Wednesday September 9, 2020

Vevo partners with Telstra TV to bring premium music to Aussie homes

By Trent Thomas

“When consumers turn on the TV we want to make sure that Vevo videos are front and centre”

Premium music video platform Vevo has announced that its catalogue of music videos will now be available on Telstra TV, with users now able to watch the 450,000 videos on offer from Vevo.

This comes at a time when access to live music is limited and more consumers are turning to premium music video services.

Mediaweek spoke with Vevo’s Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand Steve Sos about what this deal means for Vevo, Telstra and Australian consumers.

Sos said that music sits perfectly alongside sport, scripted drama and news as a mass reaching vehicle, and it was important to partner with a product like Telstra TV to create maximum distribution potential.

“I think given the prominence of Telstra in this market and the calibre of the Telstra TV product I think for us it was very much a no-brainer. It’s no coincidence that we are working with them as one of our first announcements in the market. We want to be in areas where we know there’s genuine scale and we know we can deliver an increasing inventory pool for our commercial partners.”

Sos said that Vevo will continue to expand its global distribution capabilities and execute a living room strategy that is underpinned by a growing focus on CTV. The partnership is similar to international deals Vevo has made with Pluto TV, Samsung TV+, Apple TV, Amazon and Roku.

“When consumers turn on the TV we want to make sure that Vevo videos are front and centre for them in every environment. It’s more about us following consumers rather than an articulated and defined strategy on our part.”

Sos said that technology has caught up with how viewers want to watch their music videos on TV. And is no longer linear programming like MTV or Channel [V] instead it is searchable, customisable and algorithmically driven.

“TV is challenged from a linear point of view, audiences are generally declining, audiences are aging. From an advertiser’s point of view, we offer a solution to a lot of that, our audience is younger. 82% of our audience is 18 to 49, and that allows us to take a premium content set to advertisers and allow them to position their content in a very brand-safe environment.”

CTV viewing makes up 27% of the 10 million viewers for Vevo in Australia. Sos said that we are seeing the renaissance of the premium music video back on the big screen in the lounge room.

“For advertisers, we’re reaching younger, harder to reach audiences for them and we’re doing it in a very safe environment. In the days of MTV and Channel [V] every music video had a TV rating. We’ve been able to grab those same TV ratings and then subsequently rate every video that comes through the door based on 21 points of verification and it allows us with advertisers to offer a brand-safe solution. 85% of our content is rated G, PG or M.”


Sos said that during an unexpected pandemic that has seen live music disappear from people’s lives a product like Vevo has helped some fill the void.

“We’ve seen an explosion in consumption of content during Covid and the subsequent lockdowns. I think people are desperately missing music as a part of their life and certainly live music. We see a lot of views of nostalgic music content. In 2019 we had three billion views of Vevo content in Australia, and 750 million of those views were for content pre-2010. So I think people are going back, they’re re-exploring old favourites.”

Snap launches Creative Council with leading Australian Creatives

Snap has partnered with Creative Equals to build a Snap Creative Council (SCC), bringing together the leading creatives in advertising based in Australia. Their mission is driving tangible and meaningful outcomes in the industry and among the Snapchat community.

The partnership will encourage Creative Council members to use Snapchat tools to develop creative solutions to pressing societal issues in Australia.

The Australian SCC features creative talent from the local creative community. Over the coming weeks, the selected creatives will nominate small teams to develop pitches utilising Snapchat’s various ad formats around cause-related briefs. This year, the brief focuses on two areas: mental health and civic duty amongst Gen Zs and Millennials.

The winning campaign, as judged by the Australian SCC, will be brought to life on Snapchat and supported with media. These collective groups will also be able to choose one global charity from a shortlist of five to award a $100k donation.

Will Scougal, global director of creative strategy, Snap, said: “We believe that ideas that live on the small screen can have a big impact, and for Gen Z and millennials that screen is powered by Snapchat. The SCC will serve as a powerful forum made up of a diverse and inclusive community from the advertising industry, and is a commitment from Snap to use our reach to drive positive change.”

