Thursday February 1, 2024

AANA CEO Josh Faulks - Environmental Claims Code response to greenwashing 2024
Josh Faulks: Industry needs to work with government and consumers to overcome greenwashing

By Amy Shapiro

“The angle that’s often missed is that this isn’t a responsibility of just the industry.”

Australian Association of National Advertisers’ (AANA) chief executive officer Josh Faulks has rejected claims its draft greenwashing policy is virtue-signalling for the industry, claiming it is a vital move to weather the “perfect storm brewing around environmental claims.”

The peak advocacy body released the exposure draft of its Environmental Claims Code for public review two weeks ago and has been met with the expected mixed response of support and criticism from various sectors, with some suggesting the anti-greenwashing legislation is more about protecting the advertising industry from government regulation than tackling the issue.

Faulks told Mediaweek the code not only offers a solution that will restore the faith of disillusioned consumers in the advertising industry but also plays a crucial role in re-establishing the consumer voice in the important conversation around moving towards a more sustainable and low-carbon future.

The angle that’s often missed is that this isn’t a responsibility of just the industry, or just the government,” said Faulks. 

“It really is the government, industry and consumers working together to create an environment that enables and not only overly restricts the important conversation we need to have.

“Consumers are increasingly more interested in the environmental credentials of the brands in which they are looking to purchase.

“I think that is a good thing that the consumers are demanding. As part of that, the industry needs to move as well, and that’s what we’re doing.”

See also:
AANA targets greenwashing practices in advertising, CEO Josh Faulks declares, “it’s critical.”
ASIC commits to continue greenwashing crackdown in 2024

According to Faulks, the AANA is actively pushing to progress its claims code in response to a number of external factors, only one of which is the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)’s intensified crackdown on greenwashing. Others include AANA community expectations and standards surrounding greenwashing, as well as keeping up with shifting international best practices.

Faulks contended that the renewal of the self-regulatory Environmental Code is an initiative aimed at ensuring the ongoing relevance and longevity of the Australian advertising industry, and the brands they represent, in the eyes of the consumers they aspire to reach.

He stated, “Our role is clear: we need to work with the government,  the public, and the industry to create the standard that achieves the two objectives of building trust, and getting clear guidance to the industry and businesses.”

The AANA’s exposure draft is open for public comment until 5pm on Friday, March 22, 2024.

See also: AANA Environmental Claims Code exposure draft met with response from Comms Declare

Top Image: Josh Faulks

woman listening to audio stock cra
CRA releases annual and quarterly radio ad revenue numbers for 2023

Ford Ennals: The numbers were “broadly stable despite a challenging market”.

Commercial Radio and Audio (CRA) have released the annual and quarterly broadcast radio ad revenue numbers for Australia in 2023, with the industry body saying they show that radio is still performing consistently well in a tough media market.

The figures were compiled by media data analytics company Milton Data.

Annual broadcast radio ad revenue was down 4% last year. Broadcast radio ad revenue for 2023 across the five major metropolitan markets was $673.252 million, compared to $701.402 million in 2022.

Ford Ennals, CEO of CRA, said that: ‘‘Overall commercial radio ad revenue remains broadly stable despite a challenging market, with sustained strong broadcast radio revenue and record levels of growth in digital audio revenue in 2023.”

Metropolitan radio broadcast advertising revenue results exclude digital audio streaming and podcast revenue, which were up 27% for the year in 2023.

“Radio is consistently out-performing other media, and our annual broadcast ad revenue was actually up 1.1% from 2021, but clearly there are pressures on the broader ad market,” Ennals said.

“Ad spending in the travel and automotive sectors is encouraging and we are positive about radio’s performance for the year ahead.”

Quarterly broadcast radio ad revenue ad revenue fell 6% in the fourth quarter across the five metro markets, with Q4 2023 broadcast revenue at $173.915 million, compared to Q4 2022’s $185.062 million. 

Digital audio ad revenue was up 31% for Q4 2023, compared to the same period last year.

“Radio remains the medium where agencies can get value for money when budgets are tight. We expect to see investment to continue at similar levels this year, as agencies and their clients recognise radio’s capacity to deliver,” Ennals said.

Last year, Australia’s commercial radio celebrated a milestone 100-year anniversary. Ennals spoke to Mediaweek to mark the occasion, saying “People feel that maybe radio and audio assets are undervalued, and that there’s a lot of value there because we’re going to see growth.”

See Also: Digital audio set for double digit growth as commercial radio celebrates 100 years

Slingshot x Krispy Kreme
Slingshot to lead media strategy, planning and buying for Krispy Kreme Australia

Slingshot’s new business with Krispy Kreme comes after winning the Inghams account last year.

Slingshot has been appointed to lead media strategy, planning and buying for Krispy Kreme Australia, working across its biggest campaigns in the year ahead.
Krispy Kreme Australia was the first country outside of North America to make the Original Glazed Doughnuts and now operates at more than 38 locations.

Jane Waterhouse, managing director of Slingshot, celebrated the new business win for the creative media agency.

“We welcome the opportunity to bring our signature Unconventional Intelligence (UI) across media strategy, planning, and implementation to help not only maintain but further deepen Krispy Kreme’s position as Australia’s most loved sweet treat brand,” she added.

Olivia Sutherland, Krispy Kreme’s marketing director, said the Sydney independent agency showed “strong commercial thinking and a comprehensive media strategy that has us motivated for the year ahead.”

Slingshot’s new business with Krispy Kreme comes after the agency won the media strategy, planning and buying account Inghams in November last year.

Simon Rutherford, Slingshot CEO and partner, said at the time that the agency aspires to work with celebrated brands and individuals that stretch and challenge the agency.

“We are loving working with the Inghams team. Inghams is an iconic Australian brand, steeped in history with a fantastic brand story.

“We’re excited about helping them bring that story to life. When you apply creativity across all areas of media and data, transformational growth occurs, we’d love to deliver that for Inghams,” he added.

See also: Slingshot wins Inghams’ media strategy, planning and buying account

Just months before the Inghams win, Slingshot and its content and creative arm, onesmoothstone announced a restructure to meet the demands of a converging media environment with creative at its core.

As part of the changes a new executive and senior leadership team was installed to drive client and agency growth by capitalising on critical thinking skills across media and creative. Jane Waterhouse, general manager of onesmoothstone has been appointed managing director of Slingshot working alongside Rutherford and CIO, Simon Corbett.

Space Invaders
WTFN launches shoppable TV global first Virtual Store in new series of Nine’s Space Invaders

‘This is the next frontier of shoppable content in television broadcasting’.

