Monday February 10, 2020

Inside 10’s programming war room with Beverley McGarvey

By James Manning

• Strategies for 2020 from All Stars to MasterChef and Masked Singer

Network 10 looks like being a real competitor again at 7.30pm this year. It has started strongly and is ambitious for growth in 2020. Chief content officer for the CBSViacom-owned Australian broadcaster Beverley McGarvey talks to Mediaweek about its key properties and schedule.

How good has 10’s start to 2020 been with a January 5 kick-off?

I am very happy, but I do like to think about the whole year. It is good we have had a strong start and coming out of the gates strongly gives us a bit of momentum.

Our big focus now is on execution – we are comfortable that we have a strong 50-week schedule and the objective now is to ensure the shows are as good as they can be so we have something to sell and the audiences will come and enjoy them and the advertisers will be happy.

We are deep into the execution phase to make sure we get it all right.

How long have you known Survivor would take over the 7.30 slot after I’m A Celebrity?

Our commissioning strategy with Survivor was something we had been thinking about since this time last year. We came out of Celebrity well last year, but then had some real challenges in Q1 2019. That was when we considered moving Survivor to the top of the year.

What we did is look at the audience for Married At First Sight and then look at the audience for My Kitchen Rules. A show that could cut through against those two legacy brands was Survivor. In terms of early evening in commercial television it is the big constructed reality franchises that really perform. We knew it would be hard to take on MAFS given it is so strong and at the peak of its success.

We wanted to do something that would give us timeslot growth and help us attract different sorts of viewers and also something our sales team could sell – a brand that people believe in and something that was really high quality.

Survivor is delivering us what we wanted which was significant timeslot growth – a little bit of growth wasn’t going to be enough given where we were last year.

In good shape, but still plenty of work to do

New MasterChef judges

This week we are launching Ambulance Australia, and then Dancing with the Stars, we have Bachelor in Paradise coming up and we are making MasterChef Australia with new judges.

It is going to be a long year – we are happy where we are, but not complacent with where we are going.

You looked at different Survivor options, why go with All Stars?

We looked at everything, bearing in mind we wanted two cycles of the format this year. When we conceived the idea of doing All Stars our challenge was how to make it distinct from the two winter versions. The version we played last year and the version we will play this year. We also chose All Stars because we already had a pool from close to 100 former contestants to choose from after four seasons.

We needed high quality game play for this season and former contestants have done it before and bring their A-game to the table.

We are about to go into production on the next cycle for 2020 and it will not be Celebrities or All Stars, it will be thematic which will be revealed later in the year.

Can Dancing with the Stars do better on Sunday nights?

There is a bit of familiarity with the format now it is returning for a second year on 10. We learnt a lot of lessons last year and we have a great line-up of contestants.

The new Dancing audience is very different to the channel it was previously on and one of the things we learnt was to cast the show for 10’s audience. This year there are people like Ed, Celia, Angie and Beau who will be of interest to our viewers. We are complimenting them with people we are so thrilled to have like Claudia and Chloe and others to still make the offer as broad as possible.

The show has a good chance of growing this year, but we need to be very focused on making sure people know where it is.

How did 10 ever persuade Ed and Claudia to go Dancing?

None of them were super hard to persuade this year. My experience on the casting is that people will either do it or they won’t. If a certain type of person says they will never do it, no amount of persuasion or money will move them. One thing that helped us in the casting this year is that the cast last year had a really good time. Because people are training up to six hours a day they get fit and healthy and most people really enjoy the experience.

Samuel Johnson was such a brilliant winner last year and was such a great advocate for the show and that has made it easier for us to cast other people.

Another attraction is that contestants don’t need to go into lockdown – you can still have your phone and be with your family!

What is 10’s biggest programming challenge this year?

MasterChef Australia is our biggest challenge, but it is also our biggest opportunity. I was in Melbourne for the first week of recording and it was fantastic with some great energy. That is the most critical thing to get right – the balance of old and new. There are a number of familiar MasterChef elements that people love and on top of that we have something fresh which is the judges Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen. They all bring a great vibe to the show. We have such a great deal of respect for the job George, Gary and Matt did, but to bring something fresh to year 12 of a series like this is an amazing opportunity for all of us. Gordon Ramsay is at the beginning of the series and he brings some real gravitas. We also have some returning contestants who are at the top of their game, yet when they walk into the MasterChef kitchen it is quite a leveller and in a way like going back to school.

Because we will have former MasterChef greats on the show we feel there are some lapsed MasterChef viewers we can reach.

Could MKR’s troubles be an indication audiences have moved on from food?

MKR and MasterChef are very different shows. I would consider MKR to be more of a constructed reality show which is about many things including cooking. MasterChef is absolutely only about cooking. It doesn’t matter how interesting a character you are on MasterChef, whether your food is bad or good determines how successful you will be in the show. It is a proper cooking show.

Does filming The Masked Singer earlier mean a schedule change?

No, it will definitely screen around the same time as last year. Because it is a block record (one episode after another) it is all about logistics – cast availability and studio availability.

Is 10 now focused on other timeslots if 7.30pm is sorted?

Dave Hughes now on Mondays before return of HYBPA?

We have been working on that for a few years now. We have been performing well on Monday with Have You Been Paying Attention?, Gogglebox goes very well on Thursday and Hughesy, We Have A Problem is now giving us good growth on Mondays. We also have more Five Bedrooms at 8.30pm all of which gives us a strong post-8.30pm schedule for much of the year.

Five Bedrooms

[McGarvey indicated it was still too early to confirm that is happening Fridays apart from Graham Norton.]

We would love to grow our audience on Saturday nights.

Of course we would like to be even better on many nights, but because we have invested a lot already there is a limit to what we can do.

Top Photo: Beverley McGarvey

News Corp Q2: Revenues and subscriber numbers drop across board

News Corp reported its financial results for the three months ended December 31, 2019 late last week.

The numbers indicate the fastest growing things at News Corp are the challenges facing the company in the publishing and video subscription divisions.

