Friday February 2, 2024

TikTok killed the Google search bar Is the video platform taking over as the search engine of choice
TikTok killed the Google search bar: Is the video platform taking over as the search engine of choice?

By Alisha Buaya

The appeal of TikTok comes in its snackable, short, and sharp format.

TikTok is becoming the search engine of choice for Gen Z, with approximately 4.6 million Australian Gen Zs using the platform to watch content that educates, entertains, and provides the answers they need in short-form and punchy videos.

This comes as no surprise, with nearly 1 in 10 in the US likely to use the platform rather than Google, research by Adobe Express has found.

But what does this mean for brands that want to grow? How should advertisers and agencies approach and engage with the platform? And crucially, will TikTok replace Google as a search engine?

Liana Rossi, head of culture and influence at Ogilvy Australia, told Mediaweek that the platform is increasingly becoming the place to reach Gen Z specifically but that “other channels still have important roles to play.”

The appeal of TikTok comes in its snackable, short, and sharp format.

Rossi said, “It’s like ‘Video Killed the Radio’. There’s always a new way to do something, and a new behaviour emerges, maybe not always by generation, but certainly, it feels defined at the moment by Gen Z and search.”

“YouTube is touted as the world’s second biggest search engine because videos effectively communicate information. It’s not that far cry from things you might have seen on television; it’s merely how people are making them.

“There’s no denying there’s a huge shift in how people search online and use social media. Perhaps, at the same time, people have built up more utility, trust, and interest in the content on TikTok, so they’re now going straight to that search bar as a way to find product information or news queries.”

Lucy Ronald, head of Strategy and Content at Fabulate, also referenced the Adobe research, noting that while a growing number of mature generations are also taking to TikTok as a search engine, Gen Zs are leading the charge in using it over Google.  

Ronald explained that people are gravitating to TikTok as it evolves into a place for entertainment content and recommendations. She said: “Audiences want to see people experiencing the things they’re asking about in an organic and entertaining way.”

She also noted that TikTok’s algorithm that provides content personalised to the user is appealing as a search platform and makes it “easier to find the content you’re looking for from a broad sense.”

While the algorithm can take TikTok users deep down rabbit holes, Ben Gunn, co-founder and chief revenue officer of Fabulate, said getting personalised answers is good, particularly if it relates to how a user consumes content.

“I think one of the factors you need to take into consideration is if you’re a brand and you want to be found that way, you need to think about the different types of audiences that you’re going after and ensuring you’re creating content for probably many more target audiences than typically done in the past.”

Gunn explained that instead of creating commercials for the 25 to 54-year-old audience, multiple video assets should be made for specific audiences, such as “young moms with kids under five” or “parents sending their kids to high school”, to test and learn and find the audiences that most resonate with their message.

What it means for brands

Rossi said that almost every product vertical, brand, interest, and niche has a place on TikTok. However, with all the buzz around the platform’s uses, she said there still needs to be a broader mix of understanding a product, brand overlays, and search functionality on TikTok.

From a content perspective, Rossi said it was important for brands to use the platform where it makes sense and understand the context around search queries.

“But at the same time, I think there are roles for pure emotion, emotive and delivering informational and emotive messages through creators,” she added.

Ronald noted that brands use TikTok to increase awareness and persona, using influencers or their brand account.

Relatability has been an important key that brands and advertisers successful on TikTok have used in their content, from interesting behind-the-scenes posts.

She said a format style that works using a brand account to create “behind-the-scenes” posts that make fun of themselves or Employee Generated Content (EGC).

“Instagram is curated, beautiful and gorgeous, which serves a purpose as well. But TikTok has been amazing for tapping into that weirdness of what happens behind the scenes, and can have a lot more fun, which resonates again with that younger generation and lets brands be more relatable and see more,” she added.

But will TikTok kill the Google search bar?

While Rossi was of the open-minded “never say never” approach, she noted that it could be possible for both TikTok and Google to have important roles moving forward as algorithms change.

“I certainly think that there is merit in respecting TikTok as a search platform if that’s what the audience is telling us. In some instances, it’s outperforming Google in searches like for new jeans,” she said, in reference to a study by Rise at Seven.

“As brands, as agencies, as people who make content, showing up and ensuring that we have a seat at that table and getting in there with our message in a platform-appropriate way is important.”

For Gunn, Google will remain the predominant search engine but acknowledged that it could be anyone’s guess. “Five years ago, people wouldn’t have known that TikTok would be what it is today. To say what the future holds five years from now is hard to predict,” he said.

“But what I think will continue to grow and be a massive trend is how people want to consume content, which is in short-form video.”

Gunn said that short-form videos as a way of getting a message across for brands are “critical” and “need to be taken seriously.”

“Google clearly thinks that TikTok is posing some level of threat because you wouldn’t be talking to the New York Times about it if you didn’t see it as disruptive. It’s absolutely going to be disruptive, and it’s going to require brands and agencies to lean in and embrace it because it’s going to continue to grow at a really fast pace.”

“That’s the opportunity for brands now, to lean in now and get ahead of where their competitors will be when they finally catch up – if they catch up,” Gunn added.

Taylor Swift Eras Tour concert film
The Taylorbowl: What brands and advertisers can learn about the power of Taylor and her Swifties at the Superbowl

By Alisha Buaya

Kate O’Loughlin: “There is no subject too young, too silly, or too pop for brands to galvanise.”

The Taylorbowl Superbowl kicks off on Monday in Australia, and viewers all over the world will have their eyes peeled for one star – Taylor Swift (who, if widely speculated calculations are to be believed, will make it from her Eras Tour show in Tokyo just in time for kick-off).

Since going public with her relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, she has been spotted in the VIP box at his games, cheering him on and wearing the team colours, sitting with his family and WAGs.

Interest, intrigue, and her dedicated legion of fans have followed the couple all the way to the NFL’s biggest game of the year, the Superbowl.

Girl Math - Kate O'Loughlin

Kate O’Loughlin

While many are quick to be pessimistic about Swift, Kate O’Loughlin, associate strategy director at Initiative and proud Swiftie, told Mediaweek that there is no doubt the Grammy winner will significantly impact this year’s Superbowl.

“It’s significant because she is genuine in her love for Travis. He treats her like any man should treat a woman. You can see in her tour content, her showing up to his games. You can see the genuine joy on her face.”

O’Loughlin noted that media observations and perceptions of Swift’s dating history have been problematic; her fans have rallied behind this new relationship and given it the power it has today.

“It’s such a beautiful expression of fandom that all these people are so genuinely supportive and want to engage in a new sport they would otherwise not have participated in. I’ve never watched an NFL game in my life, and here I am watching the last Mad Monday round.

“Through her pure joy and happiness, she’s rallied her fans around something they otherwise wouldn’t have looked at.

But how is Swift doing this? Why does she have a commanding influence?

