Wednesday February 12, 2020

BBC Showcase: Home of Bold, British and Creative TV hits

By James Manning

• Australian TV buyers join counterparts to preview and purchase

The business of making and distributing television shows is more complex than ever at a time when there have never been more broadcasters wanting premium video content for their various platforms.

A major player servicing both the global TV market, and also the BBC, is BBC Studios. The major selling event each year for that content is the BBC Showcase held in Liverpool every February.

Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker

Buyers wanting content for their television stations, subscription channels and on demand platforms converge on the Liverpool conference centre on The Mersey to watch content in a sea of viewing booths in the basement, hear from producers and talent from key properties about to hit the market in special presentations, and to be dazzled at the two evening Showcase events usually themed around some of the company’s major projects.

This year those projects were Unlock Your Imagination (Dr Who and The Watch on Monday night with a special performance from Mark Ronson) and then Our One in a Billion Planet (Tuesday).

Mark Ronson entertains Showcase buyers

BBC Studios CEO Tim Davie explained to his guests at one of the evening extravaganzas: “If you want to know the BBC Studios strategy, we are Bold, British and Creative [BBC], but more than anything we make hits. We make things that people remember and that’s what it is all about. We are a business that is going well, and we are having a great year. But it is all about partnerships. This company has been through incredible change in the past few years and our success is all down to partnerships with people here tonight.”

Top Gear branding at BBC Showcase

Included amongst the 600-700 hundred buyers jostling to secure the hottest shows from BBC Studios and its production partners were representatives from the major Australian broadcasters including two of the market’s astute dealmakers – Stan’s Les Sampson and Foxtel’s Alison Burns – together with other buyers from Nine, 10, ABC and SBS.

Top Gear presenters [L-R]: Chris Harris, Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff

Looking after BBC Studios buyers are teams of sales staff from around the world including Asia Pacific, now under the guidance of APAC executive vice president Jon Penn, plus executives from the Australian business including ANZ general manager Fiona Lang, head of content sales and co-production ANZ Deborah Tod and director of branded services ANZ Tim Christlieb.

Cast from A Suitable Boy

The dazzling array of product on offer this year ranges the full gamut from natural history (A Perfect Planet), comedy (Stephen Merchant in The Offenders, Will Arnett in The First Team), drama (The North Water from Australia’s See-Saw Films, A Suitable Boy from director Mira Nair and writer Andrew Davies) and factual entertainment (Top Gear).

Mediaweek visited BBC Showcase in partnership with BBC Studios.

Top Photo: Stephen Merchant from The Offenders

The Australian Financial Review's strategy for subscription growth in 2020

 The Australian Financial Review, is set to maintain its subscription trajectory in 2020 aided by the launch of a new marketing campaign.

In 2019, the Financial Review saw double-digit subscriber growth, AFR reached a total of 2.647 million Australians in November across print and digital, according to recent figures from emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia).

The campaign, created by Special Group, launched last week underlines the role AFR plays in driving subscribers’ ambition and success.

Using the existing tagline of “the daily habit of successful people”, the new campaign asks the pertinent question, “Do you subscribe?”, linking this action to the mindsets, behaviours and habits that fuel Australia’s most ambitious people.

The Australian Financial Review is the masthead for Australia’s business people – executive decision-makers, sophisticated investors, political insiders – from those at the start of their career to the top of the corporate ladder. This campaign highlights how the Financial Review is a pivotal part of people’s individual success. It gives readers the confidence that they know what they need to know each day,” said Michael Stutchbury, Editor-in-Chief of The Australian Financial Review.

The campaign is running across outdoor, including a Sydney Wynyard Station takeover, print, including bespoke print executions throughout The Australian Financial Review, audio (podcasts and Spotify), display, social and 9Now.

David Eisman, Director of Subscriptions and Growth, said: “The Australian Financial Review is without a doubt Australia’s premier destination for business news. This campaign reminds our audience that subscribing to the Financial Review is key to daily success.”

Medium Rare Content Agency announces changes to Qantas team

Medium Rare Content Agency is pleased to announce some changes to its Qantas content team.

Jessica Irvine has been appointed as the new executive editor of Qantas magazine and its website, Travel Insider.

Irvine joined Medium Rare in April 2016 as associate editor of Qantas magazine before being appointed editor of QantasLink’s Spirit magazine in July 2018, where she has overseen a highly successful redesign of the beloved regional print title.

Replacing Irvine in the role of Spirit editor is Helen Martin, who has served as the title’s chief sub-editor for the past year.

