Tuesday February 6, 2024

Pitch Frenzy? Marketers prepare for a "big year" of account reviews

By Danielle Long

The increased activity is the result of budget constraints and delayed reviews.

Marketers across the industry are preparing to review media and creative accounts as 2024 shapes up to be a “big year of pitches”. 

The increased activity is the result of a combination of budget constraints and delayed reviews as marketers opted to extend relationships due to the economic uncertainty and ongoing impact of the pandemic in recent years. 

Leading pitch consultants told Mediaweek the activity followed the recent ramp-up of agency reviews in 2023, which was led by global account reviews. 

Peter Coffey at Enth Degree said, “Coming out of Covid, we expected a rush of tenders; however, last year, we mostly saw global activity in terms of pitches. Marketers have been spending the last year or so, looking at what they need from agencies and suppliers, and as a result, we are going to see the results of that. There’s certainly going to be a lot more activity this year from a tender point of view. It’s going to be a big year of pitches.” 

Darren Woolley at Trinity P3 told Mediaweek that marketers have started the year getting their houses in order. 

“Trinity P3 has never been busier. We have got clients coming out of the woodwork with everything from roster realignment, to pitches, to wanting to renegotiate agency contracts – and it’s not all driven by price. There are lots of marketers doing what I’d call housekeeping.” 

“I don’t want agencies to think there’s going be a lot more pitches. There are pitches in there, but there’s also a lot of work around roster realignment, contract assessments and renegotiations. Some clients are saying, ‘We don’t want to pitch. But can you do a roster?’ As I said, it’s housekeeping. It’s like marketers’ have got back to work and said, “Right, I’m gonna clean up my desk, and I’m gonna make sure everything is ready for whatever comes,” said Woolley. 

While the economic uncertainty and tightening budgets are playing a factor in the push for reviews, both consultants rejected ideas that it’s all about money. 

Coffey said, “A lot of companies are under financial pressures, and it’s not unusual you should expect cost to have an impact on all companies. It is always a consideration in a review. However, that doesn’t mean that clients are looking for the cheapest option; rather, they are seeking the best partner to navigate difficult times.” 

Woolley agreed, “I think it’s more about marketers preparing for the uncertainty.” 

Already this year, Nunn Media has secured the $90 million Spotlight Retail Group, Yango has scooped the BYD media account, and Kaimera won the MLC account. 

See also: PHD Australia wins McCain

felix cameron boy swallows universe drama
Where's the Drama? Why streamers are scooping up scripted series

By Tess Connery

In 2024, you’re more likely to find your scripted Aussie drama on a streaming service than free-to-air.

A list of the top-rating TV programs of 2023 revealed what many in our industry already knew: Aussies love sports and reality TV. Just three scripted programs – Vera, Home & Away and a John Farnham doco – managed to crack the top 50, showcasing the nation’s lack of interest in scripted quality drama.

Except, we know that’s not true.

Offspring, McLeod’s Daughters, Packed to the Rafters, Neighbours and Home & Away have proven time and again that Australia loves scripted drama. In fact, already this year we’ve witnessed the success of Netflix’s Boy Swallows Universe in attracting huge audiences both at home and around the globe.

The difference is that in 2024, you’re more likely to find your scripted Aussie drama on a streaming service than free-to-air broadcasts.

Australian viewing habits have been evolving for as long as there has been TV to view, but with the most recent Emmy Awards recording their highest-ever share of nominations from streamers, where is the drama on FTA?

Before anybody can grab a snack and settle in on the couch to watch a scripted series, that series has to be created. Matthew Deaner, CEO of Screen Producers Australia (SPA) told Mediaweek that there are a number of complexities behind the scenes when bringing scripted drama to life, in a process that can be “really very intense and quite uniquely challenging.”

Screen producers

Matthew Deaner

I find scripted is really hard to deliver successfully, but it is done. We do very well in Australia – we have studios that have years of expertise – but it’s not the sort of thing that you go into lightly, because it’s not replicable.

“Even having intellectual property doesn’t necessarily always deliver incredible outcomes, despite the money. It’s a very daunting exercise to get right.”

Speaking to the time that it can take to create a scripted series as opposed to unscripted, Sam Cousins, chief strategy officer at The Media Store tells Mediaweek “I feel like I can speak with some authority as my brother is a script writer and my ex-husband is Australian actor, writer and director Brett Cousins.”

Referring to the current landscape, Cousins jokes  “it’s a jungle out there.”

Sam Cousins

Sam Cousins

“Before any show gets greenlit, actors need to be attached, and that can take years. According to Brett, it takes on average seven years for a scripted show to be made from writing to filming. Once actors are attached, then the producers can raise the funds to develop the content, which can also take years.”

For local FTA platforms, Cousins adds “There are high costs to develop quality drama, and talent drives ad dollars, so it’s hard to make content with lesser-known actors and in turn secure funding.

The evolution of content development by SVOD platforms has expedited this process as they have large budgets for production and access to bigger talent – especially in Apple, Netflix, and Amazon’s case.”

Alongside these factors – and perhaps because of them – FTA may also be up against unconscious biases in where to access content.

Sally Lawrence, group director – media at Enigma tells Mediaweek “We as audiences have become conditioned to using FTA networks to get our dose of live sport and reality, and our streaming services for those binge-worthy drama series. This may be a tough habit to break.”

Sally Lawrence

Sally Lawrence

And so, we arrive at a point made most succinctly in All the President’s Men – follow the money.

Whilst more and more streaming platforms are launching ad supported subscription tiers, they don’t yet need to work with advertisers in the same ways that FTA platforms do.

“Free to air is always going to be challenged by needing to build advertising relationships in a way that we haven’t yet seen materialise for streamers,” said Deaner.

Pointing out that subscription dollars leads to a greater capacity for streaming services to take risks and invest more money in scripted, he adds that “Streaming isn’t always about audiences, it is very much about subscription sales and retention. Content doesn’t necessarily have to have huge numbers, but it needs to have the people who feel the platform has responded to them.”

There’s also the advantage of a wider audience on streamers, with Australian shows like Boy Swallows Universe and Colin From Accounts finding major success in markets outside of their home country.

Colin From Accounts drama

Colin from Accounts

“A global audience on a global platform means consumers can find more niche content on streaming services,” said Deaner. “What might be considered a bit too niche for the advertising market in Australia can still be realised and developed for global audiences.”

So what, exactly, are advertisers looking for when advertising around scripted drama on FTA?

Lawrence reckons it’s pretty simple:  “Ultimately advertisers are going to focus on programming that brings in the viewers. They want the eyeballs, whether that’s reality or other genres, it doesn’t really matter.”

Cousins backs this up, saying “When it comes to what brands want, it really just depends on the strategy for each campaign. Many just want to be where the eyeballs are, often that’s reality TV because it’s cheap and fast to produce.”

What sets scripted drama apart from unscripted once again comes back to All the President’s Men – follow the money.

“Where production schedules are yearly like for The Block, Survivor, or MAFS, it’s actually pretty easy to get integrated content into the shows. That’s harder to do with scripted drama, and needs much longer lead times,” Cousins said.

