Friday September 4, 2020

Fetch
Fetch TV CEO on expanded TV App Store: A World of Digital Apps

By Trent Thomas

“It is an international app store and we are building the gateway that opens up a world of digital apps for us.”

Earlier this week Fetch TV announced a partnership with Metrological that will see the cloud-based platform integrated onto the Fetch service. A soft launch is expected at the end of the year.

Comcast acquired the Dutch technology start-up Metrological in September last year. The app integrator’s technology allows for simple integration of over-the-top streaming apps, which can be uploaded once into its system and rolled out across a number of providers.

CEO of Fetch TV Scott Lorson said that the deal had been in the works for a while but ramped up recently and implementation is already underway.

“We have been speaking to them for about a year and a half but when Comcast bought them 12 months ago we realised that they would become the default app store.”

Metrological is used by Comcast, Liberty Global, Vodafone and Turkcell. It will also allow Fetch to integrate niche apps, such as NBA League Pass, NFL Game Pass.

Lorson said that the new addition to the Fetch TV user experience and the back-office product suite enables Fetch to onboard, monetise and optimise apps that it offers its customers. 

“It is an international app store and we are building the gateway that opens up a world of digital apps for us.

“It augments our current strategy and is entirely aligned. We are a master aggregator and this lets us aggregate even more content.”

Metrological offers content providers access to the open Lightning Software Development Kit (SDK) for quick app development, with a single app build facilitating distribution to a global footprint of operators.

Fetch will deploy the Metrological application platform on its existing service in Australia and has secured rights for the New Zealand market. Fetch will work with Metrological and its partners to expand the available portfolio of local and international apps. 

This helps address the issue that local providers like Fetch have faced with having native apps made for global content companies like Disney +. 

Companies like Disney can upload its app into Metrological’s systems and providers that use Metrological can now provide the app through their set-top-boxes. Lorson said that while Fetch will continue to produce native apps but this will help address previous capacity restraints that stopped them from offering as many apps.

“We will continue to integrate tier-one apps and this is a bridge between the tier-one apps we integrate natively and the long tail that has historically been difficult for us to accommodate.

“The consumer appetite continues to grow and our capacity to satisfy that through local integration has been limited and this addresses capacity constraints while preserving user experience.

“It is about taking the best of our local experience and being a part of an international group of tier-one Telcos and that will put us well ahead of our competition.”

Fetch will also be utilising the Metrological Lightning Framework to provide GPU accelerated rendering of the user interface which will help create smoother transitions and animations.

In a statement released about the announcement Jeroen Ghijsen, CEO of Metrological said:

“Fetch shares our view that during this unprecedented time, where more content is being watched than ever, providing an integrated, single viewer experience becomes even more essential.

“With the Metrological Application Platform Fetch can seamlessly integrate OTT content into the main TV viewer experience and manage content in response to subscribers’ changing content needs, delivering an even more compelling content proposition and viewing experience.” 

wish september
Luxury magazine WISH publishes eighth annual Italian-themed edition

By Claudia Siron

• Prestige advertisers fill biggest 2020 issue of The Australian’s best insert

Today, The Australian’s monthly luxury lifestyle magazine WISH has published its eighth annual Italian-themed edition. At 116 pages this edition is the largest book size the magazine has published this year as well as one of the most commercially successful issues in some time.

Editor David Meagher spoke to Mediaweek about the strong commercial support the issue has received as well as publishing during the current climate.

Meagher revealed there was a moment where they thought they wouldn’t go ahead with an Italian issue this year because of the prohibition on travel.

We planned this issue months in advance and there was a moment when coronavirus was devastating Europe and we thought that perhaps this wasn’t the right time,” he said. “We realised though by the time September comes around it probably is the time to do it. We announced to our advertising partners we were going ahead and the support and interest was fantastic.”

Editor David Meagher

This month’s edition features advertisers including Italian brands such as Bulgari, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Gucci, Ermenegildo Zegna, Max Mara, Salvatore Ferragamo and Canali. Along with luxury fashion advertisers including Chanel, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Hermes and Omega.

“One of the reasons for the expansion was driven by advertising. As a newspaper-inserted magazine, our book size is determined by the number of advertising pages we have – for this issue, we have 40. This year there was a question mark; we asked ourselves if this edition was going to be as popular as it was in previous years and we’ve been surprised that it has. There’s a lot of advertising interest for this edition and there always has been.”

