Mediaweek Roundup: Simon Reeve, Netflix, Dean Jones, ABC + more

Apple, Google, Sam Mangan, Sir Harold Evans, News Corp, and Cricket Australia

Business of Media

To Fight Apple and Google, smaller app rivals organise a coalition

For months, complaints from tech companies against Apple’s and Google’s power have grown louder, reports The New York Times.

Spotify, the music streaming app, criticized Apple for the rules it imposed in the App Store. A founder of the software company Basecamp attacked Apple’s “highway robbery rates” on apps. And last month, Epic Games, maker of the popular game Fortnite, sued Apple and Google, claiming they violated antitrust rules.

Now these app makers are uniting in an unusual show of opposition against Apple and Google and the power they have over their app stores. On Thursday, the smaller companies said they had formed the Coalition for App Fairness, a nonprofit group that plans to push for changes in the app stores and “protect the app economy.” The 13 initial members include Spotify, Basecamp, Epic and Match Group, which has apps like Tinder and Hinge.

“They’ve collectively decided, ‘We’re not alone in this, and maybe what we should do is advocate on behalf of everybody,’” said Sarah Maxwell, a spokeswoman for the group. She added that the new nonprofit would be “a voice for many.”

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Read more about the Coalition for App Fairness here.

Ex-Seven star seeks ‘at least $500k’ from network, court told

A former Seven Network presenter is suing the broadcaster for at least $500,000 over accusations it breached the Fair Work Act by failing to pay him annual leave or redundancy pay, a court has heard, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Georgina Mitchell.

Simon Reeve – who appeared in the network’s Olympics coverage, news coverage and game shows including Million Dollar Minute and It’s Academic – alleges in court documents that he was made redundant in a phone call on June 25 with Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell.

He says he had been directed three months earlier, in a phone conversation with a Weekend Sunrise producer, to “cease performing services”.

In a statement of claim filed with the Federal Court, Reeve says being made redundant was a breach of his contract, which “did not permit Seven to unilaterally cease making the payment of salary” to him or his company.

Reeve also claims Seven breached the Fair Work Act by misrepresenting his employment as being an independent contracting arrangement, when it is clear he was treated as an employee – including receiving an email from chief operations officer Bruce McWilliam on July 3 describing him as “part of the DNA of this place”.

On Thursday, when the case was first mentioned in court, Reeve’s lawyer John Laxon said the case was worth “in excess of half a million dollars … somewhere between half a million and a million dollars”.

Justice Geoffrey Flick remarked: “Channel Seven must pay well.”

The matter will return to court on November 11.

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Netflix getting a free ride from Australia. It’s time for them to stump up

The Netflix chief executive, Reed Hastings, has claimed this week in the Australian media that the streaming giant will “voluntarily” produce Australian content, rendering the need for mooted Australian local content rules redundant, writes Trent Zimmerman, the member for North Sydney and co-chair of Parliamentary Friends of the Screen Industry, in Guardian Australia.

Leaving aside the fact that Netflix is not the only streaming service in town, sadly Netflix’s performance to date does not inspire the type of confidence that should encourage the federal government to abandon its rule in promoting Australian content and stories.

It’s time for streaming services, which are enjoying growing and significant revenues from Australians, to stump up and support our own screen sector. They are currently getting a free ride and a competitive advantage over traditional media, which is both unfair but also denying Australians the chance to be part of our own stories.

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Celebrity manager has a new LA office, only it’s ‘virtual’

The manager for celebrities including James Charles, Emily Skye and Quade Cooper has been found to be using a “virtual” Los Angeles address, however denied he tried to give the impression that it would be exclusively his own, reports News Corp’s Sally Coates.

Sam Mangan, owner of PR firm Spin & Co and purportedly a close friend of Roxy Jacenko, recently signed US millionaire makeup mogul James Charles and in celebration announced that he had upgraded his LA base with a permanent office on the prestigious Wilshire Boulevard.

