Monday December 16, 2019

Inside Roxy Jacenko’s thriving public relations agency Sweaty Betty

By Claudia Siron

Australia’s highest-profile public relations agency, Sweaty Betty PR, has offered expertise and an extensive lifestyle client list for the past 15 years since its establishment in 2004.

The founder and director of Sweaty Betty, Roxy Jacenko, is one of the biggest – or most likely the biggest – PR name in Australia. Senior account manager, Irene Manyk – who first began as Jacenko’s personal assistant eight years ago – told Mediaweek how the business has transformed over the decade and what it’s like working for Australia’s PR queen. 

When Manyk first walked in the agency doors at the downtown Beaconsfield office in 2011, she was 21 years old. She and Jacenko shared a mutual close friend who told Manyk that without question she had to go work for Jacenko. “I started as Roxy’s personal assistant. At the time, she lived in her bachelorette pad in Woollahra and her life very much consisted of long hours in the office, mini tuna sushi rolls and skim mocha’s – very different to her busy mum life and six businesses now.

Irene Manyk

“I watched every little thing the boss did, every move she made, and I listened to all of the discussions in the office. This gave me the skills I needed to move into a junior account manager role, which was just eight weeks after starting in my PA role. I stayed here for over two years. I then went on to do an in-house role, and had a baby; now I’m back as the senior account manager.”

Manyk was actually the person who created the @sweatybettypr Instagram page which all these years later is sitting at 113K+ followers. “We are very lucky at Sweaty Betty. We have such wonderful clients. Currently I’m working with Di Stefano, Elite Body Contouring, Messy Monkeys and LIKE MILK. The teams and I work really well together; they allow me to work outside the box and the results are wonderful. I also work very closely with publicist Billy Daniels on business development.”

Manyk says the biggest change for Sweaty Betty would be the addition of the five businesses: Ministry of Talent, 18 Communications, Social Union, Pixie Bows and Roxy Jacenko Accessories. “SBPR is a communications one-stop shop; we pride ourselves on the ability to be able to produce all of a business’ requirements under one roof. We now also have a fully equipped podcast studio where @theinsiderpodcast is recorded twice a week. I’m currently working on a plan to get rid of Billy and Beccy Cambridge so I can become the next podcast star – just kidding!”

Manyk described the SBPR team as kind and deeply talented. “Kindness really sets you apart in this industry. I actually emailed Roxy a few weeks to say just this, and her response was that it has only taken 15 years. The Sweaty Betty team is Beccy (with the good hair), Billy (the dancing queen), Marlii Carroll (you may recognise her from I am Roxy), and Lyndsie Preece (the Rockstar).”

When asked what differentiates Sweaty Betty from other like-minded public relations agencies, Manyk said “everything”. “We don’t do things by the book, and that’s why clients come to us. When SBPR hosts an event, it can be clearly identified as a Sweaty Betty event. When we create a media kit, it’s clearly identifiable as Sweaty Betty work; you will never see one of our team blasting out a plain or boring pitch or bcc’ing. We think differently, and we do differently. I surprise myself sometimes, but I was literally taught by the best.”

Manyk said the business mind of Jacenko is unexplainable and how her mind works so quickly to connect the dots is just crazy. “Roxy and I have known each other for a very long time. We mentioned just the other day we have weathered some storms together. She wants me to succeed, she wants to see me shine, and she supports me to do so. She tells me daily to move in with her and the family. The plan is to take over the business – I’ll just have to chat to her kids Pixie and Hunter, but do not foresee it being an issue,” she laughed.

Mankyk told Mediaweek there is absolutely and always future plans for the agency. “We have some fabulous new clients joining the family from January 2020. There is never a dull moment at Sweaty Betty HQ, so watch this space.”

SCA chooses internal candidate as chief content officer

Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) CEO, Grant Blackley, has announced the appointment of Dave Cameron (pictured) as chief content officer.

The promotion comes after speculation that former Nova group program director Dean Buchanan was heading for the job.