Commenting on the results, chief executive Robert Thomson said:

“In the second quarter of fiscal 2020, News Corp saw growth at several of our news businesses and an increased profit contribution from Move, operator of The results were affected by a sluggish Australian economy, uncharacteristic softness in book publishing, and foreign exchange fluctuations. We expect improvement in the second half as real estate markets show signs of gradual recovery, Dow Jones benefits from new content licensing arrangements and higher digital subscribers, and HarperCollins capitalizes on an exciting slate of new releases.

“Our News and Information Services segment posted notably higher profitability driven by a strong increase at News UK as well as continued growth at Dow Jones, where consumer subscriptions recently reached a record 3.5 million, including two million digital-only subscribers at The Wall Street Journal.

“We are seeing significant progress in our long battle for equitable treatment from the dominant tech platforms, and our deals with Apple and Facebook are beginning to yield financial dividends. The company took important steps on the path toward simplification with the sale of Unruly, the ad tech business, while we are engaged in negotiations for the sale of News America Marketing. We believe that increasing investor focus on the core growth sectors, whether Risk and Compliance or Digital Real Estate, will be to the advantage of our shareholders.”

News and Information Services

Revenues in the quarter decreased $16 million, or 1%, as compared to the prior year, reflecting a $15 million, or 1%, negative impact from foreign currency fluctuations. Within the segment, Dow Jones and News UK revenues grew 4% and 2%, respectively, while revenues at News Corp Australia and News America Marketing declined 9% and 4%, respectively.

Circulation and subscription revenues increased 3% compared to the prior year, which includes a $6 million, or 1%, negative impact from foreign currency fluctuations. Circulation and subscription revenues again benefited from a healthy contribution from Dow Jones’ consumer products, which saw a 5% increase in circulation revenues, reflecting 17% digital paid subscriber growth and subscription price increases. Dow Jones’ consumer products reached 3.4 million total subscribers, reflecting an 8% increase compared to the prior year. The results also reflect an 8% increase in revenues at Dow Jones’ Professional Information Business, which benefited from 21% growth in its Risk & Compliance products. Price increases and digital subscriber growth at other mastheads also contributed to the results. These increases were largely offset by lower print volume in Australia and the UK.

Advertising revenues declined 5% compared to the prior year, of which $7 million, or 1%, was related to the negative impact from foreign currency fluctuations. The remainder of the decline was driven by weakness in the print advertising market, primarily in Australia, and lower home delivered revenues, which include free-standing insert products, at News America Marketing.

The declines were mitigated by growth at News UK, led by strong digital advertising growth at The Sun. Advertising revenues at Dow Jones declined 5% in the quarter. Digital revenues represented 43% of total Dow Jones advertising revenues in the quarter.

Segment EBITDA increased $30 million in the quarter, or 27%, as compared to the prior year, benefiting from a $22 million one-time benefit from the settlement of certain warranty related claims pertaining to previously incurred and ongoing repairs and maintenance costs for News UK’s printing business. The results also reflect higher contribution from News UK, resulting from cost savings, and from Dow Jones, as well as lower losses at the New York Post. The improvement was partially offset by the lower revenues at News Corp Australia and News America Marketing referenced above.

Digital revenues represented 36% of News and Information Services segment revenues in the quarter, compared to 32% in the prior year. For the quarter, digital revenues for Dow Jones and the newspaper mastheads represented 39% of their combined revenues, and at Dow Jones, digital accounted for 57% of its circulation revenues. Digital subscribers and users across key properties within the News and Information Services segment are summarized below:

• The Wall Street Journal average daily digital subscribers in the three months ended December 31, 2019 were 1,929,000, compared to 1,709,000 in the prior year (Source: Internal data)

• Closing digital subscribers at News Corp Australia’s mastheads as of December 31, 2019 were 566,600, compared to 460,300 in the prior year (Source: Internal data)

• The Times and Sunday Times closing digital subscribers as of December 31, 2019 were 320,000, compared to 269,000 in the prior year (Source: Internal data)

• The Sun’s digital offering reached approximately 140 million global monthly unique users in December 2019 (Source: Google Analytics; prior year comparable statistic unavailable due to source change)

Subscription Video Services

Revenues in the quarter decreased $61 million, or 11%, compared with the prior year, of which $25 million, or 5%, was due to the negative impact from foreign currency fluctuations. Adjusted revenues for the segment decreased 6% compared to the prior year. The remainder of the revenue decline was driven by the impact from lower broadcast subscribers and changes in the subscriber package mix, partially offset by higher revenues from Foxtel’s OTT products, Kayo, which launched in November 2018, and Foxtel Now.

As of December 31, 2019, Foxtel’s total closing subscribers were 2.952 million, an increase of 3% compared to the prior year, primarily due to subscriber growth at Kayo, partially offset by lower broadcast subscribers. 2.268 million of the total closing subscribers were broadcast and commercial subscribers, and the remainder consisted of Foxtel Now and Kayo subscribers. As of December 31, 2019, there were 372,000 Kayo subscribers, of which 350,000 were paying subscribers, compared to 72,000 subscribers (42,000 paying) in the prior year. As of February 5th, there were more than 370,000 paying Kayo subscribers. As of December 31, 2019, there were 343,000 Foxtel Now subscribers, of which 334,000 were paying subscribers, compared to 358,000 subscribers (354,000 paying) in the prior year.

Broadcast subscriber churn in the quarter was 16.0% compared to 15.6% in the prior year, due to increased volume of churn from lower-value customers on expiring contracts in wholesale channels, partially offset by improvements at the Foxtel retail channel. Broadcast ARPU for the quarter declined 1% compared to the prior year to over A$77 (US$53), primarily due to the changes in the subscriber package mix.

Segment EBITDA in the quarter decreased $14 million, or 17%, compared with the prior year, primarily due to lower revenues, partially offset by lower total costs, including programming and transmission costs. Adjusted Segment EBITDA (as defined in Note 2) decreased 12%.

