Mediaweek Roundup: Media bargaining code, Joe Aston trial, Jam TV + more

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• Howard Stern, Cliff Green, AWGIE Awards, and Halifax: Retribution

Business of Media

It’s time to talk as government meets Google’s demands

The federal government has acceded to the three demands Google lodged when the ACCC first released its draft media bargaining code in July, which means any further arguments are simply game-playing by the behemoth, reports The Australian’s John Durie.

Back in July Google wanted recognition that it referred readers back to media companies, limits on the notification over algorithm changes and clarification that it doesn’t have to hand over data to the media companies.

On advice from the ACCC, as previously reported here, federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has agreed to all three suggestions, which arguably should satisfy the digital behemoths.

Frydenberg will table the code in parliament on Wednesday, clearing the way for it to pass into law in the first quarter of next year.

The inclusion of the ABC and SBS in the code should ensure the Greens and crossbenchers support the code, which opens the way for the behemoths to start negotiating with the media companies.

[Read more]

News payments to take into account ‘eyeballs’ Google, Facebook bring

Google and Facebook will be forced to pay news organisations for their content under proposed Australian laws with global implications, but the amount of money publishers receive may be offset against the value of the online traffic they get from the tech giants, report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Lisa Visentin and Zoe Samios.

In a major win for Google and Facebook, the code will provide for a two-way value exchange in the arbitration process, allowing the tech giants to argue they provide news companies with millions of dollars in referral traffic each year.

[Read more]

Media code for Facebook and Google provides win-win result for all

The government’s proposed code to get social media and search engine platforms – initially Facebook and Google – to pay something for the content they’ve been effectively stealing from media companies is both sensible and smart, writes News Corp’s Terry McCrann.

It’s finely balanced between a hands-off and oppressively interventionist approach. It aims at promoting deals in the shared best interests of both the media companies and the digital platforms, as against opting for rigid rules and busybody regulators.

Critically, it does not seek to lock in either 20th century or even 21st century industry structures – obviously, specifically, on the media side; or guarantee a future or even just a short-term profit for any specific players.

the payments will not guarantee the survival of a Nine or a News Corp or indeed anyone else. It stops the platforms stealing their futures – while they still have to make them.

[Read more]

Howard Stern, SiriusXM sign new multi-year deal for maybe $800m+

US broadcaster Howard Stern, the “King of All Media”, will continue to make satellite radio giant SiriusXM his home, extending his long-running deal with the company for his flagship show by five years, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The deal, unveiled on Tuesday, also covers the Stern archive for seven additional years. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Stern, 66, is currently working under a five-year deal, estimated to be worth as much as US$100 million a year, with Sirius that expires at the end of this year. Recent chatter had focused on the new deal being for up to US$120 million per year. [Five years as US$120m values the deal at over A$800m.]

The news was first reported by Stern live during his show Tuesday morning. “Fifteen years ago, I joined SiriusXM, a fledgling group of broadcasters. I had been in a toxic relationship with terrestrial radio,” Stern said. “And no matter how well I treated the medium, no matter how successful I made them, they abused me. Going to SiriusXM liberated me. I felt like Tina Turner freeing myself from Ike.”

[Read more]

News Brands

Joe Aston trial: Jatz crackers and banalities of a self-identifying gossip

And so it came to pass on day five of the nation’s most enthralling defamation case that photographs of Joe Aston’s feet were entered into evidence, reports The Australian’s Caroline Overington.

Aston, and his employer, Nine Newspapers, are being sued by venture capitalist Elaine Stead, formerly a director of the Blue Sky investment firm, over two articles and a tweet, in which Aston described her as a stupid cretin, who had acted like a “pyromaniac” with other people’s money.

Stead’s barrister, Sue Chrysanthou SC, began by asking whether Aston really believed that Stead, who has a PhD, is stupid, and if so how he came to that conclusion.

“Stupid is as stupid does,” he said. “Someone who repeatedly does stupid things is by definition stupid.”

He referred to what he described as the “banality” of Stead’s social media posts, and here Chrysanthou pounced, for it seemed that Aston had quite a few social media accounts of his own.

And had he ever posted anything banal, Chrysanthou wanted to know? Photos of his food, for example? “Certainly,” he replied.

“You have (posted) rather a lot of photos of your feet … I’ll just show you,” said Chrysanthou. And so a parcel of images, now known as Exhibit 27, was tendered, becoming forevermore discoverable by anyone fossicking in the Federal Court’s archives for Stead v Aston.

[Read more]

See also:
‘Faceless men’ behind Joe Aston’s view of Blue Sky’s Elaine Stead
• AFR star Joe Aston’s court Street Talk critique
• Unlimited cast in the courtroom at Stead, Aston trial


Remembering Cliff Green: A tribute by Mac Gudgeon & Roger Simpson

Cliff Green was a pioneer in Australian screenwriting and a central figure in the Guild’s early development, write colleagues from the Australian Writer’s Guild, Mac Gudgeon and Roger Simpson.

His television credits include his celebrated quartet, Marion, inspired by his time as a school teacher in the Mallee, and the sprawling adaptations, Power Without Glory and I Can Jump Puddles. His screenplay for Peter Weir’s Picnic At Hanging Rock remains a landmark in Australia’s film renaissance of the 1970s.

