Friday June 12, 2020

AFL back on Seven: Bigger ad breaks for advertisers after goals

By James Manning

Seven West Media’s chief commercial officer Kurt Burnette this week led an online presentation to coincide with the relaunch of the 2020 AFL season.

During a short introduction Burnette talked about how the AFL restarts as part of a brand refresh for Seven that started with Big Brother which also returned this week.

The AFL relaunch event was held at Seven in Sydney and on location on the set of The Front Bar in Melbourne.

Later during the presentation Burnette said the AFL will be a great companion piece for the rest of Seven’s new 2020 primetime line-up. In AFL markets, it will be footy four nights a week starting with The Front Bar on Wednesdays then live footy Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The remaining three nights will feature Seven’s major primetime franchises.

Following Big Brother in the 7.30pm Sunday, Monday and Tuesday timeslot will be Farmer Wants a Wife and then Plate of Origin.

Joining Burnette to talk up the renaissance underway at Seven were network sales director Natalie Harvey and network digital sales director Nicole Bence. Bence is one the survivors from Pacific where she was commercial director.

Harvey talked about the increased use of virtual signage which is set to become a feature of the new look coverage with empty grandstands being filled with advertising during longer ad breaks after goals are scored.

The Seven execs also talked about the reduced ad loads that had long been a feature of the AFL, and was introduced during Big Brother this week. Watch The Front Bar though and you understand where some of those ads might be going!

The host of the Melbourne segment of the AFL relaunch was Seven News Melbourne’s Jacqueline Felgate.

Although Mick Molloy wasn’t on set, he delivered a short video explaining this week was the “most anticipated round two launch in AFL history”.

Marcus King, head of AFL broadcasting and scheduling, told Felgate: “Four rounds of the fixture are now done, only 16 to go. And then a 2021 to do after that! We have worked closely with Seven to make sure Thursday and Friday games are huge. On June 22 we will announce the next block of games. Our hope is border restrictions will ease. If not we will continue to schedule in short blocks.”

Kidd then played an example of the audio from a game in round one. “We have been working with our audio people on adding crowd effects. [Plays audio] Very subtle, but they add a lot.”

The AFL and Seven has also been working with Zoom on an initiative sponsored by Toyota bringing nine Collingwood and nine Richmond fans into the game by showing them on a Zoom screen at relevant moments during the Thursday clash.

Seven is also promising to show every match of every team live into their own states outside of Victoria.

On the matches where Seven supplies the feed to Fox Footy, Seven will now place all ads siren to siren on those Fox Footy games.

Another guest on the set of The Front Bar was Seven AFL producer Gary O’Keefe who said no commentators will be travelling during the initial rounds.

“We are not putting one person on a plane for the first four weeks. Brian Taylor and Wayne Carey are in the commentary box and Bruce McAvaney is in studio in Adelaide this week. We think it is a world first with commentators in different states calling the same game.”

Daisy Pearce will be on boundary duty on Thursday night.

When asked about the possibility of a twilight Grand Final, Kidd said: “We are working toward late October – maybe 24th. We will make a call closer to the actual date.” Regarding match days, Kidd added: “There is no chance of matches being scheduled Monday to Wednesday. We did consider if we needed to do that, but it’s not necessary at the moment.”

To wrap up the event, Burnette left advertisers with seven key points:
1. AFL is Australia’s biggest sporting code
2. The most engaging break ad slot in marketing – after goals – just got bigger
3. Seven is enhancing the advertiser experience
4. Seven will deliver results for customers
5. Dynamic scheduling – best games now on Seven every weekend
6. Audience dominance of Seven on BVOD
7. An end of October Grand Final will go straight into Seven’s cricket season with India touring. That will be the lead into the biggest Christmas ever for retail.

The return of Fox Footy, crowd audio, Fox Air + Fox Cricket

By James Manning

There hasn’t been a lot of media executives travelling around Australia for the past few months for obvious reasons. However the return of the AFL to Fox Footy was not going to keep Fox Sports head of television Steve Crawley away from Melbourne.

“There isn’t a more passionate group of people in the world of sport than the AFL,” Crawley told Mediaweek. “We have all missed a lot of things, but coming here reminds me of just what AFL means to people at Fox Footy and in the community.”

The past few months have presented Crawley with about as big a challenge as anybody in broadcasting could have. His channels have seen their content pipelines of live sport totally turned off as countries around the world locked down during COVID-19.

