Mediaweek Round Up: MAFS, Ryan Stokes, George Calombaris + more

• Stateless, Erin Molan, 3AW + Eurovision Asia

Business of Media

Ryan Stokes open to media mergers: “Consolidation a logical step”

Seven Group will consider providing money to Seven West Media for any future deals, arguing the media company needs to consider consolidation to strengthen its market position, reports The Australian’s Perry Williams.

Stokes’ industrial, mining and energy conglomerate, which owns a 41 per cent stake in Seven West Media, was disappointed by the television network’s half-year performance and backed the company to pursue an industry tie-up.

“I think consolidation is a logical step for the industry and I think that’s going to enable a better leverage of assets through the audience we have and others,” Seven chief executive Ryan Stokes told The Australian.

“That’s where we see a logical opportunity. It’s a situation we’ve seen for a while but it’s a matter of how that’s executed. But we certainly see potential for something to occur.”

[Read more]

Stokes backs James Warburton despite media drag on record result

Seven Group chief executive Ryan Stokes says the industrial and energy-focused conglomerate still sees value in media despite its ailing television and publishing businesses weighing on a record half-year result, reports The Age’s Nick Toscano.

The Stokes-family controlled Seven Group Holdings on Wednesday reported a significant uplift in half-year revenue and underlying earnings to record levels, driven by strong results in the conglomerate’s industrial services and energy segments including WesTrac, Coates Hire and Beach Energy.

While underlying net profit after tax was up 3 per cent to $255.7 million, its statutory profit fell 26 per cent, dragged down by a $112 million writedown of its 40 per cent stake in the struggling Seven West Media.

Ryan Stokes said: “The decline in the metro TV ad markets is a challenge for the business, a challenge for the sector.”

But Stokes expressed confidence in Seven Media CEO James Warburton‘s leadership and support his team’s “very clear plan” which was focused on content-led growth, transformation and simplification of the business.

“James is relatively new in the role, six months in,” Stokes said. “I think the team has got a very clear focus and we support them on what they need to do.”

[Read more]

Asset sell-off could ease Seven West’s debt burden: UBS

Investment bank UBS reckons Seven West Media could deliver around $600 million to help the under-pressure broadcaster deal with its debt problems, as Ryan Stokes pours cold water on the idea of Seven Group Holdings tipping more money into media, report The AFR’s Max Mason and Brad Thompson.

Seven West’s shares plunged more than 20 per cent on Tuesday following a downgrade to full-year guidance and write-downs which swung the Kerry Stokes-controlled media business to a $67 million loss.

Warburton flagged at Seven’s results on Tuesday that all assets are under review as the broadcaster looks to materially reduce its debt. This includes Seven Studios and its ventures portfolio, which includes investments in Airtasker and SocietyOne.

[Read more]

First sales announced for George Calombaris’ failed hospitality empire

One of Melbourne’s top American-style barbecue experts will take over George Calombaris’s original Hellenic Republic site in one of three lease deals struck yesterday by administrators of the chef’s collapsed food empire, reports News Corp’s Jeff Whalley.

KordaMentha Restructuring yesterday announced the first asset sales in the administration of Calombaris’s MAdE Establishment group.

Administrators Craig Shepard and Leanne Chesser said they had agreed on terms for the sale of assets and the assignment of leases for the restaurants in Brunswick, Kew and Brighton.

KordaMentha are not expected to drag out the sales process for too long a time as the business is without funds – so cannot accrue more debt.

Administrators have said up to 15 parties were interested in the leases and other assets such as fittings and furniture.

Calombaris has put his Toorak mansion on the market.

It is believed Calombaris and major investor Radek Sali are expecting to get nothing back from the administration fire sale.

[Read more]


Stateless explores the human cost of Australia’s immigration regime

When Cate Blanchett began working on what would become the six-part ABC drama Stateless, one story in particular compelled her: that of Cornelia Rau, a German citizen and Australian permanent resident who was unlawfully detained for a period of 10 months between 2004 and 2005, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Idato.