Throughout his illustrious career, Cliff won or was nominated for dozens of industry awards, including 8 AWGIES, as well as receiving an International Emmy Nomination, an Australian first, for Boy Soldiers. In 1990 he was awarded the Richard Lane Award, the Guild’s highest honour for Outstanding Services and Dedication to the AWG. In 2009 he received the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for ‘Service to the Australian Film and Television Industry as a Screenwriter and Educator’. 

Green died on Friday 4 December 2020 after a long illness. He leaves an impressive body of work and a strong Guild he helped guide and develop through its early years. The AWG extends its condolences to his wife Judy, their children and extended families. Cliff Green was 85.

[Read more]

AWGIE Awards: Wins for The Heights, Rosehaven, Total Control, The Feed

Playwright Suzie Miller’s critically acclaimed one-woman play Prima Facie has taken out the two highest honours at the Australian Writers’ Guild’s annual AWGIE Awards, winning the 2020 Major Award and the David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Writing for Australian Theatre.

In a year that has seen our Australian stories under threat from Covid-19 shutdowns, funding cuts and delays to Government reform, the new-look AWGIE Awards were a fitting coda to 2020; driven online due to restrictions but emerging as a joyous celebration of the strength and talents of Australia’s screen and stage writers.

The AWGIE Awards were hosted by actor, writer and comedian Bjorn Stewart, with Awards presented by Hugo Weaving, Wayne Blair, Marta Dusseldorp, Tony McNamara, Shane Brennan, David Williamson, Tony Ayres, Kodie Bedford, Benjamin Law, Michelle Law, Alison Bell, John Leary, and Bradley Slabe.

TV Winners

The Heights: Season 2, Episode 7 – Peter Mattessi

Total Control: Episode 3 – Pip Karmel

The HuntingMatthew Cormack and Niki Aken

Little J & Big Cuz: Season 2, ‘Goodbye Swooper’ – Erica Glynn

Mustangs FC: Season 3, ‘Mustangs Forever and Ever’ – Magda Wozniak

Rosehaven: Season 4, Episode 5 – Luke McGregor and Celia Pacquola

The Feed: ‘Anger For Women’, ‘Chloe Shorten’s Husband’, ‘Social Media Cops’, ‘Scotophile’ and ‘Bushfire Press Release’ – Victoria Zerbst with Michael Hing, Cameron James, Alex Lee and Jenna Owen

7.30: Season 2 – Mark Humphries and Evan Williams

See here for full list of winners.

Beyond Rights sells Halifax: Retribution to US broadcaster

Beyond Rights has announced the psychological thriller Halifax: Retribution has been acquired in the US by PBS Distribution for transmission on the PBS Masterpiece Channel on Prime Video.

Produced by Beyond Lonehand, a Beyond group production company, for Nine Network (Australia), the 8 x 60 procedural drama stars Rebecca Gibney (Wanted, Lowdown Dirty Criminals, Flying Doctors) and Anthony LaPaglia (Lantana, Riviera, Without a Trace). The new series sees Gibney reprising her iconic role as forensic psychiatrist Jane Halifax from Halifax F.P., a series of 21 award-winning, feature-length dramas that ran on Australian television from 1994 to 2002.

HALIFAX: Retribution has proved both a ratings and critical success this year. It remains the highest-rated new Australian drama of 2020, winning its primetime slot across all the commercial FTA networks for every episode and securing more than a million viewers each time, according to official consolidated viewing figures. In addition, the series was recently nominated in the Best Drama Series category for the 2020 AACTA Awards (Australian Academy for Cinema, Television and Arts), while Rebecca Gibney was nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series.

Sherry Fynbo, EVP sales for North America at Beyond Rights, was responsible for negotiating the deal with PBS Distribution. She comments: “Through its Masterpiece brand, PBS has long provided a home for some of the world’s best and most enduring scripted series. We are thrilled that Halifax: Retribution will now sit alongside its impressive collection of leading English-language dramas on the PBS Masterpiece channel on Amazon’s Prime Video.”

Mikael Borglund, Beyond International’s CEO and MD, executive produced both the original HALIFAX F.P. titles and HALIFAX: Retribution. He adds: “It was real pleasure to bring so many of the original team back together, including creator and writer Roger Simpson, to see how Jane Halifax’s life had unfolded over the past two decades. Fans of the original series, which sold all over the world and featured everyone from Hugh Jackman and Hugo Weaving to Guy Pierce and Frances O’Connor, had been waiting patiently for this series, while its very contemporary themes around data mining and personal freedoms, in addition to its strong characters and smart standalone script, are successfully attracting new audiences. I’m sure it will prove very popular in the US.”

Listen to Mediaweek’s Halifax: Retribution podcast with Roger Simpson and Rebecca Gibney.

Sports Media

Footy stars in Amazon doco from Eddie McGuire’s Jam TV revealed

The footy identities involved in the $10 million documentary series to be streamed on Amazon Prime have been revealed, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

The seven hour-long episodes, titled Making Their Mark, will launch on March 12 next year.

They will feature star players – West Coast’s Nic Naitanui, Carlton’s Eddie Betts, GWS captain Stephen Coniglio and Adelaide’s Rory Sloane; plus Gold Coast Suns coach Stuart Dew and Richmond’s hierarchy, president Peggy O’Neal, chief executive Brendon Gale and coach Damien Hardwick.

Eddie McGuire’s media company Jam TV has produced the series that captures the highs and the lows of a Covid-19 interrupted season. It will air in 244 countries.

[Read more]

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