By James Manning
• Seven’s director of network programming Angus Ross comments
The head of ITV Studios Australia David Mott knows a fair bit about The Voice… and how to lure TV executives by what the format could do to their business. In a former role as director of programming at Network 10, Mott and his then deputy Beverley McGarvey (now running the ViacomCBS-owned channel in Australia) were bidding for the show‘s format being sold by Shine. As detailed by then AFR executive editor James Chessell, Mott had negotiated a 2012 bid of $18m for the format with then Shine global chief Mark Fennessy.
However Nine, then under David Gyngell, somehow managed to find $20m, plus another $1m for each of the coaches, and secured the deal.
Fast-forward to 2020 and Mott has again been involved in a deal for The Voice format in Australia with Seven under James Warburton sneaking in to take the format after Nine failed to renew, something similar to what happened with Big Brother. While Warburton was blamed by some for not securing The Voice when he ran 10, it was a deal done before his arrival and subsequent 12 months at the channel.
In TV in 2020 7.30pm formats are more important than ever. If you have to spend big to secure them, so be it. The savings come from the rest of the day, anytime before 6pm or after 8.30pm.
The assumption that Nine was spending as much as $40m in 2020 to make The Voice was thought unlikely by some. Seven is believed to have budgeted maybe half of that to get the series to air in 2021, albeit in a more “compact” format.
After 12 months of carefully managing the budgets at Seven, Warburton has successfully paid down much debt and is now spending more securing formats that can be made if Covid-19 continues to impact productions in 2021. Recent international victims have included the Idol and Got Talent format here and in the US. The Voice could perhaps replace Australia’s Got Talent in the Seven schedule.
Speaking to Mediaweek about taking on the format, Seven’s director of network programming Angus Ross said: “The chance to develop The Voice to be relevant for 2021 was just too good an opportunity to pass up. Today’s audiences are looking for new and exciting innovations and our plans for The Voice in 2021 will deliver a series that is more engaging, more exciting, with more event-styled episodes, while allowing for a reduced production financial commitment.
“Multiple formats simply can’t be made at present so we are shoring up our content pipeline under very difficult and unpredictable production conditions.”
Ross even managed to forecast (almost) how Nine might respond to Seven’s programming raid on an old format: “When it comes to the best formats age is just a number,” said Ross. “Our track record this year in rejuvenating formats with our production partners speaks for itself.”
A Nine spokesperson actually said on Sunday: “Unfortunately due to the age of the show and declining demographic profile, The Voice had become by far the poorest financial performer on our slate. We wish Seven well in their quest to revive yet another Nine show.
“We are very excited about the schedule we have now set for reinvigorating our slate and we will have announcements at our upfronts on September 16. We remain focused on our audience and the financial performance of Nine.”
As Seven’s Warburton now starts to pick up the pace so does speculation again he could be positioning the business for sale. A year ago that would have been a challenge with the debt and ratings outlook. With a major overhaul of both those, the fog surrounding the future of the business is certainly lifting.
By Trent Thomas
• Editor Louise Roberts on company’s third editorial pillar
From August 31st News Corp will be replacing its lifestyle lift-out HiberNation with a new digital destination and eight-page print lift-out focusing on lifestyle to form the company’s third editorial pillar after news and sport, titled Smart Daily.
The lift-out will aim to help readers live a better and smarter life using content generated by experts in areas such as:
• Money advice and cost of living
• Mental health and wellness
• Entertainment – what to watch, read and listen to
• Food and recipes
• Puzzles and trivia with The Shark – Brydon Coverdale from Network 7s The Chase Australia
• Parenting advice
• Savvy shopping – great deals and advice
Columnists will include Edwina Bartholomew writing about life as a new working mum, Joe Hilderbrand’s weekly view on TV and entertainment and Serina Bird who anchors a new section called Savvy Shopper designed to help people find the best grocery and shopping deals on offer. Smart Daily will also house News Corp experts such as Sophie Elsworth and Anthony Keane writing about money, cost of living and finance. For food content, Smart Daily will tap into partnerships with Taste, delicious. and Australia’s Best Recipes.
Mediaweek spoke with editor Louise Roberts about the change who said that HiberNation was a response to how their readers where copping with lockdown and based on feedback from readers was time for an evolution.
“With winter ending it seemed the perfect time to pivot to a new lifestyle publication. While also bearing in mind Victoria is in lockdown so everything is through that lens as well.”
“We live in a new world where social distancing and being very vigilant about your health is now our regular lives.”
