Ownership

The Nine Network and Fairfax Media say advertiser interest in their new, jointly produced business news TV show has been so great they have fielded a few angry calls from advertisers denied the opportunity to book airtime. Financial Review Sunday, pools the reporting and production resources of Fairfax’s Australian Financial Review and the Nine Network in a half-hour program. Financial Review Group chief executive Brett Clegg said the program would be the “Sunday edition” of the Monday-to-Saturday AFR and would complete the paper’s status as a 24/7, multi-platform brand. The program will be profitable from the start, with more than 30 weeks of advertising booked in.

Financial Review Group commercial director Simon Smith said the advertising schedule for the new show had sold out within two days and the two sponsors, Westpac Bank and accounting industry body CPA Australia, had paid a premium to block other advertisers out. Nine and Fairfax’s arrangement is a partnership, sharing production costs and revenues, rather than a brand licensing exercise. Elements from the Financial Review, such as the Rear Window business gossip column, will feature in the program, presented by AFR journalist Joe Aston. The creation of Financial Review Sunday comes after Ten Network and News Limited combined resources this year to produce the Sunday morning program, Meet the Press. With the merger this concentrates the media even more and ownership continues to dwindle.

Will ownership of the media soon be a monopoly in Australia?

 

by Craig Waldron

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Control over the media

Back in February two Australian DJs prank phone called a nurse in a local hospital about Kate Middleton. They impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles telling the nurse about morning sickness Middleton was experiencing. The nurse was so frantic about the situation she committed suicide due to the prank call. Recently the two DJs have been acquitted and won’t be charged with the involuntary actions the nurse committed.

This stems from the lack of media control in Australia. There is not a lot of regulation in the structure of the media in Australia allowing the two DJs to do such hostile acts. If there was more control over the airways of radio, this could have been avoided.

Does Australia need more control over what their employees are doing off the air?

Does the concentration of ownership have anything to do with this?

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/djs-won-charged-hoax-nurse-suicide-article-1.1253070

by Craig Waldron

Australian Doctor Dissects Video Gaming Addiction

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By: Dylan Colaneri

          With the advanced digital technology we have today, it is safe to say that everyone knows someone who plays video games. But could someone actually have a real addiction to playing video games? Well, that’s exactly what Dr. Daniel King of the University of Adelaide wants to uncover with his new research.

          King has noted in his extensive research that a treatment could be crafted for video gaming addiction “if a standard definition of video addiction was adopted.” In his research, he reviewed data on harmful video game behaviors from around the world. However, King says there’s no clear consensus on what constitutes pathological gaming.

          I found it intriguing that a doctor from Australia is interested in diving into the world’s video gaming problem. I never thought about the concept of video game addiction but the industry has been booming for the last thirty years, so the importance of this research is vital for future generations of gamers.

          Dr. King acknowledged that “although there are some similarities, video gaming is not the same as gambling.” The research from the university has also shown that “pathological video gaming has its own set of addictive components which can be distinct to internet gambling or other behaviors like online shopping and using social media.”

          Some of the harms identified from potential video game addiction included damaged relationships, careers, sleep and health. And because the video game industry is attached to the large media sector of Australia, I think it is important for people to digest this information and think about the way they play video games. This research is applicable to the worldwide audience and should continue to be developed for our future generations. What do you think about video game addiction? Is it something that should be studied and treated as much as gambling addictions? 

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/video-game-addicts-not-like-gamblers/story-fn3dxiwe-1226624294829

University of Melbourne Launches “The Citizen”

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By: Dylan Colaneri

          Having a strong journalism program is essential for any university that is seeking to impact the media industry. The University of Melbourne’ is doing just that. Recently, their Center for Advancing Journalism has launched The Citizen. The online publication is similar to many other large university publications and aims to incorporate stories written by both professional journalists and students who are in the Masters of Journalism program.

          I think this new addition at the University of Melbourne will help foster a new passion for budding journalists and increase the already popular media sector of Australia. The new editor-in-chief of this publication is Margaret Simons. Simons is also a freelance journalist and the director for the Center for Advancing Journalism at the university.

          Giving students the opportunity to work with professionals is vital for their growth as journalists and will certainly help foster new techniques and story-telling abilities. The Citizen will be funded through private, grant and university money but it mostly aims to “produce good journalism” from a wide range of topics.

