Press Council chair to withdraw from two complaints, following pressure from News Corp

Julian Disney

Julian Disney

The chair of the Australian Press Council (APC) Julian Disney is to withdraw from two adjudications, following pressure from two News Corp newspapers.

In a statement released, this afternoon, APC executive director John Pender announced: “Two News Corp papers have written to me insisting, among other things, that the Chair of the Council, Professor Julian Disney, should withdraw from the Council’s adjudication of two complaints relating to them. They did so on the ground that there could be an appearance of bias.”

“At Prof Disney’s request I consulted a Vice Chair of the Council, John Doyle QC, who is a member of the relevant Adjudication Panel. Mr Doyle considered that the demands for Prof Disney to withdraw were not justified, and I was of the same view.”

“Prof Disney has advised me, however, that he will withdraw.”

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Live blog: Friday, August 22

Welcome to Mumbrella’s live blog, our daily roundup of what’s happening in media and marketing.

Top Stores:

AFP letter of apology to Seven West Media4.32pm - As we mentioned Seven has received a letter of apology from the AFP Commission Tony Negus over the February raid. Full story here. 

4.14pm – Breaking News: Seven has just announced it has received an apology from the AFP over the raids in February.

The statement begins:

Seven West Media has received from the Australian Federal Police Commissioner an unreserved apology for “unnecessary reputational damage to Seven” arising from the execution of search warrants earlier this year.

Chairman of Seven West Media, Mr Kerry Stokes said: “We appreciate the extensive apology from the Australian Federal Police for the incident that occurred in February this year.

“At Seven, we understand fully that from time to time mistakes are made and this acknowledgement adds to the recognition and respect we have for the 6,000 members of the AFP who dedicate their lives to protecting Australia.

More on this soon.

3.09pm - Thomas Jewellers promote Father’s Day sales in ad from Traffic. Watch the ad below or click here. 

2.05pm - Interesting opinion piece. Daniel Young looks at what impact the battle of social messaging apps might have for the traditional social networks. Read his views here.

1.17pm - The Enero Group has posted a five per cent decrease in net revenue from $127.3m to $119.5m in its 2014 financial year results. Read the full story here. 

12.59pm - Branding agency Blue Marlin is closing its Sydney office in a move which ends the agency’s 16 year presence in Australia. Full story here. 

12:38pm - The Ad Standards Board has been split on complaints over a number of meme-style Facebook images that were used to promote coffee brand Fresh One, with activist group Collective Shout describing photos, including one that featured a “wet pussy” and a “cock”, as “sexist and porn-inspired advertising material”. Details here.

Fresh One

12:15pm Nine has confirmed it has spoken to “numerous media businesses” over the development of its video streaming operation Stream Co as reports emerged that the network is close to forging a $100 million joint venture with Fairfax Media.

11:34am - Accounting software firm MYOB is promoting its mobile payment device PayDirect with a risqué two-and-a-half minute video showcasing the ease of how the tool can be used for any business, including the “oldest business in the world”. See the video here. Read more »

AFP commissioner apologises to Seven for ‘unnecessary reputational damage’ following raid in February

AFP raid yahoo7The Australian Federal Police Commissioner has unreservedly apologised to Seven for the “unnecessary repetitional damage to Seven” arising from the February raids on Seven, over alleged payments to Schapelle Corby.

The raid in February followed speculation Seven had agreed to pay convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby between $1m and $3m for exclusive interview rights following her ordeal, split between Sunday Night and one of its magazines, New Idea.

Mumbrella understands the apology is part of a settlement which included damages and costs, arising from Seven’s decision to ask the court to quash the warrants, being paid by the AFP. 

In a letter to Seven the Commissioner Tony Negus said: “For the record, neither Seven, nor its employees, officers or lawyers, were ever suspected of a criminal offence, nor were they the subject of any criminal investigation in connection with the Corby matter, which was solely a literary proceeds matter seeking to recover any payments made to a convicted person.

“Similarly, the AFP acknowledges that Seven fully cooperated with the AFP investigation.” Read more »

Thomas Jewellers promote Father’s Day sales in ad from Traffic

Thomas Jewellers is promoting its Father’s Day sales with an ad featuring men proudly telling their friends they got their watch from Thomas.

