Monday September 23, 2019

Pedestrian.TV sharing the brand’s magic to expanded group

• CEO Matt Rowley and publisher Vanessa Lawrence spice it up

By James Manning

Now a key part of the new-look Pedestrian Group inside Nine Entertainment, CEO Matt Rowley and publisher Vanessa Lawrence have spoken with Mediaweek about what makes Pedestrian.TV unique and how they will inject some “Pedestrian spice” into the former Allure Media brands they are integrating.

Listen here:
Pedestrian Group CEO Matt Rowley and publisher Vanessa Lawrence join the Mediaweek podcast.

The executives charged with steering Nine Entertainment’s growing Pedestrian Group have different histories with the digital publishing business.

Pedestrian CEO Matt Rowley was Fairfax Media chief revenue officer when the publisher merged with Nine Entertainment. He stayed in his role for about six months until appointed to look after the digital media youth group.

Publisher Vanessa Lawrence goes further back. She was previously head of editorial for Pedestrian.TV for two and a half years, later leaving to be deputy editor of Qantas magazine and Travel Insider. She returned later to Pedestrian to be publisher of the expanded six brands.

Those new brands in the group have come across from Allure Media – Business Insider, Gizmodo, LifeHacker, Kitako and Pop Sugar. A more recent acquisition for Pedestrian was the Open Air Cinemas and the business also represents Tinder in Australia.

As to what are the characteristics of those brands that makes sense to put them together, Rowley explained: “There is something that is very common across all the brands. The way it is often explained is – [the brands talk to their audience] the way people would talk to a mate. It is done in a very Australian tone – frank honest and funny, but also informative.

“That is something that Pedestrian.TV had always nailed. And I speak as someone who was consuming it well before I had an inkling I might be working here one day.

“All the brands share those characteristics, even Business Insider where they not only want to make business information not just accessible, but really engaging. It is no longer digital spinach, but stuff you don’t just have to read, but you want to.

That is something common across all our brands – making the content engaging and inclusive.

As to the target audience attracted to the group, Lawrence explained it had broadened as the new brands joined Pedestrian.TV. “Our core demo on Pedestrian.TV has and always will be 18-30 year-olds.

“With the other brands their key demographic is more like 25-to-35-year-olds.”

Rowley added: “They do vary between the brands a little. Pop Sugar has a very young demo.”

“Pedestrian.TV is definitely an acquired taste,” said Lawrence, explaining people new to it or from outside the demo might not initially “get” it.

“That cheekiness and irreverence is what we are hoping to instil in the other brands to some degree. We are no means trying to Pedestrian-ify those brands, but what we do want to do is add what we call the Pedestrian spice – a little bit of flavour, a little bit of something different they are not going to get from any other publisher.

Lawrence explained editorial coverage has an attitude, “It is very fun, irreverent, but it has depth to it and is not just surface level coverage of pop culture. We have some really important conversations with our readers about everything from climate change to mental health.”

Rowley said when the brands came together, they did some work on how they saw themselves and their identity. “As a new group we identified our values. They actually came out really quickly.

“The first one was that we are fearless. You see that in the tone and it is important to what we do.

Hungry was the second one and real was the final one.

“Those three words can really capture just about everything we do.”

He added those words are important when it comes to commercial relationships as well as the audience. “Clients come to the group seeking an idea they can’t get anywhere else,” said Rowley.

The Pedestrian Group co-founders Chris Wirasinha and Oscar Martin are only involved now as consultants.

Rowley said the leaving function for them was held just several days before we spoke.

“They left a fulltime role when I joined five months ago and I caught up with them every week. They will always be the founders of Pedestrian.TV and be ambassadors for what we do.”

Top Photo: Pedestrian Group’s Matt Rowley and Vanessa Lawrence with Mediaweek’s James Manning

Mary Ellen Mullane
Mary-Ellen Mullane appointed ABC Children's executive producer

The ABC has appointed Mary-Ellen Mullane as Executive Producer of ABC Children’s content, providing creative and editorial leadership to Australia’s leading networks for young viewers.

In her new role, starting 8 October, Mullane will commission for the ABC’s two dedicated children’s entertainment networks ABC KIDS and ABC ME, for distribution across television, radio, digital and third-party platforms, and oversee primary school-age content produced by the ABC.