Ali Hanan, CEO, Creative Equals, said: “Representation matters. We are proud to partner with Snapchat to bring together a diverse mix of creatives to work on these game-changing briefs. Lydia Amoah, our phenomenal Cross-Cultural and Learning Director will bring her wealth of experience as a business coach and independent researcher with her The Black Pound Report, working alongside three returner teams from our CreativeComeback programme 2019-20.”

Ciaran Park, executive technology director, R/GA, said: “The current climate has taught us many things, one of which is the importance of understanding, at speed, how the needs and behaviours of humans are being driven by an accelerated digital transformation. 

“During this global pandemic, social interaction has evolved at an increased rate from a physical to a more digital format and for many people this is, unsurprisingly, a first time experience. However, sadly for many, this isolation isn’t new. The pandemic is only compounding issues that many have to suffer with daily. Mental health needs better support right now and with everyone switching to more small screened experience, Snap is perfectly situated to help.

“The Snap Creative Council is an incredible opportunity that aligns with our own ambitions around elevating the voice of diversity and providing a platform to support, Snap is at the forefront of technology and wants to make a difference and we are honoured to be a part of that.”

2020 Art Music Awards winners announced by APRA AMCOS

The 2020 Art Music Awards have been celebrated in a virtual ceremony fit for a creative nation, with winning artists and organisations spanning the country.

Presented annually by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre (AMC), the Awards acknowledge the achievements of composers, performers and educators in the genres of contemporary classical music, jazz, improvisation, sound art and experimental music. The 2020 Awards included several new and restructured categories, in tune with the constantly evolving art music landscape. 

The inaugural National Luminary Award for an Individual, for sustained contribution over several years, was presented to Dharug composer Chris Sainsbury for initiating and driving the Ngarra-Burria: First Nations Composers program, a critically important project. According to the judging panel: “Chris’ work over the past five years has had a national impact in both training emerging First Nations composers and redefining their role and future within Australian art music.” 

The 10th annual Art Music Awards were co-hosted by Jonathan BigginsDr Lou Bennett AM and Zela Margossian, with performances by Robin Fox & Erkki VeltheimLouise Devenish & Thea RossenLinda May Han Oh with Fabian Almazan & Ben VanderwalMelanie Mununggurr-Williams and Beatrice Lewis. The performance program was curated by Barney McAll


Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music
Dr Ros Bandt

Award for Excellence in Music Education
Netanela Mizrahi and Guwanbal Gurruwiwi for the Djari Project

Award for Excellence in a Regional Area
Gillian Howell and Tura New Music for the Fitzroy Valley New Music Project

Award for Excellence in Experimental Music
The Music Box Project for Shallow Listening

Work of the Year: Choral
Title: I am Martuwarra
Composer: Paul Stanhope, text by Steve Hawke
Performer: Gondwana Choirs, Luminescence Chamber Singers, Valla Voices,
Hunter Singers, and Resonance and Lyn Williams, conductor

Work of the Year: Chamber Music
Title: passing bells: day
Composer: Chris Dench
Performer: Alex Raineri

Work of the Year: Large Ensemble
Title: Viola Concerto
Composer: James Ledger
Performer: Brett Dean, West Australian Symphony Orchestra
and Fabien Gabel, conductor

Work of the Year: Electroacoustic/Sound Art
Title: Everywhen
Composer: Matthias Schack-Arnott
Performer: Matthias Schack-Arnott

Work of the Year: Dramatic
Title: Oscar and Lucinda
Composer: Elliott Gyger, librettist Pierce Wilcox
Performer: Sydney Chamber Opera and Jack Symonds, conductor

Title: Speechless
Composer: Cat Hope
Performer: Judith Dodsworth, Karina Utomo, Caitlin Cassidy,
Sage Pbbbt (soloists), with Australian Bass Orchestra,
Decibel New Music Ensemble and Aaron Wyatt, conductor

