Digital TV reception problems set to surge

An industry expert has warned Australia’s capital cities are unprepared for this year’s turn off of analogue TV signals and expects a surge of complaints when reception for both analogue and digital TVs fails.

Many people living in the inner suburbs of Sydney who have purchased new flat screen digital TVs have already complained of program drop outs or pixelation of viewing if they have internal aerials. Sydney’s analogue signal is turned off on December 3. The problem is particularly apparent in apartment blocks where there are antiquated  external aerials – or none at all.

The signal dramas will also affect viewers in Melbourne  when the switchover takes place in December, Adelaide (April), Perth (April) and Brisbane (May). Read more »

McDonald’s re-names stores Macca’s in Australia Day PR stunt

Thirteen McDonald’s restaurants around the country will undergo a name-change to Macca’s in an Australia Day-related PR stunt.

The fast food stores will be given the Australian nickname for the restaurant, with new store signage.

Read more »

Allure Media boss pledges to stay independent of new owner Fairfax

The boss of internet group Allure Media has insisted that the organisation will continue to operate independently, despite the acquisition of its parent group by Fairfax Media.

The purchase of Netus signals a significant shift in the local ownership of sites within the technology space. Allure runs the local versions of Gizmodo, Lifehacker and Kotaku along with consumer sites Popsugar, Fabsugar, Bellasugar and Shopstyle.

Allure, which launched six years ago, claims a monthly audience of 2 million Australians.

Parent company Netus was set up by Daniel Petrie and initially financially backed by News Limited. In December, Fairfax Media bought the company for an undisclosed sum believed to be in the tens of millions.

Allure managing director Chris Janz told Mumbrella that the company will operate as usual. He said:

Read more »

Nine News Now at 3pm targets women

Nine has launched its new afternoon news show Nine News Now, airing at 3PM.

The hour-long show is hosted by Wendy Kingston.

Covering news, entertainment and panel discussions of the day’s topics but with limited sports coverage, the show is aimed at stay-at-home mothers and women over 55. Read more »

Brian ‘Spoonman’ Carlton leaves media industry in ‘a massive period of contraction’

Brian ‘Spoonman’ Carlton leaves industry

After 29 years, radio presenter and journalist Brian Carlton has decided to quit the media industry.

His announcement on Twitter today followed the news in October that Southern Cross Austereo would not be renewing Carlton’s contract with Triple M Sydney where he presented weekday news opinion under the name Spoonman since 2005. He has also been a regular contributor to Paul Murray’s PM Live on Sky News.

Carlton told Mumbrella today: Read more »

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey now stands at $28m locally

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey remains at the top of the Australian box office results in its second weekend of release.

The film, distributed by Warner Brothers added another $5.854m over the weekend, taking the film’s cumulated box office to a massive $28.637m.

The prequel to the hugely successful Lord of the Rings trilogy made history as the biggest Boxing Day opening film in Australian history, taking a gross of $5.9m on the day. Read more »

Frank is a virgin to disasters

virgin trallers insuranceHe’s one of the luckiest travellers on earth and is a creation ironically being used to capture the international travel insurance market.

Sydney ad agency The Works has created Fortunate Frank, an animated character who blithely avoids near-certain mishaps which would otherwise put him at the mercy of overseas medical staff and bureaucratic officialdom.


Read more »

Foxtel admits errors as subscribers vent over movie changes

Foxtel today admitted thousands of customers were upset by its changes to its movie channel platforms with a spokesman saying there had been a lack of effective communication to explain the new set up.

But the subscription TV network was determined to stick with the changes, which saw 15 movie channels cut to 11 without a price drop for the premium channels.

“There has been a fair bit of customer response at our call centre and we are trying to deal with a lot of complaints from people who are unhappy with the changes,” Foxtel corporate affairs spokesman Bruce Meagher told Mumbrella today. Read more »

Mahalia Barnes new ambassador for Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers new ambassador: Mahalia Barnes

Weight Watchers has appointed a former contestant of Nine’s The Voice as its new ambassador, with a song recorded for the campaign.

Mahalia Barnes, daughter of Cold Chisel singer Jimmy Barnes, leads the company into the new campaign Everyday Strong, created by BMF.

