Wednesday December 2, 2020

The power of breakfast radio: Russel Howcroft and Christian O’Connell

By James Manning 

• Working during lockdown, Look at the numbers, advertisers in the club

When you want to hear from broadcasters about the power of breakfast radio and how the medium has weathered 2020, who better to speak to than two of Melbourne’s finest – 3AW Ross and Russel co-host Russel Howcroft and UK #1 broadcaster turned Melbourne’s #1 FM champ at Gold 104.3, Christian O’Connell.

Mediaweek was lucky to get the two of them together for a podcast last week with James Manning. Here are some of the highlights.

Working during lockdown

Christian O’Connell: Part of my job was to reflect what lockdown was like for me. My material is my life. It is talking about my life. I suddenly realised I was not going to be able to do anything and I was worrying where all my material was going to come from. I found myself locked in a house with two teenage daughters and home schooling. We were faced with a mutiny with them overthrowing my wife and me. There ended up being more than enough going on!

Every time I used to close the front door at 5am on the way to work, I breathed a sigh of relief to get out of the house for a few hours.

Taking advantage of Howcroft’s marketing expertise

Russel Howcroft: I get involved with the [Nine Radio] sales guys on the communication they will have with the marketplace. Clients are always looking for creativity and good ideas that might give them a bit of an x-factor.

I also encourage radio people to just look at the numbers. When considering the power of commercial radio, the numbers are very significant with regard to audience and time spent listening. That’s a very important number because the longer the consumer is spending listening it gives them more opportunity to hear advertising.

The numbers are also very good when it comes to reach – a critical number in the advertising world. Sometimes we just forget the basics – reach matters and the target audience matters. Cost of production also matters – a significant success factor around radio is it doesn’t cost much to produce compared to other mediums. That also means smaller players can get involved with radio as well.

How the listeners and then advertisers grew at Gold

Christian O’Connell: I will always value the clients who were with our show early on. There were quite a few advertisers at the start who said they loved what we were doing. They understood it could take a while, but they were with us. There were others who wanted to wait and see, which I totally understand.

The show was being written off by rivals and everyone in the industry. Now, having lived here for two and a half years, I know why. I still find it remarkable that it worked. It could have easily gone the other way, but it didn’t.

With success we suddenly found we had new best friends. It meant that there were more demands on my time commercially, and I understand that. When you suddenly become #1 there is almost a land grab and the sales teams’ phones are ringing off the hook. They want to get airtime, they want to meet you and they want to see what you can leverage for them.

The way I do promotions for clients is different. I want to make sure that it feels as much a part of the show as anything else I am doing. I can’t stand it when I hear commercial radio shows that sound like they are putting the show on hold and hitting pause as they read a script for an ad – almost like they have a gun pointed at their head. It shouldn’t be like that, if you want to be paid your money you need to earn it and part of that is doing your promotions well and making it fun and entertaining for your audience.

Advertisers in the club

Russel Howcroft: Part of the really interesting thing for advertisers in radio is that they can very readily become part of, let’s call it the club. Let’s say there is a 3AW Breakfast Club. Most of the time the advertiser fits very neatly into the club. That is a unique part of the medium of radio. You wouldn’t say that about television or social, magazines or newspapers. The advertiser becomes part of the total radio show. If the advertiser is part of the club, the radio dial isn’t used when it is ad time. The ads are accepted as part of the total show which is a really powerful thing for the advertiser.

Listen to the Mediaweek podcast: The Power of Breakfast Radio

Powered Enterprise
Nine reveals first appointments for new Powered Enterprise division

Nine has announced the appointment of Nicki Kenyon and Michele O’Neill as the first leadership hires for its newly launched Powered Enterprise division.

Kenyon has held executive leadership roles in global corporations and start-ups in Australia and Asia Pacific, most recently as General Manager of Marketing for leading industry travel body Visit Victoria and prior to that was APAC regional Vice President, Digital and Marketing Transformation for Visa, based out of Singapore.

O’Neill has spent the past three years with Edelman as Global Strategy Partner out of London, previously holding executive strategy roles with WPP and IPG agencies in Europe, and Joy and VCCP in Sydney.

The move home is also a return to Nine for O’Neill who began her career as the first camerawoman for Australian commercial television in 1980.

