Thursday August 15, 2019

Podcast Week

• Aussies at Podcast Movement, Gilead live, Daddos return

By James Manning

Podcast Movement attracts Australian industry visitors

Whooshkaa founder Rob Lowenthal is one of a handful of Australians attending the Podcast Movement conference in Florida this week. The event is being held by the US industry trade group Podcast Movement run by former CPA and professional wrestler, Dan Franks.

Others who have made the trip to the US south east include Corey Layton from ARN, Kellie Riordan from ABC, Adam Jeffries from Wavelength, Kristofer Lawson from Moonshot Podcast, Cooper Silk from Radiohub, Andy Horvath from Melbourne University and Sharon Taylor Triton.

NPR podcaster Guy Raz (monthly audience of close to 20m downloads) is the star attraction this year at the conference.

Day one sessions included a look at celebrity podcasts and why advertisers lobe them so much.

Eyes On Gilead podcast live this weekend

With The Handmaid’s Tale S3 coming to a close, fans have a chance to join podcast hosts Fiona, Natalie, Sana and Haidee as they (re)watch the season three finale and then create a live recording of the award-winning SBS podcast Eyes On Gilead.

Guests are being told to feel free to dress up if they feel so inclined.

The screening and then recording will take place at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville starting at 2pm on Sunday August 18.

Listen to Eyes On Gilead here.

Nova and Acast busy with new and returning podcasts

Cameron and Ali Daddo’s podcast Separate Bathrooms and Other Handy Marriage Tips will go into a second series shortly following the success of the first series, which launched on 23 May.

The Disappearance of Des, a real life podcast about the disappearance of Des Carr forty years ago, launched on 2 August to coincide with National Missing Persons week.

The Disappearance of Des is a five-part podcast series that focuses on what has happened in the past 40 years since he went missing. With many theories and suspicions around his disappearance, family members relay the events that led up to Des vanishing and share their thoughts on what happened to their beloved brother and son. A police report showed that Des was injured in a fight, when struck by a chair to the head, just before his disappearance. His father believed Des lost his memory and was still alive but did know his identity; while others thought UFO’s were involved. The trail went quiet until 2014 when new evidence came to light. A man came forward with knowledge of where Des disappeared. He drew a map for the police and it was the exact location of Des’ last known sighting. The informant’s name and details were later removed from the case and to this day there has never been a Coroner’s inquest into Des’ disappearance.

Two milestones recently passed on Nova podcasts were over 1 million downloads of Confessions of a Twenty Something Train Wreck from Phoebe Parsons who was the winner of Nova’s first Podquest competition.

Meanwhile the Interview with Andrew Denton podcast series, which launched on 18 April, has had 1.5 million downloads

HT&E is one step closer to becoming a pure radio play for investors

• Focus on radio, exiting Esports, reviewing all non-audio investments

Here are edited highlights from the HT&E half year results presentation:

• EBIT of $29.2 million up 6% on prior year
• Underlying earnings per share increased 45% to 6.3 cents per share
• Group costs from continuing operations down 13% to $95.8 million
• iHeartRadio licence extended to 2036
• Closure of Gfinity Esports Australia

HT&E has released its results for the 6 months ending 30 June 2019. Statutory profit from continuing operations and before exceptional items was up 34%, and EBITDA on the same basis was up 26% to $38.1 million.

Revenue from continuing operations decreased 4% to $130.9 million driven by a softer radio market in Australia and the non-renewal at the end of 2018 of a material revenue contract in Hong Kong.

Group costs from continuing operations before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, and exceptional items were down 13% to $95.8 million including the AASB 16 adoption.

Corporate costs declined 11% in the first half as a result of group simplification. Further savings are expected in the second half and into 2020, in line with HT&E’s aim of reducing corporate costs and simplifying the management and operational structures between HT&E and ARN.

Net profit after tax on a continuing operations basis and before exceptional items increased from $13.5 million to $18.1 million in the first half, an increase of 34%. With the benefit of the ongoing share buyback, earnings per share on the same basis lifted from 4.4 cents to 6.3 cents per share, an increase of 45%.

Exceptional costs (net of tax) of $4.8 million were incurred in the first half. These related to corporate and ARN team restructuring charges incurred largely as a consequence of the sale of Adshel in 2018, and the decision taken to close Gfinity Esports Australia. As a result, statutory profit attributable to shareholders from continuing operations for the first half to 30 June 2019 was $13.3 million, compared to a profit of $14.9 million in 2018.

