Friday February 28, 2020

Crocmedia reports increased revenue and record streaming audience

By James Manning

• Sports broadcaster closer to revealing plans for 24 radio licences

The last week of summer has been another busy day for the diverse sports broadcaster, publisher and talent manager Crocmedia. The company released its first half results and held an Upfront event in Sydney on Thursday. Crocmedia operates under the ASX-listed Pacific Star Network (PNW).

The business incorporates Melbourne-based (and perhaps soon to be national) sports broadcaster SEN plus publishing business AFL Record, Ballpark Entertainment experience and entertainment marketing and touring division, Bravo Talent Management, Rainmaker TV production and Precision sports management.

The results showed that group revenue of $38.7m was up 16% pcp. This growth despite the radio ad market being down around 10%. The company said the strong revenue performance evidences the strength of its ability to “connect a brand to a fan” using its Whole of Sport strategy, despite volatile media advertising markets.

EBITDA was down 20% pcp. The results included the initial contribution from Liam Pickering’s Precision Talent business and Rapid TV which were both acquired early in the half.

Those two businesses plus 23 narrowband radio licences (first announced in July 2019), cost the business $9.3m.

Highlights for the half included:

• An exclusive commercial partnership with Bowls Australia and a five-year broadcast extension
• The launch of SEN SA’s showcase radio studio situated in the heart of Adelaide
• Record digital figures achieved by Crocmedia produced AFL Trade Radio, amassing over 3 million audio and video streams across only 13 days of the AFL trade period (+117% on the pcp)
• Significant digital revenue growth of almost +100% on the pcp, with several Crocmedia produced podcasts appearing in the top 100 of the Australian Podcast Ranker”
• Re-signing of chief sports caller Gerard Whateley and signing of experienced play-by-play commentator and multi-sport analyst Dwayne Russell

Regarding guidance for the second half of the current financial year Crocmedia said it expects continued revenue growth and increased earnings in 2H20 relative to 1H20.

Crocmedia is also looking over further potential acquisitions, saying “[we] are actively assessing several corporate and operational opportunities which are aligned with our strategy”.

The company’s 2020 Upfront NSW event highlighted the opportunities for advertisers in that market and nationally. MC was rugby league broadcaster Jimmy Smith who introduced a showreel and then interviewed CEO Craig Hutchison. Smith and Hutchy were then joined onstage by rugby league great and NRL Nation broadcaster Greg Alexander and player-turned-coach and broadcaster Laurie Daley.

Hutchison revealed the business is close to unveiling plans for half of its as yet unused radio licences and he also hinted there are several other projects on the horizon.

On the eve of AFL State of Origin, Hutchy indicated the importance of NRL Origin to the Crocmedia offering. It syndicates its Origin call as part of its NRL Nation product. In fact it hosts three Origin calls – Maroons Origin call, Blues Origin call and a Neutral Origin call – as part of its NRL Nation product.

As part of the AFL Nation offering in 2020, Crocmedia will also broadcast Swans Radio and Giants Radio, tracking the two Sydney teams, as part of its AFL Nation syndicated product.

The Crocmedia boss also made mention of the forthcoming NBL season. Hutchy is the chair of Melbourne United, where Crocmedia is the majority shareholder with 25% of the Melbourne team. He recommended people listen to the Saturday clash between his team and the Sydney Kings.

Crocmedia’s Sportsday NSW product goes out on stations around NSW with a two-hour program hosted by Scott Sadler and Gary Belcher.

Guests at the Crocmedia NSW Upfront event, held on the new rooftop space at the Old Clare Hotel, included many advertising partners and on-air talent. A special guest was one of Bravo Talent’s first signings around 20 years ago, Jamie Durie. The Seven co-host of the new season of House Rules is enthusiastic about the season that returns soon, telling Mediaweek some are calling it the best ever.

Other guests included busy Fox Sports broadcaster Brenton Speed and The Australian’s cricket writer and beer editor Peter Lalor.

Joining Hutchy from Crocmedia Melbourne were Bravo Talent founder and MD Chris Giannopoulos and Ballpark Entertainment executive director Mandy Henderson.

House-proud readers come to House & Garden for national inspiration

By Claudia Siron

For over a decade, Tanya Buchanan was the editor of popular home-lifestyle magazine, Belle. Making the switch last year to Australian House & Garden as the new editor–in–chief. Once long-time editor Lisa Green left after a restructure in Bauer’s homes category – Buchanan continued to keep the magazine thriving. 

