Mediaweek roundup: Disney+, Rugby Australia, Hutchy & Eddie + more

• JCDecaux, QMS, Matt Scriven, Rugby Australia, Homeland, Tom Gleeson + ACCC

Business of Media

QMS shareholders approve Quadrant Private Equity takeover

QMS shareholders have near-unanimously voted for Quadrant Private Equity’s $420 million takeover of the out-of-home advertising business, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

The buyout marks a return to outdoor advertising for Quadrant, which bought and listed APN Outdoor before selling it in 2018 for $1.2 billion to French giant JCDecaux.

The QMS deal will see Quadrant pay $1.22 per share for QMS Media, valuing the company’s equity at $420.6 million and giving it a total enterprise value of $571.6 million.

The scheme between QMS and Quadrant sees equity held by QMS chief executive Barclay Nettlefold and QMS Media Australia chief executive John O’Neill being rolled over into scrip in a holding company as well as some cash consideration.

[Read more]

Ad giant JCDecaux flags police action for climate vandals

Major French advertiser JCDecaux warns it will take Australian climate activists to the police if they continue to vandalise their property with pro-environmentalist art, as moderate Liberal MPs say the artists’ actions are harming the push for more climate action, reports The Australian’s Richard Ferguson.

A loose collective of artists under the banner of #BushfireBrandalism – including a Sydney painter infamous for his murals targeting Tony Abbott– are breaking into the French company’s glass advertising displays using allen keys.

A JCDecaux spokeswoman said the company had been aware of the climate vandalism campaign for some time and it was considering taking the campaign to the police.

“JCDecaux haven’t contacted authorities at this point – but will be left with no choice if it persists,” she told The Australian.

[Read more]

Formal request for ACCC probe into Google delayed

The consumer watchdog is yet to get the formal request to conduct an investigation into Google’s control of the adtech market, two months after one was approved by the federal government, reports The Australian’s John Durie.

The delays come as The Wall Street Journal reports the US Department of Justice is ramping up its own antitrust probe of Google, which while complementary could easily overtake the work of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The ACCC was a groundbreaker on the issue of digital platforms after the government issued a request for an inquiry back in December 2017.

[Read more]

Television

Amanda and Grant on their Logies feud with Tom Gleeson

Tom Gleeson controversially won the Gold Logie over sentimental favourite Amanda Keller with a campaign that mocked the awards, reports News Corp’s Siobhan Duck.

And that came after Gleeson claimed he swung the 2018 Gold to Grant Denyer by running a campaign for him.

Keller says: “I like Tom. I enjoy the fact that he is a disrupter. What I didn’t like was that he said Grant only won because of him and that the award means nothing. That was really unfair.

“I know how much that award meant to Grant. And, look, it meant something to me too. I was grateful just to be nominated.”

At the time of his win, a furious Denyer said that Gleeson’s negative campaign, could spell the end for the Logies. But he has softened his stance somewhat since then.

“Tom ran a great campaign,” he says.

“But he took a different approach. He sees it all as a big joke. But what he did was he brought a crowd in who would not normally care about the Logies. He made it accessible to a whole new demographic.”

[Read more]

Mandy Patinkin bids teary goodbye to Homeland

Of all the things actor Mandy Patinkin was asked to do in 96 episodes of the critically acclaimed drama Homeland, the toughest was simply walking away. The role has changed him forever, he says.

The role was a significant one in an already extraordinary career. Chicago-born Patinkin seems something of a triple threat: a gifted dramatic actor, a noted interpreter of Stephen Sondheim‘s musical works and, for a certain generation, the beloved swashbuckling hero Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride.

Yet few works have so fundamentally altered his life as his role in Homeland, as Saul Berenson, the CIA’s Middle East Division Chief and mentor to the show’s heroine, CIA case officer Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes.

“[It is my life for] the six months we were shooting, and then even in the time off, because it’s about the world I’m living in and the world doesn’t stop because you turn your phone off and go recharge it,” Patinkin says. “It’s just in every pore of my body. And it introduced me to the work I do with the refugee crisis, which has meant the world to me.”

[Read more]

Disney+ to reach 126m subscribers by 2025, study forecasts

Disney+ will reach 126 million subscribers worldwide by 2025 to reach 53 percent of Netflix’s nearly 238 million then, Digital TV Research analyst Simon Murray forecast in a Thursday report, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Following Disney’s Tuesday earnings report that exceeded subscriber estimates for Disney+, whose original programming includes The Mandalorian, with 28.6 million as of early February, Digital TV Research upgraded its forecast, which originally had called for 101 million subscribers by 2025.

“Disney+ will be the biggest SVOD winner over the next five years,” and will rank only behind Netflix and Amazon, the firm predicted in a report, highlighting its estimate for 105 million additions by 2025. It expects the Disney+ user base to reach 40.7 million at the end of 2019.

Five global streaming platforms will have 553 million paying SVOD subscribers by 2025, adding 196 million between 2020 and 2025, Murray projects.

[Read more]

Sports Media

Why rugby’s broadcast rights imbroglio will go into extra time

Rugby Australia officials remained confident on Thursday their unprecedented decision to test market interest in the code’s broadcast rights would not blow up in their faces, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Georgina Robinson.

The game was rocked by a report on Wednesday night that Fox Sports had decided to walk away from the sport after a 25-year relationship as its host broadcaster.

