After recently letting go of Australian Radio Network CEO Rob Atkinson, parent company HT&E has announced further management changes as the company moves to a smaller leadership team across its shrinking portfolio. The company sold its outdoor business Adshel last year.
The restructure means there are no longer roles for ARN’s chief commercial officer Emma-Jayne Owens or Sydney and Brisbane commercial director Mason Rook.
Peter Whitehead, currently ARN’s commercial director Melbourne and Adelaide, will move into the role of chief commercial officer and he will join the executive leadership team. Whitehead will take up the national role immediately and will continue to be based in Melbourne.
Also being made redundant are HT&E’s chief revenue officer Tony Kendall (also a former ARN chief executive) and partnerships director Greg Tremain who are leaving the business.
After announcing the departures HT&E chief executive and managing director Ciaran Davis said: “I would sincerely like to thank EJ, Mason, Tony and Greg for their contribution to ARN and HT&E and we wish them all the very best.
“EJ joined us in 2017 in the newly created role of chief commercial officer and during her time at ARN was part of the executive team in renewing ARN’s vision and made progress in reviewing ARN’s commercial approach to market. Mason joined ARN a year ago and in that time has made a significant contribution to the Sydney and Brisbane markets.
“I would like to thank Tony and Greg for their tireless efforts in taking the group proposition to market and to Tony in particular for his previous leadership as CEO at ARN.
“I congratulate Peter on his new position as chief commercial officer. Pete has driven some great success in the Melbourne and Adelaide markets and we look forward to having him in this expanded role.
“As I’ve said recently, HT&E is a fantastic business with a portfolio of high quality investments, and a balance sheet the envy of the traditional media sector. These changes are a result of our objectives to optimise the cost structure, reduce corporate costs and ultimately set the business up for ongoing operational effectiveness and further growth.
“ARN underpins HT&E as a market leading radio business and I’m looking forward to working with all our team to achieve ARN’s vision to create the future of audio entertainment focussing on our strengths in content creation, audience delivery and our relationships with advertisers.”
Top Photo: Emma-Jayne Owens
Mediaweek readers voting in this category were able to pick a journalist from any medium – online, print, television or radio.
If Mediaweek readers voted ABC News as the Best News Brand, it makes sense that one of its highest-profile journalists receives this award.
People who value the ABC News offering also value the contribution from Leigh Sales and have voted accordingly.
Sales has a day job on the ABC primary channel and a number of other roles that helped to move our readers to choose her as the best.
That day job is the host of the daily current affairs show 7.30. After the 7pm edition of ABC News each day, 7.30 is usually the next most-watched program on the channel each weekday. Although the show is a collaborative effort from a big team, much of the attraction for audiences are the feature interviews that host Sales conducts.
A dual Walkley Award winner, Sales has interviewed dozens of world leaders and celebrities, from Australian prime ministers, Hillary Clinton, the Dalai Lama to Patti Smith, Harrison Ford and Julie Andrews. One of her most memorable in the past 12 months was with Paul McCartney.
Audiences wanting more of the Leigh Sales magic last year were able to download her podcasts with friend and colleague Annabel Crabb – Chat 10 Looks 3. Towards the end of 2018 they recorded a live podcast in front of fans in Melbourne. One host’s description of the podcast is:
A peripatetic podcast in which Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb discuss what they’re reading, watching, cooking, listening to or irrationally exhilarated by.
One of them likes show tunes and is a monster who chucks books once she’s read them. The other one wrote this.
Sales also delivered a book to her publisher earlier in the year, which surfaced in October from Penguin Books:
Any Ordinary Day: Blindsides, Resilience and What Happens After the Worst Day of Your Life.
Penguin Books said Sales talks intimately with people who’ve faced the unimaginable, from terrorism to natural disaster to simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Expecting broken lives, she instead found strength, hope, even humour:
“Leigh brilliantly condenses the cutting-edge research on the way the human brain processes fear and grief, and poses the questions we too often ignore out of awkwardness. Along the way, she offers an unguarded account of her own challenges and what she’s learned about coping with life’s unexpected blows.
“Warm, candid and empathetic, this book is about what happens when ordinary people, on ordinary days, are forced to suddenly find the resilience most of us don’t know we have.”
Many viewers are disappointed that with Malcolm Turnbull no longer PM there are no more of the Sales v Turnbull clashes that made 7.30 such a must-watch. However Sales still confronts his successors and asks the hard questions.
There might be no more Malcolm, but there will be a federal election this year where the entertainment on election night on the ABC will include Sales and the channel’s election specialist Antony Green.
The Sky News political editor is arguably the channel’s single most important asset. He and his Canberra colleagues have set the political agenda for many years and with Sky News turned on during the day viewers know they are not missing out on anything that happens in the nation’s capital.
