Monday February 22, 2021

Erin Molan
Erin Molan on early mornings and what sets 2DayFM’s The Morning Crew apart

By Tess Connery

“After ten minutes on the first day, I knew that this would work”

In November 2020, Southern Cross Austereo announced that Erin Molan would be stepping into Sydney radio’s most notoriously difficult slot alongside Dave Hughes and Ed KavaleeThe 2Day FM Morning Crew with Hughesy, Ed and Erin Molan launched in January, and while it’s still too early to know if this will be the show that flips the station’s fortunes, early feedback has been good.

While the hours involved in working breakfast are enough to turn anybody’s life upside down, Molan is tackling it on top of being one of Channel 9’s most experienced sports presenters.

Mediaweek spoke to Molan about what life looks like now, and what it is that makes The Morning Crew stand out in Sydney’s radio market.

Erin Molan on Getting up early

It’s no secret that the breakfast shift is a massive job to take on. Molan says that whilst things have definitely changed, she’s very happy with the way things have worked out.

“It’s certainly not easy and I won’t ever pretend that it is, but it’s definitely worth it and I know that even after a month. I’m doing all of my Channel 9 jobs as well, I’ve got a two-and-a-half-year-old and I will always prioritise spending quality time with her over getting any extra sleep myself. 

“It’s definitely challenging but it’s definitely doable, and I would never have taken it on if I thought that any of my other jobs would suffer. If I thought that I would be less of a mum to Eliza or if I thought that I wouldn’t deliver the quality of work that I have in the past for Channel 9, I would never have taken it on.

Standing out from the crowd

The Sydney radio market is a notoriously difficult one to crack, and the breakfast slot even more so. Going up against KIIS FM’s The Kyle and Jackie O Show from their former 2Day FM home was never going to be an easy task, but Molan says early signs are good.

“The start we’ve had and the feedback we’ve had have just been overwhelming. There will be highs and lows, I know Sydney breakfast radio is probably the toughest market in the business. I’m part of the media so I’ve read over the past ten years the different stories and the struggles, so it’s nothing new to me.”

How a team works together can make or break a show. Molan says that The Morning Crew gelled from the day they turned the mics on.

“I know firsthand just how powerful chemistry can be, and we had that from day dot, which is crucial to any show. You can’t fake it, and I’ve been part of some incredible shows on Channel 9 and on 2GB radio where the chemistry has just been everything, and you know each other so well, you have such a laugh, you’re great friends, and it comes across on air. 

“I was nervous because I loved the guys, I knew they were great guys, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to have great chemistry and you can’t test it until you’re on air for three hours a day every day of the week. I was nervous those first few days, but literally after ten minutes on the first day, I knew that this would work, and that was phenomenal. 

“I love their personalities. Hughesy is so so funny, but he’s so driven and he’s so smart, and Ed’s exactly the same.”

The Morning Crew

Finding their niche

With Molan coming from a news background, she says that being able to provide listeners with trustworthy news in amongst the antics of breakfast radio is what will set The Morning Crew apart.

“We’re in a landscape at the moment where people want to laugh and want to escape, but if there’s something they need to know they want to trust that they can get it from what they’re listening to. I can have a joke and I can have a laugh but I can also deliver news that’s breaking, and I think that’s what makes us different to any other network.

“I think we fill a niche that’s not being filled currently. We’re just focussing on ourselves, focussing on producing the best possible content. We know that it will take time, we don’t expect results straight away – it would be lovely, but we don’t expect it. We’ve got a lot of time to work on this, we’ve got a great team, and we’re just really confident in the product of the radio that we are creating and that is key to anything.”

Erin Molan on the future of the show

Whilst nobody can look into the crystal ball and see exactly which shows will work and which won’t, Molan hopes this is just the beginning for The Morning Crew.

“I hope it becomes a favourite of Sydney. I hope it becomes a long-term show and a long-term place that people tune into and get a laugh and get their news in the morning, that’s what I really hope. I hope it works, I hope it’s successful, I know that that’s difficult and I know that it’s a huge challenge and that a million things have to go our way, but I believe in it.

“We’re not looking for results straight away – we’d love them, but that’s not a focus for us. The focus for us is producing great content and resonating with our listeners and forming connections with our listeners. I think that’s already happening just a month in, so I hope it works and I hope we’re there for the next ten years.”

BBC Showcase 2021: Virtual event launches with Australian co-productions on offer

By James Manning

Content from See-Saw Films, Jungle Entertainment, and Ludo Studio going global.

BBC Studios’ annual Showcase sales event attracted hundreds of TV buyers from around the world, including an Aussie delegation, to its event in Liverpool, England 12 months ago. A year later and BBC Studios has crafted an online Covid-safe sales event, still branded BBC Showcase.

Although the results from program sales aren’t in yet BBC Showcase which starts today, February 22, the virtual event looks likely to be a success.

“Last year in Liverpool we had over 600 buyers, and this year we have attracted over 1,000 registered buyers,” BBC Studios director of content sales Katie Benbow told Mediaweek.

“It is great to be able to offer a digital opportunity for more people and key decision-makers, getting everybody in what is a virtual room.”

Benbow said it was too early to forecast if this might mean a mix of in-person events and virtual attendance for future Showcases. “Let’s see how it goes. We have all learnt a lot about what we can do. Nothing beats the face-to-face interaction and the special environment we created each year in Liverpool when the whole buying community gets together with producers and commissioners. We are doing our best to replicate that virtually.

Calculating the value of program sales is not the only measure of success, said Benbow. “It is also about connecting the TV community and conducting conversations around co-productions and development slates. There are not contracts signed from every meeting, but relationships are started around certain shows that will eventually grow.”

The virtual Showcase will still allow visitors to explore the BBC Studios catalogue as per normal. Benbow: “Guests can also view a pipeline of content that extends further out than we have ever looked before. They are also able to preview new shows and see interviews with content makers. We can also have one-on-one or one to many at the same time video is being viewed.”

Earthshot is about the climate change initiative supported by David Attenborough and Prince William

Showcase content highlights

Natural history has long been a focus for the BBC, and audiences seem to have an appetite now more than ever for programming about the past, present and future of the world and how global warming might be impacting. N 2021 the BBC is introducing another Planet franchise. “This year we are launching The Green Planet,” said Benbow. “One of the things buyers will be able to watch is a conversation with Charlotte Moore [BBC chief content officer] talking about the new series.

“We are also launching Earthshot, a series about Prince William and David Attenborough’s climate change initiative.”

See also: BBC Studios reveals hottest shows coming at virtual BBC Showcase 2021

Australian co-productions

A number of BBC co-productions with Australian producers will be on offer at BBC Showcase.

Wakefield is a new series from Jungle Entertainment made in partnership with BBC Studios for the ABC in Australia. The series delves into the hidden world of the psychiatric hospital and was created by Kristen Dunphy. The cast includes British actor Rudi Dharmalingam (Tin Star, The Split), Mandy McElhinney (Bad Mothers, Squinters) and Geraldine Hakewill (Wanted, Miss Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries). “It is set in the Blue Mountains and it looks absolutely beautiful,” explained Benbow. “We are looking forward to taking it out to the world because it’s such a compelling story told in quite a unique way.

