Tuesday October 27, 2020

Upfronts 2020: Publicis’ Jodi Fraser on content, data and who did it best

By James Manning

Are virtual Upfront events here to stay? The program showcases from Nine, 10 and Seven have now all been held, and although there were fewer new programs announced, there has been no lack of talking points.

To gauge how one media agency felt about the new virtual presentation formats, Mediaweek spoke with Jodi Fraser from Publicis Media.

“All three networks managed to put together an upfront that retained their individual style, despite it being delivered virtually,” Fraser said.

“Network 10 focused on content, while managing to create a virtual upfront that was as fun and entertaining as their in-person upfronts are.

“Nine focused on new ways of trading, particularly on data and creating new ways to engage with clients.

“Seven’s upfront was heavy on content and data opportunities, and helped reassure us that they have a real plan for 2021.

All three networks produced really slick, engaging and succinct presentations.

When it comes to who might have done it better, perhaps making a longer-lasting impression, Fraser couldn’t separate them.

“Each presentation had a different focus, and for me, each one left me with something key that I will remember – which is an advantage to the virtual presentation rather than the in person.”

The number of new marquee shows coming is very small. Most shows that will be new to the schedule have either been previously announced or are existing formats that the networks are dusting off.

“What was really interesting about the network content line ups, was that each of them now have a solid, tried and tested content slate.”

“There wasn’t a lot of ‘new’ content, but this lends itself to consistency in audience delivery. Even Seven, which announced the most new programming, will largely be using formats that have worked before on Australian TV.”

Reminder: Programs coming in 2021


Celebrity Apprentice
Beauty and the Geek
Under Investigation with Liz Hayes
Celebrity IOU (Aussie version)
Amazing Grace (New local medical drama)


10 Upfronts 2021

The Dog House (Aussie version)
Making It Australia (Aussie version)


Australian Idol (2022)
The Voice
Holey Moley (delayed from 2020)
Australia’s Got Talent (delayed from 2020)
RFDS (Aussie Flying Doctors drama – delayed from 2020)

Fraser said the information each network provided was the right balanace between ‘tell me more’ and ‘content overload’.

“Each network was able to give us a high level understanding of the sales strategy for 2021 and new products that would help us drive this. In the virtual format this was the appropriate level of detail. We have been given enough information to be able to follow up on initiatives that makes sense for our clients.

Network data detail: “There was a lot of focus on data from the networks, and for Publicis and the direction our clients are going in terms of data strategy, we will be able to tap into each network’s offering to drive solutions for our clients,” said Fraser.

Networks continue to focus on leadership in terms of the biggest network share. But Fraser noted it is important to get the detail about how each network performs within those network numbers.

Fraser: “The primary channel is still important as it is where the bulk of client spend sits. However, as a buyer you want the network to be strong across all their channels. As always, what is more important comes down to individual client needs.”

Mediaweek tomorrow: Upfront reminder – data and commercial opportunities

Visit mediaweek.com.au for detailed Upfront coverage form commercial networks

NRL Grand Final
Nine records biggest ever live BVOD audience on NRL Grand Final day

Sunday night’s NRL Grand Final Match between the Penrith Panthers and Melbourne Storm recorded the biggest live BVOD audience of all time.

The match, which saw the Storm claim their fourth Premiership title, secured a Live Average BVOD Audience of 153,000 on 9NOW, peaking at 282,000 (BVOD Reach). This equates to 19.6 Million minutes and 500,000 stream starts.

Overwhelmingly, the content was streamed by People 25-54, with that demographic accounting for 64% of viewing.

The digital audience for the NRL Grand Final drove 9NOW to achieving its biggest BVOD streaming day ever, with a total of 57.5 million minutes of content streamed yesterday.

9NOW is Australia’s No. 1 commercial BVOD service, with a commercial free to air share of 41.39%.

