The 77-year-old, who is still undecided about his future beyond Wednesday night, said he did not want any special treatment from authorities, especially when some people were still wanting to see ailing relatives north of the border.
“If there are exemptions, they’re the people more entitled to it in my opinion,” Warren said.
He is expected to be joined in the studio by Phil Gould, who returns to the commentary team after making way for Andrew Johns last Wednesday.
Even if he had been allowed to fly north, Warren was not sold on having to endure the 20-hour hit-and-run trip that would have seen him forced to spend several hours in lockdown at Suncorp Stadium before flying back to Sydney around 2am.
“Nine know I’m here to do whatever I can for them and I’m prepared to call the game from a studio if I have to,” Warren told the Herald on Tuesday. “I’ve never missed an Origin. This match would have been my 96th.
“Never in my life have I called a game off the TV. And when COVID hit, I told them I’d never called the game off the tube, and I don’t want to.
“I made it clear the major reason for that was when the players come out to warm-up, I check the colour of their hair, their hairstyle, strapping, what colour boots they might be wearing. I do all that for 30 minutes while they’re warming up so I’m confident I can ID players the best I can.
“When it comes to Origin, they don’t come out and warm-up anyway. I don’t have the benefit of that, but I have the benefit of having called both these sides twice in the last fortnight.
“If you gave me the alternative, I’d say, ‘Please put me at the ground’. I’ll miss the crowd telling me how excited to be during the call. In other words, you use the crowd as a barometer.”
It is well known how much Warren dreads flying – he was so irritable one day he nearly picked a fight with US rapper Snoop Dogg while still on the tarmac – but makes a point of pushing past that fear to do his job.
“And in this case it wasn’t so much the fear of flying if we could have got up there, it was the length of time, at my age, they were going to subject me to, including 12 hours sitting around Suncorp Stadium because of lockdown. It’s not a good preparation,” Warren said.
Warren has lost count of the number of times he has been asked when he will hang up the microphone and headphones. He says he will weigh it up over the summer.
Sports news, results and expert commentary delivered straight to your inbox each weekday. Sign up here.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Industry sources said Stan is already working on developing to technology required to broadcast live sport. It is also trying to secure a range of other broadcast deals to attract more subscribers and reduce its reliance on rugby. Stan currently charges between $10 and $19 for television shows and films, but it is unclear whether it will cost more for sports content.
Key rugby states have already been informed about Monday’s announcement and the broadcaster has started speaking to prospective commentators.
Rugby sources said Drew Mitchell is part of Nine’s plans but it is unclear whether any of the current Fox Sports commentators will join the recently retired Wallabies star. Former Wallabies Phil Kearns, Rod Kafer, George Gregan, Tim Horan and caller Greg Clark have become synonymous with rugby in Australia but Nine may opt to take a fresh talent path.
Former Fox Sports host Nick McCardle – who was one of several rugby staff cut by the network in recent years – would be a suitable host if the broadcaster do not wish to add to host James Bracey’s current workload.
Industry sources said Foxtel was informed late last week it was the unsuccessful bidder and that RA would officially cut ties early next year. It is unclear how Foxtel will spend the money it will save from losing the broadcast rights, but it is will inevitably free up some much-needed cash for the pay TV company which has suffered revenue decline due to people cancelling subscriptions and social distancing restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic which caused pubs and clubs to close.
The unsuccessful bid may surprise some viewers as Foxtel has an extensive history with the code and has been affiliated with Super Rugby since its 1996. However the relationship between Foxtel and RA soured late last year when it offered a small sum to broadcast matches from 2021 onwards. The talks ended so badly that Foxtel initially walked away from a deal altogether. The company returned to the negotiating table in September and made several changes to its bid, which included an offer to air a game a week in front of sports streaming service Kayo’s paywall.
Major shareholder News Corporation said on Friday that Foxtel’s Kayo had 644,000 paying subscribers. Foxtel had 3.29 million paying subscribers as of September 30, but social distancing restrictions put in place because of COVID-19 has meant that many pubs and clubs cancelled subscriptions. News Corp, which owns 65 per cent of Foxtel, reported a revenue fall of US$18 million to US$496 million for subscribers in the first quarter. Telstra owns 35 per cent.
