By James Manning
• What happened to the magazine sector and is there a future?
“Australians love magazines and they want Australian stories represented on their pages.” That is the message from Melbourne newsagent Mark Fletcher when Mediaweek asked him about the sector in Australia. And after Bauer Media closed its New Zealand operation, which Fletcher said stunned not only him, but people he knew in Bauer Media Australia, we asked about Bauer’s future in Australia.
“I don’t think that Bauer is looking to exit Australia, but I say that without any special knowledge.”
If anybody has a good understanding of magazine economics in Australia it should be Fletcher. He publishes a daily newsagency blog, owns three retail newsagencies (two in shopping centres, one on the high street), owns newsXpress, a franchised group with 225 stores, in addition to operating Tower Systems which supplies POS software to 1,700 newsagencies. “I have fingers in a few pies!” Fletcher estimates there are roughly 3,000 retail newsagents in Australia.
Magazines remain important for newsagencies, but not as much as they once were. “Magazine sales have been declining over the longer term,” said Fletcher. “They remain an important part of the business, but newsagents now have other traffic drivers in businesses now.”
When asked if keeping people at home in lockdown may be fast tracking where the sector was heading, Fletcher replied: “Within newsagency channels, a lot of the discussion has been about decisions like some publishers pulling back were possibly on the radar. The coronavirus situation is bringing those things forward. We are seeing similar things in newspapers with regional and suburban titles impacted.
“When advertising revenue dries up the directors [of publishers] have to make a decision at what point do they declare the business non-viable. Any assessment of the current situation indicates we are probably in for 6-12 months of significant economic pain. Are publishers prepared to wait that period of time to see if there is something on the other side?
“My take is that the Bauer family are very pragmatic which is why you haven’t seen the Pacific Magazines transaction completed at this stage.”
Fletcher said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Bauer eventually make moves about rationalising its range in Australia.
Newsagents have been disappointed in the past with the way some publishers engaged with the distribution channel.
“Early on Bauer was engaged and active with newsagents. That faded, but now we are in a situation where they are engaging much better with newsagents in the past 12 months.”
Fletcher thinks newsagents have been doing better with magazine titles in the past 12 months because petrol and convenience stores aren’t as strong as they once were. “We remain a destination for many people because of the depth of range we still have. A typical newsagent still might have 700-800 different titles. A shopper looking for diversity is catered for. At present crossword titles, craft and scrapbooking are all doing really well and growing. Your average newsagent is looking at magazine sales being up probably 10 or 11 per cent year-on-year. That has remained the case for much April and May – if our stores remain open.”
One challenge for the industry could be distribution. Ovato, the business formerly known as PMP and its distribution arm Gordon and Gotch, is facing big challenges with shares trading under two cents as it grapples with reduced printing demand which is its main business.
Fletcher wondered if it is an area that News Corp might move into. “They have the infrastructure to get product out there. Could that be an option for them? The Ovato situation is a hot topic for newsagents because at different points in the cycle Ovato owes newsagents money for returned product.”
Fletcher speculated if there was a withdrawal of the major distributor it could take weeks for a replacement to be ready. “Would that be something to push some magazines over the edge? Some newsagents have also said they would not open their doors if that happened because some rely so much on magazine revenue.”
Overall regional and rural newsagents are in good shape, said Fletcher. So good that he doesn’t expect many will meet the criteria of seeing revenue drop 30% or more to qualify for Job Keeper program.
“High street metro newsagencies aren’t doing too badly either. However it is in shopping centres where things are different. We are seeing declines of 60-80% year-on-year. One of the fallouts will probably be less newsagencies in shopping centres.”
As to reasons why the hunger for magazines has declined, there are several, said Fletcher. “As soon a publishers started putting their top performing titles in supermarkets at checkouts it cut down the browsing of magazine aisles. Browsing was key to people picking up multiple titles. The impulse purchase of magazines is really important.
“The long tail that newsagents provide – a broad range of titles in smaller numbers – is really valuable to our channel. The speciality customer is glued to the business and returns regularly to find their niche titles.”
ARN has announced measures in response to the impact of the decline in advertising revenue created by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
Since March, ARN has significantly reduced costs across the business in order to protect jobs. This has included a review of discretionary spending, putting recruitment on hold and encouraging staff to take annual leave.
After careful consideration and rigorous financial risk assessment, additional action is now required.
