Tuesday July 28, 2020

Seven’s two Olympic specials keeping the dream alive for viewers

By James Manning

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Opening Ceremony should have been on Seven last Friday and the competition underway this week and next. Instead Seven’s Olympic team have created two Towards Tokyo documentaries to keep the Olympic dream alive for viewers.

Andy Kay is the head of Olympics for Seven, these days the team he works with at Seven do everything connected with the Olympics except produce live coverage during the event. That used to also be in his job remit: “After Beijing I said this was a young person’s game,” he told Mediaweek. “Now my team does the pre-Games work. The Olympic Games is so big now that it involves every single department in the company. The IOC keep an eye on everything we do as they are careful about their brand.”

Andy Kay

As Seven’s head of Olympics in addition to GM of Seven Adelaide, Kay and his team have put together two Olympic Games documentaries that screen on Tuesdays July 28 and August 4. [See details below.]

Kay may not have been in Tokyo though for the 2020 Games, he passes the baton for live coverage of the Games to Seven Sport when competition starts. Kay said he is also the world’s worst flyer, despite having to commute regularly between Adelaide and Sydney.

“Rio 2016 was the last time I was overseas. For Beijing 2008 I made about 30 trips to China because it was such a complicated coverage. It’s not essential for me to be in Tokyo with our smallish team.”

With Tokyo now delayed until 2021, Kay said his team will refresh a lot of the preparations they had been working on. He met with all the Olympic sponsors and the AOC last week, with some brands still joining and others, like airbnb and Alliance, launching their partnerships last week 12 months out.

As we spoke to Kay on the eve of the screening of The Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 Uncovered, he said that special was all finished and they were “working like crazy” on getting next week’s doco completed.

“The first documentary revisits Sydney 2000 and we present the Opening Ceremony as is the viewers had been given access to the middle of the Olympic stadium. The ceremony was before it’s time. The people who carried the torch before they handed it to Catherine Freeman were all women. We have spoken to people who worked on it. It has been brought back to life in a way I wasn’t sure if it would work.” Kay also mentioned the great work done by Rhoda Roberts, creative director of the Awakening segment in the opening ceremony and the role of Nikki Webster, who got it despite concerns initially it should have been a role for a boy.

Catherine Freeman

Catherine Freeman

Kay’s team has done close to 90 interviews for the specials.

“The second show is about moments in the Games. Nothing to do with the ceremony. We have re-interviewed competitors from here and all over the world. Roy and HG came back for the special and talked about how everything they did was brilliant and everything Seven did was boring!”

Roy and HG

Roy and HG

The producers managed to track down walker Jane Saville in Spain, with Kay explaining she is now friends with the Spanish official who disqualified her 150 metres from winning a Gold Medal.

Not everyone approached said “yes” to be interviewed for various reasons. But with around 90 agreeing, they a seem to have the event covered.

David Atkins

David Atkins

The hardest person to track down? Kay: “The aboriginal elder – Djakapurra Munyarryun –who was on top of the tower with Nikki Webster. In his interview he was asked about the one standout memory he has of the night. He replied: ‘They didn’t pay me very much’.”

Seven’s two Towards Tokyo Olympic specials

The Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 Uncovered

Cate Campbell

Cate Campbell

Newly-filmed interviews with the people who made that landmark night so special, including:

• Headline acts Vanessa Amorosi, James Morrison, Human Nature, Adam Garcia, Djakapurra Munyarryun and Nikki Webster, whose spectacular performance at just 13 years of age wowed the world
• The creative geniuses behind the Ceremony and two of the world’s greatest show producers, David Atkins and Ric Birch and their contemporaries, the brilliant Dein Perry, Rhoda Roberts, Meryl Tankard, Lex Marinos and Chong Lim
• Performances from John Farnham, Olivia Newton-John, Tina Arena and Julie Anthony
• Australian Olympic Flag bearer Andrew Gaze and the hometown hero who stole the whole show, Catherine Freeman
• The impressionable youngsters whose Olympic dream was born on that inspirational night: Tokyo 2020 medal contenders Cate Campbell, Bronte Campbell, Jess Fox, Mack Horton, Emma McKeon, Kelsey-Lee Barber and Ellia Green, and Paralympic stars Madison de Rozario, Nic Beveridge and Ellie Cole.