HT&E Chairman, Hamish McLennan, said, “HT&E delivered a good profit result for the half particularly given conditions in the Australian metro radio market were challenging during the first quarter, where sector revenue was down 3.1% on the prior year. Overall the radio market was down 2.4% in the first half.

We are first and foremost a radio and audio business since selling Adshel and over the last six months have spent a huge amount of time focusing on the objective of creating Australia’s most complete and compelling audio offering.

“We have made good progress reducing corporate costs and simplifying the management and operational structures between HT&E and ARN. We are assessing our existing investments to determine how they can better integrate into audio, and if not, what alternatives are available to deliver better shareholder value. As a result we have decided to close Gfinity Esports Australia in which HT&E holds a 35% effective interest. While the business has achieved some significant and world-leading results, the economics of esports in the Australian market are yet to deliver sustainable, positive earnings.

We will also consider investment opportunities that are aligned with our overall audio strategy.

HT&E CEO & Managing Director, Ciaran Davis, said, “Our absolute focus is on our core radio business that remains highly cash generative with exceptional margins. Across the network we are reaching record numbers every week and we have maintained our winning edge, retaining the number one and two FM breakfast shows in Sydney, and KIIS 101.1 in Melbourne recording its highest station audience since 2014. We are continuing to focus on growing ratings and gaining market share by recruiting and retaining the best radio talent in Australia.

“Broadcast radio remains our core business, and the big opportunity to transform from a radio offering to an audio business. We already deliver the most complete audio solution in Australia and our digital platforms that extend audience reach are an important part of this. With our iHeartRadio platform we lead the market and are investing in technology and data capability for targeted advertising to generate growth.”

Australian Radio Network

• Radio market down 2.4%
• ARN revenue fell 3.8% to $115 million
• Reported EBITDA was in line with last year
• Dominance in Sydney with ARN retaining No.1 and No. 2 FM breakfast shows
• ARN network of KIIS and Pure Gold reaching record numbers each week, with over 5 million listeners, up from 2018
• iHeartRadio app downloads now exceed 1.9 million

In a radio market down 2.4%, ARN revenue fell 3.8% year on year to $115 million. First quarter revenue performance was weak, falling 5% behind the equivalent period in 2018. Conditions improved somewhat early in the second quarter, before softening following the Federal election. Despite this, second quarter revenue was in line with strong prior year comps, and ahead of the market’s 1.7% decline.

ARN continues to focus on growing ratings and gaining revenue share by recruiting and retaining the best radio talent in Australia.

Following a softer survey 1 result in 2019, ARN saw steady improvement over surveys 2 and 3, and a solid result in survey 4. The ARN network of KIIS and Pure Gold is reaching record numbers each week, with over 5 million listeners, up from 2018.

In Sydney, ARN retained the No.1 and No. 2 FM breakfast shows with KIIS 1065 holding No.1 for the seventh consecutive survey, and WSFM retaining No. 2 FM breakfast and overall station. KIIS 101.1 in Melbourne recorded its highest station audience since 2014 and biggest audience in breakfast since 2015, while GOLD 104.3 achieved No. 2 FM station overall. In Adelaide MIX102.3 maintained No.1 FM breakfast and overall station, its 25th consecutive win. Improvement in Brisbane saw 97.3FM and 4KQ hold equal No. 2 overall station.

Beyond broadcast radio, ARN’s content consumption continues to grow. While iHeartRadio houses Australia’s most comprehensive library of podcasts, sourced from both local and international libraries, improving listener discoverability remains a key opportunity; the promotion of certain podcasts on-air saw a significant increase in listening during the first half, extending the engagement of audiences from prime time into other parts of the day. As part of HT&E’s commitment to iHeartRadio the Company has secured a licence extension until 2036.

HT&E Events

Esports remains an exciting industry with significant global interest and activity and HT&E believes it will become a mainstream and significant content-audience-commercial medium in the long term. Gfinity Esports Australia (HT&E ~ 35% effective interest via HT&E Events) has been at the forefront of this in Australia and has achieved some significant and world-leading results from the Elite Series in 2018 and Rocket League Oceanic Masters in 2019. The upcoming Gfinity Supercars Eseries is expected to deliver new and engaging experiences for both motoring and gaming enthusiasts alike.

