The 10 most influential people in Australian culture in 2017

2017 Australian Financial Review Magazine Cultural Power List revealed

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The makers of Australian Ninja Warrior, Carl and Mark Fennessy, are Australia’s most culturally powerful people.

The makers of Australian Ninja Warrior, Carl and Mark Fennessy, are Australia’s most culturally powerful people, according to the 2017 Australian Financial Review Magazine Cultural Power List.

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Endemol Shine Australia CEOs Carl and Mark Fennessy, the producers behind TV smashes MasterChef, Offspring, Australian Survivor and Australian Ninja Warrior, debut at No.1 off the back of their pervasive influence across TV genres and channels.

Carl and Mark Fennessy of Endemol Shine Australia. Photo: James Brickwood

Carl and Mark Fennessy of Endemol Shine Australia. Photo: James Brickwood

In a time where video-on-demand platforms are at an unprecedented high, a total of 15 Endemol Shine shows were broadcast on free-to-air across Seven, Nine, Ten and SBS networks over the past year.

The company’s greatest ratings success for 2017 – Australian Ninja Warrior – averaged more viewers than the Rio Olympics and became the most-watched new TV show in five years.

Coming in at No.2 on the List is the AFL Women’s League which, in its inaugural season, drew around 200,000 match-goers, 5.6 million combined TV viewers and made female players such as Erin Phillips household names.

Gold Logie-winner and social commentator Waleed Aly also features on the List at No.4.

Aly’s ‘Something We Should Talk About’ editorials on Network Ten’s The Project and his ability to engage politicians and tackle current affairs in ways that resonate with Generation Y justified his inclusion as one of Australia’s top cultural power brokers.

Rebel Wilson debuts on the List at No.9 after her recent legal triumph over Bauer Media, while Megan Davis and the Referendum Council enter at No.7 following the landmark Statement from the Heart in June 2017.

The 2017 Cultural Power List includes five women, two indigenous figures, YouTube stars, three actresses and one openly gay person.

“The 2017 Cultural Power List, out of all the rankings in this year’s Power issue, gives the greatest snapshot of the diversity existing within Australian society at present,” said Matthew Drummond, Editor, Australian Financial Review Magazine.

“In particular, we see the greatest representation from women and minority groups, who exert a significantly higher degree of power in Australia’s cultural space than in areas like politics and business.”

Cultural power, for the purpose of the AFR Magazine’s Power issue, is measured by a person’s ability to define what it means to be Australian.

The 2017 AFR Magazine Cultural Power List was decided by an independent panel of key decision-makers from across Australia’s creative and media industries.

Panellists included Oscar-winning actress, Rachel Griffiths, CEO of Screen Australia, Graeme Mason, Head of Strategic Events at University of NSW, Ann Mossop and Chief Creative officer of PwC, Russel Howcroft, among others.

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