Friday November 1, 2019

TV Guide: Apple TV+ launches Saturday for $7.99 monthly

• Critics divided on major launch show Morning Wars, start it on 7 day trial
• On day 1 get one full series, plus multiple episodes from three others

After being announced earlier this year, Apple TV+ launches in Australia on Saturday November 2 with its major new series Morning Wars (called Morning Show in the US).

The service will cost you $7.99 monthly unless you are the proud new owner of an iPhone or another piece of Apple kit including Macs or iPads.

Trying to work out whether the series is any good from the critics is proving difficult.

Many in the US and the UK have panned the new series starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. But not everybody hates it.

(See below for critics’ highlights.)


• Morning Wars is written by Kerry Ehrin and directed by Mimi Leder, and explores the cutthroat world of morning news and the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning. Told through the lens of two complicated women working to navigate the minefield of high-octane jobs while facing crises in both their personal and professional lives, Morning Wars is an unapologetically candid drama that looks at the power dynamics between women and men, and women and women, in the workplace.

Apple CEO Tim Cook at The Morning Show premiere with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon

Beginning 2 November, the first three episodes of Morning Wars will be available to watch on Apple TV+. New episodes will continue to roll out weekly, every Friday.

To help make up your mind, Apple is offering a free 7-day trial period. However if you don’t want to be charged you need to make sure you cancel your subscription before the 7 days are up.

What else will the platform feature at launch?

Jason Momoa at the See premiere

• See was written and created by Steven Knight and directed by Francis Lawrence. The series is set in the distant future, after a deadly virus decimated humankind. Those who survived emerged blind. Jason Momoa stars as Baba Voss – the father of twins born centuries later with the mythic ability to see – who must protect his tribe against a powerful yet desperate queen who wants the twins destroyed. Alfre Woodard stars as Paris, Baba Voss’s spiritual leader.

See features an incredible cast and crew, many of whom are blind or have low vision, who helped bring this epic story to life.

Beginning 2 November, the first three episodes of See will be available to watch on Apple TV. New episodes will continue to roll out weekly, every Friday.

The cast of Dickinson celebrates the launch of the new show coming to Apple TV+ on 2 November. [L-R] Ell Hunt, Jane Krakowski, Anna Baryshnikov, Adrian Blake Enscoe, Hailee Steinfeld, Toby Huss

• Dickinson is a half-hour comedy series that explores the constraints of society, gender and family from the perspective of rebellious young poet Emily Dickinson. Written and created by Alena Smith, the series is a coming-of-age story, set in the 19th century, that finds Emily to be the unexpected hero for our millennial generation. Dickinson stars Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski, Toby Huss, Adrian Blake Enscoe, Anna Baryshnikov and Ella Hunt.

Beginning 2 November, the complete season, including all 10 episodes, will be available to stream.

The cast of For All Mankind celebrate the launch of the new show coming to Apple TV+ on 2 November. [L-R] Jodi Balfour, Joel Kinnaman, Sarah Jones, Michael Dorman, Wrenn Schmidt, Shantel VanSanten.

• For All Mankind is a “what if” take on history from Golden Globe nominee and Emmy Award winner Ronald D. Moore. Told through the lives of astronauts, engineers and their families, For All Mankind imagines a world in which the global space race never ended and the space program remained the cultural centrepiece of America’s hopes and dreams.

The series stars Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones, Shantel VanSanten, Wrenn Schmidt and Jodi Balfour.

Beginning 2 November, the first three episodes of For All Mankind will be available to watch on Apple TV+. New episodes will continue to roll out weekly, every Friday.

Other programming at launch will be a number of children’s TV series:

Snoopy in Space
The Elephant Queen (documentary)

Later in November Apple TV+ will debut the psychological thriller Servant produced by M. Night Shyamalan.

In the first week of December, Truth Be Told from Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine launches. It will feature Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer in a story about a hit podcast series that reopens a murder case.

The critics on Morning Wars

Winlea Ma: The pilot borders on melodramatic and it seems like everyone is keen to get their Emmy reels locked and loaded ASAP because there’s some overplayed speechifying. But by the latter half of the second episode, it starts to settle into its paces.

Only three episodes were made available in advance for review and while it has its flaws, Morning Wars is an alluring series, and not only because of its irresistible A-list cast and a supporting crew that includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nestor Carbonell, Karen Pittman and Janina Gavankar.

It’s pacy, brash and compulsive – which all adds up to something worth sticking around for.