Fans and jury vote for Australia’s 2020 Eurovision representative

• Another alt-pop artist heading to Eurovision after Vanessa Amorosi and Casey Donovan discarded

Montaigne has been crowned the winner of Eurovision – Australia Decides during the live TV final on SBS on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Sydney-based artist took to the stage to perform her song Don’t Break Me, alongside some of Australia’s biggest names in music. The scores of the viewing public and jury were combined for the official results.

The win by Montaigne means Australia will send another alt-pop artist to the singing competition after Kate Miller-Heidke had a very respectable top 10 finish in 2019 with a song, Zero Gravity, that never found much love in its home country.

After winning over the Australian public on the weekend with 53 points, and a jury of industry experts with 54 points, 107 points overall, Montaigne has been selected to represent Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and broadcast live and exclusive on SBS in May 2020.

In a nail-biting finish, Casey Donovan took out second place with 100 points overall, leading the public vote by seven points with her anthem of self-respect and acceptance Proud. An unlucky Vanessa Amorosi came in third place with her power ballad Lessons of Love with 82 points overall.

Vanessa Amorosi

Montaigne said: “This is wild! I started out just grateful to be a part of Eurovision but this is fricken insane! Thank you to everyone who gave me their vote, I’m so excited to go to Rotterdam and give it a red hot go!”

SBS commissioning editor and Australian head of delegation Josh Martin said: “Australia has made their choice! And what an incredibly exciting and original choice it is. This is a game changer for our Eurovision journey. Montaigne is an incredibly talented artist, full of strength and integrity who will bring a new audience to Eurovision. It will be so exciting to see how she can evolve this performance for the much larger stage in Rotterdam in May. Fun times ahead!”

Jack Vidgen

Creative director of Eurovision – Australia Decides and director of Blink TV Paul Clarke said: “Montaigne is a total original. Her song had the best contemporary pop sound, and it was a shot performance – the first ever at Eurovision. We are delighted that Casey Donovan won the public vote with a song from talented songwriter Justine Elkatchi in a very tight contest. It was a hugely successful night and thanks to everyone who took part, SBS and our Queensland partners. Congrats to Montaigne!”

Hosted by comedian Joel Creasey and music buff Myf Warhurst, the weekend’s national selection showcased some of the best of Australian music and hopefully brings the nation closer to the Eurovision action.

It’s hard to win a Gold Logie, TV Week just made it even harder

In new voting rules announced today, the public will still have the ultimate say on who takes home the TV Week Logie Awards when voting opens on May 24, but they will have less of an opportunity to nominate contenders than in the past.

All TV networks are now invited to submit candidates for each of the 13 Most Popular Awards – including the big one: the TV Week Gold Logie Award for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television.

A combination of TV ratings, Nielsen social content ratings and the views of TV Week’s panel of experts will be taken into account to determine this year’s six nominees in all categories, and seven for the TV Week Gold Logie.

Nominees will then be announced on Sunday, May 24, where the public will be tasked with selecting the winners for all Most Popular Awards in an extended five-week live voting period right up until the end of the red carpet telecast on the 2020 awards night on Sunday, June 28.

TV Week editor Thomas Woodgate told Mediaweek: “Every year we look at ways to enhance the fans’ experience and have them engage even more with the TV Week Logie Awards. A simplified single voting period – and making that a longer five-week period – will really get the fans and the nominees fired up!”

What the public won’t get to do is vote in what used to be a first round of public voting early in the year.”

These Most Popular award nominees, along with the Most Outstanding award nominees, will be announced on Sunday, May 24, with live voting to open immediately afterwards. Fans will be able to cast their vote at this time through the official website:

The 62nd TV Week Logie Awards will take place this year on Sunday, June 28, 2020 at The Star Gold Coast in Queensland. All the action from the red-carpet arrivals and awards-show celebrations will be telecast on Nine and 9Now.

Thomas explained he wasn’t concerned about a shorter Logies voting window:

“That is a positive outcome without changing the most important element of the Most Popular Awards – namely, that the public get to decide the winners. This simpler process will enhance the user experience and have them engage even more with the TV Week Logie Awards.

When asked if there might be some backlash with the public only having a say in seven Gold Logie nominations after what in the past started as a very big field, Woodgate replied:

“That’s a good question, but I genuinely don’t think so. The nominee selection process has been put in place to provide a fair and transparent outcome of the nominees, before handing over the job of picking the winner to the public.

“We’re extremely lucky to have such a thriving television industry in Australia with so many actors, presenters, personalities and shows all worthy of inclusion, and inevitably this will mean some will miss out, but the public have the ultimate say in who wins and I don’t envy them at all, it’ll be a tough job!”

Networks are able to nominate up to five people or shows in each of the Most Popular Awards.

Woodgate doesn’t think the changes could impact people running campaigns in future like we have seen in recent years.

“To be perfectly honest, I want people talking about the TV industry! The TV Week Logie Awards are a celebration of the entire industry, so I welcome the chatter. And it’s worth remembering that campaigning doesn’t automatically result in a win, and that the public are the ones who will determine each winner in the Most Popular Awards categories.”

Top Photo: Thomas Woodgate and Tom Gleeson

Eureka and Seven tee off on mini golf format with The Shark & BT

Golf legend Greg Norman, American actor/comedian Rob Riggle, popular Aussie commentator Brian ‘BT’ Taylor and actress Olympia Valance hit the course for new extreme mini golf competition.

Norman will lead the cast of its new miniature golf competition series Holey Moley, the blockbuster US smash hit set to premiere in Australia later this year.

Greg Norman

Greg Norman

One of the most successful golfers the world has ever seen, Norman will serve as Resident Golf Pro of the Holey Moley course and appear in every episode.

Holey Moley is mini golf like you’ve never seen before and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of this fresh, fun, new TV series,” said Norman. “I look forward to joining the other incredible talent on the Holey Moley team and seeing all of the competitors in the ‘Thunderdome’ of mini golf. Let the games begin!”

The series will be co-hosted by American actor/comedian Rob Riggle (Step Brothers, The Hangover, The Other Guy), direct from the US version of Holey Moley, and popular Australian commentator and presenter Brian ‘BT’ Taylor.

