Monday December 10, 2018

Inside Bunya Productions: Australia’s hottest drama producer

The Australian ABC drama Mystery Road has been the biggest drama hit for the ABC since The Doctor Blake Mysteries.

Produced by Bunya Productions, the series received 11 nominations at the AACTA Awards. Together with the Bunya movie Sweet Country, the producers received a total of 21 nominations. The success ratio was exceptional with nine wins at the awards.

Mediaweek recently interviewed Bunya co-founder and producer David Jowsey to hear about the Mystery Road trilogy – two movies and a six-part drama series – and asked how ever did they afford that fabulous cast. When Judy Davis signed on (her previous role earned an Emmy nomination) others wanted to work with one of Australia’s finest on a rare Australian TV appearance.

The signs were good quickly that a big crowd was waiting for Mystery Road. The Australian drama series debuted with an overnight metro audience of 800,000. The producers were pleasantly surprised, with Jowsey telling Mediaweek at the time they were worried the show might be swamped with the Barnaby Joyce interview that evening on Sunday Night.

Mystery Road has been around for some time, with Bunya Productions making two movies based around the character of Jay Swan.

“Swan is an outback cop, an indigenous cop, something that we thought was really lacking on Australian TV,” Jowsey told Mediaweek.

“It seemed a natural thing to do. We have an amazing outback and amazing landscapes and the idea of an outback cop really works. There have been outback cops in the past – some people may remember Boney from many years ago.

“The two movies were Mystery Road and Goldstone. One is a sequel to the other and Aaron Pedersen plays the outback cop. We knew it was a great character and we were confident it could stand a series.”

Jowsey said he hoped the success of the TV series would mean that people return to the movies to check them out. But he understands the reality of the marketplace. “The truth is TV is where you get the biggest audience. If you really want to engage with the Australian public, television is where you do that. We understand that most movies – and there are exceptions of course for things like Red Dog – have very modest audiences when compared to TV numbers.”

When asked if anyone other than Pedersen reprised a role from the movies in the television series, Jowsey said: “No. Most people get killed or die. The idea for the outback cop is that each new instalment is in a new place. There is a new crime in a new town and the cop’s character is the classic high plains drifter who shows up and is a catalyst for change or uncovering crime.”

Two characters that did survive from the movie were Swan’s family – wife Mary (played by Tasma Walton) and daughter Crystal (played by Madeleine Madden).

The two movies were directed by one of the partners in Bunya Productions, Ivan Sen. The productions all feature stunning images of outback Australia and some memorable overhead filming. “Ivan uses what we call outback noir, which feature massive landscapes. Often they are filmed in the ‘magic hour’ just before the sun is setting when you get a silhouette on the horizon line which is extraordinarily beautiful.”

Jowsey explained that Bunya Productions was not a huge company. “But we are prolific – making a movie a year. Last year we had quite a successful movie called Sweet Country, which won some big international prizes and took about $2m at the Australian box office.

“We also made Jasper Jones which is based on the bestselling Australian novel. And of course also Mystery Road and Goldstone.”

Expect to see more from Bunya Productions on the small screen. “The thing about television is once you have a success you want to do more of it. Hopefully we might grow a little bit into the television space.”

See also: Award-winning Bunya Productions appoints funding/network exec CEO

Part of the business model for Mystery Road was planned around international sales. “We have a very good, large English distributor, All 3 Media, who put up a lot of money, maybe even the most money ever put up for an Australian TV show. We are expecting a number of large international sales in big markets, which is terrific.”

There is a lot to admire about Mystery Road, the cast being another of the attractions. Not only does Judy Davis not do a lot of Australian TV, she doesn’t do a lot of TV full stop. Jowsey pointed out her previous role to Mystery Road was in Feud, which earned her an Emmy nomination, playing Hedda Hopper.

“We wanted Judy, but we never thought we would get her. When we approached her we were lucky that she really admired Aaron Pedersen, and we subsequently found out she admired our director Rachel Perkins. Once Judy agreed to come on it allowed us to attract much of the other cast. People were thinking that if we had Judy Davis then there must be something [good] going on there.”

As to how much of the TV series budget went to the cast, Jowsey said: “The thing was that we were in a very remote location. We had a good budget for the cast because we had a big cast. And we had to travel them a number of times to remote places. It is very expensive to get a lot of people to the very top of north-west West Australia. To get there we were flying into Kununurra.”

