Friday February 19, 2021

SCA’s Grant Blackley on ambition of LiSTNR app and PodcastOne rebrand

By James Manning

“Advertisers and agencies will give this serious attention and migrate to LiSTNR.”

As of February 18, all the podcasts that lived on PodcastOne will now be found on the LiSTNR platform. Parent company SCA has rebranded its on-demand audio platform, incorporating the PodcastOne business into LiSTNR which is also the name of a new app that delivers the podcasts, but all of SCA’s 100 live radio stations and a growing list of dedicated music streams.

See also: SCA launches major new audio destination LiSTNR

Although SCA is expected to save some money on PodcastOne licensing fees, SCA chief executive Grant Blackley told Mediaweek the company will continue to offer PodcastOne US content to listeners and sales opportunities to the market.

The ambition SCA has with LiSTNR is huge. “We are creating an audio destination for all Australian’s,” explained Blackley. “The app has radio, podcasts, music, and news and information as four content pillars.”

SCA is culling its list of podcasts in Australia, with Blackley mentioning a slimmer catalogue of Australian premium titles plus a number of international series.

As part of the music offering on LiSTNR, SCA has launched 15 new music channels and created four new music shows, with more to come.

“What we have for the audience is a personalised, curated audio eco-system. This is much more than just radio and just podcasting. It has been built to serve the needs of every person in Australia.”

The company’s app strategy means you won’t find any other radio stations on LiSTNR. “All the content is either SCA born and bred, or content we have in partnership or under licence to SCA.”

The broadcast boss indicated that probably won’t change. “We have a premium first model in relation to podcasting. We are the largest premium publisher in this country. We are not seeking to be an aggregator for the market.

Grant Blackley

Blackley said SCA’s podcasts model has attracted some of the best podcast creators in Australia. “They like the care and attention we pay to their product. We are a simple solution for content creators in that we provide curation, production, direction and procurement, distribution and monetisation. We are a valuable business partner for content creators. We limit ourselves to what we see as premium content and we are very selective. We monetise that content for our partners and as that grows we share that with the creators.

SCA wants podcast growth within a commercial structure. “We are not here to have a library of 1000 podcasts. We will cull our list from time to time to improve. I emphasis again we are a very focused on being a premium publisher and we can’t serve every single podcaster’s needs. We subsequently get a premium outcome from the monetisation process.”

Project LiSTNR: Three years, nearly 200 staff

Blackley: “This has involved over 180 people in 24 locations over three years. It is a home-grown product, created and built by SCA’s teams. There is nothing else available that matches what LiSTNR can offer.

Nothing like this has existed before. Advertisers and agencies will give this serious attention and migrate to LiSTNR. This will deliver a scaled personalised and targeted solution with known audiences. That is what the industry has been seeking.”

Blackley said there are no commercial partners on LiSTNR at launch as the focus has been on building the product to this date.

“We have a whole range of commercial partners who will come to LiSTNR that are already associated with other SCA products from radio to news to podcasting. Now it has been launched monetisation will follow very quickly.

Married at First Sight
How Nine is perfecting the Married at First Sight love potion

By Trent Thomas

“You don’t want people who just want to be on television”

Married at First Sight’s eighth season is set to return Monday, February 22, at 7.30pm on Nine and 9Now.

The show’s booming popularity can be seen in its swelling TV numbers.

Previous launch audiences metro:
2015: 1,143,000
2016: 769,000 (First series that year)
2016: 769,000 (Second series)
2017: 826,000
2018: 914,000
2019: 1,006,000
2020: 1,154,000

Adrian Swift the head of content, production and development at Nine told Mediaweek Married at First Sight needs to continue to improve as the production team aims to perfect the experiment.

“Every year you put people in, and it gives a completely different result. Dare I use a science term, but it is a good experiment in that you get a completely different show every time.

“The problem is you can’t not show things that happened. When things happened that are really extreme you can’t take it out because you owe it to the people who were there to show what happened.”

Choosing who walks down the aisle

Swift believes one of the keys to the show’s success this year will be the different approach that has been taken in choosing the brides and grooms.

“This year we have a cast that much better to represent Australia between the age of 23 and 46 in 2021. It is a much less extreme show, but the things that are happening in the relationships are what happens to all of us, and the way it plays out is dare I say instructive.

“There is no one that you would go ‘why the hell did you match that person with that person’, we always have a reason but this year it is more obvious from the start why this match was made. I think the audience needs to understand why they are together, and this year the psychologists did it really well.

“Have we overcompensated? I don’t think so.”


When looking for participants the team at Nine wanted people who wanted to find love but are also prepared to trust the process of the experiment

“You always look for their motivation. It can’t be too strong or too weak. You don’t want people who just want to be on television, you want people who think that this might be a way to do something different,” Swift said.

“The reason that these people’s past relationships went wrong up to this point, not always, but typically they have chosen the wrong people then defaulted into behaviour that ended those relationships.

“When the experts say you have to do something, they have to be prepared to do it, and this year I think we have people that are prepared to do that which has led to more people that are in a good place.”

Filming Married at First Sight during Covid-19

Like every production in the world over the last year, Married at First Sight was heavily affected by Covid-19 which Swift described as an absolute nightmare, but something that didn’t impact the result negatively.

“We normally do what you call meet the Fockers, which is meeting the parents and all that sort of stuff, and overseas honeymoons which we had to take out. The fact we have a more closed environment has helped make the experiment more revealing.”

