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“Eurovision is everything you love about music turned up to 11.”
• SBS announces programming and voting details for 2018 Eurovision
• Eurovision contestant Jessica Mauboy embarks on international tour
• Jessica Mauboy releases Australia’s official Eurovision song “#We Got Love”
Myf Warhurst became a household name in Australia through her work on ABC’s Spicks and Specks. After the show finished in 2011, she moved to the UK because, in her own words, “I didn’t know what to do.” In the two-year stay away from Australia, she freelanced for The Guardian and Ten. Before the launch of double j in 2014, the content director for triple j’s digital networks, Meagan Loader, tracked Warhurst down to host the lunchtime slot on the new station.
Had Loader not brought Warhurst back to Australia, she may have not been making a trip to Europe for the second consecutive year to host SBS’s coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Warhurst and comedian Joel Creasey were announced as hosts of SBS’s coverage of Eurovision in 2017. “I got a phone call from Paul Clarke, who is the head of Blink TV, which runs the show. He said, ‘What do you think?’ I went, ‘OMFG! Yes! Yes!’ As if I wouldn’t. It is my favourite thing in the world. I’ve been a huge Eurovision fan,” Warhurst said. “Eurovision is everything you love about music turned up to 11.”
Creasey and Warhurst replaced Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang, who have covered the event for Australian viewers for eight years. “We don’t go in trying to be like them or reference what other people are like. You just can’t do that,” Warhurst said.
“We wanted to bring our own sensibilities to it, but treat it with respect. Julia and Sam have done the hard yards to build it up to the Australian audience.”
Top Photo: Myf Warhurst with Joel Creasey at Eurovision 2017 in Kyiv
Seven West Media chief executive Tim Worner has announced the appointment of Dave Barham as Seven Network’s head of cricket.
Barham is a former Managing Director of AFL Films and Head of Sport for Network Ten. In recent years he was the executive in charge of Ten’s coverage of the Big Bash League and Australian F1 Grand Prix.
Barham’s appointment follows SWM’s six-year agreement with Cricket Australia. The deal, which runs from 2018 through to 2024, includes domestic free-to-air broadcast rights to:
• 43 of the 59 Big Bash League matches, including all marquee matches and finals
• All home international tests, including the 2021-22 home Ashes series
• Key Women’s Big Bash League and International matches
• The most prestigious individual prizes in Australian cricket – the Allan Border Medal and Belinda Clark Award.
Tim Worner commented: “I am really pleased with our first cricket signing. There is no-one better placed to lead our coverage than Dave, who has been instrumental in the phenomenal success of the BBL.
“I know Dave has been itching to have a crack at Test cricket for some time and after we heard some of his ideas, next summer can’t come soon enough.
“Everyone at Seven is fired up about cricket. Together with the AFL we now have the number one summer sport and the number one Winter Sport, enabling us to deliver brilliant coverage for our viewers, and outstanding commercial results for our shareholders, throughout the entire year.”
Seven’s head of sport Saul Shtein said: “I’m a huge fan of Dave’s BBL innovative production, which raised the bar for Cricket coverage in Australia. I’m looking forward to welcoming him on board.”
David Barham said: “Cricket has been a huge part of my life over the past five years, so I’m thrilled to be joining Seven, the new free-to-air home of cricket.
“In my conversations with Tim it’s very clear he and his team are 100% committed to producing even bigger and better BBL coverage and completely re-energising the Tests, so I can’t wait to get stuck in.”
• Cricket rights: New common bond between Cricket Australia, Fox Sports & Seven
• Foxtel and Seven get the cricket, Nine sensationally backs out of negotiations
• Patrick Delany & Tim Worner on new partnership with Cricket Australia
Canberra-based documentary maker WildBear Entertainment has announced the completion of a three-year project to create more than 60 screen pieces for the new Sir John Monash Centre in Villers-Bretonneux, France.
Launched this week, the project tells Australia’s story of the Western Front in the words of those who served. The Centre housing the project is located adjacent to the Australian National Memorial in the grounds of the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery. It was officially opened by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull this week.
WildBear Entertainment, whose credits include the new 8 x 60’ series Battles Won and Lost and 13 x 60 The Price of Empire, won a competitive international tender for the project. The development and construction of the Centre was overseen by the Australia’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs. WildBear’s team for the project included film and documentary producers, writers, video game developers, special effects experts, sound designers and composers.
Michael Tear, WildBear Entertainment’s CEO, said: “As factual content producers, our job is to inform, entertain and engage – whether that’s for a one-off TV program or something as unique as the immersive experience we have created at the Sir John Monash Centre. We are so proud to have been involved with this important project that commemorates the sacrifice of those who served and we are delighted that the wide-ranging skills in our business, from painstaking research to high-end dramatic recreations, can be showcased in this way for years to come.”
