Friday August 25 2017
As he toured Sydney media as part of a publicity blitz ahead of the first episode of Seven’s Little Big Shots, Shane Jacobson spent time with Mediaweek talking about his hosting role.
Mediaweek stayed on topic for the first half of the interview, but we weren’t going to let the opportunity pass without hearing about four new movies he has been working on, plus chatting about his time on Top Gear, his friendship with Clarkson, Hammond and May, and his work on the wonderful ABC TV series Time Of Our Lives.
Seven Days hits the road this week with Mediaweek‘s James Manning and Kruti Joshi travelling to the News Corp office in Sydney to meet this week’s special guest and Stellar editor-in-chief Sarrah Le Marquand.
Kruti Joshi visited Sarah Oakes at the Bauer Media office on Park St in Sydney recently to talk about the changes coming to Gourmet Traveller, celebrity chefs, plus the evolution of food and travel.
Joining James Manning and James Daggar-Nickson on the show:
• Hugh Marks, CEO, Nine Entertainment Co
• Jackie Frank, GM fashion beauty & health, Pacific Magazines
Sky News Business Channel
Channel 602: Foxtel
|ABC ME||0.8%||7mate||3.2%||GEM||1.8%||ELEVEN||2.7%||Food Net||0.7%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||Ten Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC||9.3%||7||17.5%||9||22.5%||10 NNSW||2.7%||SBS One||5.3%|
|ABC ME||0.9%||7mate||4.3%||GEM||3.3%||ONE||4.4%||Food Net||0.9%|
|THURSDAY METRO ALL TV|
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2017. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
16-39 Top 5
18-49 Top 5
25-54 Top 5
The channel traded under 16% primary share for a second consecutive Thursday, getting beat up in the major markets where it trailed Nine in Sydney and Melbourne by over 10 points.
7TWO was over 5% though, which helped make the combined channel share more competitive.
Home and Away ended its week on 631,000 after two nights just over 700,000 and another just under.
Dads Make You Laugh Out Loud seems an unlikely name for a comedy with the show drawing 449,000. It struggled in Melbourne with 99,000 where Michael Portillo had a bigger crowd on SBS at 7.30pm.
The Front Bar did 175,000 in Melbourne and 244,000 across three markets. The show was more competitive against The Footy Show, trailing by about 60,000.
There were new revelations about missing boy William Tyrell on A Current Affair, which pushed the audience up to 891,000 – the biggest audience this week and the biggest Thursday audience this year.
Live NRL followed and viewers only had to wait 11 seconds for the first try. There were 508,000 watching with 262,000 in Sydney and 246,000 in Brisbane.
The AFL Footy Show started early and featured the My Room telethon, which raised over $1m and celebrities on board included Andy Lee. The episode saw the audience slip again – since the Eddie McGuire relaunch the numbers have trended from 361,000 to 295,000 to 237,000 last night.
Last night’s episode of The Bachelor sounded a lot like an episode of UnReal, the American drama exclusive to Stan that satirises the dating genre. Get this dialogue quoted by Fairfax’s Aja Styles:
Jennifer quickly cast herself as a villain on The Bachelor Australia but to hear her tell it during Thursday’s episode, she was the victim of “mean girls” in the mansion.
“I’m so over these bitches, I just want to go home. I’m so above Mean Girls, I graduated high school ages ago,” she cried to one of the show’s producers.
“I know what I just did was game changing. I know it was game changing for him, I know it was game changing out there, I know it was game changing for me, I know that.
“I’m the game-changer, not a game-changer.”
The episode was TEN’s best with 736,000 after 787,000 on Thursday last week.
The Wrong Girl has moved to Thursday and the new season launched with 391,000 which was smaller than any of the first season numbers. The show launched with 824,000 last year.
Earlier in the night The Wrong Girl’s Madeleine West was talking about the drama series on The Project with 614,000 watching.
Common Sense was given a big rap by Corrie Perkin in her Crocmedia Don’t Shoot The Messenger podcast with Caroline Wilson last week, but the endorsement came too late. The series ended last night on 163,000.
7.30 didn’t quite make it to half a million and then the next best later in the night was Pulse on 392,000. The medical drama did 410,000 last week.
Short Cuts To Glory did 338,000 after 356,000 last week.
Great British Railway Journeys was not far off the top 30 with 338,000.
Gourmet Farmer followed with 266,000, down from 306,000 last week.
A big lift in regional ad revenue was key to strong results released by Southern Cross Austereo. The company reported an overall revenue lift of 7.5% to $691m with underlying net profit up 22% to $94m.