For O’Loughlin, it comes down to Swift’s career longevity and character.

Swift began her career in her teens and is now in her 30s, and her music spans a wide range of genres, covering country, pop, rock, and folk.

O’Loughlin explained: “She’s been a big part of not only the people who grew up with her but the people who have fallen into the fandom since. She has such a large breadth of music. So many types of artists have been able to get involved with her. It doesn’t matter if you like pop; she’s got something for you.”

She noted that Swift has also demonstrated what it means to be a “strong, sure-of-yourself woman, who isn’t afraid to back down” throughout her career. Swift has also shown what it means to value female friendships, as seen in her 1989 era (who remembers Girl Squad?) and the Selena Gomez documentary.

These traits resonate with many of her fans (regardless of age and gender) and speak so much about Swift’s ability to “galvanise genuine action”.

O’Loughlin highlighted Swift’s record-setting album re-records as an example of how she can influence purchasing power.

ipsos iris - spotify wrapped Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift – Red (Taylor’s Version)

But for O’Loughlin, Swift’s release of The Vault tracks (unreleased music from past albums) and her willingness to be even more open with fans about her life and the time has drawn Swifties and be further invested.

“We feel like we genuinely know her, and she’s done that throughout her career. In 2013, she used to hold listening parties and find fans on Tumblr, invite them to her home, and play them the album two weeks before it was meant to be released.

“She asked them for feedback and genuinely took that on. She has always put her fans first. So, people are willing to invest in her just because they think she will invest and spend back in me.”

Swift’s presence at the Superbowl will undoubtedly bring more eyeballs to the game, which is a big opportunity for brands and advertisers. 

O’Loughlin said the biggest opportunity is with the teams, the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.

“I’ve already seen fan memes of the two teams because the logos are both red. There are memes of Red versus Red (Taylor’s Version) because the Chiefs are Taylor’s team.”

“Products and merchandising mimicking Taylor’s merchandising within the context of the Superbowl teams and sporting gear, that’s probably the biggest opportunities because that’s something that fans can get around, embrace, wear and show off. It’s like another cultural marker of their commitment to Taylor,” she added.

So can should brands, advertisers and marketers learn from this moment driven by Taylor Swift and her fans ahead of the Superbowl?

O’Loughlin said: “There is no subject too young, too silly, or too pop for brands to galvanise.”

“No matter who you are, every consumer above the age of 12 has money, and those below it have an impact. No subject should be considered too silly to be involved in a marketing campaign, and she’s proven the power of that.”

Looking ahead to Superbowl day, O’Loughlin said she hopes to see brands and advertisers move away from stunt-type ads and be conscious of the current economic and socio-political climate.

“The world calls for brands to be more empathetic to compute consumers, and for me, I hope that they use the cost of that airtime wisely and as an opportunity to genuinely connect and offer value to consumers’ lives, not just be a simple flash in the pan gimmick.”

As a Swiftie, O’Loughlin shared that her ultimate dream would be for Taylor to take over from Usher as the halftime performer.

Top image: Taylor Swift

Meltwater - Ross Candido - influencer marketing - new headshot
Ross Candido: The evolution of influencer marketing

By Ross Candido

“As influencer marketing has matured, various trends, challenges and opportunities have emerged.”

By Ross Candido, Vice President ANZ and SEA, Meltwater

Influencer marketing has undergone a remarkable transformation since its inception. In 2022, the influencer marketing market was valued at USD $16.4 billion, and projections suggest it will surpass $21 billion this year. 

In fact, 93% of marketers have already recognised its impact and embraced influencer marketing as an integral part of their brand strategy, as it offers enhanced metrics to track ROI, allowing brands to focus on deeper engagement metrics beyond just “likes” and “followers”. 

But with this growth comes change. As influencer marketing has matured, various trends, challenges and opportunities have emerged.

1. The rise of micro influencers and platform diversity

The growing number and popularity of micro and nano Influencers signifies a significant shift in the influencer marketing landscape. These smaller-scale influencers have cultivated a highly-engaged and trusting audience. One of the key advantages of collaborating with micro and nano influencers is their ability to foster a sense of trust and authenticity within their communities, as their content is perceived as more relatable and credible, which in turn can translate into increased trust in the products or services they are promoting.

It is also key to ensure influencers’ audiences strategically align with the campaign’s goals, ensuring that the campaign resonates authentically with the right audience. These influencers often have a deeper understanding of their followers’ interests and preferences, allowing for more precise targeting. Selecting influencers whose audience mirrors the target demographic or customer base of the campaign can significantly enhance its effectiveness and ROI.

Similarly, platform diversity is also increasing and providing new opportunities to reach brands’ audiences. The key is meeting your audience where they are. For example, Australia has the highest monthly usage of TikTok globally with users spending nearly 30 hours per month on the platform.

2. Authenticity and long-term partnerships

Investing in long-term partnerships is also essential to create consistent brand narratives to deliver more impactful campaigns. Brands are seeking lasting relationships with influencers for more organic content, managed via influencer CRMs for transparency and lasting endorsement by moving away from one-off campaigns to longer term engagement..

Authenticity is paramount when it comes to influencers, which longer-term and genuine partnerships help foster.

Regulatory guidelines also ensure transparency around sponsored content. Australia’s legal framework is quite strict, and we are pleased to see organisations such as the Australian Influencer Marketing Council (AiMCO) committed to standardising influencer marketing as it evolves through best practice, transparency and industry education.

3. The need for specialist tools

The ongoing social media fragmentation and rise of real-time data and content, paired with the growing number of influencers, channels and platforms makes it a more complex environment to navigate. Marketers need better tools to ensure they are identifying the right audience, influencers who align with their messaging and values as well as measure and manage the relationship in a way that is directly attributable to spend and success metrics.

Agencies have adapted to this in a number of ways including establishing dedicated influencer marketing departments and implementing specialist tools to help track creators across multiple platforms with access to ongoing measurement and key social insights to inform their campaigns effectively.

By partnering with platforms that offer advanced analytical tools and automating once manual processes, more than 80% of employee operational efficiency in creator management is optimised across the influencer management’s lifecycle according to recent Forrester research.

According to the report, organisations can also quickly determine the most relevant creators amongst a myriad of content creators, improving results by three times. 

In addition, a data-driven approach to influencer selection results in more impactful campaigns, improving purchase intent and favourability metrics, and delivering a 50% ROI. Brands can also ensure their content is on-brand and compliant with regulations, avoiding $1.4 million in business risk.

4. Content and measurement

We are currently going through an age of content explosion, combined with a shift in generational behaviour on how that content is consumed and drives behaviour, therefore understanding how you can generate more value for your business in this space is key.

