Monday December 17, 2018

News Corp on ACCC, sports rights, audiences, Nine, growth & 2019

Q&A with Michael Miller: Full transcript from Your Money interview.

Last Thursday we sampled part of Michael Miller’s TV appearance on Your Money with Mediaweek’s James Manning. Today we have the full interview transcript for readers.

What are your initial thoughts about the ACCC’s preliminary report into the review of the digital marketplace?

At 374 pages, we are still reading through the report. It is a very good executive summary, and the ACCC has highlighted the issues. It has said there are issues, but it is not clear yet what to do about them.

That’s part of the responses that we, and others, will be supplying by mid February.

The ACCC has raised issues such as transparency, market entrants – the difficulty in terms of entering the market. It is looking at the amount of advertising dollars that are going to both Facebook and Google. Digital advertising dollars is where growth is, and the report reveals how small the pie is for the rest of us to compete for.

The preliminary report has done a good job in understanding the issues. Now it’s into what can we fairly do about it. That’s going to be a role for both the ACCC and the government. Ultimately the ACCC is guided by what are the consumer’s needs, and how they’re being treated, and that they have choice. The companies that look to service [those consumers] can compete competitively, but also be able to react to market changes in a way that ensures that in media there is that choice.

Could there be an impact advertising revenues out of this investigation and its recommendations?

Advertising is definitely a part of the report. It’s also the sourcing of journalism, and I think someone pointed out this week that even though The Australian broke the story, within two hours they weren’t being credited for breaking that story. For those of us spending a lot of money investing in journalism, not being able to be remunerated for that investment is a concern. That’s where the music industry and the film industry have also previously had concerns. Now we are highlighting the return for the investment we’re making. That investment just isn’t in journalism, but it’s in Australian communities, and it’s in the campaigning that our titles undertake.

One of the 2018 company highlights has to be your acquisition of cricket rights. And that has an impact across the company?

It’s not just the broadcast rights that are on Fox Cricket, but also now on Kayo Sports. It’s the digital rights, which we’re able to share across the group. Being able to bookend our AFL rights with cricket rights for a 12-month offering of Australia’s most loved sports is part of the rejuvenation of the Foxtel business. Cricket has been one of the highlights for the year, as well as the launch of Kayo Sports, and that is in its early days, but it has had a good start [just] a few weeks in.

How concerned were you that having a cheaper subscription product like Kayo Sports could impact the Foxtel customer base?

Foxtel has done a great job, reaching a third of the population. But we also understand that Australians are among the highest in the world in terms of propensity to pay for content – and we’ve seen that across our newspaper businesses. So how do we capture a greater share of that in the broadcast space? Kayo Sports is designed to increase the consumption of Fox content across a number of devices. So you don’t have to have a [set-top] box now, although the box definitely gives you an experience through catch-up, through 4K, through the library that is on demand. It’s also an aggregator of not just sport, but also entertainment, lifestyle, news, of documentaries and kids content.

Kayo Sports, as an example, is on demand anywhere, in the home or in the park, at the game, wherever you wish.

The single biggest News Corp audience is visiting and the business has had a good month.

It’s been a great week for, for both Kate De Brito and her team. Passing 10 million users in a month for the first time for an Australian news brand, but also encouragingly extending its lead over their competitors in the category. And that is a combination of great journalism and telling great stories. It has been growing steadily now for a number of years, and they’re the clear leaders in this space.

What are some of your other 2018 success stories?

There have been quite a few great examples with local content, unique content.

You’ve seen aspects such as the Telegraph’s coverage of Barnaby Joyce, which is a story that has just kept on giving. And what’s going on in Melbourne at the moment, with witness X, which has been many months in the planning and investigation.

There is a range of examples, market by market, which would include issues around schools, or around health, around the courts, covering development applications.

We are able to tell stories that are unique to our markets. We’ve always known people will pay for great content, and that’s what we’re really focused on in terms of moving our business into more of a consumer rather than advertising revenue business.

What has been happening regarding ad revenues?

Ad revenues have been under pressure for a number of years, but SMI figures have shown in the past couple of months there’s actually been growth year-on-year in terms of print advertising. What’s encouraging is that the advertising pendulum is always changing and moving, and there’s been a bit of a move back to main media. I wouldn’t say print’s the only beneficiary of that – there’s other main media as well. Marketers are turning to trust as a key attribute. Having that context of understanding and trust in trusted environments has definitely been a theme of 2018 and has been part of swinging the pendulum back to main media, and particularly news media.

What are your thoughts about having a new-look Nine Entertainment Co as a competitor?

I look at the Nine group now, and we’ve probably got more in common [with it] than there are differences. I think competition is healthy – we like to win. But it’s good to have a competitor who does value journalism. As they promote journalism, that’s good for all in the category. If we can grow the category, then that’s good for all the players in the category. Our growth in terms of advertising won’t come from each other, it will come from others outside the category. So bring it on. Nine is formidable, but we tell great stories, and we’re confident in the content and the journalism we have within the company.

Could Nine divesting assets have an impact on News Corp?

Our priority this year has been the integration of Foxtel and Fox Sports, and in Australia, the mastheads, digitally and in print throughout the country. We are ensuring we’re making the most of what we have today. There’s more we can continue to do, rather than increasing the size of the pool in our case.