[Read the original]

The Sydney Morning Herald & The Age

Brad Newsome: Apple TV+ hits the ground running with a timely, intelligent #MeToo drama that’s refreshingly unpredictable, provides food for thought and, crucially, maintains a sense of humour throughout. There’s catharsis, to be sure, but there’s also complexity of character, and also an uncommon examination of the complex emotions that can bubble up in the wake of betrayal.

At the centre of it all is the formidable yet vulnerable figure of Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston, in tremendous form). Alex is the much-loved co-host of America’s favourite breakfast TV show. The problem is that her on-air partner of 15 years, Mitch Kessler (Steve Carrell) has just been fired for sexual misconduct in the workplace.

Reese Witherspoon is every bit of the fun you’d expect as Bradley Jackson, a feisty news reporter from West Virginia whose appearance in a viral video earns her a flight to New York and a guest appearance on Alex’s show at this particularly pivotal juncture.

If there’s a certain inevitability to Alex and Bradley becoming an on-air odd couple, that’s perhaps the only predictable thing about it. Expect surprises, and some surprising laughs.

[Read the original]

The Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter‘s TV critic Daniel Feinberg says viewers needn’t be familiar with the show’s bumpy creative history – created by Jay Carson and later replaced by showrunner Kerry Ehrin — “to be aware of the series struggling and floundering to find its focus, tone and attitude toward its main characters,” calling the first episode “brutally dull,” the second “meandering” and not until the third does it become “more satisfying and confident,” asking, “[D]id the behemoths at Apple really get into the crowded original TV marketplace to become the latest perpetrator of ‘It eventually gets better!’ patience-testing?”

[Read the original]


CNN’s Brian Lowry says that if The Morning Show is “Apple’s way of sounding the alarm for its new service, feel safe to hit the ‘snooze’ button.”

[Read the original]


Jen Chaney points out the series’ try-hard energy, in that “it is a serious show that, in every frame and every performance, announces that it wants to be taken seriously,” but at the same time, it is also “a well-executed work of television that never lets you forget you’re watching a work of television.”

[Read the original]

The AV Club

Alex McLevy calls The Morning Show “a hell of a lot of fun” and “funny, biting, and with just the right dose of trashy zing, this is high-gloss soap – Broadcast News meets L.A. Law.”

[Read the original]

Entertainment Weekly

Kristen Baldwin cheers Aniston’s performance – her post-Friends return to TV – as well, saying that she “gives a forceful performance, literally – she pounds tables, rage-slams her phone onto counters, and yanks out hair extensions with such violent contempt, you’d think they owe her money.” As for the series itself, Baldwin contends that it’s “an intriguing, if imperfect, entry into the content wars” that she will keep watching, because “if we can all forgive the turgid early episodes of Succession – a primetime soap about aggrieved rich white men – surely we can power through some growing pains for this ambitious drama about aggrieved women who are putting their anger to work.”

[Read the original]

Top Photo: The Morning Show premiere with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon

Streaming: How much are you prepared to pay each month?

With the launch of Apple TV+ this week and then Disney+ in mid-November, potential subscribers will be weighing up their monthly entertainment budgets.

Mediaweek has compiled this list of all the streaming options in the Australian market. You want them all – it will cost you just over $300 a month!


Apple TV+ $8
“Free” if you are recent owner of Apple device.

Disney+ $9
Launching November 19.

SBS on demand
Ad supported. For more see here.

Documentaries, classic cinema and indie films available for free via public and university libraries.


• (all prices monthly, prices rounded to nearest dollar)

Subscriptions start from $25 for Foxtel Now with 25 channels
Platinum Plus package is $139

$10 – $20

$10 – $17

Sports on demand and live for $25

Optus Sport
If not a qualifying Optus customer, $15

Comes bundled with some broadband plans. Channel packages start at $6, $20 if you want the Ulitmate collection. Extra charges also for special interest channels.

Reality on demand for $7

Amazon Prime Video
With Prime free delivery from Amazon $7

10 All Access

Acorn TV

YouTube Premium
Packaged with music subscription $15

Doc Play

Claims the world’s largest destination for anime and manga, $8

In addition to premium level there is an ad-supported free option with limited selection and lower res broadcast, $8

Corporate rebrand: Gearhouse now known as Gravity Media

• A brand-new company with a 30-year pedigree
• Gearhouse Broadcast, HyperActive Broadcast, Input Media and Chief Entertainment come together as Gravity Media

From today, the four broadcast and production houses Gearhouse Broadcast, Hyperactive Broadcast, Input Media and Chief Entertainment owned by Gravity Media Group will trade under the brand name of Gravity Media.