Metro revenue was up marginally by 2% to $247m, but regional revenue jumped 10% to $421m.
SCA noted the regional radio change was driven by the transition of audiences to the Nine Network which was previously broadcast into major regional markets by WIN. There was also growth in regional radio revenue, dollars that have now grown for six consecutive years.
Regional ad revenues could continue to be strong in the new financial year following the completion of the radio network rebranding and the impact of improved Nine ratings.
SCA and Nine have also partnered on new regional news bulletins which has seen the integration of 107 journalists in regional offices. Nine pays for the employees as part of the increased affiliation fees paid by SCA.
The company noted the development of new revenue streams including PodcastOne and the Mall Media initiative which was announced yesterday.
The company didn’t waste any time on the analysts call this morning which last for just nine minutes.
Prime CEO Ian Audsley said:
“This is a pleasing result, especially given the continuing challenges in the regional television advertising market. We were able to successfully monetise the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games and of course, like all commercial broadcasters, we were beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s use of its regulatory powers to remove licence fees payable as a one-off relief measure. As a result of the licence fee relief in FY17, Core NPAT was $35.6 million, exceeding our expectations for this financial year.”
Regarding the outlook, Audsley said: “Regional television remains under revenue pressure at both national agency and local sales levels. We expected the full-year earnings outlook to be 25% to 30% down on the 2017 financial year, given we don’t have the benefits of the Rio Olympics and licence fee relief in the current year. However, our July 2017 trading results were 10% below expectations and the outlook for the remainder of the calendar year remains challenged.
“We have high expectations for the Commonwealth Games in April 2018 but it is too early forecast.”
It’s believed bullish targets for advertising revenue share from Ten’s free-to-air rivals Nine Entertainment and Seven West Media have cooled the ambitions of Oaktree Capital Management.
However, fellow distressed debt giant Anchorage Capital Group is still in the race.
Murdoch and Gordon are understood to have lobbed a “respectable” bid.
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Darren Davidson reports in The Australian:
Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon have bid an estimated $250m for Ten:
Ten’s receivers could announce as early as today that the joint bid by Murdoch and Gordon has conditional backing.
Gordon cannot buy Ten because of the reach rule preventing a television network from broadcasting to more than 75% of the Australian population.
Murdoch is impeded by the two-out-of-three ownership cap to block control of a newspaper, television network and radio station in the same market.
There may be a way around the laws, however, if the government can’t convince senator Nick Xenophon to vote to repeal media ownership and concentration laws enacted in the 1980s, when Facebook, Amazon and co were inconceivable.
In theory, Murdoch and Gordon could structure a new proposal to reduce their voting stakes in Ten below 15%, while increasing their economic interest, but this is far from certain.
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Fairfax Media’s John McDuling looks at the potential float of Foxtel on the sharemarket:
It may take a couple of years before Foxtel actually lands on the ASX – but the prospect of that happening is hugely significant. Not just because of its iconic owners, and the impact a severing of ties between Telstra and News Corp may have on sports broadcast rights.
It could be a tough sell. Foxtel is facing threats from cheaper streaming services such as Netflix and Stan (part owned by Fairfax Media), and despite an increase in “cord cutting”, prices paid for rights to sporting content have yet to subside.
Telstra’s most recent annual results show that revenue for Foxtel declined by 3% last financial year to $3.2 billion, and profits more than halved to $132 million. Meanwhile, subscriber numbers dipped for the first time on record, falling 5% to 2.8 million.
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Radio Adelaide has let go of five staff in the wake of a “disappointing” outcome to its Radiothon membership drive, reports News Corp’s Sophie Perri.
In a newsletter emailed to staff on Tuesday, the Radio Adelaide board informed the station that five staff, including general manager Rob Popplestone and breakfast presenter/producer Jennie Lenman, would be let go in September.
The non-profit radio station, established by Adelaide University in 1972, launched a Radiothon membership drive in July to raise $150,000 after making a $400,000 loss last financial year.
Board chairman Iain Evans, who was appointed last year to take charge of the community station’s financial future, said the redundancies were made because “revenue wasn’t meeting expenditure” but was confident the station would be “fine”.
The station reached a confidential settlement with the ABC in March over 891 ABC Adelaide’s name change to ABC Radio Adelaide.
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CNN will provide a daily show that runs at 6am HKT, and produce breaking news segments.