All full-time staff will reduce their full-time equivalent working week by one day. Staff can access their annual leave entitlements to help offset the impact on take-home pay for as long as they have leave accrued, and all staff will be allowed to take a portion of leave in advance of earning it.
On-air talent will continue to broadcast five days a week as usual while taking a minimum of 10% reduction in fees across various cost control measures.
The board, CEO and management team are taking a 20% reduction in salaries for an initial six-month period and will forgo all incentive and bonus payments in 2020.
ARN CEO Ciaran Davis said: “Although ARN is in a strong position, like all media businesses our revenue has been significantly impacted by COVID-19.
“The priority of the board and management team is the safety and wellbeing of all of our staff. These decisive measures have been put in place to protect jobs and ensure ARN remains in a strong position as a stable business – and employer – in the long term.
“Australia is facing a widespread fall in marketing and advertising activity and our response to this crisis is being reviewed on an on-going basis as we assess the revenue performance over the coming weeks and months.
“I’d like to thank all our team members for ensuring that our recent transition to working from home has been controlled and managed effectively. ARN’s technology investments have meant our radio broadcasts have been unaffected and even under any potential tightening of lock-down measures across the community, ARN is confident all of our shows will remain broadcasting uninterrupted across our network.
“During times when the nation needs a sense of community, connection and some normality, the power of radio is undisputed and we remain dedicated to providing the best possible content for our audiences and delivering solutions to our clients across broadcast radio, on-demand audio, and digital. I am confident the measures we have implemented today will put ARN in the strongest position possible to endure and succeed in these uncertain times.”
The International Swimming League has written to all ISL clubs and athletes regarding the launch of a new program with the aim of keeping the athletes swimming in a year where COVID-19 has cancelled all major swim meets including the Tokyo Olympics.
Australian swimming stars Kyle Chalmers, Cate and Bronte Campbell, Ariarne Titmus and Mitch Larkin were members of different teams in the first year of the competition with Seven holding broadcast rights with live coverage on 7plus and highlights on 7TWO.
The ISL wrote to swimmers last week:
As you all already know, the entire world is going through undeniable challenges in relation to COVID-19 with the ISL being no exception.
We believe the athletes of ISL are its main asset and considers all of them as partners. To acknowledge this, we have decided to provide support for our athletes in 2020-2021 by implementing the ‘ISL Solidarity Program’ during which the ISL will organize a radical swimming event unprecedented in swimming history. Through the ISL Solidarity Program each athlete that has signed or will sign a contract with an ISL Club will receive an equal amount of money per month, starting 1st September 2020 until 1st July 2021. This financial grant shall assist the swimmers during these challenging times to prepare for major events in 2021 and a full ISL season in 2021/22.
While the training and competition camp will place swimmers, coaches and others in a remote location without the need for a crowd, TV coverage will allow a global audience to tune in to the weekend matches. There is an expectation a reality TV series will accompany the camp, tracking the progress of swimmers through the competition.
The ISL added: As part of our initiative, ISL will organise later in 2020 an innovative training and competition experience for athletes and coaches for a duration of 4-5 weeks. We propose to host all athletes in one location in a world-class facility and cover all associated expenses. All athletes involved will have the opportunity to be accompanied by their home coach. During this period, scheduled from 14 October to 17 November, ISL will organize a commercial tournament in its revolutionary club format and add an exciting new reality concept to the production. The global exposure of this event will furthermore enhance the athletes’ profiles and increase the popularity of our sport. We strongly believe that this event, never before seen in swimming history, will serve as a demonstration of solidarity, humanity and unity of the swimming community to the entire world.
The International Swimming League is a global professional swimming competition that launched in 2019 with teams in both Europe (Italy-based Aqua Centurions, France-based Energy Standard, Hungary-based Iron, and London Roar) and the United States (Cali Condors, DC Trident, LA Current, NY Breakers). The inaugural season included matches in Indianapolis IN, Naples ITA, Lewisville TX, Budapest HUN, College Park MD, London GBR, and the championship finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. The second season will feature two new clubs based in Toronto and Tokyo.
Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) has announced that metropolitan radio survey 2 will be released as scheduled on April 16, but surveys 3, 4 and 5 will be put on hold due to Government restrictions related to the COVID-19 impact.
Chief executive officer Joan Warner said CRA had carefully considered the options for the way ahead, in consultation with official research provider GfK, and concluded that a pause in fieldwork and surveys was necessary.
