Wednesday February 27, 2019

Paul Jackson on how smooth and Nova brands are positioned for 2019

• Adelaide overhaul, Brisbane challenge, Sydney & Melbourne champs

By James Manning

All of a sudden the first radio survey ends this Saturday, March 2. The first ratings results will then be released 10 days later. Mediaweek has been previewing the 2019 radio year so far with major interviews with executives from the FM networks ARN and SCA.

Today we hear from Nova Entertainment’s group program director Paul Jackson.

smooth operator: Can champ be toppled from #1 in Survey 1?

smoothfm is well-positioned to start 2019 after a stellar end to the 2018 ratings year. The Sydney and Melbourne smoothfm stations both ranked #1 for the first time together in 2018 in survey seven. Things were even rosier in survey eight when they did it again, but with increased audience share in both markets.

Paul Jackson told Mediaweek it is nice to be #1 because you get a few headlines. “What is equally as nice is when you look at the demos and look at the shape of the audience. We have never had higher 25-39, 25-44 or 25-54 ratings. Whichever way you carve it we have never had bigger audiences.

As to how the stations matured in 2019, Jackson said: “smooth evolved in the year to be a little bit more uplifting and a little bit brighter.”

The success of the newest FM music brand has not gone unnoticed elsewhere with Jackson telling Mediaweek that some of the elements that make smoothfm great have been taken by other stations. “We have not researched certain songs and we play them because we like them. When you hear it on another station they can only get that from us. That is a compliment ultimately. We will keep running our own race and give smooth its own tone and style. You can try and lift a few songs, but you can’t recreate the magic of smooth.

As to the challenges ahead for 2019, the brand will be in its seventh year with time to reflect on its achievements. “When we started we were playing a slow, easy set of tunes with a lot of 60s and 70s based tunes that were very unique. Over the years we have evolved and stepped more into the 80s, with less of the 60s and 70s and a few more contemporary.

“If we looked at our music logs from seven years ago until now it would be very different. It has been a consistent product that nevertheless has evolved over the years. We are now much more of an 80s pop station with lots of 90s and contemporary music. We also like playing new music and breaking some recent tunes.

“smoothfm started by talking about emotion, not identifying an age target, but instead a lifestyle. We are now very much targeting an under 50 audience and it has worked very well.”

Jackson said the marketing strategy for the band has been the same in Sydney and Melbourne where Nova Entertainment has used the successful Michael Bublé and Sam Smith ads. “One of the main differences between the markets was the Festival Of Chocolate in Sydney which hasn’t happened yet in Melbourne.

“Predominantly we have the same product with the same presenters and the same music. Ultimately that has been giving us the same result.”

The major difference on air in the markets are different breakfast shows. Both finished the year strongly with Melbourne close to a 9% share with Sydney up near its best, just over 7%.

“The audience know and trust Mike and Jen in Melbourne and Bogart and Glenn in Sydney.”

There is a perception that the audience is largely women, but Jackson said it is evenly split now 50/50. “When it comes to the music I am very conscious of songs both sexes will like with lots of songs we know that men love as well. Maybe not too much disco for the men!” [Laughs]

There are plenty of women guiding Nova Entertainment, just not in this photo! [L-R] Luke Minto, Fayad Tohme, Tony Thomas, Paul Jackson, Peter Charlton, Peter Colosimo and Nathan Reay

Nova’s stable year – except for overhauling Adelaide breakfast

While it is the local breakfast shows that drive ratings and revenue, Jackson first paid tribute to the national hit brands.

Nova’s Kate, Tim & Marty ended 2018 the #1 national drive show in share 13% and cume 1,662,100.

Drive champs Kate, Tim and Marty

Nova’s Smallzy’s Surgery celebrated 43 consecutive wins in December as the #1 national nights show in share 11.5% and cume 778,700.

Those two programs helped contribute to Nova’s metro network cume of 3.53m. A number that Nova claims is over 400,000 in front of its nearest competitor.

