Thursday October 1, 2020

Podcast Week: PodcastOne’s Hacker, Netflix audio, Spotify Originals

By James Manning

• Eardrum and Song Zu, Tory Archbold’s Stories, Zero Waste, Wondery

Cyber Hacker’s security tips

Reformed hacker Bastien Treptel (pictured) and the team at cybersecurity experts CTRL Group take listeners through how to best avoid cyber-attacks and identity theft in the PodcastOne series Cyber Hacker.

Treptel told Mediaweek the series launched last year. “My friend and CEO of CTRL Steve Williams thought it would be a good idea for a podcast. I thought it was a silly idea, but how wrong was I?”

While the podcast does have information for businesses and how they can avoid cyber chaos, Treptel said there is also information for individuals about security and managing risk. Some of the best information comes from people who know all about the bad stuff. “One recent guest was the first hacker to be jailed in Australia back in 1995. He told us how he could destroy Sydney in one week with things he could buy just from Bunnings.”

When it comes to keeping your own details secret, Treptel said: “The privacy train left the station some time ago. As soon as people started signing up to Facebook and Google. The real danger for people now is when someone has enough information about one person there is a risk of identity theft which can lead to something as serious as you being pinged for a crime you didn’t commit.”

When it comes to social media, Treptel admitted he uses some platforms on dedicated devices. “It is an important part of life these days, but use it cautiously, and be aware of the information you are putting out there.”

Treptel is promoted as being a reformed hacker. Just how bad was he? “I was a pretty friendly hacker. I was just curious about how everything worked. After I looked on someone’s laptop one day one thing led to another and I soon had a few thousand credit card numbers. All I did was order pizza a few times!”

While using a VPN can help protect online identification, Treptel warned “in many ways they can be more dangerous. You need to make sure it comes from a reputable source. I have seen them as a source of infection for some people.”

Season two of Cyber Hacker is being recorded now with new episodes promised every three weeks. Guests coming soon include a member of INTERPOL and an interview with Australia’s most notorious hacker Skeeve Stevens.

Listen to Cyber Hacker here.

Tory Archbold launches Powerful Stories podcast series

Former Sydney PR agency owner Tory Archbold has followed two decades partnering with the world’s top performing retail brands, media, celebrities and influencers with the launch of a podcast series.

Archbold said her Powerful Stories podcast was launched because “she learnt that you can take what the world throws at you and turn it into your superpower. I heard so many powerful stories throughout my career and felt it was time they were given a platform and a voice to empower others.”

From entrepreneurs and CEOs to business, fashion, sport and media influencers, the series features Nicky Briger, Chelsea Pottenger, Keira Rumble, Zoe Marshall, Candice Warner, Sarah Hogan, Tahyna Tozzi, Jacinta Tynan, Elle Halliwell, Sally Obermeder, Elka Graham, Jo Gaines, Kate Vale, Steph Adams, Alex Tullio, Camilla Franks with more to be confirmed.

Listen to The Powerful Stories here.

Veronica Milsom’s guestlist

As this column reported last week, new mum and radio host Veronica Milsom this week released her new diary-esque comedy podcast series, Zero Waste Baby, on PodcastOne Australia.

Milson has now revealed details of her guest list which includes the ABC’s Craig Reucassel, Placenta Encapsulator and Umbilical Cord artist Virginia Maddock, zero waste author, influencer and homemade beauty product maker Anita Vandyke and Marie-Kondo trained consultant Pilar Llorente.

PodcastOne Australia head of content Jen Goggin said: “Veronica’s honesty, together with her strong comedic sensibilities, has allowed her to make a series that deals with heavy topics like our environmental future and the struggles of parenting, in a way that’s engaging, entertaining and hilarious. This is a series that everyone needs to listen to.”

Listen to Zero Waste Baby here.

Netflix launches Aussie podcast The Big Film Buffet

The Big Film Buffet is a new Netflix Australia podcast looking at the subscription TV platform’s movies.

Every Tuesday Susie Youssef and Alexei Toliopoulos will discuss a premiere pick direct from Netflix, a classic film from the same genre, and a personalised recommendation for something a little extra.

In the first episode released this week Susie and Alexei cover a family-friendly feast of movies including Enola Holmes, Matilda and Looking for Alibrandi.

Susie Youssef said: “If you’re anything like me, deciding what to watch is a regular struggle so hopefully we’ll help you with a bunch of recommendations to add to that list in the notes section of your phone that you keep forgetting to look at.”

Listen to The Big Film Buffet here

Spotify partners with Babyology for The Dad Kit

Spotify has commissioned a 12-part exclusive podcast series with Australian parenting site Babyology called The Dad Kit. The series uncovers the mysteries of modern-day fatherhood through the voice of Australian social media content creator and parenting authority Sean Szeps, and his celebrity dad guests.

Listeners will hear Szeps interview a well-known Australian celebrity dad, where the pair will discuss a particular topic and answer a question or debunk a stereotype about fatherhood, exploring how far society has travelled when it comes to gender roles in the family.

Episode one features Australian ARIA-awarded musician Josh Pyke, where the pair put parental leave under the microscope and talk about why more dads don’t take it, determining why, through Josh’s personal experiences growing up and parenting his boys. Other guests to feature on The Dad Kit include Sam Wood, Jock Zonfrillo, Marc Fennell, Tom Lowndes and Sam Everingham.

Szeps said: “I wanted to give new and existing dads a place to turn to where they could hear conversations about the parenting experience and get advice on handling the highs and the lows, from those who have done it before.”

Sean Szeps spent years tackling dad stereotypes after adopting twin girls with his husband Josh Szeps. Bursting onto the parenting scene initially through his blog Bringing Up Gaybies, Szeps has in recent years also been an authoritative voice in the parenting space through various mediums, including podcasts across the Mamamia network.

Prithi Dey, podcast partner manager at Spotify AUNZ, said: “As a company that is constantly looking at ways to showcase the quality and diversity of Australian creators, The Dad Kit is a true demonstration of Spotify’s focus on unearthing local podcast creators to bring new voices and best-in-class content onto our platform.”

Listen to The Dad Kit here

Another Spotify original: Gee Thanks

Spotify this week also announced the launch of Gee Thanks. The series is hosted by creators, and high school students, sisters Georgia and Lily-Grace. The pair – Spotify’s youngest original podcast creators to date – cover topics Gen Z wants to talk about – it’s real life, all the time.

