Mediaweeek Roundup: Ray Hadley, Saturday Night Rove, Kyle Sandilands + more

• Hugh Marks, News Corp, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, The Block, and NRL

Business of Media

Nine’s Hugh Marks hosting ScoMo fundraiser

On Monday evening at the Nine Network’s legacy Sydney studios on Artarmon Road, Willoughby, CEO Hugh Marks is hosting a $10,000 per head dinner for the federal division of the Liberal Party’s fundraising arm, the Australian Business Network, reported The AFR’s Joe Aston yesterday.

The Prime Minister is the guest of honour but will also wheel out Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, Education Minister Dan Tehan, Cities Minister Alan Tudge and Assistant Minister for Superannuation Jane Hume. No doubt they’ll all have to cop an earful about press freedom – as if the rubber chicken and the cooking wine won’t be hard enough to swallow on its own.

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News Brands

News Corp offer: Digital subscribers get a Samsung Galaxy tablet

News Corp Australia is marketing a number of subscription offers to its various metro, suburban and regional newspapers where the price includes a Samsung tablet. News brands promoting the offer on home pages this morning include The Daily Telegraph and NewsLocal.

The NewsLocal pitch to readers offers digital subscribers a Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 – valued at $249 – when they purchase a 12-month NewsLocal subscription offer, bringing online community stories from across the wider Sydney region, ACT and Newcastle.

For $7.50 per week for the first 12 months, when readers take this 12-month subscription offer (minimum cost $390), they also get the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0.

Subscribers will get access to local news from all over Greater Sydney via the Blacktown Advocate, Canterbury-Bankstown Express, Central magazine, Central Coast Express Advocate, Fairfield Advance, Hills Shire Times, Hornsby Advocate, Inner West Courier, Liverpool Leader, Macarthur Chronicle, Manly Daily, Mosman Daily, North Shore Times, Northern District Times, Parramatta Advertiser, Penrith Press, Rouse Hill Times, Southern Courier, Wentworth Courier.

It also includes the four latest regional titles, The St George Shire Standard, The Illawarra Star, The Canberra Star and The Newcastle News.

See full details about the offer here.


2GB’s Ray Hadley forced off-air for medical reasons

Ray Hadley has been forced off-air at 2GB due to a medical condition, confirmed the station’s website yesterday.

After experiencing the extremely painful symptoms of diverticulitis, Hadley informed his listeners at 10.18am that he would need to seek medical help.

“I’ve been battling a problem since last night. It’s a problem that I encounter every couple of years. It’s called diverticulitis.

“I’m about to have, I think, an attack, and the only thing I can do is get to my GP, talk to him and get something done about it.”

Mark Levy stepped in for Hadley, hosting the final two hours of the show and will be back again on Tuesday.

Hadley has released a statement from hospital, saying he hopes to be back on-air on Wednesday.

“I’m currently in hospital having been admitted for the third time in 12 months for diverticulitis.”

I’m hopeful of returning to work on Wednesday and I will be consulting my surgeon about a more permanent solution – which may well involve surgery during my summer break.

“Thank you to all the people who have shown concern.”

Lifetime ban: Kyle and Jackie O no-go zone for Sunrise hosts

It seemed like a happy media cross promotion. The Kyle and Jackie O Show was holding a handball tournament on Friday with Kyle Sandilands taking on former PM Kevin Rudd.

Seven’s Sunrise heard about the event and approached KIIS FM to cover it live during their program last Friday. Seven sent out its travelling weather presenter Sam Mac and Seven sports presenter Jim Wilson to be on hand during the live crosses.

Sandilands later found out that the Sunrise hosts mocked the KIIS event, telling viewers they were over it. “I’d rather watch grass grow,” joked David Koch after one cross.

On Monday’s radio show Sandilands issued lifetime bans on the Sunrise hosts.

Part of an on-air spray from Sandilands included:

“They’re banned for life. Don’t beg to come and cover something and then s**t-can it, you pieces of s**t … You couple of old pieces of s**t,” he said.

Sandilands wasn’t on air Tuesday as KIIS FM played a Best Of Kyle and Jackie O show.

Photo: Kyle and Jackie O with with K-Rudd and Jim Wilson before the s**t hit the fan


Cancelled: Saturday Night Rove gone after just two episodes

It was perhaps the riskiest commission of all the 2018 Pilot Week programs. Despite delivering the smallest audience of all the Pilot Week commissions last year, Network 10 saw a glimmer of something worth pursuing with the Rove McManus-hosted Bring Back Saturday Night.

The show finally returned exactly a year after the initial pilot, rebadged as Saturday Night Rove, and the audience for the first episode crept higher by the smallest of margins year-on-year. The format was different, the team had been tweaked and there was some optimism the show might grow from there.

