Mediaweek roundup: Tokyo Olympics, MKR, Foxtel + more

• Stuart Cranney, Jackie O, Seven West Media, A-League, Amazon, Carrie Bickmore, Survivor, MAFS, SBS, WPP AUNZ + Clemenger BBDO

Business of Media

Rupert Murdoch’s Foxtel could become a sports casualty

Cable/satellite companies are reliant on sports programming to attract and retain subscribers. In the space of a week that has dried up, reports The SHM’s Elizabeth Knight.

In Australia there is only one cable company of note – News Corporation’s Foxtel. It also owns the streaming service Kayo. Foxtel’s main broadcast platform is highly dependent on sport and Kayo is a sport only service. Far from a picture of corporate health before COVID-19 hit, Foxtel now faces a bigger crisis.

Marquee sports have disappeared as various governments around the world have banned (initially) spectators from attending venues and more recently the actual playing of sports. In Australia the major winter football codes, AFL and the NRL, have cancelled the season games until further notice. It is difficult to imagine that play will resume before the end of winter.

It is almost certain that subscriptions for Foxtel will be hit badly and Kayo, in particular, will experience a massive decline over the period in which the coronavirus affects the playing of professional sport.

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Seven West drops guidance as AFL, Olympics evaporate

Seven West Media is understood to have met with its bankers before the debt-laden free-to-air television and publishing group abandoned its annual earnings guidance on Tuesday, but the financial institutions showed no interest in taking control, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

The Kerry Stokes-controlled company is understood to have held talks with its lenders after its interim results last month, with talks continuing. Its $541m debt pile equates to 2.4 times its underlying earnings, compared to a market capitalisation of $103m.

Seven has joined a growing list of Australian media companies to withdraw its earnings guidance, as the coronavirus wipes out its advertising revenue and marquee events, including the Australian Football League and the Tokyo Olympic Games.

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Clemenger BBDO Australia Announces Management Changes

After four years in the role, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne CEO Nick Garrett is leaving the agency to pursue other interests. As a result, Gayle While will step up from her current role as Deputy CEO to become CEO of Clemenger BBDO Melbourne while former VMLY&R Sydney CEO Peter Bosilkovski will join Clemenger BBDO Sydney as CEO, reports Little Black Book.

Clemenger Group executive chairman, Robert Morgan said: “We are excited to have Gayle take the role in Melbourne where she has been doing such a brilliant job for the last three years. And it’s also fantastic to have Peter come on board in Sydney. He’s someone we’ve wanted to have join us for some time and it’s great he’s now doing so in Sydney.

“At the same time, I’d like to thank Nick Garrett for his contribution to our agencies in both New Zealand and Australia over nearly 10 years. We wish him well in the next phase of his career. Nick will be making an announcement about his next move shortly.”

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CCO Sunita Gloster leaves WPP AUNZ

WPP AUNZ has confirmed the departure of its chief customer officer Sunita Gloster after less than 18 months in the role and a month after the group posted more than $230 million in losses in the first-half 2020, reports CMO’s Nadia Cameron.

In a statement distributed to media today, WPP AUNZ CEO, Jens Monsees, confirmed Gloster’s exit from the leadership team. CMO understands she has already left the business.  

“By mutual decision, Sunita Gloster, chief customer officer, and WPP AUNZ, have agreed that she will leave the business,” the statement read. “On behalf of everyone at WPP AUNZ, we thank Sunita for her contribution and wish her the very best for the future.”

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News Brands

SBS newsroom closed: staff member tests positive for COVID-19

The SBS Sydney newsroom was closed on Tuesday after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, reports SBS.

The employee was last in the office on Friday and is now at home and in good spirits. An SBS spokesperson said as a result of social distancing measures, the person had minimal contact with other employees in the office.

Immediate close contacts have already been identified and are self-isolating, and SBS is continuing a more comprehensive tracing exercise. “The health and safety of our employees remains our top priority,” the spokesperson said.

