By James Manning
The London-based Parade Media has just had its best year after a significant increased investment in personnel. Founded by Australian Matthew Ashcroft (pictured), his business not just distributes lifestyle and factual programming, it also works on the development, co-production and financing of that content.
Mediaweek visited Ashcroft at the company’s London base in the historic Somerset House in London earlier this year. Events since that meeting have thrown up some unexpected challenges for the business, something that Ashcroft addresses in a more recent discussion we also had with him.
Ashcroft started working in distribution of television programs in the late 90s working with Wendy Hallam and her team at ABC International. He soon moved to Southern Star and then after moving to London worked under Greg Phillips at what was then Fireworks (now Content Media Corp). He later found himself back in Australia, this time at Viacom managing Asia-Pacific program sales.
Ashcroft moved to Singapore, twice, Australia again, some of that time working with Mark and Carl Fennessy at Shine Australia as head of Asia Pacific international distribution. Ashcroft noted the main driver of revenues at the time was the MasterChef format which had been supercharged in Australia. When Shine invested in scripted with hit series like Broadchurch and Hunted the business went to another level.
When starting Parade Media as a UK-based distributor, Ashcroft admitted he didn’t have a lot of money at launch. He networked with the Australian foodies he knew and grew the business. “I focussed on programs associated with winners, runners-up and judges from MasterChef, specialising in food. I approached people to see if they had been planning any programs, telling them we could go out and raise the finance through our international network.
“The first show we got away through that model was Andy and Ben Eat the World for branded content company Projucer. That business has got bigger over the years and they also have Desert Vet on Nine.”
Andy and Ben co-host Andy Allen returns to MasterChef this week, not as a contestant or returning mentor, but as one of three new judges.
An investment in Parade from a UK-based Station12 and Welsh Broadcaster S4C helped grow the Parade catalogue quickly – “almost overnight we went from 200 hours of content to almost 800 hours of content”.
With so much content to sell, Parade set about growing its sales team. “Heike Renner, ex-BBC, was our first big hire and she has been with us ever since,” said Ashcroft. “We how have people in Miami and Singapore. Having people on the ground, intimately understanding those markets, certainly gives us an edge over companies that might run their business out of a single hub.” Other key signings were Mark Caulton (from Mediaworks NZ) as chief content officer, Cesar Diaz who runs Latin America and Jacqueline Tan (ex-Shine, ativeTV) who looks after Asia.
Selling Australian programs globally is the key to Parade’s success with Ashcroft estimating it currently accounts for as much as 80% of Parade’s catalogue. “I am super proud to be flying the flag globally,” said the exec from Sydney’s northern beaches. “We have now extended that to New Zealand where we represent more of its producers.
“We built the business on culinary travel chop and chat with big names. We are now moving into premium factual – wildlife, science, history.”
Recent successes include sales from programs hosted by Luke Nguyen, Curtis Stone and Ainsley Harriot.
While Parade was unable to get to MIP TV which was cancelled this month, Ashcroft said the two Cannes markets, MIPCOM later in the year is the other, remain crucial for the business.
The merger of bigger global players like Endemol and Shine, and more recently Banijay and Endemol Shine, open up opportunities for smaller players. “For the distribution business at large it has been a turbulent time for everybody with declining revenue in the traditional linear space. That can work for us where big productions find it hard to reduce their production budgets. We are able to work with our producers on creating high value content for maybe as little as a tenth of the cost to what else is out there.”
When Mark Caulton joined Parade he gave the business new insights into content demand. The company also works with producers who have existing series which can be recut to give them a new selling point. “Mark understands the touchpoints that TV buyers look for which can help keep a project on track.”
Recent successful projects include the previously mentioned Desert Vet (Outback Vet outside of Australia) and Jack Stein Inside the Box (Jack is son of Rick Stein) – both from Projucer. Long term relationships with Australian producers include H Squared (My Restaurant in India, Everyday Gourmet) and Abode which specialises in property programming.
“We have about 35 producers we represent. Our producers have around the clock access to buyer conversations. We also supply detailed information on why networks have passed on an opportunity, which gives them an insight into their next production.”
Although the way the audience consumes media is changing, Ashcroft said linear pay TV and FTA still accounts for over 90% of Parade revenues. “We are working with the AVODs more plus Amazon and Netflix. Traditionally pure lifestyle content was something Netflix didn’t do, but that is changing with premium lifestyle content also moving to streaming services. They will be a bigger part of our future.”
Parade is always looking to diversify both the types of content and its revenue streams. With a view to the latter, it took a 10% stake in the Outdoor Channel last year. Outdoor Channel in Australia has a deal with Seven where it sits as a linear channel on 7plus. Parade runs a programming block called My Life on the channel. “The channel is in 35m homes across 19 countries. The biggest markets are Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia.” Ashcoft is an Outdoor Channel board member.
