Mediaweek Roundup: Stateless, Caroline Laws, TEG + more

• News Corp, Gerard Henderson, Rugby Australia + Eddie McGuire

Business of Media

TEG growth continues via merger with the Van Egmond Group

TEG has announced the Van Egmond Group, which has presented and produced some of the world’s largest entertainment events, has joined the fast-growing TEG family.

Led by Garry Van Egmond and Christo Van Egmond, the business has more than 45 years’ experience in touring, special events, event merchandising, marketing, ticketing and promotion. Including record breaking tours with Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms Tour, Jesus Christ Superstar’s Arena Tour, Riverdance’s The Show and AC/DC’s Black Ice Tour.

The new touring business has been renamed TEG Van Egmond and forms part of TEG’s integrated entertainment offering.

TEG CEO Geoff Jones welcomed Garry and Christo to the TEG family, saying: “The Van Egmond Group has a long pedigree of delivering blockbuster tours with huge acts such as Dire Straits, Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, INXS, Riverdance, Prince, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton and the great AC/DC.

“Garry has sold well in excess of 30 million tickets across contemporary concerts and theatre productions in the Australasian marketplace and we are delighted to have him and Christo on board as part of the TEG family.”

Garry Van Egmond added: “We have seen TEG’s phenomenal growth over the last few years under Geoff’s leadership and we are very excited about joining TEG and look forward to delivering some big tours and events under TEG Van Egmond. TEG Van Egmond will be active in both the North America and UK/Europe for top tier touring opportunities for Australia and South East Asia.”

Cindy Wilson, previously managing director of BASE Entertainment Asia and a 20-year veteran of the music and live entertainment industries, will be representing TEG Van Egmond in North America, based in Los Angeles.

News Corp Aust admits to ‘underpaid super’ totaling $1.5m

News Corp Australia has underpaid current and former staff superannuation totalling about $1.5m as a result of payroll system errors, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

The media company has notified the Australian Taxation Office about the underpayment, which was discovered during a review of the media group’s superannuation contributions.

“The majority of impacted employees had total underpaid super of less than $250. The total shortfall is about $1.5m and about 2500 past and present employees are affected,” a spokesman said on Monday.

[Read more]

News Brands

ABC’s Insiders drops conservative commentator Gerard Henderson

Conservative commentator Gerard Henderson has been dropped as a panellist from ABC’s top-rating Sunday morning political program Insiders, reports The Age’s Michael Lallo.

ABC sources confirmed a Guardian report claiming Henderson would make way for other conservative voices. The sources say this decision was made a few weeks ago and is unrelated to Henderson’s recent defence of a Catholic school accused of mishandling a “child grooming” case.

Henderson, the executive director of the Sydney Institute think tank, was not available for an interview but provided a copy of a letter he had submitted to The Australian newspaper.

In his letter, Henderson said he had emailed Insiders executive producer Sam Clark on February 4 to confirm his continued appearances on the panel – and that Clark “phoned me the next day and advised that he had not made up his mind as to whether I would be asked on the program this year”.

“In a subsequent conversation on February 7, Sam Clark declined to guarantee me any appearances in the future,” Henderson wrote. “I understood the message and sent Insiders an ‘au revoir’ response on February 11. All this had nothing to do with what I may or may not have said on The Bolt Report many days later.”

[Read more]

Tipping competition with $2m prize drives News Corp subscriptions

News Corp Australia has launched the country’s richest sports tipping game, tips.com.au, with competitions for the NRL and AFL. More than $2 million in cash prizes are on offer. The game is free so everyone can play and anyone can win.

The move further strengthens News Corp’s digital subscription strategy by harnessing premium sport content to drive audience growth as players unlock expert tips and analysis from News Corp’s sports journalists.

Kayo and BetEasy are the inaugural commercial partners for the launch of tips.com.au across News Corp’s metro and regional news brands and news.com.au. Fox Sports will also be supporting the game. 

Michael Wilkins, managing director of sport, wagering & gaming at News Corp Australia said: “Our aim is to find Australia’s best tipster – but also be an inclusive game that can be played by families, at offices, pubs and clubs.”

KFC SuperCoach launched in 2009 and engages 625,000 players across AFL, NRL, BBL and horse racing. Each SuperCoach game attracts a larger registered audience than the official sporting bodies’ fantasy games, with players averaging eight hours a week with the game.