Determining ROI has traditionally been a challenge in advertising. Digital marketing initially offered exciting potential in identifying and tracking individual users. But the move towards a cookie-less landscape, combined with increasingly stringent consumer privacy laws, has shifted the goal posts once more. 

Instead, marketers must continue to innovate when it comes to reporting and attribution by managing and monitoring influencer performance and impact over time.

For example, Meltwater recently partnered with a vegan vitamin drink brand, pinpointing the most relevant health and fitness influencers whose audiences closely mirrored the target demographic. The brand engaged 52 influencers and supplied each with a unique discount code they could share with followers.

Through these codes the campaign was able to attribute 1,800 conversions to the influencers, generating a total revenue of $132,000. This revenue far exceeded expenditure on product production. It has also left the brand with a roster of proven ambassadors to cultivate as long-term brand champions and leverage for future campaigns.

Influencer marketing’s rapid growth and effectiveness in driving ROI underscore its pivotal role in modern brand strategies. Adapting to emerging trends and leveraging specialist tools is crucial for success in this dynamic landscape, ultimately strengthening trust and the value of genuine influencer partnerships, and maximising campaign success.

Top image: Ross Candido

Jasmin Bedir Innocean Fckthecupcakes AI
Jasmin Bedir: Ethical AI, the great oxymoron emerging in martech

By Jasmin Bedir

“Right now, third parties are capitalising on your investment in marketing expertise”

Raise your hand if you are concerned about the scarily rapid dehumanisation in all aspects of our lives, from audio deepfakes mimicking school principals and presidents, to dating AI profiles on dating apps, which could mean that you’re really talking to a server room instead of a cute brunette. These are just some of the latest headlines that made me question whether the term Ethical AI is increasingly becoming an oxymoron.

If you’re not concerned, I genuinely envy you, or maybe you’re just less cynical than me and believe in the high road and believe in things like compliance, and governance, and the biggest word of all: legislation, which is moving at glacial speed in this country, but realistically in most other countries.

But since this is a marketing and media publication, I shall try and get your attention with something closer to home, or in this case our daily jobs in the marketing profession. How are you currently making sure that your ads, or your clients’ ads for that matter, are not used to train third party providers’ LLM (large language models) and literally infringe your copyrights?

There are multiple Australian start ups currently pilfering ad libraries from Google and Facebook pulling advertisers’ ads into their tools, to literally replicate them by AI.

According to MagicBrief’s own ads, it spells out that you can “steal” with AI, and once you scroll to the T’s and C’s they make it clear that they believe it’s only a copyright infringement if advertisers inform them.

So right now, third parties are capitalising on your investment in marketing expertise, your own ingredients for successful marketing, your style of imagery, your copy and your brand.  Just one of the many, many things no one seems to be paying attention to.

I believe this is because many marketers are completely unaware of the risks posed by a new breed of AI services, aside from all ethical considerations.

On a more human level, my concern is that mindless automation will lead to marketing that is detached from empathy. For example, if we start using AI to create hyper-personalised marketing messages, (Publicis kicks off 2024 with one-to-one wishes, powered by AI)  human intervention is essential to determine whether customers or staff  will feel like their privacy has been violated – but I guess that again would require stronger privacy laws, which are currently elusive but looming with incoming new legislation.

If you’re concerned after reading this, make sure you get your (or your clients’ assets) out of any third party tools ASAP.

Or maybe ignorance is indeed bliss. Highly efficient AI bliss.

See Also: Jasmin Bedir: The trap of shiny new AI tools
See Also: Jasmin Bedir: Limitations of AI in an advertising agency

Top Image: Jasmin Bedir

LEGO names Justine McKenny senior director, head of marketing
Lego AUNZ names Justine McKenny as new senior director, head of marketing

McKenny replaces Angie Tutt who was senior director, head of marketing at the Lego Group for six years.

The LEGO Group has announced changes in its marketing leadership for Australia and New Zealand, appointing Justine McKenny as the new senior director, head of marketing, with her tenure set to commence on 1 March, 2024.

LEGO began its hunt for for a marketing director for the local business following the departure of Angie Tutt in December 2023, who was senior director, head of marketing at the Lego Group for six years.

Earlier this year, the Danish toy brand announced a slew of leadership changes and a reshuffle of business units in APAC.

Leading the change was the appointment of Claus Kristensen as senior vice president for Asia Pacific, reporting to chief commercial officer Colette Burke

See also: Lego Australia hunts marketing director as APAC unveils leadership changes

Troy Taylor, vice president and general manager at LEGO Australia and New Zealand said, “We are so pleased to promote a home-grown talent in Justine to our head of marketing role for Australia and New Zealand.

“Australia is such an important market for the LEGO Group and we felt that Justine’s passion and vision for the LEGO brand, along with her energy and ideas around people development and leadership stood out through the recruitment process.

“Justine also has a solid track record of delivering results, and has managed and brought to life pretty much our entire theme portfolio over her journey, making her the ideal candidate to take our marketing efforts to the next level in the years ahead.”

McKenny’s journey with The LEGO Group began in 2009 as a marketing assistant, progressing steadily through the marketing ranks over 15 years. During this time, McKenny spearheaded numerous  campaigns and thematic launches, eventually overseeing the Brand team. Notable among her achievements was the Build Your LEGO® Christmas campaign in 2016, which garnered industry accolades.

See also: Brick by Brick: How Lego is targeting adult audiences to grow the brand

ads that made us feb 2
The Ads That Made Us: Cadbury, Who Weekly, and Sid the Seagull

By Tess Connery

This Week: Adrian Bingham, Susan Armstrong, and Adam Furness.

Whether it’s a childhood jingle that you can still sing word for word, or a campaign that influences the way you work today, everyone has an ad that has really stuck with them.

Mediaweek has been asking the industry to take a trip down memory lane, to find out all about the ads that made us.

Adrian Bingham – Head of Sales AUNZ, Spotify

Cadbury – Gorilla (2007)

“The 2007 Cadbury ‘Gorilla’ ad still stands out to me 17 years later. A classic 90-second spot with no dialogue, centred on a gorilla smashing out the Phil Collins drum solo from In the Air Tonight.

“I love the nostalgia it evokes, the fact that it focuses on music, and to be honest, I often can’t even remember if there was a chocolate bar shown… what remains vivid in my memory is how the ad made me feel, the purple backdrop, and of course, Cadbury.

“It became an instant cult classic, offering more than just a glass and a half of entertainment!”

Susan Armstrong – General Manager, Entertainment, Are Media

Who Weekly Magazine Commercial – 1992

“Like most kids who grew up in the 1980s, when I wasn’t riding my bike around the neighbourhood, or making up dance routines (long before TikTok was a thing), I was watching ‘the box’ with my siblings, sometimes sitting so close to the TV screen our eyes were only one Skippy episode away from ‘turning square’.

“We loved a good ad jingle and knew the words to them all. So much so, my mum often commented she wished we remembered our schoolwork like we remembered those commercials.

