Thursday December 17, 2020

Podcast Week: 2020 audience stats, Spotify’s Duke and Duchess

By James Manning

• Jack Post, 10’s Conspiracy Virus, Greenpeace, Ang and Kat

Podcast Ranker insights: Thursday most popular day for listening

Thursday is the most popular day of the week to stream or download podcasts, and radio show catch-ups followed by true crime were the most popular categories in 2020, according to insights from the Australian Podcast Ranker.

(Surely a coincidence Thursday is the day we publish this column full of links to new audio.)

Publishers in the ranker delivered more than 420.8 million podcast live streams or downloads from January to the end of November.

The number of unique devices used to listen has climbed from around 1.8m per week when the ranker launched in October 2019 to around 3.3m currently.

Radio show podcasts were the most active category in 2020, with 101.3 million downloads.

True crime was the second most popular category (67.6 million downloads), followed by comedy (63.5 million) and news (51.9 million).

Thursday was the most popular day for listening, accounting for 17% of downloads, and Sunday the least popular (10%).

An average of 1.9 hours of podcast content was downloaded per device per week in November, up from 1.7 hours in January.

The Australian Podcast Ranker is published by Triton Digital in accordance with IAB Tech Lab’s Podcast Measurement Guidelines. Participating publishers in the Australian Ranker include ARN/iHeartMedia, Southern Cross Austereo, News Corp Australia, Audioboom, Stitcher, Wondery, Nova, Nine, Schwartz Media, TOFOP Productions, Kinderling Kids Radio, Australian Radio Network, Wavelength Creative, NBC News, West Australian Newspapers, Fear and Greed, Sports Entertainment Network and Babyology.

See the November Top 100 podcasts here.

Jack Post’s Jacky Road Studios

Jacky Road Studios is the podcast series from busy broadcaster Jack Post. In addition to working on the Hamish and Andy Podcast, Post is part of the top rating Christian O’Connell breakfast team at Gold 104.3 in Melbourne. His own podcast has been lots of fun this year with all-star guests and contributors ranging from Hamish Blake to Andy Lee to Amy Shark to Radio Mike.

But we recommend the penultimate episode of his first season when he interviews his breakfast boss Christian O’Connell. As with many good interview series, you learn as much about Post as you do O’Connell in this illuminating discussion.

Listen to Jacky Road Studios here.

New Mediaweek December Podcasts

The Power of Breakfast Radio

Special insights from two of Melbourne’s top-ratings broadcasters – Gold 104.3’s Christian O’Connell and 3AW’s Russel Howcroft

Kyle Sandilands: Unedited and uncensored (Language Warning!)

16 consecutive surveys as #1 FM breakfast in Australia’s toughest radio market.

Kyle and his manager Bruno Bouchet discuss breakfast radio, The King Kyle Group, negotiating contracts and lots more.

Mercado & Manning: The best of 2020 TV

Here’s your summer viewing list. 40 TV shows named as the best of 2020 with explanations of why you should watch.

Listen to all Mediaweek podcasts here.

Spotify’s royalty: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Spotify has been making the biggest global waves in the podcasting world during 2020. Early in the year it shocked many with its massive deal to get Joe Rogan on its podcast platform. Rogan, who moved across to Spotify in September, had the most downloaded podcast of the year on Spotify. (See below for more on that.)

Spotify made another big play this week with the revelation it has signed Harry and Meghan, or more formally, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Archewell Audio, the newly-formed audio-first production company created by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, has announced a multi-year partnership with Spotify to produce podcasts and shows.

“What we love about podcasting is that it reminds all of us to take a moment and to really listen, to connect to one another without distraction,” The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in a joint statement. “With the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to do so, because when we hear each other, and hear each other’s stories, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are.”

Ahead of the new year, Archewell Audio and Spotify’s Gimlet studio will release their first offering – a holiday special hosted by The Duke and Duchess that will feature stories of hope and compassion from inspirational guests in celebration of the new year. In 2021, The Duke and Duchess will produce and host podcasts that build community through shared experiences and values.