          I believe it is important for young journalists to learn and experience the industry first hand prior to entering the “real world”. And because The Citizen will be linked to the Australian Press Council principles and the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance’s code of ethics, they are ensuring that their journalists are practicing the correct way and with the utmost integrity. Do you think it’s important for college-level journalists to have an experience like The Citizen prior to starting their careers? 

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/new-defintion-of-citizen-journalism/story-e6frg996-1226631753010

Australia’s Game Development Industry is Bouncing Back

Home-grown game developers are on the rise in Australia

During the global financial crisis, the future of Australia’s game development industry was looking very grim.  Dozens of gaming companies with international ties closed down nearly half of the employees in the industry have fled the scene.  Throughout the past couple of years, most of the income in the gaming industry was made from games designed for consoles such as the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii as well as PC games.  But now there’s been a dramatic change with the rise in the smartphone gaming industry.

Local game developers in Australia say that there’s big money to be made in the industry now as a result of the popularity that games and apps for mobile phones have received in recent years.  In fact, the world’s second most popular smartphone game, Fruit Ninja, was developed by a small company located in Brisbane, Australia and the game has now sold over 400 million downloads worldwide.  With this kind of success, it’s been predicted that the industry will be worth an estimated $80 billion worldwide within the next three years.

It’s clear that while the number of jobs in the Australian gaming industry has been greatly reduced, there are still plenty of opportunities for local businesses to make a profit from their own brands.  As an added bonus, the Federal Government has begun handing out $20 million worth of grants and business loans for digital gaming companies in an effort to jump start the industry and try to regain some of the losses that were incurred over the past few years.

Lou Iatarola

Source:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-22/home-grown-game-developers-play-on-halfbrick-fruit-ninja/4643210

ByteCard Consumer Contracts Deemed “Unfair”

ByteCard Ptd. Ltd. provides internet and telephone services around Australia

For the first time, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has taken legal action against a company based solely on the new unfair contract terms provisions of the Australian Consumer Law.  The company, ByteCard Pty. Limited (also known as Netspeed Internet Communications), is facing allegations related to their standard consumer contracts stating that they contain unfair terms and should be declared void.

The alleged unfair contract terms enable ByteCard to alter their prices under existing contracts without allowing the customer the right to terminate the contract.  The terms also require their consumers to pay an insurance fee under any circumstance, even if the contract hasn’t been violated or if damages were incurred by ByteCard themselves.  The last contract term that’s been deemed unfair is that under the conditions, ByteCard is able to terminate the contract at any time, regardless of any cause or reason.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is seeking declarations from the Federal Court that these contract clauses are unjust and the matter is listed for a scheduling conference on June 13, 2013.

The Commission undertook an industry review recently which took a closer look at consumer contracts and problems associated with them.  To test whether any contract elements are considered unfair, it would have to cause a significant imbalance in the consumer’s rights and obligations under the contract.  It would also have to be deemed unnecessary to protect the legitimate interest of the consumer under the contract.  Finally, the contract would be deemed unfair if it could be proven detrimental to the consumer if the contract was applied to them.

If it’s found that ByteCard’s contract is guilty of these three elements, the company could face severe legal consequences.

Lou Iatarola

Source:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-22/internet-contracts-do-away-with-consumer-rights/4644250

New Zealand’s Most Attractive Industry in 2013

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By: Dylan Colaneri

          The Annual Randstad Awards identify the most attractive companies in countries worldwide. The survey results are used to produce three kinds of reports focused on companies, countries and sectors. This year in New Zealand, the media industry has been named as the “most attractive industry” to work for at the 2013 Randstad Awards for the second year in a row. 

          The research from the annual Awards examines what New Zealanders consider most important when looking for a new employer, as well as the most attractive industries. The media industry has been evolving in New Zealand through the growth of social media. The industry received praise at the Awards for its interesting job content, employee benefits and competitive salary. 

          Similar to ABC and NBC in the United States, TVNZ (TV New Zealand) was named as the most attractive company in the media sector, and was recognized as the fourth most attractive employer in the country overall. Even with trends changing in the media industry, people remain positive about the job front and the future opportunities that it has to offer. 

          Paul Robinson, who is the director of the Randstad Awards in New Zealand, believes that the media sector is in a great position all-around and that companies will continue to maintain their momentum. With new and digital media booming throughout the world, it can only be estimated about how many new jobs and companies will emerge in New Zealand. What sector in the United States do you think is the most attractive industry to people? 

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1304/S00991/media-voted-new-zealands-most-attractive-industry.htm