Thursday April 9, 2020

Podcast Week: Producing Hamish & Andy, Emsolation launch

By James Manning

• Plus what’s new from Howie, Adam Peackock & Nick McArdle

Sarah Grynberg has been executive producing the Hamish & Andy podcast since it started just over two years ago. She also produces PodcastOne’s true crime podcasts with Adam Shand.

After their summer break, Hamish & Andy returned in March which was their biggest ever month of downloads.

The duo haven’t referenced the COVID-19 crisis at all until recently when they explained they were recording as many episodes as they could at once ahead of what could be varying degrees of lockdown. “We love doing this show as an escape, and we deliberately aren’t mentioning the coronavirus situation,” they told listeners.

As to working with the radio-turned-podcast legends, Grynberg said.

“It is completely laid back, but as the same time we all work really hard. It is a big show, with amazing stunts and a lot of listener engagement because it is still the people’s show. When we can we fly people in from interstate to show off their special skills.”

The show is not unlike a radio production in that it has planned segments, the difference being podcasting gives the hosts more freedom to be creative.

The podcasts very rarely have guests – Amy Shark appeared on episode 59 over halfway through 2019 and she was the first guest for the year. “We try and keep it as evergreen content so linking the show to specific events doesn’t always work,” said Grynberg. “We don’t always say ‘no’ to guests, but the content has to fit the show.

One of the trademark segments are the shout-outs from fans all around Australia and the world. “Anyone that has a beautiful greeting is played at the start of the show.”

Grynberg’s relationship with Hamish and Andy has enabled her to interview them both separately on her own podcast, A Life of Greatness.

The hosts attract listeners from all over who listen for a laugh. After explaining how some people use it as a release from sometimes stressful lives or stressful situations, Grynberg said: “It is a comedy relief for people, some of them whose lives can at times be hard. It gives back in a way you sometimes never would have expected.

A not-so-secret weapon on the podcast is long time Hamish and Andy collaborator Jack Post, now a radio star in his own right as part of the team at Melbourne’s #1 FM breakfast program, The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show. “Jack is a great guy, really hilarious, and very quick as well. It is wonderful having him on and he’s an integral part of the podcast.”

Trying to explain the Hamish & Andy phenomenon isn’t easy. Grynberg said: “People don’t get places just because…You get places because you put good out and good is received. They have a fabulous way of being and they have achieved things because they are constantly working hard and being down-to-earth. They are sharp and don’t miss a beat on anything. They are so approachable and absolutely amazing to work for.”

Listen to Hamish & Andy podcast here.
Listen to A Life of Greatness podcast here.

The World Game on Instagram

It’s not strictly a podcast, but perhaps close enough for inclusion here. SBS broadcaster Lucy Zelic is now hosting a weekly football show called The World Game on Instagram. Zelic is joined by The World Game journalist and content creator Nick Stoll at 1pm on Wednesdays.

Watch The World Game here on the Instagram app.

Em Rusciano launches Emsolation podcast

In this period of isolation, it just might be time to get a glass of wine, zone out and listen to Em Rusciano’s new podcast series on PodcastOne Australia.

Called Emsolation, Rusciano will be channelling some of her excess energy into light relief with her best friend and screen writer of the hit TV show Offspring, Michael Lucas. Together, Em and Michael will discuss the outrageous music, TV and online purchases getting them through this strange time.

Team Rusciano also includes her three dogs, baby and two teenage daughters, as well as her husband and performance coach, Scott, who will be offering advice on how to cope mentally while we’re all in isolation.

“I’m very excited to be doing this podcast,” said Rusciano. “I’m hoping to provide a small pocket of escape and a bit of fun for people during these self-isolating times. It allows me to channel my energy as a force for good, rather than use it to criticise the way my husband chews his food.

SCA head of podcasting – PodcastOne Australia, Grant Tothill, said: “If you want to get some real relief from your isolation with campy monologues and diva dissections that you didn’t know you needed, listen to Em in Emsolation.”

Listen to Emsolation podcast here.

New from Adam Peacock, Howie and Nick McArdle

Economist and former politician Craig Emerson has joined Adam Peacock to discuss how our politicians work through a crisis like COVID-19 in the latest episode of Peacock Politics.

In a new episode of The Howie Games, Mark Howard catches up Kurt Fearnley. “An athlete with the rare mental strength to take himself beyond what most deem possible,” said Howard about the new episode.