The Centre features more than two and a half hours of content, telling a range of stories, crafted by WildBear Entertainment, about the First Australian Imperial Force’s time in France and Belgium during World War I.
The stories are told in 4k across huge 2m x 2m screen arrays. With historically accurate full-colour recreations, interwoven with archive material including quotes researched from service records, diaries and personal letters of those who were there, the people and events of the Western Front are dramatically brought to life.
At the heart of the Centre is the Immersive Gallery, a space containing almost 200 screens built into a 360-degree experience.
The Gallery places visitors in two of the key actions of the First AIF: the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux and the great victory of Le Hamel, which brought General Sir John Monash to prominence.
Filmed at a number of locations across Australia and New Zealand, using 6k Red Epic cameras and utilising elements of filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson’s extensive collection of original and reconstructed WW1 machinery and weaponry, the Immersive Gallery provides a visceral and impactful 12-minute experience that will leave viewers with a deep and emotional understanding of the conflict.
• Australian broadcasters seem to be playing it safe, remaking mainly familiar titles
By Andrew Mercado
How odd that Screen Australia is funding a “one-off” telemovie, The Blake Mysteries, which will star Nadine Garner (Jean). It got so upset about “the Blake franchise not proceeding, and the resultant job losses”, it is giving money to this “unique situation” and “the chance to see this beloved tale through Jean Beazley’s eyes”.
This “new direction” sounds more like a pilot than a telemovie, and is obviously testing the waters as to how the audience will react without Craig McLachlan (Dr Blake). Good luck to them, and particularly Nadine Garner taking centre stage, and let’s hope being a housekeeper means she knows how to snoop around and uncover the killer just as her husband used to.
It is no surprise that Screen Australia is breaking its own guidelines because times are tough for Aussie dramas. So far this year there has only been Harrow (which has settled comfortably into Dr Blake’s old Friday night timeslot on the ABC), Underbelly: Chopper on Nine (which was a bit same old, same old), Safe Harbour on SBS (which was brilliant but nobody watched it) and Romper Stomper (Stan from New Year’s Day). House Husbands and Love Child will not be returning to Nine and it doesn’t look like The Wrong Girl, Sisters or Offspring are coming back to Ten either.
Have programmers been deliberately holding off new product until after the Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games? Still waiting in the wings (and all from FremantleMedia) are a sixth season of Wentworth on showcase (now starring Susie Porter), Picnic At Hanging Rock (with the whole series being available to binge on Foxtel On Demand from Sunday May 6) and Olivia (and Seven surely wouldn’t be planning to screen it the same night and time as Picnic At Hanging Rock, would it?).
The ABC is currently working on a second series of Jack Irish (with guest star Tom Gleeson) and season five of Rake (with Senator Cleaver Greene in Parliament), and Nine is about to start filming a third series of Doctor Doctor. But where are the new Australian dramas?
There’s Bite Club from Nine, about a group of shark survivors being targeted by a serial killer, which sounds like it could be interesting… or a complete disaster. And Ten has Playing For Keeps, which sounds suspiciously like Footballers’ Wives, but if so, let’s hope it’s as much trashy fun as that was.
The Brits are currently excelling in contemporary series like Doctor Foster, which have deceptively simple concepts that build into unmissable drama. American cable networks and streaming giants churn out edgy and unexpected fare that would have been unthinkable a decade ago. And even Scandinavia has its own noir genre, with every country in the world wanting to remake The Bridge (with the latest being set on the bridge between Singapore and Malaysia).
But down under, we seem to be playing it safe, remaking familiar titles or going with high concepts that can often crash and burn. It could be that the Australian TV drama industry is as lost as Doctor Blake. Like him, it yearns for a simpler time but until our TV industry figures out where we fit in the new world order…
Top photo: Craig McLachlan as Dr Blake
Mediaweek’s Peter Olszewski rounds up the latest media news from the Asian market.
Sydney TV host and culinary personality Audra Morrice has been named as one of three judges for the new MasterChef Singapore series, which will debut on Mediacorp’s Channel 5 in Singapore on September 2, and will also be available on Toggle’s video on demand. Morrice, a chef who moved to Sydney from Singapore in 1998, was a finalist on MasterChef Australia in 2012. She launched a TV series, Tasty Conversations on SBS Food, Australia Plus and on fyi, the Southeast Asian TV lifestyle channel, and she was a judge on MasterChef Asia. In 2017 she featured Meet The Sydneyporeans, a three-part video miniseries on Qantas Airways’ YouTube channel, part of a tourism campaign jointly organised by Destination New South Wales and Qantas Airways.
