Mediaweek Roundup: CBSViacom, David Speers, Human Nature + more

• Antony Catalano, Facebook, The Block, ABC iview, and AFL

Business of Media

As Armando Nuñez promoted at CBSViacom, Network 10 gets new boss

CBS and Viacom have announced senior leadership appointments across what will be a new ViacomCBS merged entity. The appointments will be effective upon closing of the deal to combine CBS and Viacom.

The changes mean Network 10 CEO Paul Anderson will have a new executive to report to at the global media giant that now owns the Australian broadcaster.

Armando Nuñez

“These appointments mark an important step in the integration of CBS and Viacom,” said Bob Bakish, President and Chief Executive Officer, Viacom, who will serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of ViacomCBS upon close. “The seasoned executives we announced today will capitalise on ViacomCBS’ must-watch programming, iconic library and franchises, as well as its global production capacity to drive important new distribution, content licensing and advertising opportunities all over the world.”

David Lynn, President and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks, will now oversee the combined company’s international media networks, including Network 10 in Australia.

David Lynn

Armando Nuñez, the current President and CEO, CBS Global Distribution Group, and Chief Content Licensing Officer, CBS, will next serve as Chairman, Global Distribution and Chief Content Licensing Officer, ViacomCBS, overseeing all content licensing, including worldwide distribution and domestic syndication, for ViacomCBS-owned programming to third-party platforms.

David Lynn has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Viacom International Media Networks since 2017, overseeing all of Viacom’s media networks and related businesses outside the US. Previously, he was President of VIMN UK, Northern and Eastern Europe, during which time he helped lead the acquisition of Channel 5 Broadcasting in 2014. He assumed this position after serving as Executive Vice President, Managing Director of the group. Before that, Lynn was responsible for Viacom’s distribution strategy outside the US, overseeing deals with key international affiliates and securing distribution for Viacom content on video-on-demand platforms. Lynn joined Viacom in 1999 and has held a range of positions across the company’s brands.

Antony Catalano’s Prime moves: too little, too late

Former Domain chief executive Antony Catalano is back, sounding off on his plans for a media asset that’s already slipped through his fingers, reports The AFR’s Joe Aston.

You’ll recall that Catalano, backed by his mate Alex Waislitz, offered to buy 19.9 per cent of Fairfax Media if chairman Nick Falloon gave him a board seat … after the proxy votes required to ratify Fairfax’s merger with Nine, now the owner of The Australian Financial Review, had been received on the night before the shareholder meeting to formalise it. One can only deduce that public attention was the stunt’s (successful) intention.

Now, the duo wants regional broadcaster Prime Media, and has built up a 10.26 per cent shareholding described by The Australian on Thursday as “a blocking stake.”

Too little, too late, again, from Catalano. At least he managed to score some more publicity.

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Facebook’s earnings and revenue jump, topping forecasts

Facebook has been targeted by lawmakers over its treatment of political ads and has been misused by Russians to spread disinformation. But on Wednesday, the social network showed those challenges had little effect on its business, reports The New York Times.

The Silicon Valley company said its revenue in the third quarter rose 29 percent from a year earlier, to US$17.7 billion, while profits jumped 19 percent to $6.1 billion. The results surpassed Wall Street estimates.

Facebook also reported 2.8 billion regular users across its family of apps – which includes Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook’s core social network – up from the year previous. More than 1.6 billion people visit Facebook on a daily basis.

Facebook’s financial performance is a regular bright spot for the social giant, which has been embroiled in scandals in recent years over the way it handles customer data and the spread of misinformation. Regulators and lawmakers are now examining Facebook’s power and whether it is stifling competition. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat running for the presidential nomination, has proposed breaking up the company.

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News Brands

David Speers’ Sky News farewell tour, channel names new political editor

David Speers has been reporting during his final week on air at Sky News where the political editor hosted his last weekday program on Thursday.

Ahead of his move to the ABC, Sky News has appointed a replacement as Speers was farewelled by colleagues on air yesterday.