Bronte Campbell

Bronte Campbell

Sydney 2000 Moments that Moved Us

On Tuesday, August 4, Seven will take fans back to the extraordinary two weeks of competition that followed in Sydney with a two-hour special on the Olympic Games.

Bruce McAvaney

Bruce McAvaney

Hosted by Sunrise’s Mark Beretta, Seven’s Olympic Games experts led by Bruce McAvaney, Johanna Griggs, Mark Beretta, Dennis Cometti, Pat Welsh, Lord Sebastian Coe, Tamsyn Manou and Raelene Boyle have revisited the Games of the XXVII Olympiad and caught up with some of the athletes whose deeds captivated the nation. They include:

• Swimming stars Ian Thorpe, Susie O’Neill, Grant Hackett, Kieren Perkins, Michael Klim, Bill Kirby and Todd Pearson
• Gold medallists Andrew Hoy (equestrian), Lauren Burns (taekwondo), Rechelle Hawkes (hockey), Yvette Higgins (water polo), Kerri Pottharst and Natalie Cook (beach volleyball), and Belinda Stowell (sailing, 470 Class)
• Silver medalists and fan favourites Tatiana Grigorieva (pole vault) and Ji Wallace (trampoline gymnastics)
• International track and field superstars Maurice Greene, Ato Boldon and Michael Johnson
• Also Roy and HG delivered each night in Sydney with their unique take on the day’s events on The Dream

Seven West Media chief revenue officer and director of Olympics Kurt Burnette added in a statement:

“These moments are etched into Australian minds forever. We’ve seen research prove nostalgia has played a big role in the Australian psyche through COVID-19 and lockdown. We will use these great moments of the past to remind Australia of the good times, the pride and inspiration all of which can come again. Those elements have never been more relevant, to importantly then propel and project forward to Tokyo. To create anticipation and a sense of pride of what is to come. Culminating in a celebration on air across Sunrise, 7NEWS, The Morning Show and our AFL coverage – with more celebration to come in September for the 20-year anniversary of Sydney 2000.”

Jo Porter
Wentworth EP Jo Porter on The Freak, new cast & filming during Covid

By James Manning

• How Fremantle has been planning the end of longtime Foxtel drama

The start of the final season of Foxtel’s prison drama Wentworth, branded as Wentworth: Redemption, begins this week. The first part of the season is 10 episodes to be screened over the next 10 weeks. The final part of season eight will screen with a further 10 episodes in 2021.

As the first parts of season eight go to air, the final scenes are being shot with the aim of all filming being complete early September.

Fremantle’s Wentworth executive producer and director of scripted, Australia, Jo Porter told Mediaweek the Melbourne-based production did shut down for a couple of months when Covid-19 took control in March. “We then looked at how we could modify shooting practices allowing us to resume. At the time we were doing this the number of new Covid-19 cases in Victoria was very encouraging.

“In consultation with all the key people including the cast and crew of course, we found a way we could continue, protecting the essence of the show, and doing so in a safe way.”

wentworth behind the scenes

Despite the increased pandemic activity in Victoria including a renewed lockdown, the restarted shoot has been underway for a month. “The feedback I am getting [back in Sydney] is that everyone does feel safe on set. I have been watching rushes and they have managed to still capture the feel of the Wentworth we know and love.”

Porter said the production takes place in a dedicated facility which they are able to close off to visitors. “All the actors and crew were already in Victoria before the new state lockdown. We have been very lucky in that all cast we needed were there. And we were lucky in that we had already started.”


Viewers to episode one will have to buckle up as it covers a fair bit of ground and delivers a number of cathartic moments. Has the pace really always been this frantic?

Porter: “One thing the team are very ambitious about is that they want to keep improving on the season before. That doesn’t necessarily mean just in terms of shock value, but also means the strength of the characters and the pull of the emotional stories as well.

The brief this season was very much to use this as an opportunity to hit the reset button for those people who may not have tried Wentworth before. It offers a chance to re-enter the world of Wentworth via the two fabulous new characters Lou [Kate Box] and Reb [Zoe Terakes].”

Wentworth newcomers Zoe Terakes and Kate Box

Wentworth newcomers Zoe Terakes and Kate Box

Returning this season is Pamela Rabe who started in the series as Joan Ferguson, the Governor of Wentworth Prison. The Freak, as she became known, was later incarcerated for a number of crimes and was eventually buried alive. Her casket was even dug up to see if she was dead in it. She was. This season she is back! How so?