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Radio

Colleagues remember Triple M/C91.3 broadcaster Stuart Cranney

Friends and colleagues have been paying tribute to broadcaster Stuart Cranney who has died from cancer aged just 65.

This Facebook tribute is from one of his radio homes, Campbelltown’s C91.3FM:

Stuart devoted much of his life to broadcasting having commenced his love affair with radio at Double J Sydney in 1975 before starting a 17-year stint with Triple M. In 2001 Stuart joined C91.3 and quickly became a local favourite with his laidback style, ample catalogue of Dad jokes, Days-of-the-Year segment and his sincere warmth. After a break from C91.3 from 2008, he was welcomed back to the Macarthur family in 2011.

Over 45 years of reaching out through the airwaves, Stuart became a true legend of the industry as much for his impeccable professionalism on and behind the mic’ as for his interviews and associations with local and international music luminaries.

Led Zeppelin, Billy Idol, Bob Hawke, Cindi Lauper, The Angels, The Radiators, Mental As Anything, Elton John– virtually everyone who had a record out in the 80s and 90s was either interviewed by Stuart or in many cases wined, dined or partied with him. His stories were always greeted with a mix of wide-eyed envy and a somewhat cautious appreciation for his resilience.

Stuart loved radio but even more than that, he loved his listeners. Stuart’s joy came from entertaining people and making them smile. He asked for nothing more. Although slowed down by illness in recent months, Stuart continued to come to work and do what he did best. He was a friend, a mentor and an inspiration.

Our deepest sympathy goes to Stuart’s family and friends, and his colleagues around the country.

His voice may have now fallen silent, but his legacy shall remain with us forever.

Television

‘He took a chance on me’: Jackie O pays tribute to Brad Lyons

Lyons, who joined Seven in 1997, is credited with managing blockbuster shows, including Dancing with the StarsMy Kitchen RulesDeal or No DealHouse Rules and The Chase. He also worked on music’s first reality TV show Popstars, from which Bardot was born.

“Brad was such an instrumental part during the early days of my TV career,” KIIS FM breakfast co-host and former popstars judge, Jackie ‘O’ Henderson, told Radio Today.

“Despite having very little experience in TV, he took a chance on me and I was cast as a judge on Popstars. He was such a wonderful support and always shared a positive and optimistic attitude.

“He went out of his way to make me feel confident in what I was doing,” said Henderson.

“I truly loved working with him and am so saddened to hear of his passing. My thoughts, love and prayers go out to his family.”

Music mogul and former Popstars guest judge Chris Murphy, who spoke to TMN after learning of Lyons’ passing, said the pair had been planning to catch up and discuss new ideas.

“I once threatened to punch him when I was a judge on Popstars,” Murphy told TMN.

The pair formed a friendship after Lyons gave the green-light to Never Tear Us Apart, the two-part Australian miniseries about the rock band INXS.

“Brad was the man at Seven who gave the go-ahead for Never Tear Us Apart,” said Murphy. “Lyons decision restored INXS’ music to its former glory. God bless our creative Brad.”

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Siblings Jake and Elle Harrison win MKR: The Rivals

In the ultimate redemption story, former runners-up Jake and Elle Harrison have been crowned winners of My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals, reports News Corp’s Amy Price.

The Brisbane siblings produced a near-perfect score of 29 out of 30 to claim the $100,000 prize, knocking out fellow Queenslanders Dan and Steph Mulheron, who beat them in the season four finale seven years ago.

The teams, who both returned to the series in a bid to boost their Queensland dining venues, found out the result live as the finale aired on Channel 7 on Tuesday night.

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MAFS: Wife tortured in ‘heap of s***’ date

Despite most of the couples leaving the experiment, Nine is committed to stretching the show out as long as possible and they don’t care how unnecessary or uneventful this final string of episodes is, reports news.com.au’s James Weir.

It’s the final dates tonight and Michael says he wants to test Stacey to see if she can do away with her materialistic expectations and just appreciate who he is as a person. “So you’re going to lock her in this old Corolla and see how long she lasts while subsisting on the cold fries she finds under the seats?” we ask.