BBC Showcase is also now home to all-conquering Bluey, a co-commission between ABC and BBC Studios and the creators at Ludo Studios. “It is already streaming around the world on Disney+, but we are taking it out to customers to get more regional windows.”

See also: Filming underway on ABC’s new drama Wakefield

BBC crime drama

There are a number of British crime dramas on offer to buyers at BBC Showcase this year, said Benbow. “We have a drama called Smother which stars Dervla Kirwan. It is a relationship crime drama with a woman whose husband passes away. As she comes to terms with his death she learns more and more about his relationship with their daughters and more and more family secrets come to the fore. It is shot on the Irish coast of County Clare and is a very thrilling crime drama with twists and turns.

“We also have Sherwood which we are just starting to talk to buyers about. It is written by James Graham who wrote the hit series Quiz last year. Sherwood is based in part on real events and is set in a mining village in the UK where Graham grew up.”

Other BBC dramas

The North Water

Another series with Aussie connections is the See-Saw Films production The North Water will be screened this year after a delay because of Covid in 2020. The series was featured at BBC Showcase last year too. “It looks absolutely incredible and we are confident it will do very well for us,” said Benbow. First announced two years ago, the series is set in the UK and the ice floes of the Arctic in the late 1850s, telling the story of Patrick Sumner, a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs up as ship’s doctor on a whaling expedition to the Arctic.

“We are also launching Superhoe which is a new six-part musical drama based on Nicôle Lecky’s one-woman Royal Court show. She has written it and stars in the series. She is an incredible up-and-coming star. Nicole’s character is an aspiring singer and rapper and she finds herself caught up in social media influencing which then evolves into sex work. This is one to watch out for.

Superhoe

“We also have This is Going to Hurt, an adaption of Adam Kay’s best-selling novel starring Ben Wishaw who audiences know from Skyfall and A Very English Scandal. It is the autobiography of a junior doctor and it feels like a really relevant time to be talking about the experience of people on the front line. It is a co-production with AMC.”

A much-anticipated series is Emily Mortimer’s adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s novel The Pursuit Of Love (top photo showing co-stars James and Beecham), from executive producers Charles Collier, Matthew Read and Frith Tiplady for Open Book and Moonage Pictures. Amazon Studios is co-producing within the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and the series will be produced by Rhonda Smith.

Written and directed by Mortimer, The Pursuit Of Love is a romantic comedy-drama about love and friendship. Set in Europe between the two World Wars, the story follows the adventures and misadventures of the charismatic and fearless Linda Radlett, played by Lily James (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Rebecca, Cinderella, Baby Driver) and her best friend and cousin Fanny Logan, played by Emily Beecham (Little Joe, Cruella).

oOh!media reports increased market share, well-positioned to capitalise on rebound

oOh!media has announced its financial results for 2020.

oOh!media Limited has announced its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2020 (“CY20”).

In what the outdoor company has labelled a challenging year for the sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic, oOh! highlighted its market-leading position, announcing it had increased its market share in Australia and New Zealand. Additionally it implemented a series of measures to strengthen its financial position and reduce its cost and capital expenditure base by over $120 million.

Revenue declined by 34% to $426.5m for CY20. oOh!media noted significant revenue recovery in Q4 across key formats (Road, Retail, Street Furniture, NZ).

Underlying[3] EBITDA was $63.2m in CY20 compared to $139.0m in CY19

The company reported an underlying NPATA[4] loss of $8.0m compared to $52.4m profit in CY19.

Results Commentary

New chief executive officer Cathy O’Connor said oOh!’s decisive response to the Covid-19 movement restrictions across Australia and New Zealand ensured the company managed the short-term challenging conditions during the year.

“The unprecedented restrictions on people movement and resulting audience decline impacted out of home more severely than other media segments,” said O’Connor.

“In response, oOh!media acted quickly and decisively to maintain and strengthen our competitive position. That included a $167 million equity raising, refinancing of debt facilities, negotiation with property partners to deliver $63 million in net fixed rent savings, capital expenditure reduction of $49 million and operational cost savings of $16 million (excluding JobKeeper).

“In the meantime, the company adapted and refined our offer to advertisers, leveraging the strength of our suburban and regional network. The company also continued to invest in our network assets, including key digital sites such as Military Road in Mosman.

“The company remains focused on margin growth through the recovery cycle by achieving rent reductions beyond 2020, delivering structural cost savings approaching $10m annual run rate achieved at the end of CY20 and remaining disciplined on capital expenditure.

“As a result, oOh! has strengthened its capacity to manage in the current environment while remaining well-positioned to leverage the audience and revenue recovery already evident across our key formats.”

Revenue recovery in Q4 2020 extending into 2021

The company reported a strong recovery in revenue across key formats in the final quarter of 2020 which has continued into 2021 as people movement restrictions have eased. Overall Q4 paced at 70% of Q4 2019 versus 57% in Q3.

This recovery has been most pronounced in Road, Retail, Street Furniture and New Zealand.  Q4CY20 revenue in Retail and NZ was over 90% of the prior corresponding quarter (Q4CY19).

The recovery has continued into 2021 with total revenue for January 2021 pacing at 80% of January 2019 levels. Road, Retail, Street Furniture and NZ revenue levels for January 2021 were at close to 100% of January 2019 revenue levels.

As expected, Fly and Locate continue to be impacted by significantly reduced passenger numbers and CBD audiences.

Fundamentals for out of home remain positive

Despite the challenges caused by Covid-19, O’Connor said the longer-term fundamentals for the sector remain positive.

“Out of home is a highly effective medium to deliver impactful national broadcast reach in all markets during this period and beyond.

“The company saw this through the Covid-19 pandemic with our network playing a pivotal role in public messaging for government agencies and regulatory authorities.

“Equally, the company continued to deliver ground-breaking and award-winning campaigns for advertisers, leveraging the diversity and scale of our market-leading inventory across formats and geographies.

“Our strategy remains focused on capitalising on the key structural drivers of growth in out of home and leveraging our diverse product portfolio, backed by data, to deliver results for advertisers.

“oOh!media is uniquely positioned to help drive the out of home industry’s share of overall media spend to around 10% in the next few years,” O’Connor added.

See also: oOh!media confirms appointment of Cathy O’Connor as Managing Director & CEO

ARN
ARN makes key appointments to its commercial team

ARN has announced three internal promotions and one new appointment to its commercial team.

ARN has announced three internal promotions and one new appointment to its commercial team.

Kate Blakeley (pictured) has been promoted to the role of Sydney agency sales directorcommencing immediately.

Blakeley joined ARN in 2014 with experience working at major media agencies and radio. Over the past six years at ARN,  Blakeley progressed from account director to group sales manager and, most recently, as the foundation leader of ARN’s Independent specialist business unit as sales director – independent agencies.