Fox League got to turn live sport back on two weeks ago and now it’s the turn of Fox Footy. Both codes are returning with full rounds each week, but no crowds in the stands.

To enhance the experience for audiences, Crawley has commissioned specialist crowd audio. Fox Footy takes the feed for its Thursday and Friday matches from Seven which has its own crowd noise effects added. The first big Fox Footy exclusive match of the restarted season is Melbourne v Carlton on Saturday.

Fox Footy’s crowd effects isn’t the only important change on Saturday. Crawley has also secured the services of Fox Cricket and Triple M’s Mark Howard to call his first game for the channel.

The Fox Footy commentators will be at the ground, said Crawley. And Howard will be calling along with a superstar team of Dwayne Russell, Gary Lyon and Jason Dunstall. Fox Footy will have commentators at the grounds for its games played in Melbourne, while other matches will be covered with its team in the South Melbourne Fox Footy HQ. Fox Footy takes the Seven call for Thursday and Friday games plus one each of the Saturday night and Sunday games.

Just like Fox League and Nine have different crowd effects for the NRL games, Crawley expects the sound will be different too for AFL games covered by his team and Seven.

I couldn’t be happier with what we have got for crowd noise. We have been working hard at it for a couple of months. We did it in house using a team who work on over 1,000 outside broadcasts we undertake a year. Our audio people have built a system that has already attracted interest from the US, India and locally. I guarantee that if people listen without a crowd and then listen with a virtual crowd, you will find the latter a much warmer, and more real experience.”

Another highlight for Fox Footy viewers this weekend will be the Fox Air camera which hovers above the ground tracking the play. “We are using it for Melbourne v Carlton on Saturday and it is exclusive to us. We will also use it for St Kilda v Bulldogs on Sunday.”

Crawley said Fox Air gives viewers amazing pictures, if you get it right. “The trick is not to overuse it. We have trialled it and maybe been too high off the ground at times.”

Could Fox Air become a permanent fixture? “When we can afford it.”

Holding together his teams at Fox Sports and its dedicated channels has been tough during COVID-19, admitted Crawley.

“But no matter how tough the times are, you have got to have innovation. There has been reduced revenue in a few areas, but we have decided at Foxtel under the leadership of Patrick Delany we will continue to innovate.”

There had been stand-downs and redundancies at Fox Sports said Crawley. “It has been the toughest time anyone can remember. At tough times people come together and great people stand up and do extra work.”

Many viewers seem to be ready to spend more time with their sports channels than ever before. Perhaps not realising just how good the product was until it was taken away. “The numbers will reflect that too,” said Crawley.

See also:
TV Guide: AFL is back! Seven days of coverage on Fox Footy
Return of Fox Air camera + no ads during play + every game live

When will Fox Cricket power up?

With Fox League and Fox Footy both back with live sport, what is ahead for Fox Sports’ other dedicated channel Fox Cricket? The ICC has yet to decide on the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. The Big Bash League is expected to stay at 61 games in total again this year (56 matches and 5 finals).

But Crawley is excited about two tours in particular: “The best news we have had is that India will be here in December. We have had a couple of rough years with the cricket. To have India here next summer and then a year later England here for an Ashes Tour is as good as it gets.

Sports right negotiations

At the time of writing Foxtel was still to finalise a revised AFL deal, and it has recently extended its NRL deal. Negotiating sports rights is not something that Crawley gets involved with. “Only the smart guys do that,” laughed Crawley. “I make the TV.”

Val Morgan cinema network preparing for blockbuster relaunch

• Val Morgan cinema network reactivated 2 July
• Strong blockbuster slate of films to launch from July to December
• 94% of cinema-goers eager to return*

As cinemas begin reopening, Val Morgan has announced its cinema network is scheduled to be active across the country by 2 July 2020, in-line with the lifting of government restrictions.

The opening of cinemas will coincide with the school holiday period with the anticipated release of the thriller, Tenet, and Disney’s live-action Mulan.**

“Cinema is a powerful AV channel centred on showstopping, blockbuster content in a premium, distraction-free environment,” said Guy Burbidge, managing director of Val Morgan.

“Australians love going to the movies and we anticipate strong audience return over July. Cinemas have long delivered an unrivalled shared social and cultural experience, which has been truly missed by Australians in the last three months. We are delighted that we’ll soon be able to connect iconic brands to these highly-engaged audiences with the best content on the planet.”