If a brand is willing to make the leap, however, it’s worth it to be associated with scripted drama.

“For those brands with strategies that align more closely to the type of content, being close to deeply involved shows that become part of culture can only be a good thing. The credibility in sponsoring those shows or being first in break still hold big premiums and are sought after, but are not always attainable, proving costly for tier two and three brands,” Cousins said.

Look out for Where’s the Drama? Part Two, coming soon.

Top Image: Netflix’s Boy Swallows Universe

Katie Dally, general manager marketing-creative, Endeavour Group, board member In-House Agency Council (IHAC), on Gen Z and the rise of in-house agencies
Is Gen Z driving the rise of in-house agencies?

By Amy Shapiro

“The youth of today will have less tolerance for the late-hour culture.”

The impact of younger generations on the growing popularity of in-house agencies in Australia should not be underestimated, according to Endeavour Group’s Katie Dally

The 2023 In-House Agency Landscape Report, produced by the In-House Agency Council (IHAC) and Kantar Australia, revealed that 78% of marketers in Australia were working with an in-house agency, compared to 63% only two years prior.

Australia now surpasses mainland Europe in terms of percentages of businesses with an in-house agency offering, sitting only behind the United States.

See also: In-house agency boom: 78% of marketers work with internal talent

The key drivers for this trend are largely cost and production efficiencies, plus a growing preference for in-house and bespoke agency hybrid models. However, the movement of young talent towards conditions they deem reasonable – conditions once considered by some as drawbacks of in-housing – might also be contributing to the growing viability of in-house agencies in Australia

While an endemic work-hard-play-hard ethos has historically been enough of a carrot to sustain juniors in the traditional agency environment, the values embraced by the current up-and-comers are not so easily satisfied.

Speaking to Mediaweek, Dally said the shifting expectations of the younger generations was something she “immediately noticed” upon transitioning to an in-house role.

“It is a very different cultural expectation,” said Dally, who serves as both the general manager marketing-creative for Endeavour Group, as well as board member for Australia’s In-House Agency Council (IHAC), in conversation with Mediaweek. 

“The youth of today will have less tolerance for the late-hour culture.”

“When there is an emergency or something that has to happen, everyone will jump on deck. But there is nothing before 9am and there is nothing after 5pm.”

The trend is accompanied by the growing redundancies of model “perks” from advertising’s past.

Said Dally, “The late-hours culture in-agency was always accompanied by big parties, lots of drinking, and lots of ‘in-office’ stuff. 

“Now that there’s less in-office, and we’ve got a swing to [be] more health conscious, that’s also changing what agency culture looks like.”

On the other hand, the CEO of the industry body Independent Media Association Australia (IMAA), Sam Buchanan, countered the trend.

While Buchanan agreed there is “generational change,” he asserted indie agencies can’t be “lumped in” with traditional holding companies or corporate models when it comes to the attraction and retention of young talent due to office dynamics and workplace environments.

Said Buchanan,”The indies pride ourselves on having more flexibility.

“Almost 90% of our members have a mixed work-from-home model, and it’s less corporate or as rigged as a larger in-housing operation possibly is. 

He added, “The industry still has to offer in terms of fun, and we are adapting to the next generation.”

In our experience, we’ve seen a lot of time in-housing eventually comes back to agencies.”

See also: Meerkats team with property expert Andrew Winter in Compare the Market campaign, via in-house agency

Top Image: Katie Dally

77 productions
Management buyout sees expansion of Melbourne's 77 Productions

By Tess Connery

“We’ve seen a surge in video-related technologies in the last four years”

Melbourne-based video production facility 77 Productions has been acquired by Ant Darvill and Gina Hanrahan in a successful management buyout.

The company was originally a post-production house called 77 Post, which was purchased by a larger media agency called Smith Brothers Media. The agency worked to integrate 77 Post into their agency and extend the breadth of service to include production, not just post-production.

The pair were both working for Smith Brothers Media – Darvill as the general manager, and Hanrahan as head of production. In 2023, the pair launched a management buyout and successfully acquired 77 Productions in an asset sale.

We share the same vision for the company as an agency, and for the type of experience we want to provide both clients and staff,” Darvill told Mediaweek, speaking about why the pair made the move.

“From a cultural perspective, we’re really looking to create a place where people can relax and feel authentic, and do their best work so that we can attract Melbourne’s best creative talent.”


Continuing work to expand the company’s offering, Darvill explained that there were some “broader ideas around what we can do” to expand the breadth of service of the company.

We’ve also acquired a small production company called Audio Place, which has been folded into 77 Productions. Gina has also got plans around other services and design aspects that we can start including in the future.”

When asked how the customer experience would be impacted – if at all – Darvill points to updates being made behind the scenes that will leave the team with more time to focus on the consumer-facing parts of the business. 

“From a customer experience side, we’re really improving our systems – yes, they are largely internal systems, but we’re developing them in a way that provides more up-to-date information about where their production is in the process. We’re automating elements of that unashamedly, because then we can put that time into more customer relations work, and really making sure that the feedback and review points are all very personable, and well communicated,” Darvill said.

Hanrahan adds, “In relation to the automation side of things, it’ll give us enough room to be more creative, and that’s what you want – you want to put more time into being creative. It can work either way, whether the clients are part of the creative process or we lead that process.”

The 77 Productions team at team at Half Moon Bay the day the takeover was announced

The 77 Productions team at Half Moon Bay the day the takeover was announced

Reflecting on the future of the business and some of the projects the 77 Production team already have in the pipeline, Hanrahan said “I’ve been working in the business for 20 years – I’ve been behind the camera, in front of the camera, editing, directing, producing, and leading production teams. It’s so nice now to be in partnership with Ant, and be able to share this experience and co-create the next steps and direction for 77. But the thing that really excited me about growing a team is having a beautiful place to create together.

“There are a lot of production companies out there who specialise in video and animation in Melbourne and Australia-wide. We would like to explore the possibilities of creative technology such as 3DA and augmented reality. We are currently creating a children’s book with augmented reality dinosaurs.

“I thrive when working with individuals and brands that are craving the birth of something new—whether it’s a creative endeavour, an educational pursuit, or an innovative solution to an outdated problem. That truly excites me!”

As with many creative industries, it’s been a bumpy few years recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The video production industry in particular has seen a notable transformation – while live-action shoots experienced a decline, there was a surge in animation content creation. 

We’ve seen a surge in video-related technologies in the last four years, such as the use of a language model to condense a script or an image creation service being used to develop a mood board and storyboard,” the pair concluded, speaking about the current state of the industry.

“More advanced examples might include using AI to generate sophisticated Affect Effects templates from a text prompt. In the right hands, these advancements can fuel creativity and increase project velocity making the value proposition for video production increasingly compelling.”

Stefanie Rezzara
Hot Shot departs Fox Sports: Stefanie Rezzara launches her own PR agency

By James Manning

After 15 years in PR industry, Fox Footy channel’s PR chief goes it alone.

Stefanie Rezzara is the latest communications specialist employed by the Foxtel Group to make a major career move.

After more than a decade in the PR world, sports specialist Rezzara is launching Hot Shot PR.