Former Fox Sports rugby anchor Nick McArdle this week launched a new project he’s been putting together which he is calling The Playmaker’s Playbook. McArdle is putting his 30 years is sports broadcasting to use on his new podcast where he talks to icons of sport and the business of sport about leadership inside and outside the playing arena. The first episode was released on Wednesday evening and features Australian cricket coach Justin Langer who, among other things, shares some life advice he received from Kerry Packer.

85% of advertisers report COVID-19 has impacted ad spend

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the IAB engaged with advertisers and agencies over the past fortnight to understand their ad investment intentions for the coming months.

The survey provides a quick read of the digital ad market ahead of the forthcoming quarterly online advertising expenditure reports that will be prepared by IAB with PwC as per usual (due out May).

The headline result is, not surprisingly, that 85% of brands have changed their digital ad investment over the last month, with more than half of brands reporting they are reviewing their advertising plans at least daily.

21% of respondents indicated they have paused all their ad spend, 57% have decreased some of their spend and 15% have either increased or maintained their spend.

Of those who have decreased spend, 31% reported they are delaying their spend, reporting they are still reviewing whether they will be in a position to invest later. 44% of respondents who have decreased spend noted that this covered brand and performance equally, overall performance and tactical investments have been hit hardest compared to brand investment, with companies adjusting their products and messages in this challenging market.

Gai Le Roy, CEO of IAB Australia commented: “The Australian advertising market is in step with the global experience, with some brands simply not in a position to spend at the moment and the majority of other brands adjusting their spend, creative messaging and tactics to suit the current market.”

 

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SBS & Mint Pictures deliver slow sweet treat Easter Saturday

In an Australian television first on Easter Saturday, the fourth iteration of Slow TV takes viewers from the sugarcane fields of Queensland to a dairy farm in Tasmania before revealing the slow journey of millions of Easter eggs and bunnies inside the Cadbury factories in Hobart and Melbourne.

Like its predecessors, this three-hour visual feast will highlight Australia’s multicultural and Indigenous history with fascinating stories from our past.

Adam Kay, managing director and head of programming, Mint Pictures, told Mediaweek:

The Chocolate Factory: Inside Cadbury Australia is a major deviation from the previous three iterations of slow TV. Instead of physical journeys across land and water in The Ghan, The Indian Pacific and The Kimberley Cruise, this time we’re following the paddock to market journey of Cadbury’s Easter eggs and bunnies – from the sugarcane fields of Mackay in north Queensland to a dairy farm in Natone in northwest Tasmania and then to Cadbury’s factories in Hobart and Melbourne, where viewers will witness in all its decadence the Willy-Wonka inspired chocolate-making process.

“This time, to enhance those factory experiences, we have added a unique musical score that will take the viewers into a world full of emotive and hypnotic feelings.”

Getting the big chocolate maker on board was the first task facing Kay and his team: “Working with a global corporate giant in Cadbury was at first daunting and many a meeting and recce took place before all parties were on the same page and actually that relationship ended up being key to the success of the whole film. They opened their minds to the genre of slow TV and helped devise the journey of the Easter egg and bunny that encompassed Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria.”

While tracking the progress of an Easter egg may not seem such a big undertaking, it was!

“As with all the slow TV productions I am immensely proud of what we delivered,” said Kay. “This one was more challenging as it was very different and had many more elements to it. Whilst we had some of the old school traditional elements of slow TV in the film, we had to find solutions to overcome the challenges of working in a factory and adhering to the ‘good food manufacturing policies’ that were in place.

“With so many different processes in the factory it was important to be able to cover them consistently with a range of cameras and lenses and also to keep a uniform style as we had done with previous slow TV productions. The factory floor is not a space for bigger cameras, nor for lots of equipment so we utilised drones, smaller high-end cameras on sliders and gimbals and borrowed many a ladder and scissor lift!

The filmmakers packed a lot into a short shoot, and were careful not to deliver a long TV commercial. “This film ran the risk of becoming corporatized, but what we ended up with was a paddock-to-market journey of chocolate and the hypnotic rhythm of the mass-production of Easter eggs and bunnies akin to the Charlie & the Chocolate Factory experience,” said Kay.

“Of course there is no film without a story and we had to be sure that we could garnish enough history, social and multicultural beats to be able to satisfy the SBS charter. In the end, after a nine-day shoot and months in the edit suite, we have an outstanding three-hour film, the like that has never been seen before in Australia. It is a film built on the founding pillars of slow TV and one that has without doubt progressed the genre. And with the addition of a unique score, the bar has been substantially raised.”

