Mediaweek Roundup: Frawley TV tribute, MasterChef, Foxtel + more

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Business of Media

A Foxtel IPO still the goal for News Corp according to CFO

News Corp remains committed to the long-term goal of spinning off its under-pressure Australian pay TV venture Foxtel, and sees future growth in the business coming from streaming, not from broadcasting, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

The global media conglomerate is focused on turning Foxtel around and will then look to list the business, chief financial officer Susan Panuccio told the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2019 media, communications and entertainment conference overnight on Wednesday.

Susan Panuccio

“When we did that transaction we did say that both shareholders we very focused on an IPO and we are still focused, ultimately, on an IPO, but the most important thing for us at the moment is actually getting the operation performance of the business sorted,” Panuccio said.

“We will continue to focus on the stabilisation of that business from a broadcast perspective, the growth within the OTT (over-the-top) revenue streams, and then the cost efficiencies we can, obviously drive through that business. So once we’re convinced we’ve got that on the right path going forward then we’ll look at timing.”

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NBN worth ‘far less than it cost to build’: Vocus boss slams network

Vocus Group chief executive Kevin Russell has criticised the wholesale prices charged by the $51 billion National Broadband Network as too high, allowing Telstra to dominate the market and leaving low-income households paying more, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

Russell criticised the NBN Co for being worth “far less than what it cost to build” at the annual Australian Communications Consumer Action Network conference in Sydney on Thursday morning .

“And because of this failure to recognise the underlying market value of the NBN, we’re left in a situation where NBN’s decision-making is driven as a monopoly targeting financial returns, rather than consumer needs and market reality,” he said.

Vocus, which owns Dodo and iPrimus, is Australia’s fourth-biggest NBN reseller with 8 per cent of the market and more than 450,000 customers.

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Good news for Stan: ViacomCBS selling to all, not just own platforms

CBS chief creative officer David Nevins made it clear Thursday that CBS, and a merged ViacomCBS, will be an arms dealer to the highest bidders while not hoarding content for their own streaming services, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

“There’s a lot of hungry mouths to feed,” Nevins told analysts at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2019 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference. “We really believe in not only serving inside our own ecosystem but serving people outside … A lot of important suppliers are pulling back from demand.”

Presumably, Nevins, who is also CEO of Showtime, was primarily referencing Disney, which has been steadily taking content back from Netflix as it prepares to launch Disney+ on Nov. 12.

Executives said Aug. 13 that ViacomCBS would be formed by the two companies controlled by Shari and Sumner Redstone, and Nevins said the merger was “a long time coming … These are great content factories that will supply both our own platforms and other people’s as well”.

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News Brands

Detained WA bloggers quit their jobs to drive across the world

Australian travel bloggers Mark Firkin and Jolie King were making an ambitious overland voyage from Western Australia to the UK when their trip came to an abrupt halt near the Iranian capital, Tehran, reports WAToday’s Marta Pascual Juanola and Heather McNeill.

The pair were arrested by security forces while flying a drone, something they often did in pursuit of the perfect photograph. This time, they are alleged to have launched a drone at Jajrood, a military area near the capital of the Islamic republic.

The pair, who moved from Coffs Harbour, NSW, to Western Australia in 2015, quit their jobs in April 2017 and less than three months later they had embarked on a long overland expedition destined for the UK.

Until they were arrested more than two months ago, they had been enjoying an incredible journey in their Toyota LandCruiser through some of the world’s most beautiful and remote locations. In their customised vehicle, they had driven across WA’s Pilbara and Kimberley regions to the Northern Territory, before shipping their car to East Timor.

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‘Media can be ugly business’: Breakfast TV presenter details her sacking

Sami Lukis writes for about her ‘humiliating’ Today show sacking:

You’ve probably heard the television industry described as “cut-throat”. But most people have no idea just how merciless the business really is.

I know this. I found out first-hand.

I was dumped as Channel 9’s Today show weather presenter while I was on holiday. In fact, I was only given the shocking news on the very last day of what had been an otherwise enjoyable three-week vacay.

Talk about a holiday to remember.

This all happened many years ago, but the memory is just as vivid today. And thinking about how it all went down still makes me anxious.

I was enjoying dinner at some fancy pants restaurant in Beverly Hills, when I got the call from my manager, telling me not to rush home, because I didn’t have a job to come back to. And just like that, without any warning, after three amazing years, my time at Today was over.

I was devastated. And humiliated. Because as it also turns out, I was the last one to know.

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How India is saying farewell to Matt, Gary and George…

Get the tissues out.

India’s Star World TV is positively heartbroken over the final season of “the longest running cooking show in the world, MasterChef Australia,” reports TV Tonight.

It has released TV commercials to farewell Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris, including one that sounds like a country and western crooner.

Another one pivots a #Reuniteyourfamily campaign and sees a teenage girl emerging from bear-like hibernation, to join her family and watch MasterChef’s return.

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Sports Media

Garry Lyon & Jason Dunstall pay tribute to ‘big brother’ Danny Frawley

Two of Danny Frawley’s closest mates have spoken for the first time of the “bloody horrible” news of his death, saying they remain in disbelief they won’t receive a 7am text message with racing tips from the St Kilda champion on Saturday morning, reports News Corp’s Chris Cavanagh.

Former Hawthorn sharpshooter Jason Dunstall and former Melbourne captain Garry Lyon both worked alongside Frawley throughout his lengthy media career and both spent time with him at Fox Footy’s studios as recently as Saturday.

Both Dunstall and Lyon said they had not been awake to the signs of Frawley’s battle with depression and described how they broke down after finding out news Frawley had been involved in a car crash near Ballarat on Monday afternoon.

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Lyon and Dunstall were talking to AFL 360 co-host Gerard Whateley on Fox Footy.

See also:

• ‘I wish I had have rung’: Lyon feels like he’s lost a ‘brother’
• Devastated Dunstall speaks for first time since Frawley’s death

Hutchy and Pickers host special Danny Frawley tribute on regional TV

Although Danny Frawley had a big national audience with his work alongside Jason Dunstall on Fox Footy’s The Bounce, many footy fans didn’t see some of his finest moments on TV.

Frawley was the co-host of Crocmedia’s Off The Bench TV show that was broadcast into regional markets on the SCA network.

The show was originally hosted by Liam Pickering and Craig Hutchison when it was launched six years ago.

The program was previously shown on Prime7, but moved to SCA in 2017. At that time Pickering was co-hosting with Wayne Schwass before Frawley later took over co-hosting with Pickering.

As Craig Hutchison told Mediaweek earlier this week, Frawley wasn’t on the show last week after having taken some time off.

When news came through of his death on Monday, the show released this statement:

Everyone here at Off the Bench TV is completely shocked and saddened by the passing of our beloved host Danny Frawley.

All we can do at this time is to send our heartfelt condolences to Danny’s family and friends.

The program’s producers planned a tribute program, which went to air on Thursday night. The show reunited the original hosts, who also host the spin-off radio show Off The Bench on SEN and network stations on Saturday morning, Hutchy and Pickers.

During the show they played Danny Frawley highlights and recalled how the show used to be filmed in Ballarat. They’d often drive to the Victorian regional city with Frawley, stopping at his home in Bungaree where they would get a hearty meal and a bag of spuds for the boot of the car from the potato farmer.

Joining the hosts on the tribute show was regular Crocmedia contributor Nathan Brown who was coached by Frawley at Richmond.

Watch the Danny Frawley Off The Bench tribute episode here.

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