MUMRELLA has reported in detail how Nine Entertainment Co has confirmed Stan boss, Mike Sneesby, will replace Hugh Marks as the media company’s CEO, effective April 1.

Mumbrella deputy editor for news and analysis wrote that Mr Sneesby “has been with Nine’s streaming platform since its inception, joining almost eight years ago from Cudo, the group buying website part-owned by Nine”.

“I am honoured to be entrusted with this important role, to be the custodian for many of Australia’s most important, valuable and iconic media brands,” Mr Sneesby told Mumbrella. He will earn $1.4 million a year including superannuation, with the chance to earn up to $1.75 million should he exceed targets.

“I have worked alongside by colleagues at Nine for many years and I look forward to building our future together as we embrace the opportunities presented in the emerging and growing digital future,” he said. 

“The Nine family is made up of journalists, technicians, producers and so many dedicated to their craft. It will be the honour of a lifetime to lead them.”

Mumbrella reported the appointment was lodged with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) ahead of an in-person media event at Nine’s new North Sydney headquarters at 10am, called just before 9am and fronted by chair Peter Costello, the former Federal Treasurer.

Mumbrella reported that the confirmation of Mr Marks’ successor came “days after the outgoing Marks delivered the company’s strong half year results, board member Patrick Allaway resigned, and Nine’s newspapers revealed deputy chair Nick Falloon is under investigation for the alleged misuse of a corporate golf membership”.

Mr Costello confirmed the decision to promote Mr Sneesby into the top job was made last week, and vehemently denied the suggestion that the board was fractured, asserting that the new CEO has the support of a united board.

“Under Mike’s leadership, Nine will be able to maintain the strong momentum it has built in audience, subscribers, content, revenue and earnings,” Mr Costello said at the news conference.

“Mike is well placed to continue to drive Nine’s transformation as a digitally led business which is actively adapting to meet the contemporary media consumption habits of Australians.”

Mumbrella reported that on Thursday of last week, Mr Marks delivered the company’s half year results for the six months ending in December: “net profit surged by 79 percent to $182 million, leading to a record-high share price and, for the first time, a market capitalisation of above $5 billion. In response to Sneesby’s appointment, Nine’s share price surged to a new record-high of $3.07, even higher than the $2.93 it reached last week”.

Last year, Mr Sneesby made the significant announcement that Stan would make its foray into the sports arena with Stan Sport, promptly brokering deals with Rugby Australia and various tennis events including Wimbledon and Roland Garros.

Just days after that announcement, Mr Marks handed in his shock resignation after five years at the helm, prompted by the admission of a relationship with former senior Nine executive, Alexi Baker. But last week, he told Mumbrella he was comfortable with the timing because “everything I set out to do is done”.

Mumbrella said that sparked an extensive search for his replacement, with the pool of candidates whittled down to a select few, including Mr Sneesby, chief publishing and digital officer Chris Janz, and former Endemol Shine boss Carl Fennessy.

Stan Sport, a monthly $10 add-on to a regular Stan subscription, launched just over a week ago in line with the rugby season. The first match attracted 200,000 viewers – triple the audience of last season’s corresponding game. 97,000 metro viewers tuned in on free to air multi-channel, 9Gem, and a reported 150,000 nationally, meaning the remaining 50,000 watched via Stan Sport.

Stan’s EBITDA jumped 161 percent for the half, according to Mumbrella, “and Marks said Stan Sport will only continue to drive up subscriber numbers”.


Adapted from an original report by Brittney Rigby, Mumbrella's deputy managing editor for news and analysis. She covers the media owners and media agencies rounds, and is admitted as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. She tweets @brittneyrigby


By Tate Zanner >>

THANKS to the rapid expansion of mobile technology, Australians are easier to get a hold of than they have been at any time in history.

We carry our phones everywhere we go, we even sleep with them beside us. According to a 2019 Deloitte study, 91 percent of Australians have a smartphone device.