Rob Riggle

Australian actress and media personality Olympia Valance (Playing For Keeps, Neighbours) will be Sideline Reporter.

Holey Moley sees self-proclaimed mini-golf lovers from around Australia competing head-to-head on the unparalleled, larger-than-life, epic obstacle golf course in California. They’ll face out-of-this-world putting and physical challenges while they attempt to complete the course and reach the daunting final hole. Each episode, one winner will take home the “Golden Putter” trophy and coveted Holey Moley plaid jacket. Then, in an epic Grand Final, the winners from every episode will face off for the chance to take home the $100,000 grand prize. It all comes down to one putt!

Holey Moley promises to be fun, unpredictable, family entertainment on a scale unlike anything Australia has seen before,” said Angus Ross, Seven’s director of network programming. “Greg Norman transcends the game of golf and we’re beyond excited to have him tee off with us. The powerhouse team of The Shark, Hollywood star Rob and our own BT and Olympia take this epic competition to the next level.”

Olympia Valance

“Eureka is thrilled to be working with Seven and unveil the most extreme mini golf course ever created!” said Chris Culvenor, co-CEO of Eureka Productions. “It’s a fierce competition, full of incredible trick shots, hysterical wipeouts and high pressure putts.”

Holey Moley begins production in the US next month.

The format scored a hole-in-one with American viewers last Summer and has been renewed there for a second season. It was recently awarded Best New Format at the 2020 Realscreen Awards.

Holey Moley is created by Eureka Productions and produced by Eureka Productions for Channel Seven.

Top photo: Brian Taylor

MAFS recap & ratings: Introverted and extroverted weddings in ep 5

The fifth episode of Nine‘s Married at First Sight featured the weddings of Aleks and Ivan, and Connie and Jonethen. 

27-year-old Connie is an aspiring marine biologist, described by the relationship experts as “very quirky, shy and introverted with a big brain”. 

When Connie told her mum she’ll be partaking in this year’s TV social experiment, her mum was in complete shock and replied: “I can’t stand that show.” 

The experts decided to match Connie with 27-year-old projects officer, Jonethen, who’s looking for someone who isn’t skin deep, and offers substance and intelligence. Perfect!

The two meet for the first time at their wedding ceremony where they wore their hearts on their sleeves and shared meaningful vows; although Connie’s ‘party pooper’ mum is still concerned with the whole thing.

Jonethen and Connie

Jonethen announced in a speech at the reception that his dad suffered a serious stroke and can’t be present. He then guided his speech towards his in-laws that made Connie’s mum have slightly more hope for their TV marriage.

Then we met European groom Ivan; a 30-year-old real estate agent who said himself he’s been described as ‘obnoxious and opinionated’ and I’m sure many MAFS viewers agreed with him.

The experts matched Ivan with fiery, Serbian 26-year-old real estate agent Aleks, who said she may be in her mid-twenties but should be married with 10 kids by now.

Aleks and Ivan

Both European, hot-headed, and working in the same field, you’d think it could go either incredibly well or the complete opposite. Ten minutes in, Ivan said he literally loves her when she said he can smoke a cigar, even though she thinks smoking is disgusting. Off to a strong start. 

Ivan’s mother spoke with Aleks and they realised they both share a love for singing, which ended up with the two performing a public duet that has Ivan experience an internal rage as he’s completely mortified. 

Ivan and Aleks, Ivan’s mother

After his TV tantrum about the performance, he said he was close to walking out. His new wife Aleks – whose parents did not attend the wedding – then said: “Let me tell you something right now, husband. Your parents are here. Count your blessings. I’ve been in tears every single day because my parents aren’t here. I’d love my mum to do that.”

The fiery couple consoled and headed off to bed. He comically walked into the bedroom in his tight, white underwear, and was ordered to return with a dressing gown on. I think I speak for everyone when I say we’re very interested to see where this couple goes.

Married at First Sight returns tonight at 7:30pm on Nine and 9Now.

Week 6 TV: MAFS Wedding bells rule, but Seven claims summer victory

By James Manning

The summer schedule has come to an end seemingly only days after it started. Can we already be one day into the new TV ratings year with 40 survey weeks ahead where networks will go into battle in primetime across 280 nights?

Seven ranked #2 in the numbers last week a long way behind Nine. But Seven did win the final two nights of the week, a pattern we expect to see often this year.

Seven meanwhile has claimed ratings dominance across summer, built on the coverage of cricket, 7News and Sunrise.

Seven’s ratings achievements over summer include:
• Number 1 for both network and main channel in Total People and 25-54s from 0600-2400
• Number 1 summer sport with 7Cricket, reaching 16 million viewers
• Number 1 breakfast with Sunrise, winning every morning across summer
• Number 1 news service with 7NEWS

Across the summer, Seven has claimed victory for seven out of 10 weeks from 0600-2400, and six out of 10 weeks in prime time.

Angus Ross, Seven’s network director of programming, said: “We’re thrilled with our ratings dominance throughout the summer. Our unbeatable News, Public Affairs and Sport coverage has delivered exceptional results, with us winning seven weeks of summer across the day and six in prime time.

 “7NEWS and Sunrise have led the way this summer, providing vital coverage to viewers throughout the ongoing bushfire crisis and other major stories. The unmatched quality of their coverage has been reflected with viewers turning to 7NEWS ahead of the competition, and Sunrise winning every morning over summer.

Our strength over summer has positioned us well for the year ahead. We’re revitalising our prime time programming with new and much loved franchises including Rebel Wilson’s Pooch Perfect, Big Brother, Holey Moley, Farmer Wants a Wife, SAS, Plate of Origin and more. This new prime time programming will add to our dominance in News, Public Affairs and Sport, and will stand alongside the biggest broadcast event in Australian history, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in July and August.”

If Seven claimed the summer, Nine has claimed the past three weeks including week 6 where it started strongly with the Men’s Final of the Australian Open and then took the next four nights easily with the first four episodes of Married At First Sight for 2020.

