Tuesday June 30, 2020

How one Sydney indie media agency is riding out Covid-19 impact

By James Manning

• Angie Smith: “The year is not what we thought it was going to be”

The Sydney-based independent media agency MediaSmiths launched in 2007. Founder Angie Smith had previously worked on the media side and in agencies before that. “There were a couple of reasons I started the business,” Smith told Mediaweek.

“I wanted to have some freedom away from working for someone else by creating my own business. I had seen some things working for other people in the media services industry that I didn’t particularly like so I wanted to create my own business where we would work collaboratively with clients and have a partnership with them working towards their objectives.

“I wanted to operate under my ethos and to have the opportunity to mentor staff and grow with them.”

Smith said the business started on the “smell of an oily rag”. At the beginning it was Angie, with her husband and business partner Mike Smith. “He was still working on the media side when we launched. We soon started to hire staff and we grew from that.”

MediaSmiths logo

The two Smiths met during their time in radio at ARN. “It took us a little while to get some momentum. There were a lot of learnings in the early days.”

Covid-19 wasn’t the first hurdle the business faced. A big challenge soon after launch was Angie suffering a major cerebral haemorrhage. “It put a major dent in my ability to do anything. I do remember being in hospital with a laptop, but being told to stop working and look after my blood pressure.”

Going back to work for someone else was never an option. “I was 28 at the time and being ambitious and motivated made me stick with it.”

MediaSmiths offers full service in media with research, planning, strategy and then buys the media. “We have some clients who may not have had an agency before, but they have reached that point where it doesn’t make sense for them to buy their own media. They might not have the time, the energy or the expertise to be doing it.”

The MediaSmiths has a team of 10. “We obvously plan across all mediums and something we are big on is planning holistically across all channels depending on what their goals are.

“We don’t specialise in any one client sector, having worked pretty much across everything. We currently have pharmaceutical clients, developers, legal firms, automotive and more.”

One thing they have had success with is combining radio with digital media for some clients. “That is like a good marriage that delivers good results.”

Angie shook her head when asked about the challenges of 2020, before admitting: “We have been fairly lucky. Having a diverse portfolio of clients has helped with not too many exposed to Covid shutdowns. Amongst some clients initially there was a degree of panic us none us knew what was going to be happening.

“The year is certainly not what we thought it was going to be back in January. It is not the great 2020 we were working toward, but all things considered it is not as dire as we thought it could be back in March.”

Some advertisers are wary of industry recommendations in the media that now is the time to spend to grow your business. “The rhetoric from clients now seems to be they are looking at September onwards for things to improve.”

There has been opportunities for media deals. “It depends on the vendor you are speaking to, but many have been prepared to put together sharpened deals for you if you want to spend.”

MediaSmiths was keen to join the IMAA when it heard about the new organisation.

Angie: “It’s been heartening to be part of the IMAA so far especially with the various events provided to allow for learning, support and collaboration between agencies and our all-important media partners. I just hope that the industry body can grow and that what it was built for can continue to drive real partnerships and ensure integrity as well as diversity for the industry.

When joining we saw an opportunity for indie agencies to have a voice in the industry as we had been under-represented for so long. There is an opportunity for us to stand up and showcase the amazing work we do and also the positive effect we have on the Australian economy. We are independent, Australian owned and furthermore keep the economy going through employment of staff.”

Top Photo: Mike and Angie Smith from MediaSmiths

Chris Ivers joining Grant Broadcasters as content director for Qld & NT

Grant Broadcasters has appointed Chris Ivers (pictured) as the new regional content director for Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Ivers joins Grant Broadcasters from Zoo Business Media where he was the content, creative and marketing director. Ivers has extensive experience in the radio sector including senior programming roles in Australia with both Southern Cross Austereo and the Australian Radio Network plus an international stint as a consultant for Communicorp in Ireland and Europe.

