By James Manning
• Comedian explains Sydney ambitions, TV dumping and 2020 plans
Moonman in the Morning is SCA’s big play for breakfast success in the Sydney market. Triple M has been the SCA flagship brand in the key market for some time with 2Day FM still to find its way after numerous recent breakfast line-ups and music formats.
To make sure Moonman, Lawrence Mooney, has every chance of success the network has raided the cash register with a new Sydney content director, Rex Morris, and an award-winning executive producer, Laura Bouchet. Also added to the mix are Moonman team-members Chris Page and Jess Eva.
Mooney has a long relationship with Triple M – the comedian first appeared on the SCA brand as part of the drive and breakfast teams co-hosting The Cage. The ground-breaking format was anchored by Triple M’s now content director Mike Fitzpatrick.
Other people working with Mooney on The Cage included Tim Smith, Peter Berner, Matt Parkinson, James Brayshaw and Marty Sheargold.
Mooney later spent time with ARN in Melbourne before returning to Triple M with good friend Malcolm Turnbull.
“In 2015 I was impersonating Malcolm onstage and Merrick Watts, then hosting a Triple M drive show, and I started a weekly spot on his show. I was soon doing the Malcolm character into every Triple M metro breakfast show for two years.”
An offer to join Triple M Brisbane breakfast followed: “That was the first time I joined up with the great Rex Morris [Brisbane Triple M content director] and we took that show to #1 in Brisbane. I don’t want to blow my own trumpet [grins], but, we took it from 9.1% to 14.1%.”
Hoping to get some of that ratings magic in Sydney, SCA offered Mooney that job after Matty Johns walked away in 2018. “I was not about to turn my back on a chance to work in radio in the biggest market in Australia.”
While Moonman and his colleagues feed the Triple M beast in Sydney, he also still does crosses around the network. “To help spread the love…I am a company man,” he laughed, before adding: “Be nice to everyone on the way up because you will also see them on the way down.”
At the beginning of 2019 after he arrived in Sydney, Mooney said he was only contracted to do five days out of 20 in Sydney. “I commuted a fair bit to Brisbane when I was working up there. With the Sydney job, my wife decided she would be bringing the family to Sydney and we have been here the whole time.
“Working in the studio with my Triple M Sydney colleagues makes a huge difference. It might not be perceptible on the air when you are working remotely, but the chemistry inside the studio really helps.”
“We had a great year in the ratings,” said Mooney about how share climbed higher in most surveys in 2019. But he is open about sharing the setbacks too. “We copped a bit of a whack in the Jatz crackers in the last survey of the year which was a bummer because that number lives with you until early March.
“Six out of eight  surveys we were pretty happy with. Our greatest marketing tool is word of mouth. When I work live I am constantly getting a sample of the market. When I ask for a show of hands of who is listening to Triple M, more and more hands are going up in the audience.”
The next official update on the show’s progress comes in Survey 1, 2020, due next Tuesday.
When asked if it will be financially lucrative if Moonman in the Morning starts outrating Kyle and Jackie, Mooney shoots back: “What is he on? [Laughs] I would imagine it would be financially lucrative for me. I would be skipping down to the CEOs office and saying ‘Things have changed’. ”
Mooney adds that may be a little while off. “I am not looking to knock Kyle and Jackie off tomorrow. But you don’t start something like this without wanting to be #1 and we do want to be #1.”Mooney said the show has been built to be #1, and he feels he has the talent around him to get there with Jess Eva and Chris Page:
“Jess is a naturally funny person and is unique in Sydney breakfast radio. Jess hasn’t lived in the rarefied air of Sydney radio before and hence is still quite ‘real’. She loves a punt, her husband is a tradie and she has two young kids – she is as real as you can get. We get on very well together.”
Mooney then turns his attention to long-time SCA anchor Chris Page who is now getting to spread his radio wings again. “We want to hear more from Pagey. He is the heritage in this team being at Triple M for over a decade during the Grill Team years. He hasn’t been utilised as much recently as we are utilising him now. Pagey is a great writer and has a great comic sensibility and can salvage anything we do that is half baked. He is not a laugh track, but genuinely laughs when something is funny.”
