Thursday March 5, 2020

BritBox is coming: Another streamer launching in Australia

• As US audience passes 1m, the Best of British TV arriving

BBC Studios, the principal commercial arm of the BBC, and ITV, the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster, have confirmed plans to launch the BritBox streaming service in Australia.

Just two weeks ago, BBC Studios global distribution president Paul Dempsey told Mediaweek:

“We are looking at other markets that could be similar – where there is a latent demand for the best of British content that you can’t find either on the pay TV channels or with the third-party licensing deals we do. When you look for markets that resemble what we have in the US then Australia would be on that list.”

See also:
BBC Studios’ global distribution president Paul Dempsey on TV business

The ad-free subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming service is promising Australians an unrivalled collection of great British TV shows, and will build on the launch and operation of the service in both North America (USA and Canada) and most recently in the UK.

The announcement about the Australian launch coincides with news today that BritBox now has over 1m subscribers in the US, doubling its audience in just over one year. Subscribers numbers have yet to be revealed in the UK where it only launched last year.

There is no launch date yet for Australia, with BritBox saying “later in 2020”.

The BritBox library will feature British content from across the decades, including classic and contemporary box sets from the UK, delivered to Australian viewers via a wide range of mobile and connected home devices.

Content to be available at launch includes Blackadder, Death in Paradise, Call the Midwife, Endeavour, Poldark, Absolutely Fabulous, Vera, The Office, Harlots and Confession.

Further announcements on content, price and partnerships will follow.

The service costs $6.99 in the US, with speculation it could launch around $10 in Australia. That is the same price Stan launched at and is still the cost of a basic plan.

BritBox Australia will be run as a 50/50 joint venture between ITV and BBC Studios, and the service will draw on the experience of the teams and technology that have launched BritBox in North America and the UK while also recruiting a local team, including a country manager, to lead the operations in Australia.

Fiona Lang, general manager for BBC Studios ANZ, said: “There’s a real opportunity to build on the momentum and brand that has been established in North America and to make BritBox part of BBC Studios’ future strategy in Australia. Complementing our existing partnerships in the region, BritBox will draw on our vast combined catalogue of acclaimed British content and will deliver it directly to Australian audiences via a proven and seamless streaming service.”

Augustus Dulgaro, executive vice president, Asia Pacific Sales & Distribution for ITV Studios Global Entertainment, said: “It’s great to have a new route to market in Australia for ITV’s best loved British content. We know the powerful combination of UK producers and distributors that the BritBox brand represents has been a consumer hit elsewhere and we look forward to bringing it to Australian fans in 2020.”

BritBox has also just announced its first original commission for the British audience – a new series of the multi-BAFTA-winning, multi-Emmy-nominated Spitting Image, produced by Avalon. Development of the puppets is already underway with Dominic Cummings, James Corden, Donald Trump, RuPaul, Boris Johnson, Beyoncé, Elon Musk, Harry & Meghan, Bernie Sanders, Prince Andrew, Adele, and Vladimir Putin all expected to be featured in the new series.

Podcast Week: Hamish & Andy, Matty Johns, Dad in Progress

+ ESPN, Matt Mingay, Aussies in Hollywood & TVEyes

Ahoy! New season, new sponsor, but Hamish & Andy still #1

Hamish Blake and Andy Lee returned to PodcastOne Australia on Thursday 5 March, with all-new episodes of their original podcast series Hamish & Andy, now in its third year. The show is back with a new sponsor for 2020, SEEK, and yes, it is still #1 on the Podcast Ranker chart despite no new episodes for several months.

The duet explained the delay of their return in an elaborate video promo featuring the comedy duo and their podcast colleague Jack Post.

PodcastOne reported Hamish & Andy is Australia’s leading commercial podcast, delivering over 170 million impressions across the first two years.

Hamish & Andy said: “We’re pumped to be back for 2020 and so grateful to anyone who takes the time to listen. Without the listeners it would be just two mates catching up in a very expensive studio for no reason. We’d probably just move our chats to a cafe or something. Thanks for giving the studio a reason for being.”

SCA head of podcasting, Grant Tothill said: “It’s great that Hamish & Andy are back with their original podcast series on PodcastOne Australia. Can’t wait to hear the new episodes.”

Listen to Hamish & Andy here.

