By James Manning
• Rachel Corbett and Tim Armstrong join to build audience and revenue
As Nova Entertainment heads into a podcast future without Acast as a partner, the company has restructured its podcast executive team.
Former radio host-turned Mamamia podcasting guru Rachel Corbett (pictured) is joining Nova Entertainment next month as head of podcasts and digital content.
Also joining Nova Entertainment recently as head of digital audience and monetisation was Tim Armstrong.
In her new role Corbett will be leading Nova’s digital content strategy, development, production and talent management. She will lead a team of digital content creators, and develop new digital content formats to grow the digital audience and commercial offerings.
Corbett set the bar pretty high at Mamamia where as head of podcasts she oversaw a network of 35 shows boasting downloads of over 90 million.
While Mamamia focused on content for women, Corbett has a bigger audience to target at Nova Entertainment.
“There is obviously a difference from just focusing on female content which is what I did at Mamamia.” Corbett told Mediaweek.
“Ultimately the aim at Nova Entertainment is to create a suite of original shows and build the content network, similar to what I was doing at Mamamia. That’s what I love to do and why the Nova Entertainment role was a hard job to say ‘no’ to.
“The opportunities to do something like this don’t come along very often. There is a difference between the audience for Mamamia and Nova, but in terms of building out content and creating shows that listeners love, the idea is the same.”
Corbett said she has fond memories of her time at Mamamia, building a big podcast library and a huge audience. “I hit some of the benchmarks I was really chasing like getting to 1m unique listeners a month. I am really proud of the content I created there and the team we put together.
“That is also something I am looking forward to at Nova, I love building and looking after a team.”
During the Nova recruitment process, Corbett said she didn’t pitch specific ideas for any new series. “It was more a process of talking through my experience and then talking about the opportunities I see.”
Corbett: “Yes it does, there is a huge audience ready for more. Just looking at the Nova and smoothfm audiences there are a broad range of people who want different content. It’s just about working out what they have an appetite for and then what you can create for them.
“There are still so many opportunities, even when people say a particular genre might be saturated, like true crime. Some think there are too many true crime series and nobody wants to hear more. But then a new one comes out and goes straight to the top of the charts because everybody who loves true crime loves a new true crime show.”
Corbett told Mediaweek she is looking forward to exploring new ideas with existing Nova Entertainment partners including News Corp Australia and Sky News. At the latter Corbett had a long association with Paul Murray with the two first co-hosting a Triple M radio show and then later co-hosting a podcast during Murray’s early years with Sky News. “That was the first independent podcast I worked on after my time in radio,” Corbett said.
During her time in radio, Corbett hosted and produced shows across SCA’s Hit and Triple Networks around Australia. She has also worked in TV from doing voiceover work for Lifestyle Home through to her ongoing association with The Project where she has been on air since 2013. A role she will continue while with Nova.
While Corbett ran Mamamia podcasts for two-and-a-half years, she contributed in various capacities for over nine years.
More from Rachel Corbett in Podcast Week this Thursday.
After the end of its recent partnership with Nova Entertainment, Acast has announced six new hires today, including the appointment of Tom Roach (pictured) as Acast’s local creative strategy lead.
The announcement follows the appointment of Adam King and Liam Daly who joined the podcast company as group sales leads in April this year.
The other new Acast hires are Isabella Gibson-Giorgio, Katalina Haddad, Michelle Smith, Diana Lee and Teresa Ly who take on account management and sales planning roles.
Henrik Isaksson, managing director for Australia and New Zealand at Acast, said: “We’re in a privileged position to be hiring and expanding – it’s a testament to both the strength of the Australian podcast industry and Acast’s leadership position within it.
“The team now offers Australia’s most comprehensive insights, strategy and sales unit that’s solely dedicated to podcasting. They represent the next stage of growth for Acast locally and present a huge opportunity for any brand looking to maximise the potential of their investment and sales objectives with podcasting. The decision to build our local sales team is something our publishers, podcasters and clients have been asking for.”
The hires come as Australia’s podcast market continues to hit record listener and revenue numbers in August with Acast continuing to exceed 31 million local listeners last month.
Acast said the new appointments will further bolster the support for Acast podcasts and innovative ad products by helping service the increased demand from agencies and brands.
