Thursday June 20, 2019

Podcast Week

• Acast gets Pacific, Newscast, Urnbelievable, Chernobyl

By James Manning

Pacific joins major publishers Seven & 10 on the Acast platform

Henrik Isaksson (top image) is the managing director of Acast in Australia and New Zealand. The growth of the sector has kept him busy for the past two years after first moving to Australia from Stockholm with Spotify seven years ago.

Working with partners has been key to Acast’s growth in this market. The Australian business is a partnership between Acast and Nova Entertainment. They in turn work with other content creators.

“We have seen an influx of content from traditional publishers,” Isaksson told Mediaweek. “Those publishers include Channel Seven, Network 10 and Pacific. Traditionally those companies don’t play in the audio space but they have now all created bespoke business units dedicated to podcasting.

Isaksson said this is exactly what the industry needs. “When those big organisations start beating the drum we are able to get more brands involved and more advertisers come to the industry which is what we need.”

Isaksson also noted that not only has the sector been booming, but Acast’s audience has more than doubled in size. “We now have more than 20m listens a month on the platform. That’s just in Australia.”

The Acast partnership with Seven includes the recent real crime podcast The Lady Vanishes. “It has had more than 2.5m listens in the past couple of months.”

Acast has worked with Network 10 on its new bespoke business unit 10 Speaks.

The Pacific brands signing will be announced soon, and the already existing Pacific podcasts across different brands will also be part of that Acast deal.

Isaksson noted the Nova Entertainment sales team works on podcast monetising in addition the respective podcaster’s sales teams.

“The aspirations for our partners is to become audio on demand sellers. What we typically see is Acast and Nova selling before the publishers start. The audio space is quite complicated, not like traditional media sales. Nova has been fantastic when it comes to that and has done a great job when it comes to monetising the content.”

Globally Acast is adding staff to cope with the growth. Isaksson said in the past three months staff numbers have jumped from 101 to 169. Staff numbers have doubled in Australia in that period.

We have recently released a product called Acast Access which will soon come to Australia. It is a paywall for podcasters. Publishers are able to charge for the content regardless what platform they listen to.”

Isaksson said the paywall model is currently being tested in the UK with The Economist and The Financial Times. The audio content from those publishers is being made available exclusively to subscribers.

Windowing content is also available on the new product, making it available to all after an initial subscriber-only period.

When it comes to the hottest content, Isaksson points to true crime. “Listeners still seem to have an insatiable appetite for that.”

Another trend is what he called short, snackable content. “Frequency is also key, daily podcasts are doing very well.”

News Corp appoints Ainslee O’Brien to lead NewsCast

News Corp Australia has announced that Ainslee O’Brien will lead the company’s new audio network, NewsCast.

While being responsible for the operations of NewsCast, O’Brien will be tasked with evolving the operating model and best practice for audio across News Corp Australia including building out a leading audio network across the content offering, platform, and commercial and subscriber model.

NewsCast was a key announcement at Come Together 2019 earlier this year as the company makes a substantial investment in podcasting,

O’Brien assumes responsibility of NewsCast immediately and will begin with the recruitment of a head of audio. The new division will leverage the momentum of recent podcast successes, including Who the Hell is Hamish, the True Crime series and The Teacher’s Pet.

Read more here.

Brexitcast podcast to get late-night BBC One slot

The BBC has announced its award-winning podcast, Brexitcast, is to make its TV debut in September.

The podcast, hosted by political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Europe editor Katya Adler, and correspondents Adam Fleming and Chris Mason, will be shown on BBC One, late on Thursday nights.

It’s the first BBC podcast to be commissioned as a BBC television program.

Podcast ad revenue study forecasting US$1b in two years

The third annual Podcast Revenue Report by IAB and PwC confirms solid and increasing growth in the US podcast advertising marketplace. The report, which surveyed top US revenue producing podcast companies on various data points, reports continued growth trends at the individual publisher level. The report adds an independent market sizing element, which echoes the pattern of increasing marketwide revenues into 2021 and beyond.

This year’s report finds marketers spent US$479 million to advertise on podcasts in the US, an uptick of 53% from US$314 million in 2017. Based on market trends and surveys returned by significant podcast companies in the US, the report projects that revenues will top US$1 billion in 2021.

