SWOT: Seven Deadly Sins

It’s been a week to forget – but one that we will all remember – at Seven West Media. 

Welcome to SWOT by Sound Story, your inside track on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats looming for the creative industries.

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Trending: ‘How dare they?’: Real reason for Kyle and Jackie O’s ratings hell. Words by Joe Hildebrand. Source: The Daily Telegraph

🎵 Music: Sales of vinyl records are “absolutely booming” – currently selling at the same rate as it was in the 80s – and Alli Galloway, chief marketing officer at Vinyl Group, tells Mediaweek that having the license for Rolling Stone merchandise means the group can make the most of this momentum. Words by Tess Connery. Source: Mediaweek

📰 Media: The Southern Cross Media Group has rejected a proposal from Australian Community Media for SCA to take over a number of its key print and digital news assets, finding it wouldn’t align with SCA’s audio-led strategy, or be in the best interests of SCA shareholders. Words by Nathan Jolly. Source: Mumbrella

💰 Advertising: Digital marketing agency No Standing still owes a total of $280,434.73 to employees after the company went into liquidation, according to documents lodged with corporate regulator ASIC. Words by Jason Pollock. Source: AdNews

📲 Tech: Spearheaded by the RIAA, Universal, Warner and Sony have banded together to sue two of the most advanced start-ups in the emerging field of AI music. Words by Kristin Robinson. Source: Billboard

📜 Government: Geelong medicos and a local music festival have welcomed a pill-testing trial that will launch this summer in Victoria. Words by Lucy Crock. Source: Herald Sun.

🌶️ Spicy: Furious Parisians have threatened to defecate in the River Seine ahead of this summer’s Olympics. Words by Ciaran Wiseman. Source: News.com.au.

Strength: Loud and Clear

“Make no mistake, Australia is a music export powerhouse!” 

👉 These are the words of Tony Burke, Minister for the Arts.

👉 He was speaking to a room of music industry professionals and Members of Parliament at Spotify’s Loud & Clear Showcase at Parliament House this week.

👉 One of the world’s most-streamed artists, Tones and I, was also there with her performance reverberating throughout the walls of Parliament House.

👉 Spotify AUNZ’s Managing Director, Mikaela Lancaster, said Australian artists “are right up there on the global stage, being discovered by first-time listeners more than 2.7 billion times globally”.

👉 As Jaddan Comerford, CEO and Founder at UNIFIED Music Group said: “The opportunities for Australian artists are global and growing!”

Weakness: Qantas’ Brand Image Takes (Another) Nose Dive

Qantas has taken a tumble. It’s now the 24th best airline in the world, according to the World Airline Awards.

It’s the latest in a series of bad headlines, negative messaging and subpar spin. So how can Qantas stem the tide of negative news? 

📌 Jane: It is simply no longer a matter of good comms or spin; Qantas must look within and focus on genuine actions to rebuild trust with customers and employees. Smoke and mirrors will no longer cut it. Executives and HR teams often implement initiatives to create a positive culture, but loyalty comes from consistent and respectful treatment. The airline’s reputation with customers and employees has suffered from a lack of transparency, broken promises and brutal cuts. Lost luggage, frequent flight cancellations and delays, high costs of flights and difficulties getting refunds, have eroded good will. Promises by Qantas’ CEO to repair the airline's reputation, including major changes to the Frequent Flyer scheme which have made it almost impossible for customers to maintain their status or use points for flights, have failed to deliver. Why stay loyal and pay extra for little in return? How can Qantas stem the tide of negative news? Do better – treat your employees better (and luggage might not get lost so much!), be transparent, eliminate rigid and costly processes to change flights or use credits, improve your loyalty program and respect your customers. As your mum used to say, treat people how you’d like to be treated. Above all else, stop the spin; no one’s believing it.

📌 Zanda: Qantas is the ultimate proof that brand loyalty and trust takes time to build but can be scuppered much more quickly. The carrier had a great opportunity to build on its already strong reputation post-COVID, and for a time it did so well, with a strong appetite for international travel combined with some genuinely great advertising leading to good outcomes. But under a shiny exterior, issues like the illegal sacking of 1700 workers, advertising flights that had already been cancelled, and soaring ticket prices despite a perceived drop in reliability, saw its brand plummet in the minds of travellers. The fall in service has been reflected in it falling in the World Airline Awards rankings, proving that despite a reasonably healthy share price and record annual profits in FY23, that a return to focus on the basics (and communicating that with Aussies) is the only way for Qantas to regain its former glory.

Opportunity: Rising Stars to Take to the Stage

What a week for lineup announcements! 

👉 SXSW Sydney added 60 artists to its 2024 program.

👉 The artists come from Australia, Aotearoa, South Korea, India and beyond.

👉 BIGSOUND also came to the party, announcing its first tranche of performers.

👉 BIGSOUND 2024 are offering $25 one-night music festival tickets for music lovers under 25, and $75 three-night Music Festival tickets for those that get in early and purchase before 31 July.

👉 Indie-Con also announced its Conference program and speaker lineup including Sound Story’s own Kirsty Rivers, who will be moderating the Trade Associations and Representative Bodies session.

Threat: Seven Deadly Sins

It’s been a week to forget – but one that we will all remember – at Seven West Media. 

👉 Mi3 described it as “bloodshed”. Unmade said it was “TV’s bloodiest day”, and the headlines didn’t get any better from there.

👉 Amongst a raft of job losses were some very high-profile departures including Chief Revenue Officer Kurt Burnette, Chief Marketing and Audience Officer Mel Hopkins, and Head of Sport and MD of Seven Melbourne Lewis Martin.

👉 It then revealed a “new operating model”, which will see the media giant (well, perhaps former giant) operate under three divisions: Television, Digital and Western Australia.

👉 As Tim Burrowes wrote earlier this week: “Last night it emerged that Seven West Media has axed its sales chief Kurt Burnette, marketing chief Melissa Hopkins and sport chief Lewis Martin. Factor in the departure of CEO James Warburton, legal chief Bruce McWilliam and news chief Craig McPherson in April, and the leadership of Australia’s most watched TV network has changed almost entirely in just two months. Among Australia’s big media companies, that’s unprecedented.”

👉 If it’s a sign of things to come, it would appear the threats to local media are only growing.

The Fun Stuff

Quote of the Week: “Well, the world is hopefully growing and changing in the right direction. We’re getting better instead of worse and becoming more conscious. That’s what I hope, anyway. And what you hope with movies is that you’re part of creating an atmosphere where people can challenge themselves. And very often now, when I’m in my 50s and 60s, I ask myself the question of “Why isn’t that guy talking? Why are you talking?”” – Jodie Foster with Robert Downey Jr. in Variety’s Actors on Actors series.

📺 Show of the Week: Austin on the ABC is heart-wrenching and heart-warming. “A best-selling, but recently cancelled, children's author has a meltdown when approached by Austin, a neurodivergent 20-something claiming to be his son.” It’s streaming now on ABC iView.

Team Tidbit: Here’s Sound Story’s Maddie Koczanowski showcasing all that Spotify has to offer at Parliament House on Monday!

Written by
Sound Story
Sound Story is Australia’s leading strategic communications consultancy for the creative industries with clients spanning music, media, advertising and technology.
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