Tuesday August 11, 2020

Fight for Planet A: Craig Reucassel and Jodi Boylan reunited on new series

“Fight for Planet A would be difficult to do on a commercial network”

“It’s not a follow-up to War on Waste, it’s its own show,” Reucassel made plain at the start of a Mediaweek podcast interview about the new program. “This series is about climate change and what we can do to stop climate change. It is not about following the science and saying ‘this is climate change and it is happening’. It goes to the next stop looking at our own lives and what we could be doing to reduce our carbon footprint. But we also look at what government and business need to do to solve the problem we know we face.”

Listen to the Mediaweek podcast with Jodie Boylan and Craig Reucassel.

Fight for Planet A’s Jodi Boylan and Craig Reucassel with Mediaweek’s James Manning recording the Media Podcast

Boylan added: “We wanted people to understand that each and every one of us has a carbon footprint – what does it look like, what does it mean and how can people alter that carbon footprint and have an impact on the planet.

Reucassel: “The vast majority of Australians and people around the world accept that climate change is real. It’s like not starting a news report about Coronavirus as to whether it exists or not. We are following the science and following the facts which is the important thing to do.”

Craig Reucassel in Fight for Planet A

War on Waste was initially three one-hour episodes with a fourth follow-up episode sometime later. A second series of three episodes then followed. All seven episodes rated well for ABC TV.

“Surprisingly so,” laughed Reucassel. “That a show about going through your bins was such a high rating program.”

As to the War on Waste ratings, Boylan said: “I was completely shocked. I wasn’t shocked that the message would resonate with an audience. I knew there would be an initial interest, but I was shocked by the impact the show created. The show impacted with government changes and on peoples’ lives and communities and corporations as well.”

Craig Reucassel with teacher and pupils from Oatlands Public School

Although the ABC continues to explore the impact of waste and climate change, has there been any interest from commercial broadcasters to give more time to these topics?

Reucassel: “This is one of these shows you can really only do properly on the ABC. There are some commercial shows that call out big business and government, but Fight for Planet A would be difficult to do on a commercial network which is why it is good to have the ABC.”

Boylan: “At commercial networks there are constraints with advertisers. On a show like War on Waste the editorial content couldn’t have been compromised by the next commercial in the ad break. It would be very brave to take on a show like War on Waste and I challenge them to do so.

As to any impact that Fight for Planet A might have, Reucassel said: “We are hopeful about that. I learnt a lot of things about the impact that War on Waste had. People who were becoming active and being passionate about the changes they made had a flow-on impact upwards which had an impact on policy makers. I have had politicians say to me, ‘We don’t lead, we follow.’ When they saw the community becoming involved they started to get involved. I am hopeful that will happen in the climate space as well, but I am wary that in the past there has been a lot of momentum from the public, but it has been stopped. There are a lot more vested interests in the climate space than there are in the waste space so it is a much harder area to get change in.

During the first episode of Fight for Planet A, Reucassel gets to venture into familiar areas he has explored on many TV series from The Chaser. That includes trying to doorstop politicians outside Parliament House, after a failed attempt to get inside despite having gained permission. Arriving with 100 balloons strapped to his back made the security guards suspicious.

He also turns up outside a couple of corporate headquarters of mining giants in Perth, trying to deliver the first of 20 million trees.

During the making of the show, the producer’s offset the carbon footprint of the series.

Part of the show involves a climate challenge with a number of families from around Australia.

Fight for Planet A was produced by Lune Media with Jodi Boylan EP, showrunner and writer/director. Working with her was EP/writer David Galloway and founder and MD of Lune Media, Leonie Lowe.

Listen to the Mediaweek podcast with Jodie Boylan and Craig Reucassel.

Photo [L-R]: Doni Savvides, Partner, Melanie Wiese, Chief Strategy Officer, Martin Beecroft, Chief Innovation Officer, Gavin Bain, Managing Partner
WPP AUNZ accelerates its transformation, acquires Perth’s Meerkats

WPP AUNZ has acquired WA digital and creative business solutions company Meerkats, as part of the company’s strategy to boost client capabilities announced earlier this year.

