Mediaweek Roundup: oOh!media, SEN 1170, Nine + more

• Google, HBO, Shield laws, Sharna Burgess, Pete Evans, and Sam Newman

Business of Media

oOh!media cuts 22 staff in response to COVID-19 economic conditions

In response to challenging economic conditions created by COVID-19, oOh!media has revealed 22 redundancies across the business.

“Since March we have taken measures to preserve as many jobs as possible, but the ongoing nature of the pandemic and the uncertain timeframes around any widespread and sustained economic recovery meant we had to make this difficult decision,” said oOh!media CEO Brendon Cook.

“Our thoughts go to those who will lose their jobs, and we thank them for their service to the company over the years. This outcome does not reflect on their performance as individuals, which has made this even more difficult.

“We are exploring any possibilities for redeployment, and will be encouraging the employees to use our Employee Assistance Program and the outplacement support on offer.”

The redundancies are part of a wider organisational restructure across the full business, which still employs more than 800 people across Australia and New Zealand.

Other measures taken include reducing costs across the business, significantly reducing capex spending, and not backfilling vacancies for non-critical roles since March.

Nine appoints high-flying Maria Phillips as new chief financial officer

Nine Entertainment Co has appointed Maria Phillips (pictured) as chief financial officer, effective August 31, 2020. Phillips will report to Nine’s CEO, Hugh Marks. She will start just days after Nine reports its full year results next week.

Announcing the appointment of Phillips, Marks said “I am delighted to appoint Maria to the role of CFO. Maria has extensive experience across a broad range of consumer-related industries, including media. Her track record of driving strategy and transformation, particularly in the digital and technology space, will prove invaluable during this period of change in the media sector. And her passion and energy will mean she is a great fit with our leadership team at Nine.”

Phillips said: “I am excited about joining Nine at this time. I have been so impressed by what the company has achieved, as it transforms to the digital age, and look forward to contributing to that continuing evolution. I feel a real affinity to the media sector, and in Australia, Nine is the stand-out – well positioned to continue to grow and re-define its business and I am looking forward to being part of that.

Educated in the UK, and with a Bachelor of Science (Physics) and Business degree, Ms Phillips is a Certified Practising Accountant, an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Until recently, Phillips was the chief financial officer at Velocity Frequent Flyer, where she played a key role through the sale process of private equity’s stake to Virgin. Prior to this, Phillips held senior executive roles at Telstra, Foxtel and SingTel Optus.

Len Amato Exits as HBO Films, Cinemax and Miniseries President

HBO Films, Cinemax and miniseries president Len Amato is exiting the WarnerMedia-owned premium cable network after a 13-year run, reports The Hollywood Reporter‘s Lesley Goldberg.

Sources say that while Amato is the latest executive to be consolidated out of the company, his departure comes as the business continues to change. HBO Films has scaled down its originals output in favor of more acquired content and after Cinemax exited the scripted business. Meanwhile, all drama programming — including scripted miniseries — will now be rolled under drama head Francesca Orsi. Tara Grace, senior vp at HBO Films, will continue to oversee the division and its acquisitions and now report to Orsi.

“I’ll always cherish my experience at HBO, not only because there was no higher standard to aspire to artistically in television, but because the artists and colleagues I worked with were incredibly talented, dedicated and inspirational,” Amato said. “I learned a lot and am forever grateful for such a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

[Read More]

News Brands

Google urges YouTubers around the world to swamp Australian regulator with complaints

Google has launched an international scare campaign targeting YouTubers, asking creators and viewers to swamp the Australian competition watchdog with complaints about its proposed mandatory news code, reports Guardian Australia‘s Amanda Meade.

The messaging seeks to pit YouTubers and their fans against “big news businesses” that Google suggests could misuse personal data and make unjustified demands for money to the detriment of YouTube users. It includes an email address for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The YouTube campaign follows Google’s targeting of Australian users with pop-up warning ads that link to an open letter about the mandatory news code that the ACCC says contains “misinformation”.

The campaign claims “vloggers”, “educational creators” and “music artists” are among those who will suffer if the mandatory news code, which will force Google to share advertising revenue with publishers, comes into effect.

When negotiations regarding remuneration for news content stalled between Google, Facebook and publishers, including Nine Entertainment and News Corp Australia, the ACCC announced a mandatory code would be imposed.

The search giant is now appealing to the public to demand the ACCC drop its plan, arguing the code would have a “significant, negative” effect on content creators.

[Read More]

Shield laws: QLD State Government to consider reforms to protect journalists

Labor will soon begin consultation on shield laws, as it warns that referring them to the Queensland Law Reform Commission could delay their consideration by more than a year, reports News Corp’s Jack McKay.

It comes as the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance launched a petition calling for the reforms, which would protect journalists from having to reveal their sources and allow them to claim privilege.

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath on Tuesday confirmed she would be considering shield laws “in the context of” recent Queensland case law and how they are applied in other jurisdictions.

