Friday March 8, 2019

Stan’s Mike Sneesby: Q&A covers growth, revenue…and reality!

The chief executive officer of streaming platform Stan, Mike Sneesby, visited the Mediaweek PodcastOne studio this week.

Interviewing him were Mediaweek’s James Manning and Andrew Mercado.

Stan recently came under 100% ownership of Nine Entertainment Co and Nine chief executive Hugh Marks told Mediaweek last month that they were targeting 3m subscribers for Stan.

Sneesby agreed with that target, but he did admit that Marks might, sensibly, be a little conservative in his forecasting for the business that is now generating annual revenues over $200m.

Listen to the full podcast at PodcastOne here.

Or listen via iTunes here.

Here are some of the interview highlights.

Stan’s brand recognition

Sneesby: “Our name is Stan, but our brand is everything that we take to the consumer – by that I mean the content most importantly, and how people engage with our content, our platforms and our applications and the places where people can reach us. An important part of that is our original production slate and what we do with a true Australian built and growing streaming service.

“We are very proud of that brand recognition and it has been a long journey and there was a tipping point. We passed the 1 million active subscriptions mark around the end of the last financial year and we really felt the momentum in the network. People were talking about our content in day-to-day conversations. People were going to work and they talk about Billions or this week’s premiere of Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

They were talking about Bloom over the summertime. They were talking about the deal with Disney.

With 1.5m subscribers, what is your conversation rate at turning a free trial subscriber into a paying customer?

The model that Stan has is very similar to the Netflix model in that we have a 30-day free trial. Our conversion rate has been quite consistent over the journey and we’re converting around 75% of people. So about three quarters of all subscribers who takes up a free trial become a paying subscriber. And that metric for us, based on international benchmarks that we’ve seen, is a very strong metric. A lot of it has got to do with the fact that we are a local trailblazer. We didn’t have the brand awareness that Netflix had back in 2015 and so the consumer expectations of us were a little bit lower. What you find is people, ever since we launched the service, who have signed up go, ‘Wow, I’m really surprised. I didn’t think it was going to be that good.’

Compared to some of the internationals, we have a better conversion because we tend to beat the expectation of what consumers have in their head.

[What about Hugh Marks’ idea of a potential for 3m subscribers?]

I think that’s right. I also think it’s conservative. He probably would have said the same thing. If you look at the household population in Australia around nine plus million, getting to a 60% plus penetration of that in terms of households, is extremely realistic. If you have a look at where the US is already, some of the numbers in the US are pointing more towards 80% penetration.”

Stan Australian originals

“We are really proud of all of our originals. Bloom specifically has been a huge success for us in terms of its premiere viewing. The January 1 premiere date for Bloom has become our biggest ever day for sign ups of subscribers. The audience and the consumers love the idea of it. They’ve signed up for it and they’ve watched it in their droves. To be able to land legends like Jacki Weaver and Bryan Brown is honestly a dream come true. You think about what we were doing four years ago when we started this service.”

Revenue from Originals

Our revenue model is we want people to be subscribed to our service and we want people to watch as much content as they possibly can. Getting a show that appeals very strongly to a narrow audience in some ways is more important than a show that appeals to a broad audience because we don’t have advertising on Stan.

The size of the audience doesn’t matter. What matters is that we get a really strong following of people who will be prepared to sign up to our service for a particular show. And what we inevitably see in that number that I mentioned before – about 75% of people choosing to continue on as a paying subscriber once they come on. They also get immersed in the breadth of content that we have and continue to enjoy that.

Netflix is now doing reality TV, will Stan?

I don’t think so.

After a doco crime wave come the dramas: Foxtel, Nine, ABC & more

Mediaweek recently wrote about the crime wave hitting FTA TV via the number of real crime documentary series airing at the start of 2019.

That crime wave looks to be getting even more serious with the number of crime dramas being commissioned.

Much has been written about the proposed new Lawyer X project from Foxtel. But it seems it is just one of two major crime series that will air on the subscription TV platform. There could be a reveal of the other project in a matter of days.

Also coming later this year is the previously announced 10-part drama series Les Norton starring Rebel Wilson. The series is being made by John Edwards’ Roadshow Rough Diamond for ABC.

Another project expected, but perhaps not this year, is a TV treatment of John Ibrahim’s Last King Of The Cross. Endemol Shine is the production house and Nine is being mentioned as the broadcaster.

Major crime squad

• Lawyer X – Foxtel
• Project X – Foxtel
• Les Norton from John Edwards – on the ABC with Rebel Wilson
• Last Kings Of The Cross – Endemol Shine for Nine

The Lawyer X project for Foxtel has already seen much speculation about the title role with Nicole Kidman the crowd favourite.

