Wednesday August 26, 2020

Hard Quiz: With comedy on hold, how are Token Artists fairing?

By James Manning

• Kevin Whyte on Guesswork TV hits to building audio projects

Of all the media businesses hit hard by Covid-19, none have been more impacted than the live comedy sector. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival was an early victim as were all other shows and tours that were shuttered around the country.

When it comes to major players in the comedy business none are bigger than Kevin Whyte’s Token Artists. Founder and managing director Whyte represents 40+ of Australia’s finest from longtime clients like Wil Anderson, Dave Hughes, Rove and Merrick Watts through to international success stories like Adam Hills, Hannah Gadsby and Josh Thomas. Token also runs the touring business which at present is a collection of dates for rescheduled comedy tours.

The artists from token artist

The faces of Token Artists

Also keeping Whyte busy is his Guesswork Television business and an offshoot TV investment Thinkative TV. Guesswork’s slate includes Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, Rosehaven, Please Like Me and Get Krackin’. The Thinkative business, where Whyte is in partnership with producer Chris Walker and producer and host Charlie Pickering, is the home of The Weekly and Hard Quiz.

Having a thriving TV business has been helpful as other parts of the company prepare to start up again.

There’s also the Creative Representation business run by Jacinta Waters that reps hundred of actors, directors, writers, broadcasters and presenters.

The biggest TV success running at present is Hard Quiz, hosted by the current Gold Logie winner Tom Gleeson.

Hard Quiz with Tom Gleeson

“It is such a constant joy that show,” Whyte told Mediaweek. “Chris Walker, Tom Gleeson and the whole team that build it all work so hard and get everything right from the casting to making sure the questions are properly fun. We have a great cross section of contestants all the time. It’s several weeks in a row now where it has been the #1 non-news show on Wednesday nights.

“It’s a really funny show…Tom Gleeson has funny bones. And it’s a really great old school play-along quiz. There is even a board game now!”

Whyte thinks that after a format sale to the Netherlands, there is potential for more. “We have partnered with Hat Trick who have had success with shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Have I Got News for You so we are really confident it will do well. But Hard Quiz is not something you can just push out globally at once. It is about waiting for those times when it will feed a need for a broadcaster. We have had some really good conversations in the US and the UK. With the ratings that Hard Quiz is getting at the moment on the ABC we are not going anywhere fast so we have time to build confidence in the format. It is a sturdy format that works. What people want to see is a history of success and a game they can play.”

Having the Dutch version Hard Spel will also be a valuable sales tool for Hat Trick to take to market.

Chris Walker Charlie Pickering Carrie Bickmore

Thinkative TV’s Chris Walker and Charlie Pickering, with Walker’s partner Carrie Bickmore and her son Oliver

Whyte also noted the success that Walker, Charlie Pickering and producer Jo Long were also having on Wednesday nights with The Weekly. “They had to manage going without an audience and then introducing new cast and new segments this year. Having everyone working remotely was a challenge they met as those weekly news/comedy shows are like newsrooms that rely on people being in constant contact with each other. Being able to do that via a series of meetings on Zoom was a real challenge.

“I also feel Rosehaven couldn’t have found a better time to be on air. We all wish we could go to Tasmania right now. Having it in our living rooms has been great.”

Whyte’s TV success has been largely on the ABC, apart of course with the success The Project has enjoyed, where Whyte contributes talent and runs the business affairs for Roving Enterprises. As to why commercial TV doesn’t go for quirky Australian comedy and satire, he offers: “As the revenue story has gotten more difficult for commercial FTA TV it becomes harder to program outside of primetime in later slots. As a comedy person that is always a disappointment to me. But they aren’t doing it to spite us!”

The artists from token artists

Tom and Tonightly

Kevin Whyte is as enthusiastic about Tom Ballard and the late lamented Tonightly as Mediaweek was. “Tonightly was great. I was really proud of the ABC for taking it on and giving a group of smart young creatives a lot of space. My understanding of [the cancellation] was that it was strictly a funding call. A lot of people at the ABC where really proud of the show and really sad to see it go. The team created something compelling and I think the stand-up format was really smart. They got rid of the frills and just focused on the words. There wasn’t an episode that I didn’t laugh hard at.

