Wednesday August 7, 2019

Lingo Pictures’ Foxtel hit Lambs Of God thrilling global audiences

Producer Jason Stephens: ‘We wanted to make something distinctive’

By James Manning

After setting audience records for a recent drama launch on Foxtel’s Showcase channel, Lambs Of God has been sold to 26 international territories including Germany, Korea, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, with negotiations underway in the US and the UK.

Although Sky Vision is the global distributor, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will go to Sky for the UK.

The series was made for Foxtel by Lingo Pictures, a partnership between television producers Jason Stephens and Helen Bowden launched four years ago. Stephens is creative director and Bowden is managing director.

In that time in addition to Lambs Of God they have made Wake In Fright, On The Ropes, Upright and The Secrets She Keeps.

The partners have stuck to the original plan with some success – focus on high-end drama that could be attractive to an international audience.

The challenges for us initially have been like those facing any small, new company – cash flow and wondering where the next commission will be coming from,” Stephens told Mediaweek.

“When we met we had a few projects in development which gave us a bit of a head start. Helen had been developing Wake In Fright and that was our first project.

And like any business, once you get some momentum it starts to get a little easier. Each of us also came with a track record, which gave us a head start.

“We have worked hard at establishing the brand and getting in front of the broadcasters. You need to be constantly keeping your eye on production and development.”

Rather than having a range of projects in development, Stephens said Lingo focuses on one particular project and tries to get it to market as quickly as possible. “That means we have to keep our development slate relatively small compared to bigger producers.

The people we approach to give us their books or ideas to develop know will get it to market quickly to gauge the response.

Although Lingo Pictures is working with premium drama projects, it has managed to place programming with a range of broadcasters from Foxtel and Sky, to Network 10 and SBS. “We try to select the best partner for a project before we pitch, but we are more than happy to work with anybody.”

Lingo is always looking for pre-sale opportunities internationally, something they achieved with Upright where Tim Minchin’s profile helped secure a pre-sale with Sky.

The current hit Lambs Of God has attracted much attention because of a number of factors including the cast – Ann Dowd, Jessica Barden and Essie Davis – and the fact it is set in the northern hemisphere.

Lambs Of God cast: Jessica Barden, Ann Dowd, Sam Reid and Essie Davis

Lambs Of God cast: Jessica Barden, Ann Dowd, Sam Reid and Essie Davis

It’s hard to label the reasons for the success of Lambs Of God. It’s compelling viewing, but it is hard to pigeonhole the series. Stephens said: “It defies genres in many ways. It is a mash of styles – part comedy, part thriller, part mystery and part gothic.

Critics have been glowing in their praise: Mediaweek’s Andrew Mercado wrote, “Lambs Of God is a gothic masterpiece, a demented mash-up of multiple genres that leaves you gasping at every turn, right up until that unexpected ending.”

See also:
Mercado on TV: Foxtel’s gothic masterpiece that will leave you gasping

Stephens has been following the comments from viewers on social media around the world as the show premieres in different markets. “They are all saying much the same thing – ‘I don’t know what this is, but I really like it’.

“We wanted to make something very distinctive, and we have managed that. These days with so much choice, and so much content, you really need to stand out from the crowd.”

So far the series has also screened in Spain, Poland, Sweden and it screens in New Zealand from this week.

Sigrid Thornton in Lambs Of God

Sigrid Thornton in Lambs Of God

The book Lambs Of God by Marele Day was originally optioned by Hollywood. “Back then it was developed to be a feature film,” said Stephens. “When we optioned it for television we decided 4 x 1 hours was the best format. In doing that they had to develop some new stories. In the book the whole story happens on the island, but we also took the story to the mainland and introduced new characters including the sister of Ignatius, even though she was mentioned in the book.”

Stephens said there would be no second season. “We have exhausted it. It was a self-contained story that had an ending. It wouldn’t feel right to do more.

I’d say yes to doing more in the genre, but I’m not quite sure what the genre is!” [Laughs]

“It was a beast of a show to produce. We had to build a large set at Fox Studios. Everything was built on trickery. Everything that you see onscreen doesn’t exist, which was an enormous challenge.

