The media moves that mattered this year


It wasn’t the easiest of starts for Sneesby, who began his new role as Nine was hit by a major cyberattack. But he finished the year on a high, after extending a crucial rights deal with the NRL.

Seven’s revival

After a difficult few years, it looks like things are improving for Kerry Stokes-controlled Seven West Media. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics and several key programs including The Voice Australia boosted the network’s television ratings.

Kerry Stokes-controlled Seven West Media had plenty to be pleased about in 2021.

Kerry Stokes-controlled Seven West Media had plenty to be pleased about in 2021.Credit:Peter Rae

That, combined with a significant reduction in its debt pile, and its acquisition of regional affiliate Prime after a two-year battle of the billionaires, has put Seven in a much stronger position as it moves into 2022.

Twists and turns at News Corp

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It has been a huge year for News Corp Australia and its pay TV company Foxtel as they reimagine what the future looks like. News Corp, which publishes The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and The Herald Sun, will make a major move into the wagering sector in the early new year.

And that could very well coincide with an initial public offering for Foxtel, which has been a key focus for executives.

But few could have predicted arguably the biggest story involving News Corp Australia – its apparent shift on climate change demonstrated in a company-wide editorial series.

The campaign, which attracted global attention, ran in the lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, and was in sharp contrast to the years of climate scepticism promoted by the company and followed criticism of its coverage of the national bushfire crisis the previous summer.

The ABC’s year from hell

The relationship between the government and Aunty was severely tested this year. Two defamation cases, an external review into one of its most controversial programs that led to a review of its complaint handling system and a few crucial errors in its reporting – even ABC fans would say it’s been a tough 12 months.

Liberal senator Andrew Bragg will not give up his attempt for a public hearing into the way the ABC handles complaints.

Liberal senator Andrew Bragg will not give up his attempt for a public hearing into the way the ABC handles complaints.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen/James Brickwood

The year ended with the resignation of ABC news boss Gaven Morris and a public sledge by ABC chair Ita Buttrose, who accused the government of political interference.

With a federal election around the corner, it is going to be a very busy and a very interesting 2022 for the public broadcaster.

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