Driving the growth in revenues is podcast listening which continues to surge in the US, increasing 7% in one year. More than half of the 12+ population has listened. Meanwhile, podcast listeners continue to respond well to ads, scoring high marks in terms of engagement with ads as well as responsiveness.

Chernobyl: Hit series also a hit podcast

The official podcast of the miniseries Chernobyl, from HBO and Sky, is performing well around the world. The series is hosted by Peter Sagal (from NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!) and TV series creator, writer and executive producer Craig Mazin. For each episode they discuss the true stories that shaped the scenes, themes and characters.

Listen to the Chernobyl podcast here.

Urnbelieveable World Cup Podcast

Returning this month from ABC podcasts:

After a traumatic year for cricket, Australia is out to prove that it’s learned the lessons of the ball tampering scandal. Expect less sledging and more Tim Paine as captain (World Cup notwithstanding) as Australia attempt to keep the Ashes and win the World Cup in the UK.

Keeping watch over the boundary for this podcast are Andy Zaltzman and Felicity Ward as they return with the funniest cricket show in two countries – just in time for The World Cup and the Ashes.

Listen to the recent return of Urnbelievable here.

TV return: Carrie Bickmore publicity blitz as she returns to 10

It has been hard to miss Carrie Bickmore in the last couple of weeks. The award-winning TV and radio host was awarded an Order of Australia earlier this month and it seems she hasn’t stopped since – despite still officially being on maternity leave from her main job.

Although she hasn’t been co-hosting The Project for eight months, Bickmore returned to work on her Hit Network afternoon show with Tommy Little earlier this year and just last week visited the UK with Little to see The Spice Girls in concert.

Bickmore was a guest on The Project recently to talk about the trip and then she appeared on the final episode of the 2019 series of The Weekly with Charlie Pickering this week. Bickmore’s partner Chris Walker is executive producer and co-creator of the program. (They are pictured here on set with Bickmore’s son Oliver.)

Network 10 released this statement about Carrie’s TV return:

After an eight-month maternity leave break, the TV Week Logie award winner joins Waleed Aly and Peter Helliar to bring you the latest news delivered differently from around the country and the globe.

Carrie returns just in time for The Project’s 10th anniversary celebrations with a special 90-minute episode planned for Friday, 19 July.

The Project executive producer Craig Campbell said: “A decade is a lovely milestone to reach doing a show you care so much about. July 19’s telecast will give us a wonderful opportunity to get everyone together and talk about those embarrassing moments we shared with the nation.”

Carrie said: “I can’t believe it’s been 10 years! It only feels like yesterday I was sitting on the desk in a cold sweat waiting for the first show to begin. I have loved watching the show (and my hair) change and evolve over the decade. It’s been like a second home to me and I feel so fortunate to work next to genuine friends.” 

It’s been a busy 12 months for Carrie with the birth of her third child Adelaide. She has received an OAM for her service to brain cancer awareness while her charity, Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer has now raised an incredible $11.5 million since its launch in 2015.

Fremantle goes surfing with ABC, a Molloy boy & Maroubra’s Micanical

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Fremantle, Micanical Media and 2Jons have announced they have joined creative forces to develop what they are labelling one of the biggest and most ambitious dramas created in Australia, Barons.

An original work from Micanical Media and 2Jons, Barons is an eight-episode series that charts the journey of a group of young surfers living a life focused on the best breaks, great friendships, freedom and good times. From their tiny garages and surf coast shopfronts they create billion-dollar empires, hurtling them from the beach to the boardroom, winning and losing themselves along the way.

Barons is to be shot on locations in Australia, Indonesia and the USA, with production of this series planned for 2020.

The series has been developed by Micanical’s Michael Lawrence (Bra Boys, Uncensored) and 2Jons’ John Molloy (The Gloaming, Molly). Emmy award winning surf director Taylor Steele (Momentum Generation, Proximity) will capture the action from the world’s most spectacular beaches.

Liz Doran (Please Like Me, Molly) leads the writing team, which includes Matt Cameron (Secret City, Jack Irish) and Marieke Hardy (Laid, Seven Types of Ambiguity).