The shoot lasted for 10 weeks. On the production process, Jowsey said: “Because we knew how to make movies, but hadn’t really had a lot of experience in TV drama production, we made it like a movie.”

Listen to Mediaweek’s Mystery Road podcast here or on iTunes.

Chris Bath joining 10 News: Juggling radio and TV in 2019

Network 10 has announced the appointment of Chris Bath – one of Australia’s most respected news and current affairs presenters and seasoned journalists – as national weekend news presenter.

Bath’s extensive reporting and presenting experience, coupled with her honesty and integrity, makes her one of Australia’s most trusted news presenters.

Bath will join 10 early next year and will report to network director of news content Ross Dagan. In addition to presenting 10 News First every Saturday and Sunday, she will be contributing to other network 10 programs and platforms.

Dagan said: “Chris is one of Australia’s most respected news presenters. Her formidable journalistic credentials and decades of presenting experience are welcome additions to our already impressive line-up of presenters for 10 News First across the country.

“Beyond that, she’s a fantastic person. They’re qualities we value highly at 10.”

Bath’s remarkable career in journalism includes 20 years at Seven Network – where she presented Seven News and hosted Sunday Night from its launch – plus had stints at Prime TV and NBN Television.

Bath has anchored the coverage of some of the biggest events in the world including rolling news coverage of many elections, breaking news stories, Royal weddings and Olympic Games.

Bath said: “I’ve been a visitor to Network 10 these past few years and have always loved the friendly, upbeat vibe of the place, so I’m really excited to be officially a permanent part of the team.”

Bath currently presents Evenings with Chris Bath on ABC Radio Sydney, Canberra and NSW Monday to Thursday evenings.

Paul Whittaker appoints Chris Willis to Sky News leadership role

Sky News has announced further expansion and investment in its editorial leadership team with the appointment of two new roles across its newsroom operations.

Experienced television news director Chris Willis has been appointed to the newly created leadership position of executive editor – news and talk. In this senior editorial role, Willis will have overall responsibility for the broadcaster’s live news coverage and national affairs programming content.

Willis will report to Sky News chief executive Paul Whittaker and will be based at the Sky News Sydney media centre. He will commence in the role next month.

Chris Willis said: “Sky News is really on the move. Paul Whittaker has some great ideas to make Sky News the ‘go-to’ TV news organisation in Australia. I’m thrilled to be part of making that happen.”

A highly experienced television news executive spanning two decades, Willis ran the Seven Network’s largest newsroom in Sydney for 12 years, overseeing a highly successful ratings period for the network.

Most recently he was director at consulting firm The Change Warehouse and was a senior adviser to former NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley.

Sky News has also announced the appointment of Sam Duncan to the newly created role of integrated video news producer based at News Corp HQ in Sydney.

Duncan is responsible for producing and distributing digital video news content from the Sky News television broadcast platforms to all News Corp’s masthead websites including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and

Duncan joins Sky News from The Australian where he held the role of content and video news producer, writing across business, politics and defence.

Paul Whittaker said: “I am pleased to announce the appointment of leading media executive Chris Willis to the team, who will spearhead our editorial and programming operations in this new strategic leadership role. Chris brings a wealth of experience to Sky News having run one of Australia’s biggest newsrooms for more than a decade. Chris and Sam join us at a pivotal time as we ready ourselves to deliver Australia’s most compelling and insightful coverage of the 2019 Federal Election.”

The Chaser’s shock appointment: Sydney breakfast radio gig

Southern Cross Austereo has moved its successful afternoon show The Chaser into Triple M Sydney summer breakfast for two weeks after a successful run on weekdays from 3-4pm.

The move follows the departure of Matty Johns from the station last Friday as the official radio ratings year ended.

The Chaser will host breakfast from 6am each weekday for three hours.

Craig Reucassel from The Chaser and ABC’s War on Waste series told Mediaweek.

‘I was really looking forward to doing breakfast until I heard it started at 6am.”

Andrew Hansen said: “While the Triple M staff are away over summer, we’re gonna have wild, drug-fuelled parties and ride naked on goats. Mind you, that’s what the staff does normally.

“Triple M Summer Breakfast is just an audition for bigger things. If it goes well, we’ve been promised the breakfast shift on the Townsville tourist information station.”