Both have been appointed as Director of Powered Enterprise, reporting to Liana Dubois, Director of Powered, and will be charged with leading Powered Enterprise, the newly launched unit which is tailored to the needs of key C-suite clientele looking for partners who can understand and meet their changing needs for business growth.

Nine said at the time of the announcement of the Enterprise division of Powered that it was not about a single ad campaign or product launch, focused instead on having conversations aimed at understanding an organisation’s horizon planning and co-creating strategies and ideas that deliver in a way that no other Australia media company can.

Kenyon said: “As a client-side marketer, I’ve always been motivated by driving business growth and delivering impact through progressive, strategic and accountable marketing. I’m thrilled to be tasked with taking the offering by Powered Enterprise – where content, data and technology truly come together in a meaningful, connected and actionable way – to our clients to help maximise marketing effectiveness and deliver business results.”

O’Neill said: “Finding compelling and distinctive ways to engage and move people is at the heart of how brand helps business grow. What influences people to make choices about the brand and therefore business they buy from is shifting. The potential for alchemy in Powered Enterprise is exciting, accessing the scale and exceptional content, data and technology of Nine and shaping it into big business ideas that move us more.”

Top Photo: Left to right: Liana Dubois Director of Powered, Nicki Kenyon Director of Powered Enterprise – Melbourne, Michele O’Neill Director of Powered Enterprise – Sydney

Are Media: Influencers work for Gen Z women, but sampling works best

Influencers are a key factor in helping Generation Z make beauty purchases, but their influential power drops when it comes to all other women, Are Media’s first BEAUTYVOICES consumer survey has revealed.

Sampling beauty products is the most successful form of marketing likely to drive purchase for all women aged 18 to 74, followed by online reviews at 39% and magazine reviews and features (30%). However, social media posts from influencers and beauty ads on social platforms influence less than a quarter (24%) of all women.

When it comes to Gen Z, influencers play a more important role in the path to purchase for 18 to 24-year-olds. Four in ten (43%) said YouTube videos are a key influencing platform, followed by social posts and ads (38%) and influencer reviews (35%).

Are Media’s BEAUTYVOICES survey questioned 3,867 women on their views around what beauty means to women, their consumption habits, marketing and advertising preferences.

Alicia Melville, head of beauty at Are Media said: “Beauty remains a key priority for Australian women of all ages and BEAUTYVOICES has been designed to provide our partners with the most current data on how women feel, what they are interested in and how they want to be engaged with.

“While influencers continue to play an important role in driving Gen Z women to make beauty purchases, the research shows that sampling and reviews are more likely to lead to buying decisions for women over 24.”

When it comes to Instagram posts, on average the best performing images likely to drive women to purchase a beauty product are packaging shots and flat lays as opposed to those which included influencers or advertising talent holding the product.

Despite a general shift towards online shopping as a result of Covid-19, just one in 10 women (13%) said they made beauty purchases online, compared to 59% opting to buy in-store.

Almost eight in 10 women (78%) said the more money they plan to spend on a beauty product, the more research they do and nearly nine in 10 (88%) said they were most likely to buy a product if they had sampled it first.

Are Media has recently announced its flagship beauty platforms, beautyheaven and BEAUTYcrew will be completely relaunched in 2021 to include the latest innovations in beauty technology and enhanced rewards program.

The BEAUTYVOICES survey found that 80% of beautyheaven and 73% of BEAUTYcrew readers had purchased a product after reading reviews on these sites.

SMI October
SMI: October ad spend recovers, Nov/Dec well above 2019 levels

Australia’s media agency market is finally emerging from the Covid crisis, with the latest SMI data showing the market back just 4.8% in October and the forward pacings detail confirming November and December ad demand is well above where it was at the same time last year.

The October market was boosted by the move of the AFL and NRL finals and Grand Finals into the month which resulted in a 12.7% increase in television bookings, with Metropolitan TV ad spend up 15.7% year-on-year.

Digital bookings were stable in the month (-0.4%) mostly due to soaring advertising demand for social media sites (+45.5% in October) with each of Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn all reporting growth of a minimum 34% compared to October 2019.

And SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe said the stronger market demand was continuing, with early November data showing the market so far back 7% with a week’s trading still to come.