Tom Roach was formerly the strategy and insights manager at Southern Cross Austereo where he led the Sydney-based strategy team to drive direction for local and national sales.
Roach commented: “I’m delighted to be joining the team at an exciting time for Acast and an exciting time for the industry. There’s a huge strategic and creative podcasting play waiting to be unleashed in Australia. Acast is already leading this globally – I’m thrilled to now take the helm locally.”
In addition to its new sales hires, earlier this year Acast launched Acast Marketplace – a new home for podcast buying globally and in Australia. Acast Marketplace gives advertisers both direct and automated access to the world’s best podcasts, the most talented creators and the most engaged listeners across every podcast platform.
Acast invented dynamic ad insertion in podcasts in 2014 – today widely adopted as the norm throughout the industry – and is now present in 13 markets worldwide.
It took a while, but an Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation has found ARN Sydney radio station KIIS 1065 in breach of rules relating to generally accepted standards of decency due to comments made by Kyle Sandilands about the Virgin Mary and Christian beliefs.
The investigation found KIIS 1065 was not in breach of rules relating to inciting hatred and severe ridicule because of religion.
Despite a perception held by some that the radio station is a repeat offender when it comes to “decency standards”, this is not the case. In part because for many years now The Kyle and Jackie O Show employs its own dedicated in-house censor who sits in on every program with a finger nervously hovering over a dump button. At some point many mornings there is a bleep “protecting” the audience from possible exposure to bad language.
The ACMA investigated an episode of Kyle & Jackie O that aired on 18 September 2019 after receiving 180 complaints alleging that the segment was offensive and incited hatred and ridicule of Christians.
The ACMA investigation made under the Commercial Radio Code of Practice found the broadcast contained offensive statements to listeners of faith and the wider community.
This statement came from ACMA this morning:
“Australians are generally tolerant of irreverent humour and critical discussion about religion. But they would not expect a host of a broadcast program to derisively criticise people’s intelligence because of their religious beliefs,” said ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin.
“Mr Sandilands overstepped the mark in terms of the generally accepted standards of decency in this case.”
The investigation found that the high threshold for a breach of rules relating to inciting hatred and severe ridicule because of religion was not reached.
“While the comments were offensive, they lacked the necessary element of likely incitement, in all the circumstances, of hatred, serious contempt or severe ridicule in the audience, which is the test in the rules,” O’Loughlin said.
The ACMA notes the extensive actions taken by the licensee and Sandilands at the time of the broadcast, including on-air apologies, issuing a licensee statement, removal of material from its website and reaching out to religious leaders in the community.
In response to the ACMA’s findings, KIIS 1065 has also counselled Sandilands and will ensure its staff legal compliance training will reference the broadcast and breach findings.
The ACMA considers these actions as sufficient remediation by the licensee in this case particularly given it has not had any breaches of the decency provision, across any of its programs, in the past 10 years.
The organisation looks into complaints and problems and take action when rules governing broadcasting standards aren’t being followed.
The following details of the investigating into the broadcast have been released.
Relevant codes: Commercial Radio Code of Practice 2017 (revised in 2018)
Name of program: Kyle & Jackie O [breakfast radio]
Date of broadcast: 18 September 2019
In November 2019, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) commenced an investigation under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA) into a segment of Kyle & Jackie O, which included a discussion of the Christian belief in miracles, including the Virgin Birth of Jesus.
The program was broadcast on KIIS 1065 by Commonwealth Broadcasting Corporation Pty Ltd on 18 September 2019 between 6 am and 10 am.
Following the broadcast, 180 people contacted the ACMA to complain. Complainants alleged variously that, the segment was offensive, referred to the Virgin Mary in derogatory terms, and/or incited hatred and ridicule of Christians.
The ACMA found that the broadcast breached one of two parts of the broadcast code.
The ACMA finds that the licensee did not breach 2.1.4 of the Code.
The licensee submitted to the ACMA:
… Mr Sandilands is known for his strong views, which may be exaggerated for entertainment purposes. His comments in relation to the Virgin Mary were not an incitement to listeners, but were an expression of his opinion. They were not made in an aggressive manner, or said to provoke others to share his views or to incite a derogation of people of Christian, Catholic or Muslim belief or other religious belief. The words were not addressed to the public at large and in no respect encouraged the public at large to adopt any perspective, or to take any action. They were merely a statement of his opinion – stridently expressed (in his usual style) but not in any way an incitement of hatred toward, revulsion of, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of persons on the ground of religious conviction within the meaning of clause 2.1.4 of the Code.