Charles Firth added: “I’m planning to use hard drugs to get me through the experience. Mind you, I did that in the afternoon slot, too.

“I’m just looking forward to the sleep deprivation. I’ve always wanted to be as grumpy as Alan Jones.

“I’m really excited about commuting into work at 4am. I hear the traffic jams at that hour are so much more peaceful.”

The Chaser team will be joined by comedian Zoe Norton Lodge from ABC’s The Checkout.

Zoe said: “It’s great to be teaming up with this young up and coming comedy group The Chasers just as they are hitting their stride.”

Meanwhile at Triple M Melbourne Richard Stubbs is looking after summer breakfast with Hot Breakfast regular Rosie Walton. This is Stubbs’ second guest spot on his former station this year after co-hosting with Mark Howard earlier this year.

Melbourne listeners heard Rosie and Richard working out how the early quiz works on-air this morning. Triple M stations in Brisbane and Adelaide are broadcasting music breakfast shows.

MTV & WTFN bringing #1 franchise Teen Mom to Australia

MTV Australia has announced that a local version of its international reality TV sensation Teen Mom has been commissioned for Australia. The 10-part series, Teen Mom Australia, will premiere in 2019 exclusively on MTV on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Fetch.

Produced by WTFN, Teen Mom Australia will explore the lives of three Teen Moms from different backgrounds and different corners of Australia as they try to find the right balance between child care, working, and teenage hormones.

Since the launch of the franchise in 2010, more than 7.4 million Australians have tuned in to watch Teen Mom on-air. The success of American and UK franchises has seen Teen Mom 2 and Teen Mom OG sit firmly as the two highest rating titles on MTV Australia amongst the total audience (Teen Mom UK #10). 

MTV is also opening casting to young mothers who are willing to give Australia an exclusive and candid insight into the lives they live.

Teen Mom resonates with Australian viewers because the show is ultimately non-judgmental and honest, and the success of the US and UK Teen Mom franchises with Australian audiences has been incredibly positive. With a great team and brilliant format, we’re thrilled to bring our very first, locally produced Aussie take to this show that we are confident our viewers will love,” said Simon Bates, vice president and head of MTV Asia Pacific.

WTFN director of content Steve Oemcke said: “We are delighted to be commissioned to make Teen Mom Australia for MTV. It’s an incredible international franchise that very delicately and compassionately brings to life the challenges and triumphs of being a teen mum. We are extremely proud to help these inspirational young people share their stories with MTV and the nation.”

The commissioning of Teen Mom Australia adds to the growing list of local productions for MTV Australia that includes MTV Unplugged Melbourne, MTV Cribs and soon-to-be-launched MTV TRL.

For more information and casting details on Teen Mom Australia head to

ARIA Chart Report: It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas

• Singles: The #1 club revealed, Travis/Drake & Ava Max top 10
• Albums: The 1975 new at #4, six Christmas albums top 20


There are only a couple of weeks every year we can chart the movement of Christmas singles so that is one feature of the chart commentary just two weeks from Christmas Day. That and how so few people who have cracked a #1 single this year.

Before we do that let’s note the top 10 is again largely unchanged this week with a couple exceptions.

Ariana Grande is spending a fourth week at #1 with Thank U, Next. Ariana is a member of the ARIA Singles Chart #1 club, which is a very tough place to get into. She’s had two #1 singles this year.

Just nine members this year have occupied top spot between for 48 weeks so far. Just two artists were on top for one week only – Post Malone and Childish Gambino.

Biggest chart hog this year was Drake who held top spot for a total of 16 weeks with two singles with a run of 12 consecutive weeks early in the year and then notched up another four mid-year.

Others who were hard to dislodge from the top were 5SOS (eight weeks), Ed Sheeran, Ariana, Dean Lewis and George Ezra (five weeks each) plus Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper with three.

Now to Christmas…Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You jumps from #65 to #14, while Wham!’s Last Christmas re-enters at #47.


Christmas is having a much bigger impact here than on Singles.

But first…again not much movement in the top 10 apart from The 1975 with A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships new at #4. It is the UK band’s third album and the second to make the ARIA top five.

Michael Bublé’s Christmas album (#5) has now overtaken Love (#6).

Both The Greatest Showman albums remain top 10 with the original soundtrack notching up a year on the chart this week.

