Wednesday June 26, 2019

New Mediaweek series: Christian Murphy’s Aussie Abroad Part 2

• Marketer Melissa Madden, from BBC Worldwide to global marketing at A+E

The global media landscape is dotted with Aussies doing interesting things, at the centre of some of the biggest stories, working within some of the most well-known media brands, building their own media businesses and working with some of the industry’s highest profile figures. 

In a new Mediaweek series, Aussie Abroad, Christian Murphy shines a light on some of our best media exports, kicking it on the global stage.

This is Part 2 of our Melissa Madden feature.

Read part one here.

In the new BBC Worldwide role, Melissa Madden was involved at the very beginning of the creative process, embedded with the producers, writers, directors and key creative teams to guide on development, market positioning, creative, communications and launch strategies. She was integral to the creative and commercial “go to market” process, from end to end, bringing her vast global, brand building experience to bear.

Madden’s timing was once again exquisite, at the centre of one of the world’s most recognised media brands in the BBC with some of the world’s most well-known talent and franchises – think Dr. Who, Top Gear, Sherlock and David Attenborough to name just a few – at a time when show franchises where exploding around the world, driven by the global access provided by streamers and the power of social media platforms that built massive fan bases, like Game of Thrones and House of Cards

The BBC was and remains, one of the great co-producers of global entertainment franchises and Madden quickly found a role within many of the high profile projects going into production.  A real highlight was her key role on the team that developed, produced and marketed creator Oliver Goldstick’s (Ugly Betty), The Collection, a co-production with Amazon Studios and France Televisions with producers Lookout Point and Federation Entertainment.

The project was extraordinary for many reasons, but perhaps most interesting was that it marked the first time a continental-European public national broadcaster collaborated with a major subscription video on demand platform, a global distributor and a British production company, on an English-language drama.

Madden’s unique experience at the BBC coincided perfectly with the global expansion of A+E Networks – known for their channels History, A&E, Lifetime and Crime+Investigation Network, and the content distribution catalogue with shows like Pawn Stars, Project Blue Book, Lifetime Movies and Live PD – where she was recruited to elevate their brands and bring global visibility to a burgeoning content business.

In her role heading up global marketing for A+E, she has taken all the things learned to date and applied them to break new ground. Traditionally dependent on the huge output of their US cable networks to drive their content distribution business, Madden is part of a senior team led by co-Executive Managing Director, Patrick Vein and MD, International Content Distribution, Richard Tulk-Hart that has set about building a new co-production model in a similar vein to the BBC and which is not reliant on the output of A+E’s US networks.

“As the demand for global entertainment franchises remains strong, we wanted to design a new model, from the very beginning of the creative process to meet the needs of the market.”

That process has resulted in a first for A+E, a scripted drama co-production, Miss Scarlet and The Duke which is now in pre-production. Madden is applying all her experience gleaned over many years, across every facet of the project to craft, develop and build a new global brand franchise.

Madden’s experience and point of view feels like it was shaped from an early age to be from a very global perspective, one that has stood her in great stead and been a driving force behind her diverse and successful career. Another significant factor is simply being Australian.

With a considerable portion of her career now spent offshore, she is acutely aware of what being Australian means working in international workplaces.

“We have a fundamental ‘can do’ attitude which helps us cut through the BS and get stuff done,” Madden said. “There’s a lack of rigid process and over thinking that allows us to take on challenges and move quickly to get the job done.”

All of Madden’s roles internationally have had a deep reliance on working across departments, across borders and frankly across cultural divides that are not always easy to bridge.  Australian’s openness, honesty, positivity and willingness to get on with pretty much everyone helps build trust quickly and keeps projects moving. 

“In my experience, people like to work with Australians. We go very hard to get the job done but also like to have some fun along the way. Not everyone has the same approach and it’s probably quite refreshing to many people.”

Where Madden heads next is anyone’s guess, but you can be sure that at some stage, her perennially itchy feet will lead her down another exciting career path where she will once again forge new ground and continue her unwavering commitment to creative, emotional storytelling and brand building that drives strong commercial outcomes.

Christian Murphy is a senior executive with A+E Networks, clocking up 20 years of expertise in the global television, content, media and entertainment industry across every facet of the business, building brands, developing, producing and rolling out content across multi platforms and launching networks and shows in most major markets around the world for leading global content creators. His experience also extends to in front of the camera where he now writes and hosts a national cable lifestyle show in the US where he is now based.

