Mediaweek Roundup: Ray Hadley, Netflix, David Penberthy + more

Ray Hadley

• APRA AMCOS, The Australian, Julie Bishop, Channel 7’s Sunday Night, Osher Gunsberg, Ash Barty, and State of Origin


Ray Hadley on $4m contract despite Alan Jones staying put at 2GB

Ray Hadley will keep a $1.7 million “breakfast bonus” negotiated last year in the network’s failed plans to supplant Alan Jones in the prime 2GB breakfast radio slot, reports News Corp’s Annette Sharp.

Radio sources yesterday revealed Hadley’s new contract – which takes effect from tomorrow, July 1 – soared from $2.3 million a year to $4 million a year during secret negations with Macquarie Media bosses last year as they manoeuvred to axe incumbent breakfast star Jones and promote Hadley to his coveted spot.

Neither Hadley nor Macquarie CEO Adam Lang responded to calls to confirm the pay rise that puts Hadley on equal money to Jones though on a longer and ultimately more lucrative contract.

Jones’s contract expires in 2021 while Hadley’s new contract runs until 2025 – putting Hadley on $24 million over six years.

From tomorrow, 2GB’s incoming new afternoon host Steve Price, currently host of the night shift, will also receive a salary bump negotiated last year as part of 2GB’s now abandoned plan to replace Jones at breakfast with Hadley and Hadley at mornings with Price.

That plan fell apart following Nine’s acquisition of a majority stake in Macquarie Media, 2GB’s parent company, in December and Nine’s insistence Jones be retained at breakfast.

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Business of Media

Stranger Things: Netflix and the challenge of tax in the digital world

Netflix is making hundreds of millions in revenue from Australian consumers but the money is being booked by a Netherlands-based company, raising questions about how multinational corporations classify revenue locally and highlighting the challenges of taxation in the global digital economy, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Netflix customers in Australia are not billed by a local entity, despite a local company appearing on their bills, and are instead paying Netflix International BV, a private company based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, which is a subsidiary of the US-listed Netflix Inc.

Netflix Australia Pty Ltd booked revenue of just $6.5 million in 2017, a service fee paid by Netflix International BV for acting as a collection agent on subscriber revenue, according to the first local filings made public last week.

Netflix Australia Pty Ltd declared profits of $257,959 for the year to December 31, 2017, and an income tax expense of $175,516.

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More businesses will pay for music under new licensing system

The two collection agencies for Australia’s music industry are set to raise more revenue from businesses that play their tunes, under a new regime that requires business owners to buy only one music licence instead of the two previously needed, reports The AFR’s Michael Bailey.

The profits-to-members agencies, which together collected about $100 million from businesses in 2017-18, claim the income boost will come from proprietors who were confused by the former two-licence regime, and therefore had held only one licence or none.

The agencies claim businesses compliant with the previous regime won’t pay any more when the new system, OneMusic, comes into effect on  July 1.

Any business that uses music, from nightclubs and restaurants to call centres with hold music, have hitherto had to acquire two licences for it.

One was from the merged Australasian Performing Right Association-Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (APRA AMCOS), which collects on behalf of member songwriters, music publishers and composers.

The other was from the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA), which collects on behalf of recording artists and record labels.

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News Brands

The Australian joins elite subscription ranks as paying audience grows

The Australian has hit a major milestone by reaching a record 145,000 paid digital subscribers, joining an elite group of world-class mastheads to surpass their print peak circulations, reports Lilly Vitorovich.

News Corp’s The Australian becomes only the fourth masthead in the world to achieve this subscription milestone after The New York Times and The Washington Post in the US and Britain’s The Financial Times.

The Australian is the third-fastest to surpass its print peak since setting up a paywall in 2011. No other publisher has achieved this milestone in Australia.

Chris Dore, editor-in-chief of The Australian, said the newspaper had always been at the forefront of digital innovation, thanks in large part to its talented editorial staff.

“We were the first news outlet to recognise that readers who want the best-quality journalism are prepared to pay for it,” he said.

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Fiveaa breakfast’s David Penberthy from columnist to correspondent

David Penberthy has been appointed South Australia correspondent. Penberthy started his career with Adelaide’s The Advertiser in 1992.

His new role was one of a number appointments announced on the weekend at News Corp’s national daily.

He was the newspaper’s national political editor from 1996 to 1999 before joining The Daily Telegraph in Sydney, covering NSW politics. He was editor of The Daily Telegraph from 2005 to 2008 and also edited and the Adelaide Sunday Mail. He is a syndicated News Corp Australia columnist and a co-presenter of Adelaide’s Fiveaa breakfast show.

The other appointments were:

Fiona Harari has been appointed to The Weekend Australian Magazine. A Walkley freelance journalist of the year and the author of two books, she returns to the paper after 14 years.

Alice Workman has been appointed editor of Strewth. Workman is an award-winning federal politics reporter and commentator. She was previously the political editor of BuzzFeed News in Australia and joined the paper earlier this year.

Lisa Allen has been appointed an associate editor and editor of The Weekend Australian’s property magazine, Mansion Australia. Since 2012, Allen has been a senior reporter in business and property with the paper.

