By James Manning
• Where $100m cost savings come from, 2GB we have a problem
No, it’s not a hard thing. What I will accept is that our sales team had a lot on their plate last year – mergers and acquisitions – and I didn’t make their job easy. As we go into this year with no more acquisitions or mergers, hopefully with all the sales structures resolved, we can focus on operating performance and get out to do some basic selling. We want to rely less on market structures and more on the traditional success of the sales team which is selling the vision of where the value for advertisers is.
Michael Stephenson [chief sales officer] and the sales team have embraced that as we move into this year and we are seeing some results from that.
Market dynamics play a role. But we should have been able to do a 40% share across the calendar year . We are not far away, but that is worth probably $20m across the year and that is the size of the opportunity we need to pursue this calendar year.
At 9Now we see huge traffic with programs like Married At First Sight and Love Island – the big reality shows drive more traffic. But we then have troughs around that which makes it hard from an advertiser perspective to consistently buy across the year. What we have to do is focus on lifting the troughs and content acquisition allows us to lift to a more consistent level across the year.
We won’t be making a huge investment and it’s pretty targeted. The distinction with Stan is that it plays in the premium content end of the game and the material 9Now will buy will not be high end. It will more likely be US network content rather than product more at home on cable.
We will continue with any sports we are able to have long-term relationships with. [Marks yesterday indicated the 2019 World Cup One Day cricket broadcasts last year were not financially attractive.] To be selling one-off content is harder to do. We will be much more focused on sports where we can work with sponsors across many years.
Netball is a good example of what we will keep. It didn’t have significant commercial presence and we have seen that grow with Nine. It is a consistent delivery to the audience year-on-year, and our involvement is much more than what we just put on air.
We are going to focus on where we get a return on investment. International content is the thing that really struggles from an audience perspective. If we keep paying what we have been paying in the past the industry will be killed.
As we move into North Sydney we will be looking for costs savings – we will have two technology teams, a number of finance teams, multiple sales structures and we will look at the way he produce short form video. There has to be efficiencies as we move into those premises.
There will be continual evolution at Nine Radio, but for the time being it’s about revenue and content which will be the focus. We have reset the cost base. We really need to focus on rebuilding the revenue lines that are weaker than they should be.
3AW has been performing very strongly in line with its [ratings] consistency and reliability. Meanwhile the breakfast issues at 2GB have been a real challenge. It hasn’t turned around and this is a revenue business. Audience does lead to revenue – if audience doesn’t revert to revenue you have a problem.
Revenue at 2GB remains an ongoing issue and remains a reasonably significant issue in the context of the business. Everybody needs to work from Tom Malone and Alan Jones and down to resolve that issue. If we don’t convert Alan’s fantastic audience into revenue then the business has a challenge. There have also been some Sydney-specific sales issues we are in the process of addressing.
There are significant overhead costs for newspapers and how do we allocate that cost between print and digital? It becomes very hard to separate the businesses. Print always remains a component of those mastheads. It stands for what they are and print is a very important part of the brands. You will however see a transition of the business where more investment will go into digital revenue areas and maybe less into areas linked to the print publication.
We have over 1.8m Stan subscribers on average now which includes free trial subscriptions. We have a low rate of subscriber acquisition so at the moment the number of paying subscribers would be very close to 1.8m.
That’s a great result given the activity in the streaming marketplace and indicates the strength of Stan’s brand.
We have had a good model by using outside production houses for our programs. The benefit for Seven has been [making] Home and Away. It’s a legacy production from 30 years ago. We don’t have one of those. Without that you can’t really support the overhead of investing in program development and associated costs. We should remain open to the best ideas wherever they may come from. Our business is then how we take those ideas and execute them with whoever it is that makes the program. We then use our distribution network to provide a revenue base for those ideas. That’s our model and we will continue with that model. I’ve been in the production business and it is not an easy business.