Mullane, who joins the ABC from SBS’ National Indigenous Television (NITV) channel, will work closely with independent producers, broadcasting partners and distributors on series and one-off projects across multiple genres. She will build on the ABC’s relationships with Australian screen agencies to maximise opportunities for co-productions and financing.

Libbie Dohety, Head of ABC Children’s Production, said: “Mary-Ellen is a leading creative commissioner and will bring her passion for children’s content and excellent leadership skills to oversee our innovative and diverse offering. She has the drive and experience to lead the ABC Children’s team in producing relevant, thought-provoking and high-quality premium programs for young audiences here and overseas. We are delighted to welcome her to the team.”

Mullane said: “To be part of the team at ABC Children’s – where some of the world’s best content is created – is a tremendous privilege. Children’s content is the most dynamic area in television today, not just in its engagement with emerging platforms and technologies but also in terms of the bold, brave and diverse storytelling it undertakes to meaningfully engage with the lived experience of children. It’s an exciting time to join ABC Children’s, with its long history of quality content production.”

Mullane has more than 25 years’ experience in the Australian film and television industry, producing a wide range of content for children and families. As senior commissioning editor at NITV, she oversaw the delivery of award-winning content, including animation, documentary, factual, entertainment, virtual reality (VR) projects and live-action drama. She has also worked as an investment development manager at Screen Australia and as a producer at Film Australia.

Her credits include the Prix Jeunesse-nominated drama Grace Beside Me, Logie Award-winning Little J & Big Cuz, UN Media Award-winning documentary We Don’t Need a Map and VR project Future Dreaming (Tribeca Film Festival).

Week 38 TV Ratings: Seven kicks goals with two nights of AFL finals

After five nights of week 38, Nine was well in control of the ratings race. The broadcaster had leading shares of 20.1% week-to-date for its primary channel Sunday to Thursday and a 29.7% network share.

By James Manning

However, Seven started kicking goals on Friday night and the scorecard ticked over again on Saturday off the back of AFL finals. That pushed Seven ahead for the week with a winning primary share of 20.3% and a winning 30.5% network share.

Seven’s highlights were the AFL Preliminary Finals on Friday and Saturday. That means just one AFL clash remaining this year which sets up a final between a team from Sydney and Melbourne. That will help boost the viewing numbers for the game in Australia’s biggest city, although it means the numbers could be down in Australia’s most dedicated TV viewing city.

Both AFL finals had audiences over 1m. The penultimate episode of Australia’s Got Talent was the best non-news or non-sport program with 659,000.

Nine rode on the coat-tails of The Block again during the start of the week with the channel performing better in the key demos, even though it surrendered leadership all people.

The Block and Nine News Sunday both made the top 10. A Current Affair was top 30 and the two NRL semi finals, both with audiences just under 600,000, were top 40.

Network 10 had one of its best weeks of the year with strong results under 50.

The primary channel had seven of the top 10 shows in under 50s, 18 to 49s and 25 to 54s, and eight of the top 10 shows in 16 to 39s including the top six. This was thanks to The Bachelor Australia and Australian Survivor finales as well as continued strong performance from Have You Been Paying Attention? and Gogglebox.

The Bachelor Australia Grand Finale – The Final Decision was #1 across the week.

Australian Survivor Grand Finale – The Winner Announced held the #2 spot in under 50s and all key demos. Have You Been Paying Attention? had its biggest ep of the year and Gogglebox recorded its second biggest audience of the year.

The ABC’s biggest audience for the week was part one of the Australian Story episodes of Paul Hogan.

The biggest audience watching SBS was 219,000 for Britain’s Most Historic Towns.

Photo Credit: AFL

ARIA Chart: Post Malone #1 + Ruel, Taylor Swift, Korn & Charlie XCX top 10

• Singles: Kylie chart record gone + Ariana, Miley and Lana top 10

By James Manning


Tones And I’s Dance Monkey is now eight weeks at #1 and has blown away Kylie’s chart record of seven weeks at #1 with Locomotion in 1987. If Dance Monkey can hold for a ninth week then she will equal Justice Crew’s nine weeks on top with Que Sera in 2014.