The content will be getting the full News Corp Australia treatment with Sky News Australia producing a documentary and Harper Collins publishing a book penned by Herald Sun journalists Anthony Dowsley and Patrick Carlyon.

One of the delays in announcing the production companies is presumably associated with contracts and funding from government bodies. At least one of the projects is expected be a co-production between an Australian production house and a US producer.

Lawyer X: The story of Informer 3838 is currently in development and the eight-part series will begin production later this year, Foxtel revealed this week.

Foxtel’s executive director of television Brian Walsh said: “This explosive chapter in Australian crime history has all the ingredients to make for a compelling TV series. We are proud to partner with the Herald Sun who exposed the story to bring it to life for television and to deliver a unique and captivating new Australian story for our subscribers.

“A story as significant and substantial as this also has a huge amount of worldwide appeal and I am very confident we will be attracting some very big international names both in front and behind the camera.”

The journalists who exposed the story, Anthony Dowsley and Patrick Carlyon, will act as story consultants to the series.

Top Photo: Herald Sun journalists Anthony Dowsley

Mercado on TV: Neighbours, Les Misérables, Cleaning Up & TV legends

This week got off to a great start when SBS nailed their coverage of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

By Andrew Mercado

The screeching and over-excitement of years gone by was gone, replaced instead with a cool calm led by 10 Perth newsreader Narelda Jacobs. Great breakout packages from Patrick Abboud again, and celebrities galore.

Mardi Gras included Neighbours, in the parade for the first time while simultaneously filming scenes to air next year in time for Mardi Gras 2020 – how’s that for pre-planning? Cast and crew then partied on into the night, which may make them more sensitive about what to air in the week following, given how harrowing this week was, particularly for emotional partygoers already struggling!

Tuesday’s two-hander (Episode 8052 on TenPlay) featured career best performances from Eve Morey (Sonia) and Ryan Moloney (Toadie) as they went on a road trip to her death. And the following night, dealing with the aftermath, has made Neighbours the best Aussie drama on TV all week.

Listen: New Mediaweek podcast: Neighbours and Australia drama with 10’s Sara Richardson and Andrew Mercado

It’s too early to pick which new British drama will be the best next week, but Les Misérables could be off and running thanks to a memorable opener next Tuesday on BBC First. It is the latest adaptation of the classic novel after countless movie versions and the long-long-running stage musical. It has also had several TV versions with Richard Jordan playing Valjean in 1978 and Gerard Depardieu in 2000 but now it’s the mighty Dominic West who is superb in the role. And given she has just won the Best Actress Oscar, can’t wait to see Olivia Colman as Madame Thenardier (not to mention her playing The Queen soon for Netflix).

Cleaning Up next Friday on Seven follows a mum with a gambling problem who stumbles onto an insider trading scheme. The first episode is both slow moving and exhausting and the only thing that’s keeping me in is BAFTA Best Actress winner Sheridan Smith (Mrs Biggs and Cilla). I suspect Cleaning Up will get even sillier over the next six weeks, as Les Misérables gets more and more grim.

More grim news came with the deaths off Mike Willesee and Luke Perry. As a kid, I remember how hard my parents would laugh at the comedy skits Willesee put into A Current Affair. He will always be though of as a TV legend. And Luke Perry dying of a stroke at just 52 is rough for 90210 fans but maybe the just-announced reboot show can eulogise him.

Desert Vet Dr Rick Fenny heading to Nine with four new episodes

The Australian TV special Desert Vet is to begin filming a four-part series for national and global screens in the heartland of Western Australia’s Pilbara region where legendary kelpie Red Dog roamed, as well as return to the state’s Gascoyne coast and – for the first time – head to the Goldfields.

The series – which will screen on the Nine Network in Australia and wildlife, science and adventure programme channel Eden TV in the UK and Europe as Outback Vet – is shooting in Karratha, Port Hedland, Shark Bay, central WA, and Kalgoorlie over four weeks from mid-March.

Desert Vet stars 2018 West Australian of the Year finalist Dr Rick Fenny (pictured) – best known for being Red Dog’s vet and laying him to rest in 1979 – and centres around the heartache and joy witnessed by veterinarians – including his daughter Louisa – as they treat beloved animals at his Pets + Vets WA clinics across WA’s outback, as well as the dynamics of the old-school vet and 70-year-old grandfather’s growing family.

Dr Fenny’s marine biologist son Ed, who runs Ocean Park Aquarium in heritage-listed Shark Bay, will also be back for the series.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be getting back out on the road to shoot Desert Vet the series and know that we’re playing our part in building a narrative around what makes WA different and unique, and taking that to the world, as well as underscoring the vital role vets play, especially in the outback where animals are often a major part of the family or even someone’s closest companion,” said Dr Fenny.