All Gravity Media companies around the world are making this transition.

Gravity Media is a global provider of complex live broadcast facilities and production services to content owners, creators and distributors. Its 500 people serve clients across the sport, media, news and entertainment industries from bases in the UK, Australia, USA, France, Germany and Qatar.

At the centre of Gravity Media lie three broad categories of expertise: media services & facilities; production & content; and equipment rental & sales.

See also:
Sydney-based Gravity Media CEO John Newton on new acquisition

Gravity Media Group was formed in 2000 to purchase leading broadcast solutions provider Gearhouse Broadcast which was founded in 1993. In 2015 the group acquired HyperActive Broadcast, an international provider of post-production and live workflow solutions for both film and TV which was established in 1985.

In 2016 the group secured substantial investment from TowerBrook Capital Partners and in 2017 it took over sports production company Input Media and Australian communications solutions company Stranger Designs.

In 2018 Gravity Media bought Germany-based Genesis Broadcast Services to meet the needs of the production markets of Northern Europe and acquired Proshow Broadcast, a supplier of mobile production solutions to broadcasters, producers and rights holders throughout North America.

In September 2019, Gravity Media acquired Chief Entertainment, a leading Sydney, Australia-based provider of live studio and production services.

Gravity Media worked with Superunion, the leading global brand agency, to develop its new brand strategy and visual identity which is now being rolled out across the business world-wide.

John Newton, CEO at Gravity Media, commented:

“At Gravity Media we are driven by client service excellence, and we never stand still. We’re always looking and listening, keeping up with the latest broadcast innovations – or pioneering them. Above all, we channel our energy into maintaining our reputation for flawless execution, deep technical expertise, and efficient delivery.

“We use the collective pull of our people and resources to capture, craft and create world-class content that inspires and excites. Gravity Media is a brand-new company with a 30-year pedigree, a force to be reckoned with formed by the coming together of four well known broadcast and production houses: Gearhouse Broadcast, HyperActive Broadcast, Input Media and Chief Entertainment.

“We are confident that this change and our new modern branding will make it easier for our clients to recognise Gravity Media as the leading provider of live broadcast facilities and production services.”

The Australian’s David Murray hosting new podcast The Lighthouse

From the team behind the award-winning podcasts The Teacher’s Pet, Bowraville, Who the hell is Hamish? and Lost in Larrimah, The Australian today launches its latest investigative podcast, The Lighthouse, about the mysterious disappearance of Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez.   

At the request of Theo’s family, The Australian’s national crime correspondent, David Murray, joined the unofficial search party to investigate what happened to Theo who hasn’t been seen since leaving a Byron Bay bar in May this year.

As a range of theories for his disappearance emerge, The Lighthouse delves into all possible scenarios highlighted by a major police investigation and takes you inside the extraordinary search by local volunteers who’ve never met Theo.

The podcast also explores the stark contrast between Byron Bay’s millionaires and the homeless community living in hidden bush camps, along with the role technology has played in the case and how it will continue to transform the search for missing people.

See also:
The latest Podcast Week column: Rosie Waterland, 7am, Audio essentials, Daily Mail, Mamamia

Commenting on the release of the podcast, The Australian’s editor-in-chief, Christopher Dore, said: “Our investigative podcasts have become an essential part of Australia’s journalism landscape, giving listeners a unique opportunity to consume brilliantly told audio stories with world-class reporting in our print and online editions. The Australian‘s reporting has also led to remarkable outcomes in cases, enlivening communities and bringing stories to life in such a way that authorities have little choice but to take notice.”

Murray says: “The Byron Bay community has been rocked by Theo’s disappearance, demonstrated by the spontaneous and sustained search in the town by people who’d never met the young backpacker. The Lighthouse aims to help Theo’s family and the local volunteers supporting them in their search for answers.”

Managing director The Australian, NSW & Prestige Titles, Nicholas Gray said: “The Australian has had great success in reaching new and engaged audiences through our podcasts. By highlighting and shedding new light on such an intriguing case I’m confident The Lighthouse will assist the investigation and continue to broaden the reach of The Australian.”

A new episode will be released each Friday, with the first episode going live on the afternoon of November 1.

