Roundup: Anh Do on Brush with Fame, The Block location, Facebook + more

anh's brush with fame

• Christian Porter defamation case, YouTube, ITV, Alan Jones, Fight for Planet A, Fox Footy commentary goes off air

Business of Media

ABC documents in defamation case against Christian Porter handed to SA Coroner

A key document suppressed in the Christian Porter defamation case and used by the ABC in their defence will be handed over as part of the coronial investigation into the death of the woman the Industry Minister was accused of raping in the 1980s, reports News Corp’s Sophie Elsworth.

On Tuesday, the Federal Court gave the South Australian Coroner’s Court approval to have access to the document in the ABC’s unredacted defence.

It was a document the public broadcaster created in a bid to prevent defamation action by Porter.

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Facebook reports fastest quarterly growth in five years

Facebook saw its fastest growth this quarter since 2016, the company revealed in its earnings report on Wednesday, despite regulatory concerns and criticisms surrounding misinformation on the platform, reports The Guardian’s Kari Paul.

The social media company’s overall revenue hit $29bn, above forecasts of $27.89bn, and its profits doubled from a year earlier to $10.39bn thanks to a boom in online advertising.

Facebook’s growth in 2021 has remained strong despite potential regulatory headwinds, including aggressive criticism from the Biden administration in recent weeks. Its daily active users in quarter two rose to nearly 2.9bn from 2.7bn users this time last year.

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YouTube on track to overtake BBC as main source of news for young Britons: regulator

Nine in 10 young people in Britain get their news online, according to a report, as under-25s turn away from scheduled television bulletins, reports the Telegraph’s Anita Singh.

Only 61 per cent of people aged 16 to 24 get some of their news from television, compared with 89 per cent who follow events online.

Consumption of television news is falling fastest in the 12 to 15 age group.

On the current trajectory, YouTube will overtake BBC television next year as the primary current affairs provider for this age group.

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ITV reports Covid recovery: Growth for ad revenue, content sales, Britbox subs

UK broadcaster and production group ITV has reported its results for the six months ending June 30, 2021. The company has reported significant revenue growth across all divisions and detailed a surge in Britbox subscriptions internationally.

ITV CEO Carolyn McCall said: “Our H1 results demonstrate that ITV is emerging from the worst effects of the pandemic. We’ve continued to implement our key strategic priorities and have further strengthened the business. Total external revenue was up 27% driven by 26% growth in ITV Studios revenue and a 29% increase in total advertising revenue within which total video on demand advertising was up 55%.

“We are now a more flexible, more efficient and more digital business. We have successfully completed the first phase of our More Than TV strategy and look forward to building on this platform to accelerate our transformation to a digitally led media and entertainment company.

We are optimistic about the future, despite the ongoing pandemic risk on our advertising and ITV Studios revenues. We know that the dividend is important to our shareholders and we intend to re-commence a progressive dividend policy based on a notional dividend of 5p per share which we expect to grow over time. The first dividend under the new policy would be a final dividend of 3.3p per share proposed at the full year results in respect of 2021.”

Total external revenue was up 27% at £1,548 million (30 June 2020: £1,218 million).

ITV Studios total revenue was up 26% at £798 million (30 June 2020: £632 million), with the substantial majority of programs back in production and also benefitting from a number of programmes and licences being delivered earlier than expected. This was up 5% on 20191. ITV Studios external revenue was up 31% at £523 million.

June 2021 delivered the largest advertising revenues for the month of June for ITV in its history, benefitting from the easing of restrictions and the Euros broadcasts.

Total advertising revenue for June and July 2021 is expected to be 16% higher than the same period in 2018 when ITV broadcast the Football World Cup and series 4 of Love Island.

BritBox UK continues to grow with around 555,000 subscriptions, up over 10%, and an exciting pipeline of original content in H2 and 2022 including Spitting Image 2, Magpie Murders, Crime and Wedding of the Century.

The company reported BritBox International is performing strongly in the US, Canada and Australia with two million total subscriptions, up around 18%. BritBox doesn’t detail the size of subscriptions in international markets, but it did comment: Subscriptions have grown strongly, and we now have two million BritBox subscriptions internationally in USA, Canada and Australia.

BritBox South Africa will launch in August and further rollout to other countries will follow.

Regarding the ITV Studios format business it commented:

We are very focused on developing, managing and exploiting our global formats to maximise IP revenues. We have a portfolio of world-class brands which we continue to protect and strengthen each year, including (number of countries the format has been sold to, to date, is included in brackets); The Voice (70+ countries), Love Island (21 countries), The Chase (17 countries), Beat The Chasers (5 countries), Let Love Rule (6 countries), I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! (13 countries) and Come Dine With Me (40+ countries).