Kirsten Galliott, Head of Content, Travel & Luxury at Medium Rare, welcomed both appointments. “We are fortunate to have a wealth of talent within the company and I am delighted to make these internal promotions. Jessica is an incredible asset to the Qantas team and will bring her enthusiasm and experience to the print and digital titles, as well as many of our events. Helen has a vast knowledge of regional Australia and will make a fantastic editor of Spirit.”

Di Webster, the former managing editor of Qantas magazine, is also re-joining the Qantas team as editor-at-large. 

“This is undoubtedly the dream team,” said Galliott.

Media donates $4m to NSW Rural Fire Service ad campaign

More than 20 of Australia’s leading media companies have thrown their support behind the NSW Rural Fire Service, donating $4m of advertising time and space for the organisation’s “How Fireproof Is Your Plan” advertising campaign.

The media companies that donated advertising time and space were Australian Community Media, Australian Radio Network, ATN (Australian Traffic Network), Crocmedia, Facebook, Google, JCDecaux, Network 10, News Corp Australia, Nine Network, Nine Radio, Nova Entertainment, oOh!media, Prime Television, SBS, Seven Network, Southern Cross Austereo (television and radio), Shopper Media, TRSN, WIN Television and Ziff Davis.

The initiative to gain media companies’ support was co-ordinated by Barry O’Brien, chairman of the independent media agency Atomic 212°, which has worked for the NSW Rural Fire Service for the past two years.

O’Brien said: “Everyone in Australia has been shocked and distressed by the devastating bushfires in NSW, Victoria and South Australia in recent months.

“It’s a national tragedy and Australians have responded accordingly, giving their time, money and skills so generously.

“Thank you to all the media companies who responded so quickly. No one hesitated to get behind the campaign. The support from media has been remarkable and it has ensured the NSW Rural Fire Service’s critically important communication has reached more people than ever before,” he said.

MAFS recap & ratings: Couples learn something new on honeymoons

The seventh episode of Nine‘s Married at First Sight featured the last four couples’ honeymoons: Connie and Jonethen, Stacey and Michael, Ivan and Aleks, and Mishel and Steve.

In the Gold Coast, Ivan and Aleks were off to a strong start as they shared playful banter and mild flirtation while on the tanning beds by the pool. Although, it appeared someone else had joined their holiday in paradise, and Ivan was giving them more attention than he was with Aleks – his work phone, which rang off the hook.

At first, Aleks was afraid Ivan’s phone was his first priority and that it would destroy their first proper chance of getting to know each other. Ivan actually lost his phone in the back of their Rolls Royce ride on the coast, and Aleks was in hysterics.

Ivan comically searched for his phone in the back of the car for the day and even broke the backseat. It’s okay, he’ll be receiving the phone in 48 hours, so stay turned for Ivan’s love affair with technology in episode nine.

Over in Broome, Connie and Jonethen were making the most of the pool. Jonethen revealed to producers he wants to takes things slow out of respect, whereas Connie is ready to get straight into their new relationship. After being in a dating drought for half a decade, I can see why she’s eager.

Connie’s honeymoon wish was for her new husband to lay a kiss on her. By the end of the episode, it happened – and for a while. It was a long, uncomfortable TV kiss and camera-man Jake chose to do a close-up. 

In sunny Fiji, Stacey and Michael shared a moonlight dinner where MAFS viewers finally believed there may be a slither of hope for this couple. How wrong we were. The next morning, a very cranky Stacey sat in bed next to a sheepish Michael, and ordered him to tell the camera about his pathetic, drunk behaviour after the dinner. 

After Stacey told Michael she hopes a shark hits him when he suggests they waterski, they finally patched things up and shared a picnic together. Stacey opened up about the tragic events of her father passing when she was just a baby, and then her brother passing on the same day as the due date of her first child. Michael sincerely comforted her, even though we couldn’t understand a word he was saying because he was probably still drunk from the night before.

It was made evident that the new couple slept together, and were the first couple to consummate their marriage in the TV experiment.

Over in New Zealand, Mishel and Steve transformed a romantic getaway into an adrenalin junkie’s dream vacation. Mishel shared with her new hubby that she loves adventure and extreme sports. After Steve ruins his $300 pants on their first activity, they decided to go skiing. Things went south when it was made clear that Mishel wasn’t a huge fan of the experience.