Work of the Year: Jazz
Title: Aventurine
Composer: Linda May Han Oh
Performer: Linda May Han Oh, Greg Ward, Matt Mitchell,
Ches Smith, Fung Chern Hwei, Sara Caswell, Benni von Gutzeit,
Jeremy Harman, Invenio with Gian Slater, director

Performance of the Year: Notated Composition
Performer: Louise Devenish
Title: Sheets of Sound
Composers: Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh, Matthias Schack-Arnott,
Louise Devenish and Stuart James

Performance of the Year: Jazz/Improvised Music
Performer: Sandy Evans, Shubha Mudgal, Aneesh Pradhan
and Sirens Big Band
Title: Bridge of Dreams
Composer: Sandy Evans, Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan

Luminary Awards: National

Chris Sainsbury for initiating and driving Ngarra-Burria: First Peoples Composers program

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra for Australian Composers School, Australian Conducting Academy, and professional development opportunities for Australian musicians
Luminary Awards: State/Territory

Australian Capital Territory
Canberra International Music Festival for their record-breaking 2019 event and ongoing reputation for high quality and innovative programming

New South Wales
Joanna Drimatis for sustained contribution to the performance, programming and advocacy of Australian works, and string music education

South Australia
Ross McHenry for trailblazing global pathways through artistic practice for South Australian musicians

Northern Territory
David Wilfred & Daniel Wilfred for cultural leadership and sustained creative contributions in Australia and beyond

Western Australia
Louise Devenish for her ongoing advocacy, commissioning and performance of new percussion music in Western Australia

Making Waves for breaking down perceived state barriers and connecting a new generation of Australian musicians

Michael Kieran Harvey for supporting the Tasmanian new music community through teaching, performance and recording

Katie Noonan for The Glad Tomorrow and furthering the future of Queensland musicians

SimilarWeb expands APAC presence with new office in Australia

SimilarWeb announces today the opening of a new office in Sydney, Australia, to increase the company’s market penetration in the region, and fuel the company’s international growth across key markets.

The digital market intelligence company‘s new office establishes a hub for its existing representation in Auckland and Melbourne, enabling the company to increase support of its growing local client base, including Woolworths, Arnott’s, Australia Post, Tourism New Zealand, Countdown, Super Retail Group, and Big W. The company‘s global customer portfolio includes companies such as Google, Havas, Walmart, Adidas, and Citi.

With billions of people around the world in and out of lockdown over the last few months, consumer behavior is changing. The new office opening reflects an increasing demand for SimilarWeb’s solution in a time where online activity is booming. In Australia & New Zealand alone, the company grew its customer base by 110% this year. 

Carrie Lazorchak, Chief Revenue Officer at SimilarWeb, said: “Companies can no longer just count on their historical data to drive strategic decisions and planning. Having access to real time data around consumer and market trends is more relevant now than ever — and as demand for our product increases around the world, we look forward to growing our team and to continued success in this key market.”

SimilarWeb’s Australia-based team will join the company’s nearly 600 employees spread across other strategically-positioned office locations, including Tel Aviv, New York, San Francisco, Japan, Paris, London, and most recently added, Burlington, Massachusetts. The new office operations will be led by Emmanuel Heymann, Area Vice President for Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia.

Heymann said: “In these difficult times, we are grateful to have opened this office with no delay, consequently playing an active role in the region’s recovery by helping companies make better data-driven decisions, and to optimise their digital strategies post-pandemic.”

Sarah Britton, Global Manager Digital Analytics at Tourism New Zealand, said: “SimilarWeb enhanced our understanding of the New Zealand online travel and tourism landscape. Border closures following the global COVID-19 outbreak meant we had to adapt our digital strategy quickly to focus on a new audience. SimilarWeb insights helped us to rapidly shift our focus to domestic travellers and support local tourism operators. The platform made it very easy to tailor our messaging, identify content gaps and uncover partnership opportunities.”