Foxtel said in 2019 it would cut its spending on “non-marquee sporting content” as it tried to refinance its large debt pile. The pandemic allowed Foxtel to renegotiate rights fees in an attempt to rework its cost base. It renegotiated deals with the AFL, NRL and Football Federation Australia as well as axed a large number of jobs. Stan’s foray into sport, if successful, would put pressure on Foxtel, which is heavily dependent on sport for subscribers. However, sources familiar with Stan’s strategy said it does not intend to create a one-stop-shop service like Foxtel’s Kayo.
News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson said on Friday that he did not see a need to inject the pay TV operator with more cash.
“In the context of the COVID restrictions on pubs and clubs and the impact on advertising, we’re very pleased with the rapid growth of the streaming business at Foxtel,” Mr Thomson said. “We foresee no need to bolster Foxtel with with extra investment, which shows that the business is on a particularly positive trajectory.”
Sports news, results and expert commentary delivered straight to your inbox each weekday. Sign up here.
Zoe Samios is a media and telecommunications reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Channel 9 is weighing up whether to spend $30 million for the broadcast rights to Australian rugby games as the code remains in limbo when it comes to settling on a new TV deal.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports Nine Entertainment Co is in “advanced talks” with Rugby Australia (RA) about coming to terms on a deal that would see the sport Down Under broadcast on free-to-air TV as well as on streaming service Stan.
The Australian first reported last month Nine had emerged as a candidate to save rugby as the code struggled to find a TV partner to generate desperately-needed revenue.
At the time, it was reported Nine had not made a formal offer or publicly expressed a strong desire to establish a relationship with rugby. In August, Nine CEO Hugh Marks said investing in rugby was “not a big priority” for the network — which already broadcasts rugby league and the Australian Open tennis — and added: “We are getting a long more bang for our buck out of content that is either news and current affairs … or entertainment.”
But the network appears to have changed its mind as it ponders swooping in to win the TV rights after all.
Last month Channel 10 — the long-time free-to-air rugby broadcaster — put in a bid to show Wallabies matches but wanted a discount from RA. It reportedly offered less than its current deal of $3.5 million a year to show Wallabies Tests.
Foxtel is also keen to extend its 20-year relationship with rugby, reportedly submitting a bid of between $30m and $40m a year to televise Wallabies games, Super Rugby and the National Rugby Championship.
The offer came after Foxtel threatened to walk away from the negotiating table altogether as talks with RA broke down late last year.
Like Foxtel, Nine’s proposal would include the rights to broadcast Wallabies matches, Super Rugby and the National Rugby Championship. Although financially its bid isn’t as lucrative as Foxtel’s, The Herald reports RA approached Nine to gauge its interest in televising the sport, and is keen on working with the network because it would allow more Australians to consume its product via free-to-air TV, rather than on pay TV with Foxtel.
The length of any deal RA strikes is reportedly set to last for less than five years.
She was confident of coming to terms with Optus, having shunned an earlier offer from Foxtel because she believed she could get more money elsewhere. But the global pandemic meant her dream deal never eventuated and the code faced financial ruin.
The departure of The Age editor Alex Lavelle, factors to a deeper cultural shift at the newspaper and in Australian media general.
The resignation of The Age editor Alex Lavelle yesterday rips yet another layer off the rising crisis in just Nine’s mastheads driven by a perception that the 18-month-outdated new administration is hurrying the metro papers to the appropriate.
The company’s mastheads now look positioned like The Australian about 20 years back: heaps of fantastic journalism boxed in by an more and more pre-set editorial line. The Australian currently displays the place that journey finishes — with the journalism overcome by society wars and celebration political imperatives.
As constantly when editors go away from a single of the country’s great papers like The Age, there’s a very simple dilemma: jumped or pushed? Both way, Lavelle’s departure and the quick 15-moment explanation provided from the (at present WFH virtual) newsroom by Lavelle’s Sydney-centered manager, James Chessell, has to be examine in context.