In regard to the positive changes to the experiment, Swift said that he thinks the show might retain up to 50% of the Covid enforced changes in future seasons.

“The purpose of the experiment is to mimic somewhere between a year and two years in a normal relationship in a short period of time by removing a lot of the process such as travelling. This has allowed us to put more experiment in and less time for travel and extraneous stuff which has helped. The participants have said it’s more rigorous and allowed them to engage more.”

New sexologist: Alessandra Rampolla 

In 2021 Married at First Sight is adding a new face to its panel of experts. Alessandra Rampolla is a certified clinical sexologist from Puerto Rico with over 20 years’ experience, who will bring her expertise in sexology to the experiment.

Swift said that Rampolla brings genuine clinical experience and a completely different voice to the show from her experience living in Puerto Rico and Florida.

“She has that Latin perspective but also that American view which is a little bit less repressed than we are, and her views tend more on the side of sex and intimacy than process which gives a different opinion. Culturally her sitting on the couch and listening to Australians talk about their lives is really interesting.”

Mel Schilling, Alessandra Rampolla, and John Aiken

She joins experts John Aiken and Mel Schilling with the goal of creating perfect matches and strong relationships.

“Mel is warm and sympathetic, John is the disciplinarian and I think, Alessandra? Is much more hands-on in a psych sense.”

Secret Ingredient to making one of Australia’s biggest shows

Swift thinks that a large part of Married at First Sight’s success is that the experiment makes it bigger than a normal dating program.

“The process is fascinating. The marriage device is a level of commitment, it’s not First Dates and it’s not Love Island. There is a genuine intent when people go into this, they want to make it work, and that just reveals so much about the people involved.”

Swift said that it is an ongoing process refining the couples, and each year the team wants to be able to make better matches than the year before.

“You can argue that we have had some people on the edges before who probably wanted to be on TV as much as they wanted to get married. We have done a good job of mostly weeding those people out. We are in a place now where everybody that turns up to the alter thinks that this could be the person that they spend the rest of their life with.”

Swift also credited the show’s executive producer Tara Williams and her team as the rock that holds the whole thing together comparing running the show to riding a wild bull.

“All the extreme stuff on the show, and the affairs we never wanted any of that to happen. What makes the show so great is we don’t know what is going to happen.”

Fox League launches season + announces new Matty Johns project

Face to Face with Matty Johns will air on Wednesday nights at 7.30pm.

Fox League launched its NRL Telstra Premiership season on Thursday with every game on Foxtel and Kayo, live and ad-break free during play from Thursday, March 11.

The faces of 2021 Foxtel and Kayo ambassadors, James Tedesco, Mitchell Moses, Kalyn Ponga and Cameron Munster were painted into the turf of Bankwest Stadium, to create the biggest player artwork on record before being joined by the Fox League commentary team to kick off the season.

The unique grass art creative is the first of its kind in Australia and set the scene to unveil Fox League’s 2021 commentary team and a programming line-up, headed up by Matty Johns and Yvonne Sampson.

Despite a rain delay, the launch event was hosted by Yvonne Sampson who opened the event with NRL CEO Andrew Abdo who discussed the difficulties of the previous season and his excitement for the NRL All Stars game to kick-off 2021.

Andrew Abdo

Following Abdo was Fox League favourite Matty Johns who looked a good 10 kilograms lighter and told Sampson it was from running up and down a hill every day till he collapsed and not eating for weeks. 

Johns announced his new show ‘Face to Face with Matty Johns’ which will air on Wednesday nights at 7.30pm.  Johns sits down with key figures in the game of rugby league and Australian society for a candid chat. The show has a growing list of interviews that already includes Anthony MundineKarmichael HuntDanny Buderus, Nicho Hynes and Melbourne Storm General Manager Frank Ponissi.

Next up was Queenslanders Mal Meinga and Cooper Cronk, with the conversation making headlines after Meninga repeatedly told Sampson that he hadn’t spoken to Cameron Smith about wearing Titans colours this year.

“I’ve not talked to Cameron. He’s the hardest bloke to get hold of in the world. I’ve not spoken to him – not has anyone from the club,” Meninga said.

“Everyone assumes he’s coming to the Titans. I haven’t talked to him, he’s not on the radar. You should ask Kevvie about Cameron so I don’t have to answer these questions any more.”

The 2021 lineup for Fox League for the year will led out of the sheds again by Matty Johns and Yvonne Sampson alongside Mal Meninga, and fellow premiership winners Cooper Cronk, Michael Ennis, Gorden Tallis, Greg Alexander and Braith Anasta.

In 2021, Fox League will feature Yvonne Sampson on Thursday Night League and Super Saturday, Jess Yates on Friday Night FootballHannah Hollis on Sunday Ticket and Lara Pitt working across game day and magazine programming throughout the season.

When the ball is in play commentators Andrew Voss, Dan Ginnane, Warren Smith, Matt Russell and Brenton Speed will call every second of every game each week.

Returning in 2021 will be NRL 360, The Late Show with Matty Johns, Sunday Night with Matty Johns, Big League Wrap and The Fan.

The week of Fox League begins on Monday night with news from every angle when Ben Ikin and Paul Kent lead off three consecutive nights of NRL 360, with top rugby league journalists Phil “Buzz” Rothfield and James Hooper.

