Mediaweek Roundup: Netflix Reforms, AFR Young Rich List, TV Soap magazine + more

Netflix reform

Stan Christmas, Darren Wick, Brigitte Duclos, and Larry the Wonderpup

Business of Media

Netflix to face local content quota under proposed Australian TV reforms

Netflix and other global streaming services could be forced to spend millions of dollars on Australian programs and films under major changes to media laws proposed by the federal government that could level the regulatory playing field with free-to-air TV networks, report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Lisa Visentin and Zoe Samios.

The government is also considering scrapping annual broadcast spectrum taxes for commercial TV networks and replacing them with a new licensing regime which could save broadcasters up to $12 million each year.

Federal Communications and Arts Minister Paul Fletcher, who will launch a green paper with the proposed reforms on Friday, said the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had reinforced the need for regulatory action to help the TV industry.

“What we are proposing would rebalance Australia’s media regulations so that the industry can continue to support jobs, connect communities, and keep Australian stories on our screens regardless of whether they prefer to watch free-to-air television, subscription television or video-on-demand services,” Fletcher said.

In a joint submission to a federal government options paper earlier this year, Netflix, Stan, Prime Video and Disney Plus said: “we strongly believe that there is no market failure to address” and claimed each company “already makes a significant contribution to Australia’s screen production industry”.

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Tech and Zoe Foster Blake on Financial Review Young Rich List

Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar tops the Financial Review 2020 Young Rich List with a record-breaking wealth of $17.77 billion that accounts for nearly half of the entire wealth of the Top 100.

The 100 wealthiest self-made young Australians in 2020 have a collective wealth of $39.6 billion – slightly down from $41.2 billion in 2019. The fall in aggregate wealth is driven by Mike Cannon Brookes retiring from the list, having turned 41 years of age.

In a year that has seen the acceleration of technology due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a staggering 81 per cent of the wealth represented by the Young Rich is linked to tech. 56 of the 100 people on the list have built fortunes from tech. It marks the first time since the Young Rich List was created in 2003 when a majority of people on the list are tech entrepreneurs.

With more than 30 million people now using Canva’s beginner-friendly graphic design software, founders Melanie Perkins and her fiancé Cliff Obrecht have taken #2 and #3 spots and are worth $3.43 billion. Their business partner Cameron Adams is #5 worth $1.12 billion. And thanks to a lockdown-induced online retail binge, Afterpay founder Nick Molnar is Australia’s youngest billionaire at 30-years-old, worth $2.22b and #4 on the list.

The Financial Review Young Rich List has tracked the wealth of Australia’s wealthiest people aged 40 and under since 2003. Young Rich Listers must not have inherited their wealth.

There are 18 debutants on the list, including Zoe Foster Blake worth an estimated $36 million thanks to the success of her Go-To skincare label, and the founders of Sleeping Duck, Selvam Sinnappan and Winston Wijeyeratne, are worth $150 million each.

The Financial Review Young Rich List 2020 Highlights

TOP 10 (worth a collective $24.54 billion)

1   Scott Farquhar, 40, $17.77 billion (up from $13.22b) – Atlassian
2&3   Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht,34 & 32, $3.43 billion (up from $1.35b) – Canva
4    Nicholas Molnar, 30, $2.22 billion (up from $564 million) – Afterpay
5    Cameron Adams, 40, $1.12 billion (up from $452 million) – Canva
6    Laurence Escalante, 39, $919 million (up from $57 million) – Virtual Gaming Worlds
7    Peter Greensill, 39, $788 million (up from 745 million) – Agribusiness, Fin Services
8    Ori Allon, 40, $695 million (down from $747 million) – Compass
9    Mitchell Harper, 38, $694 million (up from $86 million) – Technology
10   Ruslan Kogan, 37, $685 million (up from $332 million) – Kogan

Entertainment/Public Figures

Miranda Kerr, 37, $120 million (up from $98m) – Manufacturing/Retail (#41 on YRL)
Chris Hemsworth, 37, $90 million (up from $66m) – Arts (#47)
Jennifer Hawkins, 36, $60 million (up from $35m) – Manufacturing/Retail (#60)
Margot Robbie, 30, $55 million (up from $35m) – Arts (#64)
Zoe Foster Blake, 40, $36 million (debutant) – Retail/Beauty (#84)

News Brands

Nine news chief pleads guilty after he was caught drink-driving

Nine’s director of news and current affairs Darren Wick pleaded guilty to one count of drink-driving on Thursday at Hornsby Local Court after returning a blood alcohol reading of more than 0.2 this year, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Laura Chung.

Wick came to the attention of police after they observed a black Jeep Cherokee 4WD driving northbound on Willoughby Road, Willoughby, on October 16, 2020, at 6.25pm.

The vehicle mounted the left-hand footpath before returning to the roadway. It then grazed the gutter as it turned into another street.

Wick did not appear in Hornsby Local Court on Thursday when his matter was adjourned until January 20.

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Brigitte Duclos was axed but co-host Lehmo survived

Brigitte Duclos has opened up about her brutal radio sacking, admitting it is still traumatising to think about her ruthless dismissal from Melbourne’s GOLD FM, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein and Nui Te Koha.

Duclos said they removed the “old from GOLD” when she was suddenly given her marching orders in November 2015 after that day’s show with co-host Anthony “Lehmo” Lehmann.

“I thought it was all going along swimmingly,’’ Duclos tells the Sacked: Showbiz podcast.

