Mediaweek Roundup: Netflix, Stan, Facebook, News Corp, ABC + more

Bank adspend, Sunrise, Logie Awards, World Cup, 10, Seven, and Horse Racing

Business of Media

Bank spending on ads up, but don’t expect big money until spring

Australia’s big banks are beginning to trickle back into the advertising market, but media buyers do not expect the big spending to return until financial institutions gear up home-loan marketing for the spring property season, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Westpac and Commonwealth Bank of Australia have been the bigger bank spenders testing the waters so far this month. CBA had advertising campaigns in print every day last week, including a front-page wraparound and full-page ads in The Australian Financial Review and AFR Weekend, and strap ads each day in The Australian‘s business section.

Westpac increased its ad spend last week with a campaign it launched in March about its separation hub, and a new “baker of Beirut” ad it launched this month across free-to-air television and Foxtel.

“I don’t think we should be getting ahead of ourselves and saying the banks are coming back in a big way,” Dentsu Aegis Network Australia chief executive Henry Tajer said.

“It’s an hors d’oeuvre, I don’t think we’ve sat down for the meal yet. The market wants to see the main course served out, but I have a feeling this may be a nibbles-type party. For the banks to just turn up, having a big-brand message – how relevant is that considering what’s been going on?”

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Fletcher flags new tax of Netflix and regulation of tech giants

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has indicated the Morrison government could support a new levy on digital video streamers like Netflix to make up for lost revenue streams from struggling traditional broadcasters, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Australian and Sky News Business Weekend, Fletcher said the Morrison government would be open to accepting the recommendations of the ACCC’s final digital platforms report, due at the end of this month, signalling a new wave of regulation to curb market power and the pernicious consequences of the dominance of Google and Facebook.

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Stan faces uncertain times as its sweetheart content deals expire

It’s been the halo sitting over Nine Entertainment Co since its merger with Fairfax Media brought full ownership of the Stan streaming business under the one roof last year, reports The Australian’s Andrew White.

But Stan’s subscription growth and climb out of heavy losses is set to face its sternest test with the expiry of a number of content deals, rising program costs and the arrival of new competition from studios looking to emulate the success of US giant Netflix.

Efforts have been under way to find an equity or content partner for the business in a bid to see it through what is shaping as a period of dramatic change in the market that could include some consolidation of the local players.

Costs to acquire programs for aggregators such as Stan are expected to rise from here as prod­uction houses such as Disney, HBO and CBS pull content back from licencing partners to establish their own “channel” offerings.

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Content deals: Facebook ‘splashing the cash’ ahead of ACCC Report

Facebook is negotiating deals with Network 10 and Nine Entertainment Co to broadcast content on the social media giant after Seven West Media’s studio arm agreed to put original digital series on the platform, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

News, sports and entertainment content are high on Facebook’s wish list, according to media sources, who say the deals on the table are financially attractive to local broadcasters.

Media sources are critical of the US behemoth’s sudden move into content deals a fortnight out from a world-first report from the competition regulator into the impact of the digital platforms on traditional media and advertising revenue. Some believe Facebook is “splashing the cash” in the short term to quickly improve its relationships with local media companies and alleviate the risk of tough new regulations.

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News Brands

The West introducing paywall, denies brand has gone down market

He is one of the country’s youngest and brashest newspaper editors, and 33-year-old Anthony De Ceglie insists he is the right person to be shaking up the mastheads of Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media, reports The Australian’s Andrew Burrell.

Critics say he has taken Perth’s only daily newspaper down-market, trying to turn it into a version of Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph, the News Corp-owned tabloid where De Ceglie was deputy editor for about two-and-half years.

Unsurprisingly, De Ceglie rejects the criticism and insists the response of readers to the changes has been largely positive.

“I don’t think that just because our paper is looking more engaging, that it’s looking more colourful and interesting, necessarily means that it’s going down-market,” said the Perth-born, Walkley-award-winning journalist. “I think that if anything, we’re doing more sophisticated journalism.”

As early as tomorrow, he will introduce a paywall for The West Australian’s website – a move many insiders believe should have been made many years ago.

The company’s Perth Now website will remain free to access.

Seven West Media chief executive Tim Worner says De Ceglie is the right person to lead the changes.

“We made some very deliberate and very big management moves in WA because we were after change,” he says.

“And that’s what we’re getting. Having an editorial lead across all our titles just makes sense, and Anthony is absolutely the right person for that.

“Our journalists at The West, The Sunday Times, PerthNow and really right across WA rarely get the credit they deserve.”

