Wednesday April 29, 2020

News Corp reveals new data partnership at its first virtual presentation

News Corp Australia has announced a major data partnership with one of the nation’s leading customer loyalty programs at its inaugural virtual marketing event, Decoded, presented by News Connect.

The event showcased how News Connect allows clients to plan, book and measure digital campaigns based on News Corp’s audience reach of 12 million Australians via 13 data partnerships, social display and advertising formats.

The agreement between News Corp Australia’s digital marketing platform News Connect and flybuys – a joint venture of Wesfarmers and Coles – will contribute transaction and behavioural demographic audience segments on a de-identified basis from flybuys’ 8.7 million active members.

The Decoded event was the publisher’s first test of a virtual sales event, something which will become the norm for all media businesses for at least the remainder of 2020. News Corp Australia’s managing director national sales Lou Barrett hosted the event with presentations from general manager of data and ad product solutions Suzie Cardwell and general manager, digital revenue & marketing services Paul Blackburn.

The Decoded event also revealed details of an additional 190 News Connect audience segments through a new data partnership with Red Planet.

Barrett told the online audience how the world had changed recently in a way no one had imagined. “Staying connected has never been more important than it is right now. We are seeing it at News Corp with huge increases in the number and people buying and reading our newspapers and visiting our websites for news and information, plus cooking tips and recipes, and how to entertain and educate our kids.

Lou Barrett

With the amount of information on offer around the world, Barrett said people were being swamped and getting confused. “That’s why they are turning to trusted sources of information. People are reading the news more often and they are turning to trusted, established news brands, be they print or digital brands. People need and want to be connected, and marketers need to ensure they stay connected with their customers. That is where News Connect comes in.

“Over the past 18 months we have built News Connect into an end-to-end marketing platform that allows you to access the power of our audiences and premium environments to deliver your marketing outcome.”

The flybuys deal, the first with any publisher, creates an additional 360 audience segments within News Connect. This means News Connect will now offer more than 2,000 audience segments for brands and advertisers to create highly targeted, data-based consumer campaigns to target individual consumers.

Suzie Cardwell

Cardwell said: “The flybuys partnership represents a significant addition to the measurable and transparent data insights News Connect provides clients.

“Now, more than ever, News Connect dissects and analyses Australian shoppers’ behaviour through real-world consumer spending patterns, offering our clients the best way to find their customers on our network of trusted brands.”

During her presentation Cardwell reminded guests that when News Connect launched in 2015 it started with 40 audience segments, two data partnerships and an audience of 7m Australians a month. “The platform now offers over 2,000 audience segments and 12 premium data partnerships including sentiment based data from Unruly’s EQ, sports data from Kayo and Racenet, real estate data from REA.”

Cardwell warned against advertising on user generated content platforms which hold a risk for brands. “The risk that your ad could be served up alongside unsafe or untrue content. Why take that risk when you can advertise in a brand safe, professionally generated content environment.”

Paul Blackburn

Blackburn also tried to lure away advertisers from YouTube to News Corp by reminding them of the publisher’s offer – users watch complete 6 or 15 second video ads or they are free of charge. “Now you can make every second count programmatically by trading on a cost-per-completed view trading model in an Australia first partnership with Telaria. Our solution provides our advertising partners with something the walled gardens of the digital platforms cannot – an efficient trading solution with independently verifiable audience measurement.”

Blackburn also had news for FMCG clients. “We can show how many people purchased their product in Woolworths after seeing an ad on our network. To add further strength to this capability, based on our deal with fly buys, purchases made with Coles will also be added. That is 75% of all supermarket transactions.”

Barrett explains News Connect

• Digital network spans more than 20 brands including, metro mastheads like The Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, The Australian, Taste, delicious. and kidspot and also Vogue Australia
• Those brands reach 12m Australians
• Through News Connect and its data partnerships we collect over 2b data points every month
• News Connect gives us deep intelligence and insights into our audiences, helping you find the right consumers and helps you show them the right message at the right time to drive your business outcomes
• Know where your customers are, what they are doing, what they want and how and when to reach them

Brendon Hill
Bauer Media suspends titles due to COVID-19 as 140 staff impacted

Bauer Media has announced that, due to the impact of COVID-19 in Australia, and the correlated decrease in advertising revenue, it is proposing to temporarily suspend the print publication of certain titles and to restructure parts of the business.