The talented trio of chart toppers Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey had the highest chart debut with Don’t Call Me Angel (Charlie’s Angels) from the forthcoming Charlie’s Angels movie remake. The trio are no strangers to the top 10 – Grande has been there 12 times, Cyrus eight and Del Ray three times.

The only other chart debut in the top 50 was Halsey at #34 with Graveyard. The US singer/songwriter performed the track for the first time live at the iHeartRadio festival in Las Vegas on the weekend. An event that had a fair smattering of Aussie music execs in the crowd from HT&E and its local iHeartRadio and ARN divisions.


Post Malone’s second album Hollywood’s Bleeding has spent a second week at #1, in doing so making Taylor Swift spend another week at #2. Taylor’s PR push won’t be helped by the cancellation of her Melbourne Cup appearance.

A total of seven albums were new to the top 50, with three of them in the top 10:

#3 Ruel with Free Time. The ARIA-winning 16-year-old Sydney songwriter makes his album chart debut with this second EP.
#5 Korn with The Nothing. The US rock band’s 13th album is there ninth to land in the ARIA top 10.
#7 Charli XCX with Charli. The UK pop artist’s third album, and first since 2014, is her top 50 debut. The album’s first single 1999 was released in January this year and was a collaboration with Troye Sivan.
#11 The Hu with The Gereg. Not many Mongolian rock bands make the ARIA chart, and The Hu have just missed a top 10 debut with their first album.
#12 Sampa The Great with The Return. Zambian-born, but now Sydney-based, Sampa The Great releases her debut album. The rapper previously released the mixtapes The Great Mixtape (2015) and Birds And The BEE9 (2017).
#23 The Lumineers with III. The third album from the US indie folk band.
#36 Pixies with Beneath The Eyrie. The seventh album from the US alt-rockers.

Top 10 Game Charts: Borderlands sweeps the charts

The long-awaited third official installment in the Borderlands series has swept to the top of the retail video games sales charts this week.

By Cam Shea, editor in chief, IGN Australia

No surprise, the colourful – in look and in tone – loot and shooter brings back all the things people loved about the previous titles: over-the-top guns and characters, awesome co-op and a stack of replayability. IGN loves it and it’s clear the general public does too.

Last week’s top title, NBA 2K20, has dropped down to second place, while Gears 5 continues to stay near the top of the sales charts. Coming in at number four is Greedfall, an ambitious old-school, BioWare-style RPG that tackles morally complex themes like Colonialism. It’s a bit buggy, but offers choices with real consequences, and has a whole lot of meat to dig into. The other new title debuting this week is Pro Evolution Soccer 2020, which just pops in at number nine.


the block
TV Ratings Analysis: September 22

• The Block avoids a walkout after the delivery of the kitchens
• Australia’s Got Talent ends with a pole dancer collecting $100k

Sunday Week 39 2019

By James Manning

• Seven News 968,000
• Nine News 872,000
• ABC News 649,000
• The Project 222,000/333,000
• 10 News First 352,000
• Insiders 339,000
• SBS World News 158,000
• Offsiders 150,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 236,000
• Today 190,000


Australia’s Got Talent ended its first season back on Seven with a series final of 747,000 with the crowd growing slightly to 752,000 for the reveal of the winner indicating not much extra interest in who actually one. Instead the audience was all in on watching the complete two-hour nine act series decider. The winner was a pole-dancing mother of three from Melbourne who is now $100,000 better off. The judges chose a final four in the last episode before host Rickie-Lee then gave the final decision to the viewers.

Later in the evening Sunday Night had an audience of 448,000 after 400,000 last week.


Does anybody want to quit the game?” Block host Scott Cam asked last night during the reveal of the Kitchen Week scores.

“Because if you do, the door is there. No one’s holding you back. Does anybody want to go? We’ve done eight spaces – if you think you can’t hack it, it’s probably best you go home.”

Nobody did walk out of course as the program continues. Mitch and Mark revealed a sensational kitchen and butler’s kitchen, but it’s not enough to stop Andy and Deb from scoring 29 out of 30 which secureed them victory.