Lena Rapley has been appointed to the newly created role of independent sales director – Sydney and Melbourne. This role is part of the evolution of ARN’s specialist business unit and service model, in line with the Independent Media Agencies of Australia’s (IMAA) multi-state expansion.

Lena Rapley

Rapley has worked in a variety of roles within the ARN Commercial function, leading and managing teams across agency sales and client solutions over the past ten years in both the Sydney and Melbourne markets.

More recently she has been working closely with content teams, driving new product development and content commercialisation to help drive better outcomes for clients and stronger revenue return for the business.

In her new role Rapley will lead Independent agency growth in line with ARN’s overarching business strategy.

Denis Donati has been appointed to the newly created role of group sales manager – digital across Sydney and Melbourne.

Denis Donati

Donati has been with ARN for the past four years, moving from his account director role to group sales manager – Melbourne agency. In this new role, Donati will be part of ARN’s digital growth strategy across iHeartRadio and the iHeartPodcast Network.

Shaun Scully has been appointed as sales director – direct sales. This role marks a return to ARN for Scully who has previously worked across the Mix 106.5 (now KIIS 1065) and WSFM brands. Scully will lead ARN’s high performing Sydney direct sales teams to maximise performance across radio and digital.

Shaun Scully

ARN’s chief commercial officer Pete Whitehead said, “These internal promotions are part of ARN’s ongoing growth strategy as we continue to strengthen our position as Australia’s leading audio company.

“ARN has always invested in the best talent which is why we have the skills and depth of experience to be able to promote from within and Kate, Lena and Denis have all achieved exceptional results for our clients. Denis’ appointment marks our commitment to delivering digital audio expertise in line with the evolution of our client’s audio marketing strategies, while Lena’s appointment will ensure a smooth transition and continuity for our clients who work with ARN’s Independent team as we continue to evolve that specialised offering.  

“I’m also pleased to welcome Shaun back to ARN with his broad range of experience to lead our high performing Sydney Direct Sales team.” 

Married at First Sight
Married at First Sight: Nine announces sponsors for latest season

The season will see the return of major brands including KFC, Suzuki, BUPA, Youfoodz, LION and Tradie.

Nine has announced its major sponsors for the eighth season of Married at First Sight, which begins on February 22, on Nine and 9Now.

The 2021 season will see the return of major brands including KFC, Suzuki, BUPA, Youfoodz, LION and Tradie, with new sponsors Specsavers, Disney+, Snooze, Menulog and MyPayNow also joining the couples’ search for love.

Married at First Sight continues to be Australia’s biggest show – consistently proving its dominance across linear television and BVOD, and even more importantly, in creating iconic moments and sparking conversations that keep audiences coming back for more,” said Nine’s director of Powered, Liana Dubois.

“This is the unique power of Married and what makes it such an invaluable opportunity for our clients. We’re thrilled to have so many brands returning for another season, proving the value of the format, and are pleased to welcome more new brands on board.”

Nine’s head of content production and development, Adrian Swift, said: “There is no show on television today that compares to Married at First Sight. It is a show that has the search for love at its heart and we’re beyond excited to be bringing the social experiment back for an eighth season.

“We know audiences enjoy the journey the participants go on and that this show has a unique ability to drive the national water-cooler conversation like few other Australian TV shows.”

KFC will return to drive their new campaign built around the “Fried Side of Life” brand messaging through commercials and billboard creatives.

Suzuki will also return as the official auto sponsor, taking a full broadcast sponsorship with billboards and supplying cars for the dinner party arrivals throughout the season.

Kristi Woolrych, chief marketing officer of KFC Australia says: “Now in our fifth consecutive year partnering with MAFS, you could say we’re the longest-lasting couple from the show. We’re thrilled to ‘put a wing on it’ again and leverage our new “Fried Side of Life” campaign to viewers through the program. Our campaign focuses on living in the moment without judgement and from the looks of the MAFS preview, we feel this is the perfect fit.”

In a first, Married at First Sight has welcomed Specsavers on board as a major sponsor across a suite of assets. Working with Nine’s Powered Studios, Specsavers will launch an integrated TVC in a wedding setting in their classic “Should’ve gone to Specsavers” format, and take sponsorship of the Dinner Party Gallery on www.nine.com.au/mafs to drive their “style” position, which will also extend to social and branded playouts in-program.

Joining Specsavers as another first-time sponsor is Disney+, whose new brand, “Star”, will launch to coincide with Married at First Sight, showcasing how they can provide a variety of content for more viewers.

To align with its branding of “more”, Disney+ has taken branded playouts, which will drive audiences to unseen and exclusive content on the Married at First Sight official site.

Snooze has taken full broadcast sponsorship to amplify its “A great day starts with a good night’s sleep” messaging – a natural alignment as viewers are taken right into the bedrooms of participants.

Youfoodz will have full in-show integration, showing participants consuming a range of meals, juices and snacks. They have also taken branded playouts that will drive to MAFS social platforms and social IP to showcase their in-show integration.

Aussie brand Tradie will use its broadcast sponsorship to showcase a broad range of products beyond the well-known underwear range. As part of this deal, Tradie will supply undies and body products in the serviced apartments for the participants to use throughout their stay.

To keep the couples refreshed during their hen’s and buck’s nights and infamous dinner parties, LION will return as the official alcohol supplier, showcasing beers which include Tooheys Extra Dry, James Squire, Heineken, Byron Bay and Furphy Ale.

Rounding out the MAFS season eight sponsors are Menulog, digitally sponsoring the fan-favourite “Martha’s Red Wine moments” content series, and MyPayNow, who are running their first TV campaign with a broadcast sponsorship to promote Slothy, their new mascot.

Estée Lauder and eBay have each taken digital-only sponsorships, and there are also local sponsorships from Lotterywest and RAC out of Perth.

IAB Australia chair
Nicole Bence appointed chair of IAB Australia board

Bence will work closely with IAB Australia CEO, Gai Le Roy.

Nicole Bence, network digital sales director at Seven West Media, has been appointed Chair of the IAB Australia Board, effective immediately.
 
Bence succeeds Matt Rowley, CEO of Pedestrian Group, who has been Chair since January 2019. She has been a member of the IAB Australia Board since 2020.
 
Bence will work closely with IAB Australia CEO, Gai Le Roy, on initiatives and programs to address key industry matters including the role of measurement ratings currency, preparation for changes to online identifiers such as cookies, continuing to drive programmatic transparency and input in the local Privacy Act review.
 
Bence joined Seven West Media in February 2020 from Pacific Magazines, where she led its commercial team. Previously Bence was digital commercial director at NOVA Entertainment and led the sales and strategy for kidspot.com.au and taste.com.au at News Corp Australia’s NewsLifeMedia.

Le Roy commented: “It has been a delight working with Matt over the last two years driving some amazing initiatives including diversifying the board as well as significantly expanding the member base. Nicole is a passionate leader with such a strong knowledge of digital media and data, but she is also a true cross media leader. Nicole will lead the Board into what is an incredibly busy and important time for the digital advertising industry.”
 