Steve shared his feelings – with a somewhat harsh tone – that he wasn’t a fan of Mishel not being a fan, and was sick of her ‘whinging’. After Mishel tells him to shut up a few times, she apologies and tells him he deserves a nice, big bowl of spaghetti bolognese. 

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

Megan Kay promoted to Melbourne MD role at Zenith Australia

Zenith Australia CEO, Nickie Scriven, today announced the promotion of the agency’s Melbourne General Manager, Megan Kay, to the new role of Managing Director. 

Effective immediately, Kay’s elevation to Melbourne MD comes off the back of a strong year of growth for the agency, with the Melbourne office securing a number of new business wins and effectively doubling in size.

On the appointment, Scriven said: “At a time when our Melbourne business has doubled in size following a string of new business wins, I’m thrilled to recognise Megan’s great efforts with this well derserved promotion. 

“Megan has done a brilliant job leading our Melbourne office. She has recruited the best and brightest talent to work for Zenith Melbourne, setting our business up for continued growth and momentum.”

Kay added: “It’s such an exciting time to be leading Zenith Melbourne, and I have every confidence that we have the right people, partners and technology to continue delivering amazing work for our clients in 2020 and beyond.”

TV Demand: Animation galore with BoJack and Harley Quinn making a splash

By Trent Thomas

The Mandalorian has made it 12 weeks in a row on top of the TV Demand charts in Australia and New Zealand as it shows no signs of slowing down or being caught by the likes of The Witcher, Star Trek: Picard, and Doctor Who.

Although one competitor has shot up the charts this week and come closest to closing the gap and that show was The Good Place which aired its series finale on January 30. This wave of momentum has given the popular comedy starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson a serious push but it still wasn’t enough to stop the Disney+ original. 

The series revolves around Eleanor Shellstrop (Bell) who dies and ends up in the Good Place which is a version of Heaven, which at first seems lovely but she realises that they have the wrong Eleanor Shellstrop and that in fact she was meant for the Bad Place AKA Hell. However, this is not the only thing out of place as she and her companions notice more and more things askew about this afterlife.

While the show is marketed as a Netflix Original in Australia and NZ it is actually aired on the NBC in the states which explains why it is not listed on the Digital Originals charts. 

The Australian and NZ TV Demand charts also got an injection of colour this week which comes in the form of animation with the first series being BoJack Horseman which has charted in both countries on the back of the release of its final season on Netflix on January 31. The series is one of the longest-running Netflix Originals after releasing its first season on August 22, 2014. The series revolves around the titular BoJack Horseman who clings to his fleeting fame of being a sitcom star in the 90s and wrestles with the moral and emotional implications of life which includes themes such as mental health, addiction, domestic violence, troubled marriages, and traumatic upbringings. 

The other animated series is the adult animation Harley Quinn which charted in NZ after airing its season finale on February 7. The series is aimed towards adults and takes advantage of the much looser censorship rules afforded to it by being released on the DC Universe platform. The series follows Harley Quinn who is voiced by The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco, after the character has broken up with The Joker and follows her adventures as she attempts to become a member of The Legion of Doom. This may also have been boosted by the recent release of the feature film Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) which stars Australia’s Margot Robbie.

TV Ratings: February 11

By Trent Thomas

• Nine’s MAFS honeymoon isn’t over with another 1m+ audience
• Australian Survivor has over 600k tune in to see the Zen Hen plucked
• MKR: The Rivals again falls under 500k as heat is turned up on this season’s ratings

Nine was again a comfortable winner thanks to the Married at First Sight (1.10m) juggernaut which keeps on rolling through, but this time it was aided by the potent one-two punch of being paired with the returning Paramedics which won its time slot in all metro markets with 678k. This dynamic duo appears to be a strong pairing for Nine on Tuesday nights moving forward as it helped achieve the largest primary share of the night with 25% and also the #1 Network share with 32%.

Seven’s most-watched non-news program of the night was Home and Away which had 641k viewers, nearly 200k more than the 455k who watched MKR: The Rivals which at least is an uptick from Monday’s episode which had 439k.

10’s top show continues to be Australian Survivor: All Stars which had 612k metro viewers which was the show’s biggest audience this season. The episode saw the ‘Zen Hen’ finally get the chop as Mokuta continues to send tribe members home. While the show hasn’t been able to close the gap between itself and MAFS it has a healthy lead over MKR.

ABC’s best non-news performer last night was Griff’s Great Australian Rail Trip which had 477k viewers, and it appears Tuesday night is the night for trains with 376k viewers also making a stop at SBS for Great Australian Railway Journeys which was the top performer for the channel as well.