Cameron, who has worked with SCA for 25 years, is currently SCA Melbourne general manager and was appointed as chief content officer following what SCA called an extensive local and global search for candidates.

In his role, Cameron will be responsible for overseeing and delivering strategic leadership and creative excellence for SCA’s key content initiatives across its 78 FM stations, 10 DAB+ radio stations, extended digital and associated on-demand content. He also joins SCA’s executive team.

SCA said Cameron’s expertise is as a specialist in content strategy, programming, premium talent management and development and leadership. In addition, he has an intimate knowledge and understanding of radio formats, audience and music research, branding and messaging, tactics, line-up and talent management and negotiation.

During his time at SCA, Cameron has been a four-time ACRA winning content and music director, spending 11 years programming Fox FM Melbourne and the national Hit Network, and a further six years as music director in Sydney. He has 23 years of programming experience with SCA, 17 of those in the two biggest audio markets of Sydney and Melbourne.

Cameron has led collaborative teams across SCA creative initiatives including large-scale live music festivals, talent development programs, multi-network original programming, including the recent Concert in the Clouds series, establishing listener VIP databases, relaunching SCA’s DAB+ formats, and mentoring some of SCA’s current content directors. He is currently completing a Masters of Business Administration with Technology specialisation at the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM, UNSW).

“During our extensive candidate selection process for this important role, we interviewed a number of quality candidates, searching for the right person to lead and develop our audio content needs. A key focus will be strong leadership capability, the ability to be highly collaborative and developing a centre of excellence in creative execution across the content needs of our organisation,” Blackley said.

“I couldn’t be more delighted that we have found that person within our own ranks in Dave. His knowledge of our business, his ability to drive innovation across our audio brands and the respect and admiration he has among our people have all been standouts in this rigorous process.

“Dave’s creative strength is highlighted by leading many of Australia’s most successful radio talent and shows towards ratings success through creative excellence and world-first ideas. He will be, I’m sure, an outstanding Chief Content Officer to help lead and nurture the best talent and across our audio brands into the future.”

Commenting on his new role, Cameron said: “There’s no better place to lead an already highly experienced and creative content team than SCA. Our talent and overall content line-up are world-class and I’m excited to help drive SCA’s content output to new levels of success in my new role. In the digital age, content is critical to our success and as the audio landscape continues to expand and diversify into new platforms, we will focus on innovation and creative content excellence to drive that growth and stamp our success.”

Cameron’s role is effective from 1 January 2020.

2GB musical chairs continues OUT: Steve Price IN: Deb Knight

Deborah Knight will become the third afternoon announcer at 2GB in six months as she replaces Steve Price.

Knight will host the afternoon 12pm-3pm timeslot on 2GB and 4BC in 2020.

Price had only been hosting afternoons for a few months after replacing Chris Smith who left after a contract dispute mid-year.

Knight will host afternoons every Monday to Friday, while continuing to have a prominent role on Nine, as a newsreader in Sydney, and fill-in duties on the Today show where she was previously co-host.

Knight began her career in radio and has a long association with 2GB which stretches back to 2001, and marks a return to her first love of broadcasting.

Deb Knight said: “I got my start in journalism behind the radio mic in Wagga Wagga, and I’m really excited about embarking on a new challenge with 2GB and 4BC. There’s nothing like radio for making an immediate connection with your audience, and afternoons offers the chance to look at the big issues of the day and have some fun as well. And how lucky am I – I’ve got the best of both worlds – continuing with my TV role at Nine in both news and the Today show. Bring on 2020!”

Tom Malone, managing director of radio for Macquarie Media, said: “I have worked closely with Deb for 20 years, and I rate her so highly as one of Australia’s most talented and hardworking journalists. She has a big career ahead of her in radio and I’m delighted she’s joining the 2GB and 4BC family in 2020.”

Darren Wick, Nine’s director of news and current affairs, said: “We congratulate Deb as she undertakes this exciting new challenge. She has an incredible work ethic, is an outstanding interviewer and has a great sense of humour. She’ll smash radio out of the park. But she’ll also continue to play a significant role on Nine television with news reading duties in Sydney and will maintain a national profile as a regular fill-in and contributor for the Today show.”

