Mediaweek Roundup: News Corp, Mungo MacCallum, AFL draft + more

Facebook, ABC internal review, Emma Alberici, Grant Broadcasters, and Disney

Business of Media

News Corp close to signing global content deals with tech giants

News Corp global chief executive Robert Thomson says the media conglomerate is in advanced negotiations with Google and Facebook to agree on global content licensing deals, as the two technology giants face regulation to pay for journalism in Australia, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

“The negotiations are ongoing,” Thomson told the UBS global TMT virtual conference on Thursday morning. “It’s fair to say they’re at an advanced stage and it’s not in one particular country at the moment, these are global negotiations because we’re a global company.”

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Breaking up Facebook more complicated than it sounds

Facebook executives’ worst nightmare is upon them. The Federal Trade Commission has declared the social network an illegal monopoly, and said it should be broken up, reports Bloomberg.

On Wednesday, the FTC and more than 40 states called for the unwinding of the company’s Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions, which have allowed it to achieve unprecedented power over global communication and culture.

Facebook protested, saying that these deals were sealed years ago, in 2012 and 2014. The acquisitions passed antitrust muster then, and Facebook argued the government doesn’t get to request a do-over now.

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News Media

Much-loved journalist Mungo MacCallum was warm and witty to the end

Political journalist, author and commentator Mungo MacCallum has died, aged 78, reports The Australian’s Stephen Rice.

MacCallum was remembered on Thursday as a giant of Australian journalism, a larrikin spirit whose wit and irreverence punctured the hubris and pretence of the political establishment.

A veteran of the Canberra press gallery, MacCallum worked for The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and the ABC in a career that spanned more than 50 years.

Laurie Oakes, one of his contemporaries, wrote in tribute: “A brilliant man. At uni switched ­effortlessly between studying ­English and mathematics. Could have done anything. We were lucky he opted for journalism where he was one of a kind; funny but always with serious purpose.”

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Knowing and hilarious, Mungo sought to puncture the ego of the mighty

Mungo quit Canberra in 1988, his legend so established then that we don’t need to speak his surname even now, reports friend and colleague Tony Wright in Nine newspapers.

He declared he couldn’t bear the idea of leaving the dear little old Parliament House that he had inhabited for so many years just to move to the grand new building on the hill.

Mungo moved north, not far from Byron Bay, where the sun could penetrate his long, lean frame.

But he never stopped writing his knowing and wickedly hilarious columns – The Byron Shire Echo was one of those lucky enough to grab him – that usually sought to puncture the ego of the mighty.

Mungo arrived in the Canberra Press Gallery in 1969, writing for the pages of Rupert Murdoch’s broadsheet The Australian, determined, as he often said later, to “cut through the bullshit” of politics.

He wrote variously for The National Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, the ABC and others, but it was his work for the irreverent Nation Review that most earned him notoriety. To miss a madcap but insightful Nation Review column by Mungo MacCallum in the 1970s was to leave you out of contemporary history’s loop.

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Vale Mungo Wentworth MacCallum: December 21, 1941 – December 9, 2020

With immaculate timing and a great work ethic until the end, Mungo has passed away a few days after announcing he would write no more. Here at The Echo we still cannot quite believe that he has gone, writes David Lovejoy in The Byron Shire Echo.

From shortly after the newspaper’s founding until just a week ago, Mungo produced for us a political column that was well-informed, often surprisingly clairvoyant and always written with elegance and wit.

Much as I treasure memories of Mungo I know they are only a fraction of his long and adventurous life. The Echo and the Byron Shire community were lucky to have him spend the last part of it with them.

Mungo MacCallum is survived by his partner Jenny Garrett, daughters Diana and Gail, and step-daughters Adrienne and Gillian.

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ABC internal review finds two shows favoured Labor: The Drum, Insiders

An internal review has found two of the ABC’s flagship political discussion programs favoured Labor over the Coalition during the 2019 federal election campaign, with one at times showing a “marked enthusiasm” for a Labor victory, reports The Astralian’s Max Maddison.