Mooney has developed a series of characters for the Sydney breakfast show. Our favourite: Rudi Vanderstone. The controversial TV critic is also a regular on Triple M in Adelaide, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
“People love Rudi and also Len McClusky – our northern English union representative from the Consolidated Union of National Transport (C.U.N.T.). We want to see that on a banner and we are making t-shirts.”
Although Mooney’s Malcolm Turnbull character is still in demand, he is workshopping a replacement. “ScoMo is creeping into our radio show on a series we are developing called ScoMo Five O. I am working on ScoMo. Malcolm has a distinct way of speaking and I warmed to it straight away. Both sides of politics used to laugh hard at the character for different reasons. People were generally grieving for me when Malcolm was sacked.
“There was some initial fear that the golden goose was gone, but I also felt some relief that he was dead and I could move on.
“ScoMo repeats the same thing three times when he speaks and he is quite jumpy in his delivery and has an arrogance. But he is not as enjoyable as doing Malcolm.”
Mooney has a new one hour live show called Beauty which has already travelled to Adelaide where he got a four-and-a-half star. “But who listens to critics,” Mooney laughed. It will later travel to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth during 2020.
Near the start of the 2019 AFL season new recruit Mooney hosted a late night Friday live show. It lasted 14 episodes. What happened?
“When you are dumped by a girl, or a network, they will never give you the real reason. We were told, after we delivered an entertainment show that wasn’t rating badly, it was all about the money and there had to be cutbacks.”
Mooney said he thought there were people at Fox Sports who perhaps didn’t get the show.
“I am always conscious of where I am going and the boundaries. My audience likes me to be edgy and I also like me because of that. I do what I do and be damned. This radio show is edgy and the Sydney market seems to be right behind it. The audience seems to give you more latitude than the Melbourne market.”
“We have got to a point where a lot of people have peeled away from it and are sick of being told what to think and are sick of being told what to say. Triple M has always given shows licence to play in a space where they can be more edgy.”
Photos for Mediaweek by Ash Mar
Top Photo: Lawrence Mooney with Triple M Sydney colleagues Jess Eva and Chris Page
By Claudia Siron
News Corp Australia’s Sunday magazine, Stellar, has welcomed Lisa Wilkinson as guest editor of its International Women’s Day-themed issue this Sunday. It’s been two decades since The Project co-host left behind a successful career in magazines for a career on Australian television.
Stellar’s editor-in-chief Sarrah Le Marquand said Wilkinson was one of the most admired women in Australian media and a voice that Stellar readers know and trust.
“Lisa has had such an amazing career. She was so successful in publishing and to then go and start her television career and become one of the top TV hosts in the country is just extraordinary,” Le Marquand told Mediaweek.
“She’s so well-known, highly influential and very articulate – when she speaks up on issues people really listen to her. She has a lot of credibility and respect and I think it’s quite rare to see that married up with that sort of longevity. I’ve had a career in magazines on and off for 15 years and exclusively with Stellar which I launched almost four years ago and Lisa’s been a hugely supportive person the whole way through.”
The International Women’s Day issue features Candace Bushnell – columnist, author and driving force behind Sex and the City – as well as nine high-profile male media personalities Wilkinson admires, who each share their thoughts on the role they believe men can play in achieving greater gender equality.
“Lisa and I both feel very strongly that it’s really important to involve men in these conversations. Personally, I believe we aren’t going to achieve gender equality until all of the population is involved and that includes 50% of the population who are men. Lisa nominated nine incredible men for the International Women’s Day issue. The list includes actor Sam Neill, Adam Goodes, and Hamish Macdonald – who is a very good friend of Lisa’s.”
Other features in the special issue include profiles of stand-up comedian turned author Jean Kittson; sports presenter Yvonne Sampson; adolescent educator Dannielle Miller and a fashion shoot with Australian singer Montaigne ahead of her Eurovision debut. The delicious. on Sunday section features chef Shannon Martinez and Matt Preston pays tribute to the women who inspired him.
Wilkinson said Stellar feels exactly like the magazine that she was trying to create in the 80s and 90s with Cleo.
