Roundup: The Block 2023 winners, Voice campaigns, AI deepfakes

The Block 2023

Prominence framework, ARIA Awards, James Corden, streaming services, ABC, Sam Mac, Derby Day race

Business of Media

Brawl erupts over which apps get shown first on your smart TV

Pay and free-to-air media companies are facing off in a battle over how their apps are displayed on smart televisions as the government prepares to launch legislation that will affect how Australians view content, reports Nine Publishing’s Calum Jaspan.

The legislation, which the government calls a “prominence framework”, is one of four items of media reform being considered in Canberra.

Free-to-air networks including Nine, Seven and Ten have argued via the Free TV Australia lobby that local and culturally significant content including news, sport and entertainment should be given preferential placement on newer television sets, so it can be easily found by users.

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Voice campaigns created advertising bonanza

Australia’s media agency market received a one-off $5.8m boost from ad campaigns related to the Voice referendum in September, reports The Australian’s Glen Norris.

However, the Guideline SMI ad spend report found that despite the hefty spending on both the Yes and No cases, total advertising revenues for the month declined by 3.8 per cent from last year’s September record total of more than $800m.

Guideline SMI managing director Jane Ractliffe said despite the fall it was still the second largest total spend in SMI’s 16 years of data history.

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ARIA Awards announce line up for 2023 ceremony

An all Australian star line-up of artists including G Flip, Budjerah, DMA’S, Brad Cox, Fanny Lumsden, Jessica Mauboy, Meg Mac and Peach PRC are set to perform at the 2023 ARIA Awards, reports News Corp’s Mikaela Wilkes.

Additionally, Barkaa, Bliss n Eso, 1200 Techniques, DJ Krissy, and Sound Unlimited Posse featuring Kye will celebrate 50 Years of Australian Hip Hop with a special performance.

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Can congress save MrBeast and Tom Hanks from AI deepfakes?

Some TikTok users recently encountered an ad in which the YouTube star known as MrBeast appeared to offer 10,000 new iPhones for just $2 each, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Patrick Coffe.

The deal sounded too good to be true, and it was. MrBeast last month joined film star Tom Hanks and CBS anchor Gayle King in a growing cohort of celebrities who say scammers have made unauthorized use of their likenesses in convincing, AI-generated deepfake ads hawking phones, fake dental plans and dubious weight-loss solutions.

“Are social media platforms ready to handle the rise of AI deepfakes? This is a serious problem,” wrote MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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James Corden strikes deal for new podcast with SiriusXM

The actor and comedian James Corden has struck a deal with SiriusXM to create a new audio interview series, after leaving CBS’s The Late Late Show in April to spend more time with his wife and children, reports The Guardian’s Donna Ferguson.

The podcast will “seek to tell the untold stories of some of the most well-known public figures”, a spokesperson said.

Corden, who starred in the BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey as well as Hollywood movies including Peter Rabbit and Cats, shot to fame in the US after he became a late night TV show host who interviewed other celebrities in a car, while encouraging them to belt out songs. The format became known as Carpool Karaoke.

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Aussie households are spending less on streaming services, annual report reveals

Australian households are cutting back on subscription services and turning to free or cheaper ad-based content for entertainment, a new report has revealed, reports the ABC’s Liana Walker.

The Deloitte Media and Entertainment Consumer Insights annual report, released on Monday, shows how Australians are spending less across all generations as they feel the cost-of-living crunch.

On average, monthly spending on digital entertainment services such as Netflix or Binge has fallen from $62 to $57 per household across all generations: however, previous report data shows how different generations have increased and cut their spending.

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News Brands

ABC at risk of less Drama for lower costs

ABC may be facing a future of being “sidelined” by rising costs and streaming competition according to a former ABC Director of Television, reports TV Tonight.

Sandra Levy, an ABC Alumni Board Member, has penned an opinion piece for ABC Alumni which warns the costs of drama production could squeeze the public broadcaster making it harder and harder to air home-grown, high-quality drama.

“The average cost per hour of drama on the streamers is $3.3m while the ABC’s is less than $2m,” she writes.

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Sam Mac taking break from Sunrise to focus on raising baby girl

Sunrise weather presenter Sam Mac has announced he’s taking a break from the show to focus on raising his baby girl, reports News Corp’s Lexie Cartwright.

The TV host, who first joined the Channel 7 breakfast program in 2016, welcomed his first child, daughter Margot, with partner Rebecca James in September last year. Since then, he’s boarded over 100 flights as part of his gig presenting the weather forecast, reporting live from different locations across the country.

But now he’s ready to help out with domestic duties while Rebecca, a stylist, returns to the workforce.

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The Block 2023 winners share secret behind their big win

This year’s winners of The Block have shared the secret behind how they secured their big win, reports News Corp’s Joshua Haigh.

Steph and Gian walked away winners after selling their property on Charming Street for a whopping $1.65 million over reserve. Following their win, Steph and Gian have revealed the surprising strategy behind their showstopping win, and it turns out the pair were playing the long game.

“When we got the call that we were on The Block in February, the first thing we did, I think three days later, we called Tom Spanos our auctioneer,” they told the Daily Mail.

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Sports Media

Horse racing fans left furious after TV coverage missed photo finish of main Derby Day race

Horse racing fans were left furious on Derby Day when Network Ten’s affiliate broadcaster Southern Cross Austereo cut to an ad break with just hundreds of metres to go in the main race and before the photo finish had been decided, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth.

Ten has a five-year broadcast deal with the Victoria Racing Club that ends this year and it holds rights to the Melbourne Cup Carnival including Derby Day, Melbourne Cup, Oaks Day and Stakes Day.

SCA uses the provider NPC Media to facilitate its racing broadcasts. An NPC Media spokesman said it had, “made the unfortunate error of switching to an ad break” on Saturday afternoon when the main race result was still unfolding.

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