Tuesday February 13, 2024

Seven West Media
Market drags on Seven West Media result despite audience and share growth

By James Manning

James Warburton: ‘Financial performance reflects the weakness in advertising markets’

Seven West Media has reported group revenue of $775 million for the six months ending. That represents a decline of 5% on the previous corresponding period.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) were $124 million, which was down 40% versus the previous corresponding period.

Net profit after tax was $54 million, while underlying net profit after tax (excluding significant items) of $63 million. That represented a decline of 49% on the previous corresponding period.

Outgoing Seven West Media managing director and chief executive officer James Warburton said: “SWM successfully executed on our strategy during the period to deliver consistent and engaging content to drive audience growth and revenue share across the total TV market. Despite this progress and our disciplined management of costs, our financial performance reflects the weakness in advertising markets, particularly as the second quarter progressed.

James Warburton and Jeff Howard

James Warburton and Jeff Howard

“We continue to believe in the power of television and firmly believe that the total TV industry is set to regain market share. Total TV is now growing, and Seven is leading that growth. Our view that audiences will be attracted to quality and consistent content across news, entertainment and sport is evidenced by the growth in our linear and BVOD audiences for the half year, including a linear increase of 2.2% and a 35% increase in minutes on 7plus.”

Warburton, who hands over the CEO role to CFO Jeff Howard later this year, added:

“We have grown audience in total people and have grown in four of the seven months so far in FY24. Our linear audience growth has been underpinned by the calendar year-on-year growth in our key tentpole programs SAS Australia, Farmer Wants A Wife, Dancing With The Stars and My Kitchen Rules. The major sports have also delivered, with the AFL Grand Final growing audience a remarkable 22%, and both Test cricket and BBL growing audiences on the 2022-23 summer.

Seven West Media: BVOD, Matildas and NBCU

“Our BVOD audience growth has been driven by both live and library content. The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 delivered extraordinary numbers on 7plus and our tentpole programs saw a 36% increase in live minutes watched year-on-year. We are also seeing good growth in our news, with an 18% increase in live viewership on 7plus year-on-year. Our NBCUniversal content now accounts for 16% of our total BVOD minutes and is attracting new younger female audiences as expected when we made this investment.

Thanks to our audience growth, we were able to record a total TV revenue share of 41%, achieving the number one position in the market, an increase of 1.7 points on the previous corresponding period. Our share growth was achieved across each month of the half and partially offset the 9.1% decline in the total TV advertising market during the period. We gained share in metropolitan and BVOD markets and remained in line in our regional markets.

“We see a significant opportunity to grow our digital earnings with the recent launch of VOZ finally pushing TV audience measurement into a comparable position versus other media channels. We are also excited by the game changing addition of digital rights for the AFL and cricket later this calendar year; together, they will add an estimated four billion minutes of content a year to 7plus and allow us to capture an estimated 45% revenue share.

The West grows digital audience

“West Australian Newspapers once again delivered a solid result, with strong growth in digital audiences and the launch of new digital products resulting in 4.4 million unique monthly audience, up 18.5% in the past year. Revenue increased, largely attributable to new commercial print opportunities, albeit with higher costs.

“We continue to be disciplined on our cost outlook. Costs for the half were in line with our expectation, with the majority of our FY24 content investment weighted to the first half. We are well progressed on implementing our $60 million cost initiative program and are on track to deliver $25 million this year. Expect FY24 cost growth to be limited to 1-2%. We will, however, revisit the current cost initiatives program if advertising markets remain weak for the remainder of the year and will act decisively to meet such challenges.

Seven’s radio investment

“Our investment in ARN Media Limited in November 2023 was a meaningful step to position our business to deliver commercial partnership and collaboration with the market-leading radio business in Australia and we continue to monitor industry consolidation.”

Seven West Media: Outlook and priorities

Discussing the market outlook, Seven West Media shared the  Q3 market decline rate was moderating. It is currently pacing better than 1H FY24 (Q3 FY23 market down 11%). It noted the BVOD market expected to maintain double-digit growth.

At this stage there is limited visibility into Q4. Seven West Media is expecting further moderation in decline vs Q3 FY24.

The company reported Seven continues growing total TV share. It is forecasting the full year will be holding above 40%.

Second-half costs are expected to be 4% ($20-25m) lower than 2H23.

Warburton concluded: “We have delivered on the commitments we have made, driving our content strategy to deliver strong operational results across the metrics that we can control, delivering audience growth and total TV market share growth.

“The company has also demonstrated financial discipline as we closely manage our costs while investing for the future. Our investment in 7plus and the new Phoenix trading platform will drive user experience, converged audience trading and drive yield.

“We are well capitalised, have growing audiences and revenue share, and have significant upside for growth as we pursue our digital future.”

Home and Away will cash find eden drama
Where's the Drama? Bringing scripted stories to life on FTA

By Tess Connery

“People want good, Australian drama, and the audience will find it.”

Last week, Mediaweek took a look at the state of Australian scripted drama in 2024. Drama is as in demand as ever, but in 2024, you’re more likely to find your scripted Aussie drama on a streaming service than free-to-air broadcasts.

See Also: Where’s the Drama? Why streamers are scooping up scripted series

Whilst streamers may have a large collection of scripted Australian drama, it doesn’t mean that the genre is totally absent on FTA. One notable exception is Seven’s Home & Away, the only scripted Australian drama to make the list of 50 top-rating TV programs of 2023.

With 230 episodes of the soap airing a year, the Seven Network’s head of drama, Julie McGauran told Mediaweek that the show “gives advertisers confidence” due to its consistent performance in its time slot.

Julie McGauran

Julie McGauran

You know what you’re going to get with Home & Away, and knowing exactly what you’re going to get really helps when it comes to delving into the right demos for the right campaigns.”

Whilst the consistent performance of Home & Away over the decades is a selling point for the show, it’s not the case with every scripted drama that lands on FTA. 

It’s been almost a decade since streaming services made their debut in the Australian market, with both Netflix and Stan switching on in 2015. In the years since then, the Australian television landscape – and audience behaviours – have changed significantly.

Paramount ANZ’s SVP content and programming, Daniel Monaghan, tells Mediaweek that in 2024 “Audiences have more choice than ever before.”

Daniel Monaghan

Daniel Monaghan

“Sport is certainly more likely to be watched live because fans want to support their team, and the chance of being exposed to match results is extremely high if they watch a match later. Reality TV has die-hard fans who make it appointment viewing, but there are also people who do a weekly binge on BVOD to catch up.

“For dramas, we have seen a shift in how audiences consume these series,” said Monaghan. “They prefer to watch this ad-free and will often binge whole seasons quite quickly which is lending itself more to SVOD content. Also, with our local content, audiences tend to watch it early quickly and once; however, with established global titles, we see fans re-watching old seasons as well as younger audiences viewing iconic titles for the first time.”

That shift has also been felt by SBS head of scripted, Julie Eckersley, who said deciding what genres are commissioned in an evolving landscape is “One of the things we’re wrestling with.” 

“We’re seeing longer dramas than we used to be a few years ago – the standard was 13 episodes, that went down to 10, then it got down to six as the standard,” Eckersley told Mediaweek

Julie Eckersley

Julie Eckersley

If you create eight episodes rather than six episodes, does that create more opportunities for the audience to leave? Or are we using our money better in terms of the ad space that we can sell? These are things that we’re always listening to the audience on, and listening to the data on as we look at how we can offer our advertisers the best value for time.”

Despite these shifts, McGauran said that people will find the FTA content they love, whether it’s aired on linear or catch-up services.

“If you look at the numbers over the last few years, Home & Away bucks the trend in free-to-air in a way, because the numbers are holding. 

“Yes, people are watching it when they want to watch it on BVOD, but there is an appetite for free-to-air drama. People want good, Australian drama, and the audience will find it.”

But what if you have both a streamer and FTA network to play with? Where do you place a show when you have multiple options?