As part of the agreement Meerkats will merge with Wunderman Thompson in WA, building the brand’s Perth capability to more than 50 employees and creating a specific Experience & Innovation Practice. As a result, Wunderman Thompson Perth will now offer the full suite of brand and organisational strategy, consulting, innovation and technology capabilities underpinned by creativity; further strengthening the WPP AUNZ Perth Campus.

WPP AUNZ CEO Jens Monsees said: “With an impressive roster of clients, and a platform of transformational strategy, EX/CX and technology-led innovation, Meerkats brings experience, skills and growth opportunities to our WA business. While our clients face increasing challenges to engage with their audiences in the current environment, this acquisition will allow us to provide even stronger capability to the Perth market.”

The merged Wunderman Thompson and Meerkats team will operate under the Wunderman Thompson brand from its Subiaco office. Its leadership team will comprise former Meerkats CEO Gavin Bain as Wunderman Thompson Perth Managing Partner, Doni Savvides as Partner, Martin Beecroft as Chief Innovation Officer, and Melanie Wiese as Chief Strategy Officer, Perth.

Bain said: “The Meerkats business model has evolved in recent years in line with our clients changing needs. We feel that the fresh Wunderman Thompson creative innovation approach is the perfect fit for our expanded strategic offering alongside WPP AUNZ’s focus on providing new offerings. We’re confident that our combined strengths will build something truly unique in this market and offer great opportunities for our people.”

Savvides added: “Gavin and his team share Wunderman Thompson’s ambition and passion to help our clients succeed and we’re delighted to be joining forces to bring that potential to life. Adding their skillset and capabilities to our already strong brand adds significant firepower to what we can deliver to our clients and to building a truly world class Wunderman Thompson offering in Western Australia. I am excited about what the future holds.”

radio matrix
Leading agencies to pilot RadioMATRIX world-first virtual workspace

Australian radio broadcasters are working with major media agencies on the development of a world-leading virtual workspace that will be a key component of the industry-wide ad buying platform, RadioMATRIX.

Nineteen agencies will participate in the pilot program, which provides them with a single interface to connect with 370 Australian radio stations and collaborate on media campaigns in real-time, from any location.

“We are excited to start work with agencies on the next phase of RadioMATRIX, which will transform the audio buying process and make it much easier for advertisers to invest in radio and podcast advertising,” Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer Joan Warner said.

“We are replacing the traditional manual and email-based approach with a virtual workspace that meets media buyers’ evolving needs. Online collaboration will become an increasingly important feature of the future workplace, and this has only been accelerated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the need to leverage technology to work securely, remotely and effectively across borders.”

The agencies participating in the initiative are Carat, Dentsu, Havas Media, Ikon Communications, Initiative, MagnaGlobal, Mediacom, Mindshare, OMD, Orion, PHD, Rufus, Spark Foundry, Starcom, The Media Store, UM, Wavemaker and Zenith.

Media buyers will have access to purpose-built tools to create and send out briefs, receive proposals from networks and undertake modelling. The cloud-based solution will be powered by GfK radio surveys data so agencies can check audience reach, frequency and cost against real-time availability.

Jo Dick, head of partnerships, outdoor and audio at Omnicon, said: “As a major user of radio, Omnicon agencies are delighted to contribute to the pilot program because the real-time tools and insights that RadioMATRIX will bring will be enormously beneficial to facilitating a more streamlined briefing process.”

Jenny Rowsell, business systems director at Publicis Media, said: “Publicis are very pleased to have the opportunity to be part of the pilot. The introduction of holdings was a major first step and now the development of the platform will be hugely beneficial to our buyers. Exciting times ahead!”

The first phase of RadioMATRIX was launched in October 2017 and digitised and streamlined the management of ad bookings. The platform is currently being used by 200 media agencies and has processed more than 1.5 billion items of radio inventory.

RadioMATRIX is being developed by AudioNET, with the virtual workspace, briefings and proposals module scheduled for completion in October.

Dave Cox, chief executive officer of AudioNET, said: “We believe RadioMATRIX will be the first whole-of-media sector briefing and buying platform in the world and we are delighted to work with agencies and the radio broadcasting industry to build a solution that is attractive, easy to use and meets the needs of the market into the future.”