“While metropolitan survey 2 fieldwork has been successfully completed, it will become increasingly difficult over the next few months to continue with the surveys and maintain the integrity of the results, due to tightening Government travel restrictions and concerns for the health and safety of the field force and the community,” Warner said.
“This is an unpredictable situation and we will continue to monitor conditions with a view to recommencing surveys as soon as practical later in 2020.”
The ratings process requires GfK to survey 70,000 people each year with interviewers in the field ensuring a large representative sample of respondents.
Results for Survey 1 in Canberra, Gold Coast and Newcastle will be released on April 29, April 30 and May 15 respectively, but following surveys will also be put on hold.
CRA has asked GfK to expedite work on the major hybrid measurement project during the pause.
GfK managing director, ANZ, Dr Morten Boyer said: “The health and safety of all our staff and the community is our highest priority and we will continue our Measurement Innovation Program with the industry in the meantime.”
CRA plans to provide topline information on radio listening through a number of sources during the interim period, including a GfK study already underway on radio listening trends during the COVID-19 crisis, RadioApp and other streaming data, online surveys, and the Australian Podcast Ranker.
With FTA TV networks promising viewers premium content over more weeks of the year, Seven and 10 are using the Easter ratings survey break to launch what could be their biggest series of the year.
Tonight Seven is launching the 2020 season of House Rules with a twist that involves a new name, a new hosting duo and a high rise renovation.
Then in just seven days, Network 10 will launch MasterChef Australia 2020 which also features a change to the traditional format and a new hosting team.
10 is playing it safe with the introduction of the changes in the new season with a tried and tested major drawcard.
With a batch of 24 contestants, all familiar faces and three new judges; Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo, the MasterChef alumni are Back To Win. The channel is promising the returning former stars are as eager as ever to claim the coveted trophy that eluded them the last time they cooked in the kitchen.
The superstar ingredient to launch the season is guest chef Gordon Ramsay, who will call the MasterChef kitchen home for the first week to put the contestants through the paces.
Talking about the contestants, Ramsay said: “Kudos and respect to have the balls to come back because you have amazing, glowing careers and to put that all on hold, that does show the determination, guts, and hunger all of you have to get your hands on that stunning trophy.”
More to come this week as Mediaweek unveils MasterChef week.
Special feature interviews coming on Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of the Easter Monday launch.
Top photo: New MasterChef Australia judges Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo with guest chef Gordon Ramsay
The much-anticipated mini-series Informer 3838, the Screentime production of the untold story of the most notorious police informer in Australian history, gangland’s “Lawyer X”, premieres Monday, April 20, at 8.45pm on Nine.
Informer 3838 is based on the sensational story of Nicola Gobbo (Ella Scott Lynch) who was the go-to defence lawyer in Melbourne’s deadly gangland wars, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Carl Williams, Tony Mokbel, the Morans and the Carlton Crew while she acted as a police informer on her own clients.
While Nicola Gobbo knew the underworld’s dirty secrets, they had no idea of hers. She played both sides and risked everything to double-cross many of Australia’s most notorious gangsters.
Informer 3838 goes behind the headlines to show how Nicola Gobbo’s secret double life helped police win the gangland wars, which triggered a Royal Commission and left her in fear of her life.
Informer 3838 marks the return of familiar names from Underbelly, including Gyton Grantley (House Husbands, The Dressmaker, Balibo) who reprises his role as Carl Williams and Robert Mammone (Fat Tony & Co., Mystery Road, Water Diviner) who is back as Tony Mokbel.
Also starring in the mini-series are Rhys Muldoon (Les Norton, Rake, House Husbands) as police informer Terrence Hodson; Stephen Peacocke (Five Bedrooms, Squinters 2, Me Before You, Les Norton); Richard Davies (Offspring, Tidelands, Oddball); Olympia Valance (Neighbours, Playing For Keeps); Jane Harber (Offspring, A Moody Christmas, INXS); and Hollie Andrew (Fat Tony & Co., Somersault, Supernova).
Throughout the gangland wars Nicola Gobbo was the ultimate double agent. She broke all the rules and betrayed everyone, at huge personal cost. Why did she do it? How did she manage to fool so many dangerous crims? And what drove the police to take the extraordinary risk of using her as an informer?
Informer 3838 is produced by Screentime (a Banijay Group company), makers of the hit Underbellyseries, with assistance from Screen NSW.
