Mediaweek Roundup: SAS Australia, ABC, AFL, HBO Max + more

SAS Australia

Plus ACMA and Kerri-Anne Kennerley

Business of Media

ACMA: Tech giants’ code to handle fake news fails to meet expectations

Australia’s media regulator says a draft voluntary code that the tech giants created to tackle disinformation has failed to meet expectations as Google and Facebook await legislation that will force them to pay news outlets for use of content on their websites, report Nine publishing’s Zoe Samios and Lisa Visentin.

Technology giants were asked by the federal government last year to create a code to help manage the spread of misinformation on their websites, an issue that became more prevalent during the national bushfire crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.

But the draft version of the code, made public last week on the tech giants’ industry body website, DIGI, does not provide any detail on how they specifically intend to combat the issue.

“The ACMA set out its expectations of a voluntary code on misinformation and news quality in our position paper,” Australian Communications and Media Authority chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.

“The draft code released by DIGI for public consultation is a long way from the model that we proposed to address these important issues.”

[Read more]

News Brands

Alan Sunderland: Don’t conscript your ABC to the culture wars

All Australians pay for the ABC out of their own pockets, and they are entitled to a service that is relevant to them, writes Alan Sunderland, former editorial director of the ABC, in Nine newspapers.

They are entitled to fair, accurate and impartial news about the issues that are important to them in their lives, as well as to entertainment, drama, comedy, children’s content, music and so much more.

It’s not about deciding whether to be left-wing, right-wing, conservative or progressive to feed the prejudices and preferences of the ABC’s critics and commentators.

It’s not about saying things the government might like in the hope that more funding might be forthcoming. The ABC is funded by the people of Australia. Governments more often than not just get in the way by trying to starve, bully, neglect or pressure the public broadcaster.

And it’s not about dumbing-down, avoiding difficult or complex issues, or replacing one issue with another. It’s about working to build the biggest possible audience for the kind of work the ABC is there to do.

[Read more]

Karl Quinn: Does the ABC’s ‘inner city left-wing elite’ exist?

When ABC director of news Gaven Morris warned his staff against focusing on “inner city left-wing elites” last week he could easily have been citing from the Coalition playbook, reports The Age’s Karl Quinn.

The phrase reflects the perception of a city/country divide and a gulf between inner city and outer suburban values, and marginalises “progressive” issues as the sole preserve of a small coterie of ivory-tower inhabitants out of touch with the concerns of “real” Australians.

But was Morris right to urge his staff to look beyond this audience? And do these “inner city left-wing elites” even exist?

It’s worth noting that Morris’ criticism bore a striking resemblance to the broadsides that conservative commentator Chris Kenny frequently aims at the national broadcaster.

[Read more]


Axed Studio 10 co-host Kerri-Anne Kennerley in award-winning musical

Seven months after the arts sector was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, performers are finally set to return to the stage at Sydney Lyric Theatre next month, reports News Corp’s Mibenge Nsenduluka.

Actor Lucy Maunder will star alongside axed Studio 10 co-host Kerri-Anne Kennerley and more in the Tony Award-winning musical Pippin and she tells Confidential it’s a relief to be back at work after being unemployed for several months.

“I’m super excited and honoured to be in the first production back since the shut down of the industry which was so devastating for the arts,” Maunder said.

Maunder is originally from Sydney but based in Melbourne and she travelled here for the show, which meant two weeks of quarantine and doing some rehearsals via Zoom.

Pippin kicks off at Sydney Lyric Theatre on November 24.

[Read more]


SAS Australia: Jackson Warne reveals toll of being Shane Warne’s son

Jackson Warne has revealed the heavy personal toll of being the son of cricket legend Shane Warne, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

The 21 year-old says under interrogation on SAS Australia that he just wants to be known as Jackson.

“It’s been pretty frustrating my whole life,’’ he says on Tuesday night’s episode.

“Whenever I walk into a room or meet someone it’s always, oh that’s Shane Warne’s son Jackson.

“It’s never, that’s Jackson. I just want to be Jackson. Doing this I know I can prove to people no matter how easy my childhood was I can still do the tough stuff and push myself physically and mentally.

“I want him (my Dad) to be really proud of me.”

Warne also reveals that he struggles to cope in stressful situations.

[Read more]

SAS Australia: Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham blasts Firass Dirani

One of the SAS Australia instructors has unleashed on Firass Dirani after the actor claimed he was being edited to appear as a “villain” on the show, reports’s Andrew Bucklow.

After the second episode of the Channel 7 show aired last week, Dirani posted a video on his Instagram story in which he said: “I knew it. I knew they were gonna make me into the villain. There has to be a villain, ladies and gentleman, and lo and behold, right here, this is it.”

But in a chat with, SAS Australia directing staff Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham dismissed Dirani’s claim and said: “He should be actually grateful to be edited the way they did. He’s a lot worse than that.”

According to Billingham, Dirani “came across as arrogant” and “had a terrible attitude”.

[Read more]

HBO Max reaches 28.7m, including 8.6m “activated” subscribers

WarnerMedia streaming service HBO Max has reached 28.7 million “total HBO Max subscribers,” including 8.6 million “activated” users as of the end of the third quarter, AT&T said on Thursday, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

A set of tables and slides the company published along with its Thursday earnings report last week showed though that not all of the 28.7 million paying users who can are actually using the service. The footnote in one slide provided this note for HBO Max’s reach: “28.7 million subscribers with access to HBO Max and 8.6 million HBO Max activations.”

Last earnings season, the company had reported that HBO Max had reached 4.1 million subscribers in the service’s first month, including wholesale customers from packages that include HBO Max, as well as customers who were direct retail subscribers.

Combined, HBO and HBO Max have 38.0 million US subscribers, compared with a summer update that had mentioned 36.3 million subscribers, and, up from 34.6 million as of Dec. 31, 2019.

[Read more]

Sports Media

Good night, and good luck: Was night grand final really that bad?

Was the night grand final really that bad? asks Guardian Australia’s Scott Heinrich.

Covid-19 might have thrust change upon an organisation bolted to tradition, but at least the AFL was open to what lessons might be learned from the new timeslot of the 2020 decider, if not the new location. “It’s out of Victoria, I think people feel it’s a good time to have a look at it,” chief executive Gill McLachlan said last week. “We’ll see where we get to by the full-time siren, then everyone can judge a night grand final on its merits.”

The verdict is in, and it does not look good for the yellow Sherrin. Although Richmond’s latest premiership triumph was considered a success on several levels, there seems little appetite in the game to embrace the alternative findings of the “Gabba experiment”. Chief among grievances is the timeslot. “I love the day game,” winning captain Trent Cotchin said. “It’s what I grew up with during the day playing footy. It is just what feels the norm.”

That is about as measured as it gets. Elsewhere, the buck to convention has been met with widespread vitriol. Take a trawl through Twitter on the subject and there could be no confusion as to how a mere seven per cent of voters in a Herald Sun poll want the grand final to be played at night in years to come. “If the AFL uses Covid to introduce under the cover of darkness a night grand final permanently, it will be a disgrace,” veteran AFL journalist Caroline Wilson told the ABC. On the same Offsiders program, TV personality and Tigers fan Waleed Aly said he “hated it”. Gideon Haigh, a journalist whose vocabulary is broader than most, opted for succinctness in describing the night affair as “total crap”.

[Read more]

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