Friday August 23, 2019

Saturday Night Rove: The Chaser’s special agent joins the team

In the week Rove McManus has spent spruiking the return of Saturday Night Rove after a pilot last year he has found all people hoping the show would work. “There’s a lot of love for it.”

By James Manning

Even former foe Kyle Sandilands warmed to the idea of actually sitting down and watching it during a KIIS FM interview on Thursday morning.

Finding a non-sport TV format that works on commercial TV on Saturday nights has been a challenge for programmers and producers over the years.

“It does feel like there is a hole in the market for it,” Rove told Mediaweek. “You could argue there hasn’t been an audience for a show like this because there hasn’t been anything offered to them. If we can do that and get it right we might be able to eventually become part of people’s regular Saturday night viewing habits.”

Rove admitted he doesn’t know how long it might take to adjust those habits. 10 has given him six weeks to try and convert enough viewers to make the program a regular part of the 10 schedule.

September means Saturday night AFL and NRL finals around Australia, something Rove and 10 were very mindful of when scheduling the show. “Running it later in the year would have meant the weather is getting warmer and the days longer with people perhaps more inclined to go out on a Saturday night. As to football, we hope we can find enough people who would rather be watching something else.”

While Rove has spoken with long-time producer and Roving Enterprises business partner Craig Campbell about Saturday Night Rove, the show’s executive producer is Jo Long. She comes to the program after working with Charlie Pickering on both The Weekly and The Yearly. Long also worked with Rove on his US series for Foxtel, Rove LA.

“Jo has made the move up from Melbourne with her very new, seven-month-old baby and I am very happy to be working with her.”

The Network 10 EP working on the show is the very busy Sarah Thornton. “Sarah is fantastic and I am very appreciate of the time and effort she is putting into the show. I really respect her opinion and she has good creative ideas and she will listen to ours and I enjoy working with her.”

Rove has assembled a team that deserves to attract an audience. “Judith Lucy is our voice-over person plus we have Alex Lee and Alex Jae (both from the pilot). Justin Hamilton has also been added to the cast.”

Lee and Jae are also on the writing team along with Hamilton. “For this season we have The Chaser’s Chris Taylor as our head writer. We have never worked together before and collaborating with him has been very good. It was almost awkward when we had our first meeting – it was a bit like a first date – ‘I’m interested if you are’. But it has been working really well.”

Saturday Night Rove will again feature live crosses as in the pilot, but Rove said there will be less of them. “We won’t rely on them as heavily as we did in the pilot.”

Guests on the first episode of the series include Jessica Mauboy and Luke McGregor.

Rove is hopeful the show will generate enough viewer interest to grow into something regular. “For the moment we are focussing only on these six episodes.”

He suggested anything is possible and he noted that with Hughesy, We Have A Problem, the first season of his show at 10 was extended.

“If there are any future episodes it is open for discussion about how many there could be. While weeknight 7.30pm slots are all accounted for pretty much during the year, it’s not as if there’s just one small window available for Saturday nights.”

Top Photo: Rove with the Alex and Alex during last year’s 10 Pilot Week

Underbelly co-creator attracts 2m+ listens to Life and Crimes podcasts

One of Australia’s most celebrated crime writers has coupled print with podcasts to attract and engage a new generation of true crime fans.

Herald Sun associate editor Andrew Rule – a legend of Australian crime writing who co-authored both the Underbelly and Chopper book series – is the man behind the mic each week as the anchor of Life and Crimes, a gritty and revealing weekly true crime podcast.

With 82 episodes under his belt, the veteran crime writer is enthralling audiences with his candid and unscripted monologues that shed light on the dark corners and shady characters of Australian life.

Every week, listeners are treated to deeper insight and never-before-heard stories along with personal anecdotes from both victims and criminals.

Since its launch in April last year, the podcast has amassed a massive 2.2 million listens, averaging 30,000 listens per episode.

Herald Sun’s head of digital publishing, Nathaniel Bane, said the podcast was driving deeper engagement for subscribers too.

“In an ever-changing digital landscape, it’s critical that we find our audiences where they are already hanging out – and podcasting represented such a platform for our crime coverage,” Bane said.

“Andrew’s relaxed and personable style, and his incredible and authentic storytelling are highly engaging, and that is showing through on the audience data. Importantly, we know his written articles are also selling subscriptions which points to the podcast content providing a deeper, richer reader experience.”      