In the afternoon, saying goodbye to Speers were Canberra reporting colleagues Katharine Murphy (Guardian Australia), Malcolm Farr (news.com.au) and Phillip Coorey (AFR).

Later in the afternoon he was joined by Sky News colleagues Janine Perrett and Paul Murray for the final Last Word. Murray referred to the different opinions that they have on some matters: “We’re a family that fight sometimes, but we love always”.

Meanwhile The Australian’s NSW political editor Andrew Clennell has been appointed political editor at Sky News.

Clennell has spent nearly two decades covering state and federal politics, will replace Speers and will report live from Parliament House in Canberra during sitting weeks and deliver breaking political news and analysis.

Sky News’ recently appointed chief news anchor Kieran Gilbert and Clennell will work alongside the rest of the political team of Laura Jayes, Tom Connell, Annelise Nielsen and Ashleigh Gillon, who will return from maternity leave.

Sky News chief executive Paul Whittaker said Clennell has an “impressive track record of delivering news breaking stories that set and inform the political news agenda”.

Clennell was state political editor for The Daily Telegraph from 2010-2017 and before that worked at The Sydney Morning Herald.

Television

ABC iview goes global: Streaming for international audiences

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has launched the free international streaming service ABC Australia iview, opening up more of its outstanding content to audiences around the world.

The new app is the latest addition to ABC iview, the most popular free-to-air video streaming service. ABC Australia iview will deliver curated Australian content to audiences overseas and is available for download on all App Stores and Google Play fronts outside Australia.

 

For the first time, ABC News Channel can be streamed internationally via an ABC app, delivering news and current affairs content to audiences everywhere, including Q&A, Four Corners, Insiders, Media Watch, Foreign Correspondent and The Drum.

ABC Australia iview also features flagship ABC programs, such as Australian Story, BTN and Gardening Australia. The new service also features programs showcasing regional Australia, including the Back Roads, along with documentary, lifestyle and entertainment content such as Waltzing the Dragon and triple j’s One Night Stand.

ABC chair Ita Buttrose said: “International broadcasting is one of the ABC’s bedrock Charter responsibilities. The availability of ABC Australia iview will open up a variety of outstanding Australian content to audiences around the world, as well as to the more than 1 million Australian expats who live, work or are travelling overseas.

“ABC Australia iview is an example of how, with determination and drive, we can deliver great value for international audiences, Australian taxpayers and the national interest.”

‘Too big’: Future seasons of The Block to shun historical mansions

The creator of Nine’s long-running reality program The Block has vowed to never renovate another historical mansion-sized property again, reports The Age’s Broede Carmody.

The comments signal a radical shift from the past two seasons of the high-rating show, with contestants renovating projects on a scale never seen before. The Block‘s 15th season, which wraps-up next week, saw contestants refurbish the 160-year-old Oslo Hotel in Melbourne’s bayside suburb of St Kilda. The former boarding house has been restored to its original set of three-storey terraces.

The Block‘s creator and executive producer, Julian Cress, said the Oslo Hotel would be the show’s last project on such a grand scale. But he denied the decision had anything to do with a desire to avoid headlines linking the reality show to the issues around Melbourne’s homelessness crisis.

“The past two series of The Block, I think, are two of the best we’ve ever made and we’re incredibly proud of them,” he said. “So we don’t shy away from any of the commentary about whether or not we should have made them. We did and we’re proud of the legacy we’re leaving St Kilda.

“But the effort required to deliver that was unprecedented. We’re essentially a renovation show for amateurs. I think in the last season we produced we crossed a line where it was about testing the limits of human endurance. While the contestants rose to the challenge, it was almost too big a challenge.”

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ABC Commercial completes deal with new SVOD platform Topic

ABC Commercial has reached a new distribution agreement with North America’s new SVOD service, Topic, for a collection of ABC Commercial’s comedy and documentary titles for their US and Canadian audience.

