Mediaweek Roundup: Tubi, TVNZ, Nine, News Corp, Alan Jones + more

• Geoffrey Rush, ABC, Mark Beretta, and Hamish McLachlan

Business of Media

Tubi launches premium ad-supported VOD service in Australia

• Nearly 7,000 free movies and TV series will be available September 1

Tubi (www.tubi.tv), the world’s largest ad-supported video on demand (VOD) service, has announced plans to expand its free, premium service to Australia. Launching on September 1, customers in Australia can watch the largest free library in the country with an initial offering of nearly 7,000 movies and television series which will rapidly expand in the near future.

Titles immediately available on the service will include 3:10 to Yuma, The Blair Witch Project, Kickboxer and Stranger Than Fiction, with additional titles to be made available over the next six months, including Dirty Dancing, The Grudge, Requiem for a Dream, Reservoir Dogs, Saw, Traffic and Young Guns.

“We’re excited to offer Tubi in Australia, as the first of many launch initiatives to advance our global footprint,” said Farhad Massoudi, CEO of Tubi. “Our library size in Australia will expand rapidly in the coming months and eventually grow to our current library size in the US of 15,000 titles – and beyond. We look forward to further activating new audiences who will discover the growing value of free video on demand.”

Farhad Massoudi

Customers in Australia can access Tubi via Telstra TV, Tubi.TV, or through nearly any internet-connected screen including Samsung TV’s, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast and Apple iOS, as well as Android tablets and smartphones. The service will also be available via game consoles, including PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Tubi recently announced record growth in the first half of 2019 with customers watching over 94 million hours of content in May alone. Tubi’s library in the US now has over 15,000 movies and television series – more than 44,000 hours of content available completely free from over 200 content partners including major studios such as Warner Bros., NBCUniversal, MGM, Lionsgate, and others.

TVNZ reports stable earnings, strong local content & on demand growth

TVNZ has reported stable operating earnings, continued market leadership of TV audiences off the back of strengthened local content performance and accelerated TVNZ OnDemand growth for the financial year ending 30 June 2019.

Total revenue declined NZ$7.8 million (-2.5%) to $310.7 million, with single digit declines in TV advertising partially offset by double digit growth in online advertising revenue.

Operating expenditure improved by $7.8 million (2.7%) to $286.1 million due to a year-on-year reduction in programming costs.

Net profit after tax was $2.9 million, down $2.2 million (-44%) on the prior year due to a $2.9 million unfavourable movement in unrealised foreign exchange. TVNZ CEO Kevin Kenrick says the company’s financial results are reflective of challenging market conditions.

Kevin Kenrick

“In the context of this environment, stable year-on-year earnings is a pleasing result.” Kevin says “the standout achievements for the year have been the stellar ratings performance of our local news and entertainment content, and the growth in TVNZ OnDemand.”

TVNZ screened 19 of the top 20 TV programs for the year including New Zealand’s most watched news and current affairs shows.

TVNZ OnDemand achieved 80% year on year growth in viewership to record 184 million video streams for the period and delivered year-on-year increases in weekly audience reach (+38%) and advertising revenue (+31%). “We have definitely seen the benefits from our investments to enhance user experiences and device availability, and to bolster our breadth and depth of must watch content for online viewers.”

In the lead up to Rugby World Cup 2019 coverage in partnership with Spark Sport, TVNZ has upgraded studio facilities with state of the art augmented reality and video wall capabilities and has fully trialled and tested this new sports production capability.

“New Zealanders have responded positively to the availability of live sport back on free-to-air television. TVNZ’s coverage of the T20 Black Clash was the most watched live cricket event in the last 10 years, reaching more than a million viewers over the course of the match.”

News Brands

Nine criticised over newspaper price rise and newsagent’s share

Nine has announced to retailers a 20 cent (6%) cover price increase for The Sydney Morning Herald yet only a 1 cent, or 1.6% increase in margin for the retailer, reports Mark Fletcher on his Newsagency Blog.

“In my opinion, this further downgrade of margin for newsagents is disrespectful and offers retail newsagents encouragement to ditch the product category,” he writes.

The new prices, to take effect from next Sunday September 2, see the weekday Sydney Morning Herald newspaper rising to $3.40 (from $3.20), Saturday will jump to $4.40 ($4.20) and Sunday Sun-Herald will cost $3.90 ($3.70).

Fletcher notes the percentage retailers receive will drop:

“They will get 31.5 cents from a $3.40 item sold. That is 9.26%, down from 9.68% on the current price.

“The massive Nine corporation is showing what it thinks of small business newsagents in this move.

“What Nine is doing here, in my opinion, is like the federal government move to cut penalty rates. It is shameful, disrespectful and preys on the weak and vulnerable.

“The question newsagents have to ask is: Is it worth stocking Fairfax titles or newspapers more broadly? The trajectory of margin is clear. The latest decline in real terms continues the trend.

“For me, this Nine announcement encourages the decision to quit the category.”

[Read the Newsagency Blog here]

News Corp rural titles to shine a light on women around Australia

News Corp Australia has launched the 2019 Shine Awards – a partnership between The Weekly Times and Harvey Norman – with a four-page wrap of the paper.

Now in its third year, the Shine Awards celebrates the achievements and contribution of women across rural and regional Australia.

The Awards will run for 12 weeks in paper and online at theweeklytimes.com.au, as well as Rural Weekly, Tasmanian Country, and other News Corp print and digital titles and marketed by an extensive print and digital execution and social media strategy.

The campaign will highlight the outstanding work being done by women on farms and off them, in rural towns across Australia, in community groups and sporting clubs, in businesses, schools and homes. Audiences will be encouraged to share stories and nominate women through print, digital and social.