Season seven ended with a glimpse of Ferguson alerting viewers to the fact that, somehow, she was very much alive.

“Joan Ferguson met a very dramatic end being put in her box,” explained Porter. “We worked very hard with the writers to ensure there was an absolutely credible and surprising way of explaining just how she could return. That explanation will be unpacked across the first half of the new season.”

Porter said there was much debate between the writers about how to cover that off. “But we feel it is a very watertight storyline as to how she is back.”

Wentworth herald sun

Being part of News Corp helps with the marketing plans. Newspaper covers and double page spreads are on offer in News Corp newspapers today.

Much of the Wentworth budget must be gobbled up by the cast which is perhaps the best-ever with a number of originals plus the addition of Marta Dusseldorp this season. Porter wouldn’t tell how much they drop on the cast, but she did explain:

“After watching all of the new 10 episodes and then the first two of the next 10, I realise we are so lucky. Most of these actors who are part of our cast would be leads in their own write on another show. We have actors who would not normally have the chance to play opposite each other because of the stature of their achievements. To have all these A-listers acting opposite each other is wonderful and we are so lucky to have them stroll through the gates of Wentworth.”


Internationally Wentworth continues to be a major success. With sales to 158 territories, the cast are in demand for promotional duties, but the spread of Covid-19 has put a stop to personal appearances at fan events around the world. “They get mobbed when they show up they are that well known,” said Porter. “Audiences have really embraced them.”

This is really the end…probably

When the final 20 episodes of season eight screen will this really be the end of Wentworth? What about a spin-off with a key character?

Porter: “Never say never. We don’t have immediate plans [for a spin-off] at this stage. There are some brilliant characters that could justify that, but there are no plans.”

Drama outlook in 2020

Porter: “I am optimistic about the future. But I am realistic to realise it’s not without its challenges. As a country and the creatives working in it, we have some unique and distinct stories that the rest of the world hasn’t seen. The challenge is we have to compete against shows which have huge budgets compared to what we are used to having. That means innovation. We know set up shows differently. We might have to go overseas to find a commission and then bring it back here to find a local home.”

Porter said Fremantle don’t currently have other drama, apart from Neighbours, in production. “But we do have a lot of advanced development on several shows where we are waiting for the flashing amber light to turn green. We are speaking with commissioners around the world and I am very excited about the projects we have been working on.

Top Photo: Jo Porter

Elizabeth Baker
Zenith ad spend forecast: 11% decline expected in Australia for 2020

Coronavirus crisis accelerates shift to digital advertising as market share exceeds 50% for the first time, according to the latest Zenith ad spend forecast.


• Global adspend forecast to drop 9.1% this year
• Ad market hit hardest Q2; some spend returning, with 5.8% recovery forecast for 2021
• Trends driving spend: ecommerce, data-driven personalisation, digital acceleration
• Expected digital advertising increase to 51% of global spend this year & 55% in 2022

Global advertising expenditure will shrink 9.1% in 2020, according to the latest Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts. To compare, adspend shrank by 9.5% during the 2009 recession.

Spend beginning to return, with 5.8% recovery forecast for 2021 

Advertisers pulled back spending sharply when the scale of the coronavirus crisis became clear. The steepest declines took place between March and May, with timing varying by country. These declines have now started to ease and are expected to gradually moderate over the rest of the year. Zenith forecasts a 5.8% recovery in global adspend in 2021, boosted by the rescheduled Summer Olympics and UEFA Euro 2020 football championship.

In Australia, the estimated decline is 11% in 2020. Neither 2021 nor 2022 will represent a bounce back to pre-COVID levels. By 2022, Zenith anticipates the overall market being back 8% vs. 2019.

Ecommerce and retail change for the long-term 

Ecommerce has become a lifeline for consumers, providing the goods they need while unable or unwilling to visit bricks-and-mortar stores. Many consumers have made permanent changes to their shopping habits. According to global research by Criteo, in recent months 53% of consumers have discovered at least one form of online shopping that they plan to continue.

Recent data on Australia – historically a slow adopter of online shopping – demonstrates the trend is picking up pace. The NAB online retail sales index experienced 28% growth in March, 58% growth in April and 50% growth in May.