A survey by Event Cinemas of over 20,000 active cinema-goers showed that once cinemas reopen, 94% of respondents intend to visit just as frequently, if not more often, than they did previously.

“Event Cinemas’ Cinebuzz Insights research shows considerable pent up consumer demand. The forward content slate is also very strong over the July – December period and includes Wonder Woman 1984, Black Widow, No Time to Die and Peter Rabbit 2.

“New Zealand lifted restrictions more quickly than Australia and has seen a rapid recovery in audience numbers. Ticket sales have increased at an average rate of +90% week-on-week for the last three weeks.

“Locally, we have seen incredible results for drive-in cinemas, which have delivered record box office weeks via a combination of classics and recent releases. All of this points to a positive future for the sector,” Burbidge added.

* Cinebuzz Insights, research conducted by Event Cinemas April-May 2020
** Subject to distributer global release policies

Oprah Winfrey: Where Do We Go From Here? on Discovery June 21

In response to the continuing civil unrest in America following the tragic murder of George Floyd and the growing global movement in support of Black Lives Matter, Oprah Winfrey leads an in-depth conversation with Black thought leaders, activists and artists in Oprah Winfrey Presents: Where Do We Go From Here?

The two-hour television event will simulcast in Australia on Discovery and Investigation Discovery (ID) Sunday 21 June at 8:30pm.

Throughout the special, Oprah Winfrey and her guests speak directly about systematic racism and the current state of America. The in-depth conversations offer insight and tangible plans to answer the questions What matters now?, What matters next? and Where do we go from here?”

Featured guests include politician Stacey Abrams; journalist Charles M. Blow; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; Academy award-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay (When They See Us, 13th, Queen Sugar); professor and author Jennifer Eberhardt (author of Biased); journalist and Pulitzer prize-winning founder of the “1619 Project” Nikole Hannah-Jones; historian and author Ibram Kendi (How to be an Anti-Racist); award-winning actor David Oyelowo (Selma); Color of Change founder Rashad Robinson; and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) national board member Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.

“I’ve been having private conversations with friends and thought leaders about what’s next and where we go from here,” said Oprah Winfrey. “I thought it would be both of interest and service to bring their ideas, concerns and comments into a national spotlight.”

Where Do We Go From Here? aired across two nights in the US earlier this week and was simulcast on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and across all of Discovery’s 18 other US networks.

Where Do We Go From Here? is available on Discovery’s global platforms in more than 200 countries and territories.

Mercado on TV: From Big Brother to Chris Lilley to Phyllis Schlafly

By Andrew Mercado

Big Brother roared back onto Seven with brilliant ratings. Sonia Kruger looks fabulous and the slick new format is fast-moving, although it’s very sketchy about the passage of time. And there’s an undercurrent that’s a worry.

The majority of housemates are cute, geeky, sporty and white. The non-white people were unfriendly, devious and threatening. Three of them got voted out in a row, but apparently, that’s got nothing to do with racism, it was because of their “personalities”.

Meanwhile, of the white people who remain, and that would be everybody, two are described in the promo as “the king and queen of the house”, while others are so blonde and bland, they are yet to receive any airtime. Big Brother, do better.

News that Gone With The Wind is being temporarily pulled from HBO Max in America has made people’s heads explode. Calm down. Stop with the “Hollywood rewriting history” headlines because that’s not what’s happening. This important film classic, which is also deeply racist, will return but with something beforehand, like a disclaimer. That is already happening on Disney+ and it only takes about 15 seconds. Let me repeat – you can still watch Gone With The Wind.

However, certain Chris Lilley shows and Little Britain are gone from TV and streaming sites and that’s because of blackface. You can still watch them on YouTube or buy the DVD boxsets. Plus, maybe sometime in the future, Jonah might get played by an actual Tongan. And Ting Tong could be portrayed by an Asian woman and not the white Chris Lilley. Just kidding – there will never be another character called Ting Tong.

How timely is The Death of the Aussie Larrikin (Tuesday on Sky News) with Delvene Delaney, Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Paul Fenech. Maybe classic Aussie comedy is dead because no network or streaming service will re-screen any of it, even though fans are begging. Until we have less American and British repeats, how we can look more closely at our own past?