“But if I had to choose one ad campaign that made the most impact on me, and did indeed influence the way that I work today, it would have to be the WHO magazine ads back in the early 1990s. You remember the song, right? I recall being utterly transfixed by the TV when I saw and heard that ad for the very first time. So much glamour, so much celebrity – I was hooked. Little did I know, a handful of years later I’d actually get my first gig in magazines at New Weekly. And the rest, as they say, is history.”

Adam Furness – Managing Director APAC,

Cancer Council – Slip, Slop, Slap

“I grew up in Brisbane and went to the Gold Coast for most Christmas holidays, staying at my late Grandma Muriel’s unit at Miami with the rest of my family. We stayed there for weeks on end and would go to the beach every day. Grandma’s voice still rings in my head, ‘Slip, slop, slap Adam’… It was her favourite thing to say.

“I remember walking to the beach singing the jingle over and over to my brother and sisters. They were less amused.

“Side note: Other favourites for Grandma – Shandi’s, KFC Buckets of Chicken, The Cricket, Daily Moisturizing and Scrabble.”

See Also: The Ads That Made Us: Mediaweek’s memory lane

Top Image: Adrian Bingham, Susan Armstrong, Adam Furness

Making TV: Charlie & Chris’ birthday party, Avril Stark's The Deep goes deeper & Aussie premieres at SXSW

By James Manning

Avril Stark partners with Toronto’s Dark Slope, Five Australian screen projects heading to Austin.

Charlie Pickering and Chris Walker TV party

Thinkative Television celebrated its 10th Birthday at Hope St Radio in Collingwood on Wednesday this week.

Hosting the event were founding partners Charlie Pickering and Chris Walker. The third business partner – the busy Kevin Whyte – wasn’t able to make it. Pickering and Walker previously worked together in Roving Enterprises’ The Project.

The production business is the home of the hit ABC TV series The Weekly and Hard Quiz.

Pickering currently hosts, writes and executive produces The Weekly and Hard Quiz, is a team captain on Endemol Shine Australia’s Would I Lie to You.

Before Thinkative, Walker was the first managing editor of The Project and was the EP of Network 10’s 50 Years Young. He is the co-creator and ep of The Weekly, Hard Quiz and Tomorrow, Tonight.

Rachel Millar (left) and Kieran Bycroft (right) with Charlie and Chris

John Tabbagh (left) and Lizzie McKenzie and Frank-Bruzzese (right) with Charlie and Chris

The Deep goes deeper into mixed reality extension

Toronto-based Dark Slope has announced it has secured production funding for a mixed reality extension of the global animated hit series The Deep.

To be called The Deep – Beyond The Reef will launch as a Meta Quest 3 title and is supported by an investment from the Canada Media Fund. The production is promising an unparalleled mixed reality experience.

Developed for a global audience and produced by A Stark Production and WildBrain, together with Infinite Studios, The Deep series an is based on the graphic novel series, which was created by multi-award-winning, best-selling comic book author and playwright Tom Taylor (Superman, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Wolverine, Iron Man, Batman: The Detective, Star Wars: Age of Resistance) and co-creator, artist James Brouwer (Justice League Beyond), and published by Wolfgang Bylsma and Skye Ogden’s Gestalt Comics.

Underlying rights holder of The Deep, CEO & executive producer at A Stark Production Avrill Stark said, “The Deep has captivated audiences globally with its rich storytelling and vibrant universe.  We are incredibly excited that Dark Slope will be building an experience that invites existing and new fans of this world into an adventure where they can navigate the depths of the ocean with under-water vehicles, encountering fascinating creatures.”

The Deep

The Deep – Beyond The Reef

About A Stark Production

A Stark Production (ASP) is a Sydney-based production company and a leader in the creative development and production of quality children’s content. ASP teams with global partners to deliver successful internationally co-produced shows. From its inception the company has been led by Avrill Stark, an independent producer who has teamed with companies to produce hundreds of hours of series across a broad age range, preschool – teens. ASP has received many nominations and awards for outstanding animation: The Kidscreen Award for Best Kids Series, the prestigious UNICEF Award at Annecy, the Elan Award for Best Animated Television Production together with a BAFTA nomination and numerous nominations for the Australian Film Industry (AFI) Awards.

See also: A Stark, WildBrain & Infinite making fourth season of ABC kids series The Deep

About Dark Slope

Dark Slope’s team of trailblazers and advanced spatial and virtual production technologies combine to bring quality television and immersive experiences to life for clients and partners including Marblemedia, Aircraft Pictures, Insight Productions, Nickelodeon, Dave & Busters, Hasbro, Epic Games, NBC Peacock, WildBrain, TVOntario, WarnerMedia and more. Dark Slope was recognized as a Realscreen Trailblazer for their impact on the scripted and unscripted industries (2023), and as a North America Deloitte Technology Fast 500 (2022) and Canadian Deloitte Technology Fast 50 (2022).

SXSW: Aussies going to Austin

Five Australian screen projects have been selected for the 2024 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film & TV Festival which will take place in Austin, Texas from 8-16 March.

Making their respective world premieres are feature film Audrey, documentary short film The Big Wait, and animated augmented reality (XR) project Many Worlds.

Mystery-thriller Birdeater will make its international premiere and the First Nations psychological horror film The Moogai will also be showcased at SXSW following its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival this month.

New Screen Australia CEO Deirdre Brennan said, “Congratulations to the teams behind these unique projects on their SXSW selection. This important recognition highlights the demand for compelling Australian content across all genres and formats globally. Participation in SXSW, a festival known for innovative and ground-breaking work, demonstrates the high calibre and audience appeal of our homegrown stories. I’m absolutely thrilled about their selection.”

See also: Deirdre Brennan named as new Screen Australia CEO

Jack and Tori MAFS 2024
TV Report February 1, 2024: The Honeymoon Box causes chaos among two couples on Married at First Sight

By Anita Anabel

Triple the drama on Home and Away

• Furry friends on The Dog House Australia
• Trouble is in the air for Jack and Tori on MAFS


Nine’s A Current Affair explored the explosive documents that have been obtained under freedom of information that have exposed one of Australia’s biggest councils making a bizarre decision to sell public land at a fraction of its valuation.

Then it was time for another wedding on Married at First Sight as Nurse Ellie — whose real-life fiancé had called off their nuptials just months before their wedding day — and Ben tied the knot. During his vows, Ben said he had nothing but good intentions while Ellie’s cousin Jordan called, well… bulls–t.

“I can always see the red flags in people. And I’m getting bad juju vibes,” Jordan said. “I just have it in my mind that Ben might be here for the wrong reasons.”

Meanwhile, on the Honeymoons, Jack and Tori are beginning to explore their relationship dynamic. While Tori is confident they are on the same page, the infamous MAFS Honeymoon Box exposes uncomfortable truths about Jack’s feelings — he doesn’t feel a spark.