The other two judges booked for MasterChef Singapore are Bjorn Shen, who appears on various TV shows in the region and is the chef and owner of Artichoke, Singapore’s first modern Middle Eastern restaurant, and Damian D’Silva, executive chef of Folklore restaurant in Singapore.
Singapore’s Mediacorp and ride-hailing company Grab signed an MOU on Monday to co-create content for passengers. The move will also provide more income for Grab drivers in Singapore. The companies said in a joint media release, “Mediacorp and Grab will co-create tailor-made content for in-transit viewing on Grab’s in-car tablets as well as Mediacorp’s suite of platforms and distribution network. This will enable Grab’s passengers to access high-quality content – such as short-form dramas, sitcoms, variety shows and headline news – for free while en route to their destinations.”
Hong Kong-based Celestial Tiger Entertainment has signed two new carriage agreements in Vietnam that expand its Viet presence to over 3 million pay-TV households. The new deals extend its action entertainment channel KIX onto Vietnam Television Cable Corporation (VTVCab) – one of Vietnam’s largest cable operators and a fully owned subsidiary of state-run broadcaster Vietnam Television – and nextTV, an IPTV and cable service provider owned by Viettel, Vietnam’s largest mobile network operator. These carriage agreements were closed by CTE’s Vietnam sales representative, Thaole Entertainment.
Thailand’s largest entertainment company GMM Grammy has struck a deal with Netflix, entering into a multi-title licensing agreement that provides Netflix with content production and more than 700 hours of Thai TV content. The deal sees GMM series such as Hormones, Bad Genius and O-Negative running on Netflix, together with 11 new series, including The Judgement, The Monkey Twins, and Bangkok Love Stories season two. Erika North, director of international originals at Netflix Asia-Pacific, said, “We believe great stories travel. GMM Grammy’s diverse spectrum of content will find a global audience on the Netflix service, where our members across 190 countries will discover new and exciting storytelling from Thailand.” GMM Grammy, founded in 1983, claims a 70% share of the Thai entertainment industry, and is involved concert production, artist management, film and television production and publishing.
Mediacorp and two other Singaporean broadcasters are collaborating for the first time to bring coverage of this year’s soccer World Cup to Singapore. In a surprise joint statement on Wednesday, the trio announced that their collaboration will deliver paid subscription packages for the June 14-July 15 games in Russia, with prices the same as those for the 2014 World Cup. Singapore fans will also be able to view nine key matches on free-to-air TV with Mediacorp, five more key matches than in previous World Cup years.
Elle Singapore will no longer be published in print or online as of September this year. Publisher Mediacorp announced that it will not be renewing its licence for the global fashion magazine and said, “The October 2018 edition of Elle in Singapore, to be released in September 2018, will be the last one published by Mediacorp.” Mediacorp also announced that it will close SmartParents, its website providing parenting advice and How-Tos, and will shut print editions of English-language 8 Days and Chinese-language i-Weekly, which cover trends in entertainment, celebrities and lifestyle, and move these titles to “a fully digital future.
iflix’s new Malaysian-based creative production house for short-form video content, Studio2:15, has commissioned a series called Caraoke Drift and launched Cupid Co. Caraoke Drift, produced by Pixel Play, features Leona Chin, Asia’s leading female driver, and billed as the “ultimate girl next door spiced with spunk, speed and thrill”. Each episode will feature a celebrity taking on the challenge of completing a song in a drift car. Filming began this month and release is set for June. Cupid Co. tells the tale of a cupid named Tim who, against the laws of heaven, makes a human, Michelle, fall in love with him. The six-part dramatic series is available to stream and download for free exclusively on iflix.
Singapore Press Holdings is offering new subscribers to some of its media products a free Google Home Mini as it launches a four-stream audio service on the device. Google Home launched in Singapore on April 20, and news and podcasts from Straits Times, Business Times and MoneyFM 89.3 radio are now available through SPH’s link with Google. New subscribers who sign up receive a free Home Mini or they can top up S$79 (A$78) to receive the larger Google Home.
Cetaku, an Indonesian platform for university students, has secured an undisclosed amount of seed round investment from IDN Media, a multiplatform digital media company for millennials and Gen Z in Indonesia. Cetaku, which claims a user base of over 50,000 university students and 400 student ambassadors, lets students upload their lecture notes and receive free printed copies. Cetaku generates revenue by placing advertising into the students’ lectures notes, giving clients targeted advertising through detailed student profiles.
