Rachel Launders – GC Powerlist
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Australia 2022

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Rachel Launders

General Counsel and Company Secretary | Nine Entertainment

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    Australia 2022

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    Rachel Launders

    General Counsel and Company Secretary | Nine Entertainment

    Team size: 17

    What are the most significant cases and/or transactions that your legal team has recently been involved in?

    There has been a significant amount of regulatory change affecting our industry recently both actual and proposed ones. This has included the News Media Bargaining Code, which was a legislated response to the issues identified by the ACCC in its Digital Platforms Review, about the imbalance of bargaining power between media organisations and digital platforms, and the value which news media content provides to digital platforms. As a result of that Code, we were able to negotiate deals with both Google and Facebook, which will deliver significant financial benefits to Nine in coming years. Just before Christmas 2021, Nine signed a new deal with the National Rugby League for broadcast rights for 2023-2027. Rugby league has been an important part of Nine’s annual programming for close to 30 years, so extending this deal for a further five years ensures a key part of our schedule is secure.

    How do you feel the pandemic has changed the world of work for in-house counsel and the function of the general counsel?  

    I have looked at more force majeure clauses in the last two years, than in the rest of my career and found they do not tend to work very well. The pandemic has focused minds on the consequences of living in a world where everyday business activities can be shut down on noticeably short notice, for an unspecified length of time. Negotiating agreements which reflect a fair way for that risk to be allocated, will be an ongoing challenge for in-house counsel. I am now much more open to remote working than I was a couple of years ago, as the experience has been that it can work well, if people communicate well and often. While many people have worked remotely for some time, the pandemic has normalised this and that will be a permanent change. Working out how to keep positive team dynamics, support information sharing and decide on the optimal mix of remote/in-office time will be the challenge for leaders generally, including general counsel.

    Looking forward, what technological advancements do you feel will impact the role of in-house legal teams in the future the most?

    My answer to this is more about technological changes affecting the way businesses operate, rather than technological advances which are specific to the way in which in-house legal teams work and provide services to the business. As more of business and life in general is conducted using technology such as websites, apps, crypto, NFTs, businesses will be collecting an ever-increasing amount of data about their customers and users. Protection of that data, and protection of an individual’s privacy will take on increasing importance. This is reflected in the government’s current review of the Privacy Act which is looking to significantly increase the scope of privacy regulation and powers of the Privacy Commissioner. Keeping across those changes will be a growing area of importance of in-house legal teams, as they help the business navigate how a business can collect and use data about its customers or users.

    Rachel Launders - Australia 2019

    General counsel and company secretary | Nine Entertainment

    What are the most important transactions and litigations that you have been involved in during the last two years? Amongst many others, Nine acquiring the rights to the Australian Open...

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    Rachel Launders - Australia 2018

    General counsel and company secretary | Nine Entertainment

    An ASX listed media company with a range of different assets including the major Australian free-to-air television channel Nine Network, Nine Entertainment is a historic organisation in the context of...

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