Tuesday August 4, 2020

Fetch TV rolls out new features and an updated User Interface

Fetch TV is further enhancing the Fetch user experience, with the addition of new features and an updated User Interface.

New features include the introduction of Integrated Universal Search, a 24-hour reverse EPG, and the ability to set channel favourites for easy navigation. Fetch users with a Mini set-top-box will also gain access to the Amazon Prime Video app (previously only available on the Fetch Mighty).

The Fetch User Interface has undergone a visual makeover to improve accessibility, with the introduction of darker colours, finer fonts, larger text, and simplified icons. The upgrade (known as 3.10 Abercrombie) will be progressively rolled out this month, starting from today with the Fetch Retail customer base, and represents the first of several major upgrades planned for the next 12 months.

Scott Lorson, CEO of Fetch TV, said: “A defining characteristic of the Fetch service is its dynamic nature, thanks to our highly agile in-house design and development capability. We are constantly looking for ways to improve the user experience by adding new features, evolving the User Interface, and enhancing our content offering. This latest release achieves all three, and there are more exciting changes to come.

“Fetch and our partners are focused on leading the market in both value and user experience. In a constantly evolving market with more choices than ever, Fetch is delivering ‘All your entertainment, easy’.”

Summary of Fetch TV’s key features:

Integrated Universal Search – a single search query now provides results across free-to-air, subscription channels, recordings, Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime Video, hayu, 7+, 10Play, 9Now, ABC iView, SBS on Demand, the Fetch TV and Movie Stores, and YouTube. A “Ways to Watch” listing allows for easy selection from available options.

Updates to the TV Guide

• Channel Favourites – enables users to nominate “Favourite Channels”, with these channels then appearing at the top of the guide listing, for easy access.
• New look grid view – provides contextual show imagery and information, making browsing and selecting content easier than ever.
• 24 hour Reverse mode – allows on demand viewing of programs that aired up to 24 hours earlier for both free-to-air, and subscription channels.
• New look Info Bar – provides prompts for different ways of viewing shows across all channel types – join in progress, play from start, view shows that aired in the past 24 hrs, and view future scheduled programs now (the latter being for Virtual Playlist Channels only).
• New channel scanner – a quick and easy way to see what is now airing on adjacent channels and to navigate to watch.

Updates to Movie & TV Stores

The Fetch interface has moved from a 3×3 to a 4×3 grid, increasing the number of titles available to view at a time. Rotten Tomatoes ratings and classification information now appears automatically when the user pauses on a movie or show tile.

New Home Page layouts

Flexibility has been added to the layout of the Home Page, allowing for variations in the configuration to increase vitality and editorial impact. Actionable half-page take overs can now be used to promote key content or to deliver educational messages intended to enhance users’ knowledge of the features of Fetch. Additional layout options to be added in coming months.


Will & Woody part 1: KIIS drive time co-host Woody Whitelaw speaks out!

By Trent Thomas

• The Five Cs: Content creativity, contracts, commercialism and Covid

In May of this year, KIIS FM national drive show hosts, Will McMahon and Woody Whitelaw extended their contracts with ARN for three years.

It was a straightforward decision for both ARN and the pair from Melbourne with the only wrinkle in an otherwise straightforward negotiation being the effects of Covid-19 which saw the pair broadcasting from Whitelaw’s front porch when the contracts were signed.

Will & Woody

Mediaweek caught up with the hosts as part of a two-part Will & Woody feature. First up is Woody Whitelaw discussing their new contract, creating content during Covid, being a national program, and creating commercial content.

“We’re back” Three more years with ARN

Whitelaw admitted that if you told him this time last year that he would have been broadcasting from his front porch during contract negotiations he would have been more likely to be unemployed than signing a new contract.

“It was wild times; we were doing the show from my front porch and the global pandemic hit and we are signing this exciting contract – it was a bloody exciting time to be alive.”

Will & Woody Covid

Will & Woody met in school and got closer while they were both at uni by doing theatre and stage comedy projects such as Monash Law Review which eventually lead to their first radio show.

The pair spent much of the last decade at SCA in regional markets, weekend metro breakfast shifts for 2Day FM and Fox FM followed by four years in Perth at Hit 92.9.

“I am incredibly grateful for my relationship with Will in different companies, different states, different jobs. We have gone through really difficult times, really great times and I don’t think I would still be doing this if I was doing it alone.

