Monday August 19, 2019

Gemma Fordham explains why 2Day didn’t poach another breakfast team

How did 2Day FM get to where its best breakfast solution was to appoint Sydney Triple M content director Jamie Angel to host the seventh breakfast show in six years? That was a change that would have been laughed at not too long ago.

By James Manning

“That is so true,” said Gemma Fordham, Hit Network content director.

Fordham admitted reaction had been mixed to the announcement. Older people who remember Angel as a star on the Today Network were impressed he is going back on air. Meanwhile people with not such a long memory have been asking: “Does Jamie know how to do announcing?”

Fordham is frank about SCA raising the white flag when it comes to building new Sydney breakfast shows. “It is not a tactic or plan that has been working for us.”

What 2Day FM has been up against are three heritage FM breakfast whose teams have been together for 10 years or more – Kyle and Jackie O, Jonesy and Amanda, and Fitzy and Wippa.

“We are just not going to win if we keep trying to play in that space.

“It was clear that listeners were returning to the station during the workday where the numbers have been exceptionally strong.

“What those people were loving was our music and the music is really unique as a format in Sydney.”

See also:
2Day FM now relying on music format – but what is that format?

One difference about the new 2Day FM breakfast is it will be based in Sydney – something that hasn’t happened since Rove and Sam Frost hosted back in 2016.

Since then key parts of the Em Rusciano and Grant Denyer experiments were partly hosted out of Melbourne and elsewhere.

Fordham told Mediaweek: “Jamie’s show will be hyper-local and very much about Sydney. He will have lots of interaction with callers and reflect the day. But it will be a hyper-local show with lots of music.”

Angel will focus totally on his new role on 2Day breakfast, giving up his role at Triple M Sydney content director.

Fordham admitted Angel didn’t warm to the idea immediately. Having to give up his role at his beloved Triple M didn’t sit well with him initially.

“I’m old enough to remember Jamie Angel as the best announcer that has ever been.” Fordham’s view was supported by competitors at other networks who, after the announcement, revealed to her they too thought it would be great to have Angel back on air.

Fordham’s initial approach and her persuasive powers meant it was a decision made fairly quickly last week. “Jamie was concerned that he hadn’t been on air for so long. I could see however there was enough interest from him and that he still loves 2Day FM after being here for so long. After a couple of chats, he said to me, ‘Ok. I’m in…let’s do it.’ It will be great having him back.”

2Day has been close to going all music at breakfast in the past. It had often been discussed recently. “We kind of had to as we were going through so many different breakfast shows. Every time we had launched a new show it has been with the best of intentions with wonderfully talented people. We have always wanted to try and really connect with Sydney. More music was always an option and we have come close in the past.

“The timing feels right now. In the past our changes were based on gut feel, but this time is it gut feel backed up be extensive research. The research completely supported the gut feel. The balance of art and science!

“We could have kept introducing new shows, but it is not working. It is clearly not what the audience wants. We are really here to deliver what Sydney wants. We are not here to broadcast a radio station for the 500 staff in the building, we are here as a service to Sydney and this is Sydney’s radio station. Not ours.”

SCA’s three options

• Building another breakfast show. SCA said no.
• Going all music. SCA said yes.
• Poaching an existing heritage show or part of. It’s complicated.

Fordham: “We have been considering all the options, including the competition. It would have been remiss of us not to do that. There was no serious attempt to think about poaching a heritage show. The talent on those shows is also under contract. And it didn’t seem the right option for us.”

Gemma Fordham on 2Day FM music: New breakfast format explained

2Day FM breakfast is now all music. SCA’s head of content Gemma Fordham explains the reasons behind the change and what listeners can expect to hear.

By James Manning

While admitting the station has struggled in breakfast, Fordham said they had been performing better on one front: “Our audience were loving our music and the music is really unique as a format in Sydney,” she told Mediaweek.

“Why were we not exploiting what we know is working for us and what the audience are telling us they want?

“There is another music based FM breakfast show in the market at smoothfm. What we will be delivering from Monday is tonally very, very different to smooth.

“The 2Day FM music will remain very much about variety – surprise and delight. Playing the songs that people might have forgotten about. We will continue that exact same strategy, but extended now into the breakfast shift.

