Monday September 17, 2018

Visiting VidCon CEO on expansion and the future of online video

The statistics for the busy three-day VidCon 2018 event were impressive. For the second successive year the weekend conference examining online video, its stars and where it is headed, was held in Melbourne earlier this month.

By James Manning

• Over 115 events, sessions, lounges and fireside chats across three days
• Over 55 featured creators with hundreds of millions of subscribers and followers between them
• Over 56 speakers on the industry track including top representatives from YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, BlackMagic Design, Viacom, TRIBE and Nielsen

The organisers had gathered industry professionals from around the world together with some of the biggest names in the worlds of YouTube and Facebook video.

Helping keep a watchful eye over the event, which is now owned by Viacom, was visiting global VidCon chief Jim Louderback.

The online video pioneer has been on the journey with VidCon since the very first event in 2010, where he was a speaker. “I ran an online video company and we were a sponsor for a while,” Louderback told Mediaweek. “That is a long time in internet years and sometimes it feels like it!

“Who knew internet video would turn into something like this.”

About four years ago Louderback sold his Revision3 company to Discovery Communications, staying on initially as general manager. A little later, with time on his hands, he rang VidCon co-founder Hank Green.

“I said to him, ‘Your show is now three shows in one – industry, creator and community. Do you want some help?’ He asked if I’d come and run it for them to grow the event. For three years from 2015 I curated the industry track as editorial director, both in the US and when we launched in Europe and Australia.

“After Australia last year Hank asked me about running the whole company because he wanted to step down and focus on content and see if the event could grow bigger worldwide faster than it was.

“I started in September last year and it was sold to Viacom a couple of months later.”

Asked about the initial plans that Viacom had for the VidCon business, Louderback said: “The first thing they said was ‘We will do no harm.’ They said they love what we are and what we do and they wanted to keep us independent. We are really like Switzerland when it comes to online video as we host YouTube, Facebook, Instagram as well as LinkedIn, Twitter and everything else.

“I wanted to make sure we remained independent. Also, because Viacom is a global company it was very interested in us becoming a similar organisation with a worldwide footprint.

“We had a smaller event in Amsterdam earlier this year right about the time Viacom bought us. Next we are launching in London in 2019 in a big way. Viacom is big in London and has a lot of infrastructure there and it marks the first step of us growing with Viacom.”

This is an excerpt from the full article, which appears on Mediaweek Premium. Read the full article here or subscribe to Mediaweek Premium here.

Brisbane Radio Wrap: Day 1 – Hit 105’s Stav, Abby & Matt gatecrash radio rankings

• Hit 105 and Stav, Abby & Matt gatecrash cosy Brisbane radio rankings

Hit 105 10+ 11.8%, Breakfast 13.1%

Cumulative audience: 10+ 489,000, Breakfast 321,000

Historically not a lot separates the top and the bottom FM stations in Brisbane. Despite that, it has usually been a two-horse race between Nova 106.9 and 97.3.

Matt, Abby and Stav with Tenille

However, Southern Cross Austereo’s Hit 105 has busted up that cosy relationship in survey five, ranking #1 overall and #1 in breakfast.

Since 2016, Hit 105 has out-rated 97.3 just three times and Nova twice, but getting the edge on them in the same survey is very rare indeed.

Key to the success at Hit 105 is breakfast with Stav, Abby and Matt who are firing as a trio after slimming down from four contributors last year with the departure of Osher Günsberg. Hit 105 breakfast delivered a winning share of 13.1% last survey, which is a daypart high at the station, and up from 12.5% in survey four when Hit sat in second spot behind Nova on 12.7%.

In cume audiences, Hit 105 is ranked #3 10+ with 489,000 – behind Nova on 593,000 and 97.3 on 549,000. The breakfast cume is 321,000, second only to Nova on 347,000.

SCA’s Hit Network head of content Gemma Fordham told Mediaweek:

“It is so nice to see Hit 105 get another #1. It has worked so hard to get the result. Nova has had a strong grip on Brisbane for many years and we have slowly chipped away at it.

“Even though the stations are close together we are happy to be leading them all 10+ and in breakfast.”

See also: 
“We call him our boss just to make him feel good”: Hit 105’s Mathew Eggleston on Brisbane success.
How recent shake-ups in Brisbane radio have helped the SCA station.
Contract renewal: Stav, Abby and Matt locked in for breakfast at Hit 105 until the end of 2020

Top Photo: Disney day on Hit 105 breakfast with [L-R]: Matt, Abby and Stav

Immersive video content is the future, says Switch Media CEO Mark Johns

Switch Media is the silent partner of some of the biggest broadcasters in Australia.

By  Kruti Joshi

The Sydney-based streaming media tech company has been around for 12 years and one of its first clients was ABC iview. The company doesn’t provide the technology for the platform any more, but it still works with Foxtel, SBS, Ten and Seven.

Switch Media CEO Mark Johns was with the company when it initially launched and was operating out of an apartment in Pyrmont. After a gap of about five years, Johns rejoined the company in his current role in September 2017.

“The company started off by accident,” he told Mediaweek. “The founders, Christopher Stenhouse and Luke Durham, were working on a website, around the same time as YouTube launched, for curated content that people wanted to see.