This expansion has meant that cold calling is on the rise, with many businesses now seeing the practice as a reliable strategy for making sales and scoring leads. 

However, there’s one important distinction to make in this new age of cold calling: local centres are producing far greater results than their international counterparts.


Covid catastrophe

As JPMorgan, Amazon, Google, and Facebook now know, international call centres are a big risk in the middle of a pandemic. When the Philippines was placed into one of Asia’s strictest lockdowns, the aforementioned companies were faced with the reality of operating international customer service during the coronavirus pandemic. It wasn’t pretty.

Many of the world’s biggest companies are still dealing with the repercussions of increased call demand and a decreased workforce, as call centres across India and the Philippines struggle to transfer their employees to a sustainable, reliable working-from-home model.

The same is true with cold calling operations. Any businesses that do their cold calling internationally are facing the same issues as inbound services, and cannot be relied upon to meet the needs of Australian businesses in the current climate.

Until things go back to ‘normal’ – which, by current estimates, will be a very long time – working with international call centres poses a risk to businesses.


Personal should mean local

Any business, especially those in the real estate or finance industries, should be aware that the products they’re selling can be incredibly personal.

Think getting your first home loan, building a decent savings account for the first time, or finally buying that product you’ve been saving up for.

In order for these businesses to make a potential customer feel comfortable discussing what at times can be very personal details, it helps to keep customer service local.

When Australians receive a call from an unknown number, they will feel immediately more at ease if they feel that the person on the other end of the phone can relate to how they think, talk, and act.

Phrases like ‘Australian-made’ and ‘proudly Australian’ are now commonplace in marketing materials, packaging, and adverts. There’s a clear reason behind this: Australians enjoy a more localised approach.

Cold calling is a challenge at the best of times, but if the conversation is hampered by miscommunication and misunderstandings, then it’s even less likely to succeed.


Defrosting cold calls

While all the above points make a clear case for localised calling versus international calls, the reality is, not many Australians want cold calls at all.

For businesses to truly succeed with a cold calling strategy, they should always ensure that calls are as relevant to the potential customer as possible.

For business-to-business (B2B) cold calling, the best way to do that is to filter businesses by financial size, location, and staff size.

For business-to-consumer (B2C) calls, potential leads can be sorted by postcode, wealth indicators, ownership status, recently sold, and recently rented. With all this information to hand, you can ensure that your call is genuinely useful.

Plus, by making your call centre staff local, you’ll be able to add an added level of relevancy to the conversation.

A cold call from Melbourne to a customer in Melbourne, for example, would have taken on even greater relevance during their recent strict lockdown. By revealing similarities and shared experiences, a cold call can feel far less cold.

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, all call staff should be highly trained and experienced operatives who understand how people tick.

If you don’t get that part right, it won’t matter if they’re based in Australia or the Philippines – all you’ll get is the sound of someone hanging up on the other end of the line.



Tate Zanner is the founder of Insil, an award-winning marketing agency based in Sydney. Insil’s proven lead generation solution has proven to be a game-changer for clients including 12RND Fitness, Ray White and Toyota, and to date has helped over 730 clients achieve an average five-times return on investment and increase revenue by an average of 51 percent. Mr Zanner said Insil consistently challenges the perception of telemarketing, proving that it can be a sophisticated, successful approach for businesses who want to make a great first impression.


MARK WILLACY and the ABC Investigations-Four Corners Team have won Australian journalism’s highest honour, the Gold Walkley, for their six-month long investigation Killing Field.

The program, which also won the Walkley Award for Investigative Journalism, exposed alleged war crimes by Australian special forces soldiers in Afghanistan. 

Attempts to report on allegations of war crimes encounter extreme obstacles, yet Mark Willacy and the ABC Team's unflinching investigations continue to expose suspected cover-ups and deep cultural problems within Australia’s special forces. 