During 2018 Nova Entertainment didn’t fiddle much with any of its flagship Nova stations – except for Adelaide.

Mid-year it was Lewis to stay and Lowe out. Jackson: “The breakfast show is now Dylan Lewis and Hayley Pearson with Jarrod Walsh who is well known in the market as the anchor and making a good contribution too. It has gone well to date and we are happy to see the uptick.”

Adelaide’s Dylan and Hayley

Shane Lowe departed the station and has since turned up at ARN’s 96FM.

Nova 919 ended the year in Adelaide back in double figures on 10.2% with the new breakfast show narrowly behind the station average on 9.8%.

We will use Perth as a template for ultimately what we want to achieve in Adelaide. Both Dylan and Hayley have been at the station for a long time. They are very strong, much-loved performers and we have a very strong station with the potential for growth. The cumes have been very competitive with Mix, which indicates things are going well.”

There were less concerns at Fiveaa in Adelaide, the sole AM talk station in the Nova Entertainment portfolio. David Penberthy and Will Goodings had a strong year in breakfast. However a surprising slump in drive in survey eight saw Fiveaa end the year with only a slightly larger 10+ share than AM music competitor Cruise 1323, a station that is not unlike smoothfm, although the brand pre-dates smooth’s 2012 launch.

Nova 969 in Sydney had a strong year with Fitzy and Wippa on a best-ever share of 8.4% while the station was on 8.6%. “The station has been performing very well and there are many times, especially on weekends, when smooth is #1 and Nova is #2, or the other way around.

“We have the #1 share station with smooth and the #1 cume station with Nova. When you look across the four stations in Sydney and Melbourne these are the highest numbers we have ever achieved.

While Nova 100 is very competitive in Melbourne, Jackson admitted he would like to see it lift in 2019. “The marketplace there is top class with so many good shows. Many of them are doing a good job and it is good to see [Gold’s] Christian O’Connell with a good number, which will give him lots of confidence.

“Nova breakfast with Chrissie, Sam and Browny is the funniest show in the marketplace and the chemistry is brilliant. When you look at the numbers we are double where we were a year ago in key demos. There is a lot of choice for listeners though with a lot of good shows. A show has to be right on it every morning or else people will choose something else. It is hard to see any one station dominating in 2019.”

Nova is playing a greatest hits workday music mix, which seems to have fixed a problem it was having in morning in Sydney. “The Sydney station is a more dominant product than Melbourne where Fox probably holds the high ground heritage wise and it is harder for Nova to get going beyond breakfast.”

Brisbane was a hard market to read during 2018, with Triple M the late mover, putting a big gap between it and the other three commercial FM brands.

Brisbane challenge for Ash, Kip and Luttsy with Susie O’Neill

Jackson: “You need to look inside the demos to see who wins where. The breakfast show ended the year off the pace and we are looking at it. We have done well, but the last two surveys were not our best books.

There is no secret why Jackson likes using Perth as a model for other stations. It had its best year ever with a brilliant breakfast show ending the year a clear leader, although 10+ the station again swapped spots with Mix 94.5 in survey eight.

“The breakfast show has been doing 15% shares which is incredible. They are the model for consistency with a great offering with the audience wanting to hear what they are doing every single day.

“Nova 937 is best in class and world class.”

As to retaining audiences, Jackson said the challenge is engaging listeners who have less time and more choice than ever.

“What that does is drive the standard higher and you go over everything with a fine tooth comb. It motivates the presenters to deliver great content and to be as engaging and as relevant as they can be. They know there is another radio station down the dial that people can flick to easily.”

Top Photo: Paul Jackson

Screen Aust spending $4m on new film, TV series & online projects

Screen Australia has announced production funding for one film, two television series and three online projects totalling $4 million.

The slate includes a film adaptation of the inspiring true story of Penguin Bloom starring Naomi Watts, a second season of the ABC’s hit drama series Mystery Road, and Roborovski, a virtual reality animated project from Tilda Cobham-Hervey and Dev Patel about a miniature hamster seeking revenge.