Knight will commence hosting Afternoons on 2GB and 4BC from Monday, January 13, 2020.

The release from 2GB announcing the new appointment did not refer at all to outgoing Steve Price. Price noted on the weekend this is the first time he has ever been sacked in over 40 years in media. Price is expected to increase the hours he spends working on The Project now he is free of his radio commitments.

Custom publishing win: Medium Rare to launch magazine for Greenstone

Medium Rare Content Agency has been appointed by Greenstone to publish a magazine for the over 50s market, due for launch in May 2020.

The bi-monthly publication will be mailed directly to 150,000 customers of Greenstone’s Australian Seniors brand.

Medium Rare will provide content and media sales services across the Australian Seniors’ magazine, web site and social media accounts.

Content will be headed up by Michelle Endacott, previously managing editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly.

Sales will be led by Kelly Kilic who has extensive media sales experience, having worked at Fairfax, News Corp, Bauer Media and Maurice Media.

Gerry Reynolds, managing director of Medium Rare said: “We’re delighted to partner with Greenstone to create a new publication dedicated to an audience that is often overlooked, misunderstood and misrepresented by mainstream media.

“Research shows that older consumers crave sophisticated content that is less about age and more about celebrating the best of their life stages.

“This magazine has the potential to be a real game-changer – and its guaranteed circulation will make it an attractive proposition to advertisers wishing the engage with a high-spending readership.”

Michelle Endacott added: “I’m looking forward to delivering a magazine to a demographic that continues to grow; a group of trailblazers who remain adventurous, confident and positive, while often having to deal with some harsh life experiences.

“This generation is working longer, has more purchasing power and retains progressive attitudes that are not age-dependent.

“I feel privileged to have the opportunity to create what I believe will be a ground-breaking publication.”

See also:
Fiorella Di Santo returns to News Corp fold as Medium Rare COO

News Corp Australia’s exclusive partnership with US-based tech firm Polar

News Corp Australia has struck an exclusive local partnership with US-based technology firm Polar to use its world-leading Social Display product.

News Corp Australia has already run more than 100 Social Display campaigns across their network for brands including Chemist Warehouse, Sanitarium, Amazon, Latitude Financial, Australia Post and Tommy Hilfiger, delivering fantastic engagement levels which are eight times higher than standard display formats.

News Corp Australia’s managing director of digital solutions, Neil Robinson said: “The social web has, in many instances for brands, become the harmful web. It’s no coincidence that protecting brand reputation is increasingly top-of-mind in boardroom discussions.

“We’re now offering our clients a safe alternative whereby they can run their social advertising formats in our trusted, professionally produced and curated environments that deliver significantly higher engagement rates, brand recall and in-view results.

“This extension of our deal with Polar now gives our clients exclusive access to the Social Display format in Australia.”

News Corp Australia will use Social Display in combination with its data platform, News Connect, which allows more than 2000 audience segments to be targeted and for results to be accurately and transparently measured and reported.  

“Consumers trust premium environments and that trust leads to higher engagement with content and advertising,” said Robinson. “Social Display is a proven and successful way to place social media ads in highly trusted online environments. The result for clients is higher brand awareness, higher advertising recall and improved cost effectiveness.

“The combination of Social Display and News Connect gives marketers a powerful way to target 10.8 million Australians based on what they read and watch, what they do, what they buy and how they feel.”

Polar CEO Kunal Gupta said: “With the current concentration of spend on social platforms, what we have seen is that brands don’t have the time, budget or patience to build new creatives for the web. Our technology solves this problem and enables brands to easily repurpose their existing Facebook and Instagram creatives for distribution to new audiences in new places across News Corp Australia websites.”

ARIA Chart: It’s a Cold Chisel Christmas as Blood Moon takes over chart

By James Manning

• Singles: Harry Styles + Mariah, Wham! and that Dance Monkey song!