Kay added he thought it is a good watch for challenging times.

“With this episode of slow TV we will appeal to every viewer’s inner child. The so-called reality TV juggernaut that exists in this country creates a manufactured and false outlook on life. Slow TV lets you create your own feelings, is true family entertainment and very good for your mental health. The Chocolate Factory is the ultimate family viewing where you can indulge in three hours of slooooow TV. It’s good for the soul in this stressed out crazy time we are all living in. It will let you drool over footage of chocolate being made and viewer advice, have chocolate on standby!”

Chocolate facts: In 2020 alone, Cadbury will produce 477 million Easter Eggs and 14 million Chocolate Bunnies, which requires 6,014 tonnes of cocoa, 87 million litres of milk and 54 million kilograms of sugar.

Slow TV: An innovative style of television which invites the viewer on an immersive journey, Slow TV first originated in Europe. SBS introduced local audiences to the genre in 2018 with The Ghan – Australia’s Greatest Train Journey. It was an SBS ratings hit with 1.75 million viewers (Combined Metro + Regional).

News Corp Australia's media brand Escape reshapes travel content

News Corp Australia’s media brand Escape is reshaping its content as readers seek inspiration and information to daydream their way out of cabin fever during COVID-19.

Escape’s evolved content strategy – new horizons – will launch this Sunday as a window on the world as consumers keep the travel dream alive and anticipate their next holiday adventure.

As the country adapts to travel and social restrictions, Australians are seeking inspirational travel content to help them escape. Unique visitors to escape.com.au have increased 42% (Adobe Analytics) and social referrals are up 265% for March year-on-year. News Corp Australia’s total readership is up 81%.

The Escape editorial enhancements include several new features such as Armchair Traveller, where readers can enjoy a destination from their couch with expertly curated virtual tours, playlists, movies, books and recipes; Expedition Happiness, where comedians share their funniest travel experiences; Two for the Road, personal road trip memories and adventures; along with content focusing on wellness, walks and nature.

Gemma Battenbough, general manager of travel at News Corp Australia said consumers are actively searching for ways to keep the travel dream alive and stay inspired during isolation.

“As the world retreats into our homes, connecting with audiences is even more meaningful. Our new horizons approach to content with Escape is about giving consumers reassurance, comfort and a sense of hope that we will get through this,” she said.

“We’ve seen over the last few weeks that our audience is seeking escapism in virtual travel experiences and memories shared within social environments and they’re relying on passion points and lifestyle content as relief from the news. Our new horizons content has been designed to meet this demand.

“While this is a tough time for the industry, it’s critical that we continue to engage with and maintain our audience’s love of travel so that they emerge still curious and open to the world. We are adapting – as are travel marketers – and are here for travel brands through this crisis and beyond.”

Escape new horizons begins this Sunday April 12 in The Sunday Telegraph (NSW), Sunday Herald Sun (VIC), The Sunday Mail (QLD), The Sunday Mail (SA) and escape.com.au. 

New streaming platform Quibi: short form content during lockdown

• 90-day free trial, $12.99 a month and no content over 10 minutes

Media heavyweights Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman are the minds behind the new digital platform Quibi which has launched in the US and Canada and is offering a 90-day free trial before costing US$4.99 for ad and ad-free for US$7.99. This is the biggest release of a new platform since Apple TV+ and Disney + launched near the backend of last year. 

Australians are also able to sign up to the new service. After downloading the Quibi app, users can start the free 90-day trial and agree to be billed $12.99 a month after that.

What sets the platform apart from its major competitors is no piece of content will be longer than 10 minutes, and that includes movies (which will be released in chapters). Another big difference is that the content can only be watched on a mobile device.

After raising nearly $1.8 billion in funding the platform launched with 50 pieces of content each starting with three episodes that include scripted, lifestyle, reality, and news. Quibi has promised 25 pieces of new content will be released each week.

The content released on the platform will feature the likes of Chrissy Teigan, LeBron James, Bill Murray, Steven Spielberg, Will Forte, Demi Lovato, Ridley Scott, Lena Waithe, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Lopez, and Reese Witherspoon with news content from producers such as BBC, TMZ, and The Weather Channel.

Katzenberg was the head of Walt Disney Studios before starting DreamWorks SKG, with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. In 1999 he tried to create Pop.com with Spielberg, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard as a content hub for video shorts but the project collapsed before launch.