Buchanan spoke to Mediaweek about advertising partnerships, the most relevant content for their female audience, and a special recent section to the magazine featuring motoring content. 

Buchanan said the continued popularity of House & Garden comes from a beautiful mix of Australian designed homes and amazing garden content. “We have an incredible gardens editor Elizabeth Wilson, and we have about 20 pages of green-thumb content in each issue,” said Buchanan. “In terms of homes, House & Garden purely focuses on the great stuff that’s happening in the Australian interior design industry.”

Buchanan said in the last 10 years she’s seen the Australian industry of design aesthetics really come into its own. “I’ve been visiting Milan and other places overseas for years, and we used to go there for inspiration – which we still do, of course, you want to travel and see what’s going on globally – but now the Australians are taking it to the rest of the world, which is fantastic. We have so many stories to tell.

The average reader of House & Garden is female and somewhere between their late 40s to early- mid 50s. Her average household income is a nice A/B income of around $190,000. “Most of our readers are either about to own their home or already do own their home, meaning they’re on their forever home now and they are willing to spend on beautiful art, or a special dining table, because they know they’ll have it forever.

House & Garden magazine’s advertising ratio is usually around 30% advertising, 70% editorial. Buchanan said they’re really lucky that they’re reaching their advertising budgets, but still have really great editorial content. “That balance is good. Print for our clients like King Living, Coco Republic, and so on, it works organically being in this environment. If you see a beautiful image of a room, you want to know where the pieces are from.”

In terms of recent partnerships, Buchanan spoke about the magazine brand’s Top 50 Rooms as their regular annual awards where interior designers enter. “King Living was the lead sponsor on that last year,” said Buchanan. “Another recent partnership was a podcast with CommBank about the sandwich generation, which touches into women who are still working and look after both their kids and their own parents. It was a really interesting collaboration.

In regards to popular content that resonates well with their audience, Buchanan said kitchens and bathrooms are always really important features for them because usually when people start renovating their homes they start in those two rooms and then move onto bigger things. “They’re always great partnerships with our advertisers. We also do renovating stories, but we don’t do it as DIY features like some of the other mags; it’s more showcasing what the renovation looks like afterwards.” 

Buchanan also revealed that decorating is back in a big way and is truly resonating with their readers. “Curtains, wallpaper, different paint colours. It’s all trending again.

House & Garden recently launched a new section about three issues ago called ‘Great House, Great Car’ to organically reveal motoring content into the magazine. “We’re shooting people who have beautiful vintage cars, but also the interior of their house as well. The feature looks really good. Obviously, we’re hoping to not only promote great editorial content but also attract some motoring partners with that. Motoring is often presented in a blokey way, so many women who love classic cars and new cars would really appreciate the new section.

In terms of plans for 2020, Buchanan said she wants to build on what they’re currently doing with the brand. “We’ve got the Top 50 Rooms, so we’ll be making that bigger and better, and it’s such a great partnership.

“We’re also working on a series of creative lunches where we have it in a different space. That’ll involve some sponsors, some talks with creatives whether they’re florists, artists or interior designers, and we’ll have a few tickets that readers can buy. There’s nothing like that personal reader experience, even if it’s on a small scale.”

Buchanan said it’s still a really exciting time in publishing. “It’s pretty inspiring, and I think we’re really lucky to work in this kind of space. Beautiful homes make people happy – no matter what happens during the day, if you can get home to your sanctuary, all is well.

A Little Gumption: LBPR's Lisa Burling says dream it, do it and be it!

By Trent Thomas

Lisa Burling is a prominent name in PR circles after establishing the agency LBPR in 2014 which serves national and international clients out of its homebase in Wollongong. Earlier this year Burling teamed up with New Holland Publishing to re-publish her self published book Dream a Little Dream.

Now titled All it Takes is a little Gumption Burling’s first foray into book writing covers her personal story of a series of tragic events which lead to her starting her own PR company as well as tips and tricks on life and business.

Burling spoke with Mediaweek about her story, new book, and what she has in store for the future.

Being the LB in LBPR, Burling has never been afraid to put her story out there as she closely aligns her personal and business brands. She has been honest and open about the events that left her alone and unemployed with two young children, a story that she admits that she has probably told a million times by now.

