By James Manning
What some producers overlook in their applications for funding.
Graeme Mason has a long history working in Australia and around the world. The CEO of Screen Australia told a Mediaweek podcast this month: “That was helpful to me when myself and the staff were working out last year to help as best we could, to keep the sector going through Covid.”
In Britain Mason worked across all aspects of film production, sales and acquisitions, and distribution for companies such as Polygram Filmed Entertainment. From 1998 to 2002 he was president of worldwide acquisitions for Universal Studios. He then joined Channel 4 Television UK as head of media projects and later as managing director of rights before moving to New Zealand to lead the New Zealand Film Commission from 2009 to 2013.
Some highlights from the podcast:
We have a very different way of funding. I might be a little biased, but I feel our crews, our production houses, the facilities and the actors and producers are really very extraordinary. What I have always felt, and feedback I get back internationally too, is that we are a nation of problem solvers.
We are incredibly supported by government, even though some may disagree. I work for the Federal Government and we have a lot of great things like the ABC, SBS, NITV, we have production offsets across film and television which is unlike anywhere else, except New Zealand, vest in the producer.
The Federal Government also funds the Film and Television and Radio School, and it contributes to NIDA which turns out everything from actors to set designers.
Then there are State Governments who plan an enormous role in local and international projects. There is a big eco-system of funding support to ensure Australian stories get told.
Screen Australia is spending in the vicinity of $90-$100m in direct investment whether it be in the development of stories or investments into projects via grants. We also administer and run the Producer Offsets for both film and television. That is in the range of $200m a year. The two key groups we look after that for are the Federal Government who gives us the money, and the sector which we are trying to help grow and develop.
Traditionally anything under a $500,000 amount we will give out as a grant. If the amount is more than that it becomes an investment. We then take a position in the recoupment of that investment in that film or TV show.
Screen Australia was formed in 2008 by the merging of the legacy agencies [Film Finance Corporation, Australian Film Commission and Film Australia]. I was working for another company at the time, but we had a pitch about drag queens on a bus going through the dessert. My then company Polygram invested in it as did Australia’s then Film Finance Corporation (FFC). The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was a very, very successful investment and it was great to work with Stephan Elliott and Rebel Penfold-Russell and the other people on it.
I should say in principle we are not about money. We are nothing like a studio. We also look at the potential audience who will consume the content. For some of the online projects we fund for not very much money, the makers are getting millions of views around the world. That is an extraordinary return for the Australian taxpayer as well as helping those people along to the next things in their careers. RackaRacka, twins from Adelaide, have had over 1.3b viewers of their YouTube content. The highest-trending thing on YouTube in Australia in 2017 and 2019 was Superwog. Two brothers from Sydney doing their own take on their lives. At all times we are asking, ‘Where is the audience for your content?’
One of the biggest failings I see is people neglecting the audience question. Probably because they have spent so much time working on the creative idea. If you can’t explain to us who you are hoping will enjoy this, or moved by this, or learn by this, and how you are going to get to them, then you are not doing the full job. Making the content is only the very first part of the war.
It varies. People probably don’t understand the volume of stuff that comes in. We get literally thousands of applications a year. In feature documentaries for example we had 20 applicants in one round and maybe 12 feature films. That’s for funding. For development add a zero to those numbers for every single round. If a project falls at the first hurdle then all people will get is a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ response.
What sort of volume is there in terms of movies, and does much get made with your support?
We probably invest in the high teens in terms of feature films a year via direct funding, not counting offset. In a normal year there is something between 60 and 100 Australian films made. We are only in maybe a third at best – more films are made without us than with us.
PLUS: 20 commentators on the departure of Collingwood president Eddie McGuire.
Eddie McGuire stood down as the president of the Collingwood Football Club at a press conference in Melbourne on Tuesday afternoon. It is the second major role McGuire has stepped away from after departing Triple M breakfast at the end of 2020.
He used his time in front of the media to recap the club’s achievements, largely off the field, during his 23 years running Collingwood. There was scant mention of what might be next for one of Melbourne’s most prominent, busiest and best-connected sports and media executives.
