Mediaweek Roundup: ABC, Village Roadshow, Ellen DeGeneres , The Block + more

Ellen degeneres

ABC, Stan Grant, Live Nation, Australian Golf Digest, Conde Nast and NFL

Business of Media 

Live Nation announces senior leadership roles across Asia Pacific division

Roger Field, currently CEO of Live Nation Australia & New Zealand, has been named president of Live Nation Asia Pacific with Mark Kneebone taking on the new role of managing director Live Nation New Zealand and Kei Ikuta being promoted to president Live Nation Japan. Paul Antonio, currently president Asia & Middle East, moves to the new role of chief operating officer Live Nation EMEA, reporting to John Reid, president Live Nation EMEA.

Live Nation Roger Field

Roger Field

Field joined the company in 2010 to set up Live Nation Australia in partnership with Luke Hede (currently serving vice president of touring). Following the acquisition of Michael Coppel Presents in 2012, Field has led the growth of the Australian and New Zealand businesses, initially as COO and then becoming CEO in 2017. In this new role, Field will oversee all of Live Nation’s businesses across the Asia Pacific region reporting to Live Nation Asia Pacific chairman, Alan Ridgeway. Michael Coppel will continue as chairman of Australia.

Serving as co-head of promotions for Australia & New Zealand since 2018, Kneebone will take up the new role of managing director Live Nation New Zealand, overseeing all of Live Nation’s businesses in NZ, reporting to Roger Field. Stuart Clumpas retires from his role as chairman New Zealand but will continue on as a consultant for the company as well as a shareholder in Spark Arena.

In Japan, Kei Ikuta will lead the business taking over from John Boyle who has served as president since January 2018 and is now moving back to work with Live Nation in his hometown of Los Angeles. Under Boyle’s leadership, Live Nation’s profile and scale has grown significantly, launching Download in 2019, being appointed international booker for new Tokyo Olympic venue Ariake Arena and growing show count and market share. Ikuta who joined the company earlier this year from legendary Japanese promoter Udo Artists, will report to Roger Field.

Commenting on the announcement, Alan Ridgeway, chairman of Live Nation Asia Pacific said: “The appointment of these roles provides us with the opportunity to further align our Australian, New Zealand and Asian businesses. Roger comes to the role with an impressive record of success and is in a great position to lead our growth strategy as he leverages our resources across the whole region. I wish Roger, Mark and Kei all the best in their new roles in taking our businesses forward in this new era and thank Paul, Stuart and John for their hard work and dedication in establishing our presence in Asia, New Zealand and Japan.”

Live Nation

Live Nation New Zealand’s Together Again shows at Spark Arena’s The Tuning Fork, were among the world’s first socially distanced shows in May this year

Live Nation Asia Pacific, president, Roger Field, added: “I want to thank Alan for giving me the opportunity to lead the talented teams across the division. The cohesion of a true Asian Pacific organisation presents significant opportunities for growth, not only for our business but for the professional development of our people and relationships. New Zealand continues to prove itself as a market that leads the way in the return to live and Mark is a proven leader who has played a critical role in our overall success. This appointment further solidifies our commitment to NZ and will affirm the market as a significant player in the global live industry.”

Coronavirus: ABC staff urged to vote to defer 2% pay rise

The Morrison government is urging ABC staff to vote yes to defer an imminent pay raise to show solidarity with other public servants, journalists in commercial media, and the broader community making sacrifices during the coronavirus pandemic recession, reports The Australian’s Tom Dusevic.

Employees of the broadcaster began voting on Monday on whether to vary their enterprise agreement to delay a 2 per cent rise, and fall into line with core government departments and dozens of agencies that have accepted a six-month deferral for wage rises.

The public sector union, however, is calling on ABC staff to reject the pay freeze, advising members they deserve the $5m in pay rises that are due next month.

The median base salary at the corporate regulator is estimated to be $110,000, compared with $86,436 in the Australian Public Service.

[Read more]

Village Roadshow loses Warner Bros film distribution deal

Entertainment company Village Roadshow’s film distribution deal with Warner Bros. will cease at the end of the year after the US entertainment heavyweight decided against renewing its contract, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

The group, which is being taken over by private equity group BGH Capital in a deal worth up to $487.5m, said its deal to distribute Warner’s films in Australia and New Zealand through its subsidiary Roadshow Films won’t be renewed when it expires on December 31.