“Content in Smart Daily is very audience-led and they let us know what they want help with. Cost of living is a key issue with people having lost their job, or worried about job security, or working four days a week. “
Before the change was made News Corp conducted audience research to find out what their audience concerns were and combined this with what topics were trending with their readers in their internal system.
“We noticed there was a lot of searches around how do I manage my budget, what do I do if I lost my job, how can I feed my family cheaply but healthy. Also, how do I cope with things like my kids are stressed how do I reassure them and I am not sleeping well how do I get a good nights sleep. We will be helping people navigate that.”
Roberts said that News Corp’s readers want to get the most out of life despite the current state of the world and Smart Daily tries to help readers to accomplish that.
“With restrictions around the country changing besides Victoria, we thought we should move our lifestyle content more towards that space. Keeping HiberNation going forever was never the plan. It was more a point in time to change our content to help our readers, and our research suggests our readers now need help with the next stage of their lives.”
Roberts said that a lot of the inspiration for both HiberNation and Smart Daily is that everyone has experienced the same thing.
“Often you report on a story from afar but now we have lived these changes with them and been through this together and now it is a bit of an evolution with this new section.”
In addition to the daily lift-out, an extra four-page Smart guide will be published regularly featuring themes around specific topics, ranging from superannuation to camping and caravanning, spring gardening to pets.
Nova Entertainment has announced that after 18 years with the company, including 12 years as CEO, Cathy O’Connor is leaving Nova to take over as CEO of oOh!media Limited.
Nova Chief Commercial Officer Peter Charlton will succeed O’Connor on 2 November 2020.
Charlton has been Chief Commercial Officer for eight years and worked with Nova in various roles since August 2012. He has spent more than 20 years in the media industry.
Nova Entertainment executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch said: “Cathy has been a great leader of the Nova team. Nova Entertainment is the number one commercial radio network in Australia and is continuing to outperform the industry in a challenging time. I know she will do well in her new role.”
O’Connor said: “It has been a privilege to serve as CEO of Nova Entertainment over the last 12 years. Leading one of the media industry’s most innovative companies, our team has successfully continued to create content our audiences love, reaching them through new and creative ways. Fresh leadership under Peter Charlton will see NOVA continue to deliver on its strategic objectives, bringing to the role with him a wealth of experience and insights.”
Nova also announced today that Peter Colosimo will become chief operating officer. Colosimo has been with Nova for seven years and has a deep understanding of the business.
Nova Entertainment executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch said: “Today’s appointments of Peter Charlton and Pete Colosimo reflect the depth of talent we have at NOVA Entertainment. Our ratings success this year has demonstrated the strength of Nova and the creativity of all our team. Peter and Pete have the operational and commercial experience to accelerate that success and our growth.”
Peter Charlton said: “I am honoured to be appointed as CEO and have the opportunity to lead the talented and hard-working team here at Nova. Under Cathy the Company has gone from strength to strength and we have the right people and the right culture to continue to build on our success.”
oOh!media has announced the appointment of Cathy O’Connor as managing director and chief executive officer, from early 2021.
This follows the announcement of Peter Charlton as the new Nova CEO replacing O’Connor.
O’Connor comes to oOh!media with 35 years of sales experience working for Australian media organisations, including the last 12 years as CEO of Nova Entertainment Group and five years prior to that as Managing Director of DMG Radio.
O’Connor’s appointment follows a global search for a replacement for founder and CEO, Brendon Cook, who earlier this year announced his intention to stand down from the role after more than 30 years.
O’Connor will join the company’s executive team in early 2021. Cook will continue to consult until at least the end of 2021.
Chair of the oOh! Board, Tony Faure said:
“The Board was pleased to be able to attract a high-quality field of candidates, and after significant consideration, we felt Cathy was the ideal person to lead oOh! in its next stage of growth. We would also like to place on record our thanks to Brendon for his continued commitment and professionalism in navigating through the pandemic, and for agreeing to stay on until the end of this year.
“Cathy, who is highly regarded by the industry, brings extensive experience as a leader of successful media organisations, and in her most recent role at Nova, has created significant value.
“She brings a range of qualities which we felt were suited to taking the business through its next stage of growth, in particular her proven success in steering a media sales organisation, leading the technology strategy and driving organic growth initiatives, even in the most challenging of environments.
“Cathy has a balanced and engaging leadership style and brings a number of other qualities that we felt were important for the business, including a demonstrated ability to drive efficiencies, develop great teams and build strong networks in both the corporate and agency environments.
O’Connor said of her new role:
“Despite the challenges of 2020, the out of home sector is an exciting place to be in, with strong growth prospects and increasing prominence in a digital future.
“oOh! is a great business with an extensive national reach backed by both leading data smarts and a fantastic team of professionals that are the best in their field.