“If you get sacked as a team, it’s one thing, to take one person out of a team it’s so hard to get your head around. So gut-wrenching. That’s what was difficult about it and I didn’t see it coming.

“They replaced me with Jo Stanley, who is younger and also was a lot more socially connected. I wasn’t great on social media. I wonder now still to this day whether that was why. Now I look back and I think, just be very grateful I had such a good long career. But still traumatised a bit when I think about it.”

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Nextmedia pulls the plug on TV Soap magazine, final edition on sale

A short statement on the nextmedia site signals the end of the magazine TV Soap which has managed to survive several near-death experiences over the years after its initial appearance in 1984.

The statement says:

TV Soap, Australia’s number 1 magazine for lovers of TV Drama, gossip and glamour is celebrating its final issue (cover date 7th December 2020).

After what has been an amazing journey, the difficult decision has been made to cease publishing TV Soap in December 2020. The team would like to thank its loyal fans and readers who have made producing this magazine a reality over the last 30 years.

The magazine’s founding editor was Ben Mitchell who was the driving force behind the title when it first appeared at Magazine Promotions, later to be rebranded Fairfax Magazines.

The magazine stopped and started several times over its 36-year journey with Vesna Petropoulos editing the magazine during its time at Horwitz Publications which then became nextmedia.


Stan’s A Sunburnt Christmas – whether you’ve been naughty or nice!

Summer in Australia is primetime for Nine’ streaming platform Stan as it releases it biggest Australian originals every December and January. The first summer treat Stan is dropping for viewers will be released on December 11 – the seasonal movie A Sunburnt Christmas.

Created and written by Elliot Vella, Gretel Vella and Timothy Walker, and directed by Christiaan Van Vuuren (Bondi Hipsters, The Other Guy), this very Australian comedy is not your typical cliché Christmas movie. A Sunburnt Christmas is a wild, hilarious and heartfelt story about a single mum and her kids doing it tough on their outback farm until a runaway criminal dressed as Santa Claus crashes into their property and their lives.

Daniel Henshall (Daryl) with director Christiaan Van Vuuren

In the lead role as Daryl the kindly crim, Daniel Henshall (Snowtown, Bloom, Acute Misfortune) is mistaken for the real Santa by the young and fearless Daisy, played by new talent Lena Nankivell. Other newcomers Eaden McGuinness and Tatiana Goode take on the roles of Daisy’s older siblings, her anxious brother Tom and wily teenage sister Hazel who sees Daryl as an opportunity to get her family back on track.

Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom, Ride Like A Girl, 300: Rise of an Empire), also stars as Dingo, the mobster on the hunt for Daryl, with Ling Cooper Tang (The Secrets She Keeps, Stan Original Series The Gloaming) as the children’s mum rounding out the multi-generational cast of diverse characters.

“I hope this movie is a Christmas present to all Australians after such a hard year,” said director, Christiaan Van Vuuren.

A Sunburnt Christmas is produced by Every Cloud Productions, in association with Highview Productions, with major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Stan and financed with assistance from the South Australian Film Corporation. Lisa Scott, Highview Productions, is producer, with executive producers Fiona Eagger and Deb Cox for Every Cloud and Mike Jones co-producing.

Season 2 of WTFN’s Larry The Wonderpup launching on Seven

At a time when producers of both Australian scripted content and kids shows are especially feeling the squeeze, WTFN has announced Larry the Wonderpup, its Melbourne-produced, fully scripted series for kids, co-produced with Chocolate Liberation Front, is back for an extended, second 20 x 30 run. Commissioned by Seven for its 7TWO channel and with additional funding support from Film Victoria and Fred Media, WTFN’s international distribution arm, Larry the Wonderpup gets its premiere at 7am on 30th November.

A mix of live action and animated adventures, Larry the Wonderpup sees rescue pup Larry and his best pal, 11-year-old Sasha, tackle themes like friendship, community and the importance of being yourself, while getting into all manner of crazy, madcap and sometimes subversive situations.

For this new season, WTFN created a writers’ room featuring a number of talented young female writers. This included Lorin Clarke (daughter of respected comedian John Clarke), who also created the award-winning ABC RN fiction podcast The Fitzroy Diaries, and Nicolette Minster, a writer on Erinsborough High. Nicolette is also an actor, playing Mrs Crotchetby in the Larry series, and she is also known for her various characters in Kinne Tonight, and for appearing in Neighbours. Joining Lorin and Nicolette in the writers’ room was Neighbours and Erinsborough High writer Libby Butler, who has just written and produced her own Screen Australia funded web series, Love in Captivity, as well as comedian, performer and writer Vidya Rajan – recently signed to comedy agency Token, and Mel Sano.

Timothy Powell, WTFN producer, said: “We are often told that working with children and animals is a recipe for disaster but producing Larry the Wonderpup is a genuine joy. We have a talented young cast, a Larry (who’s actually a female dog called Trinnie) with perfect timing and enviable acting skills and an ingenious team of young female writers who have made this new series funnier than ever. WTFN is thrilled to be supporting emerging Australian writers in this way and proud to now showcase their extraordinary creative talents, not just to viewers at home but also in the international market.”

Season one (18 x 30) of Larry the Wonderpup was a hit overseas, with Fred Media licensing the show to the US (NBCUniversal), Russia and CIS (1HDTV), the Middle East (beIn Neo/Al Jazeera) and across Asia (ABC International). It also had a second window at home on ABC iview and ABCME.

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