Newly appointed group Content director Ryan Rathbone said: “I felt spoiled for choice with the incredible selection of extremely talented people that wanted to join Grant Broadcasters. Chris was a standout for this role due to his genuine passion for local content and his depth of on ground experience and knowledge of all key markets that he is now ultimately responsible throughout Queensland and Northern Territory.”

Ivers added: “I’ve had opportunities to get back into radio over the years but this role was the first that really got me excited. I can’t wait to reconnect with the markets and work with the very talented teams across Queensland and Northern Territory to continue building on the amazing work they’ve already started.”

Ivers will be based in Grant Broadcasters’ Maroochydore offices and his first day is July 6th.

Grant Broadcasters is one of Australia’s largest independent media companies. As well as interests in 52 regional radio stations, it owns a sales representation company (TRSN) representing a further 70 independent radio networks and stations, the digital agency Sparx Digital, publishes several local lifestyle magazines and has a significant online presence in local markets.

New Hoges movie premiering exclusively on Prime Video in July

Amazon Prime Video will be premiering the new Paul Hogan film The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee in its streaming service on Friday July 17, 2020.

Originally slated for cinema release in April and following the unprecedented closure of movie theatres with the COVID-19 outbreak, The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee will be premiering exclusively on Prime Video in Australia and New Zealand.

Starring as a fictionalised version of himself, The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee sees Paul Hogan enjoying a quiet life and all the perks of retirement in Brentwood, California, but he can’t seem to stay out of the headlines. When his granddaughter Lucy (Charlotte Stent) finds out he’s been offered a knighthood for services to comedy and tells all her friends, Paul reluctantly accepts the offer and has six weeks to stay out of trouble before the ceremony. But wherever Paul goes, trouble follows, and we see Paul’s reputation hilariously put through the ringer the closer we get to his important meeting with his biggest Royal fan.

Joining Hogan in his new adventure is a star-studded cast including comedy legend’s John Cleese (Monty Python, A Fish Called Wanda) and Chevy Chase (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Fletch), Olivia Newton-John (Grease), Aussie favourites Shane Jacobson (Kenny, Oddball), Julia Morris (House Husbands), Rachael Carpani (McLeod’s Daughters), as well as comedy stars including Jim Jefferies (The Jim Jefferies Show), Reggie VelJohnson (Die Hard), and Wayne Knight (Seinfeld, Jurassic Park).

“Transmission Films has a long and esteemed history of unearthing great Aussie storytelling across different genres and supporting the local filmmaking industry and we’re honoured to partner with them so audiences can enjoy Paul Hogan’s latest comedy,” said Tyler Bern, Head of Content Australia, New Zealand at Amazon Prime Video.

“Australian and NZ Amazon customers love Paul Hogan and we are thrilled to be bringing The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee to households across both countries as part of our growing content line-up for local Prime members.”

“When I first started out people used to watch me on a scratchy, black and white 9-inch tele,” said Paul Hogan. “Now they can sit in their homes and watch their 80-inch screen with fully digital everything. It is exciting that with cinemas having a rest people can now see The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee thanks to Prime Video’s amazing support for original Australian content.

“As audiences will see in The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee, all of the film is fact, except for the bits we totally made up. We know some of it is true and some is utter lies, but we’ve forgotten which is which… People ask what is true and what is not. What I do know is that fact is certainly funnier than fiction,” said Hogan.

The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee is directed by homegrown Aussie director Dean Murphy, who previously worked with Hogan on Strange Bedfellows (2004), Charlie & Boots (2009) and That’s Not My Dog! (2018). Murphy, who co-wrote the script with Robert Mond, also produced the film, alongside Nigel Odell.

“More than ever I feel the world needs a laugh and who better than Hoges to deliver that!” said director Dean Murphy. “With the ever changing world around us, we are thrilled to be partnering with Amazon Prime Video in premiering The Very Excellent Mr Dundee.”