“There will be far less ad breaks. We want to generate lots of energy and a fun way to start the day. Our aim is to create something that is memorable every day in terms of the music and host Jamie Angel.”

See Also:
Gemma Fordham explains why 2Day didn’t poach another breakfast team

The biggest revelation perhaps is confirmation of the scope of the playlist.

It’s going to be all old school music. There will be no contemporary songs.

Fordham explained further: “Old school music means everything from the 1980s through until 2014. Very up-tempo and energetic.”

On the show this morning, returning 2DayFM announcer Jamie Angel was playing tunes pre-2014 from artists as diverse as Pat Benatar, Fleetwood Mac and Merril Bainbridge to Miley Cyrus and Rihanna. Early on there was only one hit that snuck past the 2014 guideline, a 2016 Justin Timberlake tune.

Grant, Ed and Ash say goodbye, or don’t

During the final 2Day FM breakfast show hosted by Grant, Ed, and Ash with MC there was barely a mention of it being the last show from the group. A producer mentioned it briefly on air and the team posted a photo on social media with the simple message: “Thanks so much for having us Sydney, we had a great time!”

“I really wanted them to do a final Friday show, but it was up to them,” said Fordham. “They wanted to do the show. It might have been different if they were leaving the building, but they are not. Ed and Ash are back on air Monday.”

Ash with her evening show and Ed filling in on drive with Hughesy after Hamish Blake did it last week.

“They didn’t want to do a big farewell show because they thought it felt weird given they were back on air. They just wanted to do a normal show.”

SCA saving on breakfast producers

There is a much smaller team now on 2Day breakfast. Jamie Angel and his executive producer Abi Benaud. Fordham said: “Abi is such an asset and loves the culture at 2Day and she is really excited to be able to continue in that role.”

News Corp Australia launches new digital only The Newcastle News

News Corp Australia has launched its digital-only newspaper for the Newcastle region, titled The Newcastle News.

The Newcastle News is the latest title in a strategy by News Corp Australia to grow local audiences and improve community relations and engagement by providing first-rate digital-only local journalism. The digital masthead is promising readers the latest in local crime, sport, development, transport, environment, education and health.

The Newcastle News facing a formidable opponent in the region, the multi-award winning Newcastle Herald. The former Fairfax Media publication recently changed hands when Antony Catalano and his backers purchased the Australian Community Media group, which includes the Newcastle news brand.

John McGourty, publisher of NewsLocal – News Corp’s NSW local community news network – said the move into Newcastle, Australia’s seventh largest city, made sense and The Newcastle News would provide hyper-local news for this growing region.

John McGourty

“The Newcastle region has been a gap for us, and it has long been our ambition to bring our brand of high-quality local news to the local community, by writing the sorts of stories that reflect their everyday lives, ambitions and concerns.

“Our story selection will be based on feedback from our army of community readers who tell us what matters most to them. I’m confident our new readers in Newcastle will enjoy a new voice in their community.”

Journalist Amy Ziniak will lead The Newcastle News reporting. Ziniak has lived in the region for more than 12 years, working in media across TV, radio and digital and has strong connections in the local community.

“I love the relaxed pace of Newcastle, the beautiful beaches where I can walk my dog,” Ziniak said.

“It’s so close to the scenic Hunter Valley which has some of the best wines in the world and the endless choices of culinary delights. It’s a great place to live and work and bring up a young family.”

The site will be updated daily with exclusive news, informative local content and engaging stories that celebrate Novocastrians and the community in which they live.

Readers can also connect with the masthead and Ziniak via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and email at

Launch edition stories in The Newcastle News include rugby league legend Matty Johns picking his Top 20 Newcastle Knights of all time; a remarkable story of a local 15-year old football player and her Jets fairytale following a road accident which almost left her crippled; Newcastle’s love of music festivals which reveals a rise in the local drug culture; confessions of an Uber driver sharing stories about late night harassment, intimidation and assaults; and a story on police and teens working together to drive down gang violence and youth crime in a pioneering new project.

The Newcastle News follows in the footsteps of other NewsLocal’s digital-only community titles launched recently, including St George Shire Standard, The Illawarra Star, Central Sydney and The Canberra Star.

Further digital-only masthead launches are expected over the coming months in other parts of New South Wales where News Corp has previously not had a presence.