Despite these results and progress achieved to date, the economics of esports in the Australian market are yet to yield the sustainable, positive earnings we require from our investments. Further time and capital are likely to be required to achieve this, with no certainty on when a positive contribution might be achieved. Therefore, it has been decided to close the business at the end of 2019, once current commitments have been fulfilled. As a result, HT&E’s net investment in Gfinity Esports Australia (via HT&E Events) has been impaired at 30 June 2019, with an exceptional charge of $5.3 million taken to the Profit and Loss.

Non-Audio Investments – Strategic Review

HT&E is reviewing all non-audio investments across the Group to determine how they can better integrate into audio, and if not, what alternatives are available to deliver better shareholder value. This includes Emotive, Unbound Group and Soprano Design.

Trading Update

As noted earlier, the Australian radio market deteriorated post the Federal election, and this has continued into Q3. Short bookings suggest the market could be down mid-single percent in the quarter. Recent improvement in briefing activity is being observed for possible Q4 bookings.

Positioning ARN for that uplift is a core part of our agenda for H2. Maintaining the right level of investment in resources and capability is therefore critical to ensuring ARN will successfully exploit its opportunities.

The changing shape of cost of sales as digital revenue grows, contracted talent and other cost increases, and other possible non-repeat savings from 2018, means that cost growth in H2 is likely to exceed revenue growth. A cost and efficiency review is continuing to identify opportunities to reduce operating expenditure.

Hugh Marks confirms departure of Nine CFO Greg Barnes

Nine Entertainment has today announced the departure of Greg Barnes, chief financial officer, who will leave the company at the end of August, after delivering the FY19 results to the market.

A statement to the ASX said:

Barnes joined Nine in July 2016 and has been an integral member of the executive team throughout this period, most particularly through the recent merger process with Fairfax. He has been a driving force in the integration of the finance teams and leaves the group in a very strong operating and financial position.

He has also served as the chairman of CarAdvice and a director of Stan.

“I would like to thank Greg for the significant contribution he has made to Nine over the past three years,” said Hugh Marks, CEO of Nine. “It has been an incredibly exciting and formative time for the Group, and Greg has been instrumental in that. I wish him all the best for the future.”

Barnes said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Nine. We have achieved a great deal during that period, not the least of which was the completion of the merger with Fairfax – it’s been an exciting time. I wish Nine and the team all the very best and am looking forward to embarking upon my next challenge.”

Nine is progressing the search for a suitable replacement and will announce an appointment soon.

Ciaran Davis announces new HT&E CFO, Michael Harvey to be COO

HT&E has announced changes to its executive team.

HT&E has been undertaking a review of its operating model and senior management needs following the sale of its out-of-home business Adshel to oOh!media in late 2018. That review has concluded that the integration of a number of HT&E corporate roles into ARN operations is the optimal structure for the Company going forward. It has therefore been determined that two existing senior group roles will no longer be required in the organisation structure.

Consequently, both Jeff Howard, HT&E CFO and Yvette Lamont, Group General Counsel and Company Secretary, will be leaving HT&E at the end of the year.

Andrew Nye, former HT&E Group Finance Manager and more recently CFO of Adshel, has been appointed CFO of HT&E and ARN, effective from 14 August 2019.

Michael Harvey, currently CFO/COO of ARN, will assume the COO role at ARN full time from this date.

Jeremy Child, HT&E Group Taxation Manager, will see his role expanded to include the role of Company Secretary effective from 14 August 2019.

Ciaran Davis, CEO & Managing Director of HT&E, said: “As we outlined at our full year results, having the right structure in place, and on-going corporate cost reduction and simplification, are of paramount importance to HT&E and ARN, to improve shareholder value.”

“On behalf of the board I want to thank Yvette and Jeff for the professional way they’ve assisted with this review and helped resolve the new model, but more importantly, for the significant contribution they’ve made to HT&E over their respective tenures, and particularly in the four years I have been CEO.

“Jeff Howard has been a pivotal player at HT&E since his appointment in 2010. His strategic financial leadership and drive to pursue shareholder value creation have been invaluable as HT&E navigated a challenging period of transformation. Jeff’s expertise and advice in the reshaping of HT&E included numerous transactions such as the successful exit from the NZ radio and trans-Tasman publishing markets, the acquisitions of ARN and Adshel from Clear Channel, and the recent sale of Adshel to oOh!media.

“Most importantly Jeff has also overseen a number of important balance sheet repair and capital management initiatives which has left the Company with a strong capital structure to take the company forward.”