This is the case for two Australian companies. Nine operates Stan – which was recently crowned the leading commercial commissioner of Australian drama titles in 2023. It’s also the case for Paramount, who operate both Channel 10 and Paramount+ (as well as BVOD, multi-channels, and FAST channels) and air dramas such as Last King of The Cross and NCIS: Sydney.

Todd Lasance and Olivia Swann, NCIS SYDNEY


“Our programs have utility to move through this ecosystem at various times and stages, and can connect with new audiences or reconnect with viewers who want to watch again,” Monaghan said when asked how the Paramount team decide where to place dramas. 

“This strategy aligns with audience viewing preferences, and of course, drives business results too. 

We’ll always meet our content obligations, but we invest in local content because that’s what our audiences want to see.”

The genesis of the Where’s the Drama? series was the news that the most recent Emmy Awards recorded their highest-ever share of nominations from streamers

Eckersley has overseen dramas including SBS’s award-winning Safe Home, and makes the point that whilst streaming service dramas might have a lot of titles up for awards, the playing field isn’t exactly an even one. 

Safe Home drama

Safe Home

“We have two drama offerings, our primetime and our digital originals – which are six pieces of content. Between those two over the last year, we’ve had over 30 award nominations. 

“The streamers are playing a numbers game. They have bigger budgets than us, so they can create 10 dramas and if two of those are international hits, that looks like a success story. For me, in a year I am only able to commission two or three primetime dramas, and then our digital originals. We don’t have the same latitude, and therefore, I think the perception of success can be different.”

Mediaweek reached out to both Nine and the ABC ahead of this story’s publication.

Look out for Where’s the Drama? Part Three, coming soon.

Top Image: Seven’s Home and Away

Are Media
Brands back Elle return as Are Media explains print readership renaissance is real

By James Manning

Verticals, print v digital, new editors, weeklies war, readership and diversifying revenue.

It is close to four years since Are Media pounced on the magazine brands previously owned by Bauer Media Australia and Seven’s Pacific Magazines.

Under the guidance of chief executive Jane Huxley the company has cultivated and grown its list of titles. Since then, it has ignited the interest in magazine brands, rebuilding digital and print products.

The latest example of how it is turning around a once-great magazine sector, Are Media next month brings back a print edition of Elle.

To learn more about the sector and Are Media’s strategy, Mediaweek spoke with Are Media director of content Sally Eagle.

Print resurgence

A good place to start is the audience returning to print. When quizzed about the audience for magazines, Eagle said it wasn’t just market hype.

We had a 7% increase year-on-year for print,” said Eagle. “People are really enjoying picking up a product and reading it. We call it ‘me time’. Our audience is getting younger in print too. They are putting the phone down and looking at a print-oriented product.

“Print has been the heart of our business for some time. Like any business, we need to diversify our revenue. Print remains the core. Print content will always run on digital. But when we create content it doesn’t mean it will always appear in print first.”

That growth in circulation comes after Roy Morgan recently reported strong growth across its print magazines for the fifth consecutive quarter.

Eagle should be able to spot a trend in publishing. She started at the company in 2010 when it was trading as ACP Magazines. She then survived the Bauer Media Group ownership and is now key to the revival of the sector under private equity owner Mercury Capital.

Before the director of content role, Eagle was customer director looking after subscriptions, marketing, and the retail channel which included working with newsagents and supermarkets.

Prior to getting into magazines, Eagle worked as an accountant for PWC and also held down accounting roles at fashion houses Zimmerman and Giorgio Armani.

Are Media director of content, Sally Eagle

Are Media structure

The brands at Are Media fall into one of four verticals: Entertainment, Lifestyle, Homes, Fashion & Beauty. Each of those verticals has a general manager who reports to Eagle. They are respectively Susan Armstrong (Entertainment), Nicole Byers (Lifestyle), Lisa Hudson (Homes) and Nicky Briger (Fashion & Beauty).

The combined content firepower numbers about 350 people.

Most of the brands have a print and digital element. The exceptions are Bounty, a parenting bag of goodies and Beauty Heaven, a beauty review database.

Who’s on first – print or digital?

Eagle: “As we move into being an omnichannel content company we have people from print and digital co-creating. When that is done we figure out which platform it best sits on. Maybe it will be social first, digital first, or should it appear in print first?

Digital versions of print products

Most of the Are Media titles are also available on magazine aggregation business Readly. What Are Media might miss on cover price there is compensated for in terms of reach for the brand and the advertisers in those digital editions.

Eagle also noted that direct digital subscriptions are growing for Are Media titles. “Those subscriptions are sold via our e-commerce platform Magshop. Not everybody wants a print edition of everything. Some titles are bought digitally, while some the readers prefer a paper version.”

She noted that ads in digital editions are fixed too. They are not automated but are a permanent part of the product.

New editors arrive and refresh their products

In the past few months there have been several key editorial appointments at Are Media.
marie claire: Georgie Abay
Elle: Grace O’Neill
The Australian Women’s Weekly: Sophie Tedmanson

Getting a job editing a title at Are Media sees the candidates going through several stages. One of those is presenting to the board about how you might want to do things differently.

“There is often nothing better than a set of fresh eyes on the content,” said Eagle. “We love it when we get new editors because it means they can stamp their authority on the title. It doesn’t have to be a shock makeover. Gentle changes are also very well received here.”

marie claire - Georgie Abay, Editor

marie claire editor, Georgie Abay

The weeklies war

Once upon a time, the big celebrity weeklies were in separate publishing houses – Woman’s Day at ACP/Bauer, New Idea at Pacific and Who, originally part of Time Australia. Now they are all in the one company, how fierce can competition be?

“The titles all sit in our entertainment vertical, led by general manager Susan Armstrong,” said Eagle.

“There is a little bit of an overlap which we refer to as dual purchase at checkout. They now talk to slightly different types of people. The demographics and audience for the brands are well-defined. The editors are very clear about who their audience is.

“The weekly category performed very well for us throughout Covid and again did very well in 2023 too.”

Readership: Quantity or quality?

“This is such a big discussion all the time,” admitted Eagle discussing digital editions. “Page views vs engagement. For us, it is a balance of both. We know we have to have page views. The reason our audience comes to us is because we have quality engaged content.

“We look at other metrics like time on site, bounce rate, and making sure visitors are scrolling all the way to the end of articles.

“People know, for example, if they go to House & Garden, they will get a quality written article. Quality in our products has been one of our assets for decades. As well as print, we KPI our digital teams on having engaged audiences. We are not a 100% page view company and we never have been.”

Are Media entertainment weeklies

Sticker shock for magazine buyers

Some lapsed readers might be surprised how the cost of some print products has edged higher. Others where that hasn’t happened seem good value. How price-sensitive is the market for magazines?

Eagle: “Price plays an important part in the offering to consumers. In tougher economic times, magazines are an affordable luxury. Paying around $5 for a product that will give you three hours of me time is value for money.

“People really see the value in connection with the community in magazines. To have a rise in print sales indicates they remain good value as we are in a cost-of-living crunch.”

Diversifying revenues

The business model for different titles can be quite varied. “We launch branded marketplaces for brands where it makes sense. We might put more shoppable content in other brands. The reason for different models is that consumers deal with each of our brands differently.

Don’t be surprised to see more brands either. “For us, it is all about growth and revenue diversification,” said Eagle. “We are very comfortable and confident about our brand portfolio at the moment. Diversifying the revenue is a strong focus as is protecting the core which is print magazines. We are looking to build out events amongst the entertainment vertical as research tells us readers want events.

“Events amongst the fashion and beauty brands are obviously also very important. Where we can’t get readers to events, video is becoming increasingly important – across all four verticals.”


“We reach nine in 10 Australian women every year. We also have the highest social reach of any publisher per capita in the world.”

Elle Australia team

Elle of a launch

Eagle reminded Mediaweek that March 4 is the day to head to the nearest magazine retailer to get the new Elle magazine. “We have just closed advertising and it’s smashed it out of the park.

“Part of the launch activity will be a range of six digital covers released simultaneously to promote the print product. The Elle website by itself continues to go from strength to strength. It has a very engaged audience and a strong email database. There are very happy digital advertisers attached to the brand.”

