Monday February 24, 2020

Major media unites for super lobby group to battle digital giants

The Premium Content Alliance has been formed to promote the value delivered to marketers via investment in premium media through three arms – ThinkTV, ThinkPremiumDigital and ThinkNewsBrands.

The alliance’s founding stakeholders are Foxtel Group, Foxtel Media, Network 10, News Corp Australia, Nine and Seven West Media.

Together, they reach four out of five adult Australians every week  providing safe and trusted environments for brands.

The new lobby group is led by inaugural chair Michael Miller, executive chairman of News Corp Australasia. The Premium Content Alliance will aim to inform, inspire and educate advertisers and their agency partners about the true value premium media delivers to brands.

Miller said: “Media companies today are multi-media businesses, and Australian advertisers are seeking media partnerships that provide wholistic marketing solutions. Marketers require campaigns that bring together effective combinations of broadcast, digital and news media.

“This new industry alliance will provide advertisers, agencies and marketers with clear evidence of how best to use media combinations for their product or service, in a varied range of trusted media environments.

“The Premium Content Alliance will support companies to utilise trusted media and premium content to grow their reputations, customers and businesses.”

The inaugural CEO of The Premium Content Alliance Kim Portrate said: “Australia’s premium content creators have come together to protect something all Australians hold dear: professionally produced content – from news through to the entertainment programs they love – across broadcast, print and online publications.

“Ensuring the future sustainability of these treasured assets – in light of the business practices of global digital platforms – is critical today, tomorrow and into the future. It’s time to stand together to champion the value of locally produced premium content to brands.

“What we’re launching today is so much more than an organisation. We’re launching a crusade to protect something beloved by our community.”

Network 10 CEO and executive vice president ViacomCBS Networks Australia & NZ Paul Anderson said: “This is an exciting time for our industry. Marketers and brands need a trusted voice when planning campaign investments. The Premium Content Alliance brings together Australia’s leading media companies to demonstrate the power trusted, proven media have in this process.”

Nine CEO Hugh Marks said: “Proven media delivers results for brands. The creation of The Premium Content Alliance enables domestic publishers to speak with a united voice on the benefits for marketers and agencies in working closely with The Alliance’s members to deliver real results.”

The Premium Content Alliance builds upon the establishment of ThinkTV in 2016 which saw commercial and subscription television organisations come together for the first time to champion the ability of television advertising to grow brands and businesses. The Alliance expands on this remit to support effectiveness of advertising in premium digital and news publishing environments.

Seven West Media CEO James Warburton said: “The Premium Content Alliance is a great initiative that we support. Expanding on the important work that ThinkTV has delivered, this initiative will bring this same attention to the power of premium content across proven media to grow brands and businesses, in the face of unregulated digital giants.”

Foxtel Group CEO Patrick Delany added: “When Australia’s leading content owners and producers first came together in partnership under ThinkTV, it was incredible to see the size and sophistication of the audiences they drew. With the launch of The Premium Content Alliance, we are breaking new boundaries and breathing life into even more opportunities for marketers and advertisers keen to maximise engagement with the right audiences and get the most out of their investments.”

The Premium Content Alliance is the majority shareholder for three industry-focused organisations: ThinkTV, ThinkPremiumDigital and ThinkNewsBrands. The structure of the newly formed entity is:

The Premium Content Alliance

The purpose of The Premium Content Alliance is to help inform and inspire advertisers and agencies about the true value premium media delivers to their business.

The Alliance, representing five of Australia’s largest media owners, will commission research proving the value of professionally produced content and its ability to deliver positive outcomes for brands and business. The Premium Content Alliance will do this through three businesses: ThinkTV, ThinkPremiumDigital and ThinkNewsBrands.


Under the umbrella of The Premium Content Alliance, ThinkTV will continue its work with world-leading academics to conduct best-in-class research showcasing the power and effectiveness of TV to deliver business outcomes.


Highlighting the unique benefits of advertising in premium video and display environments, ThinkPremiumDigital will demonstrate the power and effectiveness of advertising in premium digital content to help advertisers grow their brands and deliver business results.


Existing industry body NewsMediaWorks will become ThinkNewsBrands.

ThinkNewsBrands will produce independent research to prove the power and effectiveness of advertising in premium news environments demonstrating the impact truth and trust have on consumer attention and how aligning with these attributes delivers business outcomes for advertisers and agencies.

NewsMediaWorks CEO Peter Miller will join the Premium Content Alliance in a senior strategy role. He said: “This is a great development. I’m excited to collaborate with Kim to energise the ad market’s focus on the potent value proposition of premium in any channel.”

The Readership Works (emma) will continue to function as is under the ownership of ThinkNewsBrands.

The Premium Content Alliance inaugural board members:

Patrick Delany, CEO, Foxtel Group
Paul Anderson, CEO, Network 10 and Executive Vice President ViacomCBS Networks Australia & NZ
Rod Prosser, Chief Sales Officer, Network 10 and ViacomCBS Networks Australia & NZ
Michael Miller, Executive Chairman, News Corp Australasia (Inaugural Chair)
Damian Eales, Chief Operating Officer – Publishing, News Corp Australia
Hugh Marks, CEO, Nine
Michael Stephenson, Chief Sales Officer, Nine
James Warburton, CEO, Seven West Media
Kurt Burnette, Chief Revenue Officer, Seven West Media

ThinkTV board members:

Mark Frain, CEO, Foxtel Media (Chair)
Rod Prosser, Chief Sales Officer, Network 10 and ViacomCBS Networks Australia & NZ
Richard Hunwick, Director of Sales – Television, Nine
Kurt Burnette, Chief Revenue Officer, Seven West Media

ThinkNewsBrands board members:

Damian Eales, Chief Operating Officer – Publishing, News Corp Australia
Chris Janz, Managing Director – Publishing, Nine (Inaugural Chair)
Nathan Cave, Chief Advertising Officer, Seven West Media

ThinkPremiumDigital board members:

Nev Hasan, Director, Advanced Advertising, Foxtel Media
Sophie Hicks-Lloyd, Digital Sales Director, Network 10
Neil Robinson, Managing Director – Digital, News Corp Australia
Nick Young, Director of Sales – Digital, Nine
Gereurd Roberts, Chief Digital Officer, Seven West Media (Inaugural Chair)

Top Photo: News Corp Australia’s Michael Miller with Premium Content Alliance CEO Kim Portrate

AFR's BOSS magazine: Concrete examples of success for 20 years

By Claudia Siron

Monthly title BOSS is Australia’s premier leadership and management magazine, which is found in The Australian Financial Review. With the brand turning 20 this year on a high with recent successes, there is a lot to be celebrated. Editor Sally Patten spoke to Mediaweek about the major highlights of the past year, the magazine’s unique value and content that’s resonated strongly with the publication’s readers.

Patten said BOSS guides Australia’s current crop of business leaders to lead better and do the best job they can. “We’re also there to support those in their late 20s and early 30s who are aspiring to become the next generation of leaders.”

On the direct team, there’s Patten and the deputy editor Patrick Durkin. They have access to all the specialists in the Financial Review newsroom who write for BOSS on a regular basis. “Content with a lot of personal stories receive a really strong reception from our readers,” said Patten. 

