Mediaweek roundup: The Bachelor, OMA, oOh!media + more

The Bachelor

• MAFS, Foxtel, Prince Charles, Ally Langdon, AFL, NRL + Rugby Australia

Business of Media

oOh!media book covered, Macquarie tells clients

The institutional portion of oOh!media’s equity raising was “covered” heading into the close, stockbroker Macquarie told clients on Thursday afternoon, reports The AFR’s Streetalk.

The message went to fund at about 3.30pm, while the deal’s institutional portion was due to close at 4.30pm. oO!media was seeking to raise $167 million including $39 million in a placement and another $128 million in a one-for-one rights issue. The institutional portion of the deal was expected to be more than $100 million.

The deal was at 53¢ a share which was a 37 per cent discount to the last close and a 20 per cent discount to the theoretical ex-rights price.

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HMI Capital emerges as kingmaker in oOh!media $167m raising

HMI Capital could emerge with a quarter of oOh!media, putting the San Francisco-based private equity firm in the position of kingmaker in the future of the outdoor advertising business following a $167 million emergency capital raising amid the coronavirus pandemic, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

HMI Capital committed to sub-underwriting up to $17.7 million in oOh!media’s $167 million emergency capital raising.

HMI Capital was founded by Mick Hellman, the son of Hellman & Friedman founder Warren Hellman. Hellman will join oOh!media’s board as a non-executive director following the institutional component of the entitlement offer.

HMI Capital has committed to its entitlement in the capital raising and will sub-underwrite up to $17.7 million the deal, being run by Macquarie Capital. Depending on the volume taken up, it could raise its stake from 19 per cent to 25 per cent of oOh!media, which would be subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

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OMA: “Outdoor advertising remains relevant in the ‘stay at home’ world”

Below is a message from OMA CEO Charmaine Moldrich:

Having dedicated the last 10 years of my life to the business of Out of Home advertising, it seems somewhat counterproductive to recommend that people stay home. Yet this is the firm advice of our government and medical professionals worldwide. We are in uncharted territory.

COVID-19 has disrupted all of our lives in ways that we could not even begin to imagine. While our team at the OMA is yearning for a crystal ball, the best we can do is collate the data, process the information, and work to provide relevant advice to our members and the advertising industry.

In the short-term, we are feeling the impact of marketing budgets put on hold, and we know that short-term performance goals will not be reached. But there is hope. By now you would have read the articles proclaiming that China’s ad market is rebounding and no doubt you are looking for tips on how to get there faster—as in right now!

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News Brands

Daily Tele’s misguided Prince Charles hit job

Overnight news the Prince of Wales has – along with another 1500 of his fellow Britons – contracted COVID-19 was a particularly awkward twist of fate for The Daily Telegraph. And not the Barclay brothers’ esteemed London broadsheet; Rupert Murdoch’s cretinous Sydney tabloid, reports The AFR’s Joe Aston.

Only on March 5, it had savaged the Prince for, it alleged, withdrawing Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons’ invitation to a Buckingham Palace party “because Prince Charles is scared of the coronavirus. Seriously”.

Yep, The Tele’s splash that Thursday screamed “CHICKEN CHARLES”, the insulting headline set beneath an image of the heir’s son, the Duke of Cambridge, grasping a dignitary’s hand in Dublin the previous day. “Will carries on as Dad snubs our fire hero,” went the subhead (right above the bogan masthead’s tagline “We’re for youse”).

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Radio boss tests positive to coronavirus

The news director of Sydney’s biggest radio station 2GB has tested positive to coronavirus describing her symptoms as starting when she began “feeling really cold”, reports’s Candace Sutton.

Journalist and newsreader Natalie Peters has been in self-isolation, away from her 2GB colleagues including Ray Hadley and Erin Molan, since arriving back from overseas earlier this month.

Speaking to Hadley from her home this morning, Peters said she landed back at Sydney airport on March 15, before the ban forcing overseas travellers into 14-day isolation kicked in at midnight.

She was surprised by the airline’s almost complete lack of medical precautions or travel advice until one hour before landing at Sydney International Airport.

At the time, Peters said she was choosing to self-isolate despite not being required to.

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Filming of Ten’s The Bachelor is suspended

Network Ten’s popular reality show The Bachelor is the latest local television show to be halted over fears about the spread of the coronavirus, just hours after Nine Entertainment stopped filming The Block, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

Ten and the producers of The Bachelor, Warner Bros., said it is “no longer practical” to continue filming the eighth season, which involves 20 women vying for the affections of bachelor Locky Gilbert, even though it has been taking “extra precautions on set for some time”.

“The health and safety of our participants and crew members is our number one priority. These are extremely difficult times for all Australians and for our industry, and the full extent of those difficulties will not be known for some time to come,” Ten and Warner Bros. said in a joint statement Thursday evening.

The companies said their decision to halt production was made after considering all available options, and will resume when it is safe.

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‘We feel secure’: Foxtel CEO confident amid global sports shutdown

Foxtel chief executive Patrick Delany says he is confident about the company’s future despite the worldwide shutdown of live sport as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and will offer sweeteners to customers in an aggressive attempt to keep subscribers, reports The SMH and The Age’s Michael Lallo and Broede Carmody.

