Mediaweek Roundup: Michelle Guthrie, Titus Day, Ray Hadley, AFL + more

Ray Hadley

• DDB Worldwide, The New York Times Co., Mick Gatto, and ViacomCBS UK

Business of media

Aussie Marty O’Halloran promoted to Global CEO of DDB Worldwide

DDB Worldwide has announced key leadership appointments, promoting Auckland-based Marty O’Halloran to global chief executive officer and naming Justin Thomas-Copeland as chief executive officer of the network’s North America region.

O’Halloran most recently served as chairman and CEO of DDB Group across Australia and New Zealand, a position he has held since 2005. O’Halloran replaces Wendy Clark who left DDB earlier this year for a role at Dentsu Aegis Network.

In his new role, O’Halloran will oversee operations across the global network.

Thomas-Copeland joins from OPMG Health, an Omnicom Precision Marketing Group network, where he served as global CEO.

Adtech startup Hoppr appoints former ABC chief Michelle Guthrie to its board

Advertising technology startup Hoppr has bolstered its board ahead of a planned global scale up, with the appointments of experienced company executives Vince Pizzica as co-chairman and Michelle Guthrie (pictured) as a non-executive director.

Pizzica brings with him more than 30 years of experience across the public and private sector, including recent success in strategy consulting as well as C-suite roles at multibillion-euro global corporation Technicolor.

Guthrie is an advertising and media industry executive who over a 25-year career has held senior management roles at global media companies such as Google, Foxtel, BSkyB and Star TV in Hong Kong, as well as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation where she oversaw a significant expansion of the public broadcaster’s digital footprint.

“Vince’s unique blend of marketing and tactical skills, together with his highly qualified engineering and technical background, will provide strategic direction during what will be a rapid growth phase for Hoppr,” said Hoppr CEO Cyril Daoud.

“In addition, Michelle’s experience across both traditional and emerging media companies will be invaluable to the Hoppr board as we prepare the rollout of our digital advertising platform globally over the next 24 months.”

Hoppr’s flagship solution, HopprTV, delivers targeted video and display advertising to individual set-top boxes, seamlessly delivering marketing to engaged audiences. The unique digital platform also supports interactive advertising to drive sales and engagement, with sophisticated analytics to tailor effective messaging.

Guy Sebastian’s ex-manager Titus Day showed ‘planning and deceit’: Court

Australian pop singer Guy Sebastian’s civil lawsuit against Titus Day is likely to be paused pending the embattled former manager’s criminal fraud charges, reports News Corp’s Lucy Hughes Jones.

Police allege Day ripped off the chart-topping artist to the tune of $1 million over seven years, and the pair have been locked in a drawn-out legal battle with Day also claiming Sebastian owed him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

On Wednesday Federal Court Justice Thomas Thawley indicated he was minded to stay the civil proceedings until Day’s 61 fraud charges are resolved.

But the judge said he would first consider any submissions from Day and Sebastian, who is a coach on television music show The Voice.

According to a police fact sheet tendered to the NSW Supreme Court, Day was “calculating” in deciding which amounts of money to divert and which amounts to actually pay the signer to avoid detection during his alleged offending.

“This shows a large amount of planning and deceit on (Day’s) behalf,” police allege in the documents.

“The amount totals over $1 million dollars – this is a significant amount of money and police believe this is of the higher-level fraud offence.”

In court on Tuesday, Day successfully had his bail conditions varied so he would only need to report to Waverley police station three times a week instead of daily.

The case will return to court in September.

[Read more]

The New York Times Co. names Meredith Kopit Levien chief executive

The New York Times Company on Wednesday named Meredith Kopit Levien, the news organisation’s chief operating officer, as its next president and chief executive, making her the youngest person ever to lead its executive ranks.

Levien, 49, will succeed Mark Thompson, the chief executive since 2012, on Sept. 8. Levien also will serve on the company’s board.

A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher and a board member, called Levien “a brilliant and transformative leader.”

“Everything she has touched in the organisation she has made better,” Sulzberger said.

Levien joined The Times in 2013 as its head of advertising. She was promoted to executive vice president and chief revenue officer in 2015 and became the chief operating officer in 2017. That put her in line to succeed Thompson, who helped transform The Times into a digital-centric news operation.

[Read more]

News Brands

Sydney developer sues radio host Ray Hadley for defamation

Western Sydney developer Jean Nassif, who shot to prominence in a viral video surprising his wife with a yellow Lamborghini, is suing 2GB host Ray Hadley for defamation over a series of broadcasts about his residential developments, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michaela Whitbourn.

