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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

AUSTRALIA

Australia is recognised for having a creative and technologically advanced media industry. While distinguished for also being economically advanced, the media market is highly concentrated with four dominant organisations.


Research findings published by IBIS World in June 2016 also show:s ‘The industry’s four largest players, News Australia, Fairfax Media, Seven West Media and APN News and Media, are estimated to account for over 90% of industry revenue in 2015-16.’


The Digital News Report 2016, published by the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute states: ‘Australia has a high concentration of traditional media ownership dominated by News Corporation and Fairfax Media who together own the majority of national and capital city newspapers.’


In other developments, the sports sector is vibrant with pay-television network Fox Sports seeing a ratings increase of 5 per cent.


In December 2016, the Football Federation Australia (FFA) and Fox Sports announced a six-year deal, worth AUD 346 million, to screen the all A-League games live until 2023.  


The deal, which starts on 01 July 2017, is expected to accelerate growth across the country and is described by the FFA as “a quantum leap for football in Australia”.


FFA chairman Steven Lowy said: “Our game has never seen a deal of this magnitude before.”


He continued: “This six-year agreement gives us the certainty to continue to implement our strategy to grow the Hyundai A-League and the Westfield W-League and invest more in grassroots football development and the women’s game.”


FFA CEO David Gallop also noted: “We have seen the enormous impact that our current marketing and marquee player strategies are having.”


He added: “This year TV audiences, crowds and club memberships are all up and it is our intention to re-double our efforts in these areas under the new deal.”



TIER 1

With a broadcasting specialisation, Corrs Chambers Westgarth has leading expertise in communications, media, entertainment and technology. The firm’s work on corporate transactional cases includes Southern Cross Media’s takeover of Austereo Group Limited in a AUD 724 million deal. Lawyers have notable experience advising on broadcasting, spectrum licensing and commercial radio. Thomas Jones is highlighted by clients who say “He marries a strong knowledge of the black letter law with a desire to develop the most effective and creative legal strategy.”   


Gilbert + Tobin is one of Asia Pacific’s leading firms for media law. The practice is known for advising on distribution and licensing of digital content, social media and digital platform matters. The team acts for recording companies, film industry associations and studios. In highlighted work lawyers advised the ABC on the renewal of its agreement with Broadcast Australia for its analogue transmission services nationwide. The media division works closely with the firm’s M&A team on restructurings, media public listings and private equity acquisitions and divestments.


MinterEllison is highly reputed for its world class defamation law advice. Clients describe lawyers as “disciplined, calm and able to react quickly to changing circumstances”. The team works with clients on cross-media ownership, copyright licensing, broadcasting and online content regulation. Head of department Peter Bartlett is widely recognised for his leadership in cases of defamation, and prepublication advice. This experience includes acting for clients including Fairfax, Bloomberg, Seven Media and Network Ten.


TIER 2

With broad industry coverage, Ashurst works across segments. Led by Tim Brookes and Mark Lubbock, the team assists with matters involving e-commerce, data protection, intellectual property, gaming and commercial contracts. Lawyers advise on transactional and regulatory matters, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and structured finance.


Atanaskovic Hartnell’s corporate and commercial department is focussed on transactional,

regulatory and disputes within the TMT sector. Under the leadership of John Atanaskovic, the team advises on convergence of telecommunications and media, foreign investment restrictions, spectrum allocation and reallocation, carriage and content services and datacasting. Other areas of specialisation include joint ventures, licence rights and obligations.


Baker McKenzie’s Brisbane office has a dedicated media and content practice group that works with new and established media entities in free-to-air television, pay television, radio, online service providers and multimedia companies. Andrew Stewart and Adrian J. Lawrence are the firm’s primary contacts for media who focus on defamation, pre-broadcast contempt, intellectual property and information technology.

 

Full service firm King & Wood Mallesons specialises in all aspects of TMT with particular emphasis on the entertainment sector. Lawyers have substantial cross-border capabilities and advise on national broadband rollouts, regulatory reform and compliance, network access agreements and disputes. The firm represents clients in broadcasting, print, social media and gaming sectors. In representative work, the team acted for Universal Music on its acquisition of EMI’s recorded music business and its subsequent divestiture sale of nine recorded music assets.


TIER 3

Allens is recognised for its work in mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures in the media and technology sectors. Head of the TMT group, Niranjan Arasaratnam, has advised on numerous media licensing and procurement projects in Australia and Asia. Among work, the team acted for Disney on mobile application development agreements and commercial and licensing arrangements. Lawyers also advised NBCUniversal on corporate transactions.   


Clayton Utz combines commercial and regulatory experience. The firm has a strong position in the national market and is noted for its work on corporate and transactional issues involving mergers and acquisitions. Sydney-based partners Bruce Lloyd  and Kate Jordan lead the division advising on content arrangements and IT outsourcing, copyright and other intellectual property issues and commercial litigation.


Herbert Smith Freehills is known for its work in disputes and risk management in all areas of the TMT sector. The team includes litigators, arbitrators and mediators. Regularly advising broadcasters and content providers, lawyers are adept case handlers advising on disputes about ownership and control, access to networks, regulation and competition, content rights and agreements. Clients include BskyB, Microsoft and Telstra.


McCullough Robertson lawyers have more than two decades of experience assisting broadcasters with cases of defamation and contempt. Malcolm McBratney manages the media group, working with Bill Morrissey and the wider team on entertainment transactions. Team experience includes advising on music, film production, television licensing and production contracts and publishing agreements.


Webb Henderson specialises in high value corporate, commercial and regulatory matters. Founded by Angus Henderson, a former Gilbert + Tobin partner, the firm is best known for its emphasis on the communications sector. Ara Margossian is highlighted by peers for his experience advising broadcasters and telecom operators. In representative work the team assisted Foxtel, a leading pay-television provider, with its launch of triple play services in Australia.


TIER 4

Addisons groups media and intellectual property providing services across a range of media segments. The team advises on contractual and strategic matters, including pre-publication clearances, advertising contracts, sponsorship and talent agreements. Other aspects of work include digital media and regulatory issues. Key contacts include Karen Hayne and Martin O’Connor who specialise in commercial and litigation matters respectively.


Maddocks has global experience advising on digital matters including content application deals with Fox Sports and online marketing and promotional strategies. The practice is also recognised for its work involving broadcasting, recording and publishing clients from regions including Japan, Europe and the US.


Top

Ranking and editorials

TIER 1

Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Gilbert + Tobin

MinterEllison


TIER 2

Ashurst

Atanaskovic Hartnell

Baker McKenzie

King & Wood Mallesons


TIER 3

Allens

Clayton Utz

Herbert Smith Freehills

McCullough Robertson

Webb Henderson


TIER 4

Addisons

Banki Haddock Fiora

DLA Piper

Johnson Winter & Slattery

Maddocks


TIER 5

HWL Ebsworth

Norton Rose Fulbright

Piper Alderman

Simpsons Solicitors

RANKING AND EDITORIALS

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