Mediaweek Roundup: Network 10, ABC, SMH, The Walking Dead + more,, Christchurch massacre, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and SEN

Business of Media

James Boyce returns to 10 as head of government and regulatory affairs

Network 10 has appointed James Boyce as its head of government and regulatory affairs. In this role, Boyce will lead 10’s government and regulatory affairs team, reporting to Network 10’s chief operating officer Annabelle Herd. Boyce joins the company on 12 August.

Herd said: “James knows politics and policy, and is a highly experienced communicator. He also knows 10 and has an obvious passion for TV, media, and great Australian content. In our fast moving and highly disrupted industry there are a lot of throwback rules and regulations that impact our business. James is the perfect person to represent 10 in those debates in Canberra, with our regulators, and across the industry.”

Boyce re-joins the company after leaving the 10 newsroom in 2011 to take up a variety of senior public affairs and government advisory roles starting with four years as senior press secretary to Prime Minister Tony Abbott MP.

Boyce spent nine years as a broadcast journalist covering national affairs and politics, five of those years at Network 10.

He is currently head of communications and public affairs at Johnson & Johnson Medical, a role he has been in for the past 18 months. Prior to Johnson & Johnson Medical, James was the director of government relations and communications at Medicines Australia.

Boyce said: “I’m super excited to be re-joining the 10 family! Free-to-air TV plays such an important role in entertaining us, informing us and reflecting our Aussie culture. You just don’t get that on any other platform and I can’t wait to be its number one cheerleader around the halls of Canberra.”

Judith Whelan appointed director ABC Regional & Local

The ABC’s managing director, David Anderson, has confirmed Judith Whelan (pictured) as director of ABC regional & local.

Whelan has been acting director of ABC regional & local since November 2018.

Anderson said Whelan’s considerable experience in senior media roles at The Sydney Morning Herald and more recently managing television, radio and digital content at the ABC, made her the perfect choice for the role.

“Judith has already made a significant contribution to the ABC’s leadership team and I look forward to working with her closely on our regional and local content which is so highly valued by Australians.”

Whelan said it was an honour to be appointed to such an important role within the national broadcaster.  “The work done by the regional & local team is at the very heart of the ABC. Our capital city radio teams, our regional bureaux, our sports unit and our local television department, produce hundreds of hours of outstanding local content every week, telling Australian stories and sharing conversations with local communities in every corner of the country,” she said. “It’s where the ABC started 87 years ago, and it is still such big part of what makes us unique. The big difference today is that we reach our audiences across multiple platforms and in multiple ways.”

ABC’s regional & local team includes its eight capital city radio stations, 48 rural and regional teams, regional and local screen content including Gardening Australia, Backroads and Landline, Grandstand sport, live events such as New Year’s Eve, Australia Day and Anzac Day and emergency broadcasting.

Whelan came to the ABC three years ago as head of spoken content, in which she oversaw RN, Grandstand and the capital city radio stations.  She went on to take the new role of head of specialist content, in charge of the national broadcaster’s coverage across all platforms – television, radio and digital – in arts, science, health and technology, religion and ethics, education, society and culture. She also oversaw audio studios, the ABC’s centre for digital-first, innovative podcasting.

Whelan was formerly editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, as well as its news director and the editor of its weekend edition, a role she took on after more than seven years as the editor of Good Weekend. Her career in journalism spans more than 30 years and includes experience as a Walkley-nominated news and feature writer, senior editor and a foreign correspondent in both the Pacific and Europe.

News Brands

Digital ratings: reaches 5.5m in first audited month

The release of the June 2019 Nielsen Digital Content Ratings (DCR) shows that reached a unique audience of 5.5m Australians in its first fully audited month.

This unique audience represents 20% growth in the three months since Seven took control of 7News back from Yahoo7.

Seven West Media digital sales director James Bayes said: “We are thrilled with the momentum behind which has rapidly established itself as a major force in market.

“We’re particularly delighted by the success we’re seeing in attracting younger readers through our video led approach to news, introducing a whole new audience to 7News and complementing our dominant position on broadcast.

“Now that we are in full control of our digital products, we’re better positioned than ever before to support the growth of our clients with scaled data, insights and content led solutions, all built on and our other leading digital properties.”

See also: debuts at #5 in first Nielsen news rankings appearance

Dr John O’Neill awarded $385,000: Court finds he was defamed by SMH

A ringside doctor who supervised a boxing match between Anthony Mundine and Danny Green has been awarded $385,000 in damages after a court found he was defamed by a column in the Sydney Morning Herald which argued the fight continued despite one boxer suffering “a bleeding brain”, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Georgina Mitchell.

Dr John O’Neill, a neurology specialist who has acted as a ringside doctor for more than three decades, sued Fairfax Media and journalist Peter FitzSimons in the NSW Supreme Court over The Fitz Files column published in print and online on February 10, 2017.

The story referred to a punch thrown by Mundine within the first minute of the first round of the February 2017 fight, which hit Green in the head and caused him to stumble backwards and drop briefly to the ground.

The story referred to a punch thrown by Mundine within the first minute of the first round of the February 2017 fight, which hit Green in the head and caused him to stumble backwards and drop briefly to the ground.

Dr O’Neill was not identified by name in the story, but Justice McCallum found his reputation was damaged in the circles where it matters most, “since those are the circles in which he would have been identified as the unnamed ringside doctor”.

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Digital Media unveils all-new Kidspot Kitchen has unveiled an all-new Kidspot Kitchen, the online home of budget-friendly, quick and easy recipes for busy parents. is the largest parenting website in the country, with a unique audience of over 2.9 million each month and a social footprint of more than 1.2 million. executive editor Melissa Wilson said: “Kidspot Kitchen consumers are busy parents looking for recipe inspiration for their family meals and children’s lunch box ideas.