The proposal means that 70 Bauer staff will be made redundant and a similar number stood down.

The affected brands’ digital assets will continue to operate. The decision to resume print publication will be made once the trading environment improves.

At a meeting with staff today, Brendon Hill, Australia CEO, said: “These are unprecedented times. The COVID-19 crisis and the strict measures being taken to control it are having a profound impact on the Australian economy and any business that operates in it. This has led to a sharp decrease in advertising revenues in Australia over the short term and we have had to reshape our organisation accordingly.”

The decision comes just hours after Bauer Media decided to cancel the 2020 TV Week Logie Awards.

Axed! Bauer Media cancels 2020 TV Week Logie Awards

Just four weeks ago Bauer Media announced there would be no TV Week Logies event on the Gold Coast, but it said at the time the awards voting would be held with the awards to be staged in a different form this year.

However in a statement released on Tuesday night, Bauer Media announced the 2020 Logies would be axed. What happened in those four weeks to change their minds?

The backflip from Bauer Media won’t dampen speculation the publisher continues to review its future in Australia. That being the case, Bauer would not want to be committing to an awards event, virtual or otherwise.

Although the possibility of Bauer Media leaving the Australian market completely seems unlikely, who foresaw that the publisher would close down its New Zealand operations, sacking all staff in the process?

This is the statement from Bauer Media that Mediaweek published on March 30:

Bauer Media, publishers of TV Week, has announced some major changes to how the 2020 TV Week Logies will be run due to the coronavirus pandemic – however, the awards will still be held in some form.

Fiona Connolly, Bauer Media group publisher, said on the weekend: “Given the global COVID-19 pandemic the 2020 TV Week Logie Awards will not proceed as planned on the Gold Coast on Sunday, June 28, nor any of the ancillary public events.

“But we will continue with our nominations announcement and online voting campaign and are working with our partners on a TV broadcast alternative and will advise of those details when we have them.”

With a change of mind, here is today’s Bauer Media statement from TV Week publisher Fiona Connolly axing the awards completely for 2020:

“We have spent the last few weeks discussing with our event partners what the TV Week Logie Awards could look like in 2020, whilst adhering to Government restrictions and working around the challenges of COVID-19. All parties agree the most positive outcome is to not hold the TV Week Logies, including public voting, in 2020, but to stage an even bigger event on the Gold Coast in 2021. The TV Week Logies is loved because it is a live event, with viewers at home enjoying seeing the red-carpet glamour and the entertainment community coming together to celebrate the television industry.

“In addition to the world-class awards telecast, we want to continue to build on the success of our public event, Stars in the Park – which gives fans a chance to meet their favourite television stars in person.

“We would like to thank Queensland for being a wonderful Logies host and partner in delivering this event over the past two years and we cannot wait to return to The Star Gold Coast next year.

“While we are postponing the TV WEEK Logie Awards for 2020 and returning in 2021, the 2021 Logies will be an epic event that will take into consideration the 12 months of television just past, as well as all programs that will air for the remainder of this year.”

Australians trust Government ahead of media for coronavirus news

Governments ranked as the most trusted source of COVID-19 news in 10 out of 17 countries in the survey. Health organisations came top in two. Broadcasters, which are more traditional sources of news, ranked top in the other five.

The international study was conducted by Global Web Index (GWI) between 31 March and 2 April.

Australia was one of the 17 countries in the survey, with over 1,000 people polled.

When asked about their most trust news source, 57% of Australians nominated Government updates. That was much higher than both the UK (47%) and the US (42%). The country with the highest trust in Government updates was New Zealand with 72%.

Countries where the media ranked highest included France (TV 39%), Germany (TV 51%), Italy (TV 68%) and Spain (TV 38%).

The report indicated that social media has the biggest trust gap, with government updates and news channels considered the most trustworthy of sources.

• Globally, people are most likely to be turning to news channels (60%), news websites (55%), news bulletins (45%), government updates (50%) and social media (47%) to keep informed about the outbreak. Around a third are keeping up-to-date via conversations with friends / family or updates from health organizations.

• When we ask people which sources they consider to be most trustworthy, the list looks quite different. Government updates move to the top of the list (around 50%), with no real difference between the number of people using them and the number who say they are trustworthy. Following behind are news channels and then updates from health organisations.

