Thursday July 23, 2020

Podcast Week: Fail with Greta Lee Jackson, Madeleine West’s smooth series

Edited by James Manning

• Plus: Michelle Obama, Audiocraft Fest Saturday, Acast Marketplace

Coming to terms with failing led to podcast series


As background to the origins of Greta Lee Jackson’s podcast Fail, she told Mediaweek about a pretty bad year she had herself. It started with a trip overseas for a man she had never met that fell apart soon after she arrived. “It was a such a big personal disaster and so humiliating that I started thinking how could I have made such a terrible, terrible mistake. In a period of self-reflection, I realised there had been a bunch of failures in my life that I had never acknowledged, and I was repeating the same patterns. I would always push my most embarrassing experiences aside, not learning from them. I decided to face my failures head on and examine them with the help of others.

“It turned into something else on the podcast series, exploring the whole idea of failure in general.”

The comedian admitted some people who had never really admitted any failures were initially reluctant to come on the PodcastOne series. “I found the more successful a person was, with a lot of achievements, the more willing they were to talk about failure.

With so many comedians speaking to each other on podcasts, Jackson said she had tried to broaden the range of guests to people with diverse backgrounds.

2GB’s Ben Fordham was a recent guest and is a Mediaweek recommendation. He reveals some amazing fails. “And he said some very funny stuff,” said Jackson.

Guests have consistently provided feedback about their surprise at just how much they reveal during the interviews. “I don’t know what to do about that. [Laughs] Because I am not holding a gun to their head!”

The impact on Jackson’s career is interesting. “My personal brand is now inextricably linked with the idea of failure. I am now looking at doing a practical self-book that focuses on failure.”

Jackson is also a specialist on the secret trick that the best podcasters use during their interviews after they ask a question. “It’s about just shutting up and then nodding. I cringe when I listen to any of my first season when I’d try and make it all about me. That is a Fail in itself!

Other episodes of Fail released this month are interviews with Sam Dastyari, Fiona Falkiner and Benjamin Law.

Listen to Fail here.

Madeleine West launches smooth podcast series

Madeline West

Actor, author and activist Madeleine West (pictured) takes listeners behind the scenes with extraordinarily ordinary Australians, who are making the world a better place, in the new smooth podcast series Invisible Heroes launching on Monday 27 July.

As most of Australia, and the world at large, start taking the first tentative steps out of isolation and return to “normal life” (if there is such a thing any more), it’s those who have lost the most, who’ve learnt the most and have incredible stories to tell.

Madeleine West said, “I consider myself a storyteller and everyone has a story that deserves to be told. Throughout the recent crisis I’ve made a point of seeking out and working alongside those who are striving to make the world a better place, behind the scenes, by thinking outside the box. You may never see them on the cover of a magazine, in the papers or on the news, but their stories are incredibly inspiring and needed more now than ever. It is with great honour that I am using my voice, so you may hear theirs.”

In each episode of Invisible Heroes, Madeleine West will sit down with those people at the coal face of crises; be it climate, coronavirus or crises of conscience, who are best equipped to lead into a new era. Their industries might not be deemed “essential” by any governmental decree, but listeners will discover the services these people offer, speak less to keeping society as we know it afloat, and more to our physical, psychological and social well-being and to that end, our very humanity.

In the first episode of this new podcast series from smooth, West will share the story of near-death experience and recovery, after being hit by a bus 18 years ago this month. She speaks candidly about what it means to face your fears, be your best self and give back when tempted to give in. West reveals her struggles with PTSD, acquired brain injury, the ongoing effects of the injuries themselves, and how with a little self-belief nothing can stop you, not even a bus.

Some of the inspiring stories featured in smooth’s Invisible Heroes include:

• Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM, CEO and founder of the Asylum Resource Centre, a human rights lawyer, social worker and philanthropist, who dubs himself “the hateful humanitarian”.

• Indigenous artist Tony Albert whose work captures and quells the current mood more effectively than any rally slogan.

Andrew Brentnall, Nova Entertainment’s managing producer of original podcasting said, “Invisible Heroes is a breath of fresh air during such turbulent times we’re living in. Madeleine’s passion and drive to uncover these stories of incredible people around Australia highlights the one thing that connects us all – our humanity.”