The first complete series from Archewell Audio and Spotify is expected next year and will be available to stream for free on Spotify.

Spotify: Most Popular Podcasts Globally

More and more podcasts came to Spotify in 2020, and with over 1.9 million titles, there’s now something for everyone. That includes The Joe Rogan Experience, which holds the number one spot for most popular podcast of the year. Filling in spots two and three are TED Talks Daily and The Daily from The New York Times.

Coming in at number four is a new series from a well-known voice: The Michelle Obama Podcast. The fifth most popular podcast is the controversial comedy/advice show Call Her Daddy.

Spotify: Most Popular Podcast Genres Globally

Taking spot number one is Society & Culture, a genre that includes both spooky stories and foodie content. Next in line is Comedy, which is no surprise as many are looking for more ways to laugh this year. Spot three is reserved for Lifestyle & Health, demonstrating that listeners love turning to podcasts for wellness. Arts & Entertainment ranks fourth and Education ranks fifth.

10’s Conspiracy Virus special

10 Speaks’ award-winning podcast series 10 News First Person has released a two-part podcast investigative series called The Conspiracy Virus, hosted by 10’s national affairs editor Hugh Riminton.

Produced by journalists Antony Loewenstein and Olivia Rosenman, the special investigates the explosion of misinformation in the 21st century and focusses on two highly talked about and contentious topics: the Covid-19 vaccine and climate change.

The Conspiracy Virus podcast series was produced in partnership with 10 News First Person and the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.

Listen to The Conspiracy Virus here.

Heaps Better from Greenpeace

Heaps Better is a new podcast miniseries helping to turn climate anxiety into climate action. In the four-part miniseries, produced by Greenpeace and Audiocraft, two friends make a pinkie promise to help each other save the planet. To get it done, they must accelerate the decline of the fossil fuel industry and speed up the transition to 100% renewable energy.

With hope, humour and hard facts, hosts Ash Berdebes and Jess Hamilton (pictured) engage leading experts to get a simple and actionable answer to the question that has so many asking: What the heck can I do about climate change, and can I even make a difference?

Listen to Heaps Better here.

Two Hosts – Two Guests: How Big Is My Trailer?

Interviewer/producer Angela Pulvirenti and AACTA-winning actor Kat Stewart have this week been hosting a summer conversation hour on ABC Radio called How Big Is My Trailer?

The concept is two hosts interviewing two guests across the hour. The guest list for the five episodes:

• Dr George Miller with Tim Minchin
• Eric Bana with author Trent Dalton (Boy Swallows Universe)
• Tina Arena with Eddie Perfect
• Asher Keddie with director Daina Reid (Handmaid’s Tale)
• Damon Herriman with director Emma Freeman (Stateless)

All five episodes are available to podcast if you haven’t been listening live.

Kat Stewart broke into the national consciousness playing Roberta Williams in Season 1 of Underbelly. She also played Billie Proudman across seven seasons of the popular hit drama Offspring, and is currently starring in Channel 10’s primetime drama Five Bedrooms.

Angela Pulvirenti has created and hosted several engaging and distinctive interview formats including The Truth About Us on Foxtel and ABC Radio; and At the Cellar – which aired on Channel 10 in late 2018. She is currently developing a new entertainment/ factual series Raise Your Glass.

Listen to How Big Is My Trailer? here.

Podcast Week will return in January 2021 bigger and better than ever.
Meanwhile visit for interviews and features across the Christmas/New Year period.

Ryan Jon
Ryan Jon back on east coast metro radio with new ARN KIIS gig

ARN has appointed Ryan Jon (pictured) as KIIS 101.1’s workday announcer commencing January 11th 2021.

Born and bred in Melbourne, Jon has been delivering his radio magic on Summer Breakfast this month with Lauren Phillips and will remain on air for KIIS 101.1 in 2021. Phillips (and the Herald Sun) broke the news this morning in Melbourne. Jon will be on air from January 11 when Jase and PJ return, a week before radio survey starts.

