Mediaweek Roundup: Scaleup Mediafund, Prime Media, Foxtel + more

• ABC, News Corp, Facebook, Herald Sun, ARN, Logies, and Exposed

Business of Media

Scaleup Mediafund launches second fund to provide ads to start-ups   

Scaleup Mediafund is to launch a second three-year fund and the call for applications from start-ups aiming to grow their business and brand.

In addition, REA Group will be joining the fund, offering its digital media network as inventory, along with shareholders News Corp Australia, Nova Entertainment, Network Ten, Foxtel and Fox Sports. To date, shareholders have committed a total capacity of over $30 million in advertising and marketing inventory to the fund.

Scaleup Mediafund has so far supported seven growth businesses, including the recently listed PointsBet which raised $75 million in its June listing and is looking to expand to the United States. Other start-ups include pet boarding business Mad Paws; Hey You – an app allowing people to order ahead at cafes and restaurants; Local Agent Finder – a leading real-estate agent comparison service; Spacer – Australia’s leading marketplace for self storage and parking spaces; neighbourhood babysitting and nanny network, Juggle St; and Mable, a marketplace to find aged care and disability support workers in their local area.

Scaleup Mediafund chairman and general manager of M&A and strategy at News Corp Australia, Richard Skimin, said: “We are proud of the fund in successfully helping to grow the next generation of Australian start-ups. The unrivalled reach of the Scaleup Mediafund partnership means we can deliver niche audiences at scale to start-ups aiming to build their brand.”

Michael Lamont,

Michael Lamont, fund manager of Scaleup Mediafund said: “We have had a massive three years. When we started the fund we had the ambition of being a driver of brand and customer growth for great start-ups that had a clear need for advertising. Today with a portfolio of successful investees we can point to the realisation of that ambition.

“With Scaleup Mediafund 2.0 we are looking to grow our portfolio with early stage businesses that have a strong product fit and a clear case for media and marketing support.”

Top Image: Richard Skimin

James Warburton and CVC Limited eye Prime Media

A consortium led by former APN Outdoor chief executive James Warburton is believed to be running the numbers on Prime Media and has bought a small stake in the regional broadcaster, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

The consortium is understood to include ASX-listed investment firm CVC Limited, which is believed to have quietly built up a small stake in Prime of just under 5 per cent, meaning it does not need to disclose itself as a significant shareholder.

Sources said the consortium believes there is value in the broadcaster – which has been efficiently run by management with a focus on costs and debt management in an uncertain time for regional free-to-air broadcasting – that may be better realised by taking the business private.

Prime chief executive Ian Audsley said “we don’t speculate on speculation” when contacted by the Financial Review.

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Thrones cemetery and Monty cricket app take Lions’ share

A 2000sq m cemetery to promote Game of Thrones and a cricket app that warned viewers when a wicket was due to fall helped Foxtel pick up two awards at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity last week, reports News Corp’s Stephen Drill.

The Grave of Thrones: Final Resting Place campaign, which took home a gold Lion, was praised by jurors for its innovation. Created by advertising agency DDB Sydney, the campaign saw a cemetery with gravestones for dead Game of Thrones characters constructed in Sydney.

Meanwhile, Foxtel’s Monty app, produced by Mindshare Sydney in collaboration with Google, was awarded a silver Lion at the annual advertising awards festival. The artificial intelligence program plotted more than 500,000 deliveries from the Australian national men’s team to predict when a wicket was likely and alert users to tune in.

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News Brands

ABC and News Corp take court action to challenge AFP raids

The ABC yesterday released a statement by David Anderson, ABC managing director, on Federal Court proceedings:

The ABC has lodged an application in the Federal Court of Australia to set aside the warrant that authorised the Australian Federal Police (AFP) raid earlier this month and to demand the return of seized files.

It is important that Australians be advised of this action and of the determination of the ABC to defend our journalists and the crucial work they do informing the public.

The ABC is asking the Court for a declaration that the warrant was invalid on several technical grounds that underline the fundamental importance of investigative journalism and protection of confidential sources. We are also challenging the constitutional validity of the warrant on the basis that it hinders our implied freedom of political communication.

The ABC is also seeking a permanent injunction to prevent the AFP accessing the material seized and to return it to us immediately. It is currently being held by the AFP in sealed envelopes.

The ABC will be using every avenue over the next few weeks to defend the actions of its journalists and to seek legislative changes that protect the media’s ability to report on matters of public interest.

A short statement from Michael Miller, executive chairman of News Corp Australasia said:

We will challenge the validity of the warrant used to conduct the Australian Federal Police raid on the Canberra home of journalist Annika Smethurst because we are determined to fight for journalism and for the public’s right to know.

We also invite the AFP to confirm that it is discontinuing its investigation into both Annika and News Corp.

Facebook ruling sparks call for defamation law overhaul

Media companies will be held legally responsible for posts by readers on Facebook under a landmark court ruling that has prompted calls for an urgent overhaul of defamation laws, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

NSW Supreme Court judge Stephen Rothman found that major media companies News Corp Australia and Nine Entertainment could be regarded as the publishers of Facebook comments made by users of the social media platform.