Desert Vet EP Matty Roberts, from Sydney production house Projucer, said the cameras would again follow Rick on his regular travels through the red dirt regions of WA treating animals – which he’s been doing for 46 years – as well as capture day-to-day drama unfolding at his clinics in Karratha, South Hedland and Kalgoorlie with Louisa, and spend some time with Ed at famed tourist attraction Ocean Park to capture some jaw-dropping marine animal encounters.

“The feedback from the Desert Vet pilot episode, which was watched by more than 800,000 people last year, was that viewers wanted to see more of Rick’s family, and engage more deeply with some of the unique animal stories, so we’ll be looking to go over and above that episode via some really amazing new storylines and surprises,” he said.

Nine network head of programming Hamish Turner said: “It’s great to be partnering with Projucer on this production. We were drawn to the diverse characters and storytelling the outback delivers. It prints a very unique range of real-life Australian stories.”

Acquisitions Manager for UKTV, Charlie Charalambous, said: “We’re delighted to be working with our production partners on another amazing series. The gripping animal stories and fantastic shooting locations will create a wonderful show that’s perfect for Eden and its viewers.”

Desert Vet is due to air on UKTV’s Eden and Nine’s primary channel at primetime on Friday nights in the second half of the year.

TV Ratings Analysis: March 7

• 10’s Gogglebox audience delivers best share since week six
• Seven wins Thursday with News, Home & Away, Miss Fisher
• What were you watching at 7pm? Strong Thursday offering

Thursday: Week 10 2019

By James Manning

• Seven News 906,000/876,000
• Nine News 779,000/779,000
• A Current Affair 706,000
• ABC News 655,000
• 7.30 528,000
• The Project 216,000/367,000
• 10 News First 347,000
• SBS World News 99,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 280,000
• Today 167,000


Seven News gave the channel a good kick start and was key to helping Seven win the night.

Home And Away delivered three episodes with Alf looking like he was out on a date with only his second love interest on the show after 20 years – played by Belinda Giblin. The average across the three eps was 532,000.

The third of the four episodes of Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries then did 304,000, the smallest overnight audience so far after the series launched with 463,000. Last week’s episode added over 100,000 in the consolidated 7 ratings though – growth of 35%.


The channel delivered a strong showing at 7pm too in an episode of A Current Affair hosted by Leila McKinnon. The episode started with an item about people being sold “fake” coffins. Simon Bouda then reported on a brave former policewoman before Reid Butler spoke with MAFS bad wife Jessika. The episode was down 100,000 on Wednesday to 706,000.

Two episodes of Young Sheldon delivered 512,000 and then 427,000.

Australian Crime Stories then covered the fascinating story of John Friedrich with 279,000. The consolidated numbers showed 10% audience growth for last week’s Packer Gold Robbery episode, but if you haven’t seen that go to 9Now for what is a great episode.


The channel enjoyed its best night this survey year and the best night overall since Thursday in week six.

The Project was full of goodness, especially after 7pm. We missed the Sports Illustrated cover model, but did manage to see Maude Garrett’s great interviews for the new Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson. Then Waleed Aly had a moving report from Vietnam on the impact Agent Orange is having over 40 years since the Vietnam war. The episode deserved a bigger audience than 357,000.

Show Me The Movie was on 340,000 for a second consecutive week with the guests last night including the wife of host RoveTasma Walton. “A personal favourite of mine” said Rove during the introductions!

Gogglebox then nearly doubled the 10 audience with 646,000 after 647,000 a week ago. The consolidated 7 ratings were up 25% week-on-week.


Escape From The City was in the NSW Southern Highlands. But there was no sale as the audience of 432,000 saw the couple actually decide on a property, but a postscript noted they missed out on the house.

No more Grand Designs Australia, but the premiere of crime series Informer with 202,000 watching. 


The first of the three-part repeat of Secrets Of The Tudors did 202,000.

The audience climbed to 231,000 after 8.30pm for Rolls Royce: Dream Machines.