Created by Traffic, the campaign follows on from the brand’s Mother’s Day and Stocktake sales periods which introduced the ‘From Thomas’ tagline.

Jamie Thomas, managing director of Thomas Jewellers, said: “The campaign direction ‘From Thomas’ has really been embraced by our customers and our staff, and is giving us a real point of difference in a seriously competitive and cluttered marketplace. The Father’s Day ad definitely builds further on this”.

Read more »

Online traffic fraud risking credibility of the industry, IAB chief warns

Alice MannersThe credibility of digital advertising is being undermined by traffic fraud and is preventing marketers from getting true value for money from their online campaigns, the chief executive of the Interactive Advertising Bureau has warned.

Alice Manners said criminals who are infiltrating systems to generate false ad views, clicks and site visits are “negatively impacting the entire industry” and must be stamped out.

Her comments came as the IAB Australia yesterday released papers outlining the practice of ad fraud, how it works and what marketers and advertising agencies can do to combat the problem.

Manners said it was time the industry began to tackle the problem and praised the collaborative approach now underway by the industry.

Read more »


Enero revenues down with APAC earnings contribution plummeting

enero logoThe Enero Group has posted a five per cent decrease in net revenue from $127.3m to $119.5m in its 2014 financial year results.

However the group’s EBITDA – earnings before interest, depreciation, taxation and amortisation – rose 159 per cent from $3.5m to $9m, due to a drop in staff costs from $95.5m to $88.3m in the last financial year, while operating costs went from $26.5m to $22.6m.

The results, released quietly last week to the Australian Securities Exchange, show the contribution to the group from its Australia, New Zealand and Asian operations plummeted from 78 per cent of net EBITDA last year to 35 per cent. The UK and Europe contributed 47 per cent with and North America 12 per cent.

The company appears to have stabilised the ship posting a loss of $1.453m this financial year, compared to last year’s $82.1m loss, which included a $75.9m write down in the value of the business.  Read more »

Blue Marlin closes doors in Sydney as its focuses attention on Singapore office

Blue Marlin logoBranding agency Blue Marlin is closing its Sydney office in a move which ends the agency’s 16 year presence in Australia as it seeks to focuses attention on its Singapore office.

Client service director Candice Dunn confirmed the closure to Mumbrella, saying: “It was a tactical decision made by Andrew Eyles the CEO to focus their attention and investment strategy in the southern hemisphere in our Singapore office.

“It’s a sad day that we’re closing down,” she added.

The agency, which first opened doors in Australia in Melbourne in 1998 before opening an office in Sydney, has shifted some key employees to its overseas offices, with the remaining six staff made redundant.
Read more »

Ad watchdog rules on offending Fresh One coffee Facebook posts following campaign by Collective Shout urging people to complain

The Ad Standards Board has been split on complaints over a number of meme-style Facebook images that were used to promote coffee brand Fresh One, with activist group Collective Shout describing photos, including one that featured a “wet pussy” and a “cock”, as “sexist and porn-inspired advertising material”.

Fresh One

Fresh One’s “Wet pussy” and “cock” Facebook ad. Click to enlarge.

In response to the complaints, Fresh One suggested the complaints had come from The Collective Shout, an organisation which describes itself as a grassroots campaigning movement against the objectification of women in media, advertising and popular culture.

“From our investigations and further assumptions these seem mostly to be from a group known as Collective Shout and some of their derivative supporters although I can see from most of the official complaints to the ASB that anonymity has been requested,” Fresh One said.

“There seems to be so many more portals that offer expletive based commentary and naked sexual imagery well beyond the gregarious nature of Fresh’s One’s page. This would then indicate that the level of negative attention to the page and number of complaints received by the ASB would be the result of a focused attack on Fresh One.”

Collective Shout is actively campaigning against the ads, urging people to contact Fresh One directly and to submit a complaint to the Ad Standards Board. Read more »

The Star Observer launches crowd funding campaign to pay legal fees and cover weak ad market

Star-Observer-front-cover-May-2014-468x518Gay and lesbian community magazine The Star Observer is asking for its readers to donate much needed funds via a Pozible campaign as it seeks to grow its reserves in a tough advertising market, and to help pay legal bills.