Jon is a multi-award-winning radio host who has been part of breakfast shows in Perth, Canberra and regional Australia. He also co-hosted national weekend breakfast for the Hit Network. He is a podcaster, digital creator and produces the She’s On The Money podcast with Victoria Devine on ARN’s iHeartRadio Australia.

Jon is part of the Marchmedia talent stable and was actually Brad March’s first client.

Of joining KIIS 101.1 Jon said, “I’ve really enjoyed being here at KIIS doing Summer Breakfast so to be asked to join the on air team and continue the fun into 2021 is really a dream come true. After years of travelling and working on radio around Australia, it’s wonderful to be back home in Melbourne doing a job I love.”

ARN’s chief content officer Duncan Campbell said, “Ryan is an experienced announcer who brings his passion, energy and enthusiasm to everything he does, which is why he’s going to be a great addition to KIIS 101.1. Ryan’s appointment is another example of ARN’s commitment to investing in the best talent to deliver live and local audio that listeners love.”

Jon can be heard on Melbourne’s KIIS 101.1 weekdays from 9am – 3pm from January 11.

ARN announces the launch of Australian first in ARN Neuro Lab

ARN has announced the launch of ARN Neuro Lab – the first in-house media research initiative of its kind in Australia.

Backed by a neuroscientific research approach, the ARN Neuro Lab will aim to deliver a better understanding of consumer behaviour and provide new insights about the power of audio to inform better content creation, audience connection and commercial investment.

Led by Research and Neuroscience Specialist, Dr Shannon Bosshard, and ARN’s director of research and Insights, Justin Stone, ARN Neuro Lab will focus on conducting studies and presenting findings to deliver practical ways for commercial partners to maximise impact and connection using audio.

Dr Shannon Bosshard

The first study, called Sound You Can See, was conducted across 2020 to explore how audio can influence consumer engagement, mood and attitude towards brands. Among a range of findings, the study showed audio builds strong connections between audiences and brands and hearing an advertisement across two audio formats, such as radio and podcasts, generated a 200% uplift in attention and 134% uplift in memory for the content. Further, audio was shown to enhance the effectiveness of other media and can increase memory for out of home and TV messages by an average of 35%.

ARN’s CEO Ciaran Davis said, “The launch of the ARN Neuro Lab reinforces our ambition to be the leaders in defining audio. It’s the first in-house media facility of its type in Australia and demonstrates our commitment to helping our commercial partners maximise the impact of their investment in audio while arming ARN with a better understanding for how radio, music and podcasts can be used together to meet the audio needs of all Australians.”

The ARN Neuro Lab can be accessed by clients to evaluate and optimise creative impact across radio, music and podcasts. Clients will be able to plan audio that maximises multimedia effect, understand brand salience in their category, and how audio advertising can influence it.

Dr Shannon Bosshard said: “Launching the ARN Neuro Lab is a career highlight for me. To be able to take my academic interests and put them into action, within an applied setting, is incredibly rewarding. Much of the work we plan to roll out this year will be global-firsts, and will help ARN be at the forefront of audio excellence. The results we’ve seen from our first few projects are encouraging and will further reinforce the power of audio as a means for human connection.”

Justin Stone

ARN’s director of research and insights, Justin Stone said, “The ARN Neuro Lab will be a powerful resource for our commercial and content teams alike. We are aiming to give clients a greater depth of customer insight and help to evaluate, then optimise, the content they use to connect with audiences. Combined with our existing qualitative and quantitative methodologies the work we do through the Neuro Lab will give ARN and its clients a significant advantage by delivering an unparalleled understanding of how audio can achieve the results we desire.”

The ARN Neuro Lab will publish findings of the Sound You Can See study and additional research papers next year.

SMH's photojournalism to be displayed at Photos1440 photographic exhibition

The Sydney Morning Herald’s award-winning photojournalism will be showcased in the annual Photos1440 photographic exhibition, to be held from January 16 to April 25 at Sydney’s State Library.