League of Legends creator Riot Games will collaborate with MTV to launch Hyperplay, an esports and music festival in Singapore. The festival, backed by Singapore’s Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the National Youth Council, will be held in Singapore on August 4 and 5. The two-day ticketed festival will be streamed live online, with key segments broadcast live in Southeast Asia. Viacom International Media Networks’ senior vice president of Southeast Asia Paras Sharma said the festival was timely as esports are expanding rapidly in Southeast Asia. “With Hyperplay, we are looking to connect with new audiences in the esports genre through a bespoke music platform featuring a diverse range of talents and the distribution of music and esports content to a much wider audience base,” he said.
Singapore’s Media Group, a company which in January this year merged four publishers, has bought SG Magazine and its online site. Media Group, which is also the parent company of Asian Geographic Magazine, publishes titles such as BBC Earth, better homes title Cromly, Food & Travel, Golf Asia, and Teenage. SG Magazine bills itself as the insider’s guide to Singapore, and Media Group’s managing director Dennis Pua said, “We are expanding our focus on digital solutions, including video, content marketing, website and app development. The acquisition of SG Magazine, which has a unique place in Singapore’s media landscape and which brings a strong digital focus to the group, will help us achieve this aim.”
• The Vietnam Television Cable Corporation (VTVCab) cancelled its April IPO on the Hanoi Stock Exchange because only one investor registered interest. The Vietnam Investment Review ran a headline saying the IPO was “unmarketable after scandal of cutting foreign channels,” noting that VTVCab arbitrarily cut 22 foreign channels including Cartoon Network and HBO without notice to customers.
• Lance Peatey, director of products and partnerships at ESPN Australia/NZ, has also taken on the role of general manager, Southeast Asia. He will continue to divide his time between Sydney and Singapore, covering both roles.
• The defamation trial against Cambodia Daily deputy publisher Deborah Krisher-Steele, brought by Cambodia’s General Department of Taxation, was again delayed on April 12, and the judge did not say when the trial will resume.
• As of May 1, DealStreetAsia.com will begin charging readers $US69 (A$90) a quarter for its exclusive stories about Southeast Asian markets, while still giving free access to aggregated material.
• Playboy Enterprises International has sold the rights to market Playboy brand condoms and gels worldwide to Bangkok-headquartered Thai Nippon Rubber Industry.
• Singapore Press Holdings appointed Ignatius Low as its chief marketing officer, in charge of advertising in print, digital, radio and outdoor, as well as content marketing. He takes over from Elsie Chua, who retired after 20 years with SPH.
• Voting has begun for Cleo Singapore’s Most Eligible Bachelors annual contest, now in its 23rd year. Thirty candidates appeared in the May edition of the magazine with readers able to cast their votes on the magazine’s website. The winner will be announced at a party on May 18. Disclosure: the writer of this piece, Mediaweek’s Peter Olszewski, was a Cleo Australia eligible bachelor candidate in, ah, a long time ago.
• Asia’s only regional horror, thriller and suspense movie channel, Thrill, launched the highly anticipated miniseries True Horror on April 20, same day as the UK. Betty Tsui, vice president, programming, Kix and Thrill, Celestial Tiger Entertainment, said, “The horror and thriller genre is incredibly popular across Asia and Thrill will continue to lead the way to cater to our horror fans.”
Top photo: True Horror
There’s nothing like getting the boot from the ABC for a bloke to get on his bike and bugger off to Bangkok via a Sydney stopover, which is what veteran Aussie broadcaster Rod McNeil did, sort of.
By Peter Olszewski
“Like millions of other travellers I had enjoyed holidaying in Thailand, and it seemed the obvious place to go when I was asked to take early ‘retirement’ from the ABC in Melbourne,” he told Mediaweek.
“I didn’t think the newsroom where I’d worked for years was running all that well under the latest director, so I accepted the offer, albeit under duress, and contemplated the future.
“I first spent some time back in Sydney where I was unknown on the media scene after so long away, and thought working in Thailand might be a possibility and came up to see if I was only dreaming.”
Turns out he wasn’t dreaming.
McNeil first joined the ABC’s 3LO in Melbourne in 1985, as announcer on the breakfast program, which has ranked #1 three times and included interviews with stars like Mel Gibson, Kylie Minogue, Barry Humphries, and Lou Rawls.
In 1992 he joined ABC Radio News as senior newsreader of Victorian morning news bulletins until his ABC Melbourne career finished in 1999.
McNeil kicked off the next century in Sydney, with spells as a presenter at Classic FM Radio, and at 97.8FM as producer and presenter of the Saturday music program, Jazz Plus.