Fox League’s Matty Johns: New NRL season, new podcasts

Matty Johns has certainly succeeded with his strategy of quietly launching a podcast that also doubled as a Fox League TV show in 2019. “With the podcast we just wanted people to stumble upon it, and not promote it too heavily,” Johns told Mediaweek’s Trent Thomas recently.

The podcast has allowed Johns freedom that TV doesn’t. “Some of the guests we had were really, really good like Sammy Burgess and Craig Johnston. I still have people in England texting me telling me how much they enjoyed Craig’s story.” An edited version of that Johnston interview went on TV, the full version on the podcast.

The tough thing is when you do things like former Liverpool footballer Craig Johnston, the interview was two and a half hours and you can’t jam that into an hour – the story is to good.

Johns jumped at the chance to do the podcast after ending his Triple M Sydney breakfast program at the end of 2018. While many podcasts are going to a shorter length, Johns is a contrarian:

“The American podcasts are all shifting and everything is so short form, to me podcasts are the opposite of that and it is a real opportunity to dive deep into a conversation with someone and take your time. I love listening to podcasts when I take a drive. Sometimes I say to my wife lets go to Newcastle and we will sit there and put a podcast on for the whole trip.”

Matty Johns’ podcast playlist: “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend is a ripper, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin I really enjoy, and Business Wars and Sports Wars are good ones as well.”

Fox Sports head of TV Steve Crawley told Mediaweek: “Johns has had big podcast numbers every week and they tell me that it costs us about $18 for the year, so we were pretty happy with that!

“The show is a joint venture with the News Corp family where The Daily Telegraph sends it out earlier in the day then we play it on TV at 8.30 pm. The night he did with Steve‘Blocker’ Roach was magnificent television as was the night with Newcastle’s Craig Johnston.”

Listen to Matty Johns podcast here.

Movember launches Dad in Progress podcast for new dads

Men’s health charity Movember has teamed up with Diamantina Podcast Network (the business behind satirical news site The Betoota Advocate, Dyl and Friends and The Grade Cricketer), to launch its first ever podcast for new and expecting dads – Dad in Progress.

Launched this week, Dad in Progress labels itself as a warts-and-all look at the role of dads in the 21st century. Host Raph Dixon is an everyday suburban dad, who asks when the birth is over, what do I do now?

Over five episodes, Dixon is joined by Aussie dads from all walks of life including his mates, experts and famous fathers such as Osher Günsberg, comedian Aaron Gocs, soccer star Archie Thompson, sportswriter Sam Perry and one of the world’s most famous stay-at-home dads, Clarke Gayford– husband of New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern.

Podcast host Dixon said that during the recording of the podcast, he discovered that there was no rulebook for being a dad in 2020.

“It’s an ongoing process and we’re still figuring it out,” Dixon said. “Our grandads knew exactly what to do – they went back to work, made money and basically went back to living a similar life to the one they had before.

“As society has evolved, dads want to be more involved in the upbringing of their kids – but who do we look to for advice? What you don’t realise is that everyone else is thinking the same thing, and when you bring it up, men are keen to talk about it. It’s as simple as that. Having open and honest conversations with the people around you is the best thing you can do to make being a parent easier, and make you a better parent.”

Listen to Dad in Progress here.

Podcast News

• In a major partnership in the US, ABC Audio and ESPN Audio have announced a new internal sales relationship. ABC America’s Audio podcast network will be represented by ESPN Audio’s ad sales team. This move by the two business units reflects a strategic collaboration to further grow the podcast business across The Walt Disney Company. ESPN Audio already handles ad sales for podcasts produced by Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, National Geographic and its own network.

• Matt Mingay calls himself a professional stuntrider and “drifter” and he is the latest guest on Greg Rust’s PodcastOne podcast Rusty’s Garage. During the interview he tells Rusty about his Hollywood stunts jobs and the crash that almost ended his career.

• With his movie The Invisible Man sitting at #1 on the box office chart this week, it would be a good time to check out the podcast with Melbourne-born director Leigh Whannell. The former film critic speaks with PodcastOne’s Jenny Cooney as part of her great Aussies in Hollywood series.

• Cision announced an expansion of its partnership with TVEyes as of February, making it possible for Cision clients to monitor podcast mentions of their brands, competitors, products, and people. Communications professionals can now track earned media mentions in key podcasts and tie this coverage back to business results with fast, detailed earned media analysis. Podcast monitoring powered by TVEyes is available as part of Cision’s Broadcast Monitoring in the Next Generation Cision Communications Cloud, which launched in the US and Canada last year. Podcast monitoring has been available for clients in the United States and Canada since early February, and will soon be available globally.