Listen to Invisible Heroes here.

Australian True Crime Live moves date

Australian True Crime

TEG Dainty has had to make the decision to reschedule Australian True Crime: Live – In Conversation with Andrew Rule and Julia Robson. The new date is Saturday 8 August.

There are many talented people involved in bringing this show to life, and the varying levels of restrictions across the Victoria, have hindered the ability to produce the event as initially planned. The organisers said they were working out a plan B – they just need a bit more time.

Australian True Crime: Live – In Conversation with Andrew Rule and Julia Robson will stream live online at 8 pm AEST on Saturday 8 August.

The Michelle Obama Podcast launching July 29

Michelle Obama

Last summer, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, announced a partnership with Spotify to produce podcasts exclusive to the platform. The first title in the ongoing partnership is The Michelle Obama Podcast and it is sure to be a podcast chart-topper when released next week.

Hosted by Michelle Obama, the show will bring listeners the First Lady’s most candid, human, and personal conversations to show what is possible when people dare to be vulnerable. The podcast will debut exclusively on Spotify on July 29, 2020. Like all podcasts on Spotify, it will be available to nearly 300 million free and premium users around the world.

Salesforce and Procter & Gamble brands Dawn and Tide will serve as the first season’s presenting sponsors.

Audiocraft Podcast Festival returns for fifth year

The Audiocraft Podcast Festival is returning for 2020 with a slew of top industry creators and executives sharing the latest insights on the burgeoning medium. The festival will take place virtually this weekend on Saturday July 25th on online events platform Hopin.

Headlining this year’s event is Gimlet co-founder/Spotify head of podcasts Matt Lieber, Science Vs host Wendy Zukerman, Nancy co-hosts Kathy Tu and Tobin Low, Forest 404 creators Becky Ripley and Timothy X Atack and Tiddas 4 Tiddas co-founder Marlee Silva.

Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in virtual workshops, meet-ups, and on-on-one chats, and Leah Harris from Spotify will be fielding live podcast pitches at the event.

Kate Montague

Co-founder of Audiocraft Kate Montague said: “The Australian audio industry has been through immense change since our first Audiocraft Podcast Festival five years ago. The market is at it’s healthiest stage yet and with more and more listeners tuning in, now is the perfect time for creatives, marketers, advertisers and brands alike to be exploring the medium.

“As the leading podcast creative agency in Australia, we understand all the elements needed to create the perfect podcast. The festival is our chance to share our expertise and bring together the best in the industry for some quality conversations.”

Acast Marketplace adds virtual storefront 

The world’s biggest podcast buying marketplace – Acast Marketplace – now has a virtual storefront. Advertisers can browse Acast’s global inventory of thousands of monetisable podcasts and use search criteria to filter a list of shows that best fit their brief and budget.

Filters include audience demographics such as age, gender and language, podcast subject categories, and more – and, once selected, the advertiser will work with Acast’s experienced sales team to bring that selection to life through an ad or sponsorship campaign.

Over the past six years, Acast has generated nearly $100 million in revenue for podcasters around the world, running hugely successful ad and sponsorship campaigns for more than 3,000 brands.

Acast Marketplace, launched in February as the home of podcast buying globally, giving advertisers access to the world’s best podcasts, the most talented creators, and the most engaged listeners – across any and every podcast listening platform.

Henrik Isaksson, managing director for Australia and New Zealand at Acast, said: “Acast has seen four consecutive record months for podcast consumption in Australia, hitting nearly 30 million listens for the first time last month.

“This new access point into the Acast Marketplace will help us connect even more advertisers with podcasts, as well as attracting and educating new brands in podcast advertising – which in turn will drive more revenue for our creators. Creating ease of access will help drive more revenue into podcasting which is something that we believe will help grow the industry.

“It’s a digital extension of the incredible work our sales team does on our podcasters’ behalf every single day, helping advertisers understand the breadth and depth of Acast’s content and the unique audiences our shows can reach.”


Travel + Luxury
Kerrie McCallum on News Corp’s latest Sunday lift-out magazine makeover

By James Manning

• Escape’s all-star refresh with Melissa Leong, Merrick Watts, Darren McMullen

News Corp Australia has finished an ambitious plan to overhaul the magazines that sit inside its Sunday newspapers, luring some readers to the titles who may not normally be newspaper purchasers.