• Nine’s win makes it a clean sweep across Q1’s eight weeks
Nine ranked #1 for the first five nights of the week primary channel and then ranked #1 in combined channel share across six nights of the week.
From a combined share perspective Nine is going to be just that bit harder to overhaul from next week as it adds a fourth multi-channel to its line-up – 9rush. The new channel’s younger male target audience could impact 7mate the most.
In survey year-to-date network data, Nine is leading on 29.7% to Seven on 25.7% and 10 on 17.4%. What is likely though is that Seven and 10 will be more competitive in future weeks as the House Rules and MasterChef 2020 seasons launch.
Nine’s most-watched shows of the week were its 6pm news bulletins and three episodes of Married at First Sight. There has been some comparison of the MAFS audience year-on-year dropping, but without factoring in consolidated and 9Now audience numbers those comparisons aren’t valid. Patterns of content consumption have been changing for a number of years, but arguably none more so than the past 12 months.
As Nine moves into the Easter break, it is running 60-minute episodes of A Current Affair as COVID-19 coverage reshapes primetime. There is perhaps a real chance that the changes could be long-term if audiences show an appetite for more news and current affairs in the evening.
Seven goes to the Easter break with primary share of 17.1% in week 14. The channel hasn’t be able to crack 20% in the first eight weeks. The channel’s best week was the second week of survey with 19.2% thanks to the Sunday bushfire benefit concert share of 31.0%.
Seven’s strength remains its news and current affairs offering at both ends of the day. The channel’s entries inside the week’s top 50 other than regular news programming was the Ben Cousins special (#25 744,000) and The Chase at 5.30pm (#32 658,000). Further down the ranks at #53 with Highway Patrol on 462,000.
The highlight of 10’s start to the year has been its year-on-year growth and its competitiveness in the 7.30pm slot. Network 10 and 10 both grew their audiences compared with the same week in 2019, 43% and 48% respectively.
Circumstances have also helped grow the numbers for its expanded 5pm news bulletins and also at The Project. The Project 7pm was up 46% compared to the same week in 2019, 10 News First was up 44% and 10 News First 6pm lifted 10’s timeslot audience 70%.
The final week of Australian Survivor: All Stars saw final episode overnight numbers of 876,000 and then 984,000.
Other highlights of week 14 were Gogglebox on 784,000 and the final night of Dancing with the Stars on 624,000 and 646,000.
ABC Saturday and Sunday news bulletins had average audiences over 1m while the weekday 7pm news averaged 944,000. 7.30 averaged just under 800,000.
The channel’s non-news programming also did good numbers with Hard Quiz on a record high of 821,000 while Death in Paradise replaced Doc Martin on Saturday nights with 911,000 watching the return of the Caribbean crime drama.
SBS highlights were Secrets of the Tower of London pulling the channel’s biggest audience of 374,000. Great Canadian Railway Journeys and a repeat of Secrets of the Chocolate Factory: Inside Cadbury were both close to 280,000.
• Albums: 5SOS with Calm outrace Dua Lipa and Pearl Jam to #1
Not saying it was the most surprising prediction ever, but last week our ARIA Singles Chart headline said:
• Singles: Could Saint Jhn or Powfu go where no others can?
So we were hedging our bets with a new #1 prediction split across two acts moving higher. Pleased to say one of them got up with Saint Jhn becoming just the second #1 – with Roses – since Tones and I and then The Weeknd topped the chart since August 2019. Roses is a remix of a track that first appeared way back in 2016.
Our other pick was Powfu with Death Bed which, although not topping the chart, it did climb one spot higher to #6.
The most prolific act on the chart – and now with three tunes in the top 10 – is Dua Lipa on the week her new album was released. (See below for more on that.) New to the top 10 is her Break My Heart at #7 while Don’t Start Now is up from #4 to #3 after weeks on the chart and a previous high of #2, and Physical jumps from #19 to #9, a new peak after nine weeks on the chart.
Four other songs debuted inside the top 50:
#23 Megan Three Stallion with Savage. A track from the US rapper’s third EP.
#28 PartyNextDoor & Rihanna with Believe It. A track featured the new album from the Canadian rapper, songwriter and producer.