Golden Globe winner to star in Stan’s $20m new drama production

• The Commons from Playmaker will film in Sydney and screen in 2020

Stan and Screen Australia, in association with Create NSW have announced a new Stan Original series The Commons, which will commence production in Sydney and its surrounds next week. The series will be produced by Playmaker in association with Sony Pictures Television who will also handle worldwide sales of the series.

The series will star Golden Globe Winner and three-time Emmy Nominee, Joanne Froggatt (Liar, Downton Abbey, A Crooked Somebody), as well as Damon Herriman (Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Judy and Punch, Stan’s Perpetual Grace, LTD) in a supporting role.

Damon Herriman

The eight-hour drama was created by showrunner Shelley Birse (The Code) and written by Shelley Birse, Matt Ford (House Husbands, Hiding), Michael Miller (Pulse, Cleverman) and Matt Cameron (Secret City, Bloom).

Set in the very near future, The Commons is a character-driven thriller which plays out at the intersection of climate change and the cutting edge of biotechnology. Part mystery, part relationship drama, it puts a very human face on what’s coming down the road and the heroism that lies inside us all when our backs are against the wall.

Executive produced by Playmaker’s David Taylor and David Maher (Reckoning, Bloom, The Code), Stan’s Nick Forward, Graham Yost (The Americans, Sneaky Pete, Justified) and Fred Golan (Sneaky Pete, Justified, Roswell), and Shelley Birse, The Commons is being produced by Diane Haddon (Reckoning, The Code, Friday On My Mind) with Jeffrey Walker (Lambs of God, Modern Family, Riot) as set up director.

“The pairing of Shelley Birse and the legendary Graham Yost is such an exciting prospect. And with actors of the calibre of Joanne Froggatt and Damon Herriman joining the cast, alongside a stellar creative team, ‘The Commons’ continues to demonstrate our ambition as the home of original Australian productions. Thank you to Screen Australia, Create NSW and our partners at Playmaker and Sony Pictures Television for helping us bring Shelley’s incredible vision to the screen,” said Stan’s chief content officer Nick Forward.

Screen Australia’s head of content Sally Caplan said “We’re thrilled to see creator Shelley Birse, following on from the success of her series The Code, team up again with Playmaker, as well as an experienced team of writers to deliver this timely drama. Putting a spotlight on the challenges of climate change, ethical boundaries, and the place of motherhood in saving the planet, ‘The Commons’ is set to be a compelling and original series and I can’t wait to see it.”

Create NSW’s executive director, investment & engagement Elizabeth W. Scott said “I’m delighted that the strength of the NSW screen industry has again attracted another significant production to the State. Thanks to an incentive from our Made in NSW Footloose Australian TV Drama Fund, The Commons will provide over 290 jobs across cast, crew and for post-production. With an instantly recognisable cast and experienced crew I know Playmaker’s new production will thrill audiences at home and worldwide.”

The Commons is a great example of how we look to collaborate across Sony to bring exciting new projects to audiences around the world,” said Wayne Garvie, Sony Pictures Television’s president of international production. “It’s terrific that Shelley and the Playmaker team are working with Graham Yost and our colleagues from SPT’s US arm to produce this riveting drama.”

“We are delighted to once again be working with Shelley and an extraordinary team of creatives to bring this exciting and powerful drama to life,” said Playmaker’s Taylor and Maher.

The Commons is a Stan Original Series produced by Playmaker with major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Create NSW. Financed with support from Stan, Sony Pictures Television will handle worldwide sales of the series, which is set to premiere in 2020.

Top Photo: Joanne Froggatt

News Corp moves Body+Soul to WHIMN, plans expansion

News Corp Australia has announced that the body+soul print and digital platforms will come together and strategically align as the business focuses on expanding and growing audience and commercial opportunities in the health and wellness category.

The body+soul product ecosystem – including the weekly print insert in six major Sunday mastheads, category leading website, video content, podcast series’, events and social channels – will now sit under the banner of the With Her In Mind Network (WHIMN).

In addition, the company also announced the appointment of Georgi Pell, current marketing director of WHIMN and, to the role of general manager of WHIMN, Australia’s leading digital women’s network with a monthly unique audience of 3.8 million^.

Georgi Pell

“body+soul has a huge role to play when it comes to guiding the health of Australians and we have ambitious plans for the category which will create a seamless experience for our consumers and our customers,” Pell said.