Head of content at Screen Australia Sally Caplan said: “Screen Australia is committed to funding projects that tell uniquely Australian stories and it’s fantastic to see such a diversity of projects being green lit.

“We’re particularly pleased to support our content creators to take on new challenges. Tilda Cobham-Hervey, off the back of her directorial debut A Field Guide To Being a 12-Year-Old winning the Crystal Bear for Best Short Film at Berlinale, is now taking creative risks in the VR space. The producers of Plonk, Nathan Earle and Georgie Lewin are moving into scripted comedy with mockumentary Australia’s Best Street Racer.

Fiona Eagger and Deb Cox from Every Cloud productions are the top of their game and we’re delighted to be supporting them in bringing the beloved Pearl Bay into the 21st century rebooting popular series SeaChange with a new generation of characters and community issues.”

Head of Indigenous at Screen Australia Penny Smallacombe said, “It’s fantastic to be supporting the return of popular television series Mystery Road. Mystery Road was Bunya Productions first television drama production and became the highest ranking non-children’s show in ABC iview history. The team are poised to build on the success of the first series and we can’t wait to see where they take it next.”

FEATURE FILM PROJECT:

Penguin Bloom: Based on the international best-selling book of the same name, this magical film tells the true and emotional story of a family’s extraordinary friendship with a unique little bird. Set on Australia’s northern beaches, the film stars Naomi Watts (The Impossible) as Sam Bloom, a young mother recovering from a near-fatal accident that has left her unable to walk. As they struggle to come to terms with their new situation, a guardian angel enters their lives in the form of an injured magpie chick, whom they name ‘Penguin’. This odd little bird helps them rediscover the preciousness of life, as they learn to heal as a family. Produced by Bruna Papandrea, Naomi Watts and Emma Cooper, the film is directed by Glendyn Ivin (The Cry) and written by Shaun Grant (True History of the Kelly Gang) and Harry Cripps (The Dry). This project was financed with support from Create NSW.

TELEVISION PROJECTS:

Mystery Road S2: A six-part series for ABC that follows Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen), who returns to solve a grisly murder in a coastal town whose laid back demeanour harbours dark secrets. Bunya Productions’ Greer Simpkin and David Jowsey will again produce the series with Ivan Sen on board as executive producer. In the new series Jay’s investigation will lead him into a shadow world of carpetbaggers and smugglers, of lore and deep lore, pushing him to his very limits and forcing him face to face with his greatest enemy. This project was funded through Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department and financed with support from Create NSW.

SeaChange – Paradise Reclaimed (working title): An eight-part series for the Nine Network that follows Laura Gibson (Sigrid Thornton) who returns to the beachside paradise of Pearl Bay to attend the birth of her estranged daughter’s baby. Rising seas levels, community cover-ups and some very stormy weather conspire to convince her the town now needs her as much as she needs it. The series will be executive produced by Every Cloud Productions’ Deb Cox (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) and Fiona Eager (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries), Sigrid Thornton, David Mott from ITV and Lois Randall (Grace Beside Me). Deb Cox who wrote for the first three series of the show’s original incarnation is on board as the head writer of the reboot working with script producer Kym Goldsworthy (Deep Water). Film, television and theatre director Wayne Blair whose credits include The Sapphires and Top End Wedding is on board as the set-up director. This project was financed with support from Create NSW through its Made in NSW TV Drama funding and Regional Filming Fund.

ONLINE PROJECTS:

Australia’s Best Street Racer: An 8 x 5 minute mockumentary series that follows eager 18 year old Taylor James as he attempts to infiltrate Launceston’s late night street racing scene in his mum’s 1994 Holden Barina. The series has been co-created by Michael O’Neill and Dylan Hesp and was developed out of the Screen Australia and Screen Tasmania 2016 initiative Comedy Concentrate. Georgie Lewin (Plonk) will produce the series, with Nathan Earle (Plonk) on board as executive producer. This project was financed with support from Screen Tasmania.

