Monday December 14, 2020

Paul Murray
Paul Murray: He sought a radio career, but has become a reluctant TV star

By James Manning

• After 10 years at Sky News Australia, Murray’s audience is still growing

Paul Murray’s introduction to major league media commentary was a little bumpy. He hosted a morning show in the old John Laws slot in the last days of 2UE as a talk station from a studio at the back of the editorial floor of The Sydney Morning Herald. Both the show and the studio didn’t attract a lot of attention with little promotional activity by Fairfax Media at the time.

His subsequent move to Sky News Australia 10 years ago had more impact. His nightly two-hour program is still growing, up 34% year-on-year during 2020.

“Like all good relationships, nobody can quite work out where it started,” Murray told Mediaweek during his first visit back to Melbourne after the borders re-opened.

“Back when Sky News was still out at Terry Hills I went and pitched them a show not dissimilar to Media Watch, but it wasn’t really right. [Sky News chief executive] Angelos Frangopoulos was always very good at remembering who was keen. We eventually had a conversation about me having a crack after I had been doing a bit of Sunrise and some other things.”

Murray never thought the small screen would be part of his big picture. “Being quite a self-conscious, TV wasn’t my thing. I don’t look like somebody who should be on TV, let alone follow the rules of television. I always treated any TV work like the cream on the cake. Ironically, my radio dream, the thing I dreamt of and sacrificed for and worked hard in every possible way to advance, ended up taking second fiddle to television.”

Murray doesn’t have illusions about being a TV news superstar, instead he refers to himself as a “bog average middle aged man”.

Murray first attracted a following in late nights on radio and he’s a TV night owl too. After he signs off at 11pm he can still be found extending discussions off air with guests who were able to make it into the Sky News studio.

I have always been hardwired to be a night owl. I hardly know what happens daily on breakfast TV, but I know all about American late-night talk culture and late-night radio.”

Murray recalls that in 2021 it will be 20 years after Nova 96.9 launched in Sydney where he was part of the launch team. “That means it is two decades since I was very nearly a cool kid!”

Murray admits that he is a different person on air now to those days at Nova. The change started to gather momentum at 2UE.

“Have I changed and adapted to my employer politically are you asking? No. I was brought up in a very conservative suburban household. No matter where I have been – at Nova, Triple M, 2UE or Sky News – I have never said something I didn’t believe. However, the certainty and the stridency of your opinion gets stronger the more you do it. In the same way when you start doing an FM radio show you start a bit tentatively and then get as naughty as you possibly can. There are things I did on the radio that I would certainly be sent to Twitter jail for because they were funny in 2006.

“I simultaneously completely understand, and then get really pissed off with, the commentary around, ‘Hey there was this guy Paul I really liked and then he took a pill and completely changed’.”

This is something Murray has talked to Mediaweek about previously.

“I have lost some mates that I was really close to and really loved in the FM radio world because maybe my politics was too much or something. I would always hope that even a person who disagrees with every word I have to say would conclude that I was a pretty good broadcaster. That there was an art to what I was doing.

“There are some people on television that I disagree with on almost every word they say. Yet I can think, ‘Gee they are good at what they do.’ ”

Murray talked about being a really conservative guy who was dropped into the middle of triple j at the age of 14.

“I was completely out of my depth and didn’t know what was going on.

“I was able to live my 20s and a major chunk of my 30s in FM radio which for me was the best place to be.

“I’m now in a place where I can understand why my dad was so fired up about things he used to care about.”

Watching Paul Murray Live you get the impression he enjoys winding up his critics.

“I’ve always enjoyed poking the bear,” he admitted. “I have always enjoyed strangling sacred cows live in front of the audience. I’m attracted to rebellious performers and writers. I think they have a courage about them.”

After starting on what has become now known as Sky After Dark, Murray said there had never been a conversation or a white board setting out the audience he or the channel wanted to target. “I have had those conversations in FM radio, where a breakfast show is desperately trying to work out how to best reach an audience.”