“Audiences are drawn to smart, funny people. People are interested in how other people see the world.”

comedian Tom Ballard

Exploring audio opportunities

“We are different to most people in the television business because we also have a touring business. We have seen the touring business grind to a halt. Before we were even formally locked down we were talking to Stan about what became the Lockdown Comedy Festival. We developed a production method and got great directors on board like Hayden Guppy and Tim Bartley. We dropped cameras at people’s front doorsteps with instructions of how to set up. We had a director on Zoom directing the action on four separate episodes. It was great to get support from Stan helping people who had just lost their jobs.

Australian lockdown comedy festival on Stan

“From our artists’ perspective they are looking at the future in lots of different ways. There has been a burst of our clients working on projects in development and we have more people writing books.

We are also working more in the audio space. That increased audio activity has involved the ABC. There are also a few things in development both with Audible and other parties as well like Spotify.

“One audible project we are working on is from the Kates [Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan] called Slushy, a narrative comedy set in Antarctica.

“Monetising audio has been tricky but there are a few players out there now. We are not at the same level as they are in the US, but we are getting there.”

Building a healthier production sector

“One of the things that worries me about the TV landscape is, when we come out the other side of Covid, and Australian broadcasters are very crafty and entrepreneurial, what will it be like? There are conversations around local content requirements and hopefully we will get a regulatory framework that is going to put Australian IP front and centre. I’d love to be able to see all the great Australian crews working on Australian IP. Ultimately that is what is going to make the sector sustainable. We have always batted above our weight in terms of creativity. We should be realising our ideas for the world – that is what will bring the revenue back in. If the shows are getting made here because they are set here and written here, our directors are going to want to work here with their crews and actors. That’s how we get a sustainable industry. Are we going to see a framework that means some of the money that Australians spend on subscription services remains in Australia making Australian programs?

Helping comedy clients during Covid

Whyte: “A lot of clients have been looking to us for solutions and confidence at this time. While there has been a little more demand on my managers, having the privilege to work with interesting, smart, thoughtful, insightful and creative people actually helps us through. Where we are really lucky is we are dealing with smart people who are constantly trying to make sense of this for themselves and their audiences. The great secret of management is that it’s a two-way street.

Smart TV is Smart Business: MiQ ANZ CEO Jason Scott talks deal with Samba TV

By Trent Thomas

• The partnership will allow MiQ clients to tap into over 100,000 Australian smart TV households.

MiQ, a global programmatic media partner, and Samba TV, a provider of cross-screen television insights and analytics have announced a partnership to leverage TV consumption insights across the largest Smart TV dataset in Australia.

The partnership will allow their clients to tap into opted-in TV viewership data from over 100,000 Australian smart TV households.

Mediaweek spoke with Jason Scott  – the MiQ ANZ CEO – about the partnership and what it means for media buyers in Australia.

“We believe in the world of media the future is going to be personalised, tech-enabled, and data-enhanced which means programmatic tools and tactics are front and centre in relation to media planning and buying. The question on our mind is how do we help fuel the evolution of the pragmatic landscape.”

Samba TV’s viewership data utilises proprietary and privacy-compliant automatic content recognition technology which Scott says will help MiQ get into a really attractive market in terms of television in Australia.

“We have precedent with a similar product in the USA which generates revenue by itself as a product in a pretty buoyant market with the same macro trends as Australia.”

“There’s not many companies in this part of the world that can offer the same services, and we have been working with these guys for a long time. From our perspective, they were the obvious choice.”

The product will allow marketers to have data to help them improve the amplification of their TV investments and to build stronger segmentation for programmatic targeting. Marketers can also use this data to optimise their TV investments and to improve campaign outcomes by retargeting second-screen devices with complimentary ads.

“This data is pretty unique in the sense that people’s viewing habits have changed which has created a lot of challenges in spending your clients’ dollars well.”

“The data boom has created a demand for specialists which is the area that we can really help. Culturally it is a big challenge for marketing companies to hire a different skill set.”