Le Marquand commented: “When Stellar launched, we were trying to redefine what a weekly magazine is in Australia – we want to ignite conversations, not rehash the whole news cycle, which is a pattern that a lot of weekly magazines have fallen into. We’ve become a natural home for exclusives and that plays a big part in the idea that we create new conversations and that we’re generating news rather than bouncing off the existing news cycle.”
Le Marquand said Mother’s Day will be the next notable occasion after International Women’s Day, and that it’s always a huge issue for them. She said they always do something special and they’re very conscious of being inclusive. “Every Mother’s Day we make sure we tap into all the different experiences of motherhood as it can be a very difficult day for some people. We also celebrate intergenerational motherhood, adoption, and unconventional families.
“Last year, we announced a policy at Stellar where we don’t ask high-profile women unsolicited questions about whether they’re planning to have children. We’ve had such a massive response. This will be our first Mother’s Day since we’ve gone public with that decision, so I’m sure that would probably play into how we treat Mother’s Day this year.”
Stellar’s International Women’s Day issue will be published in this weekend’s editions of The Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Herald Sun.
Publicis Media today announced the appointment of former Nick Keenan as Starcom Australia CEO.
Keenan will commence on March 16 and has worked both client and agency side, most recently having spent two years as CEO of Red Rooster. He was also previously commercial director of CrownBet, and following that became CEO of the gaming company’s online lotto betting service, CrownLotto.
Starcom Australia’s key clients include P&G, Lion, Visa, Subaru, Snooze and Metcash.
On the announcement, Publicis Media ANZ CEO, Toby Barbour said: “Nick’s passion for talent and the customer, his experience in new business development, brand marketing, business strategy and execution to drive growth, will be invaluable to the future Starcom journey. We’re very fortunate to have someone of Nick’s calibre and diverse background leading the agency.”
Michael Rebelo, CEO of Publicis Groupe ANZ added: “Nick is a proven leader with a strong track record of working in dynamic and fast-changing business environments. His adaptive and collaborative nature is a perfect fit for the culture of Publicis Groupe. I know the blend of his experience will be a great asset to the clients of Starcom.”
Keenan said: “I’m delighted to be joining the very talented Starcom team and Publicis Groupe. Working with a team with a future focus, an innovation-led culture and so many wonderful clients makes it the dream job. I look forward to unlocking the many exciting opportunities to grow our clients’ businesses, leading Starcom and a unified group product to create outstanding work.”
Keenan takes over from Barbour, who has been acting in the role since his move to become CEO of Publicis Media ANZ.
Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) has today announced the resignation of the head of radio sales (Sydney) Carla Vella.
After four years in the role, Vella has accepted a role as Queensland sales director for Shopper Media Group (SMG).
Vella has a long history with SCA after working as a Group Sales Manager, before being promoted to Head of Agency Sales. After a short stint outside the business, Vella returned to SCA, taking on the Head of Radio Sales (Sydney) role.
SCA National Head of Radio Sales Nikki Rooke said:
“Carla has been a very popular member of the SCA sales team, both within the business and externally,” she said. “She has fostered great relationships with our clients and agencies, as well as within the team; she has a knack for making personal, meaningful connections.”
“Carla has the kind of passion and fire that sets radio salespeople apart from the pack – her confident approach, a track record for delivering outstanding results and friendly demeanour will ensure she is a success at whatever she does. We wish her nothing but the best for this next chapter.”
Vella thanked SCA for its support: “I have been incredibly lucky to work in such a fantastic business and with people who are all committed to achieving top results and forming strong relationships with their clients. It has been a great honour to work with and lead such a passionate team – I look forward to watching them continue to grow.”
• News Corp’s Bucky and Bronte now Australia’s #1 original podcasters
The Australian Podcast Ranker for the first time has included US titles from the iHeartPodcast Network and Stitcher which has created quite the stir with iHeartPodcast Network’s Stuff You Should Know grabbing the top spot on the chart. The dates included in this chart where 20 January – 16 February.
It doesn’t end there though with the US titles insurgence seeing titles scattered through the chart including the third spot with Stitcher’s My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, and seventh spot with Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations which is also from Stitcher. That marks three titles from iHeartPodcast Network and Stitcher in the top 10.