WTFN, the makers of TV series including Bondi Vet and The Living Room, have partnered with Drawbridge Labs to launch a Virtual Store. Full of shoppable 3D products, the store will be promoted during the fourth series of decluttering and home renovation program Space Invaders.

The WTFN-produced Space Invaders returns to Nine this Saturday. Audiences will be able to scan QR codes during the episodes to enter and explore the Virtual Store, guided by host Peter Walsh.

Using mobile devices, viewers can walk around the interactive 3D home to touch, explore and purchase the products they are watching on television from sponsors including Kmart, Taubmans, Flooring Xtra, Daikin and Interflora.

“This is the next frontier of shoppable content in television broadcasting,” said Derek Dyson, chief commercial officer at WTFN Entertainment.

“Brands are always looking for new and innovative ways to demonstrate ROI from television sponsorships and to be able to connect with engaged audiences. The Space Invaders Virtual Store is the latest step to making that happen,” he added.

The Space Invaders Virtual Store was developed by Drawbridge Labs. The team at the Labs has worked on interactive TV experiences in the international market, from The Oscars and TV Week Logies to Big Brother and Test Cricket broadcasting, for clients including ESPN, Disney, Fox, NBC, McDonalds, Toyota and Vodafone.

Drawbridge Labs CEO Gavin Douglas said, “We’re excited to be working with the WTFN team and Space Invaders on Nine. They are tuned into the fact that their viewers are passionate about the show and keen to use their smartphones to engage with the story on TV.

“We’re giving brands, agencies and TV networks the power to engage with their audience and ‘shop the moment’ on their phone, inside 3D immersive experiences. What’s even better is delivering performance-based attribution for the brands on television, with viewers shopping second by second”, he added.

Space Invaders returns to Nine at 7.30pm on Saturday 3rd February 2024. When the series launches, the Space Invaders Virtual Store will open at:

See also: WTFN celebrates 20th anniversary with announcement of new commissions

Nielsen Top 20 Advertisers 2023
Harvey Norman top's Nielsen list of biggest spending advertisers in 2023

The Nielsen Top 20 list is calculated through analysis of advertising trends and spending between January and December.

Harvey Norman was the biggest spending advertiser in Australia for 2023, beating out Woolworths and McDonald’s, according to data from Nielsen Ad Intel.

The retail giant topped the list of the country’s 20 highest-spending advertisers, which is calculated through analysis of advertising trends and spending between January and December.

Reckitt Benckiser was fourth on the list, ahead of e-commerce giant Amazon (5), KFC (6), Chemist Warehouse (7), Telstra (8) and Coles Supermarkets (9). The beleaguered telecommunications giant Optus rounded out the top ten.

Among the top 20 were online wagering company Sportsbet, national airline brand Qantas and Uber, which made its top 20 debut.

Rose Lopreiato, Nielsen Ad Intel’s Australia commercial lead, said the data was “pretty telling”.

“Marketers aren’t just relying on advertising, they’re its biggest champions. They know it’s still the best and most economical way of forging lasting connections between brands and consumers. Top-tier data, like that provided by Nielsen Ad Intel, is crucial if you want to get the edge on your competition.”

Nielsen Top 20 Advertisers 2023

The list reflects the overall ad market trends of the past 12 months, highlighting the decline in government spending and the increase in retail and e-commerce spending.  The list also showcases the drop in spending across the finance category, with none of the big four banks making the top 20 list. 

See also: Nielsen ranks biggest-spending marketers, with Harvey Norman and Maccas on top

JCDecaux Bronwyn Clementson and Andrew Hines
JCDecaux's Bronwyn Clementson promoted as Andrew Hines steps down after 30 years

Clementson will join the company’s executive leadership team from 1 February, with Hines leaving 30 April.

Bronwyn Clementson has been appointed to the newly created role of executive general manager – commercial at JCDecaux Australia. Clementson will join the company’s executive leadership team from 1 February 2024.

Clementson started in out-of-home as a commercial executive at APNO, before becoming digital and strategic director.

In 2019, Clementson became JCDecaux’s group commercial director managing the NSW and Airport contracts, before being promoted in 2021, to general manager – commercial.

Steve O’Connor, CEO JCDecaux Australia and New Zealand said: “With 14 years of dedicated service at JCDecaux and APN Outdoor (APNO), Bronwyn Clementson’s rich history, diverse experience and strong partner relationships make her the perfect choice to step into this executive leadership role. With expertise in digital developments and delivering strong commercial outcomes across airport and transport contracts, experience managing contracts through global disruptions such as the GFC and COVID, and strong relationships with all our major commercial partners, Bronwyn is ideally placed to lead the commercial arm of our business.”

Bronwyn Clementson said: “I am honoured and excited to take on this new role. JCDecaux has been a significant part of my professional journey, and I look forward to leading the accomplished Commercial team and contributing to the continued success of the company, and that of all our commercial partners.”

The news of Clementson’s appointment comes alongside news that chief operating officer Andrew Hines will step down after 30 years with JCDecaux and APNO. Hines will remain with JCDecaux during the transition period until 30 April 2024.

On Hines’ departure, O’Connor said: “I want to give my sincere thanks to Andrew for his incredible work. He has had a stellar 30-year career in Out-of-Home, working with JCDecaux and previously APNO. Andy played a leading role in the creation of APNO in 2004 and its integration with JCDecaux when we acquired the business in 2018.

“He has consistently helped to drive commercial success for our business, building strong and cohesive Commercial and Operations teams along the way. There are too many achievements to name, but I wish him all the best for his year off and whatever comes next.”

See Also: JCDecaux’s Brad Palmer: Harnessing programmatic out-of-home for a dynamic start to the year

Top Image: Bronwyn Clementson and Andrew Hines

joel corry head & heart
Oh my God, Oh my God: Have we found Australian radio's favourite song?

Tess Connery

2020’s Head & Heart could have slipped away, but the track is still firmly in the zeitgeist thanks to advertisers.

In 2020, English DJ Joel Corry and English singer MNEK teamed up on Head & Heart, an electronic dance track that quickly became the most played song on Australian radio and peaked at #2 on the ARIA charts.

Like other similar tracks out around the same time – remember The Business by Tiësto or Paradise by Meduza and Dermot Kennedy? – Head & Heart could easily have slipped away into the playlists of Top 40s gone by. However in 2024, the track is still firmly in the zeitgeist, having been picked up by advertisers – particularly radio advertisers. 

In April 2021 – days after the 20th anniversary of the radio brand’s launch in Australia – Nova Entertainment brought back its iconic brand mascot Nova Boy in a campaign using Head & Heart as the soundtrack. The Turn Up The Feel Good campaign from creative agency Red Engine ran as a TVC, outdoor, and in cinemas, gyms and, shopping centres.

