Hollywood’s red carpet changed the face of PR in Australia

    Award-winning journalist Leisa Goddard brought the idea of Electronic Press Kits from America to pioneer the use of Video News Releases in Australia, helping organisations in a range of sectors, from the arts to resources to charities, gain millions of dollars of media coverage.


    With excessive demand for interviews, Hollywood actors have long relied on EPKs, Electronic Press Kits, to provide journalists with interview snippets and overlay to promote new films.

    The roughly cut packages are provided via a digital link to newsrooms across America and the globe, enabling editors and reporters to put together their own stories. It means stars don’t have to conduct thousands of interviews but enables producers to gain the all-important media coverage they need about their upcoming projects.

    Award-winning journalist Leisa Goddard was Network Ten’s United States Bureau Chief from 2004 to 2007, and saw first-hand how helpful EPKs could be. She reported live from the Oscars, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Emmys and covered countless movie premieres. EPKs were provided to her for movie including Davinci Code, Happy Feet, and Batman Begins, featuring interview ‘grabs’ with the likes of Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

    “I saw how EPKs helped not only the cast, producers, and directors of films but us as journalists too,” Ms Goddard said.

    “As a foreign correspondent, my ‘territory’ covered all of North and South America, sometimes even across to Asia and Europe if a story was big enough, so if a major situation unfolded, I needed to jump on a plane and be there. The EPKs meant I could still file the ‘colour’, lighter stories that people wanted to see, even if I couldn’t be at the press event in person.”

    When Ms Goddard returned to Australia, she realised how TV newsrooms were missing out covering stories because they did not a camera crew to send. When she founded public relations firm Adoni Media, Ms Goddard launched the company with a focus on providing a solution to that problem and offering her take on an EPK, a Video News Release, or VNR.

    “I thought the idea of an EPK or VNR shouldn’t be limited to just major movie premieres. Australia is such a vast place, and we have a small media market. I knew if we could offer strong stories through VNRs, journalists who couldn’t get to a location or who needed to cover another story that day could still use our vision and audio to tell the story.”

    For nearly 10 years, Adoni Media has been using VNRs to successfully gain coverage for clients across a range of sectors.

    When Sydney’s new premier arts destination, The Sydney Coliseum opened in 2019, its launch day coincided with some of the worst bushfires the country had ever seen. Reporters were understandably spread across the state covering the emergency and no camera crews were able to attend the theatre launch, but the VNR shot by Adoni Media led to national coverage across all three major networks, with stories appearing on Seven News, Ten News, Nine News and the Today Show.

    When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited Queensland’s Fraser Island, Adoni Media prepared a VNR which showcased the resort the royal couple stayed in. Reporters weren’t allowed access or able to go behind the scenes, so the VNR created a new angle, and importantly fresh footage, for news bulletins. The VNR was used by national and international media outlets, giving Kingfisher Bay Resort coverage not just across Queensland and Australia, but the world.

    And when Australian Wildlife Conservancy wanted to promote its new partnership with an indigenous organisation in outback Australia, the location was far too remote for reporters to attend. A VNR which combined news grabs with footage of Western Australia’s Kimberley region led to national coverage across Ten News, NITV and GWN, valued at almost $180,000.

    From an idea sparked while covering LA’s world-famous red carpets, Adoni Media pioneered the use of VNRs here in Australia. VNRs are now proving to be a vital part of any PR strategy and are being increasingly used across all sectors in Australia, helping organisations and individuals gain valuable media coverage in radio, online and television news.