The judges said they were were impressed by Willacy’s compelling and brilliant investigation, which included shocking helmet-camera footage of special forces in action on the ground, sharp scripting and probing interviews.

Matthew Abbott was named the Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year for his work covering Australia’s unprecedented summer bushfires and Covid-19.

Lucie Morris-Marr’s Fallen (Allen & Unwin) won the Walkley Book Award.

Sarah Ferguson, Nial Fulton and Tony Jones’ haunting documentary Revelation (ABC and InFilms) won the Walkley Documentary Award.

The award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism went to Ross Gittins, for his 40-year commitment to making economics and public policy not only accessible but a must read. He was also honoured for his dedication to mentoring many generations of journalists.

The 65th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism were presented in 30 categories.

Walkley Foundation chief executive, Louisa Graham said,  “The Walkley Foundation has a great deal to be proud of. The challenges of the last year have shown us that journalism is critical to keeping Australians accurately informed; this year’s list of finalists and winners is a testament to the outstanding journalism that is so critical to our democratic process.

“The Foundation remains strong and stable, enabling us to deliver on our mission to support and celebrate great Australian journalism.”

Walkley Judging Board chair, Lenore Taylor, praised the range and depth of this year’s winners.

“During last summer’s fires factual information at times made the difference between life and death,” Ms Taylor said. “Likewise, facts have been the most important tool for limiting the spread of the coronavirus, and our audiences have had a seemingly insatiable thirst for information.  

“It was the role of journalists to go out and bring us reliable information – because facts are what we do. I am always heartened, if slightly overwhelmed, when I see the array of excellent reporting and writing in contention for a Walkley Award – and the journalistic skill and determination evident in every entry.”


2020 Walkley Award Winners

Award Partner Media Super

Award Partner Sydney Airport

Award Partner Google News Initiative

Award Partner Qantas

  • Anthony De Ceglie, The West Australian, ‘The Royal Formerly Known As Prince’, ‘Bridget Over Troubled Rorters’ and ‘You Had One JobKeeper’. 

Award Partner UQ

Award Partner The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Award Partner PwC Indigenous Consulting

Award Partner BHP

  • Matthew Kelly, Helen Gregory, Anita Beaumont and Donna Page, Newcastle Herald, ‘Your Right to Know’.


  • David Rowe, The Australian Financial Review, ‘Thoughts and Prayers’.


Award Partner Nikon

  • Sam Ruttyn, The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, ‘UFC 243’.

Award Partner ABC

  • Dr Norman Swan, Tegan Taylor and Will Ockenden, ABC, ‘Coronacast’.


  • Rachael Brown, Josie Taylor, Tim Roxburgh, Marty Peralta and Trace Team, ABC, ‘Trace: The Informer’.

Award Partner Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas

Award Partner Nine News

Award Partner Facebook

Award Partner Nikon

  • Matthew Abbott, The New York Times and Oculi, ‘A kangaroo rushes past a burning house in Lake Conjola’.

Award Partner ING

Award Partner Nikon

  • Nick Moir, The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Firestorm’.

Award Partner Australian Super

Award Partner Seven

Award Partner SBS

Award Partner TEN

  • Nick McKenzie, Joel Tozer and Sumeyya Ilanbey, 60 Minutes, Nine, ‘The Faceless Man’.


  • Mark Willacy and the ABC Investigations-Four Corners Team, Four Corners, ABC, ‘Killing Field’.


Award Partner NSW Government 

  • Sarah Ferguson, Nial Fulton and Tony Jones, ABC and In Films, Revelation.


  • Lucie Morris-Marr, Fallen, Allen & Unwin.

Award Partner Nikon

  • Matthew Abbott, The New York Times and Oculi.

Award Partner News Corp Australia

  • Ross Gittins, The Sydney Morning Herald.


  • Mark Willacy and the ABC Investigations-Four Corners Team, Four Corners, ABC, ‘Killing Field’.