Tapping into the largest global newsgathering operation, reporting from CNN’s own anchors, correspondents and reporters will publish on Snapchat throughout each day and timezone, with rolling updates as news breaks. Each show will feature five or more stories from CNN’s team around the world, further cementing CNN as a key source of breaking news for Snapchatters.
“We are introducing our brilliant cast of world class anchors and reporters to a young audience in a smart, accessible way with The Update,” said Samantha Barry, CNN’s executive producer for social and emerging media.
“In today’s news environment, people are hungry for news and they want a quick update of where things are at within one tap of their phone. So, we’re serving that up, speaking their language and delivering it in beautiful, vertical, mobile friendly video.”
The 2018 contest will mark Australia’s fourth year of competing at the event, following Guy Sebastian‘s participation in 2015, Dami Im in 2016, and Isaiah Firebrace in Kyiv, Ukraine earlier this year.
Eurovision will be broadcast on SBS in May 2018, and will be hosted by Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey, who return after their Eurovision debut in Uktraine this year.
The Eurovision Song Contest is the world’s largest television music competition and in 2017, the Semi Finals and Grand Final attracted 182 million viewers worldwide and reached more than three million Australians.
SBS has been the home of the Eurovision Song Contest in Australia for more than 30 years.
SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid said: “SBS is proud to secure Australia’s return as competitors in the Eurovision Song Contest for the fourth year, as the country’s unique affection and passion for Eurovision continues to grow.”
Australian head of delegation and director of Blink TV, Paul Clarke, said: “It’s wonderful that we’re back! In the three years that we have competed in Eurovision we have achieved huge success, ranking second in the results overall behind Sweden. It’s an exciting challenge for us to find a competitor who can fly the flag high for Australia, and we can’t wait to begin that search.”
Taking out the top prize from a record number of submissions are Sara Hilgendorf, QLD Ecosystem Planning Manager at Carat, Simon Conyard, NSW Digital Associate Manager at MEC, and Melissa Lum, VIC Digital Executive at Mediacom. They will soon jet off to NYC to attend Advertising Week, billed as the world’s premier event for marketing, brand, advertising and technology professionals, courtesy of Yahoo7.
Judges selected three of the winners at the throwdown finals held at Yahoo7’s Sydney HQ last night, with the fourth, Vartika Arora, VIC Campaign Engineer at Cadreon, taking out the People’s Choice award at the event.
This year’s Digital Stars prize includes return flights and accommodation in New York City for the winners, where as delegates at Advertising Week, they will rub shoulders with media giants like Arianna Huffington, Co-founder of The Huffington Post, Jayanta Jenkins, Global Group Creative Director at Twitter and Melanie Whelan, CEO of SoulCycle. They have also won a photo shoot for professional headshots, a $500 Visa gift card and mentorship opportunities with senior leaders at Yahoo7.
The Australian winners will be joined by Josh Reiri-Allen, Senior Digital Manager, from Carat’s Auckland office, who took out the New Zealand Digital Stars prize.
Photo: Bottom Left to Right (seated): Melissa Lum (winner), Stefanie Crisafi (finalist), Paul Sigaloff (Chief Revenue Officer), Lara Calder-Potts (finalist), Simon Conyard (winner).
Top Left to Right (standing): Vartika Arora (People’s Choice), Angeline Hartono (finalist), Kate Patterson (finalist), Sara Hilgendorf (winner), Andrew Lim (finalist)
All Australian skipper and Seven’s Daisy Pearce will lead Victoria along with Sarah Perkins, Lauren Arnell and Collingwood skipper Steph Chiocci. The Allies also feature a cavalcade of stars including Bulldogs co-captain Katie Brennan, Chelsea Randall and Tayla Harris.
Women’s football legend Debbie Lee will coach Victoria, while inaugural AFLW premiership coach, Bec Goddard from the Adelaide Crows, will lead the Allies.
Before the bounce, Seven’s coverage will feature some of the biggest and most inspirational players in women’s football. Docker Dana Hooker talks about being a mother and transitioning back into football. Sarah Perkins reflects on her stellar year with the Crows as the star full-forward. Erin Phillips reflects on winning the AFLW best and fairest award.
Hamish McLachlan will host the broadcast with Jason Bennett and Nigel Carmody calling the on-field action, alongside premiership player Abbey Holmes in expert commentary. Field commentator Sam Lane will interview the stars of the game.
The agreement will deliver mass distribution of the game across metropolitan and regional radio and online audiences in Australia and New Zealand commencing from the 2017/18 Hyundai A-League season.