Recent challenges the business has had to deal with since the spread of COVID-19 are impacting the TV sector globally.
“Ad rev and production delays are the most severe challenges we are facing but there is an opportunity to focus on corona-proofing content,” said Ashcroft last week.
“Punching through this period is the primary aim and then we look to rebuild on the other side. The most important thing for distributors now is to be empathetic to the needs of our broadcast partners, being nimble and flexible as we navigate these uncharted waters together and get through to the other side.
“We have focussed on a rich archive and contributor led originals more recently with three such shows in pre-production here in the UK. These shows will deliver at the end of the year when broadcasters will need new, premium factual content to backfill slots due to delays in drama production and sport.”
Ashcroft spoke frankly about the last month: “Whilst the ass has fallen out of the ad market globally and content spend has been hit across the board, we are still creating opportunities with our partners and providing premium high-end cost-effective originals and finished tape. Dubbing is an issue in the key European markets which is causing delays so there is an increased focus on existing content that we have dubs readily available. There has never been a better time to pivot.”
Sky News Australia has reported a surge in audience as Australians turn to its news service across television, online and audio platforms as the global coronavirus crisis continues.
The channel has summarised the highlights from the past five weeks of ratings data:
Sky News has been the #1 channel on Foxtel for more than five weeks (1 March – 7 April), with total audience increasing +63% year-on-year, reaching 2.4 million viewers.
This includes an increase throughout the day (6am-6pm) of +82% across programs including First Edition, AM Agenda, NewsDay, Afternoon Agenda and The Kenny Report.
Viewing to primetime (6pm-11pm) is up +41% driven by programs including Paul Murray Live, Credlin, The Bolt Report, Jones & Credlin and the Sunday night coronavirus investigations hosted by Peter Stefanovic.
Since launching on 23 March, the dedicated 24/7 Sky News COVID-19 channel on Foxtel has reached 1.4 million viewers (23 March – 7 April).
Additionally, there have been 1.1 million streams to the Sky News COVID-19 channel online.
Sky News Australia has shattered its previous digital traffic records with visitors to skynews.com.au surging +404% since the start of March bringing unique users to 3.5 million. Those people streamed Sky News Australia videos more than 5 million times over this period.
Significant traffic increases continued across Sky News Australia’s portfolio of digital platforms with syndicated video views across the News Corp network, Microsoft, YouTube and Facebook exceeding 80 million since March, representing a year-on-year increase of +536%.
The trend of consecutive record-breaking weeks continued last week with the network scoring 19.9 million video views across all digital platforms, the biggest week in the company’s history.
Audio figures have been bolstered by the launch of Sky News on iHeartRadio on 23 March which has already been streamed more than 18,000 hours.
Paul Whittaker, Sky News Australia chief executive said: “At this time of unprecedented health and economic uncertainty, more people than ever before are turning to us for accurate and timely breaking news, in-depth analysis and expert commentary.
“Our team is working around-the-clock to deliver our trusted news content to Australians at this crucial time across our broadcast, digital and audio platforms.”
Over the past five weeks (1 March – 7 April) individual programs across Sky News on Foxtel have delivered large audience increases as viewers turn to the team for the latest news and exclusive insights:
• First Edition (Weekdays from 5am) with Laura Jayes and Peter Stefanovic has seen a +37% average audience increase during this period, reaching 559,000 cumulative viewers.
• AM Agenda (Weekdays from 9am) with Tom Connell and Annelise Nielsen up +91%, reaching 723,000 viewers.
• NewsDay (Weekdays from 12pm) with Ashleigh Gillon up +144%, with a reach of 805,000.
• Afternoon Agenda (Monday – Thursday at 2pm) with Kieran Gilbert has seen average audiences increase +93%, reaching 876,00 viewers.
• The Kenny Report (Weekdays at 5pm) with Chris Kenny has delivered a +62% increase in average audience, reaching more than 560,000 viewers.
• Credlin (Weeknights at 6pm) anchored by Peta Credlin increased its average audience by +58%, reaching 649,000 viewers.
• The Bolt Report (Weeknights at 7pm) hosted by Andrew Bolt is up +38% year-on-year, with a reach of 710,000 viewers.
• Kenny on Media (Mondays at 8pm) hosted by Chris Kenny is up +52% compared to the same timeslot last year, reaching 295,000.
• Jones & Credlin (Tuesdays at 8pm) with Alan Jones and Peta Credlin recorded a +12% audience growth, reaching 372,000 viewers.
• Richo & Jones (Wednesdays at 8pm) anchored by Graham Richardson and Alan Jones increased viewing by +66% compared to the same time last year, with a cumulative reach of 264,000.