10 Speaks launches Starstruck With Angela Bishop

Network 10 entertainment editor and Studio 10 host Angela Bishop will host the new 10 Speaks podcast Starstruck With Angela Bishop.

After celebrating a remarkable 30 years at Network 10 last year Bishops new podcast will aim to show what really goes on behind-the-scenes when the cameras aren’t rolling. 

Early episodes feature interviews with Robbie Williams, Sasha Baron Cohen, Tom Jones and Barry Gibb.

Starstruck With Angela Bishop is available to listen now with new episodes set to be released every fortnight.

Other 10 Speaks podcasts include Australian Survivor: Talking Tribal, female-driven conversations on Short Black With Sandra Sully, political and current affairs discussion The Professor And The Hack plus Hammer It Home With Barry Du Bois.

Crocmedia secures Metro Commercial AM Radio rights to Tokyo Olympics

Crocmedia has reached an agreement with Seven West Media to broadcast the Tokyo Olympics this July.

Seven West Media and Crocmedia confirmed today that the SEN radio network of metro commercial AM stations would carry the games later this year.

The group’s 1116 SEN and 1629 SEN SA are among the stations that will carry almost three weeks of action during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, supported by a dedicated Olympic channel on 1377 SEN+ and the SEN app.

The commentary of Seven’s key sports broadcasters including Bruce McAvaney (athletics), Basil Zempilas (swimming) and many others will be used in Crocmedia’s coverage.

Seven West Media chief revenue officer and director Of Olympics Kurt Burnette said:

“The Olympic Games are for everyone and we want the powerful stories and magic moments of the Games and the Athletes to reach and inspire Australians across the country. We’re delighted to have secured this partnership with Crocmedia to bring Tokyo 2020 to commercial AM radio. With just one hour time difference between Tokyo and the east coast of Australia, Tokyo 2020 promises to be an unmatched event for Australian sport lovers to be able to watch and now listen wherever they are.”

Crocmedia chief executive officer Craig Hutchison said:

“It is clear that Australian audiences have long loved the Olympic Games on the radio and it has been such a part of how many Australians follow and cheer along for our national teams.

“The SEN family of stations is honoured to get the chance to bring our listeners the coverage of our Australian teams as we hunt for gold in Tokyo.

“With the most time zone friendly Olympic Games in recent memory, and key sports and finals in during the Australian day time and early evening, it promises to be one of the most consumed Olympics ever.

“We thank Seven for the opportunity to be part of its Australian broadcasting experience.”

Further details of SEN’s coverage, to be hosted by Gerard Whateley, will be announced in the coming weeks.

Bauer Media acquires event business The High Tea Party

Bauer Media has acquired event business The High Tea Party as it focuses on driving revenue growth with consumer ticketed events at scale.

Founded 10 years ago, The High Tea Party is a series of women-centric events across Australia taking place over a weekend at a five-star location and attracts more than 3,500 attendees. Guests in attendance experience a combination of speakers, fashion and beauty presentations, product sampling, market stalls from large and small vendors and of course, the high tea.

The acquisition enables Bauer to leverage its large audience, portfolio of media brands, talent, marketing platforms and commercial partners to expose their brands and businesses to new customers and build existing relationships. 

Sarah-Belle Murphy, executive general manager at Bauer Media said: “Event experiences are an incredibly important part of our business and as we continue to diversify our revenue streams, consumer ticketed events at scale are a focus for us. The High Tea Party is an established brand with a large and loyal audience. This, combined with the clear synergies that exist with our titles and marketing expertise, makes it a perfect fit for the business.”

Alison Dean, CEO of The Peppermint Group, who started The High Tea Party, will consult to Bauer for 12 months, with the first event planned for June 27-28 at Sofitel Melbourne On Collins and then in Sydney near the end of the year.

Dean said: “The High Tea Party is a business I’m incredibly proud of and I am excited to be involved with the transition over to Bauer Media. With the backing of such an influential media company, the growth of this property will be something to watch.”   

The High Tea Party brand has joined Bauer’s existing portfolio and Julia Smith, former head of digital strategy at Australian Radio Network, has been appointed to run the business, supported by a cross business team from marketing, digital and sales.

