Roundup: Sky News v Youtube, Paramount+, Tokyo Olympics + more

Alan Jones

Plus: South Parks’ mega deal, CNN fires staff over vaccines, Nova’s Live & Unrestricted, and Netflix’s big win in UK

Business of Media

YouTube’s Sky News ban ignites fresh News Corp fury

Executives from Sky News Australia received the kind of phone call last Thursday that no media operator wants to get. YouTube’s Australian director of partnerships, Ed Miles, informed the 24-hour news channel that its account on the Google-owned video sharing site had been suspended for one week, report SMH‘s Zoe Samios and Lisa Visentin.

A clip from May 3 of one of those presenters, controversial broadcaster Alan Jones, had breached YouTube’s COVID-19 misinformation guidelines. And since Sky had already received a warning from YouTube last December, it meant the Rupert Murdoch-owned broadcaster could not upload videos to the platform for seven days

The Sky suspension by YouTube has reignited concerns within News Corp about the sheer power and unaccountable nature of global digital platforms and their sway over traditional media. While it comes to terms with the reaction of YouTube, News Corp detractors – such as former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd – say it has no right to complain, given the large media footprint it controls in Australia and offshore through titles such as The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and The New York Post.

Meanwhile, Sky’s night time hosts including Sharri Markson, Andrew Bolt and digital editor Jack Houghton have seized on the suspension as an assault on free speech. Controversial Amercian Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Australia had turned into a “COVID dictatorship” where you can’t ask basic questions without getting censored. But while the Sky suspension has given presenters fresh ammunition in the media culture wars, it has also surprised and frustrated senior executives in the News Corp and Sky stables, who had not been alerted to any issues of breaches since last December.

[Read More]

Sky News Australia to face Senate inquiry after week-long YouTube suspension

Sky News Australia will face a Senate inquiry next week after the broadcaster was suspended for seven days for posting numerous videos which violated YouTube’s Covid medical misinformation policies, reports Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade.

The hearing comes as former prime minister Kevin Rudd calls on the Australian media regulator to take a tougher line on the broadcasting of contentious Sky News material on subscription TV and free-to-air television in regional areas.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Rudd separately want Acma to explain why it has not acted when YouTube has.

Hanson-Young has recalled the upper house media diversity inquiry which she chairs to question executives from Acma, Sky News Australia and YouTube, who will attend.

The senator has also invited the chief health officers from every state and territory to appear next week. Prof Paul Kelly, Dr Kerry Chant, Prof Brett Sutton, Dr Jeannette Young and Prof Nicola Spurrier have been invited to give evidence via a livestream on Friday 13 August.

[Read More]

News Brands

CNN fires three employees who went into the office unvaccinated

CNN said on Thursday that it had fired three employees who violated its coronavirus safety protocols by going to the office unvaccinated, one of the first known examples of a major American corporation’s terminating workers for ignoring a workplace vaccination mandate, reports The New York Times’ Michael M. Grynbaum.

CNN had said this year that employees would need to be vaccinated against the virus in order to return to its American offices. The network has been relying on an honor system rather than requiring proof of vaccination status.

“In the past week, we have been made aware of three employees who were coming to the office unvaccinated. All three have been terminated,” CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker, wrote in an internal memo on Thursday that The New York Times obtained. “Let me be clear — we have a zero-tolerance policy on this.”

[Read More]


ViacomCBS Adds 6.5M global streaming subs to top 42M, ad revenue jumps

ViacomCBS added about 6.5 million global streaming subscribers in its second quarter, driven by the Paramount+ service, which debuted such originals as iCarly and Paramount movie Infinite in the period, to reach more than 42 million global paid streaming users, the entertainment company said Thursday, reports Hollywood Reporter‘s Georg Szalai.

The company also reported an advertising revenue gain over the year-ago period, which had been hit by the coronavirus pandemic to record a decline to $1.93 billion after reaching $2.65 billion in the second quarter of 2019. “Advertising revenue grew 24 percent year-over-year, driven by CBS’ broadcasts of 2021 sporting events for which there were no comparable broadcasts in the prior-year period as a result of COVID-19, and an improved advertising market,” the company said.

[Read More]

ViacomCBS teams with comcast’s Sky to launch Paramount+ in Europe

After weeks of market chatter, it is official: Comcast and ViacomCBS have reached an international streaming partnership, reports Hollywood Reporter‘s Georg Szalai.

ViacomCBS Networks International and Comcast’s Sky said Thursday that Paramount+ will launch on Sky platforms in the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria in 2022 “as part of a new multi-year distribution agreement that also includes the extended carriage of ViacomCBS’ leading portfolio of pay TV channels and the renewal of Sky as an ad sales partner in select markets.”