“Yvette has guided the company through some challenging periods during her successful tenure and her input has been crucial. Her in-depth industry and legal knowledge, insight and foresight ensured HT&E was well positioned for success. On behalf of all the previous boards and CEOs she has worked with, I would like to thank her for her significant contribution to the business.

“On behalf of the board I thank them for their first-class execution of everything HT&E over the last several years, and wish both Jeff and Yvette every success in their future careers.”

Network 10 & Facebook content partnership: 3 series in production

Network 10 and Facebook have announced a content partnership that will see 10 expand its presence on the social media platform.

The partnership includes the creation of exclusive and original social content for hit 10 shows including The Bachelor Australia, The Bachelorette Australia, Bachelor In Paradise, The Living Room, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, The Loop and more.

Network 10’s chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said the new agreement followed the success of recent exclusive Facebook content the network had created, including the Dancing With The Stars companion series The Dance Beat and the I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! extension show Edge Of The Jungle.

“Our entertainment brands are already the most popular and noisiest shows on social media and this new partnership will ensure their presence and impact will increase.

“Our aim is to bring exclusive content – including behind-the-scenes footage, recaps, interviews and much more – to Facebook audiences, leveraging the great content and talent we have on 10. The new content will compliment and amplify our broadcast platforms and our rapidly-growing digital platforms including 10 Play and 10 Daily,” she said.

Current Facebook content series in production include The Bachelor Australia’s Bachelor Unpacked, The Living Room’s The Living Room Extra and The Loop’s Unlooped.

Facebook Australia & New Zealand managing director William Easton said: “Network 10 has long been innovators in the production of original companion content on Facebook, and we are excited that our partnership will enable this to go from strength to strength.

“We built Facebook Watch on the notion that watching videos can help you connect more deeply with people and to connect with people around the videos you love. 10’s episodic highlights allows fans on Facebook to catch up on those watercooler moments from their favourite TV shows as well those who want something deeper, to connect to longer and exclusive companion content.”

Network 10’s head of social content Kirsty Wilson said: “Audiences today are able to access and enjoy television from many platforms, choosing whatever medium suits them best, across their day.

“Facebook remains a core social platform where TV content is discovered, consumed and shared, and this partnership will allow us to deliver more exclusive social video to our viewers across the most popular entertainment franchises.”

TV Ratings Analysis: August 14

• The Bachelor beats The Block: Midweek ratings upset
• Cricket gets a crowd on 9Gem despite no live action

Wednesday Week 33 2019

By James Manning

• Seven News 1,051,000/1,007,000
• Nine News 876,000/873,000
• A Current Affair 743,000
• ABC News 644,000
• 7.30 549,000
• The Project 278,000/485,000
• 10 News First 395,000,000
• The Drum 188,000
• SBS World News 148,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 269,000
• Today 188,000

Seven

Home And Away was up marginally to 652,000 after audiences of 686,000 and 635,000 earlier this week.

The David Koch-hosted How To Make $10k In 20 Days saw two households competing to save $10k – one just made it and the other didn’t. Some of the audience didn’t stay with the program across the journey with an average audience of 316,000.

The 2017 movie Logan then did 166,000.

Nine

The audience drift across the week continued with a midweek crowd of 743,000 after 821,000 and then 761,000 previously this week.

The Block ended its second week on 765,000, one of its smallest audiences ever. It wasn’t helped by what was supposed to be the start of the Second Test at Lords. However the day was washed out. That didn’t stop 270,000 watching a preview and then an Ashes Test replay.

Nine’s 8.30pm movie was Bridget Jones Baby with 232,000.

10

The Bachelor had a great night with an audience of 783,000 making it the best this season. The show also ranked #1 non-news for the night and outrated The Block.

The Bachelor helped 10 to rank #1 under 50 for the night.

Earlier in the evening The Project did 485,000 at 7pm.

Later in the night My Life Is Murder was on 364,000.

ABC

A Toy Story fan won Hard Quiz with 619,000 watching.

Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell did 585,000.

The final Squinters was on 283,000.

The first episode of Diary Of An Uber Driver from new production company Revlover did 266,000.

SBS

Tony Robinson: Egyptian Tomb Hunting had 256,000 watching at 7.30pm.

The audience dropped to 140,000 for the second episode of Untold Australia.