In addition to Fox Studios there were locations in the Blue Mountains, Tasman Island and the south coast of NSW. “We even sent someone to Ireland to shoot some Irish villages for establishing shots. All that needed to be welded together to make it look like the same location.”

Top Photo: Essie Davis in Lambs Of God

Kochie returns to primetime: How To Make $10k In 20 Days

Longtime Sunrise co-host and financial guru David Koch will again be seen in primetime in addition to his morning and weekend TV duties on Seven.

Koch has hosted a number of primetime shows in the past and had his most spectacular success during the GFC with a number of Sunday night Seven specials on the global economic meltdown and how it impacted on Australians.

In a new 90-minute special coming to Seven, Kochie will share all the tips and tricks viewers need to help you grow their bank account at record pace.

For 20 days two very different couples will put their spending on a crash diet as they learn how to save, earn and sell their way towards their goals. It will be a race against the clock as they road test bargain recipes and shopping hacks, try earning outside their 9 to 5 wage and turn clutter into cold hard cash.

In their quest to make $10k in 20 days, Kochie and the couples will be joined by a team of experts including “Fast Ed” (Better Homes & Gardens), Canna Campbell (SugarMamma TV), Juliet Ashworth (award-winning interior designer) and Tim Fung (Airtasker co-founder) who will share their knowledge on how to slash grocery bills, convert a home into a hotel, transform trash to treasure and turn your passion into an income.

Kochie says the key to making money and making it fast comes down to three simple steps: sell, earn and save.

“Every day I talk to ordinary Aussies who tell me how hard they work for every single dollar, but a quick injection of cash would really help them out. Most think it’s impossible, but there is a way to get ahead and I’m looking forward to showing Australia how to do it.”

How To Make $10k In 20 Days will premiere on Wednesday, 14 August at 7.30pm on Seven. The series has been produced by Seven Studios.

Sales executives from ARN, Discovery & Allure joining Pacific

• Digital growth sees Pacific create positions, appoints new GSM

Pacific has announced three new additions to its sales ranks with digital specialists Rebecca Penn, Merson Lewis and Joe Revill joining to further accelerate the business’ online and content-led client offerings.

The appointments follow Pacific’s significant investment in data and insights with the launch of Pacific Insights (Pi) and a Customer Data Platform powered by TEG Analytics as well as the launch earlier this year of content and marketing consultancy, Eve.

Penn takes on the role of Group Sales Manager. She was most recently Group Sales Director at Allure Media and prior to that worked at RhythmOne. Penn brings to Pacific a strong management background, agency connections and extensive digital experience.

Lewis has been appointed to the newly created role of Head of Digital Trading. The role will involve driving digital revenue through new products such as video, audio and general content solutions, all backed by Pacific’s Customer Data Platform. Lewis joins from ARN where he was Digital Group Sales Manager.

Also appointed to a newly created role, Revill takes on the position of Head of NSW Agency Sales where he will help Pacific’s agency team drive better outcomes and build on relationships in-market. Revill was previously Director of Advertising and Brand Partnerships at Discovery Networks and prior to that worked at Bauer Media where he built out digital commercial products.

Pacific National Sales Director Andrew Brain said: “Pacific’s ongoing evolution has seen our media offering grow beyond print, digital and social to include audio, video and events as we continue to extend and explore the role our brands play in consumers’ lives. This focus has brought new and younger audiences into our ecosystems, enabling clients to drive deep connections via end-to-end marketing solutions. Welcoming digital-first, content-led media professionals to our team further cements our commitment to agility and innovation.”

The three appointments are effective immediately.

Top Photo: New Pacific appointments Merson Lewis, Rebecca Penn and Joe Revill

PwC release updated version of controversial My Screen report

PwC has released the updated version of the My Screen: Video Consumption in Australia report, replacing the original report that was released on 22 July 2019.

Below are the report highlights detailed by PwC:

The report aims to provide marketers with comprehensive analysis of the video landscape, considering where and how Australians are consuming content, the content they’re consuming, and what this means for marketers.