Barnes has produced and recorded a song called Counting on You 2013 as part of the campaign. The song features in the TV ad and is available for download on iTunes for $1.69 and through Shazam.


Counting On You – Mahalia Barnes

Read more »

Is Ten’s viral Kekovich video part of a commercial deal with MLA?

Kekovich cricket ball

Kekovich hit by cricket ball in suspicious video

Days after posting a video purporting to show Sam Kekovich being hit by a cricket ball during a live cross, Ten has revealed that it is the commercial TV network partner for this year’s Australia Day campaign from Meat and Livestock Australia.

Ten disabled comments on the YouTube video after a large number of people suggested that the footage was faked.

Read more »

Kit Digital and Hyro ‘in administration’

The Australian arm of video and technology firm Kit Digital’ has been handed over to administrators along with its subsidairy agency Hyro Digital, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The move comes after Kit Digital was delisted from the US technology exchange NASDAQ.

The move is the lastest in a downward spiral for Hyro which was once one of Australia’s leading digital agencies. It claimed to be Australia’s oldest digital agency.

Recent years have seen Hyro go through a significant period of decline, which wasn’t helped by changes in ownership. Read more »

The 2012 box office

In this roundup from the Encore and Mumbrella Annual, we look back at the year at the box office.

1.The Sapphires

Feel good comedy musical The Sapphires found a broad audience that translated well at the box office. Based on a stage play, the story of an indigenous all-girl soul group that entertained the troops in Vietnam during the war delivered for local distributor Hopscotch/eOne.

Box Office: $14.23m

2. Happy Feet 2

Director George Miller’s Happy Feet 2, the animated pic from Miller’s Dr D Studios, opened in late 2011 and made $10m at the box office through January and February for Roadshow.

Box Office: $10.6m

3. Kath & Kimderella

Written and produced by foxy ladies Gina Riley and Jane Turner,  the film version of Australian sitcom Kath & Kim wasn’t a critical smash but it had the numbers behind it for Roadshow.

Box office: $6.06m

4. A Few Best Men

Director of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Stephan Elliott returned home to direct A Few Best Men. The film sees a bunch of British lads ruin a classy Australian wedding in a twist of stereotypes.

Box office: $5.296m

5. Mental

Mental was director PJ Hogan’s first Australian film in 18 years.

With an all-star cast including Toni Collette, Anthony LaPaglia, Liev Schreiber and Rebecca Gibney, the film tells the story of Hogan’s unusual childhood.

Box office: $3.96m (still playing)

6. Wish You Were Here

Kieran Darcy-Smith’s debut feature Wish You Were Here, starring Joel Edgerton and set in idyllic south-east Asia, was a thriller that kept audiences guessing.

Box office: $1.65m

7. Any Questions For Ben

Made by the team from Working Dog, the comedians behind The Castle and The Dish, Any Questions For Ben broke from their traditional, established ocker tone delivering a cosmopolitan quarter-life crisis comedy/love story starring Josh Lawson and Rachael Taylor.

Box office: $1.6m

Read more »

The top film and TV directors of 2012

Wayne Blair

In this roundup from the Encore and Mumbrella Annual, we take a look at the top film and television directors in 2012.

1. Wayne Blair

Wayne Blair’s feature directing debut The Sapphires premiered at Cannes this year before being snapped up by US production guru Harvey Weinstein. It went on to become the highest grossing Australian film of 2012. Blair also flexed his directing muscle on indigenous series Redfern Now. In 2013 he’ll work on the show’s second series as well as The Gods of Wheat Street, another indigenous drama for the ABC.

2. Glendyn Ivin

From Southern Star’s stable, Glendyn Ivin’s claustrophobic telemovie Beaconsfield rated 1.6m for Nine while his direction of Ten’s Puberty Blues was well received. The series has been picked up for a second season.

3. Peter Ots

Nine’s hugely successful The Voice, which wiped the shiny floor with competitor Australia’s Got Talent this year, has turned around the fortunes of Peter Ots who was best known in 2011 for directing the catastrophic Ben Elton Live from Planet Earth.