The Block episode did 1.15m to be #1 show of the night and up from 1.13m for the previous Sunday episode.

60 Minutes then featured a Nine publishing collaboration with the TV brand that saw reporters Nick McKenzie and Chris Masters revisiting allegations made earlier this year in the newspapers about the conduct of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. The episode did 622,000 after 489,000 last week.


The channel didn’t want to launch The Masked Singer against the AGT final, so there was no major reality franchise again in the 7.30pm slot. Instead Ambulance Australia was sent into battle with 269,000, well behind the opposition, after 271,000 on the previous Sunday.

Earlier in the night The Project was on 333,000 after 7pm where Hughesy was helping promote his role on The Masked Singer.


Part one of the two-episode The Pool: Our Playground did 411,000 in an hour of TV that featured many talking heads and great archival footage of Australia at play in swimming pools. There was some nice contemporary drone work too around some of the baths that have survived and thrived.

In Les Norton, Les made his rugby league debut with 307,000 watching after 313,000 last week.

Glitch then had a smallish audience of 83,000 for episode five. The series launched with close to 140,000 and in the consolidated viewing since then that audience has double to 280,000. That is not including the audience who chose to watch it on iview.


The channel had two programs in the top 30 – a repeat Pompeii: Life Before Death was on 213,000 after a repeat of Great Indian Railway Journeys did 171,000.

Week 38-39 TV: Friday-Sunday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 7.6% 7 31.5% 9 18.9% 10  7.7% SBS One 3.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.2% 7TWO 2.9% GO! 2.1% 10 Bold 2.6% VICELAND 0.8%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 7.3% GEM 2.3% 10 Peach 1.7% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix 3.0% 9Life 1.5%     NITV 0.1%
    7Food 0.4%         SBS World Movies 0.9%
TOTAL 11.7%   45.2%   24.8%   11.9%   6.4%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 8.0% 7 23.9% 9 19.7% 10  5.9% SBS One 5.1%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.0% 7TWO 4.0% GO! 5.1% 10 Bold 3.2% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 0.7% 7mate 5.6% GEM 2.7% 10 Peach 1.6% Food Net 1.3%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 3.0% 9Life 2.7%     NITV 0.1%
    7Food 0.7%         SBS World Movies 1.0%
TOTAL 13.3%   37.3%   30.2%   10.7%   8.5%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 9.5% 7 23.0% 9 24.4% 10  7.7% SBS One 5.8%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.5% 7TWO 2.7% GO! 4.8% 10 Bold 3.2% VICELAND 0.9%
ABC ME 0.4% 7mate 2.6% GEM 2.7% 10 Peach 2.0% Food Net 1.3%
ABC NEWS 1.1% 7flix 1.6% 9Life 2.1%     NITV 0.1%
    7Food 0.7%         SBS World Movies 0.7%
TOTAL 13.5%   30.7%   34.0%   12.9%   8.9%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.4% 7 23.4% 9 18.8% WIN 6.6% SBS One 5.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.7% 7TWO 3.0% GO! 5.2% WIN Bold 3.1% VICELAND 1.3%
ABC ME 1.4% 7mate 4.2% GEM 3.9% WIN Peach 1.6% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.6% 9Life 2.4% Sky News  on WIN 1.3% NITV 0.3%
    7food (QLD only) 1.3%            
TOTAL 15.8%   33.4%   30.2%   12.5%   8.0%


84.8% 15.2%
All People Ratings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven’s AFL: Friday Night Football Finals  Seven    1,079,000
  2. Seven News  Seven    884,000
  3. Seven News / Today Tonight  Seven    852,000
  4. Nine News  Nine  770,000
  5. Nine News 6:30  Nine  740,000
  6. Seven’s AFL: Friday Night Football Finals – Pre Match  Seven    600,000
  7.  ABC News    ABC  563,000
  8. Rugby League Final Series SF1  Nine  529,000
  9. Better Homes And Gardens  Seven    527,000
  10. Seven’s AFL: Friday Night Football Finals – Post Match  Seven    483,000