Are you ready for it? Mediaweek takes a look at the brands jumping on the Taylor Swift bandwagon

By Alisha Buaya

Taylor Swift begins the Australian leg of her Eras Tour on Friday, September 16, in Melbourne.

The Taylor Swift effect is in full swing ahead of the superstar’s arrival in Australia this week, Mediaweek takes a look at the brands that are jumping on the bandwagon. 

The Taylor Swift effect is in full swing ahead of the superstar’s arrival in Australia this week for her Eras Tour, with tens of thousands of her fans gearing up to watch her perform in at least one of her seven stadium shows in Sydney and Melbourne.

Before heading Down Under, Swift made her highly anticipated appearance at the Super Bowl in Las Vegas to cheer on her boyfriend, Kansas City Chief’s tight end Travis Kelce and his team to victory.

The 14-time Grammy winner appeared on screen for 55 seconds out of the four hours and 18-minute broadcast, USA Today counted. Despite the short airtime, she generated plenty of hype ahead of and throughout the game.

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce at the Super Bowl

Swift’s appearance at NFL games since going public with Kelce in October 2023 has created well over $122 million of brand value for the NFL, MarketWatch reported. She has also been credited with a boost in viewership from women, with Nielsen reporting a rise of 8.1% among 12 to 17-year-old girls watching the sport.

Her participation in the NFL has also been linked to a rise in health and beauty brands buying advertising during the Super Bowl, including L’Oréal, Nyx Cosmetics, e.l.f Cosmetics, Cera Ve and Dove.

Melinda Lofts, head of CX strategy at M&C Saatchi Australia, told Mediaweek the Taylor Swift effect was nothing to be snubbed at as “everything she touches turns to gold.”

For brands looking to catch Swift’s wave – authenticity to the Swift identity and brand is the key, according to Lofts.

She noted that the key is making sure her fans get the connection. She said: “I think it can be seen as Taylor-washing. That’s why the need to articulate its link to Taylor is important.”

Lofts pointed to the US, where Heinz released a limited edition “Ketchup and Seemingly Ranch” sauce after the singer was seen at a Chiefs game with a plate of a chicken tender, ketchup and what Swifties guessed was ranch dressing.

“I think, for the moment, brands can do that because of the Eras concert and excitement. But it’s no always-on strategy; it’s a very limited period where people are really into the things surrounding her concert,” she added.

Brands and advertisers have historically written off the purchasing power of girls and young women, who comprise most of Taylor Swift’s audience.

Lofts noted that in recent times, brands and advertisers had attempted to win over girls and young women, who make up most of Swift’s audience but have done it in ways that do not necessarily appeal to or resonate with women.

“I think she (Swift) is someone that just unites people, that’s the difference. Previously, it’s been done in a tokenistic way. But I think using her as a vehicle gives a sense of authenticity to appeal to that audience,” Lofts said.

Melinda Lofts

Also looking to leverage the hype are several Australian brands. Arnott’s Tim Tam jumped on the Taylor Swift bandwagon, surprising fans with a temporary rebrand to Tay Tam share across social media platforms.

The box included a selection of Tim Tams packs, individually wrapped Tay Tam biscuits, a koala toy and friendship bracelets.

Rebecca Chan, Tim Tam’s marketing manager at Arnott’s, told Mediaweek the start of the Australian leg of Swift’s Eras Tour coincides with the 60th birthday celebration of Tim Tam, also dubbed National Tim Tam Day.

“Taylor’s love of Tim Tam goes back many years, from her previous visits to Australia, where she has called out her love of Tim Tam and Chewy Caramel being her favourite.”


Are You Ready For Us? Pack @Taylor Swift’s favourite Midnights snacks with us as we prepare to welcome her to Australia 🤎 #TayTam #TaylorSwift #ErasTour #ErasTourSydney #ErasTourMelbourne #TimTam #PackWithMe #BehindTheScenes #TSSydney #Taylor #grammy #grammys

♬ THANKU for using BLANK SPACE BABIES – spready0urwings

In January, Spotlight launched its “Get Concert Ready” campaign so Swifties can be dressed on the theme and ready with friendship bracelets to trade ahead of the stadium shows.

The demand for friendship bracelet kits, beads and related equipment has become a custom at Swift’s shows thanks to a reference in her song “You’re on Your Own, Kid” from the Grammy-winning Midnights album.

Spotlight revealed since the Australian leg of the tour was announced last year, the store has had a +33.78% increase in searches for its friendship bracelet kits. The store added to its craft, costume, and party range products to cater to the demand. Spotlight also expanded its Crafters Choice DIY bracelet kits with additional stock. 

Padma Palani, Spotlight’s head of marketing, noted a growing trend of concertgoers embracing a theme and dressing up for a show. 

“Taylor Swift Eras Tour outfit ideas and friendship bracelets have been popular Google search terms since Swift announced her tour. We are excited to have such a wide product range for the occasion to fit everyone’s unique style, creativity and, of course, budget.”

News Corp is also flying the Taylor Swift flag high, launching the limited-edition Taylor magazine last December.

The 100-page glossy publication, crafted by the in-house content marketing agency Suddenly, serves as a comprehensive exploration of Swift’s songs, career, and life.

The unofficial magazine, dedicated to The Eras Tour, provides insights into the fashion choices showcased on stage, her cinematic projects, and documentaries and offers fans a poster of Swift.

Taylor Swift Magazine by News Corp Australia and Suddenly

News.com.au editor Kerry Warren told Mediaweek: “From the minute Taylor Swift lands in Australia to the moment she leaves, news.com.au will be on it.

“Like our masthead, our entire newsroom is leaning into Taylor Swift fever, with everyone from entertainment reporters to the finance, travel, sport and lifestyle teams getting involved in the action.”

News Corp’s coverage will include a live blog of Swift’s arrival, a section of the news.com.au homepage dedicated to the latest Swiftie stories, a Taylor Swift topic page, a range of themed interactives, and Whatsapp updates, including Taylor Swift-themed voice notes.

With so many brands jumping on board the Swift bandwagon, can audiences be oversaturated with Swift-related content?

Yes, and Lofts believes that is the case with brands such as Glassons, Showpo and Lovisa putting their own Swiftie spin on their products.

But the hype will only go on for a short while, according to Lofts. She said: “Her hardcore fan base will stay completely loyal and very passionate… I think for mass Australia who’s just jumped on this bandwagon will fade away exceptionally quickly.”

Top image: Taylor Swift at The Eras Tour

Oksana Chusovitina and Ardan Galymuly at the Paris 2024 Team Visa Summit participate in a branding workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023 at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.(Thomas Padilla/AP Images for Visa)
How Visa is helping athletes become creators to leverage its brand in 2024

By Amy Shapiro

“Alongside music entertainers and cultural trailblazers, athletes drive the creator economy.”

Visa is building on its sports sponsorships with a strategy to work closely with athletes to help power their skills as creators.

Most recently, Visa announced the four Australian athletes joining Team Visa for Paris 2024, as part of the company’s worldwide payment technology partnership with the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Surfer Molly Picklum, swimmer Flynn Southam, middle distance Paralympian Jaryd Clifford, and footballer Ellie Carpenter will be part of the biggest team in Team Visa history, where diversity has been a key focus. Globally Team Visa includes athletes representing more than 60 markets and 40 sports.

“As part of this, we’re also helping them develop their skills as creators and realise the major opportunities to reach, engage and inspire people all over the world,” said vice president, head of marketing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific at Visa, Natalie Lockwood.

In conversation with Mediaweek, Lockwood explained why investing in the Team Visa program, and in sports in general as part of the company’s marketing campaigns, is a good fit for the brand.

Natalie Lockwood

Natalie Lockwood

“Sport inspires and unites, and our partnerships deliver unique and powerful platforms that enable us to make an impact and showcase innovative and sustainable payment solutions for local and international cardholders.

“As an example, during the FIFA Women’s World Cup matches at Stadium Australia, we offered the first ever Visa commemorative digital prepaid card in Australia, which updated with the final score after the match.