In regards to Australian content News Corp’s From The Newsroom is the top Australian produced podcast in the country. The podcast delivers breaking news and the biggest headlines of the day under seven minutes with hosts news.com.au journalists Andrew Bucklow and Bronte Coy. This is the first Podcast Ranker that the show has been included in since launching in late January, and is also the first time a short-form podcast has been the top Australian produced podcast.
The biggest slip in the charts is arguably the Hamish and Andy Podcast which fell seven spots from number one to finish eighth, which is the first time that the show hasn’t topped the Podcast Ranker chart. This is partially due to the fact that Hamish and Andy haven’t released any new episodes since November with their return set for March 5th.
In radio land, the top podcast was Kate Tim and Marty which finished in the number 4 spot of the chart followed closely by The Kyle and Jackie O Show in fifth spot after moving up from 11 on the last Podcast Ranker chart.
Noel Mpofu has been appointed chief operating officer of Screentime (a Banijay Group company), effective immediately.
With extensive experience in finance in the media sector, Mpofu joined the company as chief financial officer in 2017. Previously group financial controller at Southern Star Entertainment (now Endemol Shine Australia) he went on to establish his own agency specialising in television production royalty and residuals management, with clients including Screen Australia, SPA, AWG, as well as numerous production companies and networks.
Noel Mpofu said: “I am thrilled to be stepping up within the Screentime management team at this exciting time. Screentime is well known locally for producing high-quality premium drama and non-scripted entertainment, and as we enter this exciting next phase as a significant global player under the Banijay banner, I look forward to being a part of the innovation of our premium content business.”
Highly regarded creative Anthony Ellis joins Screentime as head of scripted working alongside head of production (scripted) Kerrie Mainwaring. One of Australia’s most experienced script executives, throughout his career Ellis has been involved in some of the most iconic productions including writing the pilot, co-developing and script producing Always Greener for Seven, before being appointed network script executive at Nine where he oversaw the scripting of numerous productions including McLeod’s Daughters and Stingers.
Ellis then returned to Seven where he co-developed, wrote the pilot and script produced the hugely successful Packed To The Rafters. Appointed head of scripted content at FremantleMedia in 2012, Ellis was instrumental in the scripting of the multi-award-winning Wentworth, supervised scripting on both Wonderland and the telemovie Mary: The Making of a Princess, as well as the acclaimed six-part drama Picnic at Hanging Rock.
Upon the announcement Anthony Ellis said: “I am delighted to join Screentime and look forward to helping secure and build on its legacy of innovative, compelling and hugely popular drama.”
Top photo: Noel Mpofu
By Claudia Siron
15 years ago, a subscription service called Social Diary was unexpectedly born thanks to the frustration of inevitable event clashes in PR. The digital diary designed to avoid these clashes as well as keep the industry informed with media & PR news has helped form support as well as build the relationships between journos, PRs, brands, talent agents and influencers.
Director of Social Diary (and PR lifesaver) Tiffany Farrington spoke to Mediaweek about recent highlights for the business, how the service is shaping the industry, as well as a series of lunches coming up this year designed for different groups of industry folk.
When we asked Farrington to tell us the story of how Social Diary was created, she said she always describes it as a fortuitous accident. She was producing a huge event for Cartier and was worried about clashing with another luxury brand, so she emailed the top 25 PRs in town to politely ask them if they were doing anything on June 1st 2004. “There was such a lovely response, and I secured that night and it was a huge success – I got my first Party of the Week in the Sun-Herald,” said Farrington.
“After that I consulted the group again for other events, and many asked if they too could check with the group. Soon there were dates flying around all over the place so I created a word document calendar and sent it to everyone to make it easier. I did this every week and suddenly had every PR in town calling me to be added. Within three months I was sending it to 600 people, so I popped it online and the rest is history. It all happened very organically as the industry had reached a tipping point.”
Social Diary is a small team of five, including Farrington – and six if you count the furry Social Diary mascot, Fang. “Nicola Weiss writes our daily newsletter, Lisa Scott runs the website and renewals, Rachel Iskander looks after NZ and Georgia Dawes manages new members. Fang just turned 14 and is a daily joy.”