The channel’s best show of the night was the second episode of the miniseries Trust Me with Jodie Whittaker. It did 92,000 after 9.30

Week 10 TV: Thursday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 11.4% 7 18.4% 9 15.9% 10  14.1% SBS One 5.0%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.4% 7TWO 2.9% GO! 4.3% 10 Bold 3.6% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 4.4% GEM 3.2% 10 Peach 2.2% Food Net 1.5%
ABC NEWS 1.6% 7flix 2.7% 9Life 2.1%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 1.0%            
TOTAL 17.2%   29.4%   25.5%   19.8%   8.1%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.6% 7 20.0% 9 14.0% WIN 12.4% SBS One 5.0%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.1% 7TWO 4.2% GO! 4.0% WIN Bold 3.8% VICELAND 1.3%
ABC ME 1.0% 7mate 5.0% GEM 5.1% WIN Peach 2.1% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 3.1% 9Life 1.7% Sky News  on WIN 0.9% NITV 0.2%
TOTAL 16.2%   32.3%   24.8%   19.2%   7.7%


83.9% 16.1%
  1. Seven News Seven 906,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 876,000
  3. Nine News Nine 779,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 779,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 706,000
  6. ABC News ABC 655,000
  7. Gogglebox 10 646,000
  8. Home And Away Seven 532,000
  9. 7.30 ABC 528,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 512,000
  11. Young Sheldon Nine 512,000
  12. Escape From The City ABC 432,000
  13. Young Sheldon – (R) Nine 427,000
  14. Hot Seat Nine 422,000
  15. The Project 7pm 10 357,000
  16. 10 News First 10 347,000
  17. Show Me The Movie! 10 343,000
  18. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 322,000
  19. Ms Fisher Modern Murder Mysteries Seven 304,000
  20. Hughesy, We Have A Problem Encore 10 292,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. Gogglebox 10 188,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 117,000
  3. Seven News Seven 116,000
  4. Young Sheldon Nine 105,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 99,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. Gogglebox 10 307,000
  2. Seven News Seven 208,000
  3. Young Sheldon Nine 198,000
  4. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 197,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 185,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. Gogglebox 10 349,000
  2. Seven News Seven 269,000
  3. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 257,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 237,000
  5. Young Sheldon Nine 234,000
THURSDAY Multichannel
  1. Rusty Rivets PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 164,000
  2. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 163,000
  3. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 156,000
  4. Octonauts ABCKIDS/COMEDY 154,000
  5. Wanda And The Alien PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 152,000
  6. M- X-Men: The Last Stand PM 7mate 149,000
  7. Kazoops! PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 148,000
  8. Pj Masks PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  9. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  10. Dino Dana ABCKIDS/COMEDY 141,000
  11. Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  12. Death In Paradise 9Gem 126,000
  13. Point Break 9GO! 121,000
  14. Survivor: Edge Of Extinction 9GO! 120,000
  15. Hawaii Five-O (R) 10 Bold 117,000
  16. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 112,000
  17. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 112,000
  18. Neighbours 10 Peach 111,000
  19. Father Brown PM 7TWO 108,000
  20. The Big Bang Theory 9GO! 108,000
  1. Live: JLT Series: Geelong V Essendon FOX FOOTY 103,000
  2. Ron Iddles: The Good Cop crime + investigation 75,000
  3. Gold Rush Discovery Channel 59,000
  4. Outback Opal Hunters Discovery Channel 54,000
  5. Call The Midwife BBC First 50,000
  6. Curious George Nick Jr. 45,000
  7. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 43,000
  8. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 41,000
  9. Shimmer And Shine Nick Jr. 40,000
  10. Credlin Sky News Live 39,000
  11. Nella The Princess Knight Nick Jr. 37,000
  12. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 37,000
  13. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Foxtel Movies Premier 36,000
  14. PML Later Sky News Live 36,000
  15. Border Security: Australia’s Front Line FOX8 35,000
  16. Open All Hours FOX Classics 34,000
  17. To The Manor Born FOX Classics 33,000
  18. Homicide Hunter crime + investigation 32,000
  19. The Simpsons FOX8 32,000
  20. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 31,000

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

International Women’s Day

Bauer Media launches Financially Fit Females campaign

Bauer Media has launched a major campaign designed to empower and educate the nation’s more than 12 million women about their personal finances and financial abuse.

According to research based on the Australian Bureau of Statistic 2012 Personal Safety Survey 15.7% of women had experienced economic abuse in their lifetimes with the risk of economic abuse peaking at 20.9% for women between the ages of 40 and 49.

The campaign, entitled Financially Fit Females, will be run across Bauer’s 36 media brands, including ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Australian Women’s Weekly and Woman’s Day with a combined readership of some 7.5 million.

At a breakfast in Sydney to celebrate International Women’s Day, Jane Waterhouse, general manager of Bauer’s Story 54 said that the campaign is centred around one of the most serious problems facing many Australian women; not having full control and understanding of their finances and how this can lead to financial and economic abuse.

“This campaign will sit at the heart of Bauer’s activist agenda over the coming year and into the future,” Waterhouse said.

Bauer’s finance editor Effie Zahos said, “Women are just as much a part of our economy as men, but many still seem to have a poor understanding of important financial concepts and activities.