A new episode of Emergency followed as doctors Jonathan Papson and Emma West worried a mechanic could lose his arm. 


Over on Seven, a triple episode of Home and Away saw Mackenzie’s world turn upside-down while Roo made an executive decision and Justin loved from afar. Mackenzie also realised she wanted Levi – but at what cost? Rose’s promotion caused problems while John and Roo went head-to-head before Roo went on alone in her investigation, Mali and Rose were on the rocks and Cash confided in Harper.

Mrs Brown’s Boys followed for comedy fans as Agnes was feeling down in the dumps and Granddad’s bowel movements weren’t helping matters! The place was a mess, she couldn’t seem to get any sleep and Maria’s home remedies ended in disaster.


On 10The Project welcomed musician Chris Isaak who revealed he wrote Wicked Games in 15 minutes plus shared how he is a HUGE Taylor Swift fan and even has a friendship bracelet. 

Then, it was time for The Dog House Australia where energetic Harriett brings joy to Mary’s family and timid kelpie Berry looks to find her place with Jasmine and Stewart. Meanwhile, Drover the corgi tries to break through Garey’s doubts to become the companion he needs.

The Dog Hospital with Graeme Hall followed as 10-month-old Springer Spaniel Louie was involved in a terrifying accident whilst out for a walk, impaling himself on a stick that travelled deep inside his chest.


ABC’s 7.30 put the spotlight on the Ill winds that are still blowing after a federal decision stopped a key part of Victoria’s offshore wind strategy in its tracks. Plus there are concerns that visitors are getting too close to crocodiles in Kakadu.

On Grand Designs Transformations, a little Melbourne workers’ cottage gets a radical reimagining as a mid-century Palm Springs oasis, while across town, a backyard shed is transformed into a Japanese bathhouse.

Then, viewers watched Martin Clunes: Islands of America. During the episode, Martin travelled to two dramatically contrasting landscapes: the lush, tropical Hawaii islands and the snow-fringed glaciers of Alaska’s islands.


Over on SBS, DNA Family Secrets saw Stacey meet ex-Olympian Sarah, who was searching for the father who returned to America before her birth. And after 91-year-old Jean was evacuated during the Second World War, she was told her mother had died but now has doubts and is searching for the truth. 

Then on The Real Crown: Inside House of Windsor, the series looked at when Prince Harry joined the military, alongside Prince William, the Queen faced a difficult decision – should she send her grandsons into battle?

The program also looked at the rift that appeared between the two brothers which deepened after Harry wed Meghan Markle and former Spare, Prince Andrew, faced serious allegations as his association with Jeremy Epstein became undeniable.

Mercado on TV: Suranne Jones, Naomi Watts and Eve Best drive dramas Maryland and Feud

By Andrew Mercado

‘I could watch Eve Best and Suranne Jones snap at each other forever’ in BritBox’s Maryland

Maryland (BritBox) is a riveting new drama about two sisters. Unlike many other high-concept dramas, where secret assassins and serial killers seem to lurk in every suburb, this is a simple but engaging story about two estranged siblings who are forced to reunite when their mother dies unexpectedly.

Essentially, this is a two-hander between two truly incredible actors. Eve Best plays the confident and bolshie sister. Suranne Jones plays against type as the younger and more insecure one. The details of their mother’s death are a bit sketchy, particularly with a bizarre guest appearance from Stockard Channing.

When you have two fantastic actors like that, who needs anything more? Everyone who has ever fought with a family member will be able to relate to Maryland, and the beautiful scenery is a bonus. Not every drama needs to be another Midsomer Murders, and I could watch Eve Best and Suranne Jones snap at each other forever.

Suranne Jones and Eve Best in Maryland

One of the greatest two-handers of recent years was Feud (Binge/Foxtel) which was about Hollywood icons Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) and Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange). Now Jessica Lange is one of the producers of a Feud sequel, while also playing the mother of the lead character.

Feud: Truman Capote’s treacherous backstabbing

Feud: Capote vs the Swans (Binge/Foxtel), directed by Gus Van Sant, is about acclaimed author Truman Capote (Tom Hollander) and his shaky relationship with the upper echelons of New York society. Unlike the first Feud, this one has a vast cast that includes Chloe Sevigny, Calista Flockhart, Demi Moore, Russell Tovey and Molly Ringwald.

It is also the final screen performance from Treat Williams, who plays network president William S Daley. TV historians remember him as the man who renewed Gilligan’s Island for a fourth season on CBS, only to then cancel it. That’s because he and his socialite wife Babe (Naomi Watts) wanted to reinstate Gunsmoke for a thirteenth season because it was their favourite show.

Sadly, Gilligan doesn’t get a mention because Feud is more concerned with Capote’s treacherous backstabbing of the couple. His fall from grace happens within the first two episodes, and then the third episode, in black and white, is a flashback to a black-and-white ball.

Feud is very niche, but the story of Truman Capote is compelling. It is the latest in a long line of queer icon stories from prolific producer Ryan Murphy, following American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Halston (Netflix), The Andy Warhol Diaries (Netflix), and that wishful fictionalisation of Rock Hudson in Hollywood (Netflix).

The second season of Feud is good, but it’s not as memorable as the first one. This series is a bit too long and wears out its welcome with eight episodes going over the same ground again and again. But when you’ve got a cast like that, it’s understandable why Ryan Murphy didn’t want to let them go.

Welcome to TV Gold: Mediaweek’s weekly TV podcast

Listen now on your favourite podcast platform for 30 minutes of TV reviews and recommendations every week from Mediaweek’s Mercado on TV columnist Andrew Mercado and editor-in-chief James Manning.
We want your comments, feedback and questions – [email protected].

This week: Feud, Griselda, Mr & Mrs Smith, Three Little Birds, Nemesis

Five new series reviewed this episode. A brilliant cast is a reason not to miss the second season of Feud (Binge/Foxtel series), sub-titled Capote vs The Swans. Also this week is Griselda (Netflix, series) from the creators of Narcos. Three Little Birds (BritBox, series) from writer and producer Lenny Henry. Also Mr & Mrs Smith (Prime, series) and finally, the brilliant doco Nemesis, about the three recent Liberal Party prime ministers Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison

Naomi Watts in Feud

Listen online here, or on your favourite podcast platform.

Michelle Keegan stars as Kate Thorne in Stan original series, Ten Pound Poms
BBC and Stan original 'Ten Pound Poms' returning for second series, filming set to begin in NSW

Filming in NSW starts mid-February with global distribution by Sony and production support from Curio.

Stan and BBC have announced the renewal of the Stan Original drama series Ten Pound Poms for a second season, building upon the its runaway success in both Australia and the UK.