Rule’s CV is as long as the rap sheets of many of the crooks whose lives and crimes he is now covering in his weekly podcast, with a new episode released each Saturday at 11am.

“After almost 45 years as a journalist, much of it on the crime beat, I think his contact book must contain more fiends than friends,” Bane said.

“He’s spent a career being face-to-face with criminals, cops and the victims of violence. Now, with Life and Crimes, he is able to introduce a brand new audience to some of the country’s most compelling cases.” 

This week’s Life and Crimes podcast episode, The Teachers Threat, part one is out now and part two will be released this Saturday.

It explores the incredible experience of Rob Hunter, a teacher who was just 20 years old and on his ninth day at work, when he was dramatically kidnapped along with nine students in his care.

Life and Crimes podcast is also available on iTunes, Apple podcasts, Spotify, and podcast networks around the world.

TV & radio giant Southern Cross Austereo’s net profit climbs 3% to $76m

Southern Cross Media Group yesterday announced its financial results for the year ended 30 June 2019.

The following table shows comparisons to the prior year:

Highlights of the results include:

• Underlying NPAT grew by 3.1% to $76.2M and underlying EBITDA grew by 0.9% to $159.9M.
• Group revenue was up by 0.5% to $661.0M, while underlying expenses were flat at $501M.
• Revenue in the audio segment (comprising metropolitan and regional radio and podcasting) was 2.4% higher at $453.4M. This was driven by 9.2% growth in national revenue, which benefited from the federal election and the Boomtown regional trade marketing campaign. Local advertising slowed in both metro and regional markets, influenced by federal and state elections, the financial services royal commission and the contraction in housing and automotive markets. Underlying EBITDA of $152.7M was 3.4% up on the prior year.
• Underlying EBITDA in the television segment improved by 1.2% to $33.7M supported by cost discipline with underlying expenses down by 4.0%. Television revenue declined by 3.2% to $206.5M. Revenue in the three aggregated markets of Victoria, southern NSW and Queensland was back overall by 5.3%.

Southern Cross Austereo CEO Grant Blackley said: “SCA’s audio business grew during the year, outpacing the market. In metro markets, SCA’s audio revenue increased by 4.1%, while the broader radio market declined by 0.5%. SCA’s regional radio revenue grew by 1.5%, boosted by the Boomtown initiative. In both cases, these results were driven by strong growth in national revenues, which were up by 9.2% on the prior year.

“In metro markets, our Hit and Triple M brands performed consistently in FM and digital radio audience surveys. The decision to aggregate our FM and digital radio reach offers advertisers a unique, simple and scaled value proposition and has reaped rewards. When brands choose to advertise on Hit or Triple M, their advertisements are broadcast in the same day-part on five radio stations in the same location, significantly extending their commercial impact.

“PodcastOne Australia has consolidated its position as the leading premium commercial podcast business in Australia. Now home to 65 original Australian podcast titles, as well as the best podcasts from our US partner, PodcastOne Australia has attracted a premium group of corporate sponsors and is expected to reach cashflow breakeven in the second half of the new financial year.

“SCA’s television business also performed well, considerably outperforming the market. SCA’s premium selling strategy delivered a power ratio – which measures the conversion of ratings to revenue – of 1.05 in the four east coast aggregated markets.

“SCA’s national revenue in regional radio and television markets grew by 4.1% compared to the prior year. This growth has been driven by targeted initiatives taken by SCA over several years to change the perception among metropolitan media buyers of the value of regional Australia and to increase advertising investment in regional media. In 2019, SCA joined with other regional media companies in the Boomtown joint marketing campaign to accelerate these initiatives.

“SCA will continue to invest sensibly in ‘front-of-house’ activities: creating compelling content and using our audio assets to help our advertising partners succeed. This will include optimising the value of our current radio and podcasting brands, as well as developing new audio products that meet the increasing consumer demand for mobile, personalised, on-demand audio content.

“This will be complemented by a focus on operational excellence in our ‘back of house’ functions, including implementing the recently announced outsourcing of SCA’s television playout and broadcast transmission functions.”