“body+soul’s approach to health and well-being is holistic – it’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Our experienced editorial team, credible experts and health influencers are united in delivering the best content offering for today’s consumer.”

News DNA managing director Julian Delany said: “The health and wellness category is a rapidly growing category and a key pillar of our business. We are heavily invested in body+soul and have comprehensive and targeted plans for the expansion of this iconic brand. I’m delighted that Georgi will be leading the team as we evolve the body+soul offering to identify new opportunities for consumers and customers.”

body+soul is the country’s leading health and wellbeing media brand with an audience of more than 3.3 million Australians*. The brand’s product offerings are being brought together to build momentum in the health and wellness category and unify and evolve its already strong content offering for consumers. It will also provide greater audience connection for advertisers with all-new connected and cohesive commercial opportunities.

Source: ^Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, Monthly Tagged, May 2019, Text, People 2+, Census.

*emmaTM conducted by Ipsos, 12 months ending March 2019, Fused Nielsen Digital Panel calibrated to Digital Content Ratings, March 2019. All people 14+ 7 caps.

OMD appoints new chief strategy officers for APAC & Australia

OMD has announced the promotion of Gavin Gibson to the chief strategy officer, APAC role and the appointment of Ian Czencz to chief strategy officer, Australia.

Gibson has led the strategic community across Australia since 2017 and has been instrumental in the evolution of OMD’s strategic product. He has impacted OMD’s product not only across Australia, but also OMD Worldwide.

Aimee Buchanan, CEO, OMD Australia, commented: “Gavin has done an amazing job over the last two years. His strategic leadership has resulted in sustainable business growth and award-winning work for OMD Australia. Gavin deserves this recognition for his incredible contribution and his promotion to regional chief strategy officer. We wish Gavin all the best and look forward to continuing to work with him in his APAC role.”

Gibson said of his promotion: “I’m thrilled to be continuing on the journey with the OMD family. My time with OMD Australia has been an absolute highlight and I’ve loved working with the team and incredible client base. I leave the OMD product in fantastic hands with Ian and the strategy crew.”

With Gibson’s promotion, Czencz will join OMD Australia as national chief strategy officer. Czencz has more than 21 years’ experience in the Australian media industry. Starting his career with J. Walter Thompson (JWT), Czencz went on to work at one of Australia’s first strategy-only media agencies, The Media Palace.

Ian Czencz

Czencz subsequently joined Match/Blue 449 in 2007 as chief strategy officer & partner, elevating the agency’s strategic capabilities. He joins OMD from his most recent position as managing director, Atomic 212°.

In his newly appointed position, Czencz will lead a strategy team and be responsible for the over-arching communications strategy across OMD Australia’s client base.

Czencz has also been appointed to the OMD executive committee and will report into Aimee Buchanan, CEO, OMD Australia who said: “Ian is one of the leading strategic media specialists in Australia today. His experience of building ground-up strategic capabilities into industry recognised examples is almost unparalleled. With a strong team in place at OMD, we are very excited to work with Ian on driving growth for our clients.”

Czencz says of his appointment: “It’s a privilege and extremely exciting to be joining OMD, who really are at the top of their game. Obviously a credit to Aimee, Gav and the broader team. I’ve watched from afar with keen interest for a while, so I’m dead keen to roll up my sleeves and help continue that momentum on an extremely enviable client roster.”

Gibson will commence his OMD APAC role in October, with Czencz joining OMD Australia on 1st July.

Publicis Media ANZ appoints Helena Snowdon to drive business growth

Publicis Media ANZ chairman John Preston has announced the appointment of Helena Snowdon (pictured) to the role of head of new business and marketing for Publicis Media ANZ.

Effective immediately, Snowdon replaces Mandy Henry who has left the organisation after almost 10 years to pursue other opportunities.

Snowdon has spent much of her career on global media agency executive teams leading new business and marketing for PHD, Maxus and iProspect.

Previously based in the UK, Snowdon relocated to Australia to take on the position of managing director at Mindshare Melbourne. Most recently she has led her own business development consultancy firm in Sydney.

Preston said: “We are extremely excited to have someone of Helena’s calibre driving business development at Publicis Media. Along with her broad experience as a project leader for agency operations and marketing communications, she joins us with a proven track record of leading new business pitches for some the largest advertisers in the world, and achieving significant global growth for several agencies.