ABC dishes up Erik Thomson in delicious new comedy series Aftertaste

ABC, Screen Australia and the South Australian Film Corporation have announced pre-production has resumed on ABC’s newest comedy series Aftertaste (working title).

Erik Thomson (Packed to the Rafters, The Luminaries), stars as Easton West, an internationally renowned yet volatile celebrity chef whose spectacular fall from grace sees him return to his home town in the Adelaide Hills, where he endeavours to rebuild his career and restore his reputation, with the help of his talented, young, pastry-chef niece.

After their unplanned Covid hiatus, the team at Closer Productions (The Hunting, In My Blood it Runs) are excited to be back to work. Closer Productions producer Rebecca Summerton said: “It’s great to be back in production. I am delighted to be working with the Aftertaste team and our production partners to bring this exciting new comedy to audiences.”

ABC head of scripted production Sally Riley said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Erik back to the ABC, in a role created for him by Julie de Fina and one that is very different to his usual characters. I can’t wait for the talented team at Closer Productions to bring this irreverent and laugh-out-loud series to the screen.”

Head of content at Screen Australia Sally Caplan said: “Closer Productions have an impressive track record of creating compelling and edgy comedy-dramas and we are delighted this series is back in pre-production and can’t wait for the ABC serve up this high cuisine drama.”

Aftertaste will film in Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills in the coming months and premiere next year on ABC.

Production Credits: Aftertaste is a Closer production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the South Australian Film Corporation. Financed with support from the ABC.  Producers Rebecca Summerton, Matthew Bate and Erik Thomson. Executive Producer Julie De Fina. Creators Julie De Fina and Matthew Bate. Writers Julie De Fina, Matthew Bate and Matt Vesely. ABC Executive Producer Rebecca Anderson.

Australian Ninja Warrior returns on Nine for 2020 season

• 140 athletes will tackle the world’s toughest obstacle course in the 2020 series of Australian Ninja Warrior on Nine.

For the first time in history, it will be Ninja versus Ninja as each night the two fastest Ninjas compete on the Power Tower, an obstacle four storeys high, with the victorious Ninja gaining an edge leading into the finals.
 
Hosts Rebecca MaddernBen Fordham and Freddie Flintoff, joined for the first time by Shane Crawford, will take viewers through every triumph and fall on the wild Ninja Warrior ride.

Nine’s head of content production and development, Adrian Swift, said: “Australia has embraced Ninja as one of the most popular programs of the past decade. But nothing can compare to the exhilaration of seeing these athletes live, sitting right in the Ninja course.
 
“We invite Melburnians to come on down and check out our massive new course in its brand-new home at the Showgrounds.”

Last year golfer Charlie Robbins was crowned the first winner of Australian Ninja Warrior after failing on the Floating Doors in the fastest time of stage three of Mt Midoriyama. With crowd favourite Ashlin Herbet falling short on the Salmon Ladder in stage 2.

The other competitors to make it to the Floating Doors but in a slower time were:
• Daniel Mason
• Bryson Klein
• Josh O’Sullivan

Fan favourites from previous seasons will join a fresh lineup of competitors in Melbourne on the toughest course ever assembled for Australian Ninja Warrior.
 
And in an eye-popping sequel, this year’s series will be capped off by a two-part special team event –Australian Ninja Warrior: State of Origin.

TV Guide: T20 World Cup Week on Fox Cricket

Fox Sports will celebrate Twenty20 cricket with a T20 World Cup Week pop-up channel this week on Foxtel and Foxtel Now.

From 6.00pm Monday and continuing each night this week Fox Cricket (Channel 501) will showcase some of the best ICC T20 World Cup matches Australia has played in.

The matches featured will range from the World Cup’s origin in 2007 through to the most recent World Cup in 2016. Key highlights will include Australia’s 2010 T20 World Cup campaign semi-final against Pakistan where Australia won with one ball remaining qualifying them for the final against England, as well as their semi-final bouts against India in 2007 and West Indies in 2012. 