The October SMI data has confirmed the ad market is well and truly leaving the Covid crisis behind, while future demand is also quickly accelerating in both November and December,” she said.

“Our forward pacings data – which compares the current level of confirmed future ad spend to that at the same time last year – shows November advertising demand is already 10 percentage points ahead of where it was in November 2019 and for December the level of confirmed ad demand is now 12 percentage points higher, and that increase in demand is the highest ever seen.”

However, the TV market in November is affected by a few timing issues which aided its early 14.2% increase in ad spend with the month featuring three highly competitive State of Origin matches that were broadcast in June/July last year. But there was also no cricket broadcast this November, but it featured last year.

The early signs for November are very encouraging and show the market is now on the cusp of returning to growth as there was a week’s trading still to occur when that early November data was collected. We may be reporting our first month of growth in more than two years next month,” Ractliffe said.

Other interesting trends emerging in the October data include an ongoing decline in programmatic ad spend, with premium content sites regaining the position of the third largest digital sector in October, reversing many years of erosion by programmatic ad spend.

The pure play video sites sector (which includes sites such as YouTube and the TV streaming sites) also reported good growth in October ad spend (+15.5%) and within the traditional media regional TV (+8%) and regional radio (-2.7%) were the strongest performers.

Among the key categories, the largest gain this month was from the food/produce/dairy category (+42%) but Covid continues to affect other key verticals with travel ad spend back 76% and the movies/cinema/theme park spend was back 87% year-on-year.

MediaSmiths adds to team of senior planners with former Mediacom executive

Independent media agency MediaSmiths today announced the appointment of another senior account planner to its team as the independent agency continues to grow.

Jack Geraghty (pictured) joins MediaSmiths from Mediacom in Brisbane where he was media executive. Geraghty also has digital experience, working as a social media and content coordinator for Space Digital and a content developer for the Australian Institute of Food Safety. He is also an AWARD School graduate.

In his new role based in Sydney, Geraghty will manage end-to-end planning, buying and execution of a number of the agency’s key clients.

His appointment follows the recent announcements that former Nova executive Natalie Murray and former Carat executive Corey Eyre have joined the team at MediaSmiths as senior account planners.

See also: MediaSmith executive appointments

“As an independent agency it’s great to be able to attract the calibre of talent that we have to date and to demonstrate that we offer a viable alternative to multinationals for both talent and clients. We are on a growth trajectory and are looking forward to a bigger 2021. Jack’s energy and expertise across full 360 channel planning will encompass his day to day role for the  business to help deliver effective campaign results for clients,” said MediaSmiths managing director, Angie Smith.

Commenting on his appointment, Geraghty said: “I am excited to join the MediaSmiths team bringing a collaborative and creative approach to campaign planning and working with inspiring leaders across a broad range of interesting clients.”

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

MediaWorks TV
Discovery, Inc completes MediaWorks TV Ltd acquisition

Discovery, Inc. (“Discovery”), has completed its acquisition of New Zealand’s leading independent free-to-air commercial broadcaster, MediaWorks TV Ltd, now operating as Discovery NZ Limited.

Discovery is positioned to be a major player in New Zealand’s free-to-air television market and includes the entertainment channels Three and Bravo, streaming service ThreeNow, multi-platform news and current affairs service Newshub, as well as channels Three+1, Bravo+1, The Edge TV and The Breeze TV. Discovery will continue the existing partnership with NBCUniversal for the Bravo channel joint venture.

Discovery will now look to combine its businesses across New Zealand and Australia into one organisation spanning both countries, a move designed to increase scale across the region as a whole. The business will be jointly led by Glen Kyne and Rebecca Kent, General Managers for New Zealand and Australia, who report to Simon Robinson, Discovery President APAC.

Simon Robinson, Discovery president APAC, said: “Today is an exciting moment for Discovery as we significantly expand our operations in New Zealand, and look to create a trans-Tasman powerhouse organisation led by Glen Kyne and Rebecca Kent. The acquisition of MediaWorks TV, with its popular brands and prominent position in New Zealand, will be pivotal in achieving long-term growth and success in both markets.”

Glen Kyne, general manager, New Zealand & Australia, said: “I am incredibly excited to officially join the Discovery family today and welcome this new beginning for our people, audiences and customers, as well as the production companies that we support both locally and abroad.