9NOW continues to dominate live streaming, taking out the Top Four biggest live streamed programs year-to-date across commercial free-to-air television:

Program/Live BVOD Audience


Hamish Turner, Nine program director, said: “What these figures illustrate is that live sport is such a significant growth area for 9Now. To have more than a quarter of a million people tune into the match via 9Now is a phenomenal result. In the coming months the State of Origin and Australian Open will also deliver significant year-on-year growth to the platform.”

Source: OzTAM LIVE VPM, NRL Matches Only, 25/10/2020 – 25/10/2020, includes co-viewing on connected TV devices; Share based on CFTA OzTAM LIVE+VOD VPM Minutes Jan 1st to October 25th, 2020, includes co-viewing on connected TV devices

ARIA Week revealed: Music industry organisation announces 2020 details

• All access ARIAs, ARIA digital Masterclass, Nova Red Rooms return

ARIA Week presented by Mitsubishi Motors returns to Sydney for the eighth year from Thursday 5th November with a different format for a one-of-a-kind year.

ARIA Week presents a program of digital panels, COVID-safe showcases and events taking place in and around Sydney, in celebration of Australian music, coinciding with the 2020 ARIA Awards in partnership with YouTube Music.

The 2020 ARIA Week will be presented by Mitsubishi Motors.

Also supported by the NSW Government through tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, and the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA), ARIA Week will once again be an essential part of Aus Music Month, celebrating Australian music.

ARIA will spotlight artists nominated for ARIA Awards and the state of the music industry in new content series. It sits alongside other Australian music events including the NSW Government initiative Great Southern Nights, Aus Music T-Shirt Day and the 2020 ARIA Awards.

ARIA also announces two digital interview series that will form part of ARIA Week – ACCESS ALL ARIAs and ARIA Masterclass.

This year’s ARIA Week will include ACCESS ALL ARIAS, a new online interview series that will highlight the Australian musicians nominated for ARIA Awards. The series will be hosted by Ruby Miles and Jeremy Dylan, and they will talk to Australian artists nominated for ARIA Awards. Episodes of ACCESS ALL ARIAs will be released on ARIA’s YouTube Channel from 18th November.

ARIA will also bring ARIA Masterclass to YouTube. Usually an exclusive day for invited industry guests, this year’s panels will be filmed remotely and made available to the public, with conversations hosted by Lars Brandle. The line-up includes Global Head Of YouTube’s Music and music industry legend Lyor Cohen, and YouTube Music’s Director, Black Music and Culture Tuma Basa.

ARIA CEO Dan Rosen offering an update on the recording industry in a challenging year, a remote roundtable with managers of ARIA nominated acts and a special conversation involving this year’s ARIA Hall Of Fame artist. ARIA Masterclass panels will be released on ARIA’s YouTube Channel from 23rd November.

Nova’s Red Room returns this year for an ARIA Week Edition Presented by Mitsubishi Motors celebrating and reigniting live performances, reconnecting artists with their fans in the countdown to the 2020 ARIA Awards. This year some of the country’s biggest artists including Jessica Mauboy, Guy Sebastian, Ruel and Amy Shark will perform for their fans in a series of Nova’s Red Room shows on the ARIA Week calendar. (See separate item today.)

Dan Rosen, ARIA Chief Executive said, “2020 has been a year of challenges, so it is even more important for us to celebrate the accomplishments of the people within our Australian music industry who made an impact this year. I’m thrilled to be able to spotlight an array of artists and genres as part of Access All ARIAs. I’m also excited about the return of ARIA Masterclass, and to discuss how 2020 has affected our industry and how we can chart a course forward. This year there’s no guest list – we’re throwing the doors open and making the panels available to all on the ARIA YouTube channel.”