So far only phase one of the product has been launched. Scott discussed with Mediaweek what to expect in the next phase.

“Phase two gives us the data builds and will open up opportunities for marketers to tap into our expertise in connecting the viewership insights into the first-party data sets or third-party audiences. The quest here is to increasingly build out the product so it is delivering more sophisticated audience insights that fuel programmatic activation.”

Stan announces deal with NBCU: Peacock, Sky Studios, DreamWorks + more

• Stan and NBCUniversal Global Distribution have announced a long-term, exclusive content partnership

• Output deal for Peacock Originals produced by Universal Studio Group
• Output deal for Sky Studios series
• Output deal for series from NBCUniversal International Studios (a division of Universal Studio Group)
• Output deal for brand new DreamWorks Animation TV series produced for Peacock
• New additions & renewals of iconic NBCUniversal library TV series, plus new children’s programming, as well as scripted and unscripted titles from the Sky Studios library
• Expanded lineup of blockbuster feature film franchises 

Gangs of London

Gangs of London

Stan and NBCUniversal Global Distribution have announced a long-term, exclusive content partnership. This deal will see Stan become the Australian home of new productions from Sky Studios and NBCUniversal International Studios, as well as Peacock content produced by Universal Studio Group.

Stan will also become the exclusive home of new DreamWorks Animation TV shows produced for Peacock, in addition to NBCUniversal’s children’s programming, scripted and unscripted content from Sky Studios; as well as iconic scripted library TV series and hundreds of films from NBCUniversal’s catalogue.

Stan’s chief executive officer Mike Sneesby said: “This marks the first time an agreement combining series from Sky Studios, DreamWorks Animation and Peacock content produced by Universal Studio Group has been secured in Australia – the biggest new slate of premium scripted content to come to market in recent times. This landmark deal reflects the strength of NBCUniversal’s portfolio and reinforces Stan’s commitment to bring the world’s best programming to Australians through our most significant output partnership to date.”

NBCUniversal’s president & CRO, global distribution & international, Belinda Menendez said:We take great pride in the breadth and calibre of NBCUniversal’s content offering and are thrilled to expand our partnership with Stan and Nine through this deal. This extensive agreement ensures that Stan will be the exclusive Australian home of our new and compelling dramas, hit comedies, engaging children’s programs, exciting unscripted series and iconic film and library titles for many years to come.”

A Brave New World

A Brave New World

The deal will include:

• Peacock originals Brave New World, Dr. Death, Angelyne, Rutherford Falls, the new Saved by the Bell, the new PunkyBrewster will premiere exclusively on Stan.
• Upcoming Peacock projects: The re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica,  Girls5evaOne of Us is Lying, and MacGruber
Upcoming NBCUniversal International Studios: Lady Parts
• Upcoming Sky Studios: Gangs of London, I Hate Suzie
Upcoming children’s programming: Madagascar: A Little Wild, The Mighty Ones and TrollsTopia.
• Additional children’s programs premiering on Stan include: Norman PicklestripesPowerbirdsThe Christmas Letter and The Tiger Who Came to Tea.
• Stan Iconic series: The Office, Will & Grace, Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock. + movies and television series from the NBCUniversal and Sky Studios’ back-catalogues will soon arrive on Stan

Shine Awards Margy
2020 Shine Awards put spotlight on rural and regional women

For the next three months, audiences are being asked to share their stories and nominate outstanding women for the annual Shine Awards – a partnership between The Weekly Times and Harvey Norman.

The Shine Awards, now in their fourth year, celebrate the achievements and contributions of women across rural and regional Australia, recognising unsung leaders and innovators who are making a real difference to their communities.

Audiences will be encouraged to share stories and nominate women through print, digital and social. The campaign will be supported with digital and print advertisements across The Weekly Times, The Mercury, NT News, The Townsville Bulletin and The Toowoomba Chronicle.

Last year’s overall winner, Inverell cattle farmer Margy Perkuhn, was honoured for establishing Fierce Female Farmers, a support initiative in which she distributed care boxes of donated items to farming women in her drought-hit region. She said the awards transformed her life.