“We have worked hard to get Three to a clear number two position in the free-to-air market*, and now have the opportunity to apply that same focus across the wider portfolio to further strengthen our position. Our increased share in New Zealand, alongside our established offering in Australia, will enable us to realise the full value of Discovery brands, delivering premium news and entertainment to our audiences and enhanced solutions for our advertisers.”

Rebecca Kent, general manager, Australia & New Zealand, said: “This is the next phase of growth for our region, giving us an opportunity to build audiences further with locally produced and internationally acquired content across multiple screens. We are focused on bringing audiences the local stories that Discovery and Three are renowned for through our successful local productions, and using Discovery’s international network to bring local audiences the best of our stories from around the world.”

Discovery has had a presence in Australia and New Zealand for more than 25 years, when it first launched Discovery Channel on Foxtel and Sky. In addition to the Discovery NZ Limited brands, the New Zealand portfolio includes free-to-air channels, Choice and HGTV, and six pay-TV channels – Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, Living and Discovery Turbo.

Discovery Australia’s portfolio includes eight pay-TV channels across Foxtel and Fetch – Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Discovery Turbo, HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel, free-to-air channel 9Rush, a partnership with Nine Entertainment Co, and golf streaming service GOLFTV. 

Jonesy & Amanda’s Holiday Book Club
iHeartPodcast Network launches Jonesy & Amanda’s Holiday Book Club podcast

Brendan ‘Jonesy’ Jones and Amanda Keller have wrapped up their radio show for the year but will be returning to listeners over the summer in the form of a new podcast Jonesy & Amanda’s Holiday Book Club.

In the podcast, Jonesy and Amanda will read sections of their memoirs and discuss the juicy details that didn’t make it into the book. Nothing is off limits as they each reveal some of the most defining moments of their life, from the first time they fell in love through to the moment their friendship was almost ruined forever.

Jonesy and Amanda have been friends for over 20 years, but during recording, they learnt some very intimate, heartbreaking and powerful things they didn’t know about each another.

Each week two episodes will be released, on Tuesday and Friday, as the pair delve into never-before shared stories from their childhood and teen years through to starting a family and how they became one of Australia’s most loved radio duos.

WSFM content director Mike Byrne said, “Jonesy & Amanda’s Holiday Book Club is a great example of how ARN’s key on-air talent can offer their audience and clients a different way to connect when they aren’t on air. Jonesy and Amanda share some incredibly warm, fun and also at times raw moments during in-depth discussions that wouldn’t be possible to fit in during their breakfast show, which really showcases how podcasts are an important complement to a live radio offering for both audiences and commercial clients.”

Listen to Episode 1 here.

The Mandalorian
TV Demand: The Mandalorian continues to dominate 2020 in quiet week

By Trent Thomas

The Mandalorian looks like a heavy favourite to close out 2020 on top of the TV Demand chart in Australia and New Zealand. This is even more impressive due to the fact it started the year on top of the chart, it hasn’t managed to stay on top for the full calendar year but it has spent a large portion of 2020 at #1.

The show has been a dominant force since the launch of the Disney+ streaming platform with The Mandalorian as its flagship show. The show never lost momentum since its initial launch but the weekly release of its second season on October 30 has given the show a huge boost that has seen it run away from the competition.

The shows biggest challenge on the Digital Original charts is The Crown which is enjoying a surge from the release of its 4th season on Netflix and is easily the #2 show on the charts with a big gap separating it from the rest of the field.

On the Overall TV charts, the shows closest competition (besides The Crown) comes from some old favourites in Supernatural and Grey’s Anatomy

Supernatural has moved up the charts after the conclusion of its 15 seasons run on November 19. The show had a total of 327 episodes and developed a cult following, the series can be seen in Australia on 10 Play (seasons 14-15) and Stan (1-14).

Grey’s Anatomy began its 17th season on November 12 which featured the return of Patrick Dempsey as Derek Shepherd in a dream sequence which helped the show establish a dominant spot on the TV Demand chart, especially in Australia.