By James Manning
+ Loud Pedal + Spotify, IAB, Content Melb & Audioland events
The podcast series from fishing experts Nick Duigan, Andrew Hart and Luke McCredden is new from PodcastOne this month. Although you might ask what has taken them so long to branch out in to audio episodes. The companion TV fishing show Hook, Line and Sinker has been around for close to 20 years and the Tasmanian-based production has been seen initially on Southern Cross Television and more recently on 7mate and Fox Sports/Kayo Sports.
The idea for the first audio series of seven episodes is to take fishing “off its pedestal and giving it back to the people”. There are no silly questions in this back-to-basics primer for people eager to get away from the office and into the outdoors.
The series encourages families and children to spend more quality time together outdoors, exploring Australia’s great rivers, oceans and waterways. “Fishing can be very complicated, but our aim is to strip it back to the very core,” said the hosts.
The podcast hosts aim to hook listeners with their simple step-by-step guide. From where the best locations are to fish, to what to buy in the tackle shop and what to do when you get your very first bite – the expert fishermen will share their insider tips and tricks.
Luke McCredden, said: “We are so thrilled to be working with PodcastOne Australia on the Hook, Line and Sinker series. Our TV show has been such a great success, it’s fantastic to be able to take it back to the basics again in the hope of opening the joys of fishing to a whole new audience. The more we can get people learning how simply it can be done – the more people can enjoy it!”
Seven West Media might be the Olympic Games rights holder in Australia for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but it’s the major sporting event of the year and all media companies want a piece of the action. Nine will be covering the Games from sometimes outside the official stadiums on its print, broadcast and digital platforms and has just launched a Tokyo 2020 preview podcast – Ready Set Tokyo.
The podcast series was actually launched in July last year when the 12-month countdown started for the 2020 Games.
The podcast claims to be the only one of its type in Australia, delivering a variety of interviews, news and opinion, all about the Olympic Games, with a focus on Tokyo 2020.
The Nine Radio series is hosted by 3AW’s Shane McInnes and 2GB’s Natalie Peters.
McInnes and Peters are no novices when it comes to major sporting events, both having covered two Olympic Games – London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016.
Among the guests featured to date are John Coates, Kieren Perkins, Kevan Gosper, Andrew Gaze, Sally Pearson and Steve Hooker.
So far in the three episodes dropped from season two subscribers have heard from the Olympic team doctor about the coronavirus, Bronte Campbell on qualifying for Tokyo and Michael Klim on his swimming career.
For the remainder of the series the hosts are promising to chat with athletes from across the globe as they prepare to make the trip to Tokyo for the sporting event that captivates the world.
Shane McInnes is a sports broadcaster with 3AW. As well as the Olympics, he has covered two Commonwealth Games, Glasgow and the Gold Coast.
Natalie Peters is the 2GB news director. She has also covered two Winter Olympics, in Sochi and PyeongChang.
The Loud Pedal podcast is promising to be create headlines again in 2020. Fox Sports podcast hosts Chris Stubbs and Supercars driver Lee Holdsworth will be joined by the biggest names in the sport as they take all the major talking points to the next level.
The third season of the podcast covering everything Supercars is moments away from the green light for its third season with the first races of the season last week in Adelaide.
With exclusive insights from drivers, team managers and the media, the Loud Pedal keeps motorsport fans informed and entertained in between events. It’s more than just breaking news and opinion, the Loud Pedal is a free pass to the personalities, politics and passion of pit lane.
People old enough to remember and those young to want to know what all the fuss about can now relive the most dramatic day in Australian politics with a new ABC podcast, The Eleventh.
What do you know about the 11th of November 1975? The day that the 21st Prime Minister of Australia Gough Whitlam was sacked and removed from office by the representative of Queen Elizabeth II, the Governor-General.
The Eleventh is being marketed as an explosive thriller that tells everything you never knew about one of the most famous chapters of Australian political history – the dismissal of Prime Minister Whitlam.
The podcast series, which released its first three episodes Tuesday February 25, has all the elements of an epic, combining political drama, secrets and spies, plus a story of love and lust. It’s about big power, big egos…and even bigger mistakes.
