Thursday January 24, 2019

Network 10 confirms first celebs to compete in Dancing with the Stars

After what looks like a pretty accurate forecast from journalist Peter Ford about who will be on Dancing with the Stars on its new home at Network 10, the broadcaster has confirmed three of the stars.

Samuel Johnson, Sir Curtly Ambrose and Cassandra Thorburn will be in the mix when the program launches in mid-February.

Award winning actor, cancer research campaigner, Gold Logie winner and national treasure Samuel Johnson OAM, is determined to show Australia his dance moves.

He’s determined to break fundraising records towards vanquishing cancer through the charity – Love Your Sister – which he established with his sister, Connie.

Samuel said: “I promised the country I’d raise $10 million for cancer research and I want to dance my way there. I’m being trained intensively hour upon hour, day upon day by the best in the business.”

Sporting legend, Sir Curtly Ambrose, will leave his fast bowling skills behind him when he quicksteps onto the dance floor.

Sir Curtly said: “This will give me a chance to show Australia and the rest of the world that I can do more than a bit of cricket. I’m serious about it, I’m not going to travel all the way from Antigua to come here to mess it up.”

Children’s author and broadcaster, Cassandra Thorburn, will be dusting off her dance shoes and getting ready to rumba, when she joins Samuel and Sir Curtly on the dance floor.

The now famously single mother of three has agreed to foxtrot, tango and mambo as a promise to her late father.

“He said to me ‘if you don’t say yes to an opportunity that you NEVER thought would come up you will regret it one day’. Plus, learning to dance is so lovely. What a skill,” Cassandra said.

Hosted by Amanda Keller and Grant Denyer, Dancing With The Stars is produced by Warner Bros International Television Production Australia and BBC Studios, from a format created by the BBC and distributed by BBC Studios.

Top Photo: Dancing With The Stars: Samuel Johnson, Cassandra Thorburn, Sir Curtly Ambrose

Footy’s back – almost – one week until AFLW starts on Seven

Seven has announced the start of the 2019 AFLW season:

New AFLW arrival Geelong and powerhouse Collingwood are set to kick start the season live on Seven Saturday week followed by reigning premiers the Western Bulldogs facing Adelaide on a double header opening night.

All eyes will be on Geelong’s boom recruit Phoebe Williams fresh from her four goal outing in last week’s practice match, along with top draft pick Nina Morrison who also impressed.

Australian netball captain Sharni Layton looks set to take the field for the Magpies after spending time in the ruck and up forward in last Saturday’s practice match.

The Bulldogs will be hoping to include super stars and co-captains Katie Brennan, who played her first game last weekend since her right ankle reconstruction, and Ellie Blackburn, after they helped their team to a win in last Saturday’s practice game against the Magpies.

The visiting champions will have their work cut out as they take on a Crows outfit led by Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall.

After two successful seasons, the league has been given an added boost in 2019 with the addition of two new teams – Geelong and North Melbourne – bringing the total number of AFLW clubs to 10.

On Sunday, Melbourne will host Fremantle at Casey Fields while the GWS Giants make the trip to Queensland to test their skills against last year’s runners-up Brisbane Lions.

Seven’s Sam Lane and Nat Edwards will take up field commentary in Norwood and Geelong respectively, bringing stories and insights from the coaches and players.

Melbourne star Daisy Pearce will deliver expert commentary as Geelong takes on the Pies, while Adelaide fan-favourite Abbey Holmes and St Kilda development coach Peta Searle will provide invaluable insights for the second match.

Jason Bennett will call the first match on Saturday, joined by Nigel Carmody, with Mark Soderstrom taking the reins on Saturday night.

Seven will broadcast two AFLW matches nationally every Saturday during the season, as well as the semi-finals that have been a welcome addition in 2019, and the Grand Final.

Fans in South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland will also be able to see all of their local teams’ matches on Seven throughout the season.