“Readers really enjoy it because they get insights into how business leaders think and do their job as well as how they manage their health and stress levels. There’s high interest in how successful business people manage their lives and their work. People also want to work smarter, not harder; so a lot of our articles that focus on how to become more productive at work do very well.

Patten said there’s also a great interest in important issues like mental health and how physical health helps with mental health. “Articles around health and fitness work particularly well with our audiences.”

The brand’s unique value is the fact that it has access to the top business minds, academics and experts in Australia. “We’re in this fabulous position to offer really useful insights and top senior people that our readers have heard of. The ability to have that is incredible.”

Patten revealed a few of the brand’s recent highlights. “In the February issue, we did this whole inquisitive health special which did very well online. That was on the ongoing crisis of everything in the mental health sector in corporate Australia. We had a piece about diet and exercise, and we shared some  useful tips for business team leaders and department leaders to ease the stress and the burden on their workforces.”

Patten said they’ve also tackled some issues that aren’t discussed too often. “For instance, people who go to work with cancer, women who reach the menopause age and they’ve got really big jobs and how they handle that. It’s nice to get into more personal issues which really affect a lot of people but aren’t really spoken about a lot.

In the December issue last year, BOSS published a corporate philanthropy special that resonated with their millennial audience. Like other generations, millennials want to know the amount of money or profit a company is generating, but they also want to know what their companies are doing for the community. “Increasingly, they’re asking questions like ‘what is the business doing for those who are less fortunate?’ To be able to print a list of the 50 biggest corporate givers in Australia was fantastic.

Another highlight for the brand has been some of the covers they’ve produced in recent months. “Some of the business profiles we featured on the covers were CEO of AMP Francesco De Ferrari, Medibank CEO Craig Drummond, and AGL CEO Brett Redman. We had James Gorman on the cover last year, who’s the CEO of Morgan Stanley globally. We also recently had Alana Watkins and Ilana Atlas from Coca-Cola.”

BOSS has introduced a few new columns in the last year which have done well. “Breakfast with the Boss has been great. People have an insatiable appetite for knowing how successful people start their day and what they do before they get in the office. We’ve also got a Masterclass – a bit of a ‘how-to’ hands-on piece for aspiring executives.”

This year the magazine turns 20, and Patten said they’re still in the very early stages of planning BOSS’ big anniversary. “It’s quite a big milestone and I feel honoured to be the custodian of the brand at this time.

Magazine guru reveals secrets of publishing in autobiography

• Didier Guerin on how Rupert Murdoch got into magazine business

The former CEO of Conde Nast in the Asia Pacific, Didier Guérin, last week launched his autobiography From Front Row To Front Cover. Guérin is also a former CEO of Hachette-Filipacchi Asia-Pacific and also executive VP on the French publishing house based in New York.

For the past 20 years, Guérin has run his own Sydney-based consultancy, Media Convergence Asia Pacific.

The book was launched at the Royal Sydney Golf Club at an event hosted by Kerri-Anne Kennerley.

Kennerley conducted a one-on-one at the launch and heard how Guérin has launched some 40 magazines and websites in his career.

When Hachette-Filipacchi sent Guérin to New York, he revealed how he managed to licence Elle magazine to Rupert Murdoch via a JV agreement.

“It was almost an accident,” said Guérin. “The French company I was working for had been publishing Elle the fashion magazine on a weekly basis since 1945.

“We needed to find a good strong publishing partner to launch the magazine. I went to knock on the door of the 10 largest American media companies. They all turned me down. ‘It will never work here. The market is already saturated with fashion magazines,’ they all said. We were started to be a bit desperate when the person who is sitting in the front row right here today – please meet my wife Magie Moray-Guérin – said: ‘Why don’t you go and talk to Rupert Murdoch?’

“We organised a meeting with Rupert Murdoch in New York. My chairman and my CEO flew on the Concorde from Paris to come and meet Rupert. We were on the 17th floor of the New York Post building. Rupert asked a series of very sharp questions and after 45 minutes, he puts his hand together and said: ‘Let’s put the lawyers together, we’ll do it.’ That’s all it took. I will never forget that meeting.”

Guérin said the US edition of Elle was an instant success selling 400,000 copies monthly within 12 months. The title soon broke even and managed to pay back the US$6m each partner invested.

The title later launched in Australia, but with Kerry Packer, not News Corp.

Guérin later revealed how he came to join Condé Nast in the 1990s after a phone call and then a meeting with chairman Johnathan Newhouse. Guérin’s starting salary – US$500,000.

Guests at the launch included current Elle editor Genevra Leek, Money magazine editor-at-large Julia Newbould and designer Carla Zampatti.

Purchase the book from Amazon here.

Top Photo: Kerri-Anne Kennerley with Didier Guérin and Carla Zampatti

Ticker’s new home – TV production returns to Richmond

By Claudia Siron

Ticker is growing up and moving up to a state-of-the-art broadcasting facility in the heart of Melbourne’s start-up ecosystem.

Ticker founder and CEO Ahron Young is calling it the “Ticker Loft”.

Nine years after Channel Nine left Bendigo Street Richmond, Ticker is bringing back the glamour of television to the inner-Melbourne suburb.

The new studio is based in a 250sqm warehouse-style studio development amidst Victoria’s creative and start-up community in Richmond and Cremorne.

The space features an open-plan newsroom, three fully-automated studios and of course a table tennis table and bar.

It’s been seven months since Ticker launched, and the business and programming continues to expand.

“Richmond and Cremorne have been dubbed Silicon Yarra as Australia’s answer to Silicon Valley, with a huge number of start-ups and entrepreneurs calling the area home,” said Young.

“Richmond also witnessed the birth of television in Victoria thanks to Channel Nine.

“While the traditional TV model is coming under pressure, there are huge opportunities for streaming multi-media businesses like Ticker,” Young added.

Dubbed the “Ticker Loft”, Studio 1 will house an open plan newsroom and large studio for Ticker Today, the flagship news and interview program featuring the latest tech and business news and interviews with start-up founders and CEOs.

Studio 2 will be a multi-purpose studio featuring large LED screens and the ability to create different looks for different shows quickly. Studio 3 will feel like a bar, allowing hosts to go between studios during shows.

Ticker commercial & partnerships director Jed Bertalli said: “We currently produce 25 hours of content a week and our new facility will enable us to multiply that. The three studios have been purposely deigned to maximise both Ticker programming and productions. We are the one-stop-shop for businesses to create credible content.

“Plenty more programs are on the way, covering everything from the business of weddings, and change in every industry. Our integrated sponsorship opportunities are proving more effective than traditional advertising, with Ticker content reaching well over 3.6 million Australians in the month of February alone.”

The new space will allow for much larger and more complex productions.

The building is currently undergoing major renovations to prepare for Ticker’s imminent move.

Over coming weeks, Ticker will launch free streaming Apps for Apple TV, iOS, Android TV and mobile devices. Ticker currently broadcasts live on the website, the iOS app, Twitter, YouTube Live and Facebook Live. You can also watch Ticker live on Amazon Alexa devices.

Watch Mediaweek on Ticker with Ahron Young and James Manning live at 1pm Tuesdays or on demand.

IPG Mediabrands announces promotions at Initiative and Magna

IPG Mediabrands agencies Initiative and Magna have announced senior executive appointments in Australia.