Award-winning investigative journalist, Alex Mann, seeks new clues and perspectives about what led to the sacking of Whitlam, shining new light on the gap between what’s been told and what actually happened, and what remains hidden under lock and key.
Events are explained in forensic detail from those central to the story, including would-be PM John Howard, former New York ABC correspondent (before he joined Nine) Ray Martin, Canberra Press Gallery insider Paul Kelly, alongside government, police and ASIO insiders.
Host Alex Mann is an award-winning Sydney-based journalist with the ABC investigative radio documentary program, Background Briefing. In 2017 he was recognised as South Australia’s Journalist of the Year and has won several other media awards for his reporting with ABC’s 7.30 program.
Spotify has an invite-only event this week for podcasters called The Podcast (R)evolution. The Sydney afternoon event agenda includes Spotify’s transformation into an engine for podcast innovation. Special guest is Cecilia Qvist, global head of markets at Spotify. The audio platform will then be hosting a “Meet the Makers” panel featuring Rowdie Walden from Spotify Originals, Clancy Overell from The Beetoota Advocate, Julian Morgans from Vice and popular podcaster and broadcaster, Mamamia’s Rachel Corbett.
Meanwhile Mumbrella’s May Sydney event Audioland continues to add guest speakers. Confirmed so far are podcasters Meshel Laurie, Osher Günsberg and Andy Lee, BBC Global News president of commercial development Alistair McEwan, Travis Johnson, CEO of Amazon special agency Podean, Grant Tothill, head of PodcastOne and Guy Scott-Wilson, content director at Acast.
Melbourne was the host city of two events this week. First was a Content Melbourne gathering looking at trends in content. Among the speakers was Alana Mahony from Whooshkaa Podcasting.
A day later was IAB’s Audio Summit part one, the Sydney edition is coming on March 4. Speakers in Melbourne included IAB’s Gai Le Roy, Emily Croker from Acast, Dan Staudinger from Eardrum and Richard Palmer from Triton Digital.
Edison Research has released its first Top 10 Podcast ranker, new from the company’s subscription product, the Podcast Consumer Tracker (PCT). The ranker depicts the top 10 podcasts in America by reach among weekly podcast consumers. Edison claims PCT is the only comprehensive and all-inclusive study of the reach of podcast networks and shows in America.
The top 10 podcasts in America for the third and fourth quarters of 2019, as ranked by the percentage of weekly podcast consumers 18+ who have listened to them, is as follows:
1.The Joe Rogan Experience
2. This American Life
3. The Daily
4. My Favorite Murder
5. Crime Junkie
6. Stuff You Should Know
7. Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!
9. Pod Save America
The Podcast Consumer Tracker data is based upon 4,053 online interviews with weekly podcast consumers, ages 18 and older.
Today ARN announces the launch of the iHeartPodcast Network Australia providing advertisers with a comprehensive commercial offering across local and global podcasts.
Today’s announcement follows ARN’s move in October 2019 to secure exclusive sales representation for all Australian downloads of the iHeartPodcast Network. The catalogue reinforces the company’s leadership position in Defining Audio through delivering the most complete audio offering for audiences and advertisers.
The iHeartPodcast Network Australia has significant scale with over 30 million monthly Australian impressions across International, Local and Catchup podcasts – bolstered by a Run of Genre ad offering across eight categories.
The iHeartPodcast Network Australia is integrated across the business and sets ARN on course to dominate the Australian podcast advertising landscape, providing brands with access to significant scale.
Key to ARN’s iHeartPodcast Network Australia is the support of local content creators. Through a slate of evolving iHeartRadio Australia Original Podcast partnerships including ‘Life Uncut’ with Laura Byrne and Brittany Hockley, ‘Rise and Conquer’ and ‘Equity Mates’, ARN is using its scale to help listeners overcome the challenge of podcast discovery.
ARN Commercial Product and Audio Partnerships Director Corey Layton said: “Australians are listening to more audio than ever before, using podcasts to complement rather than replace other audio. Our ability to integrate podcast and radio talent into advertising campaigns provides our clients with best in class solutions, across all forms of audio.”
