Roundup: Bluey, Olympics broadcast deal, Walkley Foundation

Kate O'Connor bluey

Twitter Blue, Khemistry, Magic, Jacqui Felgate, local TV drama, Cricket Australia

Business of Media

Walkley Foundation withholds review into award for Channel Nine story on Andrew Laming

A review into the legitimacy of a Walkley Award given to Channel Nine for a news report that was subsequently discredited has been completed, but the findings are unlikely to be released before the awards foundation holds its annual gala event this week, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth.

On March 21, 2021, 9News Queensland aired a report that claimed then federal MP Andrew Laming took an inappropriate “upskirting” photo of a female worker while she was stacking a bar fridge.

Dr Laming was interviewed by police about the alleged incident – he denied any wrongdoing and no charges were laid.

At the 2021 Walkley Awards (the ceremony was held in February this year, due to Covid postponements), Nine journalists Peter Fegan and Rebeka Powell won the television/video news reporting category for their entry titled, “The Investigation of Andrew Laming” in relation to his alleged misconduct.

At the time the two reporters received the award, their report was already the subject of defamation action by Laming.

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Twitter Blue ‘probably’ coming back end of next week, Musk says

Twitter Blue will probably “come back end of next week”, billionaire owner Elon Musk said in a tweet on Saturday, reports Reuters.

Twitter on Friday paused its recently announced $8 blue check subscription service on Friday as fake accounts mushroomed.

The coveted blue check mark was previously reserved for verified accounts of politicians, famous personalities, journalists and other public figures. But a subscription option, open to anyone prepared to pay, was rolled out earlier this week to help Twitter grow revenue as Musk fights to retain advertisers.

Several users reported on Friday that the new subscription option for the blue verification check mark had disappeared, while a source told Reuters the offering has been dropped.

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Khemistry appoints Robbie Dodd as head of production

Khemistry has announced the appointment of Robbie Dodd as its new head of production.

Dodd brings 35 years of industry experience to the agency and is highly respected by her peers, partners and clients. She was the behaviour change creative agency’s number-one draft pick for this critical role.

Dodd’s attention to high-quality production, whilst driving value for clients, is unparalleled. She has produced hundreds of projects across broadcast and content productions, photography, video documentaries, podcasts, radio and live events for clients such as Woolworths, Suncorp, Q Super, Queensland Government, Virgin Airlines, The University of Queensland, and The Lott.

As head of production and part of the Khemistry leadership team, Dodd will run Khemistry’s sophisticated in-house production facilities, including the freshly launched EarWorm sound studio. She will also lead the agency’s design studio to provide clients with a true end-to-end production experience.

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Magic welcomes two key appointments to its leadership team

Magic has welcomed new appointments to the digital agency adding firepower to its leadership team.

Tom Glover steps into the newly created role of head of SEO, with Patrick Robotham in the newly created role of head of signal. Both appointments are effective immediately.

Glover has been tasked with further applying the agency’s existing mathematical and data-modelling skills to help create unique, cutting-edge SEO strategies for clients.

Robotham’s primary remit will be to evolve the way Australian brands use and store data, using mathematics to interpret, connect and analyse it.

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Jacqui Felgate to take on new role as fill-in breakfast host on 3AW over summer

Jacqui Felgate is making her mark at 3AW, set to continue as breakfast fill-in host over summer, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

Felgate teamed up with footy champion Jimmy Bartel to spearhead the 3AW breakfast show during the September radio ratings break.

After an impressive stint, the pair will move into the chairs vacated by Ross Stevenson and Russel Howcroft for two weeks from December 12 through to Christmas.

“We were really lucky to do it in grand final week and we just had this great rapport,’’ Felgate said.

“Jimmy is great fun, it was awesome to work with him. Ross and Russ, it’s such an iconic radio show, so it’s lovely.

“I just love radio. I always did little bits here and there but to be able to host my own show is fantastic.”

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How the Brits stole the rights to Bluey

Ask anyone around the Australian media industry what’s the most successful local export over the last decade, and they might eventually settle on a one word answer: Bluey, reports Nine Publishing’s Mark Di Stefano.

The ABC show about a six-year-old blue heeler and her Brisbane family has become a generation-defining sensation at home and overseas. It’s the most watched show in the history of ABC’s iView. During a week in August, Bluey became the most watched children’s show in the US on Disney+.

But then if you were to ask, how much money does the Australian public broadcaster make from its commercial success, through everything from the publishing, licensing and merchandising? The answer would be, surprisingly, nothing.

During an interview last month to mark the 100th anniversary of the BBC, the broadcaster’s director-general, Tim Davie, told The Australian Financial Review the British public broadcaster had many recent successes on the commercial front, but none more than Bluey, which is owned and made by Brisbane animators Ludo Studios.

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Streaming services come to the rescue of local TV drama

Although the end of Neighbours after almost 37 years on Channel 10 made it even harder to find Australian dramas on commercial TV, the country’s pay TV and streaming services have stepped in to become the dominant force in producing Australian scripted drama, reports Nine Publishing’s Edmund Tadros.

The big jump in pay TV and subscription streaming services spending on Australian drama – up almost fourfold to $445 million in fiscal 2022 – has happened as the government examines whether to force the international streamers to allocate a certain amount of money for local content.

Unlike free-to-air broadcasters and pay TV operators, international streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ are not obliged to produce local shows.

The shift will be on show on Tuesday when Foxtel debuts the new season of Upright, a drama starring Tim Minchin, while Nine-owned Stan will release Poker Face, a movie directed and starring Russell Crowe, on November 22.

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Sports Media

Cricket Australia eyeing off a pre-Christmas broadcast rights deal

Cricket Australia will this week seek to urgently progress its discussions with potential broadcast partners for the sport amid ­ongoing nervousness among networks about the value of the troubled Big Bash League, reports The Australian’s James Madden.

Seven, Nine, Network 10 and its streaming service Paramount+, and Foxtel each submitted offers this month for varying cricket rights packages, but The Australian has been told that CA was “underwhelmed” by the initial ­offers and has asked the broadcasters to make second-round submissions this week.

Seven and Nine are understood to have pitched only for the rights to Tests – each putting forward just north of about $50m per year for the five-day format, ­according to industry sources – while Ten/Paramount+ and Foxtel are believed to be interested in the “all of cricket” option, which would include rights to Tests, one-day and T20 internationals in Australia, as well as the domestic T20 competitions – the BBL and the WBBL.

The existing six-year $1.18bn deal, which is currently shared ­between Seven and Foxtel has two years to run, although the Kerry Stokes-controlled network is still hoping to escape the final year of its contract, following its ugly fallout with CA over scheduling ­issues and player availability, primarily relating to the BBL.

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Olympic bosses fly in to negotiate Games broadcast deal

International Olympics Committee (IOC) deal makers will spend two days in Sydney this week meeting with the country’s largest commercial television networks about broadcasting the next group of events, including the Brisbane 2032 Games, reports Nine Publishing’s Zoe Samios.

Media sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said executives at Nine Entertainment Co, Seven West Media and Paramount had arrangements to meet with two key stakeholders from the IOC. The prospective deal would include the Paris 2024 Olympics, the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics and the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane, as well as the Winter Olympic Games over this period.

Nine, Seven and Paramount are expecting to host the executives, including Anne-Sophie Voumard, the president of broadcast and media rights for IOC television and marketing services, for lunch or dinner, the sources said, as well as conduct presentations. No binding or non-binding offers for the rights are expected to be made this week. Nine, Seven and Paramount declined to comment.

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