Speaking to Mediaweek after the campaign launched, Nova Entertainment’s chief programming and marketing officer (at the time) Paul Jackson said “I rate it amongst the best radio ads we have ever done.”

In 2024, the ever-cheery “bum-bum-bum-bum-da, bum-bum-bum-bum” of Head & Heart has hit the airwaves again, this time from ARN’s KIIS, spruiking Kyle and Jackie O’s 10 year anniversary with the network. With the campaign developed in-house, this time the song has a twist – singer MNEK has recorded a version that replaces the opening line of “This feeling’s just begun” to “KIIS is number one.”

Whilst the song is undoubtedly great for advertising due to its upbeat vibe and overall catchy-ness (it’s been stuck in your intrepid reporter’s head all week), does the use of the same song as a competitor risk brand confusion? 

An ARN Spokesperson told Mediaweek “There was no concern about brand confusion for us. KIIS and Kyle & Jackie O are pretty unmistakable. We’d already made the song our own on air so extending that familiarity into a TVC was a no brainer.”

Will we see an SCA TVC using the song to hit the trifecta? Only time will tell.

Top Image: MNEK and Joel Corry

Super Bowl Uber Eats
Did Uber Eats just win the Super Bowl?

By Danielle Long

The video teaser campaign comes as brands ditch X in favour of Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

Uber Eats has launched a Super Bowl teaser campaign starring Victoria and David Beckham, which plays on the ‘Be honest’ moment from the couple’s recent Netflix docuseries. 

The teaser promoting the brand’s Super Bowl ad, which will also star “Jessica Aniston”, has already attracted global headlines, with some industry pundits picking it as the best of the Super Bowl ads four days ahead of the big game. 

The ad, created by Special US, marks the first time the iconic couple have been featured in a Super Bowl spot and fits neatly within the brand’s long-standing strategy to lean into cultural moments and feature celebrities to promote the brand. 

It comes as early reports from the US reveal brands have ditched X in favour of Instagram, TikTok and YouTube for the annual advertising and entertainment extravaganza, which also includes a football match. 

A report from AdWeek revealed the top 30 Super Bowl brands spent 55% less on X in 2023 compared with the year prior, as the appeal of the platform declined sharply. 

According to data from MediaRadar, 19 of the 76 brands that advertised during the 2023 Super Bowl spent an estimated $4.7 million with X in January and February 2023; however, the data found the estimated spend for the same period in 2022 was $15 million.

The figure represented a decrease of 69% year-on-year and has been attributed to the impact of the changes since Elon Musk took ownership of the social media platform, previously known as Twitter. 

The shift in ad spend is also indicative of an overall shift in strategy, which has seen brands opt for online video teasers rather than viral tweets. 

This year’s NFL Super Bowl LVIII, which features the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs (aka Taylor Swift’s boyfriend’s team), takes place on 11 February. 

See also: The Real Super Bowl: Initiative dares the industry to challenge AI with Marketing Multi

MBCS - Toby Maclachlan (L) and Trent Peppercorn (R)
MBCS promotes Toby Maclachlan and Trent Peppercorn

MBCS launched in 2022 as an agency tasked with connecting IPG’s creative, content and experience capabilities.

MBCS has promoted Toby Maclachlan to head of Strategy & Product and Trent Peppercorn to the newly created role of head of Melbourne.

The appointments at the integrated creative agency have followed consistent growth since MBCS launched in 2022 as an agency tasked with connecting IPG’s creative, content and experience capabilities, underpinned and powered by media.

Olivia Warren, managing director of MBCS, welcomed the promotions for Maclachlan and Peppercorn and said that it recognises their leadership and success.

She also noted that the promotions will create “new opportunities and pathways for our next generation of leaders to grow while continuing to create the very best outcomes for our clients.”

“When we repositioned in 2022 our point of difference was powering our creative and strategic thinking by media, so we invested early in creative and strategy talent that could sit alongside our media specialists to deliver campaigns anchored in this ethos,” she said.

“Move forward to 2024 and our team has exponentially expanded, our client roster continues to grow and our creative capabilities allows us to conceive and execute integrated campaigns across both offices,” Warren added.
Maclachlan steps into his new role after three years as head of Creative Strategy at Initiative Media. At MBCS he will lead the overall strategic output and team across both offices, charged with elevating MBCS’ integrated product offering with a specific focus on delivering creative and innovative experiences to deeply connect with people. His experience spans brand leadership and strategy roles across a range of categories including FMCG, entertainment, fashion, auto, government and tourism.
He said the year ahead was going to be defining and pivotal in many ways. “People expect a lot of brands RN. And rightfully so. Who brands are, how and where they show up for people, it really matters. I’m looking forward to helping brands navigate their now and next — IRL, URL, and whatever WEB 3, ai, spatial computing and next gen social media etc. brings — with true-to-brand strategies and ideas that hit different and make difference.”

Peppercorn, previously head of Creative Services at MBCS, will relocate to Melbourne charged with leading the office through its next growth phase and expanding the team in line with client demand.
He said he was looking forward to the next chapter of his career and working with both the Sydney and Melbourne to “help solve a range of client problems regardless of the platform, fitting perfectly with MBCS’s proposition of borderless creativity.”
“I’m excited with opportunities to grow Melbourne’s client base organically and also bring new and exciting clients on board.  It’s a burgeoning market and I am excited about the potential of what lies ahead,” he added.

Top image: Toby Maclachlan and Trent Peppercorn

Mediaweek’s Sales Team of the Year news corp
Mediaweek’s Sales Team of the Year: February entries now open

Nominations are open from Thursday, February 1

Mediaweek is excited to announce the next round of Sales Team of the Year entries is open. The awards are an initiative to highlight some of the high-quality work done in the industry. 

Each month, a media sales team will be selected by a rotating panel of judges as the nominee for that particular month, culminating in a set of nominees by the end of the 12 months. The judges will be assessing each team on criteria such as proactivity, strategy and execution, and client and agency relationship management.

See Also: Mediaweek’s Sales Team of the Year: NSW shines for News Corp Australia

The nominees will then all go into the running to win the overall title. 

The form to nominate a team can be found here

The next round of judges are:

Cameron Jurd – managing director, Oxygen360
Shelley Friesen – director, Melbourne Social Co
Justin Arlt – national head of marketplace trading, Wavemaker

Sales Team of The Year - Cameron Jurd, Shelley Friesen, Justin Arlt

Cameron Jurd, Shelley Friesen, Justin Arlt

Key Dates for February:

Entries open: Thursday February 1 
Entries close: Friday February 23
Winner Announced: Monday March 25

Musical chairs in PR world: Foxtel team changes with new exec director communications

Foxtel staff moves – Out: Jacqui Abbott, In: Adrian Christie

Foxtel Group chief executive Patrick Delany has announced a replacement for the departing executive director – group communications, Jacqui Abbott (pictured above).