Thursday 5th November – Thursday 29th November – Great Southern Nights
Tuesday 17th November – Women In Music
Wednesday 18th – Sunday 22nd November – ACCESS ALL ARIAs
Wednesday 18th November – Nova’s Red Room ARIA Edition RUEL
Wednesday 18th November – Nova’s Red Room ARIA Edition Amy Shark
Thursday 19th November – Nova’s Red Room ARIA Edition Guy Sebastian
Thursday 19th November – Nova’s Red Room ARIA Edition Jessica Mauboy
Friday 20th November – Aus Music T-Shirt Day
Monday 23rd – Tuesday 24th November – ARIA Masterclass
Monday 23rd November – AIM Hackathon, support by ARIA

Nova’s Red Room
Nova Red Rooms return: Four ARIA events at Hordern Pavilion

• Featuring Sony Music superstars Amy, Guy, Jessica and Ruel

Nova’s Red Room ARIA Edition Presented by Mitsubishi Motors returns in 2020 with a series of exclusive live performances across Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 November at the Hordern Pavilion.

This year Nova’s Red Room ARIA Edition will feature some of the biggest acts in the country and 2020 ARIA nominees, Amy Shark, Guy Sebastian, Jessica Mauboy and Ruel will return to the state to perform live for their fans this November. The impact of Covid-19 has been felt deeply across the industry, however, Australian artists have still been creating and producing exciting music and content for their fans and fellow Australians during this difficult time. Nova’s Red Room ARIA Edition will provide a return to the live music scene, allowing music lovers to experience live performances and celebrate Aussie talent.

Paul Jackson, Nova Entertainment’s Chief Programming and Marketing Officer said, “Nova’s Red Room ARIA Edition is always a special event for the Nova Network, as we celebrate the Australian music industry and support some of the country’s best artists. During 2020 it has never been more important to provide an opportunity for musicians to connect with and perform live for their fans, we are proud to help rejuvenate the live music scene in Australia and put on some of the first live music gigs, celebrating our local talent and recognising the importance of the ARIA Awards.”

Dan Rosen, ARIA Chief Executive said, “ARIA Week is a brilliant way to extend the celebration of Australian music across November in the lead up to the ARIA Awards. I am thrilled to once again partner with Nova and Mitsubishi to showcase our incredible Australian talent at these very special gigs.”

Nova Red Room schedule


Red Room artist biographies

Amy Shark, Australian award-winning singer-songwriter, broke into the music scene in 2016 with the release of her 3 x platinum single “Adore”. The following year her debut EP exploded into the top 10 on iTunes in 15 countries and awarded her two ARIA awards for Best Pop Release and Breakthrough Artist. In 2018 she released “Love Monster” which went straight to # 1 on the ARIA charts. Amy’s single “I Said Hi” reached platinum record sales, over 34 million streams globally and 12 million video views on YouTube.

Jessica Mauboy captured the nation as a 16 year old on Australian Idol in 2006 and has gone on to release five top 10 albums, fifteen top 20 singles, four ARIA accredited Platinum selling albums and won two ARIA Awards. Her songs and videos have been streamed over 112 million times in Australia and 292 million times globally and she has secured 3.3 million catalogue sales. Jessica has toured with Beyoncé, collaborated with Ricky Martin, Flo Rida, Snoop Dogg and Pitbull and represented Australia at Eurovision in 2014. In 2019 she released her fourth studio album “Hilda” which debuted at # 1 on the ARIA charts.

Nova’s Red Room

Guy Sebastian, singer, songwriter and producer, is one of Australia’s most successful male solo artists. Having sold almost four million albums, Guy is the only Australian male artist to have achieved six # 1 singles and two # 1 albums in ARIA chart history. His debut single “Angels Brought Me Here” still holds the record for the fastest selling single in ARIA chart history while the global hit “Battle Scars”, with Lupe Fiasco, has clocked over eight million views on YouTube and 198 million streams on Spotify.