For more information and to listen to the podcast visit

Mercado on TV: We finally gets to see drama masterpiece of the year

By Andrew Mercado

It has taken months and months for Australia to get the best drama of the year, but Years and Years (Wednesday on SBS) is finally here.

Creator Russell T. Davies never disappoints (the original Queer As Folk, the rebooted Dr Who) but this is his masterpiece. Set around a diverse, multi-generational family, the story begins in 2019 before then moving, year by year, into an uncertain future where populist politician Vivienne Rock (Emma Thompson) is swept to power. In other words, imagine a smarter, more dangerous version of Pauline Hanson, but better dressed and blonder.

Politics aside though, this show is more than just a warning about so-called civilised societies with a vile, violent vision for its future. That’s because Years and Years also has much to say about where technology could be leading. This is a profoundly moving production, and since watching all six episodes, I have not been able to stop thinking about it.

It seems odd that Foxtel’s “home of HBO” and BBC First both missed out on this exceptional co-production between HBO and BBC. Instead, they have Catherine The Great (Sunday on FoxShowcase), a co-production between Sky Atlantic and HBO. Dame Helen Mirren plays the controversial Empress of Russia, with supporting roles played by Aussies Jason Clarke and Richard Roxburgh. As expected with a cast like that, this is a good historical epic, but the first episode is slow, to say the least.

That’s not something you can say about Fat Pizza: Back In Business (Tuesday on 7mate) which explodes back onto screens with even more energy and riotous humour than when it first aired on SBS back in 2001.

At this point I should declare that I once played a personal trainer (who called beautiful Annalise Braakensiek a “fat bitch” before being cooked and eaten by Bernard King) and then a condom in the Fat Pizza movie (no typecasting there). Regardless, I have watched and enjoyed most of Pauly Fenech’s TV series (Swift and Shift Couriers, Bogan Hunters), stage shows and movies (which culminated in the cinema epic that was Fat Pizza vs Housos in 2014), all of which have been made on the smell of an oily rag. Respect.

How can anyone today say that political correctness has gone too far when this rude and crude comedy sends up every sexuality, disability and nationality going (with an African gang now included to keep things topical). It succeeds because it was inclusive before that was even a thing, and everyone on the show is in on the joke.

Fat Pizza’s supporting cast is still a who’s who of sports stars, singers and comedians (Anthony Mundine, Angry Anderson, Garry Who etc), while several original characters are back Sleek The Elite (Paul Nakad) and Bobo (John Boxer). There is nothing, however, more special than seeing the legendary Maria Venuti, still playing Bobo’s Mama, and still bitch slapping everyone. More please!

TV Ratings Analysis: October 31

By James Manning

• Home and Away and Good Doctor give Seven first week 44 win
• Bachelorette and Judge Sandilands give 10 second-best week share

Thursday Week 44 2019 

• Seven News 835,000/807,000
• Nine News 763,000/748,000
• A Current Affair 631,000
• ABC News 614,000
• 7.30 446,000
• The Project 212,000/375,000
• 10 News First 323,000
• The Drum 142,000
• SBS World News 126,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 269,000
• Today 186,000


The 7pm soap Home and Away ended the week on 457,000 after starting the week on 624,000.

A second episode of The Good Doctor this week did 448,000 after 477,000 on Wednesday.


A Current Affair had a second night under 700,000 with two cranky cops exposed.

Seven has its ob doc hour on Wednesday. On Thursday it is Nine’s turn at 7.30pm and RBT did 475,000 across the hour.

Love Island Australia finished its week on 281,000 meaning most of the audience stayed with it across each night.


Francesca Cumani was a guest on The Project to preview the channel’s coverage of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Lisa Wilkinson then interviewed the family of murdered student Aiia Maasarwe which was hard to watch, moving the hosts and viewers to tears. The episode slipped below 400,000 for the first time this week.

The Bachelorette then offered much for fans, including the return of a bathtub! The episode was on 642,000 as the #1 entertainment program after 624,000 a week ago.

The second episode of Trial By Kyle featured everything from the judge calling an accused “an annoying little shit” to a Kim Kardashian wannabe, sex on a bike and insensitive use of a digeridoo by a naked influencer. The episode had 292,000 watching after the series launched with 364,000 a week ago. It again managed to outrate Love Island this week.


Escape from the City was in Cairns with 392,000 after 461,000 last week.

Vera then did 353,000.


Salamanca Market in Hobart was the destination on Ainsley’s Australian Market Menu this week with 138,000 watching.