Addicted Australia
TV ratings: Summer survey, Tuesday Week 49 2020

By James Manning

• Nine #1 primary and network, 7TWO #1 multichannel
• Big crowds hard to find – Border Security #1 non-news 400k

Nine has managed to attract the biggest shares on a night with no breakout shows on any channel. Nine’s primetime included a 7.30 audience on 350,000 watching 20 to One followed by repeats of Kath & Kim around 200,000 and then Hamish & Andy’s Euro Gap Year on 100,000.

Bluey managed to make the top 10 with its morning screening on ABC Kids, easily outrating anything else on that time of day and most at any time of the day!

Also in the top 10 for ABC was 7.30 where Kevin Rudd was a guest talking about China. The former PM managed just one mention of “Murdoch media” but made several indirect references too. Stan Grant steps into host the show tonight and tomorrow.

The final episode of Addicted Australia saw the participants making some real progress – the ep was on 178,000 for SBS.

UK dramas Inspector Morse and Pie in the Sky helped 7TWO to rank #1 multichannel.

Week 49: Tuesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.4% 7 15.8% 9 16.4% 10  12.6% SBS One 5.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.2% 7TWO 4.4% GO! 3.0% 10 Bold 3.3% VICELAND 1.6%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 3.1% GEM 3.1% 10 Peach 3.4% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 1.9% 7flix 2.2% 9Life 2.9% 10 Shake 0.6% NITV 0.2%
        9Rush 1.9%     SBS World Movies 1.1%
TOTAL 18.1%   25.4%   27.4%   19.9%   9.2%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 12.1% 7 17.3% 9 12.2% WIN 11.4% SBS One 3.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.1% 7TWO 5.9% GO! 2.8% WIN Bold 4.8% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 1.1% 7mate 6.1% GEM 5.4% WIN Peach 3.5% Food Net 0.7%
ABC NEWS 1.4% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.3% 9Life 2.9% Sky News  on WIN 2.9% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 1.0%
TOTAL 17.8%   30.5%   23.3%   22.7%   6.7%


86.6% 13.4%
  1. Seven News Seven 911,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 888,000
  3. Nine News Nine 886,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 872,000
  5. ABC News ABC 674,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 666,000
  7. 7.30 ABC 608,000
  8. The Chase Australia Seven 489,000
  9. Hot Seat Nine 462,000
  10. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 414,000
  11. The Project 7pm 10 412,000
  12. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line Seven 411,000
  13. 20 To One Nine 353,000
  14. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 339,000
  15. NCIS 10 337,000
  16. Outback Ringer ABC 334,000
  17. Ambulance Australia (R) 10 330,000
  18. Wild Australia: After The Fires ABC 312,000
  19. Hot Seat -5pm Nine 291,000
  20. 10 News First 10 289,000
Demo Top Five

16-39 Top Five

  1. Nine News Nine 117,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 115,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 103,000
  4. Seven News Seven 103,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 92,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. Nine News 6:30 Nine 219,000
  2. Nine News Nine 211,000
  3. Seven News Seven 200,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 189,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 179,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. Nine News 6:30 Nine 246,000
  2. Nine News Nine 242,000
  3. Seven News Seven 230,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 216,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 210,000
Tuesday Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 414,000
  2. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 224,000
  3. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 214,000
  4. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 159,000
  5. Book Hungry Bears AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 129,000
  6. Rusty Rivets AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 125,000
  7. Inspector Morse PM 7TWO 122,000
  8. Escape To The Chateau 9Life 120,000
  9. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  10. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 118,000
  11. Highway Patrol-Ep.2 Pm 7mate 116,000
  12. Neighbours 10 Peach 115,000
  13. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 106,000
  14. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 104,000
  15. PJ Masks PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 102,000
  16. Dog Loves Books ABCKIDS/COMEDY 102,000
  17. Adam Hills: The Last Leg ABCKIDS/COMEDY 100,000
  18. Peter Rabbit AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 100,000
  19. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 99,000
  20. 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown (R) SBS VICELAND 99,000
Tuesday STV
  1. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 67,000
  2. Credlin Sky News Live 66,000
  3. Alan Jones Sky News Live 57,000
  4. PML Later Sky News Live 52,000
  5. Chris Smith Tonight Sky News Live 49,000
  6. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 43,000
  7. Taskmaster UKTV 35,000
  8. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 33,000
  9. Blue Bloods FOX One 30,000
  10. 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown UKTV 29,000
  11. Family Guy FOX8 29,000
  12. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 29,000
  13. Abby Hatcher Nick Jr. 29,000
  14. The Simpsons FOX8 28,000
  15. Border Security: Australia’s Front Line FOX8 27,000
  16. Live: The Back Page FOX SPORTS 503 27,000
  17. Blue’s Clues & You Nick Jr. 26,000
  18. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 25,000
  19. Wicked Tuna North Vs South National Geographic 25,000
  20. Below Deck FOX Arena 25,000