The series will be produced by Molloy, Lawrence and Fremantle’s Justin Davies (Beautiful People, Absolutely Fabulous). Barons will be executive produced by Nicholas Cook (Bra Boys, Proximity), Chris Oliver-Taylor (Glitch, Wanted, The Heights) and the ABC’s Sally Riley and Brett Sleigh.

Sally Riley, head of drama & Indigenous television, ABC, said: “We have been chasing this show for a while now and we are so happy to announce its addition to the ABC slate. It has wonderful multi-faceted characters, a canvas that spans the best surf breaks in the world but its toes are firmly planted in the beaches of Australia. We are thrilled to be partnering with such a stellar team to bring this extraordinary Australian story to a global audience.”

Chris Oliver-Taylor, CEO Asia Pacific and executive producer, Fremantle, said: “Barons is one of the most ambitious dramas that Fremantle has ever been involved with. Partnering with John, Mick and Nick means that, between us all, we can take on one of the most exotic, dramatic and simply amazing stories – celebrating the 1970’s in Australia through the legend of surf culture. Barons will attract a world-class cast of both Australian and international actors. Barons embodies Fremantle’s global ambition to produce premium drama and collaborate with the very best creative talent.”

John Molloy, 2Jons, & Michael Lawrence, Micanical Media, producers, said “Barons is a project full of risk, mischief, soul and beauty. Working with this team of creatives is a joy and we look forward to sharing the humour, adventure and drama of these spirited characters with audiences. We are thrilled to be partnering with Fremantle and the ABC on this ambitious, international project.”

This is a proper news audience: 426m tuning into BBC globally

• World Service English and BBC World News TV at all-time highs

More people around the world are tuning into the BBC than ever before, reaching a new high of 426m a week – an increase of 50m (13%) over the year, according to new figures released this week.

The Global Audience Measure (GAM) shows BBC News has an audience of 394m globally, a rise of 47m. The BBC World Service in English and 42 languages accounts for 319m of that figure – with an increase of 41m.

BBC World Service in English and the BBC World News TV channel have both achieved all time record audiences of 97m and 101m respectively. 

BBC World Service’s 42 language services have climbed to 259m. BBC Global News, the commercial subsidiary of BBC News which operates the BBC World News channel and, makes up most of the remainder and has seen increases across TV and digital of 6m, to 121m – another record high. 

Overall, BBC News has seen increases of 23m for TV (to 214m), 12m for audio (to 178m) and 18m for online (to 95m). 

BBC director general Tony Hall said: “Every day our teams do an amazing job bringing independent, impartial news to audiences around the world, and today we can see just how much the BBC is valued. Thanks to Government investment we’ve been able to launch the biggest expansion of the World Service since the Second World War, and this shows how much the BBC can do for the UK.”

Jamie Angus, director of the BBC World Service Group said:  “The BBC is on track to reach its audience target of 500m weekly, and has posted all-time record audiences for both World Service Radio and BBC World News. But most importantly we’re continuing to produce ground-breaking journalism that is attracting growing audiences, and making huge impact. From investigative journalism like Africa Eye to our work countering fake news and disinformation, the BBC is showing why it remains world’s most trusted international broadcaster.”

Listen to Mediaweek Podcast
Mediaweek Podcast: BBC’s Jamie Angus on global news trends

Three countries – India, Kenya and the USA – have seen the most impressive gains since 2018. India, where BBC News now operates in nine languages, has seen a rise of 20m to 50m to become the top overseas market for BBC News. The USA becomes the third largest market overall with 38m, up 5m. The audience in Kenya has increased from 6m to 15m in the last year reaching 50% of the population.  In Afghanistan, the BBC reaches 59% of the population. BBC News websites (World Service and have increased their combined reach by 6m to 51m globally, bucking wider trends for news sites. 

The top 10 countries by BBC News audience are:

India 50m
Nigeria 41m
USA 38m
Kenya 15m
Afghanistan 12m
Bangladesh 12m
Egypt 11m
Iran 11m
Tanzania 10m
Pakistan 9m

The total figure includes audiences for all BBC News services outside the UK and branded entertainment content on TV, BBC websites and social media pages for BBC Studios.