“The way a woman deals with savings, superannuation, separation, the gender pay gap and other significant issues can spell the difference between living a financially comfortable life or not.”

Womans Day editor-in-chief Fiona Connolly said major problems could emerge when a woman does not understand her finances and more significantly leaves their management to a partner.

“The situation can become dire for older women whose partners take control of their joint finances, leading to women being forced to live in domestic poverty and suffering from financial abuse.

“The facts are that financial abuse is highly gendered with more than 15 percent of women experiencing financial abuse often in romantic relationships.

“Sexually transmitted debt and inappropriate financial affairs are very real problems for tens of thousands of Australian women,” Connolly said.

Paul Dykzeul, Bauer Media CEO said the Financially Fit Females campaign will build on Bauer’s successful participation in the community push last year to have the GST on female sanitary products, aka “the tampon tax” removed.

“What is now clearer than ever is that a concerted media campaign by a publisher like Bauer around significant women’s issues can have an impact and force real change.

“At Bauer we make no apology for fighting hard for the things women value and we look forward to whichever political party forms government after the election joining with us to drive education for women around their financials,” Dykzeul said.

Photo: Bauer Media editors Elle Lovelock, Effie Zahos, Lisa Green, Fiona Baker, Fiona Connolly

MTV becomes WTV as it flips it logo for special WTV IWD

MTV will become WTV on Friday March 8 to honour International Women’s Day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.

The logo flip, first adopted internationally by MTV in 2017, will make its way on air and online again to mark its commitment to this very important day.

Throughout the day, MTV Australia will include special online coverage of impressive and inspirational Australian woman. Those profiled include Miranda Tapsell, Penny Wong, Shareefa J, Jean Hinchliffe, Ellia Green.

MTV Music will host a full day takeover of girl power hits including bespoke countdowns and curated playlists that celebrate female artists. MTV Dance will start the day with a Who Run The World? Girls! playlist that you can catch on Foxtel and Fetch.

E! becomes She! Celebrating strong females everywhere for IWD

As a network that is for and about females with strong points of view, E! will transform into “SHE!” across all platforms to celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday March 8.

The “SHE!” initiative, which will span across the network’s on-air, digital and social franchises, will salute boss women everywhere and feature empowering messages from the women of E! The day will include E!’s popular slate of female-driven shows when the E! logo transforms into “SHE!” for 24 hours.

E! News has been running a week-long series telling the stories of impactful women making great strides in their communities. From young female executive producers taking over Hollywood to powerful girl bosses running their own companies. Other interviews will include Afghanistan refugee turned investigative journalist Nelufar Hedayat who put herself in dangerous positions to uncover the black market and a conversation with famed photographer Kate Parker who is capturing the attention of celebrities as she features young aspirational girls looking to make a difference.

Additionally, each episode of Busy Tonight, hosted by Busy Philipps, will showcase strong women including activist and actress America Ferrara, Australian actress Isla Fisher, comedian Margaret Cho and culinary expert Elizabeth Chambers.

Christine Fellowes, managing director International Networks (APAC) said: “We are honoured to support such an important campaign celebrating strong, passionate, courageous women around the world. E! is the home of many successful and empowering females both on and off the screen, making it the perfect platform to drive this initiative.”

Zenith shines spotlight on the need to #BalanceForBetter on WD

Zenith yesterday celebrated International Women’s Day ahead of the official day, with an event featuring leaders from Australia’s media and marketing industry.

The agency’s staff, clients and media partners came together in Sydney to celebrate this year’s global theme #BalanceForBetter, with Zenith CEO Nickie Scriven presenting a panel discussion featuring Luxottica’s VP Marketing, Milena Cavicchioli; Nine’s Chief Sales Officer, Michael Stephenson and SBS’s Director of Marketing, Jane Palfreyman.

Key issues discussed included the challenges of gender balance in the media and marketing sectors, how to change workplace cultures and people’s mindsets, and addressing diversity and female stereotypes in advertising and the media.

Scriven said: “The theme #BalanceforBetter is about exploring how we can build a gender-balanced world – at leadership levels, in our workplaces and society in general.

“At Zenith Australia, 63% of our national executive leadership team are women, and we have over 14 nationalities represented within our national workforce. We take a progressive approach in how we ensure there is equity, diversity and overall respect for our co-workers, contractors, job candidates, clients and associates, as well as visitors to our workplaces.”

Last year, Zenith’s parent company, Publicis, launched the VivaWomen! program in Australia, to support and enable the 1,000+ women within the group to thrive within the businesses through programs that encourages both personal and career development.