Week 7 TV: Tuesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 10.7% 7 17.0% 9 25.0% 10  13.5% SBS One 5.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.6% 7TWO 2.5% GO! 2.7% 10 Bold 3.5% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 0.7% 7mate 3.3% GEM 2.7% 10 Peach 2.3% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 1.4% 9Life 1.7%     NITV 0.2%
                SBS World Movies 0.7%
TOTAL 15.5%   24.3%   32.0%   19.3%   8.8%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.5% 7 18.2% 9 20.3% WIN 10.5% SBS One 5.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.1% 7TWO 3.6% GO! 3.2% WIN Bold 3.9% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.9% 7mate 5.7% GEM 4.3% WIN Peach 2.1% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.5% 9Life 1.8% Sky News  on WIN 2.2% NITV 0.1%
TOTAL 14.8%   29.0%   29.6%   18.7%   7.8%


88.1% 11.9%
  1. Married At First Sight Nine 1,109,000
  2. Seven News Seven 988,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 980,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 850,000
  5. Nine News Nine 845,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 761,000
  7. Paramedics Nine 678,000
  8. ABC News ABC 657,000
  9. Home And Away Seven 641,000
  10. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 612,000
  11. The Chase Australia Seven 524,000
  12. The Project 7pm 10 500,000
  13. 7.30 ABC 478,000
  14. Griff’s Great Australian Rail Trip ABC 477,000
  15. My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals Seven 455,000
  16. Hot Seat Nine 450,000
  17. Great Australian Railway Journeys SBS 376,000
  18. 10 News First 10 355,000
  19. The Chase Australia 5pm Seven 328,000
  20. The Project 6.30pm 10 297,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 333,000
  2. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 211,000
  3. Paramedics Nine 187,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 130,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 119,000


18 – 49

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 523,000
  2. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 345,000
  3. Paramedics Nine 311,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 226,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 219,000


25 – 54

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 573,000
  2. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 364,000
  3. Paramedics Nine 343,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 262,000
  5. Seven News Seven 260,000
TUESDAY Multichannel
  1. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 176,000
  2. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 175,000
  3. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 165,000
  4. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 159,000
  5. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY 151,000
  6. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  7. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  8. Dot. PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 136,000
  9. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 129,000
  10. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  11. Floogals AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  12. CSI: Miami 10 Bold 116,000
  13. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 113,000
  14. Play School Nursery Rhyme News Time AMBCKIDS/COMEDY 112,000
  15. Neighbours 10 Peach 110,000
  16. Outback Opal Hunters PM 7mate 109,000
  17. American Reunion 9GO! 107,000
  18. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 106,000
  19. PJ Masks AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 106,000
  20. Yukon Gold PM 7mate 104,000
  1. Jones & Credlin Sky News Live 59,000
  2. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 55,000
  3. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 54,000
  4. The Great British Bake Off Lifestyle FOOD 44,000
  5. Credlin Sky News Live 40,000
  6. PML Later Sky News Live 37,000
  7. Highway Patrol FOX8 34,000
  8. Blue Bloods FOX One 33,000
  9. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 31,000
  10. Escape To The Country Lifestyle Channel 31,000
  11. Are You Being Served? FOX Classics 29,000
  12. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 28,000
  13. Live: WWE Raw FOX8 28,000
  14. Border Security: Australia’s Front Line FOX8 26,000
  15. Avenue 5 FOX SHOWCASE 26,000
  16. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 25,000
  17. Family Guy FOX8 25,000
  18. NCIS FOX Crime 24,000
  19. Blue Bloods FOX One 24,000
  20. Better Homes & Gardens Lifestyle Channel 24,000

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

Q&A: Jennifer Westacott backs Zali Steggall’s proposed climate bill

The uniting theme of the ABC’s second Q&A of the year was climate change, with all sides agreeing more needed to be done to combat it after a horror summer of fires and floods, reports The Australian’s David Ross.

Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott called for more certainty from the government, telling the room: “We have to surely, after this summer, draw a line in the sand and find a way through as a country.

“I reckon if we could get the two political parties to agree to (a target and a timetable) and legislate it, we would have made a massive advance in this country because we would know where we’re going.”

Read more

SiriusXM Acquires Minority Stake in SoundCloud for $75 Million

Audio entertainment giant SiriusXM Holdings said Tuesday it has invested $75 million in open audio platform SoundCloud in return for a minority stake of an undisclosed size and two board seats, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Last year, SiriusXM, controlled by John Malone’s Liberty Media, closed its acquisition of music streaming service Pandora. 