That context? A letter to Nine management signed by about 70 Age journalists revealing deep inner fears about “politicisation” of the masthead, a failure to replicate variety and issues about the paper getting a Sydney subsidiary.
There are a several straws in the wind. On the society wars front, The Age’s the latest “no slavery, here” editorial kicked off the push by the appropriate to de-legit the protests versus systemic racism, launching supporting reviews from the key minister. The Age has given that apologised and Morrison has “if anybody is offended” fake-pologised.
About on the political entrance, equally The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have joined the AFR in the Liberal Party’s very long marketing campaign towards industry tremendous.
This shift problems that “Independent. Always” slogan the merged enterprise inherited. It was that rare little bit of corporate-speak that captured the two the electricity of the editorial mission and its significance to the business product.
Unsurprisingly, it is what most news customers want, most not long ago confirmed in the 2020 Electronic News Report introduced on Tuesday (in which it was expressed as “impartial”). Internal Nine study is understood to exhibit the similar detail.
Nine’s critics are primed to be sceptical, primarily based on early facts factors: the firm is chaired by previous Liberal Party treasurer Peter Costello. Its CEO Hugh Marks hosted Scott Morrison at a $10,000 a head Liberal Occasion fundraiser on company premises previous yr. Chessell — the mastheads’ govt editor, who sets the editorial line — is a former staffer of an additional Liberal treasurer, now Sky News US contributor Joe Hockey.
Of system, there is a extended record of fantastic journalists rotating by team work opportunities and political reporting, together with greats like Kerry O’Brien and Alan Ramsay. The working experience can give a deep comprehending of how politics performs on the inside. Niki Savva at The Australian carries on to reveal how her insider practical experience provides her reporting a nuance that other reporters lack.
But, within the company, journalists really feel that some thing is transforming. The new management is a lot much more palms on, intervening in stories and earning choices about placement that appears to encourage a predetermined narrative. Tendered in proof: the unsubstantiated June 5 front page “Activists ‘planning trouble’ at protest” (corrected with an apology on line later that working day).
The shock and unhappiness of Age journalists to Lavelle’s departure goes past the typical regret, describing him as a form, mild editor who acted with integrity and had a solid moral compass when it arrived to news conclusions.
“I’m incredibly sad tonight. The Age editor Alex Lavelle to exit,” point out political editor Noel Towell said on Twitter.
“Thoroughly good guy. Labored tirelessly for the masthead. Extremely unhappy to see him go,” mentioned tablet editor and previous editor of The Sunday Age Duska Sulicich.
“A first rate, variety and collaborative editor. Will be missed,” atmosphere reporter and senior journalist Miki Perkins reported.
“Alex Lavelle is a person of the very best gentlemen I have acknowledged. A man with a moral compass, with compassion and integrity. You will need to dig further to understand why he is gone,” previous reporter Leonie Wood wrote on Twitter.
As newsroom leaders, editors have normally experienced to engage in two frequently incompatible roles: their journalists want to be led by another person who fights on their behalf CEOs count on a line supervisor who follows the firm line, and will get the staff to abide by on guiding.
It’s now very clear that the Liberal Party alignment of senior supervisors is taking this rigidity to breaking position.
For a constrained time only, select what you fork out for a yr of Crikey.
Conserve up to 50% on a year of Crikey, or, dig deeper so that we can dig deeper.
Crikey might be small but our intention has constantly been to aim on the why, not the what of public existence — to explain how electricity is utilized and abused in Australia, and the units and people who aid it.
But to do that efficiently, we require subscribers. Loads of them.
Be a part of Crikey now, and for the first time ever, pick what you pay.
Labor has its own sub-genre of the “wife guy” meme, a hit job on Nine boss Hugh Marks, and more tips and murmurs from the Crikey bunker.
Our journalism usually sits behind a paywall, but we believe this is the time to make more of our content freely available to as many readers as possible. For more free coverage, sign up to COVID-19 Watch.