Bence said: “It’s a great privilege to take on the Chair role at IAB Australia and I’m very excited to have the opportunity to build on Matt’s great work.
 
“IAB Australia’s key purpose to grow sustainable and diverse investment in digital advertising in Australia has never been more important. The digital advertising and technology ecosystem is changing rapidly and constantly, and I’m honoured to be able to play a part in its evolution and growth.
 
“One of my key priorities is to champion the power and efficacy of digital advertising. A trusted, robust and effective measurement metric, with standards that inspire confidence across the entire media and marketing sector, is critical for our industry,” said Bence.
 
Outgoing IAB Australia Chair and CEO of Pedestrian Group, Matt Rowley said “It’s been an honour to chair this Board and work with Gai and her team as we’ve driven some excellent initiatives, including diversifying the board as well as significantly expanding the member base through some very testing times. Nicole is a passionate leader with such a strong knowledge of digital media and data, but she is also a true cross media expert. Nicole will lead the Board into what is an incredibly busy and important time for the digital advertising industry.”

Former ViacomCBS exec joins Netflix ANZ as first local director business development

The Netflix team in Australia continues to grow.

The newest member to join Netflix’s Australian offices is Ben Cox (pictured), the company’s first local director of business development.

In his new role, Cox will be responsible for leading Netflix’s new and existing partnerships with a range of Australian companies, including ISPs, subscription television operators, and consumer electronics device manufacturers, to find new ways for customers to sign up for and watch Netflix through many different screens and services.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Netflix team. Since launching in Australia in 2015, Netflix has already built a number of strong partnerships with local companies to deliver effective outcomes for Netflix, partners and subscribers,” Ben Cox said.

“As a leader in both content and technology I’m looking forward to finding new ways to drive growth for the business in the years ahead.”

Cox joins Netflix from ViacomsCBS where he was VP, business development, and will bring to the team extensive entertainment experience from previous roles at Nickelodeon, Foxtel and Austar Entertainment.

Cox’s appointment further bolsters Netflix’s local team following the recent additions of Nakul Legha and Hannah Pembroke to the ANZ content team led by Que Minh Luu. Netflix is the only international streamer with a content team on the ground in Australia.

Netflix Australia’s newest recruit will be based in Sydney, starting today, 22 February 2021.

See also: Netflix partners with film bodies for first Australian original documentary

facebook news
Call to boycott advertising on Facebook until news ban is reversed

“All levels of government should review the amount of money they spend on Facebook”

Facebook continues to earn more than $2.5 million per day from paid digital advertising while depriving Australians of news and access to hundreds of charity and advocacy websites, according to an analysis by the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology. 

According to the ACCC, Facebook is an advertising company with monopoly power in Australia, accounting for 28 per cent of all advertising spending. After a windfall year in 2020 when its Australian advertising revenue rose to approximately $896 million as part of global revenue of $28 billion, Facebook has chosen to leave its advertising channels running through its news blackout. 

Facebook has pursued an aggressive tax minimisation strategy, only paying a reported $17 million tax in Australia despite advertising revenue of almost $700 million in 2019. 

“Facebook’s Australian news blackout shows both its enormous market power and its contempt for fact-based journalism,” said Peter Lewis, director of the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology.

“That’s why all levels of government, from federal to local, civil society and business should review the amount of money they spend on Facebook and consider suspending further buys until Facebook returns news and civil society sites back to their network. 

“Many government and civil society pages were caught in the botched algorithmic dragnet last week. While some of them are back up, many of them are now in a process of re-applying for access to the site which may take weeks. 

“We do recognise that some organisations, due to Facebook’s enormous market power, have become wholly reliant on Facebook advertising to reach their audiences and for those for whom where suspension is not possible, a broader review of this dependence is timely.  

“Meanwhile, Facebook is happily harvesting millions in marketing and advertising revenue from these same organisations. 

“We estimate the Federal Government currently spends around $20 million per year on the platform alone. Redirecting some of this spending to local and community news outlets would contribute to their viability. 

“Australians are in a fight with one of the biggest and strongest companies on Earth, interrupting its flow of money is one thing government, business and civil society can do to stand behind our democratically elected representatives.”

The Chase
The Chase Australia has a new host in TV veteran Larry Emdur

The Chase Australia is an ITV Studios Australia production for the Seven Network.

The Seven Network has announced that Larry Emdur will be the new host of The Chase Australia.

One of the country’s most experienced and television presenters, Emdur will film his first episodes of The Chase Australia next month, to be broadcast later this year.

Emdur’s new role is in addition to his day job on Seven’s top-rating The Morning Show, where he has been co-host alongside Kylie Gillies since 2007.

Emdur said: “I’ve had a love affair with quiz shows for most of my working life and the opportunity to host one of the TV world’s greatest formats is incredibly exciting.

“I’ve always enjoyed watching The Chase Australia and I can’t wait dust off my shiny game show shoes, apply some ‘game show’ grade teeth whitener and learn how to say words like pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.”

Seven’s Network programming director, Angus Ross, said: “Everyone at Seven is delighted that Larry has agreed to take on this new role.

“He is the ideal host for The Chase Australia. Australians love Larry. Australians love the show. Together, they are the perfect combination.”

Emdur has been part of the Australian media for more than three decades, beginning his career as a copy boy at The Sydney Morning Herald. He started his television career at age 18, becoming Australia’s youngest national newsreader presenting the overnight news for Seven.

He is renowned for hosting some of Australia’s most-loved game shows including Wheel Of Fortune and a record-breaking 1,500 episodes of The Price Is Right.

Emdur replaces Andrew O’keefe, 49, who was arrested and charged over an alleged domestic assault on his partner in Sydney’s east.

A Channel 7 spokesperson told news.com.au: “Seven is obviously very concerned to read the reports regarding Andrew O’Keefe. Seven has had a 17-year relationship with Andrew across a number of programs, although he is no longer with the network.

“As this is a police matter before the courts, we cannot comment further.

The Chase Australia is an ITV Studios Australia production for the Seven Network. Based on the original ITV quiz show, The Chase Australia is a thrilling battle of brainpower, as four contestants pit their wits against The Chaser.

ARIA Chart Report: Rubens get their first #1, two other Aussie albums top 10

A fourth Australian artist tops the chart in 2021.

Singles

Another week at #1 for Olivia Rodrigo with Drivers License making it six in a row.

The highest new ARIA Chart entry, and one of five singles new to the Top 50, was at #3 from Lil Tjay and 6lack – Calling My Phone. ARIA notes Lil Tjay previously charted as the featured artist on Pop Smoke’s Mood Swing (#5 September 2020). 6lack last charted when he collaborated with Khalid and Ty Dolla Sign on OTW (#27 June 2018).

