Mediaweek roundup: Ally Langdon, Josh Thomas, Tim Blair + more

• Terry Jones, Bauer Media, Haymarket Group + Philip Jacobson

Business of Media

Magazine issues ‘scupper Bauer Media sale’ to private equity

Private equity suitor Mercury Capital has abandoned its plan to buy Bauer Media, as the German family-owned media group grapples to salvage its landmark magazine deal with Seven West Media, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich and Leo Shanahan.

Mercury’s decision comes after the competition regulator stymied local magazine consolidation last month, citing concerns about the industry’s outlook if the two biggest magazine publishers were allowed to merge.

Bauer ANZ chief executive Brendon Hill confirmed to TheAustralian that Mercury had walked away from the bid, describing it as “nice to be looked at”.

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Profit shock: UK publisher doubles result as digital drives dollars

Pre-tax profits at specialist publisher Haymarket Group have doubled year-on-year, with the business said to be in “sound financial shape”, reports Press Gazette.

The company has reported profit before tax of £15.2m for the year to 30 June 2019, returning to pre-2018 levels when numbers fell sharply. It reported pre-tax profit of £8m in 2018 and £15.9m in 2017.

Print now makes up £43.1m or just over a quarter (26.7 per cent) of total revenues for Haymarket, down from 31.4 per cent last year.

Digital has grown from 44.2 per cent to 48 per cent of total revenues at £77.6m, while live events are now worth £36.2m, or more than a fifth (22.4 per cent) of revenues.

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News Brands

US Journalist arrested in Indonesia over alleged visa violation

An American journalist has been arrested in Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan province and told he faces up to five years in prison for alleged immigration violations while on a business visa, reports The Australian’s Chandni Vasandani.

Philip Jacobson, an award-winning editor and content strategist for online environmental news site Mongabay based in San Francisco, was placed under “city arrest” last month for attending a meeting between the country’s largest indigenous rights advocacy group, AMAN, and state MPs to discuss land burn offs.

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See also:
‘Journalism is not a crime’: Environment reporter detained in Indonesia by The Sydney Morning Herald’s James Massola.

Tim Blair: Open season as Nine’s SMH cools off climate ad

“Independent Always”? Maybe not. The Sydney Morning Heraldmay need to ditch its slogan following an apparent incident this week of craven media compromise, reports News Corp’s Tim Blair.

The climate-fixated former broadsheet newspaper surprisingly rejected a paid full-page advertisement by environmental group Greenpeace targeting the Australian Open and climate change.

A Nine spokesman, however, said the decision was entirely motivated by legal considerations.

“We declined to run the advertisement on legal grounds,” Nine’s managing director of publishing Chris Janz said.

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Television

Monty Python stars remember Terry Jones who has died aged 77

Terry Jones, a founding member of the anarchic Monty Python troupe who was hailed by colleagues as “the complete Renaissance comedian” and “a man of endless enthusiasms”, has died after a battle with dementia, report press agencies in a news item published in The Sydney Morning Herald.

The actor and comedian directed and featured in some of the comedy troupe’s most-loved works, including Life Of Brian and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

With Eric Idle, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam, Jones formed Monty Python’s Flying Circus, whose anarchic humour helped revolutionise British comedy.

Jones wrote and performed for the troupe’s early-70s TV series and films including Monty Python and the Holy Grail in 1975 and Life of Brian in 1979.

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Josh Thomas tells Michael Idato about his new series on Stan

In his new series screening on Stan, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, Josh Thomas plays Nicholas; a young, gay Australian man on holiday visiting his American father, and his two half-sisters, Matilda (Kayla Cromer), who is on the autism spectrum, and Genevieve (Maeve Press), who is landing puberty with a thud, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Idato.

In the opening episode his father Darren (Christopher May) reveals he has incurable cancer, forcing Nicholas to step up and become custodian of his younger half-siblings.

The series is less autobiographical than Please Like Me– note that in the former Josh played Josh, while here Josh plays Nicholas – but Thomas does concede they are all reflections of himself.

“[Nicholas is] a bit more thoughtful than I am, a little more articulate than I am,” he says. “That’s the nature of a TV character. I feel like in Please Like Me, honestly, Josh was probably one of the worst versions of me. And in Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, Nicholas is like the best version of me.”

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Ally Langdon crashes Karl Stefanovic’s interview with Neil Mitchell

Karl Stefanovic thought he and Neil Mitchell had a special connection, but Neil was more interested in interviewing Today’s new kid on the block, Ally Langdon, reports 3AW.

Ally, who was being interviewed elsewhere at the time, decided to surprise Neil and Karl by walking in at the last minute.

“I don’t let anyone talk to Neil, he’s mine,” Karl said as she entered.

“Not anymore, darl, we’re sharing!” Ally snapped back.

That happened after Karl opened up to Neil about keeping things in perspective amid what he admits was a difficult period after leaving Today in 2018.

“I thought, hang on, a lot of people go through [divorce], why is mine such a big deal?”

“I still don’t know why it is but I got divorced, I did find love again, and I’m sorry if people are offended by that but it made me very happy.

“I have a really great core of people around me now and that centre is the most important thing moving forward.”

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