lead the BBC Studios teams in Australia & New Zealand (ANZ) and South & South East Asia (S&SE Asia).

Fiona Lang, currently chief operating officer for ANZ, has been promoted to the new role of general manager, Australia & New Zealand, leading the Sydney-based branded services (including marketing, advertising and creative), commercial and content sales teams.

Fiona Lang

Ryan Shiotani, currently acting SVP, branded services, Asia, is promoted to the role of SVP & general manager, South & South East Asia, based in Singapore and leading the branded services, marketing, creative, content and affiliate sales teams in South East Asia and India. 

Jon Penn said: “I’m delighted to promote these outstanding leaders to the roles of General Manager and have every confidence that they are the right people to lead the teams to the next level of growth in the APAC region.

“As COO for ANZ, Fiona has clearly demonstrated her strategic and commercial ability, as well as an aptitude for project and team leadership.  Ryan has successfully developed and led the Branded Services portfolio in Asia, recently stepping up as Acting SVP for Branded Services and demonstrating his business leadership credentials.”

Both roles report directly to Jon Penn, as part of the newly formed Asia-Pacific (APAC) regional business, incorporating Australia, New Zealand and Asia, which was announced in September 2019.

Ryan Shiotani

Ryan Shiotani joined BBC Studios in 2007 as director, programming, Asia, overseeing the editorial direction of BBC Studios’ branded services in Asia, including programming, acquisitions, presentation planning and media planning.

Prior to joining BBC Studios, Shiotani worked across programming, acquisitions, content sales and production in Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America for Discovery Networks Latin America/Iberia, MTM Entertainment, TV Globo and Sesame Workshop.

Fiona Lang has been chief operating officer, BBC Studios in Australia & New Zealand, since 2014.

Lang joined BBC Studios in 2012 from private practice where she worked in mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate across various industries, including the retail, FMCG, telecommunications, media and communications sector. Working at Herbert Smith Freehills and Gilbert & Tobin lawyers in Sydney and for Hogan Lovells in Berlin, her clients included News Corp, Yahoo! Inc, Seven Network, Telstra, Pacific Magazines and Diageo.

Disney+ signals streaming era has arrived, everything about to change

The long-promised streaming revolution – the next great leap in how the world gets its entertainment – is finally here, reports The New York Times.

Streaming services, of course, have been challenging the Hollywood status quo for years. Netflix began streaming movies and television shows in 2007 and has grown into a giant, spending US$12 billion on programming this year to entertain 166 million subscribers worldwide. There are 271 online video services available in the United States, according to the research firm Parks Associates, one for seemingly every predilection – Pongalo for telenovelas, AeroCinema for aviation documentaries, Shudder for horror movies, Horse Lifestyle for equine-themed content.

While all this was happening, however, the three biggest old-line media companies – Disney, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia – largely stayed on the sidelines. Charging into the streaming fray would mean putting billions of dollars in profit from existing cable networks like USA, Disney Channel and TBS at risk. Building video platforms of the size needed to compete with Netflix and Amazon would be frightfully expensive. And mastering the underlying technology would require a sharp learning curve. Better to bide their time. When it became clear that protecting their existing business model was more perilous than embracing the future, no matter now disruptive in the near term, they would act.

That time is now. And everything is changing.

As the Big Three entertainment companies launch their video platforms, streaming competition is mounting from Silicon Valley. Apple rolled out Apple TV Plus on Nov. 1. Facebook and Snapchat are determined to become bigger video forces. And never count out YouTube, part of the Google family. Feeling the need for more “quick bite” videos while standing in line at the grocery store? Quibi, a streaming start-up led by Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg, is due in April.

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News Brands

‘Sincerely sorry’: ABC casuals to receive back pay from next month

Almost 2000 current and former ABC employees will start receiving back pay from next month, with the outstanding entitlements expected to cost the public broadcaster millions of dollars, reports The Age’s Broede Carmody.

The ABC alerted staff in January about concerns it had inadvertently underpaid more than 2500 casual staff. On Monday, an ABC spokesperson confirmed a review has since found 1886 people did not get their correct entitlements. The other 689 were not underpaid, according to the review.

Close to $23 million has been set aside in the ABC’s budget for historical salary, wages and superannuation, according to the 2018-19 annual report.

“We are sincerely sorry that this happened and deeply regret the impact it has had on our people,” the spokesperson said. “This error should not have occurred. The ABC is continuing to have discussions with the Fair Work Ombudsman and the other unions about this matter.”