Georgia and Lily have grown up online, both as creators and consumers of online culture. They are part of the first generation to be born into social media, and it’s one thing to know you have 900k people who are listening to what you have to say, and they are ready to spill the beans on how they ended up as bonafide, certified, verified influencers.

Listen to Gee Thanks here.

Wondery offering its US app locally

Wondery, the world’s largest independent podcast publisher, is offering its mobile app (available on iOS and Android) to listeners in Australia. Research indicates 85% of podcast listening in Australia is on a mobile device.

Also included within the app is Wondery+, the platform’s premium subscription service, which offers:

Platform Custom for Wondery shows: A user interface designed specifically for users accustomed to popular streaming platforms, easy season and episode navigation, visual trailers.

Early access to new episodes of select series.

Binge-mode/sequential listening: Users spend on average 97 minutes binging on the app (significantly higher compared to others in Wondery’s category).

Ad-free listening of over 200 podcasts.

Exclusive episodes and content that includes select past seasons and bonus episodes.

Bloomberg revealed just last week that the Los Angeles-based podcast company Wondery has hired financial advisers “to explore strategic options, including a potential sale.”

The Wondery app is available to download in the iOS and Google Play app stores.

Song Zu & Eardrum launch Resonance joint venture

Eardrum’s Ralph van Dijk and Song Zu’s Ramesh Sathiah (pictured), have partnered to form Resonance Sonic Branding, a new audio branding agency to improve impact and attribution across all audio platforms.

Resonance Sonic Branding will combine the strengths and expertise of Song Zu and Eardrum to offer clients unique sonic branding strategies.

Ralph van Dijk said sonic branding encompasses so much more than an audio logo or sound grab. “It’s an opportunity to capture a brand’s personality using music, voice and sound design and ensure it resonates at every touchpoint.”

Ramesh Sathiah added, “With the continuing growth in audio-on-demand, there is an increasing need for a thoughtful sonic strategy to improve a brands impact and attribution across all platforms.

“Eardrum and Song Zu often collaborate on projects and have great mutual respect for each other,” said van Dijk. “We knew that by combining our strengths, we’d create a dream team of strategy and craft.”

“This is not a merger of two companies – Eardrum and Song Zu will continue operating separately,” said van Dijk.

See more about Resonance Sonic Branding here.

Latest results confirm SCA plans to introduce new breakfast at 2Day

By James Manning

• After success at rebranded B105 and SAFM, plans for a Perth revival?

SCA ratings highlights GfK Survey 6 2020

• SCA metro reaches 4.89m people each week
• SCA DAB+ stations reach 727,000 listeners

“What we got delivered today was a reasonable reflection of where the cities are at right now,” SCA chief content officer Dave Cameron told Mediaweek about the broadcaster’s performance in the Survey 6, 2020 GfK radio ratings.

“I can see it first hand in Melbourne. There have been no cars on the road. There is no-one out and about, not many going to work. There are no school drops off with people still home-schooling after 16 weeks.

“That is obviously going to disrupt the key music stations that have a strong result from in-car listening during the key commute times. When you remove cars and in-car listening, clearly that is going to deliver results like we got this survey.”

Cameron was referring to the result at Hit Network flagship station Fox FM which hit an unheard of 5.9% share as cume slumped back below 1m.

Are these results a reflection of the performance of our shows? Absolutely not. Is it a reflection of the audience behaviour in a city that has got extreme lockdowns? Yes.”

Despite some erratic results, SCA is not about to make any changes with regard to Melbourne.

The last time Mediaweek spoke with Cameron he was praising the way Triple M’s Hot Breakfast was covering the then developing Covid-19 story and the pandemic’s potential to disrupt. The station’s ongoing coverage of what that meant for Melbournians was reflected in its ratings results where it was the only FM station to buck the down trend.

“That is a result that also make sense to me when people are desperate for news and information in Melbourne every second of the day.”

Cameron also mentioned the Melbourne result comes with a significant change in methodology with 100% of people being surveyed completing e-diaries. “With all the variables this survey around changing audience behaviour, you can now add a change of data collection that has never been done to this extent before.”

Looking at the rest of the country, Cameron said the SCA station results reflect a real dichotomy in the different states. “You have stable states that are living the life, compared to us in Melbourne they almost seem to be living pre-Covid. Places like Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia. When we look at the SCA stations in those metro markets they are reasonably stable.

“Looking at relatively unstable states like Victoria in particular and to a lesser extent New South Wales, there have been more disrupted living patterns and behaviours. That is also reflected in the results for our stations.”

Of all the results across the metro markets, the hardest to swallow must have been the slump at 2Day DM, even taking into account the general slide at many FM music stations. “There are things I understand about our Sydney results and to be honest more things I don’t understand. It was a severe result for us and at the right time we will take the opportunity to return 2Day breakfast to a talent-led breakfast show.”

Looking at Brisbane, Cameron noted it was one of two markets where SCA had a key station rebrand. “We returned the name B105 to the market. It is always a risk when you rebadge a station, but we are happy to say it was a great first result for the return of the B105 brand.”

Adelaide was the other market to resurrect a heritage brand. “SAFM did well and recorded its highest cume since 2013. That is a great start to the relaunch of that brand to the market.”

Also helping the Adelaide result was the return of Lehmo to Adelaide radio where he has joined the SAFM breakfast show.

In Perth, SCA had a good result for Mix 94.5, while 92.9 was down a little. Given the results in Brisbane and Adelaide, maybe SCA could dust of the PMFM name for its Hit Network station?

“We will have some exciting news to talk about with regards to the Perth market soon,” is all Cameron would say, adding it will be announced this year.

News Awards
Biggest names in Australian journalism nominated in News Awards

News Corp Australasia executive chairman has released the full list of nominess for the 2020 News Awards.

Distributing the complete list to staff this week, Michael Miller said:

“2020 has been a brilliant year for our storytelling and journalism – and it makes me proud today to announce the finalists for this year’s News Awards.

“As you can imagine, the News Awards for 2020 are going to be very different.

“The awards, now in their 16th year, showcase the best of News Corp – being bold, courageous, creative and passionate.