P!nk is back on the chart this week and she and her daughter Willow Sage Hart debut at #15 with Cover Me in Sunshine. The home recording was released as a Valentine’s Day gift for fans. This is P!nk’s first time charting as a solo artist since Hurts 2B Human charted briefly in May 2019. She made the top 10 Singles in September 2020 alongside Keith Urban on One Too Many.

Another new arrival from a chart veteran is Love Story (Taylor’s Version) landing at #21 for Taylor Swift. This new version is a re-recording of a release from 2008. The song was Swift’s first #1 in Australia, spending two weeks atop the chart in 2009.

Also new this week is We’re Good from Dua Lipa at #27 and Astronaut in the Ocean from Australian rapper Masked Wolf (aka Harry Michael) at #47.

Albums

Yet another Australian artist has debuted at #1, this time it’s The Rubens as 0202 becomes their first chart-topping album. The band are no stranger to the album chart though with their previous three albums all peaking in the top three.

The Rubens said after getting the news: “We are absolutely thrilled to take out #1 with our fourth album, the first time to land the position for us. We uploaded our first track on triple j unearthed 10 years ago and to be still doing what we love and connecting with fans all over the world means so much to us, especially after such a tough year for our industry as a whole. To Ivy League Records/Mushroom, Grow Yourself Up and the rest of our team, thanks for your hard work and support. To our families, absolute rocks. To our fans old and new, thank you for coming on our journey and getting behind us. We cannot wait to hit the road to share the new album live.” The band are playing dates along the east coast in April and then head to WA in May.

ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd added: “A huge congratulations to The Rubens on hitting number #1 for the first time with their new album 0202. It’s an incredible feat 10 years into a career, and I look forward to seeing them continue to knock down more milestones into the next 10 and beyond. I also want to congratulate everyone in The Rubens team, Ivy League Records and Mushroom.”

The Ruben’s new album is the fourth Australian #1 album on the ARIA Charts so far in 2021.

The Rubens

Seven other albums were new to the Top 50 this week:

#7 Luca Brasi with Everything Is Tenuous. The Tasmanian band score a new ARIA Albums Chart peak with their fifth studio album and a second Top 10 appearance after Stay in July 2018.

#10 The Amity Affliction with Chasing Ghosts. The Gympie band return to the top 10 after the vinyl release of an album that peaked at #1 in 2012. It was the first of four #1 albums for the Queenslanders.

#11 Slowthai with Tyron. The British rapper makes his ARIA Chart debut with his second album.

#12 Sia with Music – Songs from and Inspired by the Motion Picture. The Australian artist’s first appearance on the Top 50 album chart since 2017 when Everyday is Christmas peaked at #7 in November. Sia had #1 albums with 1000 Forms of Fear in 2014 and This is Acting in 2016.

#15 The Pretty Reckless with Death by Rock and Roll. The highest chart debut here for the release of the New York rock band’s fourth album.

#40 The White Stripes with The White Stripes Greatest Hits. The band released six studio albums between 1999 and 2007, the last three of them all top five in Australia.

#43 Florida Georgia Line with Life Rolls On. The fifth album from the US country duo whose previous two releases both hit the top 10. The band is best known here for Meant to Be, their single with Bebe Rexha which peaked at #2 in 2017.

See last week’s chart here: February 15, 2021 – Foo Fighters land 8th #1 album

Australian Open women’s final
TV Week 8: Australian Open highlight of TV ratings week as Nine leads the pack

Nine wins every night of the week.

Nine has started the survey year with a second successive weekly TV ratings win. The late start to the Australian Open has powered a week of winning shares. Nine has won the past two weeks and the last 12 days consecutively.

After four nightly network shares over 30% in Week 7, Nine had another three over 30% in Week 8, with the other four nights all in the high 20s.

Nine

The biggest sessions at the Australian Open during Week 8 were Night 8 on 879,000 where Nick Kyrgios was knocked out and then the Saturday night with the Women’s Final on 849,000.

Nine had winning commercial network TV ratings shares of 40%+ all people, 16-39 and 25-54.

Seven

Shares were down marginally week-on-week in primary channel (17.5% down to 16.9%) and network (25.8% to 25.3%).

Seven had the most-watched news audiences at 6pm on weekdays, Saturday and Sunday. The only other shows to crack 500,000 in the TV ratings were The Chase on 520,000 and the Sunday episode of Holey Moley on 510,000. The other episodes tracking the mini golfers did 468,000 Tuesday and 436,000 Wednesday. Home and Away was on 496,000 across the week.

Sunrise was a clear breakfast TV winner on 259,000, ahead of Today on 210,000.

amazing race

10

Primary share just managed to creep into double figures week-on-week, up from 9.4% to 10.3%, while the network numbers were up too from 16.8% to 17.9%.

The Amazing Race Australia performed well with its target audience as the show ranked #1 25-54 on each night it screened. It was the channel’s most-watched for the week with audiences from Sunday to Tuesday of 564,000, 543,000 and 555,000.

The return of Gogglebox was also good news for 10 as the show won in the key demos on Thursday and delivered a total audience of 501,000.

ABC

ABC News Sunday was just over 700,000 with the weekday news bulletin average just under 700,000.

The best non-news show and second-most-watched ABC program of the week was Hard Quiz with a Wednesday audience of 685,000. It was a tie for the next best on the channel between The Weekly with Charlie Pickering and 7.30 with both on 573,000.

SBS

Travel was again uppermost in the mind of SBS viewers. The most-watched shows in the TV ratings were Great Continental Railway Journeys on 206,000 and Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime on 192,000. The 6.30pm half of SBS World News was next on 182,000.

See also: Week 7 – Game, set & match to Nine at Australian Open

TV Ratings Survey: Sunday Week 9

By Trent Thomas

• Djokovic wins 9th Australian Open as Nine wins 14th night in a row
• Amazing Race top entertainment show as 10 beefs up cast again

Primetime News
Seven News 977,000
Nine News 792,000
ABC News 627,000
10 News First 288,000 (5pm) /230,000 (6pm)
SBS World News 172,000

Daily current affairs
The Project 280,000 (6:30 pm)/ 402,000 (7pm)
Insiders 392,000

Breakfast TV
Sunrise 239,000
Today 176,000
Weekend Breakfast 163,000

Nine cashed in on its final night of Australian Open coverage with a primary share of 27.4% and a network share of 35.7%, which were both #1 for the evening. Nine’s primary share last night was the second highest for the year behind only day 5 of the Australian Open which featured Dominic Thiem defeating Nick Kyrgios in five sets.

The match between Serbian Novak Djokovic and Russian Daniil Medvedev had 1.173m viewers and was also #1 in all key demos.

This was down on last year’s audience of 1.524m in 2020 with a primary share of 40.0%.

The women’s final on Saturday between Japan’s Naomi Osaka and American Jennifer Brady had a winning primary channel share of 23.9% with 849,000. This was down on last years metro audience of 890,000 that saw Sofia Kenin win the women’s title. In 2019, 1.171m tuned in to see Osaka win her first Australian Open title.