Ruel rose to fame after his father sent a demo of the then 12 year old to Grammy Award winning producer M-Phazes. Two years later his debut single ‘Golden Years’ was released and in 2018 Ruel’s single ‘Younger’ went Gold on the ARIA charts and he became the youngest singer in history to win an ARIA Award for Breakthrough Artist. In 2019 Ruel released the EP “Free Time”, featuring the hit single “Painkiller” and in September this year, the 17 year old premiered the single “As Long As You Care” from his latest EP “Bright Lights and Red Eyes”. Ruel has performed and toured with Khalid and Shawn Mendes and collaborated with Hilltop Hoods and Cosmos Midnight.

Kitty Flanagan
Kitty Flanagan comedy series Fisk starts filming in Melbourne

The ABC and Screen Australia has announced filming has commenced in Melbourne on the new six-part comedy series Fisk (previous working title, Entitled) featuring Kitty Flanagan.

Produced by Vincent Sheehan (Operation Buffalo, The Kettering Incident) written and co-directed by Kitty Flanagan, Fisk also stars Julia Zemiro (Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery, RocKwiz) and comedians Marty Sheargold, Aaron Chen and Glenn Butcher as well as award winning actor John Gaden.

Starring Flanagan as Helen Tudor-Fisk, a contract lawyer who is forced to take a job at a shabby suburban law firm specialising in wills and probate, Fisk is a fast-paced workplace sitcom that taps into the everyday world of inheritances and squabbling relatives.

Kitty Flanagan said: “This is the dream. My own show with all my favourite people both in front of the camera and behind it too. I’m thrilled to be making this in Melbourne for the ABC. We have such amazing, creative people in Australia, the more local content we can turn out, the better.”

Todd Abbott, ABC head of comedy said: “Kitty Flanagan is, quite simply, one of the funniest humans alive, and a show created by and starring her is long overdue. Every page of these scripts is laugh-out-loud funny, and the cast and crew that she’s pulled together guarantee this series is going to be a ripper. What a treat for all of us.”

Fisk will air on ABC TV and iview in 2021.

Production credits: A Porchlight Films production for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. With major investment from Screen Australia and financed with support from Film Victoria.

Written by Kitty Flanagan and Penny Flanagan.
Co-directed by Kitty Flanagan and Tom Peterson.
Produced by Vincent Sheehan.
Executive Producers Greg Sitch, Liz Watts, Anita Sheehan.
ABC Executive Producers Todd Abbott and Brett Sleigh.

Honest Thief
Box Office: Liam Neeson's Honest Thief steals top spot in Australia

By Trent Thomas

The Liam Neeson action film Honest Thief has maneuvered its way to the #1 spot at the Australian box office after making a robust $696,803. 

The Liam Neeson action film Honest Thief has maneuvered its way to the #1 spot at the Australian box office after making a robust $696,803. 

The other new entry to the top five is Australian film Never Too Late which stars James Cromwell, Dennis Waterman, Roy Billing, Shane Jacobson and Jacki Weaver.

The two films to drop out of the top five this week is André Rieu’s Magical Maastricht: Together in Music and The Outpost.

The two new entries this week has helped the Australian box office increase its revenue by 7% after making $2.28m this past weekend.

#1 Honest Thief $696,803

Liam Neeson stars as a former bank robber who is set up by the agents that he is trying to turn himself in to. The film also stars Kate Walsh, Robert Patrick, Anthony Ramos, Jeffrey Donovan, and Australian Jai Courtney. The action thriller averaged $2,722 on 256 screens.


#2 Trolls World Tour $259,119

After nine weeks in theatres Trolls World Tour has made $7.09m during its post lockdown release. This past weekend the film averaged $1,489 on 174 screens.


#3 City of Lies $178,962

City of Lies has slipped down from #1 to the third spot on the Australian box office this week after averaging $1,112 on 161 screens.


#4 Never Too Late $169,850

The Australian comedy debuted at #4 after averaging $988 on 172 screens.


