Thursday August 17 2017
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 than 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.
Fast forward six months it was a much more confident Tim Worner who headed the results call with his Seven West Media executive team.
Mediaweek spoke Worner shortly after he had finished his results presentation.
Some of the highlights include:
Results: We are still profitable, but not where we would have liked to be. All media companies are operating in what is a tough market.
Sports rights: Big one-off sports events – we entered into those deals in a very different market we are operating in now.
Will people be prepared walk away from sports costs? What I am saying is that these deals need to work for both parties. The economics have to stack up for both. The power of FTA hasn’t been factored into these deals. Sports codes need to understand the enormous audience FTA TV has the potential to bring to their code.
Would your current AFL deal include AFLX? We would like to think with our relationship with the AFL there will be a conversation about it. If you want these things to work you have to have the right FTA partner. AFL with any letter on the end of it is something we’d be interesting into talking to the AFL about.
Media law reform: Even though I feel it is imminent, it is not necessarily certain. It would have been irresponsible for us, or any media company in Australia, not to be looking at what the outcomes could be regarding potential tie-ups. Seven West Media has been doing that – I wouldn’t rule anything in and I wouldn’t rule anything out.
Were you ever distracted by some of the challenges you faced? Today is not about me…It is not a day to talk about me, it is about our financial result. Whilst our revenue and ratings performance was really good, particularly in the second half since Christmas, overall in the financial year our performance wasn’t as good as we were hoping it would be.
Was it hard to stay focused? I wasn’t talking to myself in any way. I have learnt about the incredible strength of our people and team to be able to keep focusing on what it was we needed to get done.
Joining James Manning and James Daggar-Nickson on the show today:
• Nicholas Gray , CEO, The Australian
Sky News Business Channel
Channel 602: Foxtel
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||2.4%||GEM||2.0%||ELEVEN||3.0%||Food Net||0.8%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||Ten Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC||11.4%||7||20.9%||9||19.6%||10 NNSW||3.0%||SBS One||4.1%|
|ABC ME||0.8%||7mate||3.9%||GEM||2.8%||ONE||3.0%||Food Net||1.1%|
|WEDNESDAY 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
Home and Away has made it over 700,000 once this week with Wednesday sitting just below on 681,000.
The ob doc hour saw both Border Security and The Force close to 660,000, down from just over 700,000 when they last broadcast back-to-back a fortnight ago.
A double helping of Criminal Minds continues to be the Wednesday mid-evening offer with the new episode on 441,000 (428,000 a week ago) and the repeat ep on 345,000 (316,000).
A Current Affair steered under 900,000 for the first time this week with 882,000. Chris Allen reported on the mystery surrounding the murder of Donna Steele. There was also a report on new TVs in the market – Nine tech contributor Trevor Long was missing, possibly because he was on the road in China this week.
On The Block there was debate about protocols plus discussion about desks and sliding doors in kids’ bedrooms. The final episode of the ratings week did 998,000 after 974,000 on Wednesday last week.
The Project 7pm had another night under 600,000, but only just. Singer-songwriter and Aussie music legend Paul Kelly was a guest while Xavier Brinkman had a great interview with The Dark Tower’s Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, with McConaughey displaying his cricket knowledge!
The Bachelor pulled the channel’s biggest audience with 736,000 after 753,000 a week ago. Simone was sent home after she had to endure debate about her past as a topless waitress.
On Offspring it was revealed that Nina Proudman is pregnant again. It was a relatively small audience that heard the bombshell though – 556,000 saw the program just squeeze into the top 20 after 616,000 were watching a week ago. The program still managed to rank #1 25-54 in its timeslot.
Hard Quiz was on 598,000, up a little from 586,000 a week ago.
Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell had the channel’s biggest audience yesterday with 732,000 after 750,000 last week.
Utopia covered workplace training videos and there was discussion about workplace bullying and a failed live stream from the prime minister. The episode did 684,000, down from 714,000 a week ago.
Growing Up Gracefully was on 276,000 followed by The Last Leg with 235,000.
Inside Westminster featured at 7.30pm with 218,000.
Part two of Hijacked did 158,000 at 8.30pm followed by 124,000 watching The Good Fight.
The Australian’s Dataroom column reports:
There is speculation that Fairfax Media is on the acquisition trail.
The market chatter appears to be not only among the dealmakers but the analysts as well, who have been weighing up the merits of Fairfax buying Nine or the listed Seven West Media.