Meagher explained how as a holiday destination, Italy has a lot of appeal for Australians.

Generally speaking, it’s is a popular destination for Australians and we have a good relationship with Italy – partially because of the number of Italian migrants who moved here after the war. There’s a strong Italian culture in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and other places.

“There’s a story that opens the edition which addresses why Italy has this appeal for Australians through an essay-style format. We thought this year of all years, Italy being one of the hardest hits in the beginning stages of Covid, that we needed to have a story that addressed this desire we have for Italy.”

The 2020 Italian issue also contains exclusive interviews with design duo Domenica Dolce and Stefano GabbanaGiorgio ArmaniMaria Giulia Germanetti Maramotti, the granddaughter of the Max Mara founder; and Venetian resident and cooking sensation Skye McAlpine.

When it comes to travel, the issue takes a peek inside Collette Dinnigan‘s restored house in Ostuni in Puglia which is available to rent, and features her insider tips on the popular southern Italian region. Readers can also explore the tiny 15th century town of Civita Di Bagnoregio; Forte San Giorgio, a solitary island in the Tuscan Archipelago which is also available to rent; and look at what Venice is like without the hordes of tourists.

“We took the view that most people don’t read a magazine and then go on holiday the next month. It’s about long term planning. For some people – even without a coronavirus – they might read something and plan their trip for two years time. Generally, those big, luxury European holidays require quite a bit of forward-planning. post-Covid, there most certainly will be a demand and a desire to travel overseas again.

With Italian editions in previous years, the magazine flies a crew of people overseas to Italy for photoshoots. “It’s a big investment for us to produce these issues and a big part of it is producing the fashion and cover shoots. We’ve shot in some amazing locations over the years. That was of course one big thing that we couldn’t do this year, so we shot one in an Italian restaurant in Paddington and another in Elizabeth Bay House in Sydney. 

Just less than half of our travel features were produced in Italy by writers either based there or in Europe who were able to travel to Italy. Other content was produced within Australia as well as virtually over Zoom calls.”

The editor said they have high expectations of the issue due to a feeling that although readers are interested in the news and what’s going on with the economy and coronavirus, they’re also looking for an escape and some entertainment. “That’s what WISH magazine always does, but I think particularly that’s what this issue certainly provides people with.”

The September issue of WISH is available in The Australian today, Friday 4 September.

TV rights discussions continue as Fox Cricket covers Aussies in England

The Australian men’s cricket team has ventured to England to take on the old foe across six much anticipated T20 and ODI games, coming exclusively live on Fox Cricket from Saturday morning.

Just 12 months after falling to World Cup hosts England in the semi-finals, the best of the best in Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins and Aaron Finch will have pay back on their minds against the #1 ranked ODI side in the world.

England’s biggest and best will be out to take down Australia with the big hitting opening combination of Johnny Bairstow and Tom Banton, plus skipper Eoin Morgan.

The commentary team for all three ODI’s consists of Fox Cricket’s Shane Warne, former England captains Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain, along with Michael Holding.

Speaking from England ahead of the series, Warne said, “I just can’t wait – Australia back playing cricket against the old enemy in England – taking on the world champions in their own backyard.

“In this series I’m also really excited about Australia’s young players – especially Riley Meredith and Josh Philippe.”

Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins said: “We are really looking forward to playing international cricket again, it’s great to be here and we hope to get a few wins against England, which is always sweet on their home turf.

“It’s been just over a year since we were here for the World Cup and it’s a great opportunity to show the progress we have made as a team in the past 12 months.

“The last week has been a fantastic preparation for the T20 Series, then we go onto the one-dayers. England are in great touch right now so these games are a really good challenge for our group.”

Every game of the Qantas Tour of England is live and exclusive on Fox Cricket with no ad-breaks during play in HD (Foxtel channel 501) and available to stream on Kayo Sports.

 

Mercado on TV: Schitt happened and Billie Piper back in I Hate Suzie

By Andrew Mercado

Schitt’s Creek (iview and Netflix) could be 2020’s most perfect show. What better series to watch in lockdown than a sweet comedy about a rich family in lockdown at a small motel.

