Roundup: Foxtel’s Netball deal, Ray Warren to return, George Calombaris + more

Ray Warren

• Netball broadcasting rights, more shows axed on 10, Dicko on return to TV, and more opinions on the Medica Code

Media Code

Trapped in a Google vortex

By warning that Google could block its search engine in Australia, Google Australia managing director Melanie Silva has transformed a fight over payments for news into pondering our survival in the digital age, writes News Corp’s Chris Griffith.

The fear is that Google and Facebook will bully and dominate both government and through it the public who depend on their services.

The contemptuous way Google acted when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission lost year reviewed its proposal to acquire Fitbit is case-in-point.

Katharine Kemp, an antitrust expert at the University of New South Wales Law & Justice, says the ACCC didn’t actually give the green light for the Google Fitbit merger from an Australian perspective. “It told Google in December that it wouldn’t accept Google’s proposed undertaking about conditions that might make the merger acceptable.

“Google went ahead with the merger and completed the transaction on 14 January before the ACCC had finished investigating the merger. So the ACCC says this is now an enforcement investigation on its part, to decide whether it will take action against Google,” Dr Kemp said.

“Clearly, the ACCC hadn’t yet satisfied itself that this acquisition was not likely to substantially lessen competition in any market. It seems Google knew that, but it went ahead with the merger anyway.”

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Media code is thoughtful, brave and might save journalism

The proposed bargaining code between news publishers and big tech platforms represents a critical turning point in worldwide efforts to create a sustainable, forward-looking model for professional journalism, reports News Corp’s David Chavern.

While it is often hard to perceive the tides of history while we are in them, many of us believe that Australia is about to make a choice that could change the course of civic societies around the globe. That choice is not only about the future of news publishing but also whether we can build communities based on facts instead of misinformation and hate.

The result is that Google and Facebook are strangling news publishing everywhere. This not only affects established publishers but also forecloses on the growth of new journalistic voices. The sad irony is that quality news and information could actually be an antidote for many of the platforms’ biggest problems around hate speech and misinformation.

News publishers all around the world need legally established compensation systems that fairly value their journalism and provide dispute resolution mechanisms that are outside the control of the platforms. The Australian government has stepped forward and proposed just such a system. The bargaining code is brave, thoughtful and right. It could well mark a positive turning of the tide for the future of journalism, not only in Australia but across the globe.

[Read More]


Dicko on Holey Moley, why he won’t return as Australian Idol judge

Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson has ruled out a return to Australian Idol, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

With the format set to be rebooted after 12 years on the shelf, producers are yet to reveal the judging line-up with much speculation as to whether or not any familiar faces will return to the fold.

“I look like Clive Palmer now, they are not going to want me,” Dicko told Confidential. “The fact is, they are not going to go near me. They will get the one off Destiny’s Child that hasn’t been on yet and some other famous people and they will be happy with that. They won’t call me and I don’t blame them for it. I am not bitter about it, I am happy.”

Dicko was a judge on the music talent search reality show alongside Mark Holden and Marcia Hines. Kyle Sandilands also sat on the panel for a couple of seasons.

Dicko, who worked in music label management before becoming one of our biggest stars on Idol, has this week however made a return to our television screens, joining the cast of Holey Moley as a golf playing pirate.

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George Calombaris ready to be back in the TV kitchen

Celebrity chef George Calombaris wants to return to television, saying he is excited to re-emerge into public life, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

But the former MasterChef judge says he won’t go back to the “crazy world” he used to live in and is grateful for the time he spent last year with wife Natalie and their two children.

Calombaris has rarely been sighted since the collapse of his restaurant empire, MAdE Establishment Group, in February last year.

It came after the business was beset by reputational damage following a $7.8 million underpayment scandal.

He also alluded to a TV return.

“After you come off what was one of the most incredible television shows in MasterChef, I’m very grateful I’ve had time to just breathe and time to spend with my family,’’ he said.

“I love television and I will do it again but it’s got to represent who I am and talk about the story. Hopefully I’ll be able to help people through all of my good, bad and ugly.”

[Read more]

Axed: Totally Wild, Scope

10 has axed long running Kid’s TV shows Totally Wild after 27 seasons, reports TV Tonight.

The series featuring much-loved presenter Ranger Stacey Thomson is based at TVQ Brisbane, and highlights Australian wildlife on 10 Peach.

Kid’s science program Scope is also ending after 5 seasons, spanning some 15 years.

10 says it remains committed to children’s content, but in the area of Drama.

A redundancy program will commence for some members of the Children’s production department, based at TVQ, but it isn’t clear how many jobs are impacted.

[Read More]

Sports Media

Foxtel, Nine trade barbs over Netball Australia broadcast deal

A stoush between Nine Entertainment Co and Foxtel has erupted over how the pay TV company secured a five-year deal for netball’s broadcast rights, reports SMH‘s Zoe Samios and Sarah Keoghan.

Netball Australia announced a new five year deal with Foxtel and streaming service Kayo Sports to broadcast netball matches from next season, marking the end of its commercial relationship with Nine, the owner of this masthead. Nine said that it was unhappy with the decision by Netball Australia and accused Foxtel of using government funding to bid for the broadcast rights, a claim which the pay TV company has slammed.

“We are disappointed that after working with netball to grow the game for the past five years we find they have taken the deal with Foxtel which is supported by government money which we don’t have access to,” a Nine spokeswoman said.

Senior figures at Nine also expressed dismay at the process and how it was handled by Netball Australia. One figure said the sporting body had left money on the table by failing to engage in back and forth negotiations.

Foxtel received $40 million worth of government funding to broadcast under-represented sports on television. The funding has been considered controversial because Fox Sports is only available by subscription, meaning taxpayers must pay to watch sports acquired with taxpayer funds.

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Amazon dives into sports streaming battle with first Australian rights

US tech giant Amazon has signed its first sports broadcast deal in Australia after securing the rights to stream swimming trials for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games online, reports SMH‘s Zoe Samios.

US tech giant Amazon has signed its first sports broadcast deal in Australia after securing the rights to stream swimming trials for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games online.

The two-year exclusive agreement with Swimming Australia signals the tech giant’s intentions to compete in the crowded live sports streaming arena and pits it against a growing array of media, telco and technology companies battling for eyeballs.

The deal includes all swimming trials for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics and Paralympics and qualifying events for the 2022 FINA World Swimming Championships and the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

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NRL 2021: Veteran commentator Ray Warren tells Channel 9 he will return for another season

The voice of rugby league will be back on Channel Nine this year, reports News Corp’s Phil Rothfield.

Veteran commentator Ray Warren told network executives on Wednesday of his plans to continue.

Warren, who turns 78 this year, has spent the off-season weighing up his options as he nears the end of a distinguished commentary career.

“I’ll go around again,” he told Nine bosses at a meeting on Wednesday.

Over five decades, Warren has called more grand finals and State of Origin matches on TV than any other commentator in the history of the game. He has called 93 Origin games.

He seriously considered retirement in the off-season, telling News Corp: “I’m scared of going one season or even one week too long.”

Encouragement from his family and Nine colleagues, including Phil Gould and Paul Vautin, convinced him to continue.

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