By James Manning
• How radio and media agencies are working together in uncertain times
In a special Mediaweek podcast on the commercial radio sector, Mediaweek editor James Manning was joined by guests Peter Whitehead (Chief Commercial Officer, ARN), Jodi Fraser (Commercial Director, Publicis) and Ralph van Dijk (Founding Creative Director, Eardrum) to talk about radio advertising opportunities & challenges in 2020.
There was much discussion about the COVID-19 has impacted advertisers and radio, the way people are listening to radio, and different audio opportunities now available to advertisers and how the industry is co-operating for a recovery.
Following are some of the highlights of the conversation.
PW: We have since a dramatic change in consumer behaviour and it is all about product purchasing. People are scrambling to get basics for home living and gearing up for quarantine living. There has been growth in online shopping and we are waiting to see what happens next with the infection.
Radio is still able to fulfil the routine that people are craving right now. It is a trusted medium that provides a sense of comfort and a sense of community and will continue to do so.
We are more and more confident that all audio formats are going to continue to flourish and we will see an increase of in-home listening. That will be radio, podcasting and music streaming. We are seeing an uptick in consumption and out data is showing a 20% increase in iHeartRadio sign-ins recently.
That is a hefty sample with about 1.1m listeners – radio consumption is up close to 20% and podcast audience growth is up close to 30%. The pandemic is driving audio consumption across all those platforms.
RVD: People wanting our services gives us an idea of the health of the sector and we work slightly ahead of the media bookings. We are busy – we have had more new businesses come to us looking at radio than there have been clients who have put a hold on their activity. Some of those brands are new to radio because they are aware there is an increase in listening.
PW: In home listening is habitual. People wake up and get their news fix. We are seeing smart speakers driving that even more as they make it easier to engage with radio via a quick voice command given to Alexa or Google. Audio listening in the home makes up 52% of all listening versus 26% of listening in the car. Of that home listening, 74% of that is to commercial radio.
With social distancing likely to increase the lines between at work and home listening start to blur.
JF: One of the main reasons why breakfast is so important for radio is the personalities. People have a real fondness for certain radio hosts and they tune in both for news and to have a laugh before they start their day. Those routines remain really important during this time. I wouldn’t be surprised if listening to other dayparts increased given radio is a way to help create a normal environment in the home with more workers and students not leaving during the day.
JF: We are starting to see spends diversify. But outside of something like the Spotify platform, we haven’t really caught up with the audience yet. The main reasons agencies haven’t is measurement – we want measurement that includes linear radio and streaming radio and podcasts. We are not quite there yet. We know people are listening and we want to be there, but it’s like anything in media, if you can’t qualify it, we can’t advertise in it.
When it comes to other opportunities we don’t need to necessarily be on the highest-rating podcast at the moment. It’s more of a regular digital buying strategy – we would look for an audience across maybe 25 different podcasts. Outside of sponsorships, that is the best way for us get the most audience we can.
PW: Jodie is right, audio has a job to do on measurement – particulary, podcasts, streaming and voice. In current share of ear, radio still holds about 84% of listening. Podcasts are up to 10% and music streaming is on 6%. Podcasts and streaming complement, rather than replace radio. Radio is about convenience and the connection with the local community, music is the mood enhancer, replacing bought recorded music, and podcasts are for self-fulfilment, the content indulgence, like magazines. Overall listening is up 7%.
If we were advising a client on podcast investment, we would advise on how listeners are choosing their audio. So the budget should increase by 7% and then split across the share of listening as mentioned – 84% radio, 10% podcasting and 6% streaming.
Podcasting time is only going to increase because people crave good content. Once consumers are finished with MAFS, finished with Tiger King, they will be putting on their headphones and exploring the podcast world.
JF: Everyone in radio is doing the two things you have to do right now – be flexible and easy to deal with. That is what we are looking for. Luckily at Publicis we have a very heavy FMCG load meaning we are still advertising which is great and radio is helping us with quick turnarounds and creative changes and whatever we need to make sure we have the right messaging on radio. Importantly for our clients, radio is offering them two main things – immediacy and trust.