Stan could also be on Fairfax’s radar – a digital streaming business that it owns with Nine – while some have also pointed to Affinity’s ticketing and live entertainment company TEG, formerly owned by Nine.
[Read the original]
See Fairfax Media results report below.
The media agency market has started the new financial year in an uncertain state, with total demand down 12.5% to $496.6m (before late digital bookings are added at month end) as the market struggles against a tough comparative period, reports SMI.
This month SMI has introduced a new data dimension – called Competitive Media Type – to enable users of the database to easily see the combined ad spend for Australia’s traditional media and the related digital media in the one data view.
While the overall market is back the declines among major media are far reduced when their equivalent digital ad spend is shown alongside.
SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Schulze said the introduction of the Competitive Media Type dimension was an important step in the reporting of ad spend, as it better reflects the market reality that many traditional media are no longer “silos” but are also significant digital companies.
”SMI is seeking to provide the industry with a more realistic picture of the media agency advertising expenditure market as the old media “silos” of pure newspaper or radio ad spend figures are becoming redundant,’’ she said.
SMI: July 2017 Agency Ad Spend (interim Digital results)
The Turnbull government is close to sealing a deal with the Nick Xenophon team as it races to legislate its media reform package as early as today, amid revelations key components of an agreement with One Nation may never pass parliament, reports The Australian’s Rosie Lewis.
Senator Xenophon, whose party could secure the passage of the reforms through the Senate, said he was ready for a “breakthrough” following months of negotiations with Communications Minister Mitch Fifield.
The Australian understands the media reform bill, which contains sweeping changes to abolish ownership rules and broadcasting licence fees, places new restrictions on gambling advertising, and relaxes the sports anti-siphoning list for pay-TV, will be put to the Senate in its current form.
The government will seek to legislate additional measures agreed with One Nation and the NXT before the end of the year, separately to the Broadcasting Reform Bill.
[Read the original]
With impeccable timing, ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie, chairman Justin Milne and his fellow directors and a swag of Aunty’s premier talent descended on Parliament House’s Mural Hall last night for the national broadcaster’s annual showcase, reports The Australian’s Margin Call column.
ABC talent and presenters Leigh Sales, Fran Kelly, Antony Green and Patricia Karvelas were among the contingent in Canberra yesterday.
[Read the original]
The ABC showcase comes one week after ASTRA and Foxtel held their annual Canberra showcase.
Read more at mediaweek.com.au.
An editorial in The Australian looks at the roles of the public broadcasters as media law reform continues to be negotiated:
Public broadcasters ABC and SBS have been given a digital free rein and $1.5 billion in annual funding to expand into every media crevice to compete with or crowd out private media. This is a level of regulatory and public sector market distortion unmatched in other sectors.
Their ballooning platforms, high costs and vast duplication are ripe for review, as is their inability to abide by charter obligations for political impartiality and balance. The public broadcasters must identify and excel at their core tasks.
[Read the original]
The editorial in The AFR asks:
Should the $1.3 billion of taxpayer funding to the ABC and SBS include paying Google to push their stories to the head of the search queue? Does Australia still need two public broadcasters with so many channels?
[Read the original]
Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood is confident the 186-year-old publisher has a strong future even if it does not participate in the industry consolidation that is expected should the government get its media ownership changes through Parliament, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
“We’ve got ourselves into a very strong position,” Hywood said.
“We’re very confident around our ability to go it alone with no change. If there are opportunities for consolidation that improve shareholder value, we obviously have to consider everything that might be put to us.”
[Read the original]
Daily Mail Australia editor-in-chief Luke McIlveen is leaving the website to return to News Corp Australia, reports The Australian’s Stephen Brook.
McIlveen will take up the new role of executive editor at Fox Sports, owned by News Corp, with a dual broadcast and digital remit across online, live sport and magazine programs, such as NRL 360.
The network has tasked McIlveen, who is a sports fanatic but has no broadcast experience, with working out how to entice audiences to live stream football matches over their smart phones and tablets.
The hiring marks a return for McIlveen, 40, to News Corp, which he left in unhappy circumstances in 2013. Then editor of news.com.au, he was poached by Mail Online publisher Martin Clarke, prompting a court case and settlement.
[Read the original]
Now in their 12th year together on WSFM, Jonesy & Amanda are one of Sydney’s most successful breakfast teams.