Podcast Ranker July chart: #1 overall Stuff You Should Know

• #1 Australia Casefile True Crime, #1 publisher ARN/iHeartPodcasts
• Highest new entries: Guru: Dark Side of Enlightenment (Wondery)

Triton Digital’s Australian Podcast Ranker provides insight into the Top 100 Podcasts as well as the Top 10 Publishers in Australia from 1 July through 31 July, 2020, as measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service.

Seven new entities appear in the Top 100 Podcast Ranker this reporting period, including Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment (Wondery), She’s On The Money (ARN/iHeartMedia), SCA Victoria News (SCA-Triple M), and WTF with Marc Maron Podcast (Stitcher). Stuff You Should Know (ARN/iHeartMedia) remained in the #1 spot as the most downloaded podcast in the country in July.

As for the All-Australian Top 100, seven new entities appear this reporting period, including Somehow Related with Dave O’Neil & Glenn Robbins (ARN/iHeartMedia), The Small Business Big Marketing Podcast with Timbo Reid (SCA-PodcastOne Australia), and Herald Sun Coronavirus Update (News Corp Australia). Casefile True Crime (Audioboom) remained the #1 spot as the most downloaded podcast in the country.

Total downloads of all shows by all participating publishers in the month of July is 43.6m.

Participating publishers in the Australian Ranker include ARN/iHeartMedia, Southern Cross Austereo, News Corp Australia, Audioboom, Stitcher, Wondery, Nova, Nine Radio, SEN/Crocmedia, Schwartz Media, TOFOP Productions, Kinderling Kids Radio, Australian Radio Network, Wavelength Creative, Wondery, NBC News, and West Australian Newspapers.


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ABC News
Nielsen July News ratings: news.com.au recovers, back at #2

Australians continue to seek out information and returned to news websites for regular updates as a second wave of COVID-19 has emerged.

According to Nielsen Digital Content Ratings data released today, users collectively spent nearly 45 million hours engaging with news content online for the month, an increase of 51% when compared to July 2019.

According to Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings, the most substantial year-on-year percentage increase was seen via computers, with a 54% increase in total time spent, whilst mobile saw a 50% increase in total time spent when compared to July 2019.

Year-on-year engagement increases were seen across most age groups with people 65+ seeing the largest percentage increase, spending 82% more time engaging with news content online when compared to the same month last year. People aged 35-44 (up 68%) and 45-54 (up 60%) also saw substantial year-on-year increases in time spent engaging with current events & global news content.

Nielsen Digital Content Ratings reported that ABC News Websites retained the top position, with a unique audience of 13.3 million for the month of July 2020.

News.com.au ranked second with a unique audience of 11.6 million, followed by nine.com.au (11.1 million) and Daily Mail Australia (10.7 million). 7NEWS ranked fifth with a unique audience of 10.3 million.

The biggest mover on the chart was news.com.au which lifted from fourth place to second month-on-month. The rest of the top 10 was unchanged from the previous month.

All of the top 10 current events and global news sites saw a month-on-month increase in unique audience, with seven of those 10 sites seeing a double-digit percentage increase.

Ninja Warrior Ben Polson
Ben Polson wins Australian Ninja Warrior as Mount Midoriyama is conquered

History was made on Australian Ninja Warrior when someone finally conquered Mount Midoriyama to become Australia’s first-ever Ninja Warrior with Ben Polson winning $400,000.

After four years, 636 Ninja runs and 106 grand final attempts, Polson was crowned Australia’s first Ninja Warrior.

Night 2 of the Australian Ninja Warrior grand final started with Olivia Vivian, Ben Polson, Alex Matthews, Mike Snow, Matthew Bowles, Jordan Papandrea, Zak Stolz, and Charlie Robbins before the field was widdled down to the final three.

Ninja Warrior Final Three

Zak Stolz, Ben Polson, and Charlie Robbins

Ninja 2019 furthest-fastest champion, Charlie Robbins, student Zak Stolz, and videographer Ben Polson were left standing after stage three and went onto Mount Midoriyama and the chance to win $400,000 in prize money, with the fastest on the punishing 20-metre rope climb up Mt Midoriyama declared the winner.