Other Christmas top 20 chart action this week:

#13 Friends For Christmas from John Farnham & Olivia Newton-John
#14 Merry Christmas from Mariah Carey
#15 The Christmas Album from Human Nature
#17 The Most Wonderful Time Of Year from Mark Vincent
#18 Baby It’s Christmas from David Campbell

Four other new releases made it into the top 50 on debut:

#30 Meek Mill with Championships
#35 Ski Mask The Slump God with Stokeley
#40 Earl Sweatshirt with Some Rap Songs
#48 Clean Bandit with What Is Love?

Top 10 Game Charts: Red Dead, back on top

Red Dead Redemption II is back at the top this week, showing – much like the next three games in the top 10: Black Ops 4, Spyro Reignited Trilogy and FIFA 19 – that it has true mainstream appeal, in addition to being a critical darling and the most anticipated title for gamers this year.

By Cam Shea, editor in chief, IGN Australia

The story of Red Dead Redemption II is only just getting started too, with the recent beta launch of Red Dead Online. This mode turns the game’s sprawling expanse of the Old West into a multiplayer playground, in which players can form up posses and go on missions together, or enter into player versus player shoot-outs. It promises to be an interesting experiment, as it’s far more grounded than the incredibly successful Grand Theft Auto Online. You can check out IGN’s initial impressions here.

There’s little else of note in the rest of the charts, with no new games joining the fray this week.

TV Ratings Analysis: December 9

• Nine wins second summer Sunday: News, 60 & Attenborough
• Seven’s cricket coverage a winner with daytime audiences
• Graham Norton helps lift 10 Sunday audience week-on-week

By James Manning


The network continued to have strong test cricket audiences across the weekend despite rain delays on Saturday as Australia has a faint chance of pulling off a win against India.

Here are the numbers for day four:

• Session 3 961k (Metro 661/Regional 300k)
• Session 2 769k (531k/238k)
• Session 1 602k (388k/14k)
• Lunch break 591k (404k/187k)

In primetime, Seven’s best after the Seven News on 869,000 was a summer edition of Sunday Night on 468,000.


Nine has won the first two summer Sundays.

Leading the way last night was Nine News on 970,000.

A summer edition of 60 Minutes then did 580,000, followed by a repeat of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II on 454,000.


The channel’s best audiences were for the entertainment shows after 7.30pm. Could The Graham Norton Show have secured a new early timeslot? Last night it was 10’s #1 show with 378,000.

NCIS followed with 306,000.

Earlier in the evening, The Sunday Project was on 264,000 after 7pm.


The Grand Designs special last night looked at self builds in the wilderness with 448,000 watching.

Sherlock then did 339,000.


Secret Life Of The Airport was the intriguing title of the 8.40pm doco that had the channel’s biggest audience of 146,000.

Week 49-50 TV: Friday-Sunday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 13.4% 7 19.6% 9 19.6% 10  7.7% SBS One 4.9%
ABC 2 3.4% 7TWO 3.4% GO! 3.9% 10 Boss 3.4% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 5.0% GEM 3.3% 10 Peach 1.6% Food Net 1.4%
ABC NEWS 2.3% 7flix 1.7% 9Life 2.9%     NITV 0.1%
    7Food 0.4%            
TOTAL 19.7%   30.0%   29.7%   12.7%   7.9%
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.3% 7 18.0% 9 15.0% 10  6.9% SBS One 5.2%
ABC 2 4.0% 7TWO 6.4% GO! 5.9% 10 Boss 2.5% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 0.7% 7mate 4.6% GEM 6.2% 10 Peach 2.7% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 1.9% 9Life 2.8%     NITV 0.1%
    7Food 0.9            
TOTAL 18.5%   31.8%   29.9%   12.1%   7.8%
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 11.6% 7 17.9% 9 19.8% 10  10.4% SBS One 5.0%
ABC 2 3.3% 7TWO 3.5% GO! 4.7% 10 Boss 2.6% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 2.7% GEM 4.4% 10 Peach 2.4% Food Net 1.5%
ABC NEWS 1.4% 7flix 2.1% 9Life 3.3%     NITV 0.8%
    7Food 0.7%            
TOTAL 16.8%   26.8%   32.3%   15.4%   8.7%
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 12.3% 7 16.1% 9 16.9% WIN 9.2% SBS One 4.5%
ABC 2 3.5% 7TWO 4.5% GO! 5.4% WIN Boss 2.3% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 1.0% 7mate 4.0% GEM 7.0% WIN Peach 2.2% Food Net 1.5%
ABC NEWS 1.7% 7flix 1.7% 9Life 3.7% Sky News  on WIN 0.4% NITV 1.0%
TOTAL 18.5%   26.3%   33.0%   14.1%   8.5%