After establishing herself in the PR industry in London she found life pulling her back to Australia where she started a family with her high school sweetheart, however after her second son was born premature, 48 hours later her partner told her that he didn’t love her anymore and left her. She then used her experience and contacts in PR to start and grow LBPR and has now turned that experience into a book.

Self-described as her own guinea pig with projects like her video series One Degree with Lisa B and her book, Burling says that this not only helped her scratch a creative itch but also indirectly helped her PR business by growing her own profile.

“People don’t buy from a business they buy from people so by sharing my personal story I found prospective clients had a new respect for who I am and what I do.

“You can talk about being good at PR but when you start using the principles you apply at your business on yourself you actually create a whole new interest in the business and it’s kind of like I’ll have what she’s having.”

Burling says that the two-year process of writing the book was one of the hardest things that she has ever done, including setting up LBPR. With 80% of the content not making the final cut, Burling says she had to balance her personal story with what would work best in the book.

“The book is about telling my story to start, then it is very much about okay, this is what I did and this is how you can apply it to yourself.

“The relationship breakdown for me was a huge failure, and I was scared of failing again so I started dreaming little dreams because I was so sad and down. I wanted to prove I still had it, by chunking down what I wanted to achieve and celebrating the little wins along the way which showed that the life of your dreams can happen so much quicker than you anticipate.”

After self-publishing, her book she had it put in her local Dymocks store which led to it being picked up by New Holland Publishing who changed the title, changed the look and gave her access to a much larger network of people to tell her story to.

“I wanted to self-publish because I felt I couldn’t communicate my vision effectively to a big publisher and I didn’t want them to strip down my vision. So I invested my own money into branding and a book editor to help massage it into something that made sense and leveraged my own contacts to help promote it.

“That led to me putting it into Wollongong Dymocks and a few days later a sales member took it back to the CEO and a week later I had a book contract.”

Off the back of the book, Burling plans to increase her speaking engagements, mentoring, workshops and possibly a few more books but she says her heart is still with LBPR.

“Day-to-day I’m very much still LBPR and I launched it on Valentine’s day seven years ago because I love it. Anything outside of that takes me away a little bit, but I’m never too far away. If I am going to preach gumption then I need to live it because otherwise, I am inauthentic”

You can pre-order Burling’s book here.

First-look teaser revealed for second season of Stan original Bloom

Stan has unveiled the first-look teaser and images of the upcoming second season of the award-winning Stan Original Series Bloom.

The announcement follows Stan’s summer launch of Australia’s biggest ever line-up of originals; including season two of The Other Guy, The Commons, The Gloaming and True History of the Kelly Gang – plus recent announcements, including The Tourist, a co-production between Stan and BBC One.

Stan parent Nine Entertainment this week revealed Stan paying subscribers had surged close to 1.8m with a forecast there could be 2m by the end of the year.

The six-part Stan original series welcomes back its stars from the first season, including two-time Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver, multi award-winning Bryan Brown and international star Phoebe Tonkin.

Joining the cast for season two is a mix of rising stars and Australian screen legends including Jacqueline McKenzie (Stan Original Series Romper Stomper), Gary Sweet (House Husbands), Bella Heathcote (Strange Angel), Toby Schmitz (Black Sails), Jackson Heywood (Home and Away) and Ed Oxenbould (Puberty Blues) – plus series one favourites Genevieve Morris (Stan Original Series No Activity), John Stanton (The Doctor Blake Mysteries) and Anne Charleston (Neighbours).

In the first season of Bloom, the residents of a small, country town, Mullan, were left reeling after an inexplicable “fountain of youth” appeared in the wake of a devastating flood. A mysterious plant with luminous berries offered a second chance to return to your prime, which proved miraculous for some, while others were corrupted and fought to possess it.

In season two, time has passed, and news of the miracle has spread, but this time around the plant itself has transformed and the experience and its side effects are far more severe. With the town’s secret having leaked, Anne Carter (Jacqueline McKenzie) – the former CEO of a biotech company – arrives in Mullan with her young daughter and her friend’s teenage son, Luke (Ed Oxenbould), for a tree-change.  But it’s only her cover story.  John Melvin (Toby Schmitz), the troubled new priest is trying hard to rally faith and is desperate for a miracle from God.  While beloved former actress, Gwen Reed (Jacki Weaver/Phoebe Tonkin), has cheated death once again, but at what cost?  As news of a “second generation” plant emerges, a battle between nature, science and faith erupts.