Relevant Code provision
Material not suitable for broadcast
2.2. Program content must not offend generally accepted standards of decency (for example, through the use of unjustified language), having regard to the demographic characteristics of the audience of the relevant Program.
The ACMA finds that the licensee breached 2.2 of the Code.
The complainant submitted to the ACMA that Mr Sandilands had:
…called Mary mother of Christ a lying whore and Christians who believe otherwise dumb as dog shit. This is clearly a breach of the [radio code] for broadcasters. It is highly offensive to me and belittling to Christians in general.
It is not ok to] make fun, mock and ridicule people for having religious beliefs. You may question them. You may [not] believe but it is not ok to call Christians dumb as dog shit for [their] beliefs as Kyle Sandilands did on his morning breakfast show.
The licensee submitted to the complainant:
… ARN takes full responsibility for the Comments made and took a number of immediate steps to address them, including to promptly remove the Comments and any related material from its social media accounts and to immediately issue a statement from Mr Sandilands which stated: “I’m sorry if I offended anyone with my comments. Everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs and I’m fully supportive of that right.” ARN also issued an apology in the following terms: “ARN recognises that the content was not appropriate for distribution and it was removed immediately. We unreservedly apologise for any offence that may have been caused”.
The ACMA said it was not persuaded by the licensee’s assertion that the audience of the program was not offended by the broadcast, which is contradicted by subsequent statements by the licensee to listeners of the show through Mr Sandilands’ apology.
The transcript of the on-air apology submitted by the licensee included multiple acknowledgements of the effect of the broadcast on ‘loyal listeners’ and ‘fans of the show’:
KS: … you think when, not only friends, that people that I have never heard of, and people I don’t know, fans of the show, as I said, devastated in the what I said. And then I get upset at the fact that I’ve really caused a lot of grief to a lot of people and what they believe, and that’s never what I meant to do.
JO: No, I know what you’re saying, Kyle. Cause I had our loyal listeners reach out to us over the holidays, and I was reading some of their messages, and I really felt so terrible that we had hurt them so much, and they were our loyal listeners. And I’d seen previous messages they’d sent me in the past over a year, where they’re fanatical about the show and they’ve been so hurt.
An analysis of the chronology suggests that the complaints received were almost wholly in response to republished versions of the Online Video that appeared on third party media outlets or a number of individual social media accounts that had obtained unauthorised reproductions of the Online Video, rather than by any of the audience members of the live Segment broadcast on 18 September. As noted earlier, no complaints were lodged in response to the live broadcast on 18 September. The first complaint made was at 7.31 pm on 19 September, after the posting of the Online Video. A small proportion of complaints (5%) were made that evening in response to the posting of the Online Video, and the majority of complaints were received following social media interest and media coverage on and from 20 September after the removal of the Online Video from the Licensee’s online platforms.
While we recognise that the Licensee cannot take back the comments made or expunge the offence suffered by the complainants, the matter has been treated extremely seriously and has been the subject of careful evaluation.
As noted earlier, a sincere on-air apology was provided on 30 September 2019 by Mr Sandilands. The apology was both replayed at 8.40 am and republished to the Licensee’s online platforms to ensure that it was distributed to a wide audience. On the day that Mr Sandilands’ apology was made on air, ARN received a joint statement from prominent Christian and Muslim leaders accepting the apology and to “extend a hand of friendship to Kyle Sandilands for the way he addressed the issue this morning and for his sincere apology”.
Each and every complaint filed with the Licensee was provided with a substantive response despite a number being ineligible Code complaints […]. In doing so, ARN sought to apologise directly to each and every individual that claimed to be affected by the broadcast or its later republication.
A number of further steps have been taken to ensure that the matter has been comprehensively reviewed and that all staff involved in the Program continue to observe their obligations under the Code. The matter has been discussed with Mr Sandilands himself. All Program production staff have been addressed by senior management in relation to the matter, and appropriate censorship and approval processes have been reviewed and reinforced.