The 2020 Walkley Judging Board

  • Chair: Lenore Taylor, editor, Guardian Australia
  • Deputy Chair: Claire Harvey, editorial director, The Australian
  • Natalie Ahmat, presenter/producer, NITV News
  • Michael Bachelard, investigations editor, The Age
  • Michael Brissenden, reporter, Four Corners, ABC
  • Patricia Karvelas, presenter, ABC Radio National Drive (abstained from judging in 2020)
  • Mags King, managing photographic editor, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review
  • Deborah Knight, presenter, 2GB
  • Stella Lauri, network news director, WIN Television
  • John Lehmann, commercial director and managing editor, The Australian
  • Hamish Macdonald, host, Q&A, ABC
  • Mark Mallabone, deputy editor, The West Australian
  • Heidi Murphy, senior producer, Mornings with Neil Mitchell, 3AW693 (abstained from judging in 2020)
  • Bhakthi Puvanenthiran, editor, ABC Life
  • Tory Shepherd, columnist, The Advertiser



Winners of the Walkley Awards are selected by the Walkley Judging Board. The Walkley Foundation has a mechanism for dealing with any conflict of interest, actual or perceived, that may arise during the judging process. The guidelines are based on the principle that all actual conflicts of interest are to be avoided and that even a perceived conflict may be damaging to all parties. You can read more about the conflict guidelines here.


BASKIN-ROBBINS (BR) Australia’s winter campaign, Stranger Things are happening at Baskin-Robbins has been recognised as an ABA100 Winner for Marketing Excellence [MXA] in The Australian Business Awards 2020.

The campaign, which marked BR Australia’s master licensee, Palm Oasis Ventures’ first home-delivery focused campaign, also helped pave the way for BR to be ready to optimise deliveries as the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. 

The campaign involved BR Australia partnering with Netflix to launch Stranger Things’ third season and working with agency partners, Type + Pixel and Foxed Glove, to turn ‘sci-fi fans’ into ‘ice cream fans’ across a new millennial and generation Z (Gen Z) demographic. 

Products were sold instore at BR Australia locations and via a world-first ‘Scoops Ahoy’ virtual restaurant – which is a homage to the name of the ice cream parlour in the series – with ice cream delivered by Uber Eats.

BR Australia national marketing manager Julian Casa said accolades for the campaign highlighted the company’s efforts in reinvigorating the brand in recent years.

BR was also named the ABA100 MXA winner in 2019 for its Creature Creations campaign.

“Being awarded the MXA in The Australian Business Awards for two years in a row is wonderful recognition of the efforts and investment we’ve made to elevate the brand through product innovation and delivery,” Mr Casa said.

Along with massive engagement across BR Australia’s digital platforms, the franchise’s delivery channel experienced a 22.6 percent increase during the three-month Stranger Things campaign.

BR Australia general manager Ben Flintoff said maximising BR’s delivery channels through the campaign paved the way for BR to continue trading during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The 2019 Stranger Things campaign allowed us to optimise our delivery channel which became incredibly useful this year when many guest experiences moved to home delivery,” Mr Flintoff said.

“Despite some early setbacks in April with the onset of local Queensland restrictions, we have been privileged to successfully drive positive comparable sales growth for the brand this year to date. This has been an excellent result for the brand and for our valuable and hardworking franchise partners.”   

The recognition of the Stranger Things campaign continues with BR Australia’s agency partner, Type + Pixel shortlisted for Best Digital Campaign for the B&T Awards 2020.


By Leon Gettler >>

IN THE CURRENT CLIMATE of social distancing and lockdowns, businesses need to upgrade their marketing.

Josh Meah, a celebrated New Jersey based marketing specialist, says it might mean reinventing the business model.

For a start, it doesn’t matter what industry it is, whether it’s pub or restaurant, or a shop, or even a law practice, companies need to remodel themselves as e-commerce businesses.

He said recession and depression environments create a need for companies to understand the market drivers of their business and what drives consumer behaviour. 