“The exposure and recognition from my Shine experience enabled me to reach more rural women than I ever expected,” Ms Perkuhn said.

“It also opened the gateway to a much broader community of people, in particular businesses, who genuinely wanted to help. The award acted as a beacon for many rural women in my own area who took courage from my story to finally reach out for help.”

Penny Fowler, Herald and Weekly Times Chairman and News Corp Australia Community Ambassador said: “The extraordinary adversities Australian communities have confronted in the past year are the worst in a century; crippling drought followed by bushfires and a global pandemic.

“It’s so important for all Australians to hear the stories, to recognise the efforts of our rural and regional women and for us to continue to support these communities.

“We are so proud, as a company, to partner with Katie Page and Harvey Norman to share these extraordinary stories.”

Harvey Norman CEO Katie Page said: “We are thrilled and humbled to be partnering with The Weekly Times for the fourth year of the Shine Awards. 2020 is a year like no other, but we must not let the isolation created by the pandemic hide those women working tirelessly to maintain the energy and vitality of the local community and economy.

“Please give special consideration to the women in your life, in your community, who are the life-blood of local health services, local education and local employment.  

“High standards of health care, education and good jobs – that is what keeps families in local regions for generations. 

“When you nominate a woman that you admire for the Shine Awards it is the ultimate expression of gratitude.”

Shine Awards editor Camille Smith said: “Last year’s 18 Shine Awards finalists were all powerhouse women. From a humble farmer at Inverell, NSW, who quietly founded a drought-support campaign that captured the attention of the nation to a talented para-equestrian from Healesville, Victoria, aiming for the next Olympics, these women all achieved great things individually while also inspiring others.”

Over the next three months, The Weekly Times as well as other News Corp Australia titles across print and digital, will highlight the outstanding work by women on farms and off them, in rural towns across Australia, in community groups and sporting clubs, in businesses, schools and homes.

The awards will culminate with a special 32-page Shine magazine in The Weekly Times on November 18 to announce award winners in six categories: Dedication, Spirit, Belief, Grace, Passion and Courage; plus an overall winner.

Each category winner will be awarded a $2500 voucher from Harvey Norman. The overall Shine winner will be awarded $5000.

Top photo: Margy Perkuhn

George and sarah the block
Nine announces major partners for The Block's sixteenth season

Nine has named the major sponsors for the 16th season of The Block, as major brands look to capitalise on the unique TV franchise and its loyal fanbase.

The 2020 season of The Block will see Ford and join the show for the first time as major partners while Aldi, hipages, Lite n’ Easy, Mitre 10, Suncorp, McCafé, Domain, BlueScope and the a2 Milk Company have all renewed their exclusive partnerships following the success of previous seasons. 

“We are thrilled to welcome back these major returning brands for our 2020 season, but we are equally excited to have new brands come on board for the journey. The show consistently delivers results for our clients and that is why we continue to see them returning year after year,” said Nine’s Director of Powered, Liana Dubois.

Light & Easy Beach Box

Dubois noted the research conducted by fiftyfive5 on The Block’s audience that highlighted how the show had created its own unique fandom, built around interest in renovation/home improvement which major partners were tapping into. 

“Our research shows that the brands who integrate into The Block are reaching an audience which is not only highly engaged but dedicated, keen to participate, and willing to invest in bringing their home improvement passion to life.

“It is clear that fans of The Block will spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on that passion – making them a lucrative group for marketers to cultivate.”