In recent years, the show has claimed the #1FM breakfast crown multiple times in radio survey ratings and taken home the industry award for Best On Air Team at the 2012 and 2014 ACRAs. They are currently Sydney’s #2 FM breakfast team.
“We couldn’t be happier to be staying with WSFM. Jonesy and I have so much fun together every morning and we have an incredible audience who join us every day for the ride,” said Keller.
“Time flies when you are having fun. I am excited Amanda and I are going to be notching up another three years at WSFM,” said Jones.
Andy Simpson will join the ANZ team as Creative Shop Lead. The social media giant has also appointed Dan Walton and Karen O’Leary as creative strategists. Meanwhile, Lara Andrews has been named the creative research lead.
Established in 2011, Creative Shop is a team of creative strategists within Facebook and Instagram designed to support Australian and New Zealand brands, businesses and agencies to build the most creative and innovative work on the platform.
Diana: The Day the World Cried, a documentary narrated by Oscar winner Kate Winslet, has been sold by Cineflix Rights to multiple territories including Australia, adding to the host of TV specials marking the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana, reports Reuters.
The one-hour program was commissioned by Britain’s ITV and the Smithsonian Channel in the US, and will air on those channels in their respective countries.
It has been bought by Nine Network for Australia and Sky in New Zealand.
[Read the original]
Former Richmond hardman Jake King claims he has been unfairly ditched from his role on the Marngrook Football Show after being charged over an alleged Crown casino run-in with a Melbourne restaurateur, report Fairfax Media’s Cameron Houston and Chris Vedelago.
King, who is known for his tattoos, connections to bikies and ability to do more than 200 consecutive push-ups, is now fighting in the FairWork Commission to keep his $800-a-show TV gig.
The former footballer says he was unfairly dismissed from the program just days after being charged with serious criminal offences last month.
[Read the original]
• Domain separation and listing timetable revealed: shares to trade in November
• New digital products launching promising deeper and more engaging experiences
Chief executive and managing director Greg Hywood said: “Today’s result shows Fairfax is in great shape. We have delivered strong value for shareholders through growth and transformation initiatives. The strategy we commenced five years ago has successfully maximised cash flows of our publishing assets and with that built growth businesses in Domain and Stan.
“For 2017, the Fairfax group delivered net profit of $142.6 million, up 8%, with earnings per share growth of 8.5%.
“Group operating EBITDA of $271m was achieved from revenue of $1.73 billion. This result was higher than the preliminary and unaudited range of $262m to $266m provided to the market in early July. This was due to a strong year-end from Metro.
“Domain delivered 19% growth in digital revenue notwithstanding a difficult listings environment in the first half. As the listings cycle improved, H2 digital EBITDA increased 20%.
“Our three publishing businesses are modern, cost efficient and sustainable across digital and print. In the context of the global structural change impacting upon the media industry, the fact that our publications remain profitable and sustainable is an outstanding achievement.”
Fairfax provided an update on the Domain separation and ASX listing:
• Fairfax Media plans to retain 60% of Domain, with 40% distributed to Fairfax shareholders.
• Conditional on shareholder approval and receipt of regulatory clearances (including ASIC, ASX and ATO) which are well progressed.
• Nick Falloon will be chairman of Domain. The Board recruitment process is under way.
• Domain shares are expected to commence trading in mid to late November.
Australian Metro Media highlights
“In our Australian Metro Media segment – which includes The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review, Digital Ventures and Life and Events businesses – revenue declined 9% and EBITDA was up 26%,” Hywood said.
“Metro publishing advertising revenue declined 17%,” Hywood said.
“Overall circulation revenue was stable, benefiting from the strong growth in paid digital subscriptions revenue which increased 21%. The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review have around 236,000 paid digital subscribers. All three titles delivered year-on-year growth. Declines in print circulation volumes were partially offset by cover price increases.
“Along with a flatter, more efficient operating structure, the centrepiece of Metro’s next-generation publishing model is cutting-edge product and technology development. We will have in market this calendar year a suite of new digital products which will deliver deeper and more engaging experiences, while sustaining a successful print proposition.
“New digital products will be launched for the SMH and The Age; shortly followed by the Financial Review and lifestyle mastheads, along with new apps for the SMH and The Age. We are focusing editorial on distinctive content to strengthen our audience and subscriber proposition.