Murphy added: “We’re delighted to have Julia on board to drive the growth of The High Tea Party and the invaluable experience Alison brings in having run the event for the past 10 years. For our partners, it represents an opportunity to engage with a motivated audience through product sampling and sales, stage sponsorships, data capture and direct consumer feedback. We’re looking forward to working with all of them as we launch in Melbourne and Sydney this year.”

marie claire announces Sex(ism) Doesn’t Sell campaign for International Women’s Day

marie claire has challenged Australian advertising agencies to reimagine sexist ads from the past to mark International Women’s Day on March 8.

Ogilvy, 303 MullenLowe and Clemenger BBDO will be giving a series of retro campaigns a modern makeover to bring them up to speed with a gender-equal world.  

The ads will challenge the beauty stereotype of women making themselves look good for men and the view that there is only one perfect body shape and remove the sexist imagery that degrades women.

marie claire editor Nicky Briger said: “We’ve come a long way since the days when advertising positioned women as second-rate citizens. It’s actually shocking to see the past imagery, and reminds us how far we’ve come. This International Women’s Day, we’ve taken the opportunity to change the narrative and rewrite history in a tongue-in-cheek way.”

Several pieces of the creative feature in marie claire’s April issue, on sale March 5.

TV ratings: Wednesday Week 10 2020

By James Manning

• TV’s #1: MAFS dinner party guests some extra guests
• Loo paper pandemic helps ACA post best audience of 2020
• Best of the rest: Home and Away, Survivor All Stars, Hard Quiz

The end of the fifth week of Married at First Sight featured the fourth dinner party of the season. The remaining five couples got four unexpected guests – recently arrived couples. As dinner parties go it was one of the more reserved, but there were moments of TV gold: Mishel to Steve: “You’re a f—ing idiot. We’re married and you’re telling all the rest of f—ing Australia and then you’re telling me six weeks later? I am seriously so done with you. You are a top-level piece of s—,” Mishel fumed, before delivering what the MAFS online home called the most cutting insult ever heard on Married At First Sight:

“He thinks he’s a glass of f—ing Moët, and really he’s just warm piss in a plastic glass.”

This was enough to push the Wednesday audience back to 1.11m to again easily dominate the ratings and give Nine another huge win.

Earlier in the night A Current Affair did 787,000 with Leila McKinnon again hosting what was the highest-rating episode of the year. Stories last night included scary footage of loo paper shoppers out of control.

Later in the night Doctor Doctor kept its audience close to half a million with 474,000. Last week’s episode was the second most time-shifted program in the Consolidated 7 data with 127,000 more viewers taking that episode’s audience to 650,000.

10 managed to rank #2 at in the entertainment race at 7.30pm with Australian Survivor: All Stars on 548,000. The show again has good demo numbers as Harry was voted out and became the second member of the Survivor All Stars jury.

The Project 7pm did 430,000 with the at-times awkward interview with Nicole Scherzinger fromThe Pussycat Dolls.

10 then screened a double-episode of Bull with audiences of 252,000 and 179,000.

After the News, Seven’s best was again Home and Away on 578,000. My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals just made it to half a million. Seven and 10 would probably both like their 7.30pm franchises to be rating a little higher, but against MAFS that just doesn’t look possible.

Two episodes of First Dates Australia followed. The new ep did 372,000 with a repeat then on 209,000.

ABC News and 7.30 both made the top 10 with close to 700,000 each.

Hard Quiz then did 598,000 followed by Mad As Hel lon 581,000.

Week 10 TV: Wednesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.6% 7 18.5% 9 24.8% 10  10.7% SBS One 4.0%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.5% 7TWO 3.1% GO! 2.7% 10 Bold 4.5% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 2.3% GEM 2.7% 10 Peach 2.3% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 1.7% 7flix 1.4% 9Life 1.8%     NITV 0.1%
                SBS World Movies 1.2%
TOTAL 17.5%   25.3%   32.0%   17.5%   7.8%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.3% 7 19.1% 9 20.5% WIN 9.3% SBS One 4.0%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.2% 7TWO 4.4% GO! 2.6% WIN Bold 5.0% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.9% 7mate 3.1% GEM 1.6% WIN Peach 2.2% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.6% 9Life 2.2% Sky News  on WIN 1.9% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 1.4%
TOTAL 15.3%   28.2%   26.9%   18.4%   7.7%


