Friday May 4, 2018

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News Corp’s Lou Barrett at Come Together: Specialist sales hires and deep-fried Easter eggs

• “You’ve got to have a bit of theatre and make it fun for people”


By James Manning

After the Come Together 2018 Melbourne event, News Corp’s managing director of national sales Lou Barrett told Mediaweek her clients will have a lot of information to absorb after the announcement of 16 different initiatives all offering advertising opportunities.

“There is a lot to take in. By doing it as we have, allowing people to make their way through different presentations showing off the different executions, it allows them to take notes and to get in depth with the brands.”

There was even a bit of theatre in one of the presentations, with three actresses portraying customers of verticals within “You’ve got to have a bit of theatre and make it fun for people. In the past when we have run Come Together we have run one big long execution with a few key initiatives.”

This is an excerpt from the full article, which appears on Mediaweek Premium. Read the full article hereor subscribe to Mediaweek Premium here.

Network Ten celebrates decade of its #1 show: MasterChef Australia

Network Ten CEO Paul Anderson, Endemol Shine CEO Mark Fennessy and MasterChef Australia judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris all spoke at the Melbourne launch of the series last night.

It was a busy week for production chief Fennessy, who delivered a special presentation at the Sony Music conference on the NSW Central Coast on Wednesday.

All three judges were hard on the publicity trail this week. Mediaweek will publish our interview with Matt Preston on Monday.

All five were connected with the network and the series when it launched back in 2009 at the first MasterChef kitchen in Sydney.

Like Australia’s other longtime reality hit The Block, MasterChef moved to Melbourne and was able to maintain and build on its initial successful Sydney seasons.

Speaking at the launch in Melbourne last night, Ten’s Paul Anderson said:

“Tonight we not only celebrate the 2018 launch – a season full of surprises – we also celebrate 10 years of MasterChef, a show that has changed the way we think about food in this country.

MasterChef Australia is synonymous with our network and has been the cornerstone of our program schedule for the past nine years – a cooking show that no-one really gave a chance at the outset – now in its 10th year having made the kitchen a cool pace to be.

Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris, Paul Anderson, Beverley McGarvey and Matt Preston at the launch

“We are most proud of the fact that this show brings families together, bridging generations, race and age, a television show that is feelgood and we think makes a real difference to those who watch it.

“This extraordinary achievement is because of the support and hard work of a lot of very talented people:

“To the team and our friends at Endemol Shine – Carl and Mark Fennessy, Pete Newman and all the incredible EPs who have worked on this show – it’s a behemoth to produce, a 12-month production, and you keep doing it better and better each year.

“To my team at Ten, especially Beverly McGarvey and Rick Maier – you guys were there right from the start and are a major part of something very special.

“To our sponsors, this show is the perfect vehicle to showcase products and produce – a delicate balance in any production – and your support is invaluable. A special mention to Coles, which has been our partner since day one, to John Durkan and the Coles team a very special thank you.

“Last but certainly not least, to Matt, Gary and George. Who would have thought we would be standing here 10 years on, being broadcast in 180 countries and having served up (and presumably tasted) 170,000 eggs, 2.7 tonnes of butter, 3.6 tonnes of sugar, and 5,500 litres of milk? We probably owe you a health check!”

Top photo: Gary Mehigan, Rick Maier, Mark Fennessy, Matt Preston, Beverley McGarvey, Carl Fennessy, Paul Anderson and George Calombaris at the launch

From news to reality to netball: Nine’s all-rounder Jayne Azzopardi

“I used to play netball when I was in highschool,” says Nine all-rounder Jayne Azzopardi, speaking on her new gig reporting the netball. “I wasn’t particularly good at it.”

By Kruti Joshi

Netball has returned to Nine for the second consecutive year. This time the coverage spans across its primary channel too. The broadcaster has assigned a presenter in each state to host its coverage of the Suncorp Super Netball series. This competition, which started on April 28, kicks off Nine’s coverage of the sport for 2018.

Two of the matches from the first weekend were held in Sydney. The Nine reporter assigned to cover all Sydney games is Jayne Azzopardi.

Azzopardi with former Australian captain and Nine commentator Liz Ellis

“I used to play netball when I was in high school,” she told Mediaweek. “I wasn’t particularly good at it. You don’t have to be good at something to be able to talk about it though. You have to be interested in it.”