While we do not consider the Segment to be a contravention of the Code, we certainly do not wish to broadcast material that offends or distresses any part of the community. The incident itself has been a catalyst for introspection and re-evaluation as to how ARN can improve its interactions with not only our listeners, but the broader community upon whom we acknowledge our actions can have a significant impact.
After The ACMA released its findings today, an ARN Spokesperson said:
“ARN accepts the ACMA’s final decision and findings regarding the breach of the Commercial Radio Code in relation to decency standards and no breach of the code in relation to inciting severe ridicule on the basis of religion. ARN thanks them for taking into consideration the number of extensive steps ARN took to address the broadcast of September 18, 2019.
“At the time of the broadcast, ARN recognised the sensitivity of the content and acknowledge that its broadcast caused a level of concern in some sections of the community.
“ARN has not had any breaches of the decency provision in the past 10 years and regrets any distress caused by the segment. In the time immediately following the broadcast, ARN took a number of actions to remedy the situation, including broadcasting Kyle Sandilands’ unprecedented, lengthy and sincere on-air apology which also remains available on the KIIS website. Australia’s Christian and Muslim faith leaders accepted Kyle’s apology, which was also published in a public joint statement.”
Screen Australia has announced $1.3 million of production funding for 11 documentaries funded through the Producer Program and one through the Commissioned Program.
Projects include a second season of Love on the Spectrum for the ABC; The Department, a feature documentary going behind the frontlines of New South Wales’ child protection system; and online series There Is No ‘I’ In Island detailing the experiences of people in isolation throughout COVID-19 in Tasmania.
Head of documentary at the federal agency, Bernadine Lim said: “The projects in this slate not only shine a light on social issues but also offer a number of personal experiences and family stories that I’m confident will inspire important conversations.
“We’re thrilled to support a number of emerging filmmakers in this slate including first-time feature documentary directors Sari Braithwaite with Logan Documentary and Tahyna MacManus with MuM – Misunderstandings of Miscarriage. It’s also exciting to fund our first augmented reality project REWILD that will use interactive technology to engage audiences with environmental issues through their smartphones in an innovative way.”
• Love on the Spectrum Season 2: The second season of this acclaimed documentary series, which explores relationships and dating for people on the Autism Spectrum, has been commissioned for the ABC. This four-part series will draw on relationship coaching to help a new group of young neuro-diverse people find love. The creative team features director/producer Cian O’Clery, producer Jenni Wilks and executive producer Karina Holden who all worked on Season one. This project has also received principal production investment from the ABC.
• Logan Documentary (working title): A feature documentary from writer/director Braithwaite (Paper Trails) which tells the story of a neuro-diverse family living in a working-class suburban fringe, dreaming and scheming of big new futures in a world that is closing in on them. The film offers a look at the complex questions of family bonds, life and love while in search of life’s magical moments. Braithwaite is joined by producer Chloe Brugale (Third Culture Kids) and executive producers Robert Connolly and Robert Patterson of Arenamedia.
• Meet the Wallers: A feature documentary about artist Mark Waller, his wife Nic, their two daughters, and their daily life in Lennox Head on the NSW North Coast. The film encompasses themes including parenting, artistic ambition, depression and other health issues as it follows the family for over 18 years. Meet the Wallers is directed and produced by Jim Stevens (The Bilby Brothers), written and produced by Petrie Street Pictures’ Gil Scrine (A Thousand Miles from Care), and executive produced by Trish Lake (Wik Vs Queensland).
• MuM – Misunderstandings of Miscarriage: A feature documentary from Neon Jane for Stan which follows writer/director Tahyna MacManus on her four-year journey of pregnancy and miscarriage. The film delves into the physical, emotional and psychological impacts of miscarriage through firsthand accounts and perspectives from medical specialists. The creative team also features producer Kelly Tomasich (Rough Stuff) and executive producers Jennifer Cummins (Turban Legend) and Michael Lawrence (Bra Boys). The series will release on 1 October 2020 and the trailer is available here.
• Phil Liggett: The Voice of Cycling: A feature documentary about legendary British sports broadcaster Phil Liggett who has covered the Tour de France for 47 years, from the team behind cycling documentary MAMIL. This film will follow Liggett as he continues to hold his place as the voice of cycling, even in the twilight of his career. The film is written and directed by Eleanor Sharpe and produced by Nickolas Bird. This project was developed with assistance from Film Victoria and is financed with support from Film Victoria and Adelaide Film Festival.