PwC CMO Advisory partner, Justin Papps said, “With so many options for today’s marketer, this research provides a comprehensive view of video consumption and the different roles various channels play. The majority of the findings in this second report remain consistent with the first, with some revisions to the industry reach analysis which now incorporates data sourced from Roy Morgan.”

The key findings of the report are:

The five highest reaching video platforms in Australia remain the same.

In the original report, we stated that the five highest reaching video platforms in Australia are Free to Air TV, Facebook, YouTube, Netflix and Instagram, in that order. These findings remain consistent, although the reach of Facebook, YouTube and Instagram has reduced within the new data set largely because we are referring to a 7 day time period versus monthly.

Based on Roy Morgan data, these 5 platforms are the only ones to reach more than 7 million, or a third of Australians over 14 years old, whereas in the original report we stated that each of these five platforms reach more than half of the population 14 years or older. We also reported the five highest reaching platforms by demographic. The top five highest reaching platforms by demographic remain consistent, although the order of the top five has changed for all demographics.

Marketers must have a plan with regard to how their organisation will adapt to the proliferation of ad free channels, as their reach is significant.

In the original report, we found that non-ad supported channels reach a significant volume of Australians, and therefore, their usage should be critical to the marketer to understand. Just because a platform does not serve ads, it doesn’t mean that the platform does not have a significant impact on a marketer’s ability to reach consumers via video. The original report showed that the SVOD services are reaching a significant number of Australians across all key demographics measured, and the younger the demographic, the higher the penetration of Netflix. These findings remain consistent; marketers must have a plan with regard to how their organisation will adapt to the proliferation of ad free channels.

Netflix is the primary video platform for three of the top four “most watched” video content genres.

In the original report, we found that consumers’ “most watched” genres include Drama (47%), News and Current Affairs (39%), Comedy (33%), and Documentaries (33%). Of these, Netflix is the primary destination for all but News and Current Affairs, which Free to Air TV dominates. Drama is the “most watched” content genre amongst all video consumers 45+, equal first for consumers 35-44, and second to Comedy for 18-34 year olds. These findings remain consistent.

“Wide range of content” is the primary driver of perceived quality for video platforms.

In the original report, we found that the primary driver of consumer preference when it comes to the video landscape is based on depth and breadth of available content, with a “wide range of content” being the primary driver of perceived quality for video platforms. These findings remain consistent.

Based on PwC Consumer Research, there is a small bandwidth of claimed attention across video categories.

In the original report, we found that despite marketers incurring varying costs across channels, there’s a small bandwidth of claimed attention across categories. There is only a 10 point difference in claimed attention for various video categories, with SVOD leading the pack, followed by BVOD, Free to Air TV, and then Social. These findings remain consistent.

Papps added, “We produced this report for marketers; to help them make sense of the number of different data sources and methodologies that exist for analysing video consumption in Australia. Each of these data sources can be viewed and interpreted in different ways, creating confusion for marketers and potential inefficiency in how media budgets are planned and bought.

“The original report used data from a range of sources, including Nielsen’s Digital Panel, as this is one of multiple data sets which the industry uses.

“We removed the Nielsen data from the second report because we were unable to gain permission to use the Nielsen Digital Panel or the Digital Content Ratings data to describe total reach in the way we believe is most useful for marketers.

“Using the Roy Morgan data has enabled us to speak to total reach of each platform, consistent with the methodology from the initial report. We believe the total reach of each platform is the most appropriate representation of reach, as it speaks to advertisers’ and marketers’ ability to reach a consumer on a platform, and their opportunity to see a video.

“One of the biggest challenges facing marketers today is that there is no agreed source of truth on how video is consumed across the plethora of platforms and devices now used by consumers.

“Our core purpose with this report has always been to provide marketers with a perspective on Australia’s complex video consumption landscape and how to reach consumers via this medium,” he said.

“With video making up such an important part of most media plans today it is critical that the industry develops a clear and independently verified picture of how all these video viewing opportunities work together to drive reach. We hope that this updated version of the My Screen report will help to inform and aid marketers with their planning and media buying.”