The first-look teaser reveals the return of Gwendolyn Reed, and also features the ARIA award-winning artist Tones & I with her cover of the hit Forever Young.

Stan Original Series Bloom was created by Glen Dolman and produced by Sue Seeary.

Bloom is produced by Sony Pictures Television’s production company Playmaker for Stan. Major production investment from Stan in association with Screen Australia. Financed with support from Film Victoria.


Spotify Australian podcast originals includes Beetoota Advocate

Spotify has revealed plans for podcasts in Australia, unveiling a slate of original and exclusive content, as well as the return of Spotify Sound Up for 2020.

• Spotify Original – Search Engine Sex: A sex and relationship podcast that is on a mission to answer the most searched sex questions on the internet, hosted by Sound Up alumni Rowdie Walden.

• Spotify Exclusive – Generation Betoota: From satirical news website, The Betoota Advocate, comes a weekly youth news podcast featuring stories young people care about, using the hip language they’re fluent in.

• Spotify Exclusive – Vice Extremes Season 2: The stories of people who have lived through the far ends of human experience, with each episode featuring one story from one person, retold and unpacked with guidance by host Julian Morgans.

• Spotify Sound Up 2020: Applications now open for Spotify’s accelerator program, dedicated to lifting up and amplifying the voices of  the First Nations community in Australia.

In just under two years, Spotify has become the second largest platform for podcasts worldwide and is now investing in growing the opportunities in Australia.

The Australian market is experiencing steady growth, with 22% of the Australian population listening to a podcast each month in 2019, compared to 18% in 2018 and 17% in 2017. The number of weekly Australian podcast listeners has increased by 50% over the last three years, with 48% of podcast listeners in Australia also tuning into the radio each week, creating an immediate opportunity for new content.

Spotify reports Australians listened to 11.06 hours of online audio per week in 2019, up by over an hour since 2018, with podcasts becoming an increasingly important part of the online audio experience. The number of Spotify users streaming podcasts has also increased by over 11% in the last year alone.

Cecila Qvist, Spotify’s global head of markets said: “Our goal is to become the number one audio platform in the world, providing the best in audio content, customised, and accessible on-demand everywhere. The role our global markets play in this expansion is pivotal and we look forward to making many more announcements in this space.”

The announcement follows the recent launch of Spotify’s news and music playlist, Your Daily Drive. The feature gives listeners a seamless listening experience – combining the very best of news talk shows, including the relevancy and personality of the hosts, with the best of audio streaming (on demand, personalised playing and discovery).

Mercado on TV: Miss Fisher the latest TV star on the big screen

By Andrew Mercado

Miss Fisher and The Crypt Of Tears is now in cinemas, and it becomes the 11th Australian TV series to be turned into a big-screen movie (after Skippy, Bellbird, Number 96, The Box, Police Rescue, The Crocodile Hunter, The Wiggles, Pizza, Kath and Kim, and Housos).

The first one flopped big time, because Skippy and The Intruders (1969) was set in Mallacoota and was about underwater divers (Rule number one: never stray too far away from your original concept). When the ABC refused to turn Bellbird into a film, former cast members made their own called Country Town (1971) and with a budget of just $70,000, it did pretty good business in regional areas (Rule number two: know who your audience is).

Miss Fisher knows exactly who her audience is, because they helped crowd fund this movie. On its opening day, the first session I went to was packed and the crowd, all of a certain age, giggled with delight throughout. Never mind that the entire supporting cast were left behind in Melbourne, because there was still a mystery to be solved and a romance to be had.

We have come a long way since Are You Being Served (1977) was filmed entirely in a UK soundstage, despite being the movie being set in Spain’s Costa Plonka. Now we have The Inbetweeners 2 (2014) filming at the Gold Coast and Byron Bay, while Kath and Kimderella (2012) based themselves in Positano, Italy.

Miss Fisher filmed on location in Morocco and Melbourne, and the result is the Arabian Knights crossed with a downmarket Downton Abbey. It cost $8 million to make, meaning her international fanbase is key to its success (Rule number three: If you want to make a profit, give them something they can’t see on TV).

That final rule is open to interpretation. The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (2002) repeated the same schtick from their TV series, threw in a woeful subplot, and somehow made $33 million at the box office on a budget of $12 million. At the other end of the budget scale though, Number 96 (1974) cost only $100,000 and made over $5 million, while Fat Pizza (2003) cost $400,000 but went on to make $7 million.