It was in mid-December that Delany first revealed to staff Abbott’s move:

Our colleague and friend Jacqui Abbott let me know of her intention to resign. After three incredible years with the business, Jacqui has decided it is time to spend some more time with her two young kids, go travelling, and then pursue new career opportunities.

In that staff memo, Delany also noted:

I want to thank Jacqui for everything she has done.  She will be greatly missed by everyone at the Foxtel Group.

I’m pleased that Jacqui remains with us until the end of March 2024 as we still have plenty of work to do together, including the launch of Hubbl.


Foxtel’s Adrian Christie and Vida Scott


Foxtel Group’s new signing

The new executive director – group communications for Foxtel Group will be Adrian Christie who is joining the business from the end of March.

For the last six years Christie has held the role of Communications Director for Aldi Stores Australia, overseeing all corporate affairs, government relations, internal communications and consumer PR for their nearly 600 stores across Australia and 16,000+ workforce.

Christie brings two decades of experience in communications and marketing across a variety of sectors, with speciality in youth communications, consumer technology, social media, content development, issues management and corporate strategy.

Prior to Aldi, Adrian held senior roles at PayPal, Sony PlayStation and in large agencies both in Australia and the US including Edelman and Ogilvy PR. Christie and Abbott previously worked together at Ogilvy.

Abbott will finish Thursday 28 March before the Easter break and she and Adrian will have a week handover period before that.

Christie will be attending the Hubbl launch on 21 February prior to his official start.

The Foxtel PR team was strengthened during 2023 with the arrival of Vida Scott in the role of director of corporate affairs. Scott previously worked in comms for Network 10, ARN and before that at News Corp.

Nova’s Helen Johnson and Stan’s Victoria Richards

Foxtel PR army on the move

The switcheroo at the top of the Foxtel comms team is just one involving current and former team members.

Just this week former Foxtel publicity manager Helen Johnson started her role as the new head of communications for Nova Entertainment.

Another former Foxtel comms soldier is Victoria Richards. She is a relatively new addition to the PR team at Stan where she takes on the role of senior publicist.

See also: Foxtel appoints new group publicity boss, taking over from Jamie Campbell

Kristina Luburic VML Health AUNZ Managing Director
VML expands global health network into AUNZ with appointment of MD Kristina Luburic

“There’s never been a greater appreciation of the power of health and medical science as there is right now.”

VML has expanded its global VML Health network into Australia and New Zealand with the appointment of Kristina Luburic as the new managing director. The move comes as WPP creative agencies Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R have merged to form the unified entity VML.

Luburic will join the VML Health global leadership team led by chief executive officer Claire Gillis and VML AUNZ executive leadership team led by VML AUNZ chief executive officer, Thomas Tearle. Tearle’s role was announced towards the end of last year, December 2023, as VML rolled out its new APAC market leadership team.

Earlier this year, the creative company also announced the appointment of Ellie Quinti as client services director for its Perth office ahead of the office’s February launch date.

See also: 
VML unveils its new APAC market leadership team
VML appoints Ellie Quinti as client services director for Perth office ahead of February launch date

Luburic said of her appointment, “It’s an absolute honour to be joining the global agency network of the year and the number  one agency across APAC. Although the ranking and growth rates are  important, it’s VML’s unrivalled culture that really pulled me into this role. People are the soul of this business and for me that’s palpable.

She continued, “I’m really looking forward to leading the health offering in the region as there’s never been a greater appreciation of the power of health and medical science as there is right now.”

Luburic has worked for over 20 years as a specialist within the healthcare communications and pharmaceutical marketing  industry, with a portfolio of clients including Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb, Lilly, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim,  Sanofi, Janssen and Novo Nordisk.

Gillis added, “I have already experienced  Kristina’s ability to inspire clients and teams first hand. She has a generosity  of spirit, a natural aptitude for healthcare communications and is genuinely passionate about people.

“It is her appreciation of the scientific, creative and  cultural elements of our business that will be fundamental to our success.”

Top Image: Kristina Luburic

Matt Holmes joins Emotive as head of public relations (PR) and earned creative
Emotive taps ex Poem co-founder Matt Holmes for new 'fame' offering

“I have always believed in putting PR at the beginning of the creative process.”

Former co-founder and executive creative director of Poem, Matt Holmes, has taken on a new role as head of public relations (PR) and earned creative at Emotive, bolstering the creative agency‘s integrated ‘fame’ offering.

Holmes who co-founded independent creative PR and social agency Poem with Rob Lowe, announced his departure in October of last year, 2023. He exited the agency following a sale of his 50% of the business.

See also: Poem co-founder Matt Holmes announces his departure from the agency

Holmes said of his departure at the time, “I’ve worked at some of the best agencies in the world but will forever be thankful for the phone call I got from Rob eight years ago speculatively asking if I’d be interested in starting something a bit different. Even more so that we stuck our necks out and what we’ve achieved since.”

Holmes’ new role will be deeply integrated into Emotive’s ‘fame’ offering that sees PR delivered internally alongside the agency’s existing social, talent, partnerships and brand experience specialisms.

Holmes said of the appointment, “I have always believed in putting PR at the beginning of the creative process with the ambition to earn fame for brands and maximise marketing spend ROI via a genuinely integrated approach. Briefs like this are still frustratingly rare, with PR often seen as a bolt-on in silo. So, my next move was never going to be another PR agency.

“With the strength of Emotive’s idea first creative offering alongside their expertise in areas proven to garner earned media, this is the perfect fit to help brands create multi-channel fame and real impact. It’s the future of brand PR in my opinion.”

Emotive chief executive officer and founder Simon Joyce added, “The truth is, good advertising doesn’t always look like advertising any more. Our purpose is to create ideas that change the way people feel, and with the majority of brands met with indifference, and people actively dodging ordinary advertising, that increasingly means ideas not ads and fame as essential not just desirable.

“Enter Matt. He’s a proven creative PR leader and working closely with Rhian Mason, head of social, talent and partnerships and Darren Wright, group creative director, will seamlessly weave PR into the fabric of our creative and production processes. ”

Homes assumes his position from March 4.

