Tuesday August 25, 2020

oOh!media CEO Brendon Cook on financial results amidst COVID-19

By Trent Thomas

The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown of Australia has seen a squeeze put on the media industry, particularly the outdoor sector. But this week oOh!media released its half-year financial results ending 30 June 2020 with an optimistic outlook, which saw its share price up 17.51% by the close of business.

The key takeaways from the report were:

• Revenue declined by 33% to $205.0m
• oOh! maintained its market share in Australia and New Zealand out of home markets
• Underlying1 EBITDA of $10.8m compared to $56.0m in prior corresponding period
• Underlying NPATA2 loss of $16.9m compared to $18.2m profit in prior corresponding period”
• Reported Net Loss after Tax of $27.5m (post AASB16)
• Strengthened balance sheet and focus on cost reduction and cash management to manage through the unprecedented market and audience decline caused by COVID-19

oOhmedia! CEO Brendon Cook spoke with Mediaweek about these results and how the company is managing the pandemic moving forward.

“At the end of the day I don’t think anyone is going to be reporting huge profit gains in the media sector, but the key is the strength of your balance sheet and your ability to come out of this as the audience returns and the economy returns.”

Cook said it was imperative that the company ensured that it maintained costs and cashflow while also putting emphasis on attracting the media dollar.

“Coming through the Covid-period we spoke to our property business partners about where there has been majority of decline in areas and working cohesively together on how we could handle that circumstance. We also sat down and looked at our cost base and eliminated any unnecessary expenses. It was also important that we made sure the market understood we have audiences and the audience is there so you can compete for revenue in the market.”

Cook said that the sector is starting to recover with urban audiences accelerating and regional audiences almost back to normal, and that they are now better at predicting trends during Covid.

“No one was a great predictor in April and May, but we tracked our audiences in Australia and New Zealand, and we are able to know where our audience is and where they are moving. When the level-four lockdown was announced in Victoria, we used the New Zealand level-four lockdown as an indicator and were able to predict audiences in metro Melbourne to a reasonable extent and also the comebacks through each lockdown restriction.

“Advertisers want audience and people with spending money and we are able to make the adjustments to reach the people in the right environment for them.”


When asked about the digital media company Junkee Media, Cook said that considering the circumstances it is performing well.

“Junkee is chugging along okay in terms of the business, all of our auxiliary businesses are doing better than expected which is a positive.”

Cook has said one positive of the pandemic is it has allowed them to launch a few things a bit quicker, one of them was the Junkee Network, which launched earlier this month.

The Junkee Network which is a combination of Junkee Media’s content platforms with oOh!’s out of home assets in venues and universities across the country.

The network will feature content Junkee Media’s Junkee, Punkee and AWOL titles on oOh!’s digital screens in over 100 university and TAFE campuses that reach 1.2 million students, plus more than 220 social venues.

“The reality is we have a sales team selling a digital online product and digital out of home product as one thing targeting very discreet audience with quality research. We believe that we have proven that the combination of out of home, digital and social does drive incredible value for clients in terms as results and this is the first chance to sell this as a package.”

Steven King
Frontier Australia: IMAA profile of the Sydney-based agency

By James Manning

• Steven King on data, staffing, Covid impact and media strategy

Sydney-based independent agency Frontier Australia likes to be a one-stop shop for its clients.

“We have been going for over 20 years. It started as an independent media agency and then evolved pretty quickly into full service when we brought in internal creative services,” co-founder Steven King told Mediaweek.

Most of what we have done over the journey has been largely media strategy and planning and buying, but with an understanding of how important the message and the creative is as well.

“Everything we do is focused on how to get the best performing campaign to market to achieve the client’s goals. In the last six or seven years we have been really focused on data to drive that and we have invested in building a data team. We have developed a media proprietary attribution tool to measure campaign performance based on the client outcomes we are looking for.” Frontier has labelled that product APEX.

We are an agency that is absolutely focused on performance for clients, getting them outcomes they need. Measuring the advertising to make sure we understand what’s working and what’s not working. We consider everything we do with a media and a creative hat on.”

Neil Hoar and King are the founding partners. Hoar started the busines and King joined soon after and both are still active in the business.

Frontier Aus

A common feature of the independent IMAA agencies Mediaweek has profiled so far in this series is that they seem to retain staff. King: “Over our journey we have had great success in retaining staff and also retaining clients. A number of our team have been with us for over 10 years. Some of our staff have worked with the multinationals and then come here, really liking the business we run.

“That helps to retain clients because there is a consistency with the client relationships. The clients get to know the people who work on their business and that fosters a great relationship.”

Frontier didn’t dodge a bullet earlier this year when Covid struck, but it does feel a little fortunate.

“We like most had a pretty severe downturn in April when everybody was in something of a panic mode,” said King. “We had a lot of clients who were reacting very quickly by cancelling or postponing campaigns. While revenue reduced because of that we were actually doing more work to cancel those campaigns and to meet the client needs. We saw things start to settle in May and June as the immediate panic eased.

“At that stage clients were starting to level out and we have some clients in categories that were performing really well during that period.

“By July we really started to see a much more positive outlook and some confidence coming back with clients. That has continued since then albeit with Victoria and its problems.

More clients are now having positive discussions and briefing us about budgets and future planning. They are setting themselves up to come back and to rebuild.

Frontier negotiate all media themselves. “Unlike some of the multinationals who do upfront annual deals, we plan and negotiate every client campaign based on its merits and we are not bound to spend that money with any particular media owner or publisher. We invest where we think we will get the best outcome for the client. We negotiate rates and campaign delivery based on that and by doing that we feel we can buy as well as anyone in the marketplace.