82.0% 18.0%


All People Rankings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 857,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 800,000
  3. Nine News Nine 791,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 763,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 586,000
  6. ABC News ABC 574,000
  7. Better Homes And Gardens Summer Seven 534,000
  8. Seven’s Cricket: First Test – Australia V India D2 S3 Seven 527,000
  9. Death In Paradise (R) ABC 463,000
  10. Hot Seat Nine 421,000

Saturday Top 10

  1. Seven News – Sat Seven 728,000
  2. Nine News Saturday Nine 612,000
  3. ABC News-Sa ABC 595,000
  4. Seven’s Cricket: First Test – Australia V India D3 SS2even 544,000
  5. Seven’s Cricket: First Test – Australia V India D3 SS3even 423,000
  6. Seven’s Cricket: First Test – Australia V India D3 SS1even 411,000
  7. Victoria ABC 389,000
  8. Doc Martin (R) ABC 330,000
  9. Paper Planes Nine 310,000
  10. Seven’s Cricket: First Test – Aus V Ind D3 S1 – Rain DSeEvLAenY 307,000
Sunday FTA
  1. Nine News Sunday Nine 970,000
  2. Seven News – Sun Seven 869,000
  3. Seven’s Cricket: First Test – Australia V India D4 S3 Seven 661,000
  4. ABC News Sunday ABC 617,000
  5. 60 Minutes Nine 580,000
  6. Seven’s Cricket: First Test – Australia V India D4 S2 Seven 531,000
  7. Sunday Night-Summer Seven 468,000
  8. David Attenborough’s-Blue Planet II – (R) Nine 454,000
  9. Grand Designs: Living In The… (R) ABC 448,000
  10. Seven’s Cricket: First Test – Australia V India D4 Lunch Seven 404,000
  11. Seven’s Cricket: First Test – Australia V India D4 S1 Seven 388,000
  12. The Graham Norton Show 10 378,000
  13. Sherlock ABC 339,000
  14. NCIS 10 306,000
  15. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 264,000
  16. M- Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Seven 256,000
  17. Insiders AM ABC 251,000
  18. NCIS (R) 10 238,000
  19. 10 News First Sun 10 232,000
  20. Weekend Sunrise – Sun Seven 231,000
  1. Midsomer Murders 9Gem 157,000
  2. Masters Of Flip 9Life 147,000
  3. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 142,000
  4. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  5. Olobob Top AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  6. Peppa Pig ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  7. Ghostbusters II 9GO! 133,000
  8. Luo Bao Bei ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  9. Hey Duggee AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 130,000
  10. Peg + Cat AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 130,000
  11. Pingu In The City PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 128,000
  12. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  13. Becca’s Bunch PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  14. Octonauts ABCKIDS/COMEDY 125,000
  15. Gold Coast Medical PM 7TWO 124,000
  16. Insiders AM ABC NEWS 124,000
  17. Rusty Rivets PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  18. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  19. Dino Dana ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  20. Rita And Crocodile AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 118,000
  1. Live: Aus V Ind 1st Test Day 4 FOX CRICKET 315,000
  2. Live: Tea For Two FOX CRICKET 274,000
  3. Live: Aus V Ind 1st Test Day 4 FOX CRICKET 274,000
  4. Live: Aus V Ind 1st Test Day 4 FOX CRICKET 180,000
  5. Live: The Big Break FOX CRICKET 149,000
  6. Live: Cricket 360 FOX CRICKET 138,000
  7. Live: Test Cricket Live On Fox FOX CRICKET 72,000
  8. NCIS TVH!TS 64,000
  9. NCIS TVH!TS 64,000
  10. The Cricket Tragic FOX CRICKET 54,000
  11. Kohli With Gilly FOX CRICKET 53,000
  12. The Mechanic Foxtel Movies Action 52,000
  13. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 51,000
  14. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 48,000
  15. Love It Or List It Australia LifeStyle Channel 48,000
  16. 24 Hours In Emergency LifeStyle Channel 46,000
  17. Selling Houses Australia LifeStyle Channel 45,000
  18. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 44,000
  19. S.W.A.T. FOX8 40,000
  20. Serial Killer Sunday crime + investigation 38,000