• Chris Smith Tonight (Thursdays at 8pm) hosted by Chris Smith is up +147% compared to the same timeslot last year, reaching 323,000 viewers.
• Paul Murray Live (Sunday – Thursday at 9pm) grew by +39%, reaching 888,000 viewers.
• Sharri (Sundays at 6pm) increased average audiences by +101%, reaching 314,000.
• Coronavirus: Special Investigations (Sundays at 7.30pm) hosted by Peter Stefanovic have seen a +105% increase compared to the usual timeslot average audience, reaching 295,000.
• The Front Page (Monday – Thursday at 11pm) anchored by Peter Gleeson is up +42%, with a cumulative reach of 399,000 viewers.
• Outsiders (Sundays at 9am) with Rowan Dean, Rita Panahi and James Morrow saw an average audience increase of +53% while Outsiders’ Guide (Fridays at 8pm) is up +314% compared to the same timeslot last year.
• In My View (Sundays at 8pm) is up +67% on average audience compared to the same timeslot last year, reaching 363,000 viewers.
Top Photo: Annelise Nielsen and Kieran Gilbert on Sky News
Source: OzTAM National STV Panel, Total People, 01.03.20 – 07.04.20 vs STLY/ 16 days prior, Sky News Live, Sky News Extra/ COVID-19, Overnight and Average Audience & 1 Min Cume Reach. Programs that didn’t air in 2019 are compared to the program in the same timeslot and day range. Encore programming is excluded.
The Nielsen Digital Content Ratings have confirmed just how much traffic to Australian news publishers has grown for the month of March. There was a time when reaching 10m was a major landmark and one first achieved by news.com.au. However this month there were seven publishers with a monthly unique audience over 11m.
The ABC has topped the news rankings as it passes the 15m unique users mark.
Guardian Australia is the fastest growing news site, reaching 11.6 million Australians in March. Both publishers improved their ranking – the ABC rose from #3 to #1 month-on-month, while Guardian Australia lifted from #7 to #4.
All publishers experienced substantial growth with The Australian doubling its audience, smh.com.au jumping by 66% and The Age, nine.com.au and Daily Mail Australia all close to doubling their February audience numbers.
Nine.com.au dropped down the rankings from #2 in February to #6 in March.
Guardian Australia has shot ahead to become the country’s fastest growing news site, up 104% as 11.6 million readers turned to the masthead for reporting of the coronavirus crisis during March 2020.
Lenore Taylor, editor of Guardian Australia, said that audience growth demonstrates high levels of trust.
“I’m proud and delighted that 11.6 million Australians have put their trust in Guardian Australia’s journalism at this time,” said Taylor.
“Our Australian editorial team, and Guardian journalists around the world, are delivering distinctive, fact-based news and sharp commentary and analysis to inform and explain the events we are all living through.”
“I’d also like to thank our Guardian Australia readers, who have provided so much support and encouragement in the seven years since we launched here, and who have now made us the fourth most read news site in the nation.”
Dan Stinton, managing director of Guardian Australia, said that the masthead was an effective platform for advertisers looking to reach a highly engaged audience.
“Almost half of the country read Guardian Australia last month, and it’s a readership that is deeply engaged with our journalism,” said Stinton.
“Our reach is now bigger than almost any other advertising platform – including most free to air television shows – and we believe our readers trust us a lot more than someone watching Married at First Sight or a rerun of an old footy final.
“Obviously the coronavirus crisis has impacted on many marketing budgets, but those advertisers who need to get a message out in these times will be hard pressed to find a more effective advertising vehicle than us.”
The out of home advertising company oOh!media told the ASX this morning that HT&E has acquired a shareholding in the business. This means the company that presently trades primarily as a radio broadcaster via ARN, is re-entering the outdoor space.
However HT&E is only putting its toe back in the outdoor space, with the shareholding in oOh!media counting for 4.2% of the issued shares. It has not been revealed the price that HT&E acquired the shares for, but HT&E said this morning its new investment was worth close to $15m.
HT&E is no stranger to outdoor, formerly being the owner of Adshel. When it used to trade as APN News & Media, the company increased its Adshel shareholding to 100% after buying out Clear Channel. It later sold Adshel to oOh!media for $570m in a bidding war with APN Outdoor, which itself later merged with JCDecaux.
In a short statement to the ASX this morning, HT&E said: “HT&E looks forward to supporting oOh!media as a constructive significant shareholder.”
It may be a good time to buy oOh!media shares, with the company commenting: “oOh!media is the leader in the out of home sector in Australia/New Zealand and the acquisition of oOh!media shares by another participant in the Australian media sector highlights the strategic value of oOh!media’s assets and in the board’s view the company remains significantly undervalued based on current trading prices.”