“What’s really important for us is making sure we invest in the right channels for that particular client, that particular campaign at that particular time. We have never had upfront deals and we don’t believe in them. We think we trade better as an agency by not doing that. We think we get better value and better performance for our clients by trading the way we do.”

Regarding media channels, King estimates about 25-30% of clients’ ad spend goes into digital. “It varies client by client of course. Some of our clients are 100% broadcast media because that is what works for them and it suits their business. Some others might spend 100% on digital because that works for them.

“There are no company targets in terms of what we need to spend on different media publishers or media channels. It is really a case of understanding for every campaign and every client what will get them the best outcome.”

King noted that Frontier still believes very much in traditional broadcast media for the right clients and campaigns.

Regarding out-of-home, can it be hard to justify a spend with ongoing disruption to commuting?

There is always going to be a place for outdoor and as long as we don’t go into a full country-wide lockdown the sector should bounce back pretty quickly. Even some parts of out-of-home have performed pretty well through this period. Some of the people who have panels in shopping centres, or retailers like pharmacies, places that have been trading well though this period, are in demand. People have been locked up for a while, especially in Victoria, and they will want to get outside pretty quickly. That is an opportunity for the outdoor players down there to capitalise on.”

King said broadcast is still important in the mix for many clients – “TV, FTA and pay TV, radio and we are investing in BVOD as well.

“Print still has a role to play, less important now because of consumer habits. During Covid, credible news organisations played a strong role in distributing information about what was going on. There will always be a place for print, but how we use it will be different in the future.

Frontier uses Facebook, Google and YouTube for clients too of course, with the proviso from King that you have to understood what you are trying to get out of them. “They play a different role to what a broadcast campaign for a client would play. They are very good at the lower end of the funnel in terms of conversions. They are very good at targeting and they have great data. As long as you understand the purpose of using them there is a place for both, it’s not either or.

“We don’t have false expectations of what they can deliver. There continues to be debate about the impact of a Facebook ad that is seen for 1.5 seconds versus the TV ad that is seen for 30 seconds. They play different roles, and they are priced accordingly.

IMAA founding member

“It has been a really good initiative,” said King about the formation of the IMAA. He recalled a Nova Entertainment client event where a number of his colleagues discussed getting together. “What has been really useful is giving a voice to some of the smaller independents. The sharing of information between members during Covid has been really useful.

Covid workplace impact

Earlier this year Frontier went to full remote working. Since then it has adopted a hybrid model with most staff in the office two days a week then working from home for the rest. King: “It seems to be working well with the mix of office and home. If you had asked me six months ago if that would work I would have said no. Through necessity we have realised it can work. I’m not sure what the future ideal model will be, but I feel it could be a mix of both.”

Top photo: Steven King

Seven West Media full year financial results: $150m proceeds from asset sales

• $150m proceeds from asset sales
• $170m gross cost savings initiatives actioned
• Net debt of $398m


• Advertising market conditions severely impacted by COVID-19:
• FTA TV market -14.1%1 in the financial year (-33.7% 4Q1) vs a total advertising market decline of -15.2%2
• Group revenue from continuing operations down 14.0% due to weaker ad markets
• Underlying Group EBIT of $98.7m, down 54% YoY
• Digital EBIT growth of 92% YoY
• Significant items of $352.0m before tax, relating to impairments and onerous contracts
• Net debt of $398m, debt facilities amended
• Transformation strategy execution gaining momentum despite challenging markets
• Content led growth strategy launched with strong results
• $170m gross cost savings initiatives actioned
• $150m proceeds from asset sales

Seven West Media has reported an underlying EBITDA of $129.6 million and EBIT of $98.7 million, down 48.8 per cent and 53.6 per cent respectively versus the prior corresponding period. Net profit after tax for continuing operations and excluding significant items was $40.8 million down 66.1 per cent.

Seven West Media managing director and chief executive officer James Warburton commented:

“It’s been twelve months since I returned to Seven West Media and laid out our new strategy to transform the company.

“We have made material progress on our transformation plan despite the challenges that COVID-19 has thrown at us. It has not changed our plan, but assisted us to accelerate the transformation.

“Our content led growth strategy which launched in June with Big Brother and was followed by Farmer Wants a Wife is delivering dramatically improved results for Seven. Combined with our daily content spine which is a dominant number 1 in Sunrise, The Morning Show, 7NEWS, The Chase, Home and Away, Better Homes and Gardens and Sport with the AFL and Horse Racing, our tentpole focus at 7.30pm Sunday to Tuesday is working, helping us win the content battle. Seven has won 10 of the last 11 weeks of ratings. Our seamless Digital strategy with 7plus has also seen us transition from a distant number 2 to a dominant number 1 in the growing BVOD market.” 

“Real structural change is underway at The West. Generational change across regional and community mastheads is in motion, with a digital-first editorial focus. Digital subscribers have almost doubled to 60,000 over the last 12 months.

“We have actioned $170 million of gross cost out initiatives across the group including the renegotiation of our AFL agreement at a lower level and for an extended term. In addition, we benefited from an incremental $51 million of temporary savings to respond to the sudden impact of COVID-19.

“Net cost savings in the financial year were weighted to the second half with $92 million saved in the period, more than offsetting the $15 million increase in the first half.

“To support our goal of working down debt to improve balance sheet flexibility, we have realized $150 million of gross proceeds from asset sales and amended our debt facilities to secure flexibility, liquidity and certainty to execute our transformation strategy.