“One of the people they pitched the idea to said, ‘I hate the content but I love your technology.’ From that point the skew was the technology.”

The founder and CEO of Switch Media came from a broadcast engineering background. This helped the company understand how to build a digital streaming and catch-up platforms in a way that would set it apart from linear television.

“When we started, we were not an internet company but at the core we were a broadcast engineering company. Now we are both,” Johns said.

“Coming from that broadcast engineering background we could really help networks understand what they could do with this new technology.”

Australian households have warmed up to streaming. According to recent research by Roy Morgan, 13 million Australians have access to some form of subscription TV or pay TV service such as Foxtel, Fetch TV, Stan and Netflix. Nearly 10 million Australians have access to a Netflix subscription. Meanwhile, two million are able to view content on Stan.

What is next for streaming in Australia?

“A lot of people are interested in immersive experience for content like sports. This is a very personal experience,” Johns said. “There is also a big drive for content being consumed on connected television. More families are getting around TVs in the lounge room. So it’s going two ways.”

A new study from Switch Media of 1,000 consumers showed that 70% of the respondents would be interested in streaming content in either 360-degree view, virtual reality or an augmented reality environment.

Broadcasters and streaming services have started to test these technologies already. Recently, Optus Sport launched the FIFA Virtual Reality app for the World Cup. However, it wasn’t marketed very well, according to Johns.

While companies have started trialling this new technology, it is still expensive and uses a lot of bandwidth. There is still much work to be done to optimise video quality and bandwidth, Johns said.

“There are also challenges around buffering and ad insertions,” he said.

There is work to be done to make them cost-effect. Locally, it won’t become a norm in the immediate future, Johns predicted

Speaking about Switch Media’s biggest growth opportunities, Johns looked at breaking outside the Australia and New Zealand, saying it would provide a good opportunity for the company to learn about the implementation of immersive technologies.

Medium Rare wins Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand tender

The custom publishing agency will supply publishing and sales services.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) has appointed Medium Rare Content Agency to supply publishing and sales services for Acuity, its online and print magazine.

Medium Rare will produce its first issue of the revamped bimonthly Acuity print magazine in December 2018. The magazine is distributed to nearly 100,000 CA ANZ members worldwide.

In addition, Medium Rare will provide content strategy, editorial and production services for the Acuity website, fortnightly EDMs and social media channels, including blogs, videos and podcasts.

Medium Rare has appointed respected business and finance journalist Sally Rose as editor of Acuity. Rose previously worked as blogger-in-chief at Global Access Partners, as a senior journalist at CFO Magazine and at The Australian Financial Review. Most recently she was the editor of Investment Magazine.

Medium Rare managing director Gerry Reynolds said: “Acuity’s content platforms combine to communicate directly with high-earning individuals who manage the major purchasing decisions in business across Australia, New Zealand and overseas.

“We are excited to offer members informative and engaging content while providing advertisers with greater opportunities to reach a highly desirable audience across platforms.

“Our aim is to take Acuity content to the next level in order to help members remain relevant and have successful careers in an age of increasing automation and digital disruption.”

ACCC must listen to community concerns about Nine’s takeover of Fairfax

More than 1,100 people have made submissions through MEAA to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission expressing concerns about the proposed takeover of Fairfax Media by Nine Entertainment Co.

The submissions were made via an online tool hosted on the MEAA website after the ACCC invited members of the public to have their say on the $2 billion-plus takeover.

MEAA’s Media section has also made a submission, which urges the ACCC to oppose the merger as it contravenes the Australian Competition and Consumer Law.

MEAA has argued the merger would substantially lessen competition and diversity in the media industry, is anti-democratic and any public benefit is outweighed by the public detriment.

MEAA chief executive Paul Murphy said: “It’s a sign of how much this takeover is against the public interest that more than 1,100 people felt compelled to send a submission to the ACCC.

“The ACCC must seriously take these views into account when considering whether to allow the takeover to proceed.

“This is a takeover that will change the face of Australia’s media forever by creating a cross-platform giant that will reach every corner of our nation and which will control newspapers and websites, television and radio stations in our two largest cities.

“There is no question that the Nine takeover of Fairfax will reduce diversity in Australia’s media, which is already one of the most concentrated in the democratic world.

“We also hold concerns about what it will mean for independent journalism, for the future of Fairfax’s metropolitan and 160 community, regional and rural publications around Australia and for the jobs and conditions of thousands of Fairfax employees.

“It is disappointing that Nine did not agree to submit the takeover to more rigorous scrutiny by seeking formal authorisation from the ACCC.”

MEAA has recommended that if the takeover is allowed to go ahead it should only be with strict enforceable undertakings, including a robust process to guarantee editorial independence, the maintenance of separate Nine and Fairfax newsrooms, and commitments to continue existing employment arrangements at all existing Fairfax publications for at least three years.

The Weekend Australian wins 2018 News Brand Of The Year award

News Corp’s The Weekend Australian was crowned as the 2018 News Brand of the Year at this year’s News Media Awards. For the first time in the event’s history the awards night combined the former PANPA Newspaper of the Year Awards and the Advertising and Marketing Awards.