Syndication of BBC content via partner television and radio stations around the world, and distribution via digital platforms like YouTube and Facebook, now add up to over 60% of audience reach.

Audio continues to be a major platform for the World Service, rising by 12.9m to 173m listeners worldwide. On all platforms, 30% of the audience is aged between 15-24 years.

Over the past two years, new BBC News bureaux were opened in India, Kenya, Nigeria and South Korea and 12 new language services were launched as part the largest expansion of the BBC World Service since the 1940s, funded by the UK government. The expansion has taken place against a background of rapid growth of rival international news services from Russia, China and the Middle East.

What is the Global Audience Measure?

An annual update of how many people are consuming the BBC weekly for all services in all countries across all platforms (television, radio, website and social media). Key to this is de-duplication i.e. ensuring that a person who consumes multiple BBC services or platforms or on multiple devices is not counted many times in the top level totals.

TV Guide: When to watch Sam Kerr v Norway to qualify for final eight

WATCH: Norway v Australia in the FIFA Women’s World Cup round of 16 clash live and in HD on SBS from 4:30am (AEST) Sunday morning June 23 or stream live via The World Game website / app.

Australia’s reward for their victory against Jamaica is a round of 16 clash with Norway in Nice.

If the team win that battle they will be two wins away from a place in the World Cup final.

The Australian team played well on Wednesday morning with Sam Kerr conducting a clinic in front of goal as she scored four times.

AAP noted that apart from Kerr’s four-goal haul, there were other individual achievements to savour at the Stade des Alpes.

Lisa De Vanna played game 150, Karly Roestbakken made her first Matildas start and Aivi Luik, a late substitute, played in her first World Cup match.

The SBS coverage is hosted by Tracey Holmes and former Socceroo captain Craig Foster with exclusive analysis from ex-Matilda Joey Peters.

Media headlines after the Wednesday win included:

• Kerr’s four-star show fires the Matildas into the knockout stage
• Sam Kerr’s quadruple seals Group C second for Matildas
• Jamaica exposed the Matildas’ weakness despite 4-1 win
• Sam Kerr’s awesome foursome makes World Cup history

TV Ratings Analysis: June 19

• Seven sweeps midweek as most-watched in all demos
• #1 primary, #1 network, #1 news/breakfast, #1 social experiment
• The Weekly series final with Carrie Bickmore & Grant Denyer

Wednesday Week 25 2019 

By James Manning

• Seven News 1,077,000/1,045,000
• Nine News 919,000/908,000
• A Current Affair 763,000
• ABC News 673,000
• The Project 261,000/487,000
• 10 News First 393,000
• The Drum 200,000
• SBS World News 133,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 283,000
• Today 182,000


Home And Away had a second night just over 650,000.

The Super Switch returned for a second week with Seven able to claim it was the #1 social experiment on TV last night. There’s probably not much else it won though with an audience of 335,000 after its first two nights were also under 400,000.

Things got much better in some markets though with The Front Bar on 405,000 with 252,000 in Melbourne – exactly three times the size of The Super Switch audience in that market! The Front Bar had an earlier timeslot in Sydney this week. But with 14,000 viewers, many are still resisting the charms of Mick, Sam and Andy.

Although Seven won the night nationally, it was in third place in Sydney.


A squatter and an impressive police tackle were features on A Current Affair with 763,000 watching after two nights over 800,000.

Justine Clarke and Luke McGregor were among the contestants on Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation with 485,000 after 477,000 a week ago. Later in the night host Shaun Micallef turned up on the set of The Weekly to start work on building his set for the return of Mad As Hell next week.

20 To One then did 317,000.


The Project guests included Em Rusciano interviewed by Sam Taunton. He pitched the “questions nobody wanted to ask”. The episode did 487,000 after a couple of nights over 500,000.

MasterChef featured a twins team challenge last night with 713,000 watching after 731,000 on Wednesday last week. Winners were able to secure a spot in the MasterChef top 10.

Five Bedrooms then did 437,000 after 498,000 last week.


Share jumped from 8.2% Tuesday to 13.5% Wednesday thanks to Anh’s Brush With Fame on 681,000 and then the season final of The Weekly With Charlie Pickering on 583,000. Network 10 again supplied most of the talent for Pickering’s show with Carrie Bickmore visiting and Grant Denyer interview Tom Gleeson in a retitled segment calls Small Talk.