McGuire noted he wanted to have a break from his media career if his media bosses agree. One of those negotiations will be easy. McGuire runs the company JAM TV which is part of McGuire Media. JAM TV calls itself “Australia’s No. 1 producer of sport and entertainment” and McGuire is the chairman. The business produces many TV shows including Millionaire Hot Seat, Footy Classified and The Sunday Footy Show among other things.
Amazon Prime Video last year announced it has commenced production with the Australian Football League (AFL) and JAM TV Australia, on a docu-series that follows six key individuals from six teams for their 2020 season of the AFL.
The then untitled docu-series had been planned to launch in over 200 countries and territories in 2021.
McGuire’s other roles are as one of the faces of both the Nine Network and Fox Footy. A deal for him to be employed by both Foxtel and the Nine Network was hatched back after McGuire’s unsuccessful short time running the Nine Network. A deal that also came before News Corp and Nine started a war that sees no sign of ending. McGuire is worth much more onscreen than running a broadcaster.
At Nine McGuire hosts the critical Millionaire Hot Seat which is a critical part of the schedule and feeds audience into the primetime schedule. Eddie also hosts one of the two episodes of Footy Classified that screen every week. While Craig Hutchison looks after the original Monday episode, McGuire takes the chair on Wednesday’s, giving viewers one of the weekly sports TV highlights as he spars with panelist Caroline Wilson.
At Fox Footy McGuire is part of the commentary team both in the studio on Friday nights and at games across the weekend. If he stays with Fox Footy it might be easier to fit him into the weekend schedule as he won’t need time off to be at every Collingwood match.
Here’s a round-up of some of the commentary and reporting surrounding McGuire’s Collingwood departure. There will be much more to come.
Paul Murray on Sky News
Message for the big end of town: The same mob that pushed Eddie out will push you out one day.
Sadly the woke warriors win…again.
PC woke brigade rules: McGuire, canceled.
It doesn’t matter what is happening on the field anymore, that is not what it is about anymore.
Rita Panahi on Sky News
The mob has won and they got [Eddie’s] scalp.
Rita Panahi in the Herald Sun
Clumsy Eddie has fallen but did not deserve to
Russell Jackson ABC News Digital
Eddie McGuire’s Collingwood farewell bore little resemblance to the career that preceded it
Caroline Wilson in The Age
Ed, it should never have ended like this
Greg Baum in The Age
McGuire’s two words that couldn’t be unsaid
Emma Kemp in Guardian Australia
Indigenous leaders welcome Eddie McGuire’s resignation as president of Collingwood AFL club
Damon Johnston in The Australian
In the end, the pressure was just too much for Eddie McGuire and the Collingwood club
Mark Robinson in the Herald Sun
Robbo: A shame Eddie run out of his own club
Jackie Epstein in the Herald Sun
Eddie McGuire’s resignation is an absolute disgrace says Sam Newman
Peter Lalor in The Australian
Eddie McGuire condemned by history
Courtney Walsh in The Australian
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire’s fall from penthouse to outhouse
Mark Duffield in The West Australian
Ed’s end comes quickly, but footy better for his reign
Barrie Cassidy in Guardian Australia
Eddie McGuire failed to identify his use-by date and, when forced out, portrayed himself as the victim
Ben Waterworth from Fox Sports
A president with ‘few peers’: Gerard Healy’s radio editorial after Eddie McGuire’s departure
Damian Barrett at AFL.com.au
McGuire quits: The only decision that Eddie could make
Rohan Connolly in Footyology
Very dignified exit from Ed. Collingwood IS a much better club for his tenure, that is indisputable
Andrew Gardiner at Footyology
AFL racism: Winds of change or more hot air?
James Matthey & Nic Savage at news.com.au
One decision killed Eddie McGuire’s Collingwood career
Eddie has made an enormous contribution to the Collingwood Football Club and Australian Rules Football over the past 22 years and we will have time to properly acknowledge his contribution to the club and to the football community in the weeks ahead but one thing is clear in that Eddie leaves Collingwood in better shape than when he started as President.