Broadcast times of AFLW matches on the first weekend:

Geelong Cats v Collingwood (GMHBA Stadium, Geelong)
Saturday February 2

• Sydney 6.30pm LIVE on 7mate
• Melbourne 6.30pm LIVE on Channel 7
• Brisbane 5.30pm LIVE on 7mate
• Adelaide 6pm LIVE on 7mate
• Perth 3.30pm LIVE on 7mate

Adelaide v Western Bulldogs (Norwood Oval)
Saturday February 2

• Sydney 8.30pm LIVE on 7mate
• Melbourne 8.30pm LIVE on Channel 7
• Brisbane 7.30pm LIVE on 7mate
• Adelaide 8pm LIVE on Channel 7
• Perth 5.30pm LIVE on 7mate

Melbourne v Fremantle (Casey Fields)
Sunday February 3

• Perth 12pm LIVE on 7mate

Brisbane Lions v GWS Giants (Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex)
Sunday February 3

• Sydney               5pm LIVE on 7TWO
• Brisbane             4pm LIVE on 7TWO

Top Photo: AFLW star Moana Hope

Woolf back in Perth: On ABC Radio breakfast with Nadia Mitsopoulos

It’s not ideal to take some sickies on your first week in a new job. But that’s what Russell Woolf did this week as he returned to WA radio co-hosting breakfast at ABC Perth.

Woolf’s co-host Nadia Mitsopoulos hosted the show solo on Tuesday and Wednesday after Woolf was laid low with a virus. When he spoke with Mediaweek he explained he was pretty keen to be back on board for Thursday’s OB at Kings Park.

We told him not to stay away too long as Mitsopoulos sounded pretty good on her own.

Woolf was in his mid-20s before a light bulb went on in his head telling him he should be in radio. “I was never quite sure what I really wanted to do until then,” he told Mediaweek from his sick bed and under heavy medication. (His answers have been edited accordingly!)

Woolf promptly enrolled in a radio course at WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts). He spent one year working in the family business until the next enrolment and soon found himself volunteering at Curtin Radio.

For the last six weeks of the course he found paid work at the ABC. “This was the early 90s and I was given the chance to work on the Country Hour which was iconic radio. It was brilliant and we worked on equipment which has long since disappeared from the industry.”

He then started his radio journey, with a first full time gig in Esperance, WA with RadioWest. “It is the most magnificent place you will ever visit.”

Next he moved to Kalgoorlie with RadioWest, which was marginally closer to Perth.

Woolf eventually made it back to Perth and got a job co-hosting ABC Perth afternoons with Verity James for his first metro gig in 2000.

After Woolf hosted afternoons for two years he was given the chance to host ABC Perth drive. “I did drive in Perth for nine years during which time the ABC moved buildings.

“After drive I took some time out. To keep my skill levels up I did Saturday morning breakfast for a year. My wife then took a job in Minneapolis and we moved there for just over three years.”

Last year Woolf returned to fill-in on Perth breakfast. He hosted during a big week for the ABC as he explained:

“On the Monday Michelle Guthrie was sacked, on Tuesday Peter Bell (the breakfast presenter I was filling in for) resigned and on Thursday Justin Milne departed.

“It was fortuitous that I was there that week. If I was away when Peter resigned I would like to think I might have been considered for the gig, but being there was handy.”

Woolf returned home to the US and was asked to apply for the vacant breakfast role and management subsequently appointed Woolf and Mitsopoulos.

As the new hosts started their new show, Woolf’s wife was still in the US.

“Are you still married,” asked Mediaweek diplomatically.

“The relationship has never been better,” he laughed.

“You ask her – I’m kidding. I love her and she is coming in a week.”

Woolf’s wife is a much-in-demand specialist who works on environmental approvals with mining companies.

The new Perth breakfast team – seven of them in total – began planning in earnest earlier this month.

“I looked around and thought ‘this is a fantastic team’. I know everyone really well and am confident in all of their abilities having worked with them closely in the past.”

Woolf said the ABC had a brief for the show to cover four hours – 6am to 10am – but the team was allowed to mould the program to suit what was needed to fill those hours.

As with other ABC metro markets, the show breaks for news bulletins and AM.

“The show is of course very local. We want to hear from Perth people about what is happening to them and finding those good stories is key to success in Perth.”