How open are you to partnerships with other media players?

We have a partnership with Nine for Your Money, and with WIN TV where Sky News now appears.

With Seven now too, where we have some advertising packages focused to the car industry. For that partnership [we can offer advertisers] five cap city print and five cap city broadcast. Great brands being able to have one conversation with motoring advertisers definitely starts a conversation. We are able to roadblock and amplify a new car message very quickly.

Is the future about managing existing assets, or does News Corp too look for growth opportunities?

Part of our DNA is to grow the business, and that’s what I challenge every one of our teams to do every day. That collectively is how we grow our business, and that appetite has not changed. Australia is a market that continues to punch above its weight. The importance of Australia in terms of News Corp – and the News Corp culture is very much an Australian culture – is that we can continue to work with our peers globally. We definitely take a lot of learnings and lessons from them, but if we can put some of it back to them in what we’re doing here and how we can share, then that makes the company a lot stronger.

What are the things in 2019 that’ll sort of keep your focus?

We’re coming up to a very important election in 2019. We’ve had a decade of some disruption, and I think the Australian public is looking for some certainty. Until we get through that election, whenever it may be, we’ll have both consumer and business uncertainty. That will impact the real estate market, which they’re very close to, and it’s definitely been impacted by the banking royal commission. Global events and regional events could play a more important role in terms of our economic fortunes.

Mediaweek’s year in media 2018: News Corp’s 2018 review

Biggest success stories of this year as listed by the publisher.

Audience initiatives

• The bringing together of Foxtel and Fox Sports. This new entity brings together Australia’s biggest pay TV broadcaster with the country’s leading sports programmer, providing consumers and advertisers with more choice, and more opportunities. It will broadcast and stream in the most exciting, innovative and engaging ways across all platforms. Viewers are currently witnessing just how good that innovation can be with Fox Cricket and how the new broadcast rights deal is transforming how we watch and engage with our national sport. It was a deal many years in the making, so it was an absolute highlight when we received the green light in March.
• Teacher’s Pet podcast. Now up to 30 million downloads. Reinforced the value of investigative journalism, the importance of quality in terms of production, and the captivating nature of the storytelling. Leaving the arrest aside, it was a standout example of courageous and tenacious journalism.
• Also courageous was Sharri Markson’s reporting on the Barnaby Joyce affair and love child with his chief of staff Vicki Campion. This was a rumour that no-one else in the Canberra press gallery had the courage to pursue. Her journalism went way beyond the revelation the couple were having a child together – it relentlessly pursued the misuse of parliamentary privilege and how an electorate was misled.
• Voodoo Medics eight-part documentary series produced by The Daily Telegraph, recognises the unsung heroes of war – the medics – has been the most successful subscription news story of all time for The Daily Telegraph.
• For the Herald Sun, it’s been a 4½-year, high-stakes fight for the truth – shining a light on gang war secrets. Since March 31, 2014, the day the Herald Sun broke the story about Lawyer X, a barrister-turned-informant, the newspaper and reporter Anthony Dowsley have been pursuing the biggest police corruption story in Victorian history. And the story has been very strong for the masthead – driving digital subscriptions, daily traffic to the site and high engagement with a multimedia presentation and podcast.
• The Melbourne Cup was covered brilliantly by the Herald Sun and readers recognise that the Herald Sun is the authority on coverage of major events in Melbourne. Melbourne Cup was’s best day on record for unique visitors – 754,980 for the day (Nielsen Market Intelligence). Putting it third in Australian market overall for the day. HS recorded 1.8 million page views, almost double the previous Tuesday. The Herald Sun’s Melbourne Cup live blog had 437,000 total views.
• The Courier-Mail’s editorial print and broadcast campaign – Dead Wrong. The podcast achieved 247,000 downloads across seven episodes since it launched in June this year. It reached No.2 on the iTunes Podcast charts, second only to Teacher’s Pet. The series resulted in the reopening of the Coronial Inquest into Jeffrey Brooks’ death.
• In January The Courier-Mail published the S.O.S. (Save our School) kids campaign, uniting 46 mastheads in Queensland with the same front page story – a first in Australian media history. This campaign played a vital role in successfully gaining government funding for the introduction of a swimming and survival skills program in Queensland primary schools. It’s a great example of what the power of journalism can achieve.
• The Sunday Telegraph’s breaking story and ongoing campaign on the silent drought changed the narrative in Australia, driving awareness and fundraising to help our farmers, the livestock and produce.