87.7% 12.3%
  1. Married At First Sight Nine 1,100,000
  2. Seven News Seven 951,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 923,000
  4. Nine News Nine 840,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 839,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 787,000
  7. 7.30 ABC 695,000
  8. ABC News ABC 671,000
  9. Hard Quiz S5 ABC 598,000
  10. Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell S11 ABC 581,000
  11. Home And Away Seven 578,000
  12. Australian Survivor: All Stars10 548,000
  13. The Chase Australia Seven 520,000
  14. My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals Seven 501,000
  15. Doctor Doctor Nine 474,000
  16. Hot Seat Nine 474,000
  17. The Project 7pm 10 430,000
  18. 10 News First 10 381,000
  19. First Dates Australia Seven 372,000
  20. The Chase Australia 5pm Seven 321,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 309,000
  2. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 193,000
  3. The Project 7pm 10 106,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 106,000
  5. My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals Seven 100,000


18 – 49

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 497,000
  2. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 298,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 195,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 193,000
  5. Seven News Seven 189,000


25 – 54

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 551,000
  2. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 319,000
  3. A Current Affair Nine 240,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 240,000
  5. Nine News Nine 230,000
WEDNESDAY Multichannel
  1. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 200,000
  2. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 180,000
  3. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 159,000
  4. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY 158,000
  5. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 151,000
  6. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 146,000
  7. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 144,000
  8. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 134,000
  9. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 128,000
  10. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 128,000
  11. Neighbours 10 Peach 124,000
  12. Play School Art Time PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  13. Waffle The Wonder Dog PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  14. Spicks And Specks ABCKIDS/COMEDY 118,000
  15. Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 117,000
  16. Dot. PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 117,000
  17. Border Security Australia’s Front Line 7TWO 114,000
  18. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 112,000
  19. Bob The Builder PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 111,000
  20. Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railways PM 7TWO 109,000
  1. Gogglebox Australia Lifestyle Channel 156,000
  2. Live: ODI Rsa V Aus Game 2 FOX CRICKET 58,000
  3. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 56,000
  4. Credlin Sky News Live 53,000
  5. The Simpsons FOX8 45,000
  6. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 45,000
  7. American Dad! FOX8 44,000
  8. The Simpsons FOX8 42,000
  9. Richo & Jones Sky News Live 41,000
  10. William And Harry: Princes At War? Lifestyle Channel 38,000
  11. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 37,000
  12. Family Guy FOX8 33,000
  13. Grand Designs Lifestyle Channel 33,000
  14. PML Later Sky News Live 32,000
  15. American Dad! FOX8 32,000
  16. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 31,000
  17. Vanderpump Rules ARENA 30,000
  18. Top Wing Nick Jr. 30,000
  19. Outback Truckers A&E 29,000
  20. Cops FOX8 29,000

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

Business of Media

AAP demise a ‘wake-up call’ over tech giants impact

The loss of Australia’s news wire service should act as a “wake-up call” to the devastating impact cashed-up global tech giants are having on media organisations in Australia, its chairman said on Wednesday, reports News Corp’s Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson.

His comments come amid warnings there would be “more bad news” unless the government acted to protect the sector.

The loss saw the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance slam the Morrison government for failing to protect the vital service by acting on recommendations contained in an 18-month inquiry into digital platforms.

AAP chairman Campbell Reid echoed the union’s sentiments, saying the impact of news stories published free of charge by social media networks and search engines had forced the closure of the outlet known for impartial, accurate, and comprehensive reporting. “The AAP decision is a wake-up call for Australia that the detrimental impact the digital platforms are having on media companies is very real and has now reached a tipping point,” he said.

“That is the reality. That is at the heart of why AAP is closing. No one should kid themselves otherwise.”

[Read more]

Shareholders did not want to subsidise AAP for competitors

Staff of newswire Australian Associated Press, which will be shuttered in June, were told that major shareholders Nine Entertainment and News Corp said they no longer wanted to subsidise a breaking news service for their competitors, reports Guardian Australia’s Ben Butler.

The AAP chairman, Campbell Reid, who is also a News Corp executive, and AAP chief executive, Bruce Davidson, addressed staff on Wednesday morning.

Reid told staff that Nine and News Corp felt they were propping up a newswire that helped competitors. He also said some news organisations had cancelled their subscriptions.