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

Hugh Marks’s Nine holds its ground over Macquarie Media

The boss of the newly enlarged Nine, Hugh Marks, has poured cold water on market speculation that the group will pay $110 million, or $2 a share, for John Singleton’s 32% stake in radio group Macquarie Media, saying there is “no way” he will pay that much for it, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

However, in an extended interview with The Australian to mark the official start of the Nine-Fairfax merger, Marks has revealed he remains in direct contact with Singleton about cleaning up his stake and that of other ­minorities in the group.

“I’ve known Singo for a long time,” he said. “I wouldn’t necessarily call them negotiations, but obviously we’ve been talking.”

In other revelations through the interview, Marks also:

• Gave Nine’s strongest public backing yet to Macquarie’s top broadcaster, Alan Jones (whose contract expires next June), dubbing him “fantastic”, in the face of media claims Jones could be on the way out.
• Committed for the foreseeable future to maintaining weekday editions of Fairfax’s daily newspapers, including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review. However, he added that print advertising would be a much smaller component of the enlarged group.

And now the merger is complete, will Nine immediately move to tear down Fairfax signs?

Apparently not. “Everyone wants to know (about the signs),” Marks said. “There’s a bit of work to come, including council permissions. Don’t send any papps down any time soon!”

[Read the original]

Nine’s Hugh Marks wants to invest in and strengthen distinct voices

Everyone said there is a complete difference in culture, and there are differences, don’t get me wrong, between Fairfax and Nine in culture, but it’s more of a corporate difference,”  Hugh Marks says sitting in his office on at Nine’s Willoughby headquarters in Sydney. The Nine boss and his senior corporate team will also set up desks in the now-former Fairfax offices in Pyrmont where they expect to spend a lot of time ahead of a 2020 move to North Sydney, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Marks will address his new workforce in Sydney on Monday and Melbourne on Wednesday for the first time as their CEO and is likely to hammer home the message that he wants to invest more in journalism and content, with a focus on keeping and enhancing the distinct voices of each of the newsrooms now in his charge.

There are likely be some changes to the assets Nine holds. The Financial Review revealed in July Fairfax’s regional and New Zealand businesses were on the table as non-core assets for Nine to offload. Marks says it’s a bit early [to discuss].

[Read the original]

Hugh Marks Nine boss flags divestments in matter of ‘months’

Nine Entertainment Co chief executive Hugh Marks will move quickly to cement the full control of radio network Macquarie Media and offload other assets that do not focus on national advertisers, mass audiences and digital subscriptions, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

This plan means a likely sale of the regional publishing business Australian Community Media.

“What we do well as a business is working with national advertisers,” Marks said, “We will be trying to move to that new model.”

New Zealand business Stuff and The Canberra Times are both within the ACM division. The Canberra title had previously been owned by the publishing division that runs The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The AFR.

Marks said he “wouldn’t discount” a spin-off of the ACM business into a separately listed business, or a sale to private equity or public company.

“Regional Australia is a bloody good market, with very loyal readers and local advertisers,” Marks said, “It’s a different market.”

[Read the original]

Tech titans Google and Facebook face ACCC call for crackdown

Australia’s competition regulator has called for a high-powered watchdog with investigative authority to rein in the immense influence of tech titans Google and Facebook, reports The Australian’s Sarah-Jane Tasker.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has warned that the digital platforms – which are reaping 80% of the growth in the nation’s $8 billion digital advertising market – could be engaging in “discriminatory conduct”.

Serious concerns have also been raised about the social media giants’ willingness to crack down on ad fraud and their use of algorithms to determine what content and advertising users see.

“There is a lack of transparency on the part of the digital platforms about these algorithms,’’ the ACCC’s preliminary report, to be released today, says.

Under a key preliminary recommendation, Google and Facebook would be forced to regularly hand over information and documents to a regulatory authority.

For every $100 spent by advertisers in Australia, $47 goes to Google, while $21 goes to Facebook.