Photos1440 will also be marking its 10th year, looking back over the past decade of key events and moments captured through the eyes of the Sydney Morning Herald photographers. The exhibition will feature more than 200 images including award-winning photography from Sydney Morning Herald chief photographer Nick Moir and Gold Walkley winner Kate Geraghty

The Last Post echoed across suburban rooftops as ANZAC Day dawn services were cancelled during COVID-19 lockdown. In Daceyville Albie Woodhouse, 17, played his trumpet. Photo by Cole Bennetts.


From the wreckage of the MH17 plane crash site strewn amongst sunflowers and images that sum up the classic Australian ‘she’ll be right’ attitude during the Queensland floods, to a poignant frame of Newmarch House resident Alice Bacon, who was the 100th COVID-19 victim in Australia, to dramatic scenes of firefighters fleeing a firestorm, Photos1440 is a celebration of photojournalism that has the power to inspire, to educate and to form opinion.

Mags King, the Sydney Morning Herald’s managing photo editor and curator of the exhibition said: “Our photographs are more than the first draft of history; they’re powerful gut punches that force everyone from politicians and philanthropists to mums and dads to sit up and take notice. They demand a visceral response.”

“This year’s Photos1440 showcases some of the most poignant, powerful, spectacular and quiet moments that we have had the privilege to witness. In particular, the images from the past 12 months capture the stories that have unified – and divided – us all. This year, whilst some of us were in lockdown, Sydney Morning Herald photographers continued to work under trying circumstances wearing PPE and working within COVID-19 guidelines. We hope that this exhibition moves people but it is really all about sharing the stories.”

Dating back more than 100 years, the Sydney Morning Herald’s photography has been documenting the stories that have shaped Sydney since the early 1900s.  Photos1440 will be held at Sydney’s State Library from January 16 to April 25, 2021. Admission is free.

Top Photo: A fire truck escapes an inferno in Orangeville, west of Campbelltown, during January’s bushfires. Photo by SMH Chief photographer Nick Moir.

SBS Viceland announces new slate of content for 2021

Investigative documentaries and a long-running medical drama join the SBS Viceland line up for 2021.

The multichannel will be airing a mix of documentaries, news, current affairs, entertainment and movies from Australia and across the world, SBS Viceland’s 2021 content slate will cover cultural issues, race, identity, gender, music, food, travel, sports, and more.

It follows the announcement that SBS Viceland will continue offering Australians content through SBS’s renewed content deal with VICE Media Group.

SBS’s partnership with VICE Media Group gives Australians exclusive access to hundreds of hours of new, original programming including VICE TV documentary features and series, content from the new VICE World News strand and original productions from VICE Studios.

Here’s what Australians can expect on SBS VICELAND next year:

SBS Viceland will be the new home of the long-running and Kiwi TV soap, Shortland Street, which will premiere Monday, 11 January, and airing weeknights at 5:40 pm AEDT. Season 29 of Shortland Street will be fast-tracked from New Zealand. The final forty episodes of season 28 will drop on SBS On Demand on January 1, ahead of the season 29 premiere.

New SBS Viceland programs premiering in 2021 include Wet Markets Exposed which looks at the dark underbelly of wet markets and wildlife trafficking around the globe and While the Rest of Us Die which unmasks how the elite are saved and normal people die when catastrophe strikes.

VICE World News’ six-part documentary Border to Border explores life along the lines drawn between countries where tension, trafficking, migration, and environmental issues collide.

Fringe Nation: Extremists in America

Fringe Nation: Extremists in America considers whether the actions of those at the fringes have a disproportionate – and irreversible – impact on the United States.

The feature documentary Mayor from Emmy-winning director, editor and composer David Osit, will also be available exclusively on SBS Viceland. 