Speaking to Mediaweek as she revealed the move, Rezzara said:

“Hot Shot PR is all about action and bringing people together in an authentic manner to achieve the very best results.

I’ve been fortunate to make many close contacts during my time at Nike and Fox Sports and I can’t wait to continue to foster these relationships to work on new projects.

Melbourne-based Rezzara worked at Fox Sports as a senior publicist for almost seven years. Before that in PR at Nike Pacific for four years and before that in agencies including Haystac, Spark Comms and Edelman.

The previous go-to contact for Foxtel Group’s most-watched winter sports channel, Fox Footy, has spent over 15 years in the PR industry.

Stefanie Rezzara didn’t just work on Fox Footy though, she was part of the team that looked after key sports.

A list of the major events during her time with Fox Sports includes:
• Announcing Shane Warne joining the Fox Cricket team
• Launching Fox Netball
• Annual Fox Footy launch of AFL season
• Arrival of key signings at Fox Footy including Eddie Betts, Nathan Buckley, Garry Lyon, Bob Murphy, Nick Riewoldt and Tony Armstrong
• Celebrating career retirement of doyen of AFL media Mike Sheahan
• 1000 episodes of AFL 360 with Gerard Whateley and Mark Robison
• AFL’s first female caller, Kelli Underwood, returning to the commentary box for Fox Footy
• Launch of AFLW
• Tim Tszyu profile trajectory for Main Event
• Kayo Sports collaboration for An Evening With Shaquille O’Neal
• Cross-promoting Fox Cricket during Fox Footy AFL Finals coverage with Adam Gilchrist

To get in touch with Stefanie Rezzara you can find her at [email protected].

Just last week, Mediaweek reported on the decision made by Jacqui Abbott to step away from the business. Abbott, Foxtel Group’s executive director – group communications, is staying with the business until the end of March 2024.

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

Top photo: Stefanie Rezzara (centre) surrounded by key Fox Footy talent [L-R]: Sarah Jones, Nick Riewoldt, Jason Dunstall, Kath Loughnan, Nathan Buckley, Garry Lyon, Jonathan Brown and Chloe Molloy

Guideline SMI Powered-by-SMI
Ad spend fell in 2023 but delivered second-largest annual spend ever

By Danielle Long

Guideline SMI data revealed ad spend dropped -2.7% but still delivered the second-largest total of annual ad spend ever recorded.

Advertising spend in 2023 dropped -2.7% to hit $660m or 8.2% to deliver the second-largest total of annual ad spend ever recorded, according to the latest figures from Guideline SMI.

The 2023 figures from the global benchmark for advertising demand are larger than pre-Covid 2019 figures, and when the Government and Political Party ad spend categories are removed from both 2019 and 2022, the underlying ad market declined just -0.9% or $72m.

The Out-of-home market was the success story of 2023, with revenue up +15.1% to achieve a record high.

Jane Ractliffe, APAC managing director of Guideline SMI, said, “Outdoor media’s recovery from the Covid era has been quite extraordinary with growth continuing to accelerate each year since the pandemic with this year’s revenues now 70% higher than the Covid-hit year of CY2020 but also 43.3% above the CY2021 total even though the media had already reported a strong recovery that year.”

Guideline SMI 2023 ad spend table

“Outdoor is doing well in a market that’s emerged as the second largest ad market of all time, with last year’s abnormal Federal Election boost delivering a huge record total. And despite higher interest rates and global uncertainty, the CY2023 total is just 0.9% below that record level on an underlying basis,” said Ractliffe.  

The surge of popularity in BVOD and CTV drove a +32.4% surge in growth for TV-related video content. The data revealed the value of Video-based Digital campaigns increased by +7.4%, with the category shifting towards the traditionally larger Display inventory (+1.4%) with only $150 million now separating the two categories.

Audio was another growth area, with the podcast and streaming boom continuing throughout 2023 to deliver +0.5% growth on an underlying basis.

The Automotive Brand, Insurance and Restaurant categories all recorded the highest increases in advertising investment, increasing by +11.3%, +7.7% and +8.6%, respectively.

Guideline SMI 2023 table 2

The biggest decline was government ad spend, which dropped by more than $100m in the CY2022 year.

Guideline SMI’s figures for December revealed the economic market pressures, which overall ad spend back -9.1% year-on-year. Outdoor was the only major media to grow revenues – up 6.8%.

The 2023 Guideline SMI figures will be further explored in an exclusive webinar presentation in partnership with Mediaweek. The event will see Guideline SMI APAC managing director Jane Ractliffe recap the major media trends from 2023 and combine historical data with forward pacings to identify the key ad spend trends for the year ahead. Click here to purchase your ticket. 

See also: Guideline SMI report to detail key media and ad spend trends for 2024

See also: SMI reports record ad spend in November as media agencies invest $850m+

PHD - McCain
PHD Australia wins McCain

PHD Melbourne’s remit to include media strategy, media planning and buying across all channels.

PHD Australia has won McCain and been appointed as the media agency of record for the frozen food company, following a competitive pitch late last year.

The agency, which will be run out of PHD Melbourne’s office, began work on the account in Q4 last year. PHD Melbourne’s remit to include media strategy, media planning and buying across all channels

McCain is one of Australia’s most recognisable food brands and competes in frozen potato, frozen pizza, frozen vegetables and frozen meal categories.

Simon Lawson, PHD Melbourne managing director, celebrated the new business win and said: “It feels like a great match and we’re looking forward to helping to grow McCain brands for many years to come.”

The win for PHD comes after the agency announced its partnership with Beatgrid, the single-source cross-media audience measurement solution, last year.

The partnership comes in response to the growing need for single-source cross-platform measurement.

Beatgrid addresses one of the most pressing concerns for global brands and marketers, the accurate measurement for attribution of advertising investments. The partnership will empower PHD in its efforts to address the global push from brands and leading national advertiser associations to expedite the implementation of a new wave of cross-media measurement solutions.

The adtech and ad effectiveness startup provides PHD and its clients with accurate, cross-media measurement tools and technology, that provide single-source online and offline measurement using first-party opt-in panel data, positioning the media group ever further ahead of the competition in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Lillian Zrim, PHD’s head of research, said of the partnership: “This gives us and our clients the most complete view of campaign measurement in order to understand the nuances of specific media channels and how they contribute to campaign success.”

See also: PHD Australia announces partnership with Beatgrid to bolster cross-media measurement capabilities

argylle henry cavill dua lipa
Box Office: Argylle's Dua Lipa and Henry Cavill bring $2.29 million to Aussie cinemas

By Anita Anabel

This weekend, the Australian box office made $8.2M.

Argylle earns $35.3 million at Global Box Office
This weekend, the Australian box office made $8,253,755, down 34% from last week’s $12,191,148.


1. Argylle – $2,294,999 (debut)

Taking out the number one spot was Universal’s Argylle starring Dua Lipa and Henry Cavill. While worldwide it has received a global earning of $35.3 million, in Australia, the film grossed $2,294,999, averaging $4,590 over 500 screens.

