Mediaweek Roundup: Holey Moley, Google, ABC, Helen Reddy + more

Holey Moley

SPA, Grant Broadcasting, Seven, and Cricket Australia

Business of Media

SPA prediction: Australian screen content, jobs and investment could halve

The announcement of various measures concerning the regulation of Australian and children’s content is predicted to reduce the amount of content being produced by at least fifty percent and remove thousands of jobs from the sector as well as opportunities for audiences across the world to engage with Australian stories, reports SPA.

“With the local screen industry already reeling from the impacts of COVID-19 and the freezing of contracting caused by the suspension of quotas since April, the announcement today is an unfortunate backward step and we predict will result in the demise of many Australian businesses and livelihoods,” said SPA CEO Matthew Deaner.

“Deregulation of legacy platforms without a transition plan into regulation of new platforms creates a disjointed and incomplete policy response that tinkers around the edges, appears to have been driven by old-world thinking and has scant regard to the future of Australian screen content. A once in a generation chance to reset the foundations for Australian stories for future generations and bring regulation into the 21st century has been presented to the Government in a unified way by the screen industry and the response presented today falls short and needs rethinking,” said Deaner.

“The effective abolition of children’s content quotas, the watering down of drama and documentary requirements and the halving of requirements for subscription TV doesn’t meet the Government’s articulated desire for forward-thinking policy-making. Instead, it presents as the adoption of the deregulation wish-list of legacy broadcasters and their owners and the international streaming companies,” said Deaner.

Measures will allow broadcasters to meet an entire year’s content obligation across drama, children’s and documentary content through a single program such as Home and Away.

[Read more]

Google enlists comedian to help in fight against Australia’s news code

Google has enlisted the help of a comedian in its ongoing campaign against the Australian government’s plan to make digital platforms pay for news, reports Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade.

Greta Lee Jackson stars in Google’s latest campaign salvo, which comes as the Australian competition regulator wraps up the consultation period with digital platforms and news publishers before the proposed mandatory news code becomes law. The search giant claims the proposal is “extreme” and unfair.

The final stage of the campaign is focused on what Google calls the “highly unusual, largely untested, one-sided arbitration system” that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has proposed in the draft code.

In a video, Jackson says asking Google and Facebook to pay for news is like asking a bus driver to pay the restaurant bills of passengers who ride the bus to the eateries.

“Proposed laws can be confusing so I’ll use an analogy to break it down,” Jackson says as she rides a bus to local restaurants.

“Under a new law being drafted, the bus driver would have to pay the restaurants for delivering the customers to their doorstep. Sounds weird, huh? Even when she agrees to pay and starts to negotiate how much, nothing she brings to the table is counted towards negotiations.

“What’s more absurd is that she’ll also be asked to cover some of the restaurant’s costs as well, like half the electricity bill. I may be a comedian but this is no laughing matter.”

[Read more]

ABC branded ‘self-indulgent’ for voting for a pay rise

ABC staff have been branded “self-indulgent” for insisting on a pay rise when other public sector workers on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic have had their wages frozen, reports News Corp’s Matthew Benns.

Eighty per cent of the public broadcaster’s staff voted against a proposal to defer the pay rise for six months and to instead pocket the cash straight away.

The vote brought widespread condemnation when public sector workers in 112 government agencies including the department of health have had their pay frozen to help the nation counter a pandemic driven recession.

“This decision is out of line with public expectations,” Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Ben Morton said.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said: “At a time when over a million Australians have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 downturn, employees in the Australian Public Service face a pay freeze, and many other media organisations have implemented pay cuts or extensive job cuts, the Government considered it appropriate that ABC employees should also have a temporary pay-freeze.

“We felt it would have been a fine gesture of solidarity with those across the media sector who have been doing it much tougher than the ABC. It is evident from the results of (the) vote that ABC staff did not share this view.”

[Read more]

Radio

Grant Broadcasting extends live and local drive shows in regional Victoria

Grant Broadcasting Victorian stations K rock 95.5 and bay 93.9 have extended their local drive shows that service Geelong and the surf coast.

Both shows on the regional stations will now go to air from 3pm to 7pm weekdays with a renewed focus on delivering local content for the region. The shows are also aimed at helping commuters who travel daily from the region to Melbourne and back.