T20 WORLD CUP WEEK POP-UP CHANNEL (FOX CRICKET) PROGRAMMING:
MONDAY JUNE 29:

2012: Australia v Ireland
2012: Australia v West indies
2012 Super 8’s: Australia v India
2012 Super 8’s: Australia v South Africa
2012 Super 8’s Australia v Pakistan

TUESDAY JUNE 30:

2012 Semi-Final 2: Australia v West Indies
2010: Australia v Pakistan
2010: Australia v Bangladesh
2010 Super 8’s: Australia v India

WEDNESDAY JULY 1:

2010 Super 8’s: Australia v Sri Lanka
2010 Super 8’s: Australia v West Indies
2010 Semi-Final 2: Australia v Pakistan
2010 Final: Australia v England

THURSDAY JULY 2:

2014 Super 10’s: Australia v Pakistan
2014 Super 10’s: Australia v West Indies
2014 Super 10’s: Australia v India
2014 Super 10’s: Australia v Bangladesh

FRIDAY JULY 3:

2009: Australia v West Indies
2009: Australia v Sri Lanka
2016 Super 10’s: Australia v New Zealand

SATURDAY JULY 4:

2016 Super 10’s: Australia v Pakistan
2016 Super 10’s: Australia v India
2007: Australia v Zimbabwe

SUNDAY JULY 5:

2007 Super 8’s: Australia v Pakistan
2007 Super 8’s: Australia v Sri Lanka
2007 Semi-Final 2: Australia v India

TV Ratings Monday June 29 Week 27 2020

By James Manning

• Victors! Nine wins night, 10 wins 7.30pm, Seven wins 6pm
• MasterChef immunity prelim on 950k: sets up battle for top 5 spot
• Battle rounds finish on The Voice, Angela evicted from Big Brother

Seven News 1,140,000/1,096,000
Nine News 1,127,000/1,051,000
ABC News 868,000
A Current Affair 801,000
7.30 691,000
The Project 348,000/584,000
10 News 429,000/283,000
Sunrise 268,000
The Drum 228,000
SBS World News 205,000
Today 195,000
The Latest 170,000

Seven: Home and Away was on 657,000 after a week 26 average of 661,000.
Big Brother was a surprise for fans of Angela who had been arguably the most entertaining housemate. She was evicted with an almost-unanimous vote – Casey and Kieran were also nominated, with Casey getting just one vote and Kieran none. On her departure, Angela said: “Goodbye house. Best. Experience. Ever! This experience has made me realise I’m stronger than I thought I was. I always had a cup of tea before a challenge I think that was my secret weapon, tea drinking and my lip gloss. I’m going to miss Big Brother… that voice just gets me… honey, honey, talk to me more!” The episode did 686,000 after Monday last week was close to 730,000.
Episode one of 10 Years Younger in 10 Days from the UK launched at 9pm with 245,000.

Nine: Leila McKinnon was hosting A Current Affair while Tracy Grimshaw continues in recovery at home from a broken foot. The episode started with a look at the growing coronavirus cases in Victoria. The Monday episode was on 801,000 after an average of 686,000 across last week.
The final battle rounds on The Voice as the teams for each coach were finalised. A special moment during the film was when the coaches and hosts surprised Delta Goodrem with a celebration of her milestone of 150 episodes on the program. The last battle featured Elyse v Adam with Guy Sebastian surprising nearly everybody with Adam going through. It didn’t seem a fare fight as Elyse had such a superb voice, but Guy felt he could do more with Adam. The audience of 777,000 was down on 861,000 a week ago and was the smallest audience this year and one of the smallest ever.
The Guy Sebastian doco The Man and His Music followed The Voice with the coach performing some of his greatest hits. The Monday night music special did 378,000.
The football show Footy Classified was on 107,000 and went to air just before 11pm.