Shine awards will culminate with a special 32-page magazine in The Weekly Times on November 20 to announce award winners in six categories: Dedication, Spirit, Belief, Grace, Passion and Courage; plus an overall winner.

Penny Fowler, Herald and Weekly Times chairman and News Corp Australia Community Ambassador said: “I am thrilled the Shine Awards will continue to recognise so many inspirational women from across Australia’s regional and rural communities.

“The awards concept originated from a conversation with Harvey Norman chief executive, Katie Page, on how we could lift the profile of rural women in this country, and the past two years’ nominees exceeded all expectations.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Harvey Norman on the Shine Awards again this year to celebrate and recognise women across rural and regional Australia who are making a real difference in their communities.

“It is through the Shine Awards, we also hope to increase engagement with the Country Women’s Association, an organisation which works extremely hard to enhance the value of living in the country for women and their families, especially those in remote Australia.”

Harvey Norman CEO, Katie Page said: “The Shine Awards are doing exactly what we set out to achieve – raising the profiles of exceptional women from rural and regional areas in every state and territory.

“We know from our work in regional and rural Australia, there are so many more women whose contribution is yet to be recognised and their community story remains untold.

“The Shine Awards goes beyond delivering deserved recognition. It creates a forum. A platform to share the innovations, developments and expertise pioneered by these women. Successful leaders and entrepreneurs understand the importance of shared experience.

“If you have ever looked at your mother, sister, classmate or colleague and thought – ‘you are extraordinary’ – please nominate her for the Shine Awards.”

Geoffrey Rush bid to stop media repeating allegations rejected

Geoffrey Rush has failed in his bid to permanently stop The Daily Telegraph and The Australian from republishing allegations at the heart of the high-profile defamation case the actor won earlier this year, reports The Australian’s Rosemary Neill.

In the Federal Court yesterday, judge Michael Wigney dismissed the Oscar winner’s application for a permanent injunction, which would have prevented all Nationwide News publications from repeating or republishing the allegations, which have been found to be defamatory and untrue.

Rush successfully sued The Daily Telegraph after it published defamatory allegations accusing him of behaving inappropriately towards a younger co-star, later revealed to be Eryn Jean Norvill, during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear.

The Daily Telegraph is appealing against that verdict, claiming that Justice Wigney’s conduct of the case had given rise to “apprehension of bias’’ and also that the judge had awarded excessive damages.

An appeal date has yet to be confirmed.

[Read the original]

ABC staff reject 1.7pc pay rise offer, negotiations to continue

ABC staff have rejected a 1.7% pay increase as the broadcaster weighs up its “financial challenges”, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

Of the 3600-plus staff who voted, 66.7% were against the offer at the close of voting on Monday, with the remaining voting in favour. Managing director David Anderson said the ABC would return to the negotiating table “shortly”.

[Read the original]

Radio

Alan Jones has made a rare public comment about the radio ratings.

Alan remained on top in Sydney breakfast with a 17.1% share of the listening audience, well clear of his nearest rival, reports 2GB.

He made a rare comment about the ratings, thanking his loyal listeners.

“I’m a bit loathe to say this but the team here tell me I must,” Jones said.
“I rarely talk about myself here… nor do we talk about ratings but there are plenty of people who report on radio ratings that don’t know a thing about it.

“I suppose given some of the headlines over the last few weeks, this may be worth mentioning.
“There are only eight radio ratings a year in Sydney and this breakfast program has now won 221, which is over 30 years.

“My thanks to listeners who are very loyal. They’ve been with me a long time.”

Jones paid tribute to his team who he said collectively had worked with him for 135 years. He then read out some of the congratulatory messages on Facebook from listeners.

One of his listeners celebrated his dress sense and wanted to know where he shops for his jackets.

[Listen to Alan Jones on his ratings here]

Television

Sunrise host Mark Beretta named Father of the Year for 2019

Mark Beretta admits to feeling out of his league after being named the 2019 Father of the Year, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

With previous recipients including former Prime Minister John Howard, acclaimed artist Ken Done and scientist Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, the Sunrise sports presenter said he was humbled by the honour.

“I feel very out of my league,” Beretta tells the latest issue of Stellar magazine, available in The Sunday Telegraph this weekend.
“I’d like to think I’m just a normal dad. But look, if it’s something that makes people think about the roles dads play, it’s a good thing.”

The annual Father of the Year title is handed out by The Shepherd Centre, a charity for deaf and hearing-impaired children.

Other previous recipients include Beretta’s fellow Sunrise staffer David Koch, entrepreneur Dick Smith, former NSW Premier Mike Baird, Governor General David Hurley and basketball great Andrew Gaze.

Photo: Mark Beretta, wife Rachel and kids Ava and Dan for Stellar magazine Father’s Day issue to appear in The Sunday Telegraph. Picture: Mick Bruzzese

[Read the original]

Sports Media

Hamish McLachlan on replacing Bruce McAvaney on Brownlow night

Broadcaster Hamish McLachlan says he will apply the advice of sports oracle Bruce McAvaney when he takes over hosting the Brownlow Medal, reports News Corp’s Nui Te Koha.

“I know it’s a highly analysed night,” Channel 7 commentator McLachlan told Confidential. “When you’re taking over from Frank Sinatra, it’s hard. Bruce is the best there’s ever been, and I know there will be a lot of criticism with whatever I do.

“But I’ll work very hard to do my best. I’m daunted and anxious, as well as being excited.”

Earlier this month, Channel 7 announced McAvaney would pass the Brownlow-hosting baton to McLachlan.

“The best advice Bruce ever gave to me was, ‘Don’t ever try to be someone else; you’ll always be a bad version of them. Be the best version of you you can be’,” McLachlan said.

[Read the original]

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