The biggest audience tuned in at 8.30pm for Trevor McDonald’s Indian Train Adventure with 191,000 watching part one of the two-part doco.

Week 44 TV: Thursday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 13.1% 7 18.2% 9 17.3% 10  13.1% SBS One 4.2%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.7% 7TWO 3.6% GO! 3.3% 10 Bold 4.3% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 1.0% 7mate 3.2% GEM 3.1% 10 Peach 2.5% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 2.0% 9Life 2.4%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 0.7%         SBS World Movies 1.4%
TOTAL 18.3%   27.8%   25.9%   19.9%   8.1%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 12.6% 7 19.4% 9 12.2% WIN 11.4% SBS One 3.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.2% 7TWO 4.9% GO! 3.5% WIN Bold 5.0% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 1.5% 7mate 4.2% GEM 5.5% WIN Peach 2.2% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 1.6% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.8% 9Life 2.5% Sky News  on WIN 1.5% NITV 0.2%
    7food (QLD only) 0.8%            
TOTAL 18.9%   31.1%   23.7%   20.1%   6.2%


85.6% 14.4%
  1. Seven News Seven 835,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 807,000
  3. Nine News Nine 763,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 748,000
  5. The Bachelorette Australia 10 642,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 631,000
  7. ABC News ABC 614,000
  8. The Chase Australia Seven 485,000
  9. RBT Nine 475,000
  10. Home And Away Seven 457,000
  11. 7.30 ABC 456,000
  12. The Good Doctor Seven 448,000
  13. Hot Seat Nine 432,000
  14. Escape From The City ABC 392,000
  15. The Project 7pm 10 375,000
  16. Vera (R) ABC 353,000
  17. 10 News First 10 323,000
  18. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 322,000
  19. Trial By Kyle 10 292,000
  20. Love Island Australia Nine 281,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. The Bachelorette Australia 10 240,000
  2. Love Island Australia Nine 114,000
  3. The Project 7pm 10 106,000
  4. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 98,000
  5. Trial By Kyle 10 89,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. The Bachelorette Australia 10 351,000
  2. Nine News Nine 176,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 174,000
  4. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 167,000
  5. Seven News Seven 164,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. The Bachelorette Australia 10 368,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 224,000
  3. Nine News Nine 223,000
  4. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 207,000
  5. Seven News Seven 203,000
THURSDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 129,000
  2. Father Brown PM 7TWO 123,000
  3. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  4. Hawaii Five-O 10 Bold 121,000
  5. Neighbours 10 Peach 117,000
  6. Seal Team 10 Bold 114,000
  7. A Touch Of Frost PM 7TWO 111,000
  8. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 111,000
  9. Death In Paradise 9Gem 110,000
  10. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 107,000
  11. Becca’s Bunch ABCKIDS/COMEDY 107,000
  12. Spicks And Specks ABCKIDS/COMEDY 107,000
  13. Survivor: Island Of Idols 9GO! 106,000
  14. Ready, Jet, Go! ABCKIDS/COMEDY 106,000
  15. Octonauts AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 102,000
  16. Go Jetters AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 101,000
  17. PJ Masks AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 100,000
  18. School Of Roars AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 98,000
  19. Addams Family Values 9GO! 98,000
  20. Play School Nursery Rhyme News Time- ABCKIDS/COMEDY 97,000
  1. The Great Australian Bake Off Lifestyle Channel 106,000
  2. Gold Rush Discovery Channel 69,000
  3. Outback Opal Hunters Discovery Channel 60,000
  4. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 48,000
  5. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 42,000
  6. Love It Or List It Australia Lifestyle Channel 42,000
  7. Credlin Sky News Live 38,000
  8. Live: Sportscenter ESPN 38,000
  9. Escape To The Chateau Lifestyle Channel 33,000
  10. The Simpsons FOX8 33,000
  11. The Simpsons FOX8 32,000
  12. Coronation Street UKTV 30,000
  13. Ron Iddles: The Good Cop crime + investigation 9,000
  14. On The Case crime + investigation 28,000
  15. Blue Bloods TVH!TS 26,000
  16. Puppy Dog Pals Disney Junior 25,000
  17. Blue Bloods TVH!TS 25,000
  18. The Beverly Hillbillies FOX Classics 25,000
  19. Live: World Series Astros V Nationals ESPN 24,000
  20. Eastenders UKTV 24,000

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

As Armando Nuñez promoted at CBSViacom, Network 10 gets new boss

CBS and Viacom have announced senior leadership appointments across what will be a new ViacomCBS merged entity. The appointments will be effective upon closing of the deal to combine CBS and Viacom.