CEO of Roy Morgan, Michele Levine, said Roy Morgan’s Single Source data, which is used for the reach analysis in the report, is designed to provide valuable information and insights for media, agencies and advertisers based on an independent, consumer-centric measurement system across all media and all platforms.

“The research design is based on a simple premise – ask questions to get answers, ask everyone everything to get truth – and include machine based data collection to enhance the accuracy of detailed behaviour such as time spent on websites across all media and all platforms,” Ms Levine said.

“Roy Morgan Single Source is a nationally representative sample of 50,000 in-depth personal interviews conducted face-to-face with people in their own homes – enhanced by machine based digital data.”

John Broome, CEO AANA said, “In the absence of a single source, the AANA continues to support research which seeks to inform marketers about their choices. We supported the work done by Think TV and Dr Karen Nelson-Field, and again with this PwC Facebook study. The AANA will continue to do so with future initiatives that advance market understanding for marketers.

“We are not yet living in the ideal world where we have an independent measurement of unduplicated audience consumption of all forms of video let alone all media. So we recognise the challenges of using the available sources in the meantime. It’s a difficult challenge and we recognise the weight of effort undertaken by PwC and Facebook in this instance. We do this because we know that marketers want to efficiently and effectively optimise their communications mix and given no one channel can provide a complete answer for any marketer, it’s important to continually inform marketers of their choices.”

TV Demand: Amazon's The Boys makes a mark in it's first week

Stranger Things is once again on top of the TV Demand charts as its momentum from the release of season 3 last month on Netflix continues to push it the front of the pack. 

By Trent Thomas

Stranger Things isn’t the only universal selection as number two and three is the same for all four charts as well. In second spot is Orange is the New Black which released its final season on July 26 on Netflix. The seventh season follows Piper as she adjusts to life on the outside while struggling with being separated from her new wife, Alex, who remains behind bars, and will also follow inmates Daya, Nicky, Taystee, Crazy Eyes, Suzanne, Black Cindy and Red.

The show stars an ensemble cast, including Taylor Schilling, Uzo Aduba, Laura Prepon, Kate Mulgrew, Natasha Lyonne, Laverne Cox, Michael Harney, Danielle Brooks, Taryn Manning, Selenis Leyva, Yael Stone, Nick Sandow, Lea DeLaria, Jackie Cruz, Elizabeth Rodriguez and Adrienne Moore. 

In third spot is Amazon original The Boys based on the comic book of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson and developed for TV by Eric Kripke. The show follows a team of vigilantes as they fight back against superpowered people who abuse their abilities.

The Boys is set in a universe where superpowered people are recognised as heroes and owned by powerful corporation Vought International with most of the heroes being arrogant and corrupt. The series primarily focuses on the conflict between The Boys, a vigilante group opposed to corrupt superheroes, led by Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), who despises all superpowered people, and the Seven, Vought International’s premier superhero team, which is led by the egotistical and unstable Homelander (Antony Starr). 

The story is taken from the 72 issues which ran from October 2006 – November 2012. The series premiered on July 26 with Amazon releasing all eight episodes of the first season.

TV Ratings analysis: August 6

• The Block delivers its first rooms, sort of, Nine wins
• SeaChange returns with 790k, highest rating 2019 drama

Tuesday Week 32 2019

By James Manning 

• Seven News 1,029,000/985,000
• Nine News 935,000/941,000
• A Current Affair 726,000
• ABC News 691,000
• 7.30 548,000
• The Project 323,000/530,000
• 10 News First 412,000
• The Drum 171,000
• SBS World News 154,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 261,000
• Today 203,000


The channel’s 7pm drama Home And Away was down to 660,000 after 676,000 on Monday.

Not a must watch for many, but Seven still managed to attract 558,000 to Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly at 7.30pm.

Andrew Denton: Interview followed with 414,000 watching Jessica Mauboy in the Interview chair.


A Current Affair was down over 100,000 after starting the week on 849,000. The Tuesday audience was on 726,000. That was still enough to win the timeslot.

The Block has already (some) finished rooms for the judges who greeted the first constructions with mixed feelings. The Tuesday audience was 876,000 after audiences of 859,000 (Monday) and 991,000 (Sunday).