The show, produced by Eleven and created by BAFTA award-winning Danny Brocklehurst, will see the return of lead actors Michelle Keegan (Fool Me Once, Brassic), Faye Marsay (Game of Thrones, Black Mirror) and Warren Brown (The Responder, Luther).

Warren Brown stars as Terry Roberts with Faye Marsay as Annie Roberts in BBC and Stan Original series Ten Pound Poms

A co-production filmed in NSW between BBC and Stan,Ten Pound Poms follows a group of British immigrants seeking a new life in Australia in the post-war era. Season one received recognition at the Monte Carlo Television Festival, winning two Golden Nymph awards for Best Series and Best Actor for Warren Brown’s portrayal of Terry.

Season two, directed by Australia’s Ana Kokkinos (Fires, The Hunting) and the UK’s Tom McKay (Jerk, Bloods), will delve deeper into the characters’ experiences as they navigate the challenges and promises of their new homeland in 1957.

Rob Collins stars as Ron in BBC and Stan Original series Ten Pound Poms

Rob Collins stars as Ron

Brocklehurst said, “The positive viewer response to Ten Pound Poms was a true delight. We tapped into a little known part of our recent history and told stories which reflected the realities of the real Poms that made the trip. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be teaming again with the BBC, Stan and Eleven to continue our characters’ adventure down under.”

Producer Joel Wilson added, “I fell in love with Australia last season, so I’m delighted to be heading back there with Danny, Faye, Michelle and Warren to reunite with our fabulous director Ana and our wonderful cast and crew, as well as welcoming Tom into the fold.”

See also: Stan Original Series Ten Pound Poms gets first look trailer and air date

Top Image: Michelle Keegan (as Kate Thorne)

Toyota Australia reappoints R/GA as digital marketing partner
R/GA retains Toyota account following competitive pitch

“The automotive industry is at the cusp of a remarkable transformation.”

Creative innovation studio R/GA has retained Toyota Motor Corporation Australia’s digital marketing business after the account was put to pitch. 

A spokesperson from Toyota Motor Corporation Australia said, “The automotive industry is at the cusp of a remarkable transformation, calling for solutions that prioritise customers’ individual experiences.

“As we navigate this evolving landscape with new and used vehicles, services, and communications, we recognise the importance of staying ahead.

“This makes R/GA the ideal partner to leverage our brand strengths that will maximise both value for individual customers and Toyota’s value chain.”

Michael Titshall, chief executive officer of Asia Pacific at R/GA, added,“Our longstanding and deeply integrated partnership with Toyota has never been stronger.

“We share a commitment to continuous improvement and innovation as a core business value and we take real pride in collaborating with the market leader to drive mobility transformation in Australia.

“Our ongoing partnership is testament to our combined team’s strength and the innovative spirit that defines our approach.”

R/GA announced Titshall’s appointment to the CEO APAC position in December of last year, 2023, expanding his role to oversee the creative studio’s offices across Asia.

Prior to that, Titshall had led R/GA Australia’s operations in Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra. In the newly created role, it was announced Titshall would partner with R/GA’s executive leadership team in the region – which includes Marianne Whitman, general manager of Singapore, Anthony Baker, general manager of Japan, Barry Peng, interim general manager of China and Bambang Witoyo, general manager of Indonesia.

In Australia, it noted that Victoria Curro would continued as managing director, with chief creative officer Seamus Higgins and Ben Miles, viice president, executive creative director co-leading the company’s creative team.

See also: 
R/GA’s Michael Titshall expands remit assuming Asia Pacific CEO role
Toyota Australia announces Vin Naidoo as new head of marketing

Ipsos February 2024 Report: What Australia Thinks, Feels and Does at Work
Ipsos: Data reveals how many Australians are happy with their workplace culture

Australia is the overwhelming home to positive, inspiring workplaces, Ipsos finds.

According to the latest Ipsos report, What Australia Thinks, Feels and Does at Work, seven in 10 Australians (72%) are proud to work for their organisation – five points above the global average. Nearly a quarter (23%) said they would stay working for their employer for the next three to five years.

65% of Australians in leadership roles felt their employers welcomed honest feedback, and 67% said they would recommend their employer as a great place to work.

However, the findings also revealed nearly a third (28%) said they had a negative workplace culture, describing their workplace as hierarchical, controlling, and bureaucratic, with a track record for long hours.

For those planning to leave in less than 12 months, Ipsos found nearly half (46%) put the decision down to pay/benefits, but 38% said it was because they didn’t feel appreciated or recognised.

When considering a new role, 63% said the most important factor was the pay/benefits package, while 44% said they considered flexible working opportunities important.

See also: Ipsos iris: dominates, as retail websites surge and AI drives growth

 Wendy McInnes, Ipsos Australia employee experience director, said: “Australian workplaces have significantly shifted their priorities post-pandemic, in an attempt to retain their workforce.

The worker of 2024 is committed to achieving a work/life balance and is looking for an employer who understands and supports this balance. Organisations that continue to drive positive workplace culture from the top down will be most successful in 2024 in both attracting new staff and retaining talent.

“As the cost-of-living crisis continues, workplaces will need to review their pay/benefits packages to remain competitive, as Australians seek out roles with higher salaries to offset their rising mortgage and other financial costs.

“Additionally, flexible working arrangements continue to be a key employment driver and remain a critical part of overall workplace operations.”

Ghassan Karian, chief executive officer of Ipsos Karian and Box, Ipsos’s specialist in employee culture and engagement, added: “This study highlights the need by Australian employers to tackle young or new starter attrition, and the associated costs.

“There is also a need to deepen the experience of an open, trusting and listening culture – all of which are factors critical to driving workforce engagement and performance.”

See also: Ipsos iris: Rental crisis & cost of living pressures drive 3.4% surge in property site visits

guardian australia Lisa Gresens
Lisa Gresens joins Guardian Australia's sales team as account director for VIC and SA

Gresens: “I look forward to contributing to the ongoing success of the team”.

Lisa Gresens has been named Guardian Australia’s new account director for VIC and SA.

Gresens has a resume that includes previous roles at Carsales, Finecast and Criteo. 

Speaking of the new role, Gresens said “I’m excited to join The Guardian as the company’s values perfectly align with my personal values, especially in terms of sustainability. I look forward to contributing to the ongoing success of the team by collaborating with our clients to execute impactful and purposeful campaigns.”

“We are thrilled to have Lisa onboard. She’s joining the team at a time when the Guardian has seen amazing commercial results and we look forward to future growth with Lisa’s expertise.” said Jillian Matthews, state sales director – VIC & SA.

“Lisa’s appointment continues our commitment to delivering exceptional advertising solutions for our clients. With her extensive background across various sectors of the industry including publishers, agencies and adtech, Lisa brings a unique perspective and a track record of delivering successful outcome driven partnerships. I couldn’t be happier with Lisa’s appointment.” said Mason Rook, commercial director.

