News & Insights



Welcome to the latest edition of Honner’s Quarterly Media Roundup, where we update you on all the news, insights and industry moves in the sector.  

As the global media giants battle it out at the big end of town with the government and traditional media over who pays for news, the trend continues toward more streaming networks and niche newsletters starting up to meet growing demand for business and finance news.

What’s news?
Facebook unfriends (then refriends) Australia while Google becomes the dealmaker
Google and Facebook have taken very different approaches in an escalating battle with the government over who pays for news in Australia.

The Australian government is introducing world-first legislation to force the tech giants to pay for news shared on their platforms, a plan that’s likely to become a global test case.

Eager to prevent an international precedent, Facebook responded by blocking people and publishers in Australia from sharing or viewing news on its platform. Facebook reasoned that if it didn’t allow the news to be shared on its platform, then the new law wouldn’t apply to it.

Facebook was also giving the public and lawmakers an early taste of life without news on the platform - likely hoping this would help to get the legislation watered down before it is ratified by Parliament.

The strategy appears to have worked with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announcing a compromise had been reached at the 11th hour as legislation was debated in the Senate.

Facebook said it will restore news to its Australian pages in the next few days after the government agreed to change the legislation.

The changes mean the government may not apply the code to Facebook if the company can demonstrate it has signed enough deals with media outlets to pay for content. The government has also agreed that Facebook and other platforms subject to the new legislation would be given a month’s notice to comply.


Google, on the other hand, after initially threatening to pull its search service from Australia, has struck deals with several Australian publishers including News Corp, Seven West Media and Nine Entertainment to pay for news content that will run in Google News Showcase. According to Google, News Showcase provides an "enhanced view" of articles, and aims to give participating news publishers more ways to share important news to readers while having "more direct control of presentation and branding".  The image below is an example of how the News Showcase story panels will look with the Australian publishing partners.

The dispute in Australia over who should pay for news is likely to become a test case that could influence regulations and how people consum news all over the world – which explains the degree of brinkmanship displayed.

On the home front, the dramatic move by Facebook to pull Australian news will require publishers to rethink the way their news is distributed. On a societal level, what Facebook has done will further divide people into two camps: those with Facebook and those against it.

In the short term at least, brands seeking media coverage will need to maintain a strong focus on assessing and targeting the specific audience of individual media publications instead of anticipating broad amplification on Facebook.
The Market Herald launches pilot business streaming network
The ASX-listed Market Herald has launched a pilot for an online business streaming network. The Market Herald Business Television Network is an Over-The-Top (OTT) media service that aims to provide Australian audiences with business and finance investor focused news through a range of television shows. The network is targeting an audience of “investors and affluent customers” as it pursues a goal of building the world’s largest OTT business network.

The Market Herald Business Television Network's current show line-up is as follows:

Price Sensitive: A three-minute anchored breaking news bulletin, broadcasting hourly throughout the market trading day.

DealRoom: A 15-minute daily hosted analysis show, featuring senior management of ASX-listed businesses who discuss the latest news in the financial market.

SMH launches personal finance newsletter
The Sydney Morning Herald launched Money with Jess, a newsletter from Senior Economics Writer Jessica Irvine that aims to help readers budget, invest and enjoy their money with personal finance tips. The newsletter is published every Sunday.
News Corp launches Australian Business Network
News Corp launched a centralised business news desk, the Australian Business Network, in December, as part of a restructure of the organisation’s national business journalism. The Network is run by The Australian and shares print and digital content across News Corp’s broadsheet and metropolitan newspapers including The Daily Telegraph, The Courier Mail, The Herald Sun and The Advertiser. Existing metropolitan business reporters will be merged with the new national team. The Network is being led by The Australian’s Business Editor Eric Johnston.
Australians are increasingly listening to radio via mobile phone

The commercial radio industry reports a strong rise in the number of Australians listening to radio on their mobile phones.
Nearly 2.5 million people, or 17% of the population in the five metro markets, listened to live and local radio via their phones at some point each week in the December quarter, industry body Commercial Radio Australia said.
The number of listeners tuning in via mobile was up 25% compared to the same period a year ago. There were also increases in listeners tuning in via PCs and tablets (up 27% to 1.2 million) and smart speakers (up 58% to 1.04 million).

Senate launches media diversity inquiry
The Senate will examine local media ownership and its impact on democracy after more than 500,000 people signed a petition by former prime minister Kevin Rudd that raised concerns about the influence of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young moved to establish the inquiry after the Labor Party failed to back Rudd’s call for a Royal Commission into the need for a strong, diverse media.


Nine CEO exits
Nine is on the lookout for a new chief executive after Hugh Marks resigned in November. The broadcaster also lifted its first half underlying earnings guidance amid improving market conditions.