We’re living in this dynamic universe today where, alongside music entertainers and cultural trailblazers, athletes drive the creator economy – they have the power to turn fans and followers into a community by sharing their sporting and personal stories, and to generate commerce through content.”

Team Visa Summit 

Since 2000, the Team Visa athlete program has worked with more than 600 Olympic and Paralympic athletes selected based on their athletic achievements, community involvement, and alignment with Visa’s core values of equality, access, and inclusion.

Said Lockwood, “As the Worldwide Payment Technology Partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the spirit of the Games is in line with Visa’s mission to uplift everyone, everywhere.

“Through Team Visa, we offer athletes financial support, philanthropic endeavour assistance, financial literacy tools, and mental health and wellness resources to achieve their goals professionally and personally.”

Team Visa Australia Paris 24

Team Visa Australia Paris 24

This year, as part of the program, Team Visa athletes from around the world, including Picklum, attended the Team Visa Summit in Paris for a two-day, creator-led content master class focused on brand immersion and best practices for how to tell their own stories within the broader creator economy

Visa transformed a future site of Paris 2024 into a creator playground by tapping into cultural touch-points across art, technology, music, sport, fashion and food. Guided by cultural influencers and social media creators, athletes learned to express themselves through these passion points while also learning hands-on social platform tips for elevating their personal brand and storytelling.

Said Lockwood, “The Olympic and Paralympic Games have the power to inspire and unite the world and we use the platform to enhance fan experiences, leave behind a legacy and champion athletes to take small steps to achieve greatness through sport and beyond.

“The athletes that make up Team Visa represent many of Visa’s brand values, including gender equality and commitment to social impact, and we’re excited to welcome our four Aussie athletes to the largest and most diverse group globally in the program’s history.”

Globally Team Visa Paris 2024 also includes Caroline Marks (Surfing, US), Ryan Neiswender (Wheelchair basketball, US), decorated athletes like Iga Swiatek (Tennis, Poland), Sky Brown (Skateboarding, Great Britain), Teresa Perales (Para swimming, Spain), Kanoa Igarashi (Surfing, Japan), Qingyi Liu (Breaking, China), Rasheed Broadbell (Athletics – Sprint/Hurdles, Jamaica), Ardan Galymuly (Goalball, Kazakhstan) and Jonathan White (Para canoe, Great Britain).

The Paris 2024 team alone will be made up of 117 Olympic and Paralympic athletes from 60 over markets, including eight new markets;  Austria, Armenia, Belgium, Cyprus, Malta, Slovakia, Uzbekistan, Honduras. The team, made up of athletes aged 15-48, will represent 175 medals collectively, with 15 athletes competing in their first Olympic or Paralympic Games. Moreover, the team tallies over 45 million combined social followers across Team Visa athletes, with the highest  percentage of women athletes in program history.

Adam Peaty, Hilary Heron, Desiree Vila, Maria Teresa Perales, Melique Garcia, Davide Morana at the Paris 2024 Team Visa Summit participate in a branding workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023 at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.(Thomas Padilla/AP Images for Visa)

Visa and Formula 1

In addition to the Team Visa program, Visa has also recently announced an agreement with the Red Bull Formula One (F1) Racing teams. The multi-year partnership means Visa will become the first global partner of both Red Bull F1 teams, bringing a “new look team” to the F1 grid in the form of Visa Cash App RB.

Lockwood described this as a “groundbreaking partnership”, one that features Australian Daniel Ricciardo.

“This alliance resonates strongly with our brand’s vision to inspire individuals to ‘make it,’ striving to take small steps for improvement each day, during every race or event. Visa Cash App RB Drivers Yuki Tsunoda of Japan and Daniel Ricciardo of Australia will be sporting a newly designed Visa and Cash App-inspired car livery and driver’s kit when the F1 2024 racing series kicks off in Bahrain on February 29 and the full livery unveil will take place during a special Las Vegas event earlier that month.”

In addition, Lockwood stated that Visa and Cash App will be joining Red bull to champion Visa Cash App RB in the F1 Academy series, as part of their longstanding commitment to women’s empowerment and economic advancement through its sponsorship platforms. The F1 Academy series is a single-seat racing championship exclusively for female drivers.

Said Lockwood, “The all-female driving series takes place at seven select F1 tracks over the same weekend as the F1 races and the new livery will also be unveiled during February’s special event.”

Top Image: Gymnast Oksana Chusovitina and Goalball player Ardan Galymuly

The Ideas Bodega - Nicole Velik
The Ideas Bodega's Nicole Velik on the Importance of Stupid Ideas

Nicole Velik: “Every organisation needs to have people who will protect ideas”.

By Nicole Velik, founder and director, The Ideas Bodega

I know this will sound stupid but… This is the way most brilliant ideas start, according to the chief creative officer of The Monkeys Aotearoa, Damon Stapleton.

I recently sat down with Damon to interview him for my podcast, Creativity Unpacked. We delved into some of the brilliant campaigns he’s worked on, and I noticed a common thread. The genesis of the ideas started with an off-the-cuff comment, a stupid idea or even a joke. 

The brilliant and heavily awarded Samsung iTest campaign from DDB Tribal Aotearoa started with a joke. Damon and his team were trying to get iPhone users to trial a Samsung. It all started when someone jokingly said, “What if you could just turn an iPhone into a Samsung?”. Instead of laughing the idea off, the joke became a reality. They actually made it happen. 

The problem is that the corporate world glorifies intelligence, linear thinking, process and rationality. Creativity is anything but that. It seems a bit risky to allow people a space for stupid ideas and playfulness, but Damon makes a good point. He thinks it’s too risky not to. Creativity is what moves us forward. “Creativity is not linear; it’s a leap.” He quotes Einstein, who famously said, Creativity is intelligence having fun. If you’re too worried about the intelligence and you’re not nurturing the fun, you’ll never get anywhere new. 

We need to cultivate environments where people feel safe to say something stupid, where they can share a crazy idea and know they won’t be judged. That’s the only way we’ll move beyond business-as-usual ideas. 

So how can we nurture environments where people feel comfortable to say, “This might sound stupid but…”? Here are five ways.

1. Lead by example. If the leader throws out a crazy idea first, shows vulnerability and isn’t afraid to get it wrong, that, in turn, creates an environment where others will follow suit. 

2. When I facilitate brainstorms, I always ask participants to share their crap ideas. You’ll often hear me say, “Give me five crap ideas now”. When it comes to brainstorming, I can’t stress enough the importance of generating crap ideas. The request for these ideas is not only unexpected and humorous, but it is extremely liberating. The interesting thing is that the ideas they then give me are usually really good. 

3. Create a neutral playing field where everyone feels equal no matter what department they work in or their job title. When people enter the room for a brainstorm, I tell them to “leave their titles at the door”. I want to make sure the most junior person feels comfortable sharing their ideas, especially if there is a “Creative” in the room. 

4. Remind people in a brainstorm that we are in Divergent mode. It’s important to have a set amount of time where we defer judgment so ideas can live and grow. I like to use the analogy that ideas come out like a baby giraffe being born, a little wobbly, a little lanky, and they need time to find their feet. 

5. Every organisation needs to have people who will protect ideas. Damon said Creatives can be seen as rockstars, but he sees them more like shepherds. An idea can so easily be killed unless someone is there to see its potential, get buy-in from all stakeholders and shepherd it to fruition. 

The next time you hear, “This might sound crazy, but” take notice; it might just be the beginning of something big.


Top image: Nicole Velik, founder and director, The Ideas Bodega 

peter cameron
Vale: DDB ANZ chief financial officer Peter Cameron

His funeral will be held on Thursday, February 15, at Waverly’s Mary Immaculate Church.

Peter Cameron, chief financial officer of DDB ANZ, has passed away.

Cameron began his career at Hertz Walpole in 1987, before making the move to M&C Saatchi Sydney in 1996. He stayed for 13 years, before moving to DDB ANZ in 2009.