The Sir Keith Murdoch Journalist of the Year award in 2019 went to Annika Smethurst

The standard of entries this year is among the finest ever: I cannot recall a more challenging, difficult year for the judges.

“If one theme stands out among the many excellent nominations, it is the commitment of everyone at News Corp to serve and meet the needs of the communities in which they work.

“This year, these communities have needed our support as they’ve navigated firstly bushfires, droughts and floods then the impacts socially, health-wise and economically of COVID-19.

“It pleases me immensely looking at the quality of our finalists – indeed all of the entries – to see how we have risen to that challenge.”

Anthony Dowsley and Patrick Carlyon – Herald Sun Outstanding Achievements in Reporting in 2019

The 2020 News Awards finalists are:

Achievements in Outstanding Audience Engagement
Fox Sports and Foxtel – Sport is back
Foxtel – Fire Fight Australia
news.com.au – Fightback to be number one
Nicholas Eagar and team – The Night Watch

Achievements in Outstanding Teamwork
AgedCare360
I Catch Killers
MH370 Special Investigation

Achievements in Regional Journalism
Chad Van Estrop – Geelong Advertiser
Jenna Cairney and team – The Mercury
Sherele Moody – News Regional Media

Achievements in Community Journalism
Andrew Dawson – Quest
Jake McCallum – NewsLocal
Jordy Atkinson – Leader Community News
Suzan Delibasic – Leader Community News

Storyteller of the Year
Hedley Thomas – The Australian
Patrick Carlyon – Herald Sun
Paul Ashenden – The Advertiser
Trent Dalton – The Australian

Innovation in Journalism
Fox Sports – Creating a fans experience like never before
Peter Judd and Community Data Journalism team – DataLocal
The Weekend Australian Review – Review’s Isolation Room

Scoop of the Year
Daniel Wills and Matthew Smith – The Advertiser: Boozed-up Liberal MP
Sharri Markson – The Australian: COVID-19 China dossier
Tom Minear – Herald Sun: Victoria’s road out of lockdown

Achievements in Campaigns
Sunday Herald Sun – We Stand with You
The Daily Telegraph – Save our Heroes
The Sunday Mail (QLD) – The Forgotten Women
The Sunday Telegraph – Can We Talk

Young Journalist of the Year
Adella Beaini – The Daily Telegraph
Chantelle Francis – The Weekly Times
Ellen Ransley – NewsWire / Western Star (Roma)
Meg Gannon – The Chronicle (Toowoomba)

Photographer of the Year
Alex Coppel – Herald Sun and Sunday Herald Sun
David Caird – Herald Sun and Sunday Herald Sun
Sam Ruttyn – The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph

Keith McDonald Award (Business Journalist of the Year)
Damon Kitney – The Australian
John Stensholt – The Australian
Peter Van Onselen – The Australian

Achievements in Sports Journalism
Jessica Halloran – The Australian
Michael Warner – National Sports Network
Peter Badel, Travis Meyn and Robert Craddock – The Courier-Mail
Phil Rothfield – National Sports Network

Achievements in Specialist Journalism
Adam Creighton – The Australian
Grant McArthur – Herald Sun and Sunday Herald Sun
Paul Murray – Sky News

Interview of the Year
Annelise Nielsen – Sky News: Scott Cam
Frances Whiting – The Courier-Mail: Hannah Clarke family
Gerard Whateley, Mark Robinson and Tom Dullard – Fox Sports: Eddie Betts
Katherine Loughnan – Fox Sports: David Warner

Achievements in Investigative Journalism *new category*
Chantelle Francis and Shannon Twomey – The Weekly Times: Federal agriculture official’s links to radical animal activists
Damon Johnston, Rachel Baxendale and Remy Varga – The Australian: Chinese agent’s secret role in Australia
Sharri Markson and Kylar Loussikian – The Australian: How China recruited Australian academics

Bill Leak Cartoonist of the Year
Craig Mann – Gold Coast Bulletin
Mark Knight – Herald Sun
Warren Brown – The Daily Telegraph

Headline of the Year
Andrew Piva – Geelong Advertiser: May divorce be with you
Jenna Cairney and Stuart Thornton – The Mercury: We’ve got a moat
Oliver Murray – news.com.au: Macca’s drive-flu
Stuart Thornton – NT News: Screw you we’re havin’ a brew
Wayne Watson – Gold Coast Bulletin: Stop smoking the Tweed Gladys

Lifestyle Brand of the Year
*The finalists and winner will be announced at the News Awards event

Brand of the Year
*The finalists and winner will be announced at the News Awards event

Sir Keith Murdoch Award (Journalist of the Year)
*The winner will be announced at the News Awards event

10 Play
10 Play extends unified app experience across more platforms

Network 10’s broadcast video on-demand platform (BVOD), 10 Play, has continued the roll out of its unified app experience on connected TVs with the new platform now available on Apple TV, Amazon’s FireTV and FireTV Stick Lite and Android TV.

Network 10’s general manager – digital, Liz Baldwin, said: “Streaming continues to be a priority for 10 ViacomCBS as more and more people extend their consumption choices to include digital platforms, an area in which we continue to invest.

“The roll out and unification of the new 10 Play app across Apple TV, Amazon’s FireTV and FireTV Stick Lite and Android TV enables us to continue creating deeper relationships with our audience. We’re seeing it in the numbers.”

The latest roll out follows the launch of the app experience on Telstra TV in May this year. The improved audience experience of the app saw total video consumption jump 63% and total visits grow 14% on the Telstra TV platform.

Baldwin continued: “We are well on-track to have the new 10 Play app achieve extensive connected TV coverage by the end of this month and I couldn’t be more excited.”

The new app includes the Australian-first Premium Pause ad product which offers advertisers an innovative, immersive and non-intrusive way to engage with audiences with key brand messages on BVOD.

Network 10’s digital sales director, Sophie Hicks Lloyd, said: “Since the launch on Telstra TV earlier this year, the market has been buzzing about the opportunities available on the new 10 Play app, so it’s fantastic that we’re able to offer more scale and inventory across more platforms.”

10 Play is achieving its biggest year ever, with minutes viewed up 18% year-to-date. The platform is currently home to six of the top 15 local series on BVOD including MasterChef Australia, Australian Survivor, Bachelor In Paradise, Neighbours, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and The Bachelor Australia.