Highlights of the year for the company

Business highlights

• The launch of Kayo Sports streaming service is being called a game-changing streaming service delivering over 50 sports live and on demand for Australian fans. Kayo has more than 30,000 hours of sports content a year – across live sport, documentaries, and entertainment shows and more. It’s what sports fans have been waiting for.
• The growth in digital subscriptions right across all the mastheads. Not just The Australian, but at our metros and increasingly, regional titles in Queensland. We are seeing the public appetite for trusted, local and unique content is continuing to grow and that is our biggest opportunity for the year ahead. We have seen 24% growth year on year in digital subscriptions.
• The ongoing success of as Australia’s number one online news site. In November, broke the 10 million unique audience record, at 10.3 million – a first for the Australian market. (Nielsen DCR ratings released today)
• The launch of our joint venture with Nine, Your Money. A new and engaging approach to personal finance, bringing together the best talent in business journalism right across our suite of broadcast and publishing assets.
• The launch of Sky News on WIN regional television, allowing FTA viewers the opportunity to experience the best of Sky.
• The launch of Suddenly at Come Together this year, is a new digital content marketing agency led by Simon Smith. We’ve produced almost 100 branded videos, podcasts, digital and print magazines, radio commercials and highlights were a six-part travel TV series, which aired on Foxtel’s The Lifestyle Channel.
• NewsAMP also launched at Come Together has gone from strength to strength in providing integrated client solutions with double digit integration growth in every vertical News has.
• Food Corp’s leadership position in market holds strong. Audience reach is up for all brands; their collaborative content initiatives such as delicious 100 in the Sunday mastheads are success stories, drive strong consumer engagement. And their product innovations such as the new delicious travel, delicious eat out and’s eat real and voice skill are performing well.
• News Connect is Australia’s most trusted audience segmentation and targeting platform – allowing marketing partners to use the power of News data to help them achieve their marketing objectives. We’re just at the beginning with News Connect – the roadmap over the next six months is to create a full end-to-end, self-service capability for marketers to plan, book, monitor and report capability for their campaigns. Additionally, we’ll be bringing on new data partnerships that will further enrich our targeting capability including mobile location targeting, travel search and purchase data as well as targeting based on emotional states from Unruly.
• Harper Collins won Publisher of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards 2018
• The global digital real estate group REA had strong results – due to product innovation delivering for home buyers and sellers
• WHIMN remains the largest digital women’s network in the country bringing together the collective strengths of,, and delivering an audience of 3.5 million on average a month.’s podcast series My Father The Murderer has been a success this year in the audio space.
• The pendulum has swung back to main media in terms of advertising.
• There is a broader appeal and trust in media brands – and clients are very quickly learning that trust is a differentiator.

Nine-FXJ tie up, how it affects the market

• Nine has said publicly it remains committed to investing in journalism and the voices across its many platforms, which is important for the industry. It will be interesting to see the impact on the market and whether Nine can effectively sell across its multiple assets and what that will look like for clients. It’s a big challenge and integration is a complicated task to achieve.
• Greg Hywood was a strong CEO and now with Hugh Marks at the helm of the new Nine, News Corp predicts more exciting, and perhaps challenging, changes to the media landscape.

Challenges in 2019

• What the ACCC final report will mean for the digital platforms, their market dominance, and for media businesses. Early days after the interim report released this week, but as we have said, News welcomes the ACCC concerns about the dominance of these platforms and will work on our responses to this report in the next two months.
• The external landscape and how that impacts the Federal election and the economy. Both of these will have significant impact.

Print & distribution company PMP Limited rebranding as Ovato

The recently expanded print business that merged the Pacific and IMPG printing assets has told shareholders recently it will be rebranding as Ovato.

The recently expanded print business that merged the Pacific and IMPG printing assets has told shareholders recently it will be rebranding as Ovato.

The announcement was made at its recent AGM. Newsagents found out just last Friday that the company would also be dropping the Gordon & Gotch brand too.

Some of the highlights from the AGM announcement:

• After significant time, effort and process, we have chosen Ovato as our new name.
• The word takes inspiration from the word Ovation. The strongest response an audience can give.
• Our new brand encompasses our promise and our purpose that connects all our diverse capabilities – we turn audiences into customers. We are focused completely on that, and our name, brand and direction will maximise that value in the market.
• While we continue to acknowledge that Print & Distribution are at the core of our company, we need to reposition the company for the future.
• Our rebranding is not a simple change of name for the sake of changing a name.
• It is based on the following rationale.
• Firstly, the value in bringing our businesses together is significant. We have a diverse group of companies and capabilities that will benefit under a shared identity for the people and teams brought together since the merger to embrace a unified culture
• Secondly, we need to signal to all stakeholders a significant evolution of the business with an enhanced focus on the value that we deliver for our customers, and
• Finally, our new name will allow us to better present the impact we already have, and are building, in data and technology.

OMD bolsters Queensland offering with new group trading role

OMD Australia has announced the appointment of James Lucas (pictured) to group trading director, Queensland. Lucas joins OMD from Ikon and will be responsible for leading the OMD Brisbane investment team and maximising negotiation output.

OMD said the trading role reflects the growing momentum of its Brisbane office, bolstering the negotiation and programmatic leadership expertise for its client base.

“It further demonstrates OMD’s commitment to a transparent approach and the importance of building strong relationships with its media partners,” said the company in a statement.

Rob Swinton, managing director, OMD Queensland, added, “James is recognised as a leading investment and negotiation talent in Queensland. We’re incredibly pleased that he will be joining us. His proven ability further strengthens OMD’s capability and trading offering in the Queensland market. James has a strong team ethos, which is the right cultural fit for OMD. He will be a great asset to our leadership team.”