The Weekend Australian also took out the Weekend News Brand of the Year. The New Zealand Herald won Daily News Brand of the Year, while the Northern Territory News won Regional News Brand of the Year. The Gympie Times was the Community News Brand of the Year.

Michelle Gunn

More than 400 people attended the awards ceremony at the Hilton Sydney on the evening of September 14. The Chaser’s Craig Reucassel and Andrew Hansen were again the emcees for the evening. The event took place at the conclusion of the annual INFORM News Media Summit.

News media publishers from Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific submitted more than 500 entries for the seven categories in the 2018 awards. The awards recognise excellence in cross-platform news publishing, reflected in categories covering Advertising, Marketing, Technical, Product Innovation, Executive Excellence, Photography and the overall News Brand awards.

“I would like to congratulate all this year’s News Media Awards winners and acknowledge the incredibly high standard of the region’s publishers and their brands and people. The winning entries demonstrated that our region’s publishing excellence is of a world-class standard,” said NewsMediaWorks CEO Peter Miller.

“Our newly rebranded News Media Awards are now in their 49th year and recognised as the region’s pre-eminent awards in the news media industry. The new-look awards reflect the changing nature of news brands to meet the needs of advertisers and readers, where trust to provide quality, credible journalism is critical to their success.”

The News Media Awards were sponsored by Media Super, Norske Skog, AAP, DIC and UnLtd.

Judges for 2018 were:

Adrianne Nixon
Alan Oakley
Andy Moger
Brian Hill
Bruce Davidson
Camila Carmody
Charlie Murdoch
Chelsea Wymer
Cheryl Stanion
Chris Freel
Damien Munday
David Krug
David Roles
Ed Efchak
Eva Rinaldi
Gerard Noonan
Grant Booker
Ian Moore
Jane Ractliffe (nee Schulze)
Janine Perrett
Jason Howard
Jodie Sangster
John Trevorrow
Julia Spencer
Karyn Krawford
Kellie Northwood
Linda Wong
Magdoom Mohamed
Mal Dale
Mark Dadswell
Mark Sharman
Michael Van Wyk
Miguel D’Souza
Nic Hodges
Nicole McInnes
Peter Miller
Phillip Campbell
Rick Neville
Rick Slowgrove
Rosie Baker
Steve Packham
Sunita Gloster
Ted Horton
Tim Bauer
Tim Burrowes
Tony Gillies
Udesh Gunatunga
Virginia Hyland.

Top 10 Game Charts: Spiderman swings into top spot

Another significant reshuffle in the Australian games charts this week, with all four of last week’s new entrants being pushed out of the top 10 as the season of heavy-hitters begins.

In top spot this week is Sony and Insomniac Games’ new take on Spider-Man, for PS4. Combine the universal appeal of a character like Spider-Man (which, in the wake of the mega-success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has arguably never been broader), the popularity of PS4, and the marketing muscle of Sony and the result is no surprise. It also helps that the game’s not too shabby at all. Expect to see this in the top 10 for a while.

In second spot this week is NBA 2K19. 2K’s acclaimed basketball series has come under fire for its baked-in microtransactions over recent years (and in some territories certain parts of NBA 2K19’s microtransaction system have had to be removed, to comply with new gambling laws targeting video games in Belgium and the Netherlands) but none of that stopped last year’s NBA 2K18 setting a franchise record, with over 10 million copies sold. NBA 2K19 has a special regional exclusive cover in Australia and New Zealand, featuring NBA Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons – the first Australian to feature on the cover of an NBA 2K game in the series’ 20-year history. You can read IGN’s review of NBA 2K19 here.

The third new entry this week is Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age, a traditional Japanese RPG that was first released in Japan back in July 2017 and has finally made its way west (or, in our case, about nine hours south).

The remaining games are largely the same evergreen hits we’ve been seeing for months and years, except for F1 2018 (spending its third and probably final week in the top 10) and Destiny 2 (a game that had faded from the conversation but seems to have had a decent boost following the release of its first full expansion: Forsaken).


ARIA Charts: Dean & Eminem still tops, Paul and Kayne new arrivals

• Singles: Dean holds on despite Kanye, Sam & Calvin chart attack
• Albums: Eminem again #1 as Paul McCartney debuts in top 10


Sydney singer-songwriter Dean Lewis has managed to top the chart for a fifth week, adding to the number of weeks that Aussie singles have owned top spot this year. Be Alright has held firm despite Calvin Harris and Sam Smith’s Promises surging eight spots to #4 after four weeks on the chart.

Lewis also survived the chart debut of I Love It from Lil Pump and Kayne West. The collaboration has set a new record for YouTube views – the biggest global debut for a hip hop video on the platform. The video garnered 76m views in its first week, which overtook the record set by Childish Gambino’s This Is America.

Just one other single managed to debut inside the top 50: Silk City and Dua Lipa with Electricity featuring Diplo and Mark Ronson debuted at #33. Silk City is the name Diplo and Mark Ronson use when collaborating.

Sneaking into the top 50 from lower down the chart this week:

#37 Natural from Imagine Dragons

#41 In My Mind from Dynoro

# 50 Waiting from Kian


Three chart debuts inside the top 10, but nothing powerful enough to push Kamikaze from Eminem out of top spot. He has a few weeks at #1 to go to equal his best – in 2010 Eminem’s Recovery was #1 for nine weeks.

