Mediaweek roundup: Seven Upfront Preview, Bauer Media, Right To Know + more

• Scott Morrison, AFLW, NRL, NSW Music festivals + Atomic 212

Business of Media

Andrew Cook returns to magazines as head of sales for Bauer Media

Bauer Media has appointed Andrew Cook (pictured) as director of sales, with Paul Gardiner, the current commercial director, departing the business.

Cook joins Bauer Media as director of sales with close to 30 years of experience in Australia’s publishing and broadcast industry. Cook currently sits as general manager of sales for The Australian and the News Prestige Network.

Andrew Cook

Prior to NewsCorp, he was director of media sales at SBS and worked at ACP Magazines (now Bauer Media) where he held various roles including head of brand sales, and sales director of men’s lifestyle. Cook has also worked at Fairfax on The Sydney Morning Herald and The Sun-Herald.

Brendon Hill, CEO at Bauer Media Australia said: “Andrew is a consummate professional and we are delighted he is joining the Bauer Media business. His outstanding experience across some of Australia’s top media businesses in various management and leadership roles will be a great addition to our executive team.”

Of his new appointment, Andrew Cook commented: “I’m really excited to be joining the leadership team at Bauer, the leading publisher of magazine brands in Australia. I’m looking forward to working with Brendon and the rest of the team in the coming months. I believe Bauer offers a unique opportunity for clients to connect with their deeply engaged audiences across their print, digital, social and event platforms.”

After close to 15 years with Bauer Media in New Zealand and Australia, Paul Gardiner will depart the business and return to New Zealand with his family to take on a new venture.

Brendon Hill, CEO at Bauer Media Australia concluded: “Paul has had a long, successful career at Bauer Media in New Zealand and Australia, and his contribution to the business has been greatly appreciated.

“Paul has been an integral part of many of Bauer Media’s recent achievements, including the launch of Bauer’s commercial content division, Story 54, and several landmark research initiatives establishing Bauer as the leading media company when it comes to understanding women. He has done an outstanding job for the business, and we wish him every success for his next chapter in New Zealand.”

Ad agency sues ex-CEO over ‘false bribery claims’

Australia-based media agency Atomic 212 has launched a damages claim against its former chief executive Jason Dooris, accusing him of peddling false allegations that the agency is involved in bribery, fraud and money laundering, reports The Australian’s Deborah Cornwall.

Dooris was forced to resign from Atomic 212 in January last year after media industry news website Mumbrella accused him of making misleading and often wildly exaggerated claims to bag several prestigious media agency awards, for himself and the agency.

Dooris insisted at the time that he had done nothing wrong, but in an internal email, leaked to Mumbrella, agency chairman Barry O’Brien told Dooris he needed to “find a moral compass” and his “bullshit layer” was a “disaster”.

Atomic 212 is also claiming damages from Dooris of $100,000 for each of the three breaches of the disparagement clause in his exit agreement.

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News Brands

Right to know: the secrets governments keep

When Christian Porter unveiled his new “safeguard” for journalists facing the prospect of criminal charges, it fell well short of what the media was seeking. But its harshest critics might well be the startled leaders of the legal profession, reports The Australian’s Chris Merritt.

Instead of reforming the overzealous use of secrecy laws, the Attorney-General has left those laws in place and simply will decline to enforce them against journalists he will select at his discretion. He has instructed the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to seek his consent before prosecuting journalists for breaches of four federal secrecy laws.

The CDPP already exercises discretion over which matters justify prosecution but Porter describes the new procedure as “a separate and additional safeguard”. He has said in the past he would be “seriously disinclined” to approve prosecutions of journalists except in the most exceptional circumstances.

If the Attorney-General expected praise for this scheme, it is yet to emerge. The leaders of the legal profession and the media industry have denounced it for introducing a moral hazard that could encourage compliant reporting of federal politics.

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PM Morrison: Journalists should not be prosecuted at the “whim of politicians”

Scott Morrison has declared that journalists should not be prosecuted at the “whim of politicians”, a month after Attorney-General Christian Porter gave himself new powers to make the final call to take reporters to court for exposing government secrets, reports The Australian’s Rosie Lewis.

The Prime Minister’s comments came after media organisations launched a united push against government secrecy, issuing heavily redacted front pages to protest against a sustained attack on the rights of journalists to hold governments to account and report the truth to the public.

As media companies demanded six reforms to better protect journalists and whistleblowers, the Prime Minister told parliament Australians did not want to be part of a country where politicians determined prosecutions.

