ABC newsroom restructure will cut 20 jobs. The ABC is planning to cut 20 jobs in a restructure, which will be replaced with new senior editorial roles. In an announcement to staff this morning, News Director Gaven Morris said the proposal was not a cost-cutting measure, and that savings would be reinvested in news-gathering and content. He said in a statement that the current structures “do not fully support our people to meet modern audience needs”. In his email to staff, he cited what he said was a successful trial of placing a digital editor in Melbourne and Perth, and social media producers in Brisbane, Darwin and Perth contributing to online audience growth. Management will start consulting with staff and unions today.
ABC and SBS under review. The ABC and SBS will have to justify providing online news and video streaming services as part of the Government’s competitive neutrality inquiry into the public broadcasters. In an issues paper released on Friday, the online catch-up video services of the ABC and SBS were cited as being in direct competition with Foxtel on-demand and Stan. The inquiry will be completed by July, and will look at how the ABC and SBS operate and compete within the market, including the broadcasters’ business activities, their cost structure, regulatory obligations, compliance and reporting arrangements, and complaints and accountability mechanisms.
Both broadcasters are nervous about the inquiry, but it’s SBS that’s been the particular target of the free-to-air networks because of its recent successful bids for international content, including The Handmaid’s Tale.
The Oz’s brave super discovery. A hearty congratulations to The Australian today for its stunning revelation that big bank and AMP super funds significantly under-perform industry and other super funds. Traditionally, the only mention of industry super funds in the The Oz has been to demonise them as sinister gatherings of venal trade unionists, despite the fact that they’re run as much by employer groups, including some of the most prominent business peak body executives in the country, as by unions. But this means that the royal commission will follow the brave lead of The Oz. According to journalist Anthony Klan, “the royal commission into banks will hold its public inquiries into superannuation later in the year, but it is expected The Australian’s exposure of gouging on cash investments will be a key focus.”
That’s probably not going to make The Oz’s Simon Benson very happy — in recent months he’s had a good line in running drops from the offices of Michaelia Cash and Kelly O’Dwyer smearing industry super funds. Funny, been a while since we had once of those, Simon … wonder why? — Bernard Keane
Al Jazeera staff strike. London-based Al Jazeera English staff say they will strike next month over a pay and conditions dispute. The Qatari network has about 130 staff in London who produce content for about six hours a day for the Doha-based English-language television news network. The Guardian reports that staff will walk out for 24 hours on May 9 after the network refused to negotiate pay annually, as previously agreed. After the strike, they will be working-to-rule, by taking their full lunch breaks, and refusing to answer phone calls and emails outside of their work hours.
Amazon takes more ad share. Media companies in Australia and around the world have been intensifying their attacks on Google and Facebook as the two tech giants steal more and more revenues. But so far the growing ad ambitions of a more dangerous company — Amazon — have been ignored. Amazon’s first quarter report last week has put paid to that.
While their quarterly reports last week showed that Facebook (around US$11.8 billion) and Google ($26.6 billion) snagged around $37 billion in global ad revenues in the March quarter, the surprise revelation came from Amazon, which revealed for the first time it has been grabbing hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenues per quarter for more than two years. Very quietly, Amazon is growing its ad revenues to the point where it had nearly $2 billion in the first three months, and is looking at $10 billion by the end of this year. The March quarter figure was around 4% of net sales revenue and the $10 billion estimate for this tear will be nearly half the annual revenue forecast for Amazon’s best business, its cloud computer operation Amazon Web Services.
Amazon had sales of $51 billion in the March quarter, larger than Google ($31 billion) and Facebook ($12 billion) combined. Not only is it taking revenues from legacy media, it is now aiming at Google and Facebook, and will be the big move in global media (and retailing). — Glenn Dyer
Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. Seven won the night thanks to My Kitchen Rules (1.72 million) and Seven News (1.84 million). Nine won ages 25-54, thanks to The Voice (1.51 million, plus Nine News, 1.49 million). Ten ran fourth behind the ABC because no one wanted to watch Bachelor in Paradise (well, 776,000 nationally — not in the same numbers as MKR and The Voice). The ABC did OK despite the repeat of a repeat of Midsomer Murders — 576,000. Insiders again won the morning battle with 521,000 nationally on the ABC and ABC News.
In regional markets Seven News won with 611,000, from MKR with 566,000, then Nine News on 458,000, The Voice with 447,000 and the 7pm ABC News with 386,000. — Read the full TV ratings over on the website.