PW: Week one was a bit of a challenge, but in week two we got used to it and we are dealing with it now. The key to this is agility and adaptability. You might notice more live reads on air now – where the live read is explaining how a new business model might work. We are seeing pubs and restaurants starting home delivery, real estate agents doing virtual tours of properties for sale. They are all having to adapt their business models.
JF: There are certain categories that are getting really impacted. For the most part advertisers are looking at this period and trying to be responsible. We don’t want to pull out of advertising, we don’t want to go backwards and we want to keep things as normal as possible. It has been a little better than we initially expected, but there some categories really impacted, like auto which I didn’t initially foresee. April is going to be hard, but we are seeing already a bit of bounce back in May.
PW: The things that have been hurt the most are the obvious ones – the events that can no longer happen and the shops that are no longer open. That has impacted every medium, but we are still seeing solid growth out of a number of categories. Government is one with the Federal, State and Local Government needing to get their messages out there. They are putting a lot of money into every platform.
Many retailers are spending though from supermarkets to liquor chains. It is very short though with many making a decision to book media a day out. Insurance companies are spending and so are law firms, banking and finance and online learning plus telcos as well.
Cancellations hit us hard in the first two weeks, but there is still money coming through and is starting to build.
JF: There is a little bit of that going on at the moment, but for the most part agencies and clients want to be supporting the industry right now. We are not trying to take advantage of people – times are tough and we are all trying to get through this together. A lot of the different channels are offering lower pricing which we will of course take! We want to come out the other side of this with all of our media partners still here.
PW: It can be hard to hold the line, but the last thing you want to do is bastardise your product and give it away. Integrity is important and we need to stay close to our agency partners to make sure we all get through.
RVD: There will always be a need for local real time connection and as long as that remains radio will play a role. It is too efficient for it to fail or disappear. At the moment it is a medium that is very useful for brands.
JF: Radio is a medium that has always been there and will always be there. This uncertain time will help build the bond between people and radio.
PW: Connection key and radio is the original social media without the trolls. Everything that radio provides is important to get us through these times. The agility and the cost-effectiveness of the medium brings a lot to advertisers. These are difficult times and they present new opportunities and we are working to get through them together.
News Corp Australia has launched the COVID Files, a new service to give Australian marketers and advertising agencies the latest information, data and insights on how COVID-19 is affecting consumer behaviour and product categories.
COVID Files includes updates on the mood of consumers, such as more than a quarter of shoppers now paying closer attention to pricing, summaries of the latest federal and state government initiatives, and market intelligence in areas such as fast-moving consumers goods, retail, travel, automotive, financial services, telecommunications, health care, pharmaceuticals, real estate and the small business sector.
Developed by News Corp’s integrated marketing solutions unit Newsamp, COVID Files is the latest initiative to help News Corp’s business partners understand and manage the impact of the pandemic on brands, consumers, media and categories.
News Corp Australia’s managing director of national sales, Lou Barrett, said: “At News Corp, we are committed to helping our business partners in real and actionable ways. When the economy rebounds and consumer confidence returns, we want to make sure our partners are in the best position to grow their business.
“COVID Files are part of that. We’re sharing valuable information and insights that will help our partners better understand what is going on, the issues and opportunities in front of them, and how they can manage their businesses in this new world.”
Barrett added the Newsamp team has seen a 25% increase in client briefs since mid-March as brands pivot their campaigns to keep customers informed.
Highlights from the COVID Files include:
• The tracking of consumer confidence, showing the impact of government stimulus packages and the slowing infection rates across the nation
• Information about how Australians’ values are changing in uncertain times
• Insights into how sports fans are still craving their fix, despite the lack of on-field action
• Figures showing how bricks-and-mortar retail shutdowns are driving a sharp spike in online purchases
Data on the continued growth in audience size and engagement across News Corp’s brands
Clients or agencies interested in receiving the COVID Files can contact their News Corp sales representative.