Then, as now, Foxtel bosses were incensed by RA boss Raelene Castle‘s decision to put the rights out to tender instead of accepting Fox Sports’ first offer.

But as of close of business on Thursday, the broadcaster had not conveyed any such message to RA.

On Thursday, Fox Sports chief executive Peter Campbell issued a statement reaffirming the broadcaster’s commitment to the sport for the final year of the current deal, but stated that the rights beyond the end of the year were “a matter for Rugby Australia”.

Fox Sports will almost certainly not bid early, may not bid at all, or may wait until the 11th hour and make a late play.

It is worth noting that Foxtel and Fox Sports can play hard ball on rights negotiations when the moment requires it.

On April 6, 2018, a News Corp publication reported that Cricket Australia’s rights hopes were “hit for six as Foxtel, Fox Sports bail”. One week later, Seven and Fox were announced as the game’s new partners in a record $1.2 billion deal.

[Read more]

Club rugby rights battle set to shape $1b TV deal

Rugby’s billion-dollar, four-nation broadcast deal is being held up by a battle over the future of the Sydney club competition, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Georgina Robinson.

Once the forlorn, forgotten gem in the crown of Australian rugby, the Shute Shield has emerged as the prized bargaining chip in the fraught negotiations over the sport’s next broadcast deal.

On one side is Rugby Australia, which wants to elevate the Sydney and Brisbane club competitions to greater prominence on the rugby calendar, and wants to sell a five-year, exclusive club-to-Wallabies package to the highest-bidding broadcaster.

On the other side is Fox Sports, RA’s long term broadcast partner, which, concerned RA could have its head turned by rival Optus, appears to be moving to secure what rugby content it can.

The outcome is a stalemate set against a backdrop of unprecedented tension over the rights negotiations for Super Rugby and the Wallabies from 2021.

[Read more]

Revealed: the $200 million broadcast offer met with radio silence

Fox Sports executives are convinced Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle never intended to renew their broadcast partnership after pitching her a $200 million deal months ago, only to receive deafening silence, reports News Corp’s Jamie Pandaram.

The Fox offer is for $40 million-a-year over five years, the same as the current deal despite Super Rugby’s cutting back of teams resulting in 30 per cent less content.

[Read more]

News Corp: Rugby union parts ways with Foxtel

This is a moment of truth for Rugby Australia and rugby in Australia, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

The decision to walk away from Foxtel’s offer to match its current deal to a sole alternative bidder in Optus could be as significant as the sport turning professional back in 1995.

Rugby’s current five-year broadcast deal signed in 2015 is worth around $57m a year to Rugby Australia, with Foxtel paying the vast bulk of this sum.

Under Rugby Australia’s deal with Foxtel the subscription broadcaster has the exclusive rights to Super Rugby, but is still forced under anti-siphoning laws to hand over the rights to all the important Wallabies Test matches to a free-to-air broadcaster in 10.

When SANZAR did a deal with News in 1995 it put rugby in the top tier of sports. Although it has slipped, a deal with Optus will likely to send it to the third division.

[Read more]

Can Australian rugby survive a move away from Fox Sports to Optus?

Rugby Australia has embarked on a high-risk strategy by turning its back on its 25-year broadcast partnership with Fox Sports, comments The Australian’s Wally Mason.

And if it all blows up in Raelene Castle’s face, the biggest loser will be the already battered and bruised game.

Months of talks between Fox Sports and Rugby Australia came to a halt on Wednesday and it now looks as if the code will make a deal with Optus.

Fox has been actively involved in strengthening and developing all these codes – it’s in their interests. The stronger the sport, the more people who are involved and interested, the more eyeballs will be watching on TV.

The interests of Optus, on the other hand, lie not in contributing to the development of sport but in attracting subscribers to its phone services.

[Read more]

Footy Classified revamp uncertain after departure of Matt Scriven

The much-anticipated revamp of Footy Classified has hit yet another hurdle, reports News Corp’s Scott Gullan.

It’s been a summer of uncertainty for the Channel 9 football program after it was decided at the end of last season that drastic changes were required.

The latest curve ball came last week when the man who was driving the expansion of the popular show suddenly quit.

Matt Scriven, the managing director of Nine Melbourne, has decided to step away after more than two years in the role, citing family reasons.

What we do know is that Scriven was planning to have Classified on Monday and Wednesday nights, most likely in a more prime time slot.

[Read more]

Footy Classified: Hutchy says Eddie McGuire can host Mondays too if he wants

On the first Sounding Board podcast on 2020, Crocmedia CEO and Footy Classified host Craig Hutchison indicated there was no deal yet finalised at Nine for a second episode of the format each week this year during the AFL season.

However, under questioning from AFL’s Damian Barrett, Hutchy indicated he thought there would be a mid-week episode given the lack of denials from Nine and its potential host Eddie McGuire about the anticipated new program. Hutchy even told Barrett that if McGuire ultimately got the job of hosting on Mondays too that would be OK with him.

Crocmedia’s SEN Breakfast last week revealed Ross Lyon would be joining the Nine AFL family on the new show expected to screen on Wednesdays.

Also on The Sounding Board, Hutchy revealed that Lyon would in addition be under contract to the AFL and also possibly Triple M, both deals which Barrett possibly helped negotiate.

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