Whitman worked at Disney, DreamWorks, and Hasbro before she helped establish eBay as a global powerhouse with 15,000 workers and $8 billion in annual revenue. She then had a failed campaign to become the governor of California before then running Hewlett-Packard till 2017.

The company has had success in negotiating content partnerships due to paying for costs and licensing rights, allowing the content creators to retain copyright after a set number of years. The platform is planning to separate itself from short term content competitors like YouTube by offering higher production values, it is also reported that every episode is required to end with a cliffhanger.

Some key content to look out for:

Most Dangerous Game

• Most Dangerous Game: Starring Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz the thriller was originally planned as a TV pilot before being turned into a screenplay broken into short-form chapters.
• Flipped: Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson star in this comedy series about two house flippers hired by a drug cartel.
• Chrissy’s Court: A Judge Judy-style show starring Chrissy Teigan.
• Survive: Sophie Tuner plays a character that is forced to survive in the wilderness following a plane crash.
• Punk’d: A revival of the MTV classic now sees Chance the Rapper take the reigns as host which was originally held by Ashton Kutcher.

Lockdown TV viewing guide for this Easter long weekend

By Trent Thomas

With the government encouraging everyone to stay inside this Easter due to the COVID-19 pandemic Mediaweek has put together a viewing guide to help our readers make the most of their time on the couch over the long weekend.

Ozark, Season 3, Netflix

The critically acclaimed Netflix Original Ozark released its 10 episode third season on March 27 starring Jason Bateman (who also serves a director and executive producer) and Laura Linney who play a married couple who have been forced launder money for a Mexican drug cartel after relocating to the Ozarks. The show has been compared to Breaking Bad due to the blend of suburban family life and the high stakes world of the international drug trade.

 

Arrested Development, Season 5 Part 2, Netflix

Arrested Development has conditioned its fans to get used to waiting with five seasons over the last 16 years with its first airing back in November of 2003, but the shows fans who rely on Netflix can now watch what could be the final episodes of the series. Despite the second half of season 5 coming out internationally on Netflix on March 15 last year the most recent episodes of the famed comedy have only made it on Netflix Australia recently due to a deal with Foxtel. The digital platform now has all five seasons of the show including the two Netflix produced seasons and the remixed season 4 which was released in May 2018.

 

Westworld, Season 3, Foxtel

The HBO produced Westworld has been releasing its third season on Foxtel after a two-year absence (the same gap between season one and two) and has taken the show to new places after the major plot change that occurred in the season two finale, including the addition of Emmy winner Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame to the cast. New episodes can be seen at 11 am on Mondays.

 

The Blacklist, Season 7, Netflix

After an initial delay on receiving new episodes, Netflix is now up to date on the latest season of the crime thriller after it returned from its three-month mid-season hiatus. With 146 episodes and counting the show is not short of twists and turns with the long weekend a perfect time for a binge. 

 

Tiger King, Netflix, limited series

Netflix’s true-crime documentary series is the talk of the town at the moment with the main focus being the life of zookeeper Joe Exotic and other people in the world of big cats. The seven episode series has quickly become one of the most-watched shows on Netflix.

 

Fleabag, Amazon Prime Video, Seasons 1-2

If you haven’t watched the show that dominated last years Emmy awards and pushed Phoebe Waller-Bridge to stardom, then the long weekend is the perfect time to watch both seasons of Fleabag on Amazon Prime Video with the show only having 12 episodes to date.

 

Bloom, Stan, Season 2

The six-part Stan original series, which was filmed in various locations across Victoria, welcomes back its stars from the first season, including two-time Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver. In season two, time has passed and news of the miracle has spread, but this time around the plant has transformed and the experience and its side effects are far more severe. You can watch every episode of the series now on Stan with season two being released on April 9.

 

Black Monday, Stan, season 2

The ten-episode, second season of dramatic comedy series Black Monday has aired back-to-back episodes on Sunday’s since March 15 on Stan. The series is executive produced by Emmy nominee and Golden Globe Award winner Don Cheadle, who stars with two-time Tony Award nominee and Grammy winner Andrew Rannells (Girls), Regina Hall (Little, Girls Trip) and Screen Actors Guild Award winner Paul Scheer (Veep).

 

Mercado on TV: Three outstanding dramas to catch over Easter

By Andrew Mercado

Two outstanding Australian dramas, Bloom (Stan) and The Secrets She Keeps (10 play), and a stunning Scandi noir drama Twin (SBS) are all available for you to binge this Easter.