He then travelled to Bangkok , working as an English teacher before joining Capital Television Group, run by former Nine Brisbane reporter Raine Grady and her Australian cameraman partner Les Nyerges.
“Capital TV was doing very interesting work in Thailand catering to the English-speaking market with weekly hour-long shows in three cities,” he said. “I became one of the reporters who reported from Thailand and beyond.
“For a time we were producing two stories a week in Phuket, and other stories were produced each week in other regions.
“Capital’s new and retro stories now make good viewing on Destination Thailand online.”
In October 2015, McNeil joined the ThaiVisa News venture, where he worked until January this year.
“It was a rewarding experience working on a daily bulletin designed for distribution online,” he said. “Some of our bulletins remain online at ThaiVisa News and include some remarkable footage.”
These days, McNeil has slowed down a little, telling us: “I’m not really doing as much as I was, but I’m still here and advising and editing news for the Thai Public Relations Department, which has a National News Bureau website and runs a news bulletin on NBT World.
“This is my fifth year in that advisory and hands-on editing role, much of it online. The young Thai reporters writing the news stories are bright and capable but have their share of lost moments that need editing. It is still an exercise and atmosphere I enjoy being a part of.”
Reading McNeil’s CV is like taking a trip down memory lane through the golden era of Australian broadcasting.
He kicked off his career in 1961 as a contributing editor to a PNG Administration monthly news publication, and says, “In PNG I eventually had the good fortune to join the Port Moresby station 9PA as an announcer, and from the age of 20 onwards I have always worked in radio or television.
“As a boarder in Brisbane I first saw TV, especially in shop windows, and was captivated of course. The late Ron Brady was the star news reader at the ABC in Queensland in those early days.
“Later, when I moved to ABC Sydney from Port Moresby in the 60s, I was able to work in TV news with some frequency for the first time.
“Two very good readers, James Dibble and Ross Symonds, were already fixtures at the Gore Hill news studios, so I was lucky to get a look-in.
“It was still the black and white era, but great events were happening all around us and we would often have film of European dramas within a couple of days of the incident, which seemed remarkably efficient then.
“Sydney and Melbourne were linked by the coaxial cable, which gave us an instant connection during major events such as the disappearance of Harold Holt.
“I was at the Sydney end of our feverish TV news coverage that evening. I had heard the Sydney radio newsroom coyly broadcast an item saying a well-known Australian scuba diver was missing. It was pretty obvious who the item referred to.”
McNeil said a highlight of his career was interviewing Chips Rafferty in 1971, a few months before he died suddenly of a heart attack.
“Chips had been a major figure in Australian moviemaking from way back, and had become an Aussie icon in the process, and I remembered him coming to PNG to make Walk into Paradise.
“Chips, who even sang for me, referenced a society that existed in pre-war Australia, and the interview with Chips, with clips from his movies, is available on YouTube as a tribute to the great man.”
But getting back to the “stellar” (as he’s been described) Rod McNeil, the big question is if retirement is imminent? But funnily enough, that’s a question Rod simply ignored.
• First final on My Kitchen Rules secures Thursday win for Seven
• The Handmaid’s Tale lifts SBS share with two-hour launch special
• A Current Affair award-winner Laura Turner chases a celebrity chef
By James Manning
Just the one episode of Home And Away last night with the reality king having another Thursday outing. The soap set at Summer Bay ended its week on 680,000.
The six remaining teams on My Kitchen Rules entered Kitchen HQ for the first time this season. Josh and Nic cooked the best and for their efforts won a place in the semifinals. The Seven reality show has been enjoying life without MAFS as The Voice doesn’t have the same cut-through against it. MKR was without both last night and delivered an audience of 1.07m.
First Dates UK then did 137,000 in Sydney and Brisbane.
AFL markets got an episode of The Front Bar with Mick, Sam and Andy recording a three-market audience of 265,000, 170,000 of them in Melbourne, a bigger crowd again than Nine’s Footy Show in that market.
A Current Affair started with an amazing report from Laura Turner that contained allegations that celebrity chef Shannon Bennett had been having trouble paying his bills. Turner tried to confront Bennett during a morning jog and she ended up chasing him down the street trying to get a comment from him. He featured on ACA the same day that TEN confirmed his role on the new season of MasterChef that is just over a week away. ACA Thursday did 762,000.
Nine’s Thursday Night Football featured South Sydney v Brisbane with 468,000 watching (Sydney was on 237,000 and Brisbane did 193,000).
After 8.30pm in Melbourne, Nine screened the AFL Footy Show to 152,000. In Sydney The Footy Show screened after the NRL with 88,000.