Top photo: Tel Aviv office

Cobra Kai
TV Demand: Cobra Kai never dies with second life on Netflix

By Trent Thomas

It is true what they say in the Karate Kid universe, ‘Cobra Kai never dies’, with the show enjoying a surge of popularity after being picked up by Netflix after its initial run on Youtube Premium

With Netflix putting the first two seasons of the show in front of a much larger audience than ever before, Cobra Kai has been enjoying a new level of brand penetration in recent weeks. This success has seen it shoot up the Digital Original charts despite not releasing any new content this year, with season three expected in 2021, the first season produced by Netflix.

The series is a direct sequel to The Karate Kid (1984) and sees Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprising their roles as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. While the original was very cut and dry in regards to who the protagonist (Macchio/LaRusso) and antagonist (Zabka/Lawrence) was, the new series blur the lines and revisit the original story from a new perspective with Macchio and Zabka performing as joint protagonists in the series.

With fans left to wait till next year for new content from the Netflix deal, there has been a very small sneak peek provided that reveals the show will be going to Japan to examine the past of the deceased Mr. Miyagi who was played by Pat Morita.

While Cobra Kai enjoyed a good week that saw it shoot up to #6 on the Overall TV Chart in Australia, there is still no beating The Umbrella Academy which topped both the Digital Original and Overall TV chart in Australia and New Zealand yet again.

TV Ratings Tuesday September 8

By Trent Thomas

• Nine wins Tuesday night with The Block #1 non-news
• 10 airs The Masked Singer special ahead of finale

Seven News 1,111,000/1,027,000
Nine News 1,013,000/996,000
A Current Affair 734,000
ABC News 724,000
7.30 592,000
The Project 301,000/519,000
10 News 375,000/237,000
Sunrise 254,000
Today 230,000
News Breakfast 216,000
The Drum 202,000
SBS World News 169,000
Nine News Late Edition 129,000
The Latest 111,000

Seven: Seven had the #2 primary (16.0%) and network (25.1%) share off the back of Home and Away (570,000) and The Chase Australia (565,000). Plate of Origin had its worse performance of the year with 382,000 last night which was down on last Tuesday’s 419,000 viewers.

Plate of Origin TV Ratings Week 37:

Sunday: 459,000
Monday: 393,000
Tuesday: 382,000

Nine: Nine won Tuesday night with a 20.0% primary share and a 29.6% network share. The Block comfortably won the 7:30 pm slot with 753,000 which was up on last week’s 692,000 viewers. The next best performer for Nine last night was Halifax: Retribution with 505,000 tuning in.

10: 10 finished #4 in primary share with 12.4% and #3 in network share with 18.6% after airing the The Masked Singer: Unmasked special which helped viewers play catch up on all the clues given out so far this year. This was followed by a repeat of Ambulance Australia with 382,000 viewers.

ABC: 611,000 tuned in for Anh’s Brush with Fame featuring Layne Beachley which was down on the 682,000 viewers who watched last week’s episode featuring Jack Thompson. Further Back in Time for Dinner had 525,000 viewers as ABC had the #3 primary share for the night with 13.3% and a 17.4% network share.

SBS: Great Asian Railway Journeys had 248,000. The public broadcaster had a 5.4% primary share and a 9.3% network share.

Week 38 TV: Tuesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 13.3% 7 16.0% 9 20.0% 10  12.4% SBS One 5.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.2% 7TWO 3.1% GO! 2.7% 10 Bold 3.5% VICELAND 2.1%
ABC ME 0.4% 7mate 4.3% GEM 2.6% 10 Peach 2.7% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 1.8% 9Life 3.0%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.3%     SBS World Movies 0.7%
TOTAL 17.4%   25.1%   29.6%   18.6%   9.3%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 13.7% 7 15.9% 9 16.2% WIN 10.9% SBS One 4.6%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.4% 7TWO 4.4% GO! 3.0% WIN Bold 4.4% VICELAND 2.0%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 5.2% GEM 4.0% WIN Peach 2.6% Food Net 0.6%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.0% 9Life 3.1% Sky News  on WIN 2.7% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 0.9%
TOTAL 17.9%   27.6%   26.4%   20.7%   8.3%