Jon brings over 20 years of experience working at both digital and full-service media agencies.
Nielsen announced today that Jonathan Betts, a media industry and digital veteran, will join February 15 as Executive Director, Commercial Growth and Product Strategy of Nielsen Media Australia.
Jonathan Betts brings over 20 years of experience working at both digital and full-service media agencies. His digital expertise and insight into advertisers across categories such as financial services, technology, automotive, government, and retail will steer local Nielsen innovation and insights with the “voice of client” at the centre.
As the industry continues its digital transformation to account for fundamental shifts in both audience behavior and changes to privacy and technology, Betts will be instrumental in challenging Nielsen to deliver greater commercial impact for its products and services.
“I have worked with Jon for many years now and always valued the way he has challenged the team at Nielsen to drive better outcomes for his clients. We are thrilled to be working with such a respected and collaborative expert who will help us reinvent and recharge our commercial offerings and relationships with media agencies, media owners and global platforms.” said Monique Perry, Managing Director of Nielsen Media, Sports & Entertainment.
Betts said, “in the last 10 years of dealing with Monique I have always respected her integrity, her commitment to the industry and how she has continuously evolved the Nielsen offering. Over this time Nielsen have been consistently solving the hard problems for agencies and advertisers and their technical expertise is unparalleled. I am thrilled to get the opportunity to work with Monique and the team at Nielsen to drive innovations that solve the problems people care about and amplify the voice of Nielsen in the market.”
Nielsen Holdings plc is a global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Nielsen is divided into two business units. Nielsen Global Media provides media and advertising industries with unbiased and reliable metrics that create a shared understanding of the industry required for markets to function.
An S&P 500 company, Nielsen has operations in nearly 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population.
By Tess Connery
Fellow Disney+ show The Mandalorian is still running strong at number two.
WandaVision continues to top the charts this week. Due to the show’s week by week release of episodes, it was a slow start for the Marvel show, but with five of the nine episodes currently available, it’s shot to the top of the charts.
With four more episodes left to release, WandaVision seems like it’ll stay comfortably in the top spot for the foreseeable future.
Fellow Disney+ show The Mandalorian is still running strong at number two on the overall charts, despite it being almost four months since the release of the show’s highly anticipated second season. Its popularity has earned it a third season, which has been confirmed and is currently in pre-production. Next in line for Star Wars fans, however, is The Book of Boba Fett which is due for release on Disney+ in December this year.
Over in New Zealand however, The Mandalorian has been bumped down to third position by Attack On Titan. With the manga that Attack On Titan is based on set to end in April this year, there may not be too many more seasons left for the anime.
Hot off the back of the Golden Globes nominations, The Crown and The Flight Attendant are currently at seventh and eighth in the Australian digital original charts. The fourth season of The Crown introduced Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher, with the show and cast nominated for six awards including Best Television Series – Drama. The Flight Attendant picked up two nominations: one for Best Television Series – Musical Or Comedy, and one for lead actress, Kaley Cuoco, in the Best Performance By An Actress In A Television Series – Musical Or Comedy category.
Perpetual favourite Brooklyn 99 made it into the overall Australian charts as well this week, coming in at number seven. Saturday Night Live also snuck into the tenth position, boosted by their super bowl half time sketch.
By Trent Thomas
• Nine wins the night off the back of an Ash Barty party
• Amazing Race in the Great Barrier Reef wins all key demos
• Holey Moley miss-hits with smallest metro audience yet
Seven News 963,000 (6:00 pm)/930,000 (6:30 pm)
Nine News 866,000 (6:00 pm)/870,000 (6:30 pm)
ABC News 637,000
10 News First 317,000 (5:00 pm)/209,000 (6:00 pm)
SBS World News 148,000
Daily current affairs
The Project 261,000 (6:30 pm)/442,000 (7:00 pm)
The Drum 147,000
News Breakfast 182,000
Late Night News
ABC Late News 61,000
Nine won last night off the back of the second day of its Australian Open coverage achieving a 20.4% primary share and a 28.3% network share, with the Open’s night session averaging 464,000 viewers.