The highlights of Nine’s week 6:

The Men’s Final between Djokovic and Thiem on Sunday was the highest rating event of the week, attracting an audience national peak of 2.671m (Metro: 1.943m Reg: 728,000) and an average audience national of 2.019m (Metro: 1.524m Reg: 495,000).

On Monday Married at First Sight had its highest metro launch episode ever, with a national average audience of 1.492m (Metro: 1.155m Reg: 338,000) tuning in, dominating its time slot and winning all key demographics of 25-54s, 16-39s and Grocery Shopper + Child.

Nine won the primetime network commercial shares for another week in a row across all key demographics, with the following shares: People 25-54s (43.8%), People 16-39s (46.4%) and Shopper with Child (43.8%).

Nine also won Total People with a share of 43.1%.

MAFS is already dominating the OzTAM VPM rankings, taking out the top four spots with digital audiences of between 282,000 and 237,000.

10 was the third of the three commercial networks also with good news to share to advertisers.

The network is able to claim:

Across the week, 10 had half of the top 10 shows in under 50s and all key age groups (16 to 39s, 18 to 49s and 25 to 54s). This was thanks to a big audience watching the I’m A Celebrity…Get me Out Of Here! The Winner Announced and Grand Finale which combined was up 14% year-on-year, as well as a strong launch week for Australian Survivor: All Stars which is lifting its timeslot 8% year-on-year. So far, in its launch week, Australian Survivor: All Stars live digital audience is up 53% year-on-year. Ambulance Australia also premiered its new season this week and its debut episode achieved its biggest audience since December 2018.

10’s early evening line-up of 10 News First and The Project also continues to lift, up 12% compared with the same week last year. 10 News First 6pm continues to see big lifts in its timeslot, up 38% year-on-year.

Network 10 lifted 5% year-on-year, with 10 Bold and 10 Peach seeing lifts of 23% and 13% respectively. 10 Bold was also the #1 multi-channel across the week in its target market of people over 40 (6pm to 10.30pm) and saw its sixth week of consecutive year-on-year audience growth.

The ABC’s best in week 6 after the Sunday and weekday ABC News 7pm bulletins was the Monday night episode of Media Watch on 646,000. Also performing well was the long-awaited new season of Doc Martin which did over 600,000 on Saturday.

Also close to 600,000 during the week were Four Corners, Shaun Micallef Mad As Hell and Backroads.

No surprise that Great Australian Railway Journeys was easily #1 for SBS this week with just over 400,000 viewers. Michael Portillo’s travels by rail have been the channel’s single strongest franchise for some time with his journeys across the UK, Europe, the US and India. It was a given he would also have great success when he finally made it down under.

ARIA Chart: Dune Rats claim second #1, Chillinit’s second debuts #2

• Singles: Dua Lipa highest new entry + #2, but Weeknd #1 again


The Weeknd has constructed a good run at the top with Blinding Lights now #1 for three weeks. The track is sweeping the world too as it tops many of the European charts including the UK.

Dua Lipa has the highest new entry on the chart with Physical new at #30. The song, the latest to be released from her forthcoming album Future Nostalgia, seems inspired in part by the Olivia Newton-John classic and there is even a mash-up of the two hits now online. Also this week another track from that Dua Lipa album, Don’t Start Now, climbs again to #2, the third time it has peaked at that position since charting late last year.

New to the top 10 this week at new chart peaks are Halsey at #8 with You Should Be Sad, and Lewis Capaldi with Before You Go at #9.

Two other songs to debut in the top 50 this week:

#31 Taylor Swift with Only the Young, a track Swift works on during her Netflix documentary.
#46 The Rubens with Live in Life charts following a late 2019 release and a string of summer shows the band played along the north coast of NSW in January.


A big year from Brisbane trio Dune Rats has started in the best possible fashion with their third album Hurry Up and Wait opening its chart run at #1. The band last ruled at the top of the chart with their album The Kids Know It’s Bullshit in February 2017. The band spent the first week of release for their new album meeting fans at stores around Australia and later this month and next play at sold out shows around Australia. The focus is then global later in the year with US dates and shows in Europe too.

Just missing top spot this week was the chart debut of the second album, The Octagon, from Chillinit (Sydney rapper Blake James Turnell) which has entered the chart at #2. His first album Women Weed and Wordplay peaked at #18 at the end of 2018.

Also debuting in the top 10 this week was the solo album Walls from former One Direction member Louis Tomlimson. He is the final member of the pop outfit to release a solo album.

Also new to the top 50 this week:

#13 Meghan Trainor with Treat Myself. The third album from the US singer-songwriter is her first in four years. Her first album Title also debuted at #1 in 2015 while her second Thank You peaked at #3 in 2016.
#26 Kesha with High Road. The fourth album from the US singer-songwriter debuted well down the chart for an artist with two top 5 albums here and a third that peaked at #12.
#44 Russ with Shake the Snow Globe. The third major label album from the US rapper debuts top 50 after his previous releases peaked at #54 and then #43. The prolific performer though can count 11 earlier album releases as part of the Diemon Crew rap group that were released on their own label.

Top photo: Dune Rats celebrate a chart topper

TV Ratings: February 9

By James Manning

• More MAFS weddings unite couples and Nine audience
• Cricket Bushfire Benefit match scores a big crowd
• Return on Dancing with the Stars below 600,000

Nine has kept on its winning way with the start of the second week of Married At First Sight. The show conducted two more weddings and revealed two couples whose relationships could be fertile TV in next few weeks. The Sunday episode pushed close to 1.1m which is the second-best episode this season after last week’s launch episode on 1.154m.

60 Minutes returned after its summer of repeats and two weeks off during the tennis. The stories ranged from the bushfire aftermath to the future of Harry & Meghan. The new season has started on 688,000.

The start of a second week of Seven’s My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals was just under 500,000. The evening also offered the Hugh Jackman movie The Greatest Showman on 228,000.