10: The Project featured a lengthy Lisa Wilkinson interview with Peter Brock’s x-wife Bev Brock as a movie length doco Brock: Over the Top is released. The 7pm half of the program was on 584,000 after a week 26 average of 509,000.
A Rubic’s Cube was inside the MasterChef Mystery Box with each of the top six to choosing a colour to cook to. Reynold had a dessert concoction that impressed, Reece delivered a perfect lemon tart with ice cream that detracted from the main dish, Laura had a dish featuring yoghurt that impressed all three judges, Callum has a busy dish that Jock called awesome, Amelia delivered her take on strawberries and cream which again pleased all judges. Poh was the last judged and she moved Melissa to tears with the quality of her dish of rice and curry. It was hard to separate the six dishes with the judges choosing Poh, Laura and Reynold to compete for immunity tonight for a spot in the Back to Win top five.
Kitty, Urzila and Marty joined Ed and Sam on Have You Been Paying Attention? with 824,000 watching, the biggest audience in five weeks.
Episode six of Kinne Tonight kept the laughs coming on the channel with 319,000 watching, up on last week’s 293,000.

ABC: Leigh Sales was doing her best to get straight answers out of health minister Greg Hunt on 7.30. With a focus on what had gone wrong in fighting Covid-19 in Victoria, Sales revealed they continue to be refused an interview with that state’s premier and health minister, but they will persevere. The episode was on 691,000 after a week 26 average of 646,000.
Back Roads visited Biloela in Central Queensland with 641,000 watching.
Four Corners looked as the Australian commercial aviation sector for its audience of 544,000.
Media Watch focused on coverage of ABC funding, looking at media coverage and examining the numbers behind the headlines. It was just over 500,000, up on last week’s 489,000.
Guest host Virginia Trioli was in charge of Q+A with 331,000 watching.

 SBS: SBS World News had the biggest Monday crowd with 205,000, Secrets of the Royal Servants attracted 183,000 after 7.30pm. 24 Hours in Emergency was on 156,000 at 8.30am and then Why Do I Put on Weight? was on 111,00 after 9.30pm.

Week 27 TV: Monday
MONDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 13.9% 7 17.1% 9 20.8% 10  16.6% SBS One 4.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.2% 7TWO 2.8% GO! 2.0% 10 Bold 4.0% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.3% 7mate 2.5% GEM 2.5% 10 Peach 2.2% Food Net 0.7%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 1.5% 9Life 1.6%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.1%     SBS World Movies 1.0%
TOTAL 17.9%   24.0%   28.1%   22.7%   7.3%

 

MONDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 13.3% 7 18.5% 9 18.8% WIN 12.7% SBS One 3.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.4% 7TWO 4.3% GO! 2.5% WIN Bold 4.5% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 3.9% GEM 4.7% WIN Peach 1.7% Food Net 0.6%
ABC NEWS 1.0% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.8% 9Life 1.9% Sky News  on WIN 2.0% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 1.1%
TOTAL 17.2%   28.5%   28.0%   20.9%   6.6%

 

MONDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
88.9% 11.1%
Monday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,140,000
  2. Nine News Nine 1,127,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,096,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 1,051,000
  5. MasterChef Australia 10 943,000
  6. ABC News ABC 868,000
  7. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 824,000
  8. A Current Affair Nine 801,000
  9. The Voice Nine 777,000
  10. 7.30 ABC 691,000
  11. Big Brother Seven 686,000
  12. Home And Away Seven 657,000
  13. Back Roads S6 ABC 641,000
  14. The Chase Australia Seven 638,000
  15. Hot Seat Nine 588,000
  16. The Project 7pm 10 584,000
  17. Four Corners ABC 544,000
  18. Media Watch ABC 524,000
  19. 10 News First 10 429,000
  20. Guy Sebastian – The Man The Music Nine 378,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 297,000
  2. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 285,000
  3. Big Brother Seven 199,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 147,000
  5. Nine News Nine 141,000