Now in Rabbitohs colours, Benji Marshall returns with James Graham on NRL 360 to provide the players perspective every Tuesday night in 2021.

Face-to-face with Matty Johns will lead Wednesday nights with Matty Johns sitting down with the biggest names in sport and society following NRL 360 with Lara Pitt joining the show for Legends Night featuring Geoff Toovey, Benny Elias and Mark “Spud” Carroll.

The formidable combination of Matty Johns, Gorden Tallis and Fletch and Hindy will be ready to roll again on The Late Show with Matty Johns. 

Premiering after every Super Saturday Andrew Voss and Lara Pitt are back with, The Fan, when they have some fun looking at rugby league through the historical and quirky lens of the game’s biggest fanatics.

Sunday Night with Matty Johns, is back in 2021. Matty Johns will be joined by Bryan Fletcher, Nathan Hindmarshand Emma Freedman to wrap up the round’s action.

The week wraps up with Big League Wrap with Yvonne Sampson, Mick Ennis and James Hooper dissecting all the biggest news and talking points following the weekend’s round of football.

Also set to join the Fox League team in 2021 will be newcomer Jake Duke alongside Megan Barnard and Matt Russell on NRL Tonight.

facebook news
Media industry reactions to Facebook news ban

“We’re disappointed Facebook has felt the need to take this drastic action”

In August 2020 Facebook threatened it would reluctantly stop allowing publishers and people in Australia to share local and international news on Facebook and Instagram if proposals to introduce the Media Bargaining law continued.

Overnight Will Eastman, managing director of Facebook Australia and New Zealand, explained how that threat is now a reality as Facebook has now restricted publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content.

Eastman explained: “The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content. It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.”

The media industry has reacted to the surprising news and below are some of the comments:

Grant Blackley, SCA CEO 

“SCA was surprised at the announcement and general lack of engagement. We expect Facebook and their users will be poorer given this outcome.

“Moving forward we expect that Facebook will continue to encourage publishers like ourselves to entertain audiences through their platform with premium video and audio assets.

“ Radio engages audiences at scale every day – not just through Facebook but through its other platforms especially Instagram, which at this time seems to be unaffected. We look forward to understanding the rules of engagement moving forward.”


Simon Wheeler, Director of Content, Verizon Media ANZ

“We’re disappointed Facebook has felt the need to take this drastic action, which is going to have a tangible effect on Australian publishers and will adversely impact the large number of Australians who use their news feed to discover news stories.

“Removing premium and trusted content poses further challenges for Facebook  in providing a brand-safe and premium environment. 

“In Australia we have been preparing for this eventuality and working hard to diversify our sources of audience, including the use of our Verizon Media proprietary Native solution.  This approach has resulted in double-digit audience growth for our brands – Yahoo News, Yahoo Sport, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Lifestyle.  These solutions are available to all publishers for use.”

Nine Entertainment Co (through a spokesman)

“It is unfortunate Facebook have taken this position and it will indeed inhibit us from sharing our quality news and information with Australians. Nobody benefits from this decision as Facebook will now be a platform for misinformation to rapidly spread without balance. This action proves again their monopoly position and unreasonable behaviour. 

“But today’s statement does not mean Facebook will not have to abide by the Federal Governments proposed code. Value has already been transferred and Facebook has benefited from our content for many years. We should be able to access their monopoly platform and have the right to monetise our content as a result. 

“We have been negotiating with Facebook in good faith and we remain willing to do a deal with them that provides a mutually beneficial outcome and ensures quality information is available to all Australia.”

Andrew Burke, Outbrain Managing Director APAC and Growth Markets

“Facebook’s decision to pull all Australian news is a massive blow to local publishers and for the free exchange of information and ideas in Australia. This will be especially hard for smaller publishers who rely on this platform for people to discover their content.

“At Outbrain we’re committed to working with publishers to create an equitable and sustainable business model. More importantly, we already have in place the tools to help all publishers push their content to new audiences and get discovered in the right places.

“To that end we are offering increased assistance to publishers impacted by this sudden and dramatic change, to help them continue to provide the vital services which benefit every Australian.”

News Corp Australia confirms new partnership with Google as Facebook bans publishers

“This has always been about securing the future of journalism”

News Corp has today announced an agreement with Google to provide journalism from its news sites around the world for Google News Showcase in return for significant payments by Google.

News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller said the agreement was made possible “thanks to the vision and diligence of News Corp and its leadership, and also by the quality of our journalism and everyone involved in informing our readers with trusted news. We are also grateful to the people at Google, led by Sundar Pichai and his team, who played a pivotal role in this historic development, which will benefit not only our business but journalists around Australia and the world.

“I would like to personally thank Rod Sims and his team at the ACCC who devoted extraordinary energy to study the impact of platforms, leading to a genuinely world leading outcome through the development of the Code of Conduct.

“We also need to acknowledge Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher as well as the opposition parties, in particular the ALP and Greens.”

Mr Miller also paid tribute to a wide range of other people and organisations whose efforts would benefit all Australians through the continued provision of journalism.

“This has always been about securing the future of journalism for the benefit of the people it serves and not about individual companies,” Mr Miller said.

“Former Senator Nick Xenophon and Senator Stirling Griff were instrumental in having Australia adopt a world first, highly innovative policy approach.

“Their work has charted a path that will benefit all journalism-based organisations in Australia.

“This is an important moment for our company, but an even more important moment for journalism and the people it serves, no matter how they consume news.”