Zack Stolz was the first to climb Mount Midoriyama in the show’s history doing it in 29:80 seconds but his success was short-lived when he was beaten by Charlie Robbins who did a time of 26:56 seconds who was outdone in 25:56 seconds be Ben Polson, who became the shows first Australian Ninja Warrior.
After the win Polson said: “I wasn’t your average kid at school, I felt like an outcast and got bullied a lot. It wasn’t until I discovered Ninja training that I once again felt I had a purpose. It helped me build myself back up physically and mentally. Conquering Mount Midoriyama is not about what I have received, it’s about who I have become.”
Polson said he planned to take his girlfriend and fellow Ninja Warrior competitor Olivia Vivian on a trip to Japan and buy himself a car with the prizemoney.
“Four hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money! Especially during such a rollercoaster year. I would love to take Olivia on a trip to Japan the rest will be invested and discussed with much smarter people than myself.”

Ben Polson and Vivian
Polson, Robbins, and Stolz all cemented their names in the history books, joining an elite group of only 14 people in the world who have scaled Mt Midoriyama.
Australian Ninja Warrior Runner-up Charlie Robbins said of climbing Mt Midoriyama: “It was an incredible feeling of accomplishment. There’s only a handful of people in the world that can say they’ve done it, so to be a part of that group is pretty special and of course a big congratulations to Ben.”

Ninja Warrior Ben Polson
Australian Ninja Warrior Second runner-up Zak Stolz added: “It’s something you always see and hope you can do, but actually doing it didn’t feel real. It’s truly an honour to complete the dream of any Ninja warrior.”

The action doesn’t end at the Grand final with a two-part special event, Australian Ninja Warrior: State of Origin, beginning on Sunday, August 16, at 7.00 pm on Nine.
With the four best Ninjas from each state are putting on their jerseys to battle it out for state glory and win $100,000. Featuring Charlie RobbinsFred Dorrington, Bryson KleinRaphaella Wiget and Olivia Vivian on a brand new, custom-built state of origin course.

In Australian Ninja Warrior: State of Origin the Ninja Warriors will work together in teams to win the bragging rights and prove which is the superior Ninja state in the whole nation.
The show comes from producer Endemol Shine Australia and features the show’s new home in the Melbourne Showgrounds facility, the format’s third home in three years.

Box Office: Russell Crowe vehicle Unhinged stays #1

By Trent Thomas

In a quiet seven days for new releases that only saw one new entry into the top five this week, Unhinged has stayed #1 as the Australian box office made $1.72m this past weekend, a 2% increase in revenue.

The only new entry to the top five was the Korean film Train to Busan 2- Peninsula the standalone sequel to the 2016 film Train to Busan which was meant to be screened at 2020 Cannes Film Festival which was cancelled due to COVID-19.

#1 Unhinged $701,049

Two fairly strong back-to-back weeks has seen the film’s overall total now sit at $1.72m after averaging $3,632 on 193 screens. The film is now the highest-grossing new release since cinemas reopened from lockdown.


#2 The Secret: Dare to Dream $258,996

The Katie Holmes lead film based on the best-selling self-help book has had a good second week of release after increasing its weekend revenue by 15% after averaging $1,222 on 212 screens making it the most screened film in the country this weekend.


#3 The King of Staten Island $111,659

After four weeks The King of Staten Island has cracked the $1 million mark with $1.07m, averaging $775 on 144 screens.


#4 Train to Busan 2- Peninsula $111,659

The Korean zombie flick is the only new entry in the top five this week on the back of its promotional release averaging $1,251 on 71 screens.


#5 Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs $83,034

After 6 weeks the Korean animation is the longest lasting film in the top five, generating a total of $1.26m. The film averaged $577 on 144 screens.