The major partnerships for 2020 include:

• Aldi, another major brand coming back on board this year to feature as a broadcast media partner. Aldi. Good. Different.
• BlueScope, who will showcase a range of COLORBOND steel colours in a stunning matt finish and the inner strength of house frames made from TRUECORE steel., putting a fun spin on delivering anything and everything to the Blockheads throughout the series.
• Domain, which will own key property moments in the program to educate Blockheads and viewers on important real estate milestones.
• Ford Australia, joining The Block as the official automotive partner this season. Showcasing a portfolio of vehicles including the Ford Everest SUV, Ford Ranger pick-up and Transit Custom
• Hipages in their second year, connecting Blockheads with trusted tradies through their online platform.
• Lite n’ Easy, who will again be fuelling the Blockheads, ensuring they have healthy, nutritious, delicious meals and snacks to get them through the mammoth renovation.
• McCafé, returning to keep the Blockheads on the go with an onsite barista-operated caravan and McDelivery services.
• Mitre 10, The Block’s longest serving partner, who will not only be providing building materials and hardware but “Mighty Helpful” service and advice to contestants every step of the way.
• Suncorp, there to assist the Blockheads more than ever with their budgets and supporting game-changing ideas.
• The a2 Milk Company, inspiring Blockheads to be at their best with deliveries of delicious a2 Milk throughout the series, and giving much needed support to them and their loved ones on the journey.


New research recently delivered at Powered by Nine’s Big Ideas Store looked at “E-fan-gelism”, the study of fandom in Australian culture. The research found that 24 per cent of Australians are fans of something, and the core value drawing fans to The Block is a drive to “discover new ways to see and do things”. 

As the Big Ideas Store showed, fans of the show associate it with deep knowledge, creative thinking and learning something new. The research also found that The Block offers escapism and entertainment, while enabling fans to replicate parts of the show that they love.

Liana Dubois said: “Our deep-dive research on fans associated with The Block truly attests to the power of the show. It not only has the influence to entertain and engage, it also has the ability to deliver effective advertising solutions that grow brands and sales.”

Top photo: George and Sarah having a coffee from McCafé

Upright Lingo Pictures
Lingo Pictures' Upright nominated for best international drama

Lingo PicturesUpright has been nominated for Best International Drama at the Edinburgh TV Awards

Past winners of this prestigious award have included Killing Eve and The Handmaid’s Tale. Upright has been nominated alongside Euphoria, Succession, Game of Thrones, Agatha Raisin and Frankie Drake Mysteries.

Upright, produced by Jason Stephens from Lingo Pictures, launched earlier this month on SundanceNow in the US. The series is co-written, and stars Australian actor, comedian and musician Tim Minchin. The actor also wrote some of the songs performed in the show, including Carry You (co-wrote with Missy Higgins), which he recently performed to close the BAFTAs.

The team behind Upright also includes Chris Taylor (satirical comedy group The Chaser), Niki Aken and award-winning writer-actors Kate Mulvany (Fighting Season) and Leon Ford (Offspring, No Activity). The director is Matthew Saville (Please Like Me). Minchin has also written the music for the series and is executive producer with Penny Win and Helen Bowden.

TV Demand: Umbrella Academy still #1 as The Crown moves up

By Trent Thomas

It has been a stagnant week for the TV Demand charts in Australia and New Zealand which has bucked the trend after a year that has seen a lot of movement. 

Umbrella Academy is still number one and continues to enjoy the momentum it has created with its second season being released last month.

The show has continued the trend of Netflix shows dominating the charts with them making up 40% of the Digital Original charts in both Australia and NZ.

The main movement on the charts is the Netflix Original The Crown which has confirmed the shows fourth season’s release date to be November 15. The program has also confirmed that it will revert to the original plan of six seasons after previously announcing a plan to end the show after five. Elizabeth Debicki has been confirmed to play Princess Diana in seasons five and six.

One show to keep an eye on is The Mandalorian which has performed extremely well since its release on November 12 staying around the top three shows in both Australia and NZ every week, often as #1. The show is nearing 10 months of this consistent performance since its release, and may not slow down with season two due out in October.

TV Ratings August 25: Week 25, 2020

By Trent Thomas

• The Block and The Masked Singer Australia have a tight battle at 7:30
• The Block and Halifax lead Nine to primary and network wins
• Halifax returns with back to back Retribution episodes of 544,000/469,000
• Anh’s Brush with Fame with Sophie Delezio has 603,000 viewers

Seven News 1,120,000/1,074,000
Nine News 1,017,000/986,000
A Current Affair 818,000
ABC News 802,000
7.30 573,000
The Project 352,000/558,000
10 News 394,000/254,000
Sunrise 250,000
Today 216,000
News Breakfast 155,000
SBS World News 173,000
The Drum 207,000
Nine News Late Edition 252,000
The Latest 176,000

Seven: Without any tent pole programming last night at 7:30 pm Seven aired Inside The Crown: The Secrets of the Royals which had 425,000 viewers. The non-news top performer last night was The Chase Australia with 656,000 and Home and Away with 627,000. Seven was ranked second in both primary and network share with 17.2% and 26.3%.