Mr Miller said this agreement will provide some confidence in an industry that has been buffeted by many challenges in recent years.

“The future of commercial news organisations rests on their ability to establish workable business models in the digital era,” he said.

“We will continue to invest in journalism and the skills needed to tell stories in new and evolving ways across our communities, and for a digital future.”

Mr Miller said News Corp’s co-executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch along with chief executive Robert Thomson had led the company’s transition to digital journalism over many years.

“Robert Thomson raised the role of big tech as an issue when he was editor of The Times in the 2000s,” Mr Miller said.

“Thanks to his leadership over the many years since the entire industry can now return to a sustainable model.

“And I thank, too, everyone here at News Corp Australia for your role in serving the Australian public interest by providing citizens with the news and information they desire and need.  Your time and talent has contributed mightily to this result, which can help to benefit not only our lives and livelihoods, but the communities and country in which we live and work.”

shopper media group
Shopper Media names Sophie Hodgson NSW Agency Sales Director

Shopper Media today announces the appointment of Sophie Hodgson to the newly created role of NSW Agency Sales Director.

Prior to the promotion, Hodgson was a NSW Group Sales Manager. Moving forward, she will lead the NSW agency team for all major agencies and partnerships. Reporting to Jamie Hollebone, Shopper Media’s Head of Revenue, Hodgson will focus on driving value across the agency network.

“Sophie’s role will focus on delivering excellence through market-leading OOH media campaigns, showcasing some of Australia’s most prominent brands and working closely with our agency partners to deliver precision targeting and genuine value through the media-buying process,” says Hollebone. 

“As vanguards of expanding the retail OOH category, Shopper Media has created the role to provide leadership for our ongoing growth and expansion.”

Shopper Media achieved 8.4% growth in the latest release of the Standard Media Index figures for 2020, bucking the trend for the wider out-of-home category. The agency was also was the fourth-fastest-growing media group year-on-year, behind Snapchat, Spotify, and LinkedIn, and secured top spot as the highest-growth offline media company in real dollar terms for the second year running.

Hodgson says she is incredibly excited to step into the position. “Shopper Media is leading the resurgence in out-of-home and we are the best positioned media channel to deliver proximity, and contextually relevant campaigns, helping to better connect brands with Australian shoppers, at scale” she adds. 

Shopper Media currently boasts a portfolio of circa 400 shopping centres, providing essential retail services for local communities across the country.

Since launching in 2015, the agency has focused on expanding its reach in grocery-centric hubs.

The organisation reaches more than 5.6 million Australians per fortnight via its network of high-tech SmartLite digital panels, reaching over 5.2m grocery buyers, 3.3m parents, 1.9m millennials and 2.1m Australian shoppers over 50.

video advertising
New research shows increasing focus on video advertising

Digital video advertising market grew 41 percent YOY in Q4 2020.

Video investment continues to significantly outpace the rest of the ad market and is set to continue throughout 2021 according to new research. The Attitudes to Digital Video Report released today by IAB Australia found that 68% of agencies expect investment in digital video advertising to increase in 2021.  The report also found that 94% of agencies using digital video for increasing brand awareness expressed satisfaction with their campaign results, while the ability of digital advertising to reach audiences at scale was identified as the number one reason why 59% of agencies continue to use or recommend digital video advertising. 

IAB also provided a preview of key video advertising data points from its PwC Online Advertising Expenditure Report scheduled to be published in full next week.  That report will show that video advertising grew 41 percent in the final quarter of 2020 to reach $642.7 million making it the fastest-growing digital advertising segment, attracting more than half of digital display advertising.

Over the calendar year 2020 digital video advertising investment grew 17% to over $1.9billion.

Video creative and metric alignment were identified in the Attitudes to Digital Video Report as two key areas the industry must focus on to support the continued growth of video advertising.  It found that nearly four in ten agencies rarely or never develop digital video advertising creative to the specific media environment.  Consensus from leading advertising effectiveness research vendors is that creative is a key driver of campaign effectiveness. Given the strong impact from creative, the potential upside in developing strong impactful video creative adjusted for the media environment is significant. 

The Report also found a mismatch between campaign objectives and metrics selected by agencies to measure success.  While 81% of agencies use digital video advertising to increase brand awareness, only 38% use brand awareness lift metrics to evaluate their campaign success, opting instead to use delivery metrics such as reach and frequency, completion rates and CPM.

Additional findings from the Video Report include:

Reaching audiences at scale is the number one reason 59% of agencies use or recommend digital video advertising

Increasing brand awareness is the predominant objective for digital video campaigns with 81% of agencies reporting using digital video for increasing brand awareness.

Digital video advertising is also used by agencies to increase purchase/action intent (61%) and increase sales or conversions (47%).

78% of agencies using video advertising for increasing sales or conversions were satisfied with their campaign results

37% of agencies are not yet preparing for people-based marketing that will enable planning, activating, and measuring interactions across media into the future when third-party cookies are no longer available to use.

Gai Le Roy, CEO of IAB Australia commented.  “The growth in digital video advertising investment over the last few years has been phenomenal, fuelled by continued innovation in environments, formats as well as an explosion of CTV opportunities. This Report helps to identify key areas for industry focus and development to support the market in 2021 and beyond.”

