Monday August 3, 2020

James Murdoch
James Murdoch quits as director of News Corp over editorial direction

It was only a short two sentence letter addressed the directors of News Corp, but its content has caused reverberations at the business around the world.

James Murdoch, the youngest son of Rupert Murdoch, has quit his directorship of News Corporation, the company where his elder brother Lachlan and father Rupert hold positions of executive chairman and co-chairman with Robert Thomson running the day-to-day business as chief executive.

The letter simply said:

I hereby tender my resignation as a member of the Board of Directors of News Corporation (the “Company”), effective as of the date hereof.

My resignation is due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions.

The only response from either James’ brother and father to his resignation was a short statement:

We’re grateful to James for his many years of service to the company. We wish him the very best in his future endeavours.

Neither of the Murdochs have taken part in News Corp earnings calls for some time. But it is possible that News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson and Chief Financial Officer Susan Panuccio will be asked about James’ departure at the fourth quarter and full year’s call on Thursday this week in New York after the market closes.

Writing in The AFR, longtime Murdoch watcher Neil Chenoweth commented:

When Rupert Murdoch’s family make public statements it’s tempting to read them as actual messages to the public – but the Murdochs don’t work that way.

When they make a public statement, usually they’re sending a message to each other. Sharing so much fractured history and a $US15.5 billion ($21.7 billion) fortune can do that to a family.

It’s not just that James resigned from a newspaper company in which he was never very interested, citing “disagreements over certain editorial content published by the company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions”.

It’s that he forced Rupert and Lachlan’s company to file his resignation letter, publicly citing News Corp’s political bias, to the SEC.

[Read more]

The Daily Telegraph (UK)’s Christopher Williams wrote (in a piece also published in The AFR):

The biggest surprise in James Murdoch’s departure from the board of News Corp is that it took him so long. In May last year, The Sunday Telegraph reported that after the sale of most of the Murdoch television and film assets to Disney and his receipt of a $US2 billion cut ($2.8 billion), he planned to take “precisely zero” interest in what remains of the family business.

[Read more]

The Guardian reports How departure of James laid bare the Murdoch family rifts:

The unfolding story of the Murdoch family empire is often likened to a television soap opera: there is plenty of jetsetting, wheeler-dealing, power-broking and personal intrigue.

Yet Rupert Murdoch’s dominance of the media scene in Britain, America and Australia has been established for such a long time now that, if it were a fiction, fresh plotlines would be in danger of running out. We have already seen sibling rivalry, feuds, treachery, marital discord and public moral outrage.

But the “writers’ room” churning out scripts for “The Murdochs” in a backroom somewhere has pulled off another triumph this weekend. James Murdoch, the media magnate’s younger son, has walked away from the business that has shaped his life and out of the control of his 89-year-old Melbourne-born father.

[Read more]

Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt wrote Why James Murdoch quitting News Corp’s board is a good thing:

It’s important to say this about James Murdoch quitting the board of News Corp, of which this paper is part.


I don’t want to offend my boss, but his son did the right thing, because no board member can publicly trash their own product.

Yet James in January announced he was “particularly disappointed with the ongoing [climate] denial among the news outlets in Australia”.

Now he says he’s resigned “due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions”.

But there’s a second reason I say “good”.

No newspaper executive should be an enemy of debate, and accuse sceptics like me of being in “denial”.

I deny nothing. I quote science to say a warming earth has not produced the predicted disasters. We have bigger grain crops, fewer cyclones, more rain over Australia, more polar bears, a greener planet and more atoll islands growing rather than sinking.

[Read more]

The New York Times reported:

James Murdoch wants the world to know he is out of the family business.

Once considered a potential successor to Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch on Friday resigned from the board of the newspaper publisher News Corp, severing his last corporate tie to his father’s global media empire.

The two sides began discussing James Murdoch’s departure from the News Corp board earlier this year, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

But his terse resignation note belied the behind-the-scenes drama that has brought James to this point in his life and career. And it widened the schism that has emerged between James and his 89-year-old father and his older brother, Lachlan, once a dynastic triumvirate that for years held sweeping influence over the world’s cultural and political affairs.

Weeks ago, James and his wife jointly contributed more than $1 million to a fund-raising committee for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. And in February, as wildfires raged across Australia – his father’s birthplace – James issued a rebuke of his own family’s media properties, criticizing how Murdoch publications have covered climate change.

The London-born, Harvard-educated James remains a beneficiary of his family’s trust, meaning he will continue to financially benefit from the profits of Rupert Murdoch’s news and information assets.

And although his resignation letter cited “certain editorial content,” James did not speak specifically about Fox News, the hugely profitable cable channel where prime-time hosts like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham openly cheerlead for Trump.

A spokeswoman for James Murdoch declined to comment further on the reasons for his departure, saying the letter “speaks for itself.”

[Read more]

Top Photo: James Murdoch speaking at the Vox Media’s 2018 Recode conference

The Masked Singer
How Network 10 avoided lockdown to make new The Masked Singer

By James Manning

Plus what is planned for new seasons of Survivor and Amazing Race

Key to the 7.30pm timeslot success on Network 10’s primary channel are the handful of producers who juggle a number of formats. One of them overseeing the start and the end of the year is Stephen Tate. The head of entertainment and factual programs at 10 starts his year in South Africa and can then be found in the Pacific and last year he was helping organise teams jetting across Australia, Asia and South Africa.

His biggest hit most recently though was the 2019 launch of The Masked Singer. Seven of the 10 2019 episodes did over 1m metro. Despite the significant challenges to making it again this year, filming of the first two episodes has just completed.

Tate arrived in the Victorian capital a week ago as did some of the judges who have to relocate to Melbourne for the shoot – Dannii Minogue, Jackie Henderson and newcomer Urzila Carlson, stepping in for Lindsay Lohan. Dave Hughes is the local returning judge.