As an added benefit to all subscribers of NewsLocal digital mastheads, readers access their news via The Daily Telegraph site, so subscribers receive both hyper local news and wider Sydney metropolitan news.

Subscribers also get access to +Rewards, News Corp’s rewards and benefits site for members.

Week 33 TV Ratings: Cricket again helps secure Nine victory

• Howzat? Nine #1 primary, network, key demos

Nine made the running this week with wins all people, 25-54 and 16-39 with both its primary channel (21.1%) and network share (31.1%).

With some help from athe second Ashes Test (when it wasn’t raining, and sometimes when it was too) 9Gem was the #1 multichannel all people with a share of 5.2%.

The Block didn’t have one of its best weeks, the numbers are down on previous years, as is everybody, but it remained the #1 entertainment show on three of its four nights last week.

Seven continues to underperform in demos where it matter most which will no doubt be what new CEO James Warburton will be wanting to address pretty quickly.

Seven did have its regular victories with the #1 news service and #1 breakfast show. 7mate was the #1 multichannel 25-54.

Seven had the most-watched show of the week with Seven News Sunday.

That program was Seven’s only entry in the 25-54 top 10 – Nine had four of the others, while 10 had five.

Seven maintains a paper-thin lead in the year-to-date all people survey numbers with a share of 29.7% to Nine’s 29.6%.

10 had a good week if you focus on its major formats and its key demo. The primary channel had five shows on the 25-54 top 10 – Have You Been Paying Attention?, The Bachelor (both episodes), Australian Survivor Tuesday and the return of Gogglebox. If you re-run the numbers for under 50 then 10 had seven of the top 10. 10’s primary channel also ranked #2 for the week under 50.

ACRA finalists include SCA’s Kennedy Molloy, Macquarie’s Ox & Marko

Finalists in the 31st annual Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) have been announced with Australia’s top radio presenters competing for the coveted Best On Air Team in both the AM and FM (Metro) categories.

Two-time winners in the FM category Kate, Tim and Marty (Kate Ritchie, Tim Blackwell & Marty Sheargold, Nova Entertainment 2016, 2017) are amongst the finalists that include six-time winners Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson, (The Kyle and Jackie O Show, KIIS 106.5, Sydney); Jonesy and Amanda (Brendan Jones and Amanda Keller, WSFM, Sydney, winners in 2012 and 2014); Fifi, Fev & Byron (Fifi Box, Brendan Fevola & Byron Cooke, Fox FM, Melbourne); Chrissie, Sam & Browny (Chrissie Swan, Sam Pang, Jonathan Brown & Dean Thomas, Nova Entertainment, Melbourne) and Kennedy Molloy (Jane Kennedy & Mick Molloy, Triple M Network, SCA).

The Metropolitan Best On Air Team AM title will be a contest between Ray Hadley’s Continuous Call Team (2GB, Sydney, Macquarie Media Limited, winners for the past two years); Breakfast with David Penberthy & Will Goodings (FIVEaa, Adelaide, Nova Entertainment); Drive with Mark Allen & David Schwarz (Macquarie Sports Radio, Melbourne, Macquarie Media Limited); Laurel, Gary & Mark; (Laurel Edwards, Gary Clare & Mark Hine, 4KQ, Brisbane, ARN), and 2GB’s first female news/talk duo, Afternoons with Erin Molan & Natalie Peters (Sydney, Macquarie Media).

See Also:
2019 Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) nominees: The complete list

The competitive Best Talk Presenter category features three finalists from Macquarie Media Limited – Ray Hadley (2GB), Ben Fordham (2GB) and Neil Mitchell (3AW) up against Luke Bona (Triple M Sydney, SCA). Fordham and Bona are also in the running for two other awards – Best Current Affairs Presenter and the Brian White Award for Radio Journalism.

In the Best Entertainment Presenter category, Nova’s Kate Ritchie is up against her drive show co-host Tim Blackwell and Sam Pang (NOVA 100, Melbourne), with Lawrence Mooney (Triple M Sydney) also in the running.

Best Music Presenter finalists are Melissa Doyle (smoothfm); Gordie Waters (KIIS 106.5, Sydney); Tim Lee (hit92.9 Perth, SCA) and Kent “Smallzy” Small (Nova Network).