The series knots together a handful of character stories: an airline stewardess Sofie Werner (Yvonne Strahovski), who has escaped a cult run by Pat (Blanchett) and Gordon (Dominic West); a young father-of-two Cam Sandford (Jai Courtney), who takes a job as a detention centre guard; the centre’s new general manager Claire Kowitz (Asher Keddie), and an Afghan refugee Ameer (FayssalBazzi), fleeing persecution with his family.

The result is stunning. Statelessis compelling not just in its larger, political notes, but in its minutiae. It is beautifully cast: Ameer’s indefatigable friend Farid (Claude Jabbour), the centre’s optimistic chief officer Brian (Darren Gilshenan), and senior officers Harriet (Rachel House) and Sully (Clarence Ryan). In one touching scene, which seems to get to the heart of the story, Ameer tells his daughter Mina that “in Australia you can be anything you want to be”.

[Read more]

Will viewers ever get to see a Eurovision Asia Song Contest?

In March 2016 SBS announced it had won the rights to stage an Asia Pacific event for Eurovision, featuring up to 20 countries, reports TV Tonight.

Everything from Bollywood to K-pop was due to head to Sydney in 2017 for a regional battle on a pop-tastic scale.

But 2017, 2018 and 2019 came and went and in 2020 there is still no confirmation of it being realised anytime soon.

Broadcasting sources have suggested without China on board, some other nations have been reluctant to come to the party.

Blink TV director Paul Clarke, who has just completed a successful staging of Eurovision: Australia Decides, shed some light into the challenges of bringing together regional partners.

“All the SBS executives have taken Eurovision Asia really seriously. We were in Japan in December but ultimately it doesn’t come down to just SBS being interested. It has to be some major partners as well… and Northern Asian partners. It’s just still in development,” he told TV Tonight.

[Read more]

MAFS and Love Island need a reality check over contestant safety

Trashy reality TV shows such as Married At First Sight and Love Island are ratings winners, reaping in millions in ad revenue for the networks airing them, comments News Corp’s Kim Wilson.

But at what cost to the ‘stars’ of the shows?

How much more tawdry and toxic do these shows have to get before people start switching off and recognising how traumatic they can be to the people involved? And at what point do reality show producers recognise they have more than just a token duty of care to these people?

The revelations this week by outgoing MAFS participant Poppy Jenningst hat staff manipulated her into saying things on camera by threatening her that if she didn’t “Australia will f … ing hate me”, are further confirmation that these ‘reality’ shows are completely contrived and more concerned with ratings than the welfare of participants.

[Read the original]


David Schwarz and Mark Allen find new home with 3AW

Popular radio hosts David Schwar zand Mark Allen have found a new home on 3AW’s Saturday night football coverage, reports News Corp’s Scott Gullan.

The pair will return to the airwaves from 5pm on Saturday’s for a two-and-a-half hour talkback show which will take the audience through to the start of the night game.

Schwarz and Allen found themselves on the scrapheap after the collapse of Macquarie Sports Radio last year.

The introduction of Schwarz and Allen is one of a number of changes to 3AW’s line-up for this season.

Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy is set to have a more prominent role in the special comments chair for all Thursday night games in Melbourne.

Veteran caller Tim Lane will replace Dwayne Russell, who has shifted to SEN, on the Friday night call team alongside Bruce Eva.

[Read more]

Sports Media

Erin Molan to host Channel 9’s Women’s World Cup coverage

Channel 9 has bumped Todd Woodbridge from its cricket coverage, with network star Erin Molan to replace him as host of the Women’s World Cup, reports News Corp’s Ben Horne.

Last year Nine put Woodbridge at the helm of its men’s Ashes coverage, sparking outrage on social media from fans who couldn’t understand how a tennis grand slam great could head up the broadcast of cricket’s biggest stage.

Nine defended its decision to put Woodbridge in the hot seat by arguing he wasn’t there to provide expert opinion, but simply use his hosting skills to compere a panel featured pre-game, post-game and during breaks in play during Ashes.

However, the network’s new head of sport Brent Williams has decided to make the change and replace the nine-time Wimbledon doubles champion Woodbridge with NRL hosts Molan and James Bracey for the women’s World Cup starting on Friday night.

[Read more]

Subscribe to the Mediaweek Morning Report with the form below.

Most Popular

To Top