Roundup: Barbie reaches $1 billion, TV bosses head to Canberra, Bachelor stars wed

barbie movie

Aussie film sector, SBS, real estate, Block rule change, Matildas

Business of Media

TV bosses head to Canberra as lobbying efforts heat up

Television and media executives are flocking to Canberra for a series of crucial meetings with Anthony Albanese and MPs on Monday and Tuesday as lobbying efforts on a range of matters critical to the industry heat up, reports The Australian’s John Stensholt.

Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton, Nine Entertainment boss Mike Sneesby and Network 10 representatives are among the executives set to meet with politicians amid negotiations regarding the looming ban on betting advertisements on television and other key topics.

The two days of meetings, with several groups of politicians, are likely to also include executives from the ABC and SBS.

Media executives are also expected to discuss the mooted regulated framework for prominence of free-to-air networks on smart televisions and other connected devices, the news media bargaining code and defamation law reform.

The FTA networks have been pushing for the government to require prominence for their logos and services on smart TVs and other connected devices, as well as the inclusion of those services in all search, discovery and aggregation tools on TVs and devices.

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Aussie film sector doubles to $4.5b, but Hollywood strike impact looms

Investment in Australia’s film and television sector has more than doubled in five years, with revenues across the industry rising to $4.6 billion in the year to the end of June 2022, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

That’s up from $2.3 billion in 2016, according to a major Screen Australia survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It also shows there are now more than 4500 businesses in the film and video production sector, up from 2819 five years earlier.

Huge spending by international studios in Australia and competition between streaming companies such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video have boosted the industry, Chris Spry, the managing director of Sydney-based visual effects firm Fin Design, said.

But rising costs and an ongoing writer and actors’ strike in Hollywood are weighing heavily on future growth prospects.

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Barbie reaches US$1 billion at the box office, studio says

In the history of Hollywood, very few people — 28 to be precise, all men — have had the sole directing credit on a billion-dollar movie. Make that 28 men and one woman: Greta Gerwig, reports The New York Times’ Brooks Barnes.

Barbie, directed by Gerwig from a script she wrote with her partner, Noah Baumbach, will finish the weekend with more than $1 billion in ticket sales at the global box office, according to Warner Bros. No movie in the studio’s 100-year history has sold so many tickets so fast, said Jeff Goldstein, Warner’s president of domestic distribution. As of Sunday, Barbie had been playing in theaters for 17 days. (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was previously the fastest to $1 billion, at 19 days.)

Gerwig could not be reached, according to a spokeswoman. Warner Bros. was giddy. “PINK FEVER,” Goldstein wrote in a text message. Barbie was No. 1 in the United States and Canada for the third weekend in a row, collecting $53 million, for a new domestic total of $459.4 million.

Barbie once again disproved a stubborn Hollywood myth: that “girl” movies — films made by women, starring women and aimed at women — are limited in their appeal. An old movie industry maxim holds that women will go to a “guy” movie but not vice versa.

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News Brands

SBS adds five new language services as migration delivers new audience

SBS is rolling out five new digital language services, including in Telugu and Bislama, as the public broadcaster strengthens its offering for new migrants, reports Nine Publishing’s Calum Jaspan.

Services in Malay, Oromo and Tetum will also be launched in September.

“Our need is only growing,” director of SBS audio and language content David Hua said.

The new services were selected after SBS conducted its Language Services Review, a process which drew from the 2021 Census, considering a prospective community’s size, recentness of arrival in Australia, English proficiency, and/or high needs including those seeking asylum.

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Producers defend against claims of ‘unreal’ estate expectations

TV property shows have come under fire for setting unrealistic expectations, including Location Location Location Australia, The Block and Luxe Listings Australia, reports TV Tonight.

Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia (REBAA) president Cate Bakos said Location, Location, Location’s Mitch and Mark were putting viewers at risk of purchasing inferior properties for over-inflated prices.

She noted one Melbourne home recommended was on a busy truck route in the west, while REBAA Queensland representative Melinda Jennison said info around one Queensland home did not disclose it was subject to the Brisbane River Flood Overlay.

Bakos added that there had been no evidence in early episodes of how home values were assessed before buyers made offers, nor of pest and building inspections, engineering reports or negotiations.

But an Endemol Shine Australia representative said Location, Location, Location included licenced buyer’s agents conducting “background work” that exercised due diligence consistently to ensure the best process for its buyers, as well as financial and legal checks.

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Scott Cam reveals massive Block rule change this season

The Block host Scott Cam has let slip a major change to the show’s rules that will be in force during this season of Nine’s hit reno series, reports News Corp’s Nick Bond.

Speaking to 2DAY FM’s Hughesy, Ed & Erin earlier this week, Cam revealed that before the five teams chose their houses for the renovation, he armed them with more information than contestants had ever received before.

First up: An artist’s rendering of what each house would look like when completed, so they could make an informed choice about which one they wanted.

Secondly: And this is the big one, given how much controversy it has caused in the past – he gave them the show’s entire production schedule, so they all know from the start of the build what rooms they’ll be doing each week and can plan accordingly.

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Bachelor stars Jimmy Nicholson and Holly Kingston get married

The Bachelor Australia contestants Jimmy Nicholson and Holly Kingston have walked down the aisle, two years after they fell in love on national television, reports News Corp’s Nick Bond.

Sydney pilot Jimmy was the Bachelor for the show’s ninth season back in 2021, eventually choosing Holly as his winner – and the pair have been together ever since.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the pair wed in a small ceremony at Nicholson’s parents home in the ritzy north Sydney suburb of Palm Beach, before a reception at the Church Point restaurant Pasadena.

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Sports Media

Matildas dream run a boon for free-to-air TV, says Seven boss

The death of free-to-air television has been greatly exaggerated, according to Seven chief executive James Warburton and chief marketing and audience officer Melissa Hopkins, as record numbers of viewers flock to its coverage of the Matildas at the Women’s World Cup, reports Nine Publishing’s Calum Jaspan.

Last week’s do-or-die group stage game against Canada was viewed by an average audience of 2.46 million Australians, with a total audience reach of 4.71 million, making it Seven’s biggest broadcast of the year. The network is hoping to repeat the feat when the Matildas take on Denmark in the round of 16 on Monday night.

Seven only has matches to broadcast after making a deal with Optus Sport, the tournament’s official broadcast partner which reportedly paid FIFA $60 million for the honour. In what is beginning to look like one of the steals of the century, Seven picked up 15 of the 64 matches in a free-to-air licensing arrangement for less than $5 million, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.

“We expected a number and every time we do it, the appetite for sports streaming in particular is quite extraordinary,” Warburton said.

Despite its popularity, criticism has persisted over the majority of games remaining behind Optus Sport’s paywall, though Warburton points out that decision “wasn’t up to us”.

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