The new arrivals in the top 10:

#2 Skeggs with My Own Mess. First album from the Byron Bay rock trio.

#4 Paul McCartney with Egypt Station. The 18th solo album from the former Beatle is surprisingly his first time in the top 10 since 1997 and it was 1982 when he was last top 5.

#10 $uicideboy$ with I Want To Die In New Orleons. After 40+ other releases including EPs, the New Orleans hip hop act has released its debut album.

Following his death, Mac Miller’s Swimming re-entered the chart at a new peak of #7 after three weeks in total.

Two other chart debuts inside the top 50:

#38 Lauren Daigle with Look Up Child. Third album from the US Christian singer.

#43 Russ with Zoo. After releasing 11 albums free online between 2011 and 2014, this is the US rapper’s second album in two years with Columbia.

Top Photo: Paul McCartney credit: Debby Wong /

TV Ratings Analysis: September 17

• Kerrie and Spence kick goals for their kitchen on The Block
• Seven’s best performers: News and Little Big Shots

By Kruti Joshi


The channel has started off week 38 with a Sunday night win thanks to The Block. It was kitchen reveals on last night’s episode of the Nine reality TV show. After what’s been a rollercoaster ride for Kerrie and Spence, they managed the first perfect score for a room on this season of The Block. “This is out of town,” judge Shaynna Blaze said. The couple’s kitchen is the biggest and the most expensive on the show’s history.

The 25th episode of the series was the most-watched program on TV last night with 1.341m watching. Nine News also performed well for the channel with 1.061m tuning in.

60 Minutes was also inside the top 10 shows with an audience of 738,000.


Seven News and Little Big Shots were the channel’s best performers with 1.042m and 827,000 tuning in. Children showed off their sports, dance and musical skills on last night’s episode.

Sunday Night ranked #7 on Sunday TV ratings. It had 611,000 watching.


Sunday’s Ten Eyewitness News was the channel’s most-watched program. There were 385,000 people watching. The Sunday Project did 312,000.

The movie Now You See Me 2 was watched by 282,000.


The News, Rake and a repeated episode of Joanna Lumley’s India were the channel’s best performers. All managed to secure a spot in the top 10 shows.

Week 37-38 TV: Friday
ABC8.7%728.6%917.9%TEN8.2%SBS One5.4%
ABC 22.9%7TWO3.7%GO!1.8%ONE2.8%VICELAND1.2%
ABC ME0.8%7mate6.7%GEM1.5%ELEVEN2.1%Food Net0.7%
ABC NEWS1.9%7flix3.0%9Life2.1%NITV0.0%
ABC9.5%725.7%919.2%TEN7.1%SBS One5.3%
ABC 22.8%7TWO3.6%GO!2.9%ONE2.8%VICELAND1.7%
ABC ME0.5%7mate7.8%GEM2.1%ELEVEN2.6%Food Net0.7%
ABC NEWS1.3%7flix2.0%9Life2.3%NITV0.2%
ABC12.1%720.8%926.5%TEN7.5%SBS One3.3%
ABC 22.6%7TWO4.3%GO!4.0%ONE3.2%VICELAND1.1%
ABC ME0.4%7mate4.4%GEM1.8%ELEVEN2.1%Food Net0.6%
ABC NEWS1.0%7flix1.6%9Life2.2%NITV0.4%
ABCSeven AffiliatesNine AffiliatesTen AffiliatesSBS
ABC12.1%720.2%922.7%WIN7.8%SBS One4.0%
ABC 23.1%7TWO4.7%GO!5.5%ONE2.4%VICELAND1.0%
ABC ME0.8%7mate4.3%GEM2.7%ELEVEN1.9%Food Net0.8%
ABC NEWS1.5%7flix1.2%9Life2.3%Sky News  on WIN0.4%NITV0.4%





Friday Top 10

  1. Seven’s AFL: Friday Night Football Finals Seven 974,000
  2. Seven News Seven 828,000
  3. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 795,000
  4. Nine News Nine 783,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 766,000
  6. Better Homes And Gardens Seven 571,000
  7. Seven’s AFL: Friday Night Football Finals – Pre Match Seven 569,000
  8. ABC News ABC 555,000
  9. Seven’s AFL: Friday Night Football Finals – Post Match Seven 524,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 515,000