• Social media has the biggest “trust gap” of any source – while 47% are keeping-to-date via this channel, only 14% believe it to be one of the most trustworthy sources. Users of individual platforms are in line with these figures.

• In part, the question of trust gives context for what people say they want from social media: around two thirds say platforms should be providing fact-checked content, with a similar proportion wanting them to filter “fake news”.

Australians had the second-highest level of approval of social media companies and how they have handled COVID-19 – 22% strongly approve and 42% somewhat approve.

When it comes to in-home media consumption, these are the following stats for Australians:

11% listening to more podcasts
18% listening to more radio
20% listening to more streaming service
20% reading or listening to more books/audiobooks
7% reading more magazines
12% reading more newspapers
38% spending more time on social media
56% watching more news coverage
43% watching more TV streaming
40% watching more FTA TV

TV Demand: Star Wars and Disney + continues to dominate

By Trent Thomas

• Plus TV Demand’s new Australian and NZ insight pages

It is followed by Star Wars: The Clone Wars which gives the Star Wars franchise and Disney + the top two spots on the Digital Original chart.

Despite coming out in late 2019 The Mandalorian has produced 24.7 times the demand of the average TV series in Australia in the last 30 days. 2.7% of all shows in this market have this level of demand. 

One of the most noticeable new entries this week is the Amazon Prime Video Original Bosch which has made its way into the top 10 of the Digital Originals chart in Australia. The  American police procedural show released its sixth season on April 14, which was a day earlier than originally announced. The first season was influenced by the Michael Connelly novels City of Bones, Echo Park, and The Concrete Blonde. 

Over the last 30 days, Bosch has had 6.9 times the demand of the average TV series and the show had a huge surge on April 6 which has seen it find its way into the Digital Original top 10 in Australia for the 19 – 25 April 2020 period.

In NZ Too Hot to Handle entered the Digital Originals chart this week after being released on Netflix on April 17. The reality dating show assembled a group of young, single people and challenged them to create genuine connections instead of physical flings with the prize money decreasing if contestants engage in any sexual contact on the island with the money starting at $100,000.

The most popular piece of Australian content over the last 30 days was Married at First Sight with Parrot Analytics finding that the audience demand for Married At First Sight has been 11.6 times the demand of the average TV series in Australia in the last 30 days. 2.7% of all shows in this market have this level of demand this is despite the show declining by 50.7% over the last 30 days.

Parrot Analytics has now also made available an insights page for Australia and New Zealand which shows the companies data on a rolling 30-day basis being updated daily.  Note: Due to the 30-day rolling update these numbers will differ from the below weekly chart. You can look at Australia here and New Zealand here.


TV Ratings Wednesday April 28 Week 18 2020

By James Manning

• Harry dumped from MasterChef, at least big crowd said goodbye
• The Project makes it over 700,000 for second time this month
• Seven ranks #1 all people as Nine share drops without Lego build

Monday news highlights
Seven News 1,306,000/1,231,000
Nine News 1,152,000/1,068,000
ABC News 870,000
A Current Affair 782,000
7.30 747,000
The Project 449,000/704,000
10 News 483,000/347,000
Sunrise 310,000
The Drum 260,000
SBS World News 218,000
Today 213,000
The Latest 211,000

Nine: There is no starker reminder of what a share of audience looks like without a 7.30pm reality franchise in the schedule than Nine’s Tuesday share. The channel had not dipped below 20% on any Tuesday survey night so far until last night when it dropped like a brick to 15.6%.
Instead of Lego Masters, the channel chose to start a repeat of Hamish & Andy’s “Perfect” Holiday. The duo usually deliver ratings magic in primetime, but only 299,000 watched a repeat of their 2019 series.
Nine then showed the 2016 movie Central Intelligence to 254,000.
Earlier in the night A Current Affair was on 782,000.

Seven: After Home and Away started its week on 669,000 on Monday, an audience of 673,00 was tuning in last night.
House Rules: High Stakes saw the teams working in Perth. But even with no Lego Masters up against it, the show’s audience dropped to 479,000, down from 564,000 on Monday and 502,000 on Tuesday a week ago.
First Dates Australia then did 324,000.