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WA Family Court judge wants final say on news report

The Family Court of Western Australia has ordered The Australian to submit a draft article for its approval before it will consider allowing the newspaper to name a psychologist found guilty of professional misconduct, reports The Australian’s Nicola Berkovic.

The order came as Attorney-General Christian Porter vowed to consider whether strict secrecy laws that prevent scrutiny of Family Court psychologists “should balance privacy issues with open justice”.

The Perth-based psychologist, “Dr M”, was found guilty of professional misconduct a month ago but The Australian has been unable to name him because section 121 of the Family Law Act prevents the identification of any witnesses in family law proceedings, even independent experts.

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Actor Craig McLachlan pleads not guilty to multiple assault changes

Craig McLachlan allegedly indecently assaulted a female actor in front of an audience with an unscripted kiss and then told her she was “nothing” in an offstage confrontation, a court has heard, reports The Age’s Adam Cooper.

He is also accused of kissing another actor at least 20 times over her body and tracing a finger around her genitals in a scene where he was concealed by a bedspread but the woman’s face was visible to the audience.

Littlemore said McLachlan was given the license to “ad lib” during the production, both with the written script and his physical movements, in what actors “call bits of business”.

One of the women gave evidence on Monday to a court closed to the public and media. Before that, prosecutor Matt Fisher said McLachlan was charged with indecently assaulting three of the women while they were on stage performing.

The hearing is set to run for three weeks but will be closed to the public and media most of this week while magistrate Belinda Wallington hears the four complainants give evidence.

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U2 frontman Bono stands with Aussie journalists after media raids

U2 frontman Bono was shocked to discover the attacks on media freedom in Australia in the wake of Australian Federal Police raids on journalists, reports News Corp’s Kathy McCabe.

The singer and activist, who advocates for the eradication of poverty and preventable disease through the One Campaign, said the witch hunt for whistleblowers and intimidation of journalists reporting on controversial matters of national security was “dangerous”.

“Truth is the bedrock … and journalists are its guardian angels,” he said last week after their opening Australian concert in Brisbane.

The Irish supergroup are renowned for immersing themselves in the current political and social climates of the countries they tour.

Bono asked for more information about the Australian media’s Right To Know campaign which seeks protection for journalists reporting on national security matters and reform of Freedom of Information and defamation laws.

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Journalist says Vanuatu ban linked to China coverage

The media director of a Vanuatu newspaper says his ban from the country is linked to his coverage of growing Chinese influence in the Pacific Island nation, reports The Age’s Anthony Galloway.

Canadian citizen Dan McGarry was stopped from boarding a flight out of Brisbane airport on Saturday morning.

The media director of the Vanuatu Daily Post group, who has lived in Vanuatu for 16 years, applied to have his work permit renewed but was rejected earlier this month.

McGarry and his partner, who is a Vanuatu citizen, travelled to Brisbane to attend a forum on media freedom in Melanesia, where his case was a major topic on the agenda.

McGarry said his lawyer had advised him he would be able to travel to Australia and return to Vanuatu as a visitor. “The advice was there was nothing barring me from returning to Vanuatu as a visitor – I can’t work but I can be with my family,” he said.

But when he went to board the flight to Port Vila on Saturday morning, he was told by Virgin staff the country had issued an order barring him from flying to the country.

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Terry McCrann: Media burns its right to claim credibility

Last week’s bushfires haven’t only – figuratively – fried brains right around the country and especially in the Melbourne-Sydney-Canberra triangle; they’ve also arguably singed the media’s ‘Your Right to Know’ campaign, reports News Corp’s Terry McCrann.

Over the last two weeks, we have seen little else than dishonesty, distortion and, above all, hysteria from great swathes of the media in relation to the bushfires. This has been led off by wall-to-wall hysteria from the biggest and most pervasive media group in Australia, the ABC; two of the three Nine broadloid papers; and the online Guardian, stuffed as it is with former Fairfax (Nine) people.

It has been unremitting, unrelenting, wall-to-wall coverage. It has been relentlessly partial, dishonest and hysterical.

For media organisations supposedly committed to ‘Your Right to Know’, the ABC, the Nine broadloids and The Guardian in particular have deliberately and through entrenched ignorance and pervasive cognitive dissonance excluded facts and context that they deemed were ‘Not your right to know’.

In their case, it’s been wall-to-wall unqualified ‘climate change caused the bushfires’ and all because the Coalition climate ‘deniers’ and the current PM Scott Morrison in particular had ‘failed to take action on climate change’.