Personalisation at scale, driven by data comes to the forefront

The crisis also raised the value of first-party data for brands. First-party data gives brands powerful insights into their customers’ behaviour and provides a real competitive edge. It will allow brands to navigate changes to consumers’ behaviours and attitudes as the crisis develops, and identify when it’s time to start investing for the upturn.

“Brands need to show consumers that they understand their rapidly evolving needs in this uncertain time,” said Christian Lee, managing director, Zenith Worldwide. “So we are helping our clients integrate their data, digital communications and ecommerce approaches, and leverage them more deeply, to deliver personalised experiences throughout the fast-changing customer journey.”

Digital acceleration spurred by social distancing and new behaviours 

Consumption of digital media, along with television, spiked in the early weeks of lockdown. Although both are now trending down again, they are not expected to retreat to pre-crisis levels any time soon. Together with the rise of ecommerce and data, this has driven a rapid shift in media budgets from traditional to digital media, accelerating the trend that was already taking place. Zenith now forecasts that digital advertising will account for 51.0% of global adspend this year, up from the 49.5% it forecast in December.

Digital ad budgets were cut quickly in the crisis’ first phase, given generally easier to cut without penalty. But as time progressed, brands allocated more budget into digital channels to take advantage of their flexibility and ability to optimise performance, particularly important qualities in an uncertain time.

Digital adspend is forecast to shrink by just 2% across 2020 as a whole. Zenith does not expect any of this share to return to traditional media as the crisis eases – digital advertising’s market share is forecast to reach 54.6% in 2022.

In Australia, digital adspend is expected to drop 8% in 2020 but will be the quickest medium to recover. By 2022, digital adspend will represent 61% of the total – significantly ahead of the global forecast.

Zenith Sydney’s head of investment Elizabeth Baker said: “By ‘forcing’ adoption of online services, COVID-19 and its associated lockdowns have exposed and normalised digital usage across a range of functions and practices that were not previously widespread, such as working from home. As online media consumption continues to grow and the economy stabilises, we will see digital ad revenue growth accelerate once again, with digital recovering the fastest among all media.”

The recovery of traditional media will be patchy and underpowered

Among traditional media, television and radio suffered the least, expected to end the year only slightly below the market, with 11% and 12% respective declines. The crisis exacerbated the long-term decline of print advertising as newspaper adspend is forecast to shrink by 21% globally this year and magazine adspend drops 20%. Note, newspaper and magazine advertising here includes only the publishers’ advertising revenues from printed publications; their revenues from digital publications are included in digital advertising.

Unsurprisingly, out-of-home and cinema have suffered the most from government restrictions on movement, and consumers’ avoidance of public places. Out-of-home advertising is forecast to shrink by 25% in 2020 and cinema by 51%.

No recovery is forecast for newspapers or magazines, with adspend in both continuing to decrease next year. Recovery for television and radio will be minimal, with 2% and 1% growth expected for 2021 respectively. Out-of-home and cinema growth will be stronger as they compensate for much greater declines this year: Zenith forecasts 16% growth for out-of-home and 65% growth for cinema, but neither will return to 2019 peaks by 2022.

“The coronavirus forced brands to embrace digital advertising even faster than expected and made digital transformation of businesses more urgent than ever,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s head of forecasting. “This year will be the first in which digital advertising will attract more than half of total global adspend, a milestone we previously expected in 2021.”

SMI and Big Datr expand partnership to offer new ad spend detail

Standard Media Index (SMI) and the independent advertising monitoring company Big Datr have unveiled a significant expansion of their Brand Media Value dataset to now integrate all SMI product categories.

Big Datr has been creating brand-level ad spend estimates utilising SMI’s exclusive media Agency ad spend database for a number of key product categories including – Automotive, Banking & Finance, Telecommunications, Insurance, Superannuation, Travel and Education – over the past four years.

But recent additions to SMI’s product category data and further improvements in Big Datr’s ad monitoring technology – mostly due to increased use of automation technology along with all new algorithms – has enabled Big Datr to broaden the joint venture service to all of SMI’s 40 Product Categories.

“For the first time, we can now provide advertisers with access to competitor ad spend across all major media and media sectors for all of SMI’s 40 main product categories,” Big Datr co-founder and director Avrill D’Costa said.