The final of QI for now did 244,000 followed by Adam Hills: The Last Leg on 183,000. These recent episodes are actually screened first on ABC Comedy at 8pm Tuesdays. Maybe they should be on the primary channel at that time?


Going Places With Ernie Dingo was at Horizontal Falls with 205,000.

The launch of Where Are You Really From? then did 192,000.

24 Hours In Emergency had 194,000 watching after 8.30pm.

Week 25 TV: Wednesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 13.8% 7 18.1% 9 16.8% 10  14.4% SBS One 4.9%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.7% 7TWO 3.3% GO! 2.3% 10 Bold 5.3% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 2.8% GEM 3.7% 10 Peach 2.6% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix 2.4% 9Life 2.5%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 0.4%            
TOTAL 18.3%   26.9%   25.4%   22.4%   7.1%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 12.21% 7 15.36% 9 14.70% WIN 12.62% SBS One 4.58%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.78% 7TWO 4.82% GO! 3.41% WIN Bold 5.90% VICELAND 1.56%
ABC ME 0.94% 7mate 4.13% GEM 4.01% WIN Peach 2.66% Food Net 0.87%
ABC NEWS 1.43% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.77% 9Life 3.18% Sky News  on WIN 1.69% NITV 0.2%
    7food (QLD only) 0.21%            
TOTAL 17.4%   27.3%   25.3%   22.9%   7.20%


84.7% 15.3%
  1. Seven News Seven 1,077,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 1,045,000
  3. Nine News Nine 919,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 908,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 763,000
  6. Masterchef Australia 10 713,000
  7. Anh’s Brush With Fame ABC 681,000
  8. ABC News ABC 673,000
  9. The Chase Australia Seven 659,000
  10. Home And Away Seven 654,000
  11. 7.30 ABC 632,000
  12. The Weekly With Charlie Pickering ABC 583,000
  13. Hot Seat Nine 524,000
  14. The Project 7pm 10 487,000
  15. Talkin Bout Your Generation Nine 485,000
  16. Five Bedrooms 10 437,000
  17. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 413,000
  18. The Front Bar Seven 405,000
  19. 10 News First 10 393,000
  20. The Super Switch – Seven 335,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. Masterchef Australia 10 208,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 140,000
  3. Five Bedrooms 10 128,000
  4. Seven News Seven 123,000
  5. Home And Away Seven 120,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. Masterchef Australia 10 328,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 237,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 229,000
  4. Seven News Seven 216,000
  5. Nine News Nine 211,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. Masterchef Australia 10 341,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 302,000
  3. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 296,000
  4. Nine News Nine 281,000
  5. Seven News Seven 275,000
WEDNESDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 207,000
  2. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 197,000
  3. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 195,000
  4. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 153,000
  5. Octonauts ABCKIDS/COMEDY 148,000
  6. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  7. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  8. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line -7ETPW.2OPM 139,000
  9. Floogals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  10. Spicks And Specks ABCKIDS/COMEDY 134,000
  11. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  12. Nella The Princess Knight AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 130,000
  13. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  14. Andy’s Safari Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  15. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  16. Dino Dana ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  17. Neighbours 10 Peach 117,000
  18. PJ Masks AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 116,000
  19. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 116,000
  20. Fireman Sam PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 114,000
  1. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 77,000
  2. Live: World Cup: RSA V NZ FOX CRICKET 71,000
  3. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 63,000
  4. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 60,000
  5. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 59,000
  6. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 53,000
  7. Live: World Cup Innings Break FOX CRICKET 52,000
  8. Credlin Sky News Live 50,000
  9. Live: NRL 360 FOX LEAGUE 47,000
  10. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 43,000
  11. Blue Bloods TVH!TS 42,000
  12. Family Guy FOX8 42,000
  13. The Simpsons FOX8 40,000
  14. Beverly Hills: Real Housewives Of… ARENA 39,000
  15. Richo Sky News Live 39,000
  16. NCIS TVH!TS 39,000
  17. The Simpsons FOX8 38,000
  18. Mrs. Brown’s Boys UKTV 38,000
  19. The Inbetween UNIVERSAL TV 38,000
  20. Mrs. Brown’s Boys UKTV 37,000

Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

Lachlan Murdoch says tech giants should face more scrutiny

News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch has championed the growth of the company’s businesses in Australia, while arguing technology platforms should face increased scrutiny, reports News Corp’s European correspondent Stephen Drill, reporting from the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

Murdoch was speaking in Cannes at an event with Mark Read, chief executive officer of global advertising and public relations agency WPP, about the future of the media.