Singles

It’s the week before Christmas and just one new entry on the chart this week.

Most of the chart movement was from tunes that have been hanging around the chart for the best part of the year.

And speaking of hanging around…Tones and I remains on top spot – now 30 weeks on the chart and 20 at #1. Dance Monkey has now topped the UK chart for 10 weeks, setting a new record after passing time spent at #1 by Whitney Houston and Rhianna.

The new entry came from Harry Styles with Adore You new at #14. The track comes from his forthcoming album Fine Line.

The other interest perhaps are the major Christmas singles making their mark this week:

#20 to #11: Mariah Carey with All I Want for Christmas is You
#38 to #30 Wham! with Last Christmas

Albums

Jimmy Barnes has made his traditional chart attack late this year – and he brought his Cold Chisel (pictured) colleagues along for the sleigh ride. Chisel’s Blood Moon has debuted in top spot, pushing Robbie Williams from the top of the chart and stopping Michael Bublé from claiming another #1 with his Christmas album. The Canadian crooner still has one well to go to get his Christmas collection back to #1, something Graham Norton boasted about on his UK TV show last week which Bublé guested on.

Blood Moon has been well-reviewed and the band’s release of a ninth album comes three weeks prior to the Cold Chisel summer tour that starts off at what should be a memorable New Year’s Eve gig in Fremantle. Over 175,000 tickets to the outdoor Blood Moon Tour 2020 have been sold in Australia and New Zealand with A Day on the Green shows at Sirromet Wines in Queensland (1st show), Victoria’s Mt. Duneed Estate and Rochford Wines, Heifer Station in Orange, NSW and NZ’s Wharepai Domain show all sold out.

Blood Moon is the fifth #1 Chisel album on Australian charts, and the first since 1998’s The Last Wave of Summer. Chisel now also sets a new record for the longest time between #1 hits – 38 years – from Swingshift in 1981 until now.

Three other albums debuted in the top 50 this week:

#6 Camila Cabello with Romance. The second album from the Cuban-American singer/songwriter.

#13 Kylie Minogue with Kylie – Golden – Live in Concert. This is Kylie’s 19th time in the top 20 albums and is her third live collection to chart.

#50 Liam Payne with LP1. Payne’s first album post-One Direction. The album follows successful solo careers for Harry Styles, Niall Horan and Zayn.

There is a lot of chart Christmas traffic causing gridlock from #19 to #23 with five festive albums ranked together. The releases are from Mariah Carey (#19), Human Nature (#20), The Seekers (#21), George Michael & Wham! (#22) and John Farnham & Olivia Newton-John (#23).

 

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Summer TV Ratings: December 15

• Final day of First Test gives Seven strong start to new week

On what was the final day of the First Test against New Zealand, Seven posted another winning primary and network share to give it a strong start to the third week of summer survey. The evening sessions of the cricket had audiences of 774,000 and 540,000 after the first session crowd of 659,000 on Sunday afternoon.

Nine’s Sunday best was News and then 60 Minutes on 458,000.

In the afternoon Nine had an audience of 282,000 watching the US win the President’s Cup.

10’s biggest crowd was for a Graham Norton Show boasting three Oscar winners – Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson and Matthew McConaughey – plus Hugh Grant and Michael Bublé. The audience of 339,000 was well ahead of The Sunday Project on 286,000.

The ABC had three programs in the Sunday top 10 – News (594,000), Midsomer Murders (474,000) and Grand Designs: House of the Year (400,000).

SBS had an audience of 149,000 for its 8.30pm doco Drowning in Plastic.

