Mediaweek Roundup: The Secrets She Keeps, ABC, Jack Riewoldt + more

• Newspaper publishers, David Anderson, Facebook, Google, Triple M Brisbane, and Craig Mathieson

Business of Media

Publishers look to close and merge print centres in cost saving push

Australia’s largest newspaper publishers are in advanced discussions about shutting some print centres and merging other operations as they look for ways to reduce costs without cutting editorial jobs, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Multiple industry sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Nine Entertainment Co (publisher of this masthead), Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corp Australia and Australian Community Media have been in talks for months about redrawing current print partnerships through the potential amalgamation of print centres.

ACM, which is run by real estate entrepreneur Antony Catalano and owned by billionaire investor Alex Waislitz, told staff on Wednesday it was looking at the potential closure of sites in Albury, Ballarat, Canberra and Murray Bridge. News Corp began consulting with Queensland printing staff last week about plans to consolidate two centres weeks after deciding to shut 112 community and regional print newspaper editions.

News Corp and Nine have separate deals with ACM in New South Wales. Nine and News Corp also share resources in Queensland and New South Wales. Sources stressed no new print deals had been signed despite the reviews of print centres underway. News Corp, Nine and ACM declined to comment.

[Read more]

News Brands

ABC rejects Scott Morrison’s claim funding ‘increasing every year’

The ABC costs the commonwealth half as much as it did in the mid-1990s, managing director David Anderson has said, in a rejection of the prime minister’s claim that ABC funding is increasing every year, reports Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade.

“In 2018/19, expenditure on the ABC represented around 0.2% of all commonwealth government spending,” Anderson told the National Press Club. “In the mid-1990s the level was around 0.4% – twice as much proportionally as today.”

Anderson said that despite receiving less funding the ABC was doing more across more platforms than ever before.

Anderson said the ABC did not have more than $1bn to spend each year as has been claimed by the government and right-wing critics. Once fixed transmission costs were removed it left $880m of operational funding to spend across all its services after the indexation freeze.

[Read more]

David Anderson: ABC’s 7.45am radio bulletin not a ‘hostage’

Australian Broadcasting Corporation managing director David Anderson has insisted that the public broadcaster’s axing of its popular 7.45am radio news bulletin was not a politically “punitive” decision aimed at listeners, arguing it would deliver about $2 million of planned $40 million in spending cuts, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

The ABC and Anderson have been criticised for cutting the bulletin, which critics have claimed was cut to cause anger among Australians towards the government over a budget indexation freeze.

[Read more]

ABC staff demand leaders ensure diversity not ‘just a cliché’

ABC staff have written to Ita Buttrose and David Anderson calling on them to ensure that diversity at the national broadcaster “won’t be just a cliché” after cuts, reports Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade.

Lifestyle portal ABC Life has been slated to lose nine staff in a round of 250 redundancies, and many of the unit’s staff are from non-English speaking backgrounds and relatively young.

In the open letter, which was also addressed to the director of regional and local, Judith Whelan, who runs ABC Life, staff demand the executive maintain a “truly diverse cultural mix” in remaining ABC Life staff and ensure different cultural perspectives are reflected in content-making and commissioning.

Concerns about the ABC’s diversity came a week after SBS staff pleaded with the board to appoint someone other than a white Anglo man as news director to reflect the station’s multicultural charter, and former staff revealed they had been subjected to racism at SBS.

On Wednesday, SBS managing director James Taylor told staff he would appoint two Indigenous elders in residence “to provide support and cultural empowerment to staff” and train a number of “SBS inclusion champions” as part of measures to address the concerns.

[Read more]

ABC joins calls for Facebook and Google to pay for news

ABC managing director David Anderson says the public broadcaster should be paid by Google and Facebook for the content those companies use on their platforms, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

Anderson’s comments come as the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission begins developing a revenue-sharing agreement between the companies and the media industry.

The ABC had, until Anderson’s comments, not become involved in the stoush between the digital giants and the country’s largest media companies News Corp Australia and Nine Entertainment.

“I think it’s entirely appropriate that the ABC receives revenue for the value that it provides to the Australian people,” Anderson told the National Press Club.

“Rather than revenue go to commercial operators because of what we’re doing, I think that it should come to the ABC to reinvest it into public interest journalism.”

[Read more]

Radio

‘Snowy’ returns to Triple M Brisbane as Big Breakfast executive producer

The Big Breakfast with Marto, Margaux and Nick Cody has a new executive producer.

“I’m pumped to announce, after a long and exhaustive search with some very experienced applicants, Graham Snow (pictured) will be joining the Triple M team to lead The Big Breakfast with Marto, Margaux and Nick Cody into the next evolution,” said Triple M Brisbane content director, Scott Menz.

“It’s a homecoming for ‘Snowy’ back to the Triple M team and he brings with him a full contact book and insider knowledge hard to beat. He was executive producer for The Cage and The Grill Team Brisbane breakfast shows back in a previous life, and has since ventured into other media, including Fox Sports.”