Ninja Warrior Ben Polson
TV ratings: Monday, August 10, Week 33 2020

By James Manning

• Ninja Warrior ends with Mount Midoriyama traffic jam and 1.2m
• The Masked Singer opens on 800,000+ with unmasked sports star
• Farmer Wants a Wife slips to third place and 700,000

Seven News 1,219,000/1,116,000
Nine News 1,094,000/1,050,000
A Current Affair 819,000
ABC News 770,000
7.30 646,000
The Project 331,000/507,000
10 News 439,000/277,000
Sunrise 280,000
Today 216,000
The Drum 193,000
The Latest 190,000
SBS World News 184,000

Monday TV

Seven: The second night of Farmer Wants a Wife this week slipped to third in the rankings up against the end of one series and the launch of another. The audience of 696,000 was only down marginally from 740,000 a week ago. There still seem to be a lot of ladies in contention as the next episode will be the halfway mark.
9-1-1 Lone Star followed with 303,000, well down on 406,000 seven days prior.
Earlier in the night Home and Away delivered 660,000 after a week 32 average of 610,000. 

Nine: The final instalment of the shorter season of eight episodes of Australian Ninja Warrior saw a traffic jam at the top of the much-hyped Mount Midoriyama as three warriors managed to climb the rope to the top. It came down to who could do it faster which turned out to be Ben Polson. The start of the final night rated 1,060,000 slightly below what Sunday managed – 1,098,000. The reveal of the winner when Polson punched the button with a second to spare did 1,199,000. The episode drove Nine to a clear win on primary and network share and in key demos. The numbers for the season final were up year-on-year.
As the Monday lead-in, A Current Affair started the week on 819,000 after an average of 697,000 last week.
Surviving Jeffrey Epstein followed the Warriors with 298,000 watching.

10: The launch of The Masked Singer delivered what 10 EP Stephen Tate promised here a week ago – big names. There were three singing battles on the first night of the 2020 series with former Australian tennis player Mark Philippoussis unveiled. There were a few ordinary performances amongst the gifted singers last night and he was one of them. The episode was on 733,000 and then 823,000 for the reveal. The series two launch was down on the 2019 launch audience of 1,162,000. 10 has noted however that some of that audience were live streaming perhaps with the episode last night up 48% on the streaming number last year. The episode was also #1 16-39 in its timeslot.
Network 10 head of programming Daniel Monaghan said this morning: “On a highly competitive night, the first episode of the new season of The Masked Singer Australia performed very well, with 1.13 million viewers nationally for the big reveal and 1 million earlier in the night. The Masked Singer Australia significantly lifted our audience in its timeslot and created real buzz on social media last night. The best is yet to come, with great singing, great dancing and lots of jaw-dropping moments as we reveal who is behind the masks.”
A different lead-in helped Have You Been Paying Attention? lift to 623,000 after 574,000 last week.

ABC: Australian Story featured the first part of a Joel Edgerton profile on 623,000.
Four Corners looked at recycling with 549,000.
Media Watch did 517,000 with Q+A on 293,000.

SBS: Part one of the three-part The Blitz: Britain on Fire was on 225,000.

Week 33 TV: Monday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.7% 7 16.7% 9 24.6% 10  14.0% SBS One 4.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 1.8% 7TWO 3.0% GO! 1.9% 10 Bold 3.4% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 0.4% 7mate 4.8% GEM 2.1% 10 Peach 1.9% Food Net 0.7%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 1.3% 9Life 1.7%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.0%     SBS World Movies 0.7%
TOTAL 16.4%   25.9%   31.4%   19.3%   7.0%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 12.0% 7 20.8% 9 19.7% WIN 11.8% SBS One 3.9%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 1.9% 7TWO 4.6% GO! 2.5% WIN Bold 4.3% VICELAND 1.3%
ABC ME 0.4% 7mate 4.0% GEM 3.1% WIN Peach 2.3% Food Net 0.5%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.7% 9Life 1.9% Sky News  on WIN 1.7% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 0.7%
TOTAL 15.6%   31.1%   27.2%   20.2%   6.5%