However, it is believed AAP’s shareholders, which also include Kerry Stokes’ Seven, were unhappy at paying millions to keep the company going while non-shareholder subscribers paid far lower fees for the same service.

[Read more]

Organisers announce MipTV cancelled due to coronavirus fears

After days of uncertainty, French conference organiser Reed Midem has officially cancelled MipTV, its TV market in Cannes, and postponed drama sidebar Canneseries, as France steps up efforts to contain the country’s coronavirus outbreak, reports Variety.

Reed Midem informed both attendees and clients, including exhibitors, in one fell swoop on Wednesday afternoon.

The cancellation – which also covers offshoot events MipDoc and MipFormats, which take place the weekend before the market – marks another big blow for both Cannes and Reed Midem, which had to move Mipim, its real estate showcase initially scheduled to take place March 10-13 in Cannes, to June 2-5, where it will coincide with music industry conference Midem.

Reed Midem said in its memo: “In the current context, many of our clients have expressed concerns about travelling at this time. Rescheduling MipTV in the coming months is not feasible, so the most appropriate course of action is to cancel MipTV for 2020.

“The well-being of our clients, partners and staff is our priority. We are grateful to clients for their support and constructive input during this challenging period. We look forward to welcoming everyone to MIPCOM in October 12-15 and we are delighted that Canneseries will be at our side again this year.”

MipTV keynotes this year included Sony Pictures Television president Wayne Garvie and Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon. Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch was also set to receive a sustainability award.

[Read more]

News Brands

ACMA finds Seven News in Queensland misled viewers

An Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation has found Channel Seven News in Queensland misled viewers during a news item reporting a complaint of misconduct in relation to a local council.

The news report from May 2019 stated that a member of the council “was cleared of allegations made against him” which the ACMA found to be inaccurate.

The statement referred to the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission’s (CCC) decision not to investigate the matter which had been referred to it by the Local Government Conduct Review Panel.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the CCC making a decision not to investigate is not the same as clearing a person of allegations.

“The term ‘cleared’ implies there had been a finding. This was not the case,” O’Loughlin said.

“Seven News in Queensland has a good record of compliance with industry rules but on this occasion, they have dropped the ball.

“It’s important for Australians to be able to have trust in the news programs they see on TV, and inaccuracies such as this erode that trust.”

As a result of the findings Seven will circulate a copy of the ACMA’s investigation report to Queensland editorial staff and include the decision in its Code of Practice training sessions to ensure future compliance with the industry’s code.

Former CNN anchor Bobbie Battista has died at 67

Former CNN anchor Bobbie Battista has passed away at the age of 67, according to a family spokeswoman, reports CNN.

Battista died on Tuesday morning after a four-year battle with cervical cancer, according to Wendy Guarisco, family spokeswoman.

“Bobbie was the consummate trooper in her struggle with cancer, she was courageous and fearless in her battle and thoughtful for all the others in her life even as she fought through the pain,” Battista’s husband John Brimelow said in a statement on Tuesday. “My dear partner of 25 years of marriage has cut her earthly bonds and is now in peace.”

Battista was one of the original CNN Headline News anchors when the network launched in 1981. She anchored several news programs on CNN, including TalkBack Live, which aired before a studio audience in the CNN Centre in Atlanta, featuring newsmakers and public participation.

[Read more]


Tones and I: Dance Monkey singer buys $5.1M Mt Eliza house

Tones and I has splashed serious cash on a luxury mansion on the Mornington Peninsula, reports News Corp’s Jayitri Smiles.

The Dance Monkey singer, real name Toni Watson, is understood to have spent a whopping $5.1 million on a Mt Eliza property last week.

Multiple sources, including agents and buyer’s advocates who work in the area, confirmed the transaction exclusively with the Herald Sun.

It comes just a month after the singer, who grew up in Mt Martha, made an $800,000 off-market deal in Frankston’s Lakewood Estate. It’s believed she bought that more humble home for a family member or friend.

Harcourts Central agent Gerard Cosgrave would not comment on the identity of the buyer after inking the deal for the grand Mt Eliza property.

The singer famously lived out of her van, and then in a hostel rent-free, in 2018 after quitting her retail job at Southland to move to Byron Bay.