 

18-49 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 446,000
  2. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 433,000
  3. Big Brother Seven 348,000
  4. Nine News Nine 291,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 272,000

 

25-54 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 471,000
  2. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 451,000
  3. Big Brother Seven 373,000
  4. Nine News Nine 360,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 337,000
Monday Multichannel
  1. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 176,000
  2. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 171,000
  3. Floogals PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 170,000
  4. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 167,000
  5. Dog Loves Books ABCKIDS/COMEDY 161,000
  6. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 155,000
  7. Little J And Big Cuz AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 155,000
  8. Peter Rabbit PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 153,000
  9. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 152,000
  10. Thomas And Friends PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 141,000
  11. Neighbours 10 Peach 138,000
  12. Kiri And Lou ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  13. Doc Martin PM 7TWO 133,000
  14. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 129,000
  15. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  16. Midsomer Murders 9Gem 126,000
  17. Law & Order: Svu (R) 10 Bold 126,000
  18. Go Jetters AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  19. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 118,000
  20. Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 113,000
Monday STV
  1. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 80,000
  2. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 65,000
  3. Credlin Sky News Live 62,000
  4. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 60,000
  5. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 55,000
  6. Live: On The Couch FOX FOOTY 55,000
  7. PML Later Sky News Live 51,000
  8. Perry Mason FOX SHOWCASE 48,000
  9. Kenny On Media Sky News Live 47,000
  10. Perry Mason FOX SHOWCASE 35,000
  11. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 34,000
  12. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 33,000
  13. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver COMEDY CHANNEL 33,000
  14. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 31,000
  15. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 31,000
  16. Law & Order: Svu UNIVERSAL TV 31,000
  17. Antiques Roadshow Lifestyle Channel 28,000
  18. Family Guy FOX8 28,000
  19. NCIS: Los Angeles FOX Crime 27,000
  20. Escape To The Country Lifestyle Channel 27,000

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

AAP newswire 'begins its next chapter' as sale finalised

The future of the AAP newswire is assured with the inking of a sale to new owners who say they are driven by a desire to retain Australian media diversity, reports the newswire in a story outgoing shareholder Nine newspapers carry today.

A consortium of philanthropists and investors on Monday finalised a deal with current shareholders, including Nine and News Corp, to purchase Australian Associated Press which has been operating for more than 85 years.

The consortium, led by Nick Harrington, is made up of a number of people including philanthropist John McKinnon, and has been supported by senior media executive Peter Tonagh.

The new-look AAP, directed by CEO Emma Cowdroy and editor Andrew Drummond, will continue to produce content including breaking and world news, sport, court and political reporting, plus photography and a FactCheck service.

The new owners have committed to retain scores of the current AAP workforce, but there will be job losses. Changes to the business are expected to be finalised ahead of settlement on July 31.

Cowdroy, who has previously worked as AAP’s senior legal counsel, championed news of the sale.

“This is not only great news, but it’s vital for our democracy, as public-interest journalism is more important than ever,” she said.

Other parts of the AAP Group will be retained by the current shareholders. This includes Medianet, Mediaverse, AAP Directories, Pagemasters and Racing operations.

Willoughby home of the Nine Network to become 460 new homes

As the first Nine Entertainment Co start to relocate to the company’s new North Sydney office tower this week, Domain’s Sue Williams reports on the future of the company’s Sydney TV studios:

Mirvac bought the Willoughby head office from the Nine Network, and the neighbouring land of its transmission tower, in February for $249 million.

In the final plans submitted to council, Mirvac is proposing that the 3.2-hectare space off Artarmon Road on Sydney’s lower north shore have nine blocks of apartments built. They range from four to nine levels, with the lower-rise on the perimeter and the higher ones towards the centre.