“Usually that comes down to data, and right now from a digital marketing standpoint, because I do think that’s specially relevant because of social distancing.” Mr Meah told Talking Business.

“In my opinion, all organisations should understand the e-commerce model. That is a novel perspective for a lot of organisations that are used to brick and mortar style relationships, in person-meeting and so on and so forth.

“However, the e-commerce model is based on the premise that if you spend money, you can trace it to its impact.

“The e-commerce model is premised on the ability that you can take a single product and actually identify if you spent X advertising dollars, you will receive Y revenue, not just on a product basis. You’ll be able to trace it back to the all the campaigns that yielded that product outcome.”


Mr Meah said the e-commerce model gives all companies, whether they’re an accounting practice or a restaurant, the capability to track leads.

What generates phone calls, what generates emails or some point of contact, and giving them the ability to evaluate the cost of generating that contact, means they can evaluate the effectiveness of, say, a Google ad campaign.

“That’s what more sophisticated service organisations are doing,” Mr Meah said. “They’re analysing their client base, bringing it all back to their advertising so they can say the amount of revenue generated from this campaign was this.”

He said with lockdowns, many restaurants and food services, had online menus for people to order food and get it delivered. Potentially, it would allow them to increase the conversion rate.

“In fact, you could argue that restaurants are local e-commerce for food,” he said. 


Another strategy is for companies to focus on customers in their client base and figure out who their best customers are, either by surveying them or talking to them directly.

“There is a good chance they have something in common with each other,” Mr Meah said.

“There’s some reason why this demographic of your customer base is resilient in this environment, and once you figure that out, now you have a persona … a concept from which you can develop future campaigns to find similar people,” he said.

Another strategy is email marketing which he says is far more valuable than people realise as the size of a company’s email list can directly translate into revenue.

The key point however is that the cost of increasing an email list is so nominal that if companies can find ways to increase the size and improve the attractiveness of their message, they can find profitable growth regardless of the kind of organisation they are.

This means companies need to look carefully at whatever email toolkits they are using.

Mr Meah said organisations also needed to understand their brand. As opposed to sales, which are purely transactional, branding, on the other hand, is in the service of relationships.

“Companies that invest in brand, are investing in becoming clearer to the market place, becoming more visually coherent, and more trustworthy,” Mr Meah said.

“It’s easier to refer a brand that’s clear and compelling. A brand that has a point of view one you think about more often.”

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at  


By Leon Gettler >>

AN INDUSTRY-FIRST online marketing solution, with its patented technology delivering a perfect match for every keyword searched by potential customers, can be a huge boost for retailers.

It comes at a perfect time when so many businesses are going online. Longtail co-CEO Andreas Dzumla said it was perfect for some of his start-up’s big clients like Woolworths and Dan Murphy’s. And, he said, there would be more to come.

Mr Dzumla co-founded the company with his partner, Will Santow, in 2013. 

The basic technology plugs into the websites of clients, giving the websites the ability to create pages in a more flexible way. This can be used for search engine optimisation (SEO), for paid advertising, or developing landing pages for every single keyword, or showing customers more products with every single click.

The technology allows the business website to create a page for their customers, with the products, the store locations and click and collect. It could also offer reviews and ratings of products.

He says this will help online shopping which has accelerated with COVID-19

“The growth rate for online was already quite large already but what you’re seeing now of course when people can’t go to shopping centres and still want to buy things, much more is happening online,” Mr Dzumla told Talking Business.

“We have been catapulted five years into the future. We’re living in 2025.”


Mr Dzumla said the online market had become much more competitive with firms such as pure play online players like Kogan and Catch, which have only ever done e-commerce “and are obviously really well placed to get even a bigger market share”.

Then there are the traditional retailers like Myer and David Jones which have an online presence which is only a small part of their business so far.

