Mediaweek Roundup: The Living Room, News Corp, SBS, A-League + more

• ABC, Bruce Baird, Great Southern Weekender, The West Australian, and Mike Sheahan

Business of Media

Anthony Albanese vows to reverse ABC’s budget freeze

Anthony Albanese has pledged to end the freeze on the ABC’s budget and give it $83.7m if he wins the next federal election as Labor releases a social-media attack advertisement against the government’s handling of the public broadcaster, reports The Australian’s Richard Ferguson.

Albanese said on Tuesday that government cuts to the ABC came after public broadcasting played a key role in helping bushfire victims in the seat of Eden-Monaro. “ABC emergency cover­age saved lives during the sum­mer bushfires and staff came off leave to ensure Australians were kept informed.

“Now 250 dedicated ABC staff face the sack as a result of Scott Morrison’s cuts,” he said.

[Read more]

Help TV and movie producers to punch above their weight: Baird

Former Liberal MP Bruce Baird says greater tax incentives for producing TV programs and requiring streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Stan to produce local content are essential for the long-term viability of the Australian production sector, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Baird, who with former Labor leader Simon Crean is co-chairman of the Screen Export Advisory Council (SEAC), said the Australian production industry was “punching below its weight” given the volume of talent in creative fields and the government needed to do more to take advantage of it.

“As a country, we have got a lot of strong television schools, we’ve got a lot of skills in this country. I think we’re punching below our weight … we have a great storytelling ability and rich literature that exists in this country,” Baird told The Australian Financial Review.

The SEAC submission calls for the producer tax offset for television, which sits at 20 per cent, to be brought in line with feature films, which is at 40 per cent.

[Read more]

News Brands

Free News Corp newspapers for IGA customers during July 2020

News Corp Australia and IGA Supermarkets have announced a deal for shoppers to receive a bonus newspaper when they spend $20 or more at selected IGA stores from 1st to 28th July 2020.

IGA Supermarkets is a network 1,455 independently owned stores across Australia with many in smaller regional towns.

The offer is available 1/07/2020 – 28/7/2020 (inclusive) while stocks last. One copy of selected News Corp Australia publications dependent on region per transaction of $20 or over, excluding cigarette & tobacco products, ePay, and Golden Casket purchases.

There is a limit one free paper per person per day. The offer only available at participating IGA and Drakes stores.

The newspaper offer includes The Australian, The Weekly Times and News Corp metro dailies and Sunday newspapers in the state capitals. Also included are Queensland regional dailies The Gold Coast Bulletin, Toowoomba Chronicle, Cairns Post and Townsville Bulletin.

In May and June Chemist Warehouse was trialling the sale of News Corp metro dailies in four states.

Read more: Chemist Warehouse trial to sell News Corp metro dailies in four states

SBS staff urge leadership change as former journalists air claims of racism

SBS staff have pleaded with the board to appoint someone other than a white Anglo man as news director to reflect the station’s multicultural charter, report Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade and Naaman Zhou.

Since 1978 the director of news has always been a white man, with the exception of Irene Buschtedt between 1993 and 1995.

With the retirement of veteran news director Jim Carroll due in December, having been in the post since 2013, staff say the board should seize the opportunity to make a cultural change.

The letter, seen by Guardian Australia, says: “As a multicultural and Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander broadcaster, the appointment of the next director of news should be an opportunity and not a blind spot.

“We ask that the board of directors take this opportunity to reflect on SBS’s charter and aspirations as a world leading broadcaster and advocate for a candidate drawn from Australia’s multicultural and diverse communities.”

On Tuesday the station’s managing director, James Taylor, responded to claims from former Indigenous staff that they experienced racism when working at the broadcaster.

Taylor told staff he was “sickened and saddened” to read Bedford’s post and it was abhorrent that an institution “that so visibly lives the standards of inclusion” was a place where racism in the workplace had been evident.

“As I have said to all SBS team members today, I am committed to a culture that stands opposed to any form of racism or exclusion,” Taylor told Guardian Australia.

“It can take many overt and less overt forms, none of which are acceptable. Racism is abhorrent and we are committed to ensuring it has no place at SBS.”

[Read more]

Great Southern Weekender: War of words the biggest news in Albany, WA

On the blustery south coast of Western Australia, a media storm is building in intensity. One of Australia’s last independent newspapers is in a potentially catastrophic dispute with a founding shareholder, entrepreneur Paul Lionetti, over a seemingly benign court report, reports The Australian’s Paige Taylor.

Lionetti has banned the editor of the Great Southern Weekender from his pub, Due South. This is inconvenient for editor Ian Beeck, a country footy legend with a country footy thirst. It was one of his favourite drinking holes. Bar staff around town call him JobKeeper.

“It’s a bummer,” Beeck said on Tuesday.

The trouble is, Lionetti’s son Steven is a confessed burglar. The Great Southern Weekender printed news of his first court appearance on a charge of aggravated burglary in a 120-word dispassionate story. Lionetti was unhappy his name was mentioned in a story about his son.