The oOh!media share price jumped from 60 cents at the open today to 80 cents at lunchtime. The 52-week high for the stock is $3.87. Early this month the business had a capital raising where shares were offered at 53 cents.
The Australian and New Zealand media markets are unlikely to report the higher levels of decline in advertising demand often speculated about due to the Coronavirus pandemic, according to early ad spend data from Standard Media Index.
SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe said SMI, which collects the actual advertising payments made by media agencies on behalf of their advertiser clients, organised special advertising data collections in both the AU and NZ markets Tuesday night to provide the first insight into how the Coronavirus has impacted ad demand in the past two weeks.
And while the market has been awash with talk of campaign cancellations, the net impact for Australian agency advertising in the past two weeks has been an inflow of $17 million in agency bookings. But in NZ, which has been more bullish all year with a higher level of future confirmed bookings, SMI is reporting a $7.1 million decline in April bookings.
But both markets are now showing similar levels of forward demand in April with the confirmed value of Australian bookings already 46% of that reported in April 2019, and in NZ that figure is 45%. And that’s with more than two weeks of trading still to occur in the month.
“SMI’s actual data shows the market is not experiencing the wipeout some people have suggested,” Ractliffe said. “The market is back, but suggestions of 50- 60% declines will just not happen. Some media are tracking well from an agency perspective and many large product categories have continued to grow their media investment in April,” she said.
“Even if another ad was not bought in the whole of April, the worst case scenario for the AU market is a decline of 55% and 54% for NZ. But of course there’s a mass of paid ads that we’ll see in the next two weeks on our TVs, in our newspapers, on the radio, in magazines, outdoor and on our phones and tablets. Given the amount of ad revenue we’d usually see come through in the next two weeks, the likely decline at worst will be 25% to 30%.
“If media are seeing declines of more than 50%, that will be more due to the devastating impact of evaporating advertising from the small business sector given much of that part of our economy has closed. Media agency demand is not falling anywhere near the same level.”
Ractliffe said TV and newspapers appear to be the early beneficiaries of the recent changes in media plans by agencies on behalf of corporate advertisers.
Australia’s national newspapers are already reporting a 30% increase in agency bookings for March and in the last two weeks agency spend on newspapers has grown 14% for the month of April (the highest percentage increase in Agency spend of any media for the month).
In both countries television is reporting the highest level of future confirmed bookings of any media, with the value of confirmed TV bookings for April already 57% of that achieved last April.
As for the product categories, in the past two weeks SMI is reporting a strong increase in April investment from retailers in both countries (mostly supermarkets), while insurers, domestic bank and utilities have also grown ad spend in both markets since the ‘stay at home’ message came into effect.
SMI is today also releasing the first look at early March data for both markets. In NZ, the market came into the COVID-19 crisis in a strong position with agency demand up 4% in March (ex digital) which also brings its March quarter growth to 4% (ex digital). In Australia, the very early March data shows the market back 11% ex digital.
Ractliffe said SMI would again update the market on ad demand next week with the release of the usual interim March results for Australia and New Zealand and was committed to keeping the market informed during this unprecedented time.
“It’s never been more important to have the facts about how advertising demand is tracking and we want to ensure all our media and advertiser stakeholders continue to have an accurate view of the market on which to make important decisions in this unprecedented time,” Ractliffe said.
Video views of sports content on social platforms is up during the sport lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the final week of March, when no live sports events were played, there were more views of sports-related video content on social platforms than a week prior when the AFL Premiership and the NRL where both being played.
According to Nielsen’s Social Content Ratings, engagement of sports-related videos across social media exceeded 12 million views in the first week without live sporting content (March 26-April 1), which is over 1.2 million more than the prior week (March 19-March 25).
While the total amount of owned video content published by leagues, teams and athletes was down (-18%), views per video increased by 35%.
Football Australia’s stream of a replay of the Socceroos victory over Uruguay in the 2006 World Cup Qualifier on Facebook, saw the Socceroos jump to the top of Nielsen’s Social Content Ratings amongst more than 150 teams.
For the weekly period (March 26-April 1), the Socceroos managed to retain an overall ranking of third off the back of that day, wedged between AFL club leaders.
Nielsen’s Managing Director of Media and Sports, Monique Perry said: “ COVID-19 might have affected sports events worldwide, but our passion and thirst for sports content remains strong among Australians. Despite no on-field action, the increase of video views of sport content on social platforms is clear proof we are still avid sports fans”.
In the final week of March, the AFL still had over 2.1 million total interactions on social media despite no matches being played, with 76% of their engagement coming on Instagram.
Cricket Australia edged out the NRL in second spot, while the A-League and Supercars rounded out the top five.
Athletes accounted for 21% of content and 23% of engagement in the final week of March, up from 16% and 19% respectively the week prior.