She revealed that it would include stakeholder consultation about the protections that existed elsewhere and how they could potentially align with Queensland’s legal framework.

It is understood consultation will kick off soon and that Labor will not refer the issue to the QLRC, as promised under the LNP’s plan, in a bid to avoid delays in its consideration.

[Read More]

Radio

Sydney’s newest breakfast host is Fox Sports commentator Andrew Voss

Andrew Voss has been announced as the breakfast host at broadcaster SEN’s new radio station 1170 SEN when it roars to life later this year. Most likely by early October.

Network CEO Craig Hutchison said veteran sports broadcaster Voss was a coup-signing for the station and the first of several respected sports broadcasters to join the team.

“If it’s happening in sport here or around the world, 1170 SEN Sydney will take you there – with live coverage of NRL, State of Origin, Test cricket, Big Bash, A-League, AFL and racing – alongside, news, opinion and debate from the country’s biggest names in sport.

“We are honoured and thrilled that Vossy will lead the charge when we launch.  He has built a truly special connection with Sydney audiences not only as the man voted the most popular rugby league caller in the country, but as one of sport’s great all-rounders including his coverage of both Summer and Winter Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, World Cups and championships as well as an array of sports from surfboat racing, to touch football, to triathlons and even bull riding,” Hutchison said.

“He’ll have an opinion and drive a contemporary sports-led breakfast show.”

Fox League’s Voss said he was excited to be joining 1170 SEN Sydney.

 “I’ve always loved radio from the moment I started my career in the media way back in 1987, so the opportunity to get back into it and create something unique was really appealing.  The show is going to be a bit like reading the paper from back to front – there will be plenty of sport, but we’ll also cover what’s making news.  I can’t wait to chat to listeners and take Sydney’s sporting-pulse each weekday morning,” Voss said.

“As someone who likes his poker, I’ll put it this way, we’ll be pushing our chips all-in to make a great breakfast show like no other in the market.”

Voss was last heard regularly on Sydney radio as the sports reporter on 2UE Sydney breakfast hosted by John Stanley and Garry Linnell.

Voss will also be heard for breakfast on SEN’s new racing station SENTrack in Sydney on 1539AM and DAB+ which launches this Saturday 22 August and also be heard on SENTrack Wollongong 1575 AM and Gosford 801 AM.

Popular rugby league personalities Joel Caine and Jimmy Smith will continue to host the breakfast show on SENTrack until Voss joins, with the boys to then take on other roles with the station.

See also: Crocmedia marches into Sydney: 3 stations on air before end of 2020 
1170 SEN launching with Andrew Voss breakfast, 2CH staying on DAB+

Television

The Bachelorette 2020: Sharna Burgess confirms she was asked before Elly and Becky Miles

Dancing With The Stars Australia judge Sharna Burgess says she was asked to be this year’s Bachelorette before Elly and Becky Miles, reports News Corp‘s Bella Fowler.

Speaking to Us Weekly, Sharna revealed producers approached her with the offer prior to the pandemic.

She said she was “on the fence” about accepting, but ultimately turned them down given she lives in the US and it “didn’t feel right” doing the show in Australia.

“I was initially like, ‘Sure.’ I mean, that could be fun. And then as I got into it, there was something that didn’t feel right, which is odd because I love the show worldwide,” she said.

“For some reason, my instincts were saying, ‘Don’t do it,’ which was very bizarre. I’ve had to trust my instincts my whole life, they’ve led me to where I am now.”

She went on to say that she’d be more likely to accept the lead on the US instalment of the reality show.

[Read More]

Celebrity chef Pete Evans lists Malabar home with $3.2m guide

Celebrity chef Pete Evans and his wife Nicola Robinson have put their luxury southeastern Sydney home up for sale, reports Realestate.com.au‘s Owen Roberts.

The pair built the five-bedroom Malabar property just 18 months ago with a number of opulent features, including a skateboard half-pipe, a lap pool, four-person spa and even a gym.

As expected, the kitchen is at the heart of the home while there is also an edible garden with herbs.

Peter Goulding and Theo Karangis of NG Farah real estate have a $3.2 million price guide ahead of a September 12 auction.

The controversial Evans is selling up ahead of a move to the NSW north coast, where he has a multimillion-dollar health retreat. He will soon be opening a healing clinic in Byron’s new commercial precinct, The Habitat.

[Read More]

Sam Newman is considering running again for Melbourne’s Lord Mayor

Sam Newman is considering joining the race to be Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

The former Footy Show co-host said he had been sounded out about a Town Hall run ahead of elections taking place in October.

“I’m considering, considering it,’’ Newman told the Herald Sun.

“I had someone ask me from an official position, who is part of the Liberal government. Never rule out anything.”

Newman had previously put his hand up in 2018 but withdrew because he was overseas at the US Masters at the time nominations for the job open and close.

It was nominations for the by-election to replace former Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, who had resigned over sexual harassment allegations.

[Read More]

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