The buildings will all be set in 6000 square metres of public open space, with a new park, playground and retail plaza. The developer is also applying to demolish the gigantic 233-metre-high steel TV tower, so long a feature of the local skyline.

[Read more]

Could a boycott kill Facebook? ‘Yes’ says analyst

Boycotts can be extremely effective – as Facebook is finding out, reports BBC North American tech writer James Clayton.

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign is the latest movement to use boycott as a political tool. It claims that Facebook doesn’t do enough to remove racist and hateful content from its platform.

It’s convinced a series of major companies – including Coca-Cola, Unilever and Starbucks – to pull advertising from Facebook and some other social media companies.

Meanwhile, other online platforms, including Reddit and Twitch, have piled on more pressure by taking anti-hate steps of their own.

Can that boycott hurt Facebook? The short answer is yes – the vast majority of Facebook’s revenue comes from ads.

David Cumming from Aviva Investors told the BBC’s Today program that the loss of trust, and a perceived absence of a moral code, could “destroy the business”.

[Read more]

11th hour reprieve: Community TV channels win 12 month extension

Community TV broadcasters Channel 31 and Channel 44 have been given a 12 month broadcasting extension, reports TV Tonight.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher announced the 11th hour reprieve, almost 24 hours before both faced switch off.

Speaking on Q+A he said, “I can announce tonight that we will be extending Channel 31 and Channel 44 for another 12 months.

“Let’s be clear, it’s been our policy since 2014 that these community television stations should move to operating in a digital mode. Both Channel 31 in Melbourne and Channel 44 in Adelaide have several times said yes, they’re going to make that transition. They have been extended several times.

“I’ve agreed now and we’ll be announcing formally tomorrow to extend for a further 12 months for both of those channels. But we will be using this period to work through with them, what needs to happen for them to successfully transition to digital operations, so that we can still have Community TV as a great place where people can work, can make programs, be responsive to the community…”

Asked by host Virginia Trioli if assisting the transition would involve money he said, “We’re not at that point yet, but what we want to do is work with Channel 31 and Channel 44. in Melbourne and Adelaide.”

C31 General Manager Shane Dunlop told TV Tonight, “We’re grateful for the support of the Federal and Victorian State Governments that will allow our beloved station to make an eventual successful transition online, and are appreciative of their ongoing support of the arts industry.

“We’re looking forward to using the next 12 months to continue to pivot our operations to focus on online broadcasting, and we look forward to working with producers and viewers to ensure that they can still create, distribute and access Community Television content, for many years to come.”

[Read more]

See also: Channel 31 resigned to say goodbye

News Brands

SBS ‘racism’ drove indigenous writer to ‘suicidal thoughts’

Australian screenwriter Kodie Bedford has described a deeply racist workplace culture at SBS, where she started her career as a cadet journalist, reports The Australian’s Caroline Overington.

Bedford, now a writer for the hit ABC TV show Mystery Road, has written a long essay in the form of a Twitter thread, saying she and other indigenous cadets were made to feel like “dopey blackfellas in the corner, ticking boxes” during her time at the multicultural broadcaster.

They endured jokes about alcoholism, and had their accents mocked, she said.

“I won out a journalist cadetship with SBS,’ she began. “I only mention SBS because it’s touted as a champion of diverse voices.

“It wasn’t a champion for me. I still believe in the SBS charter and mission and personally think they have the best content in (Australia) and a lot of good people in the newsroom.”

But, she said, she was made to endure “jokes” about alcohol and forced to clean up her desk like a child, in front of other staff, even though the desks of other colleagues were messier.

She said indigenous staff were mocked for their accents, and encouraged to re-do their scripts over and over, as if they couldn’t speak English properly.

An SBS spokesperson said: “We were deeply saddened to read Kodie’s account of her experiences at SBS in 2008.

“Racism is abhorrent and we are committed to ensuring it has no place in SBS.”