Simon Reid has been appointed national head of partnerships for Initiative, the culturally-driven media agency within IPG Mediabrands, and Nick Durrant has been appointed general manager of investment at Magna, the investment and intelligence division of IPG Mediabrands Australia.

Nick Durrant

Both executives are already working within the Mediabrands group. Simon Reid is currently head of partnerships at Initiative Melbourne. He has 17 years media experience including four years in his current position. Reid leads the agency’s partnerships and investment product, he plays a key role in the team driving agency initiatives and business development.

Nick Durrant will join Magna from his chief partnerships and investment officer role at Initiative. In his new role he will support Magna managing director Victor Corones and the leadership team further elevate capabilities in strategic media investment and performance, as well as market intelligence and insights. Prior to joining Initiative in 2017 he was national general manager of trading at News Corp. Prior to that he was national head of data and knowledge at Mindshare.

Melissa Fein, CEO Initiative Australia said: “We’re excited for Simon to take on this new role and join the national leadership team. He has a wealth of experience in building strong business partnerships, high level negotiation and delivering exceptional results for our clients. I also want to thank Nick for his time at Initiative; he has been an important part of the leadership team and we’re really pleased he’ll continue to work closely with us in his new role.”

Victor Corones, managing director Magna Australia said: “Nick Durrant’s passion is in the data and capabilities space. He brings a unique, future-focused lens on the evolution of media investment insights and implementation and he will be a valuable addition to our Magna team.”

Top Photos: Simon Reid

Deborra-lee Furness heading to Ramsay Street to direct

Acclaimed Australian actress, director, producer and founder of child advocacy non-profit Adopt Change, Deborra-lee Furness (pictured), is officially making her way to Ramsay Street to direct ground-breaking scenes on Australia’s longest running drama, Neighbours.

After recognising Deborra-lee’s important work advocating for vulnerable and displaced children, Neighbours saw an opportunity to tell an important story where two Erinsborough favourites embark on a journey to becoming permanent carers.

The Neighbours production team has worked very closely with Deborra-lee to develop a touching and inspiring storyline which highlights the challenges and the triumphs children, families and carers face in often complex and difficult circumstances.

Deborra-lee will help bring this important story to life when she steps out on set, and into the director’s chair, from late February 2020. 

Deborra-lee said: “I am thrilled to be collaborating with the team at Neighbours to direct these episodes and tell a story that is not often represented in mainstream media.

“There are almost 50,000 Australian children currently in temporary out-of-home care. We only get glimpses into their reality, and unfortunately that is usually when there are catastrophic outcomes.

“To have an iconic television institution like Neighbours joining the conversation and reflecting the lives of so many Australian children is extremely powerful. Awareness is the essential first step in creating a positive shift in both culture and policy towards permanent solutions.”

Executive producer of Neighbours, Jason Herbison, said: “To have a director who is so personally committed and emotionally invested in telling such an important story, lifts the bar for all us and we’re just thrilled to have Deborra-lee join us on Ramsay Street.”

MasterChef Australia: Back to win contestants announced ahead of new season

Australia’s premier cooking show MasterChef Australia is returning for its 12th season with a brand new recipe.

24 talented and passionate former contestants will return to the screen and claim the trophy which eluded them once before.

Added to the MasterChef recipe are three new judges: Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen, who will take the helm of the show that celebrates food and the love of food.

Network 10 has released the bios of the former contestants who will make up MasterChef Australia’s class of 2020:

Amina Elshafei, NSW. Season Four – placed 11th

After winning hearts in season four, Amina Elshafei wasted no time embracing the food world. She published her first cookbook, Amina’s Home Cooking, travelled to different countries promoting food destinations and hosting food events, and hosted pop-ups and food demonstrations around Australia. Now back working as a paediatric nurse, Amina has jumped at the opportunity for a second chance to pursue her dream in the food industry.

Ben Milbourne, Tasmania. Season Four – placed 5th

It was Ben’s love of food and cooking which led to his first foray into MasterChef Australia, competing in the fourth season where he came in fifth place. Following MasterChef, he embarked on a successful media career with his TV show Ben’s Menu which aired on Network 10 for three seasons and went on to feature in the SBS Food Network’s Andy and Ben Eat Australia with friend and now judge, Andy Allen.

Ben also owns and operates a modern Australian restaurant in Devonport, CharlotteJack, named after his two children.

Ben Ungermann, Queensland. Season Nine runner-up

After coming in second place in season nine of MasterChef Australia, father of three Ben Ungermann knew he had found his culinary passion. Dubbed the ‘Ice Cream King’ by fans, he soon launched Ungermann Brothers, an ice cream parlour alongside his brother Danny in Ipswich in 2018. The business opened a second parlour on the Gold Coast late last year.

This year Ben has expanded his ice cream empire, opening two parlours in Mumbai, and is working on new and exciting ventures in South Africa.

Brendan Pang, Western Australia. Season 10 – placed 9th

Since leaving the competition Brendan hasn’t taken a break, opening his own pop-up dumpling kitchen, Bumplings in Fremantle. He’s run a series of pop ups with fellow MasterChef alumni, run market stalls at local festivals, and hosted cooking classes, demonstrations and regular workshops at food and wine shows across Western Australia, Malaysia and recently the UnitedKingdom. He’s also found time to pen a highly anticipated cookbook, due forrelease in May.

Callum Hann, South Australia. Season Two runner-up

Following his first appearance in the kitchen, Callum returned home and soon opened Sprout Cooking School. Drawing inspiration from his Barossa Valley heritage and the best produce South Australia has to offer, the interactive cooking school was followed by Sprout Health Studio in 2015, Sprout Training in 2017, and Dietary Hawk in 2018.

Chris Badenoch, Western Australia. Season One – placed 3rd

The inaugural season of MasterChef heralded tremendous change for Chris. Not only did it ignite his passion for cooking, but it introduced him to fellow contestant Julia Jenkins, who’s now his wife. Following the show, Chris and Julia opened their own Melbourne restaurant, Josie Bones in November 2010. He also launched his own beer brand, Boneyard Brewing.

Courtney Roulston, NSW. Season Two – placed 5th

Since leaving the competition Courtney has become ensconced in the food industry, and for 10 years has worked as caterer for the AFL’s Sydney Swans and has written two books, The Salad Kitchen and Salads In A Jar.

Dani Venn, Victoria. Season Three – placed 4th

Following her season three appearance, Dani went on to host her own television show Weekend Feast and co-hosted a summer of breakfast radio on Nova FM in Melbourne. She is the director of Eat it Up Creative and the founder of The Wholehearted Cook. Her new venture sees her determined to change the world one bowl at a time with plans for her first bricks and mortar food business, Go Go Bowl, currently in the works. Designed to transform the takeaway industry, she’s excited by the introduction of her healthy fast food company to the market.

The three new judges: Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen

Emelia Jackson, Victoria. Season Six – placed 3rd

Eliminated on a whipped chocolate ganache, the former marketing co-ordinator from Melbourne’s east left the show with a newfound booming confidence, going on to open her own cake business. She now spends her days preparing decadent bespoke wedding, engagement, birthday, and event cakes.

Harry Foster, Queensland. Season Eight – placed 3rd

Following his last appearance in the competition, Harry moved to Tasmania where, alongside other adventures, he worked in luxury accommodation, studied plant science, and co-opened a gin distillery. His time in Tasmania strengthened his food focus, which is centered around sustainable fishing practices. 