• Revenge: My Dad the Nazi Killer: A feature documentary centred on Jack, a middle-aged Jewish doctor in Melbourne, who stumbles on a family secret after his father passes away: in the 1950s his Holocaust survivor and partisan father allegedly engaged in a revenge killing of a Nazi. The film follows Jack on his journey to find the truth and along the way, joined by his brother John, he discovers a vigilante group of Holocaust survivors that hunted down Nazi war criminals in Australia. Writer, director and producer Danny Ben-Moshe teams up with producer Lizzette Atkins who previously collaborated on documentaries including My Mother’s Lost Children. This project was developed with assistance from Film Victoria.
• REWILD: A six-part augmented reality (AR) series exploring nature’s most beautiful and fragile ecosystems which are under threat. This series will allow viewers to interact with endangered wildlife across six unique habitats on a mobile platform. The creative team features director/producer Rayyan Roslan, director/writer Trent Clews-de Castella, director Joseph Purdam, writer/producer Angie Davis, writer Gemma Hannan and producer Blair Burke.
• Stage Changers: A one-hour documentary about The Last Great Hunt, a small company of independent theatre makers in Western Australia who have been presented with an opportunity to scale up their work for the first time by UK theatre powerhouse Underbelly. The documentary follows the artists over six years as they grow from making shows for 100 people, to making their first major international festival work. Stage Changers is the directorial debut from director/producer Ella Wright (Candidate Games). Wright is joined by producers Aidan O’Bryan and Janelle Landers of WBMC who most recently collaborated on soon to be released feature film Rams. This project was developed with the assistance of Screenwest and Lotterywest.
• Strong Women: A three-part online documentary series centred on a group of powerful Australian women who compete in Strongman competitions. The series follows them as they rebuild themselves inside and out, shattering stereotypes along the way. Strong Women is written, directed and produced by Corinne Innes and Alexandra Gaulupeau, and produced by Ann Megalla.
• The Department: A feature documentary that goes behind the frontlines of NSW child protection, following case workers and families as they navigate the complexities of keeping children safe. Directed by Sascha Ettinger Epstein (The Pink House) this documentary is produced by Mary Macrae and Ian Darling (Shark Island Productions, The Final Quarter). The Department has been commissioned by SBS for its Australia Uncovered strand.
• There Is No ‘I’ In Island: A five-part series of short films that will document the experiences of Tasmanians living in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, pairing audio interviews with animated imagery to explore themes of connection, disconnection, fear and hope. Writer, director and producer Rebecca Thomson (A Hairy Problem) teams up with producer Catherine Pettman (Lowest to Highest). This project has been commissioned by Ten Days On The Island and will release on Facebook and Instagram.
• Under Cover: A feature documentary that shines a light on the thousands of older Australian women experiencing homelessness, exploring the stories of a diverse group of women and the circumstances that led to their homelessness. The creative team features writer, director and producer Sue Thomson and producer Adam Farrington-Williams who collaborated on The Coming Back Out Ball Movie, and producer Alexandra Curtis. Under Cover was developed with assistance from Film Victoria and is financed with support from Film Victoria and philanthropy.
By Trent Thomas
• The Block and Masked Singer continue 7:30 battle
• 10 has strong Monday night with Masked Singer and HYBPA? combo
• Plate of Origin has lowest ratings since launch
Seven News 1,103,000/1,118,000
Nine News 1,034,000/1,006,000
ABC News 754,000
A Current Affair 729,000
The Project 344,000/565,000
10 News 369,000/250,000
SBS World News 174,000
News Breakfast 134,000
The Drum 194,000
The Latest 131,000
Nine News Late Edition 246,000
Seven: Seven was third in primary share last night with a 15.8% primary share and second in network share with 24.7%. Plate of Origin posted its losest viewership since the show’s launch with 393,000 down from last Monday’s 510,000. Seven’s best performers for the night where Home and Away (577,000) and The Chase Australia (566,000).
Nine: The Block had an improved Monday night performance with 789,000 viewers which is up on last week’s 744,000 as the show was the most-watched show in the 7:30 pm slot. Nine won Monday night in both primary (19.1%) and network share (27.0%)
10: The Masked Singer narrowly missed out winning the 7:30 pm slot after being edged out by The Block. However, The Masked Singer reveal was the most-watched non-news segment of the night with 918,000 and won all key demos. Have You Been Paying Attention? followed with 764,000 as 10 had the #2 primary share of the night with 16.6% and the #3 network share with 22.5%.