Will and Woody old

Will and Woody in 2012

Being creative during challenging time

Whitelaw admits that he enjoys being spontaneous which has come in handy when trying to come up with types of content that is possible with Covid restrictions in place.

“It is actually pretty hard to make any type of plan for the future since it’s so hard to know where we are going to be at with this pandemic – even looking a few months in advance to do a big idea it is really difficult. On the other side of it our entire team has really thrived in having that restriction but still coming up with ideas that work in the studio without coming into contact with anyone else.”

Going national on the KIIS Network

Talking about the change from local radio in Perth to going national with KIIS, Whitelaw said it was a significant adjustment when appealing to such a broad audience.

“It is so good to be local because you can mention street names and pubs and venues which you grow to love. When you go national you have to remember to not do that because you are everywhere across Australia.

“One of our first gigs in radio was national weekends for a year so we had done the national thing before and knew from those days how to be when presenting to a national audience.”

Creating commercial friendly content

Will & Woody Spelling Bee

One aspect that has taken the pair time to perfect is maximising commercial partnerships, with Whitelaw saying that early miscommunications presented challenges.

“That process has evolved over time and we found the key was communication between the client/agency and us. That process has vastly improved over time and we now have an awesome relationship with the sales team at ARN and we can know exactly what the client is after and match our idea to that.”

The pair’s current campaign is Will & Woody’s Spelling Bee with Toys R Us. Which see’s school children facing Whitelaw who was a self professed “spelling prodigy” in a spelling bee, with the winner taking home a $2,000 prize pack. On the latest initiative Whitelaw had one thing to say.

“To the children of Australia… bring it. If you think you can beat me let’s do this.”

IMAA insurance
Independent agencies pitching to business via ad campaign on ARN stations

The Independent Media Agencies of Australia (IMAA), the new, national, not for profit industry association for the independent media agency industry, has launched its first radio advertising campaign in partnership with ARN to promote the benefits of independent media agencies to businesses.

The radio campaign will launch across the ARN network today, which includes the KIIS and Pure Gold networks.

It aims to promote the IMAA and the benefits of working with its members to businesses that tune into the ARN network, and the ad says:

If your business could use some support, the IMAA – Independent Media Agencies of Australia – is here to help.

The IMAA is a body of advertising professionals formed by the most respected independent media agencies in Australia.

We offer expertise and leadership across all media, and an unwavering commitment to your business’s success.

That’s why thousands of companies have already worked with IMAA members.

Learn more at theimaa.com.au.

“We are so thrilled to partner with ARN to launch our first national advertising campaign that will help promote our members and the independent sector’s skills to a large business audience. It’s a fantastic initiative and ARN has donated the airtime to help get independent media agencies front and centre for businesses looking to work with Australian-owned companies,” the IMAA said.

ARN Chief Commercial Officer, Pete Whitehead, said “ARN wholeheartedly support the IMAA in their mission to support Australian businesses who are working hard towards recovery in this challenging economic climate. Aligned with the IMAA vision, we are focused on delivering access to a team of specialists across all parts of our business to help local businesses achieve great outcomes.  We’re proud to deliver a radio campaign that clearly promotes the benefits and expertise that Australian owned and operated independent media agencies offer to their clients.”

The radio campaign will run for two weeks nationally and was produced inhouse at ARN.

See also:
Independent media agencies launch IMAA, Dominic Pearman chair
• Group invests $2.5b+ between them in advertising expenditure

SMI June: How Covid-19 devasted business as ad spend fell off a cliff

• But the worst is over, hopefully, with markets beginning to rebuild

Australia’s media industry has suffered through its worst year in living memory, with the COVID-19 pandemic inflicting a further blow to a market already weakened by a series of natural disasters to pull the market back 14.7% in the 2019/20 financial year.

SMI reports on the state of agency ad spend:

The only good news is that the worst is over, with the decline in June ad spend the lowest since March and stronger forward booking data clearly showing the market has begun to rebuild.

Total June bookings have fallen 35.7% to $417.0 million, reducing the quarterly decline to 38.7% and contributing to a 24% fall in first half bookings.

SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe said that on the positive side the level of decline seen in June is the lowest since March and the forward pacings data – which shows the level of confirmed future ad bookings – was also looking more positive.

“While the market certainly looks to be picking up, the data underscores the truly awful period that Australia’s media industry has endured,” she said.