#39 5 Seconds of Summer with Old Me
#46 Doja Cat with Boss Bitch
New material continues to refresh the top of the chart with four new entries arriving in the top five:
5 Seconds of Summer have the new #1 with Calm keeping the new Weeknd album After Hours to just one week at #1 – for the time being at least. The Sydney band keep their ARIA record intact with all four of their albums debuting at #1 – the only other act to achieve that was silverchair. The landmark music result saw ARIA CEO Dan Rosen comment: “Congratulations to Ashton, Calum, Luke, Michael and the whole 5 Seconds Of Summer team for this incredible achievement. Getting a Number One album is difficult at any time, but topping the ARIA Charts in such an uncertain period shows how much their music means to their fans around Australia. Their success internationally also proves that in these times of isolation, Australian music still carries hope and optimism around the world.”
The other top 50 debuts this week:
#2 Dua Lipa with Future Nostalgia. The second album from the UK singer/songwriter sees it outperform her first self-titled release which peaked at #8 in 2018.
#3 Pearl Jam with Gigaton. It’s somehow comforting to have the Seattle rockers back at the top of the chart where all of their studio albums have found a home. This is their first album release since Lightning Boltin 2013.
#5 The Chats with High Risk Behaviour. Sunshine Coast garage punk into the top five with the band’s first album after two previous EPs.
#9 Joyner Lucas with ADHD. First album from the US hip-hop artist.
#22 PartyNextDoor with PartyMobile. Third album from the multi-talented Canadian performer.
#44 The Wiggles m with Fun and Games. The first album in close to two years from Aussie superstars is their 11th time on the ARIA album chart.
By James Manning
• Married at First Sight wraps with Nine’s winning share on 31.5%
• New Top Gear arrives: 9Rush helps network share to 38.5%
• Seven and Nine News each over 1.3m, 60 Minutes over 1.1m
Sunday news highlights
• Nine News 1,320,000
• Seven News 1,305,000
• 60 Minutes 1,102,000
• ABC News 916,000
• Seven News: The Ruby Princess 834,000
• Nine News Special: COVID-19 718,000
• Seven News at 5 446,000
• Insiders 437,000
• Nine News: First at 5 412,000
• The Sunday Project 409,000
• 10 News First 405,000/311,000
• Weekend Sunrise 363,000
• Weekend Today 313,000
• SBS World News 249,000
Nine: The final episode of Married at First Sight had a giant audience of 1,478,000 which is a season high. The Melbourne audience was just short of half a million. While nobody got close to those overnight numbers last night, the final episode was down over 20% year-on-year and the series in general recorded lower overnight numbers close to 10% year-on-year.
Another special COVID-19 episode of 60 Minutes has seen the episode climb to 1,102,000 which is the show’s best result since 2015.
9Rush launched last night at 7pm with a first up primetime share of 0.8 contributing to Nine’s close to 40% network combined channel share. Watching it is a challenge for many viewers given it wasn’t streaming at launch or available to many Foxtel viewers or regional FTA TV homes. (It has turned up on 9Now already though for some.) Finding a program guide for the week isn’t easy either yet.
Seven: With the launch of House Rules: High Stakes moved to Monday, Seven News packaged a special on the Ruby Princess cruise ship with 834,000 watching. Border Security then followed with 470,000.
10: The channel’s second-last Sunday without MasterChef Australia for three months was on just 6.8%. The news and The Project had the biggest audiences followed by two episodes of Jamie Oliver’s Keep Cooking and Carry On doing 316,000 and 291,000.
ABC: The final episode of Stateless was on 469,000 which managed to rank the drama in the top 10. Earlier in the night Grand Designs New Zealand was on 544,000.
SBS: Two programs were just short of quarter of a million metro viewers – SBS World News was on 249,000 which was followed by Tutankhamun – Life, Death & Legacy on 246,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.8%||7TWO||2.8%||GO!||3.5%||10 Bold||3.3%||VICELAND||1.4%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||4.0%||GEM||4.9%||10 Peach||2.5%||Food Net||1.2%|
|SBS World Movies||1.8%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.4%||7TWO||2.9%||GO!||4.1%||10 Bold||3.8%||VICELAND||0.8%|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||2.8%||GEM||6.3%||10 Peach||2.2%||Food Net||0.9%|
|SBS World Movies||0.7%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.7%||7TWO||2.3%||GO!||2.7%||10 Bold||2.9%||VICELAND||0.4%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||4.0%||GEM||1.8%||10 Peach||1.9%||Food Net||0.5%|
|9Rush||0.8%||SBS World Movies||0.7%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.8%||7TWO||3.4%||GO!||3.3%||WIN Bold||4.4%||VICELAND||0.3%|
|ABC ME||1.0%||7mate||4.9%||GEM||3.5%||WIN Peach||1.4%||Food Net||0.6%|
|ABC NEWS||2.1%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||2.4%||9Life||2.0%||Sky News on WIN||1.9%||NITV||0.2%|
Friday Top 10
Saturday 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
Broadcaster Southern Cross Media has secured a $170 million equity lifeline to help keep the lights on, reports The AFR’s Street Talk.