Just under 900,000 (1.10m national) was a great lead-in for the return of SeaChange, but it was down on the previous episode! It was never going to do anything like the 2.4m people who watched the previous ep though – the series three finale on ABC in December 2000. (That audience measure was on a different people meter system prior to the introduction of OzTAM.)

Despite the filming location moving from Victoria to New South Wales (something reality TV producers would never consider), the Melbourne audience were the biggest supporters of the launch with 291,000. In Sydney the audience was 196,000.


The Project was again over 500,000 for the second successive night this week.

Australian Survivor saw the Champions again at tribal council after another immunity challenge fail. Sitting around the campfire, David told Jonathan that a blindside is the most humane way to put someone down, and with that, Sarah was the eighth person voted of the series. The Tuesday episode was 723,000, the biggest audience for the week, slightly better than Monday’s 713,000.


Foreign Correspondent was on 424,000 at 8pm, followed by 327,000 watching the second episode of Waltzing The Dragon With Benjamin Law.


British history was again a big draw for the channel with 280,000 tuning into London: 2,000 Years Of History.

Insight then did 176,000.

Week 32 TV: Tuesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 10.9% 7 18.0% 9 22.6% 10  13.9% SBS One 4.8%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.7% 7TWO 2.2% GO! 2.7% 10 Bold 3.6% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 3.6% GEM 3.0% 10 Peach 2.2% Food Net 1.3%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix 1.7% 9Life 1.8%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 0.6%         SBS World Movies 0.7%
TOTAL 15.7%   26.1%   30.2%   19.7%   8.3%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 8.8% 7 19.2% 9 18.1% WIN 9.3% SBS One 4.8%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.6% 7TWO 3.2% GO! 4.9% WIN Bold 4.0% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 1.0% 7mate 6.4% GEM 5.1% WIN Peach 2.2% Food Net 1.4%
ABC NEWS 1.1% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.1% 9Life 2.0% Sky News  on WIN 1.9% NITV 0.3%
    7food (QLD only) 0.3%            
TOTAL 13.4%   31.2%   30.1%   17.3%   8.0%


  1. Seven News  Seven    1,029,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight  Seven    985,000
  3. Nine News 6:30  Nine  941,000
  4. Nine News  Nine  935,000
  5. The Block   Nine  876,000
  6. SeaChange  Nine  787,000
  7. A Current Affair  Nine  726,000
  8. Australian Survivor     10  723,000
  9. ABC News   ABC  691,000
  10. Home And Away  Seven    660,000
  11. The Chase Australia  Seven    591,000
  12. Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly  Seven    558,000
  13. 7.30   ABC  548,000
  14. The Project 7pm    10  530,000
  15. Hot Seat  Nine  508,000
  16. Foreign Correspondent   ABC  424,000
  17. Andrew Denton: Interview  Seven    414,000
  18. 10 News First    10  412,000
  19. The Chase Australia-5pm  Seven    354,000
  20. Waltzing The Dragon With Benjamin Law   ABC  327,000


Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. Australian Survivor     10  245,000
  2. The Block   Nine  226,000
  3. The Project 7pm    10  138,000
  4. SeaChange  Nine  136,000
  5. Seven News / Today Tonight  Seven    126,000