Roborovski: A 12-minute animated short and virtual reality project that follows Roborovski, an adorable thimble sized hamster that spends his days in Marvin’s Pet Shop, hoping to find a family. When he is constantly overlooked by the people and animals around him his seething resentment and intense jealousy soon takes hold and a murderous side of little Roborovski is released. Dev Patel (Hotel Mumbai), John Collee (Happy Feet) and Tilda Cobham-Hervey (I Am Woman) have co-written the project and Patel and Cobham-Hervey are also co-directing. It will be produced by Jomon Thomas (Hotel Mumbai), Dev Patel, and Tilda Cobham-Hervey and co-produced by Mark Grentell (The Merger), and Elaine Beckett. Spectre Studios makers of Wyrmwood VR are using cutting edge technology to create this VR and animation project. This project was financed with support from Create NSW.

The Listies Work for Peanuts: A 6 x 8 minute comedy series from kids comedy duo Matthew Kelly and Richard Higgins known as The Listies. This family series will follow the pair as they cycle through a variety of bizarre jobs in order to pay their 10-year-old landlord Abernathy Peanuts. Judi McCrossin (Time Of Our Lives) and Kate Keegan will produce the series alongside Kelly and Higgins. The series will be directed by Darren Ashton whose credits include Offspring and Here Come the Habibs.

Initiative executive heading to Nova Entertainment in digital audio role

Nova Entertainment this week announced the appointment of Nick Wokes (pictured) as head of digital audio Sydney, a digital audio role to drive client solutions for the business’ suite of digital audio products.

Luke Minto, Nova Entertainment’s Sydney market lead & commercial sales director said, “Nick Wokes brings a wealth of marketing astuteness that will deliver results for clients. Digital audio is on the rise in consumer consumption and commercial opportunities, it is critical we position ourselves as a market leader. Timing is critical to any success and we know Nick’s appointment is perfect timing for the growth curve of podcast, streaming and voice activation.”

With over 14 years strategic media and communications experience, most recently Wokes was general manager of Initiative Sydney. Previously he has held the roles of vice president, strategy for Zenith New York, and was communications director for Match Media.

Nick Wokes said, “Nova is an amazing company that I have always respected and loved doing business with. They are continuously looking at ways of driving business results for their clients and their investment in digital audio is a testament to that. I am pumped to be working with the team on this new and exciting stage of my career.”

The new role of Sydney Head of Digital Audio follows the recent announcement of two specialist digital audio roles in Melbourne, Ben McMillan as Melbourne’s head of digital audio and Elizabeth Maplestone as digital audio specialist.

Wokes will report to Kane Reiken, Nova Entertainment’s digital commercial director, and will commence in the new role on 1 April 2019.

TV Ratings Analysis: February 26

• Confrontation on MAFS with show clear fave on 1.26m
• Complete strangers separated again as they depart MKR
• Ambulance Australia returns for 10, Insight best at SBS

Tuesday: Week 9 2019

By James Manning

•FTA TV news/current affairs
• Seven News 918,000/881,000
• Nine News 867,000/905,000
• A Current Affair 765,000
• ABC News 712,000
• 7.30 610,000
• The Project 256,000/457,000
• 10 News First 371,000
• SBS World News 135,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 283,000
• Today 200,000

Seven

Home And Away moved to 605,000 last night after 642,000 on Monday.

My Kitchen Rules saw Milly and Karolina separated again just one night after they met as they were eliminated from the talented group two. The Tuesday episode was on 861,000 after 774,000 a week ago.

The Good Doctor managed 543,000 after 518,000 a week ago.

Nine

A Current Affair featured two reporters in the spotlight last night – Martin King confronted George Pell outside court while later in the episode things were more relaxed when Sylvia Jeffreys interviewed Hugh Jackman. The episode did 765,000 after 883,000 on Monday.