It is understood Southern Cross boss Grant Blackley and chief financial officer Nick McKechnie secured the equity package after a weekend spent pitching the debt reduction story to existing and new institutional investors.
Investor sources said the deal was split into a $50 million-odd institutional placement and $120 million non-renounceable rights issue underwritten by Macquarie Capital.
The deal would be done at 9¢ a share, fund managers said, which was about a 20 per cent discount to the theoretical ex-rights price and well short of its last close at 16¢.
News Corp’s most senior executive in Australia has dismissed speculation the Rupert Murdoch controlled media giant could move to acquire Kerry Stokes‘ television company Seven West Media, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.
Seven shares have fallen to their lowest levels on record during the COVID-19 pandemic and the company’s market value has shrunk to just $112 million, well below its $540 million net debt position.
But News Corp Australasia’s executive chairman Michael Miller told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that his business was focused on helping newspaper titles and subscription service Foxtel through the crisis, instead of bailing out Seven.
“No,” Miller said when asked whether News Corp was looking at deals with Seven. “We have been consistent with what our priority is. We also have good confidence in Foxtel as a long-term subscription model and Kayo has had a great start to the first two rounds of the NRL.”
ACCC chairman Rod Sims has vowed to intervene and force tech giants to share revenue with media companies struggling under commercial pressures exacerbated by COVID-19 if a deal can’t be negotiated in good faith, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.
The Morrison government has vowed to enforce a code if a deal is not reached by November, and with a progress report due in May, Sims has reminded the tech companies he has power to intervene if the report did not show enough progress towards an equitable deal.
“If we don’t think progress is occurring then, of course, we will have to take a more active role,” he said. “I mean, there’s no point wandering through to November and just letting things not progress. So now we understand we have an important role to play here.”
Facebook policy director for Australia and New Zealand Mia Garlick said the company was talking with “a range of Australian media partners on new rules for the industry and continues to invest millions of dollars to support the local news industry”.
Regional broadcasters Prime Media, Southern Cross Media and Bruce Gordon’s WIN are in talks with the federal government about securing tens of millions of dollars in financial assistance, as the coronavirus crisis wipes out advertising revenue, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.
The crunch talks come as Free TV Australia, which represents the commercial free-to-air television broadcasters, seeks an emergency relief package from the government.
The media’s plea for help spurred the Morrison government on Monday to bring forward the release of $5m from its multi-year $48m Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund to support public interest journalism during COVID-19.
Bauer offered to sell its New Zealand magazine business to the Government for just $1, but never got a clear response, a spokesman for the company says, reports Stuff.
The German company announced on Thursday that it was closing its New Zealand business, which employed 237 staff and produced titles including The Listener and North and South with immediate effect.
A spokesman for Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi said on Friday morning that Bauer did not approach the Government for assistance prior to deciding to close its operation, but later clarified he was not disputing that such an offer to sell the business had been made.
Bauer’s spokesman said the company wrote to Faafoi last weekend.
“Bauer was explicit it was not interested in a short term subsidy or support, primarily because its view was that the issues of the business were much bigger than that and that it would be essentially dishonest to take a short-term taxpayer subsidy because it wouldn’t resolve the issues,” he said.
But in its letter to Faafoi, Bauer did offer to sell the business “essentially as a going concern and the Government obviously didn’t accept that offer”, he said.
“It was for $1.
“It was one line in a letter, saying ‘this could be an option, if you want to consider it let us know’.”
The Magazine Publishers Association has called for the Government to review its ban on magazine publishing during the level 4 lockdown.
Executive director Sally Duggan said on Thursday that magazines were “the only product banned from supermarket shelves by government”.
Duggan estimated there were about 250 magazine and periodical publishers in New Zealand, employing 1500 people.
Bauer Media blamed the COVID-19 crisis for its decision to close its New Zealand titles including Metro, The Listener, North & South and Woman’s Day, writes Mediawatch New Zealand producer Hayden Donnell.
The government blamed Bauer.
In turn, some bloggers, newspaper industry figures, magazine publishers, and Bill Ralston blamed the government.