After six seasons, this acclaimed show is up for several Emmys (tip – it’s going to win several), and it’s now being sent off here with Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell (Tuesday on ABC Comedy and Netflix). It is fascinating to remember how unlikable and brittle the characters were in the first episodes, a factor which caused some viewers to stop watching (tip – dive back in from the second season onwahttps://www.mediaweek.com.au/tag/stan/rds).

Eugene Levy in Schitt’s Creek

Schitt’s Creek is about awful people who become nicer people and this premise works well because it is set in a small town in Canada. Can you imagine setting this in a racially divided American small town, full of homophobia and guns? It wouldn’t work, but position it further north and Schitt’s Creek could be the greatest Canadian TV series of all time.

Schitt’s Creek starts off dark and then lightens up, whereas new shows like I Hate Suzie (Stan) and I May Destroy You (streaming now on BINGE) start off dark and just get darker. If you thought Billie Piper and writer Lucy Prebble were outrageous when they made the series Secret Diary of a Call Girl (7plus), you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Both have teamed up again for an even more outrageous drama for Sky.

In I Hate Suzie, Billie Piper plays a self-involved actress whose phone is hacked. As compromising pictures of her become public, Suzie deals with the fallout while trying not to have a nervous breakdown. Meanwhile, her manager Naomi (Leila Farzad) begins to unravel after an incident on a train brings back memories of sexual abuse.

Billie Piper in I Hate Suzie

Abuse is also at the centre of I May Destroy You. After a wild blackout night, author Arabella (Michaela Coel) has flashbacks about being raped, so she tries to retrace what has happened. It is a huge step-up for Coel, whose breakout sitcom Chewing Gum (Netflix) debuted on small digital channel E4 in the UK. Now, I May Destroy You is a BBC/HBO co-production and Coel is its adored star, creator, writer and co-director.

Closer to home, tough women are also at the forefront of I Am Woman (Stan) and Halifax: Retribution (Nine). To learn more about these great local productions, check out our Mediaweek podcasts with I Am Woman co-producer Rosemary Blight and Halifax producer Roger Simpson and star Rebecca Gibney here.

Top photo: Schitt’s Creek

TV ratings: Thursday Week 36 2020

By James Manning

• Seven holds top spot with live AFL and The Front Bar
• Trains and bikes help lift SBS to recent Thursday high

Seven News 1,042,000/971,000
Nine News 884,000/868,000
ABC News 732,000
A Current Affair 635,000
The Project 343,000/500,000
7.30 483,000
10 News 350,000/231,000
Sunrise 266,000
Today 228,000
The Drum 172,000
SBS World News 157,000

Thursday TV

Seven: With the AFL starting early in some markets Home and Away screened on 7TWO in some states with a combined 469,000.

The clash between the Giants and Carlton was another low scoring affair with the Giants sneaking away to a narrow victory with 418,000 across the network, 236,000 in Melbourne.

The Front Bar followed the football with the show helping to promote Plate of Origin via judge Matt Preston. The other guest also had a Pies connection – Sav Rocca. The episode did 315,000 with 192,000 in Melbourne.

Nine: The NRL Thursday was another blow for the Broncos as the Panthers continued their great form. The audience was 352,000 with 195,000 watching in Sydney and 134,000 in Brisbane.

10: After the Wednesday night episode that featured the host telling the contestants about the spread of Covid-19, last night on The Bachelor went online. Izzy and Locky cooked together remotely and then managed a spa via Zoom. The episode was on 561,000 after 537,000 on Thursday last week.

Following on was the channel’s Thursday best – Gogglebox with 604,000 watching after 610,000 a week ago.

The programming combo again secured a #1 ranking for 10 under 50 and 16-39 and 18-49. It also held a narrow lead 25-54.

ABC: A single mum was searching for a property on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast during Escape from the City with 251,000 watching.

SBS: It was Wales’ turn on The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys last night with an audience of 313,000 tuning in which pushed the episode into the top 20 for Thursday.