The first episodes are being filmed just a week before they go to air. A shorter deadline than is usual for some shiny floor shows that don’t go out live.

“It is a fairly short turnaround, but entirely possible, considering we do I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! in a nine-hour turnaround,” Tate told Mediaweek. “An eight or nine day turnaround is quite leisurely,” he chuckled.

Without being able to spend so much time in post-production, it will give the new season what Tate referred to as a “live feel”.

The Masked Singer Sloth

As to whether there was a time when it looked like this year’s season might not go ahead, Tate said that was a possibility that every production in Australia has faced some time this year. “There was never any question that we wouldn’t proceed with The Masked Singer. It was just too big a hit with Australian audiences last year. It’s been more about when we would make it rather than if we will make it.

10 has taken over two soundstages at Dockland Studios this year after relocating the production from Sydney. “We moved because of studio availability as it’s a very complex show to make. We have to keep all of the masks [performers] separate. It is almost a military operation with all the backstage work happening on a separate soundstage. The masks can never meet.”

10 has found a “creative workaround” to replace a studio audience this year. Tate: “Warner Bros [which makes The Masked Singer for 10] were the first to do this with Dancing with the Stars. They did such a brilliant job of still delivering a live show that was full of energy. The great thing about The Masked Singer is that it is a completely bonkers show so we can really be playful with what we can do in place of an audience.

We will have a special virtual audience. We have selected a number of super fans to watch the performances and vote.

With no live audience, Tate expects the time taken to film each episode could be shorter. However it’s still enough of an involved process that they can’t film more than one a day. “We had to do a full security sweep of the audience last year before the reveals to make sure there were no recording devices. That took up to 90 minutes.”

Making up for that though is some ambitious staging to compensate for no live audience. “The props are bigger this year and we have secured The Squared Division [Antony Ginandjar and Ashley Evans] who are by far the most outstanding creative directors in the world. They will really lift our production values.”

Another big change this year, and one aided by the entertainment industry shutdown, is the artist roster for 2020. “Artists who would not normally have been available to consider doing The Masked Singer have said yes. Our reveals will be absolutely extraordinary. You won’t believe who we have got. It truly is amazing. The calibre of the artists has given us an embarrassment of riches.”

Tate added because some of the performers are venturing outside of their genres, playing “a game of hide and seek with the audience”, they won’t necessarily be easy to identify. “They have the ability to do things they are not known for.”

Warner Bros films two shows in two days, takes a break, then does another two shows in two days etc until the series is completed. It is expected there will be one extra episode this year, but there will again be 12 masks.

New international judge joins guessing game

Tate: “Urzilla Carlson is so excited to be here. We have tried to get her to do so many of our shows and this is the first time she has said yes on the first phone call. She and her family are massive fans of The Masked Singer and she couldn’t believe we rang her to ask.”

Carlson quarantined in a hotel in Sydney on arrival in Australia, unlike Dannii Minogue who was able to quarantine privately. Carlson ended her quarantine only late last week, joining the show immediately.

The Masked Singer Sloth

Partnership opportunity: But move quickly

Tate told Mediaweek there still remains an opportunity for brands this year: “Big W has returned after having a great experience last year. We always love it when an incumbent sponsor returns. KFC has joined us and we have filmed some bespoke content for them recently with the masks. Foster Grant, the sunglass brand sold at Chemist Warehouse, has joined us. They are a perfect fit when you think that all of the men in black wear sunglasses.”

Tate noted there is one more sponsor who has signed on, but is not yet able to be revealed. There is also room for another brand. “We can still create bespoke content for them if they sign on soon.

The Masked Singer Hammerhead

Osher Gunsberg’s schedules collide

Delays in filming this year have caused some challenges for 10’s most in-demand host. Tate: “It’s a juggle. We will have to find some creative workarounds for the production of The Bachelorette. He will certainly have a presence throughout the entire series of The Masked Singer. He has the energy of 10 hosts. What helps us face the logistical issues is that Warner Bros is the producer of both shows which will help make it work.

Stephen Tate’s 2020

His first assignment every year is I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! which was produced prior to any Covid impact. “The jungle was so well received this year, often out-rating the tennis and pretty much consistently out-rating the Big Bash League. We put so much love and care into that show and to see it really hit it straps this year was great for everybody.

After Covid hit we have been working really hard to keep people employed and productions running without putting anyone in danger.

“We have some Family Feud primetime one-hour specials which were about giving back to frontline workers in everything Australia has faced this year. They will launch soon.”

Australian Survivor plan

“We are definitely going ahead. It is a waiting game. Very much like The Masked Singer. We need to wait until it can be done safely without endangering the cast and crew. We are still looking at all options regarding location.” Tate is convinced if they need to make the show within Australia they have great locations to chose from.

Will The Amazing Race take off?

“We are making the show locally and it is what Australia needs at the moment. We need to see a fabulous adventure travel show in our own backyard, showcasing everything Australia has to offer. We have to push through and find ways to make productions keep happening. The intention to film this year and we have just closed casting. We are full steam ahead in pre-production.”

Photos: Some of the masks that will appear in season two of The Masked Singer Australia including Hammerhead, Sloth, Echidna, Cactus and Wizard

cocaine godmother lifetime
Foxtel’s new movie channel launching September 1: Lifetime Movie Network

Foxtel is expanding its movie offering launching Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) from global media company A+E Networks. The channel is exclusive to Foxtel subscribers from September 1, 2020 and adds a slew of new movies to its on demand library.

LMN is an entertainment destination for women, featuring made for television movie programming. LMN films tell both fictional and real-life stories steeped in drama and shining a light on women facing unbelievable challenges.