Farmer Wants a Wife

“The Seven Network secured a 37.4 per cent free to air revenue share in the financial year, which was impacted by limited sport and an underperforming entertainment line-up. However, we launched our new tentpole strategy in early June with the premiere of Big Brother. This delivered a substantial improvement in our ratings performance, particularly in the key demographics explicitly targeted.

“Intense focus on our broadcast video on demand BVOD platform has seen 7plus dominate its competitors to become the top service in the commercial free-to-air television landscape in the final months of the reporting period.

See more: Audiences flocking to 7plus as free streaming platform of choice

“7plus has delivered an average monthly commercial free-to-air BVOD share of 46 per cent from April to July, growing faster than any competitor BVOD service and at double the rate of market growth.

“The new content strategy will continue to be executed throughout 2020 with two more tentpoles before the end the year – Plate of Origin and SAS Australia, which follow on from the successful launches of Big Brother and Farmer Wants a Wife. Each of these has been scheduled to continue the delivery of refreshed and exciting primetime content that attracts bigger audiences to the Seven Network across all platforms.

The West continues to transform its business model to adapt to ongoing structural challenges in print media. Digital subscriptions launched in June 2019 for thewest.com.au with subscriptions in the first twelve months running ahead of plan. Following the successful launch of the paywall for the metro masthead, subscriptions were rolled out for regional masthead websites from February 2020 with promising early adoption.


Seven West Media had revenue from continuing operations of $1,227.1 million (excluding share of associates), down 14.0 per cent on the prior period, driven by ongoing weakness in the broader advertising market which accelerated with COVID enforced lockdowns.

Excluding significant items, total group costs from continuing operations (including depreciation and amortisation) for the 12 months to 27 June 2020 decreased 7.1 per cent to $1,129.6 million, driven by major transformation initiatives across the group.

Significant items of $352.0 million before tax related to the impairment of assets, onerous provisions, asset sales and other items. Net profit after tax for continuing operation including significant items was a loss of $200.1 million, including discontinued operations the statutory net loss was $162.1 million.

Trading update and strategic priorities:

• Advertising market conditions remain volatile and unpredictable in 1QFY21, but the rate of decline has moderated since 4QFY20
• July FTA market declined 15.8% YoY. Seven delivered strong revenue share at 39%
• Due to the uncertainty in advertising markets, SWM is unable to guide to FY21 earnings
• Refreshed content line-up in FY21 presents opportunity to capture stronger audience/revenue share
• Divestment processes ongoing for TXA, Ventures and Studios

James Warburton said: “We continue to focus on transforming our business. Our objective is to establish a lean, efficient operating cost base to deliver further savings in the 2021 financial year and I am confident we will deliver our strategy and ambitions for the future. We have significant operating leverage with our lower cost base to provide greater upside on market recovery and drive significant value for our shareholders.”

Australian Digital Advertising market experiences double digit decline

Total online advertising growth continued to slow in the second quarter of 2020, declining by 12% year on year according to the IAB Australia Online Advertising Expenditure Report (OAER). 

Although not as heavily impacted as other advertising channels, the Report reflects the impact of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown on the total online advertising market for the April to June quarter.
Gai Le Roy, CEO of IAB Australia commented: “The headline number is not a surprise as we anticipated a tough quarter for the industry. Within this, however, video is proving to be extremely resilient and holding steady year on year. We are also seeing retail, government and technology experience the largest increase in share compared to the previous quarter.”
Additional findings from the IAB OAER Report from PwC for the June quarter include:

•All online advertising categories showed declines compared to quarter ending June 2019 with Search and Directories down 9%, General Display 11% and Classifieds recording the steepest decline at 22.7%.
• Video has outperformed the overall general display market, with no year change in expenditure year on year, increasing its share of the general display market by five percentage points to 53%.
• The shift to programmatic advertising reached a new peak the latest June quarter with 44% of all advertising on content sites bought programmatically versus 41% being bought from agencies using insertion orders (IOs).  The percentage of inventory bought directly from advertisers decreased to 15%. 65%, the bulk of content publisher’s video inventory, was bought programmatically in the June quarter, up nine percentage points from the previous quarter.
• A notable shift amongst the top five industry categories occurred during Q2 due to the impact of COVID-19. Real Estate and Entertainment dropped out of the top five, with Media and Technology joining Retail, Automotive and Finance. The Retail sector experienced the largest increase in share quarter on quarter, while the travel sector experienced the largest decline.
• The Report also found that in Q2, content publisher’s video expenditure share attributed to connected TV increased slightly on previous quarter to 41%, taking share from mobile which was down slightly to 24%. Desktop expenditure accounted for 35%.

IAB OAER for the financial year 2020 reveal the total online advertising market is steady at $9.1 billion, representing a 1% increase year on year. Spend has slowed for all advertising types in financial year 2020 with Classifieds recording the biggest decline, reflecting falls in consumer confidence and spend.

General Display is up 0.8% year on year at $3.4bn, Search and Directories up 3.1% to $4.2 bn, Classifieds is down 3.9% to $1.6bn. Video is the biggest growth category, continuing to achieve double digit growth, up 15.4% to $1.7bn. This growth offsets declines in other formats of general display.

The Report also found share of expenditure moved from desktop to connected TV during financial year 2020. Connected TV accounted for 38% of content publishers video expenditure by device, with Desktop at 35% and mobile at 26%. 