The metro finalists for Best Newcomer on Air are Paralympic Gold medallist Dylan Alcott (Hit Network, SCA); comedian Zoe Norton-Lodge, known for her work with The Chaser team and The Checkout (Triple M, Sydney); Jack Post (Gold 104.3, Melbourne) and Rebecca Morse (half of the Bec & Cosi breakfast show on Hit107, Adelaide, SCA).

Entries were received from 260 metropolitan and regional radio stations across Australia. Stations outside the metropolitan areas are well represented at the ACRAs with more than 200 finalists from country and provincial stations.  This year the gala black-tie event will be held at the Royal International Convention Centre Brisbane on Saturday, 19 October and will start at 6.00 pm (red carpet 5.00 pm). 

The chief executive officer of Commercial Radio Australia, Joan Warner, said: “Live radio is one of the most demanding of mediums, so congratulations to all the talented finalists across metropolitan and regional Australia on their outstanding work. The radio awards keep getting bigger and better every year.  We look forward to hosting the 31st annual event in Brisbane.”

Organised by Commercial Radio Australia, the national awards cover 39 categories. Winners are announced in each category across four areas: metropolitan, provincial, country and syndication/production company and encompass all areas of commercial radio broadcasting including news, talk, sport, music and entertainment. The ACRAs differ from television’s Logie Awards in that they are peer judged by industry members. The ACRAs follow the Radio Alive 2019 conference, which will be held at the Royal International Convention Centre on Friday 18 October.

See Also:
2019 Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) nominees: The complete list

Top 10 Game Charts: A slow week of recent hits and evergreen blockbusters

With absolutely no new game releases of note last week, last week’s charts are simply a mix of recent hits and evergreen blockbusters.

By Luke Reilly, games editor, IGN Australia

The newest games on the charts are EA’s Madden NFL 20 – which held steadily at number two – and Fire Emblem: Three Houses (which slid into the back half of the top 10 after a decent stint at the top end).

Number one spot was nabbed by Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled in its eighth week since release (a feat is also replicated in the UK charts).

We’re definitely in the middle of a real lull in new games at the moment, but the end of August will see the arrival of Control, Wreckfest, and Man of Medan. They’ll arrive too late to trouble next week’s charts but we should at least see some fresh faces in the top 10 soon.

TV Ratings Analysis: August 18

• Nine’s embarrassment of riches secures network share of 40%
• Formal lounge reveal: The Block ranks #1 with best series result
• Best of the rest: Australia’s Got Talent and Australian Survivor

Sunday Week 34 2019

By James Manning 

• Seven News 1,086,000
• Nine News 1,034,000
• ABC News 630,000
• The Project 237,000/380,000
• 10 News First 254,000
• Insiders 241,000
• Offsiders 154,000
• SBS World News 129,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 233,000
• Today 203,000


It’s not winning its timeslot, but an audience of 865,000 for Australia’s Got Talent is a good result for Seven. That’s up on the previous Sunday of 823,000.

Also up week-on-week from 439,000 to a much more competitive 616,000 was Sunday Night. The show actually outrated 60 Minutes in the national numbers – 910,000 to 889,000.


The broadcaster had a massive Sunday network share of 39.2% with the primary channel on 22.4% and 9Gem on 11.0%.

It was the luxury living reveals on The Block which helped pull the biggest audience of the season and its first night over 1m – 1.12m. That’s up from 995,000 a week ago.

60 Minutes was on 651,000, up slightly from 620,000.

Nine’s biggest cricket crowd came during the lunch break with 542,000 viewers checking in to see Australia struggling to take wickets on the final day of the second test. The first session audience was 462,000 (play started late due to rain) and then the second session did 260,000.


The Project Sunday continues to rate below the weekday editions. At 7pm last night it was on 380,000 after an average of 450,000 across five days last week.

Australian Survivor continues to perform competitively in the demos, with 650,000 last night, down from 693,000 a week ago. There was another tie at tribal council before a second vote saw Matt voted out.


A repeat screening of Attenborough’s Wonder Of Eggs did 389,000 at 7.40pm.

Episode three of Les Norton was on 389,000 after 436,000 a week ago.


The repeat of the Todd McKenney episode of Who Do You Think You Are? was on 146,000 at 7.30pm.