“Never before have we seen a situation where all major media have reported significant declines in ad spend in the last month, quarter, half year and financial year as such large product categories significantly reduced their media investment.”

Ractliffe said those declines were originally driven by the floods and fires earlier in the financial year, which had a particularly bad impact on Retail ad spend, but then the onset of the COVID pandemic pushed Travel category ad spend outside the list of the ten largest categories for the first time.

The fourth quarter was also impacted by a large decline in Political Party/Union ad spend (-88%) given the Federal election in May 2019, and the closure of cinemas and theme parks saw the Movies/Cinema/Theme Parks category reduce ad spend by 92%.

On the positive side, the ongoing higher investment from our Domestic Banks meant that category’s ad spend fell only 2.7% in the quarter (but within that both TV and Radio reported higher bookings) while the In Home Entertainment category reduced spend only 3.7% but significantly grew its Digital and TV investment.

Ractliffe said the early view of SMI’s data for July shows the decline for that month is already below than that seen in June, while the market is also looking stronger in August.

“SMI’s agency partners have already guaranteed ad spend equal to half that recorded in August 2019 – and that data came through before the month had even begun – with the hair and oral care categories, parts of the pharmaceutical market and technology sector already reporting higher media bookings than for August last year,” she said.

“And we can see that Retailers have already committed to spend more on Television in July and August than was spent last year, and the Outdoor media is also rebuilding with the level of confirmed bookings from the Utilities category for July and August already above that seen at this time last year.”

Ractliffe said it was also important to remember that COVID has severely reduced ad spend in numerous markets, with SMI reporting that NZ’s ad market fell 32.7% in June as they start to emerge from COVID while in the UK the June decline was 44%, in Canada it was 37% and in the US it was 20%.

“All markets are clearly suffering from the impact of COVID but as we track the changing market trends it’s also clear that within certain categories some media are managing to achieve growth. It remains a challenging market but the data proves we’ve moved off the bottom so the question is now how quickly the market returns to growth,” she said.

Publicis Groupe appoints Adrian Farouk CEO of Epsilon ANZ

Publicis Groupe ANZ CEO, Michael Rebelo, has appointed Adrian Farouk (pictured) to the new role of Epsilon ANZ chief executive.

Farouk will now have a dual role, retaining his responsibilities as CEO of Digitas ANZ.

Farouk will lead Epsilon’s local operations, with offices based in Sydney and Melbourne.

Through its Epsilon PeopleCloud platform, marketers can predict, activate and prove measurable business outcomes with award-winning data and technology that is underpinned by AI. With more than 50 years of experience working with the world’s top brands, Epsilon turbocharges Publicis Groupe’s existing creative, media, data and technology capabilities.

“We are very fortunate to be able to look within Publicis Groupe and tap into Adrian’s diverse experience,” Rebelo said. “As a digital marketing leader, Adrian spearheaded the launch of Digitas in the Australian market eight years ago, growing it from the ground up to become one of the country’s most reputable marketing and technology agencies. I’m confident that Adrian will be able to bring that same deep understanding of data and technology to Epsilon.”

Ashish Sinha, Epsilon Managing Director of APAC & MEA added: “We’re pleased to bring Epsilon capabilities to this market, further strengthening our APAC offering at a time when consumer expectations are growing and clients are demanding data and technology solutions that lead to real business outcomes. Epsilon enables clients to deliver personalised – and purposeful – experiences at scale.”

Farouk first joined Digitas in London in 1999, and launched Digitas Australia in 2012. He brings more than 20 years of experience in areas including user experience, strategy, eCommerce, consumer research, analytics & measurement and client service. Digitas’ accolades have included being named Campaign Asia ANZ Agency of the Year (Digital) 2018 – Gold; Campaign Asia ANZ Agency of the Year (Specialist) 2018 – Silver; and Campaign Asia ANZ Agency of the Year (Specialist) 2019 – Silver.

On his appointment Farouk said: “I’m excited to bring Epsilon’s capabilities to our clients in Australia, enabling them to take back control of their customer relationships and deliver with greater precision and impact.”

University of Tasmania appoints independent digital media agency Pivotus

Following a competitive tender process, the University of Tasmania has appointed independent digital media agency Pivotus to its digital advertising strategy, buying and analysis.