#5 Tenet $152,570

After nine weeks the sci-fi blockbuster continues to find itself in the top five after averaging $936 on 163 screens. The film’s total now sits at $11.84m. 


The Block
TV ratings: Monday Week 44 2020

By James Manning

• The Block ‘Hell Week’ ends as Brighton houses completed
• SAS Australia recruits surrender top spot to the Blockheads

Primetime News
Seven News 1,081,000/1,051,000
Nine News 990,000,1,016,000
ABC News 758,000
10 News First 377,000/239,000
SBS World News 191,000

Daily current affairs
A Current Affair 816,000
7.30 704,000
The Project 333,000/563,000
The Drum 185,000

Breakfast TV
Sunrise 241,000
Today 203,000
News Breakfast 186,000

Late night news
ABC News Late 238,000
The Latest 176,000
Nine News Late 132,000
SBS World News Late 57,000

Monday TV

Seven: Home and Away started on 582,000 after an average of 522,000 last week.

Episode three of SAS Australia was up against what would have been a Sunday night episode of The Block, unavoidable this week with the NRL pushing the reveal episode to Monday this week. The recruits were again pushed to the limit in an abandoned abattoir, but it didn’t get tough enough for anyone to withdraw – that happens tonight! For the first time SAS was outrated by The Block. SAS was on 770,000 after audiences of 834,000 and 795,000 last week.

Two episodes of The Rookie followed on 291,000 and 261,000. 

Nine: A Current Affair started the week with reports on cruise ship refunds and Australian companies looking to hire staff. After an average of 694,000 last week, Monday was on 816,000, the best audience since the last week of August.

The houses are now finished on The Block. Still to be ticked off though are the front yards, back yards and the studio additions at the rear.

In the lead up to the finish of Hell Week, George and his builder Corey were trying to sort out a problem with the stairs. It got serious enough for Corey to ask for the cameras to be turned off! Blockheads from last season were still on hand to help and every couple said they wouldn’t have made it without the extra assistance. The judges arrived first again at Harry and Tash’s and seemed initially impressed. A real dog in a kennel in the laundry from George and Sarah impressed the judges. The judges were blown away by the light fitting in Jimmy and Tam’s entrance hall and the powder room and laundry got ticks too. But it came down to a shoot-out between Jimmy and Tam and Luke and Jasmin. Darren Palmer handed out three scores of 9.5, Shaynna gave two scores of 9.5, with Jimmy and Tam using their bonus point. To decide the winner, Neale Whitaker handed out only one 9.5 to Luke and Jasmin, but they narrowly lost because of the bonus point. They weren’t happy and an upset Jasmin checked out of Block HQ pretty quickly.

The Monday reveal audience was 981,000/975,000 and compares to last week’s 1,008,000/1,079,000. This week on The Block it is front yards and facades.

RBT then again went to air in the 9pm slot and was on 365,000.

10: Celebrities on offer on The Project were actor Eric Bana and singer Sam Smith. 7pm was on 563,000 last night after an average of 458,000 last week.

With no episode last night, it was Monday mystery box night on Junior MasterChef. The challenge was set by the winner of this year’s MasterChef Australia: Back to Win Emilia Jackson. The episode was on 447,000 after 454,000 a week ago.

Have You Been Paying Attention? had no Ed, so this week four guests joined SamUrzila Carlson, Lloyd Langford, Ash London and Tim McDonald. Ratings dipped to 612,000 after 735,000 on Monday last week. Good news is Ed returns next week.

Drunk History Australia then did 213,000 with guest parts for Les Hill, Costa Georgiadis and Grant Denyer amongst others.

ABC: Australian Story featured nine-year-old Quaden and how he and his mum are triumphing over social media trolls. The episode was on 616,000.

Four Corners seemed almost hopeful with the name of the episode from reporter Michael Brissenden – The end for Trump? The show did 686,000 after 472,000 a week ago. Trump is a buzzword for better ratings in the lead-up to the US election now just a week away.

