Roundup: Netflix shares drop, Eurovision, Sunrise, SAS Australia + more


• Andrew O’Keefe, A royal commission into the Murdoch media, The Village Voice, Nick McKenzie, South by Southwest, and the OMA

Business of Media

OMA members and the RSL call Australians to Light Up the Dawn on Anzac Day

The Outdoor Media Association (OMA) has announced its continued support for Light Up the Dawn which will be promoted nationwide on digital signs in the lead up to Anzac Day.

Light Up the Dawn is an RSL initiative, instituted last year to mark Anzac Day when the traditional march was cancelled due to Covid-19. Australians were encouraged to honour our armed forces at 6am on Anzac Day in an at-home vigil, lighting a candle in their driveways or on their balconies, or in their living rooms, to commemorate the nation’s veterans.

Based on the positive community response, Light Up the Dawn will again encourage Australians to come together. Whether gathering for public services or participating in private reflection, Australians have a choice in how they honour the service and sacrifice of veterans this ANZAC Day.

The RSL will also produce a short personal service and participation kits for use by the community, as well as a live-streamed dawn service at 6am on the day.

“It was moving to see the simple and safe gesture that was Light Up the Dawn very obviously resonate with the community last year. Our members were proud to support Light Up the Dawn using the industry’s network of digital signs to encourage people to come together. It is wonderful to see our promotion of events like this not only lighting up the dawn but contributing to the public discourse by bringing people together in reflection on a day of such significance to our nation,” said Charmaine Moldrich, CEO of the OMA.

“We salute RSL Queensland for their efforts in producing Light Up the Dawn giving all Australians the chance to stand in solidarity in remembrance of those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” added Moldrich.

OMA members supporting Light Up the Dawn this year include AOSCo, BIG Outdoor, goa Billboards, JCDecaux, oOh!media, Outdoor Systems, Paradise Outdoor Advertising, QMS Media, Shopper Media, and Total Outdoor Media (TOM). 

Netflix reports 208m members, updates audience figures for biggest series

Netflix reported its Q1 2021 financials overnight. Here are some of the highlights from the letter to Netflix shareholders:

Revenue grew 24% year over year and was in line with our beginning of quarter forecast, while operating profit and margin reached all-time highs.

We finished Q1’21 with 208m paid memberships, up 14% year over year, but below our guidance forecast of 210m paid memberships. We believe paid membership growth slowed due to the big Covid-19 pull forward in 2020 and a lighter content slate in the first half of this year, due to Covid-19 production delays.

We continue to anticipate a strong second half with the return of new seasons of some of our biggest hits and an exciting film line-up. In the short-term, there is some uncertainty from Covid-19; in the long-term, the rise of streaming to replace linear TV around the world is the clear trend in entertainment.

The extraordinary events of Covid-19 led to unprecedented membership growth in 2020, as it pulled forward growth from 2021, and delayed production across every region. In turn, we ended 2020 with a bigger membership and revenue base than we would otherwise have had, contributing to record Q1’21 revenues.

These dynamics are also contributing to a lighter content slate in the first half of 2021, and hence, we believe slower membership growth. In Q1, paid net additions of 4m were below our 6m guidance (and the 16m net additions in the year ago quarter) primarily due to acquisition, as retention in Q1 was in line with our expectations.

We anticipate paid membership growth will re-accelerate in the second half of 2021 as we ramp into a very strong back half slate with the return of big hits like Sex Education, The Witcher, La Casa de Papel (aka Money Heist), and You, as well as an exciting array of original films including the finale to The Kissing Booth trilogy and large scale, star-driven features like Red Notice (starring Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds) and Don’t Look Up (with an all-star cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, Timothée Chalamet, and Meryl Streep).

There are several facets to our content strategy. First and foremost, we want to deliver a wide variety of best-in-class stories that our members love and watch in big numbers. Examples of this breadth in Q1 include season one of Firefly Lane (49m chose to watch this title in its first 28 days), season 3 of Cobra Kai (45m), Fate: The Winx Saga (57m), and Ginny & Georgia (52m). Our top movies in Q1 include I Care A Lot (56m), YES DAY (62m), Outside the Wire (66m) and the last instalment of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy (51m).

Netflix shares plunge as pandemic boom comes to screeching halt

The boom Netflix enjoyed during the pandemic came to a dramatic halt on Tuesday (US time), when dismal subscriber growth sent its shares plunging as much as 13 per cent, reports the SMH’s Lucas Shaw.

The streaming service added just 3.98 million subscribers in the first quarter, missing Wall Street’s estimate of 6.29 million and its own forecast of 6 million. The current quarter will be even more challenging, with Netflix predicting one million new customers – a fraction of the 4.44 million projected by analysts.

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South by Southwest stake sold to owner of Rolling Stone to keep festival alive

A venture operated by Penske Media Corp, which publishes magazines like Rolling Stone, Billboard and Variety, agreed to acquire a 50% stake in South by Southwest, the famed tech, music and movie festival, people familiar with the matter said, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Lukas I. Alpert.

The Texas festival, one of the largest and best known in the US, was dealt a severe financial blow last March after being cancelled at the last minute by Austin city officials because of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers said at that time that their insurance policies didn’t cover cancellation because of a pandemic. They believed the cancellation would cost them millions, raising questions about the future of the festival, which is also known as SXSW or simply “Southby.” Last spring, SXSW laid off a third of its 175 year-round employees.