The channel will also offer a string of new international true crime documentaries covering everything from suburban crime to murder in the professional wrestling industry. From Vice TV comes the third season of pro wrestling documentary series Dark Side of the Ring alongside the newly announced expansion of the franchise, Dark Side of The 90s, which will explore the decade’s most captivating pop-culture moments.

Dark Side of the Ring

Also airing next year is documentary strand VICE VERSA, a new series of independent documentary specials that challenges the status quo, as well as the hotly anticipated third season of Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia.

Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia

VICE Studios’ new upcoming three-part series, Jack the Ripper: Hidden Victims, which provides a new take on historical crime documentaries and debunks the myths and mistruths around the infamous murderer Jack the Ripper, will also premiere in 2021.

SBS Viceland is not only the home of bold dramas and documentaries, but also the free-to-air home of basketball in Australia, bringing audiences the 2021 National Basketball League (NBL) season, and the 2021 National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) seasons.

SBS VIicleand favourites will also return including 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Taskmaster, brand-new comedy panel show Patriot Brains, and new seasons of Wellington Paranormal and The Casketeers.

TV ratings: Summer survey, Wednesday Week 51 2020

By James Manning

• Despite Big Bash washout, Seven holds on for midweek win
• Nine and mix of multis ranks #1 in network share
• ABC’s Hard Quiz, Gruen and Rehab all win slots to end 2020

Seven ranked #1 primary, Nine ranked #1 network, but it was ABC that had the star power and the timeslot winners from 7.30 onwards.

Hard Quiz and Gruen both had top 10 finishes with audiences over 600,000. Hard Quiz returns next week with a Kids’ Special, but Gruen has wrapped for the year with a musical feast. Before that there was disagreement over some of the creative in display, including a 16-minute message to consumers from KFC. Qantas board member Todd Sampson was also quick to point out there was no Covid on aeroplanes too. The musical end to the season featured Bluey composer Joff Bush celebrating each of the Gruen panellists. And finally, the 93-year-old composer of the Play School theme, Richard Connolly, belted out his tune one more time. Host Wil Anderson admitted it was only his second favourite Richard Connolly creation. The composer just happens to be the father of Gruen EP Polly Connolly.

Reputation Rehab managed to win its timeslot too, saving the best to last, an episode that looked at the vilification of The Chaser over the sick kiddies prank, and Yumi Stynes over her morning TV incident. The episode did 408,000.

UK broadcaster Lorraine Kelly was then guest host of The Last Leg while Adam Hills contributed from quarantine in Melbourne to get home for Christmas.

Seven’s BBL match between Perth Scorchers and Melbourne Stars started promisingly on 406,000, but the audience disappeared of course when the second session was washed out with highlights filling the gaps.

Week 50: Wednesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 15.8% 7 16.9% 9 15.5% 10  9.4% SBS One 4.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.6% 7TWO 4.7% GO! 3.0% 10 Bold 4.6% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 2.3% GEM 2.8% 10 Peach 4.1% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 2.0% 7flix 1.6% 9Life 2.5% 10 Shake 0.8% NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.9%     SBS World Movies 1.9%
TOTAL 20.9%   25.6%   25.8%   18.9%   8.9%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 12.1% 7 18.4% 9 13.9% WIN 9.2% SBS One 3.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 1.9% 7TWO 7.6% GO! 3.5% WIN Bold 5.8% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 1.5% 7mate 3.2% GEM 5.8% WIN Peach 4.2% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.6% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.8% 9Life 2.0% Sky News  on WIN 1.8% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 2.2%
TOTAL 17.2%   31.0%   25.3%   20.9%   7.9%


85.4% 14.6%
  1. Seven News Seven 879,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 788,000
  3. Nine News Nine 764,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 760,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 631,000
  6. Hard Quiz S5 ABC 623,000
  7. ABC News ABC 617,000
  8. Gruen ABC 601,000
  9. 7.30 ABC 592,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 453,000
  11. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Per V Melb Stars S1 Seven 446,000
  12. Reputation Rehab ABC 408,000
  13. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Per V Melb Stars Inn B Seven 405,000
  14. The Project 7pm 10 365,000
  15. Hot Seat Nine 364,000
  16. Paramedics -Encore Nine 346,000
  17. The Royals Revealed: Harry & Edward – Princes In Exile 10 301,000
  18. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 289,000
  19. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Per V Melb Stars S2 Seven 287,000
  20. Sunrise Seven 264,000
Demo Top Five