10: The Project was on fire last night – was there a big name guest, or maybe just because Fitzy was guesting at the remote desk? The audience of 710,000 was amongst its biggest for several years after 7pm and the second time the show had hit 700,000 this month.
There was plenty to argue about with the MasterChef judges last night, but a bit of controversy can’t be bad for ratings. And it certainly wasn’t with 1,090,000 tuning in, well up on last week’s 908,000 on Tuesday. In a six-way contest to decide the next elimination, the judges chose Hayden’s Violet Crumble adaption against Harry’s poached southern rock lobster tail with coral cream, along with langoustine, pickled sea herbs, pickled wakame, fresh wakame, dried nori, dashi glaze, apple and fresh herbs. No way! Harry was rightly chosen in the bottom two against some other brilliant cooking – including Poh again living on the edge. But after the show it was Hayden who dodged a bullet big time.
The channel had its best Tuesday survey share of the year and its second best Tuesday in any week this year.

ABC: Foreign Correspondent did 461,000 after 8pm.
Catalyst was next with 332,000 and then the second and final part of Miriam’s Big Fat Adventure was on 271,000.

SBS: Michael Portillo and Marc Fennell guided the channel through primetime. Great Canadian Railway Journeys did an impressive 352,000 to squeeze into the top 20.
Marc Fennell did double duty, firstly hosting Insight with 171,000 watching and then returning at 10pm on The Feed. In between those two shows Dateline did 106,000.

Week 18 TV: Tuesday

ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.2% 7 18.0% 9 15.6% 10  17.3% SBS One 5.6%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.6% 7TWO 3.4% GO! 1.8% 10 Bold 3.8% VICELAND 2.3%
ABC ME 0.4% 7mate 3.3% GEM 2.5% 10 Peach 2.3% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.8% 7flix 1.7% 9Life 2.4%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 0.8%     SBS World Movies 0.7%
TOTAL 17.0%   26.5%   23.2%   23.4%   9.8%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.2% 7 20.3% 9 14.0% WIN 13.2% SBS One 5.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.3% 7TWO 4.7% GO! 1.6% WIN Bold 4.8% VICELAND 2.2%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 5.8% GEM 3.2% WIN Peach 2.3% Food Net 0.6%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.9% 9Life 2.6% Sky News  on WIN 2.5% NITV 0.2%
                SBS Movies 0.9%
TOTAL 14.3%   32.8%   21.5%   22.9%   9.5%


88.0% 12.0%
  1. Seven News Seven 1,306,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,231,000
  3. Nine News Nine 1,152,000
  4. MasterChef Australia 10 1,082,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 1,068,000
  6. ABC News ABC 870,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 782,000
  8. 7.30 ABC 747,000
  9. The Project 7pm 10 704,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 678,000
  11. Home And Away Seven 673,000
  12. Hot Seat Nine 640,000
  13. 10 News First 10 483,000
  14. House Rules: High Stakes Seven 479,000
  15. Foreign Correspondent ABC 461,000
  16. The Project 6.30pm 10 449,000
  17. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 412,000
  18. Hot Seat -5pm Nine 380,000
  19. NCIS (R) 10 370,000
  20. Great Canadian Railway Journeys SBS 352,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 339,000
  2. The Project 7pm 10 196,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 152,000
  4. Seven News Seven 143,000
  5. Nine News Nine 137,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 512,000
  2. The Project 7pm 10 318,000
  3. Seven News Seven 294,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 283,000
  5. Nine News Nine 276,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 524,000
  2. Seven News Seven 376,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 356,000
  4. Nine News Nine 356,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 339,000
TUESDAY Multichannel
  1. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 198,000
  2. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 193,000
  3. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 181,000
  4. Nella The Princess Knight PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 180,000
  5. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 178,000
  6. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 176,000
  7. Shaun The Sheep AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 168,000
  8. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 162,000
  9. Kiri And Lou ABCKIDS/COMEDY 158,000
  10. Highway Patrol-Ep.2 Pm 7mate 157,000
  11. Neighbours 10 Peach 156,000
  12. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 155,000
  13. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 153,000
  14. Luo Bao Bei ABCKIDS/COMEDY 149,000
  15. David Attenborough Seven Worlds, O N9EGPeLmANET 144,000
  16. Go Jetters AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  17. CSI: Miami 10 Bold 140,000
  18. Dot. AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  19. Megatruckers PM 7mate 138,000
  20. Highway Patrol PM 7mate 136,000
  1. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 94,000
  2. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 88,000
  3. Jones & Credlin Sky News Live 67,000
  4. Credlin Sky News Live 66,000
  5. PML Later Sky News Live 56,000
  6. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 48,000
  7. Death In Paradise BBC First 48,000
  8. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 42,000
  9. Midsomer Murders UKTV 40,000
  10. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 39,000
  11. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 37,000
  12. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 36,000
  13. NCIS FOX Crime 34,000
  14. Blaze And The Monster Machines Nick Jr. 34,000
  15. NCIS: New Orleans FOX Crime 33,000
  16. Hogan’s Heroes FOX Classics 32,000
  17. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 31,000
  18. New Tricks UKTV 30,000
  19. Without A Trace FOX Crime 29,000
  20. Grand Designs Lifestyle Channel 28,000

Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM

Media News Roundup


Georgie Parker awaits Home & Away return, possibly in June

Be careful what you wish for.
Georgie Parker appreciates her downtime while Home & Away has halted production, as she approaches her 10th anniversary on the Seven serial, reports TV Tonight.

As an actor who has enjoyed lengthy runs in A Country Practice and All Saints, she’s used to early starts and long days. But during the COVID-19 shutdown, she is more than aware she is one of the lucky ones.

“I was bitching to my husband, late last year: ‘I’m sick of working all the time!’ I’ve worked since I was 16. I’ve never just had a time where I’ve gotten up, went to the corner store, got the paper, got a coffee, come home, read it. Unless it’s a rare day off…” she tells TV Tonight.

“So now I know what that’s like …it’s really nice to have room to breathe, but now I’m really looking forward to when we can actually knuckle down (and work). And how fortunate am I that I can say that? I’m looking forward to hearing what the storylines are, going back and slowly getting that whole engine running again.”

Production was shut down on March 22nd. Along with the rest of the cast and crew, Parker is awaiting the green light to resume.

“It’s all to do with when restrictions will be lessened. We were working right up until about (four) and a half weeks ago and we were doing really well. We had adjusted filming in a very effective manner, adhering to as much spatial distancing as was possible.

“If they take the restrictions back a step or two, we will be able to resume filming. So we’re just waiting for that. We’re all guessing June, July.”

[Read more]

As Hollywood maps out return, new on-set protocols are planned

Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, when predicting the future may seem futile, there’s at least one thing Hollywood is in agreement on: When the industry is eventually able to start up production again, film and TV sets are going to look very different, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Gone are the days of grazing on the communal snacks at the craft services table, inviting friends and family to pop over to the set and maybe even kissing scenes between actors – at least until a coronavirus vaccine is widely available.

In an effort to keep cast and crew safe on set – which are notably high-risk for their propensity to cram a lot of people into compact spaces – sources say that leading Hollywood content producers and unions are working to develop new industry standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At the forefront of those conversations are major studios including Disney and Warner Bros., unions like IATSE and the Directors Guild of America, top production facilities like Pinewood Studios and associations such as AMPTP and various film commissions.

Though no official guidelines have been released by any major parties, there’s still plenty of chatter about the procedures being considered. To start, there’s the expected: Gloves and masks may need to be worn on set, with the exception of actors who obviously can’t wear them on camera. In order to protect performers, there’s been talk of two actors in close proximity, especially intimate scenes, being shot separately and then bringing the shots together in postproduction.

[Read more]

Business of Media

Roxy Jacenko selling second hand designer clothes amid COVID-19

Roxy Jacenko has taken to a second hand resaler to sell some of her preloved designer threads online, but assured it was not a last-ditch effort to stay afloat, reports News Corp’s Sally Coates.

Jacenko was open about the massive hit her publicity firm Sweaty Betty had taken as the COVID-19 crisis struck, losing 85 per cent of her clientele in one fell swoop.

The 40-year-old mum of two said selling her pre-worn items was something she had always done as she did not like to wear the same thing twice.

“I sell all my stuff, I’ve always sold it,” she told Confidential.

“I actually used to have a page called Roxy Jacenko Sale and it did super well.

“At one point I think I had $70,000 in takings and PayPal put a block on my account because they thought there was something fraudulent going on. But I’ve always done that. I’m not known as a hoarder by any stretch, I sell everything.