On The Project the series Women to Watch continued and the Thursday comedian was Nath Valvo for the audience of 435,000.
You knew it was going to be one of the better episodes of Show Me The Movie! with a guest list that boasted Jess Harris and Amanda Keller. The episode did 353,000, however, after 423,000 a week ago.
Law & Order: SVU followed with 291,000 and then the new Ambulance got an encore screening after its debut last Saturday, with 201,000 watching the repeat.
Drama night on the channel, although none of it Australian first-run.
Kiri with the great Sarah Lancashire did 387,000 followed by episode three of Wentworth on 155,000.
Old QI episodes are getting a late slot here with Stephen Fry’s final season starting last night with 105,000.
The channel’s share of 7.0% was its best Thursday this year and its best on any night in close to three weeks.
Great British Railway Journeys started in Wokingham as Michael Portillo filled another three successive nights at 7.30pm on the channel. His audience last night was 299,000.
Episode seven of Luke Nguyen’s Food Trail did 200,000 at 8pm.
The much-anticipated second season of The Handmaid’s Tale followed with a double episode throwing viewers back into a horrid world. The two episodes had an average of 270,000 viewers. The biggest crowd was 118,000 in Melbourne, which was double the number viewing in Sydney.
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||3.5%||GEM||1.5%||ELEVEN||2.4%||Food Net||1.1%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||Ten Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC ME||0.9%||7mate||4.0%||GEM||2.6%||ELEVEN||2.9%||Food Net||1.1%|
|THURSDAY METRO ALL TV|
16-39 Top 5
18-49 Top 5
25-54 Top 5
The APOS 2018 Conference in Bali was held this week and saw a raft of major announcements from broadcasters serving viewers in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.
See Mediaweek Asia with Peter Olszewski today for more from the conference.
One of the bigger announcements came from iflix as it launches a new mass market platform.
iflix said that with the upcoming launch of iflix 3.0, the company moves away from the traditional subscription video on demand (SVOD) model to introduce the first-of-its-kind mass market platform specifically created for over one billion consumers in emerging markets.
iflix 3.0 will introduce, among many other new features, a free tier with unique new features and content, allowing users to preview, explore and discover new content, including movie of the day, and premium short-form content comprising originals, leading formats and programs. All content will be produced and managed through the company’s recently announced short-form content studio, Studio 215. The studio will produce an estimated 2,000 original short-form items by the end of the year, with 50 new items added to the site daily by June.
Advertisers will now have the opportunity to engage with millions of users on iflix’s platform through integrated, targeted, premium content and commercial partnerships.
iflix group co-founder and CEO Mark Britt said: “When we began iflix, we naively believed that the Western entertainment model could easily succeed in emerging markets, and that price would be the primary customer pain point. Looking back now, we realise how superficial that view was. Fast forward nearly three years. Having now served 30,000 years of content to more than 12 million customers across 30 markets, we have a much deeper understanding of the localisation requirements, and infrastructure, payments and authentication issues within our territories. The data and learnings we’ve acquired from solving these challenges enables us today to build a product exclusively for emerging market customers and challenge many of the traditional metaphors that exist within our industry.”
News Corp has opened talks with potential buyers of its regional and local newspapers, including private equity bidders, reports The Australian’s Dana McCauley and Bridget Carter.
Sources close to the discussions cautioned that the talks were exploratory and may not lead to a sale of any titles.
They said the company was obliged to review its options after receiving interest and no decisions had been made.
News Corp has hired investment bank Citi as an adviser. Potential suitors include private equity firms Anchorage Capital and Apollo. It is unclear which titles are involved.
Staff at some newsrooms were briefed on the situation yesterday.
Facebook has this week reported rising revenue and profits in the first quarter as advertisers were undeterred by controversies around the site’s mishandling of user data and struggles to police its platform, reports Dow Jones.
The social-media giant reported a quarterly per-share profit of $US1.69, up from $US1.04 a year earlier, while revenue rose nearly 50% to $US11.97 billion.
Net income rose 63% to nearly $US5 billion, compared with $US3.06 billion a year ago.
Facebook added about 70 million monthly users during the first three months of the year bringing its overall user base to 2.2 billion, up from 2.13 billion at the end of 2017.
Advertising revenue, the main driver of Facebook’s top line, rose to about $US11.8 billion in the first quarter, up 50% from the $US7.86 billion collected a year ago. A hefty 91% of that amount was from mobile advertising, up from 85% the year earlier.
The AFR’s Street Talk reports Perth-based activist investor Viburnum Funds has built about a 3 to 4% stake in HT&E which, while not substantial, has captured the board’s attention.