As part of its engagement, Pivotus will appoint a dedicated account manager to be based in Hobart. They will work with the University and service the agency’s growing list of Tasmanian clients. The University of Tasmania account will be led by account director Audrey Fitte-Umark, who has previously worked on the University of Sydney account.

University of Tasmania’s director of marketing Michelle Weir said: “Pivotus was our preferred agency after the tender process, demonstrating strong digital media strategy and targeting, but also a commitment and passion for our University and the Tasmanian market. In addition, Pivotus showed complete transparency and a cohesive team approach. We look forward to working with Pivotus to attract the next student intake to our unique Australian university.”

Pivotus CEO Michael Petersen (pictured) said the agency’s customised, live, business intelligence dashboard enabled best-in-class access for clients to their own results and meaningful feedback. Though boutique, the agency also had the ability to access international markets quickly and strategically for the University of Tasmania, utilising its network of independent agencies through the IMAA and its alliance with TheNetworkOne.

“We are thrilled to welcome the University of Tasmania as a client and will work with the team on the growing demand for tertiary education, as many Australians seek to re-skill or change careers due to the impact of COVID-19,” Petersen said.

“The University of Tasmania passionately serves the local, interstate and international markets with bespoke courses and content to suit its geographic environment and distinctiveness. While we’ve been travelling to Tassie for years, this was also a great opportunity to recruit someone just as passionate and unique to be based in Hobart for account management.”

Seven and ITV bringing hit UK format Beat The Chasers to Australia

Seven has announced Beat The Chasers, a primetime special event series that supercharges its hit game show The Chase with over $500,000 up for grabs.

For the first time ever, the greatest quiz brains in Australia will try to beat four of The Chasers at once to have a chance at winning a massive cash prize in the grand final.

Featuring a team of Chasers – The Supernerd, Goliath, The Tiger Mum and The Shark – Beat The Chasers is based on the number 1 new format in the UK this year.

Angus Ross, Seven’s network programming director, said: “The Chase has proven unbeatable at 5.00pm, so we can’t wait to supersize it with Beat The Chasers. The prize money is bigger than ever before in each round, and it builds to a thrilling, high-stakes finale.

“We’re excited to see some of the country’s best brains test themselves against a formidable line-up of Chasers, with all the fun, tension and play-along we love – but dialed up to eleven.”

To be hosted by Andrew O’Keefe, Beat The Chasers will build on the dominance of The Chase at 5.00pm. The Chase’s audience has grown by over 7% year-on-year, winning every single week of 2020 to date.

Beat The Chasers was a huge hit when it aired on the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster ITV, increasing its slot average by 68%. With an average of 6.4m viewers and a 25 per cent audience share it fought off all competition in the 9pm slot. The series proved successful among young viewers too and was watched by an average of 24.6% of 16 – 34 year old viewers.

David Mott, CEO of ITV Studios Australia, said, “Beat The Chasers has proven itself as a dominant addition to The Chase family. This fast-paced quiz attracted a broad audience of quiz-lovers in the UK and we can’t wait to share it with Australian viewers. With the Chasers forming the greatest quiz team on the planet, it remains to be seen – can anyone Beat The Chasers?”

Those willing to try their hand at beating the Chasers can apply now at beatthechasers.com.au.

Beat The Chasers is produced for the Seven Network by ITV Studios Australia, and will be broadcast on Channel 7 later this year. Beat The Chasers and The Chase are created by Potato, part of ITV Studios and distributed internationally by ITV Studios.

Box Office: Unhinged leads surge as new releases top box office

By Trent Thomas

The Australian box office has seen an uptick of 22% in its total revenue over the weekend as the industry continues to slowly recover from the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic which saw cinemas shut down across Australia.

The driving force for this was the Russell Crowe led Unhinged which made over $800,000 as it topped the Australian box office. This film is one of the few new releases to have hit Australian screens since they re-opened and has had the biggest weekend total since lockdown ended in July.

Fellow new release The Secret: Dare to Dream was #2 on the Australian box office as post-COVID releases begin to fill up the top five taking up the top four spots.

#1 Unhinged $800,028

The StudioCanal released film is the closest that a film has gotten to breaking the $1m threshold for weekend revenue since March. The film averaged $3,865 on 207 screens.


#2 The Secret: Dare to Dream $225,964

The film based on the 2006 self-help book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and starring Katie Holmes was the second new release from the new weekend to make the top five, averaging $970 on 233 screens.