Week 33-34 TV: Friday-Sunday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 8.2% 7 20.6% 9 21.9% 10  9.3% SBS One 3.9%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.2% 7TWO 3.2% GO! 2.8% 10 Bold 3.0% VICELAND 0.7%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 4.7% GEM 6.6% 10 Peach 2.2% Food Net 1.3%
ABC NEWS 1.4% 7flix 4.4% 9Life 2.0%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 0.4%         SBS World Movies 0.6%
TOTAL 12.3%   33.3%   33.3%   14.5%   6.6%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 8.5% 7 18.2% 9 20.8% 10  7.2% SBS One 5.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.9% 7TWO 3.1% GO! 3.8% 10 Bold 3.0% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 0.9% 7mate 5.8% GEM 7.2% 10 Peach 1.7% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.4% 7flix 3.5% 9Life 2.4%     NITV 0.1%
    7Food 0.4%         SBS World Movies 1.2%
TOTAL 13.8%   31.0%   34.3%   12.0%   8.9%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 8.8% 7 19.8% 9 22.4% 10  10.8% SBS One 3.1%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 1.8% 7TWO 2.7% GO! 3.8% 10 Bold 3.2% VICELAND 0.8%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 3.3% GEM 11.0% 10 Peach 1.6% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.0% 7flix 1.3% 9Life 1.9%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 0.5%         SBS World Movies 0.6%
TOTAL 12.0%   27.6%   39.2%   15.6%   5.6%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 9.6% 7 20.3% 9 19.1% WIN 7.9% SBS One 3.2%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.0% 7TWO 3.9% GO! 4.6% WIN Bold 3.4% VICELAND 0.9%
ABC ME 1.1% 7mate 4.1% GEM 8.8% WIN Peach 1.9% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 1.1% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.9% 9Life 2.4% Sky News  on WIN 0.8% NITV 0.3%
    7food (QLD only) 0.8%            
TOTAL 14.8%   30.9%   34.9%   13.9%   5.5%


All People Ratings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 843,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 781,000
  3. Nine News Nine 745,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 736,000
  5. ABC News ABC 561,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 556,000
  7. The Chase Australia Seven 543,000
  8. Better Homes And Gardens Seven 476,000
  9. The Mid-Year Ashes: Second Test -Eng V Aus -Session 1 Nine 431,000
  10. Hot Seat Nine 422,000