The top five industry categories were Automotive, Retail, Finance, Travel and Real Estate. Retail and technology experienced the largest increase in share (up 1.3% points), whilst Automotive experienced the largest decline in share (down 5.7% points).

Boomtown shopping mall
Boomtown launches regional media education masterclass with MFA's NGEN PLUS

Boomtown is set to launch a new education initiative in September for media buyers. The initiative is designed to inform the industry with the knowledge and tools to understand and book regional media.

The NGEN PLUS Boomtown Masterclass: Rethink Regional Boomtown education program will include online masterclasses run in collaboration with the Media Federation of Australia (MFA) and NGEN PLUS.

Marketing expert Gaye Steel will facilitate the masterclasses. Steel said the program builds on Boomtown’s industry initiatives and will focus on a deep dive into the importance and benefits of regional advertising within the communications mix, aimed at media agency professionals.

A panel of experts will feature Jeremy Simpson, group general manager – national sales and marketing at Grant Broadcasters; Caroline Hugall, brand strategy and creative excellence from IAG and Jo Fawkner, head of investment at Zenith.

“We are looking for ambitious professionals with three to five years’ experience who want to excel and move up the ranks,” she said. “As well as hearing from regional media industry experts, the interactive sessions are designed to deliver focused insights and industry tips, looking at the regional landscape, geographical and audience profiles, channels and effectiveness and the future for regional. Participants will walk away with specific regional advertising, audience tools, and prizes.”

Boomtown chairman and SCA chief sales officer, Brian Gallagher, said the workshops aimed to blend information with interactive learning, designed to build a solid understanding of regional media.

“The Boomtown committee sees education as critical for media agencies and marketers to not only understand the potential of regional advertising but also to understand the regional audience and have the knowledge and tools to plan and buy regional media. We have developed a strong syllabus that really offers a good insight into regional media audiences and the landscape. We will also have Boomtown representatives sharing their knowledge and looking at the future of regional media.”

MFA CEO, Sophie Madden, said: “The ‘Boomtown Masterclass: Rethink Regional’ program is a great addition to our new NGEN PLUS program. When only 10% of national media budgets are spent in regional Australia, despite the fact that 36% of the population lives there, it’s important to engage with media buyers on the opportunity that regional Australia represents for brands. Boomtown is a great initiative that will no doubt help bridge that knowledge gap for NGENers, and benefit clients and their brands.”

There will be two online masterclasses held in 2020 with each masterclass being divided into two parts over two days at the end of September and end of October. To register for a masterclass, visit the NGEN events page.

For non-NGEN members, Boomtown will also offer free private masterclasses to 20 or more colleagues from media buyers and marketers at https://boomtown.media/education/.

Boomtown plans to bring these masterclasses into a face to face format in 2021, pending evolving government guidelines.

For more information, visit: https://boomtown.media/

nici wickes food director school road publishing
Nici Wickes joins School Road Publishing as food director

Popular food editor and cookbook author Nici Wickes joins School Road Publishing as food director across three of the independent publisher’s new magazine brands.

“‘What an opportunity!’ That’s what I thought when offered this position as food director on soon-to-be-launched magazines Woman, Haven and Thrive. I’m delighted to be bringing my recipes and food ideas to the exciting new magazine brands, alongside such a talented team,” said Wickes.
“I’m looking forward to creating fresh recipes specifically for New Zealanders that will capture our seasons, our style, our kitchens, in a way that will be relevant to local readers. To me, Kiwis are always seeking simple, fabulous, seasonal food that’s not too fussy to make, uses ingredients that aren’t too hard to source and doesn’t require arduous techniques or demand exacting skill to achieve success with. Anyone who knows me knows I like to keep it casual yet fabulous when it comes to cooking.”

Wickes travelled the globe whilst filming her cooking show World Kitchen and has spent more than 15 years creating recipes for television, radio, cookbooks and magazines. Five of those years were spent as food editor for New Zealand Woman’s Weekly. “I design well-tested recipes I know other home cooks will easily have success within their own kitchens – they’ll taste fantastic and become firm favourites in their repertoire. That’s pretty much my life goal – to see as many New Zealanders as possible enjoying cooking at home.
“Not to be limited by just one food genre is a dream come true for any food writer so being charged with the recipe sections of WomanHaven and Thrive is the perfect opportunity for me. Readers will find delicious, easy-to-make meals and baking in Woman and Haven will be crammed with inspiring yet achievable ideas for entertaining and special occasions. Thrive will be the perfect vehicle for what to cook for optimal health and well-being, which I’ve been hugely invested in for years in my own life, whether that be increasing plant-based meals or baking to cater for food intolerances.”
School Road Publishing Group publisher Sido Kitchin said: “I love Nici Wickes. She is the foodie companion we all want in our kitchens and I’m rapt she’s joining our new magazines. Nici’s known for her no-fuss, delicious recipes and encapsulates that relaxed, Kiwi give-it-a-go attitude to cooking at home. In lockdown, Nici’s cheerful daily cooking videos from her Port Waikato kitchen became appointment viewing. Her salt-of-the-earth personality and her enthusiasm for food are infectious.”

HALIFAX: Retribution: everything you need to know

Rebecca Gibney, Anthony LaPaglia and Claudia Karvan star in the premiere of HALIFAX: Retributionon Tuesday, August 25, at 8.45pm on Nine and 9Now.

Gibney will reprise her role as forensic psychiatrist Jane Halifax, alongside Anthony LaPaglia as Inspector Tom Saracen, who heads up Task Force Stingray, and Claudia Karvan as Mandy, the troubled ex of Jane’s partner.