Andrew Little, CEO and President of DDB Group Australia remembered Cameron by saying “To say Peter was an important part of the DDB family would be a gross understatement.

“For almost 15 years he was part of the very fabric of our agency. He worked here from 2009 leading our Trans-Tasman finance team but his role knew no bounds. Having his own family, Anni in the creative industry and children Rio and Aria joining DDB in the first steps of their careers, was an honour for DDB and solidified how we felt about each-other. Like family.

“Peter was legendary for his calm and caring nature as well as his quirky humour, which everyone loved him for.

“Being the CFO, he was responsible for the commercial success of the Group but it was the small things that set him apart. He was the first to respond to a promotion or good news announcement – his trademark being a personal note of congratulations and reminding you how well-deserved it was. It meant the world for people just starting their careers or even those decades in to have this kind of support from someone like PC.

“Whilst this news has left us devastated, we will always remember everything he did for us, be forever thankful for the support and encouragement he gave us, and the foundations of success we enjoy today and tomorrow.”

His funeral will be held on Thursday, February 15, at Waverly’s Mary Immaculate Church. Those wishing to attend can RSVP here before midday today.

For those who can’t make it, a livestream will be available to watch.

Amazon, Teladoc Health and Maccas: iHeart and Magellan AI reveal top brands advertising on Australian podcasts 

Corey Layton: “Podcasts have yet again proven to be Australia’s fastest growing advertising medium, setting up 2024 to be even bigger again.”

ARN’s iHeart and Magellan AI have revealed the top 15 brands advertising on Australian podcasts for Q4 2023.

The Top Advertisers report uses artificial intelligence to analyse thousands of episodes from 400+ of Australia’s most popular podcasts, determining the top brands advertising in the medium.

The Q4 2023 list of top spenders on Australian podcast advertising features brands from a broad range of categories, including online retailers, health and food/entertainment.

Amazon was again named as the market’s top advertiser, followed by Teladoc Health, McDonald’s, Airbnb and gambling company Flutter Entertainment, rounding out the top five.

The iHeart and Magellan AI report also found that the majority of podcast genres continue to see an uplift in investment, with a marked increase in Comedy (129%), Sports (94%) and True Crime (70%) categories year-on- year.

Corey Layton, ARN’s head of digital audio, said: “The Australian podcast industry continues to thrive with a broad range of brands opting to connect with listeners in a low clutter, highly engaged environment.

“After incredible results across 2023, podcasts have yet again proven to be Australia’s fastest growing advertising medium, setting up 2024 to be even bigger again,” he added.

Top 15 podcast advertisers in Australia in Q4 2023

2. Teladoc Health
3. McDonald’s
4. Airbnb
5. Flutter Entertainment
6. BlueBet
7. GVC Australia
8. eBay
9. Tyrepower
10. Manscaped
11. Woolworths
12. Youi Insurance
13. Gambling Help Online
14. Wesfarmers
15. Toyota

This comes after ARN’s iHeart and Magellan AI reported Q3 2023 spending on Australian podcast advertising grew by 88% on the previous year.

The uplift in investment most notable in the biggest categories, such as kids and family (up 673%), science (up 493%), sports (up 133%) and history (up 122%) year-on-year.

The upswing in advertising is a testament to podcasts position as Australia’s fastest-growing mass media in the current media landscape, according to Layton. At the time, he said the media’s ability to foster “unparalleled” engagement and intimacy between advertisers and audiences was the key to its success.

See also: Podcast advertising up 88% as Amazon tops list of Australia’s biggest spenders

Decline in churn, drop in vacancies and industry growth: MFA industry census reveals health of the Australia's media agencies

Linda Wong: “The MFA Census reflects an industry in great health, with all key metrics showing signs of continued improvement.”

The annual MFA industry census has revealed the media agency industry has successfully reduced industry churn as the number of professionals employed in agencies continues to grow.

The census, which was released today, showed that the industry from September 2023, staff numbers in media agencies are up 2% year-on-year, with MFA agency members employing 4,778 people, compared to 4,685 people in 2022 and 4,412 people in 2021.

A reduction in staff turnover saw loss drop to 26.0% (versus 32.6% the year prior), while the number of people leaving the industry dropped to 13.1% from 17.3% a year ago.

This brings media agencies significantly closer to the MFA’s goal of reducing the number of people leaving the industry each year to 11% by 2025, as part of re-building pride in the industry through the launch in 2022 of the industry purpose We Are The Changers.

Vacancy rates in agencies have dropped to 7.2% (versus 8.5% the year prior) but remain higher than the normal level of circa 6% vacancy.


The MFA said that if all vacant roles in media agencies were filled, the industry population would reach 5,120 people. The industry body noted that the most in-demand roles continue to be in implementation, client service and performance.

While Sydney remains the biggest market by far, with 56% of all roles, Brisbane’s share of the population grew 10% to 8.1% of all roles, the census revealed. It also noted Melbourne’s population recorded a more modest increase, to now represent 28.3% (versus 27.0% the year prior).

The proportion of women leaders has risen to 47% of all management roles held by women (up from 46%). On the equal pay front, the MFA census shows that women are paid 3% less than men in the same roles, a reflection of the higher concentration of men in some specialist functions and in-demand roles.

Additional data collected from a DE&I survey in partnership with Mediai also found that 29.58% of media agency employees speak a language other than English at home, while 5.68% are living with a diagnosed disability or special need.

Culturally, 52% identify as Australian, with European and Asian backgrounds being the second and third most common, and 9.4% of industry employees belong to the LGBTQ+ community.

Agency employee tenure has improved slightly, with employees staying with their employers for an average of 2.8 years (up from 2.5 years).

Other noteworthy employee profile statistics:

62% of employees are female (unchanged from 2022)
On average 7 years old (32.1 years in 2022)
8 years’ industry experience (7.0 years in 2022)


Linda Wong, director people at the MFA, said the key metrics of the MFA census show signs of continued improvement. 

“Over the past five years, we’ve seen a 25% growth in population, which is a remarkable result against the backdrop of economic uncertainty, offshoring and the rise of AI affecting all industries. Also worth mentioning is a notable increase in Analytics and Creative Services roles, showcasing the industry’s adaptability to evolving client needs,” Wong added.

MFA CEO Sophie Madden said the MFA census provides proof that agency and industry initiatives are having the desired effect of instilling pride in the industry’s people, tackling vacancy rates, and reducing churn.

“Notably, the growing number of ‘boomerang’ recruits – individuals returning to the industry – reflects a promising trend. I believe we’re on the right path for more positive change ahead.”

Nielsen: Marketers don't feel equipped to implement end-to-end measurement

The gap in confidence and capability is pronounced in the APAC region, only 45% of marketers are confident in their ability to measure ROI.

Nielsen report revealed that while 66% of marketers recognise the crucial need for end-to-end measurement, a mere 17% feel equipped to implement it effectively.

The data and trend information from the Annual Marketing Report was recently shared with the IAB Australia’s Marketing Measurement Innovation Series.

The gap in confidence and capability is particularly pronounced in the Asia-Pacific region, where only 45% of marketers are confident in their ability to measure ROI across digital channels meaningfully.

Kirsten Riolo, Nielsen Australia’s head of Publishers and Platforms, expressed concern about the lack of confidence in calculating ROI, which she said is impeding industry growth and the optimisation of campaigns.

“Worryingly, confidence in calculating ROI across digital channels remains startlingly low in APAC, with only 45% of marketers feeling assured that they’ll be able to measure it in a meaningful way.”

Andre Furze, Nielsen’s director of Marketing Effectiveness for Australia and New Zealand, echoed Riolo’s concerns, emphasising the challenges posed by the industry-wide use of disparate martech solutions for cross-media measurement:

“This scattergun approach makes viewing performance, especially against the rest of the industry, particularly problematic,” he said.

“Developing a well-structured marketing strategy and tailored measurement framework, which incorporates various solutions, like econometrics modelling, such as Nielsen Marketing Mix Modelling MMM, A/B testing and attribution are needed in order to better utilise resources and drive success,” Furze added.