Saturday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 788,000
  2. Nine News Saturday Nine 672,000
  3. ABC News ABC 502,000
  4. Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None ABC 405,000
  5. Seven’s NRL: Saturday Night Football Seven 391,000
  6. The Mid-Year Ashes: Second Test -Eng V Aus Nine 379,000
  7. Rugby: 2019 Wallabies V New Zealand Test Live 10 320,000
  8. Getaway Nine 315,000
  9. The Mid-Year Ashes: Second Test -Eng V Aus Nine 308,000
  10. Poldark ABC 271,000
Sunday FTA
  1. The Block Nine 1,120,000
  2. Seven News Seven 1,086,000
  3. Nine News Sunday Nine 1,034,000
  4. Australia’s Got Talent Seven 865,000
  5. 60 Minutes Nine 651,000
  6. Australian Survivor 10 650,000
  7. ABC News Sunday ABC 630,000
  8. Sunday Night Seven 616,000
  9. The Mid-Year Ashes: Second Test -Eng V Aus -Lunch -D5 9Gem 542,000
  10. The Mid-Year Ashes: Second Test -Eng V Aus -Session 1 -D5 9Gem 462,000
  11. Les Norton ABC 389,000
  12. Attenborough’s Wonder Of Eggs (R) ABC 389,000
  13. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 380,000
  14. Seven’s NRL: Sunday Afternoon Football Seven 363,000
  15. Psychopath With Piers Morgan Nine 347,000
  16. The Mid-Year Ashes: Second Test -Eng V Aus -Session 2 -D5 9Gem 260,000
  17. Landline PM ABC 259,000
  18. 10 News First 10 254,000
  19. What The Killer Did Next Seven 247,000
  20. InsidersAM ABC 241,000
Sunday Multichannel
  1. The Mid-Year Ashes: Second Test -Eng V Aus 9Gem 542,000
  2. The Mid-Year Ashes: Second Test -Eng V Aus 9Gem 462,000
  3. The Mid-Year Ashes: Second Test -Eng V Aus 9Gem 260,000
  4. The Mid-Year Ashes: Second Test -Eng V Aus 9Gem 5 206,000
  5. BlueyAM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 180,000
  6. Nella The Princess KnightAM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 158,000
  7. Ben And Holly’s Little KingdomAM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 152,000
  8. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 147,000
  9. The Mid-Year Ashes: Second Test -Eng V Aus 9Gem 144,000
  10. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line 7TWO 144,000
  11. M- Prometheus PM 7mate 141,000
  12. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  13. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  14. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line 7TWO 134,000
  15. School Of RoarsAM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 128,000
  16. Olympus Has Fallen 9GO! 126,000
  17. Play SchoolAM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  18. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 118,000
  19. Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railways PM 7TWO 118,000
  20. Law & Order: Svu (R) 10 Bold 115,000
Sunday STV
  1. Live: NRL Richmond V West Coast FOX FOOTY 274,000
  2. Live: NRL Sharks V Dragons FOX LEAGUE 231,000
  3. Live: NRL Roosters V Warriors FOX LEAGUE 175,000
  4. Live: NRL Hawthorn V Gold Coast FOX FOOTY 135,000
  5. Live: Sunday Footy On Fox FOX FOOTY 134,000
  6. Live: NRL Gws V Western Bulldogs FOX SPORTS 503 121,000
  7. Live: Bounce FOX FOOTY 106,000
  8. Live: Sunday Night With Matty Johns FOX LEAGUE 85,000
  9. Live: Sunday Footy On Fox FOX FOOTY 56,000
  10. Outsiders Sky News Live 51,000
  11. Live: NRL Pre Game Sunday Ticket FOX LEAGUE 46,000
  12. Outsiders Sky News Live 43,000
  13. The Simpsons FOX8 41,000
  14. Cold Case TVH!TS 39,000
  15. The Beep Test FOX FOOTY 37,000
  16. Midsomer Murders UKTV 37,000
  17. Live: Big League Wrap FOX LEAGUE 35,000
  18. Inside Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 35,000
  19. The Simpsons FOX8 34,000
  20. 24 Hours In Emergency Lifestyle Channel 34,000

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

Kerry Stokes: Warburton a change agent, wants new revenue streams

Seven West Media executive chairman Kerry Stokes told The Weekend Australian that he “agreed mutually” to accept Tim Worner’s resignation on Thursday night, saying it was time to “refocus the company” in search of “additional forms of revenue” at a hugely challenging time for network television, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

“Tim and I had a couple of long discussions last week about our position and where we were going in the future and I decided last night (Thursday) I would accept his resignation,” Stokes said.

“Not easily, but I think the final consensus was we needed to focus on additional forms of revenue and improving our revenue base as well as improving our production.”

Under the terms of Worner’s departure deal, he will be paid about $2.6 million by Seven during the next 12 months — the media equivalent of silent gardening leave.

[Read the original]

“We needed to have a change in direction,” Seven chairman Kerry Stokes told The Australian Financial Review’s Max Mason.

“The industry is going through an issue where traditional media and revenue are getting more difficult, we thought that if we’re going to change the company and pursue the next phase of some growth we had to change the way we do business.

“To do that we needed an agent for change, an agent who understood the industry, who understood revenue, who understood the elements that gain you revenue as well as the adjacencies going into the future.”

[Read the original]

Seven West Media set for tough result as TV audiences decline

Two of Seven West Media’s biggest programming formats have suffered years of audience decline, according to TV ratings data, as the media company braces for the financial results that led to Tim Worner being ousted as CEO late last week, reports The Australian’s Zoe Samios and Leo Shanahan.

In 2014 My Kitchen Rules – in its fourth year at the time – averaged 1.88 million metropolitan viewers across the series, while this year the average audience was 896,417.

In the past year alone Seven West Media has also struggled with launching new formats. In 2018 a number of new programs suffered low figures and have not returned to air, including Australian Spartan, Dance Boss and Back With The Ex.

This year Seven decided to axe the second season of My Kitchen Rules, new show The Super Switch was cut from two days to one per week, and Temptation Island was axed before it went into production. The success of Nine’s programming line-up, combined with Seven’s inability to effectively launch new programs, led to Nine taking a bigger share of commercial revenue for the first time in 13 years back in 2017.