Viburnum is a high-conviction active investment manager that owns only a handful of stocks and is run by executive chairman Craig Coleman and backed by Rich Lister Rhonda Wyllie. It has lived up to its active ownership claim in recent months, taking hands-on approaches at Integral Diagnostics and Ardent Leisure among others.
Viburnum is believed to be keen to see HT&E explore strategic options for its street furniture business Adshel, among other potential changes.
Viburnum has been a key player in the recent merger of Pacific Star Network (owner of Melbourne AM radio licence 1116 SEN) and Crocmedia. Craig Coleman is the non-executive director of the business with day-to-day operation under the control of Crocmedia co-founder Craig Hutchison, who was among the east coast-based media executives who attended the recent wedding of Rhonda Wyllie and Jeff Browne.
The New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) this week reported that advertising revenue across all main media was NZ$2.561 billion for the 12 months ended December 31, 2017. The 2016 total was $2.572 billion dollars.
The turnover includes data from television, newspapers, interactive media, radio, magazines, outdoor, addressed mail, unaddressed mail, and cinema.
Think TV NZ has reported while the New Zealand advertising market has declined marginally, television revenue is up $11 million (+1.9%) from 2016 with linear television advertising driving two-thirds of that growth and Broadcaster Video On Demand advertising up 19% on last year. Television has the second-highest spend of all media, beating radio, magazines and newspapers in advertising revenue.
These results follow international trends which have seen a global resurgence in broadcast TV advertising and continued growth of spend on BVOD ad platforms.
A documentary based on the story of Zak Grieve, a young indigenous man serving a life sentence for a murder the judge found he did not physically commit, has been nominated for best documentary at the 2018 Monte Carlo Television Festival, reports The Australian.
Directed by Ivan O’Mahoney, the six-part documentary series was commissioned by The Australian in conjunction with Screen Australia to follow its national crime reporter, Dan Box, as he investigated the circumstances surrounding Grieve’s arrest and conviction.
Lawyers for a regional Victorian newspaper have told a court the phrase “push out of the way” was a figure of speech as they fight defamation claims by former MP Sophie Mirabella over an article her QC has labelled “fake news”, reports The Australian’s Tessa Akerman.
Mirabella is suing the Benalla Ensign in northeast Victoria and its former editor Libby Price over a 2016 article that she claims carries the imputation that she physically pushed political rival Cathy McGowan out of a photo opportunity with federal minister Ken Wyatt.
Val Morgan has reported Avengers: Infinity War has become the second biggest movie opening of all time in Australia.
Infinity War made its debut in cinemas on Anzac Day with a massive $8.7m, claiming the title for the second biggest opening ever in Australia. The Walt Disney release opened on 871 screens.
Currently, the biggest opening day is held by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which took $9.4m and went on to be the biggest opening weekend of all time with $27m. It’s likely Infinity War will follow suit to become the second-biggest opening weekend of all time.
The first Avengers film had a $6m opening day and went on to make over $53m at the box office.
With positive reviews from around the world, Infinity War is predicted to hit the $500m mark globally for its opening weekend.
Olivia Newton-John invited The Australian Women’s Weekly into her home this month to talk about why she won’t be watching the TV show of her life.
As the Australian icon approaches her 70th birthday and heals from the return of breast cancer last year, her philanthropic work, love for her husband John Easterling, and her memoir “Don’t Stop Believin’” have taken centre stage. But there is one re-telling of her life story that she’s not so sure about.
“There is also a movie of my life that’s been made in Australia with Delta Goodrem playing me.” She grimaces as she refers to the Channel Seven biopic, Olivia Newton-John Hopelessly Devoted To You.
“I probably won’t watch it. When they told me they were doing it, I was horrified because, despite the fact that I’m well-known, I’m kind of private and my private life, even though it gets into the papers, is not something I want to talk about.”
Pacific brands New Idea and Who have celebrated the birth of the royal baby with special souvenir editions.
Louisa Hatfield, Pacific general manager, family and entertainment, said: “The New Idea team produced the exclusive updated issue just hours after Kate and Wills showed off the new prince on the steps of the London hospital – and were the first magazine in the country to release a special edition about the birth of the new royal baby boy.
“These gorgeous souvenir issues from New Idea and Who, complete with stunning photographs and behind-the-scenes details, tap into our readers’ enduring love affair with the young royal family.”
Pacific notes New Idea is Australia’s only magazine to produce a special updated royal baby issue, with the souvenir issue available in selected regions.
This is only the second time in the last five years the magazine has gone on sale twice in the same week due to coverage of breaking news.