[Read the original]

ABC chair: Academic, legal and media executives make the shortlist

The government is actively reviewing a shortlist of candidates for the ABC chairman role, with former legal executive Michael Rose among the possible choices to take the top job, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

Legal expert Rose, currently chairman of think tank The Committee for Sydney, is a former chief executive partner of law firm Allens and joins a list of high-profile media, legal and public policy experts who could be selected for the job.

Among the high-profile candidates said to be on the list of recommended candidates to replace Justin Milne is leading academic Glyn Davis, who was appointed chief executive of the Paul Ramsay Foundation last week and is a former Melbourne University vice-chancellor. He is now tipped to be a favourite for the job.

[Read the original]

News Brands

News Corp’s Coles campaign hurting small business newsagents

What a messy weekend for newsagents because of the News Corp promoted Coles Little Shop Mini campaign, reports newsagent Mark Fletcher.

News Corp aggressively promoted the free offer one the front of the paper, the paper sold in newsagencies.

“FREE TODAY WITH THE PAPER” said the pitch on the front page of the Sunday Herald Sun. However, it was not free with the paper, not in newsagencies. No, we had to tell shoppers they needed to go to Coles to buy the paper to get the free Little Shop Mini. How ridiculous. News Corp sold newsagents out.

This is another example of the giant News Corp siding with its mate the giant Coles Corporation, to the detriment of small business newsagents.

[Read the original]

Edith Cowan University aware lecturer targets Sky News ads

Edith Cowan University appears to accept the prolific tweeting of a business school lecturer who urges brand-name companies to boycott advertising on Sky News because he believes they are supporting “racism, bigotry, misogyny and abuse of women”, reports The Australian’s Brad Norington.

The West Australian university confirmed it was aware of prolific tweeting by Andrew Priest, a lecturer in accounting at its business and law school who supports a boycott campaign by social media group Sleeping Giants Oz.

The anonymous social media group is an offshoot of the US-based Sleeping Giants, which has had success in urging supporters to flood the internet with demands that companies remove advertising from conservative media outlet Breitbart.

Priest, who sits on a university ethics subcommittee as well as teaching accounting at the Joondalup campus in Perth, has in recent months directed tweets at Sky News advertisers including Coles, Wesfarmers, Commonwealth Bank, Jetstar, Hyundai, Audi, KFC, Carlton Dry and Procter & Gamble.

[Read the original]

After 15 years in a number of roles, The Australian loses its Viscount

At the end of his last Media Diary, The Australian’s Stephen Brook farewells his readers:

That’s it from me. This week I am leaving The Australian newspaper after about 15 years. Thanks very much for all those belter Diary tips but most of all for taking the time to read this oblong each week.

I am taking a short sabbatical before popping up somewhere next year to delight and torment you all.

[Follow Brook on Twitter @viscountbrooky]

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Karl’s Cabo wedding extravaganza burns out before it even blazed

The over-the-top luxury extravaganza, intended to be a three-day crescendo to mark a whirlwind love affair that has seen the host’s star power plummet, hasn’t had the punch it was supposed to pack, comments News Corp’s James Weir.

On the surface, some may shrug and say the getaway was an attempt at a private wedding. After all, Karl’s on the other side of the world.

But this wasn’t an attempt to be private or a desperate escape from the spotlight. It was a leap into it while doing the splits and waving jazz hands.

If Margot Robbie can get married on some farm in Byron Bay without any of us knowing, so too can the Stefanovics.

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Cost was the deciding factor in choosing Mexico as the location for Karl Stefanovic’s wedding to Jasmine Yarbrough.

News Corp can reveal the couple looked at options in Australia, the Pacific and Indonesia before deciding on Central America.

“They looked at Wolgan Valley in the Blue Mountains but it was just too expensive,” a source told The Daily Telegraph.

“To have the wedding they wanted, it was going to cost more than $700,000. They get to do that in Mexico at a much lower and far more reasonable price.”

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Packer’s new Mexican villa overlooks…a large public toilet

News Corp Australia can reveal James Packer, 51, has combined three oceanfront blocks adjacent to the One & Only Palmilla resort to build a sprawling villa that is expected to be completed by 2020, report Jonathon Moran and Sarah Blake.

But while the combined blocks offer expansive views of the Sea of Cortez and fronts the only swimmable beach at Palmilla, they also overlook a large public toilet.