ARN Chief Commercial Officer Peter Whitehead said: “ARN is the only audio company that has been able to consolidate radio, music and podcasts all in one place for Australian audiences through our ongoing investment in iHeartRadio. With our unique audience-led approach to creating targeted commercial and custom content across broadcast and on-demand audio, we have cemented our leadership position in Defining Audio in Australia. With the launch of iHeartPodcast Network Australia, we reinforce our commercial offering to clients powered by enhanced data and targeting to maximise cut through.”
Don’t miss the huge new edition of Podcast Week in Mediaweek Morning Report on Thursday
• Australian podcast ad spend expected to hit AUD$47m
• Acast Australia exceeds 20+ million monthly listens
Global podcast engine Acast has launched Acast Marketplace, the new home of podcast buying globally and in Australia.
The company says Acast Marketplace gives advertisers both direct and automated access to the world’s best podcasts, the most talented creators, and the most engaged listeners across any and every podcast platform.
Acast invented dynamic ad insertion in podcasts back in 2014 – today widely adopted as the norm throughout the industry – and is now present in 13 markets worldwide.
In Australia, Acast now exceeds 20 million Australian listens each month.
Global advertiser spend with Acast has increased 90% in the last year and locally some of Australia’s most respectable brands are choosing to invest in the Acast network. The number of unique advertisers spending with Acast in Australia increased 52% over the same period to more than 250.
These figures mirror a recent report from Deloitte forecasting Australian podcast revenue is set to outpace the 30 per cent growth rate predicted globally to reach AUD$47 million in 2020.
Henrik Isaksson, Acast managing director for Australia and New Zealand, said: “Acast Marketplace sets a new standard for the entire podcast industry by bringing everything we do for advertisers under a single, easy-to-access umbrella.
“While Acast Marketplace is being launched globally, it is also a much-needed tool for Australian advertisers. With our unparalleled reach, unique audience and list of premium content creators, Acast Marketplace will give local advertisers an easy and efficient way to advertise in what we believe is the widest range of publishers and independent podcasters in Australia.”
Acast Marketplace will continue to expand and develop throughout 2020 – including innovations in its technology, growing its artificial intelligence functions, further exploration of pioneering voice recognition, and much more.
Australia’s love affair with streaming continues to thrive with a new report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) showing 71% of Australians with a TV set in the home used at least one paid video streaming service in 2019.
One in 10 Australians had four or more subscription services in the home in 2019, up from just four per cent in 2017. Overall 83% of Australian internet users reported viewing either paid or unpaid video content online in the past six months.
In the three months to 30 June 2019, Australians downloaded a total of almost six million terabytes of data, enough to watch around 2.2 billion hours of high-definition video. Of that data, more than 88% was downloaded through fixed internet services.
This data and other insights were published today in the ACMA Communications report 2018–19, which provides a comprehensive profile of Australia’s communications and media sector.
ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the report shows the ongoing importance of Australia’s fixed network.
“Australians are using their fixed internet connections for data-hungry applications such as video streaming and are spending more time watching content online,” O’Loughlin said.
“Online video and use of smart devices is exploding in popularity as high-speed networks are creating markets for new, innovative services across the Australian economy.
“It’s clear that Australians have embraced technology which is helping drive demand for faster internet.”
The report also shows Australians are increasingly reliant on mobile phones to get online with 87% accessing the internet over their phone compared with 69% for laptops.
A new one-click integration allows over 8,000 podcasters on the Whooshkaa platform to distribute their shows to Deezer’s 14 million active users across 180 countries.
Whooshkaa founder and CEO Robert Loewenthal noted the significance of the French-based Deezer: “Deezer is the music streaming and podcast platform of choice for millions of European listeners. Australian creators are producing some of the world’s best podcasts and this integration represents another opportunity for that content to be discovered by global audiences.”