This year, organisers ran a shortened virtual event only, but said they intended to bring the event back in person in 2022.

[Read more]

In 2019 Penske Media licensed print and digital right for Rolling Stone Australia to The Brag Media. The US publisher later also did a deal with Brag for digital rights to Variety and other Penske US brands.

News Brands

Nick McKenzie to speak at Sydney Media Club: Tickets available for May event

The Kennedy Foundation’s next Sydney Media Club lunch will be staged on May 19 at the new venue at the City Tattersalls Club and will feature an address from Kennedy Prize winner Nick McKenzie of 60 Minutes, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Tickets can be secured now via

The Sydney Media Club lunch will coincide with the official call for entries in the 10th Annual NRMA Kennedy Awards, including the $25,000 prize for the Australian Journalist of the Year, on Wednesday May 19.

See also: Kennedy Awards reveals 2021 dates, venue and sponsorship partnership

The Village Voice print edition returns in New York four years after it was axed

New Yorkers may have noticed something strange in the last few days: copies of The Village Voice, fresh off the press and still free, on newsstands and in street boxes, reports The New York Times’ Katie Robertson.

“It all makes sense,” said the longtime Voice columnist Michael Musto, who has a byline in the return issue. “New York is back, The Voice is back, I’m back.”

The new issue, which came out on Saturday, is the first print incarnation of the storied independent publication since August 2017, when its previous owner, Peter D. Barbey, took it digital-only a year before shutting it down. Brian Calle, the publisher of LA Weekly, bought The Voice in December and revived its dormant website in January.

“For us, putting a print issue out was a stake in the ground,” Calle said. “It really makes the relaunch of The Village Voice real in a way it wasn’t before.”

[Read more]

Former US intelligence director backs Turnbull and Rudd’s call for Murdoch media inquiry

The former US director of national intelligence James Clapper has backed a call by former Australian prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull for a royal commission into the Murdoch media, saying Australia needs to take preventative steps to avoid any slide into “truth decay”, reports Guardian Australia‘s Katharine Murphy.

In an interview with Guardian Australia, Clapper, a retired lieutenant general in the US air force and the top intelligence official for seven years under former US president Barack Obama, said Fox News was a “megaphone for conspiracies and falsehoods” in America. He said the storming of the US Capitol on 6 January had demonstrated a clear connection between truth decay and the risk of civil disobedience and unrest.

“I have spoken a lot about a phenomenon that is not just in the United States but in other places as well of what the Rand Corporation has very aptly and cleverly called truth decay,” Clapper, who is a CNN analyst, said. “This is the whole business of disregarding facts and objective analysis and empirical data.

[Read more]


Australia’s Eurovision queen Montaigne will compete this year from home because of COVID-19

Avant-garde pop singer Montaigne will have to take her shot at the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest from Australia with Europe’s COVID third wave making it too risky to go to Rotterdam, reports News Corp’s Kathy McCabe.

Montaigne missed out on competing last year when the pandemic cancelled the 2020 event and SBS decided to give her another shot at the title instead of staging another Australia Decides selection show.

But after extensive risk assessment, Australia’s Eurovision delegation has been forced to stay home.

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Sunrise viewers excited to see Mel Doyle’s return to the show

Television presenter Melissa Doyle sent Sunrise fans into overdrive on Tuesday morning with her appearance on the show, reports News Corp’s Karlie Rutherford.

In what was a reunion, the former Sunrise host returned to the show she hosted for 14 years only to be interviewed by her former colleagues David “Kochie” Koch and Natalie Barr about her new podcast Age Against the Machine.

Koch introduced Doyle, saying “Our next guest is no stranger to our screens, or any of us.”

While Barr said that her visit brought back lots of memories.

“I was listening to this making dinner and reliving the memories of you being on the show,” Barr said of her former colleague’s new podcast.

[Read More]

SAS Australia 2021: Candice Warner’s stern advice to new recruits

Ironwoman Candice Warner has warned this year’s batch of SAS Australia recruits the experience will be “like living a nightmare”, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

Mother of three Warner, 36, was one of the favourites from the first season of the controversial reality show.

“A lot of the contestants, it will be a nightmare for them, they will be living in a nightmare,” the wife of cricketer David Warner told Confidential.

“I take my hat off to them because that is very courageous especially after seeing what we went through.”

[Read more]

Andrew O’Keefe has two fresh domestic violence charges laid

Former Channel Seven star Andrew O’Keefe has had two fresh domestic violence charges laid against him, with police alleging he assaulted his partner Orly Lavee three times in two weeks, reports the SMH‘s Georgina Mitchell.

O’Keefe, 49, the former host of Weekend Sunrise and The Chase Australia, was initially arrested in the early hours of January 31 and charged with common assault.

On Tuesday, Waverley Local Court was told two additional charges have since been laid against O’Keefe, relating to another assault at Randwick on the same night as the first, and an earlier assault at Kangaroo Valley.

Police allege O’Keefe assaulted his partner, occasioning actual bodily harm, during the second incident at Randwick between 11.56pm on January 30 and 12.16am on January 31.

He is also charged with common assault over the alleged Kangaroo Valley incident, which police say unfolded between 6.30am and 6.45am on January 20.

O’Keefe did not appear in Waverley Local Court on Tuesday, which was expected to hear an application to have his original charge dealt with on mental health grounds.

[Read More]

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