The first season of Bloom came to a perfect, stand-alone ending, but having now watched the first two episodes of its second season, there is a good reason for its to be back. Legendary actors Jacki Weaver, Bryan Brown, Terry Norris, Genevieve Morris, Phoebe Tonkin, Tom Budge, John Stanton and Rod Mullinar are all back, but there are also new cast members like Jacqueline McKenzie, Ben Oxenbould and Gary Sweet.

The second season zeroes in on Anne Charleston, who returns to play the uptight Loris. After eating the strange flower that turns old people young again, she transforms into Bella Heathcote, leading the town’s hot priest (Toby Schmitz) to think it is a “miracle”, even though “hot priest” is an oxymoron today, given most are old and/or in jail.

The Secrets She Keeps dropped on 10 play last weekend and having not seen the trailer, I was able to binge the whole thing without any plot spoilers whatsoever. I thought it was terrific and of all the recent attempts by Aussie FTA networks to create their own female-led version of Big Little Lies (e.g. Bad Mothers, Secret Bridesmaids Business etc), this is the best one yet.

It stars Aussie actress Jessica De Gouw, best known for working overseas, and Laura Carmichael, best known for playing Downton Abbey’s Lady Edith. They are both sensational, as are Michael Dorman, Ryan Corr and Elizabeth Alexander (47 years after Seven Little Australians). It is also good to see some fresh and culturally diverse actors playing the crime investigators.

Another one to binge this Easter is Twin (SBS On Demand), a new Nordic thriller about twin brothers, who surf … in the Arctic circle. Like all good twin stories, there’s plenty of mistaken identity and the island scenery is spectacular.

Also check out Guilt (Thursday on BBC First), a Scottish drama about more troublesome brothers. The accents are thick, but the opening scene, pre-credits, is an absolute cracker and will demand you watch more.

MasterChef Australia (Easter Monday on 10) gets off to a great start with an all-star cast of returning contestants and three new judges, as introduced by guest chef Gordon Ramsay. And Modern Family (Wednesday on Seven) finally wraps up after 11 years and 250 episodes.

Happy Easter everyone, stay home and watch TV.

Listen to Andrew Mercado on a new Mediaweek podcast with TV Tonight’s David Knox and Mediaweek’s James Manning.

Listen here.

TV Ratings April 8 Wednesday Week 15 2020

By James Manning

• Hard Quiz first over House Rules, Paramedics, Bondi Rescue
• Seven closes The Front Bar while the sport is in recess

Wednesday news highlights
Seven News 1,314,000/1,246,000
Nine News 1,143,000/1,071,000
ABC News 961,000
A Current Affair 788,000/543,000 (7pm & 7.30pm)
7.30 785,000
The Project 392,000/597,000
10 News First 536,000/338,000
The Latest 410,000/309,000
Nine News special: COVID-19 386,000
Sunrise 342,000
Today 254,000
The Drum 252,000
News Breakfast 252,000
SBS World News 192,000

Nine: Paramedics did 545,000 in between the news programs.

Seven: A third night of House Rules screened after 7pm. The numbers this week all holding over 600,000:
Monday 679,000/670,000
Tuesday 643,000
Wednesday 620,000

No Front Bar last night with Seven giving the format a rest.

10: Two episodes of Bondi Rescue on 444,000 and 361,000. Bull followed with 262,000 and 204,000 for a repeat.

ABC: Hard Quiz did 778,000 with Mad as Hell on 715,000.

SBS: Wrap up night with History of Britain ending on 273,000. The final Dublin Murders then did 203,000.

Week 15 TV: Wednesday
WEDNESDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 15.5% 7 17.5% 9 17.8% 10  10.0% SBS One 5.0%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.4% 7TWO 3.5% GO! 2.8% 10 Bold 4.6% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 2.5% GEM 3.7% 10 Peach 2.5% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 2.5% 7flix 1.8% 9Life 1.9%     NITV 0.2%
        9Rush 0.9%     SBS World Movies 1.6%
TOTAL 21.0%   25.4%   27.1%   17.1%   9.4%

 

WEDNESDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 13.6% 7 18.0% 9 15.7% WIN 9.7% SBS One 4.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.2% 7TWO 4.6% GO! 3.3% WIN Bold 5.8% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 0.7% 7mate 2.9% GEM 5.6% WIN Peach 2.3% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 2.1% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.7% 9Life 2.5% Sky News  on WIN 2.2% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 1.5%
TOTAL 18.6%   27.3%   27.2%   20.1%   8.4%