Azzopardi wears several hats at Nine. She works as a reporter for Nine News Sydney three days a week. On Saturday and Sundays, she is the news presenter on Weekend Today. Earlier this year, Azzopardi hosted 9Life’s Talking Married. This was a talk show about Married At First Sight produced by 9Honey.

This is an excerpt from the full article, which appears on Mediaweek Premium. Read the full article hereor subscribe to Mediaweek Premium here.

Andrew Mercado on TV: Aussie remakes and the new Picnic At Hanging Rock

Picnic At Hanging Rock is the latest in a long line of classic Australian films to be remade, rebooted, prequelised and sequelised, writes Andrew Mercado.

It kicked off with the beautiful Puberty Blues (movie 1981, Ten series 2014), Stan’s double dose of Wolf Creek (movies 2005 and 2014, streaming series 2016, 2017) and Romper Stomper (movie 1992, streaming series 2018), the unnecessary Wake In Fright (movie 1971, Ten miniseries 2017), the never-going-to-end Underbelly: Chopper (movie 2000, Nine miniseries 2018) and soon at the cinema, Storm Boy (original 1976, remake sometime later this year).

Foxtel to let viewers binge on Picnic At Hanging Rock from May 6

There was even talk of another Crocodile Dundee but whoah there, fellas. As brilliant as that Tourism Australia spoof with Chris Hemsworth and Danny McBride was, nothing can top Hoges’s 1986 original. Crocodile Dundee 2 (1988) was just OK but Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001) was dreadful. So, Crocodile Dundee 4, really? Never say never but please, reinvent that wheel and no more lame drug thugs or art thieves, OK?

Which brings us to Picnic At Hanging Rock and the crazy bravery in even attempting another one. Next to Wake In Fright, the 1975 movie is one of the most critically acclaimed Australian movies of all time but much more well known and revered. The original, which took about $25 million box office in today’s money, ran continuously for over a year at city cinemas like Melbourne’s Bercy and overseas it was seen as being at the forefront of the New Wave of Australian cinema. For Foxtel and Fremantle, these are very big and very legendary school shoes to be stepping into.

For a start, they headed back to the original 1967 Joan Lindsay novel and not the Peter Weir film, which was a very Peter Weir interpretation of it. It means more fleshing out of characters like the snooty headmistress Mrs Appleyard, originally played by Rachel Roberts but now fascinatingly portrayed by Game Of ThronesNatalie Dormer. Her backstory, glimpsed occasionally via nightmares and a much lower-class accent voiceover, hints at dastardry in the past and will make her eventual unravelling all the more karmic in its devastation.

The revamping of Miranda though, once a Botticelli-like schoolgirl made iconic by the angelic Anne Lambert, is somewhat more disconcerting. Now played by Lily Sullivan, Miranda is a tomboy who lashes out violently when faced with being sexually assaulted. Within the first two episodes, there is scant detail about what in her background has made her like this – more information had better be coming during the next four instalments!

It goes without saying that I am in for the long run, but what of first-time viewers, particularly those not familiar with the slow-moving story? When Peter Weir re-cut his movie for its 20th anniversary reissue, he actually removed seven minutes of footage even though the film only ran for 115 minutes. It could be the only Director’s Cut in the world not to have added more footage to “expand the director’s original vision” so good on Weir for realising he needed to pick up the pace a bit.

That’s why making all of this new series available for streaming from Sunday is a smart move from Foxtel, because this needs a bingeing audience. It’s possible those watching it weekly on showcase may not last the distance but let’s hope they do. Where it will end though is anyone’s guess but a clue could be in the new tie-in novel, which finishes at the same point as originally published, but not included is “The Final Chapter” which was published separately, years later, in 1987. Perhaps that suggests there will be yet another ending, or maybe none at all as shown in the book and movie. Audiences were once left puzzling at what happened, and that didn’t make everyone happy, but modern audiences won’t be at all surprised if the door (or is that portal?) is kept open for all options in the future.

Top photo: Natalie Dormer in Picnic At Hanging Rock

NZ Media News: Radio ratings, NZME, MediaWorks, Jacindamania, KPEX, media spend

Mediaweek’s John Drinnan rounds up the latest media news from the NZ market.