Week 33 TV: Wednesday
WEDNESDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.1% 7 15.5% 9 18.3% 10  15.2% SBS One 4.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.5% 7TWO 3.1% GO! 3.1% 10 Bold 4.7% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 2.9% GEM 6.9% 10 Peach 2.2% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix 1.8% 9Life 2.0%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 0.3%         SBS World Movies 1.1%
TOTAL 16.3%   23.6%   30.3%   22.2%   7.6%

 

 WEDNESDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.5% 7 16.5% 9 16.1% WIN 12.5% SBS One 3.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.6% 7TWO 5.0% GO! 4.8% WIN Bold 5.4% VICELAND 1.6%
ABC ME 0.9% 7mate 3.2% GEM 6.3% WIN Peach 2.3% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 0.8% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.3% 9Life 2.0% Sky News  on WIN 1.8% NITV 0.4%
    7food (QLD only) 0.1%            
TOTAL 14.8%   27.2%   29.3%   22.0%   6.7%

 

WEDNESDAY FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,051,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 1,007,000
  3. Nine News Nine 876,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 873,000
  5. The Bachelor Australia 10 783,000
  6. The Block Nine 765,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 743,000
  8. Home And Away Seven 652,000
  9. ABC News ABC 644,000
  10. Hard Quiz S4 ABC 619,000
  11. The Chase Australia Seven 618,000
  12. Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell S10 ABC 585,000
  13. 7.30 ABC 549,000
  14. The Project 7pm 10 485,000
  15. Hot Seat Nine 468,000
  16. 10 News First 10 395,000
  17. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 373,000
  18. My Life Is Murder 10 364,000
  19. How To Make $10k In 20 Days Seven 316,000
  20. Hot Seat -5pm Nine 297,000
Demo Top Five

16-39 Top Five

  1. The Bachelor Australia 10 289,000
  2. The Block Nine 175,000
  3. The Project 7pm 10 134,000
  4. Seven News Seven 119,000
  5. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 116,000

 

18-49 Top Five

  1. The Bachelor Australia 10 420,000
  2. The Block Nine 320,000
  3. Seven News Seven 228,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 223,000
  5. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 221,000

 

25-54 Top Five

  1. The Bachelor Australia 10 448,000
  2. The Block Nine 376,000
  3. Seven News Seven 292,000
  4. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 281,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 265,000
WEDNESDAY Multichannel
  1. The Mid-Year Ashes: Second Test -Eng V Aus 9Gem 270,000
  2. The Mid-Year Ashes: Second Test -Eng V Aus 9Gem 270,000
  3. The Mid-Year Ashes: Second Test -Eng V Aus 9Gem 1 192,000
  4. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 181,000
  5. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 181,000
  6. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 165,000
  7. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 163,000
  8. Go Jetters ABCKIDS/COMEDY 156,000
  9. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 154,000
  10. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 151,000
  11. Dinosaur Train ABCKIDS/COMEDY 150,000
  12. Kiri And Lou PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 150,000
  13. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 150,000
  14. Nella The Princess Knight AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 148,000
  15. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 147,000
  16. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  17. Floogals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 146,000
  18. Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 141,000
  19. Charlie And Lola ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  20. School Of Roars AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
WEDNESDAY STV
  1. Gogglebox Australia Lifestyle Channel 84,000
  2. Grand Designs Australia Lifestyle Channel 79,000
  3. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 62,000
  4. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 56,000
  5. Live: NRL 360 FOX LEAGUE 55,000
  6. Richo & Jones Sky News Live 50,000
  7. Live: NRL Hall Of Fame FOX LEAGUE 47,000
  8. Credlin Sky News Live 47,000
  9. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 45,000
  10. All Round To Mrs. Brown’s UKTV 40,000
  11. Blue Bloods TVH!TS 38,000
  12. Grand Designs: The Street Lifestyle Channel 36,000
  13. Outback Truckers A&E 34,000
  14. Border Security: International FOX8 34,000
  15. The Simpsons FOX8 33,000
  16. Family Guy FOX8 31,000
  17. Blue Bloods TVH!TS 31,000
  18. NCIS TVH!TS 30,000
  19. Family Guy FOX8 30,000
  20. Highway Patrol FOX8 30,000

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

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

Macquarie shareholder Alan Jones supports Nine's takeover of stations

Star 2GB talkback radio broadcaster Alan Jones is leaning towards taking Nine’s offer to buyout minority shareholders in Macquarie Media, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Jones signed a new contract to stay with Macquarie as host of 2GB Sydney and 4BC Brisbane breakfast talkback radio shows for another two years from July 1.

The former Wallabies coach told The Australian Financial Review he did not have any specific comments on Nine’s proposal to buy the 45.5 per cent of Macquarie it doesn’t already own, but said he was leaning towards supporting the deal.