 

WEDNESDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
86.6% 13.4%
WEDNESDAY FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,314,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,246,000
  3. Nine News Nine 1,143,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 1,071,000
  5. ABC News ABC 961,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 788,000
  7. 7.30 ABC 785,000
  8. Hard Quiz S5 ABC 778,000
  9. Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell S11 ABC 715,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 701,000
  11. House Rules: High Stakes Seven 620,000
  12. The Project 7pm 10 597,000
  13. Hot Seat Nine 590,000
  14. You Can’t Ask That S5 ABC 563,000
  15. Paramedics Nine 545,000
  16. A Current Affair 7:30 Nine 543,000
  17. 10 News First 10 536,000
  18. Bondi Rescue 10 444,000
  19. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 427,000
  20. The Latest: Seven News Seven 410,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. Nine News 6:30 Nine 154,000
  2. Seven News Seven 150,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 149,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 143,000
  5. Nine News Nine 138,000

 

18-49 Top Five

  1. Nine News 6:30 Nine 301,000
  2. Nine News Nine 299,000
  3. Seven News Seven 298,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 276,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 265,000

 

25-54 Top Five

  1. Nine News Nine 377,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 371,000
  3. Seven News Seven 357,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 339,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 301,000
WEDNESDAY Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 297,000
  2. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 251,000
  3. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 242,000
  4. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 207,000
  5. Shaun The Sheep AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 171,000
  6. Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railways PM 7TWO 162,000
  7. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 155,000
  8. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 153,000
  9. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 152,000
  10. Kiri And Lou ABCKIDS/COMEDY 152,000
  11. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 151,000
  12. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 146,000
  13. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  14. Nella The Princess Knight PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 139,000
  15. Dot. AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  16. Go Jetters AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 136,000
  17. Neighbours 10 Peach 136,000
  18. Thomas And Friends PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 134,000
  19. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 132,000
  20. Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves 9Gem 131,000
WEDNESDAY STV
  1. Gogglebox Australia Lifestyle Channel 202,000
  2. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 183,000
  3. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 89,000
  4. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 83,000
  5. Live: Supercars All Stars E-Series FOX SPORTS 506 70,000
  6. Richo & Jones Sky News Live 69,000
  7. Credlin Sky News Live 66,000
  8. PML Later Sky News Live 55,000
  9. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 45,000
  10. Grand Designs Lifestyle Channel 45,000
  11. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 45,000
  12. Escape To The Country Lifestyle Channel 43,000
  13. AM Agenda Sky News Live 41,000
  14. AM Agenda Sky News Live 41,000
  15. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 38,000
  16. Bargain Hunt Lifestyle Channel 37,000
  17. AM Agenda Sky News Live 37,000
  18. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 35,000
  19. Afternoon Agenda Sky News Live 34,000
  20. Vanderpump Rules ARENA 34,000

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

Business of Media

Live sport cuts from coronavirus crisis reduces Foxtel staff numbers

Foxtel has been forced to make 200 redundancies in the last week and stand down another 140 people till June 30 because of COVID-19 work stoppages, particularly affecting those working in live sport, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany has described the last week as “one of toughest in Foxtel’s history” in a staff email on Wednesday afternoon. Delany said the job losses were part of a two-year review into how Foxtel’s products and finances were run, but that the COVID-19 crisis had accelerated the changes.

“You all know how hard we have been working over the past two years to transform our product and finances in the face of digital disruption. Now, with the impact of government COVID-19 restrictions on our business, we have had no choice but to accelerate that transformation,” Delany told staff in an email.

Delany said the rules for the government’s Job Keeper scheme do not allow Foxtel to apply at present, however stood down employees may be eligible for payments under the Job Seeker scheme.

[Read more]

Magazine sale: Latest on Bauer acquisition of Pacific

Bauer Media Australia’s German owners may be forced to pay the full $40 million to Seven West Media for Pacific Magazines due to a financial guarantee given to the local company by its parent entity even if it chose to close its business in Australia, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

The Australian Financial Review reveals Bauer Media’s parent company, Heinrich Bauer Verlag KG, the holding company of the German headquartered Bauer Media Group, is believed to have guaranteed the Australian company’s PacMags purchase in the sale agreement.

On Tuesday, Seven West Media lodged proceedings in the NSW Supreme Court to compel Bauer to complete the transaction.

“The Bauer transaction is being pursued to completion. The contract is unconditional following the ACCC’s clearance. Seven instituted Court proceedings in the NSW Supreme Court yesterday to compel completion,” Seven West Media told the ASX on Wednesday.