If only it was still the good old days, when drunk chain-smoking white male comedians could say whatever they liked about sheilas, poofs, blacks and commies. That was the era of Mrs America (Tuesday on FoxShowcase) and they survived, didn’t they? It ends next week with Phyllis Schlafly (Cate Blanchett) cosying up to Ronald Reagan and it’s been one of the most interesting dramas of the year. Yes, we really are having the same arguments all these years later

TV Ratings Thursday June 11 Week 24 2020

By James Manning

• Massive AFL crowd grows Seven lead on biggest 2020 Thursday
• Richmond v Collingwood biggest regular night game in a decade

Seven News 1,104,000/1,050,000
Nine News 980,000/907,000
ABC News 722,000
A Current Affair 698,000
The Project 341,000/516,000
7.30 426,000
10 News 382,000/289,000
Sunrise 283,000
The Drum 219,000
The Latest 216,000
News Breakfast 214,000
Today 195,000
SBS World News 157,000

Seven: Seven’s Thursday primary share of 25.2% was its best Thursday number this year and its third highest share on any night of 2020. The channel had an audience just over 1m for the first match of the resumed AFL season which ended in a draw.
Seven this week promised advertisers a record start to the season and it has delivered: 1.002m (1.275m national) was the biggest Thursday night audience ever and the biggest home and away night audience in over a decade.
The shorter quarters however are being blamed by some fans for resulting in the low scoring game featuring Richmond and Collingwood which didn’t live up to the hype associated with the restart of the sport.
The Melbourne audience of 668,000 lifted primary channel share in that market to 40.9%.
The pre-match crowd was 420,000 and pos-match was on 468,000.
Home and Away screened in three markets to 405,000 earlier in the night.

Nine: A Current Affair hung on to most of its 701,000 Wednesday audience with 698,000 last night.
The NRL clash between Manly and Brisbane then did 394,000 with 195,000 in Sydney and 182,000 in Brisbane. The Thursday NRL audience last week was 387,000.

10: MasterChef saw Reece qualify for the top eight in a four-way three-round immunity challenge. The essential ingredient that had to feature in every course was pumpkin with Poh first out, then Laura, with Reece the winner in the final course cook against Emelia. The Thursday audience was 875,000 up against live AFL and NRL which has got to be a good result for 10 after 970,000 a week ago.

 ABC: Grand Designs Australia did 289,000 after 8.30pm. It was preceded by The Heights on 180,000.

 SBS: After a bit of a break Great Canadian Railroad Journeys returned for the final episode with 231,000 watching.
The final of the three-part Filthy Rich and Homeless then did 224,000 after the first two episodes had audiences of 286,000 and 272,000.

Week 24 TV: Thursday
ABC8.5%725.2%916.1%10 14.6%SBS One4.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY1.9%7TWO4.4%GO!1.8%10 Bold3.6%VICELAND1.1%
ABC ME0.5%7mate5.4%GEM1.8%10 Peach2.1%Food Net1.0%
ABC NEWS1.4%7flix1.6%9Life1.8%  NITV0.1%
    9Rush1.1%  SBS World Movies1.2%
TOTAL12.3% 36.6% 22.6% 20.3% 8.1%


ABCSeven AffiliatesNine Affiliates10 AffiliatesSBS
ABC8.8%719.8%916.5%WIN11.3%SBS One4.4%
ABC ME0.8%7mate4.6%GEM3.2%WIN Peach1.9%Food Net1.0%
ABC NEWS1.0%7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)1.8%9Life2.7%Sky News  on WIN2.8%NITV0.2%
        SBS Movies1.8%
TOTAL13.3% 32.1% 25.0% 20.9% 8.7%