On Seven Holey Moley had 498,000 which was slightly down on last Sunday’s 510,000 viewers. The penultimate episode saw Daniel Thusberg, a North Queensland prawn farmer, and ring card boy secure the last spot in Monday night’s Holey Moley Grand Final.

Holey Moley was followed by the action flick John Wick: Chapter 2 which had 236,000 tune in.

Daniel Thusberg

On 10 The Amazing Race Australia was the top entertainment show for the night with 523,000 which was down from the 564,000 that the show achieved last Sunday.

In last night’s episode of The Amazing Race, the teams travelled to the opal mining town of Coober Pedy, South Australia. The Bodybuilders, Stan and Wayne joined the race as The Kimberley Cousins, Dwes and Katherine were sent home for the second time this season, and this elimination seems to be for real.

The Kimberley Cousins, Dwes and Katherine

The Sunday Project had 280,000 and 402,000 tuned in as Tommy Little limbered up with Thanasi Kokkinakis, caught up with Amazing Race duo Jordan and Violeta, and looked at how Aussie terror attack survivor Dr Gill Hicks turned her ordeal into an edgy and inspiring cabaret.

10 Bold was top watch multichannel thanks to NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles.

On the ABC Grand Designs New Zealand had 438,000 followed by Harrow with 419,000 which was down on the 490,000 from last Sunday.

SBS aired I am Jackie O about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, not to be confused with Australian radio star Jackie O. The documentary had 157,000 viewers.

WeeK 8-9: Friday-Sunday
FRIDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 14.2% 7 17.6% 9 19.4% 10  8.5% SBS One 4.2%
ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS 2.3% 7TWO 3.3% GO! 3.3% 10 Bold 3.9% VICELAND 1.7%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 3.4% GEM 2.8% 10 Peach 3.4% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 2.6% 7flix 3.0% 9Life 1.6% 10 Shake 0.4% NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.5%     SBS World Movies 1.3%
TOTAL 19.7%   27.2%   28.6%   16.2%   8.3%

 

SATURDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 13.2% 7 14.3% 9 23.9% 10  5.3% SBS One 4.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS 3.1% 7TWO 3.4% GO! 4.1% 10 Bold 4.4% VICELAND 1.0%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 2.5% GEM 4.3% 10 Peach 3.3% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 2.0% 7flix 2.4% 9Life 2.0% 10 Shake 1.1% NITV 0.2%
        9Rush 1.7%     SBS World Movies 2.0%
TOTAL 18.9%   22.7%   36.0%   14.1%   8.4%

 

SUNDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 11.7% 7 16.7% 9 27.4% 10  11.6% SBS One 4.9%
ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS 2.2% 7TWO 2.1% GO! 2.9% 10 Bold 3.6% VICELAND 0.5%
ABC ME 0.3% 7mate 3.0% GEM 2.3% 10 Peach 2.4% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.7% 7flix 1.3% 9Life 2.0% 10 Shake 0.4% NITV 0.2%
        9Rush 1.1%     SBS World Movies 0.9%
TOTAL 15.8%   23.0%   35.7%   18.0%   7.4%

 

SUNDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 13.6% 7 17.3% 9 20.4% WIN 9.5% SBS One 4.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS 1.8% 7TWO 3.3% GO! 3.9% WIN Bold 4.5% VICELAND 0.5%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 3.2% GEM 5.1% WIN Peach 2.7% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 2.0% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.3% 9Life 2.7% Sky News  on WIN 1.6% NITV 0.4%
                SBS Movies 1.3%
TOTAL 18.2%   25.2%   32.2%   18.3%   7.4%

 

SUNDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
89.0% 11.0.%
All People Ratings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven News At 6.30  Seven 893,000
  2. Seven News  Seven 859,000
  3. Nine News  Nine  714,000
  4. ABC News  ABC TV  586,000
  5. 2021 Australian Open D12 -Night  Nine  548,000
  6. 2021 Australian Open D12 -Night Session 2  Nine  504,000
  7. Vera (R)  ABC TV  467,000
  8. The Chase Australia  Seven 443,000
  9. Gardening Australia  ABC TV  421,000
  10. Better Homes And Gardens  Seven 415,000

 

Saturday Top 10

  1. 2021 Australian Open D13 -Women’s Final  Nine  849,000
  2. Seven News Seven 784,000
  3. Nine News Saturday  Nine  697,000
  4. ABC News-Sa  ABC TV  595,000
  5. Death In Paradise  ABC TV  550,000
  6. 2021 Australian Open D13 -Women’s Final -Presentation Nine  545,000
  7. 2021 Australian Open D13 -Women’s Final -Pre Match Nine  453,000
  8. Call The Midwife  ABC TV  396,000
  9. Weekend Sunrise Seven 262,000
  10. RBT  Nine  256,000
Sunday FTA
  1. 2021 Australian Open D14 -Men’s Final  Nine  1,173,000
  2. Seven News Seven 977,000
  3. Nine News Sunday  Nine  792,000
  4. ABC News Sunday  ABC TV  627,000
  5. 2021 Australian Open D14 -Men’s Final -Pre Match  Nine  601,000
  6. The Amazing Race Australia  10  523,000
  7. Holey Moley Australia Seven 498,000
  8. Grand Designs New Zealand  ABC TV  438,000
  9. The Sunday Project 7pm   10  420,000
  10. Harrow  ABC TV  419,000
  11. 2021 Australian Open D14 -Men’s Final -Presentation  Nine  357,000
  12. 10 News First  10  288,000
  13. The Sunday Project 6.30pm   10  280,000
  14. Silent Witness  ABC TV  256,000
  15. Insiders  ABC TV  245,000
  16. Territory Cops  Nine  243,000
  17. Weekend Sunrise Seven 239,000
  18. Seven News At 5  Seven 239,000
  19. Nine News: First At Five  Nine  236,000
  20. M- John Wick: Chapter 2  Seven 236,000
Sunday Multichannel 
  1. Bluey  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 190,000
  2. Insiders  ABC NEWS  147,000
  3. NCIS Ep 2 (R)  10 Bold  141,000
  4. NCIS (R)  10 Bold  135,000
  5. Kangaroo Beach  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 128,000
  6. NCIS: Los Angeles (R)  10 Bold  118,000
  7. Noddy Toyland Detective  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 117,000
  8. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line  7mate 116,000
  9. Floogals  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 115,000
  10. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line  7mate 115,000
  11. Bluey  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 114,000
  12. Bananas In Pyjamas  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 108,000
  13. Peppa Pig  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 105,000
  14. Peppa Pig  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 103,000
  15. Play School  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 102,000
  16. The Matrix 9GO!  101,000
  17. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line  -7PmMate  100,000
  18. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 100,000
  19. Death In Paradise 9Gem  99,000
  20. Brave Bunnies  ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 99,000
Sunday STV
  1. Outsiders  Sky News Live  85,000
  2. Outsiders  Sky News Live  72,000
  3. Paul Murray Live  Sky News Live  60,000
  4. In My View  Sky News Live  44,000
  5. Chris Smith Tonight  Sky News Live  42,000
  6. Live: AFLW: Western Bulldogs V Melbourne FOX FOOTY  41,000
  7. Sharri  Sky News Live  35,000
  8. Business Weekend  Sky News Live  34,000
  9. Live: AFLW: Brisbane V Adelaide  FOX FOOTY  31,000
  10. Live: AFLW: GWS V West Coast  FOX FOOTY  30,000
  11. Live: America’s Cup  FOX SPORTS MORE  27,000
  12. Teen Mom OG  MTV  26,000
  13. The Brokenwood Mysteries  FOX Sleuth  25,000
  14. Are You Being Served?  FOX Classics  25,000
  15. Blue Bloods  FOX One  24,000
  16. Weekend Live  Sky News Live  24,000
  17. NCIS  FOX Crime  24,000
  18. Vera  FOX Sleuth  24,000
  19. Fails & Funnies The Back Page  FOX SPORTS 50  3 24,000
  20. NCIS  FOX Crime  24,000