16-39 Top Five

  1. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Per V Melb Stars Inn B Seven 101,000
  2. Gruen ABC 99,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 91,000
  4. Seven News Seven 91,000
  5. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Per V Melb Stars S1 Seven 91,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. Nine News 6:30 Nine 177,000
  2. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Per V Melb Stars Inn B Seven 175,000
  3. Seven News Seven 169,000
  4. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Per V Melb Stars S1 Seven 168,000
  5. Gruen ABC 166,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. Nine News 6:30 Nine 216,000
  2. Seven News Seven 209,000
  3. Nine News Nine 206,000
  4. Gruen ABC 205,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 184,000
Wednesday Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 228,000
  2. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 168,000
  3. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 167,000
  4. The Big Bang Theory Ep 3 10 Peach 157,000
  5. Love Monster AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 153,000
  6. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 143,000
  7. Lewis PM 7TWO 143,000
  8. The Coroner PM 7TWO 140,000
  9. Neighbours 10 Peach 136,000
  10. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  11. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  12. The Big Bang Theory Ep 2 10 Peach 118,000
  13. Book Hungry Bears AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 117,000
  14. Go Jetters PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  15. Floogals PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 110,000
  16. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 108,000
  17. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 108,000
  18. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 107,000
  19. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 105,000
  20. Dog Loves Books ABCKIDS/COMEDY 105,000
Wednesday STV
  1. Live: Between The Innings FOX CRICKET 186,000
  2. Live: BBL: Scorchers V Stars FOX CRICKET 177,000
  3. Live: BBL: Scorchers V Stars FOX CRICKET 108,000
  4. Chris Smith Tonight Sky News Live 52,000
  5. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 48,000
  6. Live: B4 The Bash! FOX CRICKET 47,000
  7. Credlin Sky News Live 40,000
  8. Love It Or List It Australia Lifestyle Channel 38,000
  9. Inside The News Sky News Live 35,000
  10. First Edition Sky News Live 33,000
  11. PML Later Sky News Live 31,000
  12. Cobra BBC First 31,000
  13. Escape To The Country Lifestyle Channel 29,000
  14. Coronation Street UKTV 27,000
  15. Escape To The Country Lifestyle Channel 25,000
  16. Homestead Rescue Discovery Channel 25,000
  17. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 25,000
  18. Live: BBL Post Game FOX CRICKET 24,000
  19. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 24,000
  20. Escape To The Chateau Lifestyle Channel 23,000

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

ACCC alleges Facebook misled when promoting app to 'protect' users' data

The ACCC has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Facebook, Inc and two of its subsidiaries for false, misleading or deceptive conduct when promoting Facebook’s Onavo Protect mobile app to Australian consumers.

Onavo Protect was a free downloadable software application providing a virtual private network (VPN) service.

The ACCC alleges that, between 1 February 2016 to October 2017, Facebook and its subsidiaries Facebook Israel Ltd and Onavo, Inc misled Australian consumers by representing that the Onavo Protect app would keep users’ personal activity data private, protected and secret, and that the data would not be used for any purpose other than providing Onavo Protect’s products.

In fact, the ACCC alleges, Onavo Protect collected, aggregated and used significant amounts of users’ personal activity data for Facebook’s commercial benefit. This included details about Onavo Protect users’ internet and app activity, such as records of every app they accessed and the number of seconds each day they spent using those apps.

This data was used to support Facebook’s market research activities, including identifying potential future acquisition targets.