[Read more]

The West Australian apologises for offensive Modesty Blaise cartoon

The West Australian newspaper has apologised for publishing a Modesty Blaise cartoon containing offensive racial stereotypes about Aboriginal people, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

The masthead, which is part of Kerry Stokes-controlled Seven West Media, issued the apology on its website on Monday night, saying the offensive cartoon had “no place in our newspaper”.

The cartoon, which appeared in Monday’s newspaper, used a racial slur to describe an Aboriginal character.

“In fact, it’s the very kind of marginalisation and bigotry The West Australian and its reporters have been trying to stamp out.

“The cartoon was written in 1981 and today’s comics strip page was supplied by an outside agency,” The West Australian said in a brief statement.

The West Australian has been publishing Modesty Blaise as a cartoon strip for decades. This was now under review and it would not be published in the meantime.

[Read more]

The New York Times quits as contributor to Apple News service

The New York Times said on Monday that it was exiting its partnership with Apple News, as news organisations struggle to compete with large tech companies for readers’ attention and dollars, reports the newspaper.

Starting on Monday, Times articles were no longer appearing alongside those from other publications in the curated Apple News feed available on Apple devices.

The Times is one of the first media organizations to pull out of Apple News. The Times, which has made adding new subscribers a key business goal, said Apple had given it little in the way of direct relationships with readers and little control over the business. It said it hoped to instead drive readers directly to its own website and mobile app so that it could “fund quality journalism.”

“Core to a healthy model between The Times and the platforms is a direct path for sending those readers back into our environments, where we control the presentation of our report, the relationships with our readers and the nature of our business rules,” Meredith Kopit Levien, chief operating officer, wrote in a memo to employees. “Our relationship with Apple News does not fit within these parameters.”

An Apple spokesman said that The Times “only offered Apple News a few stories a day,” and that the company would continue to provide readers with trusted information from thousands of publishers.

[Read more]

Television

Amanda Keller on return of The Living Room without WTFN

The Living Room is back from the brink and in a major format twist will feature one family, one story per episode, reports TV Tonight.

Gone are the unrelated lifestyle stories linked by hosts before a studio audience.

Instead the show is filmed in a warehouse ‘home-base’ with the hosts helping out a hero family each week. No longer produced by WTFN, the show is now in-house at 10 under new executive producer Caroline Swift.

As Amanda Keller tells TV Tonight, “She did a lot of thinking and spoke to a lot of people about what Friday night viewing should be, what our strengths were, and what our point of difference could be. And that’s why the show, I think, is slightly different this time around.

“We take one family or one couple, one story, for the hour, and we film and do offshoots from that. But rather than all of us doing disparate stories and just linking them in the studio, we go on a journey from beginning to end.

10 announced the show’s return after a deal with former producers WTFN, who retained rights in the format and all international rights. This enabled 10 to stick with the title despite previously confirming The Living Room would not return.

Keller doesn’t weigh into why the revamp led to the exit of the original production company WTFN, which has also not commented directly.

“I assume there were tensions in there, or else why would we be where we are? But I would just turn up and do my job,” Keller said.

[Read more]

Sports Media

A-League 2019-20 returns: NSW to host most games in revamped season

The A-League is set to return with an incredible extravaganza of 32 games in 39 days for football-starved fans when the season resumes in a fortnight, report News Corp’s Marco Monteverde and Joe Barton.

It will have been 115 days between drinks when the competition is reignited with a Melbourne derby between Victory and Western United on July 16, kicking off an unprecedented bonanza of action.

After extensive negotiations, times and dates for all fixtures have been locked in – with the grand final set to take place on August 23.

However the glaring omissions from the fixture list released on Wednesday is that of venues throughout.

A NSW hub will host the vast majority of games, with the season reopening Melbourne derby – set to be played at AAMI Park – a rare exception.

The remaining 27 games of the regular season will be squeezed into a 28-day period, with just one football-free day.

“FFA is continuing to monitor developments in all states and we will remain agile in our response to the development of the schedule as required,” a Football Federation Australia spokesman said.

[Read more]

Mike Sheahan quits Sam Newman’s You Cannot Be Serious podcast

Mike Sheahan has withdrawn from hosting a podcast with Sam Newman and Don Scott, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

After another week of controversy the respected journalist has departed the You Cannot Be Serious podcast.

Newman announced the “sad, sad news” and “death of star” on his social media channels.

“I’ve had fun, it’s been good,’’ Sheahan said in a video.

“But time to just sail off into the sunset.”

Newman, appearing alongside Sheahan and Scott, said: “This is the swan song for magic Mike. He’s bailed. His bases got to him and they’ve said why are you associating with this clown, and me, and he’s out. So it’s just Don and I chatting about the affairs of everything.”

Newman added tongue in cheek: “Weak as piss he is.”

It comes after former St Kilda great Nicky Winmar and photographer Wayne Ludbey have pursued legal action against Newman, ex-Hawthorn player Scott and Sheahan after the trio questioned the true meaning behind Winmar’s iconic gesture of pointing to his skin colour after a 1993 game.

During his final appearance, Sheahan said he was shaken by the fallout and apologised for the hurt he caused to the Aboriginal community and his friends.

[Read more]

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