Social Diary has reached the wonderful milestone of 15 years in business. Farrington said it made her realise there’s a whole generation of publicists who have never known their job without Social Diary. “You ask anyone older than 40 what it was like ‘before’ and they freak! Nobody knew what anyone else was doing, there were event clashes all over the place, and everyone worked as an island unto themselves. It’s such a connected industry now and that makes me really happy to see that.”
On the topic of how Social Diary is shaping the industry, Farrington said the service has always connected people and delivered key information that everyone needs in this industry on a daily basis. “It really did change the landscape and has allowed people to reach out and work together for mutual benefit of their clients. I have always believed you can work directly with your competitors – which sounds counterintuitive – but I have 15 years of proof that it elevates everyone.”
With their daily newsletter – which their members have a great appetite for – the features include media movements, editorial opportunities, product offers for goodie bags, an international celebrity list of who’s coming to Australia and when/how to contact them, influencer contacts, client wins and more. “We often run brands actively looking for a PR company and it always makes me so ecstatic when members get ongoing business through Social Diary.”
Farrington said all the talent agents in Australia and promoters are members, so they tell Social Diary directly when celebrities are arriving in Australia. “We also have our ear to the ground. We even manage to hear about the ones who sneak in!”
Apart from the big stuff, Farrington said she also loves the little things that have happened with Social Diary and their members. “For 15 years we have run a ‘flatmate’ section on the newsletter, so to see how many publicists and journos are now all living together is hilarious. I love how they form their own friendships through our platform and events over the years – it’s this warm, fuzzy stuff that I adore.”
In terms of plans for 2020, Farrington said they’re bringing back the 80s long lunch as well as other day-time events for their members. “After a decade of crazy costume parties we’ve been doing a series of lunches which have been so fabulous. We’ve done them in NZ and Perth, for talent agents, for freelancers. We also have lunches coming up in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney for different groups of industry folk. It allows us to really connect with our members and have fantastic conversations.”
Top photo: (Left to right) Rachel Iskander, Lisa Scott, Tiffany Farrington, Nicola Weiss, Georgia Dawes.
By Andrew Mercado
Television parents used to be perfect in sitcoms like Father Knows Best but then came All In The Family and Married With Children and parents just got more and more hopeless.
Now we have a FX/Sky co-production called Breeders (Mondays on FoxOne) starring Martin Freeman and “partially based on his own experience as a parent”. And hopefully, not the bits where his useless TV dad has massive temper tantrums about his children.
Breeders’ mom is played by Daisy Haggard, who played a small but show-stealing role in Episodes (the Matt LeBlanc send-up on TV) as a whiny TV executive who struggled to change her facial expression. She is slightly more animated here, but Breeders can’t quite decide what its tone is going to be.
In Breeders, the parents crack one-liners about killing their kids, but in Deadwater Fell, that actually happens. This Scottish village drama grabs you with a traumatic first episode, but don’t expect it to be the new Broadchurch just because David Tennant is in it – Deadwater Fell might actually be better.
Breeders is only five half hour episodes long, while Deadwater Fell (Thursday on BBC First) is just four one hours. It’s good to see Channel 4 resisting the urge to go to the new norm of six episodes, because it’s always best to keep things short rather than dragging things out when there is not enough story.
The Heights (Thursday on ABC) was one of the best new Aussie dramas last year, and now it is back with Rupert Reid effortlessly replacing Marcus Graham as Pav. It picks up exactly where it ended last year, but there are some interesting resets for a new season, and a gorgeous shout-out to RuPaul’s Drag Race, which has just started its twelfth season on Stan.
Finally, good on the ABC for bringing out a rare and special gem, something that has never been forgotten by those who first saw it in 1964. The Stranger (iview) was a hugely ambitious kids show about a mysterious alien and the first ever Aussie sci-fi series. Naturally, there are some “ordinary Australians” who would prefer “foreigners” to go back to where they came from (and today these same Aussies are stockpiling toilet paper).