“This also makes our service very attractive to marketers that demand more digital visibility and media companies as they can access more accurate ad spend estimates for any brand in all major media in market.’’

To create the ad spend estimates, SMI provides Big Datr access to its premium category ad spend detail, giving them real market sizing for category ad spend across all major media and media sectors, including digital sectors such as Social, Display and Search.

Big Datr’s core business is advertising monitoring, with its service able to track where – and how often – brands are advertising across all major media, including digital. Big Datr then overlays this onto the SMI data to create more accurate brand level ad spend detail.

SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe (pictured) said the expanded service was an improved data source for media and marketing stakeholders requiring competitor-level ad spend insights.

“There’s always a need to improve the brand-level ad spend data in the market and we believe that by providing Big Datr with an accurate base from which to derive the brand-level estimates we’re delivering a more robust market solution,” she said.

“And now that Big Datr can deliver the brand-level detail for all of the SMI product categories even more companies will benefit from these improved competitor-level insights.”

The King of Staten Island
Box Office: The King of Staten Island still #1 as overall revenue drops 26%

By Trent Thomas

The Australian box office is struggling to recover since reopening its doors after the COVID-19 enforced lockdown with a 26% decline in total revenue from the previous weekend.

However, one thing that has stayed the same is that The King of Staten Island has remained #1 at the Australian box office after its second week of release. 

No new releases make the top five for this week which can be attributed as a key cause of the 26% decline on total revenue.

#1 The King of Staten Island $291,455

After its second week of release, the semi-biographical film based on lead actor Pete Davidson’s life is still #1, the film is yet to reach the $1m mark with a total of $717,915 but it has a strong advantage after being one of only a few new releases hitting theatres since cinemas reopened. The film averaged $1,766 on 165 screens.


#2 Follow Me $147,242

In its second week of release, the horror film averaged $988 on 149 screens. The plot follows a social media personality who goes to Moscow for new content, which sees him pushing the limits and entering a world of danger. 


#3 The Personal History of David Copperfield $122,037

The latest rendition of the novel by Charles Dickens has spent four weeks in the top five since its release and continues to be the most screened film in the country this past weekend shown on 233 screens averaging $524.


#4 Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs $112,272

The South Korean animation has made its four weeks in the top five after averaging $754 on 149 screens.


#5 Sonic the Hedgehog $105,986 

Sonic the Hedgehog has spent 24 weeks in the top five as the big screen adaption of classic video game continues to roll along. This week the film averaged $623 on 170 screens.


OzTAM TV Ratings Delayed

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

ACCC alleges Google misled consumers about expanded use of personal data

The ACCC has launched Federal Court proceedings against Google LLC (Google), alleging Google misled Australian consumers to obtain their consent to expand the scope of personal information that Google could collect and combine about consumers’ internet activity, for use by Google, including for targeted advertising.

The ACCC alleges Google misled consumers when it failed to properly inform consumers, and did not gain their explicit informed consent, about its move in 2016 to start combining personal information in consumers’ Google accounts with information about those individuals’ activities on non-Google sites that used Google technology, formerly DoubleClick technology, to display ads.

This meant this data about users’ non-Google online activity became linked to their names and other identifying information held by Google. Previously, this information had been kept separately from users’ Google accounts, meaning the data was not linked to an individual user.

Google then used this newly combined information to improve the commercial performance of its advertising businesses.

The ACCC also alleges that Google misled consumers about a related change to its privacy policy.

“We are taking this action because we consider Google misled Australian consumers about what it planned to do with large amounts of their personal information, including internet activity on websites not connected to Google,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

“Google significantly increased the scope of information it collected about consumers on a personally identifiable basis. This included potentially very sensitive and private information about their activities on third party websites. It then used this information to serve up highly targeted advertisements without consumers’ express informed consent,” Sims said.

“We allege that Google did not obtain explicit consent from consumers to take this step.”

[Read the full statement from the ACCC]

Village Roadshow’s never-ending takeover story almost done

Every good movie needs a cliffhanger or two, so it’s no surprise that the battle for Village Roadshow is heading for another such moment, reports The AFR’s Street Talk.

Exclusivity for takeover bidder BGH Capital officially ends on Tuesday. And while the deadline is not such a big issue – the exclusivity period has been extended a number of times throughout this process and will be again – it is understood the deal is right on the edge of completion.