Media company ACM reported yesterday that printing operations at four press facilities and the production of a number of non-daily newspapers will be suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and employees associated with the print sites and products stood down until the end of June.
The printed editions of ACM’s 14 daily newspapers, such as The Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald and The Border Mail, are not affected and will continue to be available, along with the weekly editions of the company’s leading agricultural publications, such as The Land in NSW, Farm Weekly in Western Australia and Queensland Country Life.
The Newcastle Herald reported last night The Maitland Mercury is among 10 Hunter newspapers which will stop printing until at least the end of June.
The Mercury, Cessnock Advertiser, Dungog Chronicle, Muswellbrook Chronicle, Scone Advocate, Gloucester Advocate, Lake Mail, Singleton Argus, Hunter Valley News and Newcastle Star will all close from Monday until at least June 29.
The Mercury, which now publishes three times a week, started in 1843 and is the oldest regional newspaper in NSW.
The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance said it is weighing up whether to take ACM to the Fair Work Commission for failure to consult about the changes, in breach of the company’s enterprise agreement.
Director of MEAA Media, Neill Jones, said staff had been kept in the dark by management and only became aware of the decision at the same time as the public.
“ACM management is legally required to consult with staff representatives, including MEAA, before undertaking any major changes to operations,” Jones said.
Jones added the Federal Government could no longer ignore the crisis in Australia’s regional media.
“ACM is Australia’s largest owner of regional and rural publications, and for a company of this size to be closing down mastheads is more evidence, if any was needed, that the future of regional media in this country is under threat,” he said.
“Advertising revenues have been devastated by coronavirus, and we have seen close to a dozen mastheads close in the last fortnight while the Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has sat on his hands.”
The Canberra Times reported in a message emailed to staff on Tuesday, ACM executive chairman Antony Catalano said the company had been “working tirelessly to try to maintain a full level of services and meet the needs of our team members, customers and the community”.
But the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the economy had “affected significantly” ACM’s revenue from advertising and external printing contracts.
“For reasons beyond our control, we cannot sustain the same level of useful work or costs moving forward,” Catalano said.
“Accordingly, we have no choice but to temporarily cease some of our publications and temporarily close our printing sites in Canberra, Murray Bridge, Wodonga and Tamworth from April 20 until June 29.
“Regrettably, this means that for some of our employees across the business there will be no useful work available, and they will be stood down from work in accordance with the provisions of the Fair Work Act.”
Some other employees would be asked to reduce their hours “where there remains some limited useful work that can be performed” while company executives had already agreed to voluntary pay cuts.
Catalano said ACM was “closely assessing our eligibility for the government’s JobKeeper payment and intends to register as soon as we are eligible to do so”.
In his note to staff, Catalano added COVID-19 was “affecting all our communities”.
“We are aware that this is a very challenging time and every person across the business is being impacted,” he said
“At this stage it is not possible to say when we will be able to resume normal operations. We are closely monitoring developments and will keep employees updated as things change.”
While operations at ACM’s printing facilities at Canberra, Wodonga on the NSW-Victorian border, Tamworth in NSW and Murray Bridge in South Australia will be halted from Monday, continuing printing work – such as of daily newspapers – will be redirected to other press sites.
The affected mastheads will continue to have websites, but these will be propagated by shared regional content, said The Newcastle Herald.
The company told staff it would reassess the newspapers’ futures at the end of June but offered no guarantees they would reopen.
Large numbers of ACM staff have been working from home since early March as part of a company-wide response to official government directives on social distancing.
In recent days, ACM has given notice to the landlords of more than 30 small offices around the country that it intends to exit lease arrangements to reduce rental costs across the business.
ACM’s 14 daily newspapers are The Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, Illawarra Mercury, Northern Daily Leader, Central Western Daily, Western Advocate, Dubbo Daily Liberal, Wagga Daily Advertiser, The Border Mail, Bendigo Advertiser, The Courier, The Standard, The Examiner and The Advocate.