[Read the original]

Nine’s Stan could lose Showtime content after CBS-Viacom merger

Network Ten chief executive Paul Anderson says the merger of 10 parent company CBS and American media player Viacom will present a huge opportunity for local streaming offerings and could further threaten Nine’s Stan, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

In an interview with The Australian, Anderson said the reunion of the major US media players could have implications for the local landscape, especially in terms of streaming offerings.

“What they have said is the first strategic priority that they’ve outlined is the direct-to-consumer components. So they’ve got some really strong direct-to-consumer assets with Showtime and All Access,” Anderson said.

According to the 10 boss, Nine’s Stan streaming platform could lose out from content deals if Showtime were bundled in a new CBS/Viacom streaming service, and would be particularly vulnerable to rival Disney Plus – the media giant’s proposed new streaming service likely to launch in November.

[Read the original]

Former radio executive wants to stay invested in Macquarie Media

Minority Macquarie Media shareholder and former radio executive Tim Hughes believes Nine becoming more deeply entwined with the talkback and sports radio broadcaster will be a boon for the business in the future, but he doesn’t want to sell out at the offered takeover price, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Hughes is joined by fellow minority shareholders Centennial Asset Management principal Matthew Kidman and Wilson Asset Management chairman Geoff Wilson in preferring a higher price from Nine.

“I firmly believe in the benefits of cross media, particularly electronic. With this deal off the back of the Fairfax merger Nine has a triple play,” Hughes told The Australian Financial Review.

Hughes and Kidman only hold small minorities in Macquarie, roughly 500,000 and 240,000 shares respectively. Wilson owns 4.1 per cent of Macquarie’s stock and was buying last week.

[Read the original]

Disney bolsters Australian team ahead of streaming service launch

The Walt Disney Entertainment Company is recruiting a new team in Melbourne in a move that signals the launch of its highly anticipated ‘Netflix-killer’ streaming service in Australia could be imminent, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

The $US243 billion ($358 billion) entertainment behemoth has advertised for 10 roles at its Richmond office in the past week within its direct-to-consumer and international division. It comes amid intense speculation the company could unveil plans for a local launch of Disney+ within a matter of weeks.

The new roles include a public relations and marketing staff at its Richmond office, with a specific focus on planning communications for streaming services in the Australia and New Zealand market, a marketing manager for partnerships and a sales executive.

The job descriptions detail leveraging media to “raise awareness” of the new services locally and developing long-term commercial partnerships. Disney also owns TV and movie streaming service Hulu and live sports platform ESPN+.

[Read the original]


Final warning: Alan Jones close to being sacked, but gets another life

After 2GB’s Alan Jones attacked the New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern last week, Macquarie Media has reacted, giving Jones a final warning. This statement was released by Macquarie Media chairman Russell Tate on Saturday:

On Thursday on his 2GB and 4BC breakfast show, Alan Jones made certain comments in respect of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, which caused offence to many people.

Recognising the offence caused by his remarks, Alan on Friday publicly apologised for them.

In his apology, Alan recognised that his comments were “careless, unnecessary and wrong”, and “should have been more clearly thought out”. He indicated that he had apologised sincerely to Prime Minister Ardern for any offence given, and had certainly not intended to suggest any harm through his comments.

Notwithstanding his apologies, I have today discussed the matter with Alan and advised him that any recurrence of commentary of this nature will result in the termination of his contract.

Jones is being labelled a “repeat offender” by some when it comes to aggression towards women. Most famously perhaps when talking about then PM Julia Gillard, Jones said: “I’m putting her into a chaff bag and hoisting her into the Tasman Sea.” Jones later made disparaging remarks about Gillard and her late father.

Russell Tate’s warning comes at the end of the week where Nine revealed it would be bidding for the remaining Macquarie Media shares it doesn’t own. In the absence of a better offer, Macquarie Media shareholders indicated they would accept the offer.

Macquarie Media’s new tougher stance against Jones comes as Nine is poised to take control. A new owner doesn’t want a breakfast host who could be becoming more of a liability than an asset.


Timing! Denton pulls the plug as Seven’s #2 entertainment show

In the week that Andrew Denton’s Interview was Seven’s second-highest rating entertainment program, behind only Australia’s Got Talent, the new Seven CEO got the news the host and the producers were pulling the plug.