The main driving force behind these rating was the Ash Barty v Danka Kovnic, and Stefanos Tsitsipas v Gilles Simon matches that aired during prime time.
Barty defeated Kovnic in straight sets with an average metro audience through the match of 646,000, while Tsitsipas defeated Simon in front of an average metro audience of 432,000.
On Seven Holey Moley had its smallest audience yet with 469,000 which was down from the 737,000 last Tuesday night and also down on the 528,000 from this Monday night.
In the episode beer sales rep, avid surfer and groom-to-be, Jesse Earnshaw whitewashed the competition and earned himself a spot in the Grand Final and a chance at winning $100,000. Holey Moley was followed by The Good Doctor with 284,000.
Home and Away was the top entertainment program of the night with 553,000.
On 10 The Amazing Race Australia was again over 500,000 and was number one in all key demos as it continues its improved performance since its launch last week.
The sixth leg of the race saw the teams converge on the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. The teams tended turtles and treasure hunted, before The Daughter and Dad team of Jobelle and Rani were sent home.
The Project had 442,000 viewers tune in with the episode covering the national rental crisis and talked to Aussie actor Miranda Tapsell.
On ABC 7:30 had 467,000, Foreign Correspondent had 368,000, and Australia Remastered: Wild Wars had 270,000.
On SBS Great Continental Railway journeys had 215,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS||2.5%||7TWO||3.6%||GO!||2.6%||10 Bold||4.1%||VICELAND||1.9%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||3.5%||GEM||1.5%||10 Peach||3.3%||Food Net||1.2%|
|ABC NEWS||2.1%||7flix||1.7%||9Life||2.5%||10 Shake||0.7%||NITV||0.1%|
|9Rush||1.4%||SBS World Movies||0.7%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS||2.3%||7TWO||6.1%||GO!||3.2%||WIN Bold||4.8%||VICELAND||1.5%|
|ABC ME||1.0%||7mate||5.9%||GEM||2.1%||WIN Peach||3.3%||Food Net||1.1%|
|ABC NEWS||1.8%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.7%||9Life||2.3%||Sky News on WIN||1.4%||NITV||0.2%|
|TUESDAY METRO ALL TV|
16-39 Top Five
18-49 Top Five
25-54 Top Five
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2021. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Facebook and Google have recruited five of Australia’s most influential lobbying firms, some with close ties to the Morrison government, as they press their case against the proposed news media code, reports Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade.
This small army of highly paid lobbyists, which includes former prime ministerial staffers, has been central to the digital giants’ attempts to influence the direction of the legislation behind the scenes.
Last week Google launched its News Showcase product in Australia as Morrison said he had a “constructive” conversation with the global head of Google, Sundar Pichai, after Google threatened to remove its search engine from Australia.
Google has no fewer than four heavy-hitting firms stalking the corridors of parliament: Christmas Jalili, Newgate Communications, TG Endeavour and Eloquium Group, according to the Australian Government Register of Lobbyists.
EU lawmakers overseeing new digital regulation in Europe want to force Big Tech companies to pay for news, echoing a similar move in Australia and strengthening the hand of publishers against Google and Facebook, report AFR’s Javier Espinoza and Alex Barker.
Lawmakers working on two landmark draft European digital regulations, the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA), told the Financial Times the laws could be amended as they pass through the EU Parliament to include aspects of the Australian reforms.
These include the option of binding arbitration for licensing agreements and requiring tech companies to inform publishers about changes to how they rank news stories on their sites.
Canadian news publishers are eagerly awaiting Australia’s proposed news media bargaining code to “blaze the path” on regulating the digital giants, with local efforts key to movement by the Canadian Parliament on the issue, report AFR’s Miranda Ward and Mark Mulligan.
Industry body Friends of Canadian Broadcasters executive Daniel Bernhard said Australia was “demonstrating true leadership” in legislating to level the playing field between the digital giants and local news media publishers.