Frédéric Antelme, VP content and productions at Deezer also commented: “We’ve seen first-hand how podcasts complement the overall music experience. Over the last few years, we’ve grown our podcast library to make sure fans can enjoy something new every day. Partnering with Whooshkaa means that even more podcasters can grow their audience, while listeners regularly get fresh content to suit their tastes.”
Whooshkaa hosted podcasts will now appear in Deezer’s Shows tab and in personalised recommendations based on user’s listening history and preferences.
Screen Australia has announced almost $750,000 of Story Development funding for nine feature films, 11 television series and two online projects.
The slate includes Kate Miller-Heidke composing for Imogen Banks’ new musical dramedy; a television adaptation of Melanie Cheng’s acclaimed book Australia Day; and a feature film from Helpmann Award-winning playwright S. Shakthidharan.
Screen Australia’s Head of Development, Nerida Moore said: “We are looking for projects that are distinctive in the market, have a very specific audience in mind and reflect a range of Australian experiences. As such, it’s fantastic to be able to support the development of these 22 productions, which give an exciting glimpse into the diversity of stories, formats and genres we will hopefully see on our screens in the coming years.
“I’m particularly pleased Screen Australia is able to support creators to expand their skill sets and take creative risks, including actors Lucy Durack and Maria Angelico teaming up as writers on Unbeweavable and The Letdown’s Alison Bell moving into longer-form television with drama series Australia Day.”
The projects funded for development include:
• Aparna: A feature film about Sri-Lankan woman, Aparna and her son who were separated during Sri Lanka’s civil war and years later reunited in modern day Sri Lanka.
• Australia Day (working title): A six-part television series adapted from the award-winning collection of short stories by Melanie Cheng, which weaves together narratives of the diverse Australian experience. The series begins when a person is stabbed late one night and an unlikely bunch run to their aid. These strangers come together by chance and, experiencing a connection in this moment of crisis, their lives are changed for the better.
• Butch: A six-part online comedy series that follows ex-lovers, Tiff and Gem who are forced to work together to co-parent their all-knowing (and talking) dog, Butch. While Tiff and Gem try to get back out into the dating scene, Butch goes to drastic lengths to bring them back together.
• Hair: A seven-part online magic realist comedy about 21-year-old Geraldine who opts for laser hair removal only to discover an incredibly hairy young woman trapped in her shower drain. Geraldine’s reluctance to accept her new found friend’s hairiness begins to expose the tangled relationship she has with her hair and with herself.
• Lucy’s Cannon: A 52-part animated children’s series from Blue Rocket Beyond, a joint venture between Tasmania’s Blue Rocket Productions and Beyond Entertainment, about eight-year-old Lucy and her brother Randall who embark on far flung adventures by blasting out of an old-fashioned cannon. Together they travel into the extraordinary world of their imagination, meeting new friends along the way.
• Unbeweavable: An eight-part television series that follows the unlikely friendship between Anna, a Christian who is questioning her faith in God, and Josie, a hairdresser who is haunted by visions of her late grandmother. When the pair meet, they discover that they share electrifying, psychic visions in the form of choreographed musical numbers. While they can’t agree on what these visions mean, both Anna and Josie understand the potential of their newfound power.
Photo: Six part online comedy series – Butch
Award-winning host, Andrew Winter is back with his brutal honesty and real estate expertise as he teams up with interior designer Shaynna Blaze and landscape designer Charlie Albone to help homeowners with property dreams that have turned sour. However, this will be the final season featuring Albone; a nationwide search is currently underway for a new ‘landscape legend’ to join the top-rating Foxtel series alongside Winter and Blaze.
After scouring the length and breadth of Australia’s heartland the Selling Houses team has found 10 more properties in dire need of a facelift – and don’t they have their work cut out for them. A tiny stone cottage in Tassie, a classic Aussie pub in remote western Victoria, and a huge resort style home on Brisbane’s tropical outskirts are some of the properties struggling to secure a sale.