Geoff Chambers has been appointed political correspondent, based in Canberra. Chambers is a former Canberra bureau chief and Queensland bureau chief for the paper. He was previously news editor and senior political reporter at The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, and head of news at the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Joe Kelly has been appointed Canberra bureau chief. Kelly joined the paper in 2008 and since 2010 has worked in the parliamentary press gallery, covering four federal elections and 10 budgets.

Sid Maher has been appointed news director with special responsibilities for online coverage. Maher has worked across the paper in roles including national chief of staff, national affairs editor, political correspondent and most recently NSW editor.

Ben Packham has been appointed foreign affairs and defence correspondent. Packham has spent almost 20 years in journalism, working at Melbourne’s Herald Sun before joining the paper as a political reporter in Canberra in 2011.


TV pitch to networks: Julie Bishop’s jet-set ambition

Never one to knock back a red carpet opportunity, Julie Bishop has wasted no time in making a beeline for the world of international glamour and TV stardom she covets, reporsts The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff. Bishop and production house Screentime are currently spruiking The Conversation with Julie Bishop – a big-budget new TV show – to major networks.

The Australian obtained the highly entertaining pitch documents for the one-on-one interview show.

And what a line-up of global celebrities budding feminist icon Bishop has in store for us, with an all-female first season casting wishlist that includes Michelle Obama, Princess Mary, Jacinda Ardern, Oprah Winfrey, Sia and Nigella Lawson.

“Host Julie Bishop, accustomed to disarming the most tricky of personalities, invites guests on lengthy ambling interviews filmed on the streets of a city of the guest’s choice, in full view of passers-by,” the pitch documents say.

“This is pure conversation. Two great minds. No tricks. The strength of the show comes from the universal truth that we talk more deeply and naturally on the move … we take the powerful players out to the street where it all began.”

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Inside sources say Channel 7’s Sunday Night could be axed

A question mark hangs over Channel 7’s underperforming Sunday Night program, with sources claiming the flagship news and current affair show could soon be axed, reports Sydney Confidential.

Average ratings, controversial sackings and high costs are said to be behind the expected move to cut the 10-year-old program.

It is believed Seven news bosses are also influenced by a desire to resurrect Today Tonight.

Insiders say Sunday Night host Melissa Doyle and valuable journalists, cameramen and producers will be found new jobs within the network.

“The executives are discussing the fate of Sunday Night right now, as it’s the end of the financial year,” one insider said.

“They haven’t made a call on it yet, but it’s not looking good. It’s expensive to run, they’ve had lacklustre ratings and a systemic unsettled culture in the newsroom.”

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When three shows aren’t enough: New gig for 10’s king of romance

Australia’s king of romance Osher Gunsberg has joined Amanda Keller, Julia Morris, Chris Brown and Grant Denyer in Channel 10’s hosting club, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

Gunsberg, who hosts The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor In Paradise has been given the reins of 10’s new reality program The Masked Singer.

While it is a clever choice that allows Gunsberg to draw on his music TV background on Australian Idol and Channel V, his appointment does continue Ten’s trend of having a handful of stars carry multiple shows and formats.

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Sports Media

Why brands and fans can’t get enough of Ash Barty

At just 23-years-old, Australia’s newly crowned world No.1 tennis star Ash Barty is carrying herself like a veteran and making headlines for all the right reasons – her poise, humility and, of course, her deadly slice backhand, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

As Barty prepares for Wimbledon – she’s the first Australian woman for 46 years who went into the draw as the top seed – it’s her use of the first person plural pronoun that has fascinated marketing types.

Foxtel’s sports streaming offshoot Kayo, which launched in November, is one of the brands that joined the Barty Party early, a decision chief executive Julian Ogrin says was easy.

“Ash is an incredibly talented athlete, making serious waves in her field. What we love about Ash is that she’s a trailblazer, doing it her way, on her terms, while being extremely humble. She was the perfect fit for the brand,” Ogrin says.

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Sunday night State of Origin II suffers ratings slump

The NRL and Channel 9 are facing a showdown over the future of Sunday night Origin games following a ratings nosedive, reports News Corp’s Phil Rothfield.

The audience for game two slumped from 4.59 million in 2014 on a Wednesday night to just 2.8 million in Perth last Sunday.

That’s a decrease of nearly 1.8 million viewers in five years and an obvious concern for the broadcaster and their advertisers.

It had been hoped the prime-time Sunday night timeslot would do much better.

There are excuses for last Sunday night in Perth in that it was a blowout scoreline (Queensland viewers are notorious for switching off and going to bed when their team is being flogged).

Yet last year’s figures were also down by 1.3 million compared to the corresponding game in 2014.

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James Brayshaw rules himself out of Grand Final Footy Show reunion

The Footy Show Grand Final special may be less of a reunion and more of a tribute to the glory days of the show with a least one former host unlikely to be part of the September spectacular, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

Eddie McGuire, Sam Newman and Trevor Marmalade are locked in to headline the celebration of Channel 9’s iconic football show, with Billy Brownless to be part of the on-air team, but it remains unclear who, and how many, of the hosting alumni will be joining them at Rod Laver Arena on September 26.

James Brayshaw, who was a key cog in The Footy Show machine for 11 years, has effectively ruled out being involved.

“I doubt it … because I am contracted to work for another network, but I am pleased to hear that it is coming back and hopefully it will get a terrific send off because it deserves it, it was amazing,” Brayshaw said on Triple M last week.

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