Secrets of the Tower of London followed on 208,000 before stage six of the Tour de France with 158,000

Week 36 TV: Thursday
THURSDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 9.1% 7 18.0% 9 16.9% 10  14.6% SBS One 7.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.6% 7TWO 5.0% GO! 2.5% 10 Bold 4.7% VICELAND 1.9%
ABC ME 0.4% 7mate 4.0% GEM 1.6% 10 Peach 1.9% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 2.2% 9Life 2.7%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 0.9%     SBS World Movies 1.1%
TOTAL 13.6%   29.3%   24.6%   21.3%   11.3%

 

THURSDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 8.6% 7 18.0% 9 17.3% WIN 10.7% SBS One 6.1%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.7% 7TWO 6.9% GO! 3.4% WIN Bold 5.4% VICELAND 2.0%
ABC ME 0.9% 7mate 3.3% GEM 3.7% WIN Peach 2.3% Food Net 0.6%
ABC NEWS 1.4% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.6% 9Life 2.6% Sky News  on WIN 2.1% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 1.1%
TOTAL 13.6%   29.9%   27.1%   20.5%   9.7%

 

THURSDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
85.0% 15.0%
Thursday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,042,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven971,000
  3. Nine News Nine 884,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine868,000
  5. ABC News ABC 732,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine635,000
  7. Gogglebox 10 604,000
  8. The Bachelor Australia  10 561,000
  9. The Chase Australia Seven550,000
  10. The Project 7pm 10500,000
  11. 7.30 ABC 483,000
  12. Home And Away Seven469,000
  13. Hot Seat Nine 458,000
  14. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football – Post Match Seven 424,000
  15. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football Seven 418,000
  16. 10 News First 10 350,000
  17. The Project 6.30pm 10343,000
  18. Thursday Night NRL Live Nine 329,000
  19. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 328,000
  20. Sammy J ABC 324,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. The Bachelor Australia  10 185,000
  2. Gogglebox 10 174,000
  3. The Project 7pm 10 123,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 119,000
  5. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football – Post Match Seven 117,000

 

18 – 49

  1. Gogglebox 10 302,000
  2. The Bachelor Australia  10 301,000
  3. The Project 7pm 10 236,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 217,000
  5. Nine News Nine 203,000

 

25 – 54

  1. Gogglebox 10 328,000
  2. The Bachelor Australia  10 305,000
  3. Seven News Seven 267,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 255,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 254,000
Thursday Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 197,000
  2. Father Brown PM 7TWO179,000
  3. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY163,000
  4. Hawaii Five-O 10 Bold 159,000
  5. Hawaii Five-O (R) 10 Bold 151,000
  6. Murdoch Mysteries PM 7TWO150,000
  7. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY146,000
  8. Peter Rabbit PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY140,000
  9. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football – Post Match 7mate 135,000
  10. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  11. Murdoch Mysteries-Ep.2 Pm 7TWO 132,000
  12. Home And Away 7TWO128,000
  13. Nella The Princess Knight PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  14. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY124,000
  15. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY120,000
  16. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football 7mate 113,000
  17. Spicks And Specks Ep 2 ABCKIDS/COMEDY 112,000
  18. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY111,000
  19. Luo Bao Bei PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY111,000
  20. 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown (R) SBS VICELAND 110,000
Thursday STV
  1. Live: NRL: Broncos V Panthers FOX LEAGUE 219,000
  2. Live: AFL GWS V Carlton FOX FOOTY 169,000
  3. Live: AFL Sydney V Melbourne FOX FOOTY 124,000
  4. Live: The Late Show With Matty Johns FOX LEAGUE 94,000
  5. Aussie Gold Hunters Discovery Channel 82,000
  6. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 69,000
  7. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 68,000
  8. Live: AFL Post Game Thursday FOX FOOTY 64,000
  9. Credlin Sky News Live 57,000
  10. Live: NRL Pre Game Thursday FOX LEAGUE 52,000
  11. Alan Jones Sky News Live 48,000
  12. PML Later Sky News Live 44,000
  13. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 39,000
  14. Beverly Hills: Real Housewives Of… FOX Arena 38,000
  15. Raised By Wolves FOX SHOWCASE 35,000
  16. Gold Rush: Dave Turin’s Lost Mine Discovery Channel 33,000
  17. AM Agenda Sky News Live 32,000
  18. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 31,000
  19. Traces BBC First 31,000
  20. Border Security: Australia’s Front Line FOX8 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

News Brands

Regional publishers hit back at Facebook's 'inflammatory' threat to ban news sharing in Australia

Facebook’s threat to ban news sharing in Australia rather than abide by a media bargaining code is an inflammatory overreaction according to regional publishers reports Guardian Australia‘s Amanda Meade.