James Young, Co-Chair of IAB Australia’s Video Council and Managing Director Australia for Magnite said, “The findings of this study further underscore the importance of video as a central part of marketers’ omnichannel advertising strategies. No other advertising medium is more effective for brand building and mass awareness. From our vantage point in the industry, digital video growth is being fueled by the ability buyers have to tap into premium, long-form video with effective reach for their campaigns.”

dancing with the stars
Fifi Box announces she’s joining Dancing With The Stars: All Stars

Radio broadcaster and tv presenter Fifi Box has just announced to her Fox listeners that she’s participating in Dancing With The Stars: All Stars.

Fifi was runner up to Kate Ceberano in 2007 (Season 6). 

Other contenders that season included Tim Campbell (third place), Jamie Durie, Todd Woodbridge, Wendell Sailor, and Naomi Robson.

The two week television event sees former champions and fan favourites quick-stepping back onto the dancefloor for a second shot at the coveted mirror ball trophy.

The full cast, host and judges will be announced soon.  

The show is set to return to its original home this year, last airing on Channel Seven five years ago. Seven hosted the popular show from 2004 through to 2016, before 10 announced they would run a revived version of the show in 2019 hosted by Grant Denyer and Amanda Keller.

10 ran two seasons of the show but in October 2020 they announced the revived series would not return in 2021.

In December 2020, Seven announced that they had re-gained the rights to the Dancing With The Stars format and that they would be bringing the show back with an All-Stars edition this year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this series of the show won’t be filmed live.

“Dancing With The Stars is one of the most successful television formats in the world,” said Seven’s programming director, Angus Ross.

“It was a massive hit for us across 15 seasons and we are delighted to welcome it home.”

The only other confirmed star so far is Home and Away’Ada Nicodemou, returning to the ballroom with her original dance partner Aric Yegudkin.

Ada and Aric were Season 3 champions in 2005, defeating Chris Bath and Dicko. They also went on to claim the “Champion of Champions” title that year in a friendly face off against Season 2 champions Tom Williams and Kym Johnson

Dancing With The Stars: All Stars is coming soon to Channel 7 and 7plus.

Mercado on TV: Why Are You Like This?, Superman and Lois, The Equaliser & Lupin

“In the quest for new material, could the haters check out Why Are You Like This?”

Remember back in the olden days when critics of the ABC would be offended at “edgy” Aussie comedies like Aunty Jack and The Big Gig? Sadly these days, all they whinge about is what some ABC producer said in a “tweet”, so in the quest for new material, could the haters check out Why Are You Like This? (Wednesday on ABC).

Cranky boomers might blow a pooper valve after watching this raunchy sitcom about selfish millennials and political correctness.

Listen to Andrew Mercado on the new Mercado & Manning Mediaweek podcast.

Why Are You Like This? is dangerous, fresh and original, and that is a rarity in TV when most new shows these days are reboots. Superman and Lois (Thursday on Fox 8) owes more than a nod to Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993), and I wonder how long it will take Dean Cain and/or Teri Hatcher to get a guest role in this new version.

Superman (Tyler Hoechlin), aka Clark Kent, and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch), aka “the most famous journalist in the world”, have been married for years when this series opens. Made for the youth-orientated CW network, it should be no surprise that their twin boys are now teenagers with raging hormones, or that former high school sweetheart Lana Lang (Emmanuelle Chriqui) also has a daughter around their age.

Superman and Lois

Superman and Lois is slick as, and square-jawed Tyler Hoechlin could not be more perfect in the title role. This is now the sixth TV series in the DC Comics Arrowverse and if the rest of the series is as good as the 90-minute pilot, this could be their best superhero show yet.

The Equaliser (Wednesday on Nine) is another take on the vigilante genre after Edward Woodward launched it on TV in 1985, followed by two Denzel Washington movies. Now it is Queen Latifah and she could not be more kick ass. Like most US procedural dramas, it is borderline ridiculous but it’s got enough grunt to keep you watching if you like this sort of thing.

The Equalizer

Another modern spin on a classic tale is Lupin (Netflix) which is inspired by the turn of the century “gentleman thief” novels from French author Maurice Leblanc. Now it’s about the charismatic chameleon Assane Diop (Omar Sy) and with the first episode filmed on location at the Louvre, it is a cracker.

But do you listen to it dubbed into English, and put up with everyone’s lips not moving in time? Or do you change your Netflix settings into English subtitles and original French dialogue? I go with the sexy accents every time.

Listen to Andrew Mercado on the new Mercado & Manning Mediaweek podcast.

australian open final
TV Ratings Survey: Thursday Week 8

By Trent Thomas

• Nine wins the night after Novak masterclass
• Gogglebox Australia returns with over 500,000
• Backroads in Coober Pedy was #1 entertainment show

Primetime News
Seven News 942,000 (6:00 pm)/899,000 (6:30 pm)
Nine News 773,000 (6:00 pm)/764,000 (6:30 pm)
ABC News 698,000
10 News First 358,000 (5:00 pm)/211,000 (6:30 pm)
SBS World News 180,000 (6:30)/ 142,000 (7:00 pm)

Daily current affairs
7.30 576,000
The Project 280,000 (6:30 pm)/442,000 (7:00 pm)
The Drum 171,000

Breakfast TV
Sunrise 252,000
Today 209,000
News Breakfast 208,000

Nine won its 11th day in a row with a 19.4% primary share and a 27.3% network share as the Australian Open continues to deliver for the broadcaster.