This season will also celebrate a landmark 100th sale. A half renovated house/shop in Crows Nest needs help – despite a realistic asking price, the place doesn’t appeal to buyers who need it to be more residence and less business. The Selling Houses team will need to turn this commercial dream into a dream home and secure their 100th sale.
By James Manning
• Audience over 1.1m as viewers question MAFS wardrobe
• Third MAFS dinner party keeps Nine #1 with 25%+ primary share
• 7.30pm slot: Survivor second in demos, ABC second all people
Married At First Sight has ended the week not too far from where it started with a winning audience over 1.1m for the third dinner party. A major talking point for many was the very loud green shirt worn by David. Wardrobe choices from the team at Endemol Shine have often been edgy and hopefully this trend will continue! The Wednesday audience was up from 1.058m a week ago.
Doctor Doctor followed the reality juggernaut with another 500,000+ audience.
After audiences so far this week of 600,000 and 549,000, Seven’s Home and Away lifted a little to 575,000.
Team Colin were working in one of his kitchen’s last night on My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals with 453,000 watching after 416,000 a week ago. The show was ranked #4 in the timeslot all people.
A double episode of First Dates Australia followed with audiences of 317,000 and then 182,000.
The Project just made it over 400,000 after 7pm on 10.
Australian Survivor: All Stars did 563,000 after 584,000 a week prior. After four years, Brooke finally got sweet revenge on her bestie, Flick, sending her home via a perfectly executed blindside. Flick became the 11th person voted out of the game.
Later in the night Bull did 216,000.
ABC share was close to a year midweek best on 12.9% with its comedy line-up complementing News and 7.30.
Hard Quiz featured a couple in the final showdown with 610,000 watching.
The numbers lifted a little to 614,000 for Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell.
Black Comedy was on 268,000 and then The Last Leg did 182,000.
Tony Robinson has a grip on the midweek SBS 7.30pm slot and episode three of his Hidden Britain By Drone did 210,000.
Dublin Murders followed with 192,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.2%||7TWO||3.1%||GO!||3.1%||10 Bold||4.6%||VICELAND||1.4%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||2.5%||GEM||2.8%||10 Peach||2.2%||Food Net||1.3%|
|SBS World Movies||0.4%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.2%||7TWO||4.1%||GO!||3.6%||WIN Bold||5.2%||VICELAND||1.4%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||3.3%||GEM||4.3%||WIN Peach||2.2%||Food Net||0.9%|
|ABC NEWS||1.2%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.3%||9Life||2.8%||Sky News on WIN||1.9%||NITV||0.2%|
|WEDNESDAY METRO ALL TV|
16 – 39
18 – 49
25 – 54
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Walt Disney Co. shares slid after chief executive officer Bob Iger abruptly stepped aside and handed the reins to theme-parks head Bob Chapek, ending years of speculation over who would succeed him atop the world’s largest entertainment company, reports Bloomberg.
Chapek, 60, who led Disney’s theme parks and consumer products businesses, takes over immediately, the company said Tuesday. Iger will stay to direct the company’s creative endeavours as executive chairman through 2021.
With the appointment, Chapek lands one of the most coveted jobs in entertainment. He’s a 27-year company veteran who led Disney’s home-video business during the DVD era, before transitioning to consumer products. In that role, he reorganized the business to cut costs and focus on franchises, including the Frozentoy craze.
Bloomberg’ Tara Lachapelle commented:
It was the last thing shareholders saw coming. The company’s choice wasn’t even who most people expected. Bob Chapek, the head of Disney’s theme parks business, is taking over, effective immediately. Iger will remain chairman through to the end of 2021.
It’s the most significant change to happen to the entertainment giant in more than a decade. Iger had become almost as much the face of the company as Walt Disney was himself, and was responsible for building it into the globally admired brand and content powerhouse that it is now. While Iger, at 69 years old, had been inching closer to retirement, it wasn’t supposed to come until next year. Shares of Disney fell 6% in after-hours trading, as investors tried to pick their jaws up off the floor.
