Thursday February 6, 2020

Podcast Week

By James Manning

• Katie Williams, 10 Speaks, Cathrine Mahoney, Kristen Larsen

How Better For It stands out from the crowd

Good advice alone is possibly not enough in the crowded health and fitness podcast space. The podcaster needs an angle, something fresh to give the potential audience. On this measure Katie Williams has delivered big time since partnering with PodcastOne.

On her new podcast Better For It, the former champion beach sprinter and Surf Life Saving’s Australian Athlete of the Year, Williams offers her audience some real life experiences.

Explained the podcast format to Mediaweek, Williams said: “I take on a different challenge every two weeks. So far I have quit sugar, quit alcohol, undertaken 40 minutes of meditation a day, done fasting and had a plant based diet.

Throughout each two week period Williams also films the whole experience and tracks the results with input from an expert in the different fields.

“The podcast measures my mental, physical and social health for each challenge. The point of the podcast is to inspire people to question their habits and to help them make positive changes in their life. Along the way I put my body on the line, revealing to listeners just how I have fared during the challenge.”

TV watchers might remember Williams as a contestant on season one of Nine’s Australian Ninja Warrior, but maybe perhaps more for Nine’s use of Williams in its marketing, rather than for her performance! “I got knocked out pretty early. It was quite disappointing because I trained very hard for it. The unforgiving course just got me on the day. I often mention on my social media that if I can fail in front on 2.5m people on TV I can do anything. I am certainly not afraid to fail.

She has worked hard to build a dedicated audience across several platforms. When asked if she’s happy with the term influencer, Williams replied: “I’d rather be called ‘influential’. I treat my audience like a big family.”

With each audio podcast, Williams also posts on her social media channels a short Vlog with video highlights.

Two questions Williams answers at the end of each episode are: 1. Is two weeks long enough for this challenge to have been successful? and 2. Will I continue this long term? No spoilers here – you will have to listen.

“I have now built up a community of listeners who are doing these challenges with me.” A forthcoming challenge will be giving up coffee, something she admitted to being “heavily addicted to”.

Listen to Better For It here.

10 Speaks has accompanying podcasts for major shows

Network 10’s newish podcast platform 10 Speaks is accompanying some of the broadcaster’s biggest formats this year with accompanying podcasts. One early success this year has been The Reality Bite: Jungle Nights where 2020 contestant and radio broadcaster Tanya Hennessy interviewed fellow contestants.

10 reported this year jungle fever was rife on social media, with the TV season achieving its highest ever interactions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Total interactions lifted 23% year-on-year to 1.24m interactions overall.

Meanwhile the 10 Speaks podcast, The Reality Bite: Jungle Nights, achieved the highest number of listens within its first 24 hours out of all 10 Speaks podcasts.

10 is now hoping to replicate that success during the season of Australian Survivor: All Stars where James Mathison and Survivor Australia legend Luke Toki discuss each week’s highlights.

Listen to Jungle Nights and Talking Tribal here.

Getting maximum Cathrine Mahoney

We couldn’t wait until the Podcast Week column this week to reveal details about the new podcast from former Sony, Nine and Nova PR executive Cathrine Mahoney.

Read the story here we posted on Tuesday about her podcast So, I Quit My Day Job and her partnership with

The podcast has particular appeal to many who sometimes daydream about quitting their day job!

Mahoney has something of a following after being quite successful in her new career already.

If you are new to the podcast and want to get more head to where there are links to many columns she has written for Mamamia, 9Honey and more recently Kidspot and Whimn.

There are also links to an early podcast series Mahoney did with Acast called I’ll Show You Mine.

The first episode of her new podcast So, I Quit My Day Job features Tash Sefton.

Listen to So, I Quit My Day Job here.

Kristen Larsen’s legacy: The incredible Ovarshare podcast

Passing away from advanced Ovarian cancer on 9 December 2019, cancer did not beat Kristen Larsen, she beat cancer by living an incredible life.

Larsen believed that death was not a reflection of losing a battle or a fight, in fact she despised that terminology.

Her final advocacy project was to create the Ovarshare podcast with Nova Entertainment, a powerful and inspiring series to share her story, and featuring people whose stories or spirit will touch the hearts of those that listen, which launched this week.

The honest and sometimes heart-wrenching six-episode series shares the stories of survivors, of those who passed and their families and friends. Larsen also talks to some of the medical professionals and charity sectors to gain insight into all aspects of ovarian cancer from the symptoms to dealing with a diagnosis and raising awareness and funding for research.

At 21 Larsen’s life changed forever when she was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. Over six years, she showed incredible courage and determination, and continued to hold hope and dream big to make a difference for women like her. Campaigning to raise awareness of the disease and funds for research, Larsen shared her story across Australia, UK, Canada and USA, was the face of many campaigns and fundraisers and successfully campaigned to secure millions of federal dollars. In 2018 Larsen was named a finalist in the Queensland Young Australian of the Year Awards for building awareness of the illness and the need for more research and clinical trial.

Elsa Larsen said of her sister Kristen, “Her smile so genuine, her laugh so full of joy, Kristen continued to dream big for her Teal sisters, wise beyond her years, Kristen’s story will live on, will continue to impact and inspire us.”