As the radio master rights holder, Crocmedia will establish the Football Nation brand for football fans to connect with the sport. It will include live match calls and ancillary programming broadcast via Australian and New Zealand radio and streamed online via a-league.com.au as well as myfootballnation.com.
Football Nation will broadcast on the Super Radio Network which includes 2SM in Sydney and 21 regional stations across NSW and South East Queensland, Fiveaa in Adelaide, 6PR in Perth and other markets soon to be announced.
Crocmedia CEO Craig Hutchison said the company would leverage its other media assets and programs to drive interest and excitement in football.
“As well as broadcasting the biggest matches on Football Nation, we’ll use our broader programming ecosystem to grow the A-League fan base and build the profile of its players.”
“This will include parochial content to support clubs in their local markets to help them drive memberships and game attendances,” he added.
In the deal, Crocmedia has also secured big screen and LED boundary signage rights at all Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League games.
Forget Dustin Martin or Josh Kelly, Channel 7 will have the biggest recruits in footy next year, reports News Corp’s Al Paton.
Champions Luke Hodge and Nick Riewoldt are set to step straight from retirement into new frontline roles at the AFL’s free-to-air TV broadcaster.
Both have impeccable pedigrees and are polished media performers after several years preparing for the transition into life after playing.
Hodge joined the Channel 7 team last weekend and earnt rave reviews. He has been doing the job on an occasional basis for a while and is likely to be a regular face on Friday nights in 2018.
“I’ve been doing a fair bit with the media for the past few years just preparing for when football was to finish, and at this stage that’s probably the way I’d look to go,” he said on SEN last week.
Hodge is also set to be a regular on Triple M radio.
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TV critic Andrew Mercado‘s rundown on what to watch on the box next week:
Seven had great success a few weeks back rebranding a UK special as an episode of Sunday Night, so they’re doing it again this weekend with the Channel 4 controversial doco about the Princess of Wales chatting “candidly” to her speech coach (aka a Coronation Street actor).
SBS also gets in on the act this Sunday with a look at Diana‘s relationship with the paps, and then they continue the theme all week with many more Royal specials.
Seven has one more Di card up its sleeve: the fast-tracked Diana 7 Days, which will also feature her top-rating sons Princes William and Harry. And after all this, on Thursday, the 20th anniversary of her actual death, there is … nothing on FTA – only National Geo and History specials on Foxtel.
Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney didn’t quite “krack” it with their ABC Comedy Showroom pilot, but they have nailed it this time by heading back into familiar territory that echoes their web series The Katering Show.
This time they are hosting a disastrously bad talk show that airs for half an hour in the middle of the night, and plays in real time. There are lots of gags about the hosts struggling to stay awake and their “guests” are equally as amusing, with lots of well known names popping in and popping up (Sam Neill is particularly amusing in the first ep). Sadly, there is just one send-up of the type of infomercials all these shows thrive on – more of this, please. Recommended.
The first series of this was delightful in parts, but there was also a disconcerting sameness about it as well. And instead of rejigging its premise for a (frankly, surprise) second series, it’s more of the same… although Jessica Marais‘ hair does seem to be a bit darker this year. Last year The Wrong Girl took over Offspring’s Wednesday timeslot, but now it has snuck in, under the radar, to Thursday nights – obviously in a bid to retain The Bachelor’s audience. But here’s the problem – both Offspring and The Wrong Girl are about a wacky blonde’s life love (OK, Marais is now honey blonde). And her complicated extended family. And it’s set in Melbourne. Sorry, but this is just the wrong show to play the same time as Offspring.
The long running ABC Radio program Australia All Over recently celebrated its 35th birthday with an outside broadcast from Blackall in Queensland.
The Sunday morning program’s host Ian McNamara, aka Macca, is not big on milestones, but he did admit to Mediaweek, “It’s nice that people still enjoy the program after all that time. It has been hard to take it all in. I am not a boastful person, but it’s nice to be able to continue to do the program and maintain its popularity.”
Despite having what looks like a dream job, Macca has been doing the show for a long time, most weeks in a Sydney studio. Does he get a little bit bored? “I still love the program. What keeps me motivated is being able to talk to different people every week. It is good being able to meet people you don’t often hear much about who have nice things to say. They say everybody has a story, but [laughs] not everybody does have a story!
“There are a lot of interesting people we meet who are just getting on with life and doing things. The good thing about radio is that you can hear their voice and their take on the world.”
