The impending sale of the remaining stake in Macquarie Media to Nine Entertainment Co should happen later this year offers plenty of upside for the now bigger-than-big publishing and broadcasting giant.
By James Manning
However for those struggling to see why Nine wasn’t prepared to match the current share price, and why John Singleton and his partners will accept that, there are a number of challenges too.
Key among them is the future of the Sydney breakfast show. While Nine has secured Alan Jones for the short term – two more years – there remains a question mark over his future.
While Ray Hadley wants that slot, he will become a contracted employee at Nine with allegations levelled at him that have labelled his workplace conduct as “vile” with a claim he was involved in workplace bullying over a number of years.
While Nine may have left it to Macquarie Media management to deal with prior to 100% ownership, it is doubtful Nine won’t get involved in sorting out the mess.
One thing in Hadley’s favour is he has acknowledged his poor behaviour in the past:
“In recent months I’ve been the subject of intense public scrutiny over allegations regarding my behaviour earlier in my career. I’ve admitted to my previous shortcomings, which are on the public record,” Hadley said in a statement recently.
“I’ve also made no secret of the fact that in recent years I have done everything I can to do better, something which I am sure many of my current colleagues would attest to.”
But will that admission be enough to please Nine management?
Nine’s other big challenge is what to do with Macquarie Sports Radio. Having those three east coast AM licences is an asset, although with their current format and audiences they are virtually worthless. There is potential to make them a potent sports force as part of Nine’s Wide World Of Sports brand, but that will take investment and time.
There is not a lot of radio experience on the Nine Entertainment board. However within the management team there is experience and some of Nine’s key talent are tried and tested radio performers.
The two with a radio background on the management team are Nine’s director of commercial partnerships Lizzie Young and director of sport Tom Malone.
Young has worked in marketing, promotions and sales in radio with two stints at Southern Cross Austereo. She has also worked for five years in the UK radio market at Global Radio, filling several roles including running a big agency sales team.
Malone spent a few years at 2UE including time as a Canberra correspondent and a couple of years executive producing the breakfast show. He also spent six years running Today during its glory years, a time slot in TV most-often compared to radio.
Two long-time trusted Nine staffers also are key contributors at 2GB – drive show host Ben Fordham and early evening host Ross Greenwood. Both have a passion for radio and TV and if they haven’t been speaking with Nine CEO Hugh Marks about the ways Nine could be exploring opportunities in radio it would be surprising.
The other big benefit for Nine in taking over Macquarie Media is how radio can help strengthen the Nine News brand. That is something that Nine’s news boss Darren Wick alluded to in an interview with Mediaweek earlier this month.
Nine already delivers a 30-minute bulletin daily in Adelaide on Fiveaa, expect that idea to spread to other markets. There is no reason why ultimately the respected Macquarie National News radio brand couldn’t eventually become Nine National News.
There has been no mention of Melbourne’s 3AW yet in this report because it is such a different operation, but no less successful, than Sydney’s 2GB.
While 3AW has its challenges, any internal squabbles are kept largely off the radar. It is also a much less “angry” station than 2GB, at least before noon. While breakfast stars and ratings magnets Ross and John and later in the morning Neil Mitchell, do get riled about certain topics, they are less likely to ram their opinions down the throat of the audience, and some would say they are also more tolerant of opposing views.
What Nine might need to explore there is the ultimate succession plans for their two timeslots. Like at 2GB, the current drive show hosts would surely be earmarked for an earlier start to the day.
The Macquarie Media purchase is potentially the most fascinating of Nine’s recent media acquisitions and one where Nine could really get to flex is muscles.
Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) has launched a new marketing campaign to promote the high return on investment of advertising on radio.
The industry body, which represents commercial radio stations across Australia, is working with national brands such as ALDI, Koala and Liquorland to remind the industry that marketing delivers results.
“Advertising works and brands that invest in radio will be rewarded with a strong return on investment,” said CRA chief executive officer Joan Warner. “Radio offers broad reach and allows brands to maintain their share of voice.”
The radio industry’s national campaign consists of a series of ads featuring high-profile radio advertisers and business success stories such as supermarket group ALDI and fast-growing online furniture and mattress retailer Koala.
Koala co-founder Dany Milham said: “Koala has invested in marketing to build a distinctive brand and radio has been a valuable element of that.”
Radio is enjoying a resurgence in interest with audiences at an all-time high. More than 10.7 million people tuned in to commercial radio each week in the five major capital cities in 2018, reflecting a 12% increase over the past five years and a 22% rise over the past decade.
The new ads were developed by Eardrum and are part of the Radio Alive rebrand aimed at promoting radio as an effective advertising medium.
