Mediaweek Roundup: Guy Sebastian, SMH, Paul Anderson, Hamilton + more

• AAP, Woolworths, Domain, Donald Trump, Walkleys, Hamilton, and Mad Men

Business of Media

New AAP chief confident about slimmed-down newswire

The new chief executive of the Australian Associated Press newswire, Emma Cowdroy, is confident the news agency cannot be replicated and will remain highly valuable to a broad set of customers, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

“I think we are well positioned, we’ve got a reputation for delivering facts, fairly, accurately and really quickly,” Cowdroy told the Financial Review.

“We’ve always reported the news without fear or favour. We’re still going to be independent, balanced, objective and free of political agenda. We do the heavy lifting in terms of that day-in-day-out work for many publications.

“I don’t think any other organisations can fully and effectively replicate what we do. I think our service will speak for itself.”

“For the next six to 12 months, AAP is going to continue to supply a service that is broadly based on the service we have been providing,” Cowdroy said.

[Read more]

Former manager of Guy Sebastian arrested after fraud allegations

Guy Sebastian’s former manager Titus Day has been arrested on suspicion of defrauding the Aussie vocal superstar out of $1.15 million over a seven-year period, reports News Corp’s Nick Hansen.

NSW Police confirmed Day, 47, was arrested at his home in Bondi just after 6.30pm Wednesday evening and taken to Waverley Police Station where he is expected to be charged with fraud-related offences.

The allegations against Day were first reported to South Sydney police detectives on June 3.

The Daily Telegraph understands the allegations are that Day knowingly withheld proceeds of Sebastian’s work from him between December 2013 and April 2020.

It is understood Sebastian has been cooperating with investigators after conducting his own probe into the issue.

The development marks another nasty turn in the bitter split between the pair, which occurred in November 2017 after 12 years together.

The men are already suing each other in the Federal Court over claims to royalties and allegedly unpaid fees.

[Read more]

ACMA fines retailer $1m penalty for breaching spamming laws

Woolworths Group Limited has paid a million-dollar infringement notice and agreed to a court-enforceable undertaking with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in response to significant breaches of spam laws.

The infringement notice for $1,003,800 is the largest ever issued by the ACMA.

The ACMA found more than five million breaches of the Spam Act 2003 by Woolworths when it sent marketing emails to consumers after they had unsubscribed from previous messages. The emails were sent between October 2018 and July 2019.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the investigation found Woolworths’ systems, processes and practices were inadequate to comply with spam rules.

“The spam rules have been in place for seventeen years and Woolworths is a large and sophisticated organisation. The scale and prolonged nature of the non-compliance is inexcusable,” O’Loughlin said.

“Woolworths failed to act even after the ACMA had warned it of potential compliance issues after receiving consumer complaints.

“Australians have the right to unsubscribe from marketing emails that they do not want to receive. In this case, consumers claimed that they had tried to unsubscribe on multiple occasions or for highly personal reasons, but their requests were not actioned by Woolworths because of its systems, processes, and practices.

“Our enforcement action, a substantial infringement notice and a comprehensive three-year court-enforceable undertaking, is commensurate to the nature of the conduct, number of consumers impacted and the lack of early and effective action by Woolworths.

“The ACMA’s actions should serve as a reminder to others not to disregard customers’ wishes when it comes to unsubscribing from marketing material,” O’Loughlin said.

News Brands

Domain to bring back AFR, SMH & Age magazines at end of July

Domain chief executive Jason Pellegrino says demand from agents, property buyers and sellers has given him the confidence to resume publishing its glossy Domain magazine in The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

“Listings have improved quicker than expected when we were first looking at it in March, and it is now sustainable to put out a product that is high quality,” Pellegrino said.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the shutdown of many print editions of magazines, newspapers and inserts, as publishers battened down the hatches to deal with a sharp drop in advertising revenue amid government imposed restrictions on movement and gatherings aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.

[Read more]

Sydney Morning Herald and The Age arts critics quit in protest

Four of the five young critics hired by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in May to write about the arts have either quit their jobs or reduced their own hours to protest the fact that they are all white, reports The Australian’s Caroline Overington.

Two of the five white writers – Bec Kavanagh and Jack Callil – quit their jobs on Monday, with each saying “our resignation is in opposition to the lack of diversity in the selection, which resulted in an all-white group of peers.”

The group were employed in May to write about the arts by parent company Nine Newspapers, under grants issued by the Copyright Agency and the Judith Neilson Institute.

In statement, Nine said: “We accept the reasons why Jack Callil and Bec Kavanagh have decided to resign. We are reopening applications for the two freelance book critic roles, considering the previous applicants as well as seeking to ensure the roles are posted more widely to encourage a greater diversity of applicants. The successful applicants will need to have expertise as literary critics and strong writing skills.”

“This is an opportunity for talented writers with experience in reviewing a broad array of books, who can bring fresh and diverse voices to our reviewing ranks,” the new ad says.

[Read more]

‘Where are you Roger Ailes?’ Trump refers dead Fox News exec

Donald Trump appeared to make an otherworldly plea for help to boost the fortunes of Fox News on Tuesday, asking about the whereabouts of its long-dead and disgraced chairman Roger Ailes, reports The Guardian.

In a tweet criticising the channel’s hiring of Democratic figure Donna Brazile, he said: “Where are you Roger Ailes?”, drawing suggestions he was not aware that Ailes had died in May 2017, shortly after being forced out of Fox amid a series of accusations of sexual misconduct.