Lucas said of his appointment, “I am excited to be joining the OMD team in Brisbane. They have a great local client base and a strong reputation as innovators in investment nationally. OMD has a clear understanding of the direction trading expertise needs to be moving to ensure it is delivering the best outcomes for clients. There is a great sense of purpose in progressing the business in Queensland and a real air of positivity about the place.”

Lucas will report into Rob Swinton and joins the OMD Brisbane leadership team on January 7, 2019.

Val Morgan Group appoints Guy Burbidge as MD Val Morgan cinema

Val Morgan Group has appointed industry expert Guy Burbidge to the position of managing director, Val Morgan cinema advertising.

Dan Hill, CEO, Val Morgan Group, commented, “We are very excited to welcome Guy to lead our highly regarded cinema business. Guy’s excellent credentials and experience will be a fantastic addition to the leadership team. He is very well liked and respected in the industry and we’re delighted he has decided to join us at Val Morgan.”

Burbidge added, “I am very excited to be joining Val Morgan as managing director – it is a truly great time to be working in cinema. Personally, it will offer me a new challenge and, for the team, I believe I can bring skills and knowledge that will continue to grow this already very successful organisation.”

Guy Burbidge started his career in the UK working agency side and he has extensive experience across the industry including outdoor and digital. He most recently held the position of sales director at Quantcast.

Burbidge will join Val Morgan on January 14, 2019

Screen Australia announces $3.5m for 18 documentary projects

Screen Australia has announced production funding for 18 documentary projects through the Documentary Producer and Documentary Commissioned programs.

Projects include feature-length documentary Jelena: Unbreakable about tennis star Jelena Dokic, a two-part series for the ABC, The Pool written by acclaimed author Christos Tsiolkas, as well as a 10-part short documentary series featuring Julian Burnside in conversation with some of the world’s leading defenders of human rights in the West, The Burnside Conversations.

“We continue to be blown away by the ability of Australian documentary makers to connect and move audiences with complex human stories and issues of the moment. These latest projects will share the stories of remarkable Australians from those with neuro-diverse conditions looking for love, to the life of Oscar-nominated screenwriter Luke Davies,” said Bernadine Lim, head of documentary at Screen Australia. “I’m also pleased to see Australian documentary makers continue to tackle international stories, sharing our perspective on the world around us.”

In total $1,385,000 in production funding was allocated through the Producer program, and $2,165,000 through the Commissioned program. An additional $140,000 was provided in development funding to 10 documentaries.

Documentary Producer Projects

Geeta: A feature documentary from Colour Films about a mother’s inspiring and transformative love for her daughters and the change that follows. It tells the story of an Indian acid attack survivor who goes on to campaign for change in her community. The creative team includes writer and director Emma Macey-Storch (Meet + Eat), producer Adam Farrington-Williams (The Coming Back Out Ball), and Emmy Award-winning executive producer Geoffrey Smith (The English Surgeon). Film Victoria provided development funding for this project.

HeadOn: A six part web-series presented by acclaimed short-form filmmaker Darius Devas (The Word: Rise of the Slam Poets) that examines the lives of young Australians suffering in the midst of the mental health crisis. The series is written and directed by Devas and driven by his desire to understand the loss of his friend to suicide and his own journey through anxiety. The series is being financed with support from headspace, and is partnering with Orygen Youth Mental Health, SANE Australia, Bipolar Australia, and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and the Centre of Rural and Remote Health.

Jelena: Unbreakable: A feature-length documentary from Cordell Jigsaw Productions which tells the remarkable story of Jelena Dokic – an elite tennis star who beat the best in the world with a mental toughness few could match. Jelena survived the turmoil of being a refugee, the pressure of centre court, and the burden of a volatile father. The documentary will be written and directed by Amanda Blue (Deep Water – The Real Story), and produced by Andrew Farrell (Working Class Boy).

Milkman: The story of Luke Davies – poet, author and Oscar-nominated screenwriter – whose semi-autobiographical novel Candy and its big screen adaptation placed him at the intersection of fiction and his own reality. Milkman tells the story of a life still being written. Davies is now one of Hollywood’s most in-demand writers and is working on the TV Series adaptation of Catch 22 starring George Clooney. His film credits include award-winning Australian feature Lion and Beautiful Boy. Eddie Martin (Have You Seen the Listers) and Davies are co-directing the project with Sarah Shaw (Snowtown) producing. Executive producers are Anna McLeish (Sunshine), Richard Payten (Sweet Country), Andrew Mackie (Candy) and Davies.

My Big Fat Italian Kitchen: A delicious feel-good story from Yarra Bank Films. Written and directed by Trevor Graham (Monsieur Mayonnaise) this feature documentary follows Antonio de Benedetto, an Italian chef on a quest to change the world with food. His apprentices are aspiring chefs with Down syndrome who travel from across Italy to train and work in hospitality and take their place at the table of life and find their pathway to freedom and independence.

No Time for Quiet: A feature documentary from Film Camp which follows a group of teenagers who find their voice through a unique rock’n’roll community. Written and directed by Hylton Shaw and Samantha Dinning (Guardians of the Strait) and produced by Philippa Campey (Galore), it looks at three participants of the inaugural Girls Rock! Melbourne camp and how they find their sense of belonging and identity through music. Film Victoria provided development funding for this project.