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

Behind Facebook’s unfriending of Australia

The move by Facebook to ban news was made in response to the government’s media bargaining code, which is designed to force it and Google to pay publishers for news content, reports SMH‘s Zoe Samios.

Facebook executives – in consultation with founder Mark Zuckerberg, vice- president of global partnerships, business and corporate development Marne Levine and head of global news partnerships Campbell Brown – were weighing up what to do for weeks.

Even Simon Milner, Facebook’s director of policy for the Asia-Pacific region, wasn’t sure if Facebook would follow through with the threat when he fronted up at a parliamentary inquiry in late January. In fact nobody was certain until the eleventh hour, when the Facebook’s most senior executives saw the final bill to be debated in parliament and decided to pull the trigger.

Under the direction of Zuckerberg, the company’s founder, major shareholder and most powerful figure, the company pushed through tweaks to its algorithm to restrict news content for Australians.

[Read More]

Google’s $100m deals a media game changer

Guardian Australia is the latest publisher to sign a deal with Google as part of deals worth more than $100 million that could be game changers for news companies, reports AFR‘s Miranda Ward.

The Australian deals are at much higher rates than what Google is offering overseas publishers, and if replicated globally could cost the search giant $5 billion on rough estimates.

Nine chief executive Hugh Marks said Google’s deal with Nine, expected to be officially revealed at the company’s half-year results on Wednesday, would save jobs.

The deal with Nine, the publisher of The Australian Financial Review, is yet be detailed but has been reported at $30 million, or equal to 17 per cent of the group’s $176 million underlying profit in 2019-20.

[Read More]

Facebook returns to the negotiating table one day after news ban

Facebook tried to restart talks with major news outlets Nine Entertainment Co and News Corp Australia about payment for use of their content after implementing a nationwide news ban, but is still refusing to remove key provisions that allow it to terminate the deals if the news media bargaining code becomes law, reports SMH‘s Zoe Samios and Rob Harris.

The social media platform shocked local users on Thursday when it blocked news articles on its platform and accidentally wiped the pages of government departments, charities and health pages.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was directly involved in carrying out the news blocking exercise in a fierce stance against a proposed code that could become law by the end of the week, which would force it into commercial negotiations with news outlets or face large fines.

Multiple industry sources familiar with Facebook’s talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said just a day after the unprecedented move Facebook contacted News Corp and Nine (owner of this masthead) to re-engage about commercial deals. Both parties were in talks with Facebook almost two weeks ago but the conversations stopped before Facebook made an eleventh-hour decision to pull all Australian news content.

[Read More]

Zuckerberg, Pichai, Dorsey scheduled for new grilling in US Congress

The chief executives of Facebook, Google and Twitter are set to testify in Washington next month as the US Congress gears up for a new round of scrutiny of giant technology companies, reports SMH‘s David McLaughlin and Billy House.

Two separate House committees announced plans on Friday (AEDT) to examine the power of the major tech platforms. The three executives will testify in March, while a House antitrust panel announced hearings to consider legislation that could curb the companies’ dominance.

Facebook’s Mark ZuckerbergSundar Pichai – CEO of Google parent company Alphabet – and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey will appear virtually at a March 25 hearing before a House Energy and Commerce joint subcommittee hearing on online misinformation and disinformation.

[Read More]

News Brands

Kevin Rudd falls short in bid for royal commission into media diversity

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s campaign for a royal commission into media diversity has failed, with the federal government formally advising the Governor-General that the inquiry should not proceed, reports News Corp’s James Madden.

A petition calling for a royal commission was launched by Rudd in October, and by the time it was tabled in parliament three weeks later it had garnered 501,876 signatures, although it was later discovered that the e-document was littered with fake names.

On Monday, Governor-General David Hurley will receive a letter from Communications Minister Paul Fletcher advising him not to green-light the proposed inquiry.

[Read More]

The Australian shaking up Britain’s TV news

In the eyes of his critics, Angelos Frangopoulos is less of a journalist and more of an importer. The man who built Sky News Australia and turned it into a right-wing megaphone is on a mission to do the same in the United Kingdom, they claim. And it doesn’t stop there: apparently the ultimate goal is the ‘Foxification’ of Britain’s broadcast media, reports SMH’s Bevan Shields.

Frangopoulos left the News Corp-owned Sky News Australia in 2018 and is now chief executive officer of GB News – a job which makes him a central player in the biggest upheaval in British broadcasting for more than three decades.

The new 24-hour news and opinion channel is due to launch later this year with a mission to snatch disillusioned BBC viewers and marginalised Brits fed up with ‘woke’ culture and London-centric thinking. Frangopoulos and the station’s chairman, veteran journalist Andrew Neil, effectively spy a huge gap in the market for the equivalent of Scott Morrison’s ‘quiet Australians’.

[Read More]

Political ads, fake news targeted in newly formed misinformation code

Tech platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter could issue regular warnings to users about the trustworthiness of news articles and advertisements under a newly formed code designed to reduce the spread of misinformation and harmful content on the internet, reports SMH‘s Zoe Samios.

Political advertisements that misrepresent or deceive the public could also be prohibited and tools to help users know if they’ve been targeted by a political party are also expected to be introduced by the platforms in order to meet a series of commitments laid out in a voluntary misinformation and disinformation code of practice.

Such a move could reduce the prominence of false information in the lead up to this year’s federal election and avoid the spread of claims such as the 2019 Labor death tax. It would add to efforts by the tech platforms to manage misleading claims during the 2020 US election.

[Read More]

Reporter pressed in secret hearing prompts renewed calls for shield laws

A secret court case before Queensland’s Court of Appeal that could affirm the right of the corruption watchdog to compel journalists to reveal confidential sources has prompted renewed calls for the Palaszczuk government to establish shield laws to protect journalists and whistleblowers, News Corp’s Charlie Peel.

The Brisbane television journalist fighting the Crime and Corruption Commission’s attempts to force him to reveal the identity of a police source came before the court in Brisbane on Friday, where reporters wishing to cover the landmark case were made to wait outside the courtroom for a majority of the hearing.