Liz & Dick

The new high-definition channel will be added at no extra cost to customers of the Foxtel Movies bundle and broadcast 24 hours a day. It will be programmed and managed by Foxtel in Australia and new movies will be added to the on demand library over the coming months.

LMN bolsters Foxtel’s already must-have movie offering with more than 1000 movies on demand including the biggest and recent blockbusters and all-time greats.

no one would tell fatal honeymoon

Fatal Honeymoon

Brian Walsh, Foxtel’s executive director of television, said: “For more than 20 years, Lifetime Movie Network has captured TV audiences in the US by delivering quality made for television movies featuring some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. The movies are a perfect guilty pleasure with captivating stories and outstanding performances. We are delighted to partner with LMN to bring our customers Lifetime’s iconic movie heritage to Australia.”

Tanya Lopez, executive vice president, movies, limited series & original movie acquisitions for Lifetime and LMN, said: “We are thrilled to be working with the strength of Foxtel to bring A+E Networks’ Lifetime original movies to a whole new audience throughout Australia. With a legacy of powerful women on both sides of the camera including the best of Hollywood’s A-list talent, our globally successful Lifetime TV movies offer the widest breadth of subjects and storylines that resonate with today’s audiences seeking to indulge.”

no one would tell lifetime

No One Would Tell

Some of the movie headliners showcasing their talents over launch month in September include Catherine Zeta-Jones (Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story), Whoopi Goldberg (A Day Late and a Dollar Short), Hervey Keitel (Fatal Honeymoon), Vivica A. Fox (The Wrong Roommate), John Corbett (The Hunt For Killer 1-5), Lindsay Lohan (Liz & Dick), Shannon Doherty & Mira Sorvino (No One Would Tell) and Denise Richards (Secret Lives of Cheerleaders).

secret lives of cheerleaders

Secret Lives of Cheerleaders

The LMN brand, which launched in the US in 1998 as Lifetime Movie Network, has a strong pedigree of exceptional talent and is the home of some of the grittiest, most thrilling stories to hit the small screen.

The new channel is exclusive to Foxtel from September 1, 2020. More programming details will be announced soon.

 Top Photo: Cocaine Godmother

Jared Harris BAFTA
BAFTA TV winners: Chernobyl wins again at virtual event

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced the winners of the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards, celebrating and rewarding the very best programmes and performances of 2019.

The Awards were hosted by The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade on a closed set at Television Centre, London, with presenters including Daisy Edgar-Jones, Jeff Goldblum, Jessica Hynes, Adrian Lester, Ruth Madeley, Himesh Patel, Billy Porter and Nina Sosanya.

Following seven wins at this year’s British Academy Television Craft Awards, Chernobyl, the drama based on the nuclear disaster, won two more BAFTAs, for Mini-Series and Leading Actor for Jared Harris.

The Leading Actress award was won by Glenda Jackson for her performance in Elizabeth is Missing, her first television role for more than 25 years and the second BAFTA of her career. Her first BAFTA was for Sunday, Bloody Sunday in 1972.

End of the F—ing World, the dark comedy drama, received the BAFTA for Drama Series and first-time nominee Naomi Ackie won Supporting Actress, the first BAFTA of her career.

First-time nominee Sian Clifford won in Female Performance in a Comedy Programme for playing Claire, the older sister of the titular character in Fleabag.

Sian Clifford

Following his success at the Television Craft Awards for Writer: Comedy, Jamie Demetriou, won the BAFTA for Male Performance in a Comedy Programme for Stath Lets Flats, which also won for Scripted Comedy.

Taskmaster won for Comedy Entertainment Programme, its first win following two previous nominations. The BAFTA for Entertainment Programme was awarded to Strictly Come Dancing, continuing the show’s success following the recent win for the Entertainment Craft Team at the Television Craft Awards.

Race Across the World received the BAFTA for Reality & Constructed Factual. The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan won in the Features category.

Ava DuVernay won the second BAFTA of her career with When They See Us, the US crime drama series based on the true story of the Central Park Five, in the International category. It follows her win for 13th, which won Documentary at the 2017 EE British Academy Film Awards, and the honorary BAFTA Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing she received later that year.

Emmerdale was awarded the BAFTA for Soap & Continuing Drama. The Left Behind won the BAFTA for Single Drama.

News Coverage was awarded to Sky News’ Hong Kong Protests, and the award for Current Affairs was presented to Undercover: Inside China’s Digital Gulag (Exposure).

Leaving Neverland received the BAFTA for Factual Series, The Last Survivors won Single Documentary and Yorkshire Ripper Files: A Very British Crime Story won Specialist Factual.

2019 Rugby World Cup Final: England v South Africa triumphed in the Sport category, while the award for Live Event was presented to Blue Planet Live.

The Special Award was presented to Idris Elba in recognition of his exceptional career and his commitment to championing diversity and new talent in the industry. The actor, writer, director and producer received video messages from Matthew McConaughey, Taraji P Henson, Ruth Wilson and Grace Ofori-Attah.

Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment, the only award voted for by the public, was won by Gavin and Stacey for the iconic moment when Nessa proposes to Smithy.

See a full list of winners here.

Finecast allows advertisers to measure audiences across BVOD for first time

Finecast, the addressable TV business of GroupM, has launched the Finecast ID, which will enable advertisers to measure and manage frequency and reach across the broadcast video on demand ecosystem for the first time.

Through collaboration with SBS and Australian FTA broadcast partners, the Finecast ID will power Finecast’s connected television campaign planning, optimisation and measurement providing marketers with targeting, tracking and measurement of household reach through a single buying platform for the first time in Australia.