The agreement lists locally produced titles including Hannah Gadsby in her documentaries Hannah Gadsby’s Nakedy Nudes and Hannah Gadsby’s Oz, comedy series, F**cking Adelaide and award-winning short form series Goober.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Topic to bring these ground-breaking Australian programs to US and Canadian audiences” said Jessica Ellis, head of ABC content, sales and distribution “These shows are excellent examples of the high-quality, original productions that sits within our robust portfolio of award-winning television content.”

“Topic is dedicated to acquiring and producing compelling content that sits at the forefront of culture. We’re very excited to work with ABC Commercial to add this collection of hit Australian programming to the Topic platform for our subscribers” said Topic senior director, acquisitions, Jennifer Liang.

Ryan Chanatry, general manager of Topic stated, “We’re excited to include this incredible selection of critically acclaimed programming from ABC Commercial and can’t wait to share these stories with our North American audience.”

All ABC content included will be available to stream on Topic starting at its launch on November 21st.

Entertainment

Aussie musical icons to be inducted into ARIA Hall of Fame this month

Australian icons Human Nature, hailing from Western Sydney, will be next to be inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame at the 2019 ARIA Awards on Wednesday, 27th November 2019.

Since signing to Sony Music Australia over two decades ago, the band has earned their place as one of the world’s finest pop-vocal groups of the modern era. Human Nature – Andrew Tierney, Mike Tierney, Phil Burton and Toby Allen – has released 13 studio albums, 4 of which went to no. 1 in Australia, garnering 26 platinum awards, 15 top 20 singles and five top 10 hits worldwide, with album sales in excess of 2.5 million in Australia alone.

Upon hearing the news of the ARIA Hall Of Fame induction, Human Nature said, “We are so incredibly humbled by this honour to be inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame. All we have ever wanted to do for a career is to entertain people, and to have had the fans continually support us over the years both in our home of Australia and overseas, is really something we never dreamed of. To be inducted on the anniversary of our first ever performance as a group & in our 30th year since forming makes us so grateful. We are so looking forward to coming back home and celebrating this honour with our family, friends and fans on November 27th at the 2019 ARIA Awards.”

ARIA Chief Executive, Dan Rosen, said: “The 30-year career of Human Nature is a truly unique Australian success story. From teenage friends to multi platinum stars to keepers of the Motown flame, they have won over audiences all around the world. I am thrilled to have them in the ARIA Hall Of Fame and congratulate them for their incredible career.”

Denis Handlin, Sony Music Entertainment Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Australia and New Zealand and President of Asia, said: “It has been incredibly special to be a part of Andrew, Mike, Phil and Toby’s journey as Human Nature right back from those very early days and to watch them develop into the amazing talent they are today. I am enormously proud of their outstanding achievements both at home and overseas. Their induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame is a wonderful honour that caps off a brilliant 30th year for them as Human Nature.”

On November 22nd Human Nature will release Still Telling Everybody – 30 Years of Hits.

Sports Media

2020 AFL draw: Seven gets just one extra Thursday game next season

While a sense of democracy has washed over the prime time scheduling for the 2020 AFL fixture, reigning premiers Richmond have certainly emerged as kings, reports Fox Sports’ Sarah Olle.

The Tigers will feature on Friday night six times in addition to two Thursday night matches, while fellow Victorian powerhouse Collingwood has also been rewarded with eight prime time slots, five of which are on Friday evening.

Every club – with the exception of Fremantle and Gold Coast – has been scheduled for a prime time fixture. That’s the most clubs playing on either Thursday or Friday since 2011.

Despite making the Grand Final, GWS has only been allotted two prime time matches, but other finalists have fared better.

Brisbane will host two Thursday night and two Friday night clashes, while the Western Bulldogs will feature in five Friday night blockbusters.

Geelong will also be prominent, with a whopping six Friday night matches.

While Carlton won’t grace our screens on Friday evenings the club has been given two prime time Thursday slots. Essendon, however, has bragging rights for the club that’ll play the most in that timeslot.

In total, nine games will feature on Thursday nights, one more than in 2019.

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