A producer intervened last night to keep Martha and Cyrell apart last night on Married At First Sight. Episode 19 and tensions exploded more than normal with 1.261m watching the action ringside. That is down a little from the 1.34m watching on Tuesday last week.

Travel Guides saw the jetsetters in Argentina with all groups scoring the experience 4 out of 5. The episode did 745,000 after 729,000 a week ago.

10

Lots happening on The Project with Waleed Aly in Vietnam and Dilruk Jayasinha in the studio. Hamish Macdonald reported on George Pell and the show interviewed Guardian reporter Melissa Davey. The episode was on 457,000 after 448,000 on Monday.

The return of Ambulance Australia then did 379,000, well under the 582,000 metro overnight number the series launched with last year.

An episode of NCIS then did 301,000.

ABC

7.30 devoted the episode to reporting on the George Pell conviction with reporter Louise Milligan the first guest and the show also previewed a Four Corners episode Milligan will present next Monday. The episode later spoke with reporters Joanne McCarthy and David Marr about the case. The episode did 610,000 after 579,000 on Monday.

Foreign Correspondent followed on 468,000 and then the final episode of Catalyst for this season did 334,000.

SBS

Michael Portillo’s Abandoned Britain had an audience of 210,000 at 7.30pm after 212,000 a week ago.

A new episode of Insight attracted the biggest SBS audience of the night on 214,000.

Week 9 TV: Tuesday
TUESDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 11.5% 7 22.4% 9 26.3% 10  9.3% SBS One 4.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.8% 7TWO 2.4% GO! 2.9% 10 Bold 3.0% VICELAND 0.8%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 2.7% GEM 2.4% 10 Peach 2.1% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix 1.5% 9Life 1.7%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 0.4%            
TOTAL 16.1%   29.3%   33.3%   14.4%   6.9%

 

TUESDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 11.4% 7 24.1% 9 19.2% WIN 9.9% SBS One 4.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.3% 7TWO 3.7% GO! 4.6% WIN Bold 2.2% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 4.2% GEM 3.7% WIN Peach 1.6% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix 1.0% 9Life 1.5% Sky News  on WIN 1.2% NITV 0.1%
TOTAL 16.7%   33.0%   29.0%   14.9%   6.5%

 

TUESDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
87.9% 12.1%
TUESDAY FTA
  1. Married At First Sight Nine 1,261,000
  2. Seven News Seven 918,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 905,000
  4. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 881,000
  5. Nine News Nine 867,000
  6. My Kitchen Rules – Tue Seven 861,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 765,000
  8. Travel Guides Nine 745,000
  9. ABC News ABC 712,000
  10. 7.30 ABC 610,000
  11. Home And Away Seven 605,000
  12. The Good Doctor Seven 543,000
  13. The Chase Australia Seven 484,000
  14. Hot Seat Nine 477,000
  15. Foreign Correspondent ABC 468,000
  16. The Project 7pm 10 457,000
  17. Ambulance Australia 10 379,000
  18. 10 News First 10 371,000
  19. Catalyst ABC 334,000
  20. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 328,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 392,000
  2. Travel Guides Nine 186,000
  3. My Kitchen Rules – Tue Seven 182,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 128,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 116,000

 

18-49 Top Five

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 633,000
  2. Travel Guides Nine 361,000
  3. My Kitchen Rules – Tue Seven 316,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 246,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 210,000

 