Woolf said there is no fortress Perth mentality though and people there don’t have a chip on their shoulder. Although in the next breath he reminded Mediaweek how WA carried the Australian economy for many years.

Woolf knows his new co-host Nadia Mitsopoulos well and is thrilled to be working with her. “For much of the time I was presenting drive, Nadia was producing mornings with Geoff Hutchison. [Hutchison now hosts the ABC Perth drive show.]

“It’s a small media community in Perth and we all know each other.”

Woolf reeled of a long list of people his knows well having worked with them earlier in his career from Steve and Baz at 6PR through to many of the commercial radio breakfast hosts working for ARN, SCA and Nova.

Woolf Man

If a commercial radio station hired Russell, it would almost be obliged to call him Woolfman in the Morning. However it is a nickname he’s never been lumbered with.

“I am friends with Lawrence Mooney and I like Moonman. I would definitely be Woolfman at Breakfast or Woolfman in the Morning [he starts howling].

“A lot of people think I have a made up name for radio, which really pisses off Dennis Howard Woolf, my father.

“I do get Woolfy a little bit from some callers.”

Top Photo: ABC Radio Perth Breakfast: Russell Woolf and Nadia Mitsopoulos

News Corp and Australia Post join forces to boost literacy levels

With research revealing Australia’s literacy levels are falling below global standards, News Corp Australia and Australia Post have joined forces to encourage more children and parents to read, write and embrace the magic of storytelling.

Raise A Reader is News Corp’s consumer education and advocacy campaign, designed to highlight the importance of developing early literacy skills among Australian children and the critical role parents play as educators and role models in demonstrating a love for reading.

Toni Hetherington, national education publisher, News Corp Australia said: “We are proud to partner with Australia Post in this important initiative with The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Courier-Mail and The Advertiser alongside our regional mastheads. News Corp Australia will proudly be supporting this campaign from both an editorial and retail perspective.

“Literacy skills are fundamental in ensuring future success in our country. At News Corp, we understand that it is our responsibility to utilise our platforms to inspire more children to enjoy reading.

“Our journalists around the country will encourage their audiences and communities to ‘Raise A Reader’ through this strong editorial campaign.”

Raise a Reader complements the launch of Australia Post’s Legends stamp series, which recognises living Australians who have made an outstanding and inspirational contribution to Australia’s communities and culture. In 2019 this series recognises Australia’s leading children’s authors.

An exclusive survey of 1000 parents and grandparents commissioned by News Corp Australia found 86% of respondents wanted their children to spend more time reading books with more than 88% reading to their child at least once a week.

UNICEF has rated Australia as 39 out of 41 countries “in achieving quality education”. Nearly one in five Australian children are not meeting international benchmarks for reading, according to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study released in 2017 by the Australian Council for Educational Research, assessing grade four students from 50 countries around the world.

The Bouchets bail: ARN loses second Sydney breakfast radio EP

Laura Bouchet has been appointed executive producer of the new Triple M Sydney breakfast show.

The move is a blow to ARN Sydney which just last month saw Bruno Bouchet, Laura’s husband, depart as EP of The Kyle and Jackie O Show.

Also last month, ARN promoted Laura Bouchet to assistant content director of WSFM in addition to her role as executive producer of Jonesy & Amanda’s breakfast show.

Best Show Producer Laura Bouchet of WSFM101.7 Sydney with show hosts Jonesy and Amanda

Award winning radio producer Laura will take over Lawrence Mooney’s new show Moonman in the Morning.

After 11 and a half years as EP of WSFM’s Jonesy and Amanda breakfast show, Laura, who is a two-time Australian Commercial Radio Award (ACRA) winner for Best Show Producer, will EP Triple M Sydney’s breakfast show with Mooney plus Jess Eva, Gus Worland and Chris Page.

Triple M’s head of content Mike Fitzpatrick is thrilled to have secured one of Australia’s best and most experienced producers for Sydney breakfast.