The David Speers’ trophy cabinet includes three Walkley Awards, TV Week Logie and Kennedy Awards and numerous AACTA and ASTRA Awards.
He too published a book late in 2018 – Melbourne University Press published On Mutiny last October. “How did Scott Morrison emerge as Prime Minister? Why was Malcolm Bligh Turnbull removed?” Or as Lisa Wilkinson said in a blurb on the cover: “If you’re wondering WTF just happened in Australian politics.”
Mediaweek has been lucky enough to talk to Speers a number of times for written interviews and podcasts.
During 2018 we paired him with Sky News colleague Paul Murray where the two explained their different roles at the channel and misconceptions about how Sky News operates. Speers responded to comments Nine’s Chris Uhlmann made about Sky News:
“Chris Uhlmann is a mate and I respect him as a journalist. I have spoken to him about what he said and his views. I don’t disagree that Malcolm Turnbull did cop some pretty aggressive criticism. I think every prime minister who leaves office has made the same complaint though about copping some grief from a section of the media. Maybe it was a bit tougher on Turnbull in particular. What I don’t see evidence of is what Chris is suggesting in terms of what went on behind the scenes. Bullying, threats or intimidation to MPs – I know those people but I am not aware of any of that sort of behaviour.”
The good news is that Speers remains as Sky News’ Canberra ace under the channels new CEO in an election year – good times ahead.
If Grey Hywood was the steadying hand on the executive level during years of turmoil at Fairfax Media, in the Sydney newsroom at least that role seems to have been filled at times by multi award-winning reporter Kate McClymont.
A prolific user of social media, McClymont’s tweets about her stories and what was happening at The SMH kept readers abreast and alert to the latest developments.
Just this week readers were reminded why they are so used to having her in the paper and online:
“I came back to the Herald in January 1990 after a two-year stint as a researcher at Four Corners #gulp. All up I have worked at the Herald for 32 years. Have loved every single minute (well almost).”
Her bylines have appeared on many of the big stories over those years.
In particular people alleged to have behaved badly from politicians to underworld figures to investigations into entertainers like Don Burke and Craig McLachlan.
McClymont has one seven Walkley Awards including a Gold Walkley in 2002.
Fourteen of its community newspapers relaunched this month in a compact tabloid format with cleaner design including new page one mastheads. It brings the newsprint editions in line to similar size of the existing gloss editions.
The decision to move to a smaller, friendlier format was based on reader feedback following extensive research. Sales teams met with clients over the last few months to ensure their support ahead of the change.
The first editions of the new Blacktown Advocate, Canterbury Bankstown Express, Central Coast Express Advocate, Central Sydney, Fairfield Advance, Hills Shire Times, Hornsby Advocate, Liverpool Leader, Macarthur Chronicle, Manly Daily, Northern District Times, Parramatta Advertiser, Penrith Press and Rouse Hill Times were delivered to over one million homes last week.
Over 100 people across News Corp Australia were involved in the project that touched all areas of the business to ensure smooth transition to the new format.
The change also meant an investment in new machinery for F-Press at Sydney Print Centre.
NewsLocal Publisher, John McGourty said: “While the size of our publications is changing, our commitment to our local communities is not.
“In the years ahead we will continue to be a trusted, proud voice in our community, advocating on behalf of our readers.
“For advertisers, the trusted environment that our newspapers offer will remain as strong as ever.
“Our newspapers play a critical role in the busy lives of our readers and to continue to deliver on our promise to readers and advertisers, we are evolving.”
In addition to the new format, NewsLocal has also launched a new brand campaign: Get Closer With Your Local.
The campaign slogan appears on every NewsLocal masthead and on house advertising and will soon be rolling out to static and digital street furniture and social media in the next few weeks.
The campaign was based on reader feedback saying how important local papers are to their sense of community pride and the critical role they play in their daily lives.
Australia’s number one African outdoor classroom game show, I’m A Celebrity Saturday Schoolies, is about to shake up your Saturday nights, according to Network 10:
Each week, the celebrities will need to report to class. What happens next is up to their teacher, Mr Scott Tweedie.
But if the celebs think that their excursion from camp will be easier than convincing their parents to buy them Bacardi Breezer’s, Mr. Tweedie has a few surprises up his khaki sleeves.
The campmates will compete in a series of wickedly fun challenges for the chance to win The Golden Lunchbox. If successful, they will find all their playground favourites: muesli bars, bananas, juices and ham and cheese sangas.
After a week of rice and beans, with a side of warthog testicle, that lunchbox will mean everything to our hangry campmates.
“Chris and Julia do an astounding job starving and taking all our jungle celebs to almost-breaking-point, so it’s only fitting on a Saturday night I take it one step further with some of the most stupid games you’ve ever seen, so we can laugh at them even more,” said Scott.