The Story

Jane Halifax is at the top of her game of forensic psychiatry. Now an internationally renowned professor with a blissful home life, Halifax has left the traumas and stresses of frontline policing behind.

But when a sniper begins to terrorise the city, the police are desperate. With the death toll rising, Inspector Tom Saracen needs the best people and persuades Halifax to join his Task Force. But is she prepared for the secrets the investigation will reveal? While she profiles a killer no one can see, Jane finds herself in the sniper’s sights – this one is personal.

The Cast

The cast includes Mandy McElhinney (Love ChildThe House of Hancock) as the Minister for Police, Craig Hall (A Place to Call Home, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Catching Milat) who plays Ben, Jane’s long-term partner, and Mavournee Hazel (Neighbours, My Life Is Murder) as Zoe, Ben’s wild child and Jane’s stepdaughter.
They join Rick Donald (800 Words, A Place to Call Home, Wentworth)Ming-Zhu Hii (Offspring, Party Tricks)Ben O’Toole (The Water DivinerLove Child), Mark Coles Smith (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Last Cab to Darwin),  Hannah Monson (Glitch) and Michala Banas (Upper Middle Bogan, Bad Mothers, McLeod’s Daughters).
HALIFAX: Retribution also features guest performances from Jacqueline McKenzie (Safe Harbour, Romper Stomper, Pine Gap)Louisa Mignone (Secret City: Under the Eagle, Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, Rake)Stephen Curry (The Castle, The King, Hounds of Love)John Waters (Mystery Road, Rake, Offspring) and Luke Ford (Animal Kingdom, Red Dog, McLeod’s Daughters).


Roger Simpson, the creator of the original Halifax f.p. telemovies whose other productions including StingersSatisfaction and Good GuysBad Guys, returns as writer and producer of HALIFAX: Retribution, with producer Louisa Kors (The DressmakerMystery Road S1, cloudstreet) and executive producers Rebecca Gibney, Mikael Borglund, Andy Ryan and Jo Rooney.
HALIFAX: Retribution is a Beyond Lonehand Production for Nine, with major production investment from Screen Australia. The series was filmed in Melbourne with support from Film Victoria’s Production Incentive Attraction Fund.

Mediaweek Podcast

Mediaweek Podcast

As Jane Halifax returns to the screen in Halifax: Retribution, Mediaweek’s James Manning and Andrew Mercado hear all about the production from star Rebecca Gibney and creator of the original Halifax f.p. telemovies Roger Simpson. Listen here

Luke Manderson News Corp Australia
Digital talent upped with News Corp Australia's appointment of Luke Manderson

News Corp Australia’s chief technology officer, data and digital product Julian Delany today announced the appointment of Luke Manderson to the role of chief product officer.

Manderson will return to News Corp Australia to take on this newly created role, after spending five years in New York as chief product and technology officer for Barron’s Group.

He will lead News Corp Australia’s digital product and data strategy across the business to ensure the company’s approach is aligned across all areas. He commences Tuesday, August 25.

Delany said the appointment showed the importance of consumer digital product to News Corp Australia’s overall strategy and reflected the depth of talent that could be drawn from across News Corp’s international businesses.

“We’ve been very clear that our business is at a transformative moment and that means increasing our focus on digital growth,” Delany said.

“Consumers’ expectations of a first-class digital product experience has risen dramatically over recent years. I’m excited that Luke will lead our efforts, as we deliver great new features and a significantly enhanced user experience across our news apps and websites over the coming months.

“I have no doubt appointing someone of Luke’s calibre with his exceptional international experience combined with his deep knowledge of the Australian business will transform our approach to product and data.”

Manderson first joined News Corp Australia from Foxtel in 2012 as director of product, sales and strategy for news.com.au, leading product, user experience, ad sales, analytics and research.

In 2015 joined News Corp’s global headquarters in New York as VP product management, working with teams at all News Corp business units, including a period as acting head of product for The Sun during its digital transformation.

He joined Dow Jones as chief product and technology officer for Barron’s Group in January 2017, leading digital product, UX, design and technology for Barron’s, MarketWatch, Mansion Global, Financial News London and Private Equity News. Working with globally-distributed teams in New York, Minneapolis, Buenos Aires, London and Hong Kong, he transformed the Barron’s Group portfolio, as the publisher reported record subscriber and audience growth.

Manderson said it was great to be back in such a critical role.

“News Corp Australia is home to an unmatchable digital portfolio which reaches more than 14.5 million Australians every month,” he said.

“Leveraging data through a product lens will unlock new opportunities and new perspectives across the business, while ensuring data sits at the heart of our next generation of digital experiences.”

SBS doco series returns to uncover more gripping family secrets

A suspected killer of three migrant women is exposed, the truth behind a baby boy’s mysterious death and the revelation of a possible Soviet Spy within Australia are just some of the thrilling stories featured in the new season of Every Family has a Secret on SBS.

The three-part series produced by Artemis Media for SBS is presented by actor Noni Hazlehurst. The second season of the documentary series follows a diverse group of Australians on a life-changing journey, seeking out the extraordinary secrets within their families. Over three weeks, the six participants travel around the country and the world – from Italy to the Netherlands and the Czech Republic – uncovering dark secrets about their families’ past that will shock, move and captivate.

Hazlehurst said: “It’s an incredible and humbling privilege to be able to accompany our subjects on these life-changing journeys. They are extraordinarily brave to be willing to embark on these searches for answers to their family secrets, and to have their trust as we search on their behalf is something one can never take for granted.” 