Finecast ID has been created with marketers’ need for a consistent identifier for targeting and measurement at the heart, delivering an accurate and measurable CTV reach and frequency builder while also addressing their concerns around consumer privacy and respecting regulatory pressures.

It is already being embraced by Australia’s largest advertisers with Wavemaker client Domino’s one of the first to adopt the Finecast ID in their media planning.

Domino’s Australia & NZ CMO Allan Collins said: “Tech innovation is central to everything we do at Domino’s, from how we constantly improve our pizza quality, provide the best ordering and delivery experience to the way our messages reach consumers. Every major advertiser knows the importance of being able to measure reach and ensure our marketing dollars are being spent effectively to reach the right audiences and deliver a return. With BVOD audiences surging, the Finecast ID is an instrumental reach builder helping us plan, optimize and measure true 1:1 household reach on Connected Television. Finecast is leading the way in addressable TV and it’s exciting to be one of the first brands to adopt a media innovation that is shaping the future of television advertising.”

Brett Poole, managing director of Finecast, said: “Our challenge was to develop and deliver a stable, credible approach to measuring Connected TV reach for brands. The Finecast ID now firmly sets the standard for identity, frequency management and campaign reach reporting on CTV. It sounds easy but in reality, it has been one of the biggest challenges advertisers face in the Connected TV ecosystem, where most common digital identifiers don’t work.

“With Finecast ID, brands will be able to gain an advantage of the most accurate and reliable way to build reach and deliver effective and efficient TV campaigns in market.

“When Finecast launched in Australia in 2018, there were three common questions from marketers: How can I build incremental reach with linear TV through Finecast? How can I optimise reach and frequency and deliver optimal efficiencies? How can I make sure I am not putting my brand at risk of a poor user experience on BVOD?”

Adam Sadler, SBS director of Media Sales, said: “SBS are truly excited to partner with Finecast for their universal ID solution. This is a market and agency-first initiative, a true step-change for the broadcast video on demand marketplace. As measurability, reach, user experience and data privacy continue to dominate the focus and strategy for most advertisers, Finecast has created a solution that delivers on all of these metrics and this in turn will grow the commercial video on demand streaming space. A great initiative and we look forward to working with the Finecast team.”

The Asian Academy Creative Awards
Entry date extended for Asian Academy Creative Awards

The Asian Academy Creative Awards are casting the net for Aussie nominees. Entries are now open.

Last year Australia picked up four Golden Goddesses and Australia’s Ambassador, Bryan Cockerill, who was a 2019 regional winner for best direction, non-fiction, hopes Australia gets behind this year’s awards again and has an even bigger return of trophies at the Awards Ceremony scheduled to be held in Singapore in December 2020.

“During these extraordinary times, we need to support the industry in our region more than ever, so the Asian Academy Creative Awards are determined to put on a great awards show, whether we’re there in person or frocked-up at home via Zoom.”

The Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA), honour the best content created across 16 markets in the Asia Pacific, is now open for entries for this year’s edition.

Content produced between August 1, 2019, and July 31, 2020, can be submitted for consideration for 2020 awards, set to be held in December. Winners will be presented in 40 categories.

Entry details can be found here.

The closing date for entries has been extended to August 15.

“Entries are now open and there was some fantastic work produced right up until the lockdown. In the current production environment, it’s easy to forget but much of this great content is being devoured viewers and subscribers around the world right now,” president of the AAA Michael McKay added.

“The aim of the AAAs is to promote AsiaPac content and creatives to the world, they celebrate excelle and serve as our major showcase so, from a marketing perspective, it makes sense for producers and platforms to have a strong showing,” McKay added.

The entries are judged by a panel of some 300 industry execs.

Taylor Swift
ARIA Chart: Taylor Swift takeover: #1 single, #1 album, 5 in top 10, 10 in top 20

By James Manning

• All of the new entries on the chart this week belong to Swift, bar two.


A total of 16 Taylor Swift songs landed on the Singles Chart this week, a new record which was previously shared by Ed Sheeran and Post Malone who each previously has 13 songs enter the chart in a single week.

All of the new entries on the chart this week belong to Swift, bar two. Here are the positions each of the tunes from her new album Folklore have landed on:

#1 Cardigan – Swift’s sixth #1 single with ARIA noting she now only trails Rihanna (7), Delta Goodrem (9), P!nk (9), Kylie Minogue (10) and Madonna (10) in terms of female solo artists with chart toppers.
#3 Exile
#4 The I
#7 The Last Great American Dynasty
#8 My Tears Ricochet
#13 August
#14 Mirrorball
#16 Seven
#18 This is Me Trying
#19 Invisible String
#21 Illicit Affairs
#22 Betty
#25 Mad Woman
#29 Epiphany
#33 Peace
#43 Hoax

Taylor Swift Folklore

Two other artists snuck into the bottom of the top 50:

#48 Onefour with Home and Away. A new single from the Sydney hip hop act.
#49 The Kid Laroi with Tell Me Why. A track from the Sydney rapper’s mixtape Fuck Love.


Taylor Swift was always going to top the chart with her eighth album which has become her sixth #1 ARIA album. While Folklore debuted at #1 previous releases also shone – Lover lifted from #16 to #12 in its 49th week on the chart, 1989 bounced from #39 to #26 after 209 weeks on the chart. Universal Music reported Folklore had the highest week one album sales this year. It will be fascinating to see how it charts in successive weeks given it is being widely acclaimed, with good reason, as her best album so far. With six #1 albums, Swift moves into second place on the female artists #1 chart alongside Kylie Minogue and P!nk, with all three still in the shadow of Madonna who has topped the album chart 11 times.