News Corp head office in New York has released a statement regarding the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 on the company’s businesses. It has divided the statement into four sectors:
News and Information Services: News Corp expects advertising and single-copy sales revenues in the segment to be adversely affected as a result of widespread business closures, social distancing measures and economic uncertainty resulting from COVID-19. However, the company has seen increases in digital paid subscribers, including at The Wall Street Journal, The Times and The Sunday Times, as well as digital audience gains at online versions of its news properties, as people look to its quality journalism for reliable information. The Australian yesterday saw a doubling of its online audience in the March Nielsen data.
Subscription Video Services: News Corp expects the cancellation or postponement of sports events for which it has broadcast rights to adversely affect subscription revenue from broadcast and Kayo subscribers and, together with adverse economic conditions, to negatively impact advertising revenue. In addition, closures of pubs and clubs and lower occupancy at hotels throughout Australia are expected to adversely impact commercial subscription revenues.
Book Publishing: Sales are expected to be adversely affected by shipping restrictions and delays imposed by online retailers, as well as closures of brick-and-mortar retail stores. However, in recent weeks the company has seen an increase in sales of digital formats of its titles, which remain readily available from online retailers.
Digital Real Estate Services: The real estate markets in both Australia and the US have been negatively impacted as a result of social distancing measures, business closures and economic uncertainty resulting from COVID-19. Weakness in new listing volumes and other adverse effects, as well as measures the company has taken to support its customers in these challenging times, including re-list and re-upgrade offers for new listings and price concessions, are expected to adversely affect revenues.
The company is working proactively to offset a portion of anticipated revenue losses by reducing variable costs and implementing cost-savings initiatives across its businesses.
News Corp expects to provide a further update in its earnings release for the third quarter of fiscal 2020. Given the uncertainties described above, the company has advised investors not to rely on existing analyst earnings forecasts as they may not include any or all of the impacts that COVID-19 may have on the company’s businesses.
News Corp will report is third quarter earnings in early May.
Close to 3 in 4 Australians who are 18+ are listening to radio the same amount or more during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to audience listening figures compiled by GfK and released today by Commercial Radio Australia.
23% of Australians 18+ are now listening to more radio, with the greatest increases in listening seen in younger audiences. Of people aged 18-34, 29% have increased their radio listening, as have 27% of people 35-44. This is compared to 20% of people aged 45-54, 15% of people aged 55-64 and 16% of people 65+.
72% of listeners agree that they trust radio to give them up-to-date information about COVID-19, with 68% stating that they see radio as a good source of information about COVID-19.
63% of listeners said that they trust the information they receive from their favourite radio presenters.
A third of radio listeners (33%) are now listening to more radio at home, while listening at work remains stable. While 23% of people say they have decreased their in-car listening, 18% in fact report listening to more than before, as social distancing requirements reduce travel via public transport.
People listening to more radio via their respective devices include 52% of smart-speaker listeners, 32% of AM/FM listeners and 27% of DAB+ radio listeners.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer Joan Warner said:
“We have seen again and again that radio is an essential service with a vital role to play during emergency situations such as the one we are currently experiencing with COVID-19 and the recent bushfire crisis. Beyond being a source of accurate and up-to-date information, radio is a source of comfort and connectivity for audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people in isolation or limiting social contact. In fact, 62% of listeners say that radio makes them feel less alone and 64% say that radio keeps them connected with their local community.”
Also, Over 1 in 10 Australians are listening to more podcasts during the COVID-19 crisis. With the news and politics category accounting for 32% of podcast listeners, with comedy not far behind at 31%.
WA local news brand, Community News, has successfully integrated into the Seven West Media WA portfolio.
The 24 individual Community News websites are now showcased in a new vertical on news site, PerthNow.
PerthNow receives 2.6 million unique visitors per month and consumers will now be able to receive their news, entertainment and sport at a national, state and community level on the one platform.
The 13 Community Newsprint mastheads have also been given a refresh under the direction of The West Australian’s Editor in Chief, Anthony De Ceglie and Community News Group Editorial Director, Amanda Keenan.