The Bikes of Wrath: A story of adventure, humanity, and America today, told through the lens of Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath from Doss Flamingoss. The six-part series and feature-length film, which are written, directed and produced by Cameron Ford (The Katering Show) and Charlie Turnbull, follow five Australian friends as they attempt to cycle from Oklahoma to California in honour of the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s. The group explores whether America has progressed since the book was written, discussing the wealth gap, immigration and the American Dream. This project was financed with support from Film Victoria.

The Burnside Conversations: A 10-part short documentary series from Rymer Childs productions featuring Julian Burnside in conversation with some of the world’s leading defenders of human rights in the West. With asylum as their focus, they share their future predictions, frustrations and fears about where the world is heading. The series will be produced and directed by Judy Rymer, who recently made the feature documentary Border Politics.

Under the Volcano: A feature-length documentary from Rush Films which tells the story of AIR studios Montserrat, a state-of-the-art recording facility tucked away on a remote island in the Caribbean. Built by Beatles producer Sir George Martin, the studio formed the backdrop to monumental events in music history. Through personal accounts, never-before-seen footage and backed by a blistering soundtrack, this feature is a definitive account of the place that stumbled upon the perfect storm of talent, technology and isolation, creating music that would live on long after the last tape rolled. Directed by Gracie Otto (The Last Impresario), the documentary will be produced by Cody Greenwood (The Beeman) and Richard Harris. Screenwest provided development funding for this project.

Video Nasty – The Making of Ribspreader: A six-part series for online from Closer Productions, that follows underground horror filmmaker Dick Dale on his quest to make his first low-budget feature film Ribspreader. Infamous for producing what he describes as “splatter-punk video nasties”, Dick has been a cult hero in Australia’s underground film scene for over 20 years. The creative team includes South Australian writer and director Matthew Bate (Sam Klemke’s Time Machine) and producer Katrina Lucas (Love in the Time of Antidepressants).


Body Hack 3.0: An eight-part series from Essential Media for Network 10 following Todd Sampson on a mission to investigate the most extraordinary people on the planet to see what we can learn from their lives. The series is co-written by Jeff Siberry and Todd Sampson who worked together previously on Body Hack series one and two. Jeff Siberry will direct the series, while Chris Hilton (The Go-Betweens: Right Here) and David Alrich (The Pacific: In the Wake of Captain Cook, With Sam Neil) will work alongside Sampson as executive producers.

Employable Me Season Two: A new three-part series of the critically acclaimed Employable Me from Northern Pictures will return to the ABC in 2019. The series will follow the stories of nine people with disabilities as they battle to find work. The series will be directed by Cian O’Clery and produced by Jenni Wilks with Karina Holden on board as executive producer.

Love on the Spectrum: A four-part series for the ABC from Northern Pictures that looks at relationships and dating for those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The uplifting series draws on relationship coaching to help young people with neuro-diverse conditions find love and shift the public perception of disability. The series is being produced by the team behind the acclaimed ABC series Employable Me.

Silent No More (working title): A two-part documentary series for the ABC from Southern Pictures that will follow campaigner Tracey Spicer to reveal the true story of Australia’s hidden epidemic of workplace sexual harassment, its devastating personal and public cost, and how we can change things for the better. The series is being written and directed by Anita Brown (Struggle Street), with Laurie Critchley (Hawke: The Larrikin & The Leader) on board as executive producer.

The Artful Dissident (working title): A one-hour observational documentary from Identity Films for the ABC. The film is being written, directed and co-produced by Danny Ben-Moshe (My Mother’s Lost Children). Synopsis details about this project will be revealed at a later date. This project was financed with support from Film Victoria.

The Pool: A two-part documentary series from Mint Pictures for the ABC written by acclaimed Australian author of The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas. The series dives into the social, historical, and political role the swimming pool plays within Australian society and psyche. From the original pool (the billabong) to historic pools and iconic coastal pools, Olympic pools, outback pools and the humble backyard pool, the series unearths the history of the pool in Australia. It will be directed by Sally Aitkin (David Stratton: A Cinematic Life) and produced by Dan Goldberg (Food Fighter).

Will Australia Ever Have a Black Prime Minister?: A one-hour documentary from Joined Up Films for the ABC that will examine the barriers to having an indigenous national leader. Presented by actor Mark Coles-Smith, the documentary will be directed by Catriona McKenzie (Mr Patterns), and produced by Danielle MacLean (Carry the Flag) and Jacqueline Willinge (Is Australia Racist?). The project was financed with support from Screenwest.

ARIA Chart Report: XXXTentacion #8, Farnham & ON-J return to top 10

• Singles: Mark Ronson & Miley top 10, Ava Max top 5, Ariana #1
• Albums: XXXTentacion debuts #8, Farnham & ON-J return to top 10


No new tunes have managed to enter the top 50 this week just a week out from Christmas.

Ariana Grande must be firming to be the Christmas #1 as Thank U, Next remains #1 after six weeks on the chart.

The sole newcomer to the top 10 is Nothing Breaks Like A Heart from Mark Ronson featuring Miley Cyrus in its second week on the chart.