Nielsen’s contribution to the IAB series also underscored the transformative role of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in effective marketing mix modelling (MMM), highlighting the value of Nielsen’s Predictive ROI (PROI) solution, which leverages Machine Learning and Artificial intelligence to forecast the ROI of a brand’s media plan with minimal inputs and faster, more cost-effective results.

This solution utilises Nielsen’s comprehensive Compass ROI database, which includes extensive models and data across 60 countries, 100 categories, 3000 brands, and 5000 models.

Despite recent tech advancements, Riolo acknowledged the concerns of several experts regarding the oversimplification of algorithms in automated marketing evaluation tools, especially given the increasing trend of audiences travelling across various channels.

Riolo added: “In a media universe where audiences are increasingly becoming platform nomads, it’s essential for marketers, agencies, and brands to invest in the latest tools and technology to ensure their messages resonate with their audiences.

“Whether you’re a marketer, an agency, or a brand, you’ll need to invest in the latest tools and technology to ensure your message not only reaches your audience but resonates. As champions of the APAC media ecosystem, our role isn’t just to understand the changing landscape, but to shape it, facilitating data-driven decision-making for both strategic planning and in-campaign optimisation.

Riolo and Furze offered recommendations for marketers wishing to effectively navigate APAC’s rapidly changing media and marketing landscape, including:

Prioritising upper-funnel marketing as a significant part of investment strategies
Fostering understanding and support for upper-funnel efforts within organisations
Acknowledging and managing the duality of objectives in channel mixes
Simultaneously optimising for multiple objectives
Developing a resilient plan to maintain strategic direction
Holistically measuring short-term, long-term, and equity impacts to adapt to best practices and market trends, and;
Investing in a unified and accurate measurement solution

In response to the industry’s changing needs and commitment to measurement excellence, Nielsen has introduced a novel solution that integrates short-term, long-term, and equity impacts into a singular, innovative solution, empowering marketers to make smarter, data-driven decisions that drive business growth, called Marketing Mix Modelling MMM.

sxsw sydney banner
SXSW Sydney returns inviting session applications for 2024

The inaugural year featured 1,178 sessions and events.

SXSW Sydney will return this year to engage Asia Pacific’s creative industries in the unique event which combines a festival, conference, music screen and games festival, tech & innovation expo, and parties. 

The inaugural event last year attracted 287,014 attendees for its 1,178 sessions and events, drawing representatives from 41 countries. The event included speakers such as Nicole Kidman, Chance The Rapper, Charlie Brooker, Naomi Watts, Amy Webb and Cindy Gallop. 

Geoff Jones, SXSW Sydney chair, said, “To say SXSW Sydney left a mark on the city in its inaugural year is an understatement. The team pulled together a remarkable grand-scale event that brought together APAC’s creative communities in a way the region had never seen before.” 

To build on the success of the event, SXSW Sydney has opened its Session Select for panel & speaker submissions for the 2024 festival. The festival is inviting proposals for panels, presentations, workshops, meet-ups or podcasts. 

In 2024, the festival will have 23 conference tracks to choose from, including new ones. SXSW Sydney has included tracks for the Creator Economy, Cyber & Your Data, Education & Skills, Fashion, Lifestyle & Beauty, and Food.   

SXSW Sydney’s managing director, Colin Daniels, said, “Session Select is the spark for the SXSW Sydney Conference. It is how our brilliant creative community sets the agenda with their ideas for the conversations and stimulating content that shapes the conference. I am so excited to see and hear what our global thought leaders come up with for the second SXSW Sydney.” 

The SXSW Sydney Games, Music & Screen festivals are also now accepting showcase applications  for Games, Music and Screen Festivals. SXSW Sydney is looking for innovative, abstract feature films, shorts, games, bands, solo projects, music videos and episodic works. They are also now accepting applications for fiction and non-fiction projects that use virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). 

Daniels said, “For artists and creatives in the Music, Screen and Games industries their submission to be a part of the SXSW Sydney Festivals showcase and screenings line-up is the first step to having their work revealed and announced to the wider international world of early discoverers, tastemakers and industry champions that flock to SXSW Sydney. Don’t hesitate to make that submission and be on the path to achieving your global artistic and creative goals.”

See Also: SXSW Sydney returns in 2024 following the success of the inaugural futurist conference and festival

The unexpected journey from a "professional blind date" to Prime Video's first Aussie feature film, Five Blind Dates

By Anita Anabel

Shuang Hu: “It was so therapeutic”

Five Blind Dates may be Australia’s first feature film produced locally by Prime Video but it also marks the first project that co-creators  Shuang Hu (The Family Law) and actor and comedian Nathan Ramos-Park (As We Babble On) have ever worked on together, ironically, beginning as a “professional blind date”.

Speaking to Mediaweek ahead of the February 13 launch, Hu admitted that she had been “looking for a writer to co-write with”, turning to another writer-friend, who introduced her to Ramos-Park.

“So, I read Nathan’s scripts and we met up at a Starbucks down the street,” she said, before adding that they “just hit it off straight away.”

“He was so fun to work with and it was the most fun writing experience,” she said. “So therapeutic.”

The film follows twenty-something Lia (Hu) who is faced with her failing traditional Chinese tea shop inherited from her beloved grandma, and the prospect of attending her younger sister’s impending wedding single and alone. She is then reluctantly gifted with a prophecy – the fate of her shop and her love life are intertwined, with the secret lying in one of her next five dates. However, this was not always the plan.

Gabby Chan, Shaung Hu and Renee Lim, Five Blind Dates, Prime Video

Gabby Chan, Shaung Hu and Renee Lim, Five Blind Dates, Prime Video

When Hu went to pitch her rom-com to Ramos-Park — one she had hoped Chris Hemsworth would star in — he told her: “This is great, but what if we make a movie that no one else can act in and no one else but you can do?”

They then began to “mine” her life story for ideas”, including her move to LA (which became a move from Townsville to Sydney), pressure from her parents to get married and an ultimatum, which she gave herself if she didn’t succeed in Tinseltown.

Rob Collins and Shuang Hu, Prime Video

Rob Collins and Shuang Hu, Prime Video

Their pitch to Prime Video was unconventional

When it came time to pitch the project to Prime Video, the duo had only a character sheet to present — with the initial story very different to the finished product.

“There were seven people on the call plus me and Nathan,” she said. “The rest [of the pitch] was verbal. It was like a play. Like a soliloquy or a monologue and me and Nathan just took turns telling the story.”

By the end of their pitch, everyone was “crying”.

“I think it also helped that there were six women in the room,” Hu said. “They just really related to the story of Lia struggling to chase her dream and being put down.

“All of the execs related to this character, this woman who is trying to find love, but trying to balance her career.”

Tzi Ma and Shuang Hu, Prime Video

Tzi Ma and Shuang Hu, Prime Video

Hu created the film for an under-represented community

For Hu, creating this film was for the “community who aren’t necessarily always portrayed on Australian screens”, a premise which was one of the “big calling cards”.

“We thought, we need this big beautiful ensemble cast to create as many opportunities as we can for all the people,” she said. “That’s why we needed five good-looking Asian men.

“And with the mum and the sister, we wanted to give every opportunity we could through these other characters, for them to shine as well. Because when else are they gonna have the chance to do it?”

Demonda Chaim and Lia Ling, Five Blind Dates

Demonda Chaim and Hu, Prime Video.

Stream Five Blind Dates exclusively on Prime Video from February 13.

eric bana the dry 2
Box Office: Eric Bana and Deborra-Lee Furness are a "Force of Nature" as The Dry 2 debuts at number one

By Anita Anabel

This weekend, the Australian box office made $8.4M

Force of Nature: The Dry 2 earns $1.6 million at the Box Office
This weekend, the Australian box office made $8,405,566, down 7% from last week’s $8,253,755.


1. Force of Nature: The Dry 2 – $1,633,021 (debut)

Debuting in the number one position is the second instalment to Roadshow’s The Dry franchise, Force of Nature. Starring Eric Bana and Deborra-Lee Furness, the movie brought in $1,633,021 for its first week in cinemas, averaging $3,589 over 455 screens.