Hayden Quinn, NSW. Season Three – placed 6th

He has hosted Hayden Quinn South Africa and Surfing the Menu Next Generation on the ABC, but his self-described baby is Taste Of Australia which first aired on Network 10 in February. 

The author of cookbooks Dish it Up and Surfing the Menu, Hayden credits his mum Jo-Anne, a home economist, with teaching him the early basics, together enjoying home style cooking competitions against each other in their Northern Beaches home.

Jess Liemantara, Victoria. Season 10 – placed 4th

After leaving the competition in fourth place, Jess knows the skills she’s developed in the time since leaves her in the best position to hone her sights on the MasterChef trophy. She’s worked as a pastry chef at Om NomDessert Bar, The Press Club, Nobu Melbourne, and catered several events during a stint at Raffles Hotel, Jakarta.

Khanh Ong, Victoria. Season 10 – placed 3rd

Two years on after falling just short of the grand finale in season 10, KhanhOng has wasted no time leaving his mark on Melbourne’s culinary landscape, joining The George on Collins. He also co-hosted episodes of My Market Kitchen and has written a cookbook due for release this July.

Laura Sharrad, South Australia. Season Six runner-up

After the show, Lauren worked as the pastry chef alongside new judge Jock Zonfrillo at his acclaimed hatted restaurant Orana, before moving onto Andres Cucina for three years. She spent time at the award-winning Hently Farm in the Barossa Valley in 2018, before embarking on her own restaurant, Nido Bar and Pasta which she opened last year. The venture was a special one for the now 24-year-old, opening the space alongside her new husband and fellow chef Max Sharrad.

Lynton Tapp, Victoria. Season Five runner-up

Following the competition and determined to improve on his newfound skills, Lynton trained under chef Matt Germanchis, and in 2016 released his debut cookbook, Outback Pantry. He went on to host two television shows –A Taste of Travel and My Market Kitchen on Network 10, and opened a restaurant with his brother-in-law, Westwood in West Melbourne.

Poh Ling Yeow, South Australia. Season One runner-up

Weeks after the finale, she was offered her own cooking show, Poh’s Kitchen, which ran for three seasons.

In 2015 Poh continued her television career with her series Poh & Co, which ran for two seasons, a fly-on-the-wall look into her chaotic life as a cook, artist and small business owner.

In 2010 she fulfilled a lifelong dream of publishing her first cookbook, Poh’s Kitchen – My Cooking Adventures. Four years on Poh’s second cookbook, Same Same But Different was released, and her third cookbook Poh Bakes A Hundred Greats, hit the shelves in 2017.

Poh has also run Jamface at the Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers Market for five years and is about to open a flagship store at the Adelaide Airport.

Reece Hignell, NSW. Season 10 – placed 6th

Leaving the competition in sixth place, Reece knew he’d achieved something significant, and was buoyed by his newfound confidence. Guilty of often self-doubting his cooking abilities, he realised he was capable of taking risks, and now looks forward to taking out top honours.

Now a confident cake baker, this Newcastle native loves making anything sweet, and is back to try his luck again in the MasterChef kitchen following his appearance in 2018 in the show’s 10th season.

Reynold Poernomo, NSW. Season Seven – placed 4th

Since bowing out of the seventh season of MasterChef Australia in fourth place, Sydney’s Reynold Poernomo has gone onto become one of the most successful alumni of the highly competitive show.

Shortly after he finished, he joined forces with his brothers to launch KOI Dessert Bar in 2016. The successful venture featured innovative and creative desserts, and the family has now expanded with KOI Dessert Kitchen, Monkey’s Corner and TiNi Artisan Bakehouse.

Alongside his burgeoning businesses, Reynold was also named a finalist in the Gault & Millau Pastry Chef of the Year awards in 2017, was listed in Forbes Asia’s 30 under 30 the same year, appeared on the fifth season of MasterChef Indonesia as a guest judge, and hosted a TEDx talk.

Rose Adam, South Australia. Season Seven – placed 10th

Just six weeks following her elimination she achieved her food dream, opening her café, The Middle Store, alongside her siblings in Adelaide. Now she’s back with a clear identity in her food and a goal to take home the top prize.

Sarah Clare, Tasmania. Season 10 – placed 10th

After competing in season 10 of MasterChef Sarah returned to her Tasmanian roots and is now firmly ensconced back home with her young son Elvis.

After working in the kitchen at Fat Pig Farm alongside Mathew Evans, Sarah launched a series of pop ups called Wild, featuring beautifully sourced, local ingredients. She now runs her own restaurant, ILHA in Cygnet, which features a modern Australian menu with South American influences.

Sarah Tiong, NSW. Season Nine – placed 6th

After being eliminated in sixth place, it was little surprise she started work as a private chef with her pop-up street food stall, Pork Party.

Still working part-time as a lawyer, Sarah now also develops recipes and runs MasterClasses and events for big name local brands. Sarah is currently working on a cookbook to be published this year.

Simon Toohey, Victoria. Season 11 – 3rd

After coming in third place in last year’s season, Victorian vegie King Simon Toohey has just a few hurdles to jump to claim the elusive title this season. Simon also opened a pop-up vegan smokehouse after the grand finale last year.

His restaurant opened in Melbourne’s Williamstown to rave reviews, featuring familiar ingredients cooked in creative ways. He’s now launched the Sustainable Earth Network, focussing on driving the idea of utilising whole ingredients and fighting food waste.

Tessa Boersma, Queensland. Season 11 runner-up

Committed to the ultimate prize since finishing last year’s season she’s been busy writing recipes and worked alongside former guest chef Alanna Sapwell at Brisbane’s acclaimed ARC Dining.

Tracy Collins, South Australia. Season Six – placed 5th

After finishing fifth in season six when she was bundled out on a lobster with citrus beurre blanc, Tracy returned home and started the highly successful Harvest Kitchen restaurant, which in 2016 was awarded best regional restaurant in South Australia.

In the busy years which followed, Tracy released Wermut, an organic botanicals vermouth alongside her winemaker husband Jaysen, hosted pop- ups, spoke at charity events and worked alongside Maggie Beer. However, opting to change direction on the eve of opening a second restaurant, Tracy decided to take a step back to focus on her family, with her children Finella, Harper and Charlie quickly growing up.

Broadcasting greats McGuire and McAvaney reunite for AFL State of Origin

• Fox Footy and Seven commentary teams unite for AFL Bushfire Relief match at 7.30pm AEDT on Friday, February 28

Australian broadcasting icons Eddie McGuire and Bruce McAvaney will join forces on-air for the first time in more than 30 years as the Fox Footy and Seven commentary teams come together to call the State of Origin for Bushfire Relief match on Friday, February 28.

Footy fans are in for a special treat next Friday night when State of Origin football is revived for the first time since 2008, with McGuire and McAvaney set to work on their first match together since 1987’s infamous Battle of Britain encounter between North Melbourne and Carlton.

HOLD SUNDAY HERALD SUN—– Eddie McGuire and Bruce McAvaney to promote the Big V.
FOX FOOTY and Channel 7 are combining forces for State of Origin bushfire game on 28th Feb by joining commentary teams.
Picture: Alex Coppel.