Top Photo: Nickie Scriven, CEO, Zenith; Milena Cavicchioli, VP Marketing, Luxottica; Michael Stephenson, Chief Sales Officer, Nine; Jane Palfreyman, Director of Marketing, SBS

smoothfm’s Bogart and Jen celebrate IWD with fave female artists

smoothfm will be reflecting International Women’s Day by celebrating listener’s favourite female artists with a playlist comprised entirely of women, and their biggest hits, from 6am to midnight on Friday 8 March.

Tracks will include AdeleRolling in the Deep, Tina ArenaSorrento Moon, Olivia Newton-JohnXanadu, Whitney Houston I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Aretha FranklinRespect, MadonnaInto The Groove and Cyndi LauperGirls Just Want To Have Fun to name a few.

Jennifer Hansen

smoothfm’s leading ladies Bogart Torelli, host of smoothfm’s 95.3’s Sydney More Music Breakfast, and Jennifer Hansen from smoothfm 91.5’s Melbourne More Music Breakfast Show, have nominated their favourite female artists and the songs that reflect this special day for them.

Jennifer Hansen said, “The most obvious and favourite for International Women’s Day would have to be Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman. Reddy was honoured this year at Say G’Day in LA with a Lifetime achievement award and this song also won her a Grammy in 1972 beating Barbra Streisand and Roberta Flack. It’s the most iconic feminist song of all time and I adore it. Still on empowerment… Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive. I sang this with actress, and now director Kate Kendall, one year at the Alannah and Madeleine Foundation’s charity fundraiser Starry Night Ball at Crown. We had a ball performing on stage and it will always be a favourite karaoke number for me. Finally Dixie ChicksNot Ready To Make Nice is another great song about empowerment and standing up for what you believe in. I really admire the girls for their bravery in speaking out at the time about the US involvement in the war in Iraq and their thoughts of freedom of speech and this song also won a Grammy for Song Of The Year in 2007.”

Bogart Torelli

Bogart Torelli selected Tina Turner’s Simply The Best, saying, “I saw her in Sydney on the Private Dancer Tour and she blew me away. An amazing human from singing in the Nutbush church choir to leaving an abusive relationship to super stardom. Tina is the best. Another is Tina Arena, and the award winning Chains the song highlighted her amazing talent. She is the daughter of Italian immigrants just like me, who’s hard work and self-belief has cemented her success. Adele, Don’t You Remember, Someone Like You.. I love all her songs. Not surprisingly one of the bestselling artist in the world. I love her voice, her attitude and the fact she does not crave the world of celebrity.”

Business of Media

Patrick Grove launches i-Catching funding round for iflix

Asian subscription video on-demand business iflix is set to sit down with Australian fund managers next week to explore an injection of capital ahead of a potential ASX-listing in the next 12 months, reports The AFR’s Street Talk.

The column reveals iflix chief executive Mark Britt – formerly an executive in Nine’s old digital division mi9 – and executive director Luke Elliott will meet with institutional investors in Sydney on Tuesday and Melbourne on Thursday at Macquarie Capital’s offices.

The pair are set to discuss the potential for fundies to jump on board in the streaming business’ pre-initial public offering funding round.

[Read the original]

Foxtel kicks off $2.5b debt deal; Goldman Sachs leads round one

News Corp and Telstra owned pay-TV giant Foxtel is cap in hand in front of debt investors, seeking more than $2.5 billion to bankroll the company, reports The AFR’s Street Talk.

He column reveals Foxtel management and its bankers kicked off the pitch to potential backers this week, meeting credit teams at the big Australian superannuation funds and institutional investment houses on Wednesday and Thursday.

It is understood investors were told Foxtel was seeking more than $2.5 billion across three parts; an Australian dollar term loan B deal, a US dollar term loan B deal and a US dollar high yield bond raising. The funds would replace the company’s $2.5 billion-odd debt pile, which was starting to fall due this year.

The company had close to 2.9 million subscribers as at December 31, according to disclosures from its majority shareholder News Corp last month, which was higher than the prior year.

However, its revenue and earnings are struggling. Foxtel’s revenue in the three months to December 31 was down 11 per cent to $US562 million.

[Read the original]

Labor demands Mitch Fifield end ABC funding uncertainty

Labor has ramped up its attack on Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, demanding he end the funding uncertainty around an ABC news gathering program, aimed at bolstering the public broadcaster’s local and regional services, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

Opposition communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland said “a question mark hangs” over the so-called Enhanced Newsgathering Program, which was introduced by the Labor government in 2013 under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

The program received $20 million annually over three years, but the Liberal government cut the funding to $15 million a year.

ABC acting managing director David Anderson has warned that it faces a $127 million budget hole over the next three years if the news gathering program isn’t extended. The Liberal government has already announced an $83.7 million cut to the ABC’s tri-annual budget.