Week 50-51 TV: Friday-Sunday
FRIDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.6% 7 28.4% 9 15.5% 10  8.6% SBS One 4.0%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.4% 7TWO 3.1% GO! 4.0% 10 Bold 2.6% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 3.5% GEM 1.8% 10 Peach 3.2% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 1.7% 7flix 2.0% 9Life 2.1%     NITV 0.1%
    7Food 0.7%         SBS World Movies 0.8%
TOTAL 17.3%   37.7%   23.5%   14.4%   7.2%

 

SATURDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 13.0% 7 28.7% 9 12.5% 10  5.3% SBS One 5.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.8% 7TWO 2.4% GO! 6.5% 10 Bold 3.0% VICELAND 0.6%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 3.9% GEM 4.3% 10 Peach 1.8% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.6% 7flix 1.9% 9Life 2.5%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 0.4%         SBS World Movies 1.5%
TOTAL 18.0%   37.3%   25.8%   10.1%   8.9%

 

SUNDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.7% 7 24.8% 9 17.9% 10  8.4% SBS One 4.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.3% 7TWO 2.2% GO! 5.3% 10 Bold 3.5% VICELAND 1.3%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 4.6% GEM 2.9% 10 Peach 1.5% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix 1.2% 9Life 2.2%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 0.5%         SBS World Movies 0.8%
TOTAL 17.1%   33.3%   28.4%   13.4%   7.9%

 

SUNDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 13.1% 7 24.2% 9 15.5% WIN 7.2% SBS One 4.1%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.4% 7TWO 2.9% GO! 6.8% WIN Bold 3.6% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 1.1% 7mate 4.9% GEM 4.1% WIN Peach 1.6% Food Net 0.7%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.3% 9Life 2.7% Sky News  on WIN 0.5% NITV 0.2%
    7food (QLD only) 0.4%            
TOTAL 17.9%   33.8%   29.1%   12.9%   6.3%

 

SUNDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
83.1% 16.9%
All People Ratings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 762,000
  2. Nine News Nine 735,000
  3. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia V New Zealand D2 S3 Seven 671,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 670,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 666,000
  6. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia V New Zealand D2 S2 Seven 632,000
  7. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia V New Zealand D2 Tea Seven 597,000
  8. A Current Affair Nine 512,000
  9. ABC News ABC 508,000
  10. Hot Seat Nine 430,000

 

Saturday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 859,000
  2. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia V New Zealand Seven 687,000
  3. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia V New Zealand Seven 621,000
  4. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia V New Zealand Seven 584,000
  5. Nine News Saturday Nine 566,000
  6. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia V New Zealand Seven 531,000
  7. ABC News ABC 493,000
  8. Vera (R) ABC 475,000
  9. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia V New Zealand Seven 305,000
  10. Doc Martin (R) ABC 295,000
Sunday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 930,000
  2. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia V New Zealand D4 S2 Seven 774,000
  3. Nine News Sunday Nine 763,000
  4. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia V New Zealand D4 S1 Seven 659,000
  5. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia V New Zealand D4 Tea Seven 648,000
  6. ABC News Sunday ABC 594,000
  7. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia V New Zealand D4 S3 Seven 540,000
  8. Midsomer Murders ABC 474,000
  9. 60 Minutes Summer Nine 458,000
  10. Grand Designs: House Of The Year ABC 400,000
  11. Hay Mate A Bush Christmas Appeal For Our Aussie Farmers Nine 343,000
  12. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia V New Zealand D4 Seven 339,000
  13. The Graham Norton Show 10 339,000
  14. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 286,000
  15. 2019 Presidents Cup Day 4 Nine 282,000
  16. Weekend Sunrise Seven 273,000
  17. 10 News First 10 237,000
  18. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia V New Zealand D4 Seven 216,000
  19. Weekend Sunrise Seven 198,000
  20. Nine News: First At Five Nine 195,000
Sunday Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 182,000
  2. Seven’s Cricket: First Test Australia Vs New Zealand D4 S2 Seven 174,000
  3. Moana 9GO! 151,000
  4. Doctor Strange 9GO! 149,000
  5. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 123,000
  6. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 117,000
  7. White House Down PM (R) 7mate 114,000
  8. Bondi Rescue Ep 3 (R) 10 Bold 109,000
  9. Border Patrol Ep.2 Pm (R) 7TWO 105,000
  10. Rusty Rivets AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 103,000
  11. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 103,000
  12. Dot. AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 102,000
  13. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 102,000
  14. Octonauts AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 101,000
  15. Border Patrol PM (R) 7TWO 98,000
  16. Fawlty Towers Tx1 9Gem 97,000
  17. Kiri And Lou AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 93,000
  18. Luo Bao Bei ABCKIDS/COMEDY 91,000
  19. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 90,000
  20. Go Jetters AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 90,000
Sunday STV
  1. Live: AUS V NZL 1st Test Day 4 FOX CRICKET 260,000
  2. Live: AUS V NZL 1st Test Day 4 FOX CRICKET 251,000
  3. Live: Tea For Two FOX CRICKET 231,000
  4. Live: AUS V NZL 1st Test Day 4 FOX CRICKET 219,000
  5. Live: The Big Break FOX CRICKET 163,000
  6. Outsiders Sky News Live 73,000
  7. Outsiders Sky News Live 64,000
  8. Live: Test Cricket On Fox FOX CRICKET 64,000
  9. Upright FOX SHOWCASE 48,000
  10. Live: Cricket 360 FOX CRICKET 37,000
  11. The Fifth Element Movies Action 36,000
  12. NCIS: New Orleans FOX Crime 34,000
  13. S.W.A.T. FOX One 33,000
  14. Midsomer Murders UKTV 32,000
  15. The Simpsons FOX8 30,000
  16. Futurama FOX8 30,000
  17. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 30,000
  18. 24 Hours In Emergency Lifestyle Channel 29,000
  19. PJ Masks Disney Junior 29,000
  20. NCIS: New Orleans FOX Crime 29,000