“I am looking forward to joining the team and building on oOh!’s success and guiding the Company’s next phase of growth.”
Launching on the first day of spring, Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) on Foxtel serves up a delicious cocktail of ‘ripped from the headlines’ TV movies, biopics, Hollywood glamour, murder, and drama. Listed below are just some of the TV movies to be featured.
Academy Award and Tony Award-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones stars in Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story, a Lifetime feature based on the life of drug lord Griselda Blanco, a pioneer in the Miami-based cocaine trade.
A chronicle of the fiery, legendary on-again off-again romance between Hollywood stars Elizabeth Taylor (Lindsay Lohan) and Richard Burton (Australian/NZ actor Grant Bowler).
Laura Collins (Shannen Doherty), single mum to daughter Sarah (Matreya Scarrwener), has had a history of rocky relationships, so when Sarah begins dating the popular and charismatic Rob Tennison (Callan Potter), Laura is thrilled. But when it becomes increasingly clear that Rob has a darker, possessive side, Laura lives in a state of denial about their relationship until Sarah goes missing. Laura must find the will to fight for justice for Sarah when a case against Rob is brought to trial and presided over by a powerful judge (Mira Sorvino).
Starring Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Whoopi Goldberg and Golden Globe winner Ving Rhames, A Day Late and a Dollar Short is the uplifting story of a mother who tries to help her dysfunctional family through life’s ups and downs.
Starring John Corbett and Sara Canning. A detective who discovers similarities in cases up and down California’s I-5 corridor grows determined to prove that the seemingly unrelated murders are the work of one man. Based on a true story.
Starring Harvey Keitel and filmed in Australia. When a young woman dies while scuba diving on her dream honeymoon, authorities begin to suspect her new husband may know more than he’s letting on. Based on a true story.
Starring Vivica A. Fox. Following a break-up with her unfaithful fiancé, a young college professor agrees to live at her sister’s and watch over the home and her 17-year-old niece. Unbeknownst to her, a gorgeous tenant, who is friendly to her young niece, is living in the guest house. But things aren’t that simple as this mysterious stranger turns out to have a troubled past with dangerous consequences.
A star high-school dancer starts using prescription painkillers after a knee injury sidelines her. Feeling isolated, she is adopted by a popular group, which leads to sharing her pills, having regular “pharm” parties and falling in love for the first time. But when her prescription runs out, they resort to buying pills, only to have their lives forever changed when they discover their classmate dealer has been selling them heroin under the guise of being a cheap Mexican painkiller. Starring Bella Thorne.
After struggling through a painful divorce, April (Ashley Turner), decides to get back into the dating game and is swept off her feet by the handsome Jacob (Aiden Turner). But Jacob is hiding a dark side – and a wife?!
Ava (Savannah Lee May) an incoming transfer student, reluctantly tries out for the cheerleading team at the insistence of her overly-ambitious mother, Candice (Denise Richards). Katrina (Allie DeBerry), the head cheerleader and most popular girl in school, unexpectedly cozies up to Ava who makes the squad and instantly becomes high school royalty. As she transitions into her new life, Ava discovers becoming part of the squad comes at a price.
Lifetime Movie Network or stream on demand from Tuesday September 1, 2020.
Top photo: Lindsay Lohan and Grant Bowler starring in Liz & Dick
The arrival of The Block couldn’t win the week for Nine, but it got close. Nine and Seven were tied on a primary share of 19.3% which is a similar result to the previous week ago for Seven and an improvement of 0.6 for Nine.
What stopped Nine getting the primary channel win was Seven’s two-part Farmer Wants a Wife finale which trailed The Block launch on Sunday but then outrated the renovators on the Monday. The AFL was also a factor in Seven’s win again with audiences of close to 500,000 for each of the games covered across Sunday, Thursday and Friday.
10 Bold was the #1 multichannel for 10 just days before it launches 10 Shake in September.
Seven’s trio of multichannels delivered the biggest boost with a combined 9.5% from 7TWO, 7mate and 7flix pushing Seven to a clear network win.
Primary share: 19.3% (19.4%)
Network share: 28.9% (28.8%)
Multichannels: 7TWO 3.6% (3.5%) 7mate 3.7% (3.7%) 7flix 2.2% (2.3%)
The return of the Farmer Wants a Wife format to TV wasn’t a huge love hit – just one of the farmers was still with their chosen one in the reunion special. But when it comes to a successful TV production that 1 out of 5 lifts to close to 5 out of 5. The program was well cast and looked great on the screen. The assembled group of production talent might have been too many chiefs, but it seemed to work in Seven’s favour. The show was made by Eureka and Fremantle which brought together Chris Culvenor, Paul Franklin and Ricky Proost with Jonathan Summerhayes who worked with Seven’s Sonya Wilkes with a final tick of approval from Seven’s James Warburton, Angus Ross and Andrew Backwell. Anyway, it worked. And gives Seven a second new 7.30pm format in their schedule after Big Brother. Farmer offered major year on year time slot growth in key demographics and huge audiences on 7plus.