  1. Seven News Seven 1,104,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,050,000
  3. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football Seven 1,002,000
  4. Nine News Nine 980,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 907,000
  6. MasterChef Australia 10 875,000
  7. ABC News ABC 722,000
  8. A Current Affair Nine 698,000
  9. The Chase Australia Seven 641,000
  10. Hot Seat Nine 570,000
  11. The Project 7pm 10 516,000
  12. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football – Post Match Seven 468,000
  13. Celebrity Gogglebox USA 10 462,000
  14. 7.30 ABC 426,000
  15. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football – Pre Match Seven 420,000
  16. Home And Away Seven 405,000
  17. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 404,000
  18. 10 News First 10 382,000
  19. Thursday Night NRL Live Nine 377,000
  20. Hot Seat -5pm Nine 354,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football Seven 303,000
  2. MasterChef Australia 10 250,000
  3. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football – Post Match Seven 153,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 134,000
  5. Nine News Nine 120,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football Seven 452,000
  2. MasterChef Australia 10 415,000
  3. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football – Post Match Seven 233,000
  4. Nine News Nine 232,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 228,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football Seven 453,000
  2. MasterChef Australia 10 451,000
  3. Nine News Nine 298,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 287,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 287,000
THURSDAY Multichannel
  1. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football 7mate 216,000
  2. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 174,000
  3. Miss Scarlet And The Duke PM 7TWO 170,000
  4. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 161,000
  5. Miss Scarlet And The Duke-Ep.2 Pm 7TWO 159,000
  6. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 155,000
  7. Shaun The Sheep AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 151,000
  8. Neighbours 10 Peach 147,000
  9. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 143,000
  10. Go Jetters AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  11. Love Monster AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 136,000
  12. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  13. Father Brown PM 7TWO 126,000
  14. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  15. Floogals PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  16. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football – P 7mate 121,000
  17. Dog Loves Books ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  18. Nella The Princess Knight PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 117,000
  19. School Of Roars AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  20. Dot. AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 111,000
  1. Live: AFL Collingwood V Richmond FOX FOOTY 342,000
  2. Live: NRL: Sea Eagles V Broncos FOX LEAGUE 259,000
  3. Live: AFL Post Game Thursday FOX FOOTY 160,000
  4. Live: AFL Pre Game Thursday FOX FOOTY 139,000
  5. Live: First Crack FOX FOOTY 84,000
  6. Live: The Late Show With Matty Johns FOX LEAGUE 72,000
  7. Live: NRL Pre Game Thursday FOX LEAGUE 70,000
  8. Aussie Gold Hunters Discovery Channel 70,000
  9. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 55,000
  10. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 53,000
  11. Credlin Sky News Live 51,000
  12. PML Later Sky News Live 47,000
  13. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 41,000
  14. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 38,000
  15. Live: AFL Tonight FOX FOOTY 37,000
  16. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 33,000
  17. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 32,000
  18. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 31,000
  19. NRL Tonight FOX LEAGUE 30,000
  20. Escape To The Country Lifestyle Channel 30,000

Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM

Media News Roundup

Sports Media

Seven West Media secures revised contract and extension with the AFL

Seven West Media has announced a revised contract with the AFL for season 2020 as well as 2021 and 2022 and a further extension of two years for seasons 2023 and 2024.

SWM said it will derive $87m in net benefits over the existing contract period (2020-2022) in media rights reduction, production savings and other benefits.

SWM managing director and CEO James Warburton said: “We can’t wait to bring the Footy back to the fans. The AFL and Seven are a core part of each other’s DNA, and we are delighted to have not only reached a revised agreement for the current contract term, but to have extended our relationship for a further two seasons taking the agreement through until the end of 2024. I’d like to thank AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and the AFL Commission for their commitment which gives certainty to both parties over the next five years.”

In 2015 Seven, Foxtel and Telstra signed a six-year deal for AFL rights for the years 2017 to 2022. It saw combined annual payments to the AFL jump from $250m annually to $418m.

Perth Glory owner says don’t finish A-League season if no TV coverage

One of the A-League’s longest-standing owners has called for this season to be declared over if a deal can’t be struck with Fox Sports to show the remaining games, reports News Corp’s Tom Smithies.

Perth owner Tony Sage said he thought a compromise would be found with the broadcaster, but said if not it would be “nonsense” to spend millions of dollars on a competition that “99.9% of people” wouldn’t see.

Sage’s view, which News Corp Australia understands is shared by at least one other owner, is at odds with Football Federation Australia’s determination to play all the games come what may – not least to keep FFA’s side of its broadcast contract.

With talks between FFA and Fox Sports still ongoing over both the plans to finish this season and the broadcaster’s contract for $57m a year to show the next three campaigns, the clubs believe they have to know for sure by next Tuesday if the final 32 games will be played to the schedule put forward by FFA.

[Read more]

Business of Media

Regional TV on the verge of market failure as content obligations breached

Regional television stations risk continually breaching multi-channel Australian content obligations, due to not broadcasting new channels created by metropolitan affiliates, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications has urged a change in legislation or warned the government and the Australian Communications and Media Authority to expect market failure.