In the past few weeks it revealed the new looks for the two-for-one Body + Soul and Stellar, it quietly overhauled and rebranded its TV listings book to Binge and this weekend the covers come off the design refresh at travel brand Escape.

Overseeing the latter is recently promoted editorial director of premium food and travel, editor-in-chief of Escape Kerrie McCallum (pictured).

In her role as the boss of food brand delicious. McCallum and her team have largely been working remotely, however the Escape staff have been back in the office a few days a week as a new team built the overhauled product.

The first refreshed edition of Escape is published this weekend. It will be a 24-page book except for Queensland where ad demand has pushed it out to 28 pages.

The section will be same stock for all six editions across six states, but it remains the same page size as the host newspapers. The new look Escape will be supported by an extensive consumer marketing campaign launching this weekend and running for six weeks across print, digital and radio.

McCallum noted the News Corp Australia boss Michael Miller “believes really strongly that travel is a critical category for the company. No matter where people are, everybody is still thinking and planning for when they can travel again.”

McCallum added: “The world of travel has faced much upheaval in 2020, and many challenges remain. But one thing is certain – the Australian desire to travel is as much a part of our DNA as Vegemite.

Escape is the leader in the travel category, and it’s our role to inspire Australians to start traveling again, safely and with confidence, where possible, and within their means – whether that’s fantastic road trips with expert itineraries, camping and caravanning, or luxe hotel staycations.

“It’s why we committed to continue publishing through Covid-19, bringing Escape to readers every week in isolation. It’s also why we decided to rethink our pages and our content, to bring a fresh new feeling to them. We’ve introduced new faces, places, evocative images, pages and voices. Change is, after all, (almost) as good as a holiday!

Escape has appointed a new picture and commissioning editor as McCallum wanted to overhaul the editorial offering. “We have signed up Melissa Leong who has just finished her first season on MasterChef. She is an impressive food and drinks writer and she wrote for us a lot in delicious., before she appeared on MasterChef. We also have Tyson Mayr who is an adventure specialist and a new Culture Vulture column from Alison Kubler looking at art, culture, festivals and galleries. Darren McMullen is a wine aficionado and he is starting a cellar door column. Merrick Watts is an avid road tripper and he has a great story about the Nullarbor for our first issue. Plate of Origin judge Matt Preston has been a long-time delicious. columnist for McCallum and she has borrowed him for the first edition too.

Familiar bylines in the section who continue include travel columnist Kendall Hill, deals expert Mercedes Maguire and the long running advice column by Doc Holiday, aka Claire Sutherland.

The brand’s content director is Jana Frawley in an expanded role. The new creative director is Barry Goodwin and John Hannan has an expanded digital director role across food and travel.

Work is continuing on building the Escape digital and social platforms, noted McCallum. Part of the new offer this week is a video from Sydney chef and TV food judge Colin Fassnidge. “He made a camper-can video for us. He bought a campervan and he has travelled to Coffs Harbour and documented the journey.”

Regarding the website traffic, McCallum said: “We have been experiencing some of our highest traffic recently. Even though people are impacted by restrictions, people continue searching for news and information.”

Ben English
2020 Kennedy Awards Finalists named, awards night postponed until Spring

• Journo of the Year: Kate McClymont, Nick McKenzie or Sharri Markson
• Awards night postponed until spring on a night TBA

More than 100 individual nominees from a near-record field of entries have been chosen for all competitive categories for the 2020 NRMA Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

The finalists in those categories – including the $25,000 TPG Telecom Kennedy Prize for Journalist of the Year and the coveted pictorial categories – were announced last night at a function at Royal Randwick ahead of the 2020 Kennedy Awards.

The prestigious 2020 TPG Telecom Kennedy Prize for Journalist of the Year, the richest prize in Australian journalism, will be fought out by finalists from The Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Telegraph and 60 Minutes/The Age.

The $5000 2020 Young Journalist of the Year – supported by Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas – features finalists from A Current Affair, The Daily Mail Australia and The Sydney Morning Herald.