Miss Fisher doesn’t offer full frontal nudity or fast cars, but it does have exotic locations and multiple costume changes. Whether that will be enough for a sequel and trilogy, is up to the audience paying hard cash for something nonsensical they can see for free at home.

TV ratings: Thursday Week 9 2020

By James Manning

• Gogglebox returns a timeslot winner and as #1 non-news
• No doggy disaster: Pooch Perfect wins timeslot, Seven wins night

Seven has managed to win its first night of week 9 and push its primary share close to 20%. Seven also had the biggest combined channel share. Driving the Seven result and helping lift share week-on-week and in the timeslot was the launch of Pooch Perfect. The show received a mixed reception from critics. Host Rebel Wilson said at the start of the episode “at last a show about dog grooming” and many of the potential audience agreed. The episode did 624,000 to win its timeslot. It outperformed any episodes of My Kitchen Rules this week, although the Pooches weren’t competing against MAFS.

Earlier on Seven, Home and Away ended its week on 635,000.

With no MAFS in the schedule, Nine’s Thursday can’t match the performance for the rest of the week.

A Current Affair dipped under 600,000 at 7pm.

An hour of RBT then did 411,000, with the Thursday movie Equalizer on 254,000.

The return of Gogglebox gave 10 its best primary share since mid-January. The show ranked #1 in key demos last night, won its timeslot and was #1 non-news on Thursday.

Earlier in the night The Project dipped below 400,000 after 7pm.

At 7.30pm Ambulance Australia was on 412,000 after 463,000 a week ago.

The ABC’s best after News and 7.30was a QI repeat on 233,000. Doctor Who did 221,000 at 8pm as the channel’s share dipped into single figures for the third time this month. Two of those nights were Thursdays.

On SBS Britain’s Most Historic Towns saw host Alice Robert spoking about Tudor Norwich with 206,000 watching.

A repeat of Secrets of Selfridges then did 207,000.

Week 9 TV: Thursday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 9.9% 7 19.0% 9 17.7% 10  15.0% SBS One 5.1%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.6% 7TWO 3.8% GO! 2.8% 10 Bold 3.7% VICELAND 1.3%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 3.5% GEM 3.9% 10 Peach 2.8% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 2.2% 7flix 1.9% 9Life 2.4%     NITV 0.1%
                SBS World Movies 0.7%
TOTAL 15.3%   28.2%   26.7%   21.5%   8.3%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 8.1% 7 17.6% 9 16.8% WIN 14.6% SBS One 4.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.4% 7TWO 6.0% GO! 3.9% WIN Bold 3.6% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 1.2% 7mate 4.4% GEM 4.4% WIN Peach 2.0% Food Net 0.7%
ABC NEWS 2.0% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.5% 9Life 2.3% Sky News  on WIN 1.6% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 0.6%
TOTAL 13.7%   30.4%   27.3%   21.7%   6.9%


85.0% 15.0%
  1. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 852,000
  2. Seven News Seven 831,000
  3. Nine News Nine 756,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 750,000
  5. Gogglebox 10 685,000
  6. ABC News ABC 683,000
  7. Home And Away Seven 635,000
  8. Rebel Wilson’s Pooch Perfect Seven 624,000
  9. A Current Affair Nine 591,000
  10. 7.30 ABC 528,000
  11. The Chase Australia Seven 496,000
  12. Ambulance Australia 10 412,000
  13. RBT Nine 411,000
  14. Hot Seat Nine 394,000
  15. The Project 7pm 10 371,000
  16. 10 News First 10 328,000
  17. The Chase Australia 5pm Seven 316,000
  18. Sunrise Seven 259,000
  19. The Equalizer Nine 254,000
  20. Hot Seat 5pm Nine 249,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. Gogglebox 10 190,000
  2. Home And Away Seven 120,000
  3. Rebel Wilson’s Pooch Perfect Seven 107,000
  4. Ambulance Australia 10 100,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 93,000


18 – 49

  1. Gogglebox 10 322,000
  2. Rebel Wilson’s Pooch Perfect Seven 210,000
  3. Home And Away Seven 192,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 169,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 162,000