On 10 the first night of 280 survey nights for 2020 coincided with the launch of the channels second season of Dancing with the Stars which averaged 593,000. The series launched well behind MAFS, ahead of My Kitchen Rules and neck-and-neck with ABC’s Grand Designs. DWTS had a much better story in the key demos where it ranked

Earlier in the night The Sunday Project was on 378,000. An encore episode of The Graham Norton Show was then on 299,000.

After ABC News, Grand Designs returned to the slot with a very impressive 599,000. And then a rarity at 8.30pm – a new episode of Midsomer Murders with 572,000 watching.

The best from SBS on Sunday was a repeat of Australia in Colour on 170,000, narrowly followed by SBS News.

Week 5 TV: Friday-Monday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 15.0% 7 18.6% 9 17.0% 10  9.9% SBS One 4.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.7% 7TWO 3.7% GO! 3.7% 10 Bold 3.6% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.7% 7mate 3.8% GEM 3.1% 10 Peach 2.7% Food Net 1.4%
ABC NEWS 1.9% 7flix 2.7% 9Life 2.4%     NITV 0.2%
                SBS World Movies 1.1%
TOTAL 20.4%   28.8%   26.2%   16.2%   8.4%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 10.7% 7 20.7% 9 14.3% 10  7.8% SBS One 8.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.0% 7TWO 3.4% GO! 5.2% 10 Bold 4.1% VICELAND 0.8%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 4.7% GEM 4.5% 10 Peach 2.6% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 2.0% 7flix 2.3% 9Life 2.5%     NITV 0.4%
                SBS World Movies 0.9%
TOTAL 16.3%   31.1%   26.5%   14.5%   11.6%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 14.5% 7 16.8% 9 23.9% 10  12.7% SBS One 3.8%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.2% 7TWO 2.4% GO! 4.1% 10 Bold 3.4% VICELAND 0.7%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 3.5% GEM 2.2% 10 Peach 2.3% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.6% 7flix 2.0% 9Life 1.9%     NITV 0.1%
                SBS World Movies 0.6%
TOTAL 18.9%   24.8%   32.1%   18.3%   5.9%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 15.5% 7 16.2% 9 20.3% WIN 10.6% SBS One 3.9%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.4% 7TWO 3.7% GO! 4.3% WIN Bold 3.6% VICELAND 0.9%
ABC ME 1.0% 7mate 3.7% GEM 3.0% WIN Peach 1.8% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.8% 9Life 2.2% Sky News  on WIN 1.2% NITV 0.2%
TOTAL 20.4%   26.5%   28.9%   17.2%   5.9%


88.6% 11.4%
All people ratings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 885,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 848,000
  3. Nine News Nine 706,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 686,000
  5. ABC News ABC 592,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 531,000
  7. Better Homes And Gardens Seven 502,000
  8. The Chase Australia Seven 488,000
  9. Endeavour (R) ABC 476,000
  10. Gardening Australia ABC 471,000


Saturday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 770,000
  2. Nine News Saturday Nine 699,000
  3. ABC News ABC 622,000
  4. Doc Martin ABC 608,000
  5. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League The Final S2 Seven 606,000
  6. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League The Final Post Game Seven 602,000
  7. Taronga: Who’s Who In The Zoo Nine 546,000
  8. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League The Final Inn BRK Seven 499,000
  9. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League The Final S1 Seven 347,000
  10. Agatha Raisin ABC 341,000
Sunday FTA
  1. Married At First Sight Nine 1,091,000
  2. Seven News Seven 1,083,000
  3. Nine News Sunday Nine 959,000
  4. ABC News Sunday ABC 750,000
  5. 60 Minutes Nine 688,000
  6. Grand Designs ABC 599,000
  7. Dancing With The Stars Launch 10 593,000
  8. Bushfire Bash: Ponting Xi V Gilchrist Xi Seven 576,000
  9. Midsomer Murders ABC 572,000
  10. My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals Seven 476,000
  11. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 378,000
  12. Weinstein: Hollywood’s Reckoning Nine 366,000
  13. 10 News First 10 350,000
  14. Weekend Sunrise Seven 316,000
  15. The Graham Norton Show Encore 10 299,000
  16. Insiders AM ABC 291,000
  17. Border Security Australia’s Front Line (R) Seven 261,000
  18. The Greatest Showman Seven 228,000
  19. The Sunday Project 6.30pm 10 227,000
  20. Nine News: First At Five Nine 216,000
Sunday Multichannel
  1. Minions 9GO! 156,000
  2. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 152,000
  3. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  4. Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  5. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 138,000
  6. Insiders AM ABC NEWS 137,000
  7. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 136,000
  8. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  9. Bondi Rescue Ep 3 (R) 10 Bold 128,000
  10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens PM 7mate 126,000
  11. Kiri And Lou AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  12. Floogals AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  13. Law & Order: SVU Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 114,000
  14. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 110,000
  15. Law & Order: SVU (R) 10 Bold 110,000
  16. XXX: Return Of Xander Cage 9GO! 104,000
  17. Play School Nursery Rhyme News Time ABCKIDS/COMEDY 100,000
  18. Weekend Breakfast: 10am AM ABC NEWS 98,000
  19. Would I Lie To You? ABCKIDS/COMEDY 96,000
  20. Friends Ep 5 (R) 10 Peach 95,000
Sunday STV
  1. Live: Bushfire Cricket Bash FOX CRICKET 211,000
  2. The Cricket Tragic FOX CRICKET 78,000
  3. Live: Wt20 Tri Series: Aus V Eng FOX CRICKET 77,000
  4. Outsiders Sky News Live 62,000
  5. Outsiders Sky News Live 58,000
  6. S.W.A.T. FOX One 45,000
  7. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 42,000
  8. Live: AFLW FOX FOOTY 41,000
  9. Golf: USPGA: Pebble Beach Round 3 FOX SPORTS 503 36,000
  10. The Dirty Dozen FOX Classics 35,000
  11. Magnum P.I. FOX One 35,000
  12. Live: AFLW FOX FOOTY 35,000
  13. Live: Golf: Vic Open FOX SPORTS 503 32,000
  14. Midsomer Murders UKTV 31,000
  15. Live: ODI Rsa V Eng Game 3 FOX CRICKET 30,000
  16. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 29,000
  17. Family Guy FOX8 28,000
  18. Midsomer Murders UKTV 28,000
  19. Quantum Of Solace Movies Action 27,000
  20. Royals In Crisis Sky News Live 27,000

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

Facebook lashed by News Digital boss for rising scam ads

Facebook has been urged to take urgent action against a rising tide of scam ads that use real news sites to lure unwitting consumers to part with their money, amid concerns the company is dragging its feet when it comes to a code of conduct on fake news, reports The Australian’s David Swan.