A Senate committee will report on the proposed code on Friday and, with federal Parliament to sit for two weeks after, the legislation may become law by the end of the month.
Canada’s news outlets are expecting legislation from Parliament sometime in their spring – Australia’s autumn – with Mr Bernhard saying the government seemed to favour legislation modelled on Australia’s proposed news media bargaining code.
Australia’s largest locally owned media company Nine has signed a multi-year partnership with discovery and native advertising platform Outbrain.
The agreement sees Outbrain’s Smartfeed technology running across a suite of Nine’s premium digital properties which include Nine.com.au, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times, WAtoday. These websites achieve more than 625 million page views per month.
Andrew Burke, Managing Director APAC and Growth Markets for Outbrain, commented: “We’re really excited to bring the power of Nine’s amazing brands to our advertising network. These are household brands every Australian has grown up with, and that trust and heritage delivers real impact for advertisers on these sites.
“Having spent time with the Nine team it’s clear they are one of the most innovative and rapidly-evolving media organisations in the world, so their decision to partner with Outbrain is testament to the world-class quality of our technology.”
Native and infeed advertising is one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the Australian advertising landscape, with the last set of IAB Australia figures showing 19% growth for the September quarter.
Michael Stephenson, Nine’s Chief Sales Officer, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Outbrain as a partner of Nine. Outbrain’s proprietary technology and solutions will offer yet another vehicle for advertisers looking to reach the unique and premium audiences within our digital ecosystem.”
The deal, which began on January 1, comes as Outbrain recently announced a partnership with regional publisher Australian Community Media.
The new season of Dancing With The Stars is in the final stages of casting, with rehearsals scheduled to begin in coming weeks, reports News Corp’s Mibengé Nsenduluka.
Confidential understands that filming will take place in Sydney this year after Channel 7 bought the rights to the show, which was previously filmed in Melbourne last year for Channel 10.
The show, which will tap into seasons 1-15 (before it aired on Channel 10), will be pre-recorded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While no official announcements have been made regarding the cast, it’s understood that the show will feature an all stars mixture of champions and contenders.
A Home and Away actor and a My Kitchen Rules star are said to be in contract negotiations.
The early indication is that pushing back the Australian Open has damaged TV ratings, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.
The first official night of the sporting event registered a 23 per cent decline year on year in ratings across the five city metro markets.
Just 486,223 viewers tuned in for the night-time Australian Open session to see the likes of Nick Kyrgios hit the courts. That is a dramatic decline from last year’s opening night ratings of 632,593.
The Australian Open is usually held in January but was pushed back to allow for the world’s top tennis players to quarantine due to COVID-19.
An industry source noted: “It’s only been one night, but it isn’t a great start for Nine, especially given they predicted strong ratings and promised advertisers they could deliver the same audience as last year.”
The numbers are in, and the National Football League’s biggest game of the year — during this season of Covid — failed to top 100 million viewers this year, reports CNBC’s Jabari Young.
Super Bowl LV attracted 96.4 million viewers for ViacomCBS on Sunday, the company announced Tuesday, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9. It’s the lowest watched Super Bowl since 2007, when the Indianapolis Colts played the Chicago Bears, another CBS broadcast. That game attracted 93.1 million viewers, according to Octagon’s media division data provided to CNBC.
Research firm Nielsen, which handles TV viewership data responded on Monday afternoon to inquires about the delay in releasing the information. In a statement to Deadline, a spokesperson said the metrics would include out of home (OOH) numbers. Those numbers represent TVs in places like bars and restaurants and augment viewership data for the NFL.
Even though the overall viewership totals were a disappointment, CBS did tout growth in internet streaming of the Super Bowl. The company said the stream averaged 5.7 million viewers per minute. The game streamed through CBS’s All Access service. Later this year, All Access will change to Paramount+, ViacomCBS’s new streaming service that is designed to take on leaders like Netflix and Disney+.
The CBS app had issues during the game, which could have had a negative impact on the ratings.