Luckily, The Stranger ends on an uplifting note, as legendary actor Chips Rafferty plays a kind and welcoming PM. Incredibly, Sir Robert Menzies allowed the ABC to film inside his own personal office at Parliament House. Scott Morrison may not be so generous today, especially after Leigh Sales eviscerated him on 7.30 this week, but let’s hope we see more journalists demanding truthful answers from politicians instead of spin.
By James Manning
• Bark off: Audience checks out of Pooch Perfect episode 2
• Seven narrowly wins primary, as Nine ranks #1 network
• 10’s Gogglebox biggest non-news hit on Thursday night
Rebel Wilson was again key for the second successive week for Seven’s Thursday win. It was a close thing though. A winning share of 16.8% could be one of the lowest winning primary shares of the year. After a launch audience of 624,000, Pooch Perfect episode two was down nearly 30% to 441,000.
Elsewhere on Seven, Home and Away did 561,000 and later in the evening a mini-marathon of three episodes of Modern Family had audiences of 212,000, 177,000 and 170,000.
Nine’s last Thursday without NRL until September and A Current Affair performed best after the News with 640,000 watching further coronavirus updates at 7pm.
RBT got its final workout at 7.30pm Thursday for some time with 437,000 watching across the hour.
The Thursday movie was 2017’s The Fate of the Furious which did 215,000.
The Australia v South Africa semi-final of the Women’s T20 World Cup was on Gem. On a wet Sydney night where play seemed very unlikely, Australia won a rain interrupted game, qualifying for Sunday’s final the hard way. The Gem cricket audience was 193,000.
10’s The Project featured Rove McManus on the desk and featured a coal miner turned climate change activist. The episode did 393,000.
Ambulance Australia did 507,000 after 413,000 a week ago.
Gogglebox was the channel’s best with 645,000 after the new series launched with 685,000 last week. It was #1 non-news show Thursday and cleaned up in all key demos in its timeslot.
The channel’s biggest audience after News and 7.30was Sammy J with his 6.55pm appearance where 297,000 were watching.
The season final of Doctor Who did 210,000 to free up the timeslot for the return of The Heights next week.
The final of Would I Lie To You? repeats then did 212,000 before Grand Designs Australia moves into the slot.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.4%||7TWO||4.2%||GO!||3.7%||10 Bold||4.0%||VICELAND||1.6%|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||3.6%||GEM||5.6%||10 Peach||2.8%||Food Net||1.2%|
|SBS World Movies||1.5%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.8%||7TWO||5.8%||GO!||2.4%||WIN Bold||4.2%||VICELAND||1.1%|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||3.9%||GEM||6.4%||WIN Peach||2.2%||Food Net||0.9%|
|ABC NEWS||1.6%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||2.4%||9Life||2.7%||Sky News on WIN||2.1%||NITV||0.1%|
|THURSDAY METRO ALL TV|
16 – 39
18 – 49
25 – 54
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Australian Associated Press chairman Campbell Reid has described a report by The Guardian that it is closing the national newswire to hurt small media organisations as “gobsmacking hypocrisy”, saying the British-based media company had slashed its payment to AAP, report The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich and David Swan.
It is understood The Guardian cut its spending with AAP, which provides stories, videos and photos to media companies for a fee, by 40 per cent to $75,000 annually from about $120,000.
Reid, who is also a senior News Corp Australia executive, said on Thursday that The Guardian was “one of the very companies that slashed the amount it was prepared to pay for AAP”.
Guardian Australia editor Lenore Taylor wrote in an opinion piece on Thursday that the online publication relied on the “safety net” of an AAP subscription to cover events her outlet could not. She also argued that without AAP, it would be far more difficult for other media players to grow big enough to have influence in the market.
Australia’s competition regulator chairman Rod Sims said it was examining the closure of AAP on June 26 after 85 years.
Every morning the list of stories Guardian Australia should cover is far longer than the list of reporters I have to assign to them. Many mornings the AAP wire service helps make up some of the difference, writes Guardian Australia editor Lenore Taylor.
If we can’t get to the disability royal commission on a particular day, or commit to cover a court case, we know AAP will be there. If we miss a press conference, AAP will have the quotes. Except after June they won’t. They’ll be gone.