[Read more]

Australian reporter testifies about police beating outside White House

Seven Network US correspondent Amelia Brace has described to a US congressional committee how she was shot by non-lethal projectiles and hit by a truncheon as police violently cleared Washington DC’s Lafayette Square near the White House, reports AAP’s Peter Mitchell in a report carried in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Brace was broadcasting live back to Australia with her cameraman Tim Myers on June 1 when riot police began forming a line in front of them.

“A park police officer who was passing us stopped, turned towards Tim and rammed him in the chest and stomach with the edge of his riot shield, causing Tim to keel over and drop down,” Brace told the committee in Washington DC on Monday.

Brace told the committee it was imperative to democracy that journalists could report from the scene of protests.

“As a reporter I have no interest in becoming the story but over recent weeks many of us have been left with no choice,” Brace said.

[Read more]

Radio

Former Hawks captain signs on for regular spots with SEN

The former Hawthorn and Brisbane champion Luke Hodge, who still lives in Brisbane, is already commentating with Channel 7 this year and is now joining Melbourne sports station 1116 SEN, every Tuesday with Gerard Whateley and also Saturday Crunch Time, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

News Corp launches UK’s Times Radio with Boris Johnson exclusive

Times Radio launched in the UK with what it described as an exclusive Boris Johnson interview, reports Press Gazette.

The prime minister was interviewed by Aasmah Mir and Sig Abell on their breakfast show.

Times Radio program director Tim Levell said: “We have always had big ambitions for Times Radio and we are delighted the Prime Minister will be with us on launch day.

“Our promise to listeners is that, in a world of noise and confusion, Times Radio will offer intelligent and thought-provoking news, analysis and conversation, hosted by respected and entertaining presenters.”

Times Radio is broadcast nationally via DAB and operates without advertising breaks, instead offering sponsors “commercial opportunities across the schedule”.

Times Radio is a partnership between The Times, Sunday Times and News UK’s radio division Wireless which owns a number of stations including Talksport and Talkradio.

Hosts include Times writers Giles Coren, Hugo Rifkind, Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson. Signings from outside the paper include Michael Portillo, Gloria De Piero and Cathy Newman.

[Read more]

Television

SBS series shines light on 'incredibly complicated' immigration process

For almost five years, Satinder‘s life has been on hold. In 2007, she met Indian national Sumit, who was studying in Australia. They married in 2015 with plans to settle here and start a family but after Sumit overstayed his visa, he returned to India, reports The Age’s Michael Lallo.

So when Satinder was approached by the makers of SBS’s new documentary series Who Gets to Stay in Australia?, she was eager to be involved. “I was in a really tough place,” says the Melbourne woman, who requested her surname be withheld. “I was looking for any help I could get.”

Satinder’s case is one of 13 featured in the four-part series, including a Peruvian man desperate to continue his HIV treatment in Australia and an Irish boy whose cystic fibrosis treatment has been deemed too costly for our public health system.

“People may come to this with black and white views about immigration,” says Joseph Maxwell, head of documentaries at SBS. “But this series is not about taking a political position. What I hope is that people will ask, ‘Who are we – and who do we want to be – as Australians?'”

[Read more]

Shock claims about Chris Lilley’s Jonah from Tonga character

Chris Lilley has posted a telling link on Facebook amid fierce backlash surrounding his controversial Tongan schoolboy character, reports news.com.au.

In a defiant move, the comedian and writer shared a deleted scene from the Summer Heights High spin off Jonah From Tonga which shows his character sitting with a group of students writing the song Don’t Be a Bully from the series.

It is the first Facebook post the comedian has made since May, and comes after former Tongan schoolboy Filipe Mahe, who was the subject of a 2004 ABC documentary series, claimed Lilley based the character Jonah on him.

Lilley, who has portrayed several racially diverse characters in his shows, some using blackface and brownface, is yet to comment directly on his shows being dumped from the streaming service, or the recent claims by Mahe.

[Read more]

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