Saturday Top 10

  1. Seven News   Seven    1,136,000
  2. Seven’s AFL: Saturday Night Football Finals  Seven    1,026,000
  3. Nine News Saturday  Nine  609,000
  4. Rugby League Final Series SF2  Nine  561,000
  5.  ABC News  ABC  475,000
  6. M- Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children  Seven    338,000
  7. Seven’s AFL: Saturday Night Football Finals – Pre Match  Seven    338,000
  8. Rugby League Final Series SF2 -Pre Game  Nine  335,000
  9. Weekend Sunrise   Seven    272,000
  10. Poldark    ABC  238,000
Sunday FTA
  1. The Block    Nine  1,155,000
  2. Seven News    Seven    968,000
  3. Nine News Sunday  Nine  872,000
  4. Australia’s Got Talent – Grand Final Winner Announced  Seven    752,000
  5. Australia’s Got Talent – Grand Final  Seven    747,000
  6.  ABC News Sunday    ABC  649,000
  7. 60 Minutes  Nine  622,000
  8. Sunday Night  Seven    448,000
  9. The Pool    ABC  411,000
  10. The Sunday Project 7pm    10  333,000
  11. Les Norton    ABC  307,000
  12. Seven News At 5  Seven    279,000
  13. Ambulance Australia: Ultimate Emergencies    10  269,000
  14. 10 News First     10  259,000
  15. Nine News: First At Five  Nine  247,000
  16. Insiders AM   ABC  246,000
  17. Landline PM   ABC  243,000
  18. Weekend Sunrise    Seven    236,000
  19. The Sunday Project 6.30pm    10  222,000
  20. Pompeii: Life Before Death  (R)  SBS    213,000
Sunday Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM   ABCKIDS/COMEDY  173,000
  2. Rambo: First Blood    9GO!  154,000
  3. Back To The Future Ii    9GO!  147,000
  4. Peppa Pig AM   ABCKIDS/COMEDY  129,000
  5. Motorsport: 2019 MotoGP Live  10 Bold  122,000
  6. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line  7TWO  119,000
  7. NCIS  (R)  10 Bold  119,000
  8. Motorsport: 2019 MotoGP Post Show Live  10Bold  116,000
  9. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line  7TWO  112,000
  10. Would I Lie To You?    ABCKIDS/COMEDY  112,000
  11. School Of Roars AM   ABCKIDS/COMEDY  109,000
  12. Bananas In Pyjamas AM   ABCKIDS/COMEDY  108,000
  13. Little Princess AM   ABCKIDS/COMEDY  106,000
  14. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom AM   ABCKIDS/COMEDY  106,000
  15. Kiddets AM   ABCKIDS/COMEDY  105,000
  16. Border Security: America’s Front Line-E  7TWO 105,000
  17. Midsomer Murders    9Gem  105,000
  18. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line  7TWO  104,000
  19. Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport PM  7TWO  99,000
  20. Floogals    ABCKIDS/COMEDY  98,000
Sunday STV
  1. Live: Motorsport: F1: Singapore Race  FOX SPORTS 506  162,000
  2. Live: RWC: Ire V Sco  FOX SPORTS 503  141,000
  3. Live: RWC: Eng V Ton  FOX SPORTS 503  125,000
  4. Live: RWC Pre Game: Eng V Ton  FOX SPORTS 503  110,000
  5. Live: RWC Pre Game: Ire V Sco  FOX SPORTS 503  94,000
  6. Live: RWC: Ita V Nam  FOX SPORTS 503  76,000
  7. Live: F1: Singapore Paddock Live  FOX SPORTS 506  65,000
  8. Live: RWC Post Game: Eng V Ton  FOX SPORTS 503  65,000
  9. Live: F1: Singapore Pit Lane Race Day  FOX SPORTS 506  63,000
  10. Outsiders  Sky News Live  63,000
  11. Outsiders  Sky News Live  62,000
  12. Midsomer Murders  UKTV  49,000
  13. Abby Hatcher  Nick Jr.  48,000
  14. Paul Murray Live  Sky News Live  46,000
  15. Live:  Aragon Spain  FOX SPORTS 505  44,000
  16. Bumblebee  Foxtel Movies Premiere 40,000
  17. Live: RWC Pre Game: Ita V Nam  FOX SPORTS 50  3 39,000
  18. Paw Patrol  Nick Jr.  38,000
  19. Law & Order: Svu  UNIVERSAL TV  38,000
  20. Selling Houses Australia  Lifestyle Channel 36,000