The Christmas spirit hasn’t exactly gripped the marketplace with still only two singles with Christmas in the titles – one from Mariah (#14 down to #15 this week) and the other from Wham! (#47 up to #34).


A modest four new releases moved into the top 50 this week with only one of them able to penetrate the tightly held ARIA top 10.

That marauder at the gates was XXXTentacion with Skins, which entered the chart at #8. Moving out of the top 10 was Amy Shark’s former #1 album Love Monster.

Finding their way back into the top 10 are Aussie veterans John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John with Friends For Christmas up from #13 to #10.

This week’s other new arrivals:

#18 Coldplay with Live In Buenos Aires
#29 The Carpenters with Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
#49 Van Morrison with The Prophet Speaks

Top 10 Game Charts: Super Smash Bros. pummels the competition

The latest in Nintendo’s acclaimed brawler series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, has pounded its way to top spot on the charts in its first week on sale, which is not a surprise considering the power of cramming dozens and dozens of iconic video game characters into the same game and forcing them to duke it out.

By Luke Riley, games editor, IGN Australia

Name another game where Mario and Zelda can square off against Street Fighter’s Ryu and Final Fantasy 7’s Cloud on a backdrop plucked from Metal Gear Solid!

With upwards of 74 fighters, 108 stages, nearly 1300 Spirit characters to collect, and a single-player Adventure mode that ought to take around 24 hours to complete, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the most comprehensive game in the series to date.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has nudged Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption II into second spot, which has been top dog for most weeks since its release.

The only other new entry of note this week is Just Cause 4, which enters in third. It seems like a good showing for the series at this competitive time of year, which has a faithful following. The improvements to the Just Cause 3 formula are admittedly minor but Just Cause 4 retains the same destructive, physics-based fun the series is famous for. 

Week 50-51 TV: Frida-Sunday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.5% 7 20.9% 9 18.7% 10  7.6% SBS One 4.1%
ABC 2 3.2% 7TWO 3.2% GO! 3.5% 10 Bold 4.0% VICELAND 1.9%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 3.8% GEM 3.6% 10 Peach 2.0% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 2.2% 7flix 3.6% 9Life 2.6%     NITV 0.4%
    7Food 0.5%            
TOTAL 18.3%   32.0%   28.5%   13.6%   7.6%
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.8% 7 20.5% 9 15.4% 10  6.6% SBS One 5.0%
ABC 2 3.5% 7TWO 3.5% GO! 4.5% 10 Bold 2.6% VICELAND 1.8%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 5.2% GEM 3.7% 10 Peach 2.9% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 4.5% 9Life 2.9%     NITV 0.1%
    7Food 0.9%            
TOTAL 18.6%   34.5%   26.6%   12.2%   8.2%
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 10.9% 7 20.9% 9 18.6% 10  10.0% SBS One 4.9%
ABC 2 2.3% 7TWO 3.0% GO! 4.6% 10 Bold 1.6% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 5.0% GEM 3.1% 10 Peach 2.7% Food Net 1.6%
ABC NEWS 1.7% 7flix 2.3% 9Life 3.6%     NITV 0.1%
    7Food 1.2%            
TOTAL 15.5%   32.4%   29.9%   14.4%   7.9%
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.8% 7 19.3% 9 15.1% WIN 10.4% SBS One 3.7%
ABC 2 2.9% 7TWO 4.2% GO! 6.6% WIN Bold 1.8% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 1.3% 7mate 5.7% GEM 5.4% WIN Peach 2.0% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 2.2% 7flix 2.0% 9Life 3.7% Sky News  on WIN 0.4% NITV 0.1%
TOTAL 17.2%   31.2%   30.8%   14.6%   6.2%


79.2% 20.8%


All People Rankings

Friday Top 10

  1. Nine News Nine 850,000
  2. Seven News Seven 779,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 763,000
  4. Seven’s Cricket: Second Test – Australia V India D1 S3 Seven 641,000
  5. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 598,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 543,000
  7. ABC News ABC 543,000
  8. Seven’s Cricket: Second Test – Australia V India D1 S2 Seven 492,000
  9. Death In Paradise (R) ABC 433,000
  10. Hot Seat Nine 428,000