“Laura has a fantastic radio brain and is well respected in the industry. I can’t think of a better person to help build and drive our new show. It’s quite different from our breakfast show of the last eight years and Laura has exactly what Lawrence, Jess and Gus need to steer them to success.”

Bouchet will commence in her new role in March.

See also: 
•Meet the Bouchets: Listen to our 20187 podcast.
• Mediaweek visits the husband and wife team Laura and Bruno Bouchet who are the executive producers of WSFM’s Jonesy and Amanda and KIIS 1065’s Kyle and Jackie O Show.

Top Photo: The Bouchets with Mediaweek’s James Manning at our podcast recording

TV Ratings Analysis: January 23

• Tennis numbers drop after main match abandoned in second set
• I’m A Celebrity wins demos, Richard Reid on jungle dunny duty!
• Seven screens a day-night Big Bash League double header

Week 4 2019 – Summer schedule – Wednesday

By James Manning

FTA early evening TV news

• Seven News 930,000 and 827,000
• Nine News 906,000 and 864,000
• ABC News 639,000
• 10 News First 466,000
• SBS World News 126,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 256,000
• Today 193,000
• ABC News Breakfast 113,000


Seven had a double header in the Big Bash League with an afternoon game played in regional Victoria at Moe and then the evening match from the SCG.

The audience for the evening clash between the Sydney Sixers and the Hobart Hurricanes was 390,000 for the first innings and then 388,000 for the second. Despite an easy win for the Sixers, Hobart remains well in the lead at the top of the table.


Judging by the numbers many viewers had an early night after starting to watch the Australian Open. The first match covered by Nine saw six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic back in the semi finals for the first time since 2016 after Kei Nishikori retired during the second set. Most of the entertainment for the rest of the night came from the Nine commentators. Jim Courier had an entertaining on court interview with Djokovic and then the team covering the doubles was joined by Lleyton Hewitt and there was much laughter between the serves.

The average evening audience for Day 10 was 598,000, well down from the Tuesday crowd of 953,000. The late night number was 329,000 with 339,000 during the day.

See separate features at this week with a deeper dive into the Australian Open TV ratings from both weeks of the tournament.


I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! was again the #1 program after 7pm and was a Wednesday winner under 50 and in other key demos. Last night campmates reacted to jungle leaders Shane Crawford and Justin Lacko’s camp chore allocations. While Justine Schofield was thrilled to keep her position as head chef, Richard Reid and Sam Dastyari were less than thrilled to be on dunny duties!

Kate Langbroek was on The Project talking about her plans, or lack of, for her move to Italy. The show was on 436,000 after 7pm.

Later in the night two episodes of Law & Order: SVU did 278,000 and 166,000.


Comedy night saw a QI repeat on 284,000 followed by the final of the three-part repeat of Stop Laughing…This Is Serious on 382,000.

A new episode of Would I Lie To You then did 275,000.


The final of Destination Flavour China was on 125,000. Putting it on before Great British Railway Journeys doesn’t seem to have boosted the food and travel show’s numbers. Railways followed at 8pm on 186,000.

Week 4 TV: Wednesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 10.4% 7 15.5% 9 22.4% 10  13.6% SBS One 3.5%
ABC 2 2.9% 7TWO 3.6% GO! 3.9% 10 Bold 4.6% VICELAND 1.7%
ABC ME 0.7% 7mate 2.9% GEM 2.9% 10 Peach 2.9% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix 1.8% 9Life 2.4%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 1.7%            
TOTAL 15.3%   25.6%   31.6%   21.1%   6.4%
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.8% 7 14.8% 9 17.6% WIN 15.1% SBS One 2.6%
ABC 2 3.1% 7TWO 5.6% GO! 3.7% WIN Bold 4.9% VICELAND 2.3%
ABC ME 1.2% 7mate 2.7% GEM 5.4% WIN Peach 2.3% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.7% 7flix 2.3% 9Life 2.6% Sky News  on WIN 0.2% NITV 0.3%
TOTAL 16.8%   25.4%   29.3%   22.5%   6.1%


