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Volume 6 No. 262


When Amazon commissioned a behind-the-scenes documentary series on the All Blacks, the production promised to be on "a level we've never seen before," according to Tom Pullar-Strecker of STUFF. However, sources said that "there have been major misgivings about early work done on the documentary." One industry insider said that New Zealand Rugby had been "very unhappy" -- a claim NZR denied -- and that the documentary had required "major repair work." The sources "believed producers might have had their work cut out gathering compelling material" from the All Blacks, who were "close-knit and polished media performers," not open to "outsiders." One source said, "It is all about themselves and their team, and that's it." Another said that despite having a budget of about NZ$20M ($14.6M), "there was talk the series might be cut from an originally-planned eight episodes down to just six." Warner Bros, which is co-producing the documentary for Amazon, "had drafted in an additional post-production expert" from the U.S. at Amazon's request to "try to sort out issues with the footage and audio, they said." Amazon "would not comment on that or other claims." But NZ Rugby CCO Nick Brown said that both Amazon and NZ Rugby were "very happy with the content capture and the production process so far" (STUFF, 1/14).

Formula 1 is still "nowhere" compared to rival sports in the world of social media "despite reporting a huge boost in interaction," former Williams F1 Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds said, according to Newbold & Barretto of MOTORSPORT. Last week, F1 reported it had 11.9 million followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, which represents a rise of 54.9% from '16. Symonds, who last year joined the team of specialists working under F1 Managing Dir Ross Brawn that is tasked with "helping define F1's future direction," said that there was "so much more that could be done." Symonds: "When you read it, it looks like good news but in reality, we are nowhere. We're so far behind. If you just look at Facebook, Mercedes are there at over 10 million against 95.5 million for Barcelona" (MOTORSPORT, 1/15).

Maytree, a charity which provides support for suicide, teamed with youth football network Copa90 to "create an awareness campaign designed to help tackle suicide among young men," according to Nicola Kemp of CAMPAIGN LIVE. Copa90 "created two online films to encourage men to talk about their mental health" rather than remaining silent, with the "underlying message that communication saves lives." One film features ex-footballer Leon McKenzie "opening up about his battle with depression and his attempted suicide and how he got through it." In other films, "football fans who have lost friends and loved ones share their experiences." The project came together after Copa90 was approached by Innocean Worldwide, Hyundai Motor Company's global advertising division, which had worked with the football network previously. The campaign will run across the Copa90 network beginning this week (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 1/15).

Sky Sports was outbid for the Irish rights to Pro14 matches by eir Sport, which will take over from next season. Sky's strategy was based on having the rights for both the U.K. and Ireland. Having lost out in the Emerald Isle, it "will now not be involved at all." Pay-TV and free-to-air companies are reportedly now involved in bidding for the rights in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and "potentially" England (WALES ONLINE, 1/15). rolled out the seminal film history of motor race 24 Hours of Le Mans, thanks to a partnership agreement between race organizer the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and Motorsport Network. The archive includes more than 70 films covering the race since '33. will also feature future races to ensure an unbroken film record (Motorsport).

Late last year, Channel 9 announced a "major shakeup" for the "NRL Footy Show," cutting ties with Darryl Brohman and "painting a giant question mark over Beau Ryan's contract." Longtime host Paul Vautin was also "given the boot" after 23 years. On Monday, the network announced Ryan and Brohman's regular segments would "get another lease on life," with the former players returning to TV screens in '18 after all. Vautin's hosting gig was not "resuscitated" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 1/15).

We.Stream and Sky Sports agreed to a pilot of the company's secure mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Sky Sports Technical Manager Ian Brash said, "Through We.Stream, we will have secure, cost-effective data access in over 100 countries for the first time. Our partners can be assured that any confidential information they share with us is in safe hands and is received instantly" (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 1/15).

CBC and Radio-Canada partnered with Telelatino Network Inc. to give Canadians access to coverage of the Olympic Games in Italian and Spanish for the next two editions as well as in Portuguese for Tokyo 2020 (CBC/Radio-Canada).