“And for them it’s tough, it’s very difficult because if online is only 5 percent of your total revenue, and it should be 30 percent or whatever, you have to innovate really fast,” he said.  “The challenge for them is they have to work on all their platforms, the processes in the business are slower and you have to move really fast in online. But that’s what we’re there for, to help.

“Our technology helps them leapfrog. They don’t have to re-platform for them to have more capabilities and be more efficient on their website and on their channels.

“They can basically plug in our technology to get functionalities they otherwise would take one-and-a half to two years to develop themselves, or implement in a tiny platform.

“It gives you a competitive advantage or you could also think about how it helps traditional businesses catch up with the pure play online players.


Mr Dzumla describes search engine optimisation as a “black box where it’s so hard for businesses – what to do to appear in prominent positions on Google”.

He said companies spend millions of dollars on Google Adwords and want to get a good return for their investment and, if their websites are not flexible enough to test changes, they could waste a lot of money because they could not measure the changes.

He said Longtail was expanding internationally but 80 percent of customers were still in Australia.

“The internet is global and Australia is only 1-2 percent of the e-commerce market so, for us, the opportunity is massive internationally,” Mr Dzumla said. “We can service clients from here, that’s the beauty of the internet.” 

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at  


By Leon Gettler >>

WHEN RACHEL CALLAN from Flamanko Social Media and Katie Martel from Croft PR took a hit from COVID-19, they launched a ‘Thriving’ initiative to help hundreds of small businesses stay connected, inspired – and thrive no matter how they had been impacted.

The extraordinary part was that Ms Callan is based on the Sunshine Coast and Ms Martel is in Brisbane. They were able to work together and create the project.

They set up a Thriving Through COVID-19 Facebook community of hundreds of small business owners to share their experiences and share tips on getting through the crisis.

The businesses came from all kinds of industries and locations. The list included gin makers, bedding manufacturers, café owners, tourism and holiday accommodation owners, photographers, plumbers, physiotherapists, psychologists and personal trainers. And they came from all over the world … 

Ms Martel said she and Ms Callan worked with a lot of businesses that were in retail, hospitality, bars and clubs which were at the forefront of the first wave of COVID-19 restrictions.

“From the first week onwards, we were doing a lot of crisis management for them and helping them adjust their entire business model and the way they were communicating with their staff,” Ms Martel told Talking Business.

“That was the first week and the second week, pretty much everything turned to lockdown so our businesses were significantly affected. So Rachel and I jumped on the phone and put our heads together about how could support not only our clients but also others in our wider network.

“We figured we should share as much as we knew of what we had already communicated with our clients, help others know they should be communicating but also we were also dealing with the challenges of being mums at home with kids full time,” she said.

“We put our heads together and thought there must be millions of others that are out there going through this. Let’s do what we can to connect us and share our stories, get real about the challenges that we’re all going through and created this group Thriving through COVID.”


Businesses in the group included cafes and cake stores, importers, food and beverage, accountants, business consultants, web development and IT. They came in different sizes.

Some had 20 staff that they had to reduce to one or two people. Others were sole business owners. They looked in from everywhere, ranging from Wellington in New Zealand to Sri Lanka.

Ms Martel said the group had been called Thriving not in terms of cash flow but in terms of mental support to help keep everyone strong.

“There is going to be something on the other side whatever that will be – and the biggest message we’re trying to share is as long as you keep your community strong, no matter what it was before, and you focus on supporting your community in that time through sharing as much information and supporting your clients and target audiences, you’re going to come out well on the other side,” she said.

Ms Callan said one of the common threads through the community was about people taking the opportunity to learn new skills as well.

“Taking the time to pause and think about the areas and projects they weren’t able to get to while they were in the day-to-day grind. Now there is an opportunity to get on top of all those things that were on the to do list for so long,” Ms Callan said,

Ms Martel said that while COVID-19 had impacted on all their businesses, it has also given everyone the opportunity to focus on what’s really important … and why they were in business.

Thriving Through COVID-19 Facebook Group

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at

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