Mediaweek roundup: Nine, Andrew ‘Greedy’ Smith tribute, SCA + more

• ACCC, oOh!media, John Jarratt, Facebook & Google, Tony Jones, Craig McLachlan + Tennis Australia

Business of Media

oOh!media upgrades guidance after stronger fourth quarter

oOh!media has provided a further update to the company’s expected earnings for the year ended 31 December 2019 (FY19). It released a statement to the ASX after the market closed on Tuesday.

The company confirmed that it expects FY19 underlying EBITDA to exceed its earlier forecast and has issued revised FY19 underlying EBITDA guidance of between $138 million to $143 million.

On 16 August 2019, oOh! announced revised FY19 earnings guidance with underlying EBITDA expected to be in the range of $125 million to $135 million.

Advertising bookings declined in the third quarter versus the prior year, but improved bookings for September and the fourth quarter have resulted in an upgrade.

Financial results for the year ended 31 December 2019 are expected to be released by the company on 24 February 2020.

Canberra wary of content ‘tax’ on tech giants Facebook & Google

The Morrison government is concerned about forcing digital giants to pay media companies for using their journalism out of fear they could be interpreted as new taxes, as it moves to respond to the ACCC’s landmark report into digital platforms’ impact on journalism, report The Australian’s Leo Shanahan and David Swan.

As well as a perception of a Liberal government placing new taxes on digital companies, there is also concern that companies such as Facebook and Google could relocate their activities offshore, resulting in a loss of local revenues and jobs. The government has a preference for any new revenue sharing to be done at a global level to prevent loss of revenue or jobs locally.

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ACCC leaves 2019 with more left to do on digital platforms

Wednesday marks the two year anniversary of the federal government asking the ACCC to prepare a report on digital platforms, reports The Australian’s John Durie.

After the report was completed in July, decisions are still pending.

That is part of the curse of being a regulator – waiting for others to make decisions.

A spokesman for Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the decision was yet to be made on the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry, but said he hoped a decision would be out, as promised, before years’ end.

The reality facing the platform powers Google and Facebook is they have moved from being innovators to acquirers and their march through the industry has done little to help consumers, but plenty to boost their own powers to gather data which they can monetise.

Facebook has opened up the prospect of paying for the use of media content, which is a big step in the right direction if it follows through.

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Actor tells court McLachlan kiss ‘absolutely not’ an indecent assault

An actor on stage when Craig McLachlan allegedly inappropriately kissed a female performer during a Melbourne stage show has told a court there was “absolutely not” an indecent assault, reports The Age’s Adam Cooper.

McLachlan is accused of indecently assaulting four female actors during a 2014 run of a theatre production and one of them alleges he put his tongue in her mouth during an unscripted kiss.

But Brendan Irving, who also starred in the scene, told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday it was part of his role to watch McLachlan closely, and that he never saw the star put his tongue in the woman’s mouth.

He said he was “horrified” when he learned of the allegations the women made and found them “impossible to reconcile” to memories of his involvement.

Director Christopher Luscombe told the court no one had raised with him any concern about the kiss.

“I assume if it wasn’t raised then it was deemed to be keeping with the spirit of the scene,” he said.

The hearing, before magistrate Belinda Wallington, continues.

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News Brands

John Jarratt’s second defamation case against Sunday Telegraph

Actor John Jarratt has launched a second defamation lawsuit against the Sunday Telegraph over its reporting of rape allegations against him, reports Guardian Australia’s Ben Butler.

Jarratt originally sued the Telegraph in the NSW supreme court over a front-page story detailing allegations by a former housemate, but dropped the lawsuit in August after he was found not guilty of rape.

However, on 22 November he filed a fresh lawsuit in the federal court – a jurisdiction that has several advantages to plaintiffs including speed and the lack of a jury.

In a statement of claim filed with the court, Jarratt says a separate article the Telegraph published on 7 July reporting the reaction of his accuser to the not guilty verdict conveyed imputations including that he “is a rapist” and “got away with rape”.

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Tony Jones: ‘Put Q&A on earlier, on a different night’

Tony Jones bows out as the permanent and founding host of Q&A next Monday night, ending 12 seasons on the ABC, reports TV Tonight.

Relocating to China in January with Sarah Ferguson, who becomes ABC’s bureau chief in Beijing, he will maintain links with the broadcaster that he has called home for 33 years including as an occasion fill-in host.

But if he has a parting wish to ABC management, it is that his successor Hamish Macdonald and the team are given a better timeslot. Much has changed since the show premiered in 2008, including audience habits.

“I certainly hope, as we’ve asked for a long time, that the ABC gives us a better timeslot, because of the rise of streamers and watching TV dramas, which I do myself at that time of the evening,” he tells TV Tonight.

“The pressure on free to air television has become greater and greater to attract new audiences. I do think we’re on a little bit too late in the evening and often not on at the time we’re scheduled to be on.”