News Digital Networks Australia (News DNA) managing director Julian Delany said the publisher had reported the fake ads to the tech giant since September with “little success” and that Facebook’s assurances it had taken action against the scammers rang hollow.

“It is hugely damaging to our brands and to the distribution of quality, trusted news to the Australian public,” Delany said.

[Read more]

Onus on tech giants to pay their share of journalism costs

This year will be a pivotal one for journalism as news publishers and the big tech companies work together to forge commercial business partnerships that lay the foundations for a positive future, writes News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller in The Australian.

News Corp will begin talks this week with Google over the federal government’s directive that the tech giants commit to a code of conduct for the negotiation of terms with media companies.

In these discussions with Google – and we hope Facebook also takes part in similar talks – we are confident that 2020 will mark a turning point for media sustainability in the modern digital world.

The agreements reached this year will come from the government’s response to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s inquiry into digital platforms.

News Corp has led the global debate about the need for a rebalancing of the relationships between the tech giants and publishers to ensure a strong and vibrant media sector.

The solution is now clear, fair and will be mandated if necessary: Big Tech should pay publishers from the profits and in the process secure a strong, sustainable media industry and a healthy society.

[Read more]

TV chef in crisis meeting to save teetering food empire

The hospitality empire of celebrity chef George Calombaris is on the brink of collapse and could be placed into voluntary administration as early as this week, with about 500 employees facing an uncertain future, reports The Age’s Gemima Cody.

A decision to appoint an administrator to oversee Made Establishment is set to be made at a meeting on Monday afternoon, months after the ailing business was battered by a major underpayment scandal and a tsunami of negative media coverage.

Calombaris, who left his role as a star judge on MasterChef last year, did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday.

The fate of 18 restaurants and fast-food outlets remains unclear. These include Melbourne CBD venue Gazi, souvlaki chain Jimmy Grants, Yo-Chi frozen yoghurt stores and Calombaris’ flagship fine dining establishment, Press Club, which became Elektra Dining in October.

[Read more]

Developer Mirvac buys Channel 9 headquarters for $227 million

Listed property developer the Mirvac Group has emerged as the buyer of the landmark Nine Network head office site in Willoughby – in a deal worth about $227 million, reports News Corp’s Amanda Sheppeard.

The prolific developer is reportedly keen to get started on the approved masterplan for the 3ha site, which includes 460 apartments across 10 mid-rise buildings, ranging in height from four to nine storeys.

Joint venture party, LEPC9 formed by partners, Australian property fund the Lotus Group and Hong Kong-based fund managers Euro Properties, bought the Artarmon Rd site in 2015 for $147 million.

Mirvac has also entered into an agreement to acquire the TX Australia transmission property which adjoins the Nine site. As part of its plans and subject to approvals, Mirvac intends to demolish the TX transmission tower and repurpose that site.

[Read more]

The New York Times tops 5m subscriptions, but ads decline

In the last three months of 2019, The New York Times Company reached one major business goal and got more than halfway toward another, reports the company.

Both are related to what has become the company’s main business: making money directly from customers who pay to do the crossword, check out recipes and follow the news on their computers, tablets and phones.

As the company disclosed last month, in 2019 it passed US$800 million in annual digital revenue for the first time, an objective it had pledged to meet by the end of 2020. Most of that $800.8 million – more than $420 million – came from news subscribers.

In the fourth-quarter earnings report that came out on Thursday, the company said its total subscription figure was over five million, a high. The company’s stated goal is to reach 10 million by 2025.

The company added more than one million net digital subscriptions last year – the most new subscriptions annually in the newspaper’s history.

[Read more]

News Brands

The Price is right for departed 2GB afternoon host

Talk radio host Steve Price has wasted no time in moving on from his surprise dumping by Nine Radio boss Tom Malone, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

Price negotiated himself the sweet deal of Nine paying him about $500,000, including his entire year’s salary for 2020, without so much as a “non-compete” clause to stop him from working anywhere else.

His big new relationship is with Austereo, where he has negotiated a weekly 45-minute segment on Eddie McGuire’s Hot Breakfast on Triple M on Tuesdays, and Price will also start weekly podcasts with the PodcastOne network, including a new travel show. The word is that he could yet land more radio gigs with Triple M, which is broadening its talk show presence.

[Read more]

Media Watch’s Paul Barry fans flames, dodges climate change facts

The ABC’s Media Watch, hosted by Paul Barry, claims the high moral ground, declaring it exposes “conflicts of interest, journalistic deceit, misrepresentation, manipulation and plagiarism”. But the problem is that it is full of journalistic deceit, misrepresentation and manipulation itself, reports The Australian’s Chris Kenny.

It flouts ABC charter demands for objectivity and accuracy. Rather than be an independent arbiter of media standards, Barry uses it to target the ABC’s commercial rivals and wage ideological battles supporting political causes dear to the green left.

The program shows only occasional interest in revealing ABC deceptions and cannot bring itself to examine the organisation’s chronic political bias.

Last week’s first program for the year was a classic of the genre because it misrepresented people and facts in order to promote global warming alarmism and denounce News Corp journalism.

[Read more]

Andrew Bolt: I’ve been talking about the planet warming for 15 years

We skeptics can’t go on like this. These bushfires demand we all stop pretending and face the facts, writes News Corp’s Andrew Bolt.

And, yes, it starts with me.

So I admit: the planet has warmed.