“On behalf of Publicis Media, I would also like to thank Mandy for her contribution over the years, and we wish her the very best of luck for the future.”

On her appointment, Snowdon said: “I feel privileged to be joining Publicis Media, working with the executive leadership team in ANZ, as well as the talented teams at Starcom, Spark Foundry, Zenith and Performics. Publicis Media presents a progressive and transformative model which opens up huge opportunities for clients. I’m looking forward to playing my part in communicating this message and meaning across ANZ, and driving further impact and growth for the business overall.”

TV Demand: Strange Things as GoT no longer #1 in Australia

Game of Thrones has finally loosened its stranglehold on the Overall TV charts in Australia slipping down to second place for the first time since February after the conclusion of the series last month, losing its spot to a show about to drop its third season, Stranger Things.

Stranger Things season three will be released on Netflix on July 4 and is set in the summer of 1985 in Hawkins, Indiana, with a  new shopping mall in town, and the Hawkins crew are on the precipice of adulthood.  The new season will star  Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Dacre Montgomery, and Cara Buono.

The highest new entry to the Digital Original charts is Marvel’s Jessica Jones, which released its third and final season on June 14. The series stars Krysten Ritter as the titular character, who also made her directorial debut this season. The show produced 39 episodes and the second series was produced as part of the agreement between Marvel and Netflix, and was also featured in the crossover miniseries The Defenders. With the conclusion of Jessica Jones, there is currently no more Marvel Netflix originals on the platform after four different series and one miniseries which began with Daredevil in 2015.

TV Ratings Analysis: June 25

• The Voice under 800,000, but strong enough to drive Nine win
• Cricket over half a million on Gem pushes Nine network to 37.7%

Tuesday Week 26 2019

By James Manning

• Seven News 1,089,000/1,040,000
• Nine News 883,000/890,000
• A Current Affair 731,000
• ABC News 636,000
• 7.30 474,000
• The Project 290,000/499,000
• 10 News First 365,000
• The Drum 204,000
• SBS World News 116,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 282,000
• Today 212,000


After starting the week on 651,000, Home And Away did 647,000 on its second night.

House Rules followed up 591,000 on Monday with 584,000 last night. A week ago the Tuesday special clip episode did 468,000.

Dr Munjed Al Muderis was the guest on Andrew Denton’s Interview. The episode did 404,000 against the cricket after 396,000 last week. The doctor outrated Madonna.


A Current Affair featured class action against Domino’s pizza and then looked at Michael Jackson’s legacy 10 years after his death. After 811,000 on Monday, last night was on 731,000.

The Voice was really knocked around with viewers opting for a Nine multichannel to watch Australia bat in their World Cup clash with England. The singing show settled on its top 12 last night with its smallest audience this season – 745,000. It was a big enough audience though to again rank #1 25-54 last night. With Nine screening the TV Week Logies on Sunday, The Voice Grand Final Week starts Monday.

Two episodes of The Big Bang Theory did 409,000 and 225,000.

The cricket between Australia and England from Lords had an average of just over 500,000 watching Australia’s innings. That is enough for it to qualify as the highest-rating multichannel program so far in 2019.


Noni Hazlehurst and Louis Theroux were guests on The Project with 499,000 at 7pm after 543,000 on Monday.

Tessa just missed on an immunity pin on MasterChef despite three scores of 9 out of 10 from Matt, George and Gary. Her only problem was she came up against guest chef Phil who was something special. The episode did 581,000 after 684,000 Monday and 648,000 Tuesday last week.

The return of Body Hack came after a gruelling couple of weeks of promotion from host Todd Sampson. The new series launched with 283,000.


A new episode of Ask The Doctor did 350,000 at 8pm with an episode on dieting.

The launch of Blue Water Empire from writer/actor/producer and Torres Strait Islander Aaron Fa’Aoso then did 263,000.


The launch episode of the Noni Hazlehurst-hosted series Every Family Has A Secret Artemis Media did 301,000.

Insight then looked at financial scams with 227,000 watching.