In the past Murray said he saw himself somewhere between Bill O’Reilly and Bill Maher. “Politically speaking, I was slamming the desk about same sex marriage way before it was cool.”

Murray and Frangopoulos set up Paul Murray Live as the first program that moved Sky News away from continuing its wall-to-wall news coverage in primetime. “We started with a once-a-week show. When we went full time I got really energised.

I voted for Kevin Rudd in 2007 and I started to get pissed off when he wasn’t living up to the expectations. I was very annoyed at a prime minister being removed by colleagues and not the public. That set me off on a collision course with the establishment.

The first votes in my life were conservative and I might be the only person who can say they voted for Mark Latham as both Labor leader and One Nation leader. That’s maybe a little signal of the journey I have been on.” [Laughs]

Tomorrow in Mediaweek:

Paul Murray on Trump, climate change, Covid, his Sky News colleagues, public broadcasting, Fox News

marty sheargold
Marty Sheargold returns to Triple M and breakfast radio

SCA has confirmed The Marty Sheargold Show will be Triple M Melbourne’s new FM breakfast show in 2021 alongside a 3-4pm syndication on Triple M’s 49 stations across the country.

Marty Sheargold was the driving force behind the number one national afternoon show he helmed on Nova, but will now embrace the opportunity to host his own FM breakfast radio show for Melburnians.

Sheargold began his radio career at Triple M 17 years ago. Sheargold has previously worked the breakfast shift in Adelaide at SAFM, in Brisbane for Nova and in Sydney for Triple M alongside Fifi Box and Paul Murray.

Sheargold said: “Firstly I’d like to congratulate The Hot Breakfast on an amazing run. They are all incredibly talented, highly regarded people in the radio business and I wish Eddie, Luke and Rosie continued success with whatever they choose to do next. I’m honoured to be returning home to Triple M, the brand that kick started my radio career. To be given the opportunity to have my own show at a network I consider the backbone of FM radio is a true privilege. It is the job you hope for, but fear may never happen. Triple M has entrusted Melbourne breakfast to me, and I want to make the absolute most of the faith they have placed in me. Then retire. Talk to you in January!”

SCA chief content officer, Dave Cameron, said: “Getting Marty Sheargold back on Triple M in 2021 just made the world feel a little bit right again. Melbourne at breakfast, and Australia in the afternoon, is about to experience one of this country’s finest comedians and broadcasters with a show guaranteed to be unlike any other. There is only one Marty Sheargold and there is only one home of rock, sport and comedy. We are so excited to welcome home The Marty Sheargold Show to Triple M and SCA. 2021 cannot come quick enough.”

Triple M head of content, Mike Fitzpatrick, said: “When you’re creating a show with one host you need a unique performer who cares about, and understands, the medium. Marty’s style and attitude fits hand in glove with the Triple M brand and we’re stoked to have him back where it all began. He’s also asked me to ensure I use the term ‘prodigal son returns’ in any quote I give to the press, so there it is.”

The Marty Sheargold Show on Triple M starts Monday 18 January at 6am in Melbourne and will be heard every afternoon around the country from 3-4pm before Kennedy Molloy from 4-6pm.

Nova refreshes team behind one of Australia’s most successful radio shows

• Nova 106.9’s Ash, Kip & Luttsy with Susie O’Neill will return in mid January from 6am to 9am.

Two trailblazers have been announced as the co-producers of Nova Brisbane’s breakfast show Ash, Kip & Luttsy with Susie O’Neill in 2021.

Bronte Langbroek and Bree Clements will join forces and share the producing responsibilities for Brisbane’s number one rating breakfast show.

With executive producer, Samantha Rose (Sam) Spence, heading off on maternity leave, Nova 106.9 saw an opportunity to devise a new producing pathway for the powerhouse show that is a clear favourite with Brisbane listeners.

Bronte and Bree, who are both well-known and respected within the Nova family, will join breakfast production legend, Josh Burton, to form a new team responsible for bringing the show together each morning.