Commercial television networks are required to broadcast at least 1460 hours of Australian content between 6am and midnight on their multi-channels each year.

Broadcasters, such as WIN, Prime Media and Southern Cross Austereo have failed to meet local content quotas in recent years because they rely on metro affiliates for content.

Regional broadcasters often do not take up new channels launched by their metro counterparts due to the high level of investment required versus what could actually be gained in advertising revenue.

The departments says that 12 regional or remote stations failed to comply with Australian content quotas in 2017.

[Read more]

Human Nature forced to permanently close long-running Las Vegas show

Australian crooners Human Nature have been forced to permanently close their long-running Las Vegas show at the famous Sands Showroom due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reports News Corp’s Nui Te Koha.

The band has been a headline act on the Las Vegas Strip for 11 years with seven of those at the Sands, at the Venetian Resort.

Their latest show was titled Human Nature Sings Motown And More.

“Though we are sad to be ending our Venetian residency, we look forward to doing what we do best – inspire, entertain and bring joy and love to our audiences through our music and live shows,” said Toby Allen, of Human Nature.

“Las Vegas has been our home for over a decade and though the world is in the middle of massive change, we are excited about the future and are confident that we will all get through this together and embrace what will become our ‘new normal’ – whatever that may be right now.”

Adam Steck, of SPI Entertainment, which produces their show, said: “We look forward to the next endeavour with this amazing group here in Las Vegas.”

The former boy band, which formed while in high school in Sydney, plans to tour Australia in 2021.

[Read more]

YouTube launches US$100m fund for Black creators and artists

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki (pictured) has announced overnight a multi-year US$100 million fund dedicated to amplifying and developing the voices of Black creators and artists and their stories:

We have always been proud that we are a platform that celebrates a broad and diverse set of voices. And we have implemented many policies and product features to protect our communities.

But we recognise we need to do more, in particular with the Black community.

One example of the type of content we’d like to elevate on the platform will premiere this Saturday, June 13. We’ll host a live stream fundraising event produced by YouTube Originals (YTO), “Bear Witness, Take Action.” The YTO will bring together creators, artists, influential public figures and prominent activist voices for roundtable discussions and musical performances, with donations benefiting the Equal Justice Initiative.

Through the month of June, our Spotlight channel will highlight racial justice issues, including the latest perspectives from the Black community on YouTube alongside historical content, educational videos, and protest coverage. This content showcases incredibly important stories about the centuries-long fight for equity.

Protection from hate and harassment

We’ve taken many steps over the years to help protect diverse communities from hate and harassment across the platform, including Black creators and artists. And last year, we developed more stringent hate speech and harassment policies. Our updated hate speech policy specifically bans videos alleging that a group is superior based on qualities like race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion.

As a result of these changes and our ongoing enforcement, last quarter alone we removed over 100,000 videos and 100 million comments for hate and harassment.

That said, we know there’s more work to do.

News Brands

Sunrise to be sued for racial discrimination over Stolen Generations broadcast

Breakfast television show Sunrise will be sued for racial discrimination over a broadcast in March 2018 which featured a panellist saying of the Stolen Generations: “we need to do it again, perhaps”, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Georgina Mitchell.

Commentator Prue MacSween, host Samantha Armytage and radio presenter Ben Davis were taking part in a “hot topics” segment which included discussion of children being removed from Indigenous and non-Indigenous families.

MacSween said a “fabricated PC outlook” was preventing white Australians from adopting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The segment sparked protests outside Sunrise’s studio in Martin Place.

A complaint was filed to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in September 2018 by a group of Aboriginal elders and young leaders including Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor, Aunty Debra Swan, Cameron Manning, Lynda-June Coe, Gwenda Stanley, Ruby Wharton, Simone Davison and Trisha Morton-Thomas.

In a statement on Thursday, the group’s law firm Susan Moriarty & Associates said settlement negotiations in the AHRC “have collapsed”, forcing the complainants to sue Channel Seven, Samantha Armytage and Prue MacSween in the Federal Court.

The case is expected to include a request for an on-air apology.

Channel Seven was previously sued for defamation over the same segment, after blurred footage of a remote Aboriginal community was broadcast. Members of the community reached a confidential settlement last year.