Synopsis: Reclusive author Elly Conway (Lipa) writes best-selling espionage novels about a secret agent named Argylle (Cavill) who’s on a mission to unravel a global spy syndicate. However, when the plots of her books start to mirror the covert actions of a real-life spy organization, the line between fiction and reality begins to blur.

2. Anyone But You – $756,400 (1)

In the number two spot for its sixth week in cinemas was Sony’s romcom, Anyone But You. Over the weekend, it took $756,400, down 50%. It averaged $2,364 over 320 screens and has made $19,507,640 in Australian cinemas to date.

Synopsis: Despite an amazing first date, Bea (Sydney Sweeney) and Ben’s (Glen Powell) initial attraction quickly turns sour. However, when they unexpectedly find themselves at a destination wedding in Australia, they pretend to be the perfect couple to keep up appearances.

3. The Beekeeper — $530,825 (4)

In third place for its fourth week of release was Roadshow’s The Beekeeper. The Jason Statham-led film took $530,825, down 55% and averaging $2,123 over 250 screens. It has made $6,664,734 in Australian cinemas to date.

Synopsis: One man’s brutal campaign for vengeance takes on national stakes after it’s revealed he’s a former operative of a powerful and clandestine organization known as Beekeepers.

4. Wonka – $479,582 (2)

Coming in at number three was Warner Bro’s Wonka. For its eighth weekend in cinemas, the magic was still alive and well, taking $479,582, averaging $1,770 over 271 cinemas and down 63% from last week.

Wonka has now made a magnificent $37,637,115 in Aussie cinemas to date.

Synopsis: With dreams of opening a shop in a city renowned for its chocolate, a young and poor Willy Wonka (Chalamet) discovers that the industry is run by a cartel of greedy chocolatiers. The film also stars Hugh GrantRowan Atkinson and Matt Lucas.

5. Mean Girls — $391,837 (5)

Rounding out the top five was Paramount’s Mean Girls which for its third week in cinemas took $391,837 locally, down 64%. The flick averaged $1,457 over 269 screens and has now made $9,123,430 in Aussie theatres to date.

Synopsis: New student Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) gets welcomed into the top of the social food chain by an elite group of popular girls called the Plastics, ruled by the conniving queen bee Regina George (Renee Rapp). However, when Cady makes the major misstep of falling for Regina’s ex-boyfriend (Christopher Briney), she soon finds herself caught in their crosshairs.

Top 6 – 10

6. Migration
7. Fighter
8. Anatomy of a Fall
9. The Iron Claw
10. The Chosen Season Four: Episodes 1 & 2

Devy Rennie appointed CEO Digitas Australia and Balance, Publicis Groupe AUNZ
Publicis Groupe nets Tribal DDB's Davy Rennie to lead Digitas Australia and Balance

Rennie joins the Groupe after more than six years as national managing director of digital agency Tribal DDB.

Davy Rennie has been appointed as the new chief executive officer of digital agency Digitas Australia and digital commerce company Balance by Publicis Groupe Australia New Zealand, moving from his former appointment as national managing director for full-service agency, Tribal DDB.

Rennie is set to assume his new role in March, following the departure of Adrian Farouk, the current CEO of Digitas, who has been with the company for 11 years, as well as James Horne, co-founder and departing CEO of Balance.

Prior to his  position at Tribal DDB, Rennie he was stationed as national customer experience design and strategy director at whiteGREY, and customer experience strategy and design director at Deloitte Digital.

Rennie said, “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining Publicis Groupe and leading both Digitas and Balance into the experience era. Both organisations have continued to create effective customer experiences, driving genuine growth and nurturing rich cultures and creative excellence.

“I’m also excited about the opportunity to work with the agency businesses and talented teams across the entire Groupe.”

Michael Rebelo, chief executive officer of Publicis Groupe ANZ, added, “Davy’s portfolio of work across a broad range of advertiser categories has seen him develop user experiences that help brands spark strong connections with their audiences.

“His passion for technology and design, and commitment to inspiring teams to adapt to emerging technologies will ensure that Digitas and Balance remain at the forefront of shaping the future of digital experience.

“As experts in e-commerce, he will lead the Balance team, focused on simplifying complex digital commerce systems with intuitive design, smart technology and progressive shopping solutions.”

The move follows other recent appointments by Publicis Groupe-owned as advertising agency Leo Burnett Australia  announced significant internal promotions last month.

Andy Fergusson was appointed the new chief creative officer, Julia Sheehan as Melbourne general manager, and Marijke Spain was been promoted from associate creative director to creative Director.

See also: Leo Burnett Australia announces key leadership changes amid departure of Melbourne GM Kate Silver

Top Image: Davy Rennie

IMAA - leadership team 2024
IMAA welcomes Jenna Lambert, Jessica Bray, Mike Wilson and Michael Petersen to its leadership team

They join current IMAA leadership team members Melissa Roberts, Es Chandra, and Angela Smith.

The IMAA has welcomed four new members to its leadership team for 2024, taking the team to seven.

The new Leadership Team members are: Jenna Lambert, owner and managing director of Media33 (Victoria), Jessica Bray, head of media and product at Audience Precision (NSW), Mike Wilson, chairman of Hatched and Michael Petersen, founder and client strategist at Pivotus (QLD).

The four join current IMAA leadership team members The Advertising Room CEO Melissa Roberts, Glide Agency CEO Es Chandra, and AFFINITY chief brand officer Angela Smith.

In addition, both Roberts and Smith also join the IMAA’s Board of Directors, alongside chair Jacquie Alley (The Media Store Chief Operating Officer), Stephen Fagan (Media Republic director), and Phil McDonald (BCM group managing director).

Jacquie Alley, IMAA chair, called the last year “ground-breaking” for the industry body following the launch of industry-first initiatives, including its IMAA Academy and Female Leaders of Tomorrow mentorship programme.

“The organisation’s extraordinary commitment to the independent media agency sector has seen membership grow to a record 160-plus agencies, along with 45 media owners and five media industry association partners. This year is set to be another game-changer for the association, and we are thrilled to have a stellar leadership team at the helm.”

“Whilst the IMAA Board of Directors focuses on governance and performance, providing operational support to our lean but mighty employed team, the addition of the Leadership Team is critical to activating the many initiatives we aim to deliver for our members this year.”

Lambert brings more than 25 years of media and communications experience to the leadership team, working for some of Australia’s most renowned media agencies, including OMD, Publicis, McCann and Aegis Dentsu. Currently, Lambert is the owner and managing director of Media33, an award-winning independent agency.

Lambert said: “I’ve witnessed the incredible growth of the indie sector and the results that independent agencies are delivering. As a senior executive in this space, being part of the IMAA leadership team is an opportunity to directly support this growth, while giving back to an industry that has given me so much over the past 25 years.”

Bray heads up media at Audience Precision, a media strategy agency that is underpinned by proprietary technology and innovation. Bray is one of the foundation members of the agency and is now part of the senior leadership team. She is a voice for emerging media and marketing talent in the industry and was the youngest finalist in the Next of the Best Under 30 industry awards in 2023.