BGH got close to wrapping things up on Monday, and is expected to sign on the dotted line in the coming days, sources said.

That could bring to an end an epic story that is, at its heart, the tale of a fallen star with family problems.

BGH and Village have been in exclusive discussions since mid-May, when the private equity outfit lobbed a $2.40 non-binding proposal at Village’s board. BGH had put a $4.00 a share bid to the company in January before COVID-19 struck and revenue from Village’s theme parks and cinemas ground to halt.

[Read more]

Cathy Payne to lead Banijay’s merged distribution engine

Following her appointment as chief executive officer of Banijay Rights back in April, Banijay has confirmed Cathy Payne (pictured) remains in post following the recent acquisition of the Endemol Shine Group. 

Overseeing the scaled-up distribution arm, she will now execute the integration of the two offerings and guide all exploitation across the portfolio of commercial finished tape.

Encompassing linear and non-linear exploitation, including VOD and self-publishing relationships, Payne will be at the forefront of Banijay Rights’ commercial drive. With a multitude of brands under one roof, her remit will span the 88,000+ hour catalogue, which includes Survivor, MasterChef, Temptation Island, Mr Bean, Peaky Blinders and Big Brother to name a few.

Continuing to report to Banijay’s chief executive officer, Marco Bassetti, Payne is already underway on bringing the two catalogues under one roof, with a new website and app planned for roll-out in September. The ambition is also to have the teams combined by autumn, with the integration process commencing this month.

Bassetti said: “Cathy is without doubt one of the industry’s strongest commercial champions and just what we need in the ‘new world’ of content. Consistently driving value and opportunity, she is the prime voice to have at the helm of the business as we start the combined roll-out and exploitation of all 88,000 hours of catalogue.”

Cathy Payne comments: “In an increasingly integrated production and exploitation business environment, it is critical that we have all finished tape efforts under a combined strategy. Banijay Rights has a tremendous offering for our clients and plenty of valuable opportunities for prospective brand partners worldwide.”

Foxtel channel executive departs for Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

This week Fraser Stark (pictured), group general manager, Entertainment & Music, departs Foxtel following the closure of its owned and operated music channels [V], MAX, CMC and Foxtel Smooth last month.

Stark commented: “What a ride it has been. I owe Brian Walsh and everyone at Foxtel a huge debt of thanks for entrusting me with such a wide and stimulating range of functions over the years. It is heartening to see how effectively the business is evolving in these ever-changing times, and I have no doubt that it will continue to deliver the best TV offering available to Australians.”

Stark has recently taken up a new position at the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra – to reimagine its online video and audio offering and its distribution to new and established audiences.

“Even during the difficult impasse of Covid the allure of the MSO shimmers. Australia’s oldest Orchestra has invited me to help realise the opportunity that lies online and I couldn’t be happier – nor receive a more welcome compliment than a gig like this.”

During a 12-year history at Foxtel, Stark has led teams in Factual Entertainment, Drama, Comedy and, most recently, General Entertainment, Arts & Music.

He was the executive producer for Foxtel on Fire Fight Australia and Screen with Margaret Pomeranz and Graeme Blundell. He was also co-executive producer of the documentary history of Australian protest, The People Speak.

He launched Foxtel’s recently enlarged slate of New FOX-Branded Channels: FOX H!TS, FOX FUNNY, FOX SLEUTH, FOX SCI-FI.

During his time at Foxtel Stark also worked on CMC Rocks, Studio Max, CMC Awards, The Helpmann Awards and a range of special event programming.

News Brand

Peter V’landys accuses ABC of ‘ambush’ in defamation case

Racing NSW boss Peter V’landys was “ambushed” by an ABC 7.30 segment which he claims was edited to portray him as a person who “callously permitted the wholesale slaughter” of horses, a court has heard, reports The Australian’s Kieran Gair.

V’landys, the chief executive of Racing NSW and Australian Rugby League Commission chairman, is suing the ABC and journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna for defamation in the Federal Court over an exposé aired on 7.30 last year.

V’landys is seeking aggravated damages over the segment ‘The Final Race’, which exposed disturbing details of thoroughbred racehorses being violently killed in knackeries in NSW and Queensland.