4. Amiel Courtin-Wilson

Despite having one of the smallest Australian releases, Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s film Hail was a critical success. After premiering in Venice in 2011, the film won the Melbourne Film Festival critic’s choice award.

5. Daina Reid

Also from Southern Star’s stable of directors, Diana Reid hit ratings gold with two-part series Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War. Reid is currently working on ABC’s Paper Giants: Magazine Wars, the sequel to The Birth of Cleo.

Kieran Darcy-Smith

Actor-turned-director Kieran Darcy-Smith delivered tense thriller Wish You Were Here in 2012.

6. Kieran Darcy-Smith

Actor-turned-director Kieran Darcy-Smith delivered tense thriller Wish You Were Here in 2012.

7. Genevieve Bailey

The director of I Am Eleven saw her documentary about 11 11-year-olds from 15 countries become a sneaking hit with Australia’s doco lovers taking more than $322,000 at the box office.

Read more »

The biggest radio stunts of 2012

In this roundup from the Encore and  Mumbrella Annual, we look at the best radio stunts of the last 12 months.

1. Nova Sydney, Dangi

Nova’s Fitzy and Wippa brought the world’s smallest person, Nepal’s Chandra Bahadur Dangi, to Australia.

The house the Melbourne built

2. Mix101.1, The House that Melbourne Built

Partnering with property group Lend Lease and building development company Burbank, Mix101.1’s Jane and Chrissie gave away a house valued at $450,000.

3. Triple M Drive Time, Nullabor Nymph

The Nullarbor Nymph, directed by Matthew J Wilkinson, was destined for the Back-of-Bourke Film Festival (not a real festival) when Triple M’s Merrick and the Highway Patrol intervened to give the B-grade flick a sell-out red carpet premiere.

4. Nova Brisbane, Ash The Musical

Ash Bradnam: The Musical came about when the Nova presenter turned 40 and didn’t want anyone to ‘make a song and dance about it’. The show involved song parodies by the Nova team.

5. Today Network, The Greatest Radio Ad Ever Made

A four-minute spot on the Fifi and Jules show for iSelect was dubbed “the greatest radio ad ever made”.It was directed by The Castle’s Rob Sitch, written by Bryce Courtenay and voiced by Steven Zirnkilton, best known for lending his dulcet tones to the opening sequence of Law & Order.

Triple J Surprise Party

Triple J threw a surprise party for Grace Frank. After two years’ volunteering in Africa, she arrived home to a marching band, acrobats and a party with DJ sets from Missy Higgins and Illy.

7. Fox FM Melbourne, Wheely Good Wedding

More than 700 entrants applied for Matt and Jo’s Wheely Good Wedding, which saw the bride walk down the aisle in a hessian sack and Crocs.

Read more »

The industry’s best training grounds

In this roundup from the Encore and Mumbrella Annual, we look at the industry’s best training grounds.


The Australian Film Television and Radio school in Sydney has been producing industry-ready graduates for 40 years. Past alumni include director Gillian Armstrong and radio’s Jason Morrison and the school delivers long and short term courses equipping students with skills both behind the scenes and in front of the camera or microphone.

2. Award School

Australia’s leading advertising school, AWARD, offers a nationwide program that teaches wannabe adlanders the tricks of the trade. Past grads include Matt Eastwood, chief creative director of DDB New York, and David Droga, executive creative director, Droga5 New York.

3. Sydney Film School

With Academy Award-winning producer Emile Sherman as patron and a board of well-known film-making identities, Sydney Film School caters to Australian and international students.

The institution has a reputation for its collegiate environment and helping students to build lasting industry networks.

4. SAE Institute

From audio engineering and production to digital journalism, games and web design, SAE offers a range of courses across its Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide campuses.

5. Metro Screen

Sydney’s Metro Screen has been training industry professionals how to shoot, edit, write, produce and more for 30 years. With strong ties to government funding bodies and knowledge of the issues affecting the industry, the school in the city’s inner east is an affordable and effective education choice.

6. Miami Ad School

The global advertising college opened the doors of its first Australian school in April this year. Internationally, it boasts an impressive track record as the advertising school that produces more award-winning grads than any other. They teach copywriters and art directors and their teaching roster includes professionals from agencies such as DDB, Whybin TBWA, One Green Bean, The White Agency, Droga5, JWT, Razorfish and Naked.

