Mediaweek Roundup: Neil Mitchell, Nine, New Idea, ABC + more

Nine cyberattack

• FirmDecisions, ABC’s David Lipson, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, and Peaky Blinders

Business of Media

FirmDecisions appoints Matthew Braid as MD Australia & New Zealand

Ebuity-owned FirmDecisions has appointed Matthew Braid (pictured) to the role of Managing Director for its Australia and New Zealand offices. He will report to Dale Garvie, Managing Director APAC.

Braid joins FirmDecisions with over 20 years’ experience in finance roles within the media and advertising industry. Most recently, Braid held the Finance Director role at Ikon Communications (part of the WPP AUNZ network) and the Finance Director role at Bohemia Group where he helped oversee the sale of the agency from STW Communications to the M&C Saatchi group.

Prior to this, Braid was the Finance Manager for Foundation, a media agency within the Omnicom Media Group.  He has also held Finance roles at Publicis Groupe and George Patterson Bates.

Braid’s hire is the latest in a string of senior hires led by global CEO, Federica Bowman, who took over in August. Under her leadership, FirmDecisions has committed to continually refresh and expand its expertise for its clients by recruiting senior specialists out of agencies with unparalleled industry knowledge.

Commenting on his appointment, Matt Braid said: “Contractual transparency has long been an important topic for marketers and agencies alike.  For over 20 years, FirmDecisions has been a champion of this issue by helping its clients work with their agencies to achieve this. When this rare opportunity came up to join Dale and the team, I couldn’t pass it up.”

Dale Garvie, Managing Director APAC said: “Matt brings to our clients extensive industry knowledge and a proven track record of untangling commercial complexities within marketing and media agencies. His hire demonstrates FirmDecisions’ ongoing commitment to continue investing in specialist talent with up-to-date knowledge in an industry undergoing rapid change. I look forward to working with Matt and wish him every success.”

News Brands

ABC’s David Lipson quits Washington as Biden takes over from Trump

The Australian’s Cameron Stewart is not the only US-based Australian reporter returning home to work domestically for their employer.

ABC US bureau chief David Lipson reported on social media on the weekend about his decision not to return to the US capital to finish his latest international assignment:

“My time in Washington DC has come to an end for now. We have another baby due in April and decided to have it in Australia. I was due to return to DC next week for a final stint but will continue to watch in awe and admiration. Thanks to ABC for the opportunity of a lifetime and for all the support through this time. I’ll be popping up a bit here and there on Aunty while we sort out our new/old life in Australia. Thanks for watching/listening/reading.

“The one-man superpower known as Greg Jennett will lead the team. ABC Washington is in very good hands.”

Meanwhile the ABC’s duo of Sarah Ferguson and Tony Jones have arrived in the US with Ferguson reporting on the aftermath of Donald Trump shortly on Four Corners. Ferguson is expected to be in the US for six months and the posting comes after she was unable to take up a posting in China during 2020.

Late last year David Lipson wrote about a year of living and reporting in the US through COVID, civil unrest and a drama-packed election campaign.

[Read more]

ABC responds to Sinclair Davidson in The Australian Financial Review

The ABC has responded to Sinclair Davidson writing in The Australian Financial Review on the weekend, calling his column a basket case of inaccuracies about the role of the ABC and its value to Australians:

Davidson, a professor of economics at the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub, is also listed as an adjunct fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and is the co-author of the publication “Against Public Broadcasting: why we should privatise the ABC and how to do it”.

His 15 January piece “The ABC no longer has a purpose” displays a lack of understanding of the critical role of public broadcasters such as the ABC in the modern media age.

And the main contention – that Australian audiences are not as reliant on ABC services as they once were – is blatantly wrong.

In 2020 Australians turned to the ABC in record numbers, highlighting its role as Australia’s most trusted and valued media organisation.

Among the audience data:

• ABC News was the nation’s #1 digital news brand every month for the past 12 months.
• ABC News’s average daily digital audience is up 79% on 2019 to 2.2 million people and its average monthly audience is 38% higher at 12.5 million.
• ABC TV was the #3 network in 2020, for the first time since 2013.
• The ABC News channel achieved its highest-ever monthly reach in March of 6.4 million viewers.
• ABC TV was the only free-to-air network to experience significant growth in reach in 2020 (up 1.4 percentage points on 2019 to 46.9%).
• ABC Kids is the #1 channel among children, achieving a share of 53% among 0-4 year olds. ABC Kids is also #1 among 5-12s during daytime, with ABC ME in 2nd place.
• ABC Radio was the nation’s #1 radio network in 2020 with a share of 25.3% (combined metro, regional and national). In total, our radio networks also reached 37.2% of listeners across the five major capitals.
• All ABC Radio networks increased their share and reach this year.

15 of the top 20 ABC TV programs in 2020, across broadcast and ABC iview, were Australian.