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

Mediaweek Roundup: Today, bullying at 2GB, Seven restructuring + more

Seven to undergo restructuring as TV networks prepare for 'upfronts'

Seven West Media is set to unveil a significant restructuring program that will include job cuts, in James Warburton‘s first major act as chief executive of the broadcaster, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

Sources with knowledge of the plan, who did not wish to be named as full details have not been finalised, said the restructuring would come ahead of the broadcaster’s annual ‘upfronts’ event on October 23 where the year’s upcoming programming schedule is showcased to advertisers.

The restructure is expected to include some redundancies. But it will also involve the creation of new divisions within Seven, the sources said, alongside more investment in content for the upcoming year.

About 50 staff members have already been cut from Seven in recent weeks. There was speculation when Warburton took over the role that he would move quickly to reshape management and potentially change his senior executive team.

[Read the original]

Big tech undervalues Australian content from TV broadcasters

Nine Entertainment’s Love Island reeled in hundreds of millions of YouTube views worldwide, but only earned in the low hundreds of thousands of dollars from online advertising through the Google-owned platform, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

At the 10 Network, bespoke social media content for the popular MasterChef and Survivor programmes help generate buzz, but goes largely unmonetised.

Examples like these show how broadcast quality Australian content is undervalued by Facebook and Google, according to local free-to-air television broadcasters.

Free TV says the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission needs to step in with regulation to make sure platforms such as Facebook and Google negotiate fair revenue and data sharing arrangements, to ensure the long-term viability of the media industry.

Both Facebook and Google have slammed the proposal. Facebook argued in its submission there is no imbalance of bargaining power with Australian media companies and claimed it is not an essential gateway for Australians accessing news and information.

Google argued the proposal overlooked more than three billion referrals the search giant sends Australian publishers’ way every year.

[Read the original]

Geoff Wilson lashes Macquarie board on Nine deal for radio group

Wilson Asset Management chairman Geoff Wilson has rejected PwC’s independent expert report, which backs Nine’s takeover of Macquarie Media, and is pressuring the radio broadcaster’s board to get a better deal for minority shareholders, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Wilson wrote to the Macquarie board’s independent directors on Sunday. He outlined reasons he believes Nine’s $1.46 per share offer for the remaining 45.6 per cent of the radio broadcaster isn’t good enough.

He said the offer is opportunistic following a bad earnings result, which was hit by a NSW state election and a federal election.

He said WAM’s analysis found there are more savings and potential revenue gains than what the offer represents to shareholders. He also said Macquarie shareholders will miss out on $14.4 million in franking credits under the current deal structure.

WAM has increased its holding in Macquarie to around 4.7 per cent, or 8.1 million shares, since the offer was made.

[Read the original]

Film Victoria appoints new board members: CFO and studio boss

Chris Oliver-Taylor and Liz Grainger have joined the Board of Film Victoria, bringing to the table a wealth of experience in production, business operations, strategy and financial management.

Chris Oliver-Taylor is the CEO Asia Pacific of leading production and entertainment company, Fremantle, where he leads development and production in all genres across Australia, New Zealand, India and Indonesia. He sits on the Fremantle Global Board as well as on the Board of Easy Tiger Productions, the drama arm of Fremantle.

Formerly the Managing Director of NBCUniversal’s Matchbox Pictures and Head of Business and Head of Production at the ABC, Oliver-Taylor has held directorships at Screenrights and Screen Producers Australia.

Chris Oliver

A chartered accountant by profession, Liz Grainger provides independent consultancy services to public and not-for-profit organisations in the areas of strategy, governance, and financial management.

She has held senior executive roles at Deloitte in London and in the Federal and Victorian public sectors, including as General Manager Operations/Chief Financial Officer of the National Gallery of Victoria.

Liz garinger

Grainger has held directorships at Craft Victoria, Arena Theatre Company and Geografia, and she currently sits on the Audit and Risk Committee of Victoria Police. She was an external member of Film Victoria’s Audit and Risk Committee for four years from 2015.

The new appointments replace Debra Allanson and John Rundell whose terms on the board completed in August 2019.