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Today’s new man who could replace Karl Stefanovic in breakfast

For gossip magazine and click bait aficionados, there has only been one game in town for many weeks: the endless stream of headlines and speculation about an absent breakfast television host, his glamorous bride and their three-day Mexican wedding, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

But while the Karl Stefanovic/Jasmine Yarbrough nuptials finally happened yesterday (after endless weeks of breathless puff pieces about everything from Yarbrough’s dress to Bundaberg rum bars at the wedding), a more significant related story is quietly unfolding.

Stefanovic’s on-screen absence has given viewers a quiet glimpse into the long-term future of Australian breakfast TV presenting.

That future is Brenton Ragless – an unassuming, 42-year-old newsreader, and a former tour bus operator who has had little exposure outside Adelaide.

Ragless is seen as the frontrunner to replace Stefanovic if Today’s fortunes do not improve in 2019. The Adelaide newsreader is widely perceived at Nine as the very antithesis of the classic, Stefanovic-style network celebrity from Central Casting.

Insiders say Nine is increasingly adopting a “no dickheads” policy for its senior on-air talent. And Ragless is just what a publicity-weary Nine could be looking for in the crucial breakfast slot.

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Sports Media

Matty Johns quits radio, signs new five-year deal with Fox Sports

Matty Johns has agreed to a new five-year contract at Fox Sports in an extended role that could include a Reg Reagan comeback on a podcast, reports News Corp’s Phil Rothfield.

Johns and his manager John Singleton did the deal with Fox Sports’ head of television Steve Crawley last week.

Johns has quit Triple M’s Grill Team to spend more time on his show and other opportunities at News Corp. “I had absolutely no interest in going anywhere else,” Johns said.

“I said to Singo, ‘let’s just go to Fox Sports and get it done’.

“Anyway, we went and sat down with Steve Crawley to work it out.

“Singo said to him, ‘I’m the worst manager in the world because I’m telling you he doesn’t want to go anywhere else. So what are you going to pay us?’

“I love it there. They’ve been great to me and I was never going anywhere.”

The deal is said to be worth about $5 million, making Johns the network’s highest-paid personality.

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Fox Cricket embraces monster staff for inaugural summer

This is the new-age Fox Sports team that now delivers the summer of cricket into lounge rooms across the country like never before. All 109 of them, reports News Corp’s Phil Rothfield.

This summer Fox Sports have 40 cameras positioned at each Test venue to produce the cricket in 4K quality.

“It’s massive,” head of television Steve Crawley says, “for a director to sit there for seven hours and have 40 camera angles to choose from.

“What has changed is the innovation, more so than the size of the staff. Our producer Brad McNamara captained NSW. He links in all the innovation.

“Our advantage is that when our opposition (Channel 7) go for an ad break between overs, we’re working our magic with all the innovation and detail. For the younger audience it’s very important we stay on the pace.”

This coverage is much bigger than the household names who front it.

The make-up artists, wardrobe, technicians, producers and directors are as vital as Warnie, Gilly, Mark Waugh, Mike Hussey, Kerry O’Keefe, Isha Guha and Michael Vaughan, who Crawley describes as the contemporary Tony Greig.

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Photo: The Sunday Telegraph. Who’s who – 36 broadcast technicians, 21 cameramen, 11 commentators, 10 audio technicians, 10 producers, 9 replay technicians, 5 directors, 5 hair, make-up and wardrobe, 1 PR manager and 1 social media manager.

Test cricket changes: Joe the cameraman makes the switch to Seven

There are a few familiar faces from the old Channel Nine days that we no longer see on our screens but there is a notable name on the other side of the camera still getting a guernsey in this new era of Australian cricket broadcasting, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Wu.

The Tonk column can reveal that Joe the Cameraman, known to friends and family as Joe Previtera, now has a gig with Channel Seven’s cricket team.

Seven takes Fox Sports’ world feed but has additional cameras for other parts of their coverage. Previtera, regarded within the industry as one of the best in the caper, is a roving cameraman responsible for bringing you the end-of-session interviews with players as they leave the field.

Previtera burst to prominence during the Hobart Test in 1999 when a jibe of “he can’t bowl and he can’t throw” directed at fast bowler Scott Muller went to air.

While both Seven and Fox are keen to create their own mark with their coverage, The Tonk understands there are many former members of Nine’s production team who have crossed over.

While both Seven and Fox are keen to create their own mark with their coverage, The Tonk understands there are many former members of Nine’s production team who have crossed over.

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