“Seven has received an email from Bauer’s solicitors saying ‘Bauer is aware of its obligations under the Sale of Business Agreement and, as you know, has been actively engaged since October 2019 in preparing for completion’.”

[Read more]

Meanwhile The Australian reports today:

Pacific Magazines’ outgoing boss Gereurd Roberts is understood to have emailed staff on Wednesday morning about the court case, telling them that the sale might go through as planned on Thursday. But if it doesn’t, they will be at Pacific for another four to six weeks.

[Read more]

Jack Dorsey vows to donate $1b to fight the coronavirus

Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter and Square, said on Tuesday that he planned to donate US$1 billion, or just under a third of his total wealth, to relief programs related to the coronavirus, in one of the more significant efforts by a tech billionaire to fight the pandemic, reports The New York Times.

Dorsey said he would put 28 percent of his wealth, in the form of shares in his mobile payments company Square, into a limited liability company that he had created, called Start Small. Start Small would make grants to beneficiaries, he said, with the expenditures to be recorded in a publicly accessible Google document.

“Why now? The needs are increasingly urgent, and I want to see the impact in my lifetime,” Dorsey said in a series of tweets announcing his plans. “I hope this inspires others to do something similar.”

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News Brands

Michael Beach to exit WA’s The Sunday Times as cutbacks bite

Seven West Media has laid off its The Sunday Times editor in Western Australia, as part of the media group’s cost-cutting during the coronavirus crisis, which has hit advertising revenue, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

Anthony De Ceglie, Seven’s editor in chief, has told staff that editor Michael Beach‘s position has been made redundant, “due to the financial impact of COVID-19”, and will leave the business as part of a restructure.

Beach is a Walkley Award-winning journalist and has edited the newspaper with “distinction, integrity and success” since Seven bought The Sunday Times and PerthNow in November 2016, De Ceglie said in a statement.

Seven WA chief executive Maryna Fewster said Beach had “played a pivotal role in both The Sunday Times and The West Australian.”

“He has shown strength and flair in every role he has undertaken for SWM and can be proud of his time – in particular as the head of The Sunday Times.”

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Radio

2GB slanging match erupts between Jones, Bolt & Hadley

A slanging match between broadcasters and columnists Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt and Ray Hadley has broken out in the wake of Cardinal George Pell’s successful High Court appeal, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

The feud between a trio of the country’s most prominent broadcasters and columnists worsened after Andrew Bolt appeared on Alan Jones’ show in sympathetic interview and later accused 2GB host Hadley of being “a coward” after the broadcaster refused to apologise to the Herald-Sun columnist and Sky News host.

On Sky News’s Bolt Report Tuesday night Bolt said he would be demanding an apology after claiming Hadley described his behaviour as “creepy”, which Bolt claimed was a reference to his ongoing defence of Pell and in the wake of making an apology to Paris Street, a man who was the victim of grooming by a teacher at St Kevin’s college in Melbourne.

Bolt appeared on Alan Jones’ 2GB show this morning continuing to demand an apology from Hadley.

But on his own 2GB Morning Show this morning Hadley angrily told listeners he was not calling Bolt “creepy” for his defence of Pell.

“For the attack on me this morning on my own network, to say I am disappointed yes I am,” he said. “Am I surprised, no I am not.”

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Kath Brown departs Commercial Radio Australia after 25 years

Kath Brown has left Commercial Radio Australia where she was head of strategic development, reports radioinfo.

Looking back on her 25 years with the industry body, Brown has told radioinfo she is “proud to have made a significant contribution to the launch and adoption of DAB+ digital radio in Australia.”

With her background in audience research at News Limited, Brown started as a media planner in the Radio Marketing Bureau back in 1995, presenting to agency and client teams on the benefits of including radio in their campaigns. She became an early advocate for DAB digital radio as it allowed broadcasters to offer niche audio formats and additional text and graphics.

“With 73% of new vehicles (many with screens) and close to a million ads on DAB+ services so far this year, it is pleasing to see that vision is starting to become a reality in Australia.

“I have worked with many wonderful board members, chief engineers/CTOs, programmers and station management over the years, and have enjoyed close collaboration with the public and community radio sectors,” said Brown.

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Television

Easter streaming gift from 10 play: How To Stay Married

An isolation gift from the 10 Network, the entire season two of this likeable Aussie comedy is now streaming, reports The Age’s Larissa Dubecki.