News Brands

Nine denies plans to poach Carrie Bickmore to host Today with Karl

Nine executives responded angrily to a Sunday Telegraph news story about the future of the Today show.

This is the report that started the fuss:

Nine executives are formulating secret plans to poach Carrie Bickmore to co-host the Today program alongside former anchor Karl Stefanovic, reported News Corp’s Amy Harris on Sunday:

High-level talks between Bickmore, the golden girl of 10’s The Project, and Nine bosses are said to be well under way, with Bickmore believed to be considering an offer worth $1.5 million annually – a deal which would put her among Australia’s highest-paid TV stars.

The pair, described as the network’s “ultimate dream team”, would replace current hosts Deb Knight and Georgie Gardner.

Today is currently pulling in its lowest ratings in 25 years under Gardner and Knight and is consistently beaten by its Channel 7 rival Sunrise in every major city.

A Nine spokeswoman described the proposition as “fantasy”, but when asked if the present hosts’ jobs were safe for 2020, she declined to comment.

Not surprisingly 10 is believed to be desperate to hold on to Bickmore, who is popular with viewers.

[Read the original]

After the story was published, Nine’s executive producer of Today, Steve Burling, posted on social media:

The answer is NO Amy Harris! You were sued for defamation last week and now completely fabricating a story this week. What agenda sees you create such a fiction about Today?! I’m not sure which talent agent fed you this tidbit – but you’ve been used and played for a fool!

Nine then also released this statement from Darren Wick, Nine director of news and current affairs:

The story published by News Corporation in its Sunday newspapers and online stating as fact that Nine has approached Carrie Bickmore to join the Network is a lie.

Nine has not approached, and does not intend to approach, Carrie Bickmore or her representatives about joining Nine as a host of the Today show, nor in any other role.

Carrie is an outstanding broadcaster and an inspirational person. She’s terrific. But she does not factor in our plans for the future.

News Corp’s story is not a beat up – it is completely made up.

The reporter, Amy Harris, who wrote this lie was told yesterday by a Nine spokesperson that her allegation was incorrect. Yet, News Corporation has chosen to publish it regardless without corroborating sources or facts to support this fantasy. In fact, the story does not contain any sources on the record. And the anonymous sources it quotes will not stand up to scrutiny under any possible legal examination.

Anjali Rao blames lack of diversity in TV for death of her career

News anchor Anjali Rao has slammed Australian commercial TV’s lack of cultural diversity, claiming it has killed her media career, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

Rao moved to Melbourne in 2012 after working at Sky News and Channel 5 in the UK and five years as a news anchor with CNN International.

In the seven years she has been here she has been unable to land a full-time role on a commercial network because, she says, of her accent and skin colour.

She says she was regularly told: “There is always SBS.”

Rao, 45, said: “I am Australian but because I don’t have an Aussie accent and also I am a woman of colour, it has been very hard, extremely hard, in this country for me. It basically killed my career.

“People like SBS and Channel 10 have been really good to me and I can’t thank them enough. But Australian TV, as we all know, is just not representative of the social make-up of this country. The people in charge do not care and they are quite open about it.”

While her media career has slowed, Rao has worked on SBS’s Dateline and appeared on The Project and Studio 10.

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Mel Doyle’s uncertain future at Seven: axe hangs over Sunday Night

Will Melissa Doyle survive the cost cutting begun at Seven last week under new CEO and broom James Warburton, asks News Corp’s Annette Sharp.

As news swept the industry on Friday that the axe had fallen on Seven’s head of sport and Tokyo Olympics’ supremo Saul Shtein, the industry held its breath for an announcement concerning Seven’s flagship public affairs program, Sunday Night.

The news program’s card was marked four months ago when its executive producer Hamish Thomson left the program following suspension for allegedly telling a female staffer, at a party, she was in need of a “good f**k”.

Along with Doyle, also attached to the show are reporters Angela Cox, Matt Doran, Steve Pennells, Denham Hitchcock and Alex Cullen as well as producers, plus camera and sound crew.

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Could Nine Entertainment force John Burns off air at 3AW?