25 – 54

  1. Gogglebox 10 346,000
  2. Rebel Wilson’s Pooch Perfect Seven 248,000
  3. Home And Away Seven 233,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 211,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 206,000
THURSDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 165,000
  2. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 155,000
  3. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 153,000
  4. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 149,000
  5. Dot. PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  6. Floogals AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  7. Go Jetters PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 129,000
  8. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 129,000
  9. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  10. Play School Art Time PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  11. Waffle The Wonder Dog PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  12. ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 Aus V Ban9Gem 124,000
  13. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 122,000
  14. Neighbours 10 Peach 121,000
  15. PJ Masks AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  16. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  17. Olobob Top PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  18. Father Brown PM 7TWO 112,000
  19. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 112,000
  20. Fireman Sam PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 112,000
  1. Live: ICC Women’s T20 Innings Break FOX CRICKET 112,000
  2. Live: ICC WT20 World Cup: Aus V Ban FOX CRICKET 84,000
  3. Live: ICC Women’s T20 Post Game FOX CRICKET 80,000
  4. Live: ICC WT20 World Cup: Aus V Ban FOX CRICKET 80,000
  5. Outback Opal Hunters Discovery Channel 71,000
  6. Live: Marsh Series: Wc V Ess FOX FOOTY 70,000
  7. Gold Rush Discovery Channel52,000
  8. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 42,000
  9. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 41,000
  10. Credlin Sky News Live 40,000
  11. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 38,000
  12. Family Guy FOX8 34,000
  13. T20: Rsa V Aus Game 3 FOX CRICKET 34,000
  14. Family Guy FOX8 33,000
  15. Undercover Billionaire Discovery Channel 32,000
  16. American Dad! FOX8 32,000
  17. The Simpsons FOX8 32,000
  18. Chicago Fire FOX One 31,000
  19. The Simpsons FOX8 31,000
  20. American Dad! FOX8 31,000

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

SPA disappointed at FTA threats halting children’s TV production

Screen Producers Australia (SPA) CEO Matthew Deaner has shared his dismay at Seven West Media’s statements that it will halt production on children’s content from next year:

“Children’s content plays a critical role in the production and viewing ecosystem,” said Deaner.

“Australian parents have a right to freely access quality Australian content specifically designed for the needs of their children across trusted brands such as Seven, Nine and 10. A move by any of these broadcasters to try and evade their obligations or pressure Government and the broader industry is disappointing.”

Addressing the commercial free-to-air broadcasters’ concerns about lower audiences for children’s content, Deaner added:

“In an age of abundance where so much content is available to everyone, everywhere, first run broadcast numbers for all types of content are in decline. However, well made and well marketed children’s content in particular has a lengthy currency with strong second and third run repeat audiences and alternate and online platforms, not to mention international sales in hundreds of foreign territories. A thoughtless removal of quotas would act as a reward to what has been a steady decline in investments, promotion and marketing of quality Australian children’s content and destroy so much of the ecology of the sector.”

Screen Australia announces new 18-member gender matters taskforce

Screen Australia has announced the 18 members of the new iteration of the Gender Matters Taskforce. The Taskforce will provide independent advice to the agency and work beyond Screen Australia’s direct sphere of influence to deliver outcomes for female creatives and assist in the broader industry efforts to achieve gender parity.

Formed in 2016 and updated in 2018, the Gender Matters Taskforce is a volunteer-based advisory body for Screen Australia made up of women working across the Australian screen sector. This will be the third iteration of the Taskforce and returning members include Joanna Werner, Deanne Weir and Lisa French.

Screen Australia Board member, returning chair of the Gender Matters Taskforce and acclaimed producer Joanna Werner said, “These 18 brilliant women represent a cross section of the screen sector and come from varying backgrounds with a range of expertise locally and internationally. This Taskforce will be integral in helping to shape Screen Australia’s next steps as well as promoting the broader industry systemic change that is needed.

“Whilst Screen Australia’s Gender Matters work has been important, the agency represents only a fraction of the $3 billion local screen industry. As the new Gender Matters Taskforce, we will be seeking to leverage our own expertise and connections to agitate for change in our individual areas of speciality, particularly in areas Screen Australia cannot reach.

“I really look forward to working with the new Taskforce to find targeted and achievable solutions to ensure we continue to make improvements to our industry and do our part to empower female creatives.”

The new Taskforce will meet three to four times a year with the first meeting scheduled to take place next month.

Taskforce members:

Sarah Bassiuoni: Bassiuoni is a Sydney-based writer and director.

Tania Chambers: Chambers is a producer and Manager Director of Feisty Dame Productions.

Liz Doran: Doran is an internationally acclaimed writer and producer.