#3 The King of Staten Island $134,357

After three weeks the Judd Apatow directed film has made a total of $922,268, averaging $840 on 160 screens over the weekend.


#4 Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs $60,915

The film has spent five weeks in the top five since its release making $1,174,442 in total. This past weekend the Korean animation averaged $390 on 156 screens.


#5 Sonic the Hedgehog $55,331

The big-screen adaption of the Sega video game classic $324 on 171 screens on its 25th week since release. 


Ninja Warrior
TV ratings Monday, August 3, Week 32 2020

By James Manning

• Ninja Warrior champs deliver again for Nine, up week-on-week
• Farmer Wants a Wife and HYBPA? both dip from week 31 numbers

Seven News 1,287,000/1,235,000
Nine News 1,215,000/1,105,000
ABC News 857,000
A Current Affair 813,000
7.30 682,000
The Project 370,000/574,000
10 News 342,000/241,000
Sunrise 288,000
The Drum 236,000
Today 229,000
The Latest 196,000
SBS World News 191,000
Nine News Late 178,000

Monday TV

Seven: Home and Away launched the week with 650,000 after a week 31 average of 596,000.
Farmer Wants a Wife dished up more rural drama with 740,000 after 754,000 on Monday last week.
Week two of 9-1-1: Lonestar did 407,000 after launching with 453,000.

Nine: A Current Affair began its week on 813,000 after averaging 726,000 across last week.
Australian Ninja Warrior continues to deliver for Nine with 879,000, up on last week’s 848,000.
After a Bill Lawry cricket doco last week, Nine turned to Ian Chappell last night with 326,000 watching.

10: The Bachelor in Paradise lead-in hasn’t been greeted warmly by Have You Been Paying Attention? viewers. After the reality show was on 532,000 last night, HYBPA? did 579,000, down marginally on last week’s previous low of 597,000. Paradise was up a little on last week.
Earlier in the night The Project 7pm did 574,000, after an average of 518,000.

ABC: The return of Australian Story featured Daryl Somers introducing the Nathan Cavaleri story with 660,000 watching.
Four Corners then looked at 5G with 628,000.
Media Watch was on 592,000 followed by Q+A with 344,000.

SBS: At 7.30pm the doco D-Day: The King who Fooled Hitler pulled the biggest audience with 257,000.

Week 32 TV: Monday
ABC14.3%718.4%922.2%10 12.6%SBS One4.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY2.3%7TWO3.0%GO!2.2%10 Bold3.5%VICELAND1.3%
ABC ME0.4%7mate3.6%GEM2.1%10 Peach1.9%Food Net0.8%
ABC NEWS1.7%7flix1.7%9Life2.0%  NITV0.1%
    9Rush1.1%  SBS World Movies0.3%
TOTAL18.8% 26.7% 29.7% 18.0% 6.9%


ABCSeven AffiliatesNine Affiliates10 AffiliatesSBS
ABC14.3%721.7%918.5%WIN8.7%SBS One4.1%
ABC ME0.5%7mate3.9%GEM3.7%WIN Peach2.0%Food Net0.6%
ABC NEWS1.4%7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)1.7%9Life1.5%Sky News  on WIN1.8%NITV0.1%
        SBS Movies0.4%
TOTAL17.9% 31.8% 26.6% 17.3% 6.8%