Saturday Top 10

  1. Seven’s AFL: Saturday Night Football Finals Seven 915,000
  2. Seven News Seven 791,000
  3. Nine News Saturday Nine 777,000
  4. ABC News ABC 636,000
  5. Rugby League Final Series Sf2 Nine 532,000
  6. Seven’s AFL: Saturday Night Football Finals Seven 506,000
  7. Seven’s AFL: Saturday Night Football Finals Seven 474,000
  8. The Split ABC 430,000
  9. Getaway Nine 356,000
  10. Rugby League Final Series Sf2 -Pre Game Nine 335,000
Sunday FTA
  1. The Block Nine 1,341,000
  2. Nine News Sunday Nine 1,061,000
  3. Seven News Seven 1,042,000
  4. Little Big Shots Seven 827,000
  5. 60 Minutes Nine 738,000
  6. ABC News Sunday ABC 718,000
  7. Sunday Night Seven 611,000
  8. Rake ABC 505,000
  9. Joanna Lumley’s India (R) ABC 463,000
  10. Ten Eyewitness News Ten 385,000
  11. Murder Uncovered Seven 370,000
  12. Seven News At 5 Seven 324,000
  13. The Sunday Project 7 PM Ten 312,000
  14. City Of Evil Nine 307,000
  15. Nine News: First At Five Nine 303,000
  16. Insiders AM ABC 285,000
  17. Now You See Me 2 Ten 282,000
  18. Vera (R) ABC 266,000
  19. Landline- PM ABC 253,000
  20. Weekend Sunrise Seven 248,000
SUNDAY Multichannel
  1. Independence Day: Resurgence- PM 7mate 179,000
  2. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 179,000
  3. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line Seven 168,000
  4. Peppa Pig- PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 165,000
  5. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line -7ETPW.3O PM 164,000
  6. Noddy Toyland Detective- PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 160,000
  7. Sarah And Duck AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 159,000
  8. Go Jetters AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 153,000
  9. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 153,000
  10. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line -7PTMWO 152,000
  11. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 150,000
  12. Kiddets AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 150,000
  13. Luo Bao Bei AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 148,000
  14. Dot. ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  15. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  16. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line -7ETPW.4O PM 146,000
  17. Hey Duggee- PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  18. The Big Bang Theory Tx4 9GO! 144,000
  19. Little Roy- PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 142,000
  20. Charlie And Lola AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 136,000
SUNDAY Subscription TV
  1. Live: Motorsport: F1: Singapore Race FOX SPORTS 506 185,000
  2. Live: Supercars Sandown FOX SPORTS 506 166,000
  3. A Place To Call Home showcase 128,000
  4. Live: Supercars Live FOX SPORTS 506 117,000
  5. Live: Dunlop Super2 Series Sandown FOX SPORTS 506 98,000
  6. Live: Supercars Sandown Supports FOX SPORTS 506 81,000
  7. Live: F1: Singapore Pit Lane Race Day FOX SPORTS 506 74,000
  8. Live: Supercars Sandown FOX SPORTS 506 69,000
  9. Live: Supercars Trackside FOX SPORTS 506 67,000
  10. Live: Supercars Sandown Supports FOX SPORTS 506 54,000
  11. NCIS TVH!TS 53,000
  12. NCIS TVH!TS 47,000
  13. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 47,000
  14. Live: F1: Singapore Paddock Live FOX SPORTS 506 42,000
  15. Live: Premiership Nsw FOX LEAGUE 42,000
  16. Beat Bugs Nick Jr. 42,000
  17. Live: Dunlop Super2 Series Sandown FOX SPORTS 506 41,000
  18. The Day Henry Met Nick Jr. 40,000
  19. Mrs. Brown’s Boys UKTV 39,000
  20. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 39,000

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

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

Funding shortfall halts ABC’s Great Ideas program

Funding difficulties have forced the ABC to put on hold the second stage of managing director Michelle Guthrie’s signature policy, the $50 million Great Ideas Grant, reports Stephen Brook in The Australian.

The Grand Ideas Grant was launched with much fanfare last year as an additional funding pool contestable by staff. But the second funding round, seeking pitches from ABC staff, has been delayed until next year, The Australian has learnt.

In July last year, the ABC said nine GIG projects would move forward, but only four have launched: ABC Kids Listen, an audio service aimed at young children and their families; Retrofocus, which features content from the ABC archives; ABC Life, a lifestyle content website; and Unravel, a true crime vertical that includes the Blood on the Tracks podcast.

[Read the original]

Pressure building on big digital to take responsibility

Increasing pressure on the tech giants to take responsibility for their platforms and the prospect of legislation by governments around the world are serving as a major turning point for journalism, according to the chief executive of News Corp, reports Darren Davidson in The Australian.

Robert Thomson was speaking after the EU last week proposed imposing huge fines on tech firms that weren’t fast enough in removing terrorist content.

“Over the last decade, really, and even before the reincarnation of News Corp, Rupert (Murdoch, News Corp executive chairman) and Lachlan (Murdoch, co-chairman) and I were really sort of digital Don Quixotes in that we were tilting at tech windmills and trying to hold big digital to account,” Mr Thomson said.

[Read the original]

Campaigns calling for advertising boycotts use ‘fabricated outrage’

Top media buyers and executives at Seven Network and Macquarie Media have criticised an online activist who encourages advertisers to boycott certain television and radio shows, saying the campaigns are unwarranted and are often based on fabricated outrage, reports Lilly Vitorovich in The Australian.

Seven director of news and public affairs Craig McPherson said an online campaign by media consultant Denise Shrivell urging advertisers to boycott the free-to-air broadcaster over its coverage of African gangs in Melbourne was unwarranted and futile.

McPherson said the network’s “editorial misfire” this year was quickly rectified but the advertising boycott campaign had snowballed into several days of bad publicity.