Dustin Martin, Nat Fyfe, Patrick Cripps, Brodie Grundy, Marcus Bontempelli and Jeremy Cameron are among the host of superstars poised to grace Marvel Stadium when Victoria does battle with the All-Stars live on both channels.

As the football industry unites to raise funds for communities in fire-affected areas, Fox Footy and Seven will field a joint commentary team for the State of Origin clash, with Fox Footy’s McGuire, Anthony Hudson, Nick Riewoldt, Jonathan Brown, Katherine Loughnan and Cameron Mooney joined by Seven’s McAvaney, Brian Taylor, Luke Hodge, Daisy Pearce, Gilbert McAdam and Cameron Ling joining.

McGuire and McAvaney will cross live to Mooney and Ling at Mallacoota’s local pub where they will be joined by fans uniting in the midst of the recent devastating fires.

The night of history-making footy kicks off when Collingwood takes on Melbourne in the 2020 NAB AFLW Women’s Competition match up at 5.30pm AEDT on Fox Footy.

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster, with all proceeds going to the AFL’s Community Relief Fund. Donations to the Fund can also be made at

Broadcast times

State of Origin for Bushfire Relief match
Victoria v All-Stars (Marvel Stadium)

TV Broadcast times on Seven:
Friday February 28

Sydney 7mate 7.30pm
Melbourne Seven 7.30pm
Brisbane 7mate 6.30pm
Adelaide Seven 7pm
Perth 7mate 4.30pm

TV Broadcast times on Fox Footy:
Friday February 28

Melbourne 5.30pm
Sydney 5.30pm
Brisbane 4.30pm
Adelaide 5.00pm
Perth 2.30pm

Rabbit’s new Central Coast breakfast co-host at Star 104.5 revealed

Sarah Forster will join Dave ‘Rabbit’ Rabbetts as Star 104.5’s new breakfast show, Rabbit & Sarah, from Monday 24 February, 6-9am.

Forster has been a regular voice on Star 104.5 for nearly three years, relocating from Sydney to the Central Coast, to seek a better quality of life for her family. Star 104.5’s casual news journalist has been filling in with Rabbit since 20 January this year, following Julie Goodwin‘s decision to step back from Star 104.5’s breakfast show.

Shayne Sinclair, Star 104.5’s program director said, “Sarah’s upbeat and engaging personality makes her the perfect fit to join Star 104.5 in breakfast. Filling in for Julie Goodwin since the start of the year, Sarah has done a tremendous job and has well and truly earned the opportunity to join the show full time. Rabbit & Sarah will do a show that’s always upbeat, family friendly, and distinctively Star 104.5. It’s live, local, hometown radio!”

Forster has over 16 years radio and news experience. The Brian White award-winning journalist has held key news roles with Southern Cross Austereo, 2UE, WSFM, Nova, smoothfm, and has always held aspirations of transitioning from news into announcing.

Sarah Forster said, “The past few weeks have been a blast, so I am ecstatic to be joining Rabbit on Star FM breakfast on a permanent basis. It’s the best job and the best place in the world.”

Forster will join Dave ‘Rabbit’ Rabbetts as Star 104.5’s new breakfast show. With over 30 years of radio experience, Rabbit has carved out an impressive radio career across multiple radio networks in New Zealand and Australia. Rabbit first joined Nova 96.9 in 2001 as part of the original Nova line up, and during his six years with the station hosted several number one shows. After a six-year stint at SAFM, he returned to Nova 96.9 in 2013 before making the move to the Central Coast to join Star 104.5’s breakfast show in 2015. Rabbit was joined by Julie Goodwin In January 2016.

Rabbit said, “I’ve been completely blown away with how the Coast embraced Sarah while she was filling in on the show. She was stepping into some pretty big, and colourful shoes, and she’s fitted in perfectly. I’m stoked that’s she’s agreed to join us full time!”

After four years working alongside Dave ‘Rabbit’ Rabbetts, Julie Goodwin announced her decision to depart the show in December last year. She has played an integral role in finding the right person to fill her shoes and is elated to hand the microphone to Sarah.

Week 8 TV: MAFS keeps Nine the one to beat + Seven’s Sunday best

Nine has won its fifth successive week and the second week of official survey. Nine was again carried to the winning post by the brides and grooms from Married At First Sight who pulled big audiences and dominated tabloid TV coverage across the past seven days.

Nine won five nights of the week, but not Sunday where it has traditionally been hard to beat.

Four of the top five programs of the week belonged to Married At First Sight where all four episodes were over 1m. So far 11 of the 12 episodes screened have rated over 1m in metro markets.

Nine’s next best was 60 Minutes on 775,000 and A Current Affair on 679,000. Also performing well were Paramedics on 627,000 and Doctor Doctor on 526,000.

Nine’s primary share was 22.0%.

Seven’s best was the huge Sunday Fire Fight Australia Concert with the primetime evening part of proceedings pulling 1.006m late and 953,000 earlier in the night. Seven’s Sunday share of 31.0% was easily its best of the year.

Home and Away averaged 570,000 across its four nights. Two episodes of My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals averaged 501,000 with the other two episodes on 461,000 and 416,000.

Seven’s primary share was 19.2%.

The Tuesday episode of Australian Survivor: All Stars managed 630,000 for 10 which was the biggest audience this season. The other episodes did 613,000 and 584,000.

Ambulance Australia was on 463,000. The Sunday episode of Dancing with the Stars could only manage 348,000 up against the Fire Fight Australia Concert.

10’s primary share was 10.6%.

The ABC’s best was Four Corners, which featured a report on a toxic culture that had been allowed to flourish at St Kevin’s College in Melbourne’s Toorak, with an audience of 775,000.

On a big Monday night, Australian Story with 726,000 and then Media Watch with 682,000 were not far behind. Monday’s share of 16.4% was its best of the year.

ABC’s primary share was 12.9%.

Michael Portillo of course was again the ratings champ at SBS with his Great Australian Railway Journeys on 373,000.

SBS’s primary share was 4.6%.

ARIA Chart: Tame Impala hotter than Justin Bieber with new Aussie #1

By James Manning

• Singles: Eilish, Billie Eilish…Bond theme song new at #4


Once the public likes a single they really like it. The Weeknd has now spent five weeks on top with Blinding Lights.

The highest new entry into the top 50 belongs to Billie Eilish as the theme music to the next James Bond movie No Time To Die lands at #4. The link with 007 is the latest Eilish milestone in what looks like being another massive year for the 18-year-old musical magician. Incredibly this is the ninth top 10 from the artist. ARIA also notes this is the highest-charting Bond theme in ARIA chart history. The previous best was Madonna’s Die Another Day which peaked at #5 in 2002.

The only other newcomer to the top 10 was Justin Bieber with Intentions featuring Quavo jumping 10 places from its chart debut at #13 last week.

Five other singles found their way into the top 50 for the first time this week:

#29 Justin Bieber with Forever featuring Post Malone and Clever
#32 Sam Smith with To Die For
#36 Surfaces with Sunday Best
#41 Saint Jhn with Roses
#45 Conan Gray with Maniac


The Slow Rush, the fourth album from songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Kevin Parker, gives him his second #1 Tame Impala album. The first was with Currents in July 2015. The album becomes the second by an Australian artist to top the chart this year after Dune Rats two weeks ago.