Monday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,287,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,235,000
  3. Nine News Nine 1,215,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 1,105,000
  5. Australian Ninja Warrior Nine 879,000
  6. ABC News ABC 857,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 813,000
  8. Farmer Wants A Wife Seven 740,000
  9. 7.30 ABC 682,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 680,000
  11. Hot Seat Nine 662,000
  12. Australian Story ABC 660,000
  13. Home And Away Seven 650,000
  14. Four Corners ABC 628,000
  15. Media Watch ABC 592,000
  16. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 579,000
  17. The Project 7pm 10 574,000
  18. Bachelor In Paradise 10 532,000
  19. 10 News First 10 428,000
  20. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 415,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. Bachelor In Paradise 10 240,000
  2. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 193,000
  3. Nine News Nine 182,000
  4. Australian Ninja Warrior Nine 160,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 159,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. Bachelor In Paradise 10 353,000
  2. Nine News Nine 335,000
  3. Australian Ninja Warrior Nine 316,000
  4. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 314,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 300,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. Nine News Nine 401,000
  2. Australian Ninja Warrior Nine 365,000
  3. Seven News Seven 363,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 359,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 354,000
Monday Multichannel
  1. ABC News Afternoons PM ABC NEWS 283,000
  2. Afternoon Briefing PM ABC NEWS 258,000
  3. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 197,000
  4. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 187,000
  5. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 182,000
  6. ABC News At Noon PM ABC NEWS 179,000
  7. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 165,000
  8. ABC News Hour PM ABC NEWS 159,000
  9. Little J And Big Cuz AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 158,000
  10. Little J And Big Cuz ABCKIDS/COMEDY 157,000
  11. Kiri And Lou ABCKIDS/COMEDY 156,000
  12. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 154,000
  13. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 153,000
  14. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 149,000
  15. Go Jetters AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  16. Thomas And Friends PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  17. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  18. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 142,000
  19. Fireman Sam PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  20. Peter Rabbit PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 134,000
Monday STV
  1. Live: AFL Port Adelaide V Bulldogs FOX FOOTY 182,000
  2. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 94,000
  3. Afternoon Agenda Sky News Live 92,000
  4. Afternoon Agenda Sky News Live 82,000
  5. Alan Jones Sky News Live 80,000
  6. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 77,000
  7. Credlin Sky News Live 76,000
  8. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 71,000
  9. PML Later Sky News Live 59,000
  10. Live: On The Couch FOX FOOTY 59,000
  11. Afternoon Agenda Sky News Live 56,000
  12. Newsday Sky News Live 56,000
  13. Newsday Sky News Live 47,000
  14. AM Agenda Sky News Live 44,000
  15. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 36,000
  16. Perry Mason FOX SHOWCASE 35,000
  17. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 34,000
  18. Perry Mason FOX SHOWCASE 32,000
  19. Rusty Rivets Nick Jr. 31,000
  20. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver COMEDY CHANNEL 30,000

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

John Durie: ACCC code – how will Google respond?

In the wake of last week’s landmark media industry code and increased regulatory scrutiny around the world the question is, how will Google respond? Asks The Australian’s John Durie.

Lawyers acting for the tech giant and Facebook say the proposed competition law amendments are wide open to attack.

But litigation alone is not the only answer.

Google is floating alternatives but on some legal reading, its proposed plans would fall foul of the new code.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission code of conduct specifically bans discrimination against media, so closing an Australian news service would mean closing the entire news service and stopping using media in search engines.

That would present a different form of search than is presently offered and for the first time Google would be offering searches with no media content.

[Read more]

Alan Kohler: ACCC, publishers should be careful what they wish for

The world is agog at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s attempt to wrestle the internet goliaths, Google and Facebook, into paying for news content, otherwise known as the “mandatory bargaining code for responsible digital platforms and registered news organisations”, comments The Australian’s Alan Kohler.

Anything could happen, and it should be a wonderful show as Google and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, get onto the park with News Corporation, Nine Entertainment, and the hordes of other publishers that make more than $150,000 in revenue, with the ACCC’s Rod Sims as referee, whistle poised.

The least likely outcome, it seems to me, is that a new source of revenue flows from the bulging, reluctant pockets of Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg sufficient to restore the fortunes of the nation’s penurious news purveyors.

Perhaps a few pennies will find their way into the bowls of the publishers sitting cross-legged on the footpath, but that’s all.

[Read more]

Trump gives TikTok September deadline for sale of US operations

US President Donald Trump said on Monday he does not oppose Microsoft buying the US operations of TikTok and said he will ban the service in the United States on September 15 if no deal is done, reports Reuters.

Trump’s comments confirmed a Reuters report on Sunday that he had agreed to give China’s ByteDance 45 days to negotiate a sale.

Microsoft has confirmed CEO Satya Nadella has spoken to Trump, and the software giant and TikTok’s parent ByteDance have given the US government a notice of intent to explore a deal for the service in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

US officials have said TikTok poses a national risk because of the personal data it handles. TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer said last week that the company was committed to following US laws and was allowing experts to observe its moderation policies and to examine the code that drives its algorithms.

[Read more]

Bluey and Gameloft mentor two from FNQ in Screen Queensland initiative

Two early-career screen practitioners from Cairns have been selected for the FNQ Screen Industry Bootcamp – a Screen Queensland initiative delivered in partnership with Screenworks.

The six-week bespoke program is a mentorship with two Queensland-based games and animation experts, to give the recipients exposure to the industry, while enhancing their skills and career potential.

