Roundup: HBO bosses, Roxy Jacenko’s new project, Bluey in NYC

HBO House of the Dragon

Snapchat, trust in journalists,, ABC radio, Lisa Wilkinson, Allison Langdon, The Block, Sunrise, Abbey Holmes, Seven sports

Business of Media

Nine and Foxtel prepare for battle as HBO bosses fly to town

Senior executives from the entertainment behemoth behind series such as House of Dragon, Succession, and White Lotus are coming to Sydney to discuss the future of its shows’ streaming in Australia, a decision that could prove decisive to the long-term viability of local services Stan and Binge, report Nine Publishing’s Zoe Samios and Nick Bonyhady.

Staff from HBO’s parent company Warner Bros Discovery will hold meetings this week with key executives from Nine Entertainment Co and Foxtel to assess whether they should launch their own streaming service in Australia or continue to partner with a local provider. Multiple media sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the US company has not decided what it will do when its existing deal with Foxtel expires at the end of next year.

Foxtel, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, outbid Nine Entertainment Co and its streaming service Stan in 2020 for the rights to a range of HBO programs and Warner Bros shows that have underpinned its streaming service, Binge.

The deal, believed to be worth up to $200 million a year at its peak, gave the cable TV and streaming company exclusivity for HBO programs including Game of Thrones, Succession, and Euphoria, and Warner Bros shows such as The Big Bang Theory and Friends.

Foxtel declined to comment. A Nine spokeswoman said: “we don’t speak about specific discussions but we are always interested in great content for our business.” Warner Bros Discovery was contacted for comment.

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Snapchat a step ahead on privacy as data rules tighten

Snap’s Australian boss Kathryn Carter sits atop what would be a mother lode for hackers: the private messages, photos and videos more than 7 million Australians send through the company’s eponymous Snapchat app, reports Nine Publishing’s Zoe Samios.

After intrusions into telecommunications company Optus and insurer Medibank Private thrust the issue of cybersecurity into the public consciousness, Carter is thankful that Snap made ephemeral messaging a core feature from its earliest days.

“The privacy and safety of our community is incredibly precious to us and has always been from day one,” Carter said. “Things like ephemeral messaging – some of our earliest innovations – they are designed in a way that will disappear. There isn’t the opportunity for content to be saved in perpetuity and potentially used in kind of inappropriate ways down the path.”

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Trust me, I’m a journalist: New survey shows growing faith in profession

The proportion of Britons who say they trust journalists has increased over the last year and nearly doubled since 2000, according to an annual Ipsos study, reports Press Gazette’s Aisha Majid.

Journalists still rank among the least trusted professions in the UK but they are ahead of politicians, estate agents and advertising executives.

Those were the findings from the 2022 Veracity Index, a long-standing study by Ipsos which has measured the level of the UK public’s trust in various professions since 1983.

Some 29% of the more than 1,000 UK adults polled said they trusted journalists to tell the truth, making them the fifth-least trusted profession in the UK. It is the highest trust score for journalists ever seen in the survey.

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Ex PR guru Roxy Jacenko’s new subscriber-only Instagram venture

Sydney’s retired PR queen Roxy Jacenko might have stepped back from the business, but monetising fame is still very much her game, reports News Corp’s Mikaela Wilkes.

For the low price of $4.49 a month, Jacenko’s 262,000 Instagram followers can now buy subscription-only access to private content.

And no, it’s not OnlyFans.

“Don’t worry I don’t put up naked pictures,” Jacenko, 42, joked while at chef Matt Moran’s Chiswick Woollahra restaurant this week.

Instagram subscriptions are a new feature, which is undoubtedly Meta’s attempt at competing with the highly lucrative adult subscription-based platform.

“I saw it advertised on this girl’s Instagram who lives in Miami a few months ago, and so I emailed my contact at Instagram and asked, ‘what’s this?’. They said it was in a trial phase,” Jacenko said.

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Ex-staff take on embattled news start-up over unpaid wages

Former employees of embattled publishing start-up are taking the company to the Federal Circuit Court in an attempt to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in allegedly unpaid wages and to stop it from continuing to raise funds from investors, reports Nine Publishing’s Zoe Samios.

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance has filed documents on behalf of eight former employees, while another former employee is fighting for allegedly owed wages through the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has also appointed an analyst to investigate the conduct of the company. was an ambitious local journalism venture that planned to employ 170 people within 23 weeks and create more than 1500 local, national and international websites that could be linked to the one domain name. Its April launch was delayed by technology issues and by June 30, staff started experiencing issues with wages. On October 28, after the release of an investigation by this masthead, the company suspended operations.

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ABC conducts trials of radio technology

The ABC will conduct expensive trials on two new digital radio technologies, despite neither being compatible with Australia receivers, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth

The public broadcaster recently conducted a two-year trial of DRM (digital radio mondiale) technology – the findings have not been made public – and now the ABC plans further trials using HD (hybrid digital) radio and satellite radio transmission, both of which are predominantly used in cars in North America.

HD radios are designed to pick up both AM and FM services by allowing the user to tune into the analog service before migrating across to its digital counterpart.

The upside is the technology prevents the need to allocate extra spectrum but, on the flipside, there can be interference picked up from neighbouring channels when using these devices.

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Intrigue grows over how 10 plans to redeploy Lisa Wilkinson

What exactly do you do with a very highly paid current affairs host – with lots of time to run on her contract – when she departs your network’s only current affairs program, asks The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff?