Bray said: “I am delighted to now be part of the leadership team, contributing to the IMAA’s overall objectives and strategy, and to bring a youth perspective to the group. In my role, I’m hoping to advocate and inspire up-and-coming media and marketing people, who are looking to make their mark in the industry, and encourage them to leverage the IMAA’s education, training and mentoring opportunities to advance their careers.”

Wilson is chairman of Hatched Media, and has a proven track record of launching, leading and transforming agencies and organisations across multiple markets and regions. He was previously chairman and CEO of Havas Media Group, and also co-founded and chaired Naked Communications in Australia.

Wilson said: “I am looking forward to bringing my industry and leadership experience to the team, and being part of a group that is driving tangible change for the independent media agency sector. The IMAA is truly leading the way in its commitment to innovation, education and diversity in the industry – I’m excited to hit the ground running this year.”

Petersen is the founder and client strategist at Pivotus, a digitally-led media agency that works with clients across Australia. He is also the co-founder of two other digital media agencies, Unify and TCT, which are led by his business partners.
He said: “After a few years on the sidelines, I am excited to play a more hands-on role in an organisation that is dedicated to innovation, independence and growth. Having grown a few agencies, I look forward to working closely with members to assist them to do more with less and gain efficiencies in their operating practices that help us all remain competitive while delivering service levels and results that prove that a well run independent agency member of the IMAA is a trusted pair of hands to serve marketers regardless of the size or complexity of their media plans.”

Innocean - picture book
Innocean, Australian Marine Conservation Society and Penguin Books launch a picture book to inspire young conservationists

Voice of the Sea is based on a song written by icon John Williamson for the AMCS.

Innocean has partnered with the Australian Marine Conservation Society, and Penguin Books to launch a new picture book to inspire the next generation of conservationists.

Voice of the Sea, published by Penguin Books, is based on a song written by icon John Williamson for the AMCS. It is an unrequited love song to the ocean, aimed at engaging the country’s most compelling voices of the future – our children.

The children’s picture book is part of the latest initiative in Innocean’s Voice of the Sea campaign created for AMCS. It began at the end of 2022 with the launch of Williamson’s song, with the aim of creating a national anthem for the ocean and, ultimately, an educational platform for children.

The song won the inaugural industry ARIA award for the best use of music in a campaign and, in the latest initiative, the lyrics have now been made into a children’s book published by Penguin Books, launching nationwide.

The “Voice of the Sea” children’s book hyper-targets teachers through Penguin and AMCS’s extensive educator databases and is accompanied by engaging lesson plans, fun classroom activities and discussions designed to build a deeper affinity and love for our oceans among young children, and thereby their parents.

Innocean AMCS book 1

Carolyn Cho, client partner at Innocean, said conservation fatigue is an ongoing challenge that makes it difficult to recruit new conservationists.

“Yet, kids are the catalyst for change and our beacons of hope as they inspire parents and the wider community to engage.

“The book launch builds on the foundations of our playful Voice of the Sea educational platform and will continue to bring the message of ocean conservation to schools and homes across the country,” the Innocean client partner added.

In addition, Williamson is touring the country in February and March and will visit bookstores during that time.

Williamson said: “I was approached to help with a song to send a message encouraging Aussies to think about reversing the damage to our ocean life. I responded immediately and, as I was working on a love song at the time, I could see how it would fit in with the context of ‘loving the sea’. Aussies love our oceans but how have we shown that love? I am deeply concerned with the survival of all nature’s species and very proud to be involved.”

AMCS communications director, Imogen Scott, said: “The purpose of AMCS educational activities such as this is twofold – firstly it’s to share the wonder of our oceans and all the incredible wildlife within them, and secondly it’s to inspire the next generation of marine conservation superheroes.”

Innocean AMCS John Williamson book


Innocean Australia
CEO: Jasmin Bedir
ECD: Wez Hawes
Creative Director: Effie Kacopieros
Copywriter: Charlotte Berry
Copywriter: Laura Parker
Design Lead: Michael Macgregor
Client Partner: Carolyn Cho
Planner: Eliza Millet

Australian Marine Conservation Society
Communications Director: Imogen Scott

Voice of the Sea by John Williamson is published by Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House Australia Pty Ltd. Text copyright © Emusic Pty Ltd, 2024. Illustrations copyright © Andrea Innocent and Jonathan Chong 2024.

IAS - Meta
IAS launches AI-driven brand safety and suitability measurement product to Meta

The expansion with Meta gives advertisers increased transparency into whether campaigns are appearing next to safe and suitable content.

Integral Ad Science (IAS) has launched its AI-driven Total Media Quality (TMQ) Brand Safety and Suitability Measurement product on Meta’s Facebook and Instagram Feed and Reels.

IAS’s new post-bid Brand Safety and Suitability Measurement expansion with Meta gives advertisers increased transparency into whether their campaigns are appearing next to safe and suitable content.

Lisa Utzschneider, CEO, IAS, said the IAS is committed to delivering solutions to help marketers measure and optimize performance in dynamic, user-generated social environments like Facebook and Instagram.

“This expansion allows brands to identify higher-quality media and scale across these platforms, signifying another important milestone in helping brands enhance brand equity across the entire digital ecosystem.”

Advertisers will have access to:

AI-driven Classification: IAS measures adjacent posts to an advertiser’s campaign using its Multimedia Technology to provide unique insight into video content through frame-by-frame analysis of images, audio, and text to provide the most accurate measurement at scale.
Trust and Transparency: The measurement framework is aligned to the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), providing advertisers with third-party validation with trusted and transparent industry metrics.
Third-party Validation: Advertisers can understand how their Meta Inventory Filters are performing for their campaign goals and optimize as needed.

Samantha Stetson, vice president client council and industry trades at Meta, said the release of IAS’s Brand Safety and Suitability Measurement is a meaningful step forward in their continued work to provide transparency and trust across the advertising ecosystem.

“Responsible marketing is a top priority at Meta – and we are pleased with our continued partnership to bring this important solution to our advertisers,” she added.

Advertisers can leverage IAS Signal, its unified reporting platform that delivers the data and insights advertisers need to easily manage their digital campaigns.

Karyn Johnson, vice president of digital marketing at Verizon, said the IAS plays a key role in protecting advertisements being placed in environments that are not safe or do not align with their company values.

“It’s great to see IAS implementing this additional third-party measurement so we can use their tools to ensure we can reach those objectives across all platforms.”

IAS and Meta’s partnership began in 2016 when IAS launched viewability verification on Facebook. In 2017, IAS expanded its viewability measurement and reporting across Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook’s Audience Network. From 2019, IAS brought its brand suitability offering to Facebook. In 2023, it expanded its measurement capabilities with Meta including viewability and invalid traffic (IVT) measurement across Facebook and Instagram Reels. 

Hypeauditor - 2024
Fighting fraud, rise of nano influencers and Instagram on top: HypeAuditor reveals trends of 2024

HypeAuditor predicts the Influencer Marketing market size will reach a staggering USD $22 billion by 2025.

The continued fight against fraud, the rise of nano influencers on Instagram and the dominance of TikTok have been unveiled as some of the biggest trends, HypeAuditor has revealed.

The AI analytics platform for brands has released its fourth annual “State of Influencer Marketing” 2024 report, showcasing the key Influencer Marketing trends in 2023 across TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.