[Read the original]

Google and Fairfax Media open to lease extension ahead of publisher’s Pyrmont exit

Google is likely to work with Fairfax Media in an attempt to extend the publisher’s stay in its Pyrmont headquarters ahead of a potential move to North Sydney with Nine Entertainment in 2020, reports Max Mason in The AFR.

Fairfax, publisher of The Australian Financial Review, has an exit date of the end of 2019, which it agreed to with Google after sealing a deal with the Silicon Valley giant to take the remaining three levels of the Darling Island Road site earlier this year. Google already takes up several floors of the Mirvac-owned property.

The pair’s real estate brokers had been in conversations to extend Fairfax’s lease but hit a roadblock last month.

Fairfax had been looking for a new headquarters after its deal with Google in January and was believed to be close to signing an agreement for office space at 477 Pitt Street near Central Station. However, in July Fairfax and Nine announced a $4.2 billion merger to bring together their media assets.

[Read the original]

Henry Ergas puzzled by criticism of Google-backed report on public interest journalism

Economist Henry Ergas has defended the integrity of a report he produced for Google on public interest journalism and says recent criticism has left him slightly puzzled, reports The Australian’s Chris Merritt.

He did not wish to give “more oxygen” to criticism of his report over the way it dealt with the impact of Google on newspapers but said it contained “nothing terrible” and focused on the challenges confronting journalism.

“Effectively our report was not part of this whole issue around Google and the media and so on,” he said.

[Read the original]

The rise of voice assistants presents marketers with a new challenge

Advertisers need to get to grips with an explosion of in-home digital voice-activated assistants as Australians rapidly take up devices such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomePod, reports Max Mason in The AFR.

Over the last 12 months, the three voice-enabled digital assistants from Google, Amazon and Apple have launched into Australia and, according to Deloitte’s 2018 Media Consumer Survey, takeup is already nearly 10% of respondent households.

In the US, where the products have been available for three years, 15% of respondents indicated they had a voice-enabled digital assistant.

In Australia, younger respondents and those earning above $100,000 have taken up voice-enabled home assistants at a penetration rate of 15%.

[Read the original]

Laws on defamation should be overhauled by Canberra

Journalists have good reason to harbour negative feelings about defamation law, writes Mark Day in The Australian.

It frequently imposes an icy, chilling grip on what you can report or say about people and events. Judges often impose massive and unpalatable costs on publishers for what were stuff-ups rather than slights designed to induce hatred, ridicule or contempt.

Generally, we hate it when the journalistic pursuit of truth founders on intricate legal argument. We applaud on the relatively rare occasions when plaintiffs fail to make their case. But the $3.7 million defamation award against broadcaster Alan Jones is different. On all the evidence presented to the Queensland Supreme Court over a long and exhaustive trial, the award against Jones and his radio stations 2GB Sydney and 4BC Brisbane was deserved.

Jones had contended, in what was a sustained and deliberate campaign, that the four Wagner brothers of Toowoomba, in Queensland’s Darling Downs, were responsible for 12 deaths in the 2011 Grantham floods and that they had built their Wellcamp airport near Toowoomba through corrupt practices.

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The art of advertising has changed – brands must now stand for something

The investiture of a sixth Prime Minister in just over a decade is unlikely to boost Australians’ trust in our political system, reports Simon Collins in The AFR.

But government is not the only major public institution whose moral authority has crumbled in recent years. Thanks to its reluctance to embrace progressive causes like abortion and same-sex marriage – not to mention the taint of child abuse – the church’s role in our increasingly secular society continues to diminish. Even our top sportsmen, once held up as role models for our children, have shown themselves to be corruptible.

Conservatives see all this as the inevitable result of our rejection of traditional Judaeo-Christian values in favour of the kind of narcissistic, self-serving materialism that is encouraged by large corporations and facilitated by Big Digital.

Few would deny that kids raised on social media are likely to be a tad more self-regarding than their grandparents. But, just because someone likes to take selfies doesn’t mean they’ve lost their moral compass. And just because an organisation depends for its continued existence on satisfying the needs of a particular target audience doesn’t prevent it behaving in a way which benefits the wider community. And this is more true today than ever before.

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Ad bans may spark customer backlash

Newspaper editors and television executives from Fairfax and Nine Network have questioned the legitimacy of an online campaign targeting advertisers after it emerged that the activity is being driven by a small number of individuals hiding behind anonymous accounts, writes Darren Davidson in The Australian.

Media industry leaders warned advertisers to guard against giving social media-driven ad boycotts more attention than they deserved, and encouraged brands to consider their options carefully before joining an ad boycott or blacklisting a certain website.

Speaking at the Australian newspaper industry’s annual summit in Sydney yesterday, Nine chief executive Hugh Marks said social media was plagued by a lack of transparency and accountability in response to recent pressure on advertisers by activists to pull ad spending from Sky News (owned by The Weekend Australian’s publisher, News Corp), Seven Network and radio 2GB. “We need to make sure there’s transparency and clarity around how those decisions are made to the extent that there is misinformation or social media is used to misguide or mislead or misinform marketers,” he said.

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Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog: ABC’s fact checkers AWOL

Gerard Henderson in The Australian: The Wentworth By-Election: ABC’s Fact Checkers AWOL

MWD has long maintained that the ABC should check its own “facts” before checking the facts of others via its RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit. As MWD documented last week, Madeleine Morris’s attempt to fact-check Tim Wilson’s comment on the ending of the White Australia Policy was historical. But MWD digresses.