NZME’s radio win

The first GfK radio survey for 2018 shows NZME’s Newstalk ZB maintaining its position as the #1 station both nationally and in Auckland but it took a hit in the first survey. Overall, Newstalk ZB had a national share of 9.9%, down from 10.7% for the fourth quarter of 2017. In Auckland, Newstalk had an 11% share, compared to 12.7% for Q4 2017. Mai FM holds second place in Auckland. In breakfast, Mike Hosking on Newstalk had 13.2%, down from 14.2% in the fourth quarter of 2017. Hosking’s Auckland share was 15.3%, down from 16.3%.

Biggest radio cume audiences

MediaWorks radio recorded its biggest ever cume audience with a total of 2,417,600 listeners, an increase of 100,800 from December 2017. Total commercial radio listenership also grew to 3,390,200, an increase of approximately 67,400. MediaWorks reported its More FM is New Zealand’s most listened-to music station, increasing its cumulative listenership to 543,400 this survey period. Nationally, More FM’s breakfast attracted the most listeners of any music station, as well as being the nation’s outright favourite radio station in drive.

Leon Wratt, group content director, music, MediaWorks Radio, said in a statement: “We’re thrilled that MediaWorks remains New Zealand’s leading radio network and I’m particularly pleased with our results in major markets where we lead across the board. We’ve had significant increases in listeners in Auckland and Wellington as well as Christchurch where our 25-54 share is now 72.1%. It’s hard to pick out a star performer this survey among More FM, The Breeze, Mai FM and The Sound, but Magic was outstanding having recorded the highest share increase of all stations nationally, up 0.8 percentage points since last survey.”

NZ’s Jacindamania

The Kiwi media love affair for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has hit snags the past fortnight, with social media rallying behind her partner Clarke Gayford. The pair enjoyed glowing coverage from international media covering CHOGM but Gayford complained on Twitter when he arrived home to find a waspish opinion column in the NZ Herald, critical of him and his style. The writer and the Herald were roundly attacked by fans.

Defamation warning

That public backlash incidentally dovetailed into a surprising and unprecedented intervention by the NZ Police commissioner, Mike Bush, over long-running false rumours against Gayford. “While in general we [police] do not respond to enquiries which seek to confirm if individuals are under police investigation, on this occasion we can say that Mr Gayford is not and has not been the subject of any police inquiry, nor has he been charged in relation to any matter,” the commissioner said. A special counsel for Gayford – coincidentally a former high-profile journalist and media commentator – issued a statement to media warning against repeating the allegations that were “untrue and defamatory”.

New KPEX leader

KPEX New Zealand has appointed Simon Birkenhead (pictured above) as CEO. He replaces Richard Thompson who left to launch a new digital consultancy business. Birkenhead is from digital benchmarking business L2 in Europe, with experience in digital strategy, marketing and e-commerce. KPEX is a joint partnership between NZME, Stuff, MediaWorks and TVNZ, and provides real-time bidding access to the content publishers.

Media spend dip

The Advertising Standards Authority has released its 2017 report on New Zealand’s advertising. The report outlines where and how much advertising revenue is being generated. Advertising revenue across all main media was $2.561 billion for 2017, slightly down on 2016. Digital was up $2 million to $785 million – 31% of the total.

Outdoor increased from $118 million in 2016 to $140 million last year. As with the SMI 2017 agency spend figures released in February, both sectors showed growth.

Television generated $566 million and $25 million through its online properties.

Newspapers drew $353 million, with the digital aspect at $82 million. This was quite a big drop from $417 million total in 2016. However, digital was up from $61 million.

Support for women filmmakers

The New Zealand Film Commission announced a new investment fund to celebrate 125 years since New Zealand women won the right to vote. The fund is open to dramatic features in any genre and is offering an investment of $1.25 million each for up to two projects where the director and at least one other key creative is a woman. In 2019 there will be designated production funds to support Pasifika filmmakers, and then further funding allocated to other groups from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, the LGBTQI community and people with disabilities.

Pacific media freedom

A prominent Tonga publisher and campaigner for media freedom Kalafi Moala says the media environment in Tonga is at a low ebb. He said the current government was trying to control channels of public information and responded to criticism or probing questions by ridiculing the media. Last week Tonga dropped two places to 51 in the Reporters Without Borders freedom rankings. Moala said, “The last three and a half years have been the worst that I have seen in Tonga.”

Top photo: new KPEX CEO Simon Birkenhead

NZ Media Profile: Stuff director of revenue Robert Hutchinson

Historically, most revenue directors come from sales or marketing. Stuff chief revenue officer Robert Hutchinson has followed a different career path arriving via digital creativity and entrepreneurship.