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

Prime lashes Antony Catalano, Bruce Gordon for 'hijacked' deal

Prime Media Group chairman John Hartigan will proceed with a vote this week for a desired merger with Kerry Stokes‘ Seven West Media despite knowing it is doomed to fail after two heavyweight shareholders “hijacked” the deal, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

Hartigan said Prime believed it was “very important that all shareholders are afforded the opportunity to vote irrespective of the two large shareholders who have stated their intentions to vote against the scheme”. Prime would incur a $600,000 break fee if it pulled the deal ahead of the vote.

“In the event it is voted down it will be a great shame for the many retail investors who understand the competitive headwinds and earnings trajectory,” Hartigan said.

“Instead the vote will have been hijacked by two investors with entirely different agendas. Should the vote fail, it will be business as usual – noting the continued and increasing competitive pressures from unregulated digital platforms.”

[Read the original]

Carsales.com mulls bid for German car trading business

ASX-listed online car retailer Carsales.com has been mulling a bid for German company Scout24’s up-for-sale car-trading business, reports The AFR’s Street Talk.

Carsales has been among parties running the numbers on the business, alongside a host of private equity players.

It is unclear whether the Cameron McIntyre-led company was prepared to take its interest further in the €2.3 billion ($3.7 billion) auction.

However, sources close to the company noted it would be a big move for Carsales, which has a $4.1 billion market cap so would effectively be bidding for a company almost as big as itself.

[Read the original]

Annette Sharp: Testing times for Nine boss Hugh Marks

News Corp’s Annette Sharp was in the front of The Sunday Telegraph writing about Sydney’s light rail on the weekend. But later in the paper she was again keeping a watch on the Nine Network.

The latest instalment comes days after it was revealed Nine’s Karl Stefanovic is taking legal action against Sharp and her publisher. This week the columnist’s focus was the Nine CEO’s track record:

A barely recognisable Nine, sans the heavy weaponry that once made it unassailable – top-rating news, big-budget current affairs and cricket – has overcome a 12-year losing streak to claim the 2019 television ratings battle, reported Sharp.

Hugh Marks celebrated four years in the CEO job, one he described as the “best in Australia”, last month.

They have been a test of the former lawyer-turned-numbers-man who has gained a reputation, despite his congeniality, for being ruthless when sizing up one of television’s sometimes most under-appreciated assets – its stars.

And there has been much change on Marks’s watch.