Anusha Duray: Duray is the Acquisitions Manager for National Indigenous Television (NITV), as well as a skilled producer.

Bonnie Elliott: Elliott is an award-winning cinematographer who works across drama, documentary and video art.

Lisa French: French is the Dean of RMIT University’s School of Media and Communication.

Rachel Griffiths: One of Australia’s most prolific industry professionals across a range of mediums, Griffiths is an Academy Award-nominated and multi award-winning actress.

Monique Keller: Keller is Manager, Original Content for Audible with a focus on commissioning factual and scripted podcasts, and theatre.

Rosie Lourde: Lourde is a content creator traversing roles, formats and genres.

Kristy Matheson: Matheson has worked extensively in independent distribution and film festivals.

Que Minh Luu: Luu is an executive producer working across scripted drama, comedy and digital content at the ABC.

Meg O’Connell: O’Connell is the AACTA Award-winning producer behind the critically acclaimed online series Robbie Hoodfrom Since1788 Productions and Ludo Studio.

Rachel Okine: Okine is an international acquisitions, financing strategy and story development specialist who currently works as the Managing Director of Aquarius Films.

Fiona Tuomy: Tuomy is an award-winning screenwriter, director, producer and developer working across storytelling genres and platforms.

Deanne Weir (Deputy Chair): A former media lawyer and executive turned producer, investor and company director, her company invests in entrepreneurs and storytellers to help them change the world.

Joanna Werner (Chair): Werner has over 20 years’ experience in the film and television industry, she has produced over 94 hours and 173 episodes of television and a feature film, all of which have sold extensively around the world.

Malinda Wink: Wink is the Global Director for Good Pitch at Doc Society.

Sophia Zachariou: Zachariou is the CEO of Bunya Productions.

Rachel Griffiths, Liz Doran and Que Minh Luu

First reported case of coronavirus to impact TV industry

Denmark reported its first coronavirus case on Thursday, a man working in the media sector who had returned from a skiing holiday in northern Italy which has become a hotspot for the disease, reports The Local.

“The man who came back from a skiing trip with his wife and son on February 24th has been suffering since then from a cough and a temperature,” the Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen, DHA) said in a statement.

“The man tested positive, but the results of his wife and son are negative,” it said.

The first Danish person to have been infected is an employee of the broadcaster TV2, who had been on holiday in the Sondrio region in northern Italy, the area of Europe which has seen the highest number of cases.

In a Facebook post, the man, Jakob Tage Ramlyng, wrote that he and his family were “deeply shocked” that “what we thought was highly unlikely is now reality for us”. He acknowledged his post would be cited by media.

Colleagues of Ramlyng at TV2 may now be contacted by health authorities and some may be placed in quarantine at their homes.

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News Brands

Brendan Donohoe latest to pull plug at Seven News Melbourne

Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton was happy to advertise he had shaved $20 million in costs from studios around the country at the broadcaster’s half-year results, reports Nine publishing’s CBD columnists Samantha Hutchinson and Kylar Loussikian.

But it’s hard to imagine that a stream of high-profile resignations in quick succession from the network’s Docklands studio was part of the plan.

Seven’s state political reporter Brendan Donohoe handed in his notice on Thursday morning, ending a near-30-year stint inside the network. The well-regarded broadcaster, who is married to long-time Age sports columnist Caroline Wilson, has been a mainstay at the network and on Spring Street since starting in April 1990.

The veteran did not return calls on Thursday, or respond to questions whether the decision had been prompted by a change of direction by new news director Shaun Menegola. But it’s worth noting Menegola has a packed schedule on the recruitment front in the coming week given the newsroom has lost several senior staff members in the past two months.

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Poppy Jennings exploring her options against Channel 9 over MAFS

Married at First Sight bride Poppy Jennings is exploring her options against Channel 9 and production company Endemol Shine amid claims Nine producers ignored her feelings about being uncomfortable around her on-screen ‘husband’, reports News Corp’s Mibenge Nsenduluka.

“This is going further,” the Wollongong mother-of-two said at the United Cinemas Opera Quays opening night this week.

Last week, viewers were left frustrated when Jennings, 38, dumped Melbourne FIFO worker Luke Eglin, 39, which left him in tears. However, she claims the footage was heavily edited and out of context.

When asked why she didn’t speak up further at the time, Jennings said MAFS producers reminded of her airtight contract.

“I’m just a little person, why the hell would I speak up?” she said.