This commercial decision by the biggest players has significant consequences for the industry as a whole.
Guardian Australia will certainly miss AAP, but with 6.5 million unique readers in January, we are now big enough to work around its demise.
The majority shareholders of AAP Newswire must be upfront with workers and subscribers about whether they had an agenda to shut the service down in order to inflict damage on their media competitors, says the union for Australian journalists.
Disturbing revelations have emerged that the final impetus for the decision on Tuesday to close AAP was a desire by Nine Entertainment and News Corporation Australia to hurt their smaller rivals who rely on the wire service for breaking and national news.
The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance says Nine and News must answer for the decision to shut AAP.
MEAA Media federal president Marcus Strom said: “In total 600 people, of which 300 are journalists including 100 photographers, will be out of work as a result of this decision made by the media bosses at Nine and News.
“News Corp and Nine said the reason for shutting down AAP was that it was no longer financially viable and had been damaged by the proliferation of free news on social media and digital content aggregators.
“However, today’s reports suggest a more sinister motive: the closure is designed to deliberately harm their print and online rivals who subscribe to AAP for news about politics, sport, business, courts and crime, and for breaking news. The fact that they didn’t put AAP up for sale indicates News and Nine simply wanted AAP shut down.
“For months, AAP staff were misled by management that the company was in good shape. Some employees have taken out mortgages or shifted cities in good faith because of the assurances they were given by management,” Strom said.
“The closure of the newswire is a kick in the guts for those staff. But the loss of the extensive news coverage provided by AAP means consumers around Australia will lose a trusted, reliable, accurate and impartial source of vital information.
“The media bosses responsible for the decision to shut AAP should pledge to employ any AAP editorial staff who want to remain in journalism,” Strom said.
MEAA chief executive Paul Murphy said where the market had failed, the government must intervene to protect public interest journalism. “It is now urgent for the federal government to address the crisis in news media caused by the erosion of revenues through the proliferation of sharing content for free by the giant digital platforms and by the loss of crucial news coverage that was only available from AAP,” he said.
“This could be addressed by a levy on a percentage of the revenue digital platforms like Google and Facebook make from their use of news media content. The levy would then go to a Public Interest Journalism Fund that would help fill the void left by the loss of AAP and promote high quality journalism to ensure the public’s right to know,” Murphy said.
French outdoor advertising giant JCDecaux and ViacomCBS have sent Sydney staff home due to fears people in their offices may have been exposed to the coronavirus, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
Sources told The Australian Financial Review the decisions were made on Thursday. JCDecaux sent its York St office home, while ViacomCBS sent home its Darlinghurst office, which houses networks such as MTV and Nickelodeon.
Network 10 in Pyrmont, which is owned by ViacomCBS following the merger of CBS and Viacom in December, has not been affected.
It follows media agency OMD and Foxtel Media doing the same last Friday.
James Murdoch is adding a new technology start-up to his growing post-Fox investment portfolio, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
The mogul’s firm, Lupa Systems, is partnering with former Time Warner and AOL executive John Borthwick‘s platform Betaworks on a new lab to develop tech products.
Murdoch’s co-investment in what’s called Betalab aims “to fund early stage startups that aim to Fix The Internet,” Borthwick wrote in a Medium post on Thursday. Specifically in products in a “new emerging category of trustworthy, humane technology” that aim to protect users privacy online as well as “a more sustainable news ecosystem and a better informed citizenry.”
Murdoch added of his new investment, “The Betalab project will help accelerate early movers and create a platform from which we can begin to learn how to navigate the blurred reality of our synthetic and natural worlds.”
Betaworks, founded in New York in 2008, has developed products that include Chartbeat, a web analytics tool for publishers, as well as Twitter display platform Tweetdeck.
The Pussycat Dolls have been in Australia this week doing promos for new music and their forthcoming Australian tour.
After a 10-year hiatus, the global popstars are back and their first performance for fans was Wednesday on the Hit Network’s World Famous Rooftop. The group performed Buttons, When I Grow Up, Stickwitchu, Dontcha and their new single React.