Six other releases debuted in the top 50, three of them making the top 10:

#2 Cub Sport with Like Nirvana. The Brisbane band score their first top 10 appearance with their fourth album.
#3 The Kid Laroi with Fuck Love. Album chart debut for the Sydney rapper with a collaboration with Juice WRLD included.
#9 Ronan Keating with Twenty Twenty. Keating’s 11th solo album is his first in four years and his eighth to hit the top 10. It features duets with Robbie Williams, Shania Twain, Emeli Sandé and Australian singer/actress Clare Bowen and some cover versions of previous hits.
#11 Jasmine Rae with Lion Side. The fifth album from the Australian country music star, improving on her previous chart peak which was #23 with If I Want in 2013.
#14 Logic with No Pressure. The sixth and final album from the US rapper after recently announcing his retirement from music.
#46 Neck Deep with All Distortions are Intentional. Fourth album from the pop/punk band.

A handful of One Direction albums re-entered the chart as the band and fans celebrated their 10th anniversary. Also back on the chart was AC/DC with Back in Black on its 40th anniversary. It was released the same year Triple M started in Sydney and Melbourne.


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Natalie Gruzlewski
Week 31 TV: Rural love shortage costs Seven another winning week

By James Manning

Seven ended its primary channel winning streak last week, but there wasn’t much in it. Nine was just 0.2 of a point ahead of Seven in primary channel share, but Seven managed to win as #1 network, keeping its network winning streak intact for an eighth consecutive week.

Nine Week 31

Primary share: 20.2%
Network share: 28.4%
Multichannels: GO! 2.6% Gem 2.4% 9Life 2.0% 9Rush 1.1%

The return of a new season of Australian Ninja Warrior was key to Nine’s primary channel win with the show launching with over 1m a week ago.
Ninja Warrior and Nine News gave Nine five spots in the week 31 top 10.

Seven Week 31

Primary share: 20.0%
Network share: 30.0%
Multichannels: 7TWO 3.5% 7mate 4.7% 7flix 1.9%

Farmer Wants a Wife and AFL kept Seven positioned as the #1 network. But no local reality franchise on Tuesday was the difference between a primary channel win and second place. An extra dose of rural love from Farmer Wants a Wife might have sealed the deal. However we continue to acknowledge Seven’s almost biblical ratings resurrection after many had written the channel, the network, and even the business, off this year.
Too much AFL is never enough with four successive primetime games from Wednesday to Saturday giving Seven four consecutive winning nights.

ABC Week 31

Primary share: 11.8%
Network share: 16.6%
Multichannels: Kids/Comedy 2.6% ME 0.4% News 1.8%

10 Week 31

Primary share 10.1%
Network share: 16.3%
Multichannels: Bold 4.0% Peach 2.3%

Even though 10 recorded its lowest primary all people survey share of the year, it still had several highlights.
Both Bachelor in Paradise and Have You Been Paying Attention? secured five of the top 10 spots for shows under 50.
For the second week in a row, 10 Play achieved its biggest week ever with Bachelor In Paradise the clear #1 show on BVOD.

SBS Week 31

Primary share: 5.1%
Network share: 8.7%
Multichannels: Viceland 1.5% Food 0.8% NITV 0.2% World Movies 1.1%

TV ratings Sunday August 2, Week 32, 2020

By James Manning

• Ninja Warrior, Nine News & 60 Minutes deliver for Nine
• Farmer slips week-on-week causing Seven share drop
• Dan Andrews presser on ABC News channel makes top 10

Seven News 1,230,000
Nine News 1,106,000
ABC News 891,000
Dan Andrews Press Conference 575,000 (ABC News)
Insiders 465,000
The Project 342,000/457,000
Seven News at 5 358,000
10 News 342,000/232,000
Nine News Late 337,000
Sunrise 269,000
SBS World News 243,000
Today 205,000

Sunday TV

Seven: Seven News pushed above 1.2m again with a national metro win and a smaller lead of 6,000 over Nine in Sydney.
Farmer Wants a Wife dropped just over 10% week-on-week after launching with 908,000 a week ago. The viewers who didn’t return missed some classic reality TV manoeuvring between Farmer Harry and his on again, off again, on again and then off again relationship with Madison.

Nine: The primary channel and the network were well clear of all comers last night as Nine recorded its second consecutive Sunday win just after the channel broke Seven’s weekly winning streak.
Nine News was a winner in Melbourne with the audience close to 450,000.
Australian Ninja Warrior then did 898,000, easily winning its timeslot and the key demos despite a dip of 14% from its launch audience last week of 1,040,000.
Also down week-on-week, but still winning its time slot, was the third on Nine’s winning trio, 60 Minutes, with 662,000.

10: Challenging couple of Sundays since the end of MasterChef with a second week on sub-10 shares for the primary channel. Despite that 10 is still able to claim #2 channel under 50.
Bachelor in Paradise was the channel’s best on 488,000 (up 12% week-on-week) after The Project 7pm just managed to crack 450,000. 

ABC: The broadcaster had four shows in the top 10. ABC News was just short of 900,000.
A new season of Shetland got an early Sunday timeslot and an audience of 616,000.
Vera then did 637,000.
The surprise performer in the top 10 was an important press conference from Victorian premier Dan Andrews where he announced a curfew for the state. The crowd watching at 2.30pm Sunday afternoon was 575,000 as the conference replaced an episode of Back Roads.

SBS: Audiences of just under 250,000 watched SBS World News and then the Hiroshima doco The Day They Dropped the Bomb.