The Chris Watson Award for Outstanding Regional Newspaper Reporting, sponsored by AGL, will be decided between journalists from the Northern Daily Leader, Western Australia’s Mandurah Mail and the Tumut and Adelong Times and Tumbarumba Times, after a year in which regional newspaper staff throughout Australia have worked under extreme difficulties and pressures.

The newly-named Tom Krause Outstanding Foreign Correspondent Award – sponsored by the ABC and honouring the late, great journalist and senior Kennedy Awards’ judge who passed away earlier this year – attracted an impressive field of entries whittled-down to ABC/BBC, Seven Network and ABC Syria.

Kennedy Foundation chairman and judge Rocco Fazzari said the judges were highly impressed with the calibre of entries.

“In a massive news year, the standard of submissions is exceptional in every category,” Fazzari said.

“In some categories it took judges days to finally sort out finalists from big fields, some of which had near-record entries.

“From investigative journalism to news breaking, superb feature writing, incredible pictorial entries and wonderful artwork, a class field has emerged to contest the coveted Spirax trophies.”

Michael Usher

Michael Usher

Kennedy Awards Night postponed

Due to recent political decisions over the management of the COVID-19 pandemic the 2020 Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism will not be held on August 7th, as originally planned.

A restriction on the number of attendees at corporate events, announced in New South Wales on July 17th, would prevent the Kennedy Awards gala from accommodating its usual number of guests.

In the interests of highlighting the nominees in the 2020 awards, and maximising value for our generous sponsors, the Kennedy Foundation will extend the lead time to this year’s awards until the social distancing rules are eased.

We are aiming to stage the awards at Royal Randwick in the spring, and will confirm the gala date at the earliest opportunity.

Kennedy Awards categories and finalists

Les Kennedy Award for Outstanding Crime Reporting
Simon Bouda (A Current Affair); Australian Story: An Innocent Abroad (ABC); Michael Usher and team: Framed, the story of Scott Austic (7 News)

Paul Lockyer Award for Outstanding Regional Broadcast Reporting (sponsor AGL)
Prime 7 Local News – Coast Team; Jane Goldsmith (NBN News); ABC Background Briefing/Landline

Chris Watson Award for Outstanding Regional Newspaper Reporting (sponsor AGL)
Carla Hildebrandt (Mandurah Mail); Madeline Link (Northern Daily Leader); The Tumut and Adelong Times, Tumbarumba Times

Rod Allen Award for Racing Writer of the Year (sponsor Australian Turf Club)
Damien Ractliffe, Chip Le Grand (The Age); Ray Thomas (Daily Telegraph); Chris Roots (Sydney Morning Herald

Sean Flannery Award for Outstanding Radio Journalism (sponsor Hillbrick Bicycles)
Gavin Coote (ABC Audio Current Affairs); Steve Cannane and Kyle Taylor (ABC Background Briefing); Elini Psaltis (World Today ABC)

Outstanding Podcast (sponsor broadcast voice coach Sally Prosser)
Mark Whittaker: Blood Territory; Kimberley Pratt and Stephanie Coombes: First Person series (10 News First); The Eleventh (ABC Radio Programs)

Outstanding News Photo (sponsor Salty Dingo)
Sam Ruttyn (Sunday Telegraph); Nick Moir (Sydney Morning Herald); Dallas Kilponen (freelance pic for the Sydney Morning Herald)

Outstanding Portrait (sponsor Salty Dingo)
Richard Dobson (Sunday Telegraph); James Brickwood (Australian Financial Review Magazine); John Appleyard (Wentworth Courier)

Outstanding Sports Photo (sponsor Salty Dingo)
Brett Costello: Canberra Raiders (Daily Telegraph); Phil Hillyard: James Tedesco (Daily Telegraph); Micky Capparelli, freelance (Jeff Horn knockout)

Outstanding Online Video (sponsor Salty Dingo)
Let Her Speak: Nina Funnell, Lori Youmshajekian;( Paul Walker: CBD Stabber (7News); Tom Compagnoni: The Forgotten Sydney of AC/DC (Sydney Morning Herald)

Power of the Lens “The People’s Choice Award” (sponsor Salty Dingo)
To be announced at the gala event

Vince O’Farrell Award for Outstanding Illustration (sponsor Artline)
Christopher Downes (Mercury newspaper); Eric Lobbecke (The Australian); Cathy Wilcox (Sydney Morning Herald)