By John Drinnan

• NZ Media Profile: Stuff CEO Sinead Boucher

Back in the 90s – when the current digital media world might have been deemed science fiction – Hutchinson was studying English Literature and Fine Arts at Auckland University. Far from dusty thinking, he says, Arts faculties of the day were promoters of digital creativity.

After graduating he was investigating the potential of digital creativity in business and a more lucrative route in real life. He joined an up-and-coming digital firm Terabyte, then formed a consultancy developing websites and e-commerce for advertising agencies and radio.

In 2000 the Dotcom crash was limiting options in New Zealand and he moved to Sydney. For five years Hutchinson was head of new media and digital interface at the ABC. He spent three year years running a digital consultancy for the TV production sector, returning for a second stint as the ABC’s head of digital business development from 2007 to 2013. Hutchinson looked after the ABC shop online, its digital licensing of content and development of new digital products.

After 13 years in Australia – 10 of them at the ABC – Hutchinson returned to New Zealand in 2013.

He started as product development director at Fairfax Media, embarking on a diversification program, including Neighbourly (a community social media platform) and a retail broadband firm Stuff Fibre.

Amid later plans to merge with NZME, Fairfax Media NZ changed its name to Stuff, reflecting the name of its digital news platform.

“When I returned I saw New Zealand as a blank slate,” Hutchinson told Mediaweek. “The trading site TradeMe owned by Fairfax had been a big part of digital strategy in New Zealand.

“When TradeMe was sold by Fairfax, there was still a fantastic digital platform with a great audience and Fairfax New Zealand had lot of flexibility as a brand.

“It was opportunity to re-imagine how something could be done,” he said.

Summing up, he said that in his present role, the aim is to use entrepreneurship to grow revenue.

Hutchinson has some traditional corporate stances: media don’t produce clickbait, they produce things people want to read.

Done well, paid content can be just as valuable as traditional journalism.

“What I want to avoid is our journalism being compromised. The approach is to use entrepreneurship to grow revenue, and that means leveraging off journalism.

“How do we fund journalism so that New Zealand remains a cohesive society you can be proud of – where no people have been held to account,” he said.

“We know that Facebook’s algorithm rewards intense engagement and intense engagement is often generated by that outrage. There has always been a healthy mix of opinion. I like it as a consumer.

“But it always has to be weighted against coverage and good old-fashioned reporting, you need a balance.

“I feel we have done quite a good job setting the standards in our comments sections.” Hutchinson said.

TV Ratings Analysis: Thursday May 3

• Cocktail couple the second team to contest My Kitchen Rules grand final
• Controversy helps AFL Footy Show, but The Front Bar close behind

By James Manning


Just one episode again of Home and Away, which did 732,000 after three other nights in the 700,000s.

My Kitchen Rules has been challenged this year like no other, but it has finished its season a clear audience favourite. Because of the Comm Games, the series wraps this year at the start of the second week of May. Despite innovative ideas last night, urban foodies Stella and Jazzey were hampered by technical difficulties and were eliminated just one stop before the end of the line. Alex and Emily’s Asian and Weis Bar-inspired menu scored high with the judges, including a perfect 10 from Pete, and the cocktail couple will now meet mums Kim and Suong in Sunday’s Grand Final. The penultimate episode had an audience of 1.18m.

AFL markets got The Front Bar with 289,000 watching with 191,000 in Melbourne.


Mediaweek contributor Andrew Mercado was telling A Current Affair about Meghan Markle’s half-brother with the Thursday audience on 788,000.

Northern states saw the NRL clash between Broncos and Bulldogs from Suncorp with a network audience of 432,000 across Nine and Gem – there were 207,000 in Sydney and 188,000 in Brisbane.

Southern state viewers saw RBT, which did 250,000, followed by the AFL Footy Show with guest Gary Ablett on 201,000 in Melbourne where it narrowly outrated The Front Bar. Much discussion about the AFL video scandal also helped draw a crowd.


Madeleine West was a guest on The Project to talk about a new book on the Thursday episode on 501,000.

Show Me The Movie! had good guests last week, and it did well last night too with Madeleine West making another appearance on the channel along with Damian Walshe-Howling, Charlie Pickering, Tegan Higginbotham, (no Gyton Grantley, Fiona O’Loughlin or Natalie Bassingthwaighte as listed in our TV guide). Episode seven did 362,000 after 354,000 a week ago.