Tame Impala was just too strong to allow Justin Bieber a #1 debut as his new album Changes entered the chart at #2. Bieber’s first album in five years becomes his sixth to crack the top 10. His previous release Purpose made it to #1 in 2015.

Following the Fire Fight Australia Concert and Queen’s Australian tour, the soundtrack to Bohemian Rhapsody has re-entered the top 10 at #7 after 70 weeks on the chart. Re-entering the top 50 for the band this week was Greatest Hits (#18 after 195 weeks on the chart) and The Platinum Collection (#35 after 60 weeks).

Also getting a boost from the Fire Fight Australia Concert was Hilltop Hoods who managed a primetime post-Queen slot on the bill. Their album The Great Expanse sees the former #1 album sitting at #31 after 42 weeks on the chart. Another chart-topper from the group, Drinking From The Sun, Walking Under Stars Restrung is back on the chart at #44 after 45 weeks on the chart.

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Top Photo: Kevin Parker with his ARIA #1 Album award

TV Ratings: February 23

By James Manning

• “Shut the F*** up”: Married audience on a new high
• Cuddly Koalas in crisis no match for marriages in crisis
• Dancing with the Stars recovers back close to half million
• Spicks and Specks with bearded Adam Hills #2 in slot

Nine has started a new ratings week with another dominant Sunday share, returning to top spot after Seven upset its momentum a week ago with the Fire Fight Australia Concert. Nine’s primary share of 26.9% was its best this year outside the two Sundays of the Australian Open. Nine’s combined channel share was also a record outside of the tennis on 34.5%.

Married At First Sight remained the key attraction boosting the shows before (Nine News on a winning 937,000 for the last Sunday of summer) and after (60 Minutes on 769,000).

The MAFS audience of 1.20m was the biggest yet this season as partners exploded at each other during the Sunday commitment ceremony.

Seven was without a Sunday episode of My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals for a second consecutive Sunday after the Sunday episodes had so far failed to crack 500,000. A timely screening of Koala Rescue at 7pm last night managed to crack half a million with 525,000 watching. However that wasn’t enough to prevent it ranking #3 in its slot for part of the night.

The Good Doctor has returned on a new night with episode 11 of season three pulling 390,000.

Network 10 recovered after it lost the most viewers to the benefit concert a week ago.

Dancing with the Stars jumped from 348,000 to 482,000 as Angie Kent departed the competition. Although the program ranked fourth in the slot all people, it ranked #2 and #3 across its two hours in the key demos.

Earlier in the night The Project did 380,000 after 7pm.

A 1990s special of Spicks and Specks on ABC featured a very bearded Adam Hills hosting. The now UK-based talk-show host shaved the beard recently after the UK parliament finally passed the Brexit bills. The special pulled an audience of 614,000.

After 8.30pm ABC screened The Australian Dream with 367,000 watching the documentary explore the life of Adam Goodes.

SBS launched Greig Pickhaver’s Secrets of Our Cities with 179,000 watching the host stroll around the Gold Coast. The audience then jumped to 315,000 after 8.30pm for the launch of the two-part Michael Palin in North Korea. That programming combo secured SBS its best Sunday share of the year.

Week 8-9 TV: Friday-Sunday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 15.5% 7 17.0% 9 17.6% 10  8.2% SBS One 4.0%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.8% 7TWO 3.2% GO! 3.7% 10 Bold 3.3% VICELAND 1.3%
ABC ME 0.9% 7mate 3.9% GEM 5.8% 10 Peach 3.0% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 2.0% 7flix 2.8% 9Life 2.7%     NITV 0.1%
                SBS World Movies 1.3%
TOTAL 21.1%   26.9%   29.8%   14.6%   7.7%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 13.4% 7 15.8% 9 21.4% 10  7.7% SBS One 4.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.6% 7TWO 3.3% GO! 5.4% 10 Bold 4.6% VICELAND 0.7%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 4.1% GEM 2.4% 10 Peach 3.1% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 1.9% 7flix 3.1% 9Life 2.5%     NITV 0.2%
                SBS World Movies 0.8%
TOTAL 19.5%   26.2%   31.6%   15.4%   7.3%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.2% 7 15.2% 9 26.9% 10  11.3% SBS One 6.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.4% 7TWO 2.7% GO! 3.4% 10 Bold 3.5% VICELAND 1.3%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 2.8% GEM 2.1% 10 Peach 2.6% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix 1.7% 9Life 2.2%     NITV 0.1%
                SBS World Movies 0.7%
TOTAL 16.2%   22.5%   34.5%   17.3%   9.5%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 11.2% 7 18.5% 9 20.9% WIN 9.6% SBS One 5.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.2% 7TWO 3.5% GO! 4.5% WIN Bold 4.6% VICELAND 2.0%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 3.0% GEM 3.4% WIN Peach 2.1% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.9% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.7% 9Life 2.1% Sky News  on WIN 1.1% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 0.9%
TOTAL 15.8%   26.6%   30.8%   17.4%   9.4%


88.1% 11.9%
All People TV Ratings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 752,000
  2. Nine News Nine 731,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 730,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 691,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 607,000
  6. ABC News ABC 572,000
  7. Endeavour (R) ABC 498,000
  8. Gardening Australia ABC 461,000
  9. The Chase Australia Seven 430,000
  10. Hot Seat Nine 408,000