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

Seven files affidavit claiming Cricket Australia breached contract

Channel 7 is threatening to sue Cricket Australia for “many millions of dollars”, claiming it was subservience to India and inducements from state governments – not COVID-19 – which drastically altered the summer schedule, report News Corp’s Ben Horne and Peter Lalor.

In an affidavit filed to the Federal Court as part of a ‘pre-discovery’ process, Channel 7 head of sport Lewis Martin outlines his belief that Cricket Australia has breached its contract with the free-to-air network.

Channel 7 claims it has suffered significant commercial damage because Cricket Australia changed its original schedule, which included three Test matches before Christmas, to a new schedule with only one Test in that key ratings period where they would be up against Channel 9’s The Block.

Instead, six white-ball matches against India – all exclusive to Fox Sports – were put to the front of the schedule, pushing two Test matches until after Christmas and delaying the start of the BBL.

[Read more]

Explosive documents claim cricket fixture changes 'driven by' India

Cricket Australia caved to the power of India in making a “radical departure” from its summer schedule, according to an extraordinary affidavit filed by Seven West Media to the Federal Court containing a series of text messages and emails from the sport’s executives, report Nine’s Chris Barrett and Jon Pierik.

In a 25-page document, Seven’s Melbourne managing director and head of sport, Lewis Martin, also makes the explosive suggestion that CA may have been driven by a commercial agreement with the Tasmanian government in deciding to play eight of the first 12 matches of this summer’s Big Bash League in the state against the wishes of the media company.

“It appears to me that CA’s scheduling decisions may have been motivated by CA’s broader interests in relation to the BCCI, Foxtel and also a positive incentive given to CA by the State of Tasmania,” Martin wrote.

[Read more]

The Mercury: Channel 7 has launched a blistering attack on Tasmania

An extraordinary attack ridiculing Tasmania’s two premier sporting venues has been launched only eight days out from the Hobart Hurricanes hitting off the 10th anniversary Big Bash League with a blockbuster night game against Sydney Sixers in Hobart, reports The Mercury’s James Bresnehan.

In a coup for the state, 10 matches of this season’s BBL will be played in Hobart and Launceston, and the Hobart Hurricanes will play in six of them.

However, Channel 7 is not happy with the Tasmanian BBL hub and in a 28-page document presented in court in Sydney, as part of its growing legal battle with Cricket Australia, it launched an unprovoked attack on the home of Tasmanian cricket – Blundstone Arena – and Launceston’s AFL venue UTAS Stadium.

[Read more]

Editorial: Channel 7’s sledge on Tassie is typical mainland ignorance

There can be few better places in the world to go along and watch the cricket than Hobart’s Blundstone Arena, writes The Mercury’s editor Jenna Cairney in an editorial.

Nestled on the banks of the tranquil Derwent River, with views across the water from the top of the stands. Our top-tier cricket ground is a wonderful reflection of Tasmania’s unique and pristine natural environment.

And yet, for reasons known only to Channel 7’s leadership and of course the team of supposed legal eagles the TV station has assembled in an effort to low-ball Cricket Australia on its broadcast rights, we’re told the network doesn’t like coming to the Apple Isle.

[Read more]

'Facebook needs to improve': Digital giant to face scrutiny as backlash intensifies

A member of a new oversight board that will scrutinise decisions by Facebook to remove posts from its main platform and Instagram has said the social media giant must do more to eliminate hate speech and misinformation, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Katherine Chen, former commissioner at Taiwan’s national communications commission, is one of 20 members of Facebook’s new Oversight Board which also includes representatives from Australia, Taiwan, Pakistan, the United States and the United Kingdom and was first announced by founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2018.

The newly formed board will initially scrutinise six cases of hate speech, nudity and violence in Facebook’s first attempt to develop stronger standards. “The cases may change Facebook policy,” Chen said. “If we make a decision on a case, then Facebook has to follow and respond to our decision.”

