Mediaweek roundup: MKR, Hamish & Andy, SiriusXM + more

• Harvey Weinstein, BBC Studios, Rugby Australia, Kayo sports, Q&A + Jessica Marais

Business of Media

Q&A: Jennifer Westacott backs Zali Steggall’s proposed climate bill

The uniting theme of the ABC’s second Q&A of the year was climate change, with all sides agreeing more needed to be done to combat it after a horror summer of fires and floods, reports The Australian’s David Ross.

Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott called for more certainty from the government, telling the room: “We have to surely, after this summer, draw a line in the sand and find a way through as a country.

“I reckon if we could get the two political parties to agree to (a target and a timetable) and legislate it, we would have made a massive advance in this country because we would know where we’re going.”

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SiriusXM acquires minority stake in SoundCloud for $75 Million

Audio entertainment giant SiriusXM Holdings said Tuesday it has invested $75 million in open audio platform SoundCloud in return for a minority stake of an undisclosed size and two board seats, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Last year, SiriusXM, controlled by John Malone’s Liberty Media, closed its acquisition of music streaming service Pandora. 

SoundCloud said it would use the additional investment to “accelerate its product development and enhance the services that fuel its global community of creators and listeners.”

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Andy reacts to comment that Hamish is the funny one

Hamish and Andy are two of the biggest and most successful stars in Australia, but ever since they burst onto the scene some people have felt the need to say that one is funnier than the other, reports‘s Andrew Bucklow.

It’s something that Andy has been aware of for a long time, and he’s now revealed how he really feels about it in the A Life of Greatness podcast hosted by Sarah Grynberg.

“I think he’s funny as well,” Andy said about his longtime co-host. “I also think he’s funnier than me.”

But that doesn’t mean Andy isn’t funny in his own right.

“The difference is saying: Is Hamish the funnier one? I would agree,” Andy said. “(But) is he the only funny one? No.”

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Jessica Marais pulls out of Back to the Rafters for personal reasons

Australian actor Jessica Marais has cancelled her return to television after pulling out of Back to the Rafters for personal reasons, reports SMH’s Josh Dye.

Marais has been dealing with health issues since stepping away from acting in September 2018.

“She thanks everyone involved on the show for their ongoing support and love, especially her ‘Rafter’s family’, and sends them her very best wishes for the production,” Marais’ management, RGM Artists, announced on Tuesday afternoon.

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Colin Fassnidge blames programming … but what about MKR format changes?

Colin Fassnidge has blamed Seven for the low ratings of My Kitchen Rules, reports TV Tonight’s David Knox.

Speaking to 2GB’s Chris Smith, he said, “This year was the best one we’ve done but not everyone’s watching it, at the moment, cause we’ve got some people in Channel 7 who don’t know how to program a show.

“But what do I know? I’m only a cook!

“A lot of work went into this and then some stupid decisions were made to go up against the tennis and Married, we should have started a week early.”

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BBC Studios expands drama deal with Alibaba’s Youku

BBC Studios has expanded its drama deal with Chinese online video giant Youku, part of the Alibaba group, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The deal — announced at the BBC Studios Showcase 2020 event in Liverpool — involves the extended licensing of the entire four seasons of Sherlock, and the agreement for over 80 hours of BBC Studios drama programming.

The deal includes Good OmensSanditon, the latest series of Doctor Who and Luther series 1-3. Additionally, Youku will be the only Chinese video platform to air the entire catalog of the Doctor Who series. And the deal features the HD version of classic comedies Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, which will make their premiere in China.

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Harvey Weinstein’s defense rests, former mogul won’t testify in rape trial

Harvey Weinstein will not testify in his rape trial in New York City, his defense team said on Tuesday. The announcement came as Weinstein’s lawyers rested their case after putting on four days of testimony, reports Variety’s Elizabeth Magmeister and Brent Lang.

After consulting with Weinstein on Tuesday morning, attorney Damon Cheronis informed the court of his decision.

“The state hasn’t met their burden and he’s not going to testify,” Cheronis said.

The last witness to take the stand was Tommy Lozano, a friend of Jessica Mann, the primary accuser in the case. Lozano told jurors on Tuesday that Mann seemed “normal” on the morning after she claims Weinstein raped her at the DoubleTree Hotel in New York in March 2013.

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Kayo sports streaming service to be cheaper for Telstra customers

Telstra has kicked off a deal with Kayo, giving the telco’s customers $10 off all of the online sports streaming service’s plans over 12 months, reports The Australian’s David Swan.

The exclusive offer, announced on Tuesday, means both new and returning Kayo users who are also Telstra customers will have access to over 50 sports via Kayo Basic for $15 per month, and Premium for $25 per month.

The offer comes ahead of the 2020 AFL season, which kicks off in a month, and the 2020 NRL season, which starts shortly after.

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O’Neill calls for RA ‘lame ducks’ to stand down from TV deal talks

Former Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O’Neill has described outgoing members of Rugby Australia’s board, including chairman Cameron Clyne, as “lame ducks” and believes they should have no involvement in upcoming broadcast negotiations if they are moving on at the annual general meeting next month, reports SMH’s Tom Decent.

O’Neill has applauded RA for creating competitive tension in the market between Fox Sports and Optus but said it was the governing body’s responsibility to explain to all stakeholders, fans included, exactly what it is selling and to outline how it views the future of Super Rugby.

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