See also: Unilever opts for simplicity to elevate Weis brand following Emotive appointment 

Top Image: Matt Holmes

Podcast Week: happy hour
Podcast Week: You Don't Know Me, Crime podcasts, Understanding Vaping

Improving your posture with Tiff Hall, The SBS Book Club, Humans of the Australian Deaf Community

Compiled by Tess Connery

LiSTNR’s Gripped: You Don’t Know Me scores an AWGIE Award nomination

The 56th annual AWGIE Awards are set to be presented in Sydney on February 15, and the awards recognising the outstanding achievements of Australian performance writers. Series Writer of LiSTNR’s original audio drama podcast Gripped: You Don’t Know Me, Jacklyn Bassanelli, has been nominated for an AWGIE by the Australian Writers Guild in the Audio Fiction category.  

Podcast Week’s Tess Connery caught up with Bassanelli to speak about the nomination, and what it is that has so many people hooked on You Don’t Know Me

“I found out a couple of weeks ago when they sent out the press release to everyone – that was a nice surprise! The AWGIE Awards are completely writer-driven, so it’s quite an acknowledgement for me as a writer,” Bassanelli laughs. 

“I submitted the scripts late last year to be assessed by other members of the guild. Because I wrote all six episodes of the series, I had to choose a particular episode to be judged. I had a bit of a chat with Jen [Goggin] and we both loved episode five, so that’s the one I submitted.”

The AWGIEs are created by writers, for writers, and judge the awards on their scrips rather than the finished project.

“Being judged by your peers, it’s so different,” said Bassanelli. “It’s different to being judged on the success of the project, or on how it turns out after production. Obviously, the show’s gone really well which has been fantastic for everyone, but it gets judged on the script.”

LiSTNR you don't know me

In amongst all the mystery of You Don’t Know Me, at the heart of the narrative Bassanelli said that “the family drama is really at the core of it.”

“With the book, it’s a really interesting perspective – from the brother of someone who is accused of murder, or an unsolved crime. Then for the story to look around the family at repercussions for all the members, particularly the younger brother, Noah, I think that’s a nice twist on a mystery. It’s an interesting angle.”

When asked how she approached writing the series, Bassanelli said that “When we set about adapting the novel, I imagined it as someone watching a TV show but for the ears.” 

“We had the advantage of the book and the podcast within the book, so that really gave us a lot of help structuring and getting information across that needs to be shared with the audience.

“The book has two narrative strands – Alice and Noah. At first, we started to try and tell those stories side by side, but it just became too complex for the listener. Our producer Jen Goggin came in and helped us structure it in a way that was a little bit easier for the listener to follow. We’re all just discovering what works in audio, especially in fiction. It’s not new – people have been doing radio dramas forever – but it’s not a common format.”

[Listent to You Don’t Know Me here]

10 crime podcasts to tune into on LiSTNR in 2024

Australians love their crime podcasts, and LiSTNR has released the top 10 crime podcasts.

listnr podcasts

1. Disclosed: The Children In The Pictures [Listen here]
2. Fairy Meadow (BBC) [Listen here]
3. Gripped: You Don’t Know Me [Listen here]
4. Crime Insiders: Forensics – The Unabomber [Listen here]
5. Crime Insiders: Detectives – The Hunt for Malcolm Naden [Listen here]
6. The Dry – Audio drama (BBC) [Listen here]
7. The Vanished (Wondery) [Listen here]
8. Crime Junkie – Conspiracy: Philip Island [Listen here]
9. Dateline NBC – The Murdaugh Murders: Inside the Investigation [Listen here]
10. Crime Insiders: In Focus – The Real Chopper: Part 1 & 2 – Man or Myth [Listen here]

The Daily Aus investigate vaping in Australia on Understanding Vaping

ARN’s iHeart and The Daily Aus have announced a three-part podcast series investigating vaping in Australia – the laws, the loopholes and what they’re doing to our lungs.

TDA - Vaping Series

Zara Seidler, co-founder of The Daily Aus, said “Vaping has quickly become a major challenge, not just in school playgrounds but in politics. It’s an issue young people are directly and disproportionately impacted by, so we wanted to investigate how this has happened, and what happens from here.”

The series features candid discussions with experts and stakeholders across various domains including; Health Minister Mark Butler, Senator Matt Canavan, policy expert Associate Professor Becky Freeman, health expert Professor Emily Banks and toxicologist Dr. Jody Moller.

[Listen to Understanding Vaping here]

Improving your posture with Tiff Hall

On the latest episode of Nova Podcast’s Bounce Forward, host Tiff Hall spoke about the exercises that will improve your posture.

The team at Bounce Forward are changing things up so that Tiff is able to answer more listener questions. Each week Tiff will have a few more episodes where she answers questions on topics from fitness goals, to helping with plateaus, and mental health.

“The key to fixing poor posture is strengthening and stretching out the muscles in the upper back the chest and the core,” she said.

Bounce Forward

“Shoulder strengtheners include scapula squeezes – like squeezing your shoulder blades together for 30 seconds at a time – and rows using a resistance band to pull back your elbows. Rowing, chin tucks, and shoulder rolls in general are fantastic.

“For upper back, I love lat pull downs, you can really feel you’re drawing your shoulder blades into your back pockets. And push-ups are also an anti-hunch exercise and can be done in a million different modifications and variations to suit every level and ability.”

[Listen to Bounce Forward here]

SBS podcasts launch The SBS Book Club and Humans of the Australian Deaf Community

SBS is gearing up to release more podcasts that shine a light on Australian stories, starting this month with some of the nation’s best-selling authors and extraordinary Deaf Australians.

Named Best Publisher at the Australian Podcast Awards, SBS is starting the year with The SBS Book Club which celebrates the power of a great story with some of the biggest names in Australian fiction including Shankari Chandran, author of the award-winning Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens, Melissa Lucashenko, author of Edenglassie, Tony Birch, author of Women and Children, Yumna Kassab, author of The Lovers, and Mirandi Riwoe, author of Sunbirds.

You Don't Know Me

Host and executive producer, Sarah Malik, discusses how novels reflect the realities of modern multicultural Australia – including the themes of race, family, friendship and love – and how today’s writing contributes to new perspectives of how Australia was, is and could be.

This year also marks a new chapter for Auslan podcast Our Deaf Ways; a follow up season titled Humans of the Australian Deaf Community. It is a series of short video profiles spotlighting the lives of Deaf people working in various fields around Australia starting with Queer, Deaf artist from Adelaide, William Maggs.

This year will also premiere two companion podcasts to SBS’s television content: Alone Australia: The Podcast which will accompany season two of the TV series Alone Australia and Insightful with Kumi Taguchi will delve deeper into the stories of SBS news and current affairs program Insight.

[Listen to The SBS Book Club and Humans of the Australian Deaf Community here]

Podcast Week: You Don't Know Me

ooh! Chris Freel
UnLtd CEO Chris Freel joins oOh!media in new sales role

Freel commences the role on February 12.