News Brands

Guardian reports more than 30% of total revenue now comes from outside UK

In what the British-based global newsbrand called “a challenging year”, Guardian Media Groupo (GMG) increased readership, increased revenue and halved its overall annual loss to £15.6m (2020: £29m). The period in review was for 12 months ended 28 March 2021.


Group revenues increased by 0.9% to £225.5 million (2020: £223.5 million), with record growth in digital reader revenues (across subscriptions and contributions) which offset declines in advertising revenues and newsstand sales.

Record numbers of digital subscriptions and recurring contributions, which grew by 33% to 961,000. This growth contributed to a 61% increase in digital reader revenue to £68.7 million (2020: £42.6m).

International revenues grew by 26%; now, more than 30% of total revenue – and over 50% of digital reader revenue – comes from outside the UK.

Adjusted operating profit was £3.1m compared to an adjusted operating loss of £14.6m in the prior year.

The total value of the Scott Trust endowment fund and other cash holdings increased to £1,148.5m (2020: £954 million).

At end of March 2021 the Guardian had a record number of supporters.

Total digital recurring support: 961,000 up 33% YoY (or 236,000), comprised of:

Digital subscriptions: 401,000 up 46% year on year

Recurring contributions: 560,000 up 24% year on year

Print subscriptions: 120,000, up 8% year on year

During this period: 585,000 single contributions globally, up 83% year on year

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Alan Jones warning to lockdown protesters: Don’t march, don’t promote violence or defy police

Alan Jones has warned Australians not to take part in any illegal protests after the anti-lockdown rallies at the weekend, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

Responding to criticism the Sky News Australia presenter had supported earlier lockdown protests, Jones said: “At no stage have I ever condoned anything that is illegal and certainly not illegal protests.”

Jones has been widely critical of the NSW and Federal Government’s response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

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Could The Block be heading to Byron Bay?

The Block could be heading to Byron Bay for 2022, reports TV Tonight.

The Echo reports an elderly resident was asked to sell her property in the middle of five homes that are pegged for the show, but has refused.

Relocating the series from Melbourne would not done lightly given where the show’s sizeable production team is based, but would be a welcome change on screen and could potentially offset any further lockdown restrictions. Co-host Shelley Craft is also based in Byron Bay, where she flips houses with her husband Christian.

Executive producer Julian Cress last week told TV Tonight, “I am hunting down the next property but I can’t tell you where. But I will, when I do.”

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Anh Do addresses rumours about ABC show Anh’s Brush with Fame

TV host Anh Do has responded to reports claiming his show Anh’s Brush with Fame is set to be axed by the ABC after six seasons, reports News Corp’s Mibengé Nsenduluka.

On Wednesday, the portrait painter told Confidential that while he’s on board to host a new season, he is unable to immediately sign on due to other work commitments including his publishing deal with Allen and Unwin which requires him to write 50 children’s books over the next three years.

“This year, I’m just so under the pump to meet deadline for books, so I’ve just said to the ABC I can’t commit to something straight away but I love the show,” Do said.

“When the writing workload is able to be reduced I’d love to come back and do some more.”

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ABC cleared over Fight for Planet A imbalance

ABC documentary series Fight for Planet A: Our Climate Challenge has been cleared of a complaint to media watchdog ACMA that it was not impartial and failed to include other perspectives, reports TV Tonight.

The 3 part doco, which screened last August, saw host Craig Reucassel exploring how individual and collective carbon emissions can be reduced.

But a complaint to the Australian Communications & Media Authority alleged it was produced in a manner that unfairly and inaccurately depicted Australian cattle producers and the beef industry. They objected to an imbalance in perspectives with information from the Wilderness Society and WWF whilst excluding data provided by the Cattle Council of Australia.

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Sports Media

Anthony Hudson’s spilt drink sends footy commentators off air

A spilt bottle of coke by commentator Anthony Hudson sparked footy chaos last weekend, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

Fox Footy’s crew of Hudson, Nick Riewoldt and Garry Lyon were off air for four minutes as technicians worked overtime to fix the electrical issues during the Geelong-Richmond clash.

“I’m pretty sure most of my colleagues would agree that if anyone was going to put us off air in that way it would be me,’’ Hudson said.

“I’m now restricted to a water bottle with a lid.”

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