The Cliff Neville Award: Outstanding Team Player
To be announced at the 2020 gala event

Peter Frilingos Award for Outstanding Sports Reporting (sponsor Stonemasons and Landscapers)
Julian Linden: Chinese swimmer (Sunday Telegraph); Neil Breen: Josh Reynolds (9 News); Steve Cannane and Kyle Taylor: Bet 365 scandal (ABC)

2020 Young Journalist of the Year (sponsor Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas)
Lauren Golman (A Current Affair); Zoe Samios (Sydney Morning Herald); Joshua Hanrahan (Daily Mail Australia)

Outstanding Travel Writing (sponsor RM Asia Pacific)
Katrina Lobley (Weekend Australian); John Borthwick (Weekend Australian); Anabel Dean (Island Life magazine)

Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsor Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph)
To be announced at the 2020 gala event

John Newfong Award for Outstanding Indigenous Affairs Reporting
Michaela Whitbourn (Sydney Morning Herald); Living Black NITV; Australian Story, Making His Mark

Gary Ticehurst Award for Outstanding TV News Camera Coverage (sponsor Nine News)
Tim Myer (7 News); Cam Wallis (7 News); Paul Walker (7 News)

Harry Potter Award for Outstanding Television News Reporting (sponsor 10 News First)
Chris O’Keefe (9News); Keiran Gilbert, Andrew Clennell (Sky News); Tegan George (10 News First)

Outstanding Television Current Affairs Reporting (sponsor A Current Affair)
Mark Willacy: The Killing Field (Four Corners); Nick McKenzie, Grace Tobin, Nick Toscano: Crown Unmasked (60 Minutes); Tara Brown, Naomi Shivaraman (A Current Affair)

Mike Willesee Award for Outstanding Nightly TV Current Affairs Reporting (sponsor Nine News)
Tracy Grimshaw (A Current Affair); Paul Farrell, Alex McDonald (7.30 ABC); Dimity Clancey, Laura Mangham: Silent Killer (A Current Affair)

Peter Ruehl Award for Outstanding Columnist
Louise Roberts (Daily Telegraph); Will Swanton (The Australian); Michael Pascoe (The New Daily)

Outstanding Finance Reporting (sponsor Castle Rock Global Capital)
Adele Ferguson (Sydney Morning Herald); Nick McKenzie, Grace Tobin, Nick Toscano (60 Minutes and Fairfax/Nine); Aaron Patrick: Westpac Compliance Series (Australian Financial Review)

Outstanding Consumer Affairs Reporting
Amy Bainbridge, Lucy Kent, Loretta Florance: Bankruptcy Hunters (7.30 ABC); Natasha Robinson (The Australian); Alison Branley (ABC)

Outstanding Online News Breaking (sponsor Google)
Sarah Thompson, Anthony Macdonald, Tim Boyd (Australian Financial Review); Nine News bushfire coverage; Benedict Brook, Gavin Fernando ((

Outstanding Court Reporting (sponsor Stabilo)
Adam Cooper, Melissa Cunningham (The Age); Hagar Cohen (ABC); Michael Ruffles, Michael Evans (Sydney Morning Herald)

Outstanding Reporting on the Environment
Oliver Murray, Shannon Molloy, Stephanie Bedo (; Peter Hannam (Sydney Morning Herald); ABC Landline and ABC Background Briefing

Rebecca Wilson Award 2020: Scoop of the Year
Chris O’Keefe (9 News); Mark Willacy: The Killing Field (Four Corners); Anna Caldwell, Richard Noone (Daily Telegraph)

Outstanding Investigative Reporting (sponsor 7News)
Family of Suspects (Seven Network); Kate McClymont, Jacqueline Maley (Sydney Morning Herald); The Killing Field (Four Corners)

Jim Oram Award: Outstanding Features Writing (sponsor Sydney Morning Herald)
Nick McKenzie (The Age); Trent Dalton (The Australian); Garry Maddox (Sydney Morning Herald)

Tom Krause Award for Outstanding Foreign Correspondent (sponsor ABC)
Adam Harvey (ABC Syria); Fiona Pepper (ABC, BBC); Ashlee Mullany (Seven Network)