The audit of 158 separate items and nine hours of live discussion singled out nightly current affairs program The Drum and political talk show Insiders as being significantly more positive towards Labor than the Coalition.

While the review, by former BBC adviser Kerry Blackburn, found overall the public broadcaster’s content met the impartiality standard, it recommended The Drum reconsider the composition of its panel to “achieve a ­better balance of voices from across the spectrum of ideas and politics”.

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See also: ABC statement on Editorial Review: Impartiality of the Federal Election 2019

Emma Alberici defends her appearance on Sunrise plugging insurance

Former ABC journalist Emma Alberici has defended her appearance on Sunrise this week, during which she plugged insurance company Compare The Market, reports news.com.au’s Bella Fowler.

The respected former economics correspondent, who was embroiled in an ugly legal battle with the ABC earlier this year, was hired as the chief strategy officer for insurance comparison website Compare the Market (the one with the meerkats) in September.

Flocking to social media, viewers expressed their surprise to see the former Lateline host on commercial television in what appeared to be an infomercial for her company’s app.

Defending herself, the journalist lashed out at “trolls”, telling them to “lighten up” and “Get stuffed Twitter trolls”.

[Read more]

Radio

Rod Winner appointed GM for Hot 91.1 & Zinc 96 on Sunshine Coast

Grant Broadcasters this week appointed Rod Winner (pictured) as general manager of Hot 91.1 and Zinc 96 on the Sunshine Coast.

Winner will join the business with extensive radio & TV industry experience being previously employed by SCA for over 15 years. Starting in a promotional role he then moved into sales, general manager and then regional general manager for several markets including Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Southern NSW.

Winner is looking forward to relocating to the Sunshine Coast with his family and said: “We are thrilled to be continuing our media journey with such a well respected and progressive company as Grant Broadcasters in one of the most amazing locations in Australia. We just love the way radio stations and their people bring not just you in, but your whole family to be part of the community. Now we’re just looking forward to meeting the team at Hot 91.1 and Zinc 96 and ingratiating ourselves into the Sunshine Coast lifestyle”.

Grant Queensland and NT state manager Matt Chapman said: “Rod has great professional integrity and strong family values making him well suited to the Grant Broadcaster’s culture. The wealth of experience he brings to the Sunshine Coast is second to none and we look forward to Rod starting in his new role on the 1st February 2021.”

Television

Disney to reveal plans to turbocharge streaming offerings

A significant expansion of the Star Wars universe. Tom Hanks as Geppetto in a live-action Pinocchio, and Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell in a live-action Peter Pan & Wendy. Footage from new Marvel projects. A star-studded prequel to The Lion King.

On Thursday, as part of a four-hour investor presentation focused on streaming, the Walt Disney Company will discuss a Death Star-size trove of coming content – all of the above and more, said three people with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private planning, reports The New York Times.

Some big-budget Disney movies will continue to have exclusive runs in theatres. (The Lion King project, directed by Barry Jenkins and focused on Mufasa’s back story, is a good bet.) Others will debut online. (That is where Pinocchio is headed.) All will ultimately serve one goal, which is strengthening Disney+, the company’s flagship streaming service.

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Sports Media

AFL draft 2020 was the longest and most boring in history

It may have been a snooze fest, but a record number of footy fans still watched the longest AFL draft in history, reports News Corp’s Scott Gullan.

Fox Footy have reported that Wednesday night’s four-and-a-half hour marathon telecast was the highest rating national draft ever with an average audience of 132,000.

It was up 34 per cent on night one of the 2019 draft and was also the No.1 show on Foxtel for the evening.

The Fox Footy crew led by Sarah Jones and Brad Johnson did an impressive job of trying to keep fans engaged.

And while taking three-and-a-half hours to select 59 players is lunacy, the bonus of the virtual draft was the unprecedented access the network got to clubs, the draftees and their families.

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