85.5% 14.5%


  1. Seven News Seven 930,000
  2. Nine News Nine 906,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 864,000
  4. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 827,000
  5. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 712,000
  6. ABC News ABC 639,000
  7. 2019 Australian Open Day 10 -Night Nine 598,000
  8. 10 News First 10 466,000
  9. 7.30 ABC 456,000
  10. The Project 7pm 10 436,000
  11. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Syd Sixers V Hobart Seven 390,000
  12. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Syd Sixers V Hobart Seven 388,000
  13. Stop Laughing…This Is Serious (R) ABC 382,000
  14. 2019 Australian Open Day 10 -Night Pre Match Nine 380,000
  15. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Syd Sixers V Hobart I Seven 344,000
  16. 2019 Australian Open Day 10 -Day Nine 339,000
  17. 2019 Australian Open Day 10 -Late Nine 329,000
  18. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Melb Stars V Ade Post Seven 305,000
  19. Qi (R) ABC 284,000
  20. Law & Order: SVU 10 278,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 156,000
  2. 2019 Australian Open Day 10 -Night Nine 140,000
  3. Nine News Nine 125,000
  4. Seven News Seven 121,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 116,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 296,000
  2. Nine News Nine 251,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 234,000
  4. Seven News Seven 210,000
  5. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 207,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 357,000
  2. Nine News Nine 305,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 283,000
  4. Seven News Seven 255,000
  5. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 242,000


WEDNESDAY Multichannel
  1. Peppa Pig AM KIDS/COMEDY 184,000
  2. Dot. AM KIDS/COMEDY 169,000
  3. Hey Duggee AM KIDS/COMEDY 166,000
  4. Luo Bao Bei AM KIDS/COMEDY 166,000
  5. Shaun The Sheep KIDS/COMEDY 160,000
  6. Andy’s Wild Adventures KIDS/COMEDY 156,000
  7. Floogals AM KIDS/COMEDY 156,000
  8. Bluey PM KIDS/COMEDY 154,000
  9. Dino Dana KIDS/COMEDY 149,000
  10. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 147,000
  11. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 146,000
  12. Rita And Crocodile AM KIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  13. Bondi Rescue Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 143,000
  14. Legally Blonde   9GO! 143,000
  15. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom KIDS/COMEDY 138,000
  16. Peter Rabbit KIDS/COMEDY 136,000
  17. Spicks And Specks KIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  18. Octonauts KIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  19. Pie In The Sky PM 7TWO 131,000
  20. Peppa Pig PM KIDS/COMEDY 130,000
  1. Live: BBL: Sixers V Hurricanes FOX CRICKET 169,000
  2. Live: Between The Innings FOX CRICKET 162,000
  3. Live: BBL: Sixers V Hurricanes FOX CRICKET 155,000
  4. Live: BBL: Stars V Strikers FOX CRICKET 71,000
  5. Live: B4 The Bash! FOX CRICKET 63,000
  6. Live: Between The Innings FOX CRICKET 59,000
  7. Live: BBL: Stars V Strikers FOX CRICKET 51,000
  8. Live: BBL Post Game FOX CRICKET 50,000
  9. Live: BBL Post Game FOX CRICKET 44,000
  10. Roswell, New Mexico FOX8 41,000
  11. Family Guy FOX8 40,000
  12. Kirstie And Phil’s Love It Or List It LifeStyle Channel 40,000
  13. Family Guy FOX8 38,000
  14. The Man From Laramie FOX Classics 37,000
  15. NCIS TVH!TS 37,000
  16. Bones TVH!TS 36,000
  17. The Simpsons FOX8 36,000
  18. Yes Minister FOX Classics 35,000
  19. The Simpsons FOX8 34,000
  20. American Dad! FOX8 33,000

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

Melbourne #1: Commercial radio ad revenue up all markets in 2018

New data suggests Melbourne radio announcers and sales executives should be paid at least as much as their Sydney counterparts.

Commercial radio metropolitan ad revenue shows growth across all markets in the 2018 calendar year, according to data compiled by Deloitte and released by industry body Commercial Radio Australia.