The response clearly stung the US president, who later tweeted in characteristic style that he knew “better than anyone” that his friend had died three years ago.

“Just look at what happened to @FoxNews. We all miss Roger!!!” he tweeted.

[Read more]

Entries open for 2020 Walkleys: Awards gala in Tamworth Nov 20

Celebrating yet another milestone and excellence in journalism across all mediums, the 65th Walkley Awards goes regional this year with the awards gala set to dazzle in Tamworth on Nov 20.

The Walkleys recognise excellence in Australian journalism across 30 categories, on all platforms including photojournalism, documentary, non-fiction books and cartoons. As always, digital journalism can be entered into any category.

Categories and entry terms

The Walkley Awards are open to all Australian media for work published on any platform between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020. Entries close at midnight on Monday, August 31, 2020.

To work out where you have your best chance, read the category descriptions and terms and conditions.

There’s never been a more important time to celebrate distinctive storytelling mad reporting that seeks out the truth, demonstrates creativity and bravery, and offers new perspectives on important issues while also highlighting them.

Chair of the Walkley Judging Board, Lenore Taylor, said, “From the Bushfires to COVID-19, 2020 has already proven to be a year we will never forget and more than ever it’s a year that has highlighted the important and amazing work that has been done by Australian journalists under some seriously difficult circumstances.

“We’ve strengthened some of the category descriptions to make it easier for you to identify exactly what the judges are looking for and to also help make it clear what you can submit in the All Media Production and Innovation categories. It’s now time to put these stories forward as we open entries for the 65th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism.”

The application

Visit to submit your entry online.

The Walkley Foundation also invites the public to submit nominees for the Outstanding Contribution to Journalism Award (chosen by the Walkley Directors) through the entry site.

Key dates:

Jul. 1 (Wednesday): Entries open
Aug. 31 (Monday, 11.59pm): Entries close
Oct. 15 (Thursday): Walkley finalists announced (including Nikon-Walkley and Documentary Award finalists) Sydney and Melbourne
Nov .5: Walkley Book Award shortlist announced
Nov. 20 (Friday): Walkley Awards Gala Dinner – Tamworth


Paul Anderson farewells 10 staff, “Officially on leave”

Former 10 chief executive officer Paul Anderson, who resigned in March, has thanked and farewelled staff, reports TV Tonight.

Anderson joined Network 10 in 2003 but after announcing his resignation, both as 10 CEO and executive vice president of ViacomCBS Australia/ NZ, agreed to stay for an interim period to assist with a smooth transition to new management.

In an email to staff today he said, “This note is to let you know that I am now officially on leave from 10. And while I have contractual obligations, Beverley (McGarvey) and the management team are running the network – with a lot of success in very trying conditions.

“The world we live in at the moment is incredibly difficult for all sectors of the community and economy. Beverley and the team are doing an amazing job and their ratings and revenue performance for the first half of 2020 say it all.”

Anderson thanked sales boss Rod Prosser for leading his team through an unprecedented advertising period.

“I would also like to acknowledge the incredible job that our team are doing on Studio 10, 10 News First, and The Project. This has been an extraordinary year to report on and your efforts have been amazing.”

[Read more]

Five-star review: You might need a Disney+ subscription to watch this

TV Tonight’s David Knox doesn’t hand out many five-star reviews. He did this morning:

It seems there just may be an upside to the global pandemic, in the form of Hamilton ‘the movie.’

A filmed version of the hit Broadway musical was due to be released on the big screen in 2021. Instead Disney nabbed the rights and has fast-tracked it to streaming. Now you don’t need a plane or Broadway ticket (neither of which are readily available) to experience this exhilarating production.

Filmed in 2016 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, on a largely spartan stage, this production is written by Lin Manuel-Miranda (His Dark Materials, Fosse / Verdon): book, lyrics and music. If that’s not enough he also stars in the title role. The man is simply a genius.

Hamilton is a towering work.

Building on his success with In the Heights, the score comprises hip-hop, jazz, R&B and traditional music theatre to weave its magic across an often-overlooked chapter in American History: how a West Indies immigrant Alexander Hamilton, helped ratify the American Constitution.

[Read more]

Mad Men streaming rights go to Prime Video for Australia

Mad Men has a streaming home, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

After spending the past nine months shopping global and streaming rights to its Emmy-winning drama, producer Lionsgate Television has sold the ad industry period drama to Amazon and the show’s original home, AMC, in a sprawling deal.

Amazon and AMC, where the series originally ran for seven seasons, will share domestic SVOD rights to Mad Men. Amazon-owned IMDb TV will be the ad-supported streaming home to the advertising drama from creator Matthew Weiner, with the series launching there July 15. Amazon and IMDb TV will have exclusive rights to the series through the summer. AMC will have the series in the fall in a deal that also includes linear US syndication rights as the basic cable network looks to bolster its roster after the novel coronavirus is expected to end plans for a number of scripted series that were earmarked for 2020.

Amazon’s Prime Video’s international streaming rights will be effective July 3 in Europe, Australia, Latin America and elsewhere; July 15 in Japan, Israel, Indonesia and Thailand; Oct. 1 in Canada and Nov. 1 in the Netherlands. Starzplay will also have international streaming rights to the series across Europe, Japan and Latin America, starting Oct. 1. (Lionsgate owns Starz.)

[Read more]

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