Bree Clements began her radio career with Nova 106.9 in the “Fun & Games Department” (aka Brand & Promotions), then moved into programming in 2020, and has been working with the breakfast show ever since.

Bronte Langbroek also started with Nova 106.9 in the “Fun & Games Department” and left to take up a regional promotions and producing role in 2016. Bronte switched sides in 2019 to take up a breakfast announcer role. She is looking forward to returning to producing, and the station that kick started her career.

Dee Curtis, Nova’s brand & promotions director and Brendan Taylor, Nova’s group program operations director, said they were thrilled to bring together these two smart, fun, and talented women in the producing role and providing a pathway for professional success.

“Nova has always been about recognising ability and creating opportunity for our staff to shine,” Curtis said.

“Brendan and I are looking forward to working with this formidable team who will mark a new phase for the Nova Brisbane breakfast team in 2021.”

Nova 106.9’s Ash, Kip & Luttsy with Susie O’Neill will return in mid January from 6am to 9am.

Property Observer has acquired Jonathan Chancellor’s Property Observer, Australia’s largest dedicated off-the-plan property marketplace, has announced the acquisition of the Property Observer website, and the subsequent merger of the two platforms, effective from Friday 11 December.

Property Observer was founded in 2011 by Jonathan Chancellor while at Eric Beecher’s Private Media (publisher of Crikey and Smart Company among others) and quickly established itself as Australia’s #1 property investment news website. Chancellor acquired full ownership of the site in 2015.

Chancellor was property editor of The Sydney Morning Herald for 25 years until 2011, pioneering popularising coverage of “celebrity real estate” in Sydney at the same time Antony Catalano was doing so at The Age for the Melbourne market.

Chancellor continues to write for The Australian and the Daily and Sunday Telegraph. Earlier this year he was also the daily Margin Call columnist for The Australian. (formerly Urban Melbourne) was founded by Mark Baljak and Alastair Taylor in 2013 as a property blog and online news portal.

After its acquisition in 2018 by tech entrepreneurs Mike Bird and George Glover (pictured), evolved to become a one-stop-shop for home-hunters seeking informed, independent content and information for off-the-plan apartment and townhouse projects and developers across Australia.

Chancellor told his Property Observer readers: “Ever since the launch of the website in 2011, Property Observer has endeavoured under my editorship to make our readers as informed as possible. I write to update you with news that there has been a recent change in ownership of the platform.

“Property Observer has been bought by the team at I will continue to lead the authoritative editorial coverage as the content of the past decade gets incorporated under the Urban umbrella.

“From today you will notice our pivot to shared new horizons. We will still be showcasing the best apartments and trophy houses, and writing on the big name buyers and sellers too. Our editorial team will keep capturing the changing seasons, applying our focus for the owner occupier and the investor, from first time buyers to down-sizers, from buying locally to interstate. Our work will seek to offer you wisdom on winning ways with property, especially off the plan buying. No let off in our auction analysis nor the expert commentary from key industry players.”

Today, houses information on over 10,000 developments including 2,500 active development listings across Australia, and is used by some of the country’s largest developers including OSK Property, Dahua Group & Bensons Property Group.

The acquisition will add an estimated 200,000 unique monthly users to the platform and is expected to more than double the annual audience reach to approximately 4 million. chief executive officer Mike Bird said: “Our acquisition of Property Observer brings together a leading property news site with Australia’s largest dedicated off-the-plan property portal to further empower our audience with unique insights on the new development landscape, while delivering national editorial coverage of the off-the-plan market.

“The addition of the Property Observer news service, and the searchable back-catalogue of articles that will be available for our users, just adds another dimension to the portal and provides even more value for home buyers.

“What Jonathan and his team have created with their independent approach to Property Observer aligns with our values and we share Jonathan’s belief that transparency and education are the key ingredients to a successful property buying journey.