Inside Nine’s “game-changer” Sydney newsroom

Simon Hobbs is pretty chuffed with his new office digs, reports TV Tonight.

Moving newsrooms from Nine’s historic Willoughby Studios to North Sydney, he is seeing the benefits of having all his team under the one roof.

“It’s been a total game changer for us,” he tells TV Tonight.

Hobbs is News Director for Nine News Sydney, but his role encompasses much more than the 6pm news. It includes the news bulletins in Today, all national news bulletins across the day, late news, foreign desks in LA & London plus Canberra.

“We’ve never had our whole news and current affairs division in one place. 60 Minutes has always been in the (Willoughby) cottages. A Current Affair was down in the old Scott Street building before they moved into a separate part of the building. And the Today show was separated from News.”

In the centre of the new newsroom is a news editor hub, similar to a BBC model. Raised above several ‘spines’ of journalists it allows for news to permeate from one place, quickly out to all teams. Having all news teams on the one floor at 1 Denison Street is also reaping benefits.

[Read more]


Bali Nine mule Renae Lawrence exploits love life for New Idea

Bali Nine drug runner Renae Lawrence has been accused of cashing in on her criminal notoriety after being paid to do an interview about her love life behind bars in Kerobokan Prison, reports The Australian’s Steve Jackson.

The convicted smuggler received financial remuneration for opening up to glossy magazine New Idea about her longstanding relationship with Indonesian partner Agus Erna Wijayanti, whom she met while they were both serving time in the notorious Balinese prison for drug-related offences.

Under Australia’s Proceeds of Crime Act, it is an offence for anyone convicted of an indictable offence to derive “any benefit … from the commercial exploitation of (their) notoriety” as a result of their criminal history.

The editorial team at New Idea magazine would not discuss whether paying Lawrence breached the Proceeds of Crime legislation when approached for comment on Monday.

[Read more]


Neil Mitchell returns to the 3AW studio after his most challenging year

Neil Mitchell is back in the studio after his most challenging work year yet, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein. The 3AW talkback radio king returned on Monday for the first time in 311 days.

“I don’t think I’ve ever worked as hard, it was the hardest year I’ve ever had in journalism,’’ Mitchell told the Herald Sun.

“I was getting a salary, working comfortably from home with minimal risk and lots of engagement.

“Without question (it was challenging) because it was uncertain.

“Last time I was here I was arguing why the Grand Prix shouldn’t go ahead and today I was arguing why the Australian Open shouldn’t go ahead,’’ he said.

“There are reasons for optimism. We don’t know the impact of the vaccine but hope that will be positive, and the fact we’ve learned a lot of lessons like hotel quarantine and how to handle that.”

[Read more]


Toni Pearen slammed for outburst on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! contestant Toni Pearen is not happy that there are two new members joining them in the jungle, reports’s Bianca Mastroianni.

On Monday night’s episode, former Gogglebox stars Adam and Symon received a very frosty reception when they entered the I’m A Celeb camp.

“Colin… I can’t do it anymore,” Toni cried to celebrity chef Colin Fassnidge.

“I can’t handle any more people,” she continued.

She later explained her dramatic reaction to camera: “We’re all exhausted, we’re depleted, we haven’t been eating properly. We are empty. The only thing that is filling us is each other.”

[Read more]

Producers announce season six of Peaky Blinders will be the last

The producers of UK period drama Peaky Blinders have confirmed that filming on the sixth, and final, series has begun.

“Peaky is back and with a bang”, says creator and writer Steven Knight. “After the enforced production delay due to the Covid pandemic, we find the family in extreme jeopardy and the stakes have never been higher. We believe this will be the best series of all and are sure that our amazing fans will love it. While the TV series will be coming to an end, the story will continue in another form.”

Caryn Mandabach (executive producer) confirmed the announcement with this message to the fans: “Along with our wonderful, supportive, partners at BBC and Netflix, we have been working diligently to ensure we can get Peaky safely back into production; the safety of our cast and crew is always our priority. Thank you to all the Peaky fans who have been so unwaveringly supportive and patient. Series six marks the end of an epic story that has entranced audiences since it first started in 2013, but the world of Peaky Blinders will most definitely live on.”

Tommy Bulfin (executive producer for the BBC) added: “We are very excited that filming for Peaky Blinders has begun and so grateful to everyone for all their hard work to make it happen. Steve’s scripts for series six are truly remarkable and provide a fitting send-off which we are sure will delight fans.”

The sixth series is written by Knight, Anthony Byrne returns as director having directed series five to great acclaim, and Nick Goding will produce. Executive producers are Caryn Mandabach, Steven Knight, Jamie Glazebrook, David Mason, Anthony Byrne and Cillian Murphy. Tommy Bulfin is executive producer for the BBC and Lucy Bedford is executive producer for Tiger Aspect. Peaky Blinders, from Caryn Mandabach Productions, is co-produced with Tiger Aspect Productions and distributed internationally by Banijay Rights.

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