Inclined to deputise, delegate and retreat to focus on bigger picture issues – such as the acquisition of Fairfax last year – leaving his generals to manage the day-to-day business, Marks’s record for success has endured many ups and downs during his first four years in the job.

[Read the original]

News Corp bolsters its social media firepower with Polar

News Corp Australia has bolstered its digital advertising firepower against social media players Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by striking an exclusive deal with US group Polar to use its technology, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

Polar’s social display technology will allow News Corp’s advertising clients to run social media ads across its news, entertainment and food websites, which are trusted and safe.

News Corp has already run more than 100 social display campaigns across its websites for brands including Chemist Warehouse, Sanitarium, Amazon, Latitude Financial, Australia Post and Tommy Hilfiger, resulting in engagement levels eight times higher than standard display formats.

Neil Robinson, managing director of digital solutions at News Corp, said the exclusive use of Polar’s social display technology, which it has been testing for 18 months, will give the company an advantage over its publishing rivals.

[Read the original]

Call for news ban on digital giants Facebook and Google

Digital platforms would be banned from using any news publisher’s content or data unless all major news organisations sign on to a new code of conduct overseen by the competition regulator, under a plan from Australia’s largest media company, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

News Corp Australia has endorsed a plan by the ACCC and the Morrison government for a new code of conduct to be drawn up between the likes of Facebook and Google and media companies, on the proviso that all major publishers sign up to the codes.

Major publishers would include – but not be limited to – News Corp, Nine Entertainment, Seven West Media, The Guardian, the ABC and SBS.

[Read the original]

‘Aggressive’ NSW muscles in to take Mel Gibson epic from QLD

Queensland could be sparring off with NSW to host Mel Gibson’s next blockbuster. Both Screen Queensland and Screen NSW are lobbying to secure the film, which is rumoured to be a World War II drama titled Destroyer, reports News Corp’s Amy Price.

Gibson travelled to southeast Queensland in October on a location scouting trip, touring Brisbane and the Gold Coast, with plans to shoot his next film in mid-2020.

He previously met with Screen Queensland executives in mid-2018.

“We are trying to get the Mel Gibson movie here (to Queensland) at the moment,” a Government insider told Confidential.

“NSW are being really aggressive with it. That’s the challenge the moment.”

“That shoot, it’s different to Aquaman and Thor (Ragnarok) where it was all sound stage-based, this shoot will be 80 to 90 per cent on location so the money goes into the broader community a lot more, so that would be a great outcome if we could get it.”

Gibson’s war epic Hacksaw Ridge (2016) generated about 720 jobs and more than $26 million in production expenditure across Sydney and regional NSW.

[Read the original]

Lachlan Murdoch sets LA record by paying $150m for TV mansion

Lachlan Murdoch, media executive and son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has paid roughly US$150 million for Chartwell, a Bel-Air estate, according to people familiar with the deal, reports The Wall Street Journal.

When it listed in 2017 for US$350 million, the château-style home was the most expensive in the country. While this deal falls short of that, it still sets a record for a home in the Los Angeles area. It is also the second most expensive residential sale ever recorded in the country, according to data from appraiser Jonathan Miller.

Sitting on more than 10 acres, Chartwell was designed by architect Sumner Spaulding in the 1930s as a French Neoclassical-style mansion, according to the listing. The exterior of the 25,000-square-foot house was used as the Clampett residence in the television show The Beverly Hillbillies.

[Read the original]

News Brands

Roberts-Smith war crimes defamation case: ‘witness wasn’t there’

An Afghan National Army soldier said to have been present when Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith allegedly ordered the execution of an unarmed civilian was not in the village when the supposed war crime occurred, a court has heard, reports The Australian’s Paul Maley.

Lawyers for Roberts-Smith told the Federal Court that one of the conspirators in the alleged 2012 murder of Ali Jan was not on the SAS-led mission to the village of Darwan on September 11, 2012 – the date when the murder is said to have taken place.

The claim, if proven, is a major blow to The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times, which are being sued by Roberts-Smith over a series of 2018 articles that he claims portray him as a war criminal, a bully and an abuser of women.