The 10 Network is confronting that very dilemma, after Lisa Wilkinson’s high-profile departure from The Project a week ago.

The big problem for 10 is that Wilkinson, one of the country’s highest paid TV stars, has a watertight seven-figure contract with 10 that Diary understands lasts well beyond next year. She signed a multi-year contract extension with the network around the middle of 2021.

Wilkinson’s smart negotiating skills mean that 10 is locked into shelling out millions as part of her lucrative pay packet into the future. So while Wilkinson may not be on The Project any more, the pressure is on 10 to quickly work out a role in which it can extract value out of the big money it is contractually bound to pay her.

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How much Allison Langdon will get paid as host of A Current Affair

Ally Langdon held out for weeks before signing on to host A Current Affair, after baulking at a hefty six-figure pay cut proposed by Channel Nine bosses, report News Corp’s Annette Sharp and Mikaela Wilkes.

The soon-to-depart Today co-host has been on a premium contract for the past three years as co-anchor of the Nine breakfast show, a role that has had her sharing a couch with Nine’s highest paid star, Karl Stefanovic, for 17½ hours a week.

Nine has now confirmed Langdon will fill Tracy Grimshaw’s shoes in 2023 for “a new era” of the show, with 60 Minutes reporter Sarah Abo set to take her place on The Today Show.

Sources inside Nine claim when TV executives came calling with the offer for Langdon to replace Tracy Grimshaw at ACA, Langdon hesitated when told the prime-time job – which equates to a much smaller 2½-hour-a-week on-air commitment – would come with a hefty pay cut worth about $250,000 a year, down from her $1 million-a-year Today contract.

Grimshaw is understood to have been on an annual package worth about $750,000.

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Work already underway at The Block 2023 Hampton East houses

Work has already begun on preparing the five new Block houses in Hampton East for the next season of the hit, and sometimes controversial, renovation show, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

Locals in the Charming Street vicinity have been keeping a close eye on the properties that were each bought by a Channel Nine company in June this year for a total outlay by the network of $14.3 million.

The brick homes are mostly three or four-bedroom properties, aside from number 16 which is a two-bedroom home.

The homes are now empty and it appears that pre-production and planning is underway.

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Bluey joins the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York for the first time

For the first time, Australian children’s television favourite Bluey has helped Americans usher in the holiday season at New York’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, reports the ABC.

Throngs of spectators lined the streets of Manhattan on Thursday for the annual tradition, which dates back nearly a century.

The crowds packed streets as a procession of giant inflatables and floats stretched for more than 40 blocks from Central Park to Herald Square.

Children balanced atop metal barricades and hung from scaffolding to watch the balloons amid mostly sunny skies and a slight breeze.

And for the first time, Australia’s favourite cattle dog joined the party.

Bluey’s balloon towered as tall as a four-storey building and stretched as wide as seven taxi cabs.

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Sunrise adds Katie Brown as roving reporter for 2023

Rising star Katie Brown is realising the dream she never quite knew she had, joining Sunrise as the fresh face of the national breakfast show in 2023, reports News Corp’s Amy Price.

The Channel Seven Queensland sports reporter will shift to Sunrise in January in a new roving reporter role created for her – a two-year deal that will see her travel the country to report from the biggest entertainment, sporting and community events.

“I guess this is the stuff you dream of, except I didn’t dream of it as a kid,” Brown, 31, said, having filled in for Sam Mac on Sunrise in recent months.

“I actually can’t believe I’m in this position but at the same time I do know that I’m good enough and I believe I’ll do a good job.”

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See Also: “It’s not just a job”: Sunrise EP Sean Power’s first months at the helm of Australia’s top brekkie show

Sports Media

‘Yes she can’: Abbey Holmes eyes off AFL footy calling role

Channel Seven star Abbey Holmes is making a play to call AFL footy, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

Holmes, who is part of the Channel Seven AFL broadcast team, is quietly learning the art of calling a footy game, with vastly experienced TV and radio footy commentator Brian Taylor helping her with the craft.

“It is 100 per cent on the vision board and ultimately something I would love to work towards, but it does take a lot of time and effort and practice and sitting on your own in your lounge room with the TV on mute and just practising and practising,” Holmes said.

“It takes time. It is certainly something I would love to do in the future.”

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Seven casts a wide sports net

Seven is actively negotiating with several Australian sporting bodies about the logistics of shifting their competition schedules to January from 2025 onwards, as the network confronts the possibility that it might not have broadcast rights for either top-tier summer sport – tennis or cricket – in two years’ time, reports The Australian’s James Madden.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Australian, Seven chief executive James Warburton said while Seven was still interested in extending its current contract to broadcast Test cricket (its deal expires in March 2024), the network was already working on alternatives if Cricket Australia opted to sever ties with the media giant.

Were Seven and CA to part ways, the network would be left without a top-tier summer sport for the first time in almost 50 years, given that Nine has the rights to the Australian Open sewn up until 2030.

Speaking after Seven claimed the annual TV ratings crown for the second consecutive year, Warburton said while the network remained keen on Test cricket – although it was no longer interested in the rights to the Big Bash League – there were other sporting options available to the broadcaster.

“Every single major sporting association (in Australia) understands the power of Seven, so we’ve had about seven or eight discussions around recutting (sporting) calendars into a short, sharp burst, and we’ve got four possible scenarios that we’ve modelled out,” Warburton said.

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