Roundup: AFL Grand Final, Media Code, oOh!Media + more

afl rights anti-siphoning laws

• Four reporters killed around the world, 60 Minutes, ABC Board, Grant Blackley, The Teacher’s Trial, Allison Langdon, Lisa Wilkinson and Karl Stefanovic, HYBPA

Business of Media

Television networks urge government to beef up media code

Australia’s commercial television sector is asking the federal government to strengthen the news media bargaining code to avoid deals with Google and Facebook falling apart once they come up for renewal, reports SMH’s Zoe Samios.

The media bargaining code was legislated last year in an effort to force Google and Facebook to pay eligible large and small news publishers to display articles in the search engine and “newsfeed”. It was introduced after the competition regulator found there was an imbalance of bargaining power between media companies and the digital platforms.

But following outcry from the tech giants’ most senior executives and a shutdown of news from Facebook’s newsfeed, the government introduce a loophole – the new laws don’t actually apply to either Google or Meta because they are not “designated”. Being designated under the code means Google or Meta would be legally required to enter negotiations with eligible publishers or risk fines of up to 10 per cent of Australian revenue.

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oOh!Media focused on stealing share of ad market from TV and digital

ASX-listed outdoor advertising business oOh!Media is focused on increasing its share of the advertising market by launching a creative and content innovation hub designed to help brands and advertising agencies better unlock the opportunities in outdoor, reports AFR’s Miranda Ward.

Neil Ackland, oOh!Media chief content, marketing and creative officer, and chief executive of the new hub Poly, said the move was designed to better help clients improve the return on investment in their outdoor advertising spend as research shows that over 40 per cent of ROI is down to the creative.

“We’re the biggest outdoor media company in Australia and New Zealand and 40 per cent of the effectiveness medium is down to creative, so we really have to take a position on leading the conversation and showing brands through action how to really make the creative sing in out-of-home because we know that it has such a big impact on the outcome,” he said.

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Dark week for journalism as four reporters killed around the world

Ten days before she was assassinated outside a Mexican convenience store, Yesenia Mollinedo noticed two mysterious stalkers following her on a motorbike, report The Guardian’s Tom Phillips, Analy Nuño, John Bartlett, and Sufian Taha.

“We know where you live, bitch,” one of them warned the journalist, the director of an online news outlet called El Veraz (The Truthful One) whose motto is “Journalism with Humanity”.

For more than a year, Mollinedo, 45, had been trying to shrug off what she hoped were empty threats designed to silence the stories she published about crime in the coastal town of Cosoleacaque. She repeatedly changed her phone number in an attempt to escape the intimidation. “I don’t think anything will happen to me,” Mollinedo insisted when relatives asked about her safety.

But at about 1.15pm last Monday it did. As the journalist stepped out of the shop with a rookie colleague, the assassins pounced, firing 16 shots that would end the lives of both women.

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News Brands

Nine Entertainment’s 60 Minutes’ program pulls story on Sydney’s cosmetic surgery industry

Nine Entertainment’s 60 Minutes program pulled a story on the Sydney cosmetic industry after surgeon Joseph Ajaka took court action regarding the content that was due to be aired on Sunday night, reports News Crop’s Sophie Elsworth.

The surgeon obtained a court order on Friday night that compelled the company’s two major mastheads, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and 60 Minutes, to hand over draft copies of an investigation into the cosmetic surgery industry.

Nine had the orders stayed pending an appeal and had agreed not to publish the ­material until that was resolved.

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ABC Board told to appoint complaints ombudsman

The ABC is considering replacing its complaints handling system with an internal ombudsman that would report findings to the board after a lengthy review found there could be improvements made to the way it handles concerns from the public, reports SMH’s Zoe Samios.

Multiple industry sources familiar with the report, who requested anonymity because it has not been made public, said the creation of an ombudsman was among the key recommendations outlined in a review presented to the board earlier this month. Such a move, if adopted, would operate in the same way SBS handles complaints about editorial content.

An ABC spokesperson declined to comment on the contents of the report or when it would be made public. “The review is a matter for the board,” the spokesperson said.

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Southern Cross Austereo CEO Grant Blackley rejects claims he’s on the way out

Southern Cross Austereo chief executive Grant Blackley isn’t going anywhere, reports News Corp’s Sophie Elsworth.