Pictured L-R: Tammi Grech and Alana Jonas

Tammi Grech, a 24-year old Macquarie University alumna living in Cairns, has been selected to be mentored by Liz Ballantyne, Art Lead at the Brisbane branch of the international game development company Gameloft (Modern Combat, Disney Magic Kingdoms).

“I am very excited to be able to connect with Liz and the people at Gameloft, Screen Queensland and Screenworks,” said Grech.

“I can’t wait to see what I am going to learn and come up with over the six weeks,” she said.

Alana Jonas, a recent graduate from SAE Quantm institute Brisbane who has recently returned to Cairns, has been selected to learn alongside mentor Chris Bennett, an animator at the multi-Emmy award-winning production company Ludo Studio (Bluey, Robbie Hood), based in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.

“Over the years my love for animation has developed greatly,” said Jonas.

The two mentees will receive six weeks of online mentoring which will be augmented by the opportunity to travel to Brisbane to shadow their mentor in each of their professional environments.

The bootcamp is the first program that Screen Queensland will deliver in partnership with Screenworks, as part of Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland Far North Queensland Screen Production Strategic Plan, which aims to boost the capability of the sector in FNQ and foster creative networks and screen culture.


10 confirms that The Bachelor joining Masked Singer next week

Network 10 has confirmed it will be launching a second major franchise next week. As Bachelor in Paradise winds up, replacing it in the schedule next week is the 2020 season of The Bachelor Australia. The series will join The Masked Singer in 10’s schedule next week.

It’s full steam ahead as bachelor Locky embarks on a wild ride to romance charged with emotions. That is, until the outside world brings everything to a halt, forcing The Bachelor Australia to adjust to a new reality. Love in the time of COVID was never going to be easy, but when restrictions ease up, Locky takes love to a new level before an ending viewers may not believe!

The Bachelor

Will he get down on one knee at the end? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, take a sneak peek at what to expect as Locky launches head first into finding The One.


Meanwhile Network 10 has released a first look at the new season of The Masked Singer.

With less than a week to go until the highly anticipated season premiere, here is a first look at the splendour viewers can expect from The Masked Singer Australia.

Showcasing stellar vocals with its rendition of The Weeknd‘s electro-pop synth banger Blinding Lights, the one clue to go off in an attempt to uncover Queen’s identity: “My sporting pedigree can’t be denied…and doesn’t that just take the cake.”

With the kind of singing chops that leave fans covered in goosebumps, guessing panellist Dave Hughes is convinced Queen is a professional singer and Dannii Minogue, “one million per cent” agrees.

See also: How Network 10 avoided lockdown to make new The Masked Singer

Aussie actor Jane Hall on life, love, midwifery and landing job of a lifetime

Jane Hall is approaching an age milestone without any bitterness, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

She turns 50 in March and doesn’t resent the number or the fact she is single.

Her lament is that time has gone too quickly, but over the course of half a century she has excelled as a loving parent, a measured actor, trusted radio host and admired theatre performer.

Since the age of 13 she has grown up in the entertainment industry.

And she is happy.

“It’s great in some ways and in other ways it’s really snuck up on me,’’ Hall says of her age.

“Sometimes I just think, ‘wow you’re really that old Jane’.

“I’ve sort of grown up on camera, too, and I’ve been really privileged to do lots of different work across radio and TV and film and theatre. I’ve packed a lot into the last 35 years and I do see time marching all over my face some days, let me tell you.

“I just think it’s always been my approach to be as versatile as possible and keep as many doors open. Some could see it as the wrong decision to make. I just love to work so whatever that work looks like is still a joy to me and something that needs to be pursued.”

Her latest job on Wentworth has been the icing on the cake.

Playing Ann Reynolds, the new hard-line general manager of Wentworth Prison, has been her dream job.

[Read more]

Sports Media

In tennis rights fight, did Hamish McLennan play everyone?

As a man who had charged his way up through the often destroy-your-opponent worlds of advertising, television and the Murdoch media empire, Hamish McLennan had learnt how to size up and play a distant opportunity, reports The AFR’s Aaron Patrick.

In March 2013, the new chief executive of Network Ten Holdings reached out to his counterpart at Tennis Australia, Steve Wood, with what the passage of history suggests was a mischievous offer: the perennially third-ranked commercial TV network might be willing to pay $50 million a year to broadcast the Australian Open at home.