For the Blackall show Macca said he drove from Sydney to Brisbane, then out to Blackall, covering roughly 4,000km. “We tried to drive at night, but there were so many kangaroos everywhere because it is so bloody dry.
“The drive ended up being quite stressful for much of it and by the time we got back I was buggered. But it is certainly nice to get out of the city into the outback, see the sunsets and hear a different attitude to life. People out of the cities are a bit more relaxed and that washes off on you after a while, which is nice.”
Asian media veteran Tham Loke Kheng, 50, will become Mediacorp’s chief executive and board director on September 1, succeeding Shaun Seow. Tham’s career commenced at Mediacorp’s predecessor – the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation – in 1988, and she worked there for eight years. She has since held senior positions at leading Asian media companies, serving as president of Taiwan Broadband Communications, and as head of PCCW’s NOW TV, the largest pay-TV operator in Hong Kong. In 2015, she was named Content Asia’s Asia Media Woman of the Year in recognition of her contribution to the development of the pay-TV industry in Asia.
Malaysian-based SVOD service iflix has signed a deal with The Walt Disney Company to run films and programs from Marvel Studios, Disney-Pixar Animation Studios and Disney. All new titles will be streamed in HD format with upgraded audio, and more titles will be available in January next year. The two companies will also extend their existing distribution deal for ABC Studio shows including Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Devious Maids, Quantico, Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Once Upon a Time and more.
Reuters reports that Chinese news aggregator Toutiao is raising at least US$2 billion at a valuation of over $20b in its latest funding round. Toutiao, founded in March 2012, is one of the fastest growing tech startups in China, with its valuation surging around forty-fold in three years. Newsfeed platforms are increasingly popular in China due to the huge mobile uptake. Toutiao, or Headlines in Chinese, has about 100 million daily active users and use algorithms and artificial intelligence to choose news, online books, videos and other content for readers.
Mongoose Publishing, publisher of Elle Malaysia, is shutting down the Malaysian editions of Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines. Final editions will be published in September. The two titles were taken over by Mongoose from Blu Inc in early 2015, and Women’s Health quickly became Mongoose’s highest-selling Malaysian print publication. As well as Elle, Mongoose also publishes Esquire Malaysia, Esquire Singapore, Time Out Kuala Lumpur, Time Out Malaysia Kids, Time Out Singapore, Time Out Malaysia guides, and Expatriate Lifestyle.
CNN International commercial has appointed Karen Vera as creative lead for create, Asia Pacific. Vera, based in Hong Kong, will be responsible for leading CNN’s in-house brand studio create in the APAC region. Before joining Create, Vera worked as executive producer, media solutions, at Yahoo! Asia Pacific. She was also the creative lead at PRISM Content Factory, a WPP agency that developed branded content for Ford vehicles and technology in nine markets in Asia Pacific.
Singapore-based film and TV producer mm2 Asia, which is still discussing possible options with Village Cinemas Australia to buy 50% of Golden Village cinemas, posted a 30% first-quarter net profit increase. Its net profit surged to S$6.4 million (A$6m) compared to S$4.9m a year ago. Revenue for the three months to the end of June rose 83% YOY to S$24.6 million from S$13.4m.
Hong Kong’s public broadcasting service Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) will cease its 24-hour BBC World Service radio broadcast on September 4. The BBC service will be replaced with the state-run China National Radio Hong Kong Edition, which features programs including news in Mandarin. The broadcaster said the change was being made because its Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) service was ending at midnight on September 3.
India’s Emerald Media, a pan-Asian outfit established by New York-headquartered private equity firm KKR, will invest more heavily in Southeast Asian media next year. The company, which has a presence in India and Indonesia, plans to spend all of the US$300 million (A$382m) it has in its KKR Asian Fund II coffers by the end of next year, with Southeast Asia expansion earmarked. Emerald Media managing director Rajesh Kamat told DealStreetAsia, “Southeast Asia is home to more than 600 million consumers, with six primary markets – Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines – that stand out due to their growing economies and a rising middle-class consumer.”
Sony Pictures Studios launched a solely-owned affiliate film studio, Sony Pictures Entertainment, in Thailand after splitting from Disney Studios. Sony Pictures Entertainment has also established offices in Malaysia and Singapore, covering the top three movie going countries in the region. Thailand was the market leader but now Malaysia dominates the cinema market after expanding theatres into department stores and retail malls. Thailand’s cinema growth has slowed to about 2%-3% annually over the past three years due to a sluggish economy and competition from online VOD and OTT platforms.