Tips.com.au offers a cash prize of $50k for the winner of each code’s tipping comp (you can enter one or both) plus a $1m prize in each code if you can achieve the streak – picking the winner and margin of a chosen marquee game each week.

Radio

Caroline Laws, wife of radio legend John, dies after cancer battle

Caroline Laws, the wife of legendary Australian broadcaster John Laws, has died following a long battle with cancer, reports The Australian’s Lachlan Moffet Gray.

“I am lost,” Laws said through a spokeswoman.

Mrs Laws – who was called “The Princess” by loving husband John – was diagnosed with ovarian cancer during a routine check-up in June 2016.

John and Caroline have been married since 1976 – but their romantic history goes back much further with a 14-year-old Caroline catching a 16-year-old John’s eye at a dance at a mutual friend’s home in Sydney in 1951.

Laws’s passing was announced by radio network 2SM on Monday morning through a statement.

“It is with a heavy heart, we announce this morning the sad passing of Caroline Laws – beloved wife of legendary Australian broadcaster John Laws,” it said.

“Together John and Caroline lived a life that revolved around their consuming love for one-another.

“This love and life extended to their nine children who added a beautiful joy within their blended extended family.

“John referred to Caroline as his greatest confidant – doting upon her to his devoted listeners across Australia.”

[Read more]

Television

Stateless was seven years in the making for Marta Dusseldorp

ABC’s new drama Stateless has been a passion project for co-creator and co-executive producer Cate Blanchett, reports TV Tonight.

But even for Marta Dusseldorp, who has a supporting role in the miniseries, it’s been a long time coming.

“Cate’s a really dear friend of mine and we’d been talking about it for close on seven years,” she tells TV Tonight.

“I also went to Villawood when I was younger, and supported, as much as I could with (author) Linda Jaiven, who was doing a lot of work there at the time.

“In my role as a goodwill ambassador for UNHCR I’ve been to Uganda, Jordan, Lebanon, mainly visiting Syrian refugees, but also Congolese refugees. It’s something I’m really passionate about.”

Stateless is described as a series about four strangers whose lives collide at an immigration detention centre in the middle of the Australian desert. It is inspired – in part – by the true story of Cornelia Rau, a German citizen and Australian permanent resident who was unlawfully detained for a period of ten months in 2004 as part of the Australian Government’s mandatory detention program.

[Read more]

Sports Media

How Eddie McGuire and Amazon could shake up the AFL on TV

The AFL’s television landscape is set for a shake-up after global streaming giant Amazon agreed to a $10 million deal with Collingwood president Eddie McGuire’s media company, reports The Age’s Sam McClure.

Football industry sources have confirmed that Amazon is purchasing the rights for a series of football club documentaries, to be produced by Jam TV – the television arm of McGuire Media – and shown on Amazon Prime in Australia.

Collingwood and Sydney are among the clubs approached to feature in the series, but the project hit an early snag when the football department of McGuire’s own club, the Magpies, indicated they were not keen on taking part.

The deal, which has been in the pipeline for months, initially angered subscription rights-holder Foxtel, who demanded a meeting with AFL executives. Fox Footy, which employs McGuire as a host and commentator and paid $1.3 billion over six years for a share of the broadcast rights, felt it had been sidelined by the deal.

[Read more]

Channel 10 and Optus only bidders for Rugby Australia’s TV rights

Nearly two weeks after putting their broadcast rights to the open market, Rugby Australia only has two networks showing interest: 10 and Optus, reports News Corp’s Jamie Pandaram.

Existing broadcast partner Fox Sports has not signed the non-disclosure agreement sent out by RA on February 14, which means Optus has no digital rival for rugby’s rights thus far.

Fox Sports insiders have informed The Daily Telegraph they will not make a bid for rugby, having walked away from negotiations last month after a breakdown in relations with RA boss Raelene Castle.

However, RA sources believe Fox is still bluffing, and may come in with a late bid.

To do so, they would need to sign the non-disclosure agreement.

RA hopes to finalise its 2021-25 broadcast deal by mid-March, so the clock is ticking.

Fox Sports made an offer of $200 million for the rights in November, but that was rejected by RA, and Castle said they would head to the open market.

[Read more]

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