Nine: The Block led Nine to a primary channel win with 21.0% and network win with 29.3%. The Block had 762,000 tune in last night which was an increase on the 738,000 the show had on Monday night and an improvement on the 626,000 by Ninja Warrior Australia v The World which was in the 7:30 pm slot last week. Halifax: Retribution saw the return of Rebecca Gibney as Jane Halifax for the first time in almost 20 years as Nine aired back to back episodes in its premier achieving 544,000 and 469,000 respectively.

10: 10 had a primary share of 12.7% and a network share of 18.2% after The Masked Singer Australia produced 717,000 viewers with 810,000 which was down from the 806,000/916,000 that the show had last Tuesday. The singing competition also managed to win all key demos.

ABC: Anh’s Brush with Fame featured Sophie Delezio as the pair brought in 603,000 viewers as ABC had a primary share of 13% and a network share of 17%. 

SBS: SBS’s top performers were Great Asian Railway Journeys which had 296,000 and The Salisbury Poisonings with 257,000. The public broadcaster had a primary share of 5.6% and a network share of 9.2%.

Week 35 TV: Tuesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 13.0% 7 17.2% 9 21.0% 10  12.7% SBS One 5.6%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.0% 7TWO 3.1% GO! 2.4% 10 Bold 3.4% VICELAND 1.7%
ABC ME 0.4% 7mate 3.5% GEM 2.5% 10 Peach 2.1% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.6% 7flix 2.5% 9Life 2.2%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.2%     SBS World Movies 1.1%
TOTAL 17.0%   26.3%   29.3%   18.2%   9.2%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 11.0% 7 17.6% 9 17.1% WIN 12.0% SBS One 4.2%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.4% 7TWO 3.5% GO! 3.6% WIN Bold 4.2% VICELAND 2.2%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 6.7% GEM 3.9% WIN Peach 2.3% Food Net 0.6%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.2% 9Life 2.4% Sky News  on WIN 2.1% NITV 0.0%
                SBS Movies 1.0%
TOTAL 15.2%   30.0%   27.1%   20.7%   8.1%


88.4% 11.6%
  1. Seven News Seven 1,120,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,074,000
  3. Nine News Nine 1,017,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 986,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 818,000
  6. The Masked Singer Australia Reveal 10 810,000
  7. ABC News ABC 802,000
  8. The Block Nine 762,000
  9. The Masked Singer Australia 10 717,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 656,000
  11. Home And Away Seven 627,000
  12. Anh’s Brush With Fame ABC 603,000
  13. 7.30 ABC 573,000
  14. The Project 7pm 10 545,000
  15. Halifax Retribution Nine 544,000
  16. Hot Seat Nine 515,000
  17. Halifax Retribution Nine 469,000
  18. Fight For Planet A: Our Climate Challenge ABC 469,000
  19. Inside The Crown: Secrets Of The Royals Seven 425,000
  20. 10 News First 10 394,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. The Masked Singer Australia Reveal 10 225,000
  2. The Block Nine 206,000
  3. The Masked Singer Australia 10 202,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 156,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 149,000


18 – 49

  1. The Masked Singer Australia Reveal 10 369,000
  2. The Block Nine 344,000
  3. The Masked Singer Australia 10 341,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 258,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 257,000