“As you would appreciate … the offer is open but shareholders must take best advice,” he said.

“If you’re asking me whether my inclination would be to accept the offer, the answer is yes.”

Jones holds a stake in Macquarie of about 1.3 per cent, worth about $3 million under Nine’s offer.

[Read the original]

Wilson buys up more of Macquarie Media in campaign against Nine

Fund manager Geoff Wilson is talking a big game as he tries to get Nine to shell out more dosh for the remaining share of Macquarie Media, report Michael Koziol and Samantha Hutchinson The Sydney Morning Herald.

And he’s putting money where his mouth is. CBD can reveal Wilson Asset Management snapped up a substantial block of shares yesterday – well over half of the million that were traded. They add to the 4 per cent stake Wilson says he already owns.

The buy-up follows his declaration of “extreme disappointment” at Nine’s $113.9 million offer for the 45 per cent of Macquarie it doesn’t already own.

Wilson says that should be at least $30 million higher because of franking credits owned by shareholders.

[Read the original]

QMS appoints senior marketer as group continues to grow

QMS has appointed Nick Errey (pictured) as head of communications, a newly developed role to reflect the continued growth of the business and the implementation of its strategic objectives across the broader group.

Errey joins QMS with over 14 years of out-of-home experience, where he was a key part of the oOh!media marketing leadership team that oversaw the company’s communications and corporate marketing activity through its growth phase. 

QMS said Errey’s appointment is fundamental, as the group continues to solidify its strategic position as a premium quality digital outdoor media company and enhances the progression of QMS Sport into a fully integrated global sports platform.

QMS chief marketing officer Sara Lappage said: “Nick is a highly respected member of the out-of-home industry, and I am thrilled to have him join the QMS marketing team to help us deliver on our ongoing goals for the business. Nick’s understanding of the sales, marketing and communication requirements needed for rapidly growing media businesses is highly valued, and I am really looking forward to working with him again.”

Commenting on his appointment Errey said: “With its big ambitions and real passion for driving the out-of-home and sporting industry forward, I am excited to be part of the QMS team to help share the vision and story of such a vibrant and progressive business, that puts audiences front and centre for advertisers to be truly memorable.”

News Brands

University rejects report claiming News Corp fuels far-right

Victoria University has rejected claims its academics found News Corp publications had ­fuelled far-right sentiment, amid concerns its research is in danger of being distorted, reports The Australian’s John Ferguson.

The university rejected as inaccurate a front-page claim by Morry Schwartz’s The Saturday Paper that News Corp journalists had intensified far-right recruitment. “At no point does the (academics’) research report claim that News publications fuelled far-right sentiment,” a university spokeswoman said.

“The report does, however, argue that mainstream media content was used extensively by far-right groups.”

“The researchers are concerned about having their research taken out of context,” a spokeswoman said. The Saturday Paper splashed its edition last weekend with the false claims about the unreleased work of VU academics on the impact of media on race hate, and continues to make them in its online edition.

The article was written by Rick Morton, a former journalist at The Australian whose employment with News Corp ended earlier this year. The Saturday Paper’s report focused heavily on the work of The Australian.

The Saturday Paper’s editor-in-chief, Erik Jensen, said yesterday: “The research shows that articles from The Australian rate highly among those shared on far-right Facebook groups. Given the paper’s paywall, the sharing is disproportionate. This material is used to recruit and embolden far-right activists – which the research shows. We stand by our reporting.”

[Read the original]

See the article by Rick Moron in The Saturday Paper here.

Sky reporter Laura Jayes defends herself over Islamophobia claims

Sky News political journalist Laura Jayes has hit back at online critics, who attacked her reporting that the young man who allegedly stabbed people in Sydney shouted “Allahu akbar!”, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

Jayes told The Australian that she “100 per cent” stands by her reporting on Twitter of the attack as it unfolded yesterday in Sydney’s CBD, and that she was just doing her job as a journalist.

Following her reporting, some users on Twitter accused Jayes of Islamophobia.

She was informed of the attack by two of her sisters, one of whom was a direct witness to the actions and screams of “Allahu akbar!” by alleged perpetrator Mert Ney, while the other saw the subsequent panic unfold from the window of an office block.

“The thing that comes first is informing the public, not political correctness in hindsight,” Jayes said.

Chris Willis, executive editor at Sky News, stood by Jayes’s reporting. “She did her job, she was reporting facts, she got it right and she was reporting a developing story,” he said.