“I think now in the days of Instagram that’s why rental businesses have become so popular. “With Instagram you can’t be whirling out the same garment 10 times over.”

An avid handbag collector, Jacenko said buyers eager to get their hands on part of her $1 million handbag collection would not see any of her Hermes Birkin Bags listed anytime soon.

[Read more]

News Brands

Guardian tops poll of UK national papers for coronavirus coverage

The Guardian’s coverage of the coronavirus outbreak is considered to be substantially better than that of any other British newspaper, according to a University of Oxford study looking at the UK population’s attitudes to news during the lockdown, reports the British news brand.

According to the research, twice as many Britons said they felt the Guardian was doing a “good job” covering the pandemic compared with the Times, its nearest rival.

The Guardian’s website was also one of the most-read sources for information on the outbreak, second only to BBC News. This fits with internal traffic statistics which show the Guardian has consistently reached record audiences over the last two months, while also seeing a surge in reader contributions to fund its journalism.

Other outlets fared less well but the Sun and the Mail were the only national newspapers where more people felt they were doing a “bad job” than approved of their reporting on the pandemic.

The survey by YouGov for the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute also found that the BBC’s output continues to dominate online news consumption in the UK, with 36% of the population saying they had turned to the public service broadcaster’s website for coronavirus coverage.

[Read more]

CNN's high-drama coverage of the pandemic hits close to home

CNN has distinguished itself from Fox News and MSNBC in more ways than one in its coverage of the novel coronavirus pandemic, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

While all three networks have flooded the airwaves with medical experts and government officials from morning to night, CNN viewers have been treated to on-air testimonials from three anchors who have tested positive for the virus.

Primetime anchor Chris Cuomo has been the star of the show, but Brooke Baldwin and Richard Quest have also talked directly to viewers about their symptoms – or lack thereof, in Quest’s case.

While some have questioned the ethics of having news anchors speak so personally about their health and family life, not to mention Cuomo’s chummy interviews with his governor brother, the network has undeniably offered a mix of content that has been unmatched in the medium. In turn, CNN has received a larger ratings boost than its rivals.

A senior producer at the network, who was not authorized to speak to The Hollywood Reporter, credits president Jeff Zucker‘s “wartime” leadership.

“He’s struck a good balance between keeping us working and moving forward and making sure people are physically and mentally healthy, and recognizing when people need to take some time off,” the producer says.

Between early March (when coronavirus coverage ramped up) and late April, CNN has seen a 139 percent year-over-year increase in total primetime viewership, compared to boosts of 48 percent for Fox News Channel and 28 percent for MSNBC.

[Read more]


Contract time soon for person who earns even more than Kyle & Jackie O

When US broadcaster Howard Stern first moved to US satellite radio broadcaster Sirius XM it put the new business on the map. It also put a large fortune into the breakfast host’s bank account.

But Stern’s current deal for his program expires at the end of 2020 and his thoughts have turned to what’s next.

Howard Stern said that he loves his staff and is open to ideas regarding his expiring contract in December, the radio host commented yesterday on his Sirius XM radio show, reports Bloomberg.

Stern was talking to Sirius XM management before the pandemic hit, but he hasn’t had any “real serious” conversations with management about his contract since then.

“I haven’t really sat down seriously with Sirius XM and figured out what we might do in the future, but I do really love the people that work here and I do love the company. I’m open to some kinda of idea. I have some thoughts about what we might do,” Stern commented further on his show Tuesday.

Bloomberg added: Sirius XM CEO Jim Meyer said on the company’s earnings conference call Tuesday he wants Stern to be on Sirius XM for how long he ever wants to work. Meyer said he had some conversations with Stern’s agent Don Buchwald a couple of days ago.

“I’m not concerned that we won’t find a way together,” Meyer said on the call. “I hope to have more to say when we do our third quarter call.”

If Stern signs for a further five years he will be 71 at the end of the contract.

Way back in 1992 Stern was thought to be earning around US$1.5m annually. Still big money today, but a massive amount close to 30 years ago. His final contract with Infinity Broadcasting for his syndicated FM breakfast show was for $25m annually which covered 2001-2005.

When Stern moved to Sirius XM in 2006 it was estimated his contract was worth $80m annually and has crept higher in successive contracts.