Joel Creasey’s very funny stand-up special Fame Whore from the Sydney Opera House did 219,000.

Another Montreal Comedy Special then did 135,000.


The truth about what happened to Kiri was revealed in the Sarah Lancashire drama last night with 357,000 watching. It was a disappointing end to the four-episode series though, with many questions left unanswered.

Wentworth then did 141,000.


Michael Portillo was exploring medieval Britain around Norwich in Great British Railway Journeys for the 293,000 viewers.

Episode eight of Luke Nguyen’s Food Trail was in Singapore with 186,000 watching.

After launching with 270,000 for last week’s two episodes, episode three of The Handmaid’s Tale did 236,000.

Week 18 TV: Thursday
ABC Seven Nine Ten SBS
ABC 9.5% 7 25.2% 9 20.0% TEN 9.6% SBS One 5.5%
ABC 2 2.7% 7TWO 4.4% GO! 2.8% ONE 2.6% VICELAND 1.0%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 3.4% GEM 1.8% ELEVEN 2.7% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.8% 7flix 3.2% 9Life 2.1% NITV 0.2%
TOTAL 14.6% 36.2% 26.8% 14.9% 7.5%
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates Ten Affiliates SBS
ABC 9.2% 7 23.7% 9 19.4% WIN 8.6% SBS One 4.5%
ABC 2 3.5% 7TWO 7.0% GO! 3.0% ONE 2.3% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 1.2% 7mate 3.6% GEM 3.5% ELEVEN 2.1% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 2.4% 9Life 2.1% NITV 0.2%
TOTAL 15.4% 36.7% 28.0% 13.0% 7.0%
82.7% 17.3%
Thursday FTA
  1. My Kitchen Rules Seven 1,185,000
  2. Seven News Seven 968,000
  3. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 960,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 919,000
  5. Nine News Nine 916,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 788,000
  7. Home And Away Seven 732,000
  8. ABC News- ABC 717,000
  9. The Chase Australia Seven 588,000
  10. 7.30 ABC 535,000
  11. Hot Seat Nine 518,000
  12. The Project 7pm Ten 501,000
  13. Ten Eyewitness News First At Five Ten 415,000
  14. The Footy Show Nine 403,000
  15. Thursday Night NRL Live Nine 395,000
  16. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 377,000
  17. Show Me The Movie! Ten 362,000
  18. Kiri ABC 357,000
  19. The Project 6.30pm Ten 331,000
  20. Hot Seat -5pm Nine 310,000
Demo Top Fives

16-39 Top 5

  1. My Kitchen Rules Seven 271,000
  2. Home And Away Seven 154,000
  3. The Project 7pm Ten 139,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 131,000
  5. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 127,000


18-49 Top 5

  1. My Kitchen Rules Seven 446,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 260,000
  3. Home And Away Seven 247,000
  4. Nine News Nine 238,000
  5. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 225,000


25-54 Top 5

  1. My Kitchen Rules Seven 511,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 306,000
  3. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 289,000
  4. Nine News Nine 283,000
  5. Seven News Seven 282,000
Thursday Multichannel
  1. Fireman Sam-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 201,000
  2. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 198,000
  3. Hey Duggee-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 191,000
  4. Peppa Pig-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 191,000
  5. Thomas And Friends-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 179,000
  6. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 178,000
  7. Andy’s Baby Animals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 172,000
  8. Shaun The Sheep ABCKIDS/COMEDY 166,000
  9. Father Brown-PM 7TWO 166,000
  10. Charlie And Lola-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 161,000
  11. Dot.-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 157,000
  12. Murdoch Mysteries-E2 Pm 7TWO 154,000
  13. Murdoch Mysteries-PM 7TWO 153,000
  14. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 152,000
  15. The Justine Clarke Show! ABCKIDS/COMEDY 150,000
  16. Floogals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 146,000
  17. Teacup Travels-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  18. Peppa Pig-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 136,000
  19. Neighbours ELEVEN 135,000
  20. Criminal Minds E2-PM 7flix 133,000
Thursday Subscription TV
  1. Live: NRL Broncos v Bulldogs FOX LEAGUE 272,000
  2. Live: The Late Show With Matty Johns FOX LEAGUE 137,000
  3. Live: NRL Thursday Night League FOX LEAGUE 91,000
  4. Selling Houses Australia LifeStyle Channel90,000
  5. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 79,000
  6. Gold Rush Discovery Channel54,000
  7. Family Guy FOX8 44,000
  8. NCIS TVH!TS 43,000
  9. Family Guy FOX8 42,000
  10. American Dad! FOX8 41,000
  11. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 40,000
  12. Grand Designs New Zealand LifeStyle Channel39,000
  13. The Bolt Report SKY NEWS LIVE 39,000
  14. Credlin SKY NEWS LIVE 38,000
  15. NYC: Real Housewives Of… ARENA 38,000
  16. Bones TVH!TS 38,000
  17. Love Your Home & Garden LifeStyle Channel37,000
  18. The Simpsons FOX8 36,000
  19. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 36,000
  20. Selling Houses Australia LifeStyle Channel 35,000