SoundCloud said it would use the additional investment to “accelerate its product development and enhance the services that fuel its global community of creators and listeners.”

Read more


Andy reacts to comment that Hamish is the funny one

Hamish and Andy are two of the biggest and most successful stars in Australia, but ever since they burst onto the scene some people have felt the need to say that one is funnier than the other, reports News Corp’s Andrew Bucklow.

It’s something that Andy has been aware of for a long time, and he’s now revealed how he really feels about it in the A Life of Greatness podcast hosted by Sarah Grynberg.

“I think he’s funny as well,” Andy said about his longtime co-host. “I also think he’s funnier than me.”

But that doesn’t mean Andy isn’t funny in his own right.

“The difference is saying: Is Hamish the funnier one? I would agree,” Andy said. “(But) is he the only funny one? No.”

Read more


Jessica Marais pulls out of Back to the Rafters for personal reasons

Australian actor Jessica Marais has cancelled her return to television after pulling out of Back to the Rafters for personal reasons, reports SMH’s Josh Dye.

Marais has been dealing with health issues since stepping away from acting in September 2018.

“She thanks everyone involved on the show for their ongoing support and love, especially her ‘Rafter’s family’, and sends them her very best wishes for the production,” Marais’ management, RGM Artists, announced on Tuesday afternoon.

Read more

Colin Fassnidge blames programming … but what about MKR format changes?

Colin Fassnidge has blamed Seven for the low ratings of My Kitchen Rules, reports TV Tonight’s David Knox.

Speaking to 2GB’s Chris Smith, he said, “This year was the best one we’ve done but not everyone’s watching it, at the moment, cause we’ve got some people in Channel 7 who don’t know how to program a show.

“But what do I know? I’m only a cook!

“A lot of work went into this and then some stupid decisions were made to go up against the tennis and Married, we should have started a week early.”

Read more

BBC Studios Expands Drama Deal With Alibaba's Youku

BBC Studios has expanded its drama deal with Chinese online video giant Youku, part of the Alibaba group, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The deal — announced at the BBC Studios Showcase 2020 event in Liverpool — involves the extended licensing of the entire four seasons of Sherlock, and the agreement for over 80 hours of BBC Studios drama programming.

The deal includes Good OmensSanditon, the latest series of Doctor Who and Luther series 1-3. Additionally, Youku will be the only Chinese video platform to air the entire catalog of the Doctor Who series. And the deal features the HD version of classic comedies Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, which will make their premiere in China.

Read more

Harvey Weinstein’s Defense Rests, Former Mogul Won’t Testify in Rape Trial

Harvey Weinstein will not testify in his rape trial in New York City, his defense team said on Tuesday. The announcement came as Weinstein’s lawyers rested their case after putting on four days of testimony, reports Variety’s Elizabeth Magmeister and Brent Lang.

After consulting with Weinstein on Tuesday morning, attorney Damon Cheronis informed the court of his decision.

“The state hasn’t met their burden and he’s not going to testify,” Cheronis said.

The last witness to take the stand was Tommy Lozano, a friend of Jessica Mann, the primary accuser in the case. Lozano told jurors on Tuesday that Mann seemed “normal” on the morning after she claims Weinstein raped her at the DoubleTree Hotel in New York in March 2013.

Read more


Kayo sports streaming service to be cheaper for Telstra customers

Telstra has kicked off a deal with Kayo, giving the telco’s customers $10 off all of the online sports streaming service’s plans over 12 months, reports The Australian’s David Swan.

The exclusive offer, announced on Tuesday, means both new and returning Kayo users who are also Telstra customers will have access to over 50 sports via Kayo Basic for $15 per month, and Premium for $25 per month.

The offer comes ahead of the 2020 AFL season, which kicks off in a month, and the 2020 NRL season, which starts shortly after.

Read more

O’Neill calls for RA ‘lame ducks’ to stand down from TV deal talks

Former Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O’Neill has described outgoing members of Rugby Australia’s board, including chairman Cameron Clyne, as “lame ducks” and believes they should have no involvement in upcoming broadcast negotiations if they are moving on at the annual general meeting next month, reports SMH’s Tom Decent.

O’Neill has applauded RA for creating competitive tension in the market between Fox Sports and Optus but said it was the governing body’s responsibility to explain to all stakeholders, fans included, exactly what it is selling and to outline how it views the future of Super Rugby.

Read more

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