Outstanding Political Reporting (sponsor Sky News)
Annelise Nielsen (Sky News); Chris O’Keefe: Ruby Princess (9News); Andrew Tillett (Australian Financial Review)

2020 TPG Telecom Kennedy Award for Australian Journalist of the Year (sponsor TPG Telecom)
Kate McClymont (Sydney Morning Herald); Nick McKenzie (60 Minutes/The Age); Sharri Markson (Daily Telegraph)

Photos: Michael Usher and Ben English (By Salty Dingo)

Adelaide’s Ben & Liam to host national Nova Sunday breakfast show

The Nova Network announced that Nova 919’s Ben & Liam will host a national Sunday breakfast show, Ben & Liam around Australia, from Sunday 26 July at 6am.

Ben Harvey and Liam Stapleton built a strong national following after spending three years as hosts of Triple J’s breakfast show. Joining the Nova Network in 2020 to wake up Adelaide listeners, Ben & Liam have made a big impact in their home town and are ready to again present a national breakfast shift.

Ben & Liam have now extended their popular weekly podcast to daily, responding to their audience’s desire to listen to their favourite shows on demand. The move has seen Ben & Liam podcast listens secure a strong increase of 152% from February to June 2020. The podcast sits at #83 on the Australian Podcast Ranker chart for June.

Ben & Liam said, “We are stoked to be reconnecting with some of our previous listeners (from the dark side!) as well as building a new Nova following around the country, and all from down here in god’s country, Adelaide.”

In their first radio survey this year Ben & Liam had 188,000 listeners* and secured the top spot as Adelaide’s most listened to breakfast show. They maintained their popularity in survey two with the most listeners^ of any Adelaide breakfast show once again, according to the GfK Radio Ratings. Their content has also proven a hit on their social channels with strong social media engagement including over 160,000 views for their Daniel Andrews clapback video and 74,000 views of Liam’s attempt at flying a plane.

Ben Latimer, Nova 919‘s head of programming said, “It’s been a brilliant start for Ben & Liam and it’s clear our Nova audience is loving having the boys back home. The new Sunday morning national breakfast slot will not only satisfy Ben & Liam’s interstate fans, but it also means we get to extend the show’s reach to new audiences. Based on the early wins in Adelaide, we are confident the guys’ genuine friendship and sense of humour will resonate just as well with our national Nova audience.”

Big Brother winner
Big Brother Australia: Chad Hurst wins 2020 edition

Model Chad Hurst, 27, from Sydney’s western suburbs has been crowned the winner of Big Brother Australia 2020, beating out fellow finalists Sophie Budack and Daniel Gorringe in a public vote, taking home a cash prize of $234,656 after the winner was announced on Channel Seven.

Hurst commented on his win: “I stayed true to myself and to my family,” he said. “I also won the most challenges which helped.”

Celebrating the win, an emotional Chad acknowledged his late father Neil who passed away from cancer three years ago, saying: “I honestly think it’s fate. The old boy, it’s his show.”

Chad was joined by his mother Helen at the Grand Final in Sydney, which was hosted by Sonia Kruger.

Chad plans to put the prize money towards a trip away with the boys, as well as helping take care of Helen’s bills, calling her his “queen” and a “bloody legend”.

Runners up Sophie and Daniel were also joined by their loved ones at the live event, which saw housemates from across the season reunited in the one place for the first time since leaving the house.  

The reinvention of Big Brother in 2020 saw 20 housemates from all walks of life sealed off from the outside world, their every word and action recorded 24-7. Across 39 days they faced crazy house tasks, epic nomination challenges, shocking twists and a temporary shutdown due to a COVID-19 scare. 

Chad, Sophie and Daniel navigated their way through Big Brother’s game, voting out 17 of their fellow housemates to become the last three standing. 

Casting for the next season of Big Brother is now open. For a chance to be part of Big Brother 2021 apply now at

OzTAM TV Ratings Delayed

Media News Roundup

Business of media

Aussie Marty O'Halloran promoted to Global CEO of DDB Worldwide

DDB Worldwide has announced key leadership appointments, promoting Auckland-based Marty O’Halloran to global chief executive officer and naming Justin Thomas-Copeland as chief executive officer of the network’s North America region.