“The challenges we’re all facing have only served to reinforce the importance of community, and of community newspapers. What a privilege it is to inform, reassure and inspire people at a grassroots level — during times good and bad. Our team of local reporters is boosted by the firepower of The West Australian’s integrated newsroom to deliver the neighbourhood news that really matters to people — all in dynamic, great looking and much-loved mastheads.” – said Keenan.
Community News and Regional Advertising Director Marnie McKeown said “This is a really exciting time for Community News, with the resourcing of The West Australian and PerthNow newsrooms and the refreshed mastheads we are already receiving great feedback at both a consumer and trade level.”
By Trent Thomas
With cinemas across the country still shut down, Mediaweek is using this time to take a look at the historical box office in Australia. This week we will be examining the top opening weekend totals in Australian cinematic history.
The top five is dominated by recent films with nothing before 2015 making the cut, and to reflect the utter dominance in that time period by Disney every film in the top five is distributed by the company. The other theme in the top five is acquisitions with Marvel and Star Wars both holding two spots each and both having been acquired properties by Disney in the last 11 years.
Extending out to the top 10 and it is broken up a bit more with Disney having two more spots but is joined by Warner Bros., Universal, and Hoyts.
Note: One interesting wrinkle is the absence of Australian box office #1 Avatar which grossed $115.78m without having a top 10 opening weekend.
The conclusion to Disney’s 10-year project Avengers: Endgame opened on 1,070 screens making an average of $30,680 per screen going on to make a total of $84.17m.
The film made $1.7 billion at the international box office, and was just as strong in Australia with the film comfortably moving past several box office records:
• Highest opening day in cinema industry history
• Highest ever individual Wednesday / Thursday / Friday / Saturday / Sunday gross in Industry history
• Highest ever 5 day opening weekend (Weds-Sun) – beating Avengers: Infinity War
• Highest ever 4-day weekend (Thurs-Sun) – beating Star Wars: The Force Awakens
• Highest ever pre-sale total
• Highest ever opening screen count
• Highest & second highest single days of total business in industry history (Wednesday $11.46m & Thursday $11.26m)– beating Anzac Day 2018 $11.25m
The return of the Star Wars franchise was a big hit with Australian audiences after a 12-year absence from theatres. The highest-grossing film of the franchise it launched a fresh trilogy which also spawned two other top 10 films in this list. When the film was released in 2015 it opened on the highest number of screens ever (941), set a new record for the biggest opening day ever and the biggest opening weekend ever, going on to make $94.01m.
Infinity War made its debut in cinemas on Anzac Day with a massive $8.7m on 871 screens averaging $22,839, claiming the title for the third-biggest opening day ever in Australia. This led to a five-day haul of $21.23m on 930 screens. The film was the highest-grossing Marvel movie at the time before being overtaken by its sequel the next year. The film went on to make a total of $62.01m.
The first sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens followed where its predecessor left off with another $20m plus opening weekend. The movie recorded the fourth-biggest opening day ever with $7.06m. The film made $21,626 on 970 screens and ended up totalling $58.09m.
A huge opening weekend saw the remake of the 1994 classic surpassing the $20.10m made by the original in one weekend and also eventually passing the inflation-adjusted total of $37.49m.The film was shown on 930 screens for an average of $22,084 and went on to make $64.04m.
The rest of the top 10 are:
#6 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, $18.36m, Warner Bros., 2011
#7 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, $17.96m, Disney, 2019
#8 The Twilight Sage: The New Moon, $16.10m, Hoyts, 2009
#9 Jurrasic World, $16.07m, Universal, 2015
#10 The Avengers: Age of Ultron, $15.70m, Disney, 2015
By Trent Thomas
Ozark and Brooklyn Nine-Nine have maintained their spots on top of the TV Demand charts for Australia and New Zealand ending several weeks of consistent movement in the #1 spots. However, while the movement at the top has ended there has been considerable movement lower down the charts this week.