Angus Ross, Seven’s network programming director, said: “We’ve reinvented our 2020 entertainment schedule with proven, powerful formats and Farmer Wants A Wifehas 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.”
Can Seven do the same with The Voice?
Primary share: 19.3% (18.7%)
Network share: 27.7% (27.1)%
Multichannels: GO! 2.5% (2.4%) Gem 2.4% (2.5%) 9Life 2.2% (2.3%) 9Rush 1.2% (1.2%)
The launch of The Block with three episodes lifted Nine’s share, but not by much. The launch episode did 951,000 with the following two episodes each close to 750,000.
The only other non-news offerings close to or over half a million were Halifax-Retribution (521,000 and a second ep on 469,000) and Emergency on 499,000.
Primary share: 12.8% (13.2%)
Network share: 17.1% (18.0%)
Multichannels: Kids/Comedy 2.4% (2.6%) ME 0.4% (0.4%) News 1.5% (1.8%)
Hard Quiz cracked 700,000 again, with others over 600,000 Vera, Brush with Fameand Mad As Hell.
Primary share 10.8% (10.8%)
Network share: 17.0% (16.9%)
Multichannels: Bold 4.0% (3.9%) Peach 2.2% (2.2%)
Despite a Covid-19 shutdown, The Masked Singer had enough in the bank to let 10 continue to roll out episodes. Both reveal segments made it over 800,000 while the rest of both episodes was just over and just under 700,000.
The return of Gogglebox Australia was just over 600,000 while the two episodes of The Bachelor were in the 500,000s.
Primary share: 5.8% (5.6%)
Network share: 9.4% (9.1%)
Multichannels: Viceland 1.5% (1.4%) Food 0.9% (1.0%) NITV 0.3% (0.2%) World Movies 1.0% (1.0%)
The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys was again the channel’s best with 342,000. Great Asian Railway Journeys was not far behind on 296,000.
The channel successfully programmed The Salisbury Poisonings across four successive nights with a solid 257,000 average in the 8.30pm time slot. Not so successful perhaps pushing Matchbox Pictures’ Hungry Ghosts into the 9.30pm slot. It started the week on 131,000 and by Thursday had withered to 87,000.
* Figures in brackets are Week 34 shares.
Top photo: Hungry Ghosts
By James Manning
• Singles: BTS and Delta chart as Cardi B holds at #1 for second week
• Albums: The Killers strike again, Taylor Swift hemmed in by debuts
WAP from Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion spends a second week at #1. The first female rapper to top the US Hot 100 chart twice helped make headlines last week as she explained to Kyle and Jackie O her “horny anthem” has a “clean” version with somehow even more suggestive lyrics.
The highest top 50 debut this week, and very nearly landing a #1 debut, is K-pop superstar band BTS with the appropriately titled Dynamite. Their first English-language single becomes their best performing in Australia and is their second time on the chart in six months after On peaked at #29 in March this year. The track has also scored the band their first UK top 10 singles chart appearance.
A very welcome chart arrival this week at #36 is Delta Goodrem with Paralyzed. It has been a while since appearances on the ARIA Singles Chart though with Think About You her last entry with a peak of #19 in April 2018. Her new album Bridge Over Troubled Dreams is due later this year and a TEG tour is on sale for the first half of 2021.
Other chart newbies this week:
#42 Jubel with Dancing in the Moonlight featuring Neimy. The Swedish electronic duo recorded this in 2018 with a vocal by Swedish singer Neimy and the dance cover version has been bubbling away for two years, gathering some real momentum this year.
#44 Headie One with Ain’t It Different featuring AJ Tracey and Stormzy. ARIA Chart debut for the rapper from North London.
#49 Jason Derulo with Take You Dancing. Newish single charts after video is released.
After four consecutive weeks at #1 with folklore, Taylor Swift has slipped a spot to #2, finding herself now hemmed in by two major new releases.
Taking top spot for the fourth time with its sixth studio album is The Killers with Imploding the Mirage. Almost three years since their former #1 Wonderful Wonderful, the band have some superstar contributors including Lindsey Buckingham, k.d. lang, and Weyes Blood and Adam Granduciel from The War on Drugs.