O’Halloran most recently served as chairman and CEO of DDB Group across Australia and New Zealand, a position he has held since 2005. O’Halloran replaces Wendy Clark who left DDB earlier this year for a role at Dentsu Aegis Network.

In his new role, O’Halloran will oversee operations across the global network.

Thomas-Copeland joins from OPMG Health, an Omnicom Precision Marketing Group network, where he served as global CEO.

Adtech startup Hoppr appoints former ABC chief Michelle Guthrie to its board

Advertising technology startup Hoppr has bolstered its board ahead of a planned global scale up, with the appointments of experienced company executives Vince Pizzica as co-chairman and Michelle Guthrie (pictured) as a non-executive director.

Pizzica brings with him more than 30 years of experience across the public and private sector, including recent success in strategy consulting as well as C-suite roles at multibillion-euro global corporation Technicolor.

Guthrie is an advertising and media industry executive who over a 25-year career has held senior management roles at global media companies such as Google, Foxtel, BSkyB and Star TV in Hong Kong, as well as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation where she oversaw a significant expansion of the public broadcaster’s digital footprint.

“Vince’s unique blend of marketing and tactical skills, together with his highly qualified engineering and technical background, will provide strategic direction during what will be a rapid growth phase for Hoppr,” said Hoppr CEO Cyril Daoud.

“In addition, Michelle’s experience across both traditional and emerging media companies will be invaluable to the Hoppr board as we prepare the rollout of our digital advertising platform globally over the next 24 months.”

Hoppr’s flagship solution, HopprTV, delivers targeted video and display advertising to individual set-top boxes, seamlessly delivering marketing to engaged audiences. The unique digital platform also supports interactive advertising to drive sales and engagement, with sophisticated analytics to tailor effective messaging.

Guy Sebastian’s ex-manager Titus Day showed ‘planning and deceit’: Court

Australian pop singer Guy Sebastian’s civil lawsuit against Titus Day is likely to be paused pending the embattled former manager’s criminal fraud charges, reports News Corp’s Lucy Hughes Jones.

Police allege Day ripped off the chart-topping artist to the tune of $1 million over seven years, and the pair have been locked in a drawn-out legal battle with Day also claiming Sebastian owed him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

On Wednesday Federal Court Justice Thomas Thawley indicated he was minded to stay the civil proceedings until Day’s 61 fraud charges are resolved.

But the judge said he would first consider any submissions from Day and Sebastian, who is a coach on television music show The Voice.

According to a police fact sheet tendered to the NSW Supreme Court, Day was “calculating” in deciding which amounts of money to divert and which amounts to actually pay the signer to avoid detection during his alleged offending.

“This shows a large amount of planning and deceit on (Day’s) behalf,” police allege in the documents.

“The amount totals over $1 million dollars – this is a significant amount of money and police believe this is of the higher-level fraud offence.”

In court on Tuesday, Day successfully had his bail conditions varied so he would only need to report to Waverley police station three times a week instead of daily.

The case will return to court in September.

[Read more]

The New York Times Co. names Meredith Kopit Levien chief executive

The New York Times Company on Wednesday named Meredith Kopit Levien, the news organisation’s chief operating officer, as its next president and chief executive, making her the youngest person ever to lead its executive ranks.

Levien, 49, will succeed Mark Thompson, the chief executive since 2012, on Sept. 8. Levien also will serve on the company’s board.

A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher and a board member, called Levien “a brilliant and transformative leader.”

“Everything she has touched in the organisation she has made better,” Sulzberger said.

Levien joined The Times in 2013 as its head of advertising. She was promoted to executive vice president and chief revenue officer in 2015 and became the chief operating officer in 2017. That put her in line to succeed Thompson, who helped transform The Times into a digital-centric news operation.

[Read more]

News Brands

Sydney developer sues radio host Ray Hadley for defamation

Western Sydney developer Jean Nassif, who shot to prominence in a viral video surprising his wife with a yellow Lamborghini, is suing 2GB host Ray Hadley for defamation over a series of broadcasts about his residential developments, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michaela Whitbourn.

Nassif, who heads the Toplace development group behind Sydney apartment projects in areas including Parramatta, Castle Hill and Canterbury, launched Federal Court action against Hadley and his employer Harbour Radio on July 17 over eight broadcasts spanning almost a year to June this year.