K rock Geelong and bay 93.9 general manager Andy Mathers said: “As family owned and proudly local Geelong radio stations, these changes only strengthen our connection with our local audience and business partners.”

The hosts for both shows remain unchanged for the extended hours with the expanded offering launching to listeners this week.

“We’re committed to localism and this is just another example of us demonstrating that,” said Grant Broadcasting group content director Ryan Rathbone.

The Departure Lounge drive show on K rock is hosted by Stampsy and Josh on weekdays 3-7pm.

The Catch Up on bay 93.9 is hosted by the big team of Daryl, Samantha, Renee, Sarah and Roxie on weekdays also from 3-7pm.

Entertainment

I Am Woman director leads tributes to Helen Reddy

The Australian director of the recent film about Helen Reddy‘s life, Unjoo Moon, spoke with the late singer only a week before her death in Los Angeles at the age of 78, report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Garry Maddox and Nathanael Cooper.

After meeting at a G’Day USA dinner seven years ago, the two became close during planning for a bio-pic titled after her enduring hit – the stirring feminist anthem I Am Woman.

As musicians, feminists, fans and family paid tribute to Reddy around the world, Moon said she found the trailblazing singer-actress-television-presenter-and-feminist-icon in good spirits during a video call. Diagnosed with dementia five years ago, Reddy had been living in a home for retired Hollywood talents in Los Angeles.

“She just looked radiantly beautiful,” an emotional Moon said. “Her skin was glowing and she just looked amazing. She was on her phone and I was on my phone and I spent most of the call walking around my garden and showing her things.”

[Read more]

Helen Reddy’s 1972 hit song I Am Woman still resonates in 2020

When Melbourne-born singer-songwriter Helen Reddy died in Los Angeles on Wednesday, aged 78, several generations of Australian music fans instantly recalled the opening lines to her signature song: “I am woman, hear me roar / In numbers too big to ignore …” reports The Australian’s Andrew McMillen.

For Athol Guy of famed Australian pop group The Seekers, though, the memory that came to mind was not Reddy’s breakout global hit I Am Woman but his first meeting with her at a rehearsal with the Channel 9 orchestra in 1958, when Reddy was 17.

“It was a very fresh, clean, modern jazz-type voice to me,” Guy told The Australian of his first impressions. “That’s why I think she melded in so well with the dance bands of the day, because she could sing anything.”

[Read more]

Television

Sonia Kruger and Matt Shirvington filming reality show Holey Moley

Sonia Kruger has added another hosting string to her bow, joining golf great Greg Norman, American actor Rob Riggle and sports anchor Matt Shirvington on Channel 7 reality show Holey Moley, reports News Corp’s Amy Price.

Kruger, Riggle and Shirvington have spent the past two weeks in hotel quarantine in Brisbane before cameras roll on the extreme mini golf reality competition in Redland City today.

The big-budget reality show was due to be filmed on the massive custom-built set in the US in March, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently picked up by Queensland because of the relatively low COVID-19 infection rate in the state.

In the reshuffle, Norman, the show’s resident golf pro, has not made the trip to Brisbane and will film his part in the series in the US.

Kruger, who already hosts Big Brother and The Voice for Channel 7, replaces original presenter Olympia Valance, while Shirvington has been brought in for Brian Taylor, who had a schedule clash with the AFL finals series.

[Read more]

Sports Media

Seven stumps up before cricket dispute heads to arbitration

Channel Seven has paid the $10 million it owed Cricket Australia just days before the high-stakes feud between the game and the network heads to arbitration, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Wu.

It has also emerged that CA’s pay-TV broadcast partner, Foxtel, has paid in full the $33 million instalment it was due to make over a fortnight ago.

Seven West Media had threatened it would not pay another cent this summer after its initial payment, but it has decided to fulfil its contractual obligations to avoid giving CA any extra leverage before next week’s talks.

CA has said throughout the wrangle that it would honour its side of the bargain and expected Seven, which pays $82 million in cash and contra to broadcast the game, to do likewise.

Seven insists its decision to broadcast the current women’s series against New Zealand on its main channel is an indication it is showing good faith.

Broadcasters are unhappy with the quality of the Big Bash League this season, fearing the talent pool will be diluted by supersized international squads in hubs.

Foxtel is concerned over what impact turning the tournament into a travelling roadshow instead of the traditional fly in, fly out model, will have on the party atmosphere in the stands.

[Read more]

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