Brisbane Broncos back Jordan Kahu turned to Facebook on March 31 to remind his followers to “Stay Connected” while in lockdown, was the most viewed video of the week posted by Athletes.
The NRL star teamed up with rugby league and rugby union players from both sides of the Tasman to pass a virtual “Kiwi head nod” to one another from their respective lounge rooms during isolation.
By James Manning
• Albums: Aussies rotate top spot – Violent Soho replace 5SOS
After climbing to #1 a week ago, Saint Jhn remains there for a second week with Roses.
The only change to the top 10, and just one of three top 50 chart debuts this week, was Drake with Toosie Slide new at #3. It is the 13th top 10 single for the multi-talented Canadian.
This week’s other top 50 debuts:
#35 Jack Harlow with Whats Poppin
#47 DaBaby with Find My Way
Two new Australian albums have debuted in the top three this week – Violent Soho and Kerser. That gives Australian artists a second successive week topping the chart after 5SOS were #1 last week. Those two artists join Dune Rats and Tame Impala as other home-grown musicians who have reached the top this year
Taking over from 5SOS this week is Violent Soho with their fifth album Everything Is A-OK. This is the band’s second successive chart topper after their fourth album Waco became their first #1 in March 2016.
Helping celebrate more local chart success was ARIA CEO Dan Rosen when he said: “Congratulations to James, Luke, Luke, Michael and the entire Violent Soho team on their return to #1 on the ARIA Charts. Everything Is A-OK is the album title we all need to believe in right now. It’s an incredible achievement to reach #1, especially by a band who is known for their hard work on the road, and direct connection to their fans. I also want to congratulate Kerser on his sixth top five album in just seven years. It goes to show that despite the crisis, great Australian music finds a way to connect with music fans around the country.”
Kerser’s Roll the Dice continues a stunning run of success for the prolific Campbelltown rapper. Seven of those nine albums have made the top 10 with his previous album Lifestyle peaking at #2 just 12 months ago.
Four other albums debuted top 50 this week:
#12 All Time Low with Wake Up, Sunshine. Sixth top 10 spot for the Baltimore rock band who have just released their eighth album.
#30 Testament with Titans of Creation. Thrash metal from Northern California in the form of the band’s 13th album.
#41 Sam Hunt with Southside. Second album from the country music songwriter who launched his performance career with his debut album in 2014.
#50 Thundercat with It Is What It Is. Hard to musically pin down the former member of Suicidal Tendencies who works across many genres as a singer-songwriter-producer.
By James Manning
• MasterChef launch delivers Network 10’s biggest night of 2020
• MasterChef’s 1.23m metro makes 10 #1 channel and #1 network
• MasterChef audience up 70% YOY and biggest launch since 2015
Monday news highlights
Seven News 1,299,000/1,268,000
Nine News 1,177,000/1,101,000
ABC News 954,000
A Current Affair 830,000/583,000
The Project 427,000/662,000
Australian Story 622,000
10 News 539,000/369,000
The Latest 307,000
Nine News COVID-19 296,000
The Drum 258,000
The Morning Show 242,000
SBS World News 203,000
ABC News Breakfast 203,000
Nine: The channel has chosen to wait until survey starts again next Sunday before launching Lego Masters. We will have to wait a week to see if that delay helps MasterChef build a following for Back to Win. Nine’s Tuesday best was RBT on 422,000 at 8pm after an hour of A Current Affair.
Seven: Primetime was back to a traditional format last night with Home and Away returning at 7pm with 676,000. House Rules followed with its second-smallest audience since launch – 548,000. Four of the five episodes screened last week made it over 600,000. Thursday dipped to 478,000 and the format started this week with 630,000 on Sunday. The Latest then screened after the renovators.
10: The launch of MasterChef Australia: Back to Win couldn’t have gone any better for the network with the biggest series launch or return of 2020. ViacomCBS Australia and New Zealand chief content officer and executive vice president, Beverley McGarvey, said this morning: “We are so pleased and excited with how Australians have responded to the return of MasterChef Australia. Twelve seasons in and MasterChef Australia is still loved by so many people. Food is a universal theme, particularly in times like these, and our show has always been about the food.
“A big thanks to the massive team, on and off screen who put this show together, thanks to our new judges, Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen, our brilliant returning contestants and to our wonderful guest judge Gordon Ramsay.
“The cooking, passion and energy in MasterChef Australia this year is amazing and it is going to be a really thrilling season.”
There were so many factors at play last night it will take a few nights and then next week to understand how the audience might respond across the remaining months. The new judges worked well together with the returning contestants and they will grow in confidence when not standing alongside Gordon Ramsay. 10 will be looking to bolt on as many returning viewers as possible before Nine cranks up again with Lego Master next week. Meanwhile it will celebrate its biggest night of the year and the best MasterChef launch numbers since 2015, telling advertisers to get on board with the network that could cause some heartache in the weeks ahead.