“The new products will drive engagement, subscriber value and better outcomes for advertisers through new data-driven commercial solutions and advertising formats. The introduction of the new tech platform will allow for the retirement of legacy systems and cost rebasing.”
Hywood said: “Results from our Digital Ventures portfolio reflect the sale of Tenderlink in October 2016. Excluding Tenderlink, revenue increased 4% and EBITDA increased 8%, reflecting a challenging digital advertising market.
“Stan – Australia’s biggest deal in entertainment – is going from strength to strength. The number of active subscribers is approaching 800,000, with positive net subscriber additions through a period of phased price increases.
“Continued strong subscriber momentum underpinned an impressive 150% uplift in subscription revenue in FY17, far exceeding the increase in operating costs.”
Australian Community Media
Hywood said: “ACM’s total revenue declined 11%. The 12% decline in advertising revenue reflected 2% growth in agriculture-related advertising, offset by weakness in national and classifieds advertising. Excluding the impact of closures and frequency changes, advertising revenue reduced 10%.
“Circulation revenue declined, reflecting lower retail volumes.
“Other revenue growth of 12% benefited from a strong performance from Fairfax Marketing Services which provides commercial solutions for small to medium-sized businesses. Together with improved digital advertising, ACM’s total digital revenue delivered double-digit growth.
“The cost improvement of 9% reflected the achievement of the remaining transformation benefits and continued cost savings initiatives. This underpins ACM’s considerable cash flows which we will continue to optimise.”
New Zealand Media
Hywood said: “In New Zealand, total revenue was down 7% in local currency terms. Digital revenue growth of 29% was offset by lower print advertising due to weakness in retail, motors and leisure categories. Circulation revenue declined 5% for the year with stabilisation in the second half reflecting improvements in yield.
“We are appealing the New Zealand Commerce Commission’s decision to block the proposed merger of Fairfax New Zealand with NZME. This will be heard before NZ’s High Court in October.”
Hywood said: “Macquarie Media revenue was down 1%, which was broadly consistent with the market. Cost and operational synergies, together with licence fee relief in H2, delivered 26% uplift in EBITDA and improved EBITDA margin from 18% to 23%.”
With a handful of hit projects bubbling away, Mick Molloy is on a creative high. Over the past couple of years he has managed to successfully juggle Triple M’s The Hot Breakfast, regular appearances on TEN’s Have You Been Paying Attention? and Seven’s The Front Bar.
Next year his radio career revisits the past when he returns to drive with a new co-host in Jane Kennedy after conquering the timeslot 20 years ago with Tony Martin.
We picked a good day to spend time with Molloy. It was just 24 hours since his Tigers had whipped the Hawks to secure a top four spot in the AFL. “We rarely go this deep into the season in such good shape,” he told Mediaweek. Molloy was looking forward to the game at Geelong on the weekend, giving his team a good chance. “Geez, it is almost worth the drive. I could take a room for the night and make a weekend of it!”
Seven’s cameras picked out Molloy in the crowd at the MCG on Sunday and he was rarely off screen in the last quarter as the audience watched his reactions to the big win and his post-siren celebrations with arms raised aloft.
Seven was taking the opportunity to promote this week’s episode of Molloy’s The Front Bar, which went up against the first Eddie McGuire-hosted rebooted episode of The AFL Footy Show. Seven’s show, hosted by Molloy alongside Andy Maher and Sam Pang, has been slowly building its Thursday audiences in AFL markets.
Speaking about the TV format that has given Nine heartburn this year, Molloy said: “We originally had the idea for the show many years ago.” He recalled how the concept was developed with his brother Richard Molloy, TV producer Adrian Brown and lawyer and producer Greg Sitch.
“Funnily enough, I watch a lot of live football in a front bar, or in my lounge room at home.
“One common denominator I noted was that everyone’s IQ drops 50 points the minute the football comes on with a lot of table thumping and momentary madness.
If I had a black box recorder set up in my lounge room I’m sure that after listening back to it I would feel ashamed and quite embarrassed. To me, that’s what footy is.”
Mediaweek’s James Manning and Kruti Joshi discuss the media headlines of the week. Topics in this episode include Bonds sponsoring Nova Red Room’s LA event with Harry Styles, Laurie Oakes‘ retirement, the delicious Produce Awards, Netflix’s big week, SCA’s 21 years of AFL success, subscription TV’s Parliament House event, and more.