87.6% 12.4%
Monday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,219,000
  2. Australian Ninja Warrior -Winner Announced Nine 1,199,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,116,000
  4. Nine News Nine 1,094,000
  5. Australian Ninja Warrior -Grand Final Nine 1,060,000
  6. Nine News 6:30 Nine 1,050,000
  7. The Masked Singer Australia – Launch Reveal 10 823,000
  8. A Current Affair Nine 819,000
  9. ABC News ABC 770,000
  10. The Masked Singer Australia – Launch 10 733,000
  11. Farmer Wants A Wife Seven 696,000
  12. Home And Away Seven 660,000
  13. 7.30 ABC 646,000
  14. The Chase Australia Seven 645,000
  15. Australian Story ABC 623,000
  16. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 623,000
  17. Hot Seat Nine 606,000
  18. Four Corners ABC 549,000
  19. Media Watch ABC 517,000
  20. The Project 7pm 10 507,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. Australian Ninja Warrior -Winner Announced Nine 241,000
  2. The Masked Singer Australia – Launch Reveal 10 235,000
  3. Australian Ninja Warrior -Grand Final Nine 215,000
  4. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 212,000
  5. The Masked Singer Australia – Launch 10 204,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. Australian Ninja Warrior -Winner Announced Nine 471,000
  2. Australian Ninja Warrior -Grand Final Nine 415,000
  3. The Masked Singer Australia – Launch Reveal 10 383,000
  4. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 341,000
  5. The Masked Singer Australia – Launch 10 339,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. Australian Ninja Warrior -Winner Announced Nine 556,000
  2. Australian Ninja Warrior -Grand Final Nine 487,000
  3. The Masked Singer Australia – Launch Reveal 10 414,000
  4. The Masked Singer Australia – Launch 10 371,000
  5. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 361,000
Monday Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 181,000
  2. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 166,000
  3. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 163,000
  4. M- The Accountant PM (R) 7mate 145,000
  5. ABC News Mornings AM ABC NEWS 144,000
  6. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 143,000
  7. Doc Martin PM 7TWO 142,000
  8. Neighbours 10 Peach 132,000
  9. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 131,000
  10. Little J And Big Cuz ABCKIDS/COMEDY 130,000
  11. Peter Rabbit PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  12. Kiri And Lou ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  13. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 116,000
  14. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  15. Little J And Big Cuz AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 114,000
  16. Dog Loves Books AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 114,000
  17. Seven’s AFL: Monday Night Football 7mate 112,000
  18. Law & Order: Svu Late (R) 10 Bold 110,000
  19. Thomas And Friends PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 110,000
  20. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 108,000
Monday STV
  1. Live: AFL St Kilda V Geelong FOX FOOTY 229,000
  2. Live: AFL Fremantle V Hawthorn FOX FOOTY 163,000
  3. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 68,000
  4. Alan Jones Sky News Live 63,000
  5. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 63,000
  6. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 57,000
  7. Credlin Sky News Live 54,000
  8. Live: Golf: USPGA Championship: Final FOX SPORTS 503 52,000
  9. Live: AFL Post Game Monday FOX FOOTY 51,000
  10. AM Agenda Sky News Live 47,000
  11. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 46,000
  12. Perry Mason FOX SHOWCASE 46,000
  13. Live: NRL 360 FOX LEAGUE 44,000
  14. Newsday Sky News Live 37,000
  15. Live: AFL Tonight FOX FOOTY 35,000
  16. PML Later Sky News Live 32,000
  17. NCIS: New Orleans FOX Crime 32,000
  18. Afternoon Agenda Sky News Live 32,000
  19. Escape To The Chateau: DIY Lifestyle Channel 30,000
  20. Cops crime + investigation 30,000

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

Coronavirus: $75m to help arts producers RISE up

Producers of musicals, festivals and other events will be encouraged to find innovative ways to connect with audiences during the pandemic in a $75m federal “restart” program intended to boost activity and employment in the creative sector, reports The Australian’s Matthew Westwood.

Arts Minister Paul Fletcher on Tuesday will release guidelines for the restart investment to sustain and expand (RISE) grants to help producers adapt in a COVID-safe environment.

Applications for the RISE fund, and for a $35m arts sustainability fund for at-risk subsidised companies, will open on August 31 but grants are not likely to be awarded until late October.

The RISE program offers grants of between $75,000 and $2m to help companies present performances, exhibitions and tours in a COVID-safe environment, or help them shift to online delivery.