Radio ad revenue rose 3.40% to $809.421 million in the five markets for January to December 2018 compared to the same time in 2017.

“The industry worked hard throughout 2018 to continue to attract advertisers and listeners, making buying radio easier through the automated holdings system and listening even more accessible via RadioApp, DAB+, FM or AM, in the car on the phone and through smart speakers,” said CRA chief executive officer Joan Warner.

The Deloitte figures report actual revenue received by metropolitan commercial radio stations and include all metropolitan agency and direct revenue.

Melbourne was the strongest market throughout the 2018 calendar year compared to the 2017 calendar year, with ad revenue up 7.58% to $259.821 million.

Sydney rose 1.35% to $248.663 million.

Brisbane was up 2.42% to $125.308 million.

Perth recorded a 1.15% increase to $106.113 million.

Adelaide rose 1.21% to $69.516 million.

Photo: Fox FM’s Fifi, Fev & Byron won every survey n 2018 and have dominated Melbourne’s FM breakfast slot.

Zenith adds Rio Tinto to list of recent new business wins

Rio Tinto has appointed Zenith to its media planning and buying account following a competitive pitch. The account is being handled out of Zenith’s Melbourne office, with the appointment effective immediately. Billings are undisclosed. The win comes after a number of new business wins for the agency in 2018, including Lactalis, Chinese ride-sharing company DiDi and the Australian College of Psychology.

Nickie Scriven, CEO, Zenith Australia, said: “Zenith is delighted to be appointed as Rio Tinto’s agency of record, and comes off the back of a successful 2018 for the agency, with both local and global new business wins.”

Bernadette Murdoch, chief adviser, brand and communications, Rio Tinto, said: “Rio Tinto is pleased to have appointed Zenith to its media planning and buying account following a competitive pitch. We look forward to working with Zenith and our creative agency Marcel Publicis on our ongoing brand activity in Australia.”

UBS: Kayo can lift Foxtel revenue and subscriber base

Investment bank UBS reckons Foxtel’s new sport-streaming service, Kayo, could be the catalyst to finally expand the pay TV provider’s subscriber base, but is cautious on expectations costs for sporting broadcast rights will continue to balloon, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Foxtel has struggled to push through 30% penetration of Australian households for the past decade; the 65% News Corp-owned business has slashed prices but is still considered expensive.

According to UBS analysis by Tom Beadle and Eric Choi, in which the investment bank surveyed 1904 consumers, price is a major reason many have left or never subscribed.

[Read the original]

How the battle for Village Roadshow could play out

Phase two of the Village Roadshow campaign has begun, reports The AFR’s Aaron Patrick.

The first phase was a board-level argument, which at times became uncivil, between brothers Robert, 67, and John Kirby, 71, over how to run the business founded by their father Roc in 1954.

The second phase kicked off last month when press articles began appearing. Chief executive Graham Burke was mocked for flying to Los Angeles to invest in movies.

Phase three, if the second is successful, will be a shareholder revolt to remove Robert Kirby as executive chairman and Burke, his chief executive. New managers would, presumably, pay themselves a lot less, stop buying wine from Robert Kirby’s Mornington Peninsula vineyard, Yabby Lake, and sell a London business that helps phone makers and similar companies give away stuff to drive sales.

If investors aren’t inspired enough by phase two, lawyers may replace the public relations consultants.

[Read the original]

NBCUniversal on earnings and management on streaming service

Cable giant Comcast, led by chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, on Wednesday reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter financials, including a higher profit at NBCUniversal, with management on the call touting the outlook for a streaming service that the entertainment arm will launch in early 2020, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

During Wednesday’s earnings conference call, Roberts touted the approach Comcast and NBCUniversal have chosen to take in the increasingly crowded streaming field, last week unveiling its plans to launch a free NBCUniversal streaming service in 2020.

“There is robust demand for our content across multiple platforms,” Roberts said. This popularity gives the company a “great opportunity to create own streaming service.” He continued: “This service will be distinct and compelling, offering current and prior seasons, library and some original content with a light advertising load all for free to pay TV customers.”