Anyone who read Iger’s memoir, The Ride of a Lifetime, which was released last year, might have been led to believe that another top Disney executive, Kevin Mayer, was next in line for the keys to the Magic Kingdom. Mayer oversees Disney’s new streaming-TV operations – the very business at the centre of the new Disney.
A jump in subscription revenue at The Australian Financial Review is helping diversify the national business and politics publication away from the whims of the advertising market, reports the news brand’s Max Mason.
Subscriptions now account for 48 per cent of the Financial Review‘s revenue, up from 44 per cent a year ago, according to data released at Nine’s half-year results on Wednesday.
The Financial Review grew its subscriber base by 14 per cent from a year ago and 87 per cent of its base were digital-only subs.
Digital made up more than 75 per cent of the Financial Review‘s subscription revenue in the half. Digital subscription revenue grew 13 per cent while print subscription revenue fell 10 per cent.
Hollywood actor Johnny Depp has appeared at the High Court in London for a hearing in his libel case against The Sun, reports Press Gazette.
The movie star is suing the publisher of The Sun and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an article which alleged he had been abusive to his former wife Amber Heard.
The Pirates Of The Caribbean star, wearing a suit and blue-tinted glasses, sat in court behind his lawyers at a pre-trial review hearing today.
Depp, 56, denies the allegations of domestic abuse and has accused Heard of being the “aggressor” in their relationship, which ended in May 2016.
The libel claim, against News Group Newspapers and Wootton, arises out of publication of an article in The Sun in April 2018 under the headline “Gone Potty How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”
The court heard the words “wife-beater” were later removed from the article online.
It’s an open secret in the gossip magazine industry that many of the stories are made up, or at least highly exaggerated, reports Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade.
Celebrities are increasingly vocal about the practice, with some, such as Rebel Wilson, taking legal action and others, such as the Sunrise co-host Samantha Armytage, calling them out for falsehoods.
With standards such as these it came as a shock when Woman’s Day was rapped over the knuckles by the media watchdog last week for publishing a headline about Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, which it said was “blatantly incorrect”.
So why did the press council, which usually takes aim at articles in the Herald Sun or the Sydney Morning Herald, sit in judgment of a Woman’s Day cover story which said the royal family had confirmed Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s marriage was over?
The short answer is someone – not the royal family – complained about the article, and the council saw merit in the complaint and investigated because the magazine’s owner, Bauer Media, is a member of the press council.
According to the latest annual report, only 10 out of a total of 669 complaints to the Australian Press Council related to magazines.
Broadcasters and producers are at loggerheads over Australian children’s content on commercial television, with Nine CEO Hugh Marks lending his support to rival James Warburton, CEO of Seven, over calls to scrap quotas making it compulsory to commission and broadcast such content, report Nine publishing’s Karl Quinn and Zoe Samios.
“We need action and we need it now, and Seven’s actions are very much targeted at forcing that action,” Marks said.
“I’ll have to consider the same thing because to continue to expend our money and taxpayers’ money on making content for which there is no audience makes no sense.”
But Jenny Buckland, CEO of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, hit back at the broadcasters.
“They have been so belligerent about what they want, which is no obligations at all,” she said, referring to the networks’ position as presented to a series of parliamentary inquiries since 2016, and on which the government is yet to act.
One of Australia’s pioneering female television journalists and late night news anchors, Kay Stammers, has died in Sydney, reports News Corp’s Matthew Benns.
Stammers, 72, was a familiar face on Australian TV screens in the 1970s and 1980s as the only female journalist on Sydney’s Channel 9 news team and the presenter on Channel 7’s late night show News World.
“Kay was one of the pioneers,” former colleague and head of ABC Television Gail Jarvis said. “She broke into an area that had previously been a bastion of male reporters.”
She was discovered and coaxed into television from a teaching career after a photograph of her sunbathing in a bikini on Sandringham beach in Melbourne appeared on page three of The Sun newspaper.
It’s not uncommon for a TV show to kindle its audience’s passions, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Idato. But even by the standards of genre TV, the enthusiasm that follows the love affair at the centre of the epic, time-travel romance Outlander is rare.