Hicks Lloyd continued: “Bach-Nation shows, and MasterChef Australia have proven to be multi-platform hits, not only engaging large audiences on linear, but also attracting a significant audience on digital. With The Bachelorette Australia and Junior MasterChef Australia still to come, the future of 10 Play in 2020 looks bright.”

Wesfarmers executive joins News Corp Australia to run strategy and M&A

News Corp Australia’s chief financial officer Michael Ford has announced Robert Ure (pictured) as director of strategy and M&A commencing Monday, 16 November 2020, in a move to bolster the team’s strategic capability.

Ford said Ure and his team will be responsible for strategic planning and merger and acquisition activity across News Corp Australia. The role will work closely with the executive team to guide, influence and deliver key outcomes for News’ growth strategy.

“Rob’s skills and diverse industry experience will be invaluable to News as we progress our digital strategy and identify growth opportunities,” Ford said.

“Rob will play a key role in our growth agenda, bringing together his deep strategy and M&A experience across large corporates and investment banks domestically, in the US and Asia.”

Ure said: “News Corp Australia is clearly building a world-class digital business based on a proud legacy of providing trusted news and information. It’s also a company that’s always excelled at merger and acquisition activity. I’m very excited to be joining the News team at this important time in the company’s evolution.”

Ure was most recently general manager of business development at Wesfarmers where his focus was on acquisition activity and significant strategic digital projects, having honed his skills during a long tenure as an investment banker at Macquarie Capital, where he specialised in gaming.

Before Wesfarmers, Ure was group general manager M&A and corporate development with Coca-Cola Amatil for four-and-a-half years, where in addition to his core M&A and corporate development remit, Ure identified, assessed and executed select strategic and operational projects.

Jennifer Collins
ABC appoints Jennifer Collins as head of factual & culture content

The ABC has appointed content executive and creative Jennifer Collins (pictured) as inaugural head of factual & culture within its entertainment & specialist (E&S) division, to lead the development and production of innovative content across genres such as arts, religion, science, education, health, history and social affairs.

Collins was previously at the ABC as head of development, head of factual and head of entertainment.

ABC factual & culture, which was announced in June as part of the ABC’s five year plan, brings together E&S factual content makers into a single team across television, radio and digital, including Radio National, podcast creation hub Audio Studios and flagship programs such as Compass, Catalyst and the ABC’s arts documentaries.

Michael Carrington, ABC director entertainment & specialist, welcomed Collins’ return to the national public broadcaster. “Jen is well known and respected by ABC people and partners alike and her unique skills across multiple platforms will help drive our transition towards digital content and services,” he said.

“Australians love and trust the ABC’s factual content, from our feature-length arts programs to long-form audio documentaries. In a world of bombast and bluster, the values of creativity, clarity and intellectual rigour are more important than ever. Jen’s experience and expertise will ensure the ABC remains the trusted home of big ideas and beautiful stories across multiple genres and platforms.”

Collins said she was looking forward to delivering the ABC’s distinctive and engaging content across factual & culture. “I’ve always been deeply committed to public broadcasting and value the ABC’s unique contribution to Australia’s cultural life,” she said.

“I’m delighted to be back at the ABC to lead the factual and culture team, where I’ll be working with Australia’s best creative talent to deliver a rich and diverse slate of programming.”

Collins returns to the ABC from her most recent role as director of content at Fremantle Australia, where she had responsibility for the development and production of scripted and non-scripted content.

From 2013-2018, she worked as head of non-fiction at Screentime, where she led the content and digital strategy across the non-scripted slate. Her credits as executive producer included the ABC programs Anh’s Brush With Fame, Stop Laughing…this is serious and Making Child Prodigies, along with The Secret Life of 4 -Year-Olds and Testing Teachers

Media industry comments on $53 in funding and regulation changes

The Australian Government will support the Australian screen industry by simplifying regulations and injecting $53 million into the development and production of local film and television as part of the 2020-21 Federal Budget.

The Producer Offset which producers use to receive a refund of part of the production budget through the tax system will be set at  30% for all domestic film and television production.

There will also be changes to streamline and simplify the drama, documentaries and children’s content sub-quota Australian content rules for broadcasters.

The sub-quotas were temporarily suspended as an emergency measure during COVID-19, but will be reintroduced from 1 January 2021. 

Drama, children, or documentary content will count towards new simplified requirements. With the exception of a cap on the number of hours of documentary content that can be counted towards meeting the requirement. The mix chosen will be a matter for each broadcaster based on its business strategy and judgement of audience appeal. 

The points scheme underpinning the sub-quotas will give more points to higher-budget productions, creating an incentive to commission bigger budget drama which is more likely to be sold globally.

The Government will also legislate to reduce the existing Australian content spend obligation on selected subscription television channels from 10% to 5%.

Streaming video services will be also asked to commence reporting to the Australian Communications and Media Authority on Australian content acquisition from the 2021 calendar year.

Below are the responses that have been released by the leaders of broadcasters Nine, Seven, 10, Foxtel and also from the MEAA.

Nine Entertainment CEO Hugh Marks

“Nine welcomes this important step in the vital reform needed for our local production sector. It will not only provide a much needed boost to local content production but enable us to better compete in the global content industry.  We will work with the Government to finalise some of the details, but overall this is an important and much needed overdue step in the reform process and we appreciate the time and consideration taken by the Minister to get us to this point,” 

Seven West Media managing director and CEO James Warburton

“We welcome today’s announcement by the Government regarding new funding in the Budget to deliver Australian Screen Content.

“The increase to the Producer Offset tax incentive production for TV series in particular, is a great result for the whole sector, that will fuel strong investment and growth in a sector that has been hard hit by the impacts of COVID-19.

“We remain strongly committed to Australian content and welcome the changes to TV content quotas, which will provide greater flexibility to for us to invest more in those programs that audiences want, and to adjust to changing audience preferences. This is a big step in the right direction and also recognise the importance and value of series like Home and Away, the number one Australian drama which has been on-air and produced locally for 33 years strong.

“We look forward to working with the Government on the implementation.”