“It was more than just a feeling,” McLennan would later say when asked about the price. “I had a strong view that it would have a major beneficial effect for Network Ten.”

“Don’t dismiss us,” McLennan told his tennis counterpart. “We’re very serious. We can pay what you need.”

Wood would tell the Federal Court that McLennan had indicated Ten might be prepared to pay $50 million a year – a huge sum for two weeks of TV sport.

In reality, Ten’s accountants had worked on a bid of $35 million a year, rising by about $2 million over the five years. They couldn’t get the numbers to add up.

Even if the tournament raised $41 million in advertising – and the Open was perfectly timed at the start of the ratings year – Ten would still lose $8 million, according to internal documents tendered in court.

Ten never made a written offer.

The $50 million would obtain almost mystical status, and drive the pursuit of Healy and Mitchell, inside and outside the tennis world, for allegedly colluding with Seven against their own organisation.

Jonathan Beach, a Federal Court judge who intricately dissected the negotiations, would later conclude the amount was “inflated, devoid of analysis and not to be taken seriously”.

[Read more]

It’s the Shane drain: Warne heads to UK for return of cricket

Shane Warne has decamped from Melbourne, with job commitments taking him to Britain, reports The Australian’s Jonathan Chancellor.

The spin king will be on the cricket commentary team for Sky Sports, a gig he’s had for over a decade, after securing a travel exemption from the federal government.

He’s headed over for the six white ball games for Australia versus England, three ODIs and then three T20 matches in September.

First up he’ll be commentating on the England vs Pakistan Test which starts this week in Manchester. He’ll be staying at the hotel within the Old Trafford stadium.

“We go into a bio secure hub, where we stay in our room, then we go down two floors from the hotel, commentate, and then at night, go back to our room and don’t leave. No one in, no one out,” Warne says of his new regimen.

“It won’t be too exciting,” he told Eddie McGuire’s MMM Hot Breakfast, suggesting it would allow him instead to catch up on some “admin and emails”.

[Read more]

AFL journalist reinstated after being stood down over social media post

Mitch Cleary has been reinstated by the AFL, with the league claiming the journalist “acknowledged his mistake” for reporting the identity of Brooke Cotchin at the centre of Richmond’s COVID-19 breach, reports The Age’s Sam McClure.

Cotchin, who is the wife of Richmond captain Trent Cotchin, breached the AFL’s COVID-19 protocols by entering a Queensland beauty salon, leading to the Tigers being fined $45,000 of which $25,000 was suspended.

Cleary was stood down on Saturday for tweeting a screen-shot of Cotchin’s Instagram post.

In a statement, the AFL claimed its website afl.com.au made an editorial decision not to name family members of players who were breaching “return to play” protocols.

“Mitch mistakenly did not follow his department’s editorial decision and named a family member on his own personal Twitter channel on Friday evening,” the league said in a statement.

“Upon speaking to his editor and then realising his tweet was at odds with AFL Media’s editorial decision, Mitch immediately removed his tweet and has acknowledged it was a mistake on his behalf.”

“I don’t know Mitch Cleary, but I do not agree with him being stood down and I have voiced that to the AFL,” Brooke Cotchin said.

“It is his job and it does not help anyone’s situation, especially in current circumstances. Unfortunately I had no input and it is something that is out of my control.”

She said she was “deeply sorry” for her actions leading to the club being fined.

[Read more]

NSW Swift Helen Housby calls out Nine for cutting coverage of derby

NSW Swifts goal shooter Helen Housby called out Nine for ditching its Super Netball coverage, failing to return and even give the final score after breaking from the action for Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ emergency COVID-19 update on Sunday afternoon, reports News Corp’s Jocelyn Airth.

The broadcaster cut coverage in the fourth quarter of a tight battle between the Swifts and the GWS Giants, as Premier Andrews announced that Victoria would enter Stage 4 coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Housby stressed that she had no objection to interrupting match coverage to broadcast the emergency government announcement.

The English international was, however, disappointed that Nine then cut away from Premier Andrews’ conference to air its NRL pre-game show, without updating netball fans on the outcome of the match.

“COVID is very important and obviously a government message is very important, but I thought the timing of it was a little bit questionable, especially when they went to an NRL pre-game show,” Housby said.

Nine uploaded a full reply of the Swifts 63-61 victory to its online platform after the match.

[Read more]

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