If the journalist, dubbed Witness F, fails in his appeal bid, he could be forced back before the CCC star chamber and threatened with a $26,690 fine or five years in prison if he refuses to answer questions.

[Read More]

Financial Review expands subscriber strategy to media monitors

The Australian Financial Review will no longer allow the customers of media clippings services such as iSentia, Streem and Meltwater to read articles in full unless users are subscribers of the masthead.

A Financial Review spokesman said the purpose of the change, which started on February 18, was to “ensure the value of the newspaper’s unique journalism is fully recognised”.

Entertainment

Marvel movies set to be filmed in Sydney for the ‘foreseeable future’

News Corp can reveal that the Harbour City has been earmarked as a hub for the next five years of Marvel blockbusters, reports Amy Harris.

Sources at the pointy end of mega studio Disney say Marvel head Kevin Feige is set to relocate Down Under permanently as the blockbuster factory prepares to base its filmmaking operations out of Sydney for the ‘foreseeable future’.

That would see the next batch of Marvel films all shot at Moore Park’s studios, including Guardians Of The Galaxy 3 (starring Chris Pratt), Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2 (led by Brie Larson) and the Dr Strange sequel starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

[Read More]

Television

Disney looks at local productions as it adds Star

Disney is considering investing in locally produced content as it expands its streaming offering in Australia, adding the Star channel to its platform on Tuesday, reports AFR‘s Miranda Ward.

The Burbank-based company is looking to shake off the perception that its streaming platform is aimed at just families, and Star will add series such as Scandal, Alias, The X-Files and Homeland to the service.

The Star brand, which Disney acquired through its $US71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets in March 2019, operates as Disney’s general entertainment content brand outside the US.

Star is launching with three original content series: private detective series from David E Kelly Big Sky, from the creators of Rick and Morty is animated sitcom Solar Opposites and from Marvel is Helstrom.

[Read More]

‘Lockdown Dan’ Andrews losing TV’s big bucks for Melbourne

Daniel Andrews’s hair-trigger approach to locking down Victoria at the slightest provocation may be winning him the Newspoll vote — but on the downside, it’s losing him some big-name TV shows, writes News Corp’s Nick Tabakoff

Diary has learnt that some of the country’s most prominent productions, most notably Ten’s high-rating The Masked Singer and Nine’s Australian Ninja Warrior — worth millions of dollars and hundreds of production jobs to the Victorian economy — have quietly abandoned Melbourne. And we’ve established that a growing part of the networks’ thinking in ditching Melbourne is that they’re worried about unforeseen financial blowouts, because of the potential for more rolling lockdowns in Victoria.

[Read More]

Andrew O’Keefe’s battle with sex addiction

Sex addiction and a compulsive need for intimacy are two of the issues television personality Andrew O’Keefe is now battling to come to terms with in the psychiatric ward of a Sydney hospital, reports News Corp’s Annette Sharp.

The recently axed Seven Network star has been battling a sex addiction for decades, a source told The Sunday Telegraph.

O’Keefe’s lawyer requested the 49-year-old be considered for a section 32 application giving the magistrate power to dismiss the assault charge on the grounds of mental health and order O’Keefe into treatment outside the criminal justice system.

If the provision is not granted, the former chair of domestic violence charity White Ribbon will plead guilty to the charge, his lawyer told the court. The matter has been adjourned until April.

[Read More]

Fewer viewers but ABC is ‘really happy’ with Thursday night Q+A

The ABC is standing by its decision to shift Q+A from Monday to Thursday nights, despite early signs the program’s new timeslot may not be resonating with viewers, reports SMH‘s Broede Carmody and Michael Lallo.

This week’s episode of Q+A was watched by an average 280,000 metropolitan viewers, a drop of nearly a third when compared to the 411,000 people who watched the Monday, February 17, 2020 episode. Multiple ABC sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity say the decline in ratings has quickly become a talking point among staff at the broadcaster’s Ultimo headquarters.

Despite the drop in ratings, an ABC spokeswoman said the broadcaster is “really happy with how Q+A is going”.

[Read More]

Radio

Where Will Rush Limbaugh’s 15 Million Listeners Go Now?

The answer, most likely, is nobody, reports the New York Times Michael M. Grynbaum.

That is not because Limbaugh, who died on Wednesday at 70, was uniquely talented among conservative broadcasters, although his popularity and influence on American politics surely rank him in the highest tier.

Limbaugh almost single-handedly created a right-wing mass-media universe — with its kneejerk hatred of Democrats, mocking nicknames and own-the-libs glee — that allowed him to imprint his grievances and goals on the national debate. About 15 million people a week tuned in for his daily three-hour program.

But Limbaugh’s monopoly on outrage was fractured by a thousand rivals.

[Read More]

Sport

Super Rugby blackout for pubs and clubs after Tabcorp tears up deal with Stan Sport

The majority of Super Rugby matches will not be aired in pubs and clubs around Australia after a deal between Stan Sport and Sky Channel was pulled on the eve of the first game of the season, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Chammas and Adam Pengilly.

Sources with knowledge of negotiations told the Herald the deal was scuppered at the 11th hour after a Tabcorp senior executive learnt Sky Channel had reached an agreement without the consent of its parent company, Tabcorp.

A Tabcorp spokesperson said there had been an agreement in place with Stan Sport but that it was subject to internal approval and the company had decided not to proceed. Free-to-air matches on Nine will still be available at pubs and clubs.

[Read more]

Stan Sport eye smart televisions as solution to rugby’s pub blackout

Super Rugby could be beamed into pubs and clubs via smart televisions if Stan Sport is unable to resolve its deal with Sky Channel, which last week fell over on the eve of the competition’s opening round, reports SMH‘s Sam Phillips.

While Rugby Australia remain hopeful a deal will be done as soon as possible, sources with knowledge of the Tabcorp deal have told the Herald a resolution is unlikely.

Tabcorp officials were initially concerned Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys – who is also the chairman of the ARL Commission – had not been consulted prior to the deal being done, and continue to see little upside to having rugby competing with racing for screens in pubs.

Sources with knowledge of Stan’s strategy told the Herald streaming direct to smart devices – including televisions – was a viable option.

[Read More]

Stan Sport hot for the A-League – but only if it stays in summer

The A-League’s mooted switch to winter could be off the cards with a potential new broadcast rights bidder, Stan Sport, indicating it would only be interested in a summer competition, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Vince Rugari.

Industry sources have confirmed that Stan – whose first foray into live sport began on Friday night with the launch of the new Super Rugby AU season – has held exploratory discussions over the rights to the A-League and W-League, which are set to hit the market in the coming weeks.

The A-League’s current deal with Foxtel, a reduced one-year contract worth $28 million that was negotiated post-pandemic, is due to expire at the end of July.

Stan’s interest is predicated on the A-League and W-League continuing to be played in the summer months, as opposed to winter, which would be in direct competition with the three other football codes – two of which Nine now holds the rights to.

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