ViacomCBS Australia & New Zealand chief content officer & EVP Beverley McGarvey

“Today’s announcements are a significant step forward for broadcasters, content providers, producers and, most importantly, Australian audiences in ensuring a sustainable and enduring local production industry. 

“The reforms are a win for audiences, a win for networks and a win for the local production sector.

“They promise fairness and flexibility, allowing us to continue to invest in the programs our audiences love while giving them the choice of the time and the place that they choose to watch them.

“They also properly recognise the significant contributions that children’s content and long-running dramas make to the local production industry in the form of jobs and talent, rewarding our ongoing investment in popular Australian dramas such as Neighbours, while also incentivising our involvement in larger-scale productions such as The Secrets She Keeps and Five Bedrooms.

“Similarly, they properly reward our significant and growing investment in children’s television and encourage rolling investments in documentaries such as Todd Sampson’s BodyHack or Lindy Chamberlain: The True Story.

“At ViacomCBS, we’re proud of our commitment to the local production sector. Our content is watched by 20 million Australians every month across our brands on Free to Air, Pay TV and streaming platforms.

“We can’t wait to reveal the exciting pipeline of local content coming to your screens in 2021 at our upcoming Upfronts event and look forward to working with the Government on continuing to build a successful local production industry.”

Foxtel Group CEO Patrick Delany

“The package of measures announced by the Federal Government to support local production is a good outcome for Australia, which will see more home-grown stories on our screens. 

“Foxtel looks forward to the opportunity to work closely with Screen Australia to kick-start new productions and employment in the creative sector, which have been severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. We also look forward to featuring the results of work between our channel partners and the Children’s Television Foundation on Foxtel.

“The Government’s package represents a starting point for Foxtel’s future investment in award-winning Australian drama and entertainment.  They provide us with flexibility as we plan new productions, and importantly they recognise television is now producing world-class drama that is much-loved in Australia and sought after internationally.”

MEAA Chief Executive Paul Murphy

“How the Government has missed the boat on regulating streaming services and requiring set levels of Australian content each year defies belief.”

“This government seems intent on deregulation rather than creating a playing field that is level for all.

“Streaming services – yielding billions in income each year – will be celebrating that they have again avoided any content rules.

“The new flexibility provided to Australian commercial television networks will also lead to fewer productions across the board. Moving Foxtel and other subscription broadcast television broadcasters to 5% from 10% of program expenditure for each drama channel just reflects a government that is not serious about the provision of quality Australian content for our growing nation.

“The maintenance of the 55% Australian content rule is a statement of business as usual, as it already allows television broadcasters to count reality, sports, news and current affairs towards quota achievement, but is accompanied by weakened sub-quotas. It is likely to mean the demise of children’s content on commercial TV, leaving a cash-strapped ABC to pick up the slack.

“Even the ‘additional’ funding for Screen Australia simply restores the organisation to pre-Abbott (2014) funding levels.

“The harmonisation of the producer offset is welcome, but it has resulted in a cut of the feature film offset from 40% to 30%.”

ACM takes control of a new $100m JV with realestateview.com.au

ACM has confirmed it has reached an in-principle agreement with realestateview.com.au to form a new joint venture entity, for which ACM will have the majority shareholding.

The joint venture involving the two companies will collectively invest more than $100m into the JV over five years to build a market-leading, multi-faceted property media, agent services and data business. realestateview.com.au will be the lead consumer-facing brand of the JV.

As a result, ACM will today roll out the realestateview.com.au brand to approximately 130 print and digital assets that feature property sections, replacing the Domain brand.

ACM’s executive chairman Antony Catalano said that “the move is a key strategic piece of our real estate digital media plan. With majority ownership in the JV we can now look to fast-track the realestateview.com.au business by enabling it through all parts of the ACM business including editorial, marketing and of course a combined national sales force that will sell our integrated property marketing solution.

“We’ve proven through our regional pilots that by combining ACM’s publishing assets with the Today Acquire digital marketing tool and a listing on realestateview.com.au, we are able to reach buyers more effectively at all stages along the path to purchase and then nurture those leads through to agents and vendors.

“When Alex Waislitz and I bought ACM, we came with a commitment to invest and grow. COVID hasn’t made things easy but we’ve worked hard with the executive team and we’re now seeing the plan come together as we look to evolve into a digitally led media business with many strings to our bow.

“Our push more aggressively into the property space and in particular into digital solutions provides a broader and more sustainable revenue base, which will enable us to continue to grow and invest in not only the communities we operate in, but we’ll be doing our bit to keep journalism funded and alive in Australia,” Catalano said.

realestateview.com.au has gone through a period of significant change over the past two years under the leadership of CEO Toby Balazs (pictured). The former REA executive has looked to rejuvenate the business and set it up for future growth. With a new executive team, Balazs has led a successful capital raise, a migration to a completely new technology platform, partnerships with businesses like ACM and Apartment Developments as well as a content deal with Core Logic to power the hugely successful Price Estimator tool. All of which has helped drive audience growth of more than 40% year-on-year pre COVID-19.

“This is the shot in the arm we’ve been planning for and I couldn’t be happier to see it come to fruition. To have the strength of the ACM business now behind us and to have our brand featured strong and bold across the country we now have the platform to grow the business, build audiences and most importantly deliver results for our agent partners and vendors alike,” Balazs said.

“With a 20-year history and industry support, we are the trusted source for property, and we look forward to sharing this with the rest of the country,” he said.

As part of the initial integration ACM’s chief marketing officer Paul Tyrrell now operates as chief marketing officer for both businesses. Tyrrell said: “It’s exciting to bring these two businesses together from a brand and marketing perspective. We know from experience that combining publishing assets with a real estate portal provides a platform for significant growth in audiences and importantly, more sales leads for our real estate partners.

“It’s now up to the ACM and REV marketing teams to leverage our collective assets and work with our strategic partners such as The Today Business to drive awareness and penetration of the REV brand across the country,” Tyrrell said.

“These are exciting times for ACM and our associated businesses as we look to reinvent and reshape our business for long-term sustainable growth,” Catalano added.

Screen bodies partner ABC and NITV for FNQ filmmaking initiatives

Filmmakers living in Far North Queensland are set to receive a significant boost to their career development thanks to two new Screen Queensland (SQ) initiatives, to be delivered in partnership with regional screen industry organisation Screenworks.