The warning light was how small that first episode audience was. Many new series deliver their biggest audiences with the first episode as viewers sample the product before the numbers slip back a little until they level off.

But the audience for episode two of Saturday Night Rove tanked big time – dropping from 240,000 to 140,000.

TV Tonight has reported that audience checkout for episode two was enough for Rove and 10 to pull the plug:

The lower numbers this week come despite no AFL or cricket in the same slot.

Rove McManus said, “It was clear looking at the numbers that the audience we hoped would find a free-wheeling live show on a Saturday night just weren’t there. We spoke with 10 today and we both called it.

“The opportunity to play live in front of Australia again was fun, no matter how brief, and I would like to thank my amazing co-stars, the behind the scenes team and everyone at 10 who got behind Saturday Night Rove.”

A Network 10 spokesperson said, “Unfortunately Saturday Night Rove hasn’t resonated with viewers the way we had hoped, so Rove and 10 have made the decision to remove it from the schedule. Rove is a sensational entertainer and a close friend of 10, and we thank him for all his hard work, and all the laughs, on Saturday Night Rove.”

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Change is coming: Netflix, Amazon, Apple get the jump on regulation

Something remarkable happened in the past few weeks: three of the world’s biggest streaming operators – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ – announced they will make new shows in Australia, reports The Age’s Karl Quinn.

For supporters of local content this is great news, especially since the Netflix show, an eight-part cyber thriller called Clickbait, and Apple’s 10-part adaptation of Shantaram are genuinely Australian in origin (Amazon’s comedy competition LOL: Last One Laughing is a Japanese format).

Pressure has been growing for the streaming players, which are increasingly stealing audience share from free-to-air television – especially where scripted content is concerned – to face some sort of local content obligations.

If regulation is coming – either through a local content quota (as applies to FTA) or, more likely, a requirement to spend a certain proportion of local subscription revenue on local content (as applies to Foxtel) – it makes great sense for the streamers to show themselves willing partners in the creation of Australian content. A good corporate citizen is likely to get off much lighter in a regulated environment than a recalcitrant one.

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The Block co-creator responds to criticism over product placement

Most years since The Block returned with a new business model for its long-delayed third season on Nine there has been talk about the way products are integrated into the show.

Most recently the TV critics on Gogglebox highlighted how sponsors were being mentioned in the current series.

ABC’s Media Watch last night reported on some of the recent criticism:

Nine’s top-rating reality show The Block, which is getting a hammering from viewers – like these ones on Gogglebox – for its blatant product placement.

There have been similar complaints about The Block on social media.

And who can blame the audience for getting annoyed when the program features blatant ads like these woven into the script.

So what does The Block’s co-creator and executive producer Julian Cress have to say about it?

Cress has always been upfront about keeping the sponsors happy, saying the show would not exist without them. And he told Media Watch:

“With any show we make the experience of the viewer is first and foremost in our minds, but of course product placement in free-to-air television is nothing new. The Block has a long history in the integration space and we feel it works for both the audience and our clients.”

Watch the episode of Media Watch here.

Sports Media

Spectre of 14-team competition sparks talk of NRL club cull

Senior figures within the NRL have raised the prospect of a second team in Brisbane as part of a 14-team competition, as they lean towards the long-term shrinkage of the premiership rather than expansion, reports The Australian’s Brent Read.

It is understood the scenario was raised earlier this year by a senior NRL official when discussing the dream scenario for the shape of the competition in years to come.

It is understood the discussion was held internally with a recognition that it would not happen as part of the next broadcasting deal or potentially the one after that.

However, there is a school of thought that rugby league needs to eventually arrive at the magical mark of 14 teams with another side in Brisbane, meaning three of the existing clubs would be forced to make way.

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Channel 9’s sneaky bid to poach NRL final round blockbuster

Channel 9 has done a sudden backflip on its agenda to cut Sydney’s NRL teams, at least when it suits their TV ratings this weekend, reports News Corp’s Phil Rothfield.

The network’s director of sport Tom Malone is now apparently a fan of suburban football and wants to cover the Wests Tigers v Cronulla Sharks blockbuster at Leichhardt Oval that will decide eighth position for the finals.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal Malone rang the NRL on Sunday night to try to switch coverage of the two Sunday games in the final round this weekend.

Fox Sports has exclusive rights to the Wests Tigers v Cronulla Sharks game that is expected to be the highest-rating Fox Sports rugby league game in history.

Meanwhile, the Nine network has been left with a match with no impact on the finals – the Penrith Panthers against the Newcastle Knights – after having their request rejected to switch games.

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