Stern doesn’t broadcast daily, yet Sirius XM does big business with repeat content and runs separate Howard Stern channels. The broadcaster is reported to have rights to his library of content until 2027.

Top Photo: Howard and Beth Stern

Sports Media

NRL signs off on 20-round season with broadcasters Nine, Foxtel

The NRL has finally signed off on a 20-round season, resuming on May 28, with the governing body hoping to have crowds back for the finals series ahead of an October 25 grand final, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Chammas.

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys held discussions with Nine boss Hugh Marks and Foxtel chief executive Patrick Delany on Tuesday afternoon to inform them of the game’s decision to play an additional 18 rounds from May 28, on top of the two rounds already played.

It came after a high-level meeting earlier on Tuesday between V’landys and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who looks set to allow the Brisbane Broncos, Gold Coast Titans and North Queensland Cowboys to base themselves at home and train in their usual environment.

The NRL decider has been locked in for October 25, a day after Australia’s opening game of the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup, scheduled to be played at the SCG against Pakistan on a Saturday night.

If the cricket World Cup isn’t postponed or cancelled, it is expected the NRL will move the premiership decider to the 30,000-seat Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta.

[Read more]

NRL plan hangs on Channel 9 support and players’ good behaviour

Nine CEO Hugh Marks said last month that Nine would save $130 million if it did not televise NRL this season, sending an almighty cheer around his shareholders, reports News Corp’s Paul Kent.

Rugby league fans don’t own shares in Nine, obviously.

The fear for Marks is a legitimate one.

If the season returns and he resumes paying several millions dollars a week in broadcast fees and then, somewhere along the line, some player feels he needs a social outbreak and goes rogue and gets infected with the COVID-19 virus, then the season might have to be shut down.

It is almost certain the season won’t resume from a second suspension.

So the money spent between here and then, in a season ultimately cancelled through carelessness, would be wasted.

And the last thing any CEO wants to do in this climate is upset shareholders.

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Double-header of AFL Grand Final and Cox Plate is a possibility

The AFL’s push to finish the season in October has the Grand Final on a collision course with horse racing – and potentially the 100th running of the Cox Plate, reports News Corp’s Sam Landsberger.

But the blockbuster events would roll into each other on October 24, creating one of the biggest days in Melbourne’s sporting history.

Moonee Valley chief executive Michael Browell will wait for footy to lock in its finals fixture and clarity around the Twenty20 World Cup before scheduling the timing of his biggest race.

“We’ll see how everything falls into place before we decide whether we run the Cox Plate in its traditional timeslot – 12pm-5.45pm, with the Cox Plate at 5.30pm – or if we run the Cox Plate at night under lights,” Browell said.

The $5 million Cox Plate – dominated by legendary mare and four-time champion Winx in recent years – has, like the Grand Final, never been held at night before. Racing Victoria and Channel 7 are expected to agree to a new broadcast deal for this year’s Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate.

“I know that between horse racing and AFL we will be able to celebrate both sports,” Channel 7 boss Lewis Martin said.

“We’ve been longstanding supporters of both and I am absolutely certain we’ll have an integrated outcome.”

[Read more]

F1 CEO Chase Carey: Target is to begin F1 season in Austria on July 5

F1 CEO Chase Carey has provided an update to fans on the latest developments on the 2020 F1 calendar, including a target start date and location. There is no plan to include Australia in the new season. The closest races will be held in South East Asia.

“Although this morning it was announced that the French Grand Prix, due to take place in late June, will not be going ahead, we are now increasingly confident with the progress of our plans to begin our season this summer.

“We’re targeting a start to racing in Europe through July, August and beginning of September, with the first race taking place in Austria on 3-5 July weekend. September, October and November, would see us race in Eurasia, Asia and the Americas, finishing the season in the Gulf in December with Bahrain before the traditional finale in Abu Dhabi, having completed between 15-18 races.

“We will publish our finalised calendar as soon as we possibly can.

“We expect the early races to be without fans but hope fans will be part of our events as we move further into the schedule. We still have to work out many issues like the procedures for the teams and our other partners to enter and operate in each country.

“While we have been moving forward with our 2020 plans, we have also been working hard with the FIA and the teams to strengthen the long term future of Formula 1 through an array of new technical, sporting, and financial regulations that will improve the competition and action on the track and make it a healthier business for all involved, particularly as we engage the issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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