Raffaele Annecchino, president and CEO, ViacomCBS Networks International, said: “We are thrilled to expand our long-standing partnership with Sky to continue delivering ViacomCBS’ leading portfolio of premium entertainment brands to Sky customers and importantly bring Paramount+ to new audiences in all Sky markets, including the U.K., Ireland, Italy and GSA. This transformative distribution deal is key to accelerating our global ambitions in streaming while also supporting Sky’s strategic objectives to better serve audiences with greater flexibility in how they consume our content across all platforms.”

[Read More]

‘South Park’ creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone sign new ViacomCBS deal, 14 movies planned for Paramount+

MTV Entertainment Studios has inked South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to a new deal that will run through 2027, including 14 new movies made exclusively for Paramount+, two every year, beginning this year. It will also see the flagship South Park series renewed through season 30 (2022 will see the show launch its 25th season). The deal is worth $900 million, report The Hollywood Reporter‘s Ryan Parker and Alex Weprin.

According to entertainment chief Chris McCarthy, the company is also working with Parker and Stone on new original content. “Franchising marquee content like South Park and developing new IP with tremendous talents like Matt and Trey, is at the heart of our strategy to continue growing Paramount+,” McCarthy said in a statement.

The new films will premiere exclusively on Paramount+, a move that may vex some fans because the entire Comedy Central show’s library is on HBO Max, as is the 1999 film, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. The new movies appear to be a way to get South Park programming on ViacomCBS’ own streaming service after cutting the HBO Max deal in 2019.

[Read More]

Netflix Overtakes Pay TV in U.K., Helped by Pandemic and ‘Bridgerton’

Netflix has reached more subscribers in Great Britain than pay TV, driven by the coronavirus pandemic and the success of Bridgerton, according to U.K. media regulator Ofcom, reports Hollywood Reporter‘s Georg Szalai.

“U.K. adults sought solace in screens and streaming in 2020, spending a third of their waking hours watching TV and online video content,” it said in its according annual study of the nation’s media habits. U.K. streaming subscriptions soared by 50 percent to 31 million during the pandemic, up from 20 million in 2019.

“With people across the U.K. under some form of lockdown restrictions for most of last year, more than 2,000 hours of it were spent watching TV and online video content,” it said in its “Media Nations 2021” report. “That’s a daily average of five hours and 40 minutes, 47 minutes more than in 2019.”

[Read More]


Nova to bring Live & Unrestricted show to listeners in August

Nova’s Live & Unrestricted, hosted by Tim Blackwell and Kate Ritchie, will provide listeners with an escape from restrictions for two hours every Saturday morning in August on the Nova Network.

Following the response to Nova’s Kate, Tim & Joel Live in Lockdown, a one off special to keep up the spirits of listeners locked down in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, the team decided it was the right time to return to Saturday mornings.

With every state under some sort of restrictions right now, and people not able to live the life they want to, Nova is cutting through the red tape and going Live & Unrestricted every Saturday throughout August.

Tim Blackwell and Kate Ritchie, from Nova’s Kate, Tim & Joel drive show, will be joined by a range of friends including Fitzy from Nova 96.9’s Fitzy & Wippa breakfast show, Karl Stefanovic and many more.

Tim Blackwell said, “Whether you’re locked down with nothing to do or slowly getting back to normal hitting the road on a Saturday morning, from kid’s sport, a coffee run or waiting in line for a Covid test, let us be here for your ears and hopefully take your mind off things for an hour or two…”

Listeners will also be able to request the songs they want to hear during the show, via the Nova Player.

Live & Unrestricted will be heard every Saturday morning from 10am AEST on Nova 96.9, Nova 100, Nova 919 (9.30am in Adelaide), Nova 93.7 (8.00am in Perth) and Nova 106.9 from 7 August. Listeners can also stream the show live by downloading the Nova Player app and can check out the podcast after the show.

Sport Media

Free-to-air TV a Tokyo Olympics loser

None of us will forget the amazing Tokyo 2020 Olympics. For Australia it was a return to the glory days. But in the years ahead Tokyo 2020 will also be remembered as the event that accelerated the demise of free-to-air television as we have known it for more than half a century, writes News Corp’s Robert Gottliebsen.

Free-to-air television will now set off on a journey similar to newspapers after the internet took over the bulk of classified advertising in employment, real estate and cars.

Last May, under the heading “Connected TV a new challenge to free-to-air television” I set out how television connected to the internet was forecast to grow at a 30 per cent plus annual rate and take substantial revenue from free-to-air television.

What I did not anticipate was that the Olympics would send Australians to connected television in unprecedented numbers. Australians now know what is there and how they can gain a better viewing experience. It will transform television for decades to come.

[Read More]

To Top