New at #3 is the six-track EP In A Dream from ARIA-winner Troye Sivan. It is the first new material to be released since his second album Bloom which peaked at #3 two years ago. The Perth-born singer has been in lockdown in Melbourne with his family after returning from the US earlier this year.
Four of the five new albums on the chart this week made the top 10. Let’s call it five new in the top 10 if we count the re-issue of Cannot Buy My Soul: The Songs Of Kev Carmody, which comes with new material from Electric Fields, Courtney Barnett, Kasey Chambers & Jimmy Barnes, Mo’Ju & Birdz, Kate Miller-Heidke and Alice Skye, 13 years after its original release. The 2-disc coloured vinyl version sounds like a sensible investment and it topped the vinyl chart this week.
Three other chart debuts this week:
#9: Hooligan Hefs with Living in Sin EP. A top 50 debut for the western Sydney hip hop artist. The prolific rapper has released eight singles so far since the start of 2019.
#10: Tim McGraw with Here on Earth. Album #16 for the US country legend. The album is McGraw’s second top 10 here after Two Lanes of Freedomin 2013. His biggest chart success here though was The Rest of Our Liferecorded with wife Faith Hill which peaked at #9 in 2017.
#22: Alex The Astronaut with The Theory of Absolutely Nothing. Chart debut for the Sydney singer-songwriter Alexandra Lynn after two EPs in 2017 and a live album, The Space Tour Live (At Your Place),in 2019.
Top photo: Delta Goodrem
By Trent Thomas
• The Block bounces back from last weeks lull with 1m+ for room reveal
• Plate of Origin dishes up 667,000 for launch episode as China beats Australia with perfect score
Seven: Manu Feildel along with Seven Network newcomers Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan launched Seven’s new reality TV cooking show Plate of Origin last night with an audience of 667,000. This beat the launch of fellow Seven cooking format MKR: The Rivals which earlier this year had 498,000 tune in but was far behind Preston and Mehigan’s alma mater MasterChef which had 1,228,000 in its season 12 premiere. Plate of Origin was followed by Crime Investigation Australia: Most Infamous which had 369,000.
For the night Seven finished second with a primary share of 18.4% and a network share of 26.2%
Nine: Nine has won another Sunday after The Block has seemed to have bounced back from its mini-slump last week with the show’s first room reveal for the season also producing the first 1m+ audience for the year. 60 Minutes then had 456,000 as Nine had a primary share of 21.4% and a network share of 30.1%.
10: 10 had another quiet Sunday night without any of its tent pole programming in the 7:30 pm slot with both The Masked Singer and The Bachelor staying midweek shows. The best performing show for the night was The Sunday Project with 362,000 as 10 had a primary share of 7.4% and a network share of 12.7%.
ABC: ABC had a big Sunday night with a primary share of 18% and a network share of 22.1% which helped the public broadcaster to rank third for the night in both areas. This was once again led by the Sunday combo of Vera (713,000) and Shetland (658,000).
SBS: SBS had a primary share of 5.8% and a network share of 8.9% after airing Lost Pyramid of the Aztecs in its 7:30 pm slot and then continued its live coverage of the Tour De France.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.8%||7TWO||4.0%||GO!||2.9%||10 Bold||3.4%||VICELAND||1.7%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||3.4%||GEM||2.0%||10 Peach||2.8%||Food Net||0.8%|
|9Rush||1.4%||SBS World Movies||1.0%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.1%||7TWO||3.6%||GO!||3.3%||10 Bold||3.7%||VICELAND||0.8%|
|ABC ME||0.3%||7mate||3.2%||GEM||3.8%||10 Peach||2.1%||Food Net||1.0%|
|9Rush||1.7%||SBS World Movies||1.4%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.2%||7TWO||2.4%||GO!||4.0%||10 Bold||4.5%||VICELAND||1.7%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||3.9%||GEM||2.1%||10 Peach||1.8%||Food Net||0.6%|
|9Rush||0.8%||SBS World Movies||0.6%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.6%||7TWO||3.9%||GO!||3.9%||WIN Bold||4.7%||VICELAND||1.6%|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||4.4%||GEM||4.1%||WIN Peach||1.4%||Food Net||0.6%|
|ABC NEWS||1.1%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.4%||9Life||2.4%||Sky News on WIN||1.4%||NITV||0.1%|
|SUNDAY METRO ALL TV|
Friday Top 10
Saturday Top 10
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
Seven West Media will try to steal popular television programs such as Ninja Warrior and Love Island Australia from rival free-to-air networks, intensifying a battle over increasingly expensive content that guarantees large audiences, reports SMH’s Zoe Samios.