Week 26 TV: Tuesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 8.2% 7 18.5% 9 20.5% 10  10.6% SBS One 4.8%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.6% 7TWO 2.3% GO! 2.2% 10 Bold 3.7% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 3.4% GEM 13.3% 10 Peach 2.3% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 0.9% 7flix 1.2% 9Life 1.6%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 0.5%            
TOTAL 12.3%   25.9%   37.7%   16.6%   7.5%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 7.3% 7 20.3% 9 17.8% WIN 9.1% SBS One 4.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.7% 7TWO 4.0% GO! 2.7% WIN Bold 3.6% VICELAND 1.3%
ABC ME 1.0% 7mate 5.7% GEM 9.8% WIN Peach 2.0% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 0.9% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.5% 9Life 1.9% Sky News  on WIN 2.1% NITV 0.2%
    7food (QLD only) 0.9%            
TOTAL 11.9%   32.3%   32.2%   16.8%   6.9%


84.2% 15.8%
  1. Seven News Seven 1,089,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 1,040,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 890,000
  4. Nine News Nine 883,000
  5. The Voice Nine 745,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 731,000
  7. Home And Away Seven 647,000
  8. The Chase Australia Seven 638,000
  9. ABC News ABC 636,000
  10. House Rules Seven 584,000
  11. Masterchef Australia 10 581,000
  12. Hot Seat Nine 519,000
  13. ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Aus V Eng -S1 9Gem 507,000
  14. The Project 7pm 10 499,000
  15. 7.30 ABC 474,000
  16. The Big Bang Theory Nine 409,000
  17. Andrew Denton: Interview Seven 404,000
  18. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 398,000
  19. 10 News First 10 365,000
  20. Ask The Doctor ABC 350,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. Masterchef Australia 10 170,000
  2. Seven News Seven 147,000
  3. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 146,000
  4. The Voice Nine 138,000
  5. ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Aus V Eng -S1 9Gem 133,000

18-49 Top Five

  1. The Voice Nine 292,000
  2. Masterchef Australia   10 262,000
  3. Seven News Seven 242,000
  4. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 241,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 224,000

25-54 Top Five

  1. The Voice Nine 334,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 298,000
  3. Seven News Seven 295,000
  4. Masterchef Australia 10 291,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 287,000
TUESDAY Multichannel
  1. ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Aus V Eng 9Gem 507,000
  2. ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Aus V Eng 9Gem 282,000
  3. ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Aus V Eng 9Gem 195,000
  4. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 177,000
  5. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 171,000
  6. Floogals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 162,000
  7. Molly And Mack PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 160,000
  8. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 160,000
  9. Fireman Sam PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 158,000
  10. School Of Roars PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 157,000
  11. Outback Truckers PM 7mate 156,000
  12. Octonauts ABCKIDS/COMEDY 153,000
  13. Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 151,000
  14. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 146,000
  15. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 142,000
  16. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  17. Bob The Builder PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 139,000
  18. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 138,000
  19. CSI: Miami Ep 2 10 Bold 132,000
  20. Dino Dana ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  1. Live: World Cup: Australia V England FOX CRICKET 360,000
  2. Live: World Cup Innings Break FOX CRICKET 215,000
  3. Live: World Cup: Australia V England FOX CRICKET 126,000
  4. Bad Blood: Toppling Turnbull Sky News Live 114,000
  5. Wentworth FOX SHOWCASE 86,000
  6. Live: World Cup Pre-Game FOX CRICKET 65,000
  7. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 60,000
  8. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 58,000
  9. Credlin Sky News Live 50,000
  10. Family Guy FOX8 36,000
  11. Family Guy FOX8 34,000
  12. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 34,000
  13. The Simpsons FOX8 33,000
  14. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 33,000
  15. The Simpsons FOX8 33,000
  16. Live: NRL 360 FOX LEAGUE 33,000
  17. Bones TVH!TS 33,000
  18. Bones TVH!TS 33,000
  19. Blue Bloods TVH!TS 32,000
  20. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TVH!TS 32,000

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

Nine ends Factiva deal for Australian Financial Review articles

The Australian Financial Review will cut ties with News Corp-owned content licensing business Dow Jones Factiva after contract negotiations broke down, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Nine decided to terminate the contract following six months of discussions that began after the December merger between Nine and Fairfax Media.

Financial Review content will remain available on Factiva until the current contract finishes at the end of 2019.

“We will no longer be supplying content from The Australian Financial Review to Dow Jones Factiva after failing to agree a model that can support sustainable investment in public-interest journalism,” Nine director of subscriptions and growth David Eisman said.

The Australian Financial Review is focused on a subscription business model designed to support its award-winning journalism. The current relationship with Factiva is inhibiting that approach, and therefore is not in the long-term interests of our readers.”