Ross and John [at 3AW] are kings of [Melbourne] breakfast radio, reports News Corp’s Alice Coster. Every ratings survey sees the talk titans on top with more than 100 No.1 ratings.

So why is Burns’ name on the guillotine list, again?

Sydney top brass think Melbourne has been resting on its reputation for too long and needs to be more dynamic.

Radio’s a cutthroat game. Just look at Sydney’s bloodied landscape. Macquarie was happy to see the back of “shove a sock down her throat” Alan Jones. Nine chairman Peter Costello apparently owed him a favour and the favour was duly called in.

But Ray Hadley and Steve Price’s exorbitant new contracts had to be honoured, hence the salary shuffle taking place in the Harbour City.

Word is Price’s afternoon show may go national, across all markets, including Melbourne, which may be a problem for Denis Walter, whose baritone voice is starting to sound a shade shriller.

But Burns is a stayer and proves time and time again why people tune in. He tells it like it is. In a world of fluff and puff, the booze-lock blowing barrister is a golden goose. Melbourne listeners back the breakfast radio kings, although there is always speculation around Hamish McLachlan, Stephen Quartermain, Glenn Robbins and A Moveable Feast co-host Kate Stevenson as replacements.

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Court instructs 2GB producer Chris Bowen to undergo evaluation

The radio producer suing 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley over historic bullying and harassment allegations has been instructed by a court to submit to an evaluation by a psychiatrist nominated by Hadley’s legal team, reports News Corp’s Annette Sharp.

Chris Bowen, a panel operator at 2GB who worked for Hadley for 15 years, was instructed at a directions hearing in the District Court on Friday to submit to an examination by psychiatrist Dr Alex Apler next month and to present medical records before the court will decide if the high profile case will proceed.

Neither the plaintiff, Bowen, nor the defendant, Hadley, were in court for the matter.

Bowen’s legal team, led by top industry lawyer John Laxon, has until October 12 to present the records while Hadley’s team has until February 21 to file a final defence.

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John Singleton blasts ‘weak’ brands for pulling ads over Alan Jones

Macquarie Media shareholder and former adman John Singleton has lashed out at brands for pulling advertising from the radio network but says 2GB breakfast host Alan Jones also needs to be more careful in his commentar, reports The Australian’s Zoe Samios.

Singleton, who has revealed he will sell his share in the network to Nine Entertainment, said it was “lunacy” that advertisers had pulled out after being criticised by social media activist groups such as Mad F..king Witches and Sleeping Giants. “The advertisers themselves are so weak,” he said in an interview with The Australian. “They get an anonymous letter … and they fall for it.

“Alan said a couple of things that were expressed poorly. Haven’t we all? Three-and-a-half hours of live radio a day every day, five days a week – in Ray’s (Hadley) case seven days a week.”

Singleton said Jones had done a lot of good, but needed to be more careful about the comments he made. “Alan Jones has a strident temper, which can exaggerate the points he makes, but there is a change now where we all have to be more careful of what we say. We’ve got to be more careful because there is now pressure groups and they work whether we like it or not,” he said.

“You can’t criticise women, full stop. That’s the way it is. Jeez, he pays a massive price. But I guess that’s the price he pays for being so harsh in judging others.”

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Sports Media

Facebook deal slams NBL into the big time with live games weekly

The National Basketball League could soon earn more broadcast revenue outside Australia than from local sources after striking a deal with Facebook to show 52 matches live in the US during its 2019-20 season, reports The Australian’s John Stensholt.

The partnership with Facebook, to be announced on Monday, will see 52 NBL games featuring young American prospects LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton streamed on Facebook Watch via the NBL Facebook page.

NBL owner Larry Kestelman said Facebook was paying a rights fee for the deal and, while he would not reveal the exact number, said it was “a significant amount”.

“This is part of our strategy of making the league the second-best in the world. As a result of that, it means we get more eyeballs from overseas watching the league, and there is a buzz about us now. So what that means is we think that it will not be long until we are generating more rights revenue from overseas than we do here.

“We are shown in 33 countries now, across various platforms, which we are very happy about.”

The deal covers 23 regular-season games (one per NBL round), finals and other highlights will be streamed in Australia and New Zealand on Facebook Watch as part of the new agreement.

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