“Our vision for is to bring together not just property information, research and community discussion, but independent journalism and editorial coverage to deliver a place where home-buyers can be informed, educated and ultimately empowered to go further through the home-buying journey on their own terms.”

The merger of the two websites will take effect later this week when Property Observer’s platform will be integrated with and Property Observer will become the news and editorial portal within, with Chancellor assuming the role of editor-in-chief.

Over 36,000 back catalogue articles from Property Observer will be transferred onto the site alongside 3,500 archival articles from as part of the sites’ amalgamation, providing a comprehensive and searchable editorial database for users.

SMH climbs 14% in November as audience passes 10m monthly

The Nielsen Digital Content Ratings data for November 2020 shows that was the biggest mover during the month with its audience up 14% from October.

This pushes the digital audience for the Nine-owned Sydney Morning Herald over 10m for the first time. It also sees the news brand rank #4 of the most popular news websites.

The Nielsen data reveals that Australians spent 40.4 million hours consuming news content online for the month of November 2020, an increase of 37% when compared to the same month last year.

Australians spent 10.8 million hours consuming news content online throughout the first week of November, when the 2020 US Federal Election played out. This was a 16% increase when compared to the year-to-date average and the highest weekly engagement since early April.

The ABC was again ranked #1 for the month of November with 12.3m unique visitors. ranked second with a unique audience of 11.1 million, followed by in third position with a unique audience of 10.5 million. 7NEWS was ranked #5 with a unique audience of 9.5 million.

Although November was a shorter month than October, six of the top 10 news websites saw a month-on-month increase in unique audience.

Disney announces Star to launch Australia in February 2021 for $12 monthly

The Walt Disney Company has revealed the ambitious next steps in its global streaming expansion at its 2020 Investor Day, with new details on the future of its direct-to-consumer services Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, a first look at its upcoming international general entertainment content brand, Star, and previews of its slate of all-new content.

During the Investor Day presentation, the company announced that, as of December 2, its portfolio of direct-to-consumer services has exceeded a total of 137 million global paid subscriptions, including 11.5 million ESPN+ subscribers, 38.8 million Hulu subscribers, and 86.8 million Disney+ subscribers since its launch in November 2019.

Disney shared new details for its international general entertainment content brand, Star, which will be included as part of Disney+ in select international markets, and launch as a separate streaming service in Latin America as Star+. The Star brand will serve as home to thousands of hours of television and movies from Disney’s creative studios, including Disney Television Studios, FX, 20th Century Studios, 20th Television, and more, enhanced by the addition of local programming from the regions where available.

Star will launch in Europe and several other international markets including Australia on February 23, 2021 as a fully integrated part of Disney+.

The cost for Australian subscribers will be $11.99/month or $119.99/annually.

Over the next few years, Disney+ plans to release approximately 10 Star Wars series and 10 Marvel series, as well as 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar series, as well as 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar features — all in addition to the premium content set to premiere in theatres or on linear channels before coming to the streaming service.

In addition, it was announced that Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Raya and the Last Dragon will be available on Disney+ with Premier Access in most Disney+ markets, at the same time as it is released in theatres, on March 5, 2021. Premier Access for the title will be priced at US $29.99. Internationally, many upcoming original titles from Disney Television Studios, FX and 20th Century Studios will also premiere on Disney+ as Star Originals.

ARIA Charts: Christmas chaos with AC/DC, Mariah, Taylor, Kid Laroi & more

Artists are stubbornly holding on to their chart-topping spots again this week. 24kGolden is at #1 for a ninth week on the singles’ chart while AC/DC is enjoying a fourth week at #1 on albums.

Special mention first of all to Mariah Carey with All I Want for Christmas jumping from #15 to #4 on the second-last chart before Christmas. Helping create a Carey Christmas is the AppleTV+ special Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas.

Chart positions for other Christmas usual suspects includes Wham!’s Last Christmas at #24, Michael Bublé’s It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas at #28 and Ariana Grande’s Santa Tell Me #32.