The changes mean Network 10 CEO Paul Anderson will have a new executive to report to at the global media giant that now owns the Australian broadcaster.

Armando Nuñez

“These appointments mark an important step in the integration of CBS and Viacom,” said Bob Bakish, President and Chief Executive Officer, Viacom, who will serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of ViacomCBS upon close. “The seasoned executives we announced today will capitalise on ViacomCBS’ must-watch programming, iconic library and franchises, as well as its global production capacity to drive important new distribution, content licensing and advertising opportunities all over the world.”

David Lynn, President and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks, will now oversee the combined company’s international media networks, including Network 10 in Australia.

David Lynn

Armando Nuñez, the current President and CEO, CBS Global Distribution Group, and Chief Content Licensing Officer, CBS, will next serve as Chairman, Global Distribution and Chief Content Licensing Officer, ViacomCBS, overseeing all content licensing, including worldwide distribution and domestic syndication, for ViacomCBS-owned programming to third-party platforms.

David Lynn has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Viacom International Media Networks since 2017, overseeing all of Viacom’s media networks and related businesses outside the US. Previously, he was President of VIMN UK, Northern and Eastern Europe, during which time he helped lead the acquisition of Channel 5 Broadcasting in 2014. He assumed this position after serving as Executive Vice President, Managing Director of the group. Before that, Lynn was responsible for Viacom’s distribution strategy outside the US, overseeing deals with key international affiliates and securing distribution for Viacom content on video-on-demand platforms. Lynn joined Viacom in 1999 and has held a range of positions across the company’s brands.

Antony Catalano's Prime moves: too little, too late

Former Domain chief executive Antony Catalano is back, sounding off on his plans for a media asset that’s already slipped through his fingers, reports The AFR’s Joe Aston.

You’ll recall that Catalano, backed by his mate Alex Waislitz, offered to buy 19.9 per cent of Fairfax Media if chairman Nick Falloon gave him a board seat … after the proxy votes required to ratify Fairfax’s merger with Nine, now the owner of The Australian Financial Review, had been received on the night before the shareholder meeting to formalise it. One can only deduce that public attention was the stunt’s (successful) intention.

Now, the duo wants regional broadcaster Prime Media, and has built up a 10.26 per cent shareholding described by The Australian on Thursday as “a blocking stake.”

Too little, too late, again, from Catalano. At least he managed to score some more publicity.

[Read the original]

Facebook’s earnings and revenue jump, topping forecasts

Facebook has been targeted by lawmakers over its treatment of political ads and has been misused by Russians to spread disinformation. But on Wednesday, the social network showed those challenges had little effect on its business, reports The New York Times.

The Silicon Valley company said its revenue in the third quarter rose 29 percent from a year earlier, to US$17.7 billion, while profits jumped 19 percent to $6.1 billion. The results surpassed Wall Street estimates.

Facebook also reported 2.8 billion regular users across its family of apps – which includes Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook’s core social network – up from the year previous. More than 1.6 billion people visit Facebook on a daily basis.

Facebook’s financial performance is a regular bright spot for the social giant, which has been embroiled in scandals in recent years over the way it handles customer data and the spread of misinformation. Regulators and lawmakers are now examining Facebook’s power and whether it is stifling competition. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat running for the presidential nomination, has proposed breaking up the company.

[Read the original]

News Brands

David Speers’ Sky News farewell tour, channel names new political editor

David Speers has been reporting during his final week on air at Sky News where the political editor hosted his last weekday program on Thursday.

Ahead of his move to the ABC, Sky News has appointed a replacement as Speers was farewelled by colleagues on air yesterday.

In the afternoon, saying goodbye to Speers were Canberra reporting colleagues Katharine Murphy (Guardian Australia), Malcolm Farr ( and Phillip Coorey (AFR).

Later in the afternoon he was joined by Sky News colleagues Janine Perrett and Paul Murray for the final Last Word. Murray referred to the different opinions that they have on some matters: “We’re a family that fight sometimes, but we love always”.

Meanwhile The Australian’s NSW political editor Andrew Clennell has been appointed political editor at Sky News.

Clennell has spent nearly two decades covering state and federal politics, will replace Speers and will report live from Parliament House in Canberra during sitting weeks and deliver breaking political news and analysis.