The ruling came in the case of former Northern Territory youth detainee Dylan Voller against media outlets over comments made by readers on Facebook.

Voller, whose mistreatment in the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre triggered a 2016 royal commission, is suing The Australian and The Centralian Advocate, Sky News Australia’s The Bolt Report, and Nine’s The Sydney Morning Herald.

News Corp Australia last night said the “ruling shows how far out of step Australia’s defamation laws are with other English-speaking democracies and highlights the urgent need for change”.

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News Corp’s Herald Sun offers journalists cash bonuses for clicks

The News Corp tabloid newspaper the Herald Sun is offering journalists a financial bonus of between $10 and $50 for driving digital subscriptions and traffic through their own stories, reports Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade.

If readers land on a paywalled story and they decide to subscribe to access the full story, the reporter will be financially rewarded after a certain target is reached. Some reporters will be receiving hundreds of extra dollars in payments per week, sources told Guardian Australia.

The data on individual performance is available via a proprietary analytics platform called Verity.

Most major digital publishers use analytics platforms, including Guardian Australia which has a tool called Ophan.

All News Corp mastheads, including The Australian, use Verity and identify staff who have done particularly well each week. But the Herald Sun is believed to be the first masthead to hand out financial bonuses to individuals.

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ARN appoints new content director for Adelaide’s Mix and Cruise

ARN has appointed Barry Keohane to the role of content director for its Adelaide radio stations Mix 102.3 and Cruise 1323.

ARN’s national content director Duncan Campbell said: “Barry brings with him a wealth of knowledge and skills to this role which will enhance and complement the experience that already exists within the content team in Adelaide. I welcome Barry to ARN and I look forward to working with him as we continue to build on the success in Adelaide across Mix 102.3 and Cruise 1323.”

Keohane has previously worked at SCA as assistant content director/music director and as a general manager for content in China overseeing the launch of 10 stations in markets of over 10 million people. Most recently he was content director at ABC Adelaide.

Keohane also mentors and teaches up and coming talent in his role as head lecturer for the Radio Content Management and Leadership Course with the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

Keohane will begin his role on Wednesday July 10 – the day after the next radio survey results are released.


TV Tonight’s Gold Logie Guide: Sunrise and Seven entrant Sam Mac

Sam Mac is pumped to be nominated for the Gold Logie.

“I’m a TV nerd. I’ve grown up watching it and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!” he tells TV Tonight.

Indeed, the artist formerly known as Sam MacMillan (a radio host told him to shorten it), made his start at Community TV in Adelaide.

“I hosted from my single bed with a studio audience in my lounge room, with comedy sketches, vox pops, musical parodies. A lot of similar stuff to what I’m doing now but not as good or with as much of a budget.”

Before he became the Sunrise weather guy in 2016, Mac was part of The Project and the short-lived Wake-Up on 10.

But not even he expected to be centrestage for a Gold Logie campaign mounted by those within Sunrise. After all, he’s not the host of the show.

“I was told to just come into Martin Place and they would do the weather crosses from there but I got in there and they had pulled together a full campaign. There were staff members with t-shirts with my face, Vote 1 Sam Mac for Gold posters, and a slogan ‘Mac the Logies Great Again!’ Nikki Webster, who I recorded a song with, was singing…” he laughs.

“I was a bit bamboozled by it, but just ran with it. But it was just one morning, so I took it as a nice compliment. Then I found out I was nominated so it was a huge surprise.”

Why should viewers vote for Sam Mac?

“A vote for me is a vote for everyday Australians. I actually visit people at their cricket clubs, schools, workplaces and houses. All of the other contenders are in their ivory towers and studios, in perfectly-lit rooms and teams of make-up assistants! I’m the real Aussie battler, on the ground, doing the hard yards. I’ve probably been to your town, and I’ll probably visit it again and talk about it on the telly. I’m getting in touch with real Australia and this is their chance to Mac the Logies Great Again.

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ABC Commercial sells Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane to Discovery UK

ABC Commercial has sold the Logie-nominated Australian crime investigation series Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane (3 x 60 mins) to Discovery in the UK. The three-year license agreement gives exclusive rights in the region premiering on Discovery owned Really later this year.

In the series multi award-winning journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna investigates one of Australia’s most notorious cases: the disappearance of two-day old baby Tegan Lane and the conviction of her mother Keli Lane for her murder. Lane breaks her silence for the first time, speaking exclusive to Meldrum-Hanna from prison.

Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane is an excellent example of the high-quality, original factual production that sits within our robust portfolio of award-winning television content,” said Jessica Ellis, head of ABC content sales and distribution. “We’re thrilled to be working with Discovery to bring this ground-breaking Australian series to British and Irish audiences.”

“The case of Keli Lane is like no other,” said Meldrum-Hanna. “How can a two-day old baby disappear without a trace, in broad daylight in sunny Sydney, from a busy public hospital, never to be seen again? No witnesses, no murder weapon, no forensic evidence, no body. A litany of lies and multiple secret pregnancies. Her mother is in jail for murder, claiming innocence. She’s finally agreed to talk. But where does the truth lie?”

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