Seven launches anti media reform ads aimed at regional rivals as SCA hires ex-News lobbyist

Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media has launched its own regional ad campaign aimed at undermining a push by regional television networks Prime, WIN and Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) to force media reform back on the political agenda.

The new ad, which is running in regional Queensland from this week, accuses the rival TV networks of “bullying”, criticises them for threatening regional newsroom closures and of using viewers as “pawns”, before urging viewers to contact their local MP and “tell them to leave TV laws alone.”

Media mogul Stokes has long been a key roadblock to forcing changes that many of the smaller regional media players want such as removing the two out three rule or abolishing the reach rule which might facilitate a round of mergers between the regional networks and their bigger metro sister stations.

“It’s great to see some reality being injected into this debate through the Seven Queensland campaign,” said Tim Worner, CEO of  Seven West Media.

“I seriously do not get the TV ads they launched last week, which was exactly the scare campaign we predicted they would run. If they were really serious about the future of local news, they’d be backing it up by investing more not less.

“Seven Queensland has seen huge ratings and revenue growth in recent years and it’s all down to a commitment to local news.  Unlike some of our regional colleagues, we are in this business for the long term and we are walking the talk.”

Last week Prime chairman John Hartigan announced the three regional TV networks had launch their own campaign in an attempt to mobilise public opinion in rural areas in favour of reforming media laws.

“Prime has joined with Southern Cross Austereo and also with WIN to try and get the Federal Government to reform the rules around regional television,” said Hartigan at last week’s Kennedy Awards. 

“We have already seen newsrooms closing in regional Australia there has got to be a stop. We have got to get the oxygen in the debate to save these jobs.”



Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) has also today confirmed it has hired former senior Abbott government advisor and News Corp Australia lobbyist Creina Chapman to help with its push to get the laws changed.

Chapman’s new role sees her take the role of head of regulatory affairs and corporate communications having most recently worked as a senior manager for corporate and public affairs at Woolworths and prior to that was an advisor to treasurer Joe Hockey and before the last election then opposition leader Tony Abbott.

She also has extensive media experience having worked as one of News Corp’s chief lobbyists, and also for the Nine Network and Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL).

Southern Cross Austereo’s CEO, Grant Blackley, said in a statement: “Media reform is a necessary requirement to create a vibrant media sector that reflects the digital age.

“Creina’s experience will allow Southern Cross Austereo to actively pursue the change agenda needed to support the growth of the business.”

Chapman said: “I am delighted to be returning to a regulatory and communications role within the media and to be joining Southern Cross Austereo with such an ambitious agenda under new leadership.”

Nic Christensen 


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