Roberts said Comcast believes that it can “generate significant value with this service over time by enhancing our content monetization, strengthening the value of pay TV, becoming a leader in targeted digital streaming advertising and expanding our reach through direct customer relationships.””

Addressing the big European acquisition late in the year, Roberts said: “We truly became a global company with our acquisition of Sky and are excited about its future and the potential of our combined company in 2019 and beyond.”

[Read the original]

Viacom acquires free US streaming service Pluto TV, has global plans

Viacom has acquired Pluto TV, the leading free streaming television service in US, for US$340 million in cash.

In a statement, Viacom reported:

Founded in 2013, Pluto TV streams more than 100 channels and thousands of hours of on-demand content spanning television and movies, sports, news, lifestyle, comedy, cartoons, gaming and trending digital series. The ad-supported, internet-based TV service features world-class programming sourced from over 130 partnerships with media networks, major film and television studios and a wide range of digital content producers.


Today, Pluto TV has more than 12 million monthly active users, 7.5 million of which are on connected TVs. Its audience streams billions of minutes of content each month across devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Sony PlayStation consoles, as well as built-in integrations on smart TVs from Samsung and Vizio, and mobile apps on Android and iOS. Pluto TV has also secured new distribution deals that will make the service available on tens of millions of additional devices in the coming months.

The acquisition of Pluto TV will advance Viacom’s key strategic priorities, including expanding its presence across next-generation distribution platforms and growing its advanced advertising business. Additionally, access to Viacom’s global reach, leading brands and vast, unencumbered library will help solidify Pluto TV as the leader in the free streaming video market in the US, and accelerate Pluto TV’s global growth.

News Brands

Rupert never said ‘Malcolm Turnbull's got to go’: Lachlan Murdoch

News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch has rejected claims his father pushed for Malcolm Turnbull’s ouster as prime minister, denying Rupert Murdoch told fellow media mogul Kerry Stokes the Liberal leader “had to go”, reports The AFR’s Tom McIlroy.

The Australia Financial Review’s Rear Window column revealed key details of Turnbull’s downfall in September, including that Rupert Murdoch told the Seven West chairman a change was needed at The Lodge.

Lachlan Murdoch denied his father said “Malcolm has got to go” before a failed challenge by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton – as a new account of the events by journalist Pamela Williams revealed Scott Morrison tried to dissuade colleagues from signing a petition to bring on a ballot and urged Turnbull to shut down Parliament to save his job.

The essay, published in February issue of The Monthly, reveals Turnbull spoke with Rupert Murdoch by phone on August 22.

The younger Murdoch denied his father had received “middleman” messages from Turnbull, Stokes and Seven West Media commercial director Bruce McWilliam, a close friend of the then Liberal leader.

[Read the original]

The Australian also reports on the essay in The Monthly.

[Read the original]

Yang Hengjun: Friends believe writer detained by Beijing security

Friends of a prominent Chinese-Australian writer believe he was arrested by Beijing’s security services at Guangzhou airport and have implored the Aus­tralian government to urgently investigate his disappearance, reports The Australian’s Primrose Riordan and Glenda Korporaal.

The uncertain fate of Yang Hengjun, a novelist and thinker on Chinese politics, has cast a dark cloud over Defence Minister Christopher Pyne’s visit to China today.

Yang’s disappearance was last night the subject of urgent inquiries by Australian diplomats.

While he is an Australian citizen, his friends say his wife is not and is seeking Australian residency. He also has family members who reside in Australia.

Yang is an influential Chinese-language blogger who has written a series of international spy novels. He has been a critic of the Chinese government and an advocate for democracy.

[Read the original]


Anna Wintour on change in media: ‘Let’s embrace what we have now’

US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who is in Melbourne this week for the Australian Open, said she was keen to learn more about Australian designers and was enjoying a side gig as a street-style observer on her first visit to the country, reports The Age’s Melissa Singer.

“I always like to walk in the street and see what people are wearing. It’s been an interesting mix of styles but … [Australia is] quite close to California – it’s quite relaxed and having fun with fashion, not taking it too seriously. I haven’t seen too many suits.”