“Through Onavo Protect, Facebook was collecting and using the very detailed and valuable personal activity data of thousands of Australian consumers for its own commercial purposes, which we believe is completely contrary to the promise of protection, secrecy and privacy that was central to Facebook’s promotion of this app,” said ACCC chair Rod Sims.

Ex-ABC boss Michelle Guthrie to chair games developer Mighty Kingdom

Former Australian Broadcasting Corporation managing director Michelle Guthrie has become chairman of games developer Mighty Kingdom, which is eyeing an ASX listing in early 2021, reports The AFR’s Simon Evans.

Mighty Kingdom has completed a $4 million pre-IPO fund raising which chief operating officer Tony Lawrence said was heavily over-subscribed.

He said the appointment of Guthrie as chairman of the group – and Megan Brownlow as a director of the company – was part of a strengthening of the corporate governance framework, and injecting outside skills in preparation for a public listing.

Brownlow is a former partner with PwC and led its national industry practice for technology, media and telecommunications until April 2019.

[Read more]

News Brands

Chinese Communist Party tied to local media outlets

The Chinese Communist Party has close links with nearly three-quarters of Australia’s Chinese-language media outlets, allowing Beijing to use them – along with offshore WeChat accounts – to channel propaganda to up to one million Australian Chinese, reports The Australian’s Ben Packham.

New research by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute reveals 17 of 24 Chinese-language outlets in Australia have connections with the CCP through its United Front Work Department overseas influence operation.

Four of the 24 companies were directly owned by the CCP or received financial support from the party.

[Read more]

Media law reform: ‘Cleared’ journalists to get a heads up

The Australian Federal Police will tell journalists when they are no longer persons of interest in an investigation and warrants relating to the media will be contested by public interest advocates, under reforms agreed to by the Morrison government, reports The Australian’s Rosie Lewis.

Attorney-General Christian Porter has accepted recommendations from the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security’s press freedom inquiry, including that only Supreme Court or Federal Court judges can issue search warrants against journalists for disclosure offences.

The government will also be required to consider extra defences for public interest journalism for secrecy offences.

Michael Miller, News Corp Australasia executive chairman, said the recommendations, 14 of which were adopted by the government in full and one “in principle”, did not go far enough to address the country’s press freedom problem.

[Read more]

See also: Press freedom reforms welcomed, but more needed say media companies by Nine’s Lisa Visentin.

Politicians have a right to question but not threaten the ABC

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has opened up a new front in the federal government’s long running fight with the ABC by questioning a Four Corners episode entitled “Inside the Canberra Bubble” about allegedly inappropriate relations between two ministers and female staffers, comments a Sydney Morning Herald editorial.

The Herald has already argued that it thinks the ABC was mostly justified in its decision to report on the issue. Since #MeToo and Malcolm Turnbull‘s ban on affairs between ministers and staff, the boundary between private and public has shifted dramatically.

There are, however, valid criticisms that can be made of how the ABC reported this story. The program went too far in its moralising tone and its assumption that women cannot choose to have consensual affairs with their bosses.

Fletcher, a moderate, is not usually counted among the culture warriors who oppose “their ABC” on principle as biased against the Coalition. He should hold the line at a time when there are worrying signs that the broadcaster’s independence and role are under threat.

[Read more]

Test cricket great Mike Hussey guest edits The Advertiser

Former star Australian batsman Mike Hussey has turned his hand from picking his best Australian XI for the first Test against India at Adelaide Oval to guest editing The Advertiser, reports News Corp’s Andrew Capel.

The brilliant left-handed batsman, who averaged 51.52 in 79 Tests after making his debut at age 30 in 2005, oversaw the newspaper’s cricket coverage on the eve of the Australia-India day-night blockbuster, which starts at The Oval on Thursday.

Hussey said he enjoyed editing a newspaper for the first time, alongside editor Matt Deighton and sports editor Aaron Spirdonoff.

“It was a bit nerve-racking, being held accountable for how the paper looks before such a big occasion, but it was also exciting and enjoyable,” he said.