Run in partnership with National Indigenous Television (NITV) and ABC respectively, both programs aim to create career-changing opportunities and foster key networks in the Australian screen industry for filmmakers based in FNQ.

The first initiative, Authentic: Real Stories from the People of FNQ, is a fully funded $4,000 opportunity for three filmmaking teams based in FNQ to produce short films about significant personalities in the region.

Each selected team will work closely with a mentoring producer from the ABC to refine their shooting scripts, production planning, rough cuts and final edits.

The second project, Make It In FNQ: Creating Screen Stories, led by Queensland-based film producer Dena Curtis of Inkey Media, is a free, six-month program of Indigenous storytelling and concept development workshops, open to emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants.

At the conclusion of the program, participants will present their story ideas and pitch materials to NITV for live feedback.

Both projects aim to create opportunities for the local screen industry in FNQ, in delivery of the Advanced Queensland Far North Queensland Screen Production Strategic Plan, launched in August 2019 by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

SQ CEO Kylie Munnich (pictured) said that one of the agency’s primary objectives is to invest in exciting talent across the entire state, as part of its brief to support diverse and original stories to screen.

“Screen Queensland is committed to providing equitable opportunities throughout Queensland, and that includes supporting talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander filmmakers to tell their stories.

“By providing access to mentoring from expert decision-makers at NITV and ABC, we’re actively growing local screen know-how in FNQ, while opening pathways for emerging and experienced practitioners to develop strong concepts with broadcast potential.”

Screenworks CEO Ken Crouch said he was excited about the impact that both projects will have on the growth of the screen industry in the region.

“Both programs are designed to develop the professional skills and capabilities of screen practitioners in Far North Queensland and should lead to more local stories and productions happening in the region.

“Screenworks is delighted to partner with Screen Queensland to continue offering these types of invaluable opportunities and ongoing support for the burgeoning screen industry in FNQ,” he said.

Applications for Authentic open 19 October, and the Make it in FNQ program will launch 6 November. For more information, visit the Screen Queensland website screenqueensland.com.au and the Screenworks website screenworks.com.au or follow Screen Queensland and Screenworks on social media.

Demolition Downunder
New seasons of Demolition Down Under & Aussie Mega Mechanics coming to Discovery

Discovery Australia and Screen Queensland have announced a second and third season of Demolition Down Under and a second season of Aussie Mega Mechanics, from WildBear Entertainment.

Demolition Down Under follows highly skilled crews as they tackle everything from high rise apartments and sunken wharves, to bizarre structures and massive warehouses – working to punishing deadlines, tight budgets and cramped locations. Season two of the observational documentary will feature teams overcoming challenging projects, including a multimillion-dollar Ascot mansion and a 14-meter sunken vessel off the coast of Fraser Island. 

Aussie Mega Mechanics showcases the skills of some of the best mechanics, fitters, and engineers as they work on the biggest machines that drive Australia’s multibillion-dollar industries. The new season will continue to spotlight the locals who navigate ongoing issues to keep these expansive machines operational, often under harsh Australian conditions.  

Darren Chau, director of factual content, production and channels, Discovery Australia and New Zealand said: We’re incredibly pleased to extend our partnership with Screen Queensland to continue these productions, particularly at a challenging time for the local sector. Both series’ fit perfectly in Discovery’s tough jobs genre, giving audiences a rare insight into some of Australia’s most unique industries. With engaging characters and compelling storylines – it’s a successful combination that continues to draw in audiences both locally and overseas.”

Screen Queensland’s head of content, Diya Eid said: “Wildbear Entertainment is a true powerhouse in the factual space. As well as creating fascinating, engaging factual content, they are an inspiring Queensland screen business success story. We are delighted to see our supported productions Demolition Down Under and Aussie Mega Mechanics screened across Discovery’s high profile and far-reaching network, showcasing Queensland production talent to an audience of millions.”

Stream or watch new Demolition Down Under Thursdays from 5 November at 8:30pm AEDT on Discovery Channel, available on Foxtel and Fetch.

The Block
TV ratings: Wednesday Week 40 2020

By James Manning

• Nine cruising with The Block the only game in town
• Will AFL Finals push Seven back into first place?
• US Election race pushes Planet America audience higher

Primetime News
Seven News 1,049,000/993,000
Nine News 1,017,000/990,000
ABC News 773,000
10 News First 355,000/217,000
SBS World News 174,000

Daily current affairs
A Current Affair 691,00
7.30 654,000
The Project 319,000/525,000
Th Drum 221,000

Breakfast TV
Sunrise 261,000
Today 211,000
News Breakfast 196,000

Late night news
The Latest 285,000
Nine News Late 137,000
ABC Late News 118,000

Wednesday TV

Seven: Home and Away continued in the high 5s this week with 581,000 after 589,000 on Tuesday and 552,000 on Monday.

An hour of Highway Patrol gave viewers a break from America’s Got Talent with the ob doc pulling audiences of 443,000 and then 449,000.

The Front Bar was back on Wednesday with finals football scheduled for the remainder of the week. The network audience was 342,000 with 218,000 in Melbourne.

Nine: A Current Affair hovered again close to 700,000 with 691,000 after 678,000 on Tuesday.

The Block is the only reality show in town this week and it has been driving Nine’s winning streak. The so-called copycat scandal hasn’t hurt either with audiences and the media loving the drama. The Wednesday number was 828,000, well up on audiences under 750,000 for the past couple of weeks.

The third episode of Australian Crime Stories followed with a look at the Lawyer X fiasco and Nicola Gobbo. The audience was on 328,000 after 366,000 a week ago.

Footy Classified then did 154,000 with 108,000 in Melbourne.

10: The Project was back above 500,000 after 546,000 and then 462,000 to start the week.

The US version of The Masked Singer started on 285,000. It was never going to go close to what the local series did, but closer to 400,000 would have been more the expectation.

The programming combo last night delivered 10 its equal-lowest midweek share of the year.

ABC: Hard Quiz was again the channel’s best after the News. The audience of 705,000 was down slightly from 726,000 last week.

Mad As Hell also found a spot in the midweek top 10 with 585,000 after 566,000 last week.

Utopia was then on 356,000 and with an election looming Planet America climbed to 430,000 after 308,000 last week.