Highest new entry on the chart and one of just three in the top 50 this week is The Kid Laroi with Without You at #9. The new tune’s arrival makes it a double for The Kid Laroi as it joins So Done (at #6) in the top 10. Both tracks come from the deluxe edition of F*ck Love (Savage) which is also in the top 10 this again week.

Nearly landing another top 10 is Tones and I with Fly Away at #12 after four weeks.

This week’s other new arrivals:

#44 Lil Nas X with Holiday.
#45 Glass Animals with Heat Waves.


AC/DC’s PRW/UP spends a fourth week at #1, equalling the chart run of Taylor Swift’s Folklore which was also a chart-topper across four weeks. Swift could add to her list of #1s next week though if her surprise Christmas release Evermore manages to debut at the top. Swift’s Folklore meanwhile edges higher from #5 to #3 off the back of its vinyl release.

The highest of three new entries in the top 10 is the fourth album from Canadian Shawn Mendes, Wonder. The tracks include a collaboration with Justin Bieber.

This week’s other top 50 debuts:

#4: Arctic Monkeys with Live at The Royal Albert Hall. The second live album from the Brit rockers is their seventh top five album.
#6: Yungblud with Weird! The second album from the UK rock artist and the first to chart here. Yungblud toured Australia before the Covid shutdown this year and he was the first guest on Tim Blackwell’s new Nova podcast series.
#33 The Hilltop Hills with The Great Expanse (Instrumental edition).
#37 Dolly Parton with A Holly Dolly Christmas


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Big Bash League
TV ratings: Summer survey, Sunday Week 51 2020

By James Manning

• Nine manages to outrate Big Bash League for second night
• Insiders ends 2020 in Sunday top five with over 400,000 viewers

Nine has managed to win the night for a second consecutive evening up against Big Bash League cricket on Seven.

Nine’s winning Sunday mix included 60 Minutes summer over 500,000 going to air at 7pm followed by the ever-reliable RBT just under 300,000.

Seven’s evening of Big Bash League cricket was hobbled by a terrible batting performance from the Melbourne Renegades who lost their match by the biggest BBL margin ever. The first innings of the cricket was close to 400,000, but for the run chase the crowd dropped to under 300,000.

10 managed to get two programs into the top 10 – The Project which featured Adam Hills live from lockdown, and The Graham Norton Show which included Jennifer Saunders.

ABC’s Insiders broadcast its last program for 2020, making the top 5 for Sunday with 413,000 on ABC and ABC News.

Week 49-5-: Friday-Monday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 15.7% 7 19.1% 9 15.9% 10  8.6% SBS One 4.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.4% 7TWO 3.5% GO! 3.5% 10 Bold 3.8% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 2.6% GEM 2.6% 10 Peach 3.1% Food Net 1.4%
ABC NEWS 1.8% 7flix 2.3% 9Life 2.1% 10 Shake 0.4% NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.7%     SBS World Movies 1.6%
TOTAL 21.4%   27.6%   25.8%   15.9%   9.4%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 14.4% 7 18.2% 9 21.0% 10  5.4% SBS One 4.2%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.0% 7TWO 3.8% GO! 4.4% 10 Bold 3.9% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 2.2% GEM 3.7% 10 Peach 2.8% Food Net 1.4%
ABC NEWS 1.7% 7flix 2.3% 9Life 2.0% 10 Shake 0.8% NITV 0.4%
        9Rush 1.6%     SBS World Movies 0.8%
TOTAL 19.6%   26.6%   32.7%   12.9%   8.2%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 8.8% 7 17.0% 9 18.7% 10  9.5% SBS One 6.8%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.7% 7TWO 3.0% GO! 3.7% 10 Bold 4.6% VICELAND 1.0%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 4.1% GEM 2.9% 10 Peach 3.3% Food Net 1.4%
ABC NEWS 2.1% 7flix 2.8% 9Life 2.6% 10 Shake 1.0% NITV 0.2%
        9Rush 1.2%     SBS World Movies 0.9%
TOTAL 15.4%   26.8%   29.1%   18.3%   10.4%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 8.0% 7 18.7% 9 17.2% WIN 8.1% SBS One 5.6%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.2% 7TWO 5.5% GO! 3.8% WIN Bold 6.5% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 4.0% GEM 3.9% WIN Peach 2.8% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 2.2% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.4% 9Life 3.3% Sky News  on WIN 1.3% NITV 0.2%
                SBS Movies 1.1%
TOTAL 14.3%   30.7%   28.3%   18.5%   9.3%