25-54 Top Five

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 682,000
  2. Travel Guides Nine 407,000
  3. My Kitchen Rules – Tue Seven 360,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 286,000
  5. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 254,000
TUESDAY Multichannel
  1. Bluey PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 187,000
  2. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 166,000
  3. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 161,000
  4. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 157,000
  5. Octonauts ABCKIDS/COMEDY 154,000
  6. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 152,000
  7. Pj Masks PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  8. Go Jetters PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  9. Dino Dana ABCKIDS/COMEDY 136,000
  10. Shaun The Sheep ABCKIDS/COMEDY 134,000
  11. Bondi Rescue Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 130,000
  12. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 128,000
  13. Neighbours 10 Peach 124,000
  14. Andy’s Wild Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  15. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  16. The Big Bang Theory 9GO! 116,000
  17. Spicks And Specks ABCKIDS/COMEDY 113,000
  18. Young Sheldon Tx2 – (R) 9GO! 113,000
  19. New Tricks 9Gem 108,000
  20. Thomas And Friends PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 106,000
TUESDAY STV
  1. THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF Lifestyle FOOD 56,000
  2. PAUL MURRAY LIVE Sky News Live 49,000
  3. THE BOLT REPORT Sky News Live 47,000
  4. JONES & CO Sky News Live 43,000
  5. SHIMMER AND SHINE Nick Jr. 39,000
  6. LIVE: WWE RAW FOX8 36,000
  7. CREDLIN Sky News Live 35,000
  8. NELLA THE PRINCESS KNIGHT Nick Jr. 33,000
  9. NCIS TVH!TS 30,000 
  10. VANDERPUMP RULES ARENA 30,000
  11. PAW PATROL Nick Jr. 30,000
  12. PML LATER Sky News Live 30,000
  13. JEOPARDY! FOX Classics 29,000
  14. BONES TVH!TS 28,000
  15. CURIOUS GEORGE Nick Jr. 28,000
  16. MUPPET BABIES Disney Junior 28,000
  17. OPEN ALL HOURS FOX Classics 28,000
  18. ESCAPE TO THE CONTINENT Lifestyle Channel 27,000
  19. CSI: MIAMI TVH!TS 27,000
  20. POLICE TEN 7 FOX8 27,000

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

Prime Media reports hot summer, hoping for election boost too

Prime Media Group has reported a consolidated profit after tax of $10.2m for the half-year ended 31 December 2018, an increase of $18.8m or 218.4% on the prior corresponding period.

Included in the prior comparative period result was a one-off non-cash impairment of the television licences of $31.0m and the associated release of a deferred tax liability of $9.3m.

Ian Audsley

The group’s net cash flow from operating activities of $7.8m declined $8.1m or 50.8% compared to the prior period due to the continued decline in advertising revenues, the increase in affiliate fee rate under the new program supply agreement with the Seven Network and the initial payment of spectrum licence fees totalling $6.2m under the new licensing regime ($4.5m accrued in FY18 and paid in FY19).

As previously reported, the group executed a 5-year extension of the program supply agreement with the Seven Network and made an upfront payment of $15.0m to the Seven Network. As a consequence, net interest-bearing debt increased by $7.9m during the period to $22.7m at 31 December 2018. The bank loan facility limit was reduced to $40.0m at 31 December 2018.

Chief executive officer Ian Audsley said, “During the reporting period Prime maintained a market-leading 41.4% total revenue share for the half year. Prime’s advertising revenues in the aggregated markets of New South Wales and Victoria declined 5.3%, which was in line with the market decline of 5.3% for the same period.

“Despite the challenging market, regional advertisers supported the BBL and test cricket broadcast, with Prime’s revenue over the summer (Dec through Feb 2019) up $2.1m or 4.7% on the prior period. However, as with the broader media market, the focus is now on the Federal Election. While we expect a short term stimulus, it does not necessarily point to long term revenue growth in regional TV advertising markets.”

Prime said current trading conditions suggest that the group’s full year core net profit will be between $16.0m to $18.0m.

Audsley also noted that “the recruitment process to appoint a new chairperson is well under way. In the interim, John Hartigan has graciously agreed to extend his tenure until the new appointment is made”.

CEO Dan Hill quits the movie business as Val Morgan restructures

Hoyts group CEO Damian Keogh has announced a restructure of the Val Morgan business as it sets sight on future growth in a changing media landscape following the resignation of CEO, Dan Hill.

Newly appointed managing director Guy Burbidge will assume control of Val Morgan Cinema while current Val Morgan Outdoor managing director Paul Butler will continue his role. Both will report to Keogh.