Sky News’ recently appointed chief news anchor Kieran Gilbert and Clennell will work alongside the rest of the political team of Laura Jayes, Tom Connell, Annelise Nielsen and Ashleigh Gillon, who will return from maternity leave.

Sky News chief executive Paul Whittaker said Clennell has an “impressive track record of delivering news breaking stories that set and inform the political news agenda”.

Clennell was state political editor for The Daily Telegraph from 2010-2017 and before that worked at The Sydney Morning Herald.


ABC Children's appoints Megan Young as production executive

The ABC has hired Megan Young (pictured) as ABC Children’s production executive.

Young, who joins the ABC from Create NSW, has 20 years’ experience working in the screen sector in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, fostering close relations with content creators, screen agencies and independent producers locally and internationally.

In her new role at the ABC, starting 11 November, she will manage the production, business and planning activities associated with in-house and external productions across multiple genres, including drama, animation, comedy, preschool, factual and entertainment.

Libbie Doherty, head of ABC Children’s Content, said: “Megan comes to ABC Children’s with a wealth of experience in commissioning, financing and producing content for all genres and a passion for children’s content. Her expertise and insights from working with screen agencies and independent producers, here and overseas, will prove instrumental as we deliver on our Children’s Content Strategy for the years ahead. We are delighted to welcome her to the team.”

Young said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to join the team at ABC Children’s, a world leader in children’s content creation and innovative delivery. The ABC is a trusted and renowned source for children’s viewing and I’m honoured to have the opportunity to deliver engaging, unique, diverse stories and programing to young Australian audiences.”

Young has been acting senior screen investment manager at Create NSW since October 2018. In this role she oversaw a range of productions, including feature films, television comedy and drama series and children’s drama series, and developed projects with experienced and emerging practitioners.

From 2012-17, she worked at Transmission Films as delivery and production manager and then as head of Australia/New Zealand acquisitions, managing contractual and delivery elements for its slate. She has worked for clients Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Dendy Films, Sony Pictures Classics, IFC Films, Magnolia Pictures and Fortissimo Films.

ABC iview goes global: Streaming for international audiences

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has launched the free international streaming service ABC Australia iview, opening up more of its outstanding content to audiences around the world.

The new app is the latest addition to ABC iview, the most popular free-to-air video streaming service. ABC Australia iview will deliver curated Australian content to audiences overseas and is available for download on all App Stores and Google Play fronts outside Australia.


For the first time, ABC News Channel can be streamed internationally via an ABC app, delivering news and current affairs content to audiences everywhere, including Q&A, Four Corners, Insiders, Media Watch, Foreign Correspondent and The Drum.

ABC Australia iview also features flagship ABC programs, such as Australian Story, BTN and Gardening Australia. The new service also features programs showcasing regional Australia, including the Back Roads, along with documentary, lifestyle and entertainment content such as Waltzing the Dragon and triple j’s One Night Stand.

ABC chair Ita Buttrose said: “International broadcasting is one of the ABC’s bedrock Charter responsibilities. The availability of ABC Australia iview will open up a variety of outstanding Australian content to audiences around the world, as well as to the more than 1 million Australian expats who live, work or are travelling overseas.

“ABC Australia iview is an example of how, with determination and drive, we can deliver great value for international audiences, Australian taxpayers and the national interest.”

'Too big': Future seasons of The Block to shun historical mansions

The creator of Nine’s long-running reality program The Block has vowed to never renovate another historical mansion-sized property again, reports The Age’s Broede Carmody.

The comments signal a radical shift from the past two seasons of the high-rating show, with contestants renovating projects on a scale never seen before. The Block‘s 15th season, which wraps-up next week, saw contestants refurbish the 160-year-old Oslo Hotel in Melbourne’s bayside suburb of St Kilda. The former boarding house has been restored to its original set of three-storey terraces.

The Block‘s creator and executive producer, Julian Cress, said the Oslo Hotel would be the show’s last project on such a grand scale. But he denied the decision had anything to do with a desire to avoid headlines linking the reality show to the issues around Melbourne’s homelessness crisis.

“The past two series of The Block, I think, are two of the best we’ve ever made and we’re incredibly proud of them,” he said. “So we don’t shy away from any of the commentary about whether or not we should have made them. We did and we’re proud of the legacy we’re leaving St Kilda.

