Mediaweek Roundup: Foxtel, Roxy Jacenko, Facebook, NRL + more

• CNN, Australian TV, Rugby Australia, and Fox Sports

Business of Media

Foxtel tells sports fans they can now go to the movies

Foxtel has this week been contacting sports fans without a movies package to let them know they now have access to Foxtel’s full selection of movie channels and movies on demand until 30 June at no extra charge.

The details are:
Access to Foxtel’s 10 dedicated Movies channels – Movies Premiere, Movies Action, Movies Comedy, Movies Drama, Movies Romance, Movies Thriller, Movies Hits, Movies Greats, Movies Family and Movies Kids along with Movies Ultra HD.

Access also to Foxtel’s thousands of hours of movies on demand drawn from Foxtel’s movies catalogue of over 1,000 movies.

Foxtel also reminded those sports fans the sports channels are still being curated while major sports codes are on pause with a refreshed sports line up including archive specials, new documentaries, pop-up channels and live shows.

Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany told subscribers:
“We know nothing replaces live sport but we believe the combination of sports archive specials, new documentaries, pop-up channels and live shows together with access to all our movies is a real alternative.

“As Sport subscribers stay safe and settle in at home, we want to make sure they all get to experience the amazing depth and breadth of our movie offering.”

Foxtel’s continuing sport programming includes:
Live shows including Fox Footy Live, Fox League Live, The Late Show with Matty Johns plus new episodes of Bounce and The Fan.

The dedicated football channels are also hosting re-calls of some of the greatest AFL and NRL matches from the past across the weekend with live commentary.

Virus strikes as Roxy Jacenko’s multi-million PR empire crumbles

Socialite Roxy Jacenko, the founder of one of Sydney’s most prominent public relations firms, Sweaty Betty PR, has lost 85 per cent of her multi-million dollar business in just three days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reports News Corp’s Mibenge Nsenduluka.

Jacenko built the business from the ground up 16 years ago and told Confidential she’s devastated after having to let some of her staff go.

“We have been hit extremely hard, as at today 85 per cent of the Sweaty Betty PR business fell over within just 72 Hours off the back of COVID-19 seeing four extremely loyal and dedicated team members sadly lose their employment as a direct result,” she said.

“It’s been an extremely sad and surreal week for me as a small-business owner, when you watch something you have worked quite literally seven days a week for 24 hours a day tumble down in a matter of days with no certainty on when you will be able to exercise the plan on rebuilding.”

[Read more]

News Brands

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo diagnosed with coronavirus

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo said Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with Covid-19, reports CNN’s Brian Stelter.

He is feeling well, and will continue to anchor his 9 p.m. program Cuomo Prime Time from his home.

“In these difficult times that seem to get more difficult and complicated by the day, I just found out that I am positive for coronavirus,” Cuomo wrote in a message on Twitter.

“I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fevers, chills and shortness of breath,” he wrote. “I just hope I didn’t give it to the kids and Cristina. That would make me feel worse than this illness!”

Cuomo was most recently at CNN’s offices in the Hudson Yards neighbourhood of New York City last Friday. He anchored from his home on Monday, and interviewed his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The two men traded brotherly barbs about the anchorman’s basement live shot location.

Cuomo said Tuesday that he is “quarantined in my basement” and will “do my shows from here.”

[Read more]

Facebook invests further $100m to support US news industry

Facebook announced yesterday it would invest US$100m to support the news industry – $25 million in emergency grant funding for local news through the Facebook Journalism Project, and $75 million in additional marketing spend to move money over to news organisations around the world.

Facebook VP of global news partnerships Campbell Brown said:

“Through the COVID-19 Community Network grant program, direct funding is helping journalists cover important stories when we all need them most. We’re building on this work and will direct a portion of these funds to publishers most in need in the hardest hit countries. The first round of these grants went to 50 local newsrooms in the US and Canada.”

“Local news organizations, especially hyper-local news organizations including those serving black and other underserved communities, have experienced challenges with the sustainability and distribution of news and information in the current media environment. COVID-19 has exacerbated an already existing crisis and our jobs have just gotten tougher. With such a sizable infusion from Facebook, local news organizations across the country will benefit as will our readers, our viewers and our listeners,” said Janis Ware, publisher of The Atlanta Voice.