86.5% 13.5%
Tuesday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,111,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,027,000
  3. Nine News Nine 1,013,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 996,000
  5. The Block Nine 753,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 734,000
  7. ABC News ABC 724,000
  8. Anh’s Brush With Fame ABC 611,000
  9. The Masked Singer Australia Unmasked 10 592,000
  10. 7.30 ABC 592,000
  11. Home And Away Seven 570,000
  12. The Chase Australia Seven 565,000
  13. Hot Seat Nine 546,000
  14. Further Back In Time For Dinner ABC 535,000
  15. The Project 7pm 10 519,000
  16. Halifax Retribution Nine 505,000
  17. Plate Of Origin Seven 382,000
  18. Ambulance Australia (R) 10 382,000
  19. 10 News First 10 375,000
  20. The Chase Australia 5pm Seven 357,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. The Block Nine 201,000
  2. Nine News Nine 148,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 147,000
  4. The Masked Singer Australia Unmasked 10 147,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 131,000


18 – 49

  1. The Block Nine 330,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 275,000
  3. Nine News Nine 270,000
  4. The Masked Singer Australia Unmasked 10 254,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 235,000


25 – 54

  1. The Block Nine 360,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 326,000
  3. Nine News Nine 319,000
  4. The Masked Singer Australia Unmasked 10 285,000
  5. Seven News Seven 278,000
Tuesday Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 180,000
  2. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 173,000
  3. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 162,000
  4. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  5. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  6. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  7. Building Off The Grid 9Life 132,000
  8. Escape To The Chateau 9Life 130,000
  9. Highway Patrol PM (R) 7mate 129,000
  10. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  11. Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  12. CSI: Miami (R) 10 Bold 121,000
  13. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  14. Highway Patrol PM 7mate 120,000
  15. Aussie Salvage Squad PM 7mate 118,000
  16. Love Monster ABCKIDS/COMEDY 117,000
  17. Floogals AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 111,000
  18. New Tricks 9Gem 109,000
  19. Neighbours 10 Peach 107,000
  20. Peter Rabbit PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 106,000
Tuesday STV
  1. Live: AFL Carlton V Sydney FOX FOOTY 202,000
  2. Live: AFL Adelaide V GWS FOX FOOTY 119,000
  3. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 70,000
  4. Live: AFL Post Game FOX FOOTY 68,000
  5. Alan Jones Sky News Live 64,000
  6. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 63,000
  7. Wentworth FOX SHOWCASE 62,000
  8. Credlin Sky News Live 60,000
  9. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 42,000
  10. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 42,000
  11. Live: The Back Page FOX SPORTS 503 41,000
  12. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 40,000
  13. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 38,000
  14. PML Later Sky News Live 38,000
  15. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 37,000
  16. Blaze And The Monster Machines Nick Jr. 37,000
  17. Great Canadian Bake Off Lifestyle FOOD 36,000
  18. Live: NRL 360 FOX LEAGUE 32,000
  19. Long Lost Family Lifestyle Channel 32,000
  20. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 31,000

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

Knock on the door that changed everything for Australian journalists in China

We called ourselves “the bargaining chips” — three Australian journalists suddenly enlisted in the no-holds-barred wrestling match between China and its largest iron ore supplier, Australia, reports The Australian’s China correspondent Will Glasgow.

That was before the feared Ministry of State Security knocked on the door of ABC correspondent Bill Birtles’s apartment in Sanlitun, near our favourite Beijing pub, Jing-A, the place we gathered when Phil Wen was kicked out of the country back in February.

Before Mike Smith, The Australian Financial Review’s man in Shanghai, had a similar knock on the door of the palatial Spanish colonial residence in the French Concession that made him the envy of the other two Australian foreign correspondents in China.