I admit: this warming could affect a lot of people.

I admit: man’s emissions probably play some role.

I admit: the Liberals’ response has been hopeless and MUST change.

Enough. How can Prime Minister Scott Morrison possibly agree that global warming is a menace – giving us bad things like a “longer, hotter, dryer, summer season” – yet still promise to do less than Labor to save us?

That’s simply not credible when people are freaking about a climate emergency that some think will wipe us out.

I’ve actually said nothing here that I haven’t said for more than 15 years.

In 2005, for instance, I wrote: “Over the past century the world has warmed, cooled and warmed again” and “most scientists (think) our emissions are partly to blame”.

So let me repeat yet again the facts that we must all stop pretending aren’t true.

[Read more]

Messenger Community News launches digital title for Adelaide Hills

For the first time in its 68-year history, Messenger Community News will have a presence in the Adelaide Hills with the launch of a daily online news site.

The Adelaide Hills News will deliver the stories that matter most to residents of the region, which encompasses two councils and about 100 local towns.

It is News Corp SA’s third digital-only masthead, after the launch last year of The Upper Spencer Gulf News and The City.

All are published by community newspaper division Messenger Community News.

Journalist and Hills local Lydia Kellner has been named editor of the publication.

Kellner commenced her journalism career in Townsville more than a decade ago, where she worked in community and general news.

She then became real estate editor for the Townsville Bulletin, and in 2017 moved to Adelaide as senior real estate reporter.

[Read more]


TV breakfast star takes on newspaper columnist over fake news

• Journalist labelled a ‘bully & bullsh*t artist’

Sunrise co-host Samantha Armytage has hit out at a column by The Sunday Telegraph’s Annette Sharp that was published on the weekend under the headline: ‘Armytage miffed as prime Oscars gig goes to Sonia Kruger’.

Sam Armytage

In a long Instagram post on Sunday, Armytage wrote:

There’s a very odd woman who works for one of the Sunday papers.

Her name is Annette Sharp & she’s been obsessed with me for 8+ years in a kind of creepy, nasty, menacing, mean way.

I don’t know her from a bar of soap, but she seems a dreadful bit of gear.

She is certainly no friend to women & most worrying for someone in her position, she simply makes stuff up.

Sharp asked in her Sunday column: Has Sonia Kruger’s return to the Seven Network put the lovely nose of Sunrise breakfast host Sam Armytage out of joint?

Arymtage called the column more “crap about me Sonia Kruger”.

The Seven breakfast star continued:

I usually rise above [Sharp’s] rubbish (as I was raised to do with bullies) but this year I’ve decided to call out her bullsh*t.

Weekly, if necessary.

I thank her for saying I’m glowing this year.

I am. My life is happy at work and outside it.

Which is more than I can say for her, it seems.

And I ask her to refrain from calling me Sammy. That’s only for my friends.

If you don’t like my peaches Annette, don’t shake my tree.

I write this for all the girls (& boys!) out there, to stand up to bullies & bullsh*t artists in 2020.

I’ll see you all bright & early tomorrow @sunriseon7 , when @kochie_online & I will be joined by the Uber-glam @soniakruger for the Oscars.

Read Annette Sharp’s column here.

Sports Media

AFL works on rights extension with Seven, Foxtel, Telstra

The AFL is believed to be working on an extension to its broadcast rights deal with Seven West Media, Foxtel and Telstra, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Under the current deal, News Corp, which owns 65 per cent of Foxtel, is paying $1.3 billion over the life of the agreement, Seven is paying $840 million and Telstra is paying $600 million.

Foxtel has all nine AFL matches per round live, Seven shows, on average, 3½ games per round, while Telstra owns the digital rights.

“The AFL don’t give a running commentary on our broadcast rights,” an AFL spokesman said. Seven, Foxtel and Telstra declined to comment.

[Read more]

Kayo numbers have faltered and that's worrying for Foxtel

Whether Kayo’s shock slump is a hiccup or something more remains to be seen, but Foxtel and News Corp executives will be sweating on their $105 million per year bet on cricket, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Deep in the release of News Corp’s results on Friday, it was revealed Kayo, the sports streaming service that has been identified as a core pillar of Foxtel’s future, showed a decline leading into the end of 2019.

News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson downplayed Kayo’s slump, pointing to the AFL and NRL seasons as the key drivers of growth and delivering cricket a yorker, labelling it not as compelling as the winter codes.

On Friday, News Corp, which owns 65 per cent of Foxtel, revealed Kayo had more than 370,000 paying subscribers as of February 5. This compared with more than 402,000 as of November 5, 2019. It had 42,000 paying subscribers at the end of December 2018.

[Read more]

Seven West Media warning as rugby rights deal in balance

Seven West Media boss James Warburton has warned sporting bodies they should better demonstrate their value to broadcasters as Rugby Australia prepares to stoke interest in the television rights for the struggling code, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

With Seven also preparing to extend its current broadcast right deal with the AFL, Warburton said sports must demonstrate “revenue and growth” opportunities in a clear signal he would not enter a bidding war to show Wallabies Tests or Super Rugby.

“Sporting bodies should consider what they offer TV networks in incremental revenue and growth opportunities,” Warburton said. “We will be very disciplined in our rights negotiations — we already have the No 1 one winter and summer sports.”

[Read more]

Rugby Australia and Fox Sports' broken marriage needs a divorce lawyer

Rugby has contributed significantly to the many problems that have led to its fractious relationship with Fox Sports and the clear peril this represents to the game’s future funding, writes Sydney Morning Herald columnist Paul Cully.

The arrogance of Super Rugby expansion – who in their right mind thought Australia could sustain five Super Rugby teams? – served up a lot of dross that the punter was expected to consume because it provided Australian “derbies” (a fabrication).

But let’s be frank: Rugby Australia and Fox Sports are both damaged parties, using models that may not even be sustainable.

Fox Sports is absolutely right to be driving a hard bargain in these negotiations, and it is certainly not the only pay TV operator that is demanding more of sports rights-holders.

[Read more]

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