Brown added: “This commitment builds upon $300 million Facebook committed already to serving journalists around the world through diverse and inclusive news programs and partnerships, including Report for America, the Pulitzer Center, the Community News Project and the Facebook Journalism Project’s Local News Accelerator training program.”

Television

Australian dramas are among TV shows shut down by pandemic

Free-to-air broadcasters have called on the government to relax quotas on local content as the ongoing impact of COVID-19 makes it harder to produce Australian television, report News Corp’s Jonathon Moran and Sally Coates.

Seven, Nine and 10 are unified in putting pressure on federal authorities to provide some relief after countless productions including The Bachelor and Home and Away have been shut down to prevent spread of the illness.

“We’ve flagged with the government that it is unlikely that we will meet regulatory requirements for local content this year and the next due to the impact of COVID-19 on our productions and sports broadcasts,” a spokeswoman for Channel 7 told Confidential. “Separately, it is more important than ever that the government moves forward with its content review, so all sectors of the industry have clarity and certainty about their regulatory obligations once we are on the other side of COVID-19.”

Studio audiences have been cut too on shows like Studio 10, The Project and Have You Been Paying Attention?

“We are committed to keeping our audiences entertained and connected in these challenging times,” a 10 spokeswoman said. “It is important to us that we ensure the continuity of employment for our production partners whenever possible.”

[Read more]

Sports Media

NRL players agree to 75% pay cut, want answers on missing millions

The Rugby League Players Association is expected to agree on Wednesday to an interim 75 per cent pay cut but has demanded an explanation from the NRL on how and when it intends to repay $10 million in redirected retirement funds, report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Chammas and Adrian Proszenko.

The players are expected to agree to a basic deal on payment, which will guarantee them two months of wages over seven months, and will work through the details in the coming weeks.

It comes as the NRL accepted a loss of almost $75 million due to both Nine and Fox Sports being expected to not make their quarterly broadcast payments on Wednesday.

[Read more]

Rugby Australia stands down 75% of staff, braces for $120m loss

Rugby’s darkest day came with a resounding thud, leaving most of its workers unemployed for the next three months as the game faces a crippling $120 million loss in revenue this year due to the COVID-19 crisis, report News Corp’s Jamie Pandaram and Jim Tucker.

Around 140 staff members at Rugby Australia were left in shock after chief executive Raelene Castle announced on Tuesday that 75 per cent of them would be stood down from April 1 until June 30.

Castle read a prepared five-minute statement to her employees, then directed them to speak to their individual managers regarding their temporary job losses. Many of their questions could not be answered.

Soon followed the culls at Australia’s four Super Rugby franchises; nearly all employees either stood down, or given drastically reduced hours and wages.

Castle said if no Super Rugby or Test matches can be played this year, RA faces a “worst-case scenario” of $120 million in lost revenue. And there is no broadcast deal secured beyond this year.

[Read more]

No golf, but Fox Sports will still celebrate US Masters

Golf fans can settle in and enjoy a week-long celebration of The Masters, when Fox Sports presents a special pop-up channel commencing Monday, April 6 on Foxtel and Foxtel Now.

Coinciding with when the now postponed 2020 Masters tournament had been scheduled to be played, Fox Sports 503 will pay homage all week to the prestigious event staged at the famed Augusta National Golf Club.

Fox Sports’ Drummond Golf Masters Channel will feature Masters Official Films, a series of documentaries which look back on some of the greatest moments and biggest wins throughout Masters history, from Jack Nicklaus becoming the oldest winner to Greg Norman 1996 heartbreak and much, much more.

The channel tees off on Monday, April 6 focusing on the decade of the 90s before re-living all five of Tiger Woods’ Masters victories on Tiger Tuesday.

In a special treat for golf fans, the channel will re-live two of the greatest Masters victories with full replays scheduled from Thursday to Sunday of Australian Adam Scott’s maiden win in 2013 and Tiger Woods’ historic fifth Green Jacket victory in 2019.

Another highlight will be re-watching the traditional Par 3 Contests, featuring the greats of the game as well as special guests, with the past six years of the event to be aired across the week, many in prime time.

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