25 – 54

  1. The Masked Singer Australia Reveal 10 403,000
  2. The Block Nine 383,000
  3. The Masked Singer Australia 10 365,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 307,000
  5. Nine News Nine 302,000
TUESDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 180,000
  2. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 174,000
  3. Aussie Salvage Squad PM 7mate 154,000
  4. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 151,000
  5. Highway Patrol PM 7mate 149,000
  6. Little J And Big Cuz ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  7. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 146,000
  8. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 146,000
  9. Peter Rabbit PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  10. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  11. Thomas And Friends PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  12. Highway Patrol PM 7mate 130,000
  13. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 130,000
  14. Book Hungry Bears AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  15. Fireman Sam PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 125,000
  16. Play School Art Crew PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  17. Andy’s Secret Hideout PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 122,000
  18. Neighbours 10 Peach 118,000
  19. Little J And Big Cuz AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 118,000
  20. Kiri And Lou ABCKIDS/COMEDY 116,000
  1. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 85,000
  2. Alan Jones Sky News Live 81,000
  3. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 77,000
  4. Credlin Sky News Live 67,000
  5. Wentworth FOX SHOWCASE 65,000
  6. PML Later Sky News Live 51,000
  7. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 44,000
  8. Live: NRL 360 FOX LEAGUE 43,000
  9. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 37,000
  10. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 36,000
  11. Live: The Back Page FOX SPORTS 503 36,000
  12. Stargirl FOX8 35,000
  13. Parliament Live Sky News Live 34,000
  14. Family Guy FOX8 34,000
  15. Below Deck Mediterranean FOX Arena 33,000
  16. Newsday Sky News Live 31,000
  17. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 30,000
  18. Highway Patrol FOX8 30,000
  19. Family Guy FOX8 29,000
  20. First Edition 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

Business of Media

'No truth' to Stokes' rumoured privatisation of The West

Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton says a privatisation of West Australian Newspapers by chairman Kerry Stokes has not been discussed by the board and is just speculation, reports AFR‘s Max Mason.

There have been rumours for months that Stokes might buy West Australia Newspapers with his private investment vehicle Australian Capital Equity.

Speculation has increased following former Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood‘s review of WAN, which has been handed to Seven management.

“There’s absolutely no truth to it that I’m aware of. It’s not in the discussions we have with the board. It’s just constant speculation in the marketplace,” Warburton, who is also a managing director, told The Australian Financial Review.

“What we asked Greg to do is give us a bit of a review of the operation, look at the different sector and give us some recommendations, which he did. The management team are now looking at that report, and looking at some of the areas that may or may not be implemented in that report.”

The Financial Review revealed earlier this year that Seven and Antony Catalano had engaged about a potential deal for WAN when the Australian Community Media executive chairman was looking to acquire News Corp Australia’s regional publishing portfolio, a deal which did not come to fruition.

[Read More]

Seven no longer an equal partner in Koch's side-business

Seven West Media offloaded shares in David Koch‘s business to increase revenue, reports AFR‘s Myriam Robin.

The company’s FY20 accounts reveal it now owns a mere 0.2 per cent of breakfast TV star (and Port Adelaide chairman) David Koch‘s online financial advice business Money Makeover. According to ASIC filings, in September 2018 Seven sold its stake to Koch, retaining a single share in the business’ 510 on issue.

[Read More]

Seven West Media paid departing CEO Tim Worner $3m in his final year

Seven West Media paid Tim Worner more than $3m in the 2020 financial year, after he quit the Kerry Stokes-controlled media company a year ago, reports News Corp’s Lilly Vitorovich.

Worner received a $2.57m termination payment following his surprise departure last August after six years as CEO, plus fixed and other remuneration totalling $448,453, according to Seven’s 2020 annual report.

Seven said Worner’s employment formally ended in mid-December after four months of so-called gardening leave.

His successor, James Warburton took home just under $1.18m last financial year as he worked to restructure the debt-laden television and newspaper company.

[Read More]

Former Showtime Chairman and CEO Matthew Blank joins CuriosityStream

Independent factual media company CuriosityStream has appointed Matthew Blank to its board of directors effective immediately. Blank is the former Chairman and CEO of Showtime Networks, Inc. The announcement was made today by CuriosityStream founder and Chairman of the Board, John Hendricks.