Dan Hill

“We are in for an incredible line up of blockbuster movies in 2019 and the growth of SVOD viewing, which is advertising free, is strengthening the power of cinema advertising. As with all businesses we are constantly evaluating the resources and structure to maximise market effectiveness. While sad to see Dan depart, we have a strong executive team to carry the business forward,” said Keogh.

Hill was brought into the business seven years ago as national sales manager and has performed the roles of chief revenue officer and managing director of Val Morgan Cinema Advertising before assuming the role of Val Morgan Group CEO in February 2018.

Hill will take some time off before deciding on new future opportunities.

Keogh said, “If there was a Hall of Fame for cinema advertising Dan would be in it. He has done a terrific job driving our business forward in Australia and New Zealand. His recent contribution to our outdoor business has aided in setting us up for a great start to 2019.”

Dan Hill said, “After a fantastic time at Val Morgan it’s time to pass the baton onto a new team. I leave very comfortable that Val Morgan is in a great place for future growth.”

PM’s pick: Cabinet supports Ita Buttrose as the next ABC chairperson

Scott Morrison’s cabinet has decided Ita Buttrose will lead the ABC, with an announcement likely this week, report The Australian’s Rosie Lewis and Greg Brown.

Senior government sources confirmed cabinet had chosen Buttrose as the public broadcaster’s next chair, vacated by Justin Milne amid controversy at the top of the ABC’s leadership in September.

Labor has criticised the process to choose the replacement ABC chair after it was revealed the independent selection panel had not considered Ms Buttrose, triggering claims of “political interference”.

Under the ABC Act, the government is required to consult the opposition leader about the appointment but Bill Shorten’s office was last night unable to confirm if that had occurred.

“Ita Buttrose is a perfectly nice person and she’s been in the media and she’s been a very successful and respected figure but the government’s bungled this process. They’ve paid money to have a process to get a shortlist and then they’ve ignored it themselves,” Shorten said.

[Read the original]

News Brands

George Pell case: Suppression order failed to block overseas reports

More than 140 international news reports about Cardinal George Pell’s guilty verdict were published within 24 hours of his conviction last December, despite strict suppression orders, report The Australian’s Mark Schliebs and Tessa Akerman.

Dozens of Australian reporters, editors and publications have been sent letters from Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerri Judd QC, threatening them with contempt-of-court proceedings.

While Australian media outlets did not name Pell or the charges for which he had been convicted on December 11, international publications, including The Washington Post and The Daily Beast, reported the verdict in full, with media monitoring agency Streem recording 144 “global news articles” in 24 hours.

Media lawyer Justin Quill of M+K Lawyers, whose clients include The Australian, said the Pell case was a “perfect storm” of suppression orders being ignored online by international media and private individuals.

[Read the original]

Australian journalists threatened with contempt of court over Pell stories

Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions has threatened to lay criminal charges against dozens of journalists for contempt of court, claiming reports that appeared soon after George Pell’s conviction identified the cardinal, even though he was never named in the stories, reports The Age’s Clay Lucas.

The Age was put on notice after reporting that a ‘‘high-profile figure’’ had been convicted of a serious crime. In mid-December Pell was convicted of raping and molesting two children.

Due to a suppression order Australians were unable to learn via mainstream local media that Pell had been found guilty immediately after the conviction in December.

Journalists and senior staff at media outlets including The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Financial Review, Channel Nine, several radio stations, News Corp publications and Crikey face what County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd described as ‘‘the prospect of imprisonment and indeed substantial imprisonment’’ if found guilty of contempt.

A total of more than 30 journalists at mastheads and media outlets owned by Nine, including The Age, received notices in February from director of public prosecutions Kerri Judd, QC, asking them to “show cause” as to why they should not be charged with contempt of court.