The 47-year-old said Fox Corporation would be a growth business, with the recently completed $A100 billion deal to sell US entertainment assets to Disney providing access to capital either to buy new businesses or to invest in existing assets.

Online subscriptions for news sites in the group were growing and the company was diversifying its revenue, he said.

“We are a very different company sitting here today than we were sitting here three or four years ago,” he said.

Murdoch said audiences of the mastheads were still strong and provided opportunities to leverage new businesses from them.

“You still have the trust of the mastheads, whether it’s The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Australian, The Sun. You have the trust and engagement that our readers have built over a lifetime with the added benefits of the digital age,” he said.

Murdoch added: “Investing in journalism, breaking stories and moving the news cycle ahead is important to us, journalism is at the core of all we do.”

Murdoch said there were threats to journalism from plagiarism.

He said that internet search platforms needed to be aware of online sites copying news stories and argued they should promote news articles from companies that invested in journalism.

“So many online news sites and purported online newspapers copy other people’s work and the search algorithms can, and really should, take that into consideration,” he said.

“Copying a story is much cheaper than investigating it.”

Photo: Ella Pellegrini/News Corp Australia

[Read the original]

TV producer loses AACTA board job after criticising Rush letter

The only board member of a peak film body who opposed sending an apology letter to actor Geoffrey Rush – slamming it as “grovelling” and “obsequious” – has lost her position, reports The Australian’s Rosemary Neill.

Anita Jacoby, a highly respected television producer, warned her fellow board members at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts – the ­nation’s top screen awards body – that the apology letter, sent in late 2017, was “a grave mistake”.

Jacoby, whose screen credits include The Gruen Transfer and Enough Rope, wrote to other board members: “I am perplexed as to why we would send such a grovelling apology at this time.”

The seven AACTA board members who signed the contentious letter in December 2017 – in which they begged Rush to return as their president just three weeks after asking him to stand aside – are still on the board. They include two-time Logie Award winner Noni Hazlehurst, broadcaster Margaret Pomeranz, agent Mark Morrissey and former NSW arts minister George Souris.

[Read the original]

News Brands

TV broadcaster WIN closes newsrooms in NSW and Queensland

Australia’s largest regional TV broadcaster WIN is closing four newsrooms across NSW and Queensland, citing digital competitors and the unviable commercial reality of funding regional news, reports The Australian’s Elias Visontay.

Journalists and camera operators were told on Wednesday that newsrooms producing local weekday news bulletins in Orange/Dubbo, Albury, Wagga Wagga in NSW and Wide Bay in Queensland would shut from June 28.

Between 30 to 40 staff will be affected by the closures, with some to be moved to jobs in other WIN offices.

In a correspondence to WIN employees on Wednesday, Andrew Lancaster, the broadcaster’s CEO, blamed digital competitors who don’t face the same broadcast regulations.

“Changing content consumption habits and increased competition from digital content providers, that don’t face the same regulatory conditions that challenge traditional media, has led to a reduction in demand for local news bulletins in these regions,” he said.

In a media statement, a WIN spokeswoman said the decision was “based on the commercial viability of funding news in these areas” and that WIN “remains committed to local news and content”.

[Read the original]

Five New York anchorwomen sue TV network for age discrimination

Five anchorwomen at a New York City news channel sued their company on Wednesday, saying they were marginalised and cast aside to make room for younger women and men, reports AP in an item published in The SMH.

The lawsuit in Manhattan federal court blamed Charter Communications and its 2016 takeover of the local news channel NY1, known as New York One, for altering the career trajectories of Roma Torre, Kristen Shaughnessy, Jeanine Ramirez, Vivian Lee and Amanda Farinacci.