Village’s cinemas are currently showing Warner’s blockbusters, but many other major releases have been pushed back until December or next year because of the coronavirus crisis.

Village, which is 40 per cent owned by the Kirby family, said the underlying earnings contribution from the Warner film distribution deal wasn’t “material” in its fiscal 2020 results, and it doesn’t expect any material impairment or write down of assets from the contract expiring.

The end of the Warner film distribution deal won’t have any impact on its takeover.

[Read more]

News Brands

Stan Grant joins ABC News as International Affairs Analyst

Stan Grant has joined ABC News in a new multiplatform role as international affairs analyst.

Stan Grant ABC

Grant will provide stories and analysis for ABC Online, 7.30, Four Corners, audio current affairs and TV news. This will include contributing to a new regular China segment on The World each Thursday night, produced by the News Channel and the Asia Pacific Newsroom team.

“The world is at a critical period,” Grant said. “Coronavirus has laid waste to our economies and revealed our fragility at the same time as democracy is in retreat and a more authoritarian China is reshaping global power.

“I’m really looking forward to drawing on my three decades as a reporter covering the big conflicts and stories of our time and joining the dots of that for Australians.”

Director, News Gaven Morris said the story of China and its complex relationships around the world, including with Australia, was one of the most important of our time.

“Covering the China story is a priority, and we’re actively examining a range of options for how ABC News will continue to provide Australians with the most complete and authoritative reporting and analysis,” he said.

“Stan Grant is one of Australia’s most knowledgeable and respected journalists, with extensive direct China experience, and it’s terrific to have him as part of the ABC team.”

Early in his media career Grant worked as a political correspondent for ABC. He later worked for Seven in a number of roles and later worked as a correspondent for CNN and then Sky News Australia.

He has written a number of books including Stan Grant On Identity earlier this year.


So good you can smell it! Australian Golf Digest interactive edition #600

Australian Golf Digest, the country’s oldest and largest golf media brand, celebrates its 50-year anniversary in style this month with its 600th issue Collector’s Edition, which includes a detailed ranking of the 50 Greatest Australian Golfers of all time.

The ranking, compiled by long-time Australian Golf Digest senior writer Rohan Clarke (whose time with the magazine spans half of its 50 years), reignites the long-held debate over who is the best Australian golfer ever.

In order, the top 10 is:

No.1: Greg Norman
No.2: Karrie Webb
No.3: Peter Thomson
No.4: Kel Nagle
No.5: Walter Travis
No.6: Adam Scott
No.7: David Graham
No.8: Jan Stephenson
No.9: Jim Ferrier
No.10: Jason Day

The bumper 180-page birthday issue, which comes jam-packed with a mix of classics from the magazine’s archive plus a range of new treatments, is a celebration of golf as we knew it, and is set to turn heads with its special gold foil and interactive ‘scratch and sniff’ cover, designed to tickle the senses of Aussie golfers with the aroma of freshly cut grass.

“We wanted to make this issue stand out and thought what better way to do that than to ignite the senses of readers with that great smell of teeing off at first light, that one thing we can all relate to – the smell of a freshly cut fairway or green,” said Australian Golf Digest managing director Nick Cutler.

“It’s a monumental achievement… 600 issues – or 50 years – is a long time in the publishing game, and with the strong digital product offering we have developed, we can’t wait to see what the next 50 years has in store,” Cutler added.

Australian Golf Digest editor-in-chief Brad Clifton said reaching such a milestone was a testament to the power of golf and the people it attracts.

“Fifty years is a golden milestone in anyone’s language. For those of us at Australian Golf Digest, it’s the culmination of hundreds and thousands of articles, interviews, flights, hotel rooms, hits and misses over 600 adrenalin-filled deadlines, all met with the same rigour and enthusiasm to see our hard work laid bare in its most natural form – print.

“It’s also a testament to the observation made about sports writing by American scribe George Plimpton: ‘The smaller the ball, the more formidable the literature’. From legendary penmen like Peter Dobereiner, Tom Callahan and Dan Jenkins, to our very own Peter Thomson and Tom Ramsey, Australian Golf Digest has been truly blessed to be the ‘home club’ of golf’s greatest wordsmiths.

“I thought Nick was joking about the scratch and sniff cover at first but it made perfect sense upon reflection: there’s nothing quite like a whiff of freshly cut grass before that first ball is struck, right? It’s that same richness and mystery to golf that keeps us excited to cover it and for our country to read about it in Australian Golf Digest for another 50 years.”