ABC: ABC’s news and current affairs line up of 7:30 (658,000), Australian Story (600,000) and Media Watch (494,000) produced a 13.7% primary share and a 17.7% network share.
SBS: How The Victorians Built Britain was the top show for SBS last night with 203,000 as the public broadcast had a 4.2% primary share and a 8.1% network share.
By Trent Thomas
Tenet has continued its dominating performance at the Australian box office producing another weekend with over $1m in revenue as it further establishes itself as the best performing film since lockdown restrictions began to lift.
No competition really came close but The New Mutants from Marvel’s X-Men franchise came the closest with an opening weekend of $491,955 for what will be the final X-men film under the 20th Century Fox banner.
The rest of the top five is rounded out by regular faces Trolls World Tour, Made in Italy, and Unhinged.
Overall the Australian box office was down 15% after making $3.04m over the weekend.
The latest Christopher Nolan blockbuster has continued where it left off last weekend and has once again topped the Australian box office. The film was shown on 748 screens – more than double any other film – and averaged $2,152. Tenet has now made a total of $6.25m.
The New Mutants is the final film in an X-Men franchise that has spanned 20 years and 13 movies due to the purchase of 20th Century Fox by Disney. The film also marks the first horror film in the franchise and it managed to average $1,907 on 258 screens making it the second most screened film in the country this weekend.
In its second week as a pre-release Trolls World Tour continues to perform well averaging $2,017 on 174 screens bringing its total to $741,092.
The father-son duo of Liam Neeson and Micheál Richardson have now spent four weeks in the top five as the film now has a total of $985,021. This past weekend it averaged $771 on 160 screens.
The Russell Crowe vehicle has now spent six weeks in the top five after being one of the strongest performing films since restrictions began to lift. The film now has a total of $3.27m after averaging $876 on 136 screens this past weekend.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.1%||7TWO||3.6%||GO!||1.9%||10 Bold||3.9%||VICELAND||1.6%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||3.8%||GEM||2.6%||10 Peach||2.1%||Food Net||0.8%|
|9Rush||1.4%||SBS World Movies||1.1%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.7%||7TWO||5.1%||GO!||2.6%||WIN Bold||5.1%||VICELAND||2.1%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||4.4%||GEM||4.4%||WIN Peach||2.0%||Food Net||0.5%|
|ABC NEWS||1.1%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.8%||9Life||1.9%||Sky News on WIN||2.4%||NITV||0.1%|
|MONDAY METRO ALL TV|
16 – 39
18 – 49
25 – 54
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
The ABC and The Australian Financial Review have rushed their China correspondents out of the country after police demanded interviews with both journalists, resulting in an extraordinary diplomatic standoff, reports ABC News’ political reporter Matthew Doran and foreign affairs reporter Stephen Dziedzic.
The ABC and The Australian Financial Review have rushed their China correspondents out of the country after police demanded interviews with both journalists, resulting in an extraordinary diplomatic standoff, reports ABC News’ political reporter Matthew Doran and foreign affairs reporter Stephen Dziedzic.
Bill Birtles, the ABC’s correspondent based in Beijing, and Mike Smith, the AFR‘s correspondent based in Shanghai, boarded a flight to Sydney on Monday night after the pair were questioned separately by China’s Ministry of State security.
Birtles had spent four days sheltering in Australia’s Embassy in Beijing, while Smith took refuge in Australia’s Shanghai consulate as diplomats negotiated with Chinese officials to allow them to safely leave the country.
The saga began early last week, when Australian diplomats in Beijing cautioned Birtles that he should leave China, with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade giving the same warning to the ABC’s Managing Director David Anderson in Sydney.
ABC News director Gaven Morris said Birtles was being brought home following advice from the Australian Government.
“This bureau is a vital part of the ABC’s international newsgathering effort and we aim to get back there as soon as possible,” Morris said in a statement.
FutureBrand Australia CEO Rich Curtis has today announced the appointment of Stephen Barber to the newly-created role of brand experience director.