Saturday Top 10

  1. 1 Seven News – Sat Seven 851,000
  2. 2 Seven’s Cricket: Second Test – Australia V India Seven 706,000
  3. 3 Seven’s Cricket: Second Test – Australia V India Seven 692,000
  4. 4 Nine News Saturday Nine 631,000
  5. 5 ABC News-Sa ABC 579,000
  6. 6 Seven’s Cricket: Second Test – Australia V India Seven 559,000
  7. 7 Seven’s Cricket: Second Test – Australia V India Seven 536,000
  8. 8 Victoria ABC 389,000
  9. 9 Doc Martin (R) ABC 388,000
  10. 10 Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas Nine 330,000
  1. Seven News – Sun Seven 940,000
  2. Seven’s Cricket: Second Test – Australia V India D3 S3 Seven 833,000
  3. Nine News Sunday Nine 827,000
  4. Seven’s Cricket: Second Test – Australia V India D3 S2 Seven 750,000
  5. Seven’s Cricket: Second Test – Australia V India D3 S1 Seven 600,000
  6. 60 Minutes Nine 575,000
  7. ABC News Sunday ABC 554,000
  8. Seven’s Cricket: Second Test – Australia V India D3 Lunch Seven 521,000
  9. David Attenborough’s-Blue Planet Ii Nine 442,000
  10. Grand Designs: Living In The… (R) ABC 349,000
  11. Sunday Night-Summer Seven 339,000
  12. The Graham Norton Show 10 323,000
  13. NCIS 10 322,000
  14. Sherlock ABC 304,000
  15. Seven’s Cricket: Second Test – Australia V India D3 Pre Seven 292,000
  16. Weekend Sunrise – Sun Seven 269,000
  17. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 256,000
  18. Seven’s Cricket: Second Test – Australia V India D3 S3 M Seven 253,000
  19. In The Heart Of The Sea Nine 251,000
  20. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 244,000
  1. Seven’s Cricket: Second Test – Australia 7mate TI 253,000
  2. Peppa Pig Am ABCKIDS/COMEDY 159,000
  3. Bluey Am ABCKIDS/COMEDY 153,000
  4. Hey Duggee Am ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  5. Masters Of Flip   9Life 131,000
  6. Olobob Top Am ABCKIDS/COMEDY 129,000
  7. Fireman Sam Am ABCKIDS/COMEDY 128,000
  8. Floogals Am ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  9. Coastwatch Oz Pm 7TWO 127,000
  10. Rita And Crocodile Am ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  11. The Santa Clause 9GO! 120,000
  12. Bananas In Pyjamas Am ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  13. Peg + Cat Am ABCKIDS/COMEDY 118,000
  14. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon   9GO! 115,000
  15. The Justine Clarke Show! Am ABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  16. Fixer Upper   9Life 115,000
  17. Midsomer Murders   9Gem 114,000
  18. M- Divergent Pm 7mate 112,000
  19. Gold Coast Medical Pm 7TWO 110,000
  20. Ready, Steady, Wiggle! Am ABCKIDS/COMEDY 109,000
  1. Live: Aus V Ind 2nd Test Day 3 FOX CRICKET 419,000
  2. Live: Aus V Ind 2nd Test Day 3 FOX CRICKET 404,000
  3. Live: Tea For Two FOX CRICKET 320,000
  4. Live: Aus V Ind 2nd Test Day 3 FOX CRICKET 308,000
  5. Live: The Big Break FOX CRICKET 277,000
  6. Live: Cricket 360 FOX CRICKET 188,000
  7. Live: Test Cricket Live On Fox FOX CRICKET 105,000
  8. Tomb Raider Foxtel Movies Premiere 73,000
  9. 24 Hours In Emergency LifeStyle Channel 57,000
  10. The Cricket Tragic FOX CRICKET 54,000
  11. NCIS TVH!TS 51,000
  12. Live: Football: A-League Adel V Melb C FOX SPORTS 50 5 48,000
  13. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 45,000
  14. NCIS TVH!TS 42,000
  15. The Sound Of Music FOX Classics 42,000
  16. Top Wing Nick Jr. 41,000
  17. Selling Houses Australia LifeStyle Channel 40,000
  18. Live: Nz V Sri 1st Test Day 2 FOX CRICKET 37,000
  19. Love Actually Foxtel Movies 36,000
  20. Bones TVH!TS 36,000

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

Seven explores potential sale of Western Australia regional newspapers

Seven West Media is believed to be exploring the sale of a number of its Western Australia regional newspapers, as both Nine and News Corp look to offload their regional and community publishing assets, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

The Kerry Stokes-controlled media company owns around 20 regional newspapers in Western Australia, and sources said Seven could be keen to offload some of the titles to a potential buyer, which may also pick up Nine’s Australian Community Media, which it acquired as part of a merger with Fairfax Media, and News Corp’s regional portfolio.

Investors and media executives have long believed it a logical move to bring News Corp’s and Fairfax’s former regional assets together into one business. It’s believed Seven is looking into options for a prospective buyer of those assets to take on West Regional Newspapers.

[Read the original]

Network 10 mails Seven’s Bruce McWilliam $1 coin after legal stoush

Seven West Media commercial director Bruce McWilliam will find an early Christmas gift of $1 in his letterbox this week after Network 10 returned the gold coin to the media executive following a successful appeal against free-to-air rivals Seven and Nine Entertainment Co, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

The three commercial networks have been in court since February arguing about the sale of 10’s share of a jointly owned transmission tower business called TX Australia (TXA).

When 10 went into administration last year it triggered a contractual clause that gave Nine (the owner of this website) and Seven the right to buy the network’s 33.3% stake in the business. US-based entertainment giant CBS bought the beleaguered network shortly after and took it out of administration.

A report produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggested various valuations, including one estimating the worth of 10’s share of TXA as $1 and another at $40 million.

On this basis, McWilliam sent a letter to TXA executive chairman Paul Mullen in February outlining Seven’s plans to buy half of 10’s shares for 50 cents. The Seven executive attached a $1 coin with tape to the letter.

The networks went to court shortly after, with 10 arguing the rival networks should not be able to buy its stake in the business but the Supreme Court of NSW ruled the shares should be transferred over for $1.