“There’s plenty of good stories to be told and this Test match, the Adelaide Test, is always one of the highlights of the summer, a great occasion, and hopefully the whole city gets behind it.”

[Read more]


Marty Sheargold says Nova show with Kate & Tim was groundhog day

New Triple M breakfast host Marty Sheargold has taken a swipe at his former Nova FM colleagues Kate Ritchie and Tim Blackwell saying he quit their drive show as it was like groundhog day and he was sick of compromising and being censored, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

“I had had enough of that show. I’d lost interest in that show,” Sheargold said of his decision to quit.

Melbourne-based Sheargold, 49, was a key part of Nova drive since 2011 and had been teamed with Ritchie and Blackwell in that shift since 2015.

“It was the same show everyday, it had a real groundhog feel to it and it was really that I wanted an opportunity to go and build something myself.”

Sheargold is replacing Eddie McGuire in Triple M breakfast next year with Troy Ellis moving from Nova to anchor his show.

[Read more]


Anna Wintour leads Condé Nast’s new global content strategy

Condé Nast this week unveiled its new global content strategy, leadership teams and structure. The company will transform its creative operations to better serve audiences and advertising partners by appointing global leadership teams to its storied brands. This new strategic approach to content creation brings an emphasised focus, across the company’s worldwide portfolio of brands, on quality and reach.

In Australia, News Corp licenses a number of Condé Nast brands including Vogue and GQ.

The complete redesign and investment in editorial operations will transform how the creative teams create, share, translate, adapt and distribute content across platforms and formats. By strengthening each brand’s ability to bring talent and the very best in journalism and storytelling together across a global media infrastructure, the company will more effectively meet advertisers and audiences where they are now and where they will be in the future.

Leading the transformation is Anna Wintour, who has been named chief content officer for the company, worldwide. Wintour will also now serve as global editorial director of Vogue while continuing her oversight of Vogue US. Christiane Mack, chief content operations officer, who has largely been responsible for the unification of the creative teams across video, digital and print, will continue in her role, reporting to Wintour and Condé Nast Entertainment president Agnes Chu, to continue implementing the rollout of the global operating model.

Condé Nast has also appointed global editorial directors of AD, Condé Nast Traveler and GQ, with the remaining global brands to follow in early 2021. The global unification of the brand editorial teams will enable the brands to create the best version of each global story or piece of content and distribute it in customized ways for each local edition. The global editorial directors will continue to oversee the edition of their title in their home market in addition to their new global brand responsibilities.

Wintour has held the position of editor of Vogue US since July 1988, and was named US artistic director of Condé Nast in March 2013. Most recently, she was appointed global content advisor of Condé Nast in August of 2019.


TV critics at The Age & SMH choose Stateless as 2020’s best drama

A panel of TV critics at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald has chosen the ABC series Stateless as the best Australian show of the year.

The panel consisted of Debi Enker, Michael Idato, Paul Kalina, Kylie Northover and Louise Rugendyke.

Other shows named as 2020 highlights were:

I May Destroy You (Foxtel)
Staged (ABC)
Halifax: Retribution (Nine)
The Test (Amazon Prime)
Normal People (Stan)
Bluey (ABC)
High Fidelity (ABC)

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Sports Media

Telstra to review prices after 420% increase in netball TV subscription

Netball fans have pushed Telstra to review its current subscription pricing after the telco removed the annual subscription price from its app, effectively making the yearly price more than five times more expensive, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Sarah Keoghan.

This year subscribers could pay a yearly fee of $29.99 to watch both Super Netball and international netball games via the Netball Live app provided by Telstra. Channel Nine plays a selection of Super Netball games, with international fans unable to watch any Super Netball games from outside of Australia without the app.

But on Tuesday, fans noticed Telstra had removed the annual subscription option with fans now only able to purchase monthly or weekly subscriptions.

The price of a monthly subscription is $12.99 meaning a year’s subscription will now cost $155.88, an increase of 420 per cent, making the app more expensive than Amazon Prime or Netflix’s base price.

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