The appointment of Kendall follows ACM’s move into private ownership in July.
Interests associated with former Domain CEO Antony Catalano and Alex Waislitz’s Thorney Investment Group bought the former Fairfax Media regional publishing division from Nine Entertainment.
ACM managing director Allen Williams said the aim of Kendall’s review was to sharpen and build on existing strengths and capabilities in sales by examining operations, structure, skills and resourcing.
Kendall would make recommendations to improve ACM’s approach.
“To deliver outstanding results for our business we must first deliver outstanding results for our customers,” Williams said.
“To do that, we need integrated and high-performing sales teams.
“Tony’s wide connections and extensive knowledge of the advertising and marketing industry in Australia will be an invaluable addition to our business.”
Kendall has held senior positions at a number of leading media companies with portfolios that include print, digital, radio and outdoor assets.
At HT&E (formerly APN News & Media), he was responsible for leading integrated group revenue across all assets, along with driving the group’s data strategy.
Before joining HT&E he was CEO of Australian Radio Network, the operator of the networks KIIS and Pure Gold.
Kendall has also been director of sales at Bauer Media Group and spent 23 years at News Limited, where he held a number of senior positions including group advertising sales director, chief executive officer at News Magazines and senior vice-president, sales, for the New York Post.
In a note to ACM staff, Williams said Kendall would report to him and be based at the company’s North Sydney office.
With more than 160 news brands publishing online and in print, the ACM network includes 14 daily titles, such as The Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, The Courier in Ballarat and The Examiner in Launceston, and the country’s largest agricultural media business, including The Land in NSW, Queensland Country Life, Farm Weekly in Western Australia and Stock Journal in South Australia.
After little movement in the last few weeks at the Australian box office, there has finally been some meaningful change with three new entries to the top five taking the place of some long-lasting hits in:
By Trent Thomas
• Marvel’s Spider-Man: Far From Home is sixth this week after making $415,111, bringing its total to $37.78m.
• Pixar’s Toy Story is eighth this week after making $376,307. It has made $40.90m over eight weeks of release and is the fourth highest-grossing film of the year.
• The musical rom-com Yesterday is ninth this week making $247,298 bringing its total to $13.18m.
While there is a lot of young blood in the top of the box office this week, at the very precipice an old favorite regains its spot at the top of the mountain as The Lion King retakes top spot of the Australian box office after slipping to the second spot last week behind Fast & Furious: Shaw and Hobbs. After only suffering a 34% decline on last week the film was able to once again produce a hefty total as it now sits at number seven on the all-time Australian box office list with $55.14m, the film has a clear path to possibly be the fourth highest-grossing film in Australian history with the following films ahead of it:
#6 Titanic $57.66m
#5 Star Wars: The Last Jedi $58.09m
#4 Avengers: Infinity War $62.01m
#3 Avengers: Endgame $84.30m
#2 Star Wars: Force Awakens $94.03m
#1 Avatar $115.76m
However, despite all this movement, total box office was down week-on-week with a 21% decline producing a total of $13.29m.
The record-breaking remake of the 1994 classic continues to roll on as it follows the trend of the most recent Disney remake Aladdin and is producing small declines week-on-week deep into its release. This week’s 34% decline follows 45% in week one and 44% in week two as it was also the most shown film on the country appearing on 530 screens for an average of $7,860 (also the highest amount this weekend).
Sliding down to second spot after two weeks in theatres the ninth instalment in the Fast & Furious franchise came very close to retaining top spot with under 300k separating it from The Lion King. It also came very close to being number one in screens (520) and average aswell making $7,460 per screen.
The first new film in the top five this week is also the first Australian film as the flick set in Palm Beach, Sydney and reunites a group of lifelong friends to celebrate a special birthday, but tensions mount as secrets are slowly unearthed. The drama is directed by Rachel Ward, and stars Bryan Brown, Sam Neill, Greta Scacchi and Richard E. Grant. In its first week it was screened on 250 screens for a healthy average of $4,569.
Another Australian film has made it in the top five, the first time this year that two Australian films are concurrently in the five highest-grossing films. The war film about the Battle of Long Tan during the Vietnam war is directed by Kriv Stenders and stars Travis Fimmel. In its first weekend in theatres, it made an average of $3,446 on 225 screens.
The comedy-drama starring Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson has made it into the top five in its first week of release, making an average of $2,528 on 301 screens.