Here are two ABC “facts” in the lead-up to last night’s Liberal Party preselection to contest the Wentworth by-election on October 20. The Wentworth by-election is destined to be one of the most-reported such events in Australian history.

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Facebook to fact-check photos, videos

Facebook will begin fact-checking photographs and videos posted on the social media platform, seeking to close a gap that allowed Russian propagandists to promote false news during the last US presidential election, reports Micah Maidenberg for Dow Jones.

The company said overnight (AEST) it will use technology and human reviewers to try to staunch what it called in a statement “misinformation in these new visual formats”.

Previously, the company’s efforts had been focused on rooting out false articles and links.

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S4 Capital opens new door for Martin Sorrell

Martin Sorrell has revealed he retains the same hunger for success and appetite for deals with his new venture that he had when he transformed a basket-maker called Wire & Plastic Products into the world’s biggest advertising group over four decades, reports Darren Davidson in The Australian.

Speaking to Media yesterday, Sorrell said that he never contemplated retiring following his resignation as chief executive of WPP in April after The Wall Street Journal reported that WPP’s board was looking into an allegation of improper personal behaviour and whether he had misused company assets.

Sorrell rejects the allegation unreservedly.

“Several people said to me after I left WPP, which was unpleasant, ‘Take it easy,’ but I wanted to get back on the horse. If you fall off the horse, you get back on as quickly as you possibly can,” the 73-year-old said.

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Bruce Gordon moves to cement position as largest shareholder in merged Nine and Fairfax Media

WIN Corporation owner Bruce Gordon is positioning himself to be the largest shareholder in a merged Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media, upping his exposure to the former to a quarter of the company, reports Max Mason in The AFR.

On September 14, Birketu, Gordon’s private investment vehicle, confirmed it had increased its cash-settled share swap related to Nine to 9.97% of the free-to-air broadcaster.

Gordon already holds 14.97% of Nine shares but is prevented from owning more due to the one television licence to a market rule. Gordon owns a northern NSW TV business in the same market Nine owns regional broadcaster NBN.

The combination of its shares and the equity swaps take Gordon’s total economic interest in Nine to 24.94%.

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Virginia Trioli reveals trauma around her Barnaby Joyce gaffe

Virginia Trioli has revealed the personal pain around an on-air gaffe in which she was caught making a disrespectful hand gesture about Barnaby Joyce in 2009 that fuelled claims of ABC bias against the Coalition, reports Paige Taylor in The Australian.

Trioli’s keynote address to the second annual Women in Media conference on the Gold Coast yesterday included advice to young journalists to believe in themselves, but also the revelation that she was pregnant by a matter of days when she made the embarrassing gaffe and that pregnancy failed in the days after the furore erupted.

“It’s not an excuse. It’s not a justification,” she said.

Trioli stressed she may have lost the pregnancy regardless, but said after what felt like her 100th IVF attempt, she arrived at the office that morning at 4am for her breakfast TV shift jubilant and “high as a kite” that she was pregnant. “We finally had an embryo that looked like it had a chance and I returned to work technically pregnant and over the moon.”

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Australian actor Yvonne Strahovski could give birth at Emmy Awards

Yvonne Strahovski would be forgiven for putting her feet up on the couch and watching this week’s Emmy Awards from the comfort of her Los Angeles lounge room, reports Holly Byrnes in the Herald Sun.

But the heavily pregnant Australian actor, nominated for her role in the acclaimed drama series, The Handmaid’s Tale, is still planning to walk the red carpet despite being due to give birth “any day now”.

The 36-year-old will have actor husband Tim Loden by her side as she basks in the glow of her best supporting actress nomination for her role as Serena in the dystopian drama, as they await the arrival of their first child.

Not content to sit at home and miss her moment, Strahovski was out on the pre-Emmys trail this week, backing up after recently throwing herself into a pre-baby hiking holiday with her husband through the Grand Canyon.

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Pay TV under threat from Optus, Telstra push into sports rights

Telecommunications companies’ push into sports content and ‘telcotainment’ poses a threat to traditional pay-TV players, like News Corp’s Foxtel, with one in five of those intending to cancel their subscriptions switching to sports apps, reports Jennifer Duke in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Young men are the most likely to stop spending on pay TV due to telcos’ apps, particularly for sport, according to a survey of 2,000 people by Deloitte for the Media Consumer Survey 2018 released on Monday. More than 40% of that group said they use mobile phone apps to watch sports.

Australia’s largest telco Telstra has a 35% stake in the recently merged Foxtel/Fox Sports.

In an increasingly competitive mobile and broadband environment, with prices squeezed as providers aim to retain customers and gain new ones at the expense of their rivals, differentiating a service based on content has become a major strategy for Singtel Optus and Telstra.

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Why Amanda Keller won’t be typecast as ‘the harpy’

WSFM’s breakfast presenter Amanda Keller is flitting around her new kitchen, making tea, showing off her fancy new bar fridge and pointing out her folly of buying plates that are too big to fit into her new dishwasher, writes Angela Mollard in Stellar.