At the heart of the series bubbles the great romance between the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and World War II nurse Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), who has been transported back in time, to Scotland in the late 1700s, where she meets him.
A fifth season of Outlander has premiered, and a sixth has been confirmed, which will air in 2021. Significantly, in the new season, the series departs from the novels by adding a major storyline that is not part of Gabaldon’s printed narrative.
The new season also marks a shift in the creative input Heughan and Balfe have in the series; both are now credited as co-producers on the series. “It’s important to have a say,” Balfe says. “We’ve built these characters from day one, and I think we feel, especially when so many of our core writers are not on the show any more and we’ve got new writers coming in, it’s [important] to retain that through-line.”
The Rugby Championship and Super Rugby could end up partially in private hands as SANZAAR conducts due diligence on these and other options as private equity ventures circle the southern hemisphere rugby giants ahead of a vital meeting in London next week, reports The Australian’s Wayne Smith.
Private equity giant CVC Capital is close to buying stakes in the Six Nations and Europe’s Pro14 club competition as part of a global competition restructure that now, seemingly, is on the brink of including the southern hemisphere nations of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Japan.
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle on Wednesday would not confirm that her organisation had met with any private equity firm, but she did indicate that Australia has been seriously investigating what a potential deal might look like.
It is understood that CVC Capital is only one of several private equity firms believing there is an awful lot of money to be made in southern hemisphere rugby, but given its interest in both the Six Nations and Pro14, it is the one attracting most attention.
The preparations of many Australian athletes and teams for Tokyo 2020 have been thrown into disarray by the spread of the coronavirus, which is now threatening to result in an Olympic Games being cancelled for the first time since World War II, report Nine publishing’s Chris Barrett and Sam Phillips.
Tokyo organisers maintain that contingency plans are not being drawn up in the event this year’s Olympics, due to be held between July 24 and August 9, are unable to go ahead in Japan due to the global health crisis, and veteran International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound has indicated they would most likely be cancelled rather than postponed in that scenario.
While Pound said a decision would need to be made by May, Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates, who is heading the IOC’s coordination committee for the 2020 Games, stressed “there is no call at the moment”.
Seven West Media paid a reported $200 million for the Australian broadcast rights to the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo and the winter Games in Pyeongchang but they would be partly refunded by the IOC if this year’s Olympics did not take place.
Amazon wants all 18 clubs to be part of a football documentary series in a deal with the AFL and McGuire Media, report The Age’s Sam McClure and Jake Niall.
The move comes as premiership coach Adam Simpson confirmed that West Coast had been in talks with the tech giants, with ruckman Nic Naitanui the focus.
The global streaming company are still negotiating the deal – which is yet to be signed – that they are hoping will involve all 18 clubs over three seasons.
The project will be a carbon copy of the documentary series Six Dreams, which takes you inside the four walls of clubs in Spanish soccer’s top-flight La Liga.
The Age has been told by industry sources a number of club representatives have been all but confirmed for the AFL version, while others remain up in the air.
Port Adelaide chairman David Koch confirmed that Port Adelaide were interested in getting involved.
“I think it’s fabulous. Yeah, I don’t think we’d be asked. But we’re not really a glamour club. If we were (asked), we would definitely be involved,” he said.
Koch said he had become interested in formula one via Netflix’s series Inside Formula One and the Amazon series on Manchester City “was incredible as well.”
The federal government would consider cancelling events with big crowds such as AFL matches if Australia experienced a major outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, Health Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed, reports News Corp’s Ellen Whinnett and Peter Rolfe.
ut it would come only as a last resort.
The government is bracing for the World Health Organisation to declare within days that the coronavirus crisis has reached pandemic stage, meaning ongoing outbreaks in multiple countries.
While the virus is currently contained in Australia and there has been no person-to-person transmission here, the government has activated its pandemic plans, including the potential to stop people congregating in large numbers.
AFL and Australian Grand Prix chiefs are expected to plough ahead with plans to host major events in Melbourne in coming weeks, unless told otherwise.