Synopsis: Five women head out on a remote hiking retreat but only four return, each telling a different story. Detective Aaron Falk (Bana) must find out what really happened before time runs out.


2. Argylle – $1,264,495 (1)

Sitting at number two was Universal’s Argylle starring Dua Lipa and Henry Cavill. In Australia, the film grossed $1,264,495, averaging $3,153 over 401 screens for its second week in cinemas, down 45%. This now brings its total earnings to $4,219,384 in Australian cinemas to date.

Synopsis: Reclusive author Elly Conway (Lipa) writes best-selling espionage novels about a secret agent named Argylle (Cavill) who’s on a mission to unravel a global spy syndicate. However, when the plots of her books start to mirror the covert actions of a real-life spy organization, the line between fiction and reality begins to blur.

3. Anyone But You – $737,225 (2)

In the number two spot for its seventh week in cinemas was Sony’s romcom, Anyone But You. Over the weekend, it took $737,225, down 3%. It averaged $2,355 over 313 screens and has made $20,498,486 in Australian cinemas to date.

Synopsis: Despite an amazing first date, Bea (Sydney Sweeney) and Ben’s (Glen Powell) initial attraction quickly turns sour. However, when they unexpectedly find themselves at a destination wedding in Australia, they pretend to be the perfect couple to keep up appearances.

4. Dune (2021) – $465,871  (debut)

Debuting at fourth place this week was Warner Bros’ Dune, which has been brought back to cinemas ahead of the Part II release in March. The film grossed $465,871, averaging $1,974 over 236 screens.

Synopsis: Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence, only those who can conquer their fear will survive.


5. The Beekeeper — $400,354 (4)

In fifth place for its fifth week of release was Roadshow’s The Beekeeper. The Jason Statham-led film took $400,354, down 25% and averaged $1,718 over 233 screens. It has made $7,251,518 in Australian cinemas to date.

Synopsis: One man’s brutal campaign for vengeance takes on national stakes after it’s revealed he’s a former operative of a powerful and clandestine organization known as Beekeepers.

Top 6 – 10

6. Wonka 
7. Mean Girls
8. Migration
9. Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya
10. Peppa’s Cinema Party

Esther Carlsen joins Nova Entertainment as new digital commercial director - February 2024
Esther Carlsen joins Nova Entertainment as digital commercial director

“There is still a considerable gap between the share of audience audio currently represents, and the share of investment advertisers are committing to it.”

Nova Entertainment has appointed Esther Carlsen to the role of digital commercial director.

This appointment marks the second recent significant addition of a digital advertising executive to the senior commercial leadership team within the audio entertainment company. Nicole Bence joined the business in 2022 in the role of chief commercial officer.

See also: NOVA Entertainment welcomes Nicole Bence as chief commercial officer

Carlsen joins Nova from Nine Digital Audio, where she was stationed as commercial director.

Carlsen said, “I’m excited to be joining the NOVA team at such a pivotal point in their transformation to become an all of audio business.

“As the media landscape becomes more complex, I believe NOVA have a compelling offering that will help clients and agencies optimise their spend and maximise their reach and impact.” 

Bence welcomed Carlsen’s appointment and said that Carlsen was best placed to leverage the growth of audio in Australia.

Bence said, “Audio is the fastest growing digital media in Australia, and there are few executives better placed than Esther to capitalise on that opportunity. I’m confident she’ll play a critical role in continuing to drive the transformation and adoption necessary for us to lead the market.

“There is still a considerable gap between the share of audience audio currently represents, and the share of investment advertisers are committing to it. Esther’s appointment is critical to helping us close that gap.”

The move comes after Nova capped off 2023, claiming the highest metro network total audience despite competition from ARN and SCA.

This summary of the year came from Nova Entertainment chief executive Peter Charlton on survey day, 2023:

“With almost 6.4 million Australians now listening across Nova Entertainment, we are extremely proud to have rounded out 2023 retaining the highest total audience of any metro network. We look forward to 2024 with excitement as we continue to strengthen our all of audio offering and commit to providing audiences with the live and local content we know they love.”

See also: Nova Entertainment in good shape, except for challenge facing Ben, Liam & Belle

Top Image: Esther Carlsen 

Karen Coleman MD and Joanna Gray CEO, 303 MullenLowe Sydney
303 MullenLowe Sydney names Joanna Gray CEO, Karen Coleman MD in leadership restructure

The pair will closely partner with René Migliore, 303 MullenLowe Perth MD, while continuing to work with Attivo’s agencies in ANZ and the US.

303 MullenLowe Sydney has announced a restructuring of its senior leadership team, with Joanna Gray promoted to the newly established position of Sydney chief executive officer, and Karen Coleman appointed as Sydney managing director.

The multi-disciplined agency lists the decision reflects its strategic direction to expand its services by seizing opportunities across the trans-Tasman market.

Last year Attivo Group, the New Zealand-based marketing services company that owns 303 MullenLowe in Australia, reported it was continuing its international expansion plans by acquiring US advertising agencies Deutsch New York and Hill Holliday. 

Gray and Coleman will work closely with 303 MullenLowe Perth MD René Migliore, while also continuing to collaborate across Attivo’s other agencies in Australia, New Zealand and the US.

See also: NZ’s Attivo Group acquires US agencies Deutsch New York and Hill Holiday

Attivo chief executive officer Cam Murchison said of Gray: “Jo not only appreciates the power of creativity to solve business challenges, she brings real strength in building collaborative teams across our other agencies and businesses to provide holistic solutions and genuine value to our clients.”

Recently, notable additions to their 303’s clientele include BlueScope, New Balance, Sanitarium, and TPG, complementing longstanding partnerships with entities such as Budget Direct, Cancer Institute, Bayer, and Audi Australia.

Gray said of Coleman, “We’re excited about this partnership. Karen has the proven business leadership to really drive new opportunities in this role – particularly through her significant tech category experience and supercharged, of course, by her trademark energy and smarts.”

Coleman added, “Through a particularly harmonious end-to-end capability, 303 MullenLowe has developed a culture of delivering disproportionate outcomes to its clients over the years – something we like to call ‘creating unfair advantage’.

“It’s the perfect response to the high-level consulting that clients are demanding these days. Especially as we continue to navigate significant economic challenges.

“I’m looking forward to partnering with Jo and the entire 303 MullenLowe leadership team to both continue and evolve this story.”

See also: “Loch Mess Monster” stars in latest Budget Direct ad via 303 MullenLowe

Top Image: Karen Coleman & Joanna Gray (L to R)

Bastion - Nathan Saville
Nathan Saville joins Bastion as general manager of the research and data division

Saville was most recently COO at Pollinate, where he led the design and implementation of processes within the agency.

Nathan Saville has joined CRNRSTONE, the research and data arm of Bastion, as general manager, responsible for driving innovation and growth for the business.

He has 20 years of experience in shaping agencies and building relationships in the market research industry.

Saville was most recently chief operating officer at Pollinate, where he led the design and implementation of processes within the agency, as well as account management with key clients of the business.

Prior to this, he worked in client management and operations roles at Kantar Consulting, The Leading Edge, and CRNRSTONE (formerly Stable Research).

Saville, who will be based in Sydney, said he was looking forward to joining the CRNRSTONE team as its new general manager. “Having worked agency-side for the better part of my 20-year market research career, helping clients and growing and developing teams is what I love to do, every day,” he said.

Jack Watts, Group CEO of Bastion welcomed Saville to the team and said: “CRNRSTONE has been a bedrock of the research community for almost 20 years, and with Nathan’s leadership and an engaged panel of over 100,000 Australian’s, I can’t wait to see where Nathan takes the business over the next few years.”

The new appointment comes after Bastion Reputation, the strategic communications, corporate affairs and issues management arm of the agency, welcomed the appointment of Katrina Shute as principal consultant leading its training and capability practice.