In April the weekly newspaper relaunched as a free monthly magazine, responding to consumers accessing news via its digital offering. A week into a three week campaign it has raised $24,545 of a $75,000 goal.

Star Observer publisher and CEO Daniel Bone told Mumbrella: “The reason for doing it is there’s an number of factors that have come together which we’ve described as a perfect storm. We’ve launched the new Star Observer as a monthly magazine, we’ve been going for five months with that, and obviously the cost and the energy going into launching is fairly significant.

“At the same time as that it’s not been the best advertising environment and that combined with some legal issues which came in at the same time. Read more »

Nine confirms talks with ‘numerous businesses’ as reports emerge of Fairfax video streaming joint venture

FairfaxNine has confirmed it has spoken to “numerous media businesses” over the development of its video streaming operation Stream Co as reports emerged that the network is close to forging a $100 million joint venture with Fairfax Media.

The two parties have been in talks for more than three months according to this morning’s Australian Financial Review with any deal certain to fuel speculation that Nine and Fairfax will pursue a merger.

Both companies are reported to have agreed to invest $50 million each in the Stream Co venture with consumers to be charged $1o per month.

A Nine spokeswoman confirmed to Mumbrella that talks have taken place with prospective partners.

nine_entertainment_logo“We have spoken to numerous media businesses as we have developed the StreamCo business,” said the Nine spokesman. “At this point we don’t have any agreement in place and we will make any formal announcements as and when are they concluded.” Read more »

MYOB gets saucy for viral ad campaign with a twist

Accounting software firm MYOB is promoting its mobile payment device PayDirect with a risqué two-and-a-half minute video showcasing the ease of how the tool can be used for any business, including the “oldest business in the world”.

The video, which was conceptualised and produced by MYOB’s in-house creative team The Purple Agency, sees the end of a paid-for romantic encounter between a man and a woman called Candy, with a twist.

The video is part of the ‘Love Your Work’ campaign which includes a Different TV campaign.

Read more »

Catalyst falls away for ABC as Home and Away tops non-news viewing in disjointed night

nine_entertainment_logoHome and Away was the most watched non-news show last night with only one program – Nine News at 6pm – topping one million in a fragmented Thursday night’s viewing as different programs aired in different states.

Seven’s long running soapie drew 881,000 in the 7pm slot, followed in the non-news category by the second part of ABC’s medicine documentary Catalyst which attracted 721,000 metro viewers. But that was a sharp fall of 120,000 from last week’s first instalment.

Nine won the night with 23.4 per cent of viewers on the main channels, with Seven on 18.2 per cent and Ten 13.1 per cent. ABC’s share slipped almost one percentage point from last Thursday to 12.1 per cent while SBS picked up 4.7 per cent.

In the 7.30 slot, Ten’s The Bachelor drew an audience of 681,000 viewers, 42,000 more than last Thursday on the back of sending “intruder” bachelorettes into the house to compete for the bachelor. The performance saw Ten have the highest audience of the night in the 25-54 demographic. Read more »

The Courier-Mail named national/metro daily paper of the year

PANPAsNews Corp Australia’s The Courier-Mail was named the national/metro daily newspaper of the year at last night’s 2014 PANPA Newspaper of the Year Awards, while The Weekend Australian was named weekend newspaper of the year.

Fairfax Media The Newcastle Herald picked up the award for regional daily newspaper of the year, while The Gympie Times was recognised in the community newspaper of the year category.

News Corp was also recognised with the environment award for its 1 Degree’s environmental awareness campaign, while Fairfax’s North Richmond plant won print centre of the year.

The Newspaper Works CEO Mark Hollands said: “Newspapers from all over the Asia Pacific set an extremely high standard in their submissions and left our judges locked in debate over the major Newspaper of the Year winner.

Read more »

Fairfax staff vote to strike next week

Fairfax media logoEditorial staff at Fairfax have again rejected a company offer of a pay rise and voted to strike beginning next week.

A meeting of Fairfax members of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) voted unanimously to reject the pay offer and hold a one hour work stoppage today, ahead further strikes next week.