18-49 Top Five

  1. The Block   Nine  403,000
  2. Australian Survivor     10  382,000
  3. The Project 7pm    10  259,000
  4. SeaChange  Nine  248,000
  5. Nine News  Nine  240,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. The Block   Nine  449,000
  2. Australian Survivor     10  407,000
  3. Nine News  Nine  301,000
  4. Nine News 6:30  Nine  298,000
  5. SeaChange  Nine  298,000
TUESDAY Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  182,000
  2. Outback Truckers PM  7mate  162,000
  3. NCIS  (R)  10 Bold  150,000
  4. Go Jetters   ABCKIDS/COMEDY  147,000
  5. Dinosaur Train   ABCKIDS/COMEDY  146,000
  6. Rusty Rivets   ABCKIDS/COMEDY  144,000
  7. Floogals   ABCKIDS/COMEDY  144,000
  8. CSI: Miami  10 Bold  140,000
  9. Death In Paradise    9Gem  135,000
  10. Kiri And Lou PM  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  135,000
  11. Peppa Pig AM  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  134,000
  12. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom AM  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  128,000
  13. Fireman Sam AM  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  127,000
  14. Neighbours  10 Peach  126,000
  15. Highway Patrol-Ep.2 Pm  7mate  124,000
  16. Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures   ABCKIDS/COMEDY  123,000
  17. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY  120,000
  18. CSI: Miami Ep 2 10 Bold  118,000
  19. Kiddets AM  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  116,000
  20. Spicks And Specks   ABCKIDS/COMEDY  114,000
  1. Paul Murray Live  Sky News Live  76,000
  2. Jones & Credlin  Sky News Live  59,000
  3. Credlin  Sky News Live  58,000
  4. Live: AFL 360  FOX FOOTY  55,000
  5. Family Guy  FOX8  53,000
  6. The Bolt Report  Sky News Live  47,000
  7. The Simpsons  FOX8  47,000
  8. Family Guy  FOX8  45,000
  9. Live: The Back Page  FOX SPORTS 503  44,000
  10. Live: NRL 360  FOX LEAGUE  43,000
  11. Blue Bloods  TVH!TS  43,000
  12. American Dad!  FOX8  36,000
  13. The Simpsons  FOX8  34,000
  14. American Dad!  FOX8  33,000
  15. Border Security: International  FOX8  33,000
  16. The Simpsons  FOX8  32,000
  17. Shimmer And Shine  Nick Jr.  31,000
  18. Paw Patrol  Nick Jr.  31,000
  19. NCIS  TVH!TS  31,000
  20. Speers  Sky News Live  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

SCA to outsource TV and radio transmission to Broadcast Australia

Southern Cross Media Group will outsource its television and radio broadcast transmission services to Broadcast Australia (BA). Under the agreement, SCA will transfer transmission assets to BA, and BA will provide SCA with managed and maintenance services for over 500 radio and TV transmission services around Australia. The agreement is for an initial term of 15 years.

The transition to BA will commence over the next few weeks and SCA expects to complete the transition to BA by March 2020. SCA’s previously announced outsourcing of its television playout operations to NPC Media is progressing and is also expected to be completed by the end of this financial year.

BA is part of BAI Communications, a global communications infrastructure group with operations in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, UK and the USA. BA has a long history of delivering resilient broadcast and telecommunications network solutions. In Australia, it is the long-term managed transmission broadcasting services provider to the ABC and SBS.

The transaction will result in a non-cash loss of $9.2m from the sale of SCA’s current broadcast transmission assets to BA, and this will be recorded in the 2019 financial year. The transaction is expected to deliver future cashflow savings to SCA.

SCA’s chief technology officer Stephen Haddad said: “The outsourcing is a logical step for SCA, consistent with the group’s strategy of delivering content and media platforms and moving away from asset intensive activities that can be delivered by specialist service providers. With the transition of television playout to NPC Media, the use of Telstra’s DVN network for distribution and this outsourcing of transmission services to BA, SCA has created a streamlined and efficient service that minimises the cost of delivery of broadcast radio and television to SCA’s licence areas.”

As broadcasting transmission services are progressively transitioned to BA, some current SCA roles will no longer be required.

“We will work closely with affected employees to maintain operations during the transition and to support them in identifying new opportunities as the transition is completed,” Haddad said.

Nine to consolidate TV and news media staff in North Sydney tower

Nine Entertainment has confirmed it is taking additional office space, securing a 25,000 sqm lease for 12-years in Winten Property Group’s  landmark $1.2 billion 1 Denison commercial office building in North Sydney.

Nine is extending its original lease from 18,500 sqm to bring together all of its key Sydney television and publishing divisions into one office.

Nine’s new landlord explained the new lease comprises a ground floor reception and studio plus 13 floors from level G to nine in the low-rise and floors 19 to 22 in the mid-rise with floor plates ranging from 1,650 sqm to 2,517 sqm.