83.4% 16.6%
All People Ratings

Friday Top 10

  1. Nine News Nine 723,000
  2. Seven News Seven 720,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 702,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 702,000
  5. ABC News ABC 540,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 524,000
  7. Vera (R) ABC 512,000
  8. Gardening Australia ABC 434,000
  9. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Melb Stars V Bris Inn Seven 414,000
  10. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Melb Stars V Bris S1 Seven 400,000


Saturday 10

  1. Seven News Seven 696,000
  2. Nine News Saturday Nine 625,000
  3. ABC News ABC 550,000
  4. A Current Affair Nine 465,000
  5. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Melb Ren V Perth Seven 426,000
  6. Christmas With Delta Nine 380,000
  7. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Melb Ren V Perth Seven 355,000
  8. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Melb Ren V Perth Seven 352,000
  9. Love Actually Nine 326,000
  10. Endeavour (R) ABC 302,000
Sunday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 837,000
  2. Nine News Sunday Nine 832,000
  3. ABC News Sunday ABC 524,000
  4. 60 Minutes Nine 503,000
  5. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Syd Sixers V Melb Ren Seven 397,000
  6. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Syd Sixers V Melb Ren Seven 366,000
  7. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 359,000
  8. The Graham Norton Show 10 318,000
  9. Climate Change: The Facts (R) ABC 307,000
  10. Insiders Am ABC 302,000
  11. 10 News First Sun 10 293,000
  12. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Ade V Hobart S2 Seven 280,000
  13. RBT Nine 277,000
  14. Nine News: First At Five Nine 271,000
  15. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Syd Sixers V Melb Ren Seven 270,000
  16. Sully Nine 269,000
  17. The Sunday Project 6.30pm 10 257,000
  18. Nine News: Late Edition Nine 251,000
  19. Weekend Sunrise Seven 249,000
  20. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League – Syd Sixers V Melb Ren S2even 248,000
Sunday Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 175,000
  2. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 166,000
  3. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 164,000
  4. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 141,000
  5. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  6. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  7. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  8. Dog Loves Books ABCKIDS/COMEDY 125,000
  9. Love Monster AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 118,000
  10. Death In Paradise 9Gem 118,000
  11. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 118,000
  12. Andy’s Baby Animals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  13. Book Hungry Bears AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 114,000
  14. Insiders AM ABC NEWS 111,000
  15. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 106,000
  16. The Big Bang Theory Ep 4 (R) 10 Peach 106,000
  17. M- Prometheus PM 7mate 105,000
  18. Penn And Teller: Fool Us ABCKIDS/COMEDY 101,000
  19. Shaun The Sheep ABCKIDS/COMEDY 99,000
  20. Would I Lie To You? ABCKIDS/COMEDY 98,000
Sunday STV
  1. Live: BBL: Sixers V Renegades FOX CRICKET 232,000
  2. Live: Between The Innings FOX CRICKET 206,000
  3. Live: BBL: Strikers V Hurricanes FOX CRICKET 166,000
  4. Live: Between The Innings FOX CRICKET 149,000
  5. Live: BBL: Sixers V Renegades FOX CRICKET 131,000
  6. Live: BBL: Strikers V Hurricanes FOX CRICKET 127,000
  7. Live: BBL Post Game FOX CRICKET 126,000
  8. Live: B4 The Bash! FOX CRICKET 95,000
  9. Live: AUS A V Ind A Tour Match FOX CRICKET 85,000
  10. Outsiders Sky News Live 69,000
  11. Live: F1: Abu Dhabi Race FOX SPORTS 506 63,000
  12. Outsiders Sky News Live 61,000
  13. Live: B4 The Bash! FOX CRICKET 55,000
  14. Bluey CBeebies 51,000
  15. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 43,000
  16. Bluey CBeebies 40,000
  17. Bluey CBeebies 40,000
  18. Live: F1: Grand Prix Sunday FOX SPORTS 506 34,000
  19. Live: NZL V WI 2nd Test Day 3 FOX CRICKET 33,000
  20. Blue Bloods FOX One 32,000