Barry Du Bois, her co-host on The Living Room, helped design the new kitchen with its Shaker-style cupboards and long island bench – but neither could have foreseen that the popular TV and radio host would have even less time to cook than pre-renovations.

As if starting each weekday with three hours of breakfast radio, hosting a Friday night lifestyle show and making appearances on a slew of other programs, including The Project and Have You Been Paying Attention?, were not enough, the 56-year-old presenter has now signed on to co-host the upcoming reboot of Dancing With The Stars.

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‘Very dark days’: Anton Enus returns to SBS after cancer battle

Daunted by the prospect of major surgery, Anton Enus asked his oncologist if there was an alternative, reports Michael Lallo in The SMH.

“Yes,” the oncologist replied. “You will die.”

Enus lifts the corner of his shirt, revealing a flesh-coloured pouch. “Once you decide you want to live, there’s a price to pay,” says the SBS newsreader. “As you can see, I ended up with a colostomy bag.”

This week, the 57-year-old returns to work – hosting the Friday and Saturday editions of SBS World News – after a near two-year absence. “I had some very dark days,” he says. “But, without glossing over anything, I took the decision not to put all that on social media.”

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Mark Knight’s Serena Williams cartoon: truth erased as mob draws lazy conclusions

About 50 years ago a fashionable topic emerged among my undergraduate friends and colleagues. Humans were said to have “lost” the prehistoric ability to read the thoughts of others through mental telepathy, writes John Spooner in The Australian.

This glorious lost faculty was said to still exist in the minds of some gifted individuals. Even the Soviet military and the CIA were said to be studying this phenomenon for obvious tactical reasons.

The proposed “revival” of this vestigial power revolted me. It seemed obvious that common possession of this power would drive us all insane.

Imagine the horror of rush hour train travel. You’re stuck in a confined space full of strangers whose every thought is loud in your ears – vile insults, hatred, envy and simmering anger mixed with endless boring platitudes and nagging inanities. Of course there’d be kindness and humour sprinkled throughout.

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The Mark Knight furore gave the masses, who largely ignore the culture wars, a glimpse into the world of the perpetually aggrieved, writes Rita Panahi in the Herald Sun.

Sadly, many in the media and political class pander to these intellectually infirm fringe-dwellers whose views are also prevalent in the more useless branches of academia.

These people do not feel whole unless they are outraged about something, anything, even if it means being outraged on behalf of others. Trivial and imagined offences are given the same weight as real racism and sexism and the offenders are treated accordingly.

After numerous death threats Knight chose to close his Twitter account to deprive the baying mob of one less avenue of abuse. But by the middle of last week is wasn’t just Knight who was maligned as a hopeless racist, misogynist body-shamer but the entire country was being smeared in certain US publications.

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Press Council to review Serena cartoon complaints

Melbourne Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight’s cartoon on Serena Williams’s dummy spit during the US Open final is heading for the Australian Press Council, reports Stephen Brook in The Australian’s Media Diary.

The council has received complaints, which it will examine before deciding if it needs to issue a formal adjudication.

As a believer in free speech, Diary was not overly offended by caricature, but acknowledges it was pretty crude. But then so was Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson’s depictions of former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. Different times, different publications, different levels of outrage. Clearly, many were deeply offended by Knight’s cartoon, and as a believer in free speech, you have to acknowledge their right to voice their anger. When this newspaper published Bill Leak’s “Righto what’s his name?” cartoon in response to the horrific treatment of children in the Northern Territory’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, the Press Council received more than 700 complaints. It negotiated a settlement involving this paper publishing two opinion pieces and the council took no further action. Too early to tell whether a similar settlement will be brokered in this case.

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The Weekend Australian Magazine’s 30 years, 30 great Australians

Actors Toni Collette and Nicole Kidman, Olympian Ian Thorpe, as well as former cricketer and now commentator Adam Gilchrist are some of the names who have been listed in The Weekend Australian Magazine’s 30 Years, 30 Great Australians list.

Sports Media

AFL crowd records smashed with blockbusters to come

The AFL is poised to smash its all-time attendance record for a single season by more than a quarter of a million people, reports Greg Denham in The Australian.

Following outstanding attendances over the first six finals games, the league broke its all-time record – set last season – well before the start of play in Saturday night’s semifinal win by Collingwood over Greater Western Sydney at the MCG.

Last year’s overall attendance record of 7,286,419, which led to a record $60 million profit, has already been bettered by 54,145.

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Jimmy Barnes and Black Eyed Peas to be pre-match entertainment at 2018 AFL grand final

Jimmy Barnes and the Black Eyed Peas have been confirmed as this year’s AFL grand final pre-match entertainment.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan confirmed the Black Eyed Peas – led by – would be the headline act.

However, the US hip hop act is now down to a trio with the departure of singer Fergie, which would make replicating their biggest hits such as Where Is The Love, My Humps, I Gotta Feeling and Boom Boom Pow difficult without a replacement vocalist, unless they busted out a DJ set.

“We are honoured to be heading to Melbourne to perform at the AFL grand final day,” the Black Eyed Peas said.

“This is the biggest day in Australian sport, so we will be pulling out all the stops for this special performance.”

Barnes is also part of the entertainment lineup.

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