Frances Sheen, editor, New Idea, said: “With royal fever building ahead of next month’s wedding, it’s the perfect time for New Idea to cater to the intrigue and joy that comes with the birth of a new royal baby.
“This special edition will capture an audience spanning generations, with beautiful photographic reportage, quirky details and a timeless tribute to the debut of the beautiful new prince.”
Who is on sale today, with a full cover and dedicated pages on Kate and William’s second-born son.
Emma Nolan, editor in chief, Who, said, “We pored over every beautiful image long into the wee hours of Tuesday morning, loving each and every candid moment captured. From Charlotte’s cute wave to the crowd, to Kate’s loving look at her third child, this is a special time in history and one which royal fans love turning to our magazine brands for.”
Netflix, Amazon and other online streaming services will have to dedicate 30% of their output to TV shows and films made in Europe, which they must subsidise, under the terms of a new EU law agreed in Brussels on Thursday, reports The Guardian.
As well as the “Netflix quota”, the streaming services will have to fund European TV series and films, either by directly commissioning the content or contributing to national film funds, under the terms of an outline deal on EU broadcasting rules reached by legislators.
MEPs and the Council of Ministers, who are responsible for agreeing to the law, struck a deal on a final version of the EU’s audio-visual services directive – a breakthrough in the legislative process.
The law falls into a longstanding tradition of EU lawmakers protecting European film and drama against the encroachments of Hollywood and US TV and online shows.
Screen Producers Australia CEO Matthew Deaner welcomed reports from Brussels that the European Union is looking to impose local content obligations on Netflix, Amazon and other online streaming services. Late last year a House of Representatives Committee made similar recommendations.
“The EU Parliament has recognised the need for a level playing field where both broadcast media and online streaming services are regulated similarly. A level playing field is good for businesses, audiences and industry,” Deaner said.
Longtime Network Ten sports reporter and presenter Brad McEwan is leaving the network today.
McEwan, also a contributor to 3AW, spoke to 3AW’s Ross and John this morning about a career change he is looking forward to.
“I still love storytelling, but I just want to head off, perhaps into the corporate world, and use those skills that I’ve got and keep meeting people and keep travelling the world,” he said.
McEwan will present the sport for the last time on TEN News Melbourne tonight during the 5pm bulletin. His friend and colleague Stephen Quartermain will pay tribute to McEwan and then they will head off for a Friday farewell celebration.
Mediaweek recorded a podcast with Brad McEwan several years ago.
Listen to it here.
Network Ten has confirmed entertainment reporter Angela Bishop and Australian comedian and actress Denise Scott will be welcomed to the Studio 10 panel as regular co-hosts from Monday April 30.
Bishop has been a regular on Studio 10 and will join the panel full-time from Monday. She will also continue her role as entertainment reporter for TEN Eyewitness News First At Five and other TEN programs.
Bishop said: “I am so excited to join this amazing team. I love the idea of mixing the unpredictability of live television with my entertainment reporting from red carpets and hotel rooms around the world. I can’t wait to start.”
Scott has been a regular guest on Network Ten shows including Good News Week, The Project and Hughesy, We Have a Problem. She will join the panel every second week, alternating with Denise Drysdale.
Scott said: “I’ve always wanted to host a morning television show and now it’s happening at 63. As I always say, kids, hang on to your dreams! If it doesn’t happen in your 20s, it’ll happen in your 60s.”
SBS mounted a publicity stunt to coincide with the launch of the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale yesterday.
A team of women dressed in the red robes and white bonnets made famous by the series turned up across Sydney at venues as different as the offices of TV Week and a lecture theatre inside Sydney University.
Meanwhile SBS has launched a dedicated Handmaid’s Tale podcast, Eyes On Gilead, which will feature a separate edition on each episode of season two.
The weekly conversation is warning there are spoilers aplenty, so watch the episodes first and then listen to help work through your thoughts.
The podcast hosts are Fiona Williams from SBS Movies and The SBS Guide managing editor, Sana Qadar, who is a journalist on Small Business Secrets, and Natalie Hambly, who is SBS Life managing editor.
Cricket Australia is poised to announced the dates for the summer of cricket as early as today, with officials putting the finishing touches on the schedule, reports Fairfax Media’s Chris Dutton.
It’s understood Canberra will likely take centre stage from January 31-February 4 when Australia plays against Sri Lanka in a perfectly timed match for new broadcaster Channel Seven.
It will be the first time Australia has played a home Test so late in the summer since 1998 and is a bonus for Cricket Australia’s $1.2 billion broadcast deal with Channel Seven and Fox Sports.
Channel Seven has the rights to the Australian Open for one more year and the extended summer of Tests has caused a schedule headache for officials.