Slip on the trackies – sorry, loungewear – and settle in for an eight-episode binge over Lisa McCune and Peter Helliar‘s amiable chemistry. Their suburban mum and dad act is the patterned wallpaper backdrop to a series of entirely relatable events including family barbecues, teenage sexting, waiting for the NBN technician and the irresistible lure of the ALDI special buy. First cab off the rank milks the time-honoured scenario of their teenage daughter being mortified at her parents’ dagginess when her friends come over.

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TV mystery: How Eve returns from the dead to face off Villanelle

The cat-and-mouse game continues for Eve and Villanelle in the third series of Killing Eve. But this time, are they batting for the same team? asks The Age’s Clare Rigden.

When we last saw Sandra Oh‘s character she was lying face down in the middle of a historical monument in downtown Rome, shot by her long-time nemesis-turned-colleague-turned-love-interest, Villanelle (played by Emmy Award-winning Jodie Comer).

She looked, to all intents and purposes, to be very, very dead. But surely you can’t have Killing Eve without… Eve? Right?

“Yes, well, I figured [the writers] would have told me if she actually was dead,” says Oh, who, fans won’t be surprised to learn, is still very much a part of the new series, and speaking from self-isolation from her home in the US.

“It was a great way, and a challenging way, to start the third season. We had to have them jump several months ahead and to somehow [find a way] to pull them back together from very different places.”

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Sports Media

The AFR: Why winter sport will never be the same

The coronavirus-induced shutdown of sport has left rugby union and football on the brink of collapse, while the NRL is vulnerable to its cashed-up rival AFL, reports The AFR’s Angus Grigg and Max Mason.

“Those codes already weakened or vulnerable prior to the virus shutting down their seasons may never recover,” says sports commentator and former rugby league coach Roy Masters.

Rugby union, just 25 years into its professional life, is facing collapse in Australia as Foxtel contemplates walking away from the game.

The A-League is also staring at the loss of Foxtel as a broadcast partner and may “need to get smaller before it gets bigger”, according to former Socceroo, Football Federation of Australia board member and commercial lawyer Danny Moulis.

“Broadcasters used to bid up rights and hope to recover the increment through future revenue growth,” says Hugh Marks, chief executive of Nine. “No broadcaster can build a model that guarantees that growth into the future.”

Marks says that while revenue around sport has held up better than many other genres, broadcasters will be more disciplined into the future.

“Seeking to grow revenue share unprofitably is a dead-end strategy from this point,” he says.

Amid the unease, Fox Sports boss Peter Campbell is not offering the usual reassuring words. In a statement he said the “future shape of sport in Australia will be very different”.

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NRL 2020 season relaunch date: Peter V’landys wants May return

The NRL is preparing to axe the Sydney self-isolation plan ahead of a late May kick-off, reports News Corp’s Peter Badel and Paul Crawley.

News Corp Australia can reveal the NRL’s innovation committee is considering scrapping the Sydney ‘Bubble’ idea with pandemic experts confident NRL stars can remain at home without a 14-day lockdown at Homebush.

That is a sign the NRL is increasingly confident the Telstra Premiership will resume on either May 21 or 28 in a stunning fightback amid the coronavirus ordeal.

The NRL’s innovation committee had set a target date of July 1 as part of its Project Apollo objectives – but ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys is ready to launch earlier.

State of Origin remains on the agenda and is likely to be played around July or August in front of empty stadiums.

V’landys said it is possible the NRL could resume on May 21 but is more bullish about a re-launch the following week.

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Nine and Foxtel play hardball with NRL over season reboot

Rugby league’s broadcasters are playing hardball about the rest of the season being staged behind closed doors and potentially extending beyond early October, arguing it’s not the premium product they signed up for, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Chris Barrett.

NRL powerbrokers are eager to get the competition up and running again as quickly as possible and an innovation committee headed by former Balmain captain Wayne Pearce will put a recommendation to the ARL Commission on Thursday that includes a May restart.

There are hopes that if that gets off the ground a grand final could still be played by its scheduled date of October 4 following a truncated regular season as well as a mid-year State of Origin series.

However, the resumption of play will not automatically lead to broadcast rights money pouring back into the revenue-starved code at the level it previously did under the $1.8 billion five-year deal with Nine Entertainment and Foxtel.

Broadcasters will already pay discounted amounts if there are less rounds played than under the terms of the contracts they signed in 2015 and which became active for the 2018 season.

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