Media News Roundup

Business Of Media

Media companies and industry bodies slam tech giants in ACCC submissions

Technology giants have been accused of breaching competition practices and abusing their dominant position to push out rivals, in an array of complaints from companies, unions and industry bodies, report The Australian’s Darren Davidson and Dana McCauley.

Publication yesterday of 57 submissions to a world-first inquiry into the digital media market by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission revealed a long list of allegations against Facebook, Google, Amazon, Netflix and Apple.

Written testimony from News Corp, Seven West Media, the Ten Network, Nine Entertainment, advertisers, trade groups and the journalists union reflects growing anxiety across their industries about the power of Silicon Valley, which could open the door to years of regulatory scrutiny. In a 147-page submission, News Corp, publisher of The Australian, made clear that companies such as Facebook and Google were “engaging in anti-competitive practices”.

[Read the original]

News Corp accuses Facebook and Google of “anti-competitive practices”

News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller writes today in The Australian:

The business model for the news industry is in a fragile state, with the digital platforms preventing publishers from best positioning their operations for the future.

This is why the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s world-first inquiry into platforms such as Google, Facebook and Apple is of fundamental importance, not just for media but all businesses.

In terms of the ACCC inquiry, News Corp has not formed a final view as to whether government intervention is required to address the platforms’ negative impacts.

One option is to establish an Algorithm Review Board to analyse and remedy algorithmic distortions of competition and designate the digital platforms as publishers/broadcasters to remove their incentives to distribute lower-quality content.

What is clear, however, is that if local publishers are unable to survive as a result of the platforms’ anti-competitive practices, then all Australians will be the losers.

[Read the original]

Ryan Stokes on growing Seven West Media via combination of print and television

Seven Group Holdings chief executive Ryan Stokes has outlined ambitions to grow the value of the group’s media interests through a broader combination of print and television while also pointing to the likely future sale of the investment portfolio, report The AFR’s Angela Macdonald-Smith and Max Mason.

Addressing investors in Sydney, Stokes said there was “logic” in driving consolidation in the media sector if it created value for shareholders. He was also upbeat about the outlook for Seven’s enlarged industrial services businesses, and its opportunities in the east coast gas market through both the part-owned Beach Energy and the SGH Energy operation.

[Read the original]

oOh!Media CEO Brendon Cook says acquisition talks have stalled with HT&E

oOh!Media boss Brendon Cook says talks have stalled with HT&E over its eagerness to buy its Adshel business, reports The Australian’s Bridget Carter.

At the Macquarie Australia conference in Sydney, Cook said the HT&E board had not engaged further after it put forward a bid for the outdoor media operation.

[Read the original]

Government to announce four-year $140m location incentive to lure productions

Hollywood will be wooed to produce more movies on the Gold Coast through a new Glitter Strip Budget tax break that will create thousands of local jobs, reports News Corp’s Renee Viellaris.

The Turnbull Government will announce the blockbuster boon at Village Studios today in a bid to ensure Queensland continues to win productions like Wolverine, Thor, Aquaman and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

Tourism Minister and Gold Coast MP Steve Ciobo, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Arts Minister Mitch Fifield, will announce the four-year $140 million location incentive, which effectively offers a rebate of 30% for big budget films.

[Read the original]

News Brands

Sophie Mirabella seeking nearly $400,000 from Benalla Ensign publisher

Former federal Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella is seeking nearly $400,000 in damages after a jury found she was defamed by a country newspaper, reports The Australian’s Richard Ferguson.