[Read the original]

Broadcaster, author and journalist Jane Hutcheon leaving the ABC

Sydney-based TV presenter, tour-leader and author Jane Hutcheon (pictured) yesterday announced she was leaving the ABC.

Hutcheon has reported and presented for ABC TV news and Foreign Correspondent from 1995 – 2008. She has been the host of the ABC News interview program One Plus One since 2010.

Hutcheon said yesterday:

After nine years and five hundred interviews, I will be leaving One Plus One – and the ABC – in mid September 2019.

I’d like to say that my mainstream journalism career as a reporter, foreign correspondent and presenter has been a complete privilege. One Plus One is my baby and you don’t leave something you’ve created without a heavy heart. This was my decision alone.

I’m leaving because I need challenge.  After years of learning from my interviewees, inspiring people who have created vibrant lives from the realities life deals, I too, want to be a little bit brave. I’ll be working on my own projects, collaborations and will continue to leading tours with Renaissance Tours and the Art Gallery Society of NSW.

I’m happy to say that One Plus One will continue without me, initially with guest presenters. I will be curating a collection of my favourite interviews from over the years and for my final program (date TBC) – you asked for it – I will be the interviewee!

Radio

Nova Entertainment appoints Amy Ward to join Fitzy and Wippa team

Nova Entertainment has appointed Amy Ward (pictured) as publicist, based in the Sydney office, with a core focus on Nova 96.9’s Fitzy & Wippa breakfast show.

With over 14 year’s publicity and marketing experience across the entertainment, media and travel sectors in Australia and the UK, Ward spent over seven years at Southern Cross Austereo, working across the company’s television (Seven and Network Ten) and radio (2Day FM and Triple M) platforms in multiple markets and was trade marketing manager for APT Travel Group in London.

Tony Thomas, Nova Entertainment’s chief marketing officer said, “Amy has extensive experience, across a wide range of entertainment mediums, and her passion for radio and the Nova brand made her the right choice to lead the strategic publicity for Fitzy & Wippa breakfast show.”

Ward’s core responsibility will be driving the publicity, and providing scale to content and partnerships, for Nova’s Fitzy & Wippa breakfast show as well as working across the Nova and smoothfm networks and the company’s multiple platforms.

The role will report directly to Jane Elliott, Nova Entertainment’s national publicity director, and will work closely with the publicity team and all functions within the business.

Amy Ward joined the team this week replacing the outstanding Cathrine Mahoney.

Radio ratings: How Coles came to dominate digital-only radio

Prices might be down, as the popular marketing jingle goes, but listeners are definitely up, reports The Age’s Broede Carmody.

Coles Radio is winning the hearts and minds of Australian digital radio listeners, with no sign of slowing down. The supermarket giant has been the number one DAB+ station in Australia for months, with a record national cumulative audience of just over 250,000 people.

The supermarket’s easy-listening strategy appears to be working. Its audience has grown by 26 per cent over the past two years, with most of its listeners living in Melbourne (81,000 people), followed by Sydney (75,000) and Brisbane (49,000).

While Coles Radio is a popular choice for hundreds of thousands of Australians, some are a little shy about owning up to the fact they listen to music closely associated with buying bread and milk.

Nova’s head of podcasting, Jay Walkerden, is responsible for Coles Radio. In 2014, the supermarket giant asked Nova to program music for more than 14 million of its in-store customers. The commercial broadcaster threw another idea into the mix: why not launch a fully fledged digital radio station?

“We played with a bunch of music formats,” Walkerden says. “Coles Radio is aimed at what is a pretty vast audience. It’s a tricky way to program a radio station.”

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Nova’s Kate, Tim and Marty accuse show of taking their segment

The hosts of Nova’s Kate, Tim and Marty are livid that one of their most popular segments has been taken by a US radio show, reports News.com.au’s Andrew Bucklow.

For years the trio has been playing “The Age Game” on their drivetime radio show in which Kate Ritchie and Marty Sheargold battle it out against each other to correctly guess celebrities’ ages.

But they were shocked when they recently discovered that The Morning Mash Up, a breakfast radio show that broadcasts on SiriusXM in New York, started playing a very similar version of The Age Game on their show late last year.

And it just so happens that a radio producer who used to work at Nova in Sydney, Ben Harlum, is now a senior producer for The Morning Mash Up in the US.