The Open’s night session had an average of 562,000 and 391,000 and Novak Djokovic was centre stage defeating qualifier Aslan Karatsev in the semi-final to go through to his ninth Australian Open final. The match averaged a metro audience of 588,000. The Open was also #1 in the 16-39 and the 18-9 demographics.

Seven aired its Thursday night Home and Away triple threat with an average of 459,000 across the three episodes. This was followed by the second episode of the new Wife Swap Australia with 306,000, which was down on the 346,000 from last week.

Last night’s episode of Wife Swap Australia featured a lenient mum of unruly quadruplets and a no-nonsense mum of two highly-disciplined kids.

7Two was the top multichannel last night thanks to Father Brown and Murdoch Mysteries.

On 10 Gogglebox Australia returned for its new season as the Goggleboxers sank into the couch and got stuck into a new year of shows. The 13th season premiere on 10 had 502,000 and was #1 in the 25-54 demographic, after having 183,000 the night before on Foxtel’s Lifestyle. The show’s 2020 premiere on 10 had 685,000.

The Project had 280,000 and 442,000 with the episode focusing on how the battle between Facebook and the Federal Government changed peoples feeds and took crucial health pages offline. The project also had Gretel Killeen to talk all about her new book My Daughter’s Wedding.

In the 7:30 pm slot last night 10 aired a repeat of Ambulance Australia which brought in 303,000 viewers. 

On the ABC Back Roads was the top entertainment show with 520,000 which was up on last week’s 454,000. The episode featured guest host Poh Ling Yeow who explored a remote outpost connected by their love of opal in Coober Pedy in South Australia.

Q+A had 280,000 which was down on last week’s 294,000 as the program has continued to fail to crack 300,000 since moving from its regular Monday slot to Thursdays in 2021.

SBS’s top-rated non-news programs were Cornwall with Simon Reeve (125,000) and The Truth about Cosmetic Treatments (123,000).

WeeK 8: Thursday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.4% 7 17.5% 9 19.4% 10  12.3% SBS One 5.0%
ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS 2.6% 7TWO 3.9% GO! 2.4% 10 Bold 3.6% VICELAND 1.7%
ABC ME 0.7% 7mate 3.6% GEM 1.6% 10 Peach 2.9% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 2.1% 7flix 1.7% 9Life 2.6% 10 Shake 0.5% NITV 0.3%
        9Rush 1.3%     SBS World Movies 1.2%
TOTAL 17.8%   26.6%   27.3%   19.3%   9.0%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.8% 7 19.9% 9 14.1% WIN 10.5% SBS One 4.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS 2.1% 7TWO 6.3% GO! 3.9% WIN Bold 4.9% VICELAND 1.7%
ABC ME 0.9% 7mate 4.5% GEM 3.1% WIN Peach 2.9% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 2.0% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.7% 9Life 2.4% Sky News  on WIN 1.7% NITV 0.3%
                SBS Movies 1.5%
TOTAL 15.8%   33.4%   23.5%   20.1%   8.7%


87.5% 12.5.%
Thursday FTA
  1. Seven News  Seven 942,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30  Seven 899,000
  3. Nine News  Nine  773,000
  4. Nine News 6:30  Nine  764,000
  5. ABC News  ABC TV  698,000
  6. 7.30  ABC TV  576,000
  7. 2021 Australian Open D11 -Night  Nine  562,000
  8. Back Roads S7  ABC TV  530,000
  9. Gogglebox   10  502,000
  10. The Chase Australia  Seven 496,000
  11. Home And Away  Seven 459,000
  12. The Project 7pm   10  442,000
  13. 2021 Australian Open D11 -Night Session 2  Nine  391,000
  14. 10 News First   10  358,000
  15. Wife Swap Australia  Seven 306,000
  16. Ambulance Australia (R)   10  303,000
  17. The Chase Australia-5pm  Seven 303,000
  18. Sammy J  ABC TV  286,000
  19. Q+A  ABC TV  280,000
  20. The Project 6.30pm   10  280,000
Demo Top Five

