Fairfax and Macquarie Radio Network strike merger deal

MRNFairfax Media and Macquarie Radio Network have agreed to merge in a deal that will see Fairfax take a majority shareholding of 54.5 per cent in a new enlarged listed entity.

The agreement, which had been widely expected, will bring together seven talkback radio stations, with Ray Hadley and Alan Jones both staying with the company.

Uncertainty surrounding their retention scuppered a deal earlier this year.

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Morning Update: The pickle speaks in McDonald’s ad; Nike’s World Cup ad was the most watched of the year

McDonald's pickleCreativity-Online: The Humble Pickle Speaks at Last in Clever McDonald’s Ad

Pickles — some love them, some hate them, but we all associate them with McDonald’s. That’s what makes this long-copy print ad from DDB Stockholm so brilliant. It’s the life story of the pickle, from misery memoir –“I realized early on that I was different” — to happy ending as the companion of “celebrities” like Quarter Pounders and Big Macs. A fine example of tangy copywriting.

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ABC hires The Australian’s Patricia Karvelas as RN Drive host replacing Waleed Aly

Patricia KarvelasThe ABC has appointed Patricia Karvelas as the new host of Radio National’s drive program replacing Waleed Aly.

The well respected Karvelas is the Victorian editor and Melbourne bureau chief of national broadsheet The Australian and has been a regular fill-in for Rafael Epstein on ABC 774 for much of 2014.

A formal announcement is expected later today, but it is understood that Karvelas’s strong news breaking background and expertise in federal political reporting, social and indigenous affairs were a key factor in the appointment.  Read more »

OMD tipped to win $20m Qantas media pitch

Qantas-234x86Omnicom media agency OMD appears set to pick up the majority of the media buying for national airline Qantas, Mumbrella understands.

It is thought the formal announcement will be made early next week, with the decision coming after a competitive pitch which earlier this week saw incumbent ZenithOptimedia informed that it would lose the domestic marketing component of the account, which is thought to represent around two thirds of the airline’s $20m media spend.

A spokeswoman for Qantas today would not confirm if there was a decision but said they were “working through the final stages”. OMD declined to comment.

The pitch comes after a four month process which saw a shortlist of incumbent ZenithOptimedia, OMD, Maxus and independent Bohemia face-off for the high profile media account. Read more »

Ad watchdog deems flyer with the word fuck in ‘not appropriate’

Clean and Fit WearThe Ad Standards Board has ruled against a paper flyer for an online clothing store Clean and Fit Wear for use of inappropriate language, with the advertiser admitting it did not realise the pamphlet broke the rules.

The flyer contained six photographs of the back of males wearing items of clothing, including a t-shirt with writing on it stating: “I come fuck shit up and leave” and a jumper with writing on it stating: “No pain no gain so shut the fuck up and train.”

A complaint against the flyer argued it was inappropriate language for anyone who could see the flyer, including the elderly and children.

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Courier Mail assistant editor tweeted London bus bomb picture with #illridewithyou hashtag

The Courier Mail’s assistant editor Des Houghton tweeted a picture of a London bus destroyed in the 7/7 terrorist attacks in 2005 along with the hashtag #illridewithyou.

Houghton posted then deleted the tweet on the social networking site on Wednesday evening, using a picture of a bus destroyed by terrorists. It read: “I’ll walk thanks. #illridewithyou #sydneysiege #terrorism.”

desmond houghton tweet

The #illridewithyou hashtag  came to international prominence following Monday’s attack on Sydney’s Lindt Cafe which left two hostages dead, and was started to engender a sense of unity around Australia.   Read more »

Dan Ilic to head satirical comedy project for Al Jazeera in US to woo younger audience

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 8.16.10 AMComedian Dan Ilic is to produce satirical content for Al Jazeera’s digital platforms in the US in a project designed to attract a younger audience to the news network.

Under the title of senior producer of satire, the Australian writer and comic will travel to San Francisco immediately after Christmas and recruit a team to create and produce content.

The project forms part of AJ+, Al Jazeera’s 12-month-old division to expand its presence in the mobile and social arena.

Ilic, who earlier this year raised $50,000 through crowd-funding to transform his ABC Radio National show A Rational Fear into a digital comedy hub, will produce content skewed towards an American audience but with a “global outlook”.

It will take a satirical look at current affairs and politics in a way that is accessible for a younger audience who might otherwise take no interest in the news.

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ACCC investigates Woolworths over commercial threat allegations to suppliers

Woolworths1The competition watchdog is investigating claims that Woolworths has threatened to withdraw products from shelves if suppliers don’t fork out millions of dollars to fund marketing and promotional campaigns.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) confirmed it has received complaints and is exploring the issue, just days after Coles agreed to settle a case with the ACCC over claims of “unconscionable conduct”.

Fairfax Media reported today that Woolworths is asking suppliers to contribute $50m under a program called “Project Close the Gap”, some of which will fund the supermarket’s marketing, including its Cheap Cheap campaign.

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Playback TV viewing on the rise as live TV hours drop in third quarter

Source: Australian multi-screen report

Source: Australian multi-screen report

The average time per month people spent watching broadcast TV dropped in the third quarter of the year according to the latest Australian Multi-Screen Report, down from down from 97 hours and 3 minutes in Q2 and 99 hours and 9 minutes at the end of 2012. Q3 in 2012 was 95 hours and 51 minutes.

The report, from OzTAM, Regional TAM and Nielsen says the vast majority of content is still watched live, with just 8.4 per cent of viewing on playback devices such as a DVR within seven days of the original broadcast, although that figure is up by 58 minutes per month year-on-year. Live viewing was up by nine minutes year-on-year, according to the report.