Maureen Huff, a Charter spokeswoman, said the company takes the allegations seriously but “as we complete our thorough review, we have not found any merit to them.”

In a release, the five anchors said that women on television “should accurately reflect women in society and be celebrated at every age, not treated like decoration that can be disposed and replaced with a newer version.”

The statement added: “We have poured our hearts and souls into our work at NY1, but in the end we have been left excluded, marginalised and vulnerable. We are fighting for ourselves and all other women who face this same struggle on a daily basis, and we hope to send a clear message to all news media across the country that this must change.”

[Read the original]


Hannah Gadsby one of 40 most powerful people in comedy

The Hollywood Reporter has named Hannah Gadsby as one of its 40 most powerful people in comedy.

The annual list doesn’t rank them from 1-40, but rather in alphabetical order.

The entertainment publisher writes about the Australian comedian:

Hannah Gadsby

It was one year ago – June 19, 2018 – that the Australian performer’s special Nanette premiered on Netflix and propelled her to worldwide acclaim. Ironically, the routine was framed as Gadsby’s farewell to a decade-plus career in comedy, as she tackles misogyny, homophobia (including the internalised variety) and mental illness in a 70-minute set that evolves from stand-up routine to TED Talk to confessional to fiery sermon to self-emancipation declaration. Amid sparking an international debate about anti-comedy, Gadsby, 41, continues to perform. In March, she embarked on a world tour for her follow-up routine, titled Douglas, which will air as a Netflix special in 2020.

Comedy sale: Kath & Kim coming to Netflix in July

All four seasons of Kath & Kim are coming to Netflix next month so it’s time to grab a glass of chardonnay and set up your deckchair in a comfortable spot, reports

And as an added bonus for fans, which will be as nice as a trip to Westfield Fountain Gate, compilation specials Kath & Kim: Kountdown Specials and Kath & Kim: The Souvenir Editions will also be available on Netflix.

Kath & Kim first premiered in 2002 and quickly went on to become a cult comedy hit and one of the ABC’s highest-rated shows.

All four seasons of Kath & Kim will be available to stream on Netflix from July 30.

[Read the original]

I Am Mother is an Aussie success story, though you'd never know it

I Am Mother (Netflix) is a low(ish)-budget Australian film from a first-time director, but you’d never know it, reports The Age’s Karl Quinn.

It ticks all the boxes in terms of filmmaking on the cheap – a limited number of characters in an enclosed environment forced to overcome a threat from outside – and it does so with invention, elegance and economy. But it looks a million dollars. Well, many, many millions of dollars in fact. And it doesn’t look even slightly Australian.

The plot is simplicity itself. Humanity has been wiped out. The day after this mass extinction event, in a high-tech facility that’s part bunker, part womb, a robot takes a human embryo from storage and begins the slow, careful process of raising it.

Years pass, and eventually this human is a teenager (Danish actress Clara Rugaard, who voiced and sang the title role in the Danish version of Disney’s animated feature Moana, and was in fact closer to 20 at the time I Am Mother was shot in Adelaide’s film studio in late 2017). She has never been outside because Mother (the robot, voiced by Rose Byrne) has told her it’s not safe. The planet has been poisoned, the result of humanity’s war on itself. Go out there and Daughter will surely go the way of her ancestors.

It’s rich material, handled brilliantly by first-time feature director Grant Sputore, a West Australian, working from an intelligently wrought screenplay from American Michael Lloyd-Green.

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Carrie Bickmore erupts after being pranked by Tommy Little

Carrie Bickmore broke down in tears when she realised she was about to meet Elton John, reports’s Andrew Bucklow.

But less than five minutes later her tears were replaced with swear words when she realised she’d been pranked by her Hit Network radio co-host, Tommy Little.

The radio duo were in London recently and Tommy told Carrie he’d arranged “one last surprise” for her.

Carrie was blindfolded and told she had “five minutes” with a mystery present that was waiting for her inside a hotel room.

When she walked into the room, she took off the blindfold and was stunned to see Elton John sitting in a chair waiting for her.

“Oh my god! Sh*t!” she squealed, as she choked back tears.

But the man waiting to speak to her wasn’t the real Elton John, it was actually one of the world’s best Elton John impersonators. And Carrie had no idea.

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