• Audience welcomes back Karl Stefanovic to Nine’s primetime
• Same Time Next Year’s amazing makeover – host and the guests
By James Manning
• Seven News 1,063,000
• Nine News 1,024,000
• A Current Affair 819,000
• ABC News 666,000
• 7.30 618,000
• The Project 293,000/472,000
• 10 News First 391,000,000
• The Drum 173,000
• SBS World News 153,000
• Sunrise 268,000
• Today 190,000
Home And Away averaged 619,000 last week and it has started week 33 on 686,000.
After 823,000 on Sunday, Australia’s Got Talent was down to 679,000. This is close to the Monday audience of 688,000 a week ago.
Seven’s US drama The Rookie then did 428,000.
After averaging 727,000 last week, A Current Affair has begun its week on 819,000. The Monday episode revealed a major JB Hi-Fi pricing error the day it revealed a significant profit.
The Block started a new week of renovation and construction in luxury living week. The Monday episode did 842,000 after 855,000 a week ago. The show was way ahead in the timeslot.
The return of This Time Next Year featured stunning makeovers of not only the participants, but the host too! Karl Stefanovic looked well-rested and in control of the show that started with a fascinating story of a young woman vowing to overcome the symptoms of Tourette syndrome. The first night ratings indicate the audience still has plenty of time for Stefanovic with 686,000 watching making the program a timeslot winner.
AFL markets then saw Footy Classified with 116,000 in Melbourne.
The Project started its weeknight run on 472,000 which is down a little on the 500,000+ audiences after 7pm for much of last week.
There was more drama at tribal council again on Australia Survivor with a tied vote after the controversial contestant David played his immunity idol. Hannah was eventually voted after what she called “next level deception”. Although she also revealed her game plan was “crap”. The audience was on 711,000, close to last week’s 713,000.
After 653,000 a week ago, Have You Been Paying Attention? lifted to 735,000.
The first episode of a two-part Australian Story investigation into unsuspecting drug mules did 604,000.
The second part of two weeks examining Brexit ended with Philip Williams on Boris and his Brexit plan. The audience was on 593,000.
Media Watch started with a look at media being targeted by police during the Hong Kong protests with 521,000 watching.
Q&A was in Melbourne with 344,000 on board.
Secrets Of The Queen’s Children was the most-watched show on the channel with 170,000. 24 Hours In Emergency later did 151,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.5%||7TWO||2.7%||GO!||2.6%||10 Bold||3.1%||VICELAND||0.9%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||3.3%||GEM||3.0%||10 Peach||2.0%||Food Net||1.3%|
|7Food||0.3%||SBS World Movies||0.7%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.1%||7TWO||3.6%||GO!||3.4%||WIN Bold||3.5%||VICELAND||0.9%|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||4.7%||GEM||5.0%||WIN Peach||1.5%||Food Net||1.7%|
|ABC NEWS||0.9%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||2.8%||9Life||1.6%||Sky News on WIN||1.9%||NITV||0.1%|
|7food (QLD only)||0.5%|
16-39 Top Five
18-49 Top Five
25-54 Top Five
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Shares of CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. fell Monday in the US in response to the latest deal terms weighed by the media giants, which are hammering out a merger after years of on-again, off-again discussions, report Bloomberg’s Nabila Ahmed, Ed Hammond and Lucas Shaw.
The two boards are nearing an agreement following a marathon negotiating session that went late into the night Sunday.
The companies are aiming to announce a merger by Monday, although the timing could slip into Tuesday.
Star Macquarie Media host Ray Hadley doesn’t believe Nine would risk “ruining our business” by forcing its stations’ hosts to include more Nine content on their shows, saying he’ll always be “more Daily Telegraph than SMH”, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.
Hadley, who hosts mornings on 2GB in Sydney and Brisbane’s 4BC, told The Australian he “could not see anything changing” in the format and content on his Macquarie show, which has in the past relied more on News Corp newspapers’ coverage and journalists rather than those now owned by Nine.
“I cannot see anything changing, synergies are always going to happen,” Hadley said.
“Even when Fairfax were the major shareholder, I would say my show is more like The Daily Telegraph than the SMH and it will always be that way.”
John “Singo” Singleton will reap about $80 million from the sale of his minority shareholding in Macquarie Media should he accept Nine Entertainment’s $1.46 per share offer to buy the remaining shares in the radio group it does not yet own, reports The Australian’s John Stensholt.
But Nine’s offer is significantly below the level Macquarie Media’s share price was trading at earlier this year. Had Nine, for example, moved to take over the radio station in March, Singleton’s 32.2 per cent stake would then have been worth about $100 million.
Alan Jones, meanwhile, has about 2.1 million shares that would be worth about $3.16 million should the Nine offer be accepted. Prominent Sydney investor Mark Carnegie would reap about $8.9 million under the same scenario.