The anniversary issue takes a retrospective look at the game over the past five decades and includes contributions from the country’s most iconic players, including Greg Norman. Along with ranking Australia’s 50 greatest players of all-time it also details the most important courses that have contributed to every facet of the game Down Under.

Unlike other golf publications, Australian Golf Digest published through the COVID-19 pandemic and has seen its website traffic, social media engagement and subscriptions grow during this time.

“We realised very early, via our online and social channels, that golfers across the country were as keen as ever to engage with us,” Cutler said. “For many people, golf has been their one escape during this terrible pandemic. To play a small part in facilitating that therapeutic outlet has kept us focused and determined to deliver a quality product.”

Australian Gold Digest

Australian Golf Digest’s 50-Year Anniversary Edition goes on sale nationally on Thursday, September 24, and will be available through newsagents and supermarkets.

Conde Nast’s Tatler backs down in row over Duchess of Cambridge profile

A row between the British royal family and the aristocracy’s favourite magazine has ended with Tatler deleting chunks of a profile on the Duchess of Cambridge, reports The Times in an article reprinted in The Australian.

Sources at the monthly confirmed that about 25 per cent of a recent article had been purged from its online incarnation. The article in the July/August edition triggered a firestorm between Kensington Palace and the publisher Conde Nast.

The duchess, 38, instructed lawyers over what she claimed were “inaccuracies and false representations” in the article, published in the print edition in May. It is understood that the duchess and her legal team were particularly agitated by claims that she felt overwhelmed with royal duties after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit their royal responsibilities at the beginning of the year. Contacts close to the couple also deny the article’s suggestion that Prince William was “obsessed” with his wife’s mother, Carole Middleton, 65.

The Times understands that Conde Nast was keen not to damage its relationship with the royal family and agreed to cut swathes from the original article. The online version omits claims that the duchess’s mother is “a terrible snob” and that her sister, Pippa Middleton, 37, is “too regal and try-hard”.

[Read more]


The Block 2020: The five New Street, Brighton houses for sale by auction

The five houses from The Block 2020 have just hit the market, reports Domain’s Jemimah Clegg.

Harking back to eras gone by, the front of each home is inspired by a decade between the 1910s and the 1950s. The homes were moved to New Street, Brighton, for the series.

This year’s contestants have, of course, put all the blood, sweat and many, many tears into the renovations that every crop of Blockheads does, but they have done so all while dealing with a global pandemic.

The listings show the revealed rooms at the front of each house, including the master and guest bedrooms and the ensuites to each, with more to be revealed in the coming weeks after each new room is judged.

The houses have indicative selling prices between $3.2 million and $3.4 million – that’s at least $400,000 above Brighton’s median house price of $2,617,500 – making the homes on the more expensive side in the bayside suburb.

[Read more]

Ellen DeGeneres addresses toxic workplace reports in talk show return

Just as she promised, Ellen DeGeneres addressed multiple reports about a “toxic” work culture on her eponymous show when the daytime program returned on Monday, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

[Nine will be broadcasting the new episode Tuesday at 12 noon.]

After sarcastically sharing that she had a “great…super terrific” summer, even offering a double thumbs up, DeGeneres went right into the reports of a toxic workplace and the WarnerMedia investigation in her first monologue back.

“I learned that things happened here that never should have happened,” DeGeneres said. “I take that very seriously and I want to say I’m so sorry to the people that were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility. I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”

Pledging that the new season marks the beginning of a “new chapter,” DeGeneres said of reports that she’s not the woman people see on TV, “I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things.”

[Read more]

Sports Media

Fox Corp poised to spend up to $2.8b to keep Sunday NFL

Fox Corp is willing to spend as much as $US2 billion ($2.8 billion) a year to maintain its rights to National Football League games on Sundays, a huge increase from its current contract, according to people familiar with the matter, reports The AFR.

Under the existing arrangement, the network airs games from the National Football Conference, featuring teams from the big media markets of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. That makes it the most-coveted outlet for advertisers.

Now Fox has to fend off other broadcasters, which also want to air high-profile matchups. Negotiations with the league are heating up because current broadcast rights begin expiring at the end of next year, starting with Walt Disney’s ESPN and its deal for “Monday Night Football”. Talks between the league and the networks are already underway, but at an early stage, Fox chief executive officer Lachlan Murdoch told investors this month.

[Read more]

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