• I’m A Celebrity outperforms Australian Open again…and MKR
• Nine’s night of tennis secures a primetime primary/combined win
• First outing for My Kitchen Rules franchise this year under 350,000
Week 3 2019 – Summer schedule – Tuesday
By James Manning
No Big Bash League = smaller audience.
The Seven News remained a timeslot and Tuesday champ with 900,000 tuning in at 6pm and it was the #1 show for the night in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Seven screened an episode of The Force at 7pm with under 500,000 watching.
The numbers then slipped below 350,000 for the 10th anniversary special of My Kitchen Rules. It was not the audience Seven wanted for the first appearance of the brand this year, but the real thing is yet to be unleashed.
Much earlier in the day, Seven remained on top at breakfast:
Breakfast TV Seven v Nine Week 3
Sunrise 427k (Metro 266k Regional 161k)
Today 311k (Metro 197k Regional 115k)
News Breakfast 173k* (Metro 103k Regional 70k)
Sunrise 444k (Metro 275k Regional 169k)
Today 303k (Metro 202k Regional 102k)
News Breakfast 163k* (Metro 100k Regional 64k)
Doesn’t include ABC News simulcast audience
The channel was again a winner with both primary and combined channel shares on the second night of the Australian Open.
The Tuesday tennis audiences were as follows:
• Day 2 evening 616,000
• Day 2 day 274,000
• Day 2 late 217,000
Reality was again a winner for the channel after 7.30pm where episode three of I’m A Celebrity was in clear control with 715,000. Although the numbers were down on previous nights, it was enough to convincingly win the timeslot, taking the scalps of both Nine’s Australian Open coverage and a My Kitchen Rules special on Seven.
Week one: I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!
• Monday 1.098m and 1.014m
• Tuesday: 890,000
• Wednesday: 732,000
The Project started low on 209,000, but as usual the numbers climbed dramatically after 7pm to 436,000.
Later in the night NCIS: Los Angeles did 211,000.
Foreign Correspondent was in the 8pm slot with 316,000.
A repeat of The Human Body: Secrets Of Your Life Revealed then was on 232,000.
Great American Railroad Journeys was the best on 215,000.
|ABC 2||2.3%||7TWO||3.6%||GO!||3.3%||10 Bold||4.6%||VICELAND||1.5%|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||3.0%||GEM||2.7%||10 Peach||3.2%||Food Net||1.3%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC 2||3.5%||7TWO||6.6%||GO!||3.1%||WIN Bold||4.2%||VICELAND||2.1%|
|ABC ME||1.2%||7mate||4.3%||GEM||3.8%||WIN Peach||3.5%||Food Net||1.1%|
|ABC NEWS||1.9%||7flix||1.1%||9Life||2.8%||Sky News on WIN||0.2%||NITV||0.2%|
|TUESDAY METRO ALL TV|
16-39 Top Five
18-49 Top Five
25-54 Top Five
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
The AFR’s Street Talk reports a data room is set to open before the end of the month, or early February at the latest, for Fairfax Media’s former regional publishing business Australian Community Media, now owned by Nine.
Sources said sale adviser Macquarie Capital had started briefing potential buyers and preparing diligence materials ahead of what’s likely to be a two-stage auction.
The big question is whether it will also prompt a deal around New Corp’s regional business. Investors have long believed the combination of News Corp and Fairfax’s former regional assets made sense and there would be significant cost savings and efficiencies in the combined group.
News Corp’s regional business includes more than 100 titles, some of which were only picked up in 2016 when it bought Australian Regional Media from APN News & Media.
Village Roadshow could be forced to offload its struggling movie production business, behind films such as Zoolander and Ocean’s 8, with members of the wealthy Kirby family that controls the sprawling entertainment heavyweight feuding over the best way to restore its lacklustre performance, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Kylar Loussikian.
John Kirby – the older of two brothers who control the outfit founded by their father, Roc Kirby – is pushing for a sell-off of the company’s film production business and the removal of long-time chief executive Graham Burke, according to sources familiar with his plans.
The changes would include the sale of Village Roadshow’s British marketing business, its stake in the American iPic Theatres premium cinema outfit, and its Hollywood holdings.
Village Roadshow reported a net profit of $219,000 last year, and a loss of $67 million a year earlier.
French out-of-home giant JCDecaux is playing hardball in negotiations over the lucrative City of Sydney outdoor advertising contract and is threatening to walk away from its management of the city’s billboards, bus shelters and payphones, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
The French outdoor advertiser has been partnered with Telstra in its attempts to renew the City of Sydney contract, worth about $300 million.
Last Thursday, The Australian Financial Review revealed JCDecaux was the frontrunner to retain the important contract, which it has held since 1997.