UnLtd CEO Chris Freel is moving across to oOh!media, having been appointed to the newly created position of group sales director – Australia. He commences the role on February 12.

The position has been created as part of a sales consolidation that works to bring agency, direct, boutique and independent (DBI) teams under single oOh!media leadership. 

Freel joins oOh! after more than six years as CEO of UnLtd. Prior to that, he worked at Fairfax Media as national agency sales director and commercial director of Pandora.  

See Also: UnLtd marks 10 years of Big Clash cricket tournament with Superstar 5 Exhibition Match

Freel will report to Paul Sigaloff, chief revenue and growth officer. 

Sigaloff said: “Chris has an extensive background in building high performing sales teams in competitive media sectors. His transformative leadership style brings infectious energy and a rare ability to build momentum, fostering strong and influential working relationships at all levels.

“Chris is well positioned to ensure oOh! continues to capitalise on its dominant market position and lead our new premium Sydney network, including Sydney Metro, the Metro Martin Place shopping precinct and Woollahra Council, all of which are set to go live this year. I welcome him to oOh!.” 

Freel added: “I’m excited to be joining such an incredibly talented group of people at oOh! who are leading the way in Out of Home. It’s an exciting time for the industry as we embrace digital transformation and advanced measurement capabilities and I look forward to working together with the team and our advertising partners as we navigate through this change.” 

Tim Elder, head of sales – DBI, will continue in his role and will also work on special projects within the revenue and growth team.

Wade James who was previously in the role of national head of agency sales, will be leaving oOh!.  

Sigaloff said: “I want to thank Wade for his time at oOh! and wish him all the best in his future endeavours. I look forward to continuing working alongside Tim to further leverage oOh!’s scale and to deliver even better outcomes for our customers.”  

unltd Big Clash 2023
UnLtd marks 10 years of Big Clash cricket tournament with Superstar 5 Exhibition Match

The captains of each team have also been revealed

UnLtd has lifted the lid on the team captains for the Big Clash industry cricket tournament. The event, sponsored by JCDecaux, MiQ, and Seven West Media, is raising funds for UnLtd’s work supporting charities helping young people at risk. 

The Team Captains for the Sydney game are Kellyn Coetzee from IPG as the Captain for Women’s Media Agency Team, Fiona Roberts from MiQ for Tech Team, Nicole Bence from Nova for Media Owners Team, and Kathryn Furnari from Innocean for Creative Team. 

For the men’s games, Matthew Coote from Snapchat will be leading the Tech Team, Alex Hayes from ClearHayes the Creative Team, Alex Williams from PHD the Agency Team, and Ben White from JCDecaux the Media Owners Team.

UnLtd Big Clash Mens Agencies

Mens Agencies team 2023

2024 marks the tournament’s 10-year anniversary, with a special Superstar 5 Exhibition Match organised for Sydney to celebrate. The match will bring together some of the participants from across the years for a one-off game between Media Owners and Agencies.

The Super 5 Exhibition Match will take place in Sydney on 8 February at 1:30pm and see many of the participants from the first game return to the oval in mixed teams for a game of five overs. The Agency team, captained by Mark Coad from IPG, includes Rosie Baker from GroupM, Tom Bartlam from Astus, Ben McCallum from UM, Mark Jarrett from PHD, Kathryn Furnari from Innocean, Frank Masterson from Pedestrian Group, Alex Hayes from ClearHayes, Kate Holland from MOOD and Sharice Bellantonio from Usual Suspects. 

UnLtd Big Clash Mens Media Owners 2023

Mens Media Owners team 2023

The Media Owners team, captained by Chris Freel includes Oliver Newton from SCA, Dan Sinfield from Seven, Nicole Bence from Nova, Ben Cook from we think, Mark Griffiths from On Device Research, Fiona Roberts from MiQ, Matthew Coote from Snap, Marika James from Go Transit, Penny Kaleta from PIF and Shae Bonney from Alliance Outdoor.

The anniversary celebrations will also test spectators to see if they are the Fastest Bowler in Adland, through a nationwide competition with MiQ. Seven will provide coffee and JCDecaux will provide gelato. Spectators are encouraged to dress up, with a prize on offer for the best yellow outfit.

UnLtd Big Clash Womens Media Owners 2023

Women’s Media Owners team 2023

Chris Freel, CEO of UnLtd said “The Big Clash is the perfect way to kick off the year with the rest of the industry over cricket, food, music, plenty of laughs and some fast balls. This year is a very special one as we celebrate the event’s 10-year anniversary and the incredible impact it has had for so many young people at risk. The Sydney event will also be my last as UnLtd CEO and I can’t think of a better way to say farewell to the UnLtd chapter than the Big Clash event that is so close to my heart.”

The Sydney event takes place on 8 February at Sydney University Oval and Melbourne on 22 February at Fawkner Park. Limited player spots are available via contacting [email protected], and free spectator spots can be booked by contacting [email protected].   

UnLtd Big Clash Womens Tech 2023

Women’s Tech team 2023

So far, UnLtd has raised over $1.2M and expanded from Sydney to Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland and this year to Adelaide.

OMD - Brian Cronk, James Rawlings and Lisa Leach
OMD Australia names Brian Cronk as chief product officer and promotes James Rawlings and Lisa Leach

Cronk relocates from New York to rejoin OMD, bringing over 20 years of industry experience across the US and Australian markets.

OMD Australia has appointed Brian Cronk to the role of chief product officer and bolstered its strategy team with the promotions of James Rawlings and Lisa Leach. 

The appointment reflects the agency’s continued investment into its product offering and ongoing commitment to delivering for client partners and their changing needs, building on the national strength and success of the 2023 business restructure.

Cronk relocated from New York to rejoin OMD, bringing over 20 years of industry experience across the US and Australian markets, including two years with OMD Sydney’s foundation strategy team.

His breadth of experience spans agency to consultancy, building holistic experiences that have driven real results for clients across the fashion, technology, finance, retail and FMCG sectors. He has held leadership positions with BBH, Anomaly, 360i, Carat USA, and Spark Foundry. Cronk most recently consulted with Diageo North America to develop business solutions within communications.

Sian Whitnall, co-CEO of OMD Australia, called the chief product officer position a critical role for their partnerships. It focused on delivering enhanced outcomes for its clients through developing integrated solutions using OMD’s diverse capability.