Nine will soon commence its fit-out, designed by Bates Smart Architects and will start occupying its new home from the second half of 2020.The company is moving employees from Willoughby, Pyrmont and the CBD into the new state-of-the-art North Sydney location.

Other media or tech companies also moving into The Wintern will be Microsoft and SAP.

Pyrmont parts of the empire not moving in are the part-owned businesses Macquarie Media and Domain.

Nine’s publishing division needs to vacate its current One Darling Island home in Pyrmont before its new office space will be ready. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review will have a temporary home for around nine months from later this year across the road in Pyrmont in the former Seven offices.

GroupM wins EA Games and opens m/SIX office in Sydney

The international advertising network The&Partnership and their global media company m/SIX have announced the opening of their APAC main hub in Sydney, Australia.

m/SIX has called new Sydney office opening a significant milestone for the agency network and its plans for growth in 2019.

Following the recent win of the global Electronic Arts account, m/SIX now has media planning and buying responsibility for EA in Australia, New Zealand and across APAC. Kevin Rooney (pictured) joins as APAC CEO, overseeing the new m/SIX hub launch to service EA and to enable the agency to continue its rapid growth in the region.

m/SIX’s current clients in the region include Burger King and Malaysian Airlines.

Jess Burley, global CEO of m/SIX said: “We’re really excited to establish this new regional APAC hub for m/SIX in Sydney. There is a great opportunity to continue our growth in the region, providing the very best data-informed communications strategies and bespoke, flexible partnerships with both existing & new clients.”

Leaving Tokyo, where he held the position of CEO for Mindshare Japan & Korea, Kevin Rooney returns to m/SIX as APAC CEO where he will lead the network within the region. A WPP veteran, Rooney has over 15 years experience within roles across North America, Global (based in UK) and APAC, in both business development and management.

During his time at Mindshare APAC he helped set a new record in R3’s New Business League of #1 in APAC and also topped the RECMA reports as #1 media agency in the region. Additionally, during this time, Rooney also helped establish m/SIX in the region, playing a key role in the initial expansion of the agency into Asia.

PwC's figures change dramatically in updated Facebook report

PwC has excluded Nielsen data from an updated version of a Facebook-commissioned report about video consumption with the consulting firm insisting its consultants know the best way to use the research house’s data, reports The AFR’s Edmund Tadros and Max Mason.

The report’s co-author, PwC CMO advisory partner, Justin Papps, said PwC was correct in the way it wanted to use Nielsen’s video viewing data and that the firm’s interpretation would be “most useful for marketers”.

“We removed the Nielsen data from the second report because we were unable to gain permission to use the Nielsen Digital Panel or the Digital Content Ratings data to describe total reach in the way we believe is most useful for marketers,” Papps said.

Nielsen last week accused PwC of using the wrong data set in its now-retracted My Screen: Video Consumption in Australia report. That incorrect data set meant the reach of Facebook’s video platform was over-inflated.

PwC responded by switching to Roy Morgan data.

The change in data provider in the updated PwC report has cut the estimated video reach of Facebook by about 1.6 million to 15.7 million Australians and of YouTube by 3.1 million to 13.5 million. The first report had also used seven-day reach data for free-to-air TV and monthly reach data for Facebook and YouTube.

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News Brands

Department of Home Affairs hits back on media freedom

The Department of Home Affairs is pushing back against demands by Australia’s leading media organisations for a right to contest warrants targeting journalists, claiming reporters may destroy evidence, reports The Australian’s Mark Schliebs.

The ABC has hit back at such suggestions, saying there are already laws against the destruction of evidence and a similar set of British laws explicitly prohibits the disposal of any material being sought by authorities.

In its own submission to the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security, the Department of Home Affairs defended the current regime as “appropriate”.

While it said “the government is open to considering suggestions”, current legislation already reflected the need for any “limitations on rights and freedoms (to be) reasonable, necessary and proportionate for the pursuit of a legitimate objective”.

“We do not consider that contested hearings for warrants would be an appropriate area for reform,” the department told the inquiry.