All the contradictory finger-pointing made it hard to know how to apportion anger and disappointment over the closure.
Australian media companies have urged brands and advertising agencies to stop blocking digital advertisements that appear around COVID-19 news articles as the industry faces its biggest downturn in decades, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.
Industry association IAB Australia, which represents digital publishers including News Corporation and Nine Entertainment Co, last week said changes to stop ads from appearing around topics such as “crisis”, “COVID-19” and “coronavirus” could result in big advertisers ending up on less reputable websites. The push was backed publishers including Guardian Australia, Daily Mail, Pedestrian TV and News Corp.
Last Tuesday, Elliott Newspaper Group managing director Ross Lanyon stood before most of his 80 employees and told them they were being stood down, including himself, and publication of one of Victoria’s older country newspapers, the Sunraysia Daily, would cease indefinitely.
The staff had other ideas.
On Saturday, the “Sunny Daily”, as it is known in Mildura and the wider Mallee region, was brought back to life by its journalists, printers, advertising salesmen, finance and administrative employees.
Sydney’s “frocks for favours” controversy is raising some intriguing questions about the inner workings of the social pages of Rupert Murdoch‘s Daily Telegraph newspaper, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s PS columnist Andrew Hornery.
PS reports Sydney Confidential’s fearless red carpet reporter Mibenge Nsenduluka was “gifted” an expensive designer gown from the French fashion house Balmain recently by Nissy Nassif, the wife of controversial property developer Jean Nassif.
Following PS’s inquiries, Nsenduluka and The Daily Telegraph editor Ben English issued statements on Friday.
Nsenduluka admitted she now “recognised I made a mistake” by accepting the dress.
“I have returned the dress as a result. I’ve also been reprimanded for this error and I’ve learnt my lesson.”
English added: “The Daily Telegraph has strict guidelines on the acceptance of gifts. This line was clearly crossed, and we’ve reinforced to the reporter how important it is to observe these guidelines.”
The paper limits such gifts to the value of $100.
Some people in the entertainment industry probably think I started the coronavirus deliberately so there would be no [TV Week] Logies, Gold Logie winner Tom Gleeson tells Stellar magazine.
I didn’t know if the Logies would happen. I was trying to be upbeat about the whole thing before it was cancelled. I think in these tough times positivity is in short supply. [Pauses.] OK, I’ll give you the inside scoop. I did start the virus. It was me!
Actually, this is like becoming retired at 45. I was about to do the biggest run I’ve ever done and was running hot. I was in the middle of a national tour that was absolutely killing it, I was doing the Adelaide Fringe and selling out every night, I won the award for Best Comedy and had all these things to do.
Then my two shows in Hobart and the Melbourne Comedy Festival got cancelled. So it’s been an adjustment from doing that and feeling very important… to just being at home twiddling my thumbs.
Overworked police will warn Channel 9, Endemol Shine and celebrity agents that they do not have the time to be unwitting participants in the next season of Married at First Sight, reports News Corp’s Briana Domjen.
Multiple contestants have filed police reports in recent years, sometimes with a paparazzo in tow, leaving police bemused and frustrated – especially when it later becomes a storyline on the reality TV show.
“I’m going to go to Channel 9 myself before the next series airs to say this is something you need to warn all the contestants about,” a senior police officer, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Sunday Telegraph.
“It has happened a lot this year. We take all police reports seriously, but what’s happening with MAFS contestants is a gee-up. We are in the midst of 24/7 dramas.”
Director/actor George Ogilvie, who helmed productions of The Dismissal, Bodyline and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, has died, aged 89, reports TV Tonight.
He had a long directing career in Australia in all mediums; ballet, opera, theatre, television and film.
Ogilvie began as an actor with the Canberra Rep Theatre before moving to the UK and returning to Australia in 1965.
He became Associate Director with the Melbourne Theatre Company where he directed some 23 plays. It was followed by 4 years (1972-1975) as Artistic Director of the South Australian Theatre Company and later as freelance director working with the Australian Opera, the Australian Ballet Company and various Australian theatre companies and teaching at NIDA and Actors Centre Australia.
He directed The Dismissal (in which he also played Senator Jim McClelland), Bodyline, The Shiralee, The Feds, The Last of the Ryans, Touch the Sun, Blue Heelers and films Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, The Crossing and The Place at the Coast. He last appeared on screen in 2014’s The Water Diviner.