“Matt Blank brings an extraordinary wealth of stunningly successful media experience to the CuriosityStream Board of Directors,” said Hendricks. “When Matt took the helm at Showtime, I watched in admiration as he built the pay service over two decades into a leading world force in premium programming with an incredible roster of valuable mega-hits and brand-defining series. All of us at CuriosityStream welcome Matt’s role on our board of directors, where he’ll provide skillful guidance and wise advice in our mission to deliver the absolute best in premium factual entertainment.”

“Matt was an early champion of the rich global opportunity in streaming blue-chip content to consumers both directly and with distribution partners of scale,” said Clint Stinchcomb, President and CEO of CuriosityStream. “I couldn’t be more delighted that Matt has agreed to join our board. As we grow organically and through opportunistic acquisition, Matt’s strategic guidance will be invaluable.”

Blank’s career in the entertainment industry spans over four decades. Most recently, he served as an advisor to Showtime Networks Inc., having spent over 20 years as Chairman and CEO of the company, after formerly serving as President, as well as COO and EVP of Marketing. He previously worked at HBO for 12 years, eventually serving as Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing.

‘I’ve known John Hendricks for over 30 years and he is truly one of the great media entrepreneurs of our time,” said Blank. “There is such incredible opportunity for growth in the industry right now and I’m thrilled to join with John and his top-notch team at CuriosityStream to deliver on his core vision to share the best factual entertainment with viewers around the globe.”

Among many industry honors, he has been inducted into the Cable Television and the Broadcasting and Cable Halls of Fame.

News Brands

Google can afford a slice of its billions to help sustain journalism, Labor says

Google’s “misleading scare campaign” should not stop the “trillion-dollar search engine” making fair payments for Australian news content, Labor has told parliament, reports Guardian Australia‘s Amanda Meade.

The shadow assistant treasurer, Andrew Leigh, said Australian journalism was struggling, newspapers were closing and Google could afford to share a small slice of their billions in profits with the news media “that is fundamental to Australian democracy”.

Labor was responding to Google’s aggressive scare campaign in recent days, which has seen the digital giant post an open letter about the draft media news code labelled as “misinformation” by the Australian regulator.

Google, Facebook and other digital platforms could be forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines if they fail to comply with a proposed mandatory news code.

[Read More]


Nine more COVID-19 cases linked to Masked Singer outbreak

Nine new cases of COVID-19 have been linked to the set of Network 10’s hit reality show The Masked Singer, bringing the total number of confirmed infections from the outbreak to 16, reports SMH‘s Michael Lallo.

The program was shooting its season finale on Saturday when a person who had worked in the studio tested positive to the virus, forcing more than 250 cast and crew into self-isolation. By Saturday evening, six additional cases had been linked to The Masked Singer’s set in Victoria’s Docklands Studios complex.

On Tuesday, Network 10 confirmed that a further nine members of the production team had tested positive.

Almost 300 people connected to the program have now been tested, with fewer than 10 still awaiting their results. Host Osher Gunsberg and judges Dannii Minogue, Urzila Carlson, Jackie O and Dave Hughes have all tested negative.

[Read More]

Bold plan for Emmys broadcast

It will be an Emmy Awards like no other this year, when US television hands out its 72nd Primetime awards next month, reports TV Tonight.

Host Jimmy Kimmel will anchor the big night from a stage in the Staples Center, Los Angeles, but there will be no audience and no red carpet.

Producers are hoping to get cameras out to all the nominees (woah), resulting in massive wiring coming into the venue (the awards normally take place across the street at the Microsoft Theatre, but Staples was chosen because of its size).

That’s up to 140 different locations.

[Read More]

Auditions: The Block

Just two days into its 2020 season and The Block has opened casting for 2021, reports TV Tonight.

Couples must be aged between 18-65, energetic and with a sense of humour and available for a 10-12 week shoot period from late February, 2021. Exact dates are yet to be confirmed along with the next location.

Previous home renovation experience is an asset, but not required from both partners. Long term couples, family teams and enduring friendships need only apply. Successful participants will be paid a nominal weekly fee during filming of The Block to cover basic living costs and expenses.

Deadline: midnight, 27th September, 2020 AEST

[Read More]

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