Nine’s other major mastheads, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, will continue dealing with Factiva.

[Read the original]

AACTA used banned auditor in poll that cost Jacoby board seat

The nation’s peak screen awards body used a deregistered auditor to preside over a ballot in which a high-profile critic was voted off its board, reports The Australian’s Rosemary Neill.

In this month’s election, Anita Jacoby, whose credits include 60 Minutes and The Gruen Transfer, lost her board role with the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, which runs a local version of the Oscars.

AACTA admits it inadvertently engaged deregistered Victorian auditor Philip James Dowsley as its returning officer for the recent board election, and is investigating possible breaches of its rules.

AACTA members who voted in last month’s board poll were told to post or email their votes to Dowsley, despite the fact his auditor registration had been cancelled.

Jacoby lost the election, which was won by Jo Smith, a cinema operator and film industry lobbyist.

[Read the original]

News Brands

Tabloid trailblazer Steve Dunleavy signs off on final scoop

Steve Dunleavy, the hard-hitting, hard-drinking Australian who brought tabloid television journalism to America, has died at 81, leaving his colleagues to recount the stories that created a legend, reports Mark Day in The Australian.

With his feisty persona, Australian accent and impossibly coiffured hair, Dunleavy, who left school at 14 to be educated in the dog-eat-dog world of 1960s Sydney newspapers, became a household name in the US long before Greg Norman, Paul Hogan’s Crocodile Dundee and Steve Irwin.

After landing in New York with $7 in his pocket, he was hired by Rupert Murdoch to write for the National Star and New York Post, before shooting to fame as a “whatever it takes” reporter for A Current Affair on the fledgling Fox network in the 1980s.

Such is the stuff of legends. They don’t make reporters like Dunleavy any more, and if they did, he would be howled down for his politically incorrect antics.

[Read the original]

Mark Day on friend and colleague Steve Dunleavy: toast to a headline act

Steven Francis Patrick Aloysius Dunleavy is dead, aged 81. How he managed to achieve such an age is beyond comprehension, especially by physicians, given that he consumed enough vodka to float the Russian Federation, writes Mark Day in The Australian.

Yet alcohol was but a small part Steve Dunleavy’s extraordinary life as a journalist beyond peer. He began his career at Sydney’s Daily Mirror in 1952 and retired from the New York Post in 2008. His death at his home on Long Island on Monday is a full point to the golden age of newspapers.

No one on this planet epitomised the hard-drinking, hard-driving, relentless, scoop! scoop! scoop! news reporter from the old school as did Dunleavy. He inspired the mad reporter played by Robert Downey Jr in Oliver Stone’s movie Natural Born Killers and was inducted last year into Australia’s Media Hall of Fame.

Rupert Murdoch yesterday acknowledged Dunleavy’s contribution, describing him as “one of the greatest reporters of all time”.

Dunleavy learned his trade in Sydney in the 1950s. He began work at the Mirror in the same year Murdoch inherited Adelaide’s The News.

Dunleavy left Sydney before Murdoch took over the Mirror in 1960. He headed for a life of adventure, starting in Hong Kong. His exploits there and in Tokyo mostly involved drink, women, police and, ultimately, immigration authorities.

He beat a tactical retreat to London, via Spain, and then to New York, where he arrived destitute in 1966. He worked fill-in shifts for United Press International before being hired for the News Limited New York bureau.

It was there that I met him in March 1968, the start of a 51-year friendship. Most of our work involved writing North American news with an Australian slant for Murdoch’s Australian papers, but that was not enough for Steve. He sought to make his own news.

[Read the original]

Photos: New York Post

Overhaul defamation laws after odd Facebook ruling

A landmark ruling by NSW Supreme Court judge Stephen Rothman has up-ended fundamental principles of defamation law, leaving Australia out of step with other English-speaking democracies, comments an editorial in The Australian.

Media companies, such as News Corp Australia, publisher of The Australian, will now be held legally responsible as the first, primary and, as the judge says, the “only” publisher of random posts by readers on their public Facebook pages. As most people on the planet know, Facebook is a huge, very profitable, independent and ubiquitous social media platform that controls its vast domain, with rules of service and protected proprietary technology. It’s a legal decision that is as novel as it is unexpected, prompting Australia’s media companies to seek urgent reforms to defamation laws.