This year, HypeAuditor predicts the Influencer Marketing market size will reach a staggering USD $22 billion by 2025. According to the platform, the contributing factors to the rise in the adoption of influencer marketing include the growing prominence of social e-commerce, the redistribution of the advertising budget towards digital advertising, and the increase in the usage of ad-blocking software.

Alexander Frolov, CEO and co-founder at HypeAuditor, said influencer marketing is increasingly being seen for its value as an essential part of brand marketing and the steady decline in the percentage of influencers impacted by fraud are no stranger to this.

“Thanks to greater awareness among content creators and steps taken by social media platforms to mitigate this phenomenon, marketers can feel more confident about the success of their influencer marketing strategies.”

Frolov added: “However, despite this good news, marketers need to continue to be vigilant of the impact of fraud, particularly when partnering with mega and celebrity influencers.”

Fighting fraud 

HypeAuditor’s data reveals that although 43% of Australian Instagram influencers continued to be impacted by fraud in 2023, there was a 2.15% decrease from 2022, making this the third year in a row that this number has decreased.

The continued decreasing trend in fraud for three years in a row shows that Instagram is getting more effective in its fight against fraud, and that there is more awareness amongst influencers themselves that fraudulent methods of promotion don’t work in the long term. Mega (over 1m followers) and Macro (500k – 1m followers) influencers were the most impacted by fraud in 2023.

Nano influencers rule over Instagram

Close to 4 out of 5 (79.9%) of all Instagram creators in Australia are Nano influencers (1,000 to 10,000 followers). These content creators have a stronger connection with their audience, as they hold the highest Engagement Rate (ER) of 2.3% on Instagram compared to other categories. Brands aiming for strong audience connections and higher engagement will find value in collaborating with nano-influencers and identifying influencers in less competitive niches for unique opportunities. 

Most Instagram influencers produce content related to Lifestyle (10.2%), Music (8.8%) and Beauty (5.9%). 

TikTok is the top growing social media platform

After a year of releasing multiple new features and functionalities to inspire creativity and help users better engage with content, TikTok took the first place as the top growing social media platform in 2023 reaching 1.6 billion active users. Two-thirds of TikTok users are under the age of 24, of which 44% are female. If a brand or product is aimed at young women, TikTok is the ideal social media platform for their influencer marketing campaign, according to the HypeAuditor report.

TikTok influencers have a higher engagement rate than Instagram influencers. Nano-influencers on TikTok have the highest ER at 9.8%. The ER of Mid-tier, Macro and Mega-influencers slightly differs and accounts for around 9% for each tier.

High ER on TikTok is due to the fact that user behavior on TikTok differs from how people interact with other platforms. TikTok was built for users to easily create and interact with content, encouraging them to post videos, like, and follow frequently, thereby increasing engagement. 

The Matildas win first place in most talked about brands on Instagram by influencers

Australia’s women’s national football team left quite an impression on influencers and Instagram users after their performance at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.  They were the most talked about brands on Instagram amongst influencers with a total of 5.6 million mentions from 3.6 Aussie influencers, reaching 52 million people.

Kmart Aus took out the second place with 6.4k mentions made by 2.4k influencers and R U OK came out third with 2.5k mentions made by 2.2k influencers, the HypeAuditor report noted.

Marketers prefer Instagram for their influencer marketing campaigns

When it comes to marketing specialists, they preferred social media channels, Instagram came out on top with 89% saying that Instagram is the number one influencer marketing platform

Instagram provides a unique avenue for creators to authentically showcase products and services. It’s a direct connection between consumers and brands through trusted individuals on a platform they frequent. Instagram’s influencer marketing transcends traditional advertising barriers, with creator recommendations considered not just credible but highly effective for brand success.

Moreover a staggering 87% of users take concrete actions after encountering product information in Instagram posts – be it following a brand, visiting a retail store, or making a purchase. These compelling statistics underscore Instagram’s role as a goldmine for leads in 2024 and beyond, according to HypeAuditor.

Channel Factory - Tom Heddon
Tom Heddon joins Channel Factory in the new role of head of sales for Victoria

Heddon will be responsible for maximising revenue and providing strategic direction and leadership to the local sales team.

Tom Heddon has joined Channel Factory in the newly created role of head of sales for Victoria, as the platform expands in Australia and New Zealand.

In the new role, Heddon will be responsible for maximising revenue and providing strategic direction and leadership to the local sales team.

He brings a wealth of experience in the media industry, most recently at MiQ as sales director for Victoria and NSW. He was also previously at Spark Foundry as Melbourne digital director.
James Rose, Channel Factory’s managing director ANZ, said Heddon’s appointment marks continued growth in Channel Factory’s continued growth in the Australian market, especially in Victoria.

“His extensive sales background across both agencies and client direct, coupled with his strong brand and network, positions him perfectly to amplify our existing presence. His unique blend of experience will be instrumental in taking our market operations to the next level.”

Channel Factory’s mission is to create campaigns that are suitable, inclusive, contextually relevant, and responsive, driving commercial advantage for brands.

Heddon said joining Channel Factory is a great fit for him as someone who connects brands with their audience in meaningful ways and on a mission to redefine how that happens across the online video ecosystem.

“Having seen the innovation in the pipeline for our platform, I’m really excited to help more brands become more effective in the video strategies using our best in class technology and solutions,” Heddon added.

This comes after research by Channel Factory in partnership with Playground xyz found contextually-targeted ads get 28% more attention.

The analysis revealed that Channel Factory’s contextually-targeted solutions outperformed industry benchmarks, generating nearly 70% more attention for skippable ads. Both non-skippable and skippable ad formats consistently demonstrated good performance, exceeding benchmarks 97% and 95% of the time, respectively.

See also: Channel Factory and Playground xyz research finds contextually-targeted ads get 28% more attention

Top image: Tom Heddon

Mike Fitzpatrick
Former Triple M boss Mike Fitzpatrick to run ABC radio cap city stations and sport

New ABC Radio roles too for Phoebe Bennett and Beverley Wang.

Former Triple M head of content Mike Fitzpatrick will be the ABC’s new head of capital city network and sport.

In his new role, Melbourne-based Fitzpatrick will report to ABC head of audio content, Ben Latimer.

In other appointments revealed today, Double J executive producer Phoebe Bennett is the new content director for triple j and Double j.

Finally, Beverley Wang, the Stop Everything! and Life Matters host will be the ABC’s first national culture correspondent.

Ben Latimer said: “The ABC is proud of its position as the most comprehensive radio and on-demand audio offering of any media organisation in Australia.  These exciting new roles for Phoebe and Beverley, alongside the appointment of Mike Fitzpatrick to spearhead the capital city and sports networks, reflect ABC’s ongoing commitment to providing unmatched audio experiences to our Australian audiences.

ben latimer

Ben Latimer

“Mike’s exceptional leadership skills, combined with the expertise of ABC’s audio leadership team, position us perfectly to enhance our capital city network and sports output.  We eagerly anticipate Mike’s contributions and are excited to welcome him to the ABC family.”