However, the company on Tuesday said it was “surprised by this information and other related information which is inaccurate since JCDecaux has made the decision not to submit any bid proposal under the current tender terms”.
The French company holds the current contract until next year and says it is willing to negotiate with the City of Sydney.
Adshel, bought by oOh!media for $570 million from Here, There & Everywhere, is believed to be partnered with Optus on its City of Sydney tender.
Citi sees value across the traditional media sector following recent share price falls, which the investment bank’s media analysts described as “excessive”, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.
Citi has upgraded Nine, News Corp, and HT&E to buy ratings from neutral, and moved to a neutral recommendation on Seven West Media and Southern Cross Media from sell.
However, Citi’s media analysts, David Kaynes, Kofi Mensa and Aashita Bharadwaj, have cut their earnings per share forecasts and target prices on the media sector as well as online property listing group, Domain.
In a new research report, the media analysts said advertising growth has slowed, and flagged “risk of further deterioration, particularly if discretionary retail spending drops”.
Barrie Dunstan, who was one of Australia’s most experienced and accomplished business journalists and much loved by colleagues and business contacts alike, has died in Melbourne aged 80, reports The AFR’s Ben Potter.
Dunstan started his career at The Argus, which was soon shut down by its British owners, in the mid 1950s. His career covered more than 60 years of tumultuous change in Australian business and finance during which the economy was transformed beyond recognition.
His early career took him from The Argus, which he joined as a teenaged copy boy in 1955 before being promoted to journalist in 1956, to The Age in 1958, where he became finance editor in 1963 at age of 25.
In 1968 Dunstan became business editor of The (Melbourne) Herald. He had a brief stint at stockbroker Grant Reed & Co during the early 1970s nickel boom, and returned to the Herald to write about the first wave of modern securities reforms sparked by the excesses of those years. He travelled to China just as that vast nation was opening up to the west, and was a widely read commentator for many years.
After Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of the Herald’s publisher, the Herald & Weekly Times, and in teeth of the October 1987 sharemarket crash, he joined The Australian Financial Review. His coolness under fire during those upheavals was an object lesson to his colleagues.
He was one of the most famous TV faces in the 1990s but Eden Gaha says he hated being famous, and longed to get behind the camera, reports TV Tonight.
But while pitching stories to TV execs didn’t get him very far, Gaha is now co-founder of his own production company Mother Media in the US doing deals with American networks.
Gaha hosted music game show Vidiot for ABC in 1992 before being lured by Nine’s David Lyle for Animal Hospital. There he badgered Peter Meakin to report for A Current Affair’s summer edition, eventually producing his own stories. It was a taste of what he really wanted.
Although he made the documentary series The Ties That Bind, Gaha was also pitching projects to Nine execs Michael Healy and David Leckie without much success. At the time he felt he was being seen as a star looking to for his own vehicle.
“Whenever I would pitch a show at Channel Nine I got this sense they thought ‘He’s just trying to find another on-camera role for himself,’ which wasn’t the case,” he recalls.
Gaha landed a producing role on Survivor under Mark Burnett, which led to work on The Contender, Pirate Master, Rock Star and five seasons of The Apprentice with Donald Trump. He rose through the ranks to become president of Reveille Productions, then President of Unscripted Television, at Endemol Shine North America, overseeing MasterChef, The Biggest Loser and more.
Netflix is set to make its biggest US subscription price increase ever January 15 as programming and talent costs climb, which sent its stock soaring Tuesday morning up by US$20.91, or just over 6% to $353.85.
“We change pricing from time to time as we continue investing in great entertainment and improving the overall Netflix experience for the benefit of our members,” a Netflix spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.
As streaming wars escalate, Netflix’s most popular plan will see the largest hike, to US$13 per month from US$11. That plan offers HD streaming on up to two internet-connected devices at the same time.
Netflix says it has aimed to balance the cost of producing new video content with keeping its prices affordable for consumers as it continues to compete against Amazon Prime, Hulu and new services to come from NBCUniversal, Disney and WarnerMedia.
In a summer where the schedule has brought the primacy of Test cricket into question, there is a fixture clash that could result in part of Australia’s day/night Test against Sri Lanka bumped off Channel Seven’s primary station for the Big Bash League.
But the pulling power of hit show My Kitchen Rules will not be enough to knock the Test team off the main channel if the match heads towards a thrilling finish on the final night.
Seven’s programming team could face a dilemma on the fourth night of the Gabba Test, which overlaps with the BBL clash between the Melbourne Stars and Brisbane Heat at the MCG.
The clash with MKR comes on Monday, January 28, which is when Seven is launching the 10th season of the popular cooking game show.
“We have been managing live sport and the drama around unpredictable and compelling outcomes for quite a while now,” a spokesperson for Seven said.