SBS: The final episode of Arabia with Levison Wood had a 7.30pm audience of 169,000.

Part three of the doco Hillary then did 127,000.

Week 40: Wednesday
WEDNESDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 15.4% 7 18.1% 9 21.3% 10  9.1% SBS One 4.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.0% 7TWO 4.8% GO! 2.2% 10 Bold 4.5% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 2.5% GEM 2.4% 10 Peach 2.6% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 1.7% 9Life 2.2% 10 Shake 0.4% NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.2%     SBS World Movies 0.8%
TOTAL 19.3%   27.2%   29.3%   16.7%   7.5%

 

WEDNESDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 13.0% 7 19.6% 9 16.7% WIN 7.1% SBS One 2.9%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.2% 7TWO 7.3% GO! 2.4% WIN Bold 6.5% VICELAND 0.7%
ABC ME 0.7% 7mate 3.6% GEM 4.4% WIN Peach 3.1% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.4% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.0% 9Life 2.6% Sky News  on WIN 2.6% NITV 0.2%
                SBS Movies 0.8%
TOTAL 17.4%   32.5%   26.2%   19.3%   5.4%

 

WEDNESDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
87.1% 12.9%
Wednesday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,049,000
  2. Nine News Nine 1,017,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 993,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 990,000
  5. The Block Nine 828,000
  6. ABC News ABC 773,000
  7. Hard Quiz S5 ABC 705,000
  8. A Current Affair Nine 691,000
  9. 7.30 ABC 654,000
  10. Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell S12 ABC 585,000
  11. Home And Away Seven 581,000
  12. The Chase Australia Seven 573,000
  13. The Project 7pm 10 525,000
  14. Hot Seat Nine 507,000
  15. Highway Patrol-Ep.2 (R) Seven 449,000
  16. Highway Patrol (R) Seven 443,000
  17. Planet America-Le ABC 430,000
  18. Utopia (R) ABC 356,000
  19. 10 News First 10 355,000
  20. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 351,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. The Block Nine 200,000
  2. Nine News Nine 133,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 133,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 118,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 114,000

 

18-49 Top Five

  1. The Block Nine 370,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 266,000
  3. Nine News Nine 261,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 242,000
  5. Seven News Seven 213,000

 

25-54 Top Five

  1. The Block Nine 419,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 320,000
  3. Nine News Nine 318,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 279,000
  5. Seven News Seven 255,000
Wednesday Multichannel
  1. USA Votes: First Presidential Debate AM ABC NEWS 215,000
  2. USA Votes: Presidential Debate Analysis- ABC News 208,000
  3. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 190,000
  4. The Coroner PM 7TWO 187,000
  5. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 157,000
  6. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 156,000
  7. Lewis PM 7TWO 152,000
  8. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 147,000
  9. USA Votes: Presidential Debate Preview- ABC News 147,000
  10. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  11. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 129,000
  12. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  13. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  14. Love Monster ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  15. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  16. The Big Bang Theory Ep 3 10 Peach 112,000
  17. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 112,000
  18. Neighbours 10 Peach 111,000
  19. Kiddets AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 111,000
  20. Dinosaur Train AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 105,000
Wednesday STV
  1. Gogglebox Australia Lifestyle Channel 196,000
  2. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 80,000
  3. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 67,000
  4. Credlin Sky News Live 66,000
  5. Alan Jones Sky News Live 65,000
  6. First Presidential Debate Sky News Live 57,000
  7. First Presidential Debate Sky News Live 48,000
  8. PML Later Sky News Live 47,000
  9. The Great British Sewing Bee Lifestyle Channel 44,000
  10. Live: Women’s T20: AUS V NZL Game 3 FOX CRICKET 43,000
  11. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 40,000
  12. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 39,000
  13. Newsday Sky News Live 35,000
  14. Coronation Street UKTV 34,000
  15. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 32,000
  16. NCIS FOX Crime 29,000
  17. Afternoon Agenda Sky News Live 29,000
  18. Live: NRL 360 FOX LEAGUE 28,000
  19. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 28,000
  20. The Queen Mother UKTV 28,000

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

SPA prediction: Australian screen content, jobs and investment could halve

The announcement of various measures concerning the regulation of Australian and children’s content is predicted to reduce the amount of content being produced by at least fifty percent and remove thousands of jobs from the sector as well as opportunities for audiences across the world to engage with Australian stories, reports SPA.

“With the local screen industry already reeling from the impacts of COVID-19 and the freezing of contracting caused by the suspension of quotas since April, the announcement today is an unfortunate backward step and we predict will result in the demise of many Australian businesses and livelihoods,” said SPA CEO Matthew Deaner.

“Deregulation of legacy platforms without a transition plan into regulation of new platforms creates a disjointed and incomplete policy response that tinkers around the edges, appears to have been driven by old-world thinking and has scant regard to the future of Australian screen content. A once in a generation chance to reset the foundations for Australian stories for future generations and bring regulation into the 21st century has been presented to the Government in a unified way by the screen industry and the response presented today falls short and needs rethinking,” said Deaner.

“The effective abolition of children’s content quotas, the watering down of drama and documentary requirements and the halving of requirements for subscription TV doesn’t meet the Government’s articulated desire for forward-thinking policy-making. Instead, it presents as the adoption of the deregulation wish-list of legacy broadcasters and their owners and the international streaming companies,” said Deaner.

Measures will allow broadcasters to meet an entire year’s content obligation across drama, children’s and documentary content through a single program such as Home and Away.

[Read more]

Google enlists comedian to help in fight against Australia's news code

Google has enlisted the help of a comedian in its ongoing campaign against the Australian government’s plan to make digital platforms pay for news, reports Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade.

Greta Lee Jackson stars in Google’s latest campaign salvo, which comes as the Australian competition regulator wraps up the consultation period with digital platforms and news publishers before the proposed mandatory news code becomes law. The search giant claims the proposal is “extreme” and unfair.

The final stage of the campaign is focused on what Google calls the “highly unusual, largely untested, one-sided arbitration system” that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has proposed in the draft code.

In a video, Jackson says asking Google and Facebook to pay for news is like asking a bus driver to pay the restaurant bills of passengers who ride the bus to the eateries.