Cronk brings to the role a wealth of marcom and experience design expertise that will support our clients as they continue to navigate a complex and fast-evolving landscape. As a member of OMD’s national executive leadership team, Brian will lead our planning and strategic community whilst working closely with Marelle Salib, chief investment officer, and Alison Costello, chief transformation officer.
On his appointment, Cronk said he was inspired by the vision co-CEOs Sian Whitnall and Laura Nice have for OMD and striving to challenge convention to create a collaborative and meaningful offering for client partners and the broader industry.
“Their passion but also their focus on the meaningful is partly what attracted me to return to OMD. I’m looking forward to working with the incredibly talented OMD team to connect our client partners with the agency’s best-in-class offerings to solve for their marketing and future growth ambitions.”
Whitnall added: “Alongside Brian’s appointment, we are incredibly pleased to announce the promotions of James Rawlings to group head of Strategy – Melbourne and Brisbane, and Lisa Leach to head of Strategy – Sydney. These elevations recognise the significant contribution that both James and Lisa make to OMD’s product community, alongside OMD’s head of Behaviour Change Peita Pacey, in driving market leading creative solutions that challenge convention whilst consistently delivering growth for all our partners.”
Rawlings said he was looking forward to expanding his role and broadening his remit across our Melbourne and Brisbane markets “to build upon the amazing strategic capabilities of OMD to deliver for our clients, and secondly to work with more closely with some of the most inspiring minds in our national product community.”

Leach said she was excited for the next step in her career, on her anniversary of five years with OMD. “It has been a privilege to work with the brilliant OMD Suncorp team, alongside a highly ambitious and collaborative client and with fantastic creative agency partners,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to bringing this experience to lead our strategic community across Sydney, augmenting our depth and scale with a challenger mindset, mentoring courageous thinking and exploring new ground,” Leach added.

Top image, left to right: Brian Cronk, James Rawlings and Lisa Leach

Milo announced as official partner of Football Australia’s MiniRoos
Milo teams up with Football Australia as official partner of MiniRoos

This exciting new partnership brings together two of Australia’s most-loved brands.”

Football Australia has announced a partnership with Milo, announcing the iconic Australian brand as an official partner of MiniRoos, the nation’s official junior football program.

The partnership comes at a time where overall participation in football for 2023 grew by 12% to 1,715,441 participants, with a notable 8% increase in outdoor football registrations from the previous year, according to data sourced from Football Australia 2023 National Participation Report.

As part of the partnership, Football Australia and Milo will engage with participants across bespoke MiniRoos programs; Kick-Off, Club, and Sporting Schools. The Milo brand will also feature on MiniRoos participants and coaching apparel, as well as gain access to sampling and retail opportunities, and integration into educational resources, plus Football Australia digital channels and social media activity.

James Johnson, chief executive officer of Football Australia, said: “This exciting new partnership brings together two of Australia’s most-loved brands in Miloand MiniRoos to deliver the number one junior sporting program in the country at a time where participation and registration numbers are surging buoyed by the performances of our Subway Socceroos and CommBank Matildas, who continue to capture the hearts and minds of Australians.

“Together with Milo, we will provide a greater opportunity for more girls and boys to participate in football by delivering a positive playing environment for children aged 4 – 12 nationwide. This increased participation in MiniRoos will support Aussie kids to become more active, underpin growth in youth and senior football, and lay the platform for the future success of Australia’s national teams.”

Nestlé dairy business manager Rebecca Dobbins added, “Milo promotes the idea that the values learned through sports can be applied to life, so we are thrilled to provide access to sports activities through our partnership with Football Australia and MiniRoos.”

“It’s the perfect timing, as the sport grows, to help support the momentum of grassroots activities – something that’s been close to the heart of the Milo brand for many decades.”

See also: ViacomCBS invests another $100 million in move to become “new home of football”

australian survivor 2024
TV Report January 31, 2024: Stunning blindside unveils unexpected elimination on Australian Survivor

By Anita Anabel

MAFS welcomes back former cast member.

• Four more Golden Tickets awarded on Australian Idol 
• Peta eliminated from Australian Survivor


Nine’s A Current Affair put the spotlight on a brave young girl who has spoken out about a heinous sexual assault by a fake rideshare driver, hoping it will encourage other victims to speak up.

On Married at First Sight, two more weddings took place while the existing couples went on their honeymoons. Jayden and Eden wed, accompanied by Jayden’s brother, 2023 MAFS groom Mitch Eynaud. After watching the nuptials, Mitch revealed he had “regrets” over not embracing his experience with Ella Ding

Elsewhere, John Aiken visited Groom Michael to inform him that 48 hours after the bucks and hens night, his match decided not to go through with the experiment and Natalie, an avid gamer, wed Collins — who became overwhelmed by the high energy of his new wife.


Over on Seven’s Home and Away, Levi told Mackenzie a shocking truth while Roo and John were in damage control. Meanwhile, Felicity and Tane faced reality.

Then, on Australian Idol, it was the third night of auditions and judges Kyle Sandilands, Marcia Hines and Amy Shark awarded four more Golden Tickets in their search to uncover the nation’s next singing superstar.

Drea Onamade’s high-energy take of Estelle’s American Boy captured the judges’ immediate attention, securing a coveted spot in the Top 30. The 25-year-old from Perth shared: “I get my love of music from my family. I am Nigerian Jamaican, having that culture behind me is absolutely incredible.”

Queensland teen, Saoirse Harding, delivered a haunting take of I Love You by Billie Eilish while Self-taught singer and dancer, 28-year-old Jonathan Wells won the final Golden Ticket of the night.


On 10The Project welcomed comedian Lloyd Langford, whose daughter is about to start an important life lesson, potty training, but he’s got a problem with how the experts are teaching parents to do it.

The panel also looked at how Elon Musk has claimed that the first human patient has received a wireless brain chip implant from Neuralink, with the hopes that it may provide greater autonomy to people with spinal cord injuries or restore eyesight for the blind.

Then, it was time for Australian Survivor and has not yet gone to Tribal Council, the Rebels were riding high on their winning
streak. Dominating life at camp however is the “Cuddle Club” consisting of Peta, Alex, Sarah and Tobias, who appeared to be calling the shots.

After the “Cuddle Club” throw the Immunity Challenge, the Rebels face their first-ever Tribal Council with Peta leading the charge against Kelli. Little does she know, Kirby has brought the “Misfits” together and orchestrated a stunning blindside and Peta was sent home, despite having an Immunity Idol.


ABC’s 7.30 explored questions over contracts on Australia’s biggest public transport project plus El Nino usually means a higher chance of hot, dry conditions – so why is it so wet? And the scandal that rocked the UK Post Office.

Fans were also treated to a repeat of Hard Quiz where expert topics included King Henry VII, Shaquille O’Neal, dinosaurs, and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as contestants competed to take home Tom Gleeson’s Big Brass Mug.