Media Watch followed on 644,000 and then on Q+A Hamish Macdonald was asking how can we achieve a more ethical Australia for his audience of 375,000.

SBS: Agricultural barns were transformed during the Irish restoration on The Great House Revival with 143,000 watching.

Monday night staple 24 Hours in Emergency followed with 139,000.

Week 44: Monday
ABC15.5%718.1%922.2%10 12.0%SBS One4.2%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY2.2%7TWO3.2%GO!2.1%10 Bold3.3%VICELAND1.3%
ABC ME0.4%7mate3.2%GEM2.5%10 Peach2.2%Food Net0.8%
ABC NEWS1.4%7flix1.3%9Life1.7%10 Shake0.3%NITV0.2%
    9Rush1.2%  SBS World Movies0.8%
TOTAL19.4% 25.8% 29.7% 17.8% 7.3%


ABCSeven AffiliatesNine Affiliates10 AffiliatesSBS
ABC14.6%719.8%917.7%WIN9.3%SBS One3.5%
ABC ME0.6%7mate4.9%GEM4.5%WIN Peach2.7%Food Net0.4%
ABC NEWS1.1%7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)1.8%9Life1.7%Sky News  on WIN2.3%NITV0.2%
        SBS Movies1.1%
TOTAL18.5% 31.1% 26.3% 18.8% 6.5%


Monday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,081,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,051,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 1,016,000
  4. Nine News Nine 990,000
  5. The Block Nine 981,000
  6. The Block -Room Winner Nine 975,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 816,000
  8. SAS Australia Seven 770,000
  9. ABC News ABC 758,000
  10. 7.30 ABC 704,000
  11. Four Corners ABC 686,000
  12. Media Watch ABC 644,000
  13. Australian Story ABC 616,000
  14. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 612,000
  15. Home And Away Seven 582,000
  16. The Project 7pm 10 563,000
  17. The Chase Australia Seven 545,000
  18. Hot Seat Nine 504,000
  19. Junior MasterChef Australia 10 447,000
  20. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 404,000
Demo Top Five

16-39 Top Five

  1. The Block Nine 254,000
  2. The Block -Room Winner Nine 248,000
  3. SAS Australia Seven 207,000
  4. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 171,000
  5. Nine News Nine 146,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. The Block Nine 443,000
  2. The Block -Room Winner Nine 434,000
  3. SAS Australia Seven 350,000
  4. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 310,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 276,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. The Block Nine 503,000
  2. The Block -Room Winner Nine 491,000
  3. SAS Australia Seven 373,000
  4. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 342,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 341,000
Monday Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 404,000
  2. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 292,000
  3. ABC News Afternoons PM ABC NEWS 230,000
  4. Afternoon Briefing PM ABC NEWS 197,000
  5. Housos 2020 PM 7mate 189,000
  6. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY 184,000
  7. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 174,000
  8. Love Monster ABCKIDS/COMEDY 172,000
  9. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 169,000
  10. Floogals AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 151,000
  11. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 143,000
  12. Go Jetters PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 141,000
  13. ABC News At Noon PM ABC NEWS 137,000
  14. Doc Martin PM 7TWO 132,000
  15. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 128,000
  16. ABC News Hour PM ABC NEWS 126,000
  17. Neighbours 10 Peach 126,000
  18. NCIS Ep 3 (R) 10 Bold 124,000
  19. PJ Masks PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  20. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
Monday STV
  1. Alan Jones Sky News Live 99,000
  2. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 93,000
  3. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 83,000
  4. Credlin Sky News Live 76,000
  5. PML Later Sky News Live 57,000
  6. Newsday Sky News Live 55,000
  7. Afternoon Agenda Sky News Live 53,000
  8. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 47,000
  9. Parliament Live Sky News Live 46,000
  10. The Undoing FOX SHOWCASE 44,000
  11. Newsday Sky News Live 43,000
  12. Afternoon Agenda Sky News Live 43,000
  13. Live: On The Couch FOX FOOTY 41,000
  14. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 38,000
  15. The Undoing FOX SHOWCASE 38,000
  16. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 34,000
  17. AM Agenda Sky News Live 32,000
  18. AM Agenda Sky News Live 32,000
  19. New Tricks UKTV 30,000
  20. Coronation Street UKTV 29,000

