Mediaweek Roundup: Scott Morrison, Rebel Wilson, The Ashes + more

• QMS, Survivor and Prisoner

Business of Media

QMS New Zealand completes merger with MediaWorks

QMS Media has announced the completion of the merger between its New Zealand out-of-home, digital media and production business (QMS NZ) and MediaWorks. The merger establishes the multi-platform media company as having the largest audience in New Zealand.

The merged entity has also entered into an unconditional agreement to acquire ETC Media’s premium Christchurch digital billboard portfolio, adding 12 large format digital billboards, to its existing national digital portfolio. This acquisition will further extend its market leadership position with New Zealand’s largest large format digital network now encompassing Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Whangarei, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and New Plymouth. 

With the MediaWorks merger completed, QMS will hold a 40% interest in the combined New Zealand business, with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management L.P. (Oaktree) holding a majority 60% shareholding. QMS will hold two seats on the five member board.

QMS is receiving a capital return of A$38.0 million which will be used to repay part of the company’s banking facility.

QMS managing director and group CEO Barclay Nettlefold said: “The merged QMS NZ and MediaWorks business will be the first in market to realise the combined power of out-of-home, radio, TV and digital as an unrivalled destination for advertisers to build brands and maximise audience reach. The merger will deliver compelling value for advertisers and maximise cross-platform revenue synergies for the business.

“For QMS, the merged business remains a substantial ongoing investment in the New Zealand market where the combined capabilities of QMS NZ and MediaWorks can build on their existing market positions to drive future revenue growth. The merger and capital return realise value for QMS shareholders, better positioning the company to take advantage of compelling future investment opportunities as they arise.”

MediaWorks chairman Jack Matthews said, “We are very pleased to complete this partnership with QMS.  The addition of QMS’ very strong out-of-home business will give MediaWorks an unparalleled portfolio of assets to deliver outstanding results to our customers.”

Photo: A QMS digital billboard in New Zealand

News Brands

Nine’s journalists say independence compromised by Liberal fundraiser

Nine Entertainment Co’s print journalists are concerned about the impact on their newspapers’ Charter of Editorial Independence following reports that Nine hosted a Liberal Party fundraiser Monday night.

The house committees at the three major metro daily mastheads have written to Nine’s chief executive officer Hugh Marks and the managing director of publishing Chris Janz to inform them of their objections to the nature of the event and its impact on their editorial independence.

The letter says:

“Dear Hugh and Chris

Reports in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the AFR yesterday about Nine hosting a Liberal Party fundraiser at our Willoughby offices have raised the question of where the Nine newspapers’ political loyalties lie.

The former Fairfax mastheads have a long history of political independence. If this has changed and we are now associated with the Liberal Party, this should be conveyed to staff. A decision to host fundraisers for Labor or other political parties would be of equal concern.

We strongly object to our reputation for independent journalism being compromised by the hosting of party political fundraisers. This can only serve to make the job of working journalists more difficult.

Our mastheads have done much to expose the corrupting influence of money on politics. It is vitally important that we remain independent of the political process.

On behalf of the house committees of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review.”

Read more about the Liberal fundraiser on the set of Nine’s Today show:
• The AFR: Who attended Channel Nine’s Liberal Party fundraiser?
• The Australian: Always independent? Lapping it up with Libs has Fairfax throwbacks foaming
• ABC News: Scott Morrison-attended Liberal fundraiser at Nine infuriates reporters from former Fairfax mastheads
• The Australian’s Margin Call: Making his mark – “It’s pretty ballsy,” one senior Liberal conceded
• The SMH & The Age: Newspaper owner Nine criticised for hosting Liberal fundraiser
• Guardian Australia: SMH, Age and AFR journalists condemn Liberal fundraiser hosted at Nine’s TV studios
• Andrew Bolt: ‘Independent Always’? Nine newspapers a joke after Liberal fundraiser

Photo: Australian PM Scott Morrison – from the G7 to Nine’s Willoughby fundraiser


Seven secures Rebel Wilson to host its new Pooch Perfect series

Here is one announcement Seven is not saving for its Allfronts event next month. And it indicates the broadcaster is not done yet with animal shows in primetime:

Dog lovers unite as Seven searches for Australia’s top pooch stylist

Seven has announced award-winning Hollywood actress and proud former junior dog handler, Rebel Wilson, will host its new competition dog styling series, Pooch Perfect. (Wilson last worked with Seven on two episodes of The Big Music Quiz in 2016.)

The Hustle and Bridesmaids star grew up with many dogs and is excited to revisit the professional dog world in her new hosting role.

Wilson said: “My childhood was full of weekend adventures at dog shows all around Australia and my family had a business selling pet products out of a caravan – such as leads, treats and the best dog styling equipment available.