Also departing with Jones is founding producer Peter McEvoy with former News Breakfast producer Erin Vincent to lead a new era with host Hamish Macdonald. Jones looks forward to them evolving the show with their own style and talks down any notion of a legacy.

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Entertainment

Mental As Anything frontman Andrew ‘Greedy’ Smith dead at 63

Of all the performers to have found themselves caught in the spotlight of popular Australian music, few seemed to have enjoyed themselves more than Andrew “Greedy” Smith, the singer, songwriter and keyboardist of Sydney band Mental As Anything.

Yet on Monday evening, Smith’s 43 years of smiling in the spotlight came to a sudden, tragic end when he suffered a heart attack while driving in Sydney in the midst of moving into a new home with his fiancée. The prompt arrival of an ambulance could not save him, and Smith died at the age of 63.

“Our grief and confusion at this time are little compared to what Andrew’s family will be feeling – our hearts and prayers go out to them”, wrote band manager Grant Bartlett on the Mental As Anything Facebook page on Tuesday.

According to his long-time bandmate Reg Mombassa, Smith’s ebullience was no act – it was just who he was.

Smith wrote many of Mental As Anything’s best-known songs, including the standout 1985 single Live It Up, which reached No 2 in Australia before becoming a hit overseas, including No 2 in Britain, after the track was used in the 1986 film Crocodile Dundee.

Its other songs to reach the top 10 in Australia included If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too? and Too Many Times– both from 1981 – as well as 1988’s Rock and Roll Music.

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Andrew ‘Greedy’ Smith dies: Mentals’ Pete O’Doherty pays tribute

A rush of memories have flooded the hearts of Mentals’ bandmates Pete O’Doherty and Reg Mombassa and thousands of fans as they remembered the beloved musician who died suddenly of a heart attack on Monday night, reports News Corp’s Kathy McCabe.

The 63-year-old singer, songwriter, fierce harmonica player, keyboardist and artist was moving house with his fiancé Fiona Docker when he stopped his car and complained of chest pains. He died later in the evening at hospital.

Smith, who was the only founding member of the band still touring and due to perform in Melbourne this week, has been hailed as one of the nicest men in Australian rock, a gregarious presence who continued to thrill fans with the Mentals’ raft of hits ingrained in the Australian songbook.

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Radio

Southern Cross Austereo axes 90 jobs across radio network

Radio network Southern Cross Austereo will axe up to 90 positions as the company feels the impact of declining revenue, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

The parent company of 2Day FM Sydney, Fox FM Melbourne and Triple M confirmed meetings were being held with staff members from today with redundancies offered across several departments nationally.

It is unclear whether the move will impact on air talent, nor would SCA comment on specific numbers.

“The entire advertising and media sector is operating in a challenging and difficult market and Southern Cross Austereo has and is being equally affected,” SCA said in a statement. “Management, with the support of the board, have conducted a comprehensive review of our workforce structure to provide an effective and efficient organisation for now and into the future.

“These proposed changes will impact some of our people. These decisions have not been taken lightly and we are committed to supporting our people as we work through this process.”

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Television

Deborah Knight and Georgie Gardner snub Nine Christmas party

Sacked Today show hosts Deborah Knight and Georgie Gardner have snubbed their work Christmas party, reports news.com.au’s Stephanie Bedo.

The duo were noticeably absent from the event held at Altum Restaurant in Milsons Point, Sydney, on Saturday.

In a massive group photo posted from the party, Knight and Gardner were nowhere to be seen, but fellow hosts, newsreader Tom Steinfort and entertainment reporter Brooke Boney, were in the snap.

Knight and Gardner hosted Today from January until November before being sacked.

Colleagues posted photos alongside Sydney Harbour at the swish event.

Channel 9 told news.com.au it would not comment on the stars’ absence because it was a private event.

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Sports Media

Ex-Tennis Australia president reveals state ‘interest’ in clash

Former Tennis Australia president Steve Healy said he worried that if controversial director Harold Mitchell was kicked off the Tennis Australia board it could hurt relations with the Victorian government and upcoming development plans for Melbourne Park, reports News Corp’s Jeff Whalley.

And he revealed the Victorian Premier’s office called Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley to ask “what was going on” when Mitchell quit his position amid a bitter boardroom stoush, the Federal Court heard.

Mitchell quit the board amid a boardroom battle that erupted over concerns by some directors he may have a conflict of interest with the Seven Network.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is taking civil action against former Tennis Australia directors Mitchell and Healy, saying they improperly helped Seven win the broadcast rights in 2013.

Healy also revealed if he knew Mitchell had been making secret calls to the Seven Network he would have raised it with fellow directors.

“I would have dealt with it at board level. I would have discussed it with the board and said ‘are those things appropriate et cetera?’. And (I would have) asked him to step away from negotiations or possibly resign from the board.”

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