Wintour’s schedule continues on Thursday with a 15-minute speech at the Australian Open Inspirational Series, where guests will include MP Julie Bishop, former Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, designer Carla Zampatti and media identity Ita Buttrose.

Without giving too much away, Wintour said she’ll use the speech to address “leadership and standing up for what you believe in, particularly in the times we’re living in right now”.

Looking ahead, Wintour said the magazine world was constantly evolving, and she felt “lucky” to be working in a time where readers could access magazine content through so many channels.

“It’s a great time for titles all over,” she said. “There has been no other time when there has been so much opportunity to reach audiences, and different audiences … We work in an industry that’s about change, that reflects change, that is meant to lead change, so [while some] spend a lot of time talking about what used to be, to me, what is the point? Why are you doing that? Let’s embrace what we have now.”

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Dave Hughes on changing TV channels and working with Screentime

Hughesy, We Have a Problem was easily the most successful of a raft of new shows that 10 launched in 2018, reports the Herald Sun’s Colin Vickery.

The program, which sees Hughes and a panel of guest comedians tackling thorny personal and relationship troubles, hit the ground running.

The show launched to 660,000 viewers across the five capital cities and generated lots of positive feedback from viewers.

That was music to 10’s ears in a year that saw it cough up duds including Street Smart and Game Of Games.

The ratings success was also a massive win for Hughes who switched from Nine to Ten to host the show.

“The guys at Screentime (production house) came to me with a show they wanted to call First World Problems,” Hughes explains.

“It was nothing more than a name at that stage and we worked on it from there. The whole ‘problems’ concept is like my stand-up act, which is mainly me making light of the problems in my life.

“So it was in my zone which was great. I thought my comedy could easily extend into a show like this.”

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Kate Langbroek opens up about move to Italy, plans to keep radio show

Kate Langbroek has opened up about her decision to live in Italy, admitting she is “hanging by a thread” ahead of the move, reports

Langbroek, who hosts the Hit Network’s drive show with Dave Hughes, revealed earlier this week she and her family are moving to Bologna for a year at the end of this week.

While she originally planned to quit radio, Hughes convinced Langbroek to stay in her role and broadcast from Italy.

“I can’t tell you why because I’ve got NFI, but at the time it seemed like a good idea that we take our four kids children and go live in Italy for a year,” Langbroek said of the move on Wednesday night’s episode of The Project.

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Ajay Rochester and 97.3’s Bianca Dye reveal feud live on air

Radio host Bianca Dye was left scratching her head this morning when she tried to address a long-running feud with I’m A Celeb evictee Ajay Rochester, reports’s Nick Bond.

Former Biggest Loser host Rochester was speaking on Brisbane’s 97.3 Bianca, Mike & Bob as part of her post-eviction press commitments when Dye announced she wanted to “address the tiny elephant in the room”.

“You and I had a fallout and didn’t speak 15 years ago. Have you forgiven me?” she asked her guest.

Dye insisted she did not remember the cause of their falling out.

After the interview ended, Dye told her co-hosts she was still at a loss to remember what had caused the bad blood between them – and begged Ten to release any footage that may enlighten her.

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Sports Media

CBS rejects Super Bowl ad for medical marijuana

Acreage Holdings, the multi-state cannabis company backed by John Boehner, says CBS rejected a television advertisement that calls for the legalisation of medical marijuana, reports Bloomberg.

The network, which is airing the game on February 3 in the US, nixed the proposed spot after seeing a rough outline, according to the company.

While medical marijuana is now legal in more than 30 states, the federal prohibition on cannabis has restricted research and made it difficult for some potential patients to get their hands on a drug that proponents say helps treat seizures, pain and other ailments.

Super Bowl ads are expensive, reportedly costing more than $5 million for an average 30-second spot last year. Acreage, which went public in Canada last year, was prepared to pony up, and created the ad thinking it had a legitimate chance of getting onto the air. The company said it was careful to position the spot as a “call to political action” rather than a pitch for its brand, which now has cannabis operations in roughly 15 states.

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