The girls then followed that up with a Nova Red Room performance on Thursday night in Sydney.
On Friday morning they were playing in Martin Plaza for a Sunrise live plaza event.
The Pussycat Dolls – Nicole Scherzinger, Ashley Roberts, Kimberly Wyatt, Jessica Sutta and Carmit Bachar have sold more than 55m records worldwide and have over 3 billion streams. In Australia they have had nine top 10 singles, eight in the UK, and four in the US. Their nine top 10 singles in Australia has earned them the title of one of the best-selling female groups of all-time.
The Pussycat Dolls return to Australia in April, playing Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne as the headliners for the pop throwback concert, So Pop. Alongside The Pussycat Dolls are UK pop royalty Steps, Jesse McCartney, Smash Mouth, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and others.
Manu Feildel has indicated taking a hiatus might be the solution to saving reality show My Kitchen Rules, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.
Currently being smashed in the ratings by rivals Married At First Sight and Survivor, industry murmurs have suggested this season could be the last for My Kitchen Rules.
“We have got Big Brother coming back, and how long was it rested for?” Feildel questioned. “Four years or whatever and it is coming back, good. Maybe a rest.
“I don’t think we have done anything wrong with the season,” Feildel said. “There is a lot for everyone to watch, some people whinge about too much craziness, some people whinge that there’s not enough cooking. It is a show that needs all of the above, you need a bit of food and you need a bit of craziness. It has always been like this.”
While Feildel is hopeful MKR will continue, he is busy elsewhere at Channel 7 as he returns as a judge on Australia’s Got Talent and will join fellow chefs Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan on new show Plate of Origin.
Oscar winner Taika Waititi has signed on to develop two animated series based on the work of Roald Dahl for Netflix report The Age’s Paul Kalina and Karl Quinn.
Waititi, the New Zealand writer-director-actor-producer of Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit (for which he won the best adapted screenplay Academy Award last month), will write and direct two series that spin off from Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The first is described by the streamer as a series “based on the world and characters” of the book, while the second is “a wholly original take on the Oompa-Loompas”, the little people who work in Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory. Waititi will be showrunner on both.
The two new Charlie projects are far from the only Dahl offerings Netflix has in store. There are also plans to create animated series based on a number of other titles, including The BFG, Matilda and The Twits.
Australian reality TV stars have commended a confronting segment on the US version of The Bachelor that highlighted the bullying and abuse participants received from viewers online, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Robert Moran.
In the viral segment, Rachel Lindsay– who in 2017 became the franchise’s first black Bachelorette – shared the racist abuse she received from viewers. “I know it’s uncomfortable for you to see this. Just imagine how uncomfortable it is to get this in your comments and your DMs every day, week, months,” she told the show’s viewers as she read out explicit messages that had been sent to contestants. When she asked this season’s field of US contestants if they’d experienced anything similar, everyone put a hand up.
Emma Roche, who featured in last year’s season of Network Ten’s The Bachelor Australia, says she was impressed by the segment and urged local broadcasters to follow suit in reminding viewers that such behaviour is unacceptable.
A Network Ten spokesperson said the network “takes its duty of care of participants on all of our programs very seriously. We work closely with our production partners to ensure the participants have access to a psychologist at all times. In addition, Ten and our production partners have staff dedicated to providing assistance and guidance to the participants pre-and-post show to make sure they receive the support they need.”
Optus is favoured to become the new home of rugby, but the final deal could be disastrous for the code if the telco low-balls Rugby Australia as expected, reports News Corp’s Jamie Pandaram.
The Daily Telegraph reveals that three weeks after putting their broadcast package to the open market, RA has not had a single offer.
The lack of formal interest has forced them to extend their period for offers for another week.
It can also be revealed that Optus has begun talks with production companies, who they will need to film and package Super Rugby, club rugby and women’s rugby games, given they do not have the capabilities to do this in-house.
It’s estimated that these production costs will be around $10 million a year, and Optus will fold this into their offer to RA.
The only interested free-to-air network for rugby rights, 10, is expected to offer $5 million a year for Wallabies Tests and one live Super Rugby match on Saturday nights.