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Police launch second war crimes investigation into Ben Roberts-Smith

The Australian Federal Police has launched a second war crimes investigation into Australia’s most decorated living soldier, former special services corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, reports Nine publishing’s Nick McKenzie and Chris Masters.

The new police investigation is looking into allegations Roberts-Smith is implicated in the summary execution of a man at a compound in southern Afghanistan in April 2009. Two separate teams of federal police detectives are now investigating Roberts-Smith over his alleged involvement in the murders of unarmed men including one detainee.

Roberts-Smith has hired a team of lawyers including top barrister, Arthur Moses SC, and a public relations firm to counter the allegations, which he vehemently denies. Experienced PR executive Sue Cato and former journalist Ross Coulthart are being supported by billionaire media mogul, Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes, a backer of Roberts-Smith who employed him as a senior manager in 2015.

Stokes is also backing the defamation proceedings Roberts-Smith has launched against Fairfax Media – now known as Nine – for a series of investigative reports about his alleged misconduct.

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Guardian editor unsure if readers will pay during economic downturn

The top editor of Guardian Australia Lenore Taylor has admitted she is concerned readers may not pay for news content during an economic downturn, despite the publication posting two “modest” profits and repaying a loan from philanthropist Graeme Wood.

Taylor said she was “slightly terrified” when the Guardian launched an Australian membership model in 2016, allowing audiences to read articles for free online but asking people to “choose” to support the site financially. But about half of the masthead’s revenue is now sourced from around 100,000 paying readers. This is mainly in the form of donations, but also includes premium paid smartphone app subscribers and payments for the weekly print newspaper Guardian Weekly.

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Television

It's time to update outdated film and TV rules for streaming era

Australia’s film and TV sector is changing very fast. The traditional free to air television networks are facing declining audiences; while subscription video on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, Stan and Disney+ are growing strongly, writes Communications minister Paul Fletcher in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Four years ago less than two per cent of Australian homes had SVOD services while now it is nearly 60 per cent.

We want to look at the extent of Australian content obligations on free to air television broadcasters (including drama and children’s content) and carefully consider whether there should be Australian content obligations on SVODs services; and we want to look at other aspects of the policy framework to support Australian film and television content and our local production sector.

The review will examine opportunities for updating classification guidelines – and consider self-classification models.

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Kerri-Anne Kennerley accused of ‘slut-shaming’ her colleague on TV

Veteran TV host Kerri-Anne Kennerley is laying low amid growing criticism over her eyebrow-raising comments to a colleague on Studio 10 this week, reports News Corp’s Mibenge Nsenduluka.

The outspoken media personality retreated to a golf course and would not comment when approached by Confidential about claims that she “slut-shamed” 10 daily senior reporter Antoinette Lattouf on the show.

“Did you forget your pants today?” Kennerley asked Lattouf during a segment about modern-day dictionaries and emojis.

“It’s a ju … it’s a m… it’s a playsuit,” Lattouf stammered.

Frustrated viewers including feminist writer Clementine Ford vented their outrage on Twitter.

“Why is Kerri-Anne Kennerley slut shaming her colleague here on @Studio10au ? @antoinette_news deserves an apology. Kerri-Anne needs to finally be put in the bin where she belongs,” Ford tweeted.

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Jason Hodges 'gutted' by Better Homes & Gardens axing

After a 20-year run on Channel Seven, 16 of which was as the resident landscaper on Better Homes & Gardens, Jason Hodges has been axed from the lifestyle television show, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Hornery.

“To be honest, I am absolutely gutted,” Hodges told PS when asked about what had happened.

‘‘I think of myself as being the luckiest guy in the world, to have had the best job in the world and work with the best team there is … I’d be lying if I said I was not upset but as people in this business know, that’s how it goes.”

The knockabout “Hodgie” is set to be replaced by rival celebrity landscaper Charlie Albone and veteran gardening correspondent Melissa King, while long-standing BH&G green thumb Graham Ross remains on the show.

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