In an exclusive interview with The Australian, the veteran media executive — who has been at the helm of the entertainment company for seven years — shot down recent newspaper reports that a search is on to replace him, after it emerged SCA had engaged an external headhunting firm.

When asked if he was moving on, Blackley said: “No, I’m not.”

“I’m thoroughly enjoying the challenge of managing the affairs of SCA, I’ve been here for seven years, I was at 10 for 25 years and I know that there are any number of CEOs that have been in their roles for longer than seven years,” he said.

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The Australian’s Teacher’s Pet trial tops Apple Podcast charts

The Australian’s new podcast ­series on the murder trial of former footballer and teacher Chris Dawson has topped the podcast charts just days after its launch, reports News Corp’s Sophie Elsworth.

The Teacher’s Trial, which launched on Friday, shot to No. 1 in the Apple podcast charts and follows on from the 2018 hit podcast The Teacher’s Pet.

Tens of thousands of listeners have already tuned in to the new series, which will focus on the events in the court trial of Dawson, who is accused of murdering his wife, Lynette Dawson, in Sydney in 1982.

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Allison Langdon not happy to be overlooked for election night duties

Today co-host Ally Langdon has taken Nine’s election coverage snub to heart, according to sources who say she is bristling over Nine’s choice of Melbourne newsreader Alicia Loxley over the breakfast show anchor, reports News Corp’s Annette Sharp.

So aggrieved is Langdon over Loxley’s appointment, we hear, she raised her dissatisfaction two weeks ago with Nine’s director of news Darren Wick.

According to sources, Langdon vented her frustration that the coveted election-night gig starring alongside prime-time Sydney evening newsreader Peter Overton would go to another.

Nine robustly denied this yesterday, a spokeswoman insisting there had been no “tantrum” — their word, not ours — from Langdon.

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Lisa Wilkinson and Karl Stefanovic reunite for first time since Today split on Channel Nine

Any bad blood between Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson appears to have been put to bed, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

The pair, who hosted the Today breakfast show for more than a decade, were reunited at an event announcing the 2022 Logies nominees on the Gold Coast for the first time since she released a tell-all book that detailed her time at Channel Nine.

Now at 10 and nominated for Most Outstanding News Coverage or Public Affairs Report for The ProjectBrittany Higgins Interview, Wilkinson greeted Gold Logie nominee Stefanovic with smile and warm hug.

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HYBPA: From underneath the radar to bonafide hit

There were no previews, no press interviews, no hype when Have You Been Paying Attention? first launched in 2013, reports TV Tonight.

Screening quietly at 7pm on a Sunday night in November, the show was deliberately pushed under the radar by Working Dog so that it could find its comic feet and not be yanked off air. The first show pulled just 301,000 viewers. By February it was rating only 168,000.

“Our lead-in was David Attenborough’s most boring animal sexual encounters,” Ed Kavalee recalls.

“There was one week where two slugs were procreating. And David Attenborough said, ‘The dance of life continues!’ From a picture of two slugs copulating on a stick, to Tom saying, ‘Welcome!’”

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Sports Media

Coalition urged to ensure AFL Grand Final remains free to watch

The chief executives of Australia’s commercial free-to-air TV networks are baffled why the Morrison government has failed to publicly commit to ensuring key sporting moments such as the AFL Grand Final or the Australian Open final remain on free-to-air TV and not behind paywalls, reports AFR’s Miranda Ward.

The Coalition has committed to reviewing the anti-siphoning act, which gives free-to-air broadcasters first bidding rights to major events such as the AFL and NRL, before it expires in April 2023, including if it needs to be extended to streaming services, however has not backed the importance of Australians being able to access free sports content like Labor has.

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10’s bid for AFL broadcast rights hampered by poor ratings

10’s audacious pitch for the broadcast rights to the AFL – the most lucrative media sports deal in Australia – comes as the network’s existing catalogue of live sports has recorded a dramatic, across the board ratings slump over the past few months, reports News Corp’s James Madden.

10’s bold bid for the AFL rights would see home and away and finals matches spread across its free to air channel and its streaming partner Paramount Plus from the beginning of the 2025 season.

But the network’s push to wrest the contract away from current rights holders Foxtel and Seven could be compromised by its diminishing audiences for its coverage of the A-League soccer, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix, and the Melbourne Cup.

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