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Marketers are addicted to the cheap reach of Facebook, Google

“We’re all on the drug,” one senior marketer told me last week after hearing the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims beseech advertisers to engage more seriously with the regulator in its inquiry into Google and Facebook, reports The AFR’s Paul McIntyre.

It’s a particularly sharp point – a posse of Australia’s biggest advertisers are heading off on a Facebook-bankrolled trip to its headquarters in Silicon Valley this month.

Facebook and YouTube deliver extraordinarily “cheap reach”, which means the cost of advertising is so low, marketers can’t say no.

The CEO of IPG Mediabrands, Danny Bass, says he doubts the local broadcasters’ video on demand (BVOD) services will benefit from the current YouTube boycott in Australia. “Look at the cost of BVOD,” he says. “Let’s says the effective CPM [cost per thousand people] is $5 on YouTube. BVOD can be $70. Advertisers will ultimately go back to Facebook and YouTube because it’s so cheap.”

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Google leads tech industry resistance to ACCC copyright plan

Google says a proposal by the competition regulator to bring in new rules with large fines if it fails to take down copyright-infringing content like movies and TV shows would harm Australia’s tech industry and risk derailing global efforts to combat piracy, reports The AFR’s Paul Smith.

In a wide-ranging interview with Boss magazine in Friday’s The Australian Financial Review, recently appointed Google Australia and New Zealand managing director Melanie Silva said she would welcome some new regulations as a result of the ACCC review, but the company was looking to lessen new oversight where possible.

It claims it already has extensive tools in place to speedily take down infringing content and says introducing new requirements in Australia, with large fines, would lead to tech companies greatly reducing the amount of content they looked to serve up in Australia.

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News Brands

How four South Australian women edited The Advertiser for IWD

Erin Phillips is arguably the best female AFL player in the world. Teresa Palmer is blazing a trail in Hollywood. Penny Wong is a Canberra powerbroker. Vickie Chapman is South Australia’s’s first female Deputy Premier and Attorney-General.

So why did they agree to guest edit Friday’s edition of The Advertiser? asks Kara Jung.

Because they all believe in celebrating women and continuing to campaign for gender equality.

These four successful and inspirational South Australian women descended on the newsroom to co-edit an International Women’s Day edition of The Advertiser. They pitched story ideas, had their say on others in terms of treatment and placement and have contributed columns and their own stories.

Politics were (mostly) put aside, when the SA Labor senator and the state Liberal Deputy Premier stood side-by-side to edit the news pages, while Phillips took over the sports section and Palmer became boss of opinion, entertainment and world.

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Top Photo: Vickie Chapman, Teresa Palmer, Erin Phillips and Penny Wong will edit The Advertiser for International Women’s day

Source: Naomi Jellicoe/The Advertiser

Former company boss loses appeal in case against The Australian

Former training company executive Atkinson Prakash Charan has lost his appeal in a defamation case he brought against The Australian, with the Victorian Court of Appeal confirming the Supreme Court’s judicial condemnation over his involvement with disreputable business practices at the failed company with which he was involved, Australian Careers Network, reports The Australian’s Ben Butler.

Charan sued The Australian’s publisher, Nationwide News, just before Christmas in 2015 over an article which incorrectly stated that he was a director of ACN.

In fact he was a major shareholder in the company.

The Australian told Charan’s lawyers that it expected to incur costs of close to $1m by the end of the trial and asked him to pay the newspaper $100,000 as a contribution to its legal costs to walk away.

Charan responded by demanding The Australian pay him $120,000, plus his costs, and give an apology.

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Some radio stations stop Michael Jackson songs: Who’s in & who’s out

Local radio network Nova Entertainment Group, whose stable includes easy-listening station smoothfm, has joined international networks in pulling Michael Jackson songs from its playlists, in the wake of renewed sexual abuse allegations against the late singer featured in the documentary Leaving Neverland, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Robert Moran.

The documentary was this week televised in the US and UK; it will air in Australia on Friday and Saturday night on Network Ten.

“The decisions we make about the music we play on any of our stations are dependent on the relevance to the audience and the current context,” said Paul Jackson, Nova Entertainment’s group program director. “In light of what is happening at the moment, smoothfm is not currently playing any Michael Jackson songs.”

The Australian Radio Network (ARN), which hosts easy-listening station WSFM, is awaiting a stronger response from its listeners.

“At this stage, ARN stations with music formats that play Michael Jackson won’t be removing his music. However, as always, we will continue to regularly review our playlists based on what audiences want to hear,” an ARN spokesperson said.

And Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), whose stations include Triple M and 2DayFM, have no immediate plans to remove Jackson’s songs.

[Read the original]


Spoken word: Podcasting’s explosive year-over-year growth in US

Edison Research and Triton Digital have released the US results of The Infinite Dial 2019.