“Would you like to go up against Goliath? I’ve always probably been more of a David than anyone thought I was. It never sat well with me in my gut to remain silent.”

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TV watchdog hit with complaints over shocking new lows on MAFS

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has received three complaints about the new season of Married at First Sight, reports News Corp’s Nui To Koha.

The complaints to ACMA come as MAFS sinks to new lows, including a disgusting toothbrush incident, claims producers are manipulating drama behind the scenes, and growing questions about the matchmaking skills of the show’s so-called experts.

An ACMA spokesman said the authority had received three complaints about the latest season of MAFS.

“Under the co-regulatory system, the ACMA will refer complainants to the broadcaster in the first instance.

“If the complainant does not receive a response from the broadcaster within 60 days, or is not satisfied with the response, they may refer their complaint to the ACMA.”

Since the show began in 2015, only three out of 48 couples are still together, and the experts’ low success rate has prompted claims of deliberate mismatching for ratings.

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Young and the Restless & Bold and the Beautiful co-creator dies at 91

Lee Phillip Bell, the co-creator of the iconic and long-running daytime dramas The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, has died at the age of 91, reports News Corp.

No cause of death was released but her death was confirmed by her children.

“Our mother was a loving and supportive wife, mother and grandmother,” read a statement from her five kids.

“Gracious and kind, she enriched the lives of all who knew her. We will miss her tremendously.”

Along with her husband, William Bell, Lee Phillip Bell was a TV powerhouse.

Together, she and her husband created the soap opera The Young and the Restless and, in 1987, the pair created the spin-off The Bold and the Beautiful.

The Bell family’s daytime drama success wasn’t limited solely off-camera. Bell’s daughter Lauralee Bell, 51, has portrayed recurring character Christine Blair on The Young and the Restless since 1983.

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Sports Media

NRL wants to work with broadcasters to reshape rugby league

National Rugby League chief executive Todd Greenberg says the sporting body will work with broadcasters to make changes to how the sport and competition run in order to maximise value for their biggest revenue partners and keep the entertainment value of the game going into the next round of rights negotiations, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

With free-to-air and subscription television revenue under continued pressure, Greenberg said the NRL will examine how potential changes, special events – like the recently introduced Magic Round, and even whether a State of Origin match could be played overseas, could affect the next broadcast deal.

Greenberg’s comments came as the NRL reported a $30.1 million surplus for its 2019 financial year, which finishes at the end of October. Broadcast revenue was $324.6 million in 2019, while non-broadcast revenue grew by $25.1 million to $203.9 million, lifted by major events, such as Magic Round in Brisbane, where a full round of the NRL season was packed into three days at Suncorp Stadium.

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Peter V’landys holds talks with streaming giants over NRL content

ARL Commission chair Peter V’landys will host club bosses on Friday morning at Rugby League Central with a bad case of jetlag but a much greater understanding of the broadcasting landscape after a rapid-fire trip to the west coast of America, where he held talks with broadcast bosses and some of the world’s biggest streaming services, reports The Australian’s Brent Read.

It is understood V’landys and NRL commercial manager Andrew Abdo travelled to San Francisco and Los Angeles, where they met executives from streaming giants Amazon Prime, Facebook and Google.

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V'landys' secret Murdoch meeting as Greenberg future grows murky

Rugby league executives have been clocking up the frequent flyer points in the past two weeks, jetting from one side of the world to the other, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Webster.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg was in the UK last week for the Roosters’ successful World Club Challenge campaign, while ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys and chief commercial officer Andrew Abdo were in the US this week.

V’landys refused to comment on the secret trip with Abdo when this column contacted him, but it can be revealed he met with Fox Corp executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch in Los Angeles.

He and Abdo then headed to San Francisco where they met with the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon – presumably about the looming broadcast negotiations when such streaming services will be used by the NRL as leverage for a fatter deal.

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Foxtel on probable rugby union exit: ‘No hard feelings’

Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany has signalled a willingness of the subscription broadcaster to go without rugby union rights on Fox Sports and sports streamer Kayo pointing to the changing nature of consumer demand, but says he has “no hard feelings” toward Rugby Australia, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

In his first public comments since Fox Sports walked away from negotiations with Rugby Australia for a new rights deal, Delany told The Australian he wouldn’t be making running commentary on the “live bid” but pointed out RA’s last two rights bids had gone to market and the two parties “know where each other stand”.

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