“This show with Seven is going to be a ton of fun and showcase some amazing dogs and dog lovers. Technically I’m allergic to dogs though…so hopefully they can edit around my sneezing!”

Commenting on the announcement, Seven’s director of network programming, Angus Ross, said: “Rebel has a fantastic energy, great timing, the sharpest wit and like many Australians, she loves dogs.  With her passion, humour and insight, she’s a great host for this entertaining and heart-warming series.”

With 38% of households owning dogs, Australians are finely tuned to the needs of their four-legged furry friends. From winter coats to car seats, doggy daycare to dietary needs, dog owners are prioritising their pet’s care, comfort and wellbeing.         

As a result, the dog styling industry is booming, and man’s best friend has never been so well pampered.

Currently in pre-production, the series will feature ten professional dog stylists from around the country competing in a series of themed challenges revealing epic transformations of beloved pets.

The winner – who will take home $100,00 in prize money – will be determined by a panel of the industry’s top judges who will critique the overall styling.

Pooch Perfect is a Seven Studios production for Channel Seven and will premiere in 2020.

Simon Black reveals reason he got eliminated from Australian Survivor

Simon Black was determined to go out fighting on Australian Survivor – until he realised it was a losing battle, reports News Corp’s Amy Price.

The Brisbane Lions AFL legend was blindsided by his tribe, including Champions alliance members Luke Toki and Abbey Holmes, on Monday night’s episode of the Channel 10 reality show and was sent to exile beach where he won a battle against fellow evictee Daisy Richardson to rejoin the camp.

With Survivor behind him, Black will attend this month’s AFL Grand Final to present the Norm Smith Medal, which he won in 2003, to the player judged best on ground – which he hopes is a member of the Brisbane Lions.

“That’s a great honour. I’m looking forward to being back on the field and to experience those emotions again,” he said.

In 2020 he will be inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame after he couldn’t make this year’s function due to filming commitments on Survivor.

[Read the original]

Prisoner star talks about being wrongfully accused of sexual assault

Iconic Australian actress Maggie Kirkpatrick has exposed the unique mental anguish of being wrongly convicted of sexual assault, reports’s Bella Fowler.

Kirkpatrick, now 78, was accused by a teenage fan of sexual assault dating back to the 1980s. She was convicted in 2015, and cleared on appeal six months later.

Speaking to A Current Affair, the celebrated screen and theatre actress — best known for her villainous role as sadistic guard Joan “The Freak” Ferguson on Prisoner – touched on the darkest points of the ordeal, which she describes as no less than a “nightmare”.

Kirkpatrick was convicted in July 2015 and subsequently sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order, including 100 hours of community service.

She successfully appealed the case in December that year, with Judge Geoffrey Chettle finding that there was reasonable doubt surrounding the circumstances and dismissing the conviction and charges.

“It was my worst nightmare, that’s all I can say,” Kirkpatrick told A Current Affair, revealing she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the trial and media scrutiny.

[Read the original]

Sports Media

Smith v Archer resumes: Fourth Ashes Test starts on Nine and 9Gem

The Fourth Ashes Test commences this on September 4th at 7.30pm AEST, live and exclusively and in HD on Nine and 9GEM and streamed live on 9Now.

Following a miracle win in the third Test in Headingley, England has found the momentum it needed, having not won an Ashes Test since 2015. It was Ben Stokes who once again played hero, replicating his World Cup Final form as he defied the odds and record books, to hold on for one of the most memorable finishes to a cricket match in history.

The Ashes clash after huge audiences watched the final day’s play in the third Test on 9Gem. As England managed to score the runs needed, Nine reported a national average audience of 1m watching the first session on 9Gem on Sunday August 25.

A remarkable 694,000 were watching the second session until after midnight.

The cricket audiences gave 9Gem a Sunday night share of 15.8%.

The historic Old Trafford Cricket Ground serves as the battleground for the fourth Test, with the confirmation that former Australian captain and run machine Steve Smith will return to the side following a concussion suffered at the hands of a Jofra Archer bouncer. All eyes will be on him to see if he can reclaim the form he exhibited in the first three Tests.

Australian selectors surprised many by dropping Usman Khawaja, opting to stick with the hardy Marnus Labuschagne in the 12-man squad, while the fast bowling rotation continues as Mitchell Starc comes back in to replace James Pattinson. Australia remains only one win away from once again securing The Ashes for the first time in England since 2001.

England have shifted their much-maligned batting lineup, with batsman Jason Roy expected to shift to the no.4 position, while journeyman Joe Denly has slotted into the opening spot alongside Rory Burns. The newly-confident home side has not minced words this past week, with English linchpin Stuart Broad warning Smith they will not hold back upon his return.

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