[Read more]

Jackie O: radio host’s Vaucluse home comes up for auction

Radio host Jackie O’s extraordinarily beautiful Vaucluse home has just hit the market, reports News Corp’s Stephen Nicholls.

And Sydney families are going to love what’s beyond the white picket fence.

Ray White TRG principal Gavin Rubinstein is quoting a $6.5 million price guide ahead of a March 31 auction for the five-bedroom, three-bathroom home with tandem parking for two cars at 9 Cambridge Ave.

CoreLogic records show the popular Kyle and Jackie O co-host bought the house on the 766 sqm block for $2.7 million in 2012.

But she and husband British photographer Lee Henderson, who separated on good terms in 2018, transformed the home with quality builders Horizon Habitats.

It’s now an up-to-the-minute family home with quality fixtures and fittings, full of northern light, with a chef’s kitchen with marble island benches and a Lacanche double oven.

The large open-plan living area opens to a sunny level back yard with a prized north-easterly aspect.

There’s a pool and cabana in manicured gardens.

[Read more]


For the creators of Modern Family, goodbye is hard to say

Few moments in the decade-long history of Modern Family are as memorable as one of its earliest: son-in-law Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) presenting the newly adopted baby Lily to the extended Pritchett-Dunphy family to the musical strains of the Nants Ingonyama, better known as The Circle of Life from The Lion King, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Idato.

That scene, a de facto baptism of the show’s eventual success, exploded a myth that multi-ethnic and sexually diverse television audiences want to watch stale, inauthentic caricatures in sitcoms. In stark contrast, Modern Family gave us what it said on the label: a blended family that included gay son Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), no-nonsense Latina stepmother Gloria (Sofía Vergara) and her son Manny (Rico Rodriguez).

More than a decade later, the series is now in its final season, and meeting the cast makes for an emotional encounter. There is a sense that after close to 250 half-hour episodes, they are collectively ready to move on to something else. But there is also a deep sense that this particular cast, unusually close in a town that does not always foster such friendship, is struggling to find the words and a way to say goodbye.

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The hunt for a detective's name inspires one of TV's best series

For years, one of the world’s greatest mysteries was the seemingly trivial, “What is the Christian name of Detective Chief Inspector Morse?”, a character created by novelist Colin Dexter and played in television’s Inspector Morse (1987–2000) by John Thaw, writes Scott Murray in The Age/The SMH.

Morse is the policeman who resolutely tried to keep Oxford stable and safe, before delighting in a pint of ale and his joint passions of opera and dangerous women. But he stubbornly remained a mystery to audiences, and only in the 12th novel and third-last television episode did we finally discover his first name: Endeavour.

Four years after Morse’s on-screen death, his legacy was revived by scriptwriter Russell Lewis in Lewis (2006-15). It features Morse’s former assistant, Detective Inspector Lewis (Kevin Whatley), traumatised by the death of his wife, and Detective Sergeant Hathaway (Laurence Fox), a former Oxford student who has lost his religious faith and direction in life. Somehow, two disconnected souls find a way to realign the troubled lives of others.

In 2012, at the height of Lewis’ success, there unexpectedly appeared a parallel series, a prequel named Endeavour.

Endeavour is my favourite television show (with Foyle and Lewis hovering close). I love being swept away by its melancholic intensity, by the crisp and richly layered storytelling that respects and challenges its audience. I applaud its highlighting values too often denigrated in an ideological war that the bad guys seem to be winning.

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Sports Media

Ex-Ten boss to shake up Rugby Australia board manoeuvrings

Former Ten boss and News Corp senior executive Hamish McLennan has emerged as a heavy-hitting candidate for the Rugby Australia board and a potential rival to chairman-elect candidate David Mortimer, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Georgina Robinson.

Numerous senior Australian rugby sources have confirmed that McLennan, a media specialist and former right hand man to News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch, is on the shortlist for three vacant director roles.

His nomination and potential election to the board could have ramifications for RA’s broadcast rights negotiations, which are in their final stages under the stewardship of chief executive Raelene Castle and strategist Shane Mattiske.

McLennan, who was overseas and could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, has launched an impressive governance career in the past eight years.

He is deputy chair of $92bn investment management group Magellan as well as chairman of media group REA, and Here There & Everywhere (HT&E), the parent company of Australian Radio Network (ARN).

But it is his long history with News Corp and related companies that will pique interest at this delicate juncture in Australian rugby’s history.

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