“But if it comes to a position in this country where prime ministers and politicians decide who gets prosecuted and who doesn’t get prosecuted without taking the appropriate advice and without seeing the appropriate release … then that’s not a country that I think Australians would want to live in,” Morrison said.

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Music festivals threaten to leave NSW over lack of government consultation

Splendour in the Grass, Falls Festival and Laneway Festival are among some of the biggest music festivals in the state threatening to leave NSW as the government pushes ahead with legislation for a safety regime ahead of the busy summer season, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Lisa Visentin.

The festivals, which also include the Listen Out, Field Day and Groovin the Moo festivals, say they will now “consider their futures in NSW” after failing to secure a commitment from the Berejiklian government to establish a music industry roundtable as part of the proposed new laws.

The Australian Festival Association, which released a joint statement on behalf of the festivals, said the “uncertainty and a lack of meaningful consultation” around the proposed safety measures had had a “punitive effect” on the industry.

Co-director of the Laneway Festival Danny Rogers indicated the festival would be prepared to relocate interstate, as the NSW Parliament prepares to debate the government’s bill this week.

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Seven Upfront preview: Network expected to reveal slate of new shows

Seven will unveil is Upfronts tomorrow, the first under newly-installed CEO James Warburton, reports TV Tonight.

After a challenging year, Seven will be looking to convince clients the worst is behind them and that 2020 has renewed energy.

At the top of the list is Tokyo Olympics, to be held from July 24 – August 9. Screening with a favourable timezone, this is an event around which all other networks will be forced to schedule.

While Nine and 10 Upfronts have been dominated by renewals, expect Seven to unpack the biggest list of new shows so far. Advertisers will be looking for Seven to rebuild their 7:30 slot.

It is rumoured to be announcing a season of Big Brother, which has previously screened on 10 and Nine. What detail will we get around dates, host and venue? Seven is also planning The Farmer Wants a Wife from Fremantle and more of Little Big Shots.

There have been rumours Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan may front a new cooking show in the second half of 2020, while My Kitchen Rules is expected to confirm one or more series, amid rumours of contestants living under one roof. House Rules is similarly due for an overhaul following cast departures.

There’s much excitement around new Bevan Lee drama Between Two Worlds, starring Hermione Norris, Philip Quast, Sara Wiseman and Aaron Jeffery, tipped for early in the year.

TV Tonight hears whispers Seven will confirm suped-up mini golf contest Holey Moley from Eureka Productions with Aussie contestants doing battle on the course constructed for the US ABC network.

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Sports Media

NRL considers in-house production for next TV rights deal

The NRL will consider bringing broadcast production of its matches in-house for the next television rights deal to maximise revenue in a move that would have huge ramifications for its traditional media partners, report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Adrian Proszenko and Chris Barrett.

The existing deal with Foxtel and Nine Entertainment Co doesn’t expire until the end of the 2022 season. However, the governing body is already planning for the next rights negotiations to ensure all options are considered in a rapidly changing media landscape.

The NRL extracted $2 billion from Nine, Foxtel and Telstra to provide coverage of the game over a five-year period, a figure 70 per cent higher than the previous deal. However, changes in technology and viewing habits could result in the value flatlining or even decreasing when the rights are next up for grabs.

Rugby league has long gone with a two-partner model of a free-to-air and subscription provider, with Fox and Nine paying top dollar for a property that has been a sure-fire ratings winner. However, the emergence of streaming service Kayo and a shift to fans consuming sport on mobile devices has further fragmented the market.

The NRL will give its current broadcast partners every opportunity to retain the rights before exploring alternate options. However, according to sources with knowledge of the approaching negotiations, the NRL could produce the broadcast content itself and then look to sell off the properties to interested parties if it isn’t satisfied with the price broadcasters are willing to pay.

There is also the possibility that the NRL could sell off various properties – such as State of Origin, the World and club 9s tournaments, international matches and the All Stars fixture – separately in a bid to extract maximum value.

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AFLW players to vote again after in-principle deal reached

AFLW players are set to vote on a revised collective bargaining agreement as early as this week after the AFL and the AFL Players’ Association reached an in-principle deal for the next three seasons, reports The Age’s Daniel Cherny.

The immediate future of the competition had been left in limbo after 30 per cent of players voted against a CBA proposal earlier this month. The AFLPA could have ticked-off on the proposal itself but has an unofficial requirement that 75 per cent of the playing cohort must agree to a deal before the union ratifies it.

The AFLPA has since conducted a series of meetings with players from clubs who had a majority vote against. A milestone was reached on Monday when player representatives met members of the PA top brass and an AFL contingent including chief executive Gillon McLachlan.

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