“But the effort required to deliver that was unprecedented. We’re essentially a renovation show for amateurs. I think in the last season we produced we crossed a line where it was about testing the limits of human endurance. While the contestants rose to the challenge, it was almost too big a challenge.”

[Read the original]

ABC Commercial completes deal with new SVOD platform Topic

ABC Commercial has reached a new distribution agreement with North America’s new SVOD service, Topic, for a collection of ABC Commercial’s comedy and documentary titles for their US and Canadian audience.

The agreement lists locally produced titles including Hannah Gadsby in her documentaries Hannah Gadsby’s Nakedy Nudes and Hannah Gadsby’s Oz, comedy series, F**cking Adelaide and award-winning short form series Goober.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Topic to bring these ground-breaking Australian programs to US and Canadian audiences” said Jessica Ellis, head of ABC content, sales and distribution “These shows are excellent examples of the high-quality, original productions that sits within our robust portfolio of award-winning television content.”

“Topic is dedicated to acquiring and producing compelling content that sits at the forefront of culture. We’re very excited to work with ABC Commercial to add this collection of hit Australian programming to the Topic platform for our subscribers” said Topic senior director, acquisitions, Jennifer Liang.

Ryan Chanatry, general manager of Topic stated, “We’re excited to include this incredible selection of critically acclaimed programming from ABC Commercial and can’t wait to share these stories with our North American audience.”

All ABC content included will be available to stream on Topic starting at its launch on November 21st.


Aussie musical icons to be inducted into ARIA Hall of Fame this month

Australian icons Human Nature, hailing from Western Sydney, will be next to be inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame at the 2019 ARIA Awards on Wednesday, 27th November 2019.

Since signing to Sony Music Australia over two decades ago, the band has earned their place as one of the world’s finest pop-vocal groups of the modern era. Human Nature – Andrew Tierney, Mike Tierney, Phil Burton and Toby Allen – has released 13 studio albums, 4 of which went to no. 1 in Australia, garnering 26 platinum awards, 15 top 20 singles and five top 10 hits worldwide, with album sales in excess of 2.5 million in Australia alone.

Upon hearing the news of the ARIA Hall Of Fame induction, Human Nature said, “We are so incredibly humbled by this honour to be inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame. All we have ever wanted to do for a career is to entertain people, and to have had the fans continually support us over the years both in our home of Australia and overseas, is really something we never dreamed of. To be inducted on the anniversary of our first ever performance as a group & in our 30th year since forming makes us so grateful. We are so looking forward to coming back home and celebrating this honour with our family, friends and fans on November 27th at the 2019 ARIA Awards.”

ARIA Chief Executive, Dan Rosen, said: “The 30-year career of Human Nature is a truly unique Australian success story. From teenage friends to multi platinum stars to keepers of the Motown flame, they have won over audiences all around the world. I am thrilled to have them in the ARIA Hall Of Fame and congratulate them for their incredible career.”

Denis Handlin, Sony Music Entertainment Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Australia and New Zealand and President of Asia, said: “It has been incredibly special to be a part of Andrew, Mike, Phil and Toby’s journey as Human Nature right back from those very early days and to watch them develop into the amazing talent they are today. I am enormously proud of their outstanding achievements both at home and overseas. Their induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame is a wonderful honour that caps off a brilliant 30th year for them as Human Nature.”

On November 22nd Human Nature will release Still Telling Everybody – 30 Years of Hits.

Sports Media

2020 AFL draw: Seven gets just one extra Thursday game next season

While a sense of democracy has washed over the prime time scheduling for the 2020 AFL fixture, reigning premiers Richmond have certainly emerged as kings, reports Fox Sports’ Sarah Olle.

The Tigers will feature on Friday night six times in addition to two Thursday night matches, while fellow Victorian powerhouse Collingwood has also been rewarded with eight prime time slots, five of which are on Friday evening.

Every club – with the exception of Fremantle and Gold Coast – has been scheduled for a prime time fixture. That’s the most clubs playing on either Thursday or Friday since 2011.

Despite making the Grand Final, GWS has only been allotted two prime time matches, but other finalists have fared better.

Brisbane will host two Thursday night and two Friday night clashes, while the Western Bulldogs will feature in five Friday night blockbusters.

Geelong will also be prominent, with a whopping six Friday night matches.

While Carlton won’t grace our screens on Friday evenings the club has been given two prime time Thursday slots. Essendon, however, has bragging rights for the club that’ll play the most in that timeslot.

In total, nine games will feature on Thursday nights, one more than in 2019.

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