Mike Fitzpatrick oversaw the Triple M network for 11 years. He was head of digital sport for Southern Cross Austereo’s Listnr platform, led the negotiation and creation of the first commercial FM broadcast of test cricket and managed the SCA sports team.

Fitzpatrick also co-created Triple M Melbourne’s top-rating FM breakfast show The Hot Breakfast with Eddie McGuire and led the content side of the network’s digital audio transition. He starts in the key ABC role on February 12.

On his appointment, Fitzpatrick said “Growing up in regional NSW my love of radio was ignited listening to ABC local radio, and I feel privileged to be chosen to work with the many talented people within the organisation. I’m looking forward to focussing on growing the capital city audience, and the vital role ABC Radio plays in entertaining and informing all Australians.”

New triple j and Double J content director Phoebe Bennett has more than a decade’s experience in radio and podcasts in Australia and the UK, including at ABC and BBC Radio 6 in Manchester. As executive producer at Double J, Bennett was responsible for bringing across the award-winning podcast Take 5 with Zan Rowe to ABC TV.

Bennett commented: “I’m pumped to be working with the best music brains in the business and an epic team of young creatives. It’s an exciting time to be stepping into the role.”

Beverley Wang takes up her post as national culture correspondent in coming weeks. She will combine her knowledge of pop culture with her experience in journalism and broadcasting to provide analysis and commentary across all ABC platforms, while continuing to host of Stop Everything! and Friday episodes of Life Matters.

Wang said: “As a kid who was raised on pop culture, I learned to speak English from Sesame Street – I feel like my whole life has been driving toward this moment. I’m super excited to bring the pop culture analysis we’ve been deep diving into for the past six years on Stop Everything! to a wider audience across multiple ABC platforms. We’re awash in pop culture, but in our time-poor world, we often have little time to process its significance. I hope to help people think more deeply about our constantly shifting culture and be entertained along the way.”

ABC Radio: About Mike Fitzpatrick

Mike Fitzpatrick is a radio and digital audio specialist with 30 years of experience. He has most recently been an executive consultant to the radio and audio industry in Australia and internationally. His career started at 2BS in Bathurst when he was 15. After university, he joined the Austereo Network in 1998 hosting breakfast show The Cage in Sydney and Melbourne. He went on to become head of content for Southern Cross Austereo across sport, the regional network and capital city Triple M network. Fitzpatrick has been the recipient of several Australian Commercial Radio Awards including the Brian White Award for Radio Journalism and Best Program Director. He was recently running the podcast consultancy Media Fitz with male-focussed content you are unlikely to ever hear on the ABC.

See also: Making a noise – How Mike Fitzpatrick built an audio and talent consultancy

About Phoebe Bennett

Phoebe Bennett has more than a decade of experience working in radio and podcasts in Australia and the UK, at the ABC and the BBC. As executive producer at Double J, she was responsible for bringing the award-winning podcast Take 5 with Zan Rowe to new audiences on screens with the successful debut of Take 5 on ABC TV. In the UK, Bennett worked across a number of the key music stations at the BBC – including BBC Radio 1 and BBC 6 Music – as well as making content for leading UK production company Listen for Spotify and Audible.

Beverley Wang

About Beverley Wang

Beverley Wang is a presenter, producer and journalist who has lived, studied and worked in Canada, Japan, the United States and Taiwan.  She holds a master’s degree in journalism from NYU and worked as a journalist for The Associated Press before migrating to Australia in 2009. At RN, she was the executive producer of RN Drive before creating and hosting the hit podcast, It’s Not A Race. Outside the ABC, Wang is a popular speaker and moderator at festivals and events.

natalie and collins mafs
TV Report February 5, 2024: Shock walkout during first Married at First Sight dinner party

By Anita Anabel

A record 10 Golden Tickets given out on Australian Idol.

• War has begun between two key players on Survivor
• Jack grilled over ex-girlfriend on Married at First Sight


On Nine’s A Current Affair the heartbroken family of shopping centre stabbing victim Vyleen White spoke about her “immense love” for family in the aftermath of her tragic death.

Married at First Sight followed with the very first dinner party of the season! While most couples were getting along at this early stage of the experiment, the same could not be said for Collins and Natalie.

As they greet the other couples, the pair put on a brave face; however, Natalie feels more alone than ever. Then during dinner, she becomes overwhelmed and leaves the table. Her husband joins her and despite his pleas, she says she doesn’t want to continue with the experiment. They then announce that they are leaving.

Meanwhile, Jack is grilled over an article that claimed he was in a relationship just before filming, leaving his partner for the opportunity to appear on MAFS. Jack then stands his ground, denying any wrongdoing and the attention then turns to his wife, Tori. Will she stand by her man? The answer for now is: yes.


Over on Seven, Justin tries to reconnect with Leah on Home and Away. Meanwhile, Cash works on a new case and Felicity finds peace with her past.

Then, it was time for Australian Idol where only 12 Golden Tickets were left! A record 10 artists were put through to final deliberations, with four awarded a life-changing spot in the coveted Top 30.

Country music star-on-the-rise, Denvah Baker-Moller, performed Pony by Kasey Chambers, changing Kyle Sandilands’ mind about the genre!

“I was never a fan of the country music genre, but my mind has been changed on this because there’s quite a few good country singers coming through the door,” he said. “And if I like country, that’s almost a miracle. That’s how good they are!”

Meanwhile, 18-year-old Gab Hester, whose “awesome tone” on the Men at Work classic Down Under impressed and backing vocalist Jess Chalmers, 24, who showed she’s ready for the spotlight with her high-energy version of Domino by Jesse J. 


On 10The Project welcomed Everclear’s Art Alexakis to the desk while also speaking to Gold Coast resident Ian Grace who has proposed a ban on G-string bikinis outside of the beach. 

Then, it was time for Australian Survivor where it wasn’t just the weather heating up the Samoan beaches!

Alex was now left scrambling to find a new alliance while over at the Titans tribe and a hidden locked box is found, and the hunt is on to find the key.

At the reward challenge, the Rebels win a kid’s party and are able to celebrate Sarah’s birthday with sugary treats and party food with the added surprise of a photo book filled with childhood memories.

The Rebels are united for a moment until Feras mentions the blue key that he possesses which must be given to a member of the Titan’s tribe. This raises concerns for Kirby over the power he now holds.

In the Immunity challenge the Titans win and the Rebels must face their third tribal in a row. War has begun between two key players and a tribal twist changes the game for both tribes.


Viewers began their evening with ABC’s 7.30. The program looked at how a murder charge for a 12-year-old has led to an investigation of Victoria’s state care system over abuse claims. Plus Sarah Ferguson interviewed Treasurer Jim Chalmers.

Then on Nemesis, with Malcolm Turnbull installed as Prime Minister, after bringing down Tony Abbott, hopes were riding high. But what followed was a Shakespearean drama resulting in another Prime Minister being dispatched.

Media Watch then returned for 2024, presented by Paul Barry


Over on SBS, viewers watched Celebrity Letters and Numbers. Hosted by Michael Hing and featuring wordsmith David Astle and numbers expert Lily Serna, they were joined by celebrity contestants Merrick Watts, Jenny Tian, Dylan Lewis and special Dictionary Corner guest Matt Stewart.