An announcement on the program’s Facebook page carried the news:

After two seasons of Andrew Denton’s Interview, the team behind the program has decided to axe itself.

It has been a delight to make the show for Seven, who have given the show every opportunity to shine, and have confirmed they would have recommissioned it for next year. We apologise for taking a different path.

We’re also glad to have been able to make Interview for a viewing public that received it with open hearts. We’re proud of the conversations we’ve put on screen and into podcast, but it feels like the right time to move on.

For the record, there is no truth in the rumour that Andrew will be replacing Matt Preston on MasterChef. (We know, because Andrew started the rumour). We look forward to not seeing everyone at the 2020 Logies.

Polly Connolly, Jon Casimir, Andrew Denton

Executive Producers

  1. To be clear, we’re wrapping both the TV show and the podcast.
Award-winning actor Asher Keddie named new face of Myer

Gold Logie winning actor Asher Keddie is Myer’s new style ambassador, bucking the trend of replacing mature models with younger versions, reports News Corp’s Annette Sharp.

The “hardworking” star of Offspring and Love My Way, 45, has been signed to a new contract and will feature prominently in ads for the department store from today, replacing Jennifer Hawkins who was, at 35, a decade younger than Keddie.

“We love Asher because of what she’s achieved, what she represents,” Myer’s chief customer service officer Geoff Ikin told The Sunday Telegraph.

Keddie, who appeared on the cover Stellar on Sunday, joins Myer’s stable of “ambassadors” Kris Smith, Elyse Knowles and Rachael Finch, and its newly signed youth face, Sarsha Chisholm.

While not wishing to be drawn on comparisons to Hawkins, who Myer transformed into a household name during a 12-year relationship but who broke with the department store last November after pricing herself out of the market, Ikin conceded Keddie was a departure for “Australia’s favourite department store”.

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Zoe Ventoura joins Home and Away onscreen this week in TV return

She was Australia’s sweetheart as Melissa Rafter and, after six years away, Zoe Ventoura is excited to make her return to Australian television this week, reports News Corp’s David Meddows.

The Packed To The Rafters star has spent the past six years based in Los Angeles with her husband, actor and TV host Daniel MacPherson but was tempted back home with a “meaty” role on Channel 7 soap Home and Away.

Ventoura plays Dr Alex Neilson, a tough trauma specialist in Summer Bay’s hospital.

While refusing to give away too much of her character’s upcoming storyline, she reveals it’s one that may not have been told in the past and is one of the reasons she took the role. “There’s stuff that happens down in the storyline that I’m not supposed to be talking about just yet but is part of the reason why this role was so interesting to me and that’s part of that push forward,” she told The Sunday Telegraph.

Ventoura was accompanied by MacPherson for the first couple of months of filming but he’s now filming the final season of British spy thriller Strike Back in Croatia for six months.

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MasterChef judges: Curtis Stone, Andy Allen + mystery female chef?

Celebrity chefs Curtis Stone and Andy Allen are believed to be two of three front-runners set to helm MasterChef Australia in 2020, reports News Corp’s Nui Te Koha.

Stone, who has not ruled out a judging role on 10’s show, and is based in Los Angeles, is said to be close to committing to the reality show kitchen.

Insiders say to help Stone, several cook offs will be held in California, where the star chef has restaurants in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

A third host – a woman – is still being cast to front show alongside Stone and Allen. Insiders say the names do not include Poh Ling Yeow, Sarah Todd or Julie Goodwin.

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Sports Media

The ratings figures that should send shockwaves through the NRL

These are the figures that should send shockwaves through the NRL, reports Danny Weidler in The Sun-Herald.

And it could hurt them in the long run where it matters: in the back pocket when it comes time to negotiate a new TV deal.

People are turning off the game, abandoning rugby league in droves, in the past month in particular. Free-to-air and pay TV NRL audiences have dropped by more than 3 million compared with the same time last year.

And, yet, through all this, the game’s administration continues to do nothing to halt the decline.

“The top three highest rating shows on free-to-air television this year are State of Origin,” an NRL spokesman said. “No other sport is in the top 10, and 62 of the top 100 shows on Fox Sports are NRL and NRL content. Importantly our percentage of market share continues to grow.”

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