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

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

ACMA: Tech giants' code to handle fake news fails to meet expectations

Australia’s media regulator says a draft voluntary code that the tech giants created to tackle disinformation has failed to meet expectations as Google and Facebook await legislation that will force them to pay news outlets for use of content on their websites, report Nine publishing’s Zoe Samios and Lisa Visentin.

Technology giants were asked by the federal government last year to create a code to help manage the spread of misinformation on their websites, an issue that became more prevalent during the national bushfire crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.

But the draft version of the code, made public last week on the tech giants’ industry body website, DIGI, does not provide any detail on how they specifically intend to combat the issue.

“The ACMA set out its expectations of a voluntary code on misinformation and news quality in our position paper,” Australian Communications and Media Authority chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.

“The draft code released by DIGI for public consultation is a long way from the model that we proposed to address these important issues.”

[Read more]

News Brands

Alan Sunderland: Don't conscript your ABC to the culture wars

All Australians pay for the ABC out of their own pockets, and they are entitled to a service that is relevant to them, writes Alan Sunderland, former editorial director of the ABC, in Nine newspapers.

They are entitled to fair, accurate and impartial news about the issues that are important to them in their lives, as well as to entertainment, drama, comedy, children’s content, music and so much more.

It’s not about deciding whether to be left-wing, right-wing, conservative or progressive to feed the prejudices and preferences of the ABC’s critics and commentators.

It’s not about saying things the government might like in the hope that more funding might be forthcoming. The ABC is funded by the people of Australia. Governments more often than not just get in the way by trying to starve, bully, neglect or pressure the public broadcaster.

And it’s not about dumbing-down, avoiding difficult or complex issues, or replacing one issue with another. It’s about working to build the biggest possible audience for the kind of work the ABC is there to do.

[Read more]

Karl Quinn: Does the ABC's 'inner city left-wing elite' exist?

When ABC director of news Gaven Morris warned his staff against focusing on “inner city left-wing elites” last week he could easily have been citing from the Coalition playbook, reports The Age’s Karl Quinn.

The phrase reflects the perception of a city/country divide and a gulf between inner city and outer suburban values, and marginalises “progressive” issues as the sole preserve of a small coterie of ivory-tower inhabitants out of touch with the concerns of “real” Australians.

But was Morris right to urge his staff to look beyond this audience? And do these “inner city left-wing elites” even exist?

It’s worth noting that Morris’ criticism bore a striking resemblance to the broadsides that conservative commentator Chris Kenny frequently aims at the national broadcaster.

[Read more]


Axed Studio 10 co-host Kerri-Anne Kennerley in award-winning musical

Seven months after the arts sector was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, performers are finally set to return to the stage at Sydney Lyric Theatre next month, reports News Corp’s Mibenge Nsenduluka.

Actor Lucy Maunder will star alongside axed Studio 10 co-host Kerri-Anne Kennerley and more in the Tony Award-winning musical Pippin and she tells Confidential it’s a relief to be back at work after being unemployed for several months.

“I’m super excited and honoured to be in the first production back since the shut down of the industry which was so devastating for the arts,” Maunder said.

Maunder is originally from Sydney but based in Melbourne and she travelled here for the show, which meant two weeks of quarantine and doing some rehearsals via Zoom.

Pippin kicks off at Sydney Lyric Theatre on November 24.