“You’d have to be living in la-la land if you thought there wouldn’t be some effect [on subscriptions] given the lack of live sport but we feel secure because we’re very strong in other genres like movies, drama and lifestyle,” Mr Delany said. “We’re known for sport but the number of customers that take only a sports package are a minority compared to those that take sport plus things like entertainment and drama.”

The pay TV company has invested heavily in local and international sports – including NRL, AFL, cricket, basketball and Formula One – to drive subscriptions. These sports are also available on Kayo, a streaming platform with no lock-in contracts. But as major codes suspend or scrap their 2020 seasons in response to the pandemic, Foxtel and Kayo face a potential exodus of customers.

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MAFS: Bad boy Michael makes horrible date rape joke on radio

Married At First Sight’s Michael Goonan stooped to a new low on radio this morning when he cracked a joke about a date rape drug, reports’s Andrew Bucklow.

Michael was being interviewed on Hit FM’s Mid North Coast breakfast show Krysti & Bodge when he was asked whether there’s any truth to the rumour he’s currently dating fellow MAFS contestant KC.

“Are you at least bone buddies with your old mate KC?” radio host Bodge asked.

“Look, she’s a good girl, she’s a very good girl,” Michael said coyly.

The radio hosts told Michael that his TV wife Stacey did an Instagram Q&A yesterday in which she revealed to fans that KC and Michael are now in a relationship.

Michael replied: “I know, but Stacey’s not really in my life. To be honest with you, if I had a shot with KC, I’d take it. But I think she’s out of my league. I don’t know how many roofies (a slang term for the date rape drug Rohypnol) I’d need to give her to get a shot. I just don’t know whether I’d be able to get in there.”

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Ally Langdon’s frustration over people flouting tough new restrictions

Today host Allison Langdon has delivered a stinging rebuke to Australians recklessly disobeying strict new laws aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus, suggesting that they should all simply be “locked up”, reports’s Bronte Coy.

Strict social distancing measures were upgraded again on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing a raft of new restrictions on everyday life in a bid to slow down the infection rate of coronavirus.

Speaking to New South Wales police commissioner Mick Fuller on the show this morning, Langdon and co-host Karl Stefanovic asked about the penalties for those who breached the new rules. “There are restrictions in terms of outdoors and numbers and that’s $500, indoors it is $100,” he said.

“But say an individual decided he was going to have a house party in his or her unit, if there was more people than the allocated in terms of one person per four square metres then individuals could get a $1000 fine and the owner of the house could get a $5000 fine.”

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Channel Nine tells NRL it won’t make its next payment

Channel Nine won’t be making its quarterly broadcast payment to the NRL on April 1, but has outlined a desire to renegotiate its current rights deal to extend beyond 2022, reports The SMH’s Michael Chammas.

The Herald has been told by a source close to discussions that Nine’s preference is to renegotiate its current deal and extend its broadcast partnership with the NRL in a revised organisational structure that would see the clubs play a major part in the running of the sport.

Nine, the publisher of this masthead, hopes the current predicament will allow the game the opportunity to think outside the square, and potentially allow clubs a greater say in operations.

The news comes on the same day as the NRL was forced to delayed a crisis meeting with clubs on Friday, which was meant to provide them with an update of its plans for a postponed competition.

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Richardson savages former ARLC chair Grant over NRL finances

Don’t do it, John. The game cannot afford it.

This was the warning several members of the NRL executive told former ARL Commission chairman John Grant before a critical meeting with the 16 club bosses on December 3, 2015, reports The SHM’s Andrew Webster.

They pleaded with Grant to refuse a demand to increase the clubs’ annual grant to 130 per cent of the salary cap.

Grant’s decision temporarily won him support from the clubs, who did not move to sack him in 2015. The financial cost to the game, however, would be heavy. That cost has been exposed in the current crisis.

“Instead, he capitulated,” recalled Shane Richardson, who was the NRL’s head of game development at the time having been charged by then chief executive Dave Smith to streamline the entire code. “Greed set in.”

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Rugby Australia brace for $90m coronavirus hit

Rugby Australia will fall into a financial black hole worth up to $90 million by the end of the year in worst-case scenario projections facing administrators, reports The SHM’Georgina Robinson.

As the broadcasting tap gets turned off, the prospect of hosting home Test matches fades and sponsorship arrangements come under scrutiny amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, RA chief executive Raelene Castle, her players’ union counterpart Justin Harrison and the Super Rugby clubs are working through tough decisions on rugby’s cost base.

In a doomsday scenario, which imagines a cancelled Test season and no opportunity to play the mooted domestic competition later this year, RA would forego broadcast rights payments for the next three quarters, totalling $42.75m, gate revenue from seven home Test matches and a $1m fee for a potential Test against Wales in November.

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AFL, players moving closer to agreement on pay deal for 2020

A breakthrough pay deal between the AFL and the game’s 850 players will revolve around the prospect of multiple scenarios playing out in the coronavirus crisis, reports Herald Sun’s Michael Warner.

The deal, which could be signed off on Friday, will be flexible and see players earn varied amounts in 2020 depending on whether there are no games, some games or a full 17 rounds, plus finals.

Matches being played with or without crowds and the financial viability of key AFL sponsors and partners will also determine the size of the stop gap arrangement to be struck between the AFL and the players’ union.

Precise details will be finalised in the coming weeks and months, but both parties were determined to agree in principle to multiple models and allow the AFL to accelerate plans to secure a sizeable bank loan to secure the game.

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