[Read more]

News Brands

Venture capitalist targeted by AFR’s Joe Aston over gender, Court hears

Financial Review columnist Joe Aston’s claim that former Blue Sky director Dr Elaine Stead was a “prodigious destroyer of capital’’ and invested in “peanut start-ups’’ ignored her “remarkable” reputation and track record of success, the Federal Court has heard, reports The Australian’s Cameron England.

Dr Stead, who was also previously the manager of the South Australian Venture Capital Fund, is suing Aston for defamation over a series of columns which she claims made her look “reckless” and “stupid”.

Nine Entertainment Co filed a defence in March which denied the articles published by the AFR made Ms Stead out to be “reckless” or that she “made stupid investments”, but also argued that “each of those imputations is substantially true”.

The matter is scheduled to continue until December 14.

[Read more]

Government asks ABC to please explain controversial Four Corners episode

The ABC is preparing to fire back at Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher after he asked board chair Ita Buttrose to explain how a recent Four Corners episode exposing alleged affairs and inappropriate behaviour between ministers and staffers was in the public interest, report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Lisa Visentin and Zoe Samios.

In a letter to Buttrose, Fletcher posed 15 questions to the ABC board requesting an explanation within 14 days as to how the episode complied with the ABC’s code of practice and its statutory obligations to provide accurate and impartial journalism.

[Read more]


After the Night falls just short of being an Australian Making a Murderer

Compelling as it is, there’s not a lot new in After The Night, a four-part documentary series about Australia’s most notorious serial killer. But given it is more than 60 years since Eric Edgar Cooke embarked on his campaign of terror in Perth, and 57 since his arrest, it would be a shock if there were, reports The Age’s Karl Quinn.

The facts are settled, but they’re also so far back that – for some of us – this will be their first airing. And for many who were there at the time, it’s likely their last chance to bear witness.

Writer-director Thomas Meadmore has built the vehicle in which we take this tour of a distant past in which people didn’t lock the door and often slept on the porch, or even in the garden, if it was hot enough. That was until the night in 1963 when Cooke shot five people, three of them fatally. But it is journalist Estelle Blackburn who steers the story, retracing the route taken in her 1998 book Broken Lives.

Meadmore and Stan clearly aimed to do something here in the vein of Making a Murderer (Netflix) and The Jinx (HBO), which have done so much to redefine the true-crime genre. After the Night tries hard, but it doesn’t quite have the chops to pull it off.

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Kmart is taking Christmas message to the next level — with a TV special

Kmart is taking its Christmas message to the next level with a TV special inspired by the challenges we have all faced through COVID, reports News Corp’s Kim Wilson.

Unlike anything the retailer has ever done, Kmart has partnered with Channel 9 to produce Small Gift, Big Heart: a 30-minute Christmas TV special celebrating the Australian Christmas spirit through the eyes of nine-year-old Riley who represents an Aussie kid navigating the difficulties of 2020 with his family ahead of the Christmas season.

John Gualtieri, Kmart’s director of retail, says the Australian spirit has inspired the TV special.

“We all faced a challenging year in 2020 and this TV special allows us to take a moment to reflect and consider the ways we can continue to be there for each other as a community over Christmas and beyond,” he says.

“This is a first for Kmart, delivering a TV special that encompasses our values through an Australian story. The representation of community through authentic storytelling showcases the power of overcoming adversity.”

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Lisa Wilkinson on that bungled airport breakfast TV reporter clash

Lisa Wilkinson has touched on the bungled airport reporter clash on both Today and Sunrise on Tuesday morning, report’s Andrew Bucklow and Bianca Mastroianni.

Sunrise weatherman Sam Mac and Today show reporter Aislin Kriukelis went to interview the same young girl at Brisbane airport, after the border between Queensland and NSW opened.

Hilariously, Mac grabbed the Today microphone and pretended to be a reporter for that network.

On The Project, Lisa was shown the footage and asked whether or not Mac had ever grabbed her mic.

“I dont know how the network bosses will feel about that, but good on Sam Mac!” Lisa quipped with raised eyebrows.

The rival breakfast shows jostled to get interviews with Qantas passengers arriving on first flights into Brisbane.

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