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

Sale of Nine, Seven joint venture on hold until new year

Nine Entertainment Co and Seven West Media’s attempts to sell their jointly owned transmission tower company TX Australia have stalled and are unlikely to be completed before the new year because the media organisations are yet to find a bidder willing to pay the right price, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

BAI Communications Australia, Axicom and a fund that specialises in infrastructure investments were among a group of bidders that were interested in acquiring the company. Some valued TX at up to $300 million.

“Negotiations are continuing and we are working with the final bidders to get to the desired price point for Nine and Seven,” TX Australia boss Paul Mullen said.

[Read more]

Brendon Cook's 31 years at oOh!media: 40 acquisitions & a pandemic

Aged just 29, Brendon Cook founded Outdoor Network Australia, the company that would morph into oOh!media, an out of home advertising company today worth $1.03 billion, reports The AFR’s Miranda Ward.

Thirty-one years later, after nearly 40 acquisitions, two listings, private equity ownership, a failed merger, two deals with the competition regulator and a year like no other in which outdoor advertising was one of the worst-hit channels by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cook is handing over the reins to Cathy O’Connor, who has been chief executive of Lachlan Murdoch-owned radio business Nova Entertainment for the past 12 years.

Cook, 60, will remain on as a consultant and is sticking around on the board of the Outdoor Media Association.

Despite the difficulties of the past year, Cook will be remembered fondly, if a new plaque, reading “BC – Our fearless leader” hanging above the bar of oOh!media’s North Sydney regular drinking hole, the Rag & Famish, is anything to go by.

[Read more]

Inside Nine Entertainment Co’s new North Sydney home

Nine Entertainment Co. has nine floors at 1 Denison Street North Sydney, with the 9th floor home to CEO Hugh Marks, Director of Television Michael Healy, Head of Production Adrian Swift, Programmer Hamish Turner and Head of Publicity Victoria Buchan, reports TV Tonight.

Nine Entertainment Co. has nine floors at 1 Denison Street North Sydney, with the 9th floor home to CEO Hugh Marks, Director of Television Michael Healy, Head of Production Adrian Swift, Programmer Hamish Turner and Head of Publicity Victoria Buchan, reports TV Tonight.

Floors are open plan with very few offices, but several meeting rooms. They are linked by an internal staircase joining floors including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review, Nine News, studios, sport and more.

Most impressive is the Nine newsroom with chiefs of staff raised in the centre of the room with tentacles of teams who can all respond to breaking news.

[Read more]

News Brands

The courts: SBS won’t retreat in Alan Jones libel fight

An ugly showdown over Alan Jones’ legacy is likely to erupt in a high-stakes court battle next year, after SBS revealed it would defend a polarising “tribute” segment that mocked the veteran radio presenter’s 35-year career as one of Australia’s most influential talkback hosts, reports The Australian’s Kieran Gair.

On the day of his retirement announcement on May 12, comedian Alex Lee presented a segment on SBS program The Feed in which she claimed Jones had built a “career out of bullying people”, had “gleefully used ­racial slurs”, and “spread lies and fake news”.

In a 36-page defence document filed last week, SBS denies those claims and says the claimed defamatory imputations are based on honest opinion, are protected by fair comment, are contextually true, and were justified under the Defamation Act.