[Read more]

Captioning business Ai-Media lodges prospectus for underwritten IPO

Ai-Media, a global provider of technology-enabled live and recorded captioning, transcription and translation services, has lodged its prospectus with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to list on the Australian Securities Exchange via an initial public offering (IPO).

The underwritten offer is expected to raise total gross proceeds of $65.5 million based on an offer price of $1.23 per share. This values the company at a total enterprise value of $157.6 million with an indicative market capitalisation of $177.4 million. Approximately $30.0 million of the gross proceeds will be raised through the issue of new shares by the company with the balance via a secondary offer of shares by existing Ai-Media shareholders.

Founded in Sydney, Australia in 2003, Ai-Media is a global media access provider, utilising its technology platform to make content available for all through live and recorded captioning, transcription, subtitles, translation and speech analytics services. Ai-Media has developed a cloud-based captioning, transcription and translations platform that utilises a combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning and human intelligence to convert speech to text and has established itself as a global technology business across its three business lines of Live Broadcast, Live Enterprise and Recorded content.

Ai-Media chair Deanne Weir (pictured) said: “From its local foundations, Ai-Media has developed into a global success story in the growing market it operates in. The IPO provides us with a great opportunity to leverage our success to deliver strong ongoing growth, particularly offshore, and continue to invest in product innovation and our technology platform to provide a wider range of services for our customers. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome new investors to Ai-Media, to share in our future success and join us in our mission to make the world a better place by providing access for all.”

Tony Abrahams (pictured), Ai-Media CEO and co-founder, said: “Ai-Media was founded with the goal of providing equal opportunity for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in viewing recorded television media. While today we have broadened our initial mission and target audience, this philosophy still drives our business as we continue to advocate for inclusion through technology and social innovation. I am particularly excited about welcoming members of our community, through our retail offer, to share in the pursuit of our goals across the global market.”

The offer will remain open until September 3 with shares expected to begin trading on September 15.

Microsoft’s TikTok deal: bargain of the decade or a $50bn blunder?

As the clock ticks on Microsoft’s fast-track talks to buy TikTok the jury is out on whether it marks a unique opportunity to become a global social media giant overnight, or a US$50bn geopolitically fuelled business blunder, reports The Guardian.

Donald Trump’s trade war with China has forced ByteDance, the privately owned Beijing-based parent of the video-sharing site TikTok, to pursue a sale of its US business after the president signed an executive order last week that could shut it down on 15 September.

TikTok has proved to be a social media juggernaut, drawing hundreds of millions of users, most of whom are in the advertiser hotspot of 12 to 24 years old, to short videos from creators including the singer Doja Cat, Charli D’Amelio and illusionist Zach King.

ByteDance has reportedly forecast that the three-year-old TikTok’s revenues will grow from $1bn this year to $6bn by the end of 2021.

The surprise forced sale opportunity has pro-Microsoft analysts in rapture at the possibility of a bargain price for a social media business still in the foothills of potential growth.

[Read more]

News Brands

Jimmy Lai: the Hong Kong media tycoon not afraid to take on Beijing

Hong Kong national security police have arrested media tycoon Jimmy Lai under suspicion of colluding with foreign forces. It marks the most high-profile arrest since Beijing’s national security laws were imposed on Hong Kong in late June, and also saw hundreds of police raid the newsroom of Lai’s Apple Daily tabloid. Reports Guardian Australia’s Helen Davidson.

Lai, often referred to as the Rupert Murdoch of Asia, is one of the few Hong Kong business leaders willing to criticise Beijing.

He fled mainland China for Hong Kong at the age of 12, where he worked in sweatshops and learned English. He reportedly became politicised and a critic of Beijing after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

In Hong Kong, the self-made entrepreneur founded the Giordano clothing brand before turning to journalism, establishing Next media and founding Apple Daily in 1995. The newspaper has grown into one of Hong Kong’s biggest daily tabloids and, like Lai, is unashamedly pro-democracy.

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Nine waiting on Ellen investigation before any decision in Australia

Ellen de Generes may be great clickbait right now, but reports of her show’s demise in Australia are a tad premature, reports TV Tonight.