The Kerry Stokes-controlled company announced on Sunday it had commissioned The Voice from ITV Studios Australia in an attempt to lock in content schedule for next year that wasn’t reliant on international production. Seven’s deal puts an end to an eight-year run of the show on rival network Nine (owner of this masthead), which had flagged last week that the show was becoming too expensive to produce.
Sources said Seven is also trying to secure Ninja Warrior, which is produced by Endemol Shine, and Love Island Australia, which is run by ITV Studios. Both shows have been on Nine Network for the last few years, but cost large amounts of money to produce.
The Voice will add to next year’s program schedule which includes Holy Moley, Farmer Wants a Wife and Big Brother. Long-standing cooking show My Kitchen Rules will not run and Seven will look at the performance of Plate of Origin before commissioning another season. Seven has been looking to outsource more of its programming to production companies as it tries to sell its studio division. Banijay, which owns Endemol, had been in talks to buy Seven Studios, the division which creates Home and Away and Better Homes & Gardens.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on theme parks and cinema business Village Roadshow, which was forced to close its attractions from March and, apart from Melbourne, began reopening last month, reports News Corp’s Max Mason.
Village, which has entered into an implementation agreement with local private equity firm BGH Capital, reported a net loss of $117.4 million for the 2019-20 financial year, compared with a loss of $6.6 million in the previous year.
This included a $73.9 million contribution to the loss from significant items, resulting from $92.1 million in impairments of Topgolf, Australian Outback Spectacular, Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas, cinemas, film distribution royalties, marketing solutions and the film distribution business.
Revenue fell more than 25 per cent to $732.4 million. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation slumped more than 75 per cent to $31.1 million.
Village said it continued to take action on costs to reduce the effects of fewer visitors. It had also secured additional debt funding from existing lenders and the Queensland Treasury Corporation.
Village shareholders will vote on the BGH proposal in November. The independent board committee, lead by former Foxtel chief executive Peter Tonagh, has unanimously recommended the deal, in the absence of a better offer and subject to the independent expert’s report.
Nine is urging the Australian competition regulator to focus on the money digital platforms should pay for journalism rather than information and notice about algorithmic changes in new proposed legislation, while Google says it is not against paying news publishers but believes the draft laws are unfair, reports AFR‘s Max Mason.
Nine’s submission is also believed to focus on clearer definitions of value created for digital platforms as well as what journalism content is counted under the code for remuneration.
Google has aggressively campaigned against the minimum standards aspects of the draft code. Google Australia managing director Melanie Silva said the tech giant was not against laws that governed the relationships between media business and digital platforms, but the draft code was unworkable.
Australian television broadcasters are asking the competition regulator to ensure their video content will not be punished by Google and Facebook under a new regulatory code that will force the tech giants to pay media companies for news, reports SMH‘s Zoe Samios and Fergus Hunter.
Media companies are proposing several changes to a news media bargaining code being finalised by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which seeks to level the playing field between local companies and the global tech giants.
Responses to the proposed legislation are focused on the definition of news content and ensuring that Google and Facebook don’t discriminate against publishers on other sites that they own, such as YouTube or Instagram. Discrimination could mean linking to user-generated content instead of a 7News video or not prioritising a piece of content in the YouTube search feed.
The proposed code also said that the majority of news content created by a publisher must be ‘core’ content – which is defined as stories created by a journalist that record, investigate or explain issues of significance. If the majority of a publishers’ content is ‘covered’ – stories about sports matches or entertainment – they are likely to be excluded.
Australian Community Media has paid back $20m of the $70m it borrowed from part-owner Alex Waislitz to fund the $115m purchase of the rural publisher last year, despite operating in tough trading conditions and receiving money from the federal government’s JobKeeper program, reports John Stensholt.
Waislitz owns ACM, the publisher of regional newspapers including The Canberra Times and Newcastle Herald, with his friend and media entrepreneur Antony Catalano.
Documents lodged with the corporate regulator confirmed the lending arrangement, understood to be in lieu of borrowing money at commercial rates from mainstream banks and having Waislitz sign a guarantee for any loans.
Instead, he lent the funds to the private company that now controls ACM as part of a mezzanine financing package that would likely see him paid interest on the loan at a higher level than market rates.
It is understood that at least $20m has been repaid already.
Prominent media lawyer and Minter Ellison partner Peter Bartlett says a proposal that would allow courts to order publishers in Victoria to take down stories would erode press freedom and prevent the media from keeping the judicial system accountable, reports Max Mason and Michael Pelly.
Last year, the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) released a consultation paper for a review of the contempt of court law. The VLRC has recommended establishing a statutory take-down order scheme as part of an amendment to the Open Courts Act. The report has gone to the Victoria Attorney-General and is being considered by the state government.