“From our research we know that 88% of mums trust and that they are constantly looking to us for advice. 87% are always on the lookout for new recipes to keep mealtime fresh and interesting for their family, along with the staple recipes that they cook, the ones that they know their kids will devour.

“Through our investment in Kidspot Kitchen we are delivering the loyal community more content in more engaging ways along with a better and faster user experience.”

In line with the relaunch are a number of new commercial opportunities ranging from events to custom recipe and video creation aimed at targeting parents looking for recipe inspiration. Partners will also have the ability to create bespoke recipe collections, zones and menu plans.

The relaunched site includes:

• Enhanced search capability: Filter search terms by allergies and dietary requirements to find the perfect recipe.
• Content organised under five key sections: Baby & Toddler, Lunch Box, Dinner, Party Food and Sweets based on top performing topics across the site.
• New-look menus: Curated menu plans designed for busy families with quick functionality to print out the ingredients and simplify shopping lists.
• Rate and review recipes: An enhanced feature on the site, making it easier to rate and review recipe content and share tips on how to make the recipe extra special.
• Online cookbooks: Save favourite Kidspot Kitchen recipes to personalised cookbooks.
• Video: Now a key feature on recipe pages including step-by-step method instruction. Plus, a suite of new editorial video content around key pillars with an additional 100 how-to videos being added to the site.
• Full redesign: Intuitive UX, including new colours, fonts and iconography. is part of News DNA’s With Her In Mind Network, which has established itself as Australia’s leading digital women’s network with a monthly unique audience of 3.8 million.


TV broadcasters cleared after media watchdog investigation

The media watchdog has stopped short of penalising broadcasters for airing footage of the Christchurch massacre, despite a lengthy investigation prompted by criticism over dramatic videos of the shooting on daytime television, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority sent broadcasters a confidential report with its findings this week, but has yet to release the outcome publicly. The regulator investigated news broadcasts from Nine Entertainment Co (owner of this masthead), Seven West Media, Network Ten, News Corp’s Sky News, ABC and SBS.

The review came amid intense criticism of TV networks and online publications for sharing the footage from the alleged gunman, that was initially livestreamed on Facebook, as part of a terrorist attack that left 50 people dead in New Zealand in March.

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‘Incomprehensible’: producers condemn content quota stalemate

Some of Australia’s most respected producers have called on the federal government to implement content quotas for streaming services in a bid to revitalise the local film and television industry, reports The Age’s Broede Carmody.

Companies such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are not required to produce local content, despite being available in Australia for several years now. The law is very different for traditional broadcasters such as the Seven Network and Network 10, who are forced to fund Australian dramas and children’s programs every year.

The Department of Communications finalised a comprehensive review of Australia’s screen industry in December 2017. However, the government has so far refused to release the Australian and Children’s Screen Content Review findings and even knocked back Freedom of Information requests from journalists requesting copies of the report.

Stuart Menzies, the producer for critically-acclaimed ABC drama The Cry, said it is “utterly incomprehensible” as to why the government has not yet released the screen content review.

“In the absence of it being released, you have to go, ‘What’s not in the government’s interest?'” he said. “We’ve always wanted to be able to see and hear our own voices on whatever screens are the flavour of the day. With the rise of SVODs… clearly they must be regulated as with everyone else. It’s clearly how people consume television.”

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Unknown Sydney actor lands breakthrough role on major US TV show

Sydney actor Hal Cumpston has landed the ultimate breakthrough acting gig, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

The 20-year-old has scored a role on the yet-to-be-titled new spin-off to The Walking Dead in the US.

Cumpston is one of three newcomers to be cast in the series. Alexa Mansour and Nicolas Cantu have also been announced for the show, the third in the Walking Dead franchise.

Producers noticed Cumpston after seeing his debut in low-budget Aussie flick Bilched, which he wrote and produced.

“It is unreal that working on my own film Bilched for 18 months has led to me getting to be in one of my favourite TV shows,” he said.

“It is pretty surreal. Obviously it is like the most exciting thing that has ever happened in my life so far. I cannot wait to get on set.”

Hollywood reports suggest the new project has been commissioned for 10 episodes and will feature two female protagonists. It’s rumoured to focus on the first generation to come of age in the apocalypse zombie world.

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Sports Media

SEN considering new combo to replace Kevin Bartlett on drive show

A combination of Bob Murphy and Andy Maher or colourful commentator Dwayne Russell.

These are a couple of the options being thrown around as SEN boss Craig Hutchison desperately tries to land a big fish to replace Kevin Bartlett, reports News Corp’s Scott Gullen.

As the fallout from the shock exit of the AFL legend after 15 years at the station continues, various combinations are being thrown up to steer the drive program for the rest of the year.

Most are already either on SEN’s books or part of Hutchison’s Crocmedia umbrella which spreads far and wide on the media landscape.

The one which is gaining the most momentum is a combination of Murphy, the former Western Bulldogs captain, and Maher who is the current afternoon host.

Murphy is a part of SEN’s footy team and appears regularly on the station’s breakfast show and also with Gerard Whateley in the morning.

Maher is a long-time SEN man but it’s unclear whether the shift in timeslot would work given his TV commitments, which include the ratings juggernaut The Front Bar and Channel 7’s cricket coverage.

Hutchison is a big fan of Russell who does an hour-long daily show called Dwayne for SEN SA and the Sportsday show he does with Gerard Healy on 3AW is produced by Crocmedia.

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