The paper, the Benalla Ensign, was found to have defamed Mirabella when it published a story that said she “very publicly pushed” her political rival Cathy McGowan out of a photo opportunity in April 2016 during the election campaign.

[Read the original]

The Benalla Ensign is published by the Shepparton-based McPherson Media Group.

The ABC sends another apology to former prime minister Kevin Rudd

The ABC has issued a grovelling apology to former prime minister Kevin Rudd in a bid to fend off legal action, admitting its much-hyped “Cabinet Files” coverage was botched amid a growing number of “editorial mistakes” by the national broadcaster, reports Fairfax Media’s Latika Bourke.

In a letter to Rudd obtained by Fairfax Media, ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie “unreservedly apologised” to Rudd over a much-publicised January report that claimed the Labor prime minister was warned of “critical risks” relating to the home insulation scheme. Four men lost their lives installing home insulation under the controversial economic stimulus program.

It is the second time the ABC has said sorry to the former prime minister over the so-called Cabinet Files leaks, in which the ABC obtained cabinet documents accidentally left in a filing cabinet sold at a second-hand government furniture store in Canberra. The documents related to cabinet deliberations dating back to John Howard’s time in office.

[Read the original]

Seven has suspended sports reporter Josh Massoud after alleged outburst

The Seven Network has suspended sports reporter Josh Massoud after allegations he verbally abused a younger reporter on Tuesday, reports Fairfax Media’s Jenny Noyes.

A source at Seven told Fairfax Media on Thursday Massoud was “immediately” stood down following an incident after the news went to air on Tuesday evening.

It’s understood Massoud exploded at a cadet reporter in Seven’s Sunshine Coast newsroom for breaking embargo on a story involving controversial former NRL player Todd Carney’s plans to relocate from North Queensland to Sydney.

Massoud “apologised profusely” for his outburst, the source said, and has hired a lawyer while HR investigates the incident.

[Read the original]


ABC and ABC Studios Intl commission Hoodlum to make Harrow season two

ABC, Hoodlum Entertainment and ABC Studios International have announced a second season of Harrow.

Ioan Gruffudd as Dr Daniel Harrow

Starring Ioan Gruffudd as forensic pathologist Doctor Daniel Harrow, 10 new episodes of the crime drama will begin filming in Southeast Queensland in September.

ABC’s head of drama, comedy and indigenous, Sally Riley, said: “Harrow has been an incredible launch to our drama slate this year with ABC audiences loving the cast and the stunning Queensland locations.

“It is performing brilliantly for us on broadcast and on our video on demand service iview. We look forward to continuing the adventures in season two.”

Hoodlum Entertainment’s Tracey Robertson said: “We have been so thrilled with the response to the show and it is very exciting to bring the wonderful Ioan Gruffudd and our other fabulous cast and crew back home to Brisbane for a second series.”

Harrow was co-created by writer Stephen M. Irwin (Australia Day, Wake in Fright, Secrets & Lies) and Leigh McGrath (Australia Day, Secrets & Lies, Strange Calls), and will again be produced by Hoodlum Entertainment’s Tracey Robertson and Nathan Mayfield.

ABC is the Australian domestic broadcaster. The series was the first drama production for the Disney-owned ABC Studios International, and Disney Media Distribution will license international rights.

The series has also been supported by Screen Queensland.

Seven announces news and programming plans for the royal wedding

With two weeks left until the royal wedding, Seven has revealed its programming lineup leading up to the big day on May 19.

The Sunrise team led by Samantha Armytage and David Koch will be broadcasting all week in the lead-up from various royal locations around London, culminating at Windsor Castle.

Senior correspondents Melissa Doyle and Michael Usher will anchor Seven News live special coverage of the royal wedding on Seven and 7plus on May 19 from a purpose-built studio overlooking Windsor Castle.

They’ll cross live to Europe bureau chief Hugh Whitfeld and correspondent Laurel Irving during the festivities. US Correspondent Ashlee Mullany will be live from Meghan Markle’s old stomping ground in Los Angeles. Seven’s team of reporters across Australia will be live from royal wedding viewing parties.

Seven’s royal commentators are acclaimed BBC broadcaster Angela Rippon CBE, veteran royal editor and commentator Tim Ewart, royal insider and commentator Victoria Arbiter, royal biographer and historian Hugo Vickers and Sunrise royal editor Rob Jobson. Royal photographer Arthur Edwards, historian Susannah Lipscomb and author Kathy Lette will contribute to the coverage as well.