Elsewhere on the channel MasterChef only got a quick plug in a couple of minutes at the end of The Project with the show over 650,000. Hughesy, We Have a Problem followed the cooks with 382,000, up from 298,000 last week. Hughesy also had an encore audience of 314,000 last week.
ABC: Australian Story went out after 7.30 on an altered Easter Monday schedule. The early Q+A did 428,000, similar to the 442,000 watching an hour later a week ago.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.7%||7TWO||3.8%||GO!||2.9%||10 Bold||3.6%||VICELAND||1.6%|
|ABC ME||0.8%||7mate||2.6%||GEM||4.1%||10 Peach||2.8%||Food Net||1.0%|
|9Rush||1.2%||SBS World Movies||2.1%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.7%||7TWO||2.6%||GO!||3.5%||10 Bold||3.8%||VICELAND||1.2%|
|ABC ME||0.9%||7mate||3.4%||GEM||3.9%||10 Peach||2.5%||Food Net||1.6%|
|9Rush||0.9%||SBS World Movies||3.1%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||4.0%||7TWO||3.4%||GO!||3.4%||10 Bold||5.0%||VICELAND||0.8%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||4.1%||GEM||4.9%||10 Peach||2.4%||Food Net||1.1%|
|9Rush||1.1%||SBS World Movies||1.0%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.4%||7TWO||3.5%||GO!||2.8%||10 Bold||4.6%||VICELAND||1.4%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||2.5%||GEM||3.7%||10 Peach||2.5%||Food Net||1.2%|
|9Rush||0.9%||SBS World Movies||1.6%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.2%||7TWO||3.7%||GO!||2.6%||10 Bold||3.8%||VICELAND||1.2%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||3.4%||GEM||2.9%||10 Peach||2.3%||Food Net||0.8%|
|9Rush||0.8%||SBS World Movies||1.3%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.6%||7TWO||5.3%||GO!||3.2%||WIN Bold||4.7%||VICELAND||1.1%|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||5.2%||GEM||4.4%||WIN Peach||1.9%||Food Net||0.4%|
|ABC NEWS||1.4%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.3%||9Life||1.8%||Sky News on WIN||2.3%||NITV||0.2%|
|MONDAY METRO ALL TV|
Thursday Top 10
Friday Top 10
Saturday Top 10
Sunday Top 10
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
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher says a decision by France’s competition regulator to order Google to negotiate with publishers for their content is the right one, and says he’s confident the tech giants will pay publishers in Australia, report The Australian’s David Swan and Leo Shanahan.
“The fact that the French competition regulator is going through a similar process just tends to underline the importance, from a competition perspective, that the digital platforms properly pay for content that’s been generated by media companies that costs money to produce,” Fletcher said.
“As the ACCC said in their final report, the social media platforms are unavoidable commercial partners for the big media businesses, and there needs to be a way for there to be fair payment.”
News Corp executive Michael Miller and more recently ACCC chairman Rod Sims say they’re sceptical the tech giants have been acting in good faith during ongoing negotiations with publishers, and Fletcher said it was the government’s expectation that the tech giants would play ball.
Time is fast running out for James Warburton and his lieutenants to put out the raging fires at the Kerry Stokes-controlled media business Seven West Media, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.
Warburton, who was brought in by the Australian billionaire last August to rebuild the television broadcaster and publisher, has to cut the group’s $541m debt pile swiftly or it risks being at the mercy of its lenders.
Seven is understood to be in regular contact with its banks, keeping them up to date with its cost-cutting plans during the extremely difficult trading environment as advertising revenue tanks.
Seven is understood to have eight banks: Australia’s four majors, two in China and one each in Singapore and in Japan. One saving grace of the current crisis is that nobody has an appetite to take control of the network.
Some bankers expect that Seven’s lenders may move soon to offload their debt to other parties. The new debt owners may then look to call in the loans of Seven, or restructure the group through a debt-for-equity swap.
The owner of KIIS and Pure Gold radio stations has urged the Morrison government to consider urgent financial and regulatory assistance for the commercial radio industry during the coronavirus crisis, which has knocked out the economy and advertising spending, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.
HT&E chief executive Ciaran Davis also said the company had registered its interest in applying for the federal government’s $130bn JobKeeper scheme via the Australian Taxation Office to help keep its 500-plus full- and part-time staff on the books.
“Given the speed at which the economy is being impacted and the corresponding decrease in advertising on radio, we’ve asked that the government consider urgent relief in two forms – financial and regulatory – to enable commercial radio broadcasters to continue to effectively serve their local communities,” Davis told The Australian.