The resolution passed at the meeting yesterday took aim at claims by senior Fairfax executive Gail Hambly last week that the staff at the publisher had not “backed itself”, after it was revealed that the senior executives had given themselves significant pay rises in the most recent company financial results.

“(We) note management’s view that Fairfax journalists do not “back themselves”, and ask that management consider rewarding their journalists in a similar vein to the $2.4 million pay rise awarded to the top four executives,” said the MEAA resolution.  Read more »

Crikey agrees to destroy copies of leaked News Corp financial statements

CrikeyIndependent news website Crikey has agreed to take down and destroy all electronic and hard copy versions of leaked confidential News Corp financial documents, which showed the Australian newspaper division of the publisher dropped $320m in ad revenues and cut one in eight jobs in the 2012-13 financial year.

Crikey this evening announced that it had reached a legal agreement with News Corp with a statement on its website saying: “Crikey owner Private Media and News Corp have reached a legal agreement that prevents Crikey from hosting or further distributing the News Corporation Australia Weekly Operating Statement for the week ended June 30, 2013.”

“As part of the agreement, Private Media has promised to destroy by 5pm today any hard and electronic copies in its possession.”

The move comes after Fairfax and Crikey reported that the publisher had told rival media organisations it would take “appropriate action” against anyone publishing the leaked internal document.

Read more »

Live blog: Thursday, August 21

Welcome to Mumbrella’s live blog, our daily roundup of what’s happening in media and marketing.

Top Stories:

4:08pm Old Spice has recruited the ‘Bondi Hipsters’ to present an Australian take on the brand’s ‘Mom song‘ used in the US to market the brand.

1:52pm - Production house Endemol Australia is set to farewell its head of development Nathan Gibbs imminently, with head of digital Lulu Wilkinson also preparing to depart the company in the next few months.

1:07pm CEO of News Corp Australia Julian Clarke has sought to downplay a damaging leak of internal financial information by this morning telling a forum of newspaper publishers that he was “not too worried about it”.

12:43pm - Media agency Ikon Communications Melbourne has picked up strategic assignments for Mazda’s next two launches, including the launch of the Mazda2.

12:04pm - The ABC is rolling out a new feature across its websites flagging where coverage of a story or issue is available elsewhere on the web, in a new section called “from other news sites”. Details here. Read more »

Kim Williams: News Corp marketing techniques inherited were from the 1980s

Kim WilliamsThe former CEO of News Corp Australia Kim Williams has fired back at his former employer, after its current CEO Julian Clarke questioned changes he made to the company’s marketing of newspapers during his 2011-13 reign.

Yesterday a leaked News Corp financial report showed major declines in newspaper revenues for the Australian business under Williams, who exited the company 12 months ago.

At the Future Forum this morning Clarke said the documents were 14-months old, adding all of the trend lines he was responsible for are “heading the right way”,  and said the company had ignored promotion and marketing in the years preceding his arrival.

Speaking to Mumbrella this afternoon Williams responded to the claims saying:”If all the trend lines are heading in the right way I’m very happy to hear that. It’s very different from the experience I had.

“What we did was we took a different approach to marketing which was actually more consistent with modern methodologies. I think many of the newspaper promotional techniques that I inherited were firmly from the 1980s. Read more »

ACMA given leave to contest 2DayFM ruling in Australia’s highest court over nurse prank call

2dayThe prolonged court battle between the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and Southern Cross Austereo’s 2DayFM over the right to publish a contentious report into a prank call which led to the suicide of a British nurse is set to be heard by Australia’s highest court.

Last Friday the ACMA was given leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia against a ruling in March in favour of the radio station preventing it from publishing a report which is understood to find the station committed a criminal offence by airing the prank call.

The case relates to the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who took her own life in December 2012 after she had put through a prank call by hosts Mel Greig and Michael ‘MC’ Christian, who were impersonating Prince Charles and The Queen, to the ward where the then pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for acute morning sickness.

In March the Federal Court upheld an appeal by 2DayFM which had claimed the ACMA was acting as “accuser and fact finder” in creating the report, which is believed to state the station breached the NSW Surveillance Devices Act by airing the secretly recorded call without seeking permission from the nurse or hospital.

Read more »