16-39 Top Five

  1. 2021 Australian Open D11 -Night  Nine  134,000
  2. Nine News 6:30  Nine  105,000
  3. Gogglebox   10  103,000
  4. 2021 Australian Open D11 -Night Session 2  Nine  98,000
  5. Nine News  Nine  98,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. 2021 Australian Open D11 -Night  Nine  215,000
  2. Gogglebox   10  208,000
  3. Nine News 6:30  Nine  186,000
  4. Nine News  Nine  185,000
  5. Seven News  Seven 171,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. Gogglebox   10  247,000
  2. 2021 Australian Open D11 -Night  Nine  243,000
  3. Nine News 6:30  Nine  226,000
  4. Nine News  Nine  222,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30  Seven 217,000
Thursday Multichannel 
  1. Bluey  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  206,000
  2. Bluey  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  151,000
  3. Kiri And Lou  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  140,000
  4. NCIS (R)  10 Bold  139,000
  5. Peppa Pig  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  132,000
  6. The Adventures Of Paddington  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  132,000
  7. Brave Bunnies  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  130,000
  8. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  128,000
  9. Father Brown  7TWO  121,000
  10. Andy’s Safari Adventures  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  120,000
  11. Kangaroo Beach  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  118,000
  12. Neighbours  10 Peach  117,000
  13. M- Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 2  7mate  111,000
  14. Dino Dana  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  110,000
  15. Murdoch Mysteries  7TWO  108,000
  16. Peppa Pig  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  106,000
  17. Peter Rabbit  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  101,000
  18. Noddy Toyland Detective  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  101,000
  19. Hawaii Five-O (R)  10 Bold  98,000
  20. Go Jetters  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  97,000
Thursday STV
  1. The Bolt Report  Sky News Live  88,000
  2. Credlin  Sky News Live  77,000
  3. Outback Opal Hunters  Discovery Channel  73,000
  4. Paul Murray Live  Sky News Live  66,000
  5. Alan Jones  Sky News Live  60,000
  6. PML Later  Sky News Live  48,000
  7. The Kenny Report  Sky News Live  46,000
  8. Gold Rush  Discovery Channel  45,000
  9. Newsday  Sky News Live  32,000
  10. NCIS  FOX Crime  31,000
  11. Aussie Gold Hunters  Discovery Channel  31,000
  12. Newsday  Sky News Live  30,000
  13. The Front Page  Sky News Live  28,000
  14. Am Agenda  Sky News Live  27,000
  15. Escape To The Country  Lifestyle Channel  27,000
  16. Grand Designs Australia  Lifestyle Channel  26,000
  17. Santiago Of The Seas  Nick Jr.  24,000
  18. Highway Patrol  FOX8  24,000
  19. Am Agenda  Sky News Live  24,000
  20. The Great Pottery Throwdown  Lifestyle Channel  23,000

Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2021. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM

Media News Roundup

Media Code

Prime minister Scott Morrison attacks Facebook for ‘arrogant’ move to ‘unfriend Australia’

The Australian government has been blindsided by Facebook suddenly blocking all news on the platform in Australia but says the “heavy-handed” move will not stop parliament from passing landmark laws to force tech giants to pay for journalism, reports Guardian Australia‘s Amanda Meade.

Facebook is opposed to the federal government’s news media code which has already passed the lower house of parliament and is expected to soon pass the upper house.

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, took to Facebook on Thursday to argue the platform’s show of strength would “confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them”.

“Facebook’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services, were as arrogant as they were disappointing,” Morrison wrote on Facebook. “They may be changing the world, but that doesn’t mean they run it.”

[Read More]

Only ‘news’ left on Facebook will be fake under Australia ban

Facebook’s move to ban the sharing of news in Australia is incredibly irresponsible, particularly in the midst of a global pandemic, when the millions of Australians who use Facebook every day need to be able to access reliable and trusted health information, reports News Corp’s David Swan.

The tech giant on Thursday followed through on its threats to ban news altogether in Australia, and banned users globally from reading any Australian news.

In doing so it also hit a large and seemingly random array of community groups, charities and government agencies, many of whom provide crucial health advice and support to people in need.

[Read More]

Delete the app: ex-Facebook boss

Facebook’s move to block news in Australia represents an act of war from the tech giant, according to its former Australian boss Stephen Scheeler, who thinks Australians should vote with their feet and delete the app to send a message to the company, reports News Corp’s David Swan and Joseph Lam.

The US tech giant on Thursday blocked all news in Australia, including several non-news organisations including Queensland Health, 1800 Respect, the Bureau of Meteorology, Harvey Norman and more, in the midst of a global health pandemic and raging bushfires.

“Facebook has turned off everything, including bushfire information, and charities like Oxfam. It looks and feels really ugly. And Australians should be outraged,” Scheeler said.

[Read More]

Australian news is a commodity Facebook can afford to lose

The overarching reason for Facebook’s dramatic decision to push the nuclear button and ban all news sharing for its Australian users is plain for all to see. It desperately needs to keep control of its virtual world, and figures it won’t take too much of a revenue hit, reports AFR‘s Paul Smith and Natasha Gillezeau.

Even more so than Google, Facebook operates like an unelected virtual state, where it traverses real world international boundaries and is judge, jury and executioner of its own laws. It has become a bitter joke how easily it brushes off its transgressions that hurt the lives of people in the real world with cheap apologies and pledges to “do better”.

In the mind of Mark Zuckerberg it would be unthinkable to let a national government set the rules around its terms of trade with media companies, as it would embolden others to get ideas above their station.

If this were a global move to block news it would be far more damaging to the monolithic social media giant than a bit of controversy Down Under. Facebook can more than afford to teach Australia a lesson about its power.

[Read More]

‘Squashed’: Smaller publishers fear fatal consequences from Facebook’s news ban

Small news and lifestyle websites are urging the government to resolve a dispute with Facebook amid fears the social media giant’s decision to ban news from its platform in Australia will have fatal consequences for their operations, reports SMH’s Zoe Samios.

Facebook announced on Thursday (AEDT) it had withdrawn all news articles from its platform after being unable to convince the government to change parts of a proposed code that would force it into commercial arrangements with news organisations.

The decision affected major news websites such as The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, the ABC and News Corp’s The Australian and The Daily Telegraph. Dozens of major health, corporate, sporting and charity pages, including those operated by government health departments in three states, were also affected.

But smaller news publishers, many of which aren’t eligible for payments under the proposed laws and rely heavily on Facebook for their audiences, were hit particularly hard by the move.

[Read More]

News Brands

Charles Brice reports for News Breakfast

ABC News reporter Charles Brice made his debut as an Adelaide reporter for News Breakfast yesterday, reports TV Tonight.

He reported on the lifting of South Australian border restrictions for regional Victoria, as well as the Adelaide Fringe.