“Proposed laws can be confusing so I’ll use an analogy to break it down,” Jackson says as she rides a bus to local restaurants.

“Under a new law being drafted, the bus driver would have to pay the restaurants for delivering the customers to their doorstep. Sounds weird, huh? Even when she agrees to pay and starts to negotiate how much, nothing she brings to the table is counted towards negotiations.

“What’s more absurd is that she’ll also be asked to cover some of the restaurant’s costs as well, like half the electricity bill. I may be a comedian but this is no laughing matter.”

[Read more]

ABC branded ‘self-indulgent’ for voting for a pay rise

ABC staff have been branded “self-indulgent” for insisting on a pay rise when other public sector workers on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic have had their wages frozen, reports News Corp’s Matthew Benns.

Eighty per cent of the public broadcaster’s staff voted against a proposal to defer the pay rise for six months and to instead pocket the cash straight away.

The vote brought widespread condemnation when public sector workers in 112 government agencies including the department of health have had their pay frozen to help the nation counter a pandemic driven recession.

“This decision is out of line with public expectations,” Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Ben Morton said.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said: “At a time when over a million Australians have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 downturn, employees in the Australian Public Service face a pay freeze, and many other media organisations have implemented pay cuts or extensive job cuts, the Government considered it appropriate that ABC employees should also have a temporary pay-freeze.

“We felt it would have been a fine gesture of solidarity with those across the media sector who have been doing it much tougher than the ABC. It is evident from the results of (the) vote that ABC staff did not share this view.”

[Read more]

Radio

Grant Broadcasting extends live and local drive shows in regional Victoria

Grant Broadcasting Victorian stations K rock 95.5 and bay 93.9 have extended their local drive shows that service Geelong and the surf coast.

Both shows on the regional stations will now go to air from 3pm to 7pm weekdays with a renewed focus on delivering local content for the region. The shows are also aimed at helping commuters who travel daily from the region to Melbourne and back.

K rock Geelong and bay 93.9 general manager Andy Mathers said: “As family owned and proudly local Geelong radio stations, these changes only strengthen our connection with our local audience and business partners.”

The hosts for both shows remain unchanged for the extended hours with the expanded offering launching to listeners this week.

“We’re committed to localism and this is just another example of us demonstrating that,” said Grant Broadcasting group content director Ryan Rathbone.

The Departure Lounge drive show on K rock is hosted by Stampsy and Josh on weekdays 3-7pm.

The Catch Up on bay 93.9 is hosted by the big team of Daryl, Samantha, Renee, Sarah and Roxie on weekdays also from 3-7pm.

Entertainment

I Am Woman director leads tributes to Helen Reddy

The Australian director of the recent film about Helen Reddy‘s life, Unjoo Moon, spoke with the late singer only a week before her death in Los Angeles at the age of 78, report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Garry Maddox and Nathanael Cooper.

After meeting at a G’Day USA dinner seven years ago, the two became close during planning for a bio-pic titled after her enduring hit – the stirring feminist anthem I Am Woman.

As musicians, feminists, fans and family paid tribute to Reddy around the world, Moon said she found the trailblazing singer-actress-television-presenter-and-feminist-icon in good spirits during a video call. Diagnosed with dementia five years ago, Reddy had been living in a home for retired Hollywood talents in Los Angeles.

“She just looked radiantly beautiful,” an emotional Moon said. “Her skin was glowing and she just looked amazing. She was on her phone and I was on my phone and I spent most of the call walking around my garden and showing her things.”

[Read more]

Helen Reddy’s 1972 hit song I Am Woman still resonates in 2020

When Melbourne-born singer-songwriter Helen Reddy died in Los Angeles on Wednesday, aged 78, several generations of Australian music fans instantly recalled the opening lines to her signature song: “I am woman, hear me roar / In numbers too big to ignore …” reports The Australian’s Andrew McMillen.

For Athol Guy of famed Australian pop group The Seekers, though, the memory that came to mind was not Reddy’s breakout global hit I Am Woman but his first meeting with her at a rehearsal with the Channel 9 orchestra in 1958, when Reddy was 17.

“It was a very fresh, clean, modern jazz-type voice to me,” Guy told The Australian of his first impressions. “That’s why I think she melded in so well with the dance bands of the day, because she could sing anything.”

[Read more]

Television

Sonia Kruger and Matt Shirvington filming reality show Holey Moley

Sonia Kruger has added another hosting string to her bow, joining golf great Greg Norman, American actor Rob Riggle and sports anchor Matt Shirvington on Channel 7 reality show Holey Moley, reports News Corp’s Amy Price.

Kruger, Riggle and Shirvington have spent the past two weeks in hotel quarantine in Brisbane before cameras roll on the extreme mini golf reality competition in Redland City today.

The big-budget reality show was due to be filmed on the massive custom-built set in the US in March, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently picked up by Queensland because of the relatively low COVID-19 infection rate in the state.

In the reshuffle, Norman, the show’s resident golf pro, has not made the trip to Brisbane and will film his part in the series in the US.

Kruger, who already hosts Big Brother and The Voice for Channel 7, replaces original presenter Olympia Valance, while Shirvington has been brought in for Brian Taylor, who had a schedule clash with the AFL finals series.

[Read more]

Sports Media

Seven stumps up before cricket dispute heads to arbitration

Channel Seven has paid the $10 million it owed Cricket Australia just days before the high-stakes feud between the game and the network heads to arbitration, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Wu.

It has also emerged that CA’s pay-TV broadcast partner, Foxtel, has paid in full the $33 million instalment it was due to make over a fortnight ago.

Seven West Media had threatened it would not pay another cent this summer after its initial payment, but it has decided to fulfil its contractual obligations to avoid giving CA any extra leverage before next week’s talks.

CA has said throughout the wrangle that it would honour its side of the bargain and expected Seven, which pays $82 million in cash and contra to broadcast the game, to do likewise.

Seven insists its decision to broadcast the current women’s series against New Zealand on its main channel is an indication it is showing good faith.

Broadcasters are unhappy with the quality of the Big Bash League this season, fearing the talent pool will be diluted by supersized international squads in hubs.

Foxtel is concerned over what impact turning the tournament into a travelling roadshow instead of the traditional fly in, fly out model, will have on the party atmosphere in the stands.

[Read more]

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