In Mediaweek’s search for our Sales Team of the Year, The Guardian Australia’s sales team took the win for October 2023.

See Also: Mediaweek’s Sales Team of the Year: The Guardian Australia take October

Reflecting on the highlights of the last 12 months or so for the team, Rook pointed out that the biggest wins have all been a long time coming, as the result of a lot of hard work.

“The big wins have been around executing our three-year commercial strategy, we’re starting to see that come into its own at the moment. If you cast your mind back three years, our client-direct approach was really anaemic, and I’d say we relied way too heavily on programmatic. For a brand like The Guardian, a premium publisher with a really attractive audience, it didn’t necessarily align,” he said.

Top Image: Lisa Gresens

Quiip - Larah Kennedy & Will Barber
Quiip promotes Larah Kennedy and Will Barber

Kennedy steps up as general manager as Barber takes over the role of client services director.

Quiip has promoted Larah Kennedy to general manager and Will Barber as client services director.

Kennedy steps up to the newly created general manager role from client services director, which she has held for three years. Meanwhile, Barber takes over from Kennedy as senior community manager. 

Kennedy will focus on the overall operations and strategic direction of the company, working closely with the senior team to drive growth, innovation, and client satisfaction.

Barber will oversee fostering client relationships, as well as accelerating growth for the social media and online community management specialist.

Quiip CEO Alison Michalk welcomed the Kennedy and Barber’s promotions and said: “I am delighted to promote Larah Kennedy and Will Barber to the roles of general manager and client services director.

“Their extensive experience and unwavering commitment to Quiip’s mission make them the perfect candidates. I do not doubt that under Larah’s leadership, Quiip will continue to thrive,” she added.

Kennedy said: “I am honoured to take on the responsibilities of general manager at Quiip. I look forward to leading our talented team and driving Quiip’s success while continuing to cultivate meaningful relationships with our clients.”

Barber added: “I am really excited to take on the role of client services director at Quiip, and have big shoes to fill. I look forward to supporting our fantastic clients and contributing to the continued success of our dedicated team.”

Kennedy and Barber’s appointments also follow Quiip’s growth in 2023, marked by its growing list of clientele and the introduction of its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

The appointments underscore the social media and online community management specialist’s commitment to recognising and nurturing talent within the organisation.

Quiip collaborates with Australian organisations to achieve social media and online community success. It specialises in online community building, social media management, high-risk content moderation, and crisis management.

Top image: Larah Kennedy and Will Barber

Wolf LIke Me Bruna Papandrea
Made Up Stories' Bruna Papandrea to receive 2024 AACTA Byron Kennedy Award

The AACTA Awards will be held on Saturday 10 February at HOTA on the Gold Coast.

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) has named Bruna Papandrea as the recipient of the AACTA Byron Kennedy Award for 2024. 

Established in 1984, the Byron Kennedy Award is named after Dr. George Miller‘s filmmaking partner and Mad Max co-creator Byron Kennedy. The award includes a cash prize of $10,000 and is determined by an appointed jury.

Papandrea will be presented with the Award by Simon Baker at the 2024 AACTA Awards ceremony, recognizing her contributions to the screen industry.

The AACTA Awards – presented by Foxtel Group – will be hosted by Rebel Wilson and held on Saturday 10 February at HOTA on the Gold Coast.

Bruna Papandrea is the founder and CEO of Made Up Stories, an award-winning producer behind shows such as Wolf Like Me, Amazon Prime’s The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart, Apple TV+’s Roar, and Binge’s Strife. She won an Emmy and Golden Globe for her work on HBO’s Big Little Lies.

In film, Papandrea’s and Made Up Stories contributions include Netflix’s Luckiest Girl Alive, and notable Australian movies such as AACTA-winning film The Nightingale, Little Monsters, Penguin Bloom, and The Dry

Bruna Papandrea said “It is truly an honour to be recognised by one of the greatest filmmakers of all time – George Miller and his brilliant partner Doug Mitchell – and the legacy of the incomparable Byron Kennedy. I have long been a fan of their bold, innovative work and their commitment as filmmakers to produce that work in Australia and take it to the world. 

“They really inspired me to create Made Up Stories and find my own way of continuing this country’s tradition of telling provocative, courageous and entertaining stories. Thank you to Kennedy Miller Mitchell and AACTA for celebrating our industry and for this great honour.”

The 2024 AACTA Awards Ceremony will be broadcast on Channel 10 at 7pm AEDT, Saturday 10 February. A director’s cut including all awards from the ceremony will be available at 7:30pm on Sunday 11 February on BINGE and Foxtel On-Demand.

The Australian Data and Insights Association (ADIA) chief executive officer Sarah Campbell
ADIA Future Leaders conference program to return for a second year

“When businesses are faced with economic uncertainty, they need leaders who can rise above challenges.”

Industry body for data, insights, analytics and research companies, The Australian Data and Insights Association (ADIA), has announced the return of its Future Leaders conference program.

Future Leaders, which successfully launched in 2023, is designed to develop business and leadership skills in the next generation of research and insights professionals. The program is part of ADIA’s annual Leaders Forum, which is designed for data, insights, and research industry C-suite executives.

See also: ADIA names Yvonne Wallis and Rob McLachlan as winners of the Jayne Van Souwe Research Industry Leadership Award

ADIA chief executive officer Sarah Campbell said: “The ADIA Leaders Forum has a long legacy within the industry, and we’re excited to continue that in 2024. We were overwhelmed with the success of our inaugural Future Leaders program last year and we’re thrilled to have it on our 2024 agenda.

“The Future Leaders program is a good opportunity to start preparing our leaders of tomorrow – we want our up-and-coming industry representatives to leave the session with new ideas and inspiration to take into their careers.”

“As a leading industry body, we recognise our responsibility to both attract and educate the next generation of data, research, and insight experts, particularly in light of the nation’s ongoing talent crisis. This is an opportunity to help future proof our industry and ensure its long-term success.

ADIA president George Zdanowicz said: “This year’s forum comes at a time when the nation is in-flux, with rising cost-of-living, inflationary pressures, and global turbulence, leaving many leaders feeling unsettled about the future. The Leaders Forum is a safe space for our C-Suite executive members to come together to navigate these complexities.

“When businesses are faced with economic uncertainty, they need leaders who can rise above challenges, innovate, and build a path to success – this conference program is designed to give our members the tools and insights to fortify their organisations.”  

See also: ADIA and the ESOMAR foundation announce 2023 winners of the Research Got Talent Awards

Top Image: Sarah Campbell

Business of Media

Rupert Murdoch postpones Australia homecoming

Rupert Murdoch has postponed his first return to Australia for more than five years, pushing back a dinner planned for The Australian’s 60th anniversary that was due to be held later this month, reports Nine Publishing’s Mark Di Stefano.