The New York-based producer told news.com.au he wasn’t worried about upsetting the Kate, Tim and Marty hosts, saying, “I feel honoured to join a long list of celebrities, listeners and co-workers who have managed to piss the guys off.”

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Television

Writer sues ABC over ‘unconscionable conduct’ involving TV format

The ABC is in hot water over a claim that its popular children’s animated series Bubble Bath Bay ripped off an idea unsuccessfully pitched to the broadcaster, reports News Corp’s John Masanauskas.

Writer Anne Duncan wants $770,000 in damages after accusing the ABC and Screen Australia of unconscionable conduct by passing on confidential information to other writers.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has heard that in 2010, the ABC rejected Duncan’s creation Buster the Brave Little Wooden Boat for kids’ programming.

In 2011, Screen Australia knocked back a grant application by Duncan, who runs Story Time Productions, to produce an animated series called Buster and Jack.

In her statement of claim, Duncan said that in 2013 she met a person named Claire Masen, who had told her that she was the main writer for an animated series called Bubble Bath Bay that was centred on a little boat.

Duncan said that Masen told her she didn’t know who had created the series, first broadcast on the ABC Kids channel in early 2015.

Duncan claims that Bubble Bath Bay is substantially similar to her creations, and that in 2015 other parties had rejected her pitch for Buster and Jack because of that same similarity.

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Somewhere along the way, Utopia became a cultural touchstone

It’s giving nothing away to reveal that in the latest season of Utopia the euphemistically named Nation Building Authority looks no closer to starting a single project. Far from that being a spoiler, it’s a positive harbinger of the eight new episodes of the rightly celebrated Working Dog comedy, writes The Age’s Paul Kalina.

Four seasons in, the NBA is still floundering in bureaucratic red-tape, putting out fires that it didn’t start, dispensing advice to self-serving politicians whose listening skills might at best be described as highly selective and covering its arse for blunders that might actually reveal the inconvenient truth that the organisation serves very little purpose.

“A collector’s item then!” exclaims the ever-eager security officer and handyman Brian (Jamie Robertson), having located in a storeroom promotional props for tunnels, roads and bridges that were never built. It’s the gulf between the utopian idealism of the title and the mundane realities of the everyday world where the show lives.

As satire of the modern world, Utopia does a brilliant job of reminding us of the extent to which our lives are ruled by the decisions of faceless, unelected bureaucrats, processes supposedly designed to simplify our lives, the chicanery of so-called “public private partnerships” and the ease with which corporate jargon and spin are used to cover up events that might be more plainly called scandals.

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The Masked Singer 2019: First look at Australian version

A “big superstar” will be appearing on The Masked Singer Australia and judging by the show’s panelists’ reactions, it’s set to be just as bonkers as overseas versions, reports News.com.au.

“This show is insane!” Jackie ‘O’ Henderson exclaims in the first look of the reality show.

Based on overseas versions, The Masked Singer Australia sees celebrities in elaborate costumes singing their hearts out as panellists Jackie O, Dannii Minogue, Lindsay Lohan and Dave Hughes try and guess who they are.

The panellists try their best to unmask the person in the costume, but their guesses are made all the harder by the celebrities’ outfits of choice as they dress up as a fly, octopus, wolf lion and alien.

But it’s a celebrity in a unicorn costume with obvious star power that really grabs their attention.

Definitely, definitely American,” Hughes says as the mystery star finishes their performance.

“Big superstar right here,” Henderson adds in agreement.

In the US, The Masked Singer averaged 11 million viewers when it launched in January and has been renewed for two more seasons.

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Sports Media

Long-time Sports Today co-host Dwayne Russell leaving 3AW for SEN

One of the most successful radio partnerships is coming to an end with Dwayne Russell set to switch stations next year, reports News Corp’s Scott Gullan.

For the past 15 years Russell and Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy have been the hosts of the top rating drivetime Sports Today program on 3AW.

They’ve become an institution in the 6pm-8pm timeslot but that’s all about to change with Russell being lured to SEN.

It’s understood the Fox Footy commentator will have his own show on the sports station, most likely in the afternoon slot previously occupied by Andy Maher who recently moved to drive where he co-hosts with former Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy.

Russell, who calls football for 3AW on Friday nights, will also join SEN’s calling team next season.

The former Geelong defender already has a close relationship with SEN boss and Crocmedia owner Craig Hutchison, given he does a weekly show into Adelaide for the network.

Since January, Russell has hosted Dwayne between 3-4pm daily on SEN SA.

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