Top Photo: Publicis Media Exchange MD Sarah Keith and ACMA CEO Creina Chapman with SCA CEO Grant Blackley at Boomtown event

Producer joins Tony Ayres Productions as head of development

Tony Ayres Productions (TAP) has secured experienced creative producer Andrea Denholm (pictured) as head of development. Denholm, who officially starts next week, will help drive TAP’s current slate of shows and work with Tony Ayres and his collaborators to deliver ambitious international scripted drama projects.

Ayres said of the appointment: “Andrea has been a friend for many years and is one of the most impressive creative producers in the country. I’m thrilled that we will now be partners in bringing the ambitious and eclectic TAP slate from development into production.”

Denholm has worked as a story producer, executive producer and creative producer.  She has been a principal and senior executive in a number of leading independent production companies. Most recently as a partner at Princess Pictures, Denholm collaborated the award-winning Wrong Kind of Black, based on the life of Boori Monty Pryor; Joanna Murray-Smith and Elena Kats-Chernin’s screen opera The Divorce; and Peter Helliar’s comedy series How to Stay Married and It’s A Date. Denholm also currently sits on the Board of Film Victoria and is deputy chair of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation.

Tony Ayers

Andrea Denholm said of joining TAP: “Tony is a superstar and a beautiful human being. The content he creates and champions reflects his brilliant imagination, curiosity, humour and humanity. It’s a privilege to be in his orbit and incredibly exciting to be working with him across TAP’s distinctive and diverse slate of original projects and adaptations.”

TAP is the new production company of Matchbox Pictures founding member and award-winning creator, showrunner, writer and director Tony Ayres. Backed by NBCUniversal International Studios and Matchbox Pictures, the company specialises in high-end scripted drama and feature films for both Australian and international audiences.

Continuing his longstanding creative collaboration with Matchbox Pictures, Ayres continues as executive producer on the upcoming final season of paranormal drama Glitch (ABC/Netflix). Ayres is also currently working as co-creator and executive producer with Matchbox Pictures and Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton’s Dirty Films on the six-part drama Stateless for the ABC, starring Yvonne Strahovski, Dominic West and Cate Blanchett.

QMS Media delivers revenue and earnings growth in 2019 first half

QMS Media has announced its financial results for the six months to 30 June 2019 (H1 CY19).

Group Statutory Financial highlights:

• Revenue up 23% to $128.9 million (up 24% to $130.5 million pre AASB 16)
• Gross profit up 85% to $90.5 million (up 45% to $70.9 million pre AASB 16)
• Gross profit margin of 70% (54% pre AASB 16)
• Underlying EBITDA up 144% to $56.4 million (up 47% to $33.9 million pre AASB 16).
• NPATA up 41% to $21.9 million (up 31% to $20.3 million pre AASB 16)
• NPAT up 65% $16.5 million (up 49% to $14.9 million pre AASB 16).

Commenting on the results, QMS Group chief executive officer Barclay Nettlefold said:

“Our operational and financial results for the first half of 2019 are extremely pleasing, in a challenging media landscape. Our unique diversification strategy, by both category and geography, provides us with a clear point of differentiation from our competitors.

“Our singular focus on quality digital assets and a market first approach to audience data and insights, delivers value for advertisers and this is reflected in our Australian and New Zealand results. QMS Australia continues to grow media revenue ahead of the market and we have positive momentum heading into the second half of the year with Q3 CY19 media revenue for QMS Australia expected to be 15-20% up on the same time last year.

“The year to date results in QMS Sport have been extremely encouraging with the growth in revenue and underlying EBITDA in the half reflecting our previous investments in sports technology and rights, and the initial contribution from TGI following the completion of that acquisition during the half year.

“The diversification of QMS Sport as a global integrated sports platform represents a significant growth opportunity for the Company.  The TGI acquisition plus the recently announced acquisitions of TLA and Stride create a unified and powerful technology, infrastructure and digital media platform with extensive relationships across top tier international sporting organisations, clubs and brands.”

The company noted revenue growth of 24% reflects growth across all business segments, driven by digital revenue across Australia and New Zealand and the positive contribution of QMS Sport.

Gross margin increased 7.8 percentage points due to high quality, higher margin digital billboards a key driver of margin expansion.

Quality landmark digital billboards remain the primary focus for QMS Australia.

Mercado on TV: Life after death – from Glitch to Rove

Glitch (Sunday on ABC) is about to wrap up after just 18 episodes and since first airing in 2015, this AACTA and Logie Award winning show has become an international hit on Netflix. Now its mythology is about to expand dramatically as it reworks its format while also re-inventing a major character.