OzTAM CEO Doug Peiffer said: “For all the changes and new options viewers have, television is still the centrepiece. Live TV viewing is level year-on-year, playback is up by nearly an hour, and people are spending more time with their television sets overall, because TVs are more versatile than ever.

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Ikon wins Flight Centre Travel Group from Carat

Flight CentreFlight Centre Travel Group has appointed Ikon to manage its $40m marketing budget across six brands following a competitive pitch, ending a 10 year relationship with incumbent agency Carat.

Ikon Brisbane will manage the media buying for flagship brand Flight Centre along with niche leisure brands Escape Travel, Student Flight, Cruiseabout, Travel Associates and My Adventure Store.

Flight Centre head of customer experience Keith Stanley said: “Flight Centre Travel Group went to market to assess media opportunities to help support our ambitious marketing plans for the future across all six leisure brands.

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Fairfax close to Macquarie Radio deal as parties move on from bitter war of words

FairfaxFairfax is close to securing a $200m talkback radio merger with Macquarie Radio Network, 10 months after talks between the parties collapsed in acrimony.

The media company is also reported to be closing in on a deal to take full ownership of Metro Media Publishing. Fairfax acquired  50 per cent of the company in 2012 for $35m, with the remainder of the firm likely to command a $75m price tag.

Fairfax and MRN released a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange late yesterday confirming discussions are “ongoing”. It declined to comment on the Metro speculation.

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ABC creates in-house creative agency led by ABC TV marketing boss

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 11.45.14 AMThe ABC has announced it is creating a yet to be named in-house creative agency set to be headed up by Di Costantini, the former head of marketing for ABC Television.

Leisa Bacon, director of audience and marketing, said: “In her four years as head of marketing, Diana has consistently delivered outstanding creative, and driven many successful, multi-award winning campaigns for TV.

“She is uniquely positioned to manage this new role which will see design, promo and creative teams for ABC’s TV, radio and digital marketing reporting into her.”

The establishment of the in-house team has led to the appointment of Jo Mullaley as head of  marketing for ABC Television and Carolyn McDonald as head of news marketing.

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Quickflix capital raising falls $5m short as CEO asks customers to buy shares



Video streaming service Quickflix has  written a letter asking its customers to buy shares in a bid to raise $1m after a capital raising designed to bring in $5.7m raised just $650,000 from investors.

CEO Stephen Langsford has written to investors to ask them to buy shares at 0.003c each, telling customers they will use the cash for “working capital as well as in investment in content and marketing to achieve customer and revenue growth”.

Australia’s first video on demand service has struggled to gain traction in the market and is facing fierce competition next year with global giant Netflix, Nine and Fairfax’s Stan and Foxtel’s recent agreement with Seven around Presto to stream TV content all set to compete around content.

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Res Publica shuffles management with PRC chair Melissa Cullen as managing director

Cullen and McDowell

Cullen and McDowell

One of Australia’s most experienced PR practitioners Gabriel McDowell is moving to the role of executive chairman at Res Publica with fellow founding director Melissa Cullen taking his managing director role.

McDowell founded the agency in 2004 after a 20-year career in a variety of PR roles in Dublin, Singapore and Australia, including a six year stint as communications director for Lion Nathan. He said the move will allow him to spend more time focussing on the strategic direction of the Sydney based agency. Read more »

Big Bash helps Ten beat Seven but Steve Smith’s first test innings as captain hands Nine the win

KFC Big Bash leagueLast night’s start of the T20 Big Bash League saw 681,000 metro viewers tune in for session one of the match between the Adelaide Strikers and the Melbourne Stars, helping Ten to beat Seven’s with an audience share of 16.4 per cent to 15.2 per cent.

However the short-form of the game did not prove as popular as the five day format with Nine getting 803,000 viewers for the evening session of the second test between Australia and India, as new captain Steve Smith helped steady his team’s batting.

That was the most watched non-news show of the day and helped give Nine the audience share win with the channel securing a share of 19.1 per cent, while the ABC settled for a share of 10.8 per cent. Read more »

Seven hires ABC’s Steve Taylor to replace Mark Lewellyn as Sunday Night EP

Sunday NightNetwork Seven has hired ABC Foreign Correspondent producer Steve Taylor to replace Mark Lewellyn as executive producer of Sunday Night.

Lewellyn left the show last month after he allegedly assaulted fellow producer Paul Waterhouse, although he is set to remain with Seven.

Taylor has been the producer of Foreign Correspondent for the last five years, and before that produced award winning segments for Four Corners, and led the national 7.30 report for four years from 2003. His departure is not related to the ongoing redundancies at the public broadcaster.

Tim Worner, CEO of Seven West Media, said: “We are delighted to secure Steve. He has an outstanding track record of leadership, creativity and commitment to great journalism. He will lead an outstanding group of people at Sunday Night and add further strength to our expanding presence in news and public affairs.” Read more »

Starcom takes Vitasoy from UM without a pitch

vitasoy 2014Media agency Starcom Melbourne has picked up the $3.5m account for Vitasoy from incumbent UM, with the account moving without a pitch.

In Australia Vitasoy operates in partnership with Lion Dairy and Drinks, which Starcom Melbourne also holds. Read more »

Morning Update: Johnnie Walker appoints Anomaly; Christmas ads from Freshpet and Hootsuite

Mashable: Freshpet’s doggie Christmas tribute will give you paws

“What holiday dinner would be complete without the texting teenager, the drunk uncle, the eccentric aunt, the hideous Christmas sweaters and the new girlfriend as an awkward plus one?

Now what if these guests were all animals? Not just poorly mannered, mind you, but actual furry, four-legged creatures.

Freshpet, a natural pet food company, launched a short video this week with just such a setup. Thirteen dogs and one cat took their places at an elaborate seasonal feast for an ad that’s racked up 170,000 views on YouTube in less than two days.”

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