Roundup: The Logies, Nine Newspapers, Southern Cross TV Deal + more


Plus: News Corp’s measurement tool, Mutiny’s expansion, Michelle Rowland, and Bluey

Business of Media 

Board blasé after a week of woe for Nine newspapers

Last Thursday, the Nine Entertainment board met at the company’s headquarters in North Sydney, reports News Corp’s James Madden.

For the previous few days, the media giant’s publishing division – specifically, its two biggest metro newspapers, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age – had been attracting headlines for all the wrong reasons.

According to sources close to the board, neither the fallout from gossip columnist Andrew Hornery’s article on Wilson nor AFL journalist Sam McClure’s decision to participate in a Sportsbet ad warranted any discussion at board level.

Of course, it’s not unusual for a media company’s board meeting to proceed without advanced discussion of editorial matters of the day, but when the company has suffered considerable reputational damage on two fronts in the one week, it seems odd the scandals didn’t even rate a mention.

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Mutiny eyes 200pc expansion after $2.4m seed round

Marketing analytics software company Mutiny has closed a $2.4 million seed funding round led by the co-founders of Eucalyptus, Charlie Gearside and Alexey Mitko, as well as former Starcom chairman John Sintras and ad guru Russel Howcroft, reports AFR‘s Miranda Ward.

The funding will help the company further expand its capability to drive self-service onboarding and generate automated insights for customers, as well as an expansion into the US.

Mutiny positions itself as a consultancy for brands, using its software platform “WarChest” to analyse and optimise in near-time how well marketing expenditure by media channels and even programs have performed. It can then give clear insights in return on investments that allow marketers to better predict and price their marketing strategy.

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Southern Cross TV deal in limbo, buyers wait

The sale of Southern Cross Austereo’s regional television network is in limbo, as prospective buyers wait more than a month to hear back from advisors Grant Samuel, reports SMH‘s Zoe Samios.

Multiple media industry sources, who requested anonymity because the process is confidential, said they have had no formal contact with the advisor running the sale since May when first round bids were due.

Banking sources are suggesting the deal is off because the company was unable to secure a price it believes is reasonable for shareholders.

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News Brands

Rowland ready to ‘intervene’ in media fight with big tech

New Communications Minister Michelle Rowland is keen to get much more aggressive with the big tech firms and is open to drafting laws that designate Google, Facebook and others under the media bargaining code, should their behaviour warrant it, reports AFR’s Lucas Baird.

In her first interview since she was sworn in after the Labor Party’s election victory, Rowland told The Australian Financial Review the government “needs to be interventionist” to get results when dealing with big tech.

Asked whether this meant passing laws that specifically target firms that act in bad faith – such as when Facebook temporarily took down the pages of news media, charities, and suburban groups during a game of brinkmanship with the government over the news media bargaining code – she said it was “open as an option”.

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Journalists question News Corp’s prediction tool

Using data to make news stories more interesting to readers isn’t a new thing, reports SMH‘s Zoe Samios.

But just how far is a publication willing to go? That’s the question journalists at News Corp Australia are asking this week as the newest version of their measurement tool, Verity 2.0, rolls out.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned media company, which publishes The Australian, The Herald Sun, The Courier Mail and The Daily Telegraph, caused a stir among staff last week with an email about the newly updated technology, which it wants journalists to use daily.

The updated version, according to multiple employees, has more data and claims to break down audiences based on age, location and household income. It also profiles the audience into cohorts such as what it calls “first class life”, a group of typically older middle-aged families with significant assets and income (News Corp says this is 6.9 per cent of the population). Journalists are told how many readers of their masthead fit within these categories.

But there’s one other feature that has some journalists worried. Documents obtained by this masthead shows the updated version has a feature that can predict the “likelihood” of a person paying for a subscription based on factors such as headlines, angles, and story ideas.

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Rugby league icon Ray Warren to feature in Bluey State of Origin episode

The voice of rugby league, Ray “Rabs” Warren, might have retired from calling the sport on TV, but he is set to reappear on the small screen in a much different role — starring in an episode of the wildly popular animated children’s show Bluey, reports News Corp’s Derrick Krusche.

The episode, called The Decider, will air on Tuesday on ABC KIDS and will feature some of the show’s much-adored characters watching a State of Origin match between NSW and Queensland.

It is believed the episode, in which Warren has done voice recordings for, will focus on themes of loyalty and groups.

It will also focus on the dynamics of families where members follow different sporting teams.

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Logies pay special tribute to late Bert Newton

Showbiz queen Patti Newton and her daughter Lauren said beloved Logies king, the late Bert Newton, was with them in spirit at the TV industry’s premier awards night, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein and Nui Te Koha.

Patti and Lauren attended the Logies, held on the Gold Coast, to present the inaugural Bert Newton Award for Most Popular Presenter.

“It feels very emotional,” Patti said. “Because they’re doing a tribute to Bert, and because they’re naming an award after him, we feel very special. Bert would be just so happy.”

Lauren added: “It’s wonderful to be here, and Dad always loved the Logies. He’ll be with us in spirit.”

The Logies: Hamish Blake wins Gold Logie

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