Snow said: “My time at Fox Sports was truly a fairy tale, from creating a human NRL trophy, to helping Fletch and Hindy survive four days in a bubble tent outside of Suncorp Stadium to being in the ring carrying the Australian flag for the Horn v Mundine fight, I had a ball. Covid-19 brought this time to an end, and if it didn’t, the ducks wouldn’t have aligned for this position.”

“Returning to Triple M really does feel like coming home. Anyone who has been lucky enough to work there will tell you that it really is like a massive family.”

Menz added, “After consolidating our star team, Triple M’s Big Breakfast is locked and loaded for a strong second half of the year. Snowy is geared up and ready to jump in the EP hotseat from July 27, which happens to be our first week into survey.”

Television

The Secrets She Keeps booms on debut in the UK on BBC One

The Australian drama series The Secrets She Keeps, Lingo Pictures’ six-part thriller, has become BBC1’s best Monday night drama launch of year. The audience figure for episode one was 3.1m.

It became BBC1’s biggest new Monday night launch of the year so far – defeating Normal People’s 2.2m which launched in April – and the seventh-highest opener of 2020 when all dramas are considered.

Lingo Pictures’ co-founder and creative director Jason Stephens said: “It’s a thrilling result and hopefully it paves the way for more Australian drama to be shown in such a prestigious prime time slot.”

The UK ratings figures indicate this was “an appointment to view” for people – the program before (Would I Lie to You) had 1.69m viewers and the program after (Staged) 1.56m. The program also skewed younger than the BBC One average, and soon after broadcast, became the most popular program on the BBC iplayer.

The critics had mixed feelings about the series. The Guardian said the “yummy mummy thriller is a guilty, predictable pleasure”. The Telegraph said: “A schlocky, predictable Aussie thriller”.

In a two-star review, The Times said: “If it’s nuance and subtlety you are after, then The Secrets She Keeps is probably not your stop. This is a world of two-dimensional women, one-dimensional men and nail-hammering expositional dialogue.” That’s not a bad thing though as the reviewer added: “It’s trashy and unbelievable…and I want more.”

The Daily Mail said: “The ‘yummy mummy thriller’ that will have you hooked: New BBC drama The Secrets She Keeps about two pregnant women leaves viewers ‘chilled to the bone’ as episode one ends with a dark twist.”

See also: Helen Bowden on making 10’s drama hit The Secrets She Keeps

Mid-year report card: Craig Mathieson’s highs and lows of the year

TV critic for The Age Green Guide Craig Mathieson casts his votes for the best on TV in the first six months of the year:

Best Hosting Reboot: MasterChef (10)

George who? 10’s veteran reality cooking show found a new purpose and fresh energy when established hosts George Calombaris, Matt Preston, and Gary Mehigan stepped aside after the 2019 season and the former’s very public connection to a wage underpayment scandal. Replacements Andy Allen, Melissa Leong, and Jock Zonfrillo, aided by some familiar faces returning as contestants, have reinvigorated the franchise. Still, no spinoffs, please.

Welcome Local Streaming Trend: 7Plus, 9Now, 10Play step up

The streaming platforms for the free-to-air networks have traditionally been dumping grounds for unwanted titles and catch-up havens for broadcast hits. But recently they’ve begun to use their mandate more strategically, whether it’s spotlighting former domestic drama highs such as Love My Way and Tangle, or premiering a range of exclusive new titles. Viewers want options, and now they’re getting them.

Best Drama: Stateless (ABC)

What could easily have been a dull and didactic slog through the state of Australia’s mandatory detention regime instead triumphed as a detailed and intertwined humanistic portrait of the people – on both side of the razor wire – who find themselves trapped in a system designed to break them. The ABC’s standout drama boasted a terrific ensemble cast and strong ambitions it met without losing a whit of vitality.

[Read more]

Sports Media

AFL premiership great gets his own weekly radio show on SEN

Richmond superstar Jack Riewoldt joins SEN from Monday 13 July with his own show Jack Riewoldt’s Tiger Time presented by Swinburne University of Technology.

The two-time premiership player and three-time Coleman Medallist will host a 10-part weekly show on Mondays 6-7pm.

Riewoldt’s existing media agreements see him as a regular on Fox Footy.

In addition to regular segments on the SEN radio show – including Inner Sanctum interviews with key people from the club and Tigers of Old interviews with former club greats – Riewoldt will discuss the Richmond game from the previous round and his other observations from the weekend’s footy including talkback with callers.

“It’s been weird not having fans at our games this season, but I’m sure I’ll hear the Tiger Army loud and clear on Monday nights on SEN,” Riewoldt said.

 “I’m looking forward to chewing the fat with some special guests and chatting with listeners who I expect will have plenty to say each week! Hopefully we can turn on some good footy despite the difficult circumstances of this season and keep the conversation nice!” he added.

Riewoldt’s teammates Tom Lynch and David Astbury are currently studying at Swinburne and will share details of their education journey with listeners on the show.

The show coincides with Swinburne’s launch in August of a new open world, virtual experience – an innovative and immersive experience that will showcase all Swinburne has to offer from courses to clubs and everything in between.

Listen live on 1116 SEN or the SEN App, or download the show podcast.

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