Week 31-32 TV: Friday-Sunday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 9.9% 7 22.9% 9 18.5% 10  8.8% SBS One 4.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.5% 7TWO 3.9% GO! 2.6% 10 Bold 3.6% VICELAND 1.8%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 4.5% GEM 2.3% 10 Peach 3.1% Food Net 0.7%
ABC NEWS 2.0% 7flix 2.4% 9Life 2.0%     NITV 0.2%
        9Rush 1.5%     SBS World Movies 1.9%
TOTAL 15.0%   33.7%   26.8%   15.5%   8.9%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 8.3% 7 20.2% 9 15.2% 10  7.0% SBS One 6.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.5% 7TWO 4.5% GO! 5.6% 10 Bold 4.5% VICELAND 0.9%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 7.6% GEM 2.4% 10 Peach 2.3% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 2.2% 7flix 2.4% 9Life 2.1%     NITV 0.2%
        9Rush 1.0%     SBS World Movies 1.7%
TOTAL 14.6%   34.7%   26.3%   13.9%   10.4%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 14.9% 7 17.4% 9 23.4% 10  9.9% SBS One 5.9%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 1.9% 7TWO 2.7% GO! 2.8% 10 Bold 3.3% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 4.8% GEM 2.1% 10 Peach 1.5% Food Net 0.7%
ABC NEWS 2.0% 7flix 1.4% 9Life 1.8%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 0.7%     SBS World Movies 0.8%
TOTAL 19.2%   26.3%   30.9%   14.7%   8.9%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 14.7% 7 20.0% 9 21.1% WIN 6.1% SBS One 4.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.0% 7TWO 4.9% GO! 4.0% WIN Bold 4.0% VICELAND 1.6%
ABC ME 0.7% 7mate 4.1% GEM 4.1% WIN Peach 0.8% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 2.1% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.1% 9Life 1.8% Sky News  on WIN 1.2% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 0.4%
TOTAL 19.5%   30.1%   31.0%   12.1%   7.6%


87.1% 12.9%
All People Ratings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 998,000
  2. Nine News Nine 990,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 930,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 910,000
  5. ABC News ABC 736,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 612,000
  7. The Chase Australia Seven 548,000
  8. Better Homes And Gardens Seven 541,000
  9. Seven’s AFL: Friday Night Football Seven 517,000
  10. Hot Seat Nine 504,000


Saturday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 951,000
  2. Nine News Saturday Nine 868,000
  3. ABC News ABC 681,000
  4. Seven’s AFL: Saturday Night Football Seven 527,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 525,000
  6. Shakespeare And Hathaway ABC 446,000
  7. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line (R) Seven 355,000
  8. Getaway Nine 355,000
  9. 10 News First 10 322,000
  10. Seven’s AFL: Saturday Night Football – Post Match Seven 321,000
Sunday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,230,000
  2. Nine News Sunday Nine 1,106,000
  3. Australian Ninja Warrior Nine 898,000
  4. ABC News Sunday ABC 891,000
  5. Farmer Wants A Wife Seven 792,000
  6. 60 Minutes Nine 662,000
  7. Vera ABC 637,000
  8. Shetland ABC 616,000
  9. Back Roads S6 PM ABC NEWS 575,000
  10. Bachelor In Paradise 10 488,000
  11. Offsiders PM ABC NEWS 475,000
  12. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 457,000
  13. Seven News At 5 Seven 358,000
  14. 10 News First 10 342,000
  15. The Sunday Project 6.30pm 10 342,000
  16. Nine News: Late Edition Nine 337,000
  17. ABC News PM ABC NEWS 303,000
  18. Insiders AM ABC 296,000
  19. Between Two Worlds Seven 279,000
  20. Saturday Landline PM ABC 274,000
Sunday Multichannel
  1. Back Roads S6 PM ABC NEWS 575,000
  2. Offsiders PM ABC NEWS 475,000
  3. ABC News PM ABC NEWS 303,000
  4. Close Of Business PM ABC NEWS 259,000
  5. Landline PM ABC NEWS 254,000
  6. The Mix PM ABC NEWS 220,000
  7. Seven’s AFL: Sunday Afternoon Football 7mate 199,000
  8. ABC News AM ABC NEWS 190,000
  9. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 182,000
  10. Insiders AM ABC NEWS 169,000
  11. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 167,000
  12. M- Die Hard PM (R) 7mate 165,000
  13. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 157,000
  14. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 152,000
  15. Weekend Breakfast: 10am AM ABC NEWS 152,000
  16. Offsiders AM ABC NEWS 152,000
  17. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  18. Play School Art Time PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 142,000
  19. Shaun The Sheep AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 136,000
  20. Digby Dragon AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
Sunday STV
  1. Live: NRL: Storm V Knights FOX LEAGUE 265,000
  2. Live: AFL Fremantle V Collingwood FOX FOOTY 228,000
  3. Live: NRL: Bulldogs V Eels FOX LEAGUE 181,000
  4. Live: AFL Gold Coast V GWS FOX FOOTY 152,000
  5. Live: F1: Great Britain Race FOX SPORTS 506 113,000
  6. Live: Sunday Night With Matty Johns FOX LEAGUE 112,000
  7. Credlin Sky News Live 111,000
  8. Weekend Live Sky News Live 103,000
  9. Live: Bounce: Episode 21 FOX FOOTY 100,000
  10. Outsiders Sky News Live 88,000
  11. Outsiders Sky News Live 84,000
  12. Your World Sky News Live 70,000
  13. Weekend Live Sky News Live 67,000
  14. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 64,000
  15. Business Weekend Sky News Live 61,000
  16. Live: Motorsport: Grand Prix Sunday FOX SPORTS 506 58,000
  17. Weekend Live Sky News Live 56,000
  18. Live: AFL Pre Game Sunday FOX FOOTY 53,000
  19. Chris Smith & Friends Sky News Live 46,000
  20. Live: Big League Wrap FOX LEAGUE 44,000

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

Harold Mitchell breached director duties but judge roasts ASIC

A Federal Court judge has found former Tennis Australia director Harold Mitchell breached his duties as a director, but ruled the corporate regulator failed to back up conspiracy theories in its case against him and the sporting body’s former president, Stephen Healy, over the decision to award Seven West Media broadcast rights to the Australian Open in 2012, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Justice Jonathan Beach dismissed the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s case against Healy and “only narrowly” ruled in the regulator’s favour against Mitchell, stating he breached his duties as a director three times, but “rejected the balance of its case”.