Shute has more than 20 years of experience in television, radio, and print media, and brings a wealth of expertise in media training, journalism, and audience engagement to this key role.

Over the past three years, Shute has transitioned from reporting to training, assisting clients nationwide in preparing for interviews and presentations.

See also: Bastion Reputation welcomes Katrina Shute as principal consultant

Top image: Nathan Saville

australian survivor mark
TV Report February 12, 2024: A chaotic scramble sends a Rebel home on Australian Survivor

By Anita Anabel

Natalie and Collins leave the MAFS experiment.

• Mark plays his idol on Australian Survivor
• The Super Bowl LVIII captivates the world


Nine’s A Current Affair spoke to English woman Mary Ellis, 74, who is known as a local hero in northern New South Wales. Mary not only feeds the homeless in Tweed Heads but also raises money for the Salvation Army. Now, despite giving much of her time to help Australians, thanks to an issue with her visa, the government wants to kick her out.

Then it was the start of Intimacy Week on Married at First SightTimothy and Lucinda were at odds over Richard’s comments at the Commitment Ceremony before Lucinda’s endless prodding caused Timothy to storm out. After taking some space, he returns later during the night and the two make amends.

Meanwhile, Natalie and Collins wake up in separate apartments before Collins visits Natalie to prove to her that he is willing to fight for their relationship. However, Natalie calls his speech “Oscar-worthy” before saying she’s ready to leave the experiment. After saying one final awkward goodbye to him she packs her bags and leaves.

Elsewhere, Richard confesses to Andrea that he adores her, Alessandra intervenes during Timothy and Lucinda’s tasks and Lauren and Jonathan attempt to complete the eye-gazing task with disastrous consequences. 


On Seven, viewers watched the Super Bowl LVIII earlier in the day as the San Francisco 49ers took on the Kansas City Chiefs. After an exciting game — where the victory could have been granted to either team — the Chiefs took the win. They have now secured four Super Bowl wins in six appearances, while Patrick Mahomes was named Super Bowl MVP for the third time.

During the Apple Half-time Show, Usher surprised fans worldwide with guest appearances from the likes of Alicia KeysWill I Am and there was even an iconic guitar solo from H.E.R.

SEE ALSO: Surprise guests, songs and bombshells: Here’s what went down at the 2024 Super Bowl Halftime show

Later, Home and Away saw Tane ready for a fresh start while Dana played Cupid for Harper and Mali confided in Xander.

Then, Australian Idol continued and it was Group Challenge Day. The contestants teamed up in trios to work on collaborations and, while some groups worked well together, others clashed over creative differences.


On 10The Project welcomed comedian Jimmy Rees who is about to head out on tour, revealing why he loves regional towns, but why they also scare him.

Then, it was time for Australian Survivor where after Viola was blindsided by the OG Titans on Sunday, Mark was out for revenge. A covert chat with Alex revealed that he wanted to make a move on Caroline and Kitty by working with the OG Rebels to take Kitty out. Then, a high-intensity Immunity Challenge showed logic triumph over strength, and the Titans took home the win, sending the Rebels to the Tribal council yet again.

At Tribal Council, Mark played nice with the OG Titans, saying a blindside didn’t have to change the dynamic of the tribe. As Rianna explained that she wanted to be here with people she trusts, Sarah and Alex wonder whether she has changed her mind about the plan. Mark plays his Idol due to all the chaos, and the one vote that comes up for him doesn’t count and Sarah was sent home from Survivor


Sarah Ferguson interviewed Tony Burke, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations on ABC’s 7.30 while the program also looked at the tourism threat posed by an ant that flies, floats and stings en masse.

Nemesis followed detailing when Scott Morrison became Australia’s surprise 30th Prime Minister, pulling off a “miracle” election win. From his family trip to Hawaii to the pandemic response, its recent history brought to life.

Media Watch looked at Biden; Tucker and Putin plus Bolt v Police and a G-string g-up.

A behind-the-scenes of Nemesis followed as Leigh Sales and Mark Willacy delved into the making of the series. 


Over on SBS, Celebrity Letters and Numbers saw Michael Hing, wordsmith David Astle and numbers expert Lily Serna be joined by celebrity contestants Harley Breen, Lizzy Hoo, AJ Lamarque and special Dictionary Corner guest Jude Perl.

Then on Isle of Wight: Jewel of the South, wild swimmers braved the freezing Solent, plus the secrets of Mermaid Gin.

Business of Media

Musk’s X to let brands run ads next to certain creators

Social media platform X said on Monday it will enable advertisers to run video ads next to certain content creators, a move that could help brands prevent exposure to unwanted posts on the Elon Musk-owned site, reports Reuters’ Sheila Dang.

Since the billionaire purchased the company formerly known as Twitter, many advertisers have been wary of appearing on the platform after it loosened content moderation policies. Musk has often lashed out at brands that have paused their ad spending, even cursing at them during a New York Times DealBook interview in November.

[Read More]

Taylor Swift’s jaw-dropping payday in new Disney deal

The rights to stream Taylor Swift‘s coveted concert film were reportedly worth a significant chunk of change to Disney boss Bob Iger, reports News Corp’s Alex Vena.

According to Matthew Belloni’s Puck newsletter, the Disney CEO allegedly shelled out over $US75 million ($114m) to the pop star’s family for Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (Taylor’s Version) to stream on Disney+, besting fellow media powerhouses Netflix and Universal, who were also involved in a bidding war over the film.

Decider reached out to Disney+ Global Publicity for comment, but did not hear back by time of publication.

[Read More]

Many lessons for brands in Taylor Swift’s marketing success

In one of Taylor Swift’s songs, The Man, she famously and powerfully challenges society’s double standards when it comes to women saying: “If I was a man, then I’d be the man,” writes AANA chief executive Josh Faulks for The Australian.

Well, by any measure – male, female, singer, songwriter, businessperson or marketer – Taylor Swift is on top of the world right now.

Unless you live under a rock, you would be more than aware that the Taylor Swift juggernaut is coming to Australia and Tay Tay mania has taken hold. You don’t have to have a teenage daughter to come across a passionate Swiftie who is more than willing to volunteer an opinion on how amazing Taylor is.

Full disclosure: I am definitely not one of them.

[Read More]

News Brands

ABC appoints Chief Partnerships and Negotiation Officer

ABC has appointed Toni Skaife as Chief Partnerships and Negotiation Officer in the Content division, reports TV Tonight. 

Skaife has most recently been General Manager Content Production and Business Affairs and General Manager Melbourne as Network 10 / Paramount+ and was previously Head of production and Business Affairs.

At ABC some of her key priorities will be driving international partnerships to support new content initiatives, developing rights strategies and leading commercial content deal negotiation locally and abroad.

[Read More]


Why a show about the post office broke viewing records when it aired in the UK

The UK postal office has exploded with scandal over the past couple of months. Hundreds of people have been vindicated of crimes and high-up CEOs have lost prestigious positions, reports the ABC’s Velvet Winter.

And it is thanks, in part, to an ITV miniseries about a group of postal workers that took an unreal situation into their own hands.

Here’s what you need to know.

[Read More]

Sports Media

Jen, Beckham ad steals show at Super Bowl

Every year people tune in across the world to watch the NFL Super Bowl … ads, reports News Corp’s Elizabeth Pike.

This year has proven no exception with Uber’s star-studded advertisement stealing the show as a competitive line up of commercials battled it out for precious airtime, with companies spending up to $10.8 million for a 30-second slot in the CBS 2024 final between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.

These are the most viral ads from Super Bowl LVIII.

[Read More]

Super Bowl Ratings: Will this year’s game break US viewership records?

Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers is expected to break viewership records. The Chiefs prevailed in overtime, winning their third title in five years, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint.

Industry experts and sports executives have anticipated that this year’s Super Bowl viewership would be the biggest ever because of the attractive matchup, as well as increased fan interest surrounding the relationship between singer Taylor Swift and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

The current record is 115.1 million viewers who watched the Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles in last season’s Super Bowl. Nielsen’s official tally is expected to be released Monday afternoon.

[Read More]

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