Seven News coverage of the royal wedding is backed by the exclusive resources of British broadcast news affiliate ITN.

In the week leading up to the event, Seven will air Invitation to a Royal Wedding. The documentary film is produced by Oxford Films, the company behind the top-rating Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy featuring rare interviews with Princes William and Harry.

Ronan Keating signed for Seven’s new singing show All Together Now

Irish singer Ronan Keating will captain the judging panel on Seven’s new show All Together Now.

Ronan Keating

The new singing show, which will be hosted by Julia Zemiro, will see a range of singers (solos and groups) perform in front of The 100 – a group made up of great singers and industry professionals.

If any of The 100 like what they hear, they can stand up, join in and sing along. The more people that join in, the higher the act’s score.

The winner of All Together Now will walk away with a $100,000 cash prize.

Keating said: “This show is a massive hit in the UK and so much fun.

“I jumped at the chance of being The 100 captain. Australia is like home to me so any chance to return here is a blessing.”

After making his debut as the lead singer of Boyzone, Keating launched his solo career in 1999. His 10 studio albums have sold over 22 million copies worldwide and produced hits like “When You Say Nothing At All”, “Life Is A Rollercoaster” and “Lovin’ Each Day”.

The UK version of All Together Now starring former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell has been a smash hit for BBC One with a second series already commissioned.

All Together Now is produced by Endemol Shine Australia for Seven.

For audience tickets, head to

Daily Telegraph’s ratings analysis details changing FTA viewing habits

News Corp’s Jonathon Moran has compared TV ratings from 1997, 2007 and 2017, which give a fascinating snapshot that illustrates how viewing habits have changed over the decades:

In 1997 we watched a very young George Clooney as the sexy Doctor Doug on ER, while Constable Maggie Doyle joined the surprisingly crime-addled Mount Thomas police station in Blue Heelers.

The major stations showed a movie every night at 8.30pm.

And we actually tuned into the Logies.

And the biggest loser was simply the team that lost the grand final.

This was television two decades ago.

[Read the original]

Playmaker’s 10-part drama Reckoning for Sony Pictures Television Networks

Sony Pictures Television Networks has commissioned Sony Pictures TV-owned Playmaker to produce 10-part drama series Reckoning for its international channels in select territories in Europe and Latin America, including AXN, reports Inside Film and Deadline.

Playmaker Media’s David Maher and David Taylor

The series will be produced and post-produced in Australia, with the shoot slated to start on July 9.

Reckoning is part of SPTN’s ramped-up efforts in the original production arena.

Playmaker’s David Taylor and David Maher will EP, with Shawn Seet to direct and co-executive produce, and Diane Haddon to produce.

Reckoning is one of those rare reads you just can’t shake. It’s a family drama like no other, a real study in human behavior and what makes people do – or not do – the unfathomable. And with AXN’s core focus on high-end crime thrillers, Reckoning fits the bill in every way. We are thrilled to work with David Hubbard and David Eick in bringing this beautiful script to life, and Sony’s very own Playmaker is just the team to make it happen,” said SPTN’s EVP programming and production Marie Jacobson.

“We are excited to be working with Marie and the team at Sony Pictures Television Networks on this thrilling new international drama,” said Playmaker’s Taylor and Maher. “David Hubbard’s character-driven narrative is full of suspense and major twists that make for an intense, riveting journey. We can’t wait to bring this story to life on screen.”

Sony Pictures Television Distribution will handle worldwide sales.

Sports Media

Peter Rowsthorn and Gordon Bray to call Western Force games on 7TWO Perth

Western Force World Series Rugby matches will be broadcast live in Perth on 7TWO, starting Friday May 4 with the international fixture against Fiji.

Mario D’Orazio, managing director, Seven Perth, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Western Force in this world-first sports event. Perth rugby fans can look forward to seeing some of the best teams and best players in the world strut their stuff.”

The series will take place at NIB Stadium in Perth and kick off on May 4 against Fiji. The men in blue will then face off against Tonga, the Rebels and the Crusaders before challenging Samoa and Hong Kong.

The special comments team will include former Australian captain Michael Lynagh and a host of other Wallabies including the larger than life Chris Handy. Play-by-play commentators include internationally renowned voice Gordon Bray. Comedian Peter Rowsthorn will also bring his unique brand of entertainment to the commentary team.

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