Our parent company is carefully reviewing this troubling judgment, whose ramifications already seem profound and unprecedented, with a view to an appeal. These are difficult days for promoting the public’s right to know and for the people who are dedicated to the news business.

[Read the original]

Media chiefs demand new laws to protect journalists from police raids

The nation’s biggest news organisations will mount a united campaign for sweeping legal changes to protect press freedom after a political storm over raids on journalists, setting out four new defences for those who reveal information in the public interest, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s David Crowe.

The new safeguards will be put forward on Wednesday after Nine, the ABC and News Corp Australia combined to demand reforms including stricter rules to allow the media to contest search warrants.

The changes would give the media more scope to force a judicial review of the search warrants and challenge the power of police to investigate a journalist at the behest of politicians or officials who are embarrassed by leaks to the press.

Nine chief executive Hugh Marks will join ABC managing director David Anderson and News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller at a National Press Club event to set out the four reforms.

“As a society, we shouldn’t fear truth,” Marks says in a draft of his remarks.

“We shouldn’t fear debate. We shouldn’t fear opinions. The Australian public’s right to know makes our democracy function.”

[Read the original]

See also: Leo Shanahan in The Australian
Rivals unite on law reform

[Read the original]


2GB turmoil: Chris Smith to be axed from his popular timeslot

Top rating 2GB afternoon talkback host Chris Smith is to be axed from his popular afternoon time slot, reports News Corp’s Matthew Benns.

Smith stormed out of Macquarie Media’s Pyrmont offices after a meeting with management on Monday morning. Temporary host Luke Grant was hastily brought in to cover for Smith, who was back on air on Tuesday afternoon.

It is understood Smith was told he could be moving to the evening timeslot, in a straight swap with current night time host Steve Price.

He was told of the changes by radio station management last week and went into the office on the weekend to clear away his trophies and celebrity photographs from the walls of his office.

It is currently lined with packing boxes.

The staff in Smith’s team were called in for crisis talks with management on Tuesday morning.

It is the latest in a string of destabilising events at the station and has had the 2GB rumour mill buzzing.

Last month, Macquarie Media finally announced that it was re-signing breakfast show king Alan Jones on a two-year contract worth a whopping $8 million.

[Read the original]

Alan Jones vs Ray Hadley in clash of views over Israel Folau

Outspoken radio hosts Ray Hadley and Alan Jones have clashed in their views of Israel Folau, with Hadley insisting money donated to fund Folau’s legal battle would be better spent on helping sick kids, reports The Australian’s Jessica Cortis.

The two radio hosts from 2GB, who share back-to-back morning shows, have held opposing views of Folau’s fundraising efforts to raise $3 million to foot a legal suit against Rugby Australia for terminating his contract over religious comments he made about homosexuals.

Jones this morning described Folau as a “good and gentle soul without a skerrick of hatred in his body” while Hadley has maintained the former Wallaby star’s comments on homosexuals were “ill informed”.

“Israel’s comments would suggest he thinks it is some sort of lifestyle choice … it is not a choice Israel, homosexuals are not decision makers, it’s the way they are,” Hadley said on air last Monday.

[Read the original]


Stan's biggest gamble yet on new series starring Downton Abbey actress

Stan, in conjunction with Screen Australia, has announced its most expensive and ambitious project to date with the Australian production of a major new original series called The Commons, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Genevieve Rota.

The production, which begins in Sydney next week, is set to star South Australian actor Damon Herriman alongside Downton Abbey‘s Joanne Froggatt.

The Commons is a “character-driven thriller” playing on the very real topics of climate change and biotechnology but set in the near future.

Written by Shelley Birse (The Code) and produced by Playmaker in association with Sony Pictures Television, the show is set to be Stan’s biggest investment – at more than $20 million – in an Australian original yet. The streaming platform’s chief executive, Mike Sneesby, says the series was the perfect show to add to their catalogue, as Stan aims to lead the way in the creation of local, Australian-made original productions.

“For us, this is another step on that journey,” says Sneesby.

“We have increased our investment in local productions every year. The size and ambitions of our original productions have gotten bigger with every project that we’ve announced – in fact The Commons will be the biggest budget, and most ambitious project that we’ve undertaken.

“We’re lifting the bar in terms of production values and the ambition of production here in the Australian market and we intend to continue to do that.”

Production of The Commons is expected to open up 290 local jobs across cast, crew and in post-production and the show is slated for 2020 premiere.