In the first episode (Tuesday September 22), Perth woman Ellis Treleaven’s real identity has been kept from her for more than half a century. Ellis travels through Europe, tracing her Dutch Jewish mother’s path through the Holocaust, to uncover the shocking secrets surrounding her own birth in a Nazi concentration camp and the true identity of her father. And Marie O’Connor, a Perth-based nurse, travels to Italy, searching for the truth about her Italian father and the heartbreaking circumstances of her baby brother’s death.

Episode two (Tuesday September 29) features Perth teacher Matthieu Heimel, who investigates clues around his mother’s disappearance and suspected murder in Melbourne. Matthieu’s search leads to the revelation that the main suspect in his mother’s disappearance was also tied to the cases of two other missing migrant women, one who was later found murdered. Matthieu’s pursuit of the truth sees Victorian Police agreeing to revisit all three cases. And Sydney business woman Kerry Stevenson digs into her mother’s glamorous past as an actress, dancer and wife to a Hollywood movie mogul. Kerry discovers the secret history her mother tried so hard to bury.

The season finale (Tuesday October 6) centres around the family secrets of Perth woman Elizabeth Brierley and Paris-based Australian expat Paul Morris. Elizabeth is searching for the truth about her sex worker mum and her connection to murdered Western Australian brothel owner Shirley Finn. Elizabeth has long suspected her unknown father may be a corrupt cop implicated in the horrific unsolved crime – now a DNA test reveals her father’s true identity. And Morris delves into the murky world of espionage to discover whether his father was a Soviet spy or just a man unfairly targeted because of his political beliefs. Uprooted from his birthplace and spending his childhood in China and Russia, Paul returns to Australia seeking the truth about his father.

Every Family has a Secret S2 premieres Tuesday 22 September at 7.30pm and will air over three weeks. Encored on SBS VICELAND Thursdays at 11pm.


Box Office: Unhinged and Made in Italy lead on quiet weekend

By Trent Thomas

It was a slow weekend for the Australian box office which saw revenue dip by 43% after making a total of $1.19m. Leading the way is Unhinged starring Russel Crowe which is #1 on the Australian box office for the fourth week in a row, and Made in Italy starring father-son duo Liam Neeson and Micheál Richardson.

#1 Unhinged $320,101

The most successful film since Covid-19 lockdowns begun to ease around the country has continued to roll on as its total revenue now sits at $2.79m after averaging $1,667 on 192 screens.


#2 Made in Italy $214,095

After debuting last week at #3 the film has moved up one spot in its second week of release after averaging $1,634 on 131 screens. The comedy film about a father and son has made a total of $578,140.


#3 Train to Busan 2- Peninsula $95,048

The Korean zombie film has been in cinemas for three weeks (including a one-week promotional release) and made a total of $416,717. This past weekend it averaged $1,068 on 89 screens.


#4 Force of Nature $83,358

The Mel Gibson film opened at #2 last week and has slid down two spots in its second week of release after averaging $531 on 157 screens. The action film’s total now sits at $341,597.


#5 The Secret: Dare to Dream $79,506

The film based on the best selling self-book The Secret has returned to the top five after slipping to #6 last week despite making 45% less revenue. The film averaged $416 on 191 screens bringing its total to $905,189.


TV ratings: Monday Week 35 2020

By Trent Thomas

• Farmer Wants a Wife finale #1 Non-news with 923,000.
• The Block drops falls behind Masked Singer reveal but beats the performances
• Have You Been Paying Attention? follows Masked Singer with 704,000

Seven News 1,189,000/1,116,000
Nine News 1,106,000/1,064,000
ABC News 816,000
A Current Affair 738,000
7.30 603,000
The Project 346,000/580,000
10 News 433,000/253,000
Sunrise 252,000
Today 220,000
SBS World News 182,000
News Breakfast 158,000
The Drum 204,000
The Latest 146,000
Nine News Late Edition 241,000

Seven: Farmer Wants A Wife concluded its comeback season on its new home of Seven last night with 923,000 tuning in to see the fall out of Harry choosing Stacey Cain, Neil choosing Justine Adams, Nick choosing Liz Jelléy, and Alex choosing Jess Wolfe in the show’s reunion special filmed a month after the finale.

The show’s finale outrated its premiere episode last month which did 908,000 viewers. Farmer Wants a Wife is the second tentpole show announced by Seven last year to conclude its run with the previous one being Big Brother which had 876,000 viewers tune in for the winner announcement.

Angus Ross, Seven’s network programming director, said: “We’ve reinvented our 2020 entertainment schedule with proven, powerful formats and Farmer Wants A Wife has continued the ratings momentum created by our relaunch of Big Brother. Number one nationally, major growth in key demos and streaming numbers that have kept 7plus number one – it’s a multi-platform winner.”

The success of Farmer Wants a Wife saw Seven have a narrow win in both primary (19.5%) and network (28.1%) shares.

Nine: The Block has lost over 200,000 viewers on the second night of its new season after a launch of 947,000 on Sunday night. The show won the 25-54 demo with 390,000 viewers.

A Current Affair was the next best performer with 738,000 as Nine narrowly lost the primary battle after a 19.2% market share, and also coming second for the night on a network share with 28.1%.

10: The Masked Singer had a tight contest with The Block in the 7:30 pm slot last night with 692,000 during its regular programming and managing to get ahead of the renovation show with the reveal of Sophie Monk as the Dragonfly putting the show over the top with 786,000 tuning in. The Masked Singer also won the key demos of 16-39 and 18-49.