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Television

Fuel TV Australia signs streaming deal with the Seven Network

Fuel TV Australia and the Seven Network have signed an agreement that will see a 24/7 streaming channel running on the 7plus platform, as well as dedicated block programming on 7mate.

Fuel TV is an Emmy Award-winning global channel with programming focusing on the culture and lifestyle of skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, BMX, MTB, motocross and wakeboarding.

As an independent business, Fuel TV is seen in more than 103 countries, broadcast in five languages to more than 770 million homes. The channel was born in the US, being founded by Fox Sports Media Group reaching 40 million homes in the US by 2013.

Fuel TV Australian managing partner Jay Palmer said: “We are proud to be aligned with such a progressive network as Seven. We look forward to adding to their action sports credentials and showcasing the sports and culture we love as we head towards a pivotal time in action sports with the inclusion of surfing and skateboarding in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”

Radio

Beers back: Tom Malone reverses decision to sack 3AW executive

After the shock decision to let go of a longtime 3AW executive last month just before Nine Entertainment Co took control of the station, the new management has reinstated the much-admired Stephen Beers.

Nine Entertainment Co’s new MD radio, Tom Malone, sent this note to staff about the move:

I’m delighted to announce that Stephen Beers is returning to 3AW as station manager – Melbourne. Stephen has generously agreed to contract back to Macquarie Radio as we transition our business into the new Nine. I have taken this decision because even in my first week I see what an important contribution Stephen has made to the success of 3AW in this city and for this community and we need his wisdom and support as we move forward together.

Personally, I have known Stephen for 20 years, and I’m looking forward to working closely with him as we evolve the sound of 3AW and 1278, improve the way we produce and commercialise our content, and move closer together with the TV, print and digital parts of our business to drive audience and revenue growth for each other.

While I know you will be happy with Stephen’s return, this does not alter the challenge ahead of us. We must all strive to deliver great local content, while keeping a close eye on costs to ensure the health of our business and its contribution to the broader business. That is my challenge to you and Stephen as we move into 2020.

Perth radio’s Captain Paul retires to move to Denmark with family

Mix94.5’s “Captain” Paul Shepherd announced his retirement from radio on Monday on the ClairsyMatt and Kymba breakfast show, after over 30 years on air with the SCA station.

Shepherd was diagnosed with bowel cancer in August and after undergoing surgery has been receiving chemotherapy treatment and making regular guest appearances on the show.

He will be moving to Denmark to spend time with his family, his best friend, Golden Labrador, Bella and in true Captain Paul style, build a plane.

“It’s a big decision and I certainly wasn’t ready to leave at the time but this has brought my thinking forward a few years,” Paul said.

“When you get a smack in the face that you could die, do something about it, I’m doing something about it.

“There is a lot of things I want to do. I’m going to build an aeroplane right from scratch, build everything myself and start flying again.”

Shepherd started his career from the skies, flying his aircraft Chucky high over Perth roads, he has most recently been in the studio for Clairsy, Matt and Kymba.

“Gee we miss you, we just miss you, no one else laughs at our jokes,” Kymba said.

“It was very clear what a part of the furniture you are in this city, let alone this station,” Matt said.

“I’m sure there is a lot of people very sad to hear that you are retiring but happy you will be doing what you want to be doing for the rest of your life.”

Mix 94.5 will celebrate Shepherd’s career on-air across the next few weeks, with years of bad jokes and tributes airing in the Clairsy, Matt and Kymba breakfast show and across the workday.

“I feel very special and humbled by all the attention,” said Shepherd.

“Thank you to all the lovely listeners for their support, I won’t disappear completely.”

Sports Media

Australian great Mark Taylor to make commentary comeback

Mark Taylor will return to the cricket airwaves this summer, reports News Corp’s Ben Horne and Robert Craddock.

The former Australian captain has not been heard on commentary since Channel 9 lost the cricket rights two years ago, but will return to calling for Macquarie Sports Radio at the Gabba on Thursday.

Adding to the significance of his return, it’s understood the contract to call three Test matches this summer is the last deal legendary agent John Fordham signed off on before he sadly died last week.

There will be a strong back to the future feeling in the Macquarie box, with Taylor to share the microphones with another part of Channel 9’s iconic team, Ian Chappell.

It’s understood Taylor will commentate both Tests against Pakistan in Brisbane and Adelaide, and will also call the Sydney Test against New Zealand in January.

Even towards the end when his illness took hold, Fordham was still working deals and negotiated the terms of the new contract for Nine’s radio arm, Macquarie.

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