Back in Sydney, Wednesday was less dramatic for me. Thursday too, although it was a bit weird that Bill and Mike weren’t taking calls like they usually did.

I was booked to return to China on Sunday. I was completely in the dark about what was going on with Bill and Mike.

But, seriously, why had DFAT suddenly become so insistent that I sit it out for a week until they learned more about my friend Lei’s case? It’s all a lot clearer now.

[Read more]

Crackdown on journalists leaves us in the dark on China

The loss of Australia’s entire corps of journalists covering China reduces the relationship immeasurably. Surprisingly few people in Australian public life in any institutions have spent time living or working in China — or in Asia generally, reports Rowan Callick in The Australian.

Thus we have become all the more dependent on Australian correspondents acting as our ears and eyes in finding out what’s happening in the People’s Republic, and explaining why.

Since the days of Mao Zedong, after whom the PRC “opened its doors” to reform and to the wider world, Australian media organisations have deployed a distinguished cohort to cover events there. They have included Robert Thomson, the worldwide chief executive of News Corporation; Richard McGregor, who is now a senior fellow at the Lowy Institute; and Stephen McDonell, who made his name with the ABC and is now a prominent BBC journalist still based in Beijing.

But earlier this year, two other prominent Australian journalists working for international media – The Wall Street Journal’s Phil Wen, and The New York Times’s Chris Buckley, the doyen of Aussies covering China – were forced to leave as their visas were cut short or not renewed.

Rowan Callick, an industry fellow at Griffith University’s Asia Institute, was twice a China correspondent for The Australian, and before that for The Australian Financial Review

[Read more]

I feared being 'disappeared': Inside my escape from China

It was well after midnight when officers from China’s intelligence, security and secret police agency came knocking at my door, writes The AFR’s China correspondent Michael Smith about the events leading up to his departure this week.

The heavy pounding woke me from a deep sleep and I raced downstairs thinking it must be a friend or neighbour in trouble.

Instead, six uniformed officers from the Ministry of State Security and a translator were squeezed on my front porch. The man at the front showed me his badge, asked my name and demanded to come inside.

They ushered me into my lounge room where I sat on the couch dressed in my boxer shorts surrounded by these unwelcome visitors. One officer filmed me on a large camera that would have looked more at home in a television studio. A spotlight shone in my eyes.

[Read more]

'Instinctive monopolist': Kevin Rudd attacks Murdoch over News Corp rival to AAP newswire

The former prime minister Kevin Rudd has called on the Morrison government to intervene to support the philanthropically funded newswire service, Australian Associated Press 2.0, warning that the diversity of Australia’s media is at stake, reports Guardian Australia‘s Anne Davies.

The head of Australia’s competition watchdog, Rod Sims, also said he would be watching closely to ensure News Corp Australia does not abuse its market power when it launches a rival service after its non-compete clause ends in five months’ time.

“No government should let a single company control the biggest newspapers in every capital city bar one, plus a television station, plus the national newswire,” Rudd said. “Let alone an American billionaire like Murdoch …

Rupert Murdoch has no interest in Australians having diverse sources of media. He is an instinctive monopolist.”

“And what will Morrison’s Liberals do about this? Nothing. Why? Because Murdoch runs their protection racket.”

[Read More]


Adelaide’s Jarrod Walsh says goodbye as he departs Nova and Fiveaa

Adelaide radio presenter Jarrod Walsh has bid an emotional goodbye to his listeners after revealing he will leave Nova and FIVEaa, reports News Corp’s Antimo Iannella.

The popular afternoons presenter and sports show anchor announced on YouTube this afternoon that he was recently made redundant and had his last day on-air today.

“I did have a hunch that it was a going to happen that I was going to get the tap on the shoulder like so many people in 2020. I was preparing myself mentally but I think all the preparing you do, nothing can prepare you to hear those words,” he said, fighting back tears at times.

“There’s a range of emotions: fear, sadness, anxiety… my hands have been randomly shaking for the past couple of days.