Insights & Opinion

The divergence in approach from Google and Facebook illustrates the different ways the tech giants approach news, write journalists at The New York Times.

Australia’s media ownership is among the most concentrated in the world, writes Nick Evershed, at The Guardian

It’s Google’s world. We just live in it, writes Brian X. Chen, at The New York Times.

Parler is the new hot app, and it’s winning conservative recruits, writes Kari Paul, at The Guardian.
Quotable Quotes

“We will not be intimidated by BigTech,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison after Facebook blocked Australians from sharing news.

Australia’s draft media bargaining code could “make the web unworkable around the world,” Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, told a Parliamentary committee.

“We have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter Inc. said in a statement announcing it had suspended Donald Trump’s Twitter account after the violent storming of Capital Hill on Jan. 6.

Movers & Shakers

Nabila Ahmed has started at Bloomberg's Asia Finance team, based in the Sydney newsroom. She covers the banking and investment round. Nabila has been working with the outlet in New York for the past six-and-a-half years, focusing on deals and corporate finance.
James Fernyhough has joined RenewEconomy as a Reporter, covering energy transition, low carbon technology, and climate and energy policy. He will also be writing for RenewEconomy's sister sites, The Driven, which covers electric vehicles, and One Step Off the Grid, which focuses on behind-the-metre energy generation and storage. James previously worked for The Australian Financial Review.
Emily Watkins has started as an Editor at Commercial Real Estate. She is responsible for the news content on Emily was previously at Crikey, where she had been News Editor for the past 18 months, and a Media Reporter prior to that.

Adam Creighton, the current Economics Editor at The Australian, will be heading to Washington in the upcoming months as Washington Correspondent. He will replace Cameron Stewart, who will depart the role after four years. Cameron will return to Australia as an Associate Editor at the national broadsheet, where he will combine feature writing with investigating reporting at The Weekend Australian Magazine.
The Australian has announced the appointment of Ticky Fullerton as Business Editor-at-Large. Ticky will be responsible for overseeing the national broadsheet's business and finance coverage. She brings more than two decades of journalism experience to the role, having worked across the ABC and News Corp Australia. Most recently, Ticky was the Business Editor at Sky News (Australia) and co-hosted the Business Weekend programme. She has also produced a weekly column for The Australian for the past two years.

Property marketplace has merged with property investment news website, Property Observer. All past Property Observer content will now run under the banner and will be led by Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Chancellor. Jonathan co-founded Property Observer in 2011 and acquired full ownership of the site in 2015. He will now lead a team of property writers and will continue his role as a Columnist across News Corp Australia's property titles.
Ross Greenwood has signed with Sky News Australia as Business Editor. He will be responsible for leading business coverage and contributing insights and analysis across Sky News Australia's suite of programmes. Ross will also anchor the channel's Business Weekend programme. He was previously the Business and Finance Editor at Nine.
Paul Brescia has started a new role as Coordinating Editor at SmartCompany. He was previously Managing Editor at One Mandate Group, working across Innovation Intelligence International and The Australian Farmer.
Jesinta Burton has started as a Journalist at Business News, covering breaking news and state politics. She was previously a Journalist at Examiner Newspapers.
Amanda Horswill has started a new role as Digital Editor at Canstar. She was previously a Senior Finance Journalist at the publication and Editor of City North News prior to then.
Ally Selby has started as a Content Editor at Livewire Markets. Ally was previously a Journalist at Financial Standard where she covered all sectors of the wealth management industry.

Darren Snyder has moved into comms after leaving Money Magazine and the Rainmaker Group.
Morningstar Australia appointed Emma Rapaport as Editorial Manager. She had previously been Editor at the platform. In her new role, Emma will lead the publication’s editorial strategy and help scale its operations globally by creating content that crosses geographical borders.
Miranda Ward has joined The Australian Financial Review as a Journalist, initially covering property. Miranda joined from Nine's media team where she was Communications Manager for two years. She has also been a Senior Journalist at and was the Deputy Editor of Mumbrella prior to that.
Fiona Buffini has moved into the role of Deputy Editor (Digital) at the Australian Financial Review and Jessica Gardner has been appointed News Director. Finbar O’Mallon started as a reporter at the Australian Financial Review in Sydney.
Sarah Megginson is departing her role as Managing Editor of Australian Broker, Your Investment Property, and Your Mortgage today. She will be joining Finder on 19th October as Senior Editor - Home Loans.

Cassandra Xing has finished her contract as an Editor at Australian Financial News. She is now an Editor at Focus on Australia. She is also open to freelance opportunities in journalism, particularly focused on Chinese groups living in Australia.
Tess Bennett has started as a Reporter at iTnews on a three-month contract. She covers technology news across retail, banking, media and marketing. Prior to this role, Tess was Editor at Which-50 for four years.

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