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Five new web-only mastheads for News Corp, Newcastle next

News Corp Australia is ramping up its rollout of digital-only local mastheads to tap strong demand for news on local crime, development planning, health, schools and lifestyle, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

NewsLocal, which publishes 18 local newspapers around NSW, including The Manly Daily and The Parramatta Advertiser, is set to launch a digital-only local masthead in Newcastle, expected to be called The Newcastle Telegraph, next month.

Just weeks after the federal election, News Corp launched its digital-only masthead, The Canberra Star, to cover all local issues, except politics. The group shuttered its Central Sydney newspaper last month, and immediately relaunched it as a digital-only masthead, and launched The Illawarra Star in April.

NewsLocal publisher John McGourty said there would be five digital mastheads by the end of July, taking the total to 23, with more on the drawing board over the next 12 months.

“I’d be reluctant to say where, but we have ambitions to roll out a further four or five in FY20,” McGourty told The Australian.

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ABC wants more diversity on panel shows, reviewing ABC Life

ABC managing director David Anderson will push for a greater diversity of viewpoints among guests on its panel shows as the broadcaster braces for more “tough” budget decisions including a review of the controversial digital website Life, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

Anderson aid the ABC was facing some difficult choices about content and staff over the next three years to meet funding commitments after the Coalition was re-elected in May.

Anderson said he had decided to review ABC Life, a website launched in August 2018 under his predecessor Michelle Guthrie who was sacked from the broadcaster in September.

“ABC Life is relatively new, I think we have set to review ABC Life in the coming months to see if it has done the job that we wanted ABC Life to do [and] look at its relative success,” Anderson said. “That means quantitatively and qualitatively and assess what we do and whether we continue that or not.”

He added the review would not necessarily result in a “binary” decision to close it or keep it running.

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Seven commits to independent review of Sunrise production process

The ACMA has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Seven following breaches of the Commercial TV Code of Practice in a Sunrise “Hot Topics” segment broadcast in March 2018.

The segment dealt with the adoption of indigenous children and child abuse in indigenous communities. The ACMA found that the segment was inaccurate and provoked serious contempt on the basis of race in breach of the industry’s code.

Seven sought judicial review of the ACMA’s findings that the segment provoked serious contempt on the basis of race, but discontinued court proceedings in April 2019.

Under the court-enforceable undertaking, Seven must conduct an independent review of how and the extent to which relevant production processes on Sunrise ensure code compliance in relation to sensitive and complex matters. A report of the review must be provided to Seven’s Board and Audit and Risk Committee within six months.

The ACMA will verify the independence of, and terms of reference for, the review.

Seven has also undertaken that Sunrise editorial staff will be trained to identify and deal with sensitive matters within six months and notify the ACMA within five business days that the training is complete.

All-star music line up for the 61st TV Week Logie Awards

The TV Week Logie Awards will feature an all-star line-up of music acts confirmed to perform live on Sunday, June 30, at The Star Gold Coast and telecast on Nine Network and 9Now.

Delta Goodrem, multiple ARIA award winner & multiplatinum Australian singer/songwriter and actress, has amassed a multitude of hits and achievements during her career. The talented performer has achieved in excess of 23 x platinum sales, 4 #1 albums, 9 #1 singles, 17 top 10 hits, 16 ARIA Awards, a Silver Logie Award & 3 World Music Awards.  Having achieved multi-platinum-selling status, over 8 million records sold worldwide and started her own label imprint with Sony Australia, The House of Oz Records, the gifted singer, songwriter, performer and pianist has, for the past 15 years, provided a soundtrack to the lives of a generation of music fans in Australia, the UK and around the world. In 2017, Goodrem launched her debut fragrance Delta by Delta Goodrem, smashing records as it debuted as the highest selling fragrance in Australian history. In 2018 she released her second fragrance of her collection “Dream”. In 2012, Delta became a coach on the first ever season of The Voice Australia and returns for her eighth season in 2019. Delta will be making her fourth return to the stage for the Logie’s audience.

“The TV Week Logies has held a special place in my heart since the start of my career, and I’m so honoured to be performing for the fourth time on the Logies stage,” said Goodrem. “I am very thankful to be part of this year’s show, it really is TV’s night of nights for all involved and I can’t wait to celebrate what has been an incredible year with not only my Voice family, but all of the TV industry.”