Saturday Top 10

  1. Nine News Saturday Nine 713,000
  2. Seven News Seven 649,000
  3. Doc Martin ABC 647,000
  4. ABC News ABC 573,000
  5. Agatha Raisin ABC 342,000
  6. Getaway Nine 314,000
  7. Rugby League All Stars Nine 291,000
  8. Fire Fight Australia Concert – Highlights Seven 289,000
  9. Crocodile Dundee II Nine 285,000
  10. Weekend Sunrise – Late Seven 280,000
Sunday FTA
  1. Married At First Sight Nine 1,200,000
  2. Nine News Sunday Nine 937,000
  3. Seven News Seven 848,000
  4. 60 Minutes Nine 769,000
  5. ABC News Sunday ABC 700,000
  6. Spicks And Specks: 1990s Special ABC 614,000
  7. Koala Rescue Seven 525,000
  8. Dancing With The Stars 10 482,000
  9. Dancing With The Stars Elimination 10 468,000
  10. Fred And Rose West: The House Of Horrors Nine 426,000
  11. The Good Doctor Seven 390,000
  12. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 380,000
  13. The Australian Dream ABC 367,000
  14. Michael Palin In North Korea SBS 315,000
  15. Supercars Championship: Adelaide 500 D3 Race 2 10 273,000
  16. InsidersAM ABC 268,000
  17. Seven News At 5 Seven 263,000
  18. Supercars Championship: Adelaide 500 D3 Podium 10 254,000
  19. The Sunday Project 6.30pm 10 248,000
  20. Weekend Sunrise Seven 244,000
Sunday Multichannel
  1. NCIS  (R)  10 Bold  146,000
  2. Daniel Tiger’s NeighbourhoodAM  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  143,000
  3. Peppa PigAM  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  138,000
  4. BlueyAM  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  138,000
  5. Ben And Holly’s Little KingdomAM  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  137,000
  6. InsidersAM  ABC NEWS  136,000
  7. Bananas In PyjamasAM  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  132,000
  8. Kiri And LouAM  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  123,000
  9. Play SchoolAM  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  116,000
  10. Bondi Rescue Ep 3  (R)  10 Bold  110,000
  11. Bluey   ABCKIDS/COMEDY  110,000
  12. Air Crash Investigations PM  7TWO  109,000
  13. Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle Interstitials-A  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  109,000
  14. Law & Order: SVU Ep 2  (R)  10 Bold  107,000
  15. Friends Ep 5  (R)  10 Peach  106,000
  16. FloogalsAM  ABCKIDS/COMEDY  106,000
  17. Law & Order: Svu  (R)  10 Bold  101,000
  18. Journey To The Centre Of The Earth    9GO!  98,000
  19. Transformers    9GO!  96,000
  20. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line  7TWO  95,000
Sunday STV
  1. Live: Supercars Adelaide 500 FOX SPORTS 506 222,000
  2. Live: Supercars The Grid FOX SPORTS 506 161,000
  3. Live: Supercars Live FOX SPORTS 506 137,000
  4. Live: Supercars Adelaide Supports FOX SPORTS 506 136,000
  5. Live: Supercars Adelaide 500 FOX SPORTS 506 135,000
  6. Live: Motorsport: Super2 Adelaide FOX SPORTS 506 133,000
  7. Live: Supercars Adelaide 500 FOX SPORTS 506 116,000
  8. Live: Supercars Live FOX SPORTS 506 91,000
  9. Live: Supercars Trackside FOX SPORTS 506 81,000
  10. Live: Supercars Adelaide Supports FOX SPORTS 506 81,000
  11. Live: Supercars Live FOX SPORTS 506 61,000
  12. Outsiders Sky News Live 59,000
  13. Outsiders Sky News Live 57,000
  14. Live: Rugby League: World Club Challenge FOX LEAGUE 55,000
  15. Live: Supercars Adelaide 500 FOX SPORTS 506 54,000
  16. Live: Marsh Series: Bris V Pa FOX FOOTY 51,000
  17. Live: Supercars Live FOX SPORTS 506 46,000
  18. Live: T20: RSA V AUS Game 2 FOX CRICKET 44,000
  19. Live: Supercars Adelaide Supports FOX SPORTS 506 41,000
  20. The Trial Of Christine Keeler BBC First 39,000

Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

Seven West Media approaches Nine about TX Australia sale

Seven West Media has approached Nine about a potential sale of a joint venture that owns the broadcast towers for free-to-air television as the Kerry Stokes-controlled company explores asset sales to reduce its debt, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Sources told The Australian Financial Review that Seven had met with Nine to discuss potentially selling TX Australia, a business founded in 1999 which held the broadcasting transmission towers for the three commercial metropolitan free-to-air networks.

TX Australia has 67 sites across the country and its infrastructure providers broadcast in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. It’s believed a sale would require approval from both shareholders.

[Read more]

Seven West Media studios business looked at by ITV

British media group ITV Studios are in talks with Seven West Media about buying the in-house production business that makes Home and Away and My Kitchen Rules, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

In a further sign that local content will be controlled by global players, ITV Studios, which produces shows including Love Island, Saturday Night Takeaway and The Graham Norton Show, have been in discussions with the media company about acquiring Seven Studios for several months, according to television sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Sources said international entertainment giants Disney and Comcast’s NBC Universal are also in discussions with the media company.

Seven Studios is led by Therese Hegarty and has a number of international divisions, including Seven Studios UK and 7Beyond in the US. The operation creates local content for the television network, but also has deals with international streaming services.

UBS analyst Eric Choi valued Seven West Media’s studio assets at about $400 million.

[Read more]

Boardroom off limits for big Prime Media Group shareholders

Some of the biggest names in the industry will have to fight for control of Prime Media Group outside the boardroom, with the regional broadcaster unlikely to let them nominate their own directors, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Regional media proprietor Antony Catalano and business partner Alex Waislitz will not have representation on the board despite expressing an interest as they increased their stake in Prime to 14.6 per cent and blocked a merger between the regional broadcaster and Seven West Media late last year.

Seven chief executive James Warburton told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age last week his company had no desire to be on the board nor does he plan to make another bid for the group.

“We have an affiliation agreement. We don’t want it and Bruce and the Cat can’t have it,” Warburton said. “With Prime, we are being patient. It’s not on the agenda over the next six to 12 months from a day to day perspective.”

[Read more]

News Brands

Barnaby Joyce and Joel Fitzgibbon take over Sunrise

It’s the TV slot that famously catapulted Kevin Rudd and Joe Hockey into the national spotlight. Now Barnaby Joyce and Joel Fitzgibbon are locked in as the new permanent occupants of Sunrise’s Monday morning political debate segment, just before the 7am news, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

Before the Barnaby and Joel show came to Sunrise, the slot’s most recent occupants were Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch.

But Hanson, of course, defected to the lower-rating Today after her spectacular on-air blow-up at David Koch nearly a year ago, in the wake of the Christchurch mosque massacres.

[Read more]

David Speers ensures Insiders still compulsory Sunday viewing

He is the best ABC hiring I can remember: David Speers is a month into hosting what has become the most important political program at the national broadcaster, writes The Australian’s Chris Mitchell.

Speers is the best possible successor to Barrie Cassidy. While many on Twitter hated the idea of being hosted by the former political editor of Sky News, those who have watched him since he joined subscription television know he is scrupulously fair and the best political interviewer in the post-Laurie Oakes era. Having lost Speers’s only real rival – Chris Uhlmann, to Nine to succeed Oakes – Speers was the ABC’s only choice.

[Read more]

Green-left Project gets it wrong on German power

No television program is more relentlessly woke, driven by feelpinions and committed to fake news than Channel 10’s The Project, writes Chris Kenny in The Australian.

In recent months it has campaigned strongly against Scott Morrison and has been caught out misrepresenting an exchange between the Prime Minister and a bushfire volunteer, hiding the Greens campaigning credentials of another Morrison bushfire critic and portraying an abusive Morrison bushfire critic as a martyr who had been dumped by the NSW Rural Fire Service when, in fact, he had not been.

[Read more]

ABC’s Leigh Sales getting tougher on evasive politicians

The ABC’s Leigh Sales has finally had enough. A decade of interviewing evasive politicians will do that to you, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

In recent weeks, political pundits have spotted what looks like a noticeably harder edge in Sales’s attitude to pollies. The ABC 7.30 host has lost patience with any she sees as ducking questions or avoiding the show altogether.

Tabakoff asked Sales: what has prompted the tough mindset?

“I’ve been doing 7.30 for nearly 10 years, and I know that the audience absolutely hates it when people either come on the show and don’t answer difficult questions, or don’t front up at all,” she says.

“I think you owe it to the audience to make it clear that you’ve invited these people on, and you’re doing your best to work on behalf of the taxpayer to find out how the politicians are spending taxpayer dollars.”

[Read more]

Tiny show that punches above its weight: The Feed goes big

After seven years as the flagship program on SBS’s secondary Viceland channel, current affairs and satire show The Feed is graduating to the main channel, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Robert Moran.

After almost 600 episodes, the award-winning show will form part of the channel’s Tuesday night news and current affairs line-up. For host Marc Fennell, it’s a vote of confidence from management at the broadcaster.