Facebook broke its silence on Tuesday and said it would block Australians from sharing news on its platform if the landmark plan to make them and Google pay for news content becomes law.

Country Press Australia, which represents 140 regional and local mastheads, is one of the smaller players involved in the bold plan by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to address the bargaining power imbalance between Australian news media businesses and the digital giants which have the lion’s share of advertising dollars.

Smaller operators like Schwartz Media, which publishes the Saturday Paper, and Private Media which publishes Crikey, the Mandarin and Smart Company, are ready to negotiate with Google and Facebook for a share of that revenue, along with Guardian Australia and major media players News Corp Australia and Nine Entertainment.

The president of Country Press Australia Bruce Ellen, said the Google open letter last month made claims about the public impact of the code, some of which were “disingenuous, to say the least” but Facebook had gone even further.

“Facebook has gone off half cocked; the ACCC is proposing a framework under which news media businesses and the digital platforms have the opportunity to negotiate, with an arbitration process if an outcome could not be agreed,” Ellen told Guardian Australia.

“I understand they’re worried about it being so open-ended, but at this stage to say ‘we are going to cut news businesses off for Australian audiences’ is just preemptive and unnecessarily inflammatory when the process has just started.

“We haven’t even got the exposure draft finished after submissions and this is their opening salvo?”

[Read More]

Sunrise host Samantha Armytage blasts Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Sunrise host Samantha Armytage has lashed out at Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk over the Queensland border closure, reports News Corp’s Amy Price.

During an interview on the Channel 7 breakfast show this morning, Armytage said her “blood’s boiling”, adding she wanted to “have it out” with Palaszczuk if she would agree to come on the show.

Her comments came during an interview with Moree Plains Mayor Katrina Humphries, who is pleading with the Queensland Government to open the border after a fire ripped through the NSW border town of Mungindi and left them without access to a supermarket or butcher unless they leave their border bubble.

“My blood’s boiling because of a lot of things she’s (Palaszczuk’s) done lately,” Armytage interjected.

“You guys have now got no supermarket, no butcher, no food, basically. She won’t come on the show. I’m happy to have it out with her. I’m fed up with what’s going on in NSW.”

“She won’t take Gladys Berejiklian’s phone calls, so I don’t think she’ll take ours.”

Armytage said she had friends in the Moree area and was concerned about their future.

“I know we’re all in this together … I know we have to stop the spread of this virus, but there’s some really silly decisions and dangerous and deadly decisions being made against good people purely because of politics,” she said.

[Read more]

Entertainment

Industry awards shift online

More industry awards are shifting to online presentations this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reports TV Tonight.

The 53rd Annual AWGIE Awards was due to be held in September, but will now take place online on Tuesday 8 December.

Nominees for the annual Australian Writers’ Guild event will be announced in mid-September.

The Walkley Awards will be announced on November 20 through SKY News and live-streamed on the Walkley website. Finalists will be announced on Thursday October 15. The traditional Gala Dinner, planned for Tamworth this year, will now take place in 2021.

Meanwhile the Australian Directors Guild Awards will also be held online on October 19. It had previously announced plans for September, then an event at the City Recital Hall in Sydney.

Australian Screen Editors will also hold an online event for their annual Ellie Awards.

Screen Producers are yet to announce plans for their 2020 SPA Awards, and annual Screen Forever conference, which is due to be held on the Gold Coast this year.

The 10th Annual Equity Ensemble Awards were announced last month and will be presented at a ceremony when it is safe to do so.

The ARIA Awards are currently due to take place in Sydney in November. AACTA Awards are yet to outline plans for their annual December event.

[Read More]

Television

Michael Idato: The dystopian TV epic Ridley Scott couldn't say no to

The dark frontier of Aaron Guzikowski‘s Raised by Wolves (Foxtel) is a challenging place: two androids, Mother and Father, raise human children from a trove of embryos saved from a dying Earth, while a shipload of religious zealots led by Marcus (Travis Fimmel) and Sue (Niamh Algar) land on the planet Kepler-22b in search of salvation, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Idato.