“I haven’t really been given the opportunity to say farewell and thank you on the air so I’m going to do that here and I’m going to try and hold it together.”

Walsh was one of several redundancies around the network with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the media industry hard.

Walsh said he was also grateful for the support of Nova, where he started as a Casanova street team member in 2004.

“Nova has been absolutely brilliant to me and I couldn’t speak more highly of the company,” he said.

[Read more]


Masked Singer films finale across Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand

Network 10’s The Masked Singer filmed its finale on Tuesday night – more than two weeks after a COVID-19 outbreak halted production of the popular reality show, reports The Age’s Michael Lallo.

Just hours before the final episode was due to shoot last month, a crew member tested positive to the virus, forcing the immediate shutdown of the Docklands Studios set and almost 300 cast and crew to self-isolate for 14 days. A total of 17 infections have been linked to the production.

Producers will wrap filming of The Masked Singer‘s current season on Tuesday evening, albeit not in the way they’d initially planned.

With cast and crew eager to see their families after being quarantined in Victoria for 14 days, producers allowed Sydney residents – including host Osher Gunsberg and judge Jackie O – to return home as long as they tested negative at the end of their isolation period.

While a NSW Health spokeswoman confirmed that these individuals were not required to self-isolate again in NSW, comedian and judge Urzila Carlson wasn’t so lucky. Having just returned to New Zealand, where she lives with her wife and two children, she must now complete a further 14 days in quarantine.

From her hotel room in Auckland, Carlson has dialled in to the taping of the last episode via a video program on her laptop. Gunsberg and Jackie O are filming inside a Sydney studio while judges Dave Hughes and Dannii Minogue have returned to the show’s Melbourne set, where the remaining elaborately-disguised contestants (Queen, Bushranger and Frillneck) are battling for the top spot.

[Read more]

Sports Media

COVID-19 scare forces Hutchy from Footy Classified hosting duties

Footy Classified host Craig Hutchison was a last-minute scratching from Monday night’s show, with Crocmedia confirming a second employee has tested positive for COVID-19, reports News Corp’s Scott Gullan.

All staff at the company’s Southbank offices, which is also the home of radio station SEN, have been ordered to be urgently tested.

This comes after last week where an SEN employee’s positive test forced Daisy Pearce to withdraw from her Friday night commentary duties as a precaution after being in the same studio.

Fox Footy commentators Jordan Lewis and Nick Dal Santo returned negative tests after also taking precautions because of their links to SEN.

A spokesperson for Crocmedia confirmed the second positive case at SEN in a statement provided to the Herald Sun on Tuesday afternoon.

“Our broadcast services will continue to operate under COVID-safe guidelines – with most of our Melbourne-based on-air talent broadcasting from home studios as well as the utilisation of other inter-state offices and studios as required.”

[Read more]

Greg Baum: Seven swings and misses on Big Bash League

David Warner did not appear in the Big Bash League for a stretch of more than five years. Neither Steve Smith nor Josh Hazlewood had appeared for five until last season. Yet only now does Seven express concerns about dilution of quality in the coming summer’s competition. Diluted from what? asks The Age’s Greg Baum.

From day dot, Australia’s best cricketers turned up only sometimes in the Big Bash. Mostly, they were on assignment with Australia, or resting up between national team engagements.

Even when they did play, they were only sometimes stars. They appeared, and disappeared. Marnus Labuschagne was dropped one night by Brisbane Heat while he was a Test player.

This was the BBL, a different game played by different players. Ben Laughlin and Chris Lynn dominated, Brad Hogg and George Bailey charmed. It was what it was, and for a long time, that was plenty enough for fans and broadcasters. But no more, says Seven.

Seven boss James Warburton says pandemic arrangements stand to thin out the talent pool in the BBL so much this year that they might as well go televise grade cricket.

What does he think they were televising last year, and year before? What does he think previous broadcasters were putting to air in the period when Craig Simmons was the star turn of the BBL show? Did Seven ever look under the bonnet? Did they look at the vehicle at all?

[Read more]

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