By Andrew Mercado

With the “invisible force field” now down, the “risen” can finally go past the boundaries of Yoorana, but don’t assume that’s the last you will see of the small town, particularly given its graveyard has two more characters to offer up. There’s a young girl from a family of religious nutters and a Chinese opera singer from the town’s gold rush era. The 9.30pm time slot isn’t great, but hardcore fans will binge the whole thing on iview.

Also back from the television graveyard is Rove McManus as he guest hosts Celebrity Name Game and Saturday Night Rove (Saturday on 10). He has six episodes to prove that last year’s well received Pilot Week show was not a fluke, and good luck to him. 10 could do with some more fun on a Saturday night, rather than airing endless hours of 999: What’s Your Emergency and Ambulance (although if they are looking to do a Celebrity version of Ambulance, how about Grant Denyer who seems to suffer from an endless array of ailments?).

Home and Away alumni Lincoln Younes features in Grand Hotel (Wednesday on Nine). It is based on a Spanish telenovela, stars the mighty Demian Bichir and is the juiciest US soap I have watched in years. And Lincoln is great in it.

Seven has yet another dating show, but the good news is this one isn’t a hot mess. The Proposal (Tuesday on Seven) launches with a cracker of a first episode, during which the male suitors parade around in their swimwear, a la Man O’ Man. It’s sweet enough, and Luke Jacobz does a good job hosting – it’s just not very original.

Finally, there is Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds (Tuesday on ABC) and I concur with News Corp’s Holly Byrnes who rightly describes it as brilliant and heart-warming. It is a delight to watch angry and depressed retirement home residents rediscovering their inner joy as they meet and interact with the delightful pre-schoolers.

Top Photo: Glitch – Charlie (Sean Keenan) and Kristie (Hannah Monson)

TV Ratings Analysis: August 22

• Nine’s combo of cricket and NRL gives it fifth primary win
• The Bachelor & Gogglebox give 10 two demo winners
• AFL Squadron star Garry Lyon enters Seven’s The Front Bar

Thursday Week 34 2019

By James Manning

• Seven News 961,000/905,000
• Nine News 840,000/859,000
• A Current Affair 718,000
• ABC News 629,000
• 7.30 500,000
• The Project 247,000/461,000
• 10 News First 378,000
• The Drum 197,000
• SBS World News 194,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 285,000
• Today 209,000

Seven

Home and Away dipped to 591,000 after 651,000 on Wednesday and two nights closer to 700,000 at the start of the week.

The Front Bar delivered arguably its best episode of the year last night. The program has been featuring AFL Squadron clips from the early 1990s with host Garry Lyon and has been requesting a guest appearance from Lyon each week. He finally turned up for the final round of the year and he delivered plenty of laughs as he recalled some of the program’s highlights. The show even found two guests from the AFL Squadron quiz who related how the appearances had been life changing. Hosts Mick, Sam and Andy also paid tributes to Lyon’s football skills from his years playing for Melbourne and the Victorian state side. The program did 419,000 with 252,000 in Melbourne where it was equal #2 program for the night.

Viewers in other markets saw My House and other Animals at 8.30pm.

Nine

Nine has won all five nights so far this week in primary share, and four of the five in combined channel share.

A combo of cricket and rugby league was the difference last night.
A Current Affair bobbed just over 700,000 for its fourth night of the week.

The cricket was on and off during the first day of the Third Ashes Test in Leeds. The first session did 402,000 across Nine and 9Gem. The lunch break attracted 303,000 and the second session was on 277,000.

The Bulldogs were victorious in their NRL clash with the Eels in front of 332,000 – Sydney was on 209,000 with Brisbane on 102,000.

10

After being just under 450,000 on Wednesday, The Project lifted to just over that last night. The episode finished strongly with Rove followed by author Bill Bryson.

The Bachelor was then both #1 entertainment show and #1 under 50. The audience of 709,000 was up on Wednesday’s 653,000.

Gogglebox wasn’t far behind on 669,000 and it is able to claim #2 under 50 and #2 entertainment show.

ABC

Escape from the City was snooping around the NSW Central Coast with 386,000.
Part two of Little Women then did 134,000.

SBS

The final episode of the channel’s brilliant Australian drama The Hunting drew a crowd of 235,000.

