Year In Review: April – 60 Minutes Beirut disaster; Famous axed; Best April Fools; New Bauer boss

2016 was another year of major change and transformation in the media and marketing world. Mumbrella provides a month-by-month recap of the most read and biggest stories that affected the industry.

April started the same as any year with the media industry seeing who exactly they could fool. Some of the favourite gags from this year were the ABC’s managing director Mark Scott’s appointment as the new Playschool host, the new and improved Pringles bag, Channel Ten’s The Bachelor: The Senior Years, and NFL start Jarryd Hayne’s signing with the Sydney Roosters.Famous cover

However, the pranks ended abruptly when Pacific Magazines axed Famous Magazines’ print edition, the second magazine to be cut in four months.

The company redeployed 10 of the 25 staff affected by the decision as the magazine launched a new website, FamousLive.

Peter Zavecz, CEO at Pacific Magazines, said the decision to cease publishing to focus on a digital-only model was the right decision.

It was a big month for the publish industry with the appointment of former Pacific Magazines boss, Nick Chan, as CEO at Bauer Media.

Nick Chan

Bauer interim CEO, Andreas Schoo, said: “We are delighted Nick is joining Bauer Media to head our Australia and New Zealand operations. His understanding of the media market and leadership experience is extensive and he brings that knowledge to Bauer at an exciting time in the company’s development.”

Later in the month, Chan was back in headlines regarding an upcoming book by senior Bauer executive, Marina Go, in which she revealed how she had previously threatened legal action against Chan.

Go re-assured Mumbrella the incident had occurred 20 years ago and that the pair were on good terms.

The biggest news of the year for creatives hit in April, with Scott Whybin’s resignation from Whybin/TBWA.

Whybin, who had led TBWA for 21 years, said he was getting restless to stretch his talents.

Scott Whybin

“There are a lot of things I want to do and you can’t do that in the traditional agency structure. There is a restlessness in me and the landscape has changed so much. The last thing I want to be doing is just ads. I’m very proud of what I’ve created with Whybin\TBWA in Australia.”

On the same day, advertising hold group Publicis Media appointed Matt James as its Australian media buying group head and Chris Nolan.

The news came as a shock for the industry, as James had only been with the group since October 2015.

Publicis Media at the same time announced the appointment of Chris Nolan as chief operating officer and Pauly Grant, as chief talent officer.

April was also the month of the biggest news of the year, when Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes were arrested in Beirut following an attempted child kidnapping.

The 60 Minutes’ crew, Tara Brown, David Ballment, Stephen Rice and Ben Williamson, were detained after trying to film a child rescue operation in which Australian mum, Sally Faulkner, attempted to recover her two Australian children in Beirut.

Nine Network had allegedly paid $120,000 to a child recovery agency to carry out the operation.

As a result, Nine News boss Darren Wick flew to Lebanon as the team faced court.

Later in the month, following a deal that allowed the 60 Minutes’ crew to return home, the network announced that former A Current Affair and 60 Minutes bosses would review the incident.

An episode of 60 Minutes featuring reporter Tara Brown on the events in Beirut grabbed 746,000 viewers at the end of the month as she reported on her “shock” when reason didn’t prevail.

The publicity didn’t stop when Dr Mumbo picked up on an episode of The Weekly which featured an edited version of Brown’s interview with wellness blogger Belle Gibson alongside her very own Nine post-Beirut interview. 

While the Nine Network dominated April headlines, it wasn’t the only news service receiving backlash.

Telstra was accused of not supporting same-sex marriage after The Australian reported it was threatened by the Catholic archdiocese of Sydney’s business manager, Michael Digges.

The telco quickly issued a statement from Andy Penn, CEO Telstra clearing up the matter.

Telstra CEO: Andrew Penn

Telstra CEO: Andrew Penn

“We clearly need to make this simple statement: Telstra supports marriage equality as part of the great importance we place on diversity and standing against all forms of discrimination,” said Penn.

Domino’s won its battle against Sydney university student, Phoebe Stuart-Carberry, who accused the pizza giant of appropriating its GPS pizza delivery tracker technology from Sydney company, Precision Tracking.

Stuart-Carberry was fined $60,000 for the incident to which she responded by accusing the pizza company of trying to bankrupt her.

“You have asked me to pay $60,000 because Domino’s failed to ban my film exposing your behaviour,” Stuart-Carberry said. “Does Domino’s try to bankrupt anyone who questions them or talks back?”

Another shake-up in adland came at the end of the month, when Foxtel announced Mark Buckman would return to Australia as managing director of customer and retail.

Foxtel CEO, Peter Tonagh said the appointment was part of a “restructure,” and that Buckman would be responsible for developing Foxtel’s brand at all customer touch-points.

Buckman returns to Australia

The month concluded with the announcement that Nine Entertainment and Southern Cross Austereo had signed an agreement, moving Nine’s TV broadcast rights from WIN Corporation.

Under the new agreement, SCA was to pay Nine 50% of its ad revenue to rebroadcast context in regional areas of Queensland, Southern NSW and Victoria.

Hugh Marks, CEO at Nine Network, said the merger was a “great outcome” that would offer “premium viewing experience for audiences and a best-in-class platform for advertisers.”


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