The manager for celebrities including James Charles, Emily Skye and Quade Cooper has been found to be using a “virtual” Los Angeles address, however denied he tried to give the impression that it would be exclusively his own.

However, a search of the LA address listed on the Spin & Co website – 10940 Wilshire Boulevard. Suite 1600 – shows that the address is actually a “virtual office”, an address businesses can buy for as little as $129 US per month.

“Although we’ve worked in the US for years you’ll now find a brand new Spin&Co. Office on Wilshire Boulevard,” Mangan wrote on his personal Instagram page.

However when contacted by Confidential, Mangan denied giving the impression that he had rented a full office.

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News Brands

Peter V’landys: ABC accused of pandering to ‘activists’ over 7.30 story

The ABC pandered to “activists” by portraying racing boss Peter V’landys as the “face” of abhorrent cruelty to horses in a 7.30 segment that jeopardised his position as the chairman of rugby league’s governing body and sparked a ‘please explain’ from a NSW cabinet minister, a court has heard, reports The Australian’s Kieran Gair.

The chief executive of Racing NSW and Australian Rugby League Commission chairman is suing the ABC and journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna over the segment ‘The Final Race’ which aired on 7.30 last year.

On Thursday, V’landys claimed he had not been afforded the same courtesy and “procedural fairness” as two animal “activists” featured in a 7.30 exposé that revealed acts of cruelty against former racehorses and aired graphic footage from Meramist Abattoir in Queensland.

“I can remember seeing those two activists on the phone talking about Meramist and I remember thinking how were they shown that video I wasn’t, why where they given that courtesy,” V’landys said.

Peter Beattie, the former Queensland Premier and the commissioner of rugby league’s governing body, told the court on Thursday that the program almost put V’landys’ position on the ALRC’s board in jeopardy.

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ABC editor fires off SA sledge on Twitter as the state opens its borders

An ABC staffer based in Sydney has drawn the ire of former federal ministers and his own colleagues at the national broadcaster for a tweet suggesting people from NSW “may die of boredom” if they cross the border into SA, reports The Advertier’s Greg Barila.

Riley Stuart, NSW digital editor for ABC News, tweeted on Wednesday night: #BREAKING NSW residents warned not to travel to Adelaide when SA border opens tonight as they “may die of boredom”.

Strangely, this fresh, creative and entirely original one-liner did not cause widespread hilarity among other Twitter users. Even Stuart’s fellow ABC employers were left shaking their heads rather than clutching their sides.

Former long-serving ABC Radio Adelaide breakfast co-host and Sunday Mail columnist Matthew Abraham responded that Stuart’s attempt at humour “reflects the entrenched superior Sydney mindset of the ABC, which I observed inside the tent for years”.

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Sir Harold Evans dies aged 92: Journalism greats pay tributes

Sir Harold Evans was physically a diminutive figure – but through his journalism, books and comments about the trade he had a giant influence over generations of journalists, reports Dominic Ponsford in Press Gazette.

Many have shared their thoughts about the impact Sir Harry has had on them since his death from heart failure aged 92 was announced this morning.

Writing for Reuters, award-winning investigative journalist Stephen Grey said: “He was the icon that inspired a generation of young Britons to pick up a pen in anger – inspired by his example that the relentless and carefully crafted exposure of facts could be used to fight injustice.”

Reuters editor in chief Stephen Adler said: “Harry Evans was an inspiration, not only as a great journalist but as a great man. He had an insatiable intellect, extraordinary tenacity, high principle, and a generous heart.”

Former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan said: “One of the all-time great newspaper editors. His stunning Thalidomide investigation when he ran the Sunday Times epitomised his crusading, campaigning, fearless style.

A wonderful journalist & a witty, charming, fiercely intelligent man.”

Even Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a former Times journalist himself, shared a tribute: “Sir Harold Evans worked his way up from local papers to become a giant of British journalism.

“He will always be remembered for exposing the thalidomide scandal and for tirelessly campaigning on behalf of those who were affected. A true pioneer of investigative journalism.”