• Singtel’s Group Digital Life reported a first-quarter negative EBITDA of $24 million (A$22.4m), as video-streaming service Hooq spent more on content and operating costs to ramp up business.
• China’s Twitter-like Weibo posted a 184% surge in second-quarter net income to US$73.5 million (A$93.8m), and its revenue for the quarter rose 72% to US$253m. Monthly active users reached 361 million in June, a 28% YOY growth.
• HBO Asia’s first comedy drama series Sent will debut throughout Asia on September 17 on HBO. The half-hour eight-episode series set in Singapore is about a meek financial compliance officer whose habit of drafting searing emails to people who annoy him. His world explodes when hundreds of his draft emails are actually sent out.
• PCCW’s Now TV, the largest pay-TV operator in Hong Kong in terms of number of subscribers, number of channels, number of HD channels and quantity of VOD content, reported a fall in first-half revenue RISE of 3% to HK$1.35 billion (A$218.5m) .
• Hong Kong Television Network executive director and chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay sold his entire stake in the broadcaster to Top Group, a company he co-owns. HKTV also disclosed that its first half loss narrowed to HK$96.2 million from a loss of HK$125.8m (A$15.6m) the year before.
• Cambodia’s top tax official Kong Vibol said the English-language Cambodia Daily newspaper would be shut down on September 4 and its assets seized if it didn’t pay a back tax bill of over US$6 million (A$7.6m).
• Thailand’s leading sports content provider Siam Sport Syndicate has partnered with BeIn Sports Asia Pacific to buy broadcasting rights for popular international football leagues, including matches and highlights from the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, France’s League 1 and Italy’s Serie A.
When veteran Aussie editor David Armstrong began working the Southeast Asian beat in the early 1990s, he confronted a regional phenomenon – the non-media-savvy media owner.
“In Australia, I was working with people who had been in media all their lives,” he says. “People like Rupert Murdoch, Ken Cowley and John Hartigan.
“Often you wouldn’t have to explain why you had done this or that because they knew – they simply understood.
“But in Asia many of the owners, and quite a lot of the bosses, came from other industries and they didn’t understand.
“Overall I found them intrusive rather than interfering. Commercial or political pressure was more common in Asia but I took the view that pressure came with the job – it was my responsibility to resist it or work around it.”
Asia was book end of Armstrong’s long newspaper career, which began in Sydney in 1969 when he was hired as a junior reporter on The Australian after being editor of the University of New South Wales’ magazine, Tharunka.
Almost 40 years later, Armstrong “retired” in 2008 by stepping down as president and chief operating officer of Thailand’s Post Publishing, owner of the Bangkok Post.
Armstrong told Mediaweek, “I started on newspapers and I finished my career on newspapers. Along the way I became the first journalist to begin their career on The Australian to go on and become editor of the paper. It’s a long time ago now but I’m still proud of that.”
Asia first called in 1993, when Armstrong was editor of The Canberra Times – owned by Seven TV network owner Kerry Stokes, who was close to Rupert Murdoch and his right hand man Ken Cowley. They “loaned” Armstrong to The Times for a year to inject fresh ideas.
When the loan was up, Armstrong was sent to Hong Kong as editor of the South China Morning Post which Murdoch then owned.
Six months into that job, Murdoch sold the SCMP to the Kerry Group under billionaire tycoon Robert Kuok, who asked Armstrong to stay on and later upgraded him to editor-in-chief.
In 1996 Armstrong returned to Australia, and to the Murdoch fold, as editor-in-chief of The Australian, a position he held until 2002.
Personal tragedy intervened in 2001 when his wife Deb died age 48. Armstrong didn’t have the motivation to continue, eventually stepping down from his job and, in his mind, quitting newspapers.
The regular Mediaweek television podcast this week features Andrew Mercado and James Manning discussing Hell’s Kitchen Australia, The Block, Top Of The Lake: China Girl and Doctor, Doctor. There was debate about the merits of ABC TV’s medical drama Pulse and Stan’s comedy The Other Guy.
Inside Out editor-in-chief Claire Bradley visited the Mediaweek HQ recently to talk about the magazine’s 150th issue, multiplatform success, the latest trends in design, and renovation reality TV.
A special guest in the Mediaweek portable podcast studio this week was Seven West Media chief executive and managing director Tim Worner. It was a different Tim Worner we spoke to this week from the one many people heard on the financial results teleconference in February. Back then Worner was joined on the call by Seven executive chairman Kerry Stokes who fielded many of the questions about the controversy swirling around his CEO.