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US publisher GateHouse buys Gannett with private equity loan

Two of America’s largest newspaper companies have agreed to combine in the latest media deal driven by the industry’s struggles with a decline in printed editions, reports AP.

GateHouse Media, a chain backed by an investment firm, is buying USA Today owner Gannett for $US12.06 a share in cash and stock, or about $US1.4 billion.

The combined company would have more than 260 daily papers in the US along with more than 300 weeklies. It would be the largest US newspaper company by far, with a print circulation of 8.7 million, seven million more than the new No. 2, McClatchy, according to media expert Ken Doctor.

The combined company would take the Gannett name and keep its headquarters in Gannett’s current home of McLean, Virginia.

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Seven flirts with another Married At First Sight rival format

Seven is developing a new reality format in a bid to tap into the phenomenon that is Nine’s Married at First Sight, report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Broede Carmody and Jennifer Duke.

The broadcaster applied to trademark the words “The Honeymoon Crashers” earlier this year, with casting currently underway.

“This is your chance to be part of Seven Studio’s new reality shows,” the notice on a casting website read. “We’re looking for real people with unreal personalities.”

A Seven source confirmed the casting-call was for a concept called The Honeymoon Crashers but stressed this was the show’s working title. Another source close to the broadcaster described the show as currently in the “brainstorm phase”.

TV executives from rival networks believe The Honeymoon Crashers could replace Seven’s canned Temptation Island reboot, which was originally slated for the summer programming period. A production source familiar with The Honeymoon Crashers said the show will likely be an “ugly hybrid” of other reality programs, with relationships put to the test and plenty of voyeurism.

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‘Stop bragging’: Karl Stefanovic’s surprise Today show return

Karl Stefanovic made a surprise return to the very program he was dramatically ousted from late last year – and couldn’t resist an opening “brag” about his current career fortunes, reports’s Nick Bond.

Stefanovic appeared via satellite from Honolulu, chatting to his former co-host Georgie Gardner and her current co-host Deb Knight about his prime time Nine show This Time Next Year, which starts up for a new season next week.

Stefanovic opened by explaining his exotic surroundings.

“I am on assignment here for 60 Minutes. This is the first location of many around the world over the next few weeks for me, so it’s a lovely place to start. It’s a balmy 89 degrees (31 celcius) out here and about 92 in the studio, so it’s beautiful,” he told his former colleagues.

“All right, stop bragging, we know you’re doing some work,” said Knight.

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E! News to Move from LA to New York, becoming a morning show

E!’s flagship news program is getting a new home, in more ways than one, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

E! News, which has aired at 7 p.m. ET/PT from Los Angeles [daily at 6.30pm on E! in Australia] for most of its life, will transition to a morning show in 2020. It will also switch coasts and originate from NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Centre studios in New York.

The changes to the show are part of a larger revamp of the cabler’s entertainment-news programming, which include several new shows set to debut in 2020 and an expansion of late-night show Nightly Pop to four nights a week. The move of the flagship show to mornings is designed to give pop-culture fans a dose of news at the start of the day and offer insight on unfolding stories.

Giuliana Rancic and Jason Kennedy currently anchor the nightly E! News from Los Angeles. It’s unclear at the moment whether they will make the move to New York, and the change in locale will result in layoffs for some 20 staffers who currently work on the LA telecast.

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Sports Media

AFL drops unloved AFLX from the 2020 pre-season schedule

AFLX will not be part of the 2020 pre-season with club CEOs told of the decision at their two-day meeting in Nagambie on Tuesday, reports The Age’s Peter Ryan.

Two different formats of the competition have been held each of the past two pre-seasons with a lightning premiership style format involving clubs being held in 2018 before an All-Star concept was trialled this season.

The AFL said that the main reason AFLX was not included in next year’s pre-season was because they wanted to give the AFLW competition – which has four new clubs in 2020 – clear air. They are also working through what the pre-season might look like for clubs and players as they attempt to de-clutter the program.

Clubs consider AFLX to be a reasonable format for the game to be showcased in developing markets where full-sized football grounds are rare and the AFL is hopeful there might be an opportunity to involve the stars of the game in an AFLX game played overseas at an appropriate time.

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