“Since the introduction of the Open Courts Act in Victoria, there’s been a significant increase in the number of suppression orders,” Bartlett, who is acting for Nine for a number of matters in its Metro Media publishing business, which includes The Australian Financial Review, said.
“The fear is that inserting provisions in the Open Courts Act allowing courts to order take-down and, even worse, interim take-down, will see a significant number of take-down orders. The NSW Court of Appeal and the Victorian Court of Appeal have both expressed the view that take-down orders should only be made in the most limited of circumstances.”
It seems Today host Karl Stefanovic still loves the smell of morning coffee after signing a new deal with Nine, reports TV Tonight.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports he has a new multi-year deal but there’s no detail on just how much it is worth.
This follows the Sunday Telegraph reporting in May that negotiations with Nine had “stalled because the new contract is believed to offer less than half his former $3 million-a-year.”
The long haul appears to be paying dividends. While Sunrise won the week at 259,000 to Today‘s 222,00, Nine quietly bagged another win in Brisbane.
Mercury Capital’s magazine business Bauer Media is on the hunt for new office space as the lease on its famous 54 Park Street headquarters comes to an end, reports SMH‘s Zoe Samios.
The publisher of The Australian Women’s Weekly and Woman’s Day, which was formally bought by Mercury in July, has occupied the headquarters in Sydney’s central business district since the days it was run by the Packer family.
Bauer has put a brief out in the market looking for space to lease and sources suggest it could end up in office space once used by Pacific Magazines, Seven West Media’s former magazine division. Seven’s empty office has been looking for a tenant since the magazine business was acquired in May this year for $40 million.
But Bauer, soon to be renamed by its new owners as it nears completion of a management restructure, may stay in its existing headquarters if it can secure a large rent reduction. Bauer’s existing lease expires at the end of this financial year.
Television networks insist there won’t be a shortage of fresh Australian reality programs, despite the temporary suspension of filming of The Masked Singer Australia and the fact a number of other productions are on hold for the foreseeable future, reports SMH‘s Broede Carmody.
A total of 17 cases of COVID-19 have now been linked to Network 10’s singing competition The Masked Singer, which is filmed in Melbourne. The program was shooting its finale earlier this month when production was halted after a crew member returned a positive coronavirus test. The show’s host Osher Gunsberg and the judges have all tested negative.
Gunsberg also hosts 10’s Bachelor franchise, including a forthcoming season of The Bachelorette now shooting in Sydney. A Network 10 spokeswoman said there were no changes to the season even though Gunsberg was self-isolating in Melbourne and would have to do so again when he returns to NSW. The network was tight-lipped on when season six of The Bachelorette will debut. It is expected to air around October as originally planned.
Nine (the owner of this masthead) is still scheduled to film a new season of Lego Masters in Melbourne later this year. However, a spokesman said it was too early to say how production might proceed, given the “rapidly changing situation”. Married at First Sight is also expected to start filming a new season at the end of the year, but it is not yet known if some scenes will be filmed in Victoria as in previous years.
Renovation program The Block, which returned to screens this month, has finished filming with the exception of the auctions. Executive producer Julian Cress last month told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age he hoped the show would be able to film the auctions in November, but he was making contingency plans should restrictions still be in place.
Seven’s Australia’s Got Talent: Challengers & Champions and its mini-golf format Holey Moley are still on hold due to restrictions at international and state borders. Cooking competition Plate of Origin, which debuted on Sunday night, finished filming more than three months ago. Filming has also wrapped on the network’s forthcoming bootcamp series SAS: Australia.
Channel 7 will produce The Voice for less than half of what it was costing rival Nine, and the network is confident it can create a much better show it’s been revealed, reports News Corps’ Mibenge Nsenduluka.
Confidential understands that Network Seven will spend around $15-$20 million, much less than the $40 million it was costing Nine to produce and promote the reality singing show.
The new format is still being finalised but so far is expected to be tighter and more fast-paced, making for a less drawn out show.
Certain elements will likely disappear when the revamped version goes to air and it will be hosted by previous host Sonia Kruger.
There is no word yet on whether Seven will recruit brand new coaches and the future of Delta Goodrem, Kelly Rowland, Guy Sebastian and Boy George remains up in the air.
Regional broadcasters asked their metropolitan affiliate television stations for financial relief earlier this year to help them cope with weak advertising conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, reports SMH’s Zoe Samios.
Bruce Gordon‘s WIN Corp secured a waiver from ViacomCBS-owned Network Ten in the lead up to the end of the last financial year, but Kerry Stokes-controlled Seven West Media denied a request for help from its affiliate partner Prime Media Group.
