Two Guptas to SBS. SBS has confirmed the appointment of Nihal Gupta as the chairman of its board. Also announced this morning was the filling of another board vacancy; Peeyush Gupta (no relation of Nihal) has also been appointed to the board, for a five-year term. He replaces Elleni Bereded-Samuel, whose term ended in March.
In June, Peeyush Gupta was appointed to the board of NAB. He holds a slew of board appointments in the financial services sector, and was the co-founder and inaugural CEO (until 2009) of Ipac Securities, a wealth management firm.
In a statement, SBS managing director Michael Ebeid welcomed the two new board members:
“The SBS Board plays an important role in ensuring that we are an efficient, responsive and innovative organisation which strategically addresses the challenges and opportunities of today’s media market by playing to our strengths with innovative content that reflects our unique Charter and engages a broader cross-section of our diverse Australian community.
“Our new Chair and Board member will provide valuable insights to the Board and Executive as we continue to deliver programs and services that explore and celebrate diversity and contribute to social cohesion against the backdrop of a growing and more complex multicultural Australia.”
SBS’s new chairman is in a powerful position, but relatively little is known about him. Crikey dug up all we could last week.
In its own story on the appointment, SBS this morning describes Nihal Gupta as sharing a story with millions of other Australians of “migration and entrepreneurialism”. In a roundabout way, that story also carries the first public comment by Gupta on his appointment.
“[He believes] as one of the most successful multicultural countries in the world, Australia can cherish that diversity as a wonderful attribute of our well-functioning democracy,” Ebeid told SBS. “He understands the important role that SBS plays in supporting and enabling a cohesive, plural society in Australia, and tells me he is looking forward to working with our team and furthering the important mission of SBS.” — Myriam Robin
The FOIs continue. The ABC has released the outcome of another FOI request, and alas, it says even less of interest than yesterday’s documents. Someone requested “… any advice to the ABC Board relating to Chris Kenny’s legal action, request for an apology and the Chaser/Hamster Decides team”. But the ABC’s FOI officer ruled that legal advice was privileged under the FOI Act, and so released a three-page document blanked out in its entirety, apart from the title (Chris Kenny Apology, April 2014).
The ABC did release an email sent from its managing director Mark Scott to the ABC’s board just after the ABC delivered its public apology. Scott apologised for the skit on the day comments from the former ABC chairman Maurice Newman were published in The Australian, saying that the ABC should say sorry. But Scott insists the apology was delivered “on schedule” despite the intervention from the former chairman. — Myriam Robin
Leunig lives. A public outcry and a story in The Guardian seems to have pushed Fairfax management into saving their yearly calendar by famed cartoonist Michael Leunig, which had been facing the axe.
On the Michael Leunig Appreciation Page on Facebook, a post last night revealed an email sent from Leunig’s personal assistant to the group’s administrator:
“Stop the press!!! Good news! Scoop! Due to all the kerfuffle on MLAP about the no-Leunig-calendar situation, Fairfax have sorted things out and have decided to go ahead with the calendar for 2015 after all! The power of the public response on MLAP has been amazingly effective — the media giants are quaking in their boots (or should that be quacking?) Many thanks for all the extraordinary expressions of concern and support. We hope you can appeal to the MLAP community to forgive this temporary lapse of judgement by Fairfax.”
In a statement, Fairfax confirms the calendar lives, but doesn’t quite admit it was ever up for the axe:
“Calendars aren’t normally known to drive passionate responses — Leunig Calendars do — so we are pleased it lives on. Fairfax apologises for any misunderstanding and looks forward to continuing this unique and popular tradition.”
It’s worth noting that Leunig yesterday seemed to confirm to The Guardian’s Amanda Meade that the calendar was on the chopping block. “I guess it’s all to do with commercial realities and the fact that organisations don’t do that sort of thing anymore,” Leunig said. “I don’t think those giveaway things are happening anywhere very much any more.”
The 2014 calendar had a $3 price tag — the first time Fairfax hadn’t just given away the calendar to subscribers and those who bought the paper at the newsagency. — Myriam Robin
A veritable orgy of live-streaming services. The streaming video business has suddenly become more crowded in the US after the CBS TV network revealed plans to start an on-demand streaming service from today. So within a day of HBO, the premium cable network owned by Time Warner, announcing that it was to start a streaming video business next year, CBS has raised the stakes by becoming the first US TV network to reveal it will live-stream its current broadcasts, as well as make available a host of existing, new and classic programs, including Cheers, Star Trek and Twin Peaks.
CBS’s move has the capacity to undermine the value of US cable companies, such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable (which Comcast is controversially trying to take over). It will force significant change, over time, on the makeup of the US broadcast media, and pressure Apple and Google — and their less well-developed, weaker content plans.
Unlike HBO, CBS has already revealed a price for its service, which will begin immediately. CBS said its service would cost US$5.99 a month and would be called CBS All Access. CBS stablemate, Viacom is also tipped to reveal more details soon of its internet-based cable TV business, which has been under development for more than a year. Sony is also working towards starting its net-based cable business in the next few months. At US$5.99 a month, CBS All Access will be cheaper than Netflix’s US$8.99 a fee (recently boosted by US$1 a month), Hulu (owned by Fox, Disney and NBC) charges US$7.99. Amazon’s streaming service comes as part of its Prime service and costs US$99 a month. But none of those services will offer live streaming of TV channels or shows.
CBS is the first of the free-to-air networks in the US to offer an on-demand service — a move that has blindsided the Murdoch-owned Fox Network. CBS All Access will also be available on Apple and Android mobile devices from today. — Glenn Dyer
Video of the day. Kitchen Cabinet returns. “That’s right, we have not run out of politicians that are interesting and can cook.”
Front page of the day. The Age celebrates its 160th birthday …