Singer, songwriter and producer Guy Sebastian is arguably Australia’s most successful male solo artist and now a certified hit in his new role as Coach on Nine’s The Voice Australia. Guy is the only Australian male artist to have ever achieved six number one singles and two number one albums in ARIA chart history. Guy has achieved over 30 x Platinum singles sales in Australia and well over 7,000,000 combined units sold worldwide. He will perform a medley of his hits for the TV Week Logie Awards audience.

“I’m loving being back on TV and am so proud to be a part of The Voice family mentoring some incredibly talented artists,” Sebastian said. “I can’t wait to perform at this year’s Logies and celebrate the amazing shows on Aussie television.”

Chart-topping singer, actress and Eurovision star Jessica Mauboy will be performing a brand-new song from her highly anticipated fourth studio album. Jessica Mauboy makes music that has been a saviour for many, with five top 10 albums, 15 top 20 singles, 4 ARIA accredited Platinum selling albums and winning two ARIA Music Awards from 24 nominations to her name since she captured the heart of the nation as a 16-year-old on Australian Idol back in 2006. Since then, her songs and videos have been streamed globally over 257 million times and over 102 million times in Australia alone. She has toured with Beyoncé, collaborated with Ricky Martin, Flo Rida, Snoop Dogg and Pitbull; performed for Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and made history being the first non-European solo artist to represent Australia at Eurovision in 2014. Jessica is also no stranger to the small screen as the star of TV series, The Secret Daughter.

“Since my last performance in 2017, I’ve been so keen to return to the Logies stage,” Jessica said. “It’s one of the best nights of the year for a performer. And to be able to do it with an all new song I’ve co-written is a privilege.”

Bringing international flavour to this year’s TV Week Logie Awards, US boyband Why Don’t We will perform their hit single “I Don’t Belong In This Club”. The group played sold-out shows in Sydney and Melbourne in 2018 and this is their first time back in Australia since then. “I Don’t Belong In This Club”, a surprise collaboration with Macklemore, has over 70 million streams globally. Why Don’t We has amassed a huge 1 billion streams worldwide to date.

Sports Media

World Cup football: The beautiful game may soon get ugly for women

In the football world, women have long been scrappy Cinderellas to the glittering princelings in the men’s leagues. Underpaid, underrated underdogs who sometimes seem to spend as much time battling off the pitch as on it, writes former SMH reporter now with The FT, Pilita Clark.

Yet this year’s women’s World Cup is also shaping up to be a turning point. England’s first game last week against Scotland was the UK’s most watched women’s football match of all time, according to the BBC, drawing a peak of 6.1 million viewers that smashed the previous record of 4 million set in 2017.

It was covered by journalists from the Daily Telegraph, which has just launched a dedicated female sports section as part of what it trumpeted was an “unprecedented investment” in women’s sport coverage by a UK publisher. Meanwhile, a wave of corporate money has been pouring into women’s football. In March, Barclays bank unveiled a £10 million ($18 million) deal with England’s Football Association that the FA said was the biggest ever investment in UK women’s sport by a brand. Two weeks later, Boots, the chemist chain, said it would sponsor women’s teams in the home nations and Ireland for the next three years. Last month, MasterCard became the first major official partner for the Arsenal Women Football Club.

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10 v Seven: Turf wars to hit TV racing coverage in spring

Racing NSW boss Peter V’Landys says the split in free to air television coverage on the biggest day of the spring carnival is an example of Victoria Racing Club’s hypocrisy when it comes to interstate cooperation, reports The Age’s Michael Cox.

The VRC’s $100 million deal with Channel 10, encompassing all four days of the Flemington carnival and announced late last year, means Channel 7 will be left to dedicate its entire coverage to the new $7.5 million Golden Eagle on the same day.

V’Landys has copped his share of flak in recent weeks – mainly from Melbourne – for what critics call an uncooperative attitude, with his new races like The Golden Eagle announced in direct competition with Victoria’s traditional race days.

“But Channel 7 will be doing the Golden Eagle and it will be in direct competition to Derby Day and this is the irony of the whole situation,” he said. “They (the VRC) want to talk about the national situation, and what do they go and do? They go and sign with Channel 10, away from the national channel that we are using. It’s only national when it suits them, and it is never national when they want to do things unilaterally.”

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10 Network and Channel 7 to go head-to-head in spring first

The racing war between Melbourne and Sydney will heat up even further later this year when Channel 7 will “throw the kitchen sink” at its Sydney spring carnival coverage and go head-to-head with 10’s Derby Day coverage from Flemington, reports News Corp’s Ray Thomas.

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