Justice Beach suggested Mitchell face a financial penalty, but unlikely a ban from being a company director.

Justice Beach wrote that upon analysing the evidence, Tennis Australia’s deal with Seven was anticipated as a good one for the sporting body.

[Read more]

How media's quiet achiever helped save AAP

Former News Corp and Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh is the public face of the against the odds effort to remould the 85-year old AAP organisation founded by Keith Murdoch, which was in intensive care and poised to go under before the late emergence of the consortium, pulled together by sustainable investment manager Nick Harrington and philanthropist Dr John McKinnon, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

On August 4, AAP 2.0 or Acta Diurna AAP as it will be known, begins its new life. Some hard decisions have been made to let go of a little less than 100 staff to keep costs down as it attempts to make the transition to a financially viable model in a few years.

The new AAP faces life without its main sources of revenue of more than $10 million per annum from former shareholders News Corp and Nine. To buy AAP, the consortium raised funds from a set of impact investors – those aimed at investing in businesses that make money and also provide a social good –to help the newswire in the short-term.

Tonagh said his motivations for getting involved with AAP were saving journalists’ jobs, the importance of diversity of voice in the media, and fostering entrepreneurial start-up style media businesses.

“We’re very adamant that this is not a philanthropic venture. We want it to be a not-for-profit, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be able to pay its own way. Ideally, we’ve got this transition period where clearly we’re adapting to a different business size,” he says.

[Read now]

Google threatens to dump Google News in Australia

Google has refused to rule out axing its Google News product in Australia, a move that could allow misinformation to thrive unchallenged on its platform and allow rival tech companies to swoop in and steal market share, reports The Australian’s David Swan.

Tech giant Google could walk away and remove its news offering in Australia altogether, as it did in Spain in 2014 when forced to pay publishers there.

Google’s Australia and New Zealand managing director, Mel Silva, said in an interview with the ABC on Friday: “Over the last month or so we’ve announced plans to come to the table with a content licensing deal. We want to hope that those can continue and in that there’s going to be some framework that enables the commercial reality to take place.

“So that’s our goal right now, but nothing’s off the table.”

The degree to which news matters to Google is disputed by the tech giant. Google has claimed it makes only $10m a year in revenue from news in Australia, though News Corp Australasia executive chair Michael Miller has said modelling shows the figure could be as high as $1bn, a figure echoed by former senator Nick Xenophon, who helped spark the ACCC inquiry. Nine chair Peter Costello has estimated the tech giants should pay media companies around $600m.

[Read more]

Hawke-era 'aggregation' brings regional broadcasters to their knees

At midnight on March 31 1989 former Nine boss Bruce Gyngell, the man who launched Australian television in 1956, welcomed WIN Television to Canberra from a studio in London, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s “dream” – to give regional Australians greater variety in television services – had finally become a reality and viewers who previously had one commercial television network (Capital TV, now Southern Cross Austereo) now had choice.

“Nowhere else in the world has such an ambitious scheme been undertaken,” Prime Media Group chief executive Allan Hoy said as he launched his Canberra station at the same time.

Hawke’s ‘equalisation’ policy changed the television landscape. Decades later it is bringing the regional broadcasting industry to its knees.

Two regional broadcasters, Bruce Gordon’s WIN Corp and Southern Cross Austereo, are preparing to renegotiate their affiliate deals with metropolitan partners Network 10 and Nine Entertainment Co (owner of this masthead) which could lead them to switch places. But a larger question mark remains over whether regional broadcasters have a viable future at all.

Industry sources familiar with the original deals said the regional broadcasters gave anywhere between 18 per cent and 29 percent of revenue to their metro partners. But that revenue share split has nearly doubled over the last 30 years as expensive sports broadcasting rights deals and large investments in reality shows and drama gave metro broadcasters leverage to push for more advertising revenue from regional markets.

[Read more]

News Brands

John Hewson and A Current Affair head to mediation in defamation fight

Former federal Liberal leader John Hewson and Nine’s A Current Affair will head to mediation after he launched defamation action against the program over a segment on an insurance broking company he chairs, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michaela Whitbourn.

In documents filed in the Federal Court, the retired politician alleges a May 18 broadcast defamed him by suggesting he “failed to direct” GSA Insurance to pay insurance claims relating to a thunderstorm that caused water damage in Storage King units at North Parramatta.

In the Federal Court on Friday, Nine’s barrister Lyndelle Barnett said the “primary issue” in the case was the meanings conveyed by the broadcast. Nine denied any of the six defamatory imputations pleaded by Hewson’s lawyers were conveyed.

Hewson’s barrister, Matthew Richardson, said it was a “small case” and significant resources would not be required in compiling outlines of evidence.

Justice Michael Wigney ordered the parties to attend mediation by September 24.

“I hope, for the parties’ sake, the matter settles,” he said.

If not, he will set a trial date on September 25.

[Read more]

Media companies seek a clearer picture on travel across borders

Australia’s commercial television industry has written to the Morrison Government requesting explicit permission for journalists and production staff to travel over state borders during the coronavirus pandemic, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Border closures that have been reintroduced because of a second wave of cases have made it difficult for journalists and producers to travel, as permits do not specifically describe media as an essential activity and the rules vary depending on the state or territory.

The issues range from local media workers being unable to apply for work permits and getting journalists and technical crews to Queensland so that they can cover the AFL. Documentaries and reality television shows are also being affected. Sources said that the letter does not request for exemptions to quarantine rules, but instead asks for a single permit process for all states and territories.