Nine is still awaiting the outcome of an investigation by Warner Media around allegations of a ‘toxic’ workplace on The Ellen De Generes Show, and there are still decisions to be made around production of the next season.

Yesterday reports emerged the show could be axed in Australia.

Nine programming director Hamish Turner says there were unrelated reasons that episodes of the home isolation edition have not been screening.

“They went to basically a clip version of the show at home. She wasn’t producing any content, so under the deal, we didn’t have to take them,” he tells TV Tonight.

“Do we have rights beyond this year? The answer that is no.

“But we’ll wait to hear from Warner Brothers as to the results of their internal inquiry, because at the moment, they haven’t even come forward with what the show is, or when it might go back into production.”

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Boycotted, criticised, but Fox News leads the prime time pack

In one sense, this has been a difficult period for Fox News: a star anchor fired after being accused of sexual harassment, a lawsuit depicting a misogynist workplace, a top writer exposed as a racist internet troll, advertiser boycotts and outrage after Tucker Carlson called protesters “criminal mobs” and questioned the patriotism of a senator who lost her legs in Iraq, reports The New York Times.

In another sense, business has never been better.

In June and July, Fox News was the highest-rated US television channel in the prime-time hours of 8pm to 11pm. Not just on cable. Not just among news networks. All of television. The average live Fox News viewership in those hours outstripped cable rivals like CNN, MSNBC and ESPN as well as broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC, according to Nielsen.

That three-hour slot is a narrow but significant slice of TV real estate, and it is exceedingly rare for a basic cable channel to outrank the big three broadcasters, which are available in more households and offer a wider variety of programming.

But the Fox News ratings also demonstrate the size and resilience of America’s audience for pro-Donald Trump opinion and the loyalty of Fox News viewers who shrug off the controversies that routinely swirl around the network.

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Succession star Sarah Snook on next season and Aussie lockdown

On July 28, Sarah Snook was taking a nap when her friend snatched the pillow off her face and woke her up by asking, “Did you know that you’ve been nominated for an Emmy?” reports The Hollywood Reporter.

It took the Succession star, who has been sheltering at home in her native Australia amid the pandemic, a few seconds to understand that she’d been nominated for her first-ever Emmy for playing the calculating Shiv Roy, one of the next generation of a Murdoch-like media dynasty in the HBO drama, which racked up a total of 18 nominations that morning. “It was nice to have someone to celebrate with,” she says of the friend she’s staying with who delivered the good news. “If I had been in lockdown by myself, I’d be like, ‘Is this actually even real?’ ”

You were about to start shooting the third season in New York when the pandemic hit. Were you already in the States by then?

I had taken six weeks to go see family and friends – to see my sister in Papua New Guinea and go on a surf trip. The whole thing sort of blew up while I was here, and it was just easier for me to stay because we weren’t shooting anymore until further notice.

Do you know if showrunner Jesse Armstrong is rewriting any of the scripts to make the season more filmable during the pandemic?

Yeah, I mean, in the way that I think every other show is. Just for safety reasons, we’re going to have to look at how many extras are in a scene, for instance. But Jesse is a person who doesn’t really want to compromise what stories they want to tell as writers just for the pandemic. They’re obviously talented writers, so there will be a very delicate hand on how much is included, but we’re not trying to make a show about a wealthy family during a pandemic.

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Sports Media

Optus, Rugby Australia broadcast deal: revolutionary package reignites interest

Rugby Australia’s revolutionary broadcast package has reignited interest from Optus, with the telco set to land the rights to the XV-man code in a stunning coup, reports News Corp’s Jamie Pandaram.

Fox Sports is set to bid for club rugby only, after RA announced broadcasters could pick and choose content from their new package for 2021-25.

News Corp Australia understands the new deal will involve Optus and Network Ten screening Wallabies Tests and Super Rugby, although there is some disagreement between them regarding the finer details.

Sources said a bid from Optus would have to be around the $15 million to $20 million mark.

Fox Sports, having broadcast Super Rugby since its inception 25 years ago, has long held frustration with the diminishing rugby audience, particularly for Super Rugby, however want to retain some content for their pay television and Kayo streaming customers.

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