“There’s a loyal broadcast audience for The Feed which has more or less stayed stable over the years, but digital numbers for the show have skyrocketed,” Fennell said.

On social media, current affairs segments from The Feed regularly reach hundreds of thousands of viewers. Satire segments that have gone viral have been watched by millions of people. The reach of those segments are then amplified again by SBS On Demand, the broadcaster’s digital platform.

It’s also a grab at turning Tuesday night into “destination TV” for SBS. Airing at 10pm, The Feed will follow veteran current affairs programs Insight at 8.30pm and Dateline at 9.30pm.

[Read more]

Tensions rise at Wall Street Journal over ‘Sick Man’ China headline

More than four dozen journalists at The Wall Street Journal challenged their bosses and criticised the newspaper’s opinion side in a letter that was sent to top executives on Thursday, the day after China announced that it would expel three Journal staff members in retaliation for a headline that offended the country’s leaders, reports The New York Times.

In all, 53 reporters and editors signed the letter. They criticised the newspaper’s response to the fallout from the headline, “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia,” that went with a Feb. 3 opinion essay by Walter Russell Mead, a Journal columnist, on economic repercussions of the coronavirus outbreak.

The letter, which was reviewed by The New York Times, urged the newspaper’s leaders “to consider correcting the headline and apologising to our readers, sources, colleagues and anyone else who was offended by it.”

[Read more]


Hadley on Bolt: Shock jock says columnist 'soft on paedophiles'

Top-rating broadcaster Ray Hadley has accused fellow right-wing commentator Andrew Bolt of being “soft on paedophiles” in an extraordinary blast on his 2GB morning show, reports Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade.

Hadley took aim at Bolt for his widely condemned comments about ABC Four Corners and St Kevin’s victim Paris Street on the Bolt Report.

After Street wrote an open letter to Bolt saying his comments made him sick, the News Corp journalist apologised on Sky News for upsetting him, saying he regretted using the phrase “hit on”.

On Friday’s show Hadley said Bolt’s claim that Street wasn’t sexually assaulted but was “hit on” was “demeaning, insulting and beyond the pale”.

“You do a lot of good in the community, but, by crikey, when it comes to paedophilia you’ve got a very poor record,” Hadley said. “A very poor record. Which has compelled you to apologise to Street today.”

[Read more]


Seven’s Plate of Origin project for Matt & Gary further delayed

Ex-MasterChef judges Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan have not even set foot in Seven’s production HQ in Sydney’s Redfern yet. But already their new star vehicle, Plate of Origin, (affectionately known by its unfortunate acronym POO) is in turmoil, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

A tense in-house “heads of department” meeting early last week, attended by POO’s executive producer David Dutton and director Kate Douglas-Walker, among others. Those in the meeting concluded there was no way POO would be ready to start production in the first week of March, as planned. It is the latest of several delays to the troubled production’s start date.

Apparently, senior Seven executives have been panicked by the disastrous ratings of the network’s other big cooking show, My Kitchen Rules, up against Married at First Sight. Our spies tell us there is already a full-scale review of POO underway, with one option being to make it more like MasterChef than MKR, forcing major changes to the production schedule.

[Read more]

TV presenter Asha Dahya calls for more diversity in media

Former TV presenter on Nine and Foxtel channels Asha Dahya has called for more diversity on Australian TV screens, reports News Corp’s Mibenge Nsenduluka.

The former Music Jungle co-host told Confidential that little has changed on TV screens since she left Australia for Hollywood more than 10 years ago and that TV bosses are out of touch with consumers.

“It wasn’t until I moved to the US in 2008 and realised how much more competitive it was however, there are far more opportunities for women of colour [there],” said Dahya, who is of Indian heritage.

“It made me realise that if I stayed in Australia…I felt like I had reached my capacity as a young up and coming presenter in Australian media and every time I went back to Australia I would look at TV and I’m like ‘it’s the same people’.

“People [at the top] have just become so out of touch with day to day people, in a way I get it because they’re running a business and their careers are on the line.”

[Read more]

Friends cast negotiate massive fee for one-off reunion special

As megahit Friends continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary, the six core stars and the creators of the NBC comedy from Warner Bros. TV have officially closed a deal to reunite for a one-off HBO Max special, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The special, along with the entire library of Friends, will be available in May when HBO Max officially launches.

The unscripted reunion special will feature stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer, as well as series creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the cast, who all negotiated together, will earn more than double their former per-episode fee for the reunion and be paid between $2.5 million and $3 million for the special. The cast famously renegotiated their salaries together during the show’s original run to earn a then-historic $1 million per episode of the scripted comedy. (The cast also confirmed the news Friday with joint Instagram posts.)

[Read more]

Sports Media

A second Brisbane team could be injection of rivalry the NRL needs

Foxtel boss Patrick Delany has backed plans for a second Brisbane team to create an “explosive” Broncos rivalry as a former NRL powerbroker declared expansion will happen in 2023, reports News Corp’s Peter Badel.

Delany, also the chief executive of Fox Sports, is one of the most powerful men in Australian sports broadcasting, playing a key role in the NRL’s record $1.8 billion deal which expires at the end of 2022.

Now, as ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys hatches plans for a 17th NRL team, Delany has given compelling insights on the power of expansion and why a second Brisbane team can be a coup for rugby league.

Delany’s support for a fourth Queensland team is an emphatic sign Fox Sports will head to the negotiating table later this year ready to back V’landys’ vision for another Brisbane team to rival the Broncos.

[Read more]

Optus runs the rule over more European football

Optus could look to swoop on more European football rights, eyeing leagues in Germany, Italy and Spain as the local broadcasting contracts run down, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Germany’s Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A are believed to be on Optus’ radar, with local rights held by Qatari-owned beIN Sports Australia winding down. It is believed beIN’s local Bundesliga and la Liga rights run out at the end of the 2020 season, while its Serie A rights expire at the end of the 2021 season.

Since pouncing on Australian broadcast rights to the English Premier League in 2015, Optus, under Arsenal-fan and CEO Alan Lew, has steadily built up its football offering, which now includes the FIFA World Cup, European Championships, UEFA Champions League and Europa League as well as Japan’s J-League.

In that time, the telco has built up Australia’s largest sports streaming service, Optus Sport, with 825,000 active subscribers. At its quarter results earlier in February, Optus revealed it had added 220,000 mobile customers in the three months to December 31, including 157,000 prepaid and 52,000 postpaid.

[Read more]

Rugby Australia includes clause to encourage competitive bid process

Rugby Australia has inserted a protective clause into the tender documents for its broadcast rights to ensure all bidders make a serious play or risk losing out in the early stages of the process, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

According to people familiar with the documents, the provision has been included to allow for a fair competitive process and to ensure bidders lodge genuine bids for the rights, which include NSW and Queensland club rugby, the Super Rugby and Wallabies matches.

If one offer is a substantial percentage higher than another, that bidder can eliminate rivals by winning the process and avoiding further weeks of negotiations.

Foxtel sources have said the company still has not signed the non-disclosure agreement and therefore does not have the tender documents. But Foxtel does not need to sign an NDA to lodge a bid for the rights and any bid could be considered by Rugby Australia if it is put forward.

[Read more]

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