Earlier in the night Going Places with Ernie Dingo was on 158,000 with Gourmet Farmer following on 160,000.
At 9.30pm a repeat of Titanic New Evidence did 118,000.

Week 34 TV: Thursday
THURSDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 8.8% 7 17.8% 9 19.9% 10  15.4% SBS One 4.9%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.4% 7TWO 3.8% GO! 3.3% 10 Bold 3.0% VICELAND 2.2%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 3.3% GEM 4.3% 10 Peach 2.2% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.4% 7flix 2.2% 9Life 1.7%     NITV 0.3%
    7Food 1.0%         SBS World Movies 0.5%
TOTAL 13.3%   28.1%   29.2%   20.6%   8.8%

 

THURSDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 7.8% 7 16.1% 9 15.5% WIN 12.3% SBS One 4.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.7% 7TWO 7.0% GO! 4.4% WIN Bold 4.6% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 1.5% 7mate 4.6% GEM 6.2% WIN Peach 1.7% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 3.3% 9Life 2.2% Sky News  on WIN 1.6% NITV 0.3%
    7food (QLD only) 0.5%            
TOTAL 13.1%   31.4%   28.2%   20.2%   7.1%

 

THURSDAY FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 961,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 905,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 859,000
  4. Nine News Nine 840,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 718,000
  6. The Bachelor Australia 10 709,000
  7. Gogglebox 10 669,000
  8. ABC News ABC 629,000
  9. Home And Away Seven 591,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 551,000
  11. 7.30 ABC 500,000
  12. The Project 7pm 10 461,000
  13. Hot Seat Nine 460,000
  14. The Front Bar Seven 419,000
  15. Escape From The City ABC 386,000
  16. 10 News First 10 378,000
  17. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 342,000
  18. The Latest: Seven News Seven 329,000
  19. Thursday Night NRL Live Nine 311,000
  20. Sammy J ABC 306,000
Demo Top Five

16-39

  1. The Bachelor Australia 10 238,000
  2. Gogglebox 10 198,000
  3. The Project 7pm 10 127,000
  4. Seven News Seven 111,000
  5. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 108,000

 

18-49

  1. The Bachelor Australia 10 374,000
  2. Gogglebox 10 328,000
  3. Seven News Seven 216,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 215,000
  5. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 214,000

 

25-54

  1. The Bachelor Australia 10 399,000
  2. Gogglebox 10 365,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 280,000
  4. Nine News Nine 263,000
  5. Seven News Seven 261,000
THURSDAY Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 218,000
  2. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 165,000
  3. The Mid-Year Ashes: Third Test -Eng V Au 9Gem 164,000
  4. Father Brown PM 7TWO 158,000
  5. Dinosaur Train ABCKIDS/COMEDY 155,000
  6. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 151,000
  7. Nella The Princess Knight AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 142,000
  8. Kiddets AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  9. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  10. Kiri And Lou PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  11. A Touch Of Frost PM 7TWO 130,000
  12. Fireman Sam AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 125,000
  13. Floogals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 122,000
  14. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 122,000
  15. School Of Roars AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  16. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  17. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  18. Neighbours 10 Peach 118,000
  19. Go Jetters ABCKIDS/COMEDY 116,000
  20. Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
THURSDAY STV
  1. Live: NRL Eels V Bulldogs FOX LEAGUE 191,000
  2. Live: The Late Show With Matty Johns FOX LEAGUE 94,000
  3. Live: NRL Thursday Night League FOX LEAGUE 57,000
  4. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 46,000
  5. Family Guy FOX8 44,000
  6. The Simpsons FOX8 44,000
  7. Family Guy FOX8 42,000
  8. Blue Bloods TVH!TS 41,000
  9. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 38,000
  10. Credlin Sky News Live 37,000
  11. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 37,000
  12. The Simpsons FOX8 37,000
  13. The Story Of The Royals Lifestyle Channel 36,000
  14. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 34,000
  15. Antiques Roadshow Lifestyle Channel 34,000
  16. American Dad! FOX8 33,000
  17. Grand Designs Australia Lifestyle Channel 33,000
  18. Border Security: International FOX8 31,000
  19. PML Later Sky News Live 29,000
  20. Law & Order: SVU UNIVERSAL TV 28,000

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

As revenue rise, Carsales confident of the road ahead

Online car classifieds group carsales.com is seeing green shoots for the Australian automotive sector, with CEO Cameron McIntyre confident of conditions improving in fiscal 2020, reports The Australian’s Supratim Adhikari.