Nassif and the companies are seeking damages, including aggravated damages, plus legal costs, along with an order restraining the broadcaster from repeating the allegations and an order that the broadcasts be removed from the 2GB website and social media including Facebook and Twitter.

In a statement, Nassif and the Toplace group said: “The proceedings relate to a campaign of unfair and inaccurate commentary by Mr Hadley over the course of the last year about Toplace’s business practices.

“Mr Nassif and the Toplace Group have taken this action to protect the excellent reputation in the construction industry that they have built over many decades.”

[Read more]

‘It’s terrible what they said about me’ Gatto tells court about ABC report

Melbourne gangland figure Mick Gatto was “in a state of shock” to read an ABC article alleging he was a murderer, had threatened to kill lawyer Nicola Gobbo, and was one of Australia’s most violent criminals, reports Frances Vinall from News Corp’s NewsWire.

Gatto, 64, who is the basis for one of the main characters in the popular 2012 TV show Underbelly, is suing two ABC journalists and the organisation for defamation.

One of the allegations reported in the article was that he had threatened to kill ‘Lawyer X’ police informer Nicola Gobbo, and he told the court on Wednesday that Gobbo had contacted him through her lawyers and was prepared to testify on his behalf to confirm that wasn’t true.

But counsel acting for the ABC, Matthew J Collins AM, QC, said that wouldn’t be necessary.

He said the ABC had not reported that it was true, only that it had been alleged in court.

Gatto appeared as a witness in the defamation trial over Zoom in front of Victorian Supreme Court Justice Andrew Keogh, where he said it made him “sick” to see that the ABC had not apologised after publishing the article.

[Read more]


ViacomCBS UK sets “no diversity, no commission” content policy

ViacomCBS Networks UK (VCN UK) has outlined a series of new measures set to strengthen the mediaco’s diversity and inclusion drive in the UK, reports Realscreen.

The company says it will make transparency and accountability central components of its inclusion strategy and will look to accelerate diverse representation on-screen, off-screen and throughout its organisation.

“Society is now at an inflection point on the issue of systemic racism and as individuals, as a company, we all have a part to play in righting centuries of wrongs,” said Maria Kyriacou, president at ViacomCBS Networks UK & Australia in a statement. “For too long the TV industry has been a relative closed shop and if we are to be of continued relevance to the audiences that we serve, then this must change.”

New initiatives include implementing a “no diversity, no commission” content policy for its program suppliers and extending the Creative Diversity Network’s Diamond diversity data while monitoring its pay-TV brands, in addition to Channel 5; and hiring for a new role within its commissioning team that will be responsible for developing diverse on- and off-screen talent.

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Sports Media

How TV networks will cover 33 AFL matches on 20 consecutive days

AFL broadcasters are backing footy-mad fans to lap up 33 games of football in the next 20 days as part of the league’s unprecedented fixture cram, reports News Corp’s Rebecca Williams and Jon Ralph.

Fox Footy and Channel 7 were not concerned about the potential for viewer burnout with matches scheduled every day between rounds nine and 12 from next Wednesday.

But both networks said it was too early to suggest whether the new-look fixture, which will feature night-time double headers on Monday (Round 11), Wednesday (Round 10) and Thursday nights (Rounds 9 and 10), was potentially a glimpse into the viewing future.

Channel 7 Melbourne managing director Lewis Martin described this season as an “epic adventure” for supporters and did not think there was a danger of footy fatigue from three weeks’ straight of games.

“We’re all pretty match fit, dealing with whatever comes next,” Martin said.

“Footy fans have got an insatiable appetite for footy and I think where everyone is getting on board for the whole adventure of this season.

“There is a shared sense of what’s going to happen next and how is my club going to deal with it? That’s what is going to happen over the next four weeks.”

Channel 7 will broadcast next Wednesday’s clash between Western Bulldogs and Richmond at Metricon Stadium, but will largely keep its regular Thursday-Sunday broadcast slots with Fox Footy picking up the additional mid-week games.

In a marathon production effort, Fox Footy expects to broadcast more than 120 hours of live content between games and regular shows in the condensed fixture.

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