The vernacular of the highly online continues to spread into real life. One of the oddest of these is the “wife guy” — a category of bloke whose entire claim to a personality on performative husbanding. As The New York Times — oh yes, this is a phenomenon with coverage from several high-profile outlets — puts it: “The wife guy defines himself through a kind of overreaction to being married” .
Joining this rogues gallery is the “campaign wife guy”. Over the weekend we got an email from Brad McBain, introducing himself thus: “My wife is Kristy McBain, Labor’s candidate for Eden Monaro”. He goes on to say we can give her the greatest Mother’s day gift of all: Donating to her campaign and increasing her social media reach.
Of course, the ALP has long courted the wife guy demographic. Remember the “Vote 1: Chloe Shorten’s Husband” T-shirt which made the electorate so ready for a change of government in 2019?
For those who missed it, yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph published a hit piece on Nine CEO Hugh Marks, which opened with the assertion that, “some members of Nine Entertainment’s board are now pushing openly for the removal of company CEO Hugh Marks”.
Not that openly, given the story names no names.
But of course, that’s not what the story is actually about; the tail of this particular comet (which takes up roughly half the piece) is a lot of wink-wink nudge-nudgery about Marks taking a “long, languid lunch” with his executive assistant Jane Routledge.
The piece does the lawyer’s slalom around actually making any allegations.
To the Tele, Marks denied anything was going on, which raises the question — what the hell business is it of ours anyway?
Today, the Oz rehashed the piece, airily speculating as to who might be behind the leak. We have a prime suspect ourselves, but it’s not in the Nine offices.
Coronavirus is a doubled edge sword for the big media players in Australia — ad revenue has of course taken a run for the nearest cliff, but news audiences are up. News Corp clearly wishes to be the last man standing at the end of all of this, but things don’t appear to be going to plan.
As Glenn Dyer wrote last week: “A miserable quarter for News Corp has foreshadowed more deep cost-cutting to come, especially in Australian and non-metro newspapers.”
And as the Oz istelf reported today, “News Corp Australia is in talks with Antony Catalano’s Australian Community Media to sell its portfolio of more than 100 community and regional newspapers”.
Crikey detects a hint of desperation in the gratuitous personal hit on the CEO of News’ major competition in the country.
Speaking of which, our eagle-eyed, financially literate correspondent Glenn Dyer has discovered some interesting info in the company’s March quarter report: News Corp spent more than $100 million in April buying its own shares in US markets, making it the major buyer of News Corp shares in April.
Helped by the widespread rebound in investor sentiment, the buyback boosted the News Corp share price 29% from US$8.875 on April 2 to US$10.22 by April 30.
News Corp executives didn’t mention the buyback in a briefing last week, but over at Fox Corp, chief financial officer Steve Tomsic quite freely laid out his company’s current buyback strategy in a post earnings release analysts conference, saying the would not “in the current economic conditions”.
Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch sit on both boards. You have to wonder if they question the News Corp buyback in view of the decision at Fox. Truly a Murdochian situation of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing. Fox shares rose 13% in April without the buyback.
WTF (is this?)
Just five months before the next state election, former Queensland treasurer Jackie Trad has quit cabinet.
Trad had been holding on through allegations she interfered with the recruitment of a school principal in her electorate, but she finally quit in the teeth of “growing angst among Labor’s marginal-seat MPs across regional Queensland”, and “the withdrawal of support by United Workers Union boss and Left faction convener Gary Bullock”.
As happens when the Labor party shakes itself to dust in front of us, the faceless men become briefly visible — this time, that man is Bullock.
His shift away from Trad is in keeping with his reputation of being “difficult to pin down”. As a senior Labor figure puts it in an Australian Financial Review piece from 2018 looking at Labor’s factional powerbrokers: “He picks and chooses when he uses his power”.
This crisis will cut hard and deep but one day it will be over.
What will be left? What do you want to be left?
I know what I want to see: I want to see a thriving, independent and robust Australian-owned news media. I want to see governments, authorities and those with power held to account. I want to see the media held to account too.
Demand for what we do is running high. Thank you. You can help us even more by encouraging others to subscribe — or by subscribing yourself if you haven’t already done so.