[Read more]


SAS Australia: Jackson Warne reveals toll of being Shane Warne’s son

Jackson Warne has revealed the heavy personal toll of being the son of cricket legend Shane Warne, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

The 21 year-old says under interrogation on SAS Australia that he just wants to be known as Jackson.

“It’s been pretty frustrating my whole life,’’ he says on Tuesday night’s episode.

“Whenever I walk into a room or meet someone it’s always, oh that’s Shane Warne’s son Jackson.

“It’s never, that’s Jackson. I just want to be Jackson. Doing this I know I can prove to people no matter how easy my childhood was I can still do the tough stuff and push myself physically and mentally.

“I want him (my Dad) to be really proud of me.”

Warne also reveals that he struggles to cope in stressful situations.

[Read more]

SAS Australia: Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham blasts Firass Dirani

One of the SAS Australia instructors has unleashed on Firass Dirani after the actor claimed he was being edited to appear as a “villain” on the show, reports news.com.au’s Andrew Bucklow.

After the second episode of the Channel 7 show aired last week, Dirani posted a video on his Instagram story in which he said: “I knew it. I knew they were gonna make me into the villain. There has to be a villain, ladies and gentleman, and lo and behold, right here, this is it.”

But in a chat with news.com.au, SAS Australia directing staff Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham dismissed Dirani’s claim and said: “He should be actually grateful to be edited the way they did. He’s a lot worse than that.”

According to Billingham, Dirani “came across as arrogant” and “had a terrible attitude”.

[Read more]

HBO Max reaches 28.7m, including 8.6m "activated" subscribers

WarnerMedia streaming service HBO Max has reached 28.7 million “total HBO Max subscribers,” including 8.6 million “activated” users as of the end of the third quarter, AT&T said on Thursday, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

A set of tables and slides the company published along with its Thursday earnings report last week showed though that not all of the 28.7 million paying users who can are actually using the service. The footnote in one slide provided this note for HBO Max’s reach: “28.7 million subscribers with access to HBO Max and 8.6 million HBO Max activations.”

Last earnings season, the company had reported that HBO Max had reached 4.1 million subscribers in the service’s first month, including wholesale customers from packages that include HBO Max, as well as customers who were direct retail subscribers.

Combined, HBO and HBO Max have 38.0 million US subscribers, compared with a summer update that had mentioned 36.3 million subscribers, and, up from 34.6 million as of Dec. 31, 2019.

[Read more]

Sports Media

Good night, and good luck: Was night grand final really that bad?

Was the night grand final really that bad? asks Guardian Australia’s Scott Heinrich.

Covid-19 might have thrust change upon an organisation bolted to tradition, but at least the AFL was open to what lessons might be learned from the new timeslot of the 2020 decider, if not the new location. “It’s out of Victoria, I think people feel it’s a good time to have a look at it,” chief executive Gill McLachlan said last week. “We’ll see where we get to by the full-time siren, then everyone can judge a night grand final on its merits.”

The verdict is in, and it does not look good for the yellow Sherrin. Although Richmond’s latest premiership triumph was considered a success on several levels, there seems little appetite in the game to embrace the alternative findings of the “Gabba experiment”. Chief among grievances is the timeslot. “I love the day game,” winning captain Trent Cotchin said. “It’s what I grew up with during the day playing footy. It is just what feels the norm.”

That is about as measured as it gets. Elsewhere, the buck to convention has been met with widespread vitriol. Take a trawl through Twitter on the subject and there could be no confusion as to how a mere seven per cent of voters in a Herald Sun poll want the grand final to be played at night in years to come. “If the AFL uses Covid to introduce under the cover of darkness a night grand final permanently, it will be a disgrace,” veteran AFL journalist Caroline Wilson told the ABC. On the same Offsiders program, TV personality and Tigers fan Waleed Aly said he “hated it”. Gideon Haigh, a journalist whose vocabulary is broader than most, opted for succinctness in describing the night affair as “total crap”.

[Read more]

To Top