Barber will be responsible for leading and growing FutureBrand’s brand experience capability for customers and employees, strengthening the connection between brand purpose and everyday experience to give brands a measurable competitive advantage.
Barber’s appointment is the first since FutureBrand Australia became an independent agency in July 2020.
On the appointment, Curtis says: “Brand experience is what makes brands work in practice by investing in the moments that matter to customers and employees. Stephen’s role is to connect the insights that often exist in different parts of an organisation to create and deliver connected experiences that help businesses grow.
“We’ve been working with Stephen on several client projects since the start of the year and his contribution has shown how valuable this capability is to our clients and their growth.”
On his new role, Barber says: “Joining FutureBrand Australia makes perfect sense for me right now. Following the acquisition, the company has the best of both worlds: local, specialist expertise combined with the relationships and resources of FutureBrand globally, which I know well. Plus, because I’ve been working with Rich and his team on some key projects this year, I know the results we’re getting for clients and I’m excited about how we can embed these processes into our overall brand transformation offer to all our clients.”
Since acquiring FutureBrand Australia from Interpublic Group in July, Curtis’ immediate priorities have been to increase the company’s commitment to the Australian market by investing locally, while ensuring clients also benefit from his team’s collaboration with Futurebrand’s global network and resources.
There’s no love lost between the pair, but radio broadcaster Ray Hadley has savaged former 2GB colleague Alan Jones over participating in a podcast by controversial chef-turned-conspiracy theorist Pete Evans, reports News Corp’s Debbie Schipp.
The appearance saw Jones on Evans’ Evolve Podcast in August discussing everything from a mutual admiration for US President Donald Trump to the political response to Australia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jones, the former morning talkback king, who has used his departure from 2GB to increase his television presence on Sky News, told the Sydney Morning Herald he agreed to the appearance simply because Evans asked him to.
On Monday morning, Hadley was having none of it, slamming Evans as a ‘dangerous’ COVID-19 denier, and blasting longtime rival Jones agreeing to join his podcast was problematic on many levels.
“Pete Evans is a dill. I noticed that my former colleague Alan Jones [was] waxing lyrical on his podcast website,” Hadley said on air.
“Well the day that Alan Jones is an ally of Pete Evans is the day that we have a problem … “The day that Alan Jones thinks it’s OK to go on Pete Evans’ website in light of what we’re facing at the moment is the day we have a problem.
“This bloke is a very dangerous person, Pete Evans, not just because of his insane theories but he’s encouraging people to invest in something where they could lose a lot of money and they need to be really careful.”
JCDecaux and its partner suicide prevention charity R U OK? are helping Australians continue the conversation that starts with “Are you OK?”.
This month the suicide prevention organisation is using an interactive JCDecaux panel that uses voice recognition to trigger both on-screen and verbal responses. Passers-by are prompted via a floor decal placed in front of the panel as well as an on-screen call to action to ask: “R U OK?” The panel recognises the phrase and will dispense information on what to say and do if a friend, family member, colleague or peer says they are not OK.
JCDecaux has partnered with R U OK? to help realise its mission to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and to support anyone struggling with life.
R U OK? Day coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day on Thursday 10 September. The interactive panel is an extension of the R U OK? Day theme explaining “There’s more to say after R U OK?”. JCDecaux will also feature the R U OK? campaign across its national Out-of-Home network during September.
Recent evaluation measures released by R U OK? show that among those people aware of R U OK? most feel confident they know how to have a conversation with someone who might be struggling but 31% lack confidence or are unsure how to have a conversation with someone who is not OK, making this Out-of-Home campaign messaging especially important.
JCDecaux Head of Creative Solutions, Ashley Taylor, said: “This campaign provides the space to model a really important conversation. Our interactive street furniture panels can help people learn more about how to have a conversation with someone who is struggling. Understanding audiences are conscious about things that they touch as a result of COVID-19, the voice recognition functionality provides a safe way to continue to deliver meaningful messages, hands free.”
R U OK? Campaign Director, Gennie Sheer said the generous support from JCDecaux this year has helped encourage more Australians to stay connected during challenging times.
“It’s important that Australians feel they have the skills to navigate a meaningful conversation especially if someone says they’re not OK,” Sheer said. “The JCDecaux interactive activity complements our broader campaign to educate and empower people with the knowledge and confidence to start a conversation that could change a life.”