Have You Been Paying Attention? followed The Masked Singer with 704,000.
10 was third for the night in primary channel share with 14.8% and third for network share with 21.2%.

ABC: ABC had a primary share of 12% with its top performers being ABC News, 7:30, and Mediawatch. The network share for the night was 15.9%.

SBS: The Salisbury Poisonings was the top performer with 254,000 for SBS as the public broadcaster had a primary share of 5.2% and a network share of 8.6%


Week 35 TV: Monday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.0% 7 19.5% 9 19.2% 10  14.8% SBS One 5.2%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.2% 7TWO 3.5% GO! 1.6% 10 Bold 4.2% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.4% 7mate 3.6% GEM 2.4% 10 Peach 2.2% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.4% 7flix 1.5% 9Life 2.0%     NITV 0.2%
        9Rush 1.1%     SBS World Movies 1.0%
TOTAL 15.9%   28.1%   26.2%   21.2%   8.6%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 11.9% 7 24.2% 9 13.1% WIN 12.7% SBS One 4.1%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.0% 7TWO 4.7% GO! 1.9% WIN Bold 5.1% VICELAND 1.6%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 4.5% GEM 4.0% WIN Peach 2.2% Food Net 0.4%
ABC NEWS 1.1% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.6% 9Life 1.9% Sky News  on WIN 2.1% NITV 0.2%
                SBS Movies 0.9%
TOTAL 15.5%   35.1%   20.9%   22.1%   7.2%


87.5% 12.5%
Monday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,189,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,116,000
  3. Nine News Nine 1,106,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 1,064,000
  5. Farmer Wants A Wife Finale Seven 923,000
  6. ABC News ABC 816,000
  7. The Masked Singer Australia Reveal 10 786,000
  8. The Block Nine 738,000
  9. A Current Affair Nine 738,000
  10. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 704,000
  11. The Masked Singer Australia 10 692,000
  12. Home And Away Seven 673,000
  13. The Chase Australia Seven 639,000
  14. 7.30 ABC 603,000
  15. The Project 7pm 10 580,000
  16. Hot Seat Nine 567,000
  17. Australian Story ABC 469,000
  18. Celebrity IOU Nine 443,000
  19. Media Watch ABC 437,000
  20. 10 News First 10 433,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. The Masked Singer Australia Reveal 10 225,000
  2. The Masked Singer Australia10 209,000
  3. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 205,000
  4. The Block Nine 199,000
  5. Nine News Nine 157,000


18 – 49

  1. The Masked Singer Australia Reveal 10 352,000
  2. The Block Nine 351,000
  3. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 339,000
  4. The Masked Singer Australia10 314,000
  5. Nine News Nine 299,000


25 – 54

  1. The Block Nine 390,000
  2. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 390,000
  3. The Masked Singer Australia Reveal 10 389,000
  4. Nine News Nine 365,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 364,000
Monday Multichannel
  1. Bluey ABCkids/Comedy 175,000
  2. Bluey AM ABCkids/Comedy 174,000
  3. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 171,000
  4. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 162,000
  5. Little J And Big Cuz ABCkids/Comedy 155,000
  6. Peppa Pig PM ABCkids/Comedy 155,000
  7. Peter Rabbit PM ABCkids/Comedy 147,000
  8. Peppa Pig AM ABCkids/Comedy 145,000
  9. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCkids/Comedy 141,000
  10. Kiri And Lou ABCkids/Comedy 140,000
  11. Thomas And Friends PM ABCkids/Comedy 139,000
  12. Doc Martin PM 7two 135,000
  13. Little J And Big Cuz AM ABCkids/Comedy 134,000
  14. Rusty Rivets ABCkids/Comedy 131,000
  15. Fireman Sam PM ABCkids/Comedy 125,000
  16. Bondi Rescue Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 123,000
  17. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom PM ABCkids/Comedy 121,000
  18. Midsomer Murders 9Gem 120,000
  19. Neighbours 10 Peach 119,000
  20. Bargain Hunt PM 7two 117,000
Monday STV
  1. Live: AFL Collingwood V North Melbourne Fox Footy 178,000
  2. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 90,000
  3. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 85,000
  4. Alan Jones Sky News Live 85,000
  5. Credlin Sky News Live 73,000
  6. Live: On The Couch Fox Footy 59,000
  7. PML Later Sky News Live 57,000
  8. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 46,000
  9. Live: AFL 360 Fox Footy 39,000
  10. Live: NRL 360 Fox League 37,000
  11. Escape To The Country Lifestyle Channel 36,000
  12. Jeopardy! Fox Classics 34,000
  13. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 33,000
  14. Newsday Sky News Live 33,000
  15. AM Agenda Sky News Live 32,000
  16. AM Agenda Sky News Live 30,000
  17. Newsday Sky News Live 30,000
  18. The Big Bang Theory Fox Funny 30,000
  19. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 29,000
  20. AM Agenda Sky News Live 29,000

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

News Brands

Google protests 'unworkable' ACCC code for digital platforms to pay news media companies

Google has claimed the Australian government’s proposed code for digital platforms to pay news media companies for their content is “unworkable” and would force the tech company to “pay unreasonable and exorbitant amounts”, reports Guardian Australia‘s Josh Taylor. 

As the deadline nears for public comment on the federal government’s proposed code, Google used a new blog post on its search site to attack the idea while admitting it would be unlikely to be able to escape its effects.

Last week, Google began notifying its users through a banner or pop up advertisement in Google Search, Chrome and YouTube about the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) draft code for digital platforms to pay news media companies for their content.