Carsales shares hit a 12-month high to close yesterday’s session 11 per cent higher at $15.57, despite posting a 53.8 per cent drop in net profit to $85.27 million for fiscal 2019. The profit slip was on the back of a previously announced $47.8m impairment charge that Carsales booked against its 50.1 per cent share in the underperforming car financing business Stratton Finance.

After adjusting for the impairment, Carsales reported a 2.78 per cent lift in profit to $131.33m for the full-year. Revenue for the period increased 11 per cent to $418m and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation edged up 7 per cent on the previous corresponding period to $210.1m.

[Read the original]

AFR’s Boyd on News Corp’s McCrann: ‘Media doomsayer exposed’

The strong performance of Nine Entertainment’s metro newspapers in 2019 is a slap in the face for commentator Terry McCrann, who has been calling the death of the business for about seven years, writes The AFR’s Tony Boyd.

The ghoulish McCrann has been digging a grave for Nine’s three main mastheads – The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review – since 2012 when former chief executive of Fairfax Media Greg Hywood started a painful transformation process.

Hywood’s plan set the company up for the financial turnaround evident in the latest Nine accounts. McCrann claimed his employer, News Corp, would never emulate the Fairfax job cuts. But several years later, managers at News paid consultants to tell them to slash editorial production jobs by 50 per cent.

[Read the original]

The AFR: A sustainable business model for quality news & information

An editorial in The AFR today reports on the paper’s life inside the Nine Entertainment group:

Amid all the talk of threats to journalism, The Australian Financial Review is showing how to build a sustainable business model for quality news and information.

The first results of the merged Nine shows the traditional former Fairfax mastheads – the Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age – reaping the rewards of close to a decade of often-painful adjustment. These mastheads together boosted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation by 65 per cent to $83 million in the past year.

Cost control has been important. But the decline in print revenue, including advertising, has levelled out. And the Financial Review in particular is driving higher revenues through premium digital subscriptions that are now underwriting increased investment in its newsroom.

[Read the original]

News Brands

News Corp readies news app to stem Google and Facebook domination

News Corp is developing a news-aggregation service meant to address concerns that Google News and other digital platforms don’t reward publishers’ work adequately and play down articles from certain types of sites, according to people familiar with the plans, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The service, currently called Knewz.com, is expected to be a website and a mobile app. An early version is being shown to a small group of News Corp executives and an official launch could come later this year, though no specific timeline has been set, the people said. The company could still decide not to proceed with the project, they said.

The service will draw from hundreds of news sources, including national outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post and NBC News, digital-native players, magazine publishers and local newspapers, the people said. News Corp owns Dow Jones & Co., which publishes The Wall Street Journal.

“We are exploring this with the goal of recognizing and rewarding the provenance of journalism, and to drive traffic and data to publishers – including subscription sites – so their original work is respected,” said James Kennedy, a spokesman for News Corp. “We want people to see a wide spectrum of news and views, from local, niche and national sources, without bent or bias.”

[Read the original]

Television

AWGIE Awards special honours for Mac Gudgeon, Magda Szubanski

Playwright Kate Mulvany’s epic and acclaimed stage adaptation of the Australian classic The Harp in the South has taken out the highest honour of the Australian Writers’ Guild’s annual AWGIE Awards, the 2019 Major Award.

2019 AWGIE Award winners included:
• Andrew Knight won Television – Series or Miniseries of more than 4 hours duration for Jack Irish: Season 2, Episode 1
• Jacquelin Perske won Television – Telemovie or Miniseries of 4 hours or less duration for The Cry
• Tim Minchin (pictured) won the AWGIE for Comedy – Situation or Narrative for his upcoming series Upright

• Joel Slack-Smith and Heidi Regan with Nazeem Hussain, Richard Thorp, Penny Greenhalgh and Sophie Braham took home the AWGIE Award for Comedy – Sketch or Light Entertainment for Orange is the New Brown: Episode 1 
• Jason Herbison took home the Television – Serial Award for episode  8052 of Neighbours

More details and a complete list of winners available here.