News of the rain-check filtered through News Corp networks over the past 24 hours, prompting arched eyebrows and hushed WhatsApp gossip about what caused the 92-year-old’s diary move.

But the decision to postpone the event for Murdoch’s favourite local masthead, we’re assured, was due to scheduling conflicts.

[Read More]

AI fuels a new era of product placement

Product placement, one of the oldest tricks in advertisers’ toolbox, is getting an A.I. makeover, reports The New York Times’ Sapna Maheshwari.

New technology has made it easier to insert digital, realistic-looking versions of soda cans and shampoo onto the tables and walls of videos on YouTube and TikTok. And a growing group of creators and advertisers is grabbing at the chance for an additional revenue stream.

A recent TikTok from the dancer Melissa Becraft featured a poster for Bubly, the sparkling-water brand owned by PepsiCo, hanging on the wall of her apartment as she shimmied to a Shakira song. A duo known as HiveMind chatted about bands while an animated can of Starry soda, another brand owned by PepsiCo, landed on a table between them. And a YouTube video of the “AsianBossGirl” podcast recently displayed a table of Garnier hair products.

[Read More]

Nine News’s doctored photo of Georgie Purcell reveals AI’s big problem

Finally, fake AI-generated news has come to Australia. In the nation’s first high profile case, Nine News staff automated the re-sizing of an image featuring Georgie Purcell, which ended up re-sizing the Victorian Animal Justice MP’s breasts. The program went further, it also bared the politicians midriff, cutting a hole in her dress to create a revealing outfit, reports The Australian’s Jared Lynch.

Microsoft named its AI-powered assistant Copilot, because it is designed to work alongside humans, not replace them. “We think the human is the pilot. Without the pilot, the co-pilot isn’t really as effective,” Microsoft global head of marketing for search & AI Divya Kumar said.

“We do think there is a huge responsibility on the person using the tool, regardless of the tool being able to do the verification.”

[Read More]

Ad agency Publicis Health to pay US$350 million over opioid marketing

Publicis Health, part of ad giant Publicis Groupe, has agreed to pay $350 million to settle claims that its advertising campaigns for Purdue Pharma played a role in the opioid crisis, according to the office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Katie Deighton and Patrick Coffee.

The agreement also prohibits Publicis from accepting any future contracts or engagements related to the marketing or sale of opioids, James said in a statement on Thursday. Publicis must pay the settlement within 60 days and release hundreds of thousands of documents detailing its past work for Purdue, according to the statement. The total will be divided among all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, according to a spokeswoman for James’s office.

[Read More]

‘Just a lot of issues’: Netflix film chief on axing nearly finished Halle Berry movie

Netflix’s decision to scrap a nearly completed movie starring Halle Berry has been described as “a rare thing” during a preview event this week, reports The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee.

Post-production on The Mothership, a sci-fi thriller that finished filming in 2021, was scrapped last week with rumours of “significant reshoots” being too expensive and problems over using child actors who have since aged.

On Wednesday’s event, Bela Bajaria, the streamer’s chief content officer and interim chief of the film division, said: “If you think about how many things we make, it’s a rare thing.”

[Read More]

Harry and Meghan working on movie, TV series and other shows at Netflix

Harry and Meghan are working on a number of projects at Netflix despite speculation that the pair’s deal was in jeopardy, reports The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee.

During a preview event of Netflix’s 2024 content, it was revealed that the pair have a movie, a scripted series and some more unscripted content on the way, according to Deadline.

“Oh, what are they working on?” said Bela Bajaria, Netflix’s chief content officer. “They have a couple of unscripted things they’re working on with Brandon [Riegg]. And they actually have, like, a bunch of development: they have a movie in development, a [scripted] series that they’re working on. So all very early development, with a movie, a TV show and a couple of unscripted shows. But yeah, the movie’s great.”

[Read More]

Bad Blood: Why TikTok videos with Taylor Swift and other Universal artists are now silent

Universal Music Group’s songs were gone from TikTok Thursday after the world’s largest music company said it failed to reach a contract to license its music to the app, report The Wall Street Journal’s Alyssa Lukpat, Julia Munslow, and Joseph De Avila.

The missing songs have left a void on TikTok, where users often create videos featuring audio from popular tracks. Videos across the social-media platform that had Universal’s songs are now silent with a message at the bottom saying, “Sound removed due to copyright restrictions.”

“My jaw dropped,” said Emma Noyes, 28 years old. “The first thing I did when I woke up this morning was open TikTok just to see how my videos were doing and a bunch of videos had suddenly become muted out of nowhere.”

[Read More]


Margot Robbie addresses Best Actress Oscars snub for Barbie movie: ‘No reason to feel sad’

Margot Robbie has spoken out one week after being overlooked for a nomination at the 2024 Oscars, reports News Corp’s Mikaela Wilkes.

“There’s no way to feel sad when you know you’re this blessed,” the Robbie said during a panel at a special SAG-AFTRA screening on Wednesday night.

An audience member had asked the 33-year-old, who both produced and starred in the blockbuster film, how she felt about being overlooked.

Robbie said, if anything, she was more upset that Gerwig, 40, failed to score a nomination.

[Read More]


Neighbours shock death: “It felt like a true ending for the character.”

Warning: Don’t read until you have seen Neighbours episode Thursday February 1.

Fans of Neighbours have today witnessed one of the show’s favourite characters meet their demise, reports TV Tonight.

[Read More]

Sports Media

Craig Hutchison’s Sports Entertainment cashes in on sports teams

Craig Hutchison’s Sports Entertainment Group is selling off stakes in its sporting business, which includes basketball’s Perth Wildcats and new Melbourne Mavericks netball team, to reduce its $28.7 million debt before looming repayment deadlines, reports Nine Publishing’s Calum Jaspan and Carla Jaeger.

Corporate filings that were published late on Wednesday reveal the sports media business has raised $1.5 million in exchange for a minority share in its sports teams division, with the funds put directly towards repaying its financier, Commonwealth Bank.

The company said it was looking to raise further funds through the sale of shares in its sporting teams business.

[Read More]

NRL rolls out Las Vegas red carpet for Lachlan Murdoch and hopes Tom Brady comes with him

News Corp chair Lachlan Murdoch will be the guest of honour at the NRL’s season-opening double-header in Las Vegas — and officials are banking on him dragging along NFL legend Tom Brady as his plus one, reports Andrew Webster.

Apart from being a diehard Brisbane Broncos fan, Murdoch is a close friend of ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys, who is rolling out the red carpet for News’ top brass, including chief executive Robert Thomson and Foxtel Australia boss Patrick Delany.

A News spokesman insisted Murdoch had not invited Brady, but the NRL certainly hopes he can convince the legendary quarterback to come along.

[Read More]

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