[Read more]


Nine Publishing putting Good Food on the Sunday menu

Nine Publishing has announced its food publishing brand Good Food is joining Sunday Life magazine with an expanded monthly presence to inspire Australian foodies on their weekend.

Launching on Sunday, July 5, Good Food magazine will become a premium monthly “flip-cover special” in Sunday Life magazine, published in Sydney’s Sun-Herald and Melbourne’s Sunday Age newspapers.

Building on the weekly Good Food content in Sunday Life, Nine Publishing said the new monthly flip-cover special will give readers more pages of kitchen innovations, chef-inspired, eat-in recipes and reviews of the best places to eat out.

Good Food and Sunday Life will give brand partners an opportunity to connect with food-loving Australians during their lean-in weekend read. Sunday Life has a similar reader profile to Good Food and will deliver an advertiser’s message to over 470,000 readers weekly.


The Rule mob are back! Family Rules returns to NITV for third season

NITV is bringing back Family Rules for a third season on Sunday 5 July at 7:30pm.

The landmark observational documentary series, which follows Noongar mother Daniella and her daughters, will feature important milestones for the Rule family – including a new baby and Daniella’s 50th birthday.

The first two seasons of Family Rules introduced audiences to Daniella Rule and her nine vibrant, glamorous daughters. This up close and personal series, based in Western Australia, gives an exclusive insight into modern Indigenous family life through a unique family of women.

Each half-hour episode provides an insight into a different member of the family and the challenges they are facing at that time – whether that be forging a career, becoming a parent or adolescent. Daniella weaves the series together as the head of the family – sharing her journey and battles in becoming the best mum possible for her family.

Produced by Karla Hart and Renee Kennedy, the third season will include steps of independence such as Jessica’s decision to take a gap semester from her studies, and Shenika’s debate on whether to move her growing family to Bunbury.

NITV’s channel manager Tanya Orman said: “NITV can’t wait to welcome the Rule family back to our screens. When NITV launched the program three years ago, it’s safe to say there was nothing like it on television. We are immensely proud to be home to a show that depicts such strong and powerful Aboriginal women on screen.”

Family Rules season 3 is a Metamorflix and Karla Hart Enterprises production for NITV. Principal production investment from NITV, in association with Screenwest and Lotterywest. Financed with support from Screen Australia.

NITV is now airing Family Rules series one and two, Monday to Friday from 7:30pm. Previous series also available on SBS On Demand.

Netflix dumping Chris Lilley shows prompts ABC 'harm and offence' audit

The ABC is undertaking a “harm and offence” audit of its past and present programming in the wake of Netflix’s decision to remove Chris Lilley‘s back catalogue from its service amid claims it is racist, reports The Age’s Karl Quinn.

“We are reviewing our content to ensure it meets current community standards and reflects our editorial policies on harm and offence,” a spokesman for the broadcaster said on Thursday.

“Community attitudes change across time and context, and we recognise that the ways in which some characters have been depicted in the past might be considered deeply objectionable or offensive today.”

Netflix has also launched a Black Lives Matter index page in the US, while removing Little Britain and The Mighty Boosh from its platform because each features a blackface character.

Stan has similarly removed Little Britain and Come Fly With Me, though at the time of writing The Mighty Boosh was still on the service.

Indigenous writer and performer Nakkiah Lui offered cautious support for moves against content that was, in the current climate, deemed to be especially offensive to people of colour. However, she warned that it could easily get out of hand.

Bestselling author and rapper Briggs was also uncertain that “deleting” offensive material was the best course of action.

“It’s hard to gauge what an appropriate response is in this climate. It feels like everything is pretty heightened,” he said.

[Read more]

Two of TV’s biggest TV stars unable to get Australian work visas

The Chase stars Anne “The Governess” Hegerty and Mark “The Beast” Labbett are having difficulty securing visas to resume filming, reports TV Tonight.

Hegerty recently told Scottish television presenter Lorraine Kelly that she was originally meant to fly out to Australia in March.

“And then it didn’t happen,” she said. “It was suggested that I go next month.

“The thing is, those in Australia can’t get a work visa for me, they can’t get work visas for me or Mark. We’re kind of a little bit stuck at the moment. But again, we’d like to get out there as soon as we can.”

Filming on the Seven quiz recently resumed with host Andrew O’Keefe and Australian Chasers. It’s not clear if the visas are held up due to COVID-19 impact.

[Read more]

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