Davis said the protection of jobs for its staff had been a “key priority for the HT&E board and there had been no redundancies to date”. However, that is under ongoing review.
Australian Associated Press has received one expression of interest from a prospective buyer and will progress talks to assess whether there is a chance of saving the business, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.
Chief executive Bruce Davidson said in a note to staff on Thursday evening that a single proposal to buy the business had been submitted and that he was waiting on a second proposal later that evening.
“To say we live in uncertain times would be an understatement, and at AAP we continue to live under the twin clouds of coronavirus and a lack of certainty about our future,” Davidson said.
“AAP does not wish to delay a decision on these approaches any longer than necessary, but given the Easter timing we will allow some additional time before moving to the next stage.
Davidson said video conferences with two parties has occurred this week, during which information about the business had been provided. A third party has asked for further talks with adviser TMT Partners next week, which the company has agreed to. The deadline for bids, which was April 9, has now been pushed back. After an assessment by TMT Partners, the AAP Board will meet on Thursday to assess all prospective buyers.
Former Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes is out of retirement to put together a Four Corners special, “or maybe even two” in Holmes’ words, on “the past and future of News Corp”, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.
Holmes is going around propositioning past and present News Corp editors, journos and employees to go on or off the record. No doubt he’ll get the bunch of disgruntled former reporters, editors and prime ministers who blame the company for all their life’s problems.
Despite the biggest global public health crisis in a century, the ABC’s flagship current affairs show will take time to pursue News Corp in a two-part special.
Two Australian foreign correspondents have been profiled in a New York Times feature about the journalists tasked with explaining America to the world.
In this tumultuous period of U.S. politics, there are perhaps more international journalists in Washington, D.C., than ever before.
MATTHEW KNOTT, 32
Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Australia
Reporting from New York and Washington, D.C., since 2017; first foreign posting.
After the election in 2016, there was a general feeling among journalists that we had “lost touch with real people,” as some of us would say. I was very struck by that. I felt I needed to do whatever I could to come to America because, as a journalist, you run toward the turmoil. Before I left, I was told that all foreign correspondents become paranoid within the first year of a posting because they worry that people back home don’t understand, or even read, their work. I tried to fight that, but I can see how that happens: relevance deprivation syndrome. You go from being inside the beast, or affecting things from within your own country, to interpreting events from the outside.
JAMES GLENDAY, 34
ABC News, Australia
Reporting from Washington, D.C., since 2018; previously posted in London (2016-18).
After the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, Australia introduced sweeping, strict gun-control laws, so every time there’s a mass shooting in America, there’s a lot of interest back home. When I report on attacks in the U.S., my Twitter feed blows up with Australians asking, “Are they going to do anything? Is anything going to change?”
Condé Nast, the most glittering of all magazine publishers, is the latest media casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, reports The New York Times.
Roger J. Lynch, the chief executive of the company behind Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, sent a memo on Monday to 6,000 employees around the world to inform them of an austerity plan that includes pay cuts, furloughs and possible layoffs.
“It’s very likely our advertising clients, consumers, and therefore our company, will be operating under significant financial pressure for some time,” Lynch said in the note. “As a result, we’ll need to go beyond the initial cost-savings measures we put in place to protect our business for the long term.”
Those earning $100,000 or more – approximately just under half the company – will have their salaries reduced by 10 to 20 percent for five months, starting in May, the memo said. Executives in the senior management team, including Anna Wintour, the artistic director and Condé Nast’s best-known figurehead, will have their pay cut by 20 percent.
Travel publisher Lonely Planet has announced it will close most of its operations in Melbourne and London as the company deals with the impacts of coronavirus on its sales, reports ABC’s Elise Kinsella.
Lonely Planet will stop publishing its magazine and new ‘inspirational’ travel titles for the foreseeable future
The company says it will keep publishing guidebooks and phrasebooks.
Lonely Planet says a sales drop linked to the coronavirus crisis is behind the changes
The company said it had made the “difficult decision to reduce its publishing operations for the foreseeable future”.
But it said it would not commission any new “inspirational” titles and would stop publishing the Lonely Planet magazine.
Lonely Planet was founded in 1973 when Australian couple Tony and Maureen Wheeler published their first guidebook, Across Asia on the Cheap.
The company became a favourite of many travellers, with its guidebooks pored over in hostels and bars around the world.
Wheeler, who no longer has any official role with the company, told the ABC he was “shocked” by Lonely Planet’s announcement.
The company is now owned by NC2 Media, a company based in Nashville, Tennessee in the United States.
Both Nine and Foxtel have TV rights deals with the NRL and both want a price break given what is happening to the 2020 football season. And both are having their cases debated in media channels owned by both groups.
The NRL feud ramped up late last week with a statement from a Nine spokesperson critical of the way the NRL is being run.