Macquarie chairman Russell Tate defended the decision [to recommend Nine’s bid], conceding that an offer below the market price is unusual, but arguing that there are a number of factors in this deal that are not typical of a standard takeover, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
Tate told the Financial Review the Macquarie board has been anticipating an offer from Nine at some point in time and has been receiving financial advice from UBS.
Tate said Macquarie shareholders – before they vote on the deal – will have an independent expert report so they can receive an outside view on the “fairness and reasonableness of this offer”.
Tate said there had been no indication “that there is another potential bidder for the minority shareholding in the company”.
ABC chair Ita Buttrose attended an Aussie Home Loans conference on Monday, appearing on a panel with ANZ boss Shayne Elliott and Aussie founder John Symond, moderated by Nine business editor Ross Greenwood report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Koziol and Samantha Hutchinson.
Asked about the leadership upheaval at the broadcaster over the past year, Buttrose noted such changes were usually unsettling for staff – but particularly at the ABC.
“Creative people, the kind of people who work at the ABC, are very sensitive people,” she said.
“You’ve got to understand that – that’s why they do the sort of things that they do.
“So they’re a little more fragile than some workers. They have to be patted a bit, and reassured that all is well,” Buttrose said to laughter.
Buttrose did not attend Symond’s conference in her capacity as ABC chair.
Entertainer Shane Jacobson has settled a six-figure legal battle with his ex-manager at the 11th hour, report The Age’s Broede Carmody and Tom Cowie.
The 49-year-old actor was due to front Melbourne’s County Court on Tuesday to defend himself against claims he did not pay his former manager and publicist, Deb Fryers, an appropriate commission for securing him a string of on-and-off screen roles in 2018 and 2019.
Jacobson became a household name in 2006 after starring in the cult mockumentary film Kenny. He has since gone on to host popular reality program Little Big Shots, strip-off in Network Seven’s The Real Full Monty and even star in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Fryers, who helped oversee Jacobson’s rise from local actor to prime-time TV host, sued the Kenny star and his company Ocean View Entertainment in August last year. The longtime publicist claimed she had not been paid an appropriate commission for landing Jacobson more than 15 jobs before the pair parted ways, according to a writ filed in the Victorian County Court.
Jacobson earned just over $900,000 from various gigs in 2018 and 2019, according to court documents, including $27,000 for appearing in Seven’s The Real Full Monty and $180,000 for voicing the narrator in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Two multi award-winning ABC programs have been shortlisted for the Television Business International – Content Innovation Awards, to be held at MIPCOM in October this year.
The ABC’s factual series You Can’t Ask That has been nominated for Entertainment Format of The Year, alongside some of the world’s largest and most expensive shiny floor shows. Heralded here and overseas for diverse storytelling, ABC Commercial has sold the format for You Can’t Ask That to 10 countries – making it one of the ABC’s most successful formats.
Australian crime investigation series Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane has been short listed for Best Use of Social Media. EXPOSED: The Case of Keli Lane takes a unique approach to documentary storytelling, advancing the manner in which multi-part series are produced, revolutionising the role of the audience and transforming how factual content is engaged with.
Michael Carrington, ABC acting director entertainment & specialist, said: “As Australia’s leading creative voice, the ABC is proud to be recognised on the international stage for content innovation. Congratulations to the ABC teams behind You Can’t Ask That and Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane for showing that distinctive and engaging Australian content touches hearts and opens minds with viewers around the world.”
Winners will be announced at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes on Sunday, 13 October 2019.
Rove McManus is guest-hosting on Celebrity Name Game due to Grant Denyer being unwell again, reports TV Tonight.
“Who knew an innocent family holiday in Bali would end with me flat on my back again?” Denyer said in a statement.
“But the show must go on, and I owe Rove McManus a big thank you for stepping in to my small shoes and hosting Celebrity Name Game for a short stint. A consummate professional, household name and all-around top bloke, it’s no wonder they chose Rove to take over while I take some time to recover. The fact that Rove fits my wardrobe is only an added-bonus.”
Ending a drama series is not all bad.
Just ask Glitch co-creator Louise Fox who is concluding the series at three seasons on her own terms.
“It’s fantastic. I think every storyteller wants to finish a story on their own terms. We always envisaged three seasons,” she tells TV Tonight.
“It’s a really good shape, particularly for a mystery. You don’t want to overstay your welcome and drag it out and frustrate people.
“I think an end is really important here and an audience needs to feel they have been satisfied.
“You want an ending to be both surprising and perfectly satisfying, at the same time.
“We’ve always had the ending planned from the beginning.”