Brice, who was left quadraplegic after a motorbike accident at the age of 19, was inspired to take up a media career in the mid-2010s after learning ABC journalist Nas Campanella, then a Triple J newsreader, was blind.

[Read More]

Business of Media

Jay Walkerden’s Podshape appoints former Mamamia exec as account manager

Podshape, Jay Walkerden’s podcast creation company launched less than a year ago, has hired Whitney Quayle as podcast account manager. 

Quayle has spent seven years in audio and digital media and was previously account manager for Mamamia across their agency and direct clients.

Quayle has held various roles across digital media at Pacific Magazines, Women’s Fitness magazine and the Beautydirectory. Jay Walkerden said: “Whitney came highly recommended, her passion for podcasting and her experience to date and the relationships she holds across all media made her the perfect addition to our team.”

Quayle said of her new role at Podshape: “Podcasting truly is the most exciting space in media right now, and I’m thrilled to join a company like Podshape, who are constantly innovating. As a brand, they are passionate about storytelling, whilst also being experts in the audio arena – a recipe for brilliant content and effective brand collaborations. Needless to say, I am eager to meet with our agency and direct partners to discuss all that is in store for 2021.”

Podshape has over 25 shows and has grown rapidly in the last nine months to be a significant player in the independent podcast marketplace. Podshape recently released a new true crime podcast Dad’s Gone which battled for the number one spot with Wondery on Apple Podcasts and debuted in the Australian Podcast ranker in December 2020 with Your Morning Mantra.


Speculation and sensationalism derail Netflix’s new true-crime series

Anyone familiar with the story of the disappearance of 21-year-old Canadian student Elisa Lam in 2013 might wonder about the structure of Netflix’s new true-crime series, reports SMH’s Kylie Northover.

Given the case was solved seven years ago, its length − four episodes − and the air of mystery it cultivates until the final half-hour are gratuitous. But amid a lot of sensationalism, there are some compelling stories − they’re just not related to the tragic death of Elisa Lam.

[Read More]

Ant Middleton, Rebel special for Seven; SAS to film in April

The instructing team from SAS Australia will be heading back to Australia in coming weeks to begin quarantine ahead of Season 2 of the unflinching Seven series, reports TV Tonight.

TV Tonight understands filming is due to begin in New South Wales in April, and will screen later this year.

That means the show will film in Autumn instead of Winter, unlike the extreme conditions faced by celebrities last year.

[Read More]

Andrew O’Keefe an involuntary patient in hospital since allegedly assaulting girlfriend: court

Ex-Channel 7 star Andrew O’Keefe’s lawyer has indicated the sacked game show host will plead guilty to allegations he assaulted his partner if the charge is not dismissed under mental health, reports News Corp’s Heath Parkes-Hupton.

Waverley Local Court also heard on Thursday Mr O’Keefe remains an “involuntary” patient at the Prince of Wales Hospital almost three weeks since the incident at girlfriend Dr Orly Lavee’s home in Sydney’s east.

A hearing has been set for April to deal with his charge of common assault under the mental health act where his lawyer will argue the charge should be dismissed.

[Read More]


Kyle and Jackie O reveal the biggest complaint their show gets

The Kyle and Jackie O Show might be the most popular radio show in Australia, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe from complaints, reports News Corp’s Bianca Mastroianni.

The radio hosts revealed on Thursday morning’s program the biggest complaints they receive from listeners.

“Describing sexual acts” was number one on the list of audience dislikes.

Unsurprisingly, Kyle wasn’t fazed by the complaints, claiming that complaints mean success.

[Read More]

Kyle Sandilands blasts Erin Molan’s ‘sad’ 2Day FM radio show

Kyle Sandilands has let rip at a rival breakfast radio show hosted by Dave HughesEd Kavalee and Erin Molan, reports News Corp’s Andrew Bucklow.

The trio are the latest hosts of the 2Day FM breakfast show in Sydney which airs at the same time as Kyle and Jackie O on KIIS FM.

The Morning Crew with Hughesy, Ed and Erin launched in January and is hoping to pull listeners from Kyle and Jackie O who are the number one rated FM breakfast show.

On air this morning, Kyle told Jackie: “Every journalist keeps asking me, ‘Have you listened to Hughesy’s show?’ I go, ‘Nup, why would I? I’m on air at the same time.’”

[Read More]

SCA’s Grant Blackley on Kyle Sandilands’ “rant” about new 2Day FM breakfast

SCA chief executive Grant Blackley didn’t have much to say about comments from a former 2Day FM breakfast co-host yesterday about the new 2Day FM Morning Crew

At the end of an interview about the new SCA LiSTNR app, Blackley told Mediaweek: “I don’t listen to Kyle Sandilands and I don’t normally respond to any of his antics. He always likes publicity and I expect this is just another attempt to create some. We stopped responding to Kyle’s daily rants and raves long ago.”


Rugby, this is your time to shine. But can you?

On Friday night, when the Waratahs take on the Reds at Suncorp Stadium, thousands of people around the country will be watching a Super Rugby match live on free-to-air television for the first time, reports SMH’s Andrew Webster.

After being squirreled away on Fox Sports for the last 25 years, some argue Super Rugby’s move to Channel Nine is the best thing in recent memory to happen to the sport.

Others say the best thing Super Rugby had going for it was you couldn’t see it at all.

[Read More]

To Top