Things that matter: Radical new law for social media; Seven and Nine split the honours; Tony Talbot's return; PHD bigwig's exit
A roundup of the coming week's news agenda, which also includes Moonman going legal and Mark Ritson moving from script to screen
Welcome to Unmade, written while you were sleeping on Monday morning.
Happy Customer Is Wrong Day.
Today’s writing soundtrack: Charlie Parker and Friends. Thanks to the Fear & Greed podcast for the inspiration.
We continue with our experiment in formats for Unmade. Today’s focus is on a digest of a dozen or so media and marketing topics for what is already looking like a busy start to the week.
Morrison confronts big tech again
The Australian government yesterday opened a new front in its battle with the major digital platforms in what will be one of the biggest technology stories of the year.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and attorney-general Michaelia Cash announced that the government will introduce legislation this week that will effectively move legal liability for anonymous comments onto the social media platforms, if they are unwilling or unable to identify users.
Until now, social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have been able to avoid most of the defamation risks faced by traditional publishers.
Much like February’s confrontation in which Facebook briefly removed Australian outlets from its News Feed in response to the government’s News Media Bargaining Code, the reaction of the major platforms - including how or if they continue to do business in Australia - will be influenced by the precedent such a move sets for the rest of the world.
The likelihood of the legislation becoming law in the short time available before the next Federal election will largely depend on whether Labor supports the move.
End of the TV year: Seven and Nine split the honours
The (sort of) official OzTam 40-week TV ratings year ended on the weekend, with Seven claiming victory in all-people, and Nine in the key advertising demographic of 25-54.
Seven’s performance in 2021 was underpinned by the Olympics, AFL and a focus on proven reality formats. Nine was about NRL, Married At First Sight and The Block coming good.
Ten was a long way behind Seven and Nine in every demographic, unsurprising considering its lack of a big sporting code, and limited news resources. Ten’s best performance came in the demographic of 16-39, rather than its preferred demographic of under-50s.
In the big picture, 2021 was the year where the VOZ (Virtual Australia) measurement of total viewing - including broadcast and streaming viewing - launched. It coincided with broadcast audiences fading considerably across the board, in what industry website MI3 labels “an exodus”.
Seven and Nine both claimed to be number one for ad-supported video streaming.
Seven’s stars win the popularity contest
Still with television, the decision by TV Week magazine not to run The Logies this year triggered an alternative audience vote led by industry website TV Blackbox, with its award winners announced last night.
Seven’s wins included Home & Away’s Ray Meagher as most popular actor; Sunrise the most popular breakfast show; The Morning Show most popular morning program; Seven News most popular bulletin; The Front Bar most popular sports panel show; Better Homes & Gardens most popular lifestyle program; and Bruce McAveney most popular sports broadcaster.
Ten’s Survivor won most popular reality show; Sandra Sully was most popular newsreader; Have You Been Paying Attention was most popular comedy show; and I’m A Celebrity’s Chris Brown and Julia Morris were most popular duo.
For The ABC, The Newsreader won most popular drama and Bluey most popular kids show.
Nine went mostly unrecognised although Bert Newton was posthumously recognised with a lifetime achievement award.
Matt Doran explains himself
Weekend Sunrise presenter Matt Doran returned to the show on Saturday, and explained to viewers why he failed to listen to Adele’s new album before flying to London for their now infamous interview.
Doran told viewers he had assumed that because the interview would air before the release date, he would not get to hear the album, and then overlooked an email containing a link to a preview.
All change at Weekend Today
Sticking with the weekend breakfast shows, there was a major departure at Nine over the weekend. With most talent contracts running to year end, we’re reaching the point of the year where TV and radio departures start to emerge. Nine announced that Rebecca Maddern, co-host of Weekend Today and Australian Ninja Warrior, is leaving the network. The announcement presented the move as being Maddern’s own decision.
Her exit from Weekend Today comes shortly after that of weather presenter Lauren Phillips who said she wanted to focus on her role with Kiis FM’s Melbourne breakfast show, alongside Jason Hawkins.
Nine said: “The new hosting line-up for Weekend Today in 2022 will be an ensemble, featuring Charles Croucher, Belinda Russell, Jayne Azzopardi and Richard Wilkins.”
Quote of the Day: A bracing account
ABC News Breakfast’s Michael Rowland has been sharing his wisdom with readers of The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald this morning. It’s hard to argue with…
Toby Talbot returning to Australia?
Toby Talbot, one of Australasia’s most experienced agency creatives, is set to return to the southern hemisphere after a brief professional sojourn in Spain, Campaign Brief is reporting.
Talbot is a former chief creative officer of DDB in Sydney, along with both Whybin TBWA and Saatchi & Saatchi in Auckland. For the last year-and-a-half, he has been CCO of the DDB-aligned, Barcelona-based C14torce agency, which is the dedicated agency for automotive client SEAT.
While no new role for Talbot has been announced, Campaign Brief suggests it is “a major, soon to be announced, trans-Tasman role at a global ad agency network in early 2022.”
Omnicom’s BBDO-aligned Clemenger Group seems a strong possibility, with Talbot having spent the first eight years of his two decades in New Zealand at Colenso BBDO. Clems Melbourne’s long serving creative chairman James McGrath stepped backwards into the new role of creative-director-at-large last month, while Clems Sydney’s chief creative officer Ben Coulson departed last year.
Video of the day: Marketing’s Midlife Crisis
Marketing commentator Mark Ritson’s screenplay on the relationship crisis between marketers and consumers has made it to the (very) small screen…
Moonman goes legal
The mystery of Lawrence Mooney’s abrupt departure from Triple M Sydney’s breakfast show may yet make it into the public domain.
Today’s Media Diary in The Australian reports that Mooney last week lodged a statement of claim with the NSW Supreme Court, alleging breach of contract. The Oz says that Moonman had another year to run on the contract for his show, on a salary of around $1m per year, plus bonuses.
The move is not without reputational risk for Mooney. Unless the case is settled, Mooney will face the prospect of the network filing a publicly available explaining why it felt it needed to part company with him.
New management at The Oz
The Australian’s managing editor John Lehmann has been promoted to managing director of The Australian, and of the News Prestige Network, which covers News Corp’s upmarket brands of The Australian, Vogue, GQ and Delicious, the paper announced over the weekend.
The promotion comes after a low key announcement last month that The Oz’s boss Nicholas Gray is moving into a new role of “to lead the development and management of relationships with the tech companies” and “head a new national team that will focus on aligning digital publishing and audience engagement expertise”.
That’s not likely to be an entirely cosy relationship. News Corp led the charge in persuading The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to create the News Media Bargaining Code. Last week, comments from Rupert Murdoch suggested that the company has no intention of declaring a truce despite taking Google and Facebook for more than $100m during the process. The duopoly’s dominance of the programmatic advertising chain is set to be the next battleground.
ICYMI: Chris Stephenson to global role
One of the region’s more charismatic characters, PHD Media’s APAC head of strategy and planning Chris Stephenson, is headed back to the network’s London HQ as global chief marketing officer.
Alongside Barry O’Brien and Mark Holden, Stephenson played a major role in launching PHD’s Australian operation more than a decade ago.
ICYMI: Andrew Banks to Mumbrella
Today marks the first day at Mumbrella for Andrew Banks, who will become acting editor when Olivia Kruimel takes maternity leave next month. The very best of luck to both of them.
Time to let you hurl yourself into Monday.
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