The most notable new entry is Netflix’s true-crime documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness which has made its way onto the digital original charts in Australia after being released on March 20. According to Nielsen ratings, the limited series was watched by 34.3 million people globally over its first ten days of release, making it one of Netflix’s most successful releases to date. The shows main focus is on the life of zookeeper Joe Exotic and other people in the world of big cats.
Netflix also has an international entry to the Digital Original charts in Australia and NZ with La casa de apple also known as Money Heist on Netflix in Australia. Part four of the series was released on Netflix on April 3. The Spanish TV show created by Álex Pina for Antena 3 was initially intended to be a limited series told in two parts but was extended once Netflix acquired the global streaming rights in 2017 and the show was re-cut and extended.
Little Fires Everywhere has also snuck into the Digital Originals chart in Australia. The mini series premiered on Hulu on March 20 and is based on the 2017 novel of the same name by Celeste Ng. The series stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, and the story is set in Shaker Heights, Ohio during the late 1990s, and follows two mothers from different socioeconomic backgrounds.
In NZ Devs has made its way onto the Digital Originals chart after the mini-series premiered on March 5, on Hulu, as part of FX on Hulu. The show revolves around a computer engineer who investigates a quantum computing company that she believes is responsible for the disappearance of her boyfriend. The show can be watched in Australia on Foxtel’s Fox Showcase channel.
By James Manning
• Gordon Ramsay in full flight good for another 1m+ on MasterChef
• 10 wins second consecutive night as The Project pushes over 700k
• As Nine sits out Easter week, House Rules hovers near 500,000
Tuesday news highlights
Seven News 1,329,000/1,294,000
Nine News 1,140,000/1,098,000
ABC News 977,000
A Current Affair 794,000/541,000
The Project 453,000/720,000
10 News 507,000/363,000
Foreign Correspondent 457,000
The Latest 396,000
Nine News COVID-19 279,000
The Drum 275,000
ABC News Breakfast 247,000
SBS World News 214,000
The Morning Show 209,000
Nine: The David Attenborough Seven Worlds: One Planet episode on Asia did 397,000 after an hour of A Current Affair.
Seven: The remaining House Rules contestants are working at ground level this week on the first home reno with 499,000 watching last night after 548,000 and 630,000 earlier this week. Home and Away was on 699,000 after returning with 676,000 on Monday.
10: MasterChef Australia delivered again last night as the primary channel and the network were #1 for a second consecutive night. Gordon Ramsay was handling service for 120 guests that the 24 Back to Win contestants had to serve. Seeing the British chef in full flight is quite spectacular, although he was relatively well-behaved compared to his US TV theatrics. For the second night Poh managed to dodge a bullet as the show works its way towards eliminating the first contestant next week. The franchise had its best opening in five years on Monday, and last night was the best second episode number since 2011 with 1,095,000. The year-on-year episode two number was up 62%.
The Project is rising as fans settle in for a night on 10 with 720,000 watching after 7pm. That was the biggest Project audience since June 2017. The episode outrated ACA in Melbourne.
NCIS got a bump too with 507,000 cap city viewers its best since October last year.
ABC: After News, 7.30 and Foreign Correspondent all found a home in the top 20, Catalyst was on 389,000 at 8.30pm.
SBS: Great Canadian Railway Journeys was on 332,000, up from 292,000 a week ago. SBS World News, Dateline and Insight were all over 200,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.3%||7TWO||2.6%||GO!||2.3%||10 Bold||3.7%||VICELAND||1.8%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||3.2%||GEM||2.6%||10 Peach||2.0%||Food Net||0.9%|
|9Rush||0.8%||SBS World Movies||1.8%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.4%||7TWO||4.2%||GO!||2.3%||WIN Bold||4.2%||VICELAND||1.7%|
|ABC ME||1.0%||7mate||5.3%||GEM||3.9%||WIN Peach||1.9%||Food Net||0.6%|
|ABC NEWS||1.7%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.5%||9Life||2.5%||Sky News on WIN||3.0%||NITV||0.1%|
16-39 Top Five
18-49 Top Five
25-54 Top Five
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Seven West Media has drafted in advisory firm Grant Samuel to assist with discussions surrounding its debt levels, reports The Australian’s Bridget Carter.