Nassif, who heads the Toplace development group behind Sydney apartment projects in areas including Parramatta, Castle Hill and Canterbury, launched Federal Court action against Hadley and his employer Harbour Radio on July 17 over eight broadcasts spanning almost a year to June this year.

Nassif and the companies are seeking damages, including aggravated damages, plus legal costs, along with an order restraining the broadcaster from repeating the allegations and an order that the broadcasts be removed from the 2GB website and social media including Facebook and Twitter.

In a statement, Nassif and the Toplace group said: “The proceedings relate to a campaign of unfair and inaccurate commentary by Mr Hadley over the course of the last year about Toplace’s business practices.

“Mr Nassif and the Toplace Group have taken this action to protect the excellent reputation in the construction industry that they have built over many decades.”

[Read more]

‘It’s terrible what they said about me’ Gatto tells court about ABC report

Melbourne gangland figure Mick Gatto was “in a state of shock” to read an ABC article alleging he was a murderer, had threatened to kill lawyer Nicola Gobbo, and was one of Australia’s most violent criminals, reports Frances Vinall from News Corp’s NewsWire.

Gatto, 64, who is the basis for one of the main characters in the popular 2012 TV show Underbelly, is suing two ABC journalists and the organisation for defamation.

One of the allegations reported in the article was that he had threatened to kill ‘Lawyer X’ police informer Nicola Gobbo, and he told the court on Wednesday that Gobbo had contacted him through her lawyers and was prepared to testify on his behalf to confirm that wasn’t true.

But counsel acting for the ABC, Matthew J Collins AM, QC, said that wouldn’t be necessary.

He said the ABC had not reported that it was true, only that it had been alleged in court.

Gatto appeared as a witness in the defamation trial over Zoom in front of Victorian Supreme Court Justice Andrew Keogh, where he said it made him “sick” to see that the ABC had not apologised after publishing the article.

[Read more]


ViacomCBS UK sets “no diversity, no commission” content policy

ViacomCBS Networks UK (VCN UK) has outlined a series of new measures set to strengthen the mediaco’s diversity and inclusion drive in the UK, reports Realscreen.

The company says it will make transparency and accountability central components of its inclusion strategy and will look to accelerate diverse representation on-screen, off-screen and throughout its organisation.

“Society is now at an inflection point on the issue of systemic racism and as individuals, as a company, we all have a part to play in righting centuries of wrongs,” said Maria Kyriacou, president at ViacomCBS Networks UK & Australia in a statement. “For too long the TV industry has been a relative closed shop and if we are to be of continued relevance to the audiences that we serve, then this must change.”

New initiatives include implementing a “no diversity, no commission” content policy for its program suppliers and extending the Creative Diversity Network’s Diamond diversity data while monitoring its pay-TV brands, in addition to Channel 5; and hiring for a new role within its commissioning team that will be responsible for developing diverse on- and off-screen talent.

[Read more]

Sports Media

How TV networks will cover 33 AFL matches on 20 consecutive days

AFL broadcasters are backing footy-mad fans to lap up 33 games of football in the next 20 days as part of the league’s unprecedented fixture cram, reports News Corp’s Rebecca Williams and Jon Ralph.

Fox Footy and Channel 7 were not concerned about the potential for viewer burnout with matches scheduled every day between rounds nine and 12 from next Wednesday.

But both networks said it was too early to suggest whether the new-look fixture, which will feature night-time double headers on Monday (Round 11), Wednesday (Round 10) and Thursday nights (Rounds 9 and 10), was potentially a glimpse into the viewing future.

Channel 7 Melbourne managing director Lewis Martin described this season as an “epic adventure” for supporters and did not think there was a danger of footy fatigue from three weeks’ straight of games.

“We’re all pretty match fit, dealing with whatever comes next,” Martin said.

“Footy fans have got an insatiable appetite for footy and I think where everyone is getting on board for the whole adventure of this season.

“There is a shared sense of what’s going to happen next and how is my club going to deal with it? That’s what is going to happen over the next four weeks.”

Channel 7 will broadcast next Wednesday’s clash between Western Bulldogs and Richmond at Metricon Stadium, but will largely keep its regular Thursday-Sunday broadcast slots with Fox Footy picking up the additional mid-week games.

In a marathon production effort, Fox Footy expects to broadcast more than 120 hours of live content between games and regular shows in the condensed fixture.

[Read more]

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