The code – which would apply to Google and Facebook – would also provide media companies with information on changes that might affect their traffic, such as alterations to news rankings or the search algorithm.

Google has claimed it is in favour of the code, but is strongly opposed to critical aspects of it, including the forced payments to media companies if negotiations on payments fail, advance notice of algorithm changes, and a requirement for Google to share information on news users with the media companies.

[Read More]

News Corp not acting for Devine, so lawsuit may be served 'personally' in US

Lawyers for a nine-year-old Indigenous boy who is suing Daily Telegraph columnist Miranda Devine for defamation may be forced to serve legal documents on her in the United States, where she is on secondment, because her Australian employer will not accept them on her behalf, reports SMH‘s Michaela Whitbourn.

Quaden Bayles, who has achondroplasia dwarfism, is suing Devine for defamation over a series of tweets from her Twitter account in February this year that raised questions about whether a viral video in which he cried after being bullied at school was “a scam” to make money.

The case was brought on his behalf by his mother Yarraka, who is also suing Devine in her own right for suggesting she “coached” Quaden. Devine has yet to file a defence or acknowledge the claim.

The lawsuit also names News Corp subsidiary Nationwide News, the publisher of The Daily Telegraph, as a defendant. The statement of claim alleges the company is responsible for the tweets as Devine’s employer.

[Read More]


The Ellen DeGeneres Show dumped in Australia by Channel 9

Ellen DeGeneres’ Australian future is up in the air following recent accusations of bullying and a “toxic work environment” behind the scenes of the American’s celebrity talk show, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

Local broadcaster Channel 9 has stopped airing repeats of The Ellen DeGeneres Show as of today, replacing it with old episodes of US drama Desperate Housewives.

“Discussions are ongoing concerning new episodes of Ellen,” a representative for Nine told The Daily Telegraph. “We are currently resting Ellen repeats on Nine and have replaced with Desperate Housewives, but should our viewers want their daily Ellen fix, repeats will screen weekdays on 9Gem.”

DeGeneres’s talk show has aired on Nine for the past seven years. It is currently being investigated by parent company WarnerMedia over recent allegations from multiple staff members of bullying, racism, micro-aggressions and sexual harassment behind the scenes.

[Read More]

Masked Singer presenters test negative to coronavirus

The Masked Singer host Osher Gunsberg and judges Dave Hughes, Jackie O, Dannii Minogue and Urzila Carlson have all tested negative to coronavirus, Network 10 has confirmed, reports SMH‘s Michael Lallo.

The Docklands Studios set of the popular reality show was shut down on Saturday – midway through filming the current season’s finale – after a crew member tested positive to COVID-19. There are six additional cases linked to the show and all cast and crew will be required to self-isolate for up to 14 days.

A spokesman from Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services said the number of confirmed cases connected to The Masked Singer remains at seven, and that 250 cast and crew in total will be tested.

Sources said The Masked Singer‘s finale is scheduled to air in the second or third week of September and producers are confident they will complete the episode before then.

[Read More]

Claims Former Richmond premiership player Alex Rance was to be The Bachelor

Richmond premiership defender Alex Rance was reportedly set to be The Bachelor before withdrawing at the eleventh hour, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

According to the So Dramatic podcast, Rance had “signed on the dotted line” and the girls entering the mansion were expecting to see the five time All-Australian, who has separated from his wife Georgia.

The podcast also claimed Rance had even been fitted out for his suits.

Another suitor was said to be Jett Kenny, the son of Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny, but he found a girlfriend while on the set of Dancing With the Stars.

Survivor contestant Locky Gilbert was then offered the role for a reported six figure sum as plan C.

[Read More]

Sport Media

Footy audiences surging on Foxtel’s Kayo streaming service

The Kayo sports streaming service is accounting for more than 30 per cent of Foxtel’s major football match audiences as ratings for the NRL and AFL boom, reports News Corp’s John Stensholt.

Foxtel has enjoyed surging ratings since the resumption of both codes after the COVID-19 pandemic caused early-season shutdowns.

Ratings on the Fox League channel for NRL games are the highest ever for Foxtel, combining viewers across the main Foxtel services and digital sources such as Kayo, Foxtel Go and Foxtel Now, while AFL matches have also attracted big audience increases.

Released for the first time using data from linear and digital sources, Foxtel’s AFL ratings on the Fox Footy channel for live matches for the first 12 rounds of 2020 are up 34 per cent compared to the same rounds last year.

Live NRL audiences on Fox League are up 18 per cent compared to the corresponding rounds 1 to 14 of the 2019 season, including the round 6 match between the Sydney Roosters and Parramatta that attracted the largest NRL audience ever of an average 507,000 viewers.

[Read More]

Queensland to showcase bid for AFL Grand Final with festival of football

Queensland will today pitch a festival of football and glittering awards nights in a bid to bring the AFL Grand Final to Brisbane, report’s News Corp’s Jeremy Pierce.

A working party including Gold Coast Suns chairman Tony Cochrane and Lions boss Greg Swann will make a video presentation to top brass from the AFL Commission to showcase the state’s suitability as host for the first grand final to be staged outside of Melbourne in the 124-year history of the game.

Under the Queensland proposal, the traditional grand final parade would be scrapped due to COVID-safe regulations, but the sales pitch includes plans to host glittering functions for the Brownlow Medal, Rising Star and All-Australian awards.

Victoria has no chance of hosting this year’s decider and despite loud noises from traditional AFL states including WA, insiders believe the grand final is Queensland’s to lose after the State government’s key role in helping to save the AFL season.

[Read More]

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