Nine reported on the statement and the fall out on Friday with photos of Nine CEO Hugh Marks on the front and back pages of The SMH.
Here’s a summary of some of the sniper fire over the weekend.
Chris Barrett in The Sydney Morning Herald:
Rugby league’s long-time broadcast partner Channel Nine has launched a stunning takedown of the NRL, seething about being left out of the planning for the restart of the competition and accusing the governing body of years of mismanagement and wastefulness.
But with the game’s administrators preparing to announce the shape and timing of a resumed season, Nine has delivered an extraordinary shot at League Central on Thursday.
“At Nine we had hoped to work with the NRL on a solution to the issues facing rugby league in 2020, brought on so starkly by COVID-19,” said a spokesperson for Nine.
“But this health crisis in our community has highlighted the mismanagement of the code over many years. Nine has invested hundreds of millions in this game over decades and we now find they have profoundly wasted those funds with very little to fall back on to support the clubs, the players and supporters. In the past the NRL have had problems and we’ve bailed them out many times including a $50m loan to support clubs when the last contract was signed.
“It would now appear that much of that has been squandered by a bloated head office completely ignoring the needs of the clubs, players and supporters.
“We now find ourselves with a contract that is unfulfilled by the code. We hoped we could talk though a long-term plan.”
Roy Masters in The Sydney Morning Herald:
Sports broadcasters were succumbing to a virus well before the arrival of COVID-19, a virus not as deadly as the pandemic that has shut down leagues around the world and decimated advertising but an earlier debilitating disease, nonetheless.
The sickness attacking sport was cost-accelerating, unsustainable debt, mainly for media rights of the football codes and cricket. All this came at a time the revenue streams of the free-to-air and pay-TV broadcasters were under siege from streaming services such as Netflix.
So, when the NRL’s long-time FTA broadcast partner, Channel Nine, delivered a scathing attack on the code on Thursday, it was paradoxically both unprecedented and unsurprising.
It’s all about cost. Nine doesn’t want to pay full freight for a disrupted season with falling viewership.
Brent Read in The Australian:
One NRL club chair, speaking on the condition of anonymity, on Friday responded with an attack of his own aimed at Nine.
“At the end of the day they are seeking to exploit a public health crisis for the commercial benefit of a massive co-operation and they are bullying a not-for-profit sports organisation that employs thousands upon thousands of people,’’ the chair said.
Nine’s Danny Weidler in The Sun-Herald:
The days of rugby league matches being broadcast simultaneously on free-to-air and pay TV are under threat. That’s what I read into the scathing review of the NRL by Nine during the week.
Exclusivity of games is the key to ratings. I have not been told Nine has that as an objective but, reading between the lines of the statement, I see that Nine wants a change of terms as part of a long-term commitment to the game.
Nine’s Phil Gould in The Sun-Herald:
The statement made by Nine regarding the NRL this week, clearly approved by chief executive Hugh Marks, was timely and appropriate. I believe it will prove to be hugely significant.
On behalf of Nine, he needed to say it. The NRL needed to hear it. The rest of the media world needed to hear it. Rugby league fans needed to hear it, too.
It was blunt, honest and accurate.
News Corp’s Phil Rothfield:
It was as predictable as the Easter bunny arriving that Sydney woke on Sunday to a Gus Gould rant defending his employers, the Nine Network.
“Nine’s attack was right on the money and the game needed to hear it,” the Nine newspaper columnist said in defence of his Nine television station under the banner of Independent Always.
The whole catchcry of coronavirus, on its own TV network, is that “we’re in this together”.
Then to use the global health epidemic as a business practice to try to cripple a sporting organisation is just disgraceful.
Channel 9 will not get away with it.
If Nine can’t support the code in these difficult times, it should walk away.
Let Channel 7 or Channel 10 come on board. The bosses of both networks have reached out to NRL powerbrokers in recent days to express their interest. Stay tuned.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Chammas:
The general view of Nine’s attack on the NRL was that it was as calculated as it was brutal. But after weeks of waiting for the NRL to show its hand, Nine has now forced it.
Nine will want answers on a few key items. The first is an indication as to what Peter V’landys intends to do about the NRL’s “bloated head office”.
Nine believes it is entitled to an opinion due to the money it puts into the game. And its opinion is that the game should not rush into a May 28 return just to cash in a pay cheque, but instead use the time to rejuvenate the game with fresh ideas for the long-term benefit of the code and its clubs.
That has been viewed as simply an attempt to get out of the current deal. But Nine does not want out altogether – the network actually wants to extend its deal, just for a different amount than what it’s paying.
Nine wants to sit down with Fox Sports and discuss the current agreement. It wants to revisit the simulcast arrangement and find a solution that works for both parties. It wants a better season structure as part of a long-term deal.