Barrister Bruce McClintock SC, appearing for V’landys, told the court on Monday that the racing chief would seek aggravated damages on the basis that the ABC had “ambushed” V’landys.

Barrister Clarrisa Amato, appearing for the ABC, said the “bigger problem” in V’landys’s defamation case was that he had never seen the episode of 7.30 he is suing over.

“He’s claiming damages for hurt feelings when he’s never seen the program,” she said.

The matter will return to court on September 23.

[Read more]


Bianca Dye opens up about accepting her ‘devastating’ axing from 97.3FM

Bianca Dye has opened up about her blindside axing from 97.3FM’s breakfast show, as she makes a return to radio in her dream job, reports News Corp’s Amy Price.

The broadcaster has returned home to the Gold Coast to join Hit 90.9’s breakfast show with Dan Anstey and Ben Hannant in a last-minute reshuffle after she finally parted ways amicably with her former employer, ARN, on July 1.

Dye had been in discussions to join Triple M’s Gold Coast drive show until she received the call up from Hit 90.9 after Lise Carlaw and Sarah Wills decided to leave the show this month.

“This breakfast show was on my vision board. It is my dream gig since I was 13 years old. To get this gig after everything that happened last year I’m pinching myself.”

Dye left the Gold Coast’s 92.5FM in 2016 to replace Robin Bailey on 97.3 in Brisbane, but late last year she and co-host Mike van Acker were dumped from the breakfast show following poor ratings results.

Dye admits she was blindsided by the decision, with ARN choosing to reinstate Terry Hansen and Bailey, who they had brought her in to replace.

“It’s not easy. It’s so public and your ego gets bruised,” she said. “Although I was kind of devastated by the decision, I didn’t see it coming, there were no hard feelings for me really because this is showbiz.”

[Read more]

The Advertiser celebrates how SAFM rocked in the 1980s

SAFM yesterday announced the return of the SAFM brand to Adelaide. Today The Advertiser is celebrating the return.

See also: Local heritage brands are back at SCA: Hello again B105 and SAFM


Originally known as 5SSA, with the on-air call sign Double SAFM, the station delivered Adelaide’s first FM station on September 12, 1980 to the strains of Sultans of Swing. Nine months later the station was in dire straits when a major shareholder pulled out of the company, but founder radio executive Paul Thompson refused to throw the baby out with the bathwater.


Double SAFM became SAFM in 1982. By the late 80s Paul Thompson’s little baby had grown into a giant – the national Austereo empire. It was run out of the Greenhill Rd offices which housed SAFM. In 1995 it was the third largest radio company in the world before it merged with Triple M’s Village Roadshow.


“We will not play and don’t play the Kylie (Minogue) and Jason (Donovan) records and the things that have very strong junior teen and subteen appeal,’’ Paul Thompson told The Tiser in 1989.


In 1984 SAFM was the first FM station to go to No 1 in the ratings and four years later in survey four it registered the highest-ever capital city ratings figure in Aussie radio history with 36.6 per cent.


SAFM can take credit for kickstarting the career of many a radio star such as Grant Cameron and Andrew Peters in the 80s. Nineties’ names included comic Adam Hills, cricketer James Brayshaw and Amanda Blair. Funnyman Anthony “Lehmo” Lehmann also got his big break at the station. He’s back to co-host the now Bec, Cosi & Lehmo show in the crucial breakfast timeslot.


Photo: Jeff Allis with a competition winner. (Source: The Advertiser)

Photo: Jeff Allis with a competition winner. (Source: The Advertiser)

David “Daisy” Day, Grant Cameron, Andrew Peters and mid-dawn announcer Jeff Allis, were all big fans of the business-at-the-front-party-at-the-back iconic 80s hairstyle.

[Read more]


Which billionaire will rule Australia’s new Celebrity Apprentice?

The franchise that started Donald Trump’s rise to the US presidency, The Apprentice, is to return to Australian screens, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

Nine has commissioned Warner Brothers to make a season of The Celebrity Apprentice to screen in 2021. The network is whittling down a short-list of charismatic billionaires for the gig, with up to four on the shortlist.

An earlier Nine wishlist for the role included mining billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and retail king Solomon Lew.

One definitely not in contention is Wizard Home Loans founder Mark Bouris, who was host of the previous Australian incarnation of the show. Nine apparently wants fresh blood.

[Read more]

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