7. Open Channel

Open Channel in Melbourne prides itself on providing pathways to the industry for those wanting to work in the screen business. Well-known professionals with ties to the institution include Peter Weir, Fred Schepisi and Jan Sardi. The school offers a mix of short and long courses and is supported by Screen Australia and Film Victoria. Read more »

The best print ads of 2012

In this roundup from the Encore and Mumbrella Annual, we look at the year’s best print ads.

1. Miroslav Underwear – Carriageworks 

Everything about this ad for Miroslav Underwear is wrong. From the image, a man with his head inside another man’s pants standing in a carpark, to the tagline, ‘quality best appreciated up close’, it was a clever use of the print medium.

Read more »

The most successful production houses of 2012

In this roundup from the Encore and Mumbrella Annual, we look at the seven most successful production houses of 2012.

1. Goalpost Pictures

Goalpost Pictures has had its most successful year with film The Sapphires finishing its Cannes campaign with a standing ovation and an international distribution deal with Harvey Weinstein.

2. Jungleboys

The production company started the year with the excellent and over-the-top Australia Day lamb campaign. It finished with ABC sitcom A Moody Christmas and Screen Australia issuing an enterprise grant to grow their long-form development team.

3. Southern Star

Southern Star’s Big Brother

Southern Star hit ratings gold with Puberty Blues and Offspring, telemovie Beaconsfield and mini-series Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War, all led by head producer John Edwards. The production house also resurrected Big Brother and, coming in 2013, the second installment of the Paper Giants miniseries, Magazine Wars.

4. Essential Media and Entertainment

Recently named Independent Producer of the Year at the Screen Producers Association of Australia Awards, Essential Media saw courtroom series Rake picked up by Sony Pictures USA and the Jack Irish telemovies, starring Guy Pearce, premiere on ABC1.

5. Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder

This year saw the merger of two of Australia’s best factual creators, Zapruder’s Other Films, creators of the Gruen series and Cordell Jigsaw, producers of the highly awarded Go Back To Where You Came From. In 2012, CJZ delivered new series of Can of Worms, Dumb Drunk and Racist, and The Great Mint Swindle.

6. Blackfella Films

From their biopic of Eddie Mabo to a second series of Redfern Now as well as a programming partnership with the Sydney Film Festival, it has been a busy year for Darren Dale, Rachel Perkins and their team.

7. Shine

In 2012, Shine produced ratings standout of the year, The Voice. Staples Masterchef, Beauty and the Geek and The Biggest Loser continued good business – a welcome relief after last year’s bomb The Renovators. Read more »

2012 agency press releases translated

In this roundup from the Encore and Mumbrella Annual, we decode press release quotes from 2012.

1. What they said: ‘The incumbent agency declined to repitch’

What they meant: The incumbent felt like a battered wife finally having the courage to leave its spouse. The client may have paid well, but the last minute, idiotic decisions and charmless demeanor of the entire marketing team means the new agency is in a world of hurt.

2. What they said: ‘John Smith has left and plans to spend time with his family’

What they meant: John Smith was fired so swiftly that he had no idea it was coming. His family is dreading the prospect of him moping around the house.

3. What they said: It was an extremely close pitch.

What they meant: The winning agency had to drop their pants on price.

4. What they said: John Smith has left the company and will take a six-month break before returning to the industry.

What they meant: John Smith is going to take every one of his clients with him the very minute his non compete has expired.

5. What they said: Agency X has launched a localized experiential campaign for Brand Y.

What they meant: Agency X has been to the fancy dress shop and is handing out leaflets in Martin Place.

6. What they said: Media owner Z has collaborated with Brand X and Agency Y in a media-first integrated campaign.

What they meant:  Media owner Z is so desperate they’ve pimped out the editorial.

7. What they said: Agency X has launched a national experiential campaign with a digital component for Brand Y.

What they meant: Agency X has organized flashmobs in Martin Place AND Federation Square. Later they’ll upload the awkward footage to YouTube for your enjoyment.

Read more »

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