Grant Samuel is understood to have a close relationship with the company’s chief financial officer Jeff Howard, who was appointed in December after working as the CFO at Here, There and Everywhere.
Kerry Stokes-backed Seven West Media has a $96m-odd market value and $569.5m of net debt at December.
It also had almost $115m in cash and equivalents.
Here, There & Everywhere chairman Hamish McLennan has dampened speculation the radio business will imminently look to cut a deal with oOh!media after it splashed $15 million on a stake in the outdoor advertising business, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
Instead, the former Network 10 chief executive said HT&E will play a long game with oOh!media, which secured a $167 million emergency capital raising in late March, and saw San Francisco-based private equity firm HMI Capital, already a major shareholder, emerge with as much as 25 per cent of oOh!media, depending on where the retail offer for the funding lands later in April.
At least half the information China’s leading media outfit Caixin unearthed in Wuhan has been suppressed, according to the editor who oversaw its investigation of the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports The Australian’s Will Glasgow.
“I’d say we have reached 75 to 80 per cent (of the truth). And what has been published is around 30 to 40 per cent,” said Gao Yu in a Mandarin podcast released by Caixin, which confirmed the extraordinary censorship imposed on Chinese journalists.
His frank admission about what the four-person team could not report was itself expunged from an accompanying English-language transcript published by Caixin. Despite the systemic difficulties of operating in a media environment overseen by the Communist Party’s powerful propaganda department, Caixin has earned international praise throughout the coronavirus outbreak for its reporting.
The publication – backed by Tencent, the tech giant founded by China’s second-richest person, “Pony” Ma Huateng – was early to report on the “rumour-mongering” Wuhan doctors who late last year warned about a SARS-like virus, confirmed the existence of asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus in Hubei province and revealed that the province’s officials told a gene sequencing company to destroy samples of the new disease.
TV Tonight has asked some of Australia’s leading industry voices whether from our current adversity we might eventually find creative enterprise?
Rob Sitch, actor, writer, director. Utopia, Frontline, The Castle.
“There’s a lot to be said for ‘artistic’ isolation. My favourite example is the writing of Frankenstein. The facts seem to back up most of the legend. Mary Shelley was visiting Lord Byron in Geneva during the terrible summer of 1816. Stuck inside they invented a challenge; to come up with the best ghost story. I assume she won. The great poem Ozymandius was written in a similar challenge. Newton did his best work while isolated from the plague. Montaigne wrote his famous essays while self-isolating in a tower.”
John Edwards, producer. Love My Way, The Secret Life of Us, Offspring, Paper Giants.
“All but one of the most successful shows I’ve worked on had to survive the adversity of not being wanted, or even liked, by the networks that spawned them. No Darwinism here though, bad shows survive as frequently as good ones. And viruses are even less discriminating than networks often are. I’m glad to hope though that the pressure and rub of this time of weirdness and adversity can force us to focus on stuff that matters and we make something good.”
Mark Fennessy, Chief Executive Officer, Endemol Shine Australia.
“If it’s true that great minds find inspiration in isolation then we will definitely see a burst of creativity beyond the present darkness (at least by those who are not home schooling)! In my experience there has never been a lack of great ideas in Australia – but simply the courage of those needed to bring them to life. In the words of Winston Churchill – ‘an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficult’.”
Not long after the coronavirus lockdowns kicked off in March, the makers of hit show Killing Eve announced the early release of the new season, bringing MI6 agent Eve Polastri and psychopathic assassin Villanelle back into our lives two weeks ahead of schedule, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Genevieve Rota.
It’s a bit of good news for fans of the sexy and darkly comic thriller – but three seasons in, is the show starting to lose some of its steam? That’s one of the topics up for discussion among The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age‘s top TV critics in this week’s episode of The Televisionaries podcast.