[Read the original]

Entertainment

How Hugh Jackman’s Greatest Showman movie gamble paid off

When hit movie musical The Greatest Showman opened in Australian cinemas around Christmas 2017, Hugh Jackman briefly thought he’d all but sabotaged his career, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Robert Moran.

“When a movie comes out, in my position, you get emails from people at the studio – we got nothing. I mean, nothing,” he said. “Not even a ‘well, we gave it our best shot’. It was looking grim … But then, word of mouth.”

After one of the worst opening weekends, the film launched its slow-burn success. At last count, it’s now the third-most successful movie musical, with a soundtrack that was last year’s top-selling album.

The film’s unlikely success has spawned Jackman’s next move: a return to his onstage roots, with a national arena tour titled The Man. The Music. The Show.

The tour will see the Tony winner playing more than a dozen dates across Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane in August, performing songs from across his career including The Boy From Oz, Les Misérables and, of course, The Greatest Showman, with his co-star Keala Settle, the voice of the film’s empowering Oscar-nominated This Is Me, joining him for the entire Australia/New Zealand run.

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Television

Australian Crime Stories investigates who stole Kerry Packer’s gold

In episode two of its new series, Australian Crime Stories tells the amazing story of a cold case, never before told on TV, of how a notorious safecracker got away clean with $5.4 million in gold bars from Kerry Packer.

On Thursday, February 28 at 8.30pm on Nine and 9Now, the second episode of the new series uncovers the true story of the audacious thief who broke into Kerry Packer’s office at 54 Park Street in Sydney and cracked his personal safe. This is much more than a tale about a fortune in stolen gold – it’s a story about loyalty, betrayal and revenge.

In Australian Crime Stories, investigative journalist, researcher and co-writer Adam Shand drops viewers into the scene of the crime, revealing the secret desires, mysterious appetites and hidden hatreds that shaped the most notorious cases in Australian criminal history.

Australian Crime Stories is produced by The Full Box for the Nine Network.

See also:

TV crime wave sweeps the nation: Australian Crime Stories returns

Happy anniversary: Prisoner push for Logies Hall of Fame

Today marks 40 years since Prisoner hit Australian TV screens, reports TV Tonight.

The ground-breaking 1979 drama created by Reg Watson ran for 692 episodes across 8 years, winning Logie Awards, making household names of its stars, spawning international adaptations, a Wentworth reimagining and a fervent fanbase which persists to this day.

But “top dog” Val Lehman won’t rest until the series has been recognised in the Logie Hall of Fame, and points to its ground-breaking success overseas as a testament to its achievements.

“We had a huge viewing audience in America, but Grundys never told us. We found out because the fans started ringing the studio and sending fan mail. But we had to take Grundys to court to get paid,” she told TV Tonight.

Producer Ian Bradley recalled how Channel 0-10 were very nervous about this new series with rough women.

“The network was absolutely terrified, ” he recalls. “They didn’t think it would work at all. They brought in an American executive producer who suggested we tighten the girls’ costumes and my response was ‘This will never work’ and we had a big fight over it.

“Eventually they said ‘The only thing we can do is some audience testing’ and I went off on holiday. When I left it was a 16 x 1 hour series, but they got such a strong reception that before I got back they said ‘We want 52 hours’.”

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Sports Media

Nine’s #1 female hosting target for The AFL Footy Show revealed

Who would have thought the future of the new revamped Footy Show is hinging on a “female”, reports News Corp’s Scott Gullan.

That’s right, the iconic show, which has long been criticised for being too much of a boys club, is now champing at the bit for a woman’s touch.

Fox Footy host Neroli Meadows has become the apple in the The Footy Show producers’ eyes but there’s one major hitch … she hasn’t agreed to do it.

The award-winning reporter has been chased aggressively with Channel 9 “desperate” for her to switch networks.

Meadows, 33, is understood to be still weighing up the offer which would see her become just the second woman to host the show.

The pursuit of Meadows is far from a token move given her extensive football knowledge but her presence is seen as a crucial ingredient in the rejigged show.

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