[Read more]


3AW’s new breakfast co-host Russel Howcroft eyes ABC audience

With big shoes to fill, Russel Howcroft is hoping to lure some of ABC’s audience to his new 3AW radio breakfast show with veteran broadcaster Ross Stevenson, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

The former television and advertising boss has taken over from John Burns, who co-hosted Melbourne’s top-rating 3AW breakfast show with Stevenson since 2001 until his retirement last Friday.

Given the big job at hand, Howcroft say he plans to follow Stevenson’s lead on the show when he debuts on Monday morning. Howcroft is also hoping to attract new listeners, including those that watch ABC’s long-running ad-focused TV show Gruen, on which he is a panellist.

“It would be wonderful if some new listeners gave it a try, and as a result they could hear the radio genius of Ross Stevenson,” Howcroft told The Australian.

Howcroft has spent a couple of weeks training with Stevenson, who he has known for around 20 years, and the “amazing production team”, led by executive producer Kate Stevenson.

[Read more]


Gourmet Traveller Wine tries to trade out of administration

Failed Sydney restaurateur Stan Sarris has another business facing financial difficulty – Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine Pty Ltd, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Caitlin Fitzsimmons.

Sarris, best known as Rodney Adler‘s business partner in the Banc/GPO empire back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, is bullish about the future of GT Wine despite the magazine falling into administration last year under the weight of more than a million dollars in debt.

The magazine, helmed by long-time editor Judy Sarris (Stan’s wife), is still publishing as usual as the business tries to trade its way out of administration and repay hundreds of thousands of dollars. Creditors include a who’s who of food and wine media and hatted restaurants Africola in Adelaide and Gerard’s Bistro in Brisbane.

Many contributors still have an ongoing relationship with the magazine and would not talk on the record, with one pointing out that had the magazine stayed with its former owners, Bauer Media, it probably would not have survived the German publisher’s recent cull of titles.

Judy Sarris has been editor of GT Wine since 2003 when it was owned by ACP and then continued when Bauer Media bought ACP from Nine (now publisher of this masthead) in 2012. Bauer sold GT Wine in 2015 and the magazine is owned 20 per cent directly by Judy Sarris and 80 per cent by the Sarrises jointly through a holding company, Spud Media Investments.

[Read more]

Sports Media

Kangaroos v All Blacks exhibition coming to Pay-Per-View in 2020?

Footy fans will be slugged $50 to watch a proposed Kangaroos v All Blacks match on a pay-per-view network, just like a major fight or UFC event, reports News Corp’s Phil Rothfield.

Promoters need the television sales, worth about $6 million, to pay the NRL and New Zealand Rugby Union $8 million each to take part.

The Main Event-style coverage will face legal issues because free-to-air broadcaster Channel 9 has the rights to all international rugby league. There is also the potential backlash to consider ­ the case of many footy fans struggling in the COVID-19 environment to even put food on the table, let alone having to pay to watch an exhibition game.

Even with the pay-per-view sales, it is doubtful the game will go ahead this year.

Promoters also need $6 million from the Queensland government and tourism to meet their budget.

This is highly unlikely with the state’s borders closed and the fact the game will not attract interstate or overseas visitors.

[Read more]

Big participation doesn’t lead to TV ratings success for sport

Australia’s most popular participation sports have failed to convert their big on-field numbers to television viewers and lucrative right deals, a study has found, reports The Australian’s John Stensholt.

Television consultancy business Media Rights Value has found there is no correlation between a sport having large junior numbers or amateur participants and ratings on TV, and sports with big player numbers have not done a good enough job to create fan interest in their competitions.

Sports need their grassroots competitions to survive and thrive to create the pathways for players to emerge in their elite competitions, but those players won’t tune in to watch without the excitement and competitiveness of the league and a closer connection with and passion for the clubs by fans.

“You can’t assume there’s a natural flow on from participation to viewing,” said MRV director Colin Smith. “You need to have a strategy in how you get fans interested or entice them to follow your particular league. You have to continually build personality as well.”

More people watched the AFL than cricket despite having similar participation numbers, while golf, netball and basketball all had high participation numbers but fewer viewers.

[Read more]

NRL valued at $3b as private equity group to offer all 16 clubs $20m

A private equity group that is trying to buy a 20 per cent share of the NRL will offer the 16 clubs a one-off payment of $20 million to get their support, reports News Corp’s Phil Rothfield.

On top of that, the NRL administration would get $300 million to strategically invest and put the game in a position of strength like never before.

Sounds almost too good to be true.

Businessman and Melbourne Storm chairman Matt Tripp is in talks with the independent commission and private investors in the UK to form a partnership.

The NRL has been recently valued at around $3 billion.

The investment group under that valuation would pay $600 million for a 20 per cent share.

The cash-strapped clubs would get half as an incentive to support the idea.

[Read more]

AFL Media journalist Mitch Cleary stood down over Brooke Cotchin tweet

AFL Media journalist Mitch Cleary has been stood down indefinitely after publishing on Twitter the Brooke Cotchin Instagram post that saw the Tigers handed a $45,000 fine by the league, reports News Corp’s Jon Ralph.

Brooke Cotchin’s post had been widely seen before she deleted it early in the week but she had not been named in print or online until Cleary’s Friday night social media post.

Veteran journalist Caroline Wilson had named Cotchin on radio on 3AW on Thursday, with Cotchin the only Richmond wife in the Gold Coast hub at that stage.

The Herald Sun understands the AFL viewed him as an AFL employee ahead of his obligations as a journalist.

The decision to stand him down is believed to have come from the AFL.

The Tigers were fined $45,000, with $25,000 suspended by the AFL.

[Read more]

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