Podcasting shows explosive year-over-year growth as gains in spoken-word audio mark the 2019 Infinite Dial Study by Edison Research and Triton Digital. Among the US population ages 12 and older, the total number of people who have ever listened to a podcast passes 50% for the first time.

“This is a watershed moment for podcasting – a true milestone. With over half of Americans 12+ saying that they have ever listened to a podcast, the medium has firmly crossed into the mainstream,” noted Tom Webster, senior vice president at Edison Research.

One-third of the population reported having listened to a podcast in the last month, representing 90 million monthly listeners. The spoken-word audio sector also saw increases with audiobooks, as the portion of the US population that has ever listened to an audiobook surpasses one-half for the first time.

Regarding social media, the latest study finds the number of current users of Facebook continues to drop. The study shows an estimated 15 million fewer users of Facebook than in the 2017 report. The declines are heavily concentrated among younger people.

The percentage of Americans who listen to online audio (defined as listening to AM/FM radio stations online and/or listening to streamed audio content available only on the internet) has doubled since 2012, growing from one-third of the population to two-thirds.

Other survey highlights included:

• Time spent listening to online audio has reached a record high this year, with weekly online audio listeners reporting an average of nearly 17 hours of listening in the last week.

Download a copy of the report here.


John Casey joins the Foxtel marketing team

Foxtel chief marketing officer Kieren Cooney announced this week the creation of a new role at the subscription television platform – group director, marketing.

“I’m thrilled to say that John Casey will be joining Foxtel to take up this role,” said Cooney. “John comes to us from Supercars. Prior to this he has had a long and celebrated career in marketing, including Vodafone and NBN Co.

“John will start with us on 22 March. The key roles that will report into this new role are: entertainment marketing, sports marketing, product marketing, brand and retail marketing.”

“I’m thrilled to say that John Casey will be joining Foxtel to take up this role,” said Cooney. “John comes to us from Supercars. Prior to this he has had a long and celebrated career in marketing, including Vodafone and NBN Co.

“John will start with us on 22 March. The key roles that will report into this new role are: entertainment marketing, sports marketing, product marketing, brand and retail marketing.”

BBC boss mocks Netflix’s viewing figures for The Crown

The BBC director general, Tony Hall, has mocked the size of Netflix’s viewing figures, claiming only seven million Britons watched The Crown despite the enormous media buzz around the big-budget show, reports The Guardian.

The BBC boss said high-profile dramas such as Luther and Bodyguard reached larger audiences with a smaller budget on the public broadcaster than expensive Netflix shows.

“I mentioned the Bodyguard finale reaching 17 million viewers,” he told a media conference in London. “That was in one month. Our data suggests The Crown reached seven million users in 17 months.”

A BBC spokesperson said Hall’s source for the viewing figures was a nationally representative survey commissioned by the corporation last year, which asked Britons whether they had watched at least 15 minutes of an episode of The Crown.

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Ash Williams reveals he was so close to being The Bachelor 2018

Comedian Ash Williams has revealed that he was set to be The Bachelor last year before being cruelly dumped at the last second, reports’s Andrew Bucklow.

The TV and radio regular told the Highs Heels and Hangovers podcast that he was approached by producers to be the leading man on last year’s season (which starred Nick “Honey Badger” Cummins).

“They called me,” Williams said. “They were like ‘Do you want to do The Bachelor?’ and I was like, ‘Well, I’m not doing anything for like the next five years so I can spare three months’.”

Williams told Highs Heels and Hangovers hosts Jana Hocking and Carla “Biggzy” Bignasca that he packed a bag and waited for The Bachelor producers to call to lock everything in, but he never heard from them again.

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Sports Media

Int Women’s Day: The 50 most influential women in Australian sport

To mark International Women’s Day, The SMH has compiled a list of the 50 women making the biggest impact on the Australian sporting landscape – from chief executives to world champions. The list includes:

Amanda Laing, Foxtel chief commercial officer

The Foxtel consultant was one of the architects behind the NRL’s last billion-dollar broadcast in her previous role as managing director of Nine. She is currently on the ARL Commission and is also an Sport Australia director.

Caroline Wilson, journalist

The chief football writer for The Age for nearly two decades, “Caro” is a Walkley-award winning journalist whose opinions and reports have long held sway within the game’s corridors of power.

Lucy Zelic, journalist

One of the present day faces of football on SBS, Lucy Zelic has not just become an icon of football in Australia but of women’s sport.

The younger sister of Socceroo Ned Zelic, she’s been the presenter of The World Game and SBS sport for the past six years, covering the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, A-League, Socceroos and Matildas games.

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