The CBS-owned network appealed the decision in court and had the outcome overturned on Friday, with a new valuation yet to take place to determine the value.

[Read the original]

Rupert Murdoch’s Cavan: When a family comes home

As a young man in the mid-1960s, Rupert Murdoch did two things that were risky ventures. He established a national newspaper, The Australian, and based it in Canberra. And he bought a grazing property with a proud and long history but which had seen better days: Cavan Station, about an hour’s drive northwest from the national capital, near the old NSW country town of Yass, reports The Australian’s Ean Higgins.

Cavan was intended to be the Murdoch family’s bolthole: a peaceful retreat by the Murrumbidgee River with a homestead overlooking a valley dotted with sharp little hills in the foreground and bigger, rolling ones in the distance.

There’s a photograph in a new book about the history of the property, simply titled Cavan Station, by Nicola Crichton-Brown, which shows Murdoch around 1970 on a horse on the property, cradling his very young daughter Elisabeth, while still wearing a business shirt and tie.

It’s now a half-century on, and though the headquarters of The Australian have long since moved to Sydney and the Murdochs are scattered, running businesses in different parts of the world, Cavan is still where they gather.

A good part of the impetus for the new management approach is Alasdair MacLeod, a longtime former News Corp executive who is married to Murdoch’s daughter Prudence. MacLeod and Prudence maintain a house on Cavan and spend a fair bit of time there, having started visiting it regularly on school holidays when they moved back to Sydney in 2002 after a period overseas.

[Read the original]


Network 10’s guessing game: A famous foodie dining in the jungle

Network 10 is continuing its guessing game based around the celebrities heading to the jungle in January. A clue dropped on Friday reports:

A famous foodie is heading into the jungle for 10’s family entertainment sensation I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!

This celebrity cook, television personality and author will be full of beans. But how will their palette cope when they’re faced with meagre rations of rice and beans?

Stepping out of their kitchen comfort zone and into the wilds with the most basic of cooking utensils and a campfire, their fine dining life is a world away.

What will be on the jungle menu when this foodie favourite arrives to serve it up to our hungry celebrities? It could be feast or famine. It could be their worst kitchen nightmare.

Our famous foodie joins a gossip guru, two controversial politicians and a footy legend in the jungle.

More clues about the foodie here.

Sunrise co-host reflects on breakfast TV as she signs new contract

As five-year plans go, Sunrise and Carols In The Domain co-host Samantha Armytage has hit that goal and come out a winner, reports News Corp’s Holly Byrnes.

The Channel 7 favourite marked her fifth year at the helm of the network’s breakfast show with yet another ratings victory over rivals at Nine’s Today and inked a shiny new contract extension which cements her partnership with co-star David Koch.

While Today has been plagued by the shock defection of popular co-host Lisa Wilkinson, the ongoing fallout from the personal life of Karl Stefanovic, and awkward on-air chemistry with new co-host Georgie Gardner, Sunrise has “got on with getting on”, Armytage tells TV Guide.

So focused on sailing their own ship and keeping her head down, the 42-year-old “hasn’t yet taken the time to sit back and reflect on [her career milestone] but it’s been another fantastic year and we’ve been rewarded for that… we’re very grateful and very thrilled,” she says, adding, “life is good.”

[Read the original]

Party coming to an end for Wilkins as axe looms over Today stars

Karl Stefanovic isn’t the only jock facing an uncertain future at Today.

As Nine bosses swing into action to repair the breakfast show and arrest collapsed ratings, their eye has fallen on serial party boy Richard Wilkins, the program’s entertainment reporter, reports News Corp’s Annette Sharp.

Wilkins has been telling mates he’s feeling secure in his role now his former segment producer, Steve Burling, has been installed to run the show.

The infamous Romeo is also believed to be under review at his weekend morning show on Smooth FM radio.

[Read the original]

Sports Media

How Seven is carrying on the cricket tradition of archrival Nine

Daphne Benaud, the widow of the late Richie Benaud, may have performed a ceremonial handover to Fox of the lip microphone used by the commentary doyen, but it’s Channel Seven that has actually taken the baton, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Wu.

You probably won’t know it at home – we’ll tell you why later – but Seven is using the lip microphones for its Test coverage, while Fox’s commentary team is using headsets.

The theory within the Seven box is that the hand-held mics do not promote excessive chat and also guard against talking over one another with commentators signalling to each other they are about to speak through the visual cue of picking up the microphone.

The reason why the viewers will not be aware of the mics is that Seven deliberately does not show pictures of its star team calling in the belief that the action is out on the field and not in the commentary box.

[Read the original]

Erin Holland to host the Indian Cricket League for Fox

Erin Holland will be watching more keenly than ever as Australian cricket rolls out the latest edition of its wildly successful Big Bash tournament on Wednesday, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

Not only is the Fox Sports anchor’s partner Ben Cutting competing, but it’s good preparation for her own stint in the upcoming Indian Premier League.

Holland made her debut as an anchor for the IPL earlier this year and is negotiating a return for March.

“Cricket has been in my blood thanks to my family since I was a little girl,” Holland told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.

“My interest though has of course increased over the past four years or so.” Holland has been dating Brisbane Heat all-rounder Cutting for four years.

[Read the original]

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