Two encore episodes of Spicks and Specks followed where Adam Hills, Myf Warhurst and Alan Brough were joined by Dylan Alcott, Gabbi Bolt, Mama Alto, Pete Hellier and experimental harp ensemble, Perolas


Over on SBS, Stephen Fry headed 66 million years into the past, to the fateful last days of the dinosaurs, to see how plant-eaters fought back against predators like the deadly T-Rex in Dinosaur with Stephen Fry.

Viewers also watched The Deadly Bermuda Triangle. For centuries, this 500,000 square-mile area of the Atlantic has been the most notorious stretch of ocean on Earth. It’s a place where ships, planes, and unsuspecting travellers have been lost, without a trace. What could cause so many mysterious vanishings inside the Bermuda Triangle?

Business of Media

The Chaser prepares for legal war against Britain’s ITV Studios

They’re notorious for high-profile stunts and news satire, but the people behind The Chaser are in a fight of their lives to keep their 25-year legacy alive – defending their brand in court against British broadcast giant ITV Studios, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

Years after being condemned by prime ministers, breaking through security at APEC dressed as Osama bin Laden, and projecting former broadcaster Alan Jones’ number on the side of the Sydney Opera House, The Chaser has found itself battling the team behind long-running quiz show The Chase Australia.

The Chase Australia launched in 2013. But in late 2020, ITV tried to launch a spinoff, Beat the Chasers, and submitted paperwork to trademark that name. It hit a roadblock: The Chaser team objected, and won. ITV has appealed the decision in a Federal Court.

[Read More]

Kerry Stokes pushes political patronage to the edge

There was something faintly ironic about the official launch of Basil Zempilas′ Liberal party political career, reports Nine Publishing’s Mark Di Stefano.

In the opening seconds Zempilas was caught on a hot mic being matey-matey with the press pack, making an off-hand remark construed as referring to the women’s Australian Open final being a “reserves game”.

A loudmouth who had spent the last three decades being employed, promoted and coddled by Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media – operating in the most concentrated news market in the country – ascending to Lord Mayor of Perth, only to be immediately derailed by a bunch of teens watching online out-of-state. Alanis Morissette could never.

[Read More]

Universal Music Group poised to stop licensing music to TikTok

Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, said it would stop licensing content to TikTok if the firm fails to reach a new contract with the social-media app to pay its musicians, which include Taylor Swift and Drake, report The Wall Street Journal’s Meghan Bobrowsky and Anne Steele.

The current contract is set to expire Wednesday, and no new agreement has been reached, Universal said in an open letter to the artist and songwriter community.

The company alleged that TikTok proposed paying artists and songwriters “at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay” and with a deal that is worth less than the previous deal.

[Read More]

News Brands

David Anderson is under siege. Laura Tingle says ABC staff are why she backs him

ABC board member Laura Tingle has defended her decision to back managing director David Anderson and reject a union-led vote of no confidence in him, arguing it was in the best interests of the public broadcaster’s staff, report Nine Publishing’s Calum Jaspan and Olivia Ireland.

Chief political correspondent for the news organisation’s 7.30 program, Tingle said despite her vote against the union position she understood concerns raised by ABC employees over the way it covers the Israel-Gaza war and the sacking of fill-in radio host Antoinette Lattouf. Tingle joined the ABC’s board as its staff-elected representative in March 2023.

[Read More]

Nine News in dispute with Adobe over doctored image of Animal Justice MP Georgie Purcell

Nine News is in dispute with international technology giant Adobe over the doctored image of Victorian Animal Justice MP Georgie Purcell which resulted in the politician declaring she was given “enlarged boobs” and a “revealing” outfit in an image that aired on TV, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth.

Nine News Melbourne’s director of news Hugh Nailon is standing by his comments that the image was the result of “automation by Photoshop,” despite Adobe, who owns Photoshop, saying “human intervention and approval” was required.

The Australian has been told the original image of Purcell was used from an article published in the Bendigo Advertiser on October 21 last year and only showed the politician from the top of her waist upwards.

[Read More]


New kingmaker turns up in Southern Cross battle

Spheria Asset Management is shaping up to have influence in ARN Media’s plans to buy Southern Cross Media Group after lifting its interest in the two rival radio broadcasters, reports The Australian’s Bridget Carter.

As of January 18, Spheria increased its holding to 7.01 per cent from 5.01 per cent in Southern Cross after it became a substantial shareholder on January 12. Also on January 18, Spheria emerged with a holding of 5.7 per cent in ARN Media.

It is understood that the institutional investor is backing the companies because it sees strong upside from a merger, where it creates a broadcasting powerhouse that generates strong cashflow.

[Read More]

‘S**t day’: Carrie Bickmore breaks down over on-air surprise

An emotional Carrie Bickmore broke down on-air yesterday, after she was surprised with an in-studio appearance by one of her favourite singers on the HIT Network’s Carrie & Tommy show, reports News Corp’s Nick Bond.

British pop-soul singer Raye, now touring Australia, was in the studio with radio host Tommy Little as he explained that co-host Bickmore is such a fan, “three of her top five” songs on Spotify last year were by the singer.

“[Carrie] had a crap week last week and we thought, instead of telling her that you’re going to be here, we could make it a surprise,” he revealed, as a blindfolded Bickmore was led into the studio.

[Read More]


Free TV appoints Director of Public Policy

Free TV Australia has appointed former SBS exec Michael Coonan to the newly created role of Director of Public Policy, reports TV Tonight.

He previously served as the Head of Regulatory and Government Affairs at SBS, with earlier roles at Foxtel and the ACMA in shaping regulatory frameworks. He is also the Vice President of the Australian Chapter of the International Institute of Communications.

[Read More]

Paramount+ to remove some international originals

Paramount Global‘s streaming service Paramount+ is removing some international original content across its markets and will not debut some planned programming sourced outside the U.S. as part of the entertainment giant’s goal of “managing costs” and “maximizing content with the biggest impact,” including a focus on big U.S. studio franchises and a reduction in local, international originals, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Georg Szalai.

On Wednesday, Paramount+ in foreign markets started removing such international original fare as the film At Midnight, starring Top Gun: Maverick breakout Monica Barbaro, Brazilian series Marcelo, Marmelo, Martelo, and U.K. drama No Escape.

In addition, some international content previously set to debut on the streamer across markets will not launch on it, including German thriller series Turmschatten, Italian series Miss Fallaci, which tells “the true story of one of the most controversial Italian and international journalism icons,” Oriana Fallaci and German anthology series Zeit Verbrechen, starring Sandra Hüller and Lars Eidinger, according to sources familiar with the situation. Other international programming will remain on the platform.

[Read More]

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