They drive the Corolla to the side of a busy highway where Michael makes Stacey get out to have lunch. What’s on the menu? A service station sandwich and a lukewarm pie he purchased this morning. Stacey is humiliated. “I’m getting eaten by bugs, I’m wearing Valentino on the side of the road sitting on a $20 Bunnings chair,” she snips.

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Survivor All-Stars farewells Brooke Jowett

Survivor All-Stars contestant Brooke Jowett’s luck ran out during Tuesday night’s penultimate episode of the season, sending her out of the game on day 47. 

Brooke had no friends left in the game, but had kept herself safe for the past few episodes by winning the immunity idol. In Tuesday’s episode, David beat her to individual immunity.

“I can’t say I didn’t try,” Brooke sighed after losing the challenge. “I think Dave is probably the best Survivor player the world has ever seen. That’s a big person to go up against,” said Brooke.

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Carrie Bickmore slams contradictory advice on ‘social distancing’

Carrie Bickmore has echoed the resounding sentiment of confused Australians on The Project on Tuesday night, airing her frustrations amid uncertainty over what we can and cannot do while “social distancing”, reports News Corp’s Bella Fowler.

Speaking passionately after a segment explaining why social distancing is imperative to slow the spread of coronavirus, the Gold Logie winner admitted she still doesn’t quite know what’s “allowed” and what isn’t.

Responding to a question by panellist Monty Dimond, who appeared via video link, Bickmore said we need more direction in terms of what activities we shouldn’t be doing, especially with young children.

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Amazon streaming: Some of kids TV shows & movies now free

Amazon has made a selection of its children’s content free to watch to ease the burden of parents struggling to entertain kids now stuck at home as a result of coronavirus shutdowns, reports news.com.au’s Wenlei Ma.

The tech company is lifting the paywall on a raft of children’s TV shows and movies, including Peppa Pig S1, Pete the CatJessy and Nessy and If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.

To access the free content, parents need to have an Amazon account, which is free to create. This is different to Amazon’s paid subscription Prime Video account, which is $59.95 a year in Australia.

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Sport

Tokyo Olympics postponement to add to crowded 2021 schedule

The decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by a year is set to further disrupt the global sporting calendar, which has already been wrecked by the coronavirus pandemic, making for a crowded schedule next year, reports The SHM’s Richard Martin.

After weeks of speculation and mounting criticism at the delay in announcing a postponement, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC president Thomas Bach agreed the event would be rescheduled for the summer of 2021 at the latest.

Swimming’s 2021 World Aquatics Championships set for July 16-August 1 in Fukuoka in southern Japan look set to be the first casualty of that move.

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Australian sports join forces to seek government help

The country’s seven major sports are uniting behind a push for assistance from the government to “ensure that sport survives the current situation” as they contemplate crippling losses and, in some cases, the prospect of extinction, reports The SMH’s Chris Barrett.

With the professional football codes having all suspended their seasons, they face varying levels of economic distress, without content to satisfy broadcast partners and match-day revenue flowing into club coffers.

Sports have engaged individually with the government to press for support but will now come together in a united effort via the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports, which is comprised of the AFL, NRL, Rugby Australia, Cricket Australia, Football Federation Australia, Netball Australia and Tennis Australia.

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No time to ‘take advantage’ of A-League, Wanderers chief warns Fox

The A-League is bracing for a financial firestorm as a result of the coronavirus pandemic but Western Sydney Wanderers chairman Paul Lederer is confident it can be weathered if the sport’s key stakeholders unite together – including Fox Sports, reports The SHM’s Vince Rugari.

Bloodletting is poised to begin at Football Federation Australia and at all 12 A-League clubs after the current season was officially put on hold on Tuesday morning.

Hopes remain high that it can be resumed as early as next month but the rapid spread of the virus is likely to mean that no more games in the 2019-20 campaign will be played, and the implications of that will be significant.

[Read more]

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