Isle of Wight: Jewel of the South followed with marine biologist Theo Vickers hoping to find and photograph a sea slug.

Business of Media

Ben Roberts-Smith fronts court as 10-day appeal starts

A finding that Ben Roberts-Smith unlawfully killed two insurgents during a raid in Afghanistan should never have been made because it was speculation and logically flawed, an appeals court has heard, reports AAP’s Miklos Bolza.

The war veteran sat with his parents in court on Monday as his team of top-tier barristers attempted to overturn his landmark defamation loss over media reporting of war crimes.

[Read More]

TV battle for ‘prominence’ heats up, as Foxtel cries foul over search

Australia’s free-to-air television networks have lobbied the federal government to expedite the introduction of new laws that will provide them with greater prominence of their apps on connected TVs, despite concerns by other industry players that the changes are inherently unfair and deny consumers the right to choose what they watch, reports The Australian’s James Madden.

Under legislation introduced to parliament in November, television manufacturers will be forced to ensure the apps of free-to-air Australian services, including public broadcasters ABC and SBS, are put first on all smart TVs within 18 months.

In a submission last week to a senate committee inquiry into the prominence bill, Free TV Australia – the industry body representing the nation’s free-to-air commercial broadcasters – called for the “timeframe for compliance” to be reduced to six months.

[Read More]

Facebook rules allow altered video casting Biden as paedophile, says board

Meta’s oversight board has found that a Facebook video wrongfully suggesting that the US president, Joe Biden, is a paedophile does not violate the company’s current rules while deeming those rules “incoherent” and too narrowly focused on AI-generated content, reports Reuters.

The board, which is funded by Meta – Facebook’s parent company – but run independently, took on the Biden video case in October in response to a user complaint about an altered seven-second video of the president.

[Read More]

Snap to slash workforce by 10 percent amid tech layoff spree

Another day, another round of tech layoffs. Snapchat owner Snap on Monday said that it would be slashing its global workforce by 10 percent, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Weprin.

The company disclosed the news in a securities filing, writing that “in order to best position our business to execute on our highest priorities, and to ensure we have the capacity to invest incrementally to support our growth over time, we have made the difficult decision to restructure our team.”

[Read More]

Kremlin quiet as Tucker Carlson Russia visit creates Putin interview rumours

The Kremlin has declined to say whether Vladimir Putin would grant an interview to Tucker Carlson, the far-right American journalist, after the former Fox News presenter was spotted in Moscow, reports The Guardian’s Pjotr Sauer.

“We can hardly be expected to provide information on the movement of foreign journalists,” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, said when asked about speculation that Carlson was in Russia to interview the Russian president.

“Many foreign journalists come to Russia every day, many continue to work here, and we welcome this,” Peskov said. “We have nothing to announce in terms of the president’s interviews to foreign media.”

[Read More]

Google and Yahoo are cracking down on inbox spam. Don’t expect less email marketing

Tech giants Google and Yahoo are lowering the hammer on indiscriminate email marketing by introducing new requirements for bulk senders, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Katie Deighton.

Their new rules don’t mean consumers should expect to immediately glimpse the bottom of their inboxes again, however; if anything, they could encourage marketers to prize emails more than before, marketing executives say.

Brands hope the changes will mean that more recipients pay attention to their messages, because they won’t be so hidden among unsolicited junk mail and phishing scams. The new rules, which took effect this month, also could make it less common for emails from legitimate senders to be tagged as spam, as users are offered an easier way to unsubscribe.

[Read More]

News Brands

Local news websites accused of using AI to rip off other outlets’ articles

An Australian news company has been accused of using artificial intelligence to rewrite other media outlets’ stories to then publish them on the company’s competing news websites, reports Crikey’s Cam Wilson.

Local news websites across Queensland have popped up with content that’s strikingly similar to what can be found on other local news websites, on government press releases and even from a US-based community news website that shares a name with an Australian local government shire. But AI content detection tools suggested the articles were written by AI, despite the company’s director previously claiming that the publications are “human-written”.

[Read More]

CNN’s new morning strategy: More news, less banter

CNN spent years trying to compete in the cutthroat realm of chatty morning TV, cycling through formats in the hopes of catching up to breakfast-time staples like Morning Joe and Good Morning America, report The New York Times’ Michael M. Grynbaum and Benjamin Mullin.

That experiment never quite caught on with viewers — and now it is coming to an end.

In his first significant programming move since joining the network in the fall, Mark Thompson, CNN’s chairman, announced on Monday that the channel would exit the morning chat-show format by the end of the month. Instead, its morning lineup will focus on straight news coverage, the kind of bread-and-butter reporting that Thompson, a former head of the BBC and The New York Times, has championed.

[Read More]


Tom Elliott reveals pressure of taking over from top-rating broadcasting veteran Neil Mitchell

Melbourne 3AW mornings host Tom Elliott fondly recalls the sage advice he received from his predecessor, veteran broadcaster Neil Mitchell, when he first filled in for him more than a decade ago, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth.

“Neil left a note on his desk that just said, ‘have fun, make sure you listen’ – with ‘listen’ underlined,” Elliott recalls.

“It was actually good advice.”

[Read More]


Last surviving member of Dad’s Army cast, Ian Lavender, dies at 77

Dad’s Army actor Ian Lavender, who played “Stupid Boy” Private Frank Pike in the hit show, has died at the age of 77, reports News Corp’s Danielle Gusmaroli.

Announcing his death on Monday local time, a Dad’s Army spokesman said Lavender’s death “truly marks the end of an era”.

“His wonderful performance as Private Frank Pike will live on for decades to come,” the statement, which was posted to social media, said.

[Read More]

Mike Goldstein fair dinkum stumped by The Hundred’s Australiana

Mike Goldstein can probably be forgiven for not knowing what the Smith’s Chips ‘Gobbledok’ is all about, reports TV Tonight.

After all the ad campaign with a delirious chippie mascot hit screens in 1987, and the Colorado-born American didn’t arrive in Australia until around 2010.

Despite proudly considering himself at home in Australia, there are still things he is learning as part of The Hundred with Andy Lee.

[Read More]

Lisa Miller: What city viewers struggle with watching Muster Dogs

It’s a hit show for ABC but there are some aspects of Muster Dogs that cameras try not linger on for fear of turning viewers off, reports TV Tonight.

They centre around the caging of the loveable puppies, narrator Lisa Millar reveals.

“There are a few elements that people in the city look at and go, ‘I don’t want to see a dog in a cage,” she tells TV Tonight.

[Read More]

Sports Media

Gillon McLachlan in frame to become Racing Victoria chair

Former AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan is in the frame to become the chair of Racing Victoria, filling the position that has been officially vacant since June last year when Mike Hirst became interim chair after Brian Kruger resigned, reports Nine Publishing’s Peter Ryan.

A source with knowledge of the situation, who was not authorised to speak publicly because the process is confidential, said McLachlan has not yet agreed to accept the position but is a candidate, four months after his 10-year stretch at the AFL ended.

[Read More]

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