The voice activated component of the R U OK? campaign appears on George Street in Sydney’s CBD.
Leading magazine publishers are uniting to celebrate National Newsagent Week, in recognition of more than 38 million magazine sales generated from newsagents annually.
Australia’s 2,900 newsagents remain the primary channel for magazine sales and figures from printing and distribution company, Ovato, reveal that through COVID magazine sales at newsagents have recorded double digital increases in the food (+35%), home interest (+22%), puzzles (+20%), children’s (32%) and craft (+16%) categories.
Spearheaded by Bauer Media, magazine publishers including, DCThompson, Genera, Just Media, Lovatt’s Media, Marketforce, NewsLifeMedia, Next Media, Puzzler Media Australia, Seymour, Universal and Yaffa Media, have joined forces to launch an initiative celebrating the role newsagents play in Australia’s retail landscape.
Working in conjunction with the national peak body for newsagents, Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA), the publishing industry is offering customers who purchase a magazine at any newsagent the chance to enter a draw and win $50,000 from now until the conclusion of National Newsagent Week (19 to 26 September 2020). The promotion is being supported with point of sale material, social media and daily advertising across national and metro newspapers.
Andrew Cohn, head of retail sales and circulation at Bauer Media said: “As one of the inaugural participants of National Newsagent Week we’ve worked to bring the concept to life to recognise one of the hardest working industries in Australia. To see suppliers working together and alongside ALNA has been an extremely positive experience for all. It gives us a chance to highlight the importance of the newsagent industry as an essential service and the role they play at the heart of the community.”
Ben Kearney, CEO of ALNA added: “As we have seen during the COVID crisis, consumers have turned to magazines for inspiration and escapism and newsagents have been ready to conveniently meet that demand. We’re delighted to have the support of the country’s leading publishers as we recognise the many and varied products and services newsagents provide to the community during National Newsagent Week.”
Seven AFL boundary reporter and AFLW star Daisy Pearce has been given the all-clear following a COVID-19 test, after being in contact of an SEN radio employee who tested positive last week, reports TV Tonight.
The Herald Sun reported she dropped out of Friday night coverage to isolate and await test results, but has since been given the all clear.
SEN told the newspaper it was not an AFL identity who tested positive but could not advise more due to privacy.
TV Tonight can confirm two FOX Footy talents who work at SEN have also tested negative, with one to remain in isolation awaiting the results of a second test.
She plays body confident character Jasmine Delaney on Home and Away but Sam Frost says in real life, she struggles with her image, reports News Corp’s Mibenge Nsenduluka.
Frost is set to strip down for charity on Channel 7’s The All New Monty: Guys and Gals this week and she admits she’s nervous.
I’d like to say I feel comfortable in my body, but the truth is body image is something that I’ve battled with my whole life and I don’t want to be like that,” Frost, 31, said.
“I’m trying to get more comfortable in my own skin, and I’m trying really hard to push away those insecurities.”
The former Bachelorette star will join the likes of Erin Holland, Wayne Carey and Patti Newton as they bare it all to raise breast cancer awareness.
Channel 7’s Sunrise presenter Sam Armytage has sold her Southern Highlands weekender, reports News Corp’s Jonathan Chancellor.
She has secured a $3.1m off-market buyer for the Burrawang cottage, in a deal well up on her $2.2m purchase price from three years ago.
Armytage also sold her North Bondi home for $3.15m in July, just a month after her June engagement to Richard Lavender, a Quirindi-born equestrian businessman.
It would suggest Armytage intends living with her fiance at his longtime Berrima estate elsewhere in the Highlands. He celebrated his 61st birthday on Saturday with Sam turning 43 on Friday.
Sonny Bill Williams is a 110 kilogram human headline and the Sydney Roosters superstar is now a television ratings winner, delivering record ratings for the Foxtel group.
Williams‘ highly anticipated NRL return on Saturday against the Canberra Raiders in the grand final replay had sports lovers from all over the country tuning in to Fox League, Kayo, Foxtel Go and Foxtel Now in record numbers.
The match was the most streamed NRL game ever and was fifth most watched in the subscription television history.
A total of 468,000 tuned in to the match with 161,000 of those viewers streaming the clash across Foxtel’s streaming services.
Williams first game of NRL since 2014 was also the third most viewed match so far in season 2020.