[Read the original]

Tom Gleeson, the people's hope, irks industry with Gold Logie campaign

“To win the Gold Logie, you have to fight dirty.” That’s the eye-watering motto behind comedian Tom Gleeson‘s viral #Gleeson4Gold campaign, and it appears to be working, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Robert Moran.

Ahead of the Logies’ Sunday ceremony, the tongue-in-cheek campaign has seemingly struck a nerve. Gold Logie-hopeful Amanda Keller – framed by Gleeson in an online video as an inveterate liar who toyed us with promises of flying cars and robot servants, now 20-odd years overdue (remember Beyond 2000?) – has reportedly “struggled” with the comedian’s tactics.

Gleeson’s sarcastic “attacks ads” are one thing, there is also his claim he won’t bring back his popular Hard Quiz show unless voters get him local TV’s top prize.

“To be honest, I read Amanda’s comments and all she’s saying is she finds me irritating. And, I mean, that’s my specialty… I completely get it. I’m sucking the oxygen out of this whole thing; I’m starting to give myself the shits,” said Gleeson.

[Read the original]

TV Week Logie Awards 2019: The crazy luxuries stars will get

The stars heading to the Gold Coast for the Logies this weekend are going to be living it up in rooms that are between $1500 and $5000 a night, reports News Corp’s Shoba Rao.

New photos of the rooms they will be staying in reveal no expense will be spared for one of the Australian entertainment industry’s biggest celebrations.

Stars who are going to the Logies – as nominees, presenters or guests – will be staying at The Star Grand Hotel and the The Darling.

Their rooms will be able to get complimentary Moet champagne on arrival during their stay, as well as native bee honey chocolates.

Stars at the hotels will also be treated to goodie bags that The Star Gold Coast have curated as part of their “surprise and delight” series.

Each will differ depending on which celebrity they are going to.

[Read the original]

Sports Media

Footy fans vote for the best in AFL media: SEN, Triple M & ABC win

Over 1000 people answered The Sounding Board’s inaugural footy survey, asking the tough questions about footy and in particular, the media, reports

Listeners to the weekly podcast hosted by Craig Hutchison and Damian Barrett were asked to rank the following 10 sports websites from first to last based on how much they respect their journalism:, Herald Sun, The Age,, 3AW, Triple M,, Fox Sports, The Roar and the ABC.

The ABC received the most votes as the number one most respected news site, with The Age second and finishing third just ahead of

News Corp’s and the Herald Sun came in last and second last respectively.

Triple M easily took the chocolates in the pre-match radio coverage vote, finishing with 57 per cent of the votes.

SEN came in second place with 29 per cent, while 3AW and ABC both finished with seven per cent.

When asked which radio broadcast has the best play-by-play AFL coverage, SEN edged out Triple M for first place.

SEN received 41 per cent of the votes, while 3AW came in last place with 8 per cent.

Craig Hutchison said: “That’s a nice acknowledgement for the work being built on SEN from our audience with Gerard Whateley, Anthony Hudson, Garry Lyon, Nick Riewoldt and co.”

[Read the original]

Don’t miss Mediaweek’s regular Podcast Week column every Thursday in the Mediaweek Morning Report.

Super Netball and Thunderbirds missed a chance with Folau statement

Social media. It’s a minefield, and on Sunday I walked into it wearing gumboots, writes netball star turned commentator Liz Ellis in The Sydney Morning Herald.

My comments on netball’s response to Maria Folau re-posting her husband’s controversial Instagram post about his GoFundMe page evoked a passionate response. So now I want to provide a more measured response in more than the few characters Twitter allows.

I suspect this will disappoint a few people on both sides of the argument, but here goes.

Firstly, my beef was not with Maria Folau. Of course she is welcome to play in Super Netball. In fact, I am rapt that she does. She is one of the most mesmerising, enigmatic and skilful goal attacks ever to play our game. To watch her sink long bomb after long bomb from the edge of the circle under all sorts of pressure is nothing short of amazing.

I understand that my tweet was interpreted to mean specifically that Maria was not welcome. I get it. It was poorly worded from that point of view. I am devastated to think that the way I wrote it may have suggested the sort of bigotry that I passionately dislike. I don’t want to fight bigotry with bigotry.

Having said all that, when Maria shared her husband’s Instagram post announcing his GoFundMe page seeking donations to cover his legal fees, she invited response, and netball bosses had to act.

[Read the original]

To Top