Evans was editor of the Northern Echo from 1961 to 67, editor of The Sunday Times from 1967 to 1981 and then editor of The Times for a year before resigning after clashing with owner Rupert Murdoch about editorial independence.

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News Corp ‘rips newsagents off with low margin on magazine’

Retail newsagents who stock the 40 years of State of Origin magazine from News Corp will make a paltry 7.5% gross profit from each copy sold, writes newsagent industry commentator and retailer Mark Fletcher at

Shame on News Corp for this.

For a company that shouts daily from its print and digital platforms on many matters including telling others what to do and how to lead, here they are giving newsagents not even a living wage to support this title.

A few newsagents I have spoken with expect they could sell 10 or 12 copies of the magazine. For that they will receive around $4.00. They also said that handling everything necessary that is associated with the title will cost around a man-hour, maybe more.

$4.00 an hour is appalling. The current, non-Covid, unemployment benefit paid by the federal government calculates out at around $4.87 an hour. With this 40 years of State of Origin magazine from News Corp, the company is paying less than the unemployment rate.

So, how much should newsagents be paid to offer this title? The gross profit from the 40 years of State of Origin magazine should be at least 45%. While that would not make it profitable for newsagents, it would at least demonstrate respect for newsagents and their investment of labour and retail space in supporting the title.

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Sports Media

Cricketer Dean Jones dies after collapsing in a Mumbai hotel

Dean Jones, the man with the dancing feet and flashing blade who defined the excitement of 1980s cricket, has died in a Mumbai hotel surrounded by cricketing legends, reports The Australian’s Peter Lalor.

Fellow former cricketer Brett Lee was on the scene and performed CPR but the 59-year-old was pronounced dead at 6.30pm (AEST) on Thursday.

Jones was working for Star Sports in its Mumbai bunker where he was anchoring IPL matches alongside Brian Lara, Graeme Swann, Scott Styris and Lee, who were all staying in the same hotel.

“It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing away of Mr Dean Mervyn Jones AM,” Star India said.

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‘It’s a real tough day’: Brett Lee returns to TV hours after trying to save Dean Jones

Former Australia fast bowler Brett Lee returned to the television screen in India only hours after trying to save Dean Jones‘ life in their Mumbai hotel, describing the iconic batsman and character of the game as “an absolute legend”, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Chris Barrett.

Jones, who was on the subcontinent commentating on the Indian Premier League for Star India television, died suddenly of a suspected heart attack on Thursday at the age of 59.

Lee, also part of the Star India team of analysts, rushed to Jones’ side when he collapsed inside the Trident Hotel in Mumbai, performing CPR in a desperate attempt to revive him. Tragically, Jones, who was transported to a nearby hospital by ambulance, could not be saved.

Despite the traumatic episode, Lee bravely fronted up on Star’s pre-game coverage of the IPL on Thursday night just hours after Jones had passed away.

The 43-year-old appeared on a segment Star calls the Select Dugout alongside former New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris, a close friend of Jones’ and another Star panellist who broke down as he spoke about the Victorian great on television.

“I think the thing we want to say about Deano is he would have wanted us to be here tonight,” Lee said.

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Cricket Australia offers Seven discount but deal a long way off

Cricket Australia has indicated a willingness to give ground in the game’s broadcast war with Seven West Media, offering to charge less money for the summer, report Nine Publishing’s Chris Barrett and Jon Pierik.

However, a peace deal with the game’s free-to-air television partner remains a distant prospect, with Seven knocking back an initial offer from the game’s governing body ahead of a meeting on Friday between managing director James Warburton and CA’s interim chief, Nick Hockley.

Seven’s attempts to have a major slice taken out of its $75 million fee this summer have also been rejected to date by CA, which has maintained since Warburton began taking aim at the organisation in August that it would deliver a full season and fulfil its end of the contract.

Seven will begin televising the international summer this weekend when Meg Lanning‘s Australian team starts a limited-overs campaign against New Zealand in Brisbane but its future broadcasting of the game remains in doubt after it threatened to tear up its $450 million deal.

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