WIN Corp’s minimum guarantee was waived by Ten for a couple of months, but Prime was unable to renegotiate its agreement, sources indicate. They said Southern Cross Austereo did not request a discount from its partner Nine Entertainment Co (owner of this masthead). However, the two companies are fighting over money that was awarded to Southern Cross by the Morrison government for its commitment to regional news journalism.
Cricket Australia’s high-stakes battle with its free-to-air television partner has taken another twist, with Seven West Media believing the game’s governing body has nullifed their $450 million broadcast deal by making a force majeure claim on the upcoming season, reports SMH‘s Chris Barrett.
Threatening to terminate its six-year contract to show Australian cricket because of a talent drain in the Big Bash League, Seven has briefed leading Melbourne silk Neil Young QC.
A courtroom is where the showdown between cricket and its FTA broadcaster may have to end up being thrashed out as well if crisis talks this week between interim CA chief executive Nick Hockley and Seven’s CEO James Warburton are unsuccessful.
Seven is furious at the prospect of dozens of top players being unavailable during the two-month long BBL this summer because of the plan to secure them in COVID-19 bubbles for international matches, and as it stands Warburton is declaring the network won’t turn up to televise the tournament.
It has now emerged that CA has triggered the force majeure, or ‘Act of God’ section, in its broadcast contract, which refers to unforeseen events beyond the control of either party, as it amends its originally released 2020/21 schedule.
Received as an admission the season would be affected by the pandemic, sources at Seven say an initial notice a month ago was withdrawn when met with anger at the network before another version was issued by CA in the past fortnight.
Seven executives argue the claiming of a force majeure event gives the company the right to terminate its contract, which is believed to include a clause that specifies CA must deliver matches at least equivalent with world’s best standard and at no less than the level of the previous season.
Aside from more players being absent during the Big Bash, the potential moving of the Boxing Day Test from the MCG to Adelaide, the proposed use of venues such as North Sydney Oval for BBL matches and limitations on crowds are other examples Seven may use in claiming they are not receiving a premium product.
According to sources at head office, meanwhile, CA has its own outside legal advice that it is on solid ground as long as it delivers the season as promised in terms of volume. Asked about the force majeure notice.
Cricket Australia is refusing to bow to Channel 7’s withering attack on its leadership, and won’t begin the hunt for a new full-time chief executive until next year, reports News Corp’s Ben Horne.
Kevin Roberts was sacked as cricket’s chief executive back in June, but his interim replacement Nick Hockley will remain in the hot seat until at least the end of the coming summer before a worldwide search is conducted.
Seven CEO James Warburton has described the current state of play with CA as a “train wreck”, but cricket administrators are standing behind Hockley, and believe he has the toughness, commercial sense and diplomatic skills to manage a relationship with Seven that has completely broken down.
The Seven Network’s stoush with Cricket Australia could have major ramifications for the NRL as the broadcaster prepares to launch a stunning bid to steal State of Origin, and potentially the premiership, from rival the Nine Network, reports News Corp’s Brent Read.
Seven has threatened to walk away from their deal with CA. There are bound to be legal hurdles, but if they were able to tear up their contract, it would free up about $100 million a year.
That would leave Seven with the financial artillery to make a charge at rugby league’s commercial broadcasting rights, which are up for grabs from 2023.
While the NRL recently extended their deal with Foxtel until the end of 2027, the Nine Network dug in their heels, leaving the commercial rights vulnerable to a potential bid from the Seven or Ten.
Sources close to Seven confirmed the network was already sizing up an offer for Origin and that could extend to the premiership, depending on their financial situation in the new year.
It is understood Seven powerbrokers have also had informal talks with Foxtel over a sharing arrangement that could result in Origin being simulcast from 2023, when the NRL’s deal with the Nine Network is due to expire.
Seven is already in the process of selling assets to strengthen their bottom line and it is understood they have urged the ARL Commission to wait until the new year to begin talks with commercial broadcasters.
With the spring racing carnival soon to hit its stride, News Corp Australia is pooling the talents of the country’s best turf writers to create a national newsroom dedicated to serving punters’ soaring demand for coverage of the sport, reports News Corp’s Lilly Vitorovich.
The media group has hand-picked journalists from its metropolitan mastheads, and from the biggest racing news site in the country, Racenet, to form the national racing newsroom, which will launch on Tuesday.
The team of 14 journalists will be led by national racing editor Stephen Brassel, who has 30 years experience covering the industry.
The stories will feature across News Corp’s newspapers, websites and Racenet’s site.