Host Louise Rugendyke is joined by Spectrum deputy editor Kylie Northover and culture editor-at-large Michael Idato and one thing is clear: they’ve all invested plenty of time in the adventures of Polastri and Villanelle.
Idato says the excellence of Killing Eve‘s first season meant the show almost inevitably fell victim to the sophomore slump, a concept discussed in episode four of The Televisionaries.
“I have to say, season two wasn’t as great as season one, and season three really fell short for me,” Idato says. “I’m a bit like, are we here still?
The NRL has struck a deal for a $250m lifeline from a group of London banks and financial institutions, giving rugby league both financial breathing space and leverage in its negotiations with broadcaster the Nine Network, report The Australian’s John Stensholt and Brent Read.
A huge line of credit, which could also come with support from the federal government, will be drawn down by the sport’s governing body and dispersed to needy NRL clubs within weeks, staving off the need for funds from Nine before the competition resumes.
The money will be secured against future income the sport receives, including broadcast and sponsorship revenue under contract until at least 2022, rather than a particular asset.
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys emerged from a key meeting with Nine chief executive Hugh Marks on Tuesday in Sydney, saying he was “buoyed by Mr Marks’s support for rugby league and his commitment to the game”.
The long-term financial viability of rugby league in Australia will be on the table in talks between the NRL, Nine and Foxtel over the next week, as sports administrators and broadcast partners look to rework the code so it does not find itself in a similar cash-strapped crisis in the future, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
In a statement yesterday after meeting Nine CEO Hugh Marks, the ARLC chairman Peter V’landys made no mention of the mooted May 28 starting date that has been widely reported. Nine and Foxtel declined to comment.
“Our next meeting, where we will endeavour to construct a road map for the game this year, must include Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany.”
V’Landys, Marks and Foxtel chief executive Patrick Delany are expected to discuss a 2020 season, what games would be played and what fees would be paid, as well as the make-up of the current and future broadcast agreements in meetings later this week or next week.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg met with Fox Sports chief executive Peter Campbell on Tuesday to discuss the pay TV company’s issues.
Channel Nine has outlined a vision of its preferred future NRL television deal at a crisis meeting with ARLC chairman Peter V’landys, with the free-to-air broadcaster favouring two exclusive games per round as part of an extended rights contract, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Chammas.
After Nine boss Hugh Marks met with V’landys at Racing NSW headquarters on Tuesday, sources close to the negotiations told the Herald Channel Nine, wanted to give up the Thursday night game and concentrate on its traditional Friday night and Sunday afternoon time slots.
It also hopes pay-TV broadcaster Foxtel, who will join Nine and the NRL in negotiations later this week, can be convinced to relinquish its Friday 6pm game as part of a new rights deal that would do away with the current simulcast arrangement.
“Today, Nine CEO Hugh Marks and I had a constructive and co-operative meeting about rugby league in 2020 and beyond,” V’landys said in a statement after the meeting.
The Herald has been told by sources with knowledge of the meeting that Nine also expressed its preference to wipe the 2020 season, in stark contrast to V’landys’ push for a May 28 restart. The end result could fall somewhere in the middle.
With no major football codes to compete, Sydney racing has emerged as the big broadcast winner after its free-to-air TV ratings surged nearly 40 per cent on two of the past three Saturdays, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Christian Nicolussi.
On the same weekend the major winter codes were suspended because of COVID-19, an average 93,000 city viewers watched Verry Elleegant win the group 1 Tancred Stakes at Rosehill for Chris Waller on March 26. It was a 36.4 per cent jump on the previous year.
The following weekend, Seven enjoyed a 41 per cent spike when an average 118,000 metropolitan viewers plugged in for day one of The Championships at Randwick.
Last weekend’s ratings, obtained by The Herald, showed a 30 per cent dip, but only because Winx farewelled the sport at the corresponding meeting last year. The average 120,000 viewers was one of the highest numbers to watch the action unfold at the Australian Turf Club in three years.