Produced and directed by one of the great masters, Ridley Scott, it is an uncertain and frightening world. Critical reaction to the series in the US has been cautiously positive. But even Entertainment Weekly‘s Darren Franich, who praised it, offered a word of warning: “[It] reflects an unusual instinct for decent-budget science-fiction: it’s impossible to root for anyone.”

Despite the unearthly darkness of the material, Australian actor Travis Fimmel says his conversation with Scott, whose credits include the blockbusters Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down, began in the most mundane of places. “He had his razor with him, his shaver, and he said, this is what I based the spaceship off, the shape of his electric razor,” Fimmel says.

Scott, for his part, credits Guzikowski’s writing. “It’s all in the material,” he says. “I read the material, the material was inspirational. I thought, I can’t let this one get away. I need to do it. It was that simple.”

[Read more]

Sports Media

CA bubble bill hits $30m as game spends big to protect TV riches

Cricket Australia’s biosecurity budget for the summer has ballooned past $30 million as the governing body seeks to protect its broadcast rights with stringent protocols amid a spectacular breakdown in relations with Seven West Media, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Chris Barrett.

Seven’s threat to walk away from the game has heightened CA’s determination to safeguard the season against an infection in an international or Big Bash League bubble, the result of which could be a loss of content and a disastrous breach of television contracts.

This home summer is worth more than $300m to CA in broadcast rights fees alone, with Foxtel and Seven paying nearly $200m between them per year under their agreement and an extra windfall coming because of India touring.

The spiraling of the biosecurity spending comes as CA’s interim chief, Nick Hockley, was due to sit down with Seven boss James Warburton in Sydney on Friday. He had been scheduled to meet Foxtel CEO Patrick Delaney on Thursday but it was pushed to next Tuesday.

[Read more]

Coach Justin Langer pleads for end to bitter cricket broadcast war

Justin Langer has called on frustrated broadcasters to sit down with Cricket Australia to navigate a path through the conflict that has seen Seven threaten to walk away from the game, reports News Corp’s Peter Lalor.

“I just like win-win,” he said.

“I like people, whether its Cricket Australia and the ACA (Australian Cricketers Association), whether it is Cricket Australia and our partners the broadcasters.”

Seven West chief executive James Warburton was so angered by the prospect he suggested last week that the network may as well be broadcasting grade cricket which would cost nothing instead of the BBL which cost the broadcasters millions every year.

[Read more]

Robert Craddock: Lust for big bucks behind cricket being bashed

When Cricket Australia does its inevitable review into what went wrong with its Big Bash television rights deal one word lies at the bottom of the mess … greed, reports News Corp’s Robert Craddock.

Cash hungry CA executives just could not help themselves.

To get the magic $1 billion TV rights figure they so craved they had to stretch and bend the Big Bash so far out of shape it morphed from that tasty snack that left you hungry for more into the main meal you just couldn’t get through.

What other sporting competition in the world has ever quickly grown from 32 fixture games to around 60 matches without any push from the broadcasters or fans?

Channel 7, who want to sell the Bash rights, have stunned the cricket world by their withering public attack on CA but their boldness is the underpinned by the knowledge they will never be back so they have nothing to lose.

This will be their one and only deal with Cricket Australia, so there is no relationship to protect.

[Read more]

'It's time': Swans, Giants call for best-of-three grand final series

The chairmen of Sydney’s two AFL clubs have called on the league to make radical changes to the grand final which would see the decider turned into a best of three series and taken beyond the code’s heartland, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Wu.

As Victoria reels from losing hosting rights to the grand final for the first time in the competition’s history, Swans chairman Andrew Pridham declared the days of the game being an “MCG exclusive item are gone”.

Pridham received backing from his Greater Western Sydney counterpart Tony Shepherd, and believes the concept would be supported by the other six clubs based outside of Victoria.

Under Pridham’s plan, the MCG would still host a rubber but the rights for the other legs would go out to tender to all states and territories. The MCG could also host another game if Victoria was to win a tender.

A best-of-three grand final would be fairer on the non-Victorian clubs, Pridham said, raise income through broadcast rights and ticket sales for the AFL as it recovers from the severe economic downturn caused by the pandemic, and help the league grow the sport in NSW and Queensland.

The Swans have previously argued for its introduction but believe COVID-19 has created more momentum for further discussion.

[Read more]

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