[Read more]

‘I feel disrespected’: Ita Buttrose strikes back at Paul Fletcher

ABC chair Ita Buttrose has accused Communications Minister Paul Fletcher of “disrespect” in his move a fortnight ago to use Twitter to make public a highly critical letter about the ABC board, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

In strong comments made on Sunday, Buttrose has set the stage for her own robust letter to be sent on Monday, after Fletcher tweeted out his original correspondence which was fiercely critical of both last month’s controversial Four Corners #MeToo episode, “Inside the Canberra bubble”, and Ita’s decision to let it run.

In reference to the Minister’s decision to make the tough letter public through Twitter, Buttrose has simply told The Australian: “I feel disrespected.”

After a grilling from David Speers on the ABC’s Insiders on Sunday, Fletcher denied that he had plans to “sack” the ABC chair from what he admits is a “challenging” job over the story, but otherwise didn’t dial down his demand for Buttrose to justify why it aired.

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The Age in revolt on transgender coverage

The treatment of transgender issues is causing tension in The Age’s newsroom after an anonymous opinion piece commissioned by editors at one of its Sydney-based sister publications was pulled from the Melbourne newspaper’s website, reports The Australian’s Rachel Baxendale.

The controversy over the piece – “My child is transitioning gender, but I feel the system makes it too easy” – came after journalists expressed disquiet about an interview with former Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore published last week.

Moore left the British newspaper in November after a backlash from Guardian staff following the publication of a column in which she argued “we have gone through the looking-glass and are being told that sex is a construct”.

Newsroom sources told The Australian that a “town hall” meeting which included The Age editor Gay Alcorn and Nine executive editor of metro publishing James Chessell included multiple questions about reporting on transgender issues.

Those were perceived to be about the interview with Moore written by The Age’s Europe correspondent Bevan Shields. On Sunday, Alcorn removed the anonymous opinion piece written by a parent of a transgender child from The Age’s website, where it was published after being commissioned by the Sun-Herald, which ran it in print. The piece did not run in print in the Sunday Age.

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Tennis move uproots Nine’s schedule to start 2020

The three-week delay in the start of the Australian Open is wreaking havoc with the schedules of the major networks for the start of 2021, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

Most affected is the Australian Open’s broadcast partner, Nine. Normally the Australian Open starts just before the ratings season, with Nine normally using Roger Federer and co to heavily promote its ratings juggernaut Married At First Sight, which starts immediately after the tennis.

This year, things will be different.

To compensate for the schedule change, Nine has hurriedly assembled a super-sized two-night Married At First Sight dinner party “all-stars special”, to screen on two consecutive Sundays, January 31 and February 7 2021.

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Sports Media

ASIC paid more than $2m to external advisers in tennis rights case

The corporate regulator spent more than $2 million on external advisers in building and fighting its largely rejected Federal Court case against ad-land personality Harold Mitchell and former Tennis Australia president Stephen Healy, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Following a Freedom of Information request by The Australian Financial Review for the costs the Australian Securities and Investments Commission paid to external services suppliers, such as lawyers, advisers and others in relation to its case against Healy and Mitchell, the corporate regulator compiled a single document, which previously did not exist.

ASIC’s total external expenditure for its investigation and civil penalty proceedings against Mitchell and Healy from August 19, 2016, to December 7, 2020, was $2,097,815.52.

The case against Healy was completely dismissed, while 41 out of 44 charges against Mitchell were thrown out.

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Seven and Cricket Australia finally agree on an 'umpire'

Seven West Media and Cricket Australia will have their television rights dispute ruled on by Venture Consulting chief executive Justin Jameson, who was agreed upon by both parties as an expert in sports broadcast deals, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Seven hopes the move to arbitration will see the independent expert rule its $450 million broadcast deal with Cricket Australia is not worth that amount in light of what it alleges are breaches of the contract between the pair.

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