Streaming wars: Australians better get used to paying a lot more

When Netflix first launched in Australia in early 2015, for local viewers, it was a godsend, reports news.com.au’s Wenlei Ma.

Some were already accessing the streaming service through backdoor methods, but the mainstream was about to have their minds blown. The choices! The price! The convenience!

You pay your $10 a month and in return you get to stream movies and TV shows to your heart’s content. It was the magic bullet to piracy and for viewers who were sick of broadcast TV’s rigid schedule and uninspiring content offerings.

While it’s not Netflix’s fault, and the granular details were always more complicated, the streamer’s product set up unrealistic expectations for the average consumer that this was the only model of the future of entertainment – cheap, accessible and all-encompassing.

Four years later, and the story is very different. Streaming is fracturing to a point of frustration for consumers who don’t want to, and don’t think they should have to, pay for more and more services to watch the content they want.

Viewers are staring down the barrel of needing to shell out for Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime Video, Foxtel Now, Disney+ (from November 19), Apple TV+ (before the end of the year), YouTube Premium, Kayo, 10 All Access and more. And that’s probably not even going to cover everything you want.

What to watch on each subscription streaming platform

• NETFLIX: Mindhunter, Russian Doll, When They See Us, GLOW, Black Mirror
• AMAZON PRIME VIDEO: Fleabag, Good Omens, The Boys, Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Forever
• STAN: Pen15, City on a Hill, Kidding, Billions, Catch-22
• FOXTEL NOW: Succession, Veep, Grand Designs, What We Do in the Shadows, The Americans
• DISNEY+ (launching November 19): Loki, The World According to Jeff Goldblum, The Mandalorian
• APPLE TV+ (forthcoming): Morning Wars, For All Mankind, Little America
• 10 ALL ACCESS: The Good Fight, The Twilight Zone
• YOUTUBE PREMIUM: Cobra Kai

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SBS programming: TV Tonight details a ‘Secrets’ obsession

Someone in SBS Programming once told me the broadcaster loved shows with “Secrets” in the title, reports TV Tonight’s David Knox.

They weren’t kidding.
Docos and factuals with the word in the title appear weekly on SBS. From royal families, pyramids, solar systems, food, small business and Hitler -secrets are everywhere in the EPG as a way of enticing viewers. It supposedly reveals information previously withheld and makes the viewer feel like they are gaining privileged access….(did you just click on this post because it had the word in the headline?).

And if it isn’t in the title of an overseas show, somebody may very well go and add it in anyway.

See TV Tonight’s list of over 40 SBS programs with “Secret” in the title.

This TV channel is battling 'Netflix and porn', jokes its CEO

Britain’s Channel 4 is locked in a battle with “Netflix and porn” for the attention of younger audiences, according to its chief executive, as the television industry battles to attract a new generation of viewers raised on streaming services, reports The Guardian.

Alex Mahon joked about the challenge faced by the traditional channels as she unveiled new commissions with an increased emphasis on shows produced outside London and those that could appeal to more diverse viewers – including a new sitcom called Lady Parts about an all-female Muslim punk band, and a drama called Generation Z about baby boomers turning into zombies.

Channel 4 also announced a show called The British Tribe Next Door, which will see UK Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt relocate her entire family to Namibia, where they will live alongside the semi-nomadic Himba people in a purpose-built replica of their County Durham semi-detached house.

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Sports Media

Anger at seats without a view at Boomers versus USA clash

The reviews were mixed from Australia’s first ever basketball game at a football stadium with some fans complaining about their view and the location of their seats, reports The Age’s Roy Ward.

Australia took on Team USA at Marvel Stadium on Thurday night in the first of two showdowns before the FIBA World Cup in China. Australia lost the first match 102-86. The second game is on Saturday afternoon.

Promoters TEG Live were already facing demands from some fans for refunds due to unhappiness about their view or the lack of NBA superstars, who were promoted as playing when the game was announced when tickets went on sale.

At that stage the superstars were possibly playing but once the NBA season finished they began to withdraw to focus on the next NBA season while others like Kevin Durant were injured.

Actor Russell Crowe was among those to voice his frustration on Twitter, saying he had paid $1500 for a ticket only to have a restricted view. “Jokes on me,” he wrote.

“The only thing achieved tonight by @BasketballAus was enjoining with the promoters in ripping off well meaning lovers of the sport. It was a farce.”

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