February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Listen to episodes of Ovarshare here.

Today’s Allison Langdon on her breakfast challenge and journalists who inspire

By Claudia Siron

It’s been an emotional first month of the new decade with the raging bushfire crisis, the ongoing drought, and the gruesome coronavirus. January is usually a tough month for journalists with not much happening and everyone away on holidays, but with all of the current tragedies it’s been a busy time for Allison Langdon in her new role as co-host on Nine‘s Today show.

Langdon shared with Mediaweek what attracted her to the role, her relationship with Karl Stefanovic, and what she hopes to bring audiences when they tune in at brekkie time. 

For Langdon, the appeal of Today was a new challenge. After being on 60 Minutes for nearly a decade now, Langdon said it’s been the most extraordinary job and that she’s absolutely loved it. “I have two young kids now – a three-year-old and a 10-month-old – and the travel aspect becomes really tricky,” said Langdon. “It becomes a real juggle and you get to a point where you realise you’re compromising too much, so Today was a great opportunity and I was really excited.”

When we asked if Langdon was planning to continue reporting for Nine’s 60 Minutes program like Stefanovic has in the past, she explained there is a lot that she wants to achieve and she wants her entire focus to be on the Today show. “It doesn’t mean from time to time I won’t pick up the odd 60 Minutes story, but for me I’m feeling like that was then and this is now and it has my whole focus. It’s an exciting opportunity and it’s nice to have weekends now as family time.”

Langdon has known Stefanovic for around 15 years. “It’s been a really long time,” said Langdon. “We’ve been doing different jobs for the last couple of years and we haven’t seen a lot of each other, but whenever we do we always have a great catch up.

“I’ve known him forever, so I’m comfortable to pull up a chair beside him as we already have that familiarity and I hope that’s coming across to the audience – there’s a genuine rapport there. I know when to back off when Karl is on a roll with something – and vice versa – and I really love how we’ve worked that out about each other very early on.”

Langdon commented on how they’ve been really respectful and letting that other person shine and be brilliant. “I don’t think you can fake that genuine affection and respect for another person for three and a half hours every morning for five days a week. You’ve got to be a pretty good actor,” she laughed.

We agree, and we also disagree on a lot of things, but I like that. Between all four of us sitting at the desk, I love how we have authentic debates but how it’s still really respectful.

Langdon said she understands how chaotic households can be in the morning.“I think about what we’re doing in the mornings; getting the kids ready, feeding them breakfast and trying to get them out the door for school. I think our role is to be familiar faces in the background bringing the news and laughs, so that when you go off to work you feel good about the day ahead.”

Langdon shared with Mediaweek some of the female journalists she’s looked up to. Christiane Amanpour is someone she’s always admired, as a female journalist interviewing male presidents in countries where it’s very difficult for a woman to be taken seriously. “We’ve seen her break through the glass ceiling.

Liz Hayes and Tara Brown are some of the most extraordinary women I’ve worked with. I remember when I first started on 60 Minutes and they both took me aside and said if I wanted any help or wanted to bounce ideas off someone, to give them a call.”

Langdon has always admired strong, brilliant female journalists who have helped those coming up the racks. “It’s so important in our industry to be supportive of each other and pass on skill sets, and I’ve learned that from amazing women and I’m very focused on giving back in that sense too. It’s not even a female thing – we should all give each other a boost, and it’s honestly really rewarding.”

Short list announced for the 2020 APRA song of the year

A cracking list of 25 songs have today been announced as the short list contenders for the 2020 Peer-Voted APRA Song of the Year. 

In what remains the largest peer-voted music award in Australia, the list represents the songs chosen by APRA members as the finest of 2019.  One of these songs will take home the Peer-Voted APRA Song of the Year as the APRA Music Awards return for the 38th time to celebrate the songwriters and music publishers that have excelled in the past year.

The final five nominees across all 2020 APRA Music Awards categories will be revealed in March and the winners announced when the awards ceremony returns to the International Convention Centre Grand Ballroom in Sydney’s Darling Harbour on Tuesday 28 April. 
Making back to back appearances on the short list is national songwriting treasure Paul Kelly along with The Teskey Brothers, Angie McMahon, Ainslie Wills, Sarah Aarons, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and Kaiit. 
There are also several newcomers to the list. Making her very first appearance is Toni Watson (Tones and I) for her global sensation Dance Monkey. Songwriters Grace Shaw (pka Mallrat), Jessica Mauboy, Paul Dempsey, Sampa Tembo (pka Sampa the Great), Thelma Plum, Mark Lizotte (pka Diesel)Alasdair Murray (pka Illy), Alejandro Abapo, Leroy Clampitt, Vincent Goodyer, Luke Hemmings and Ashton Irwin from 5 Seconds of Summer, Melbourne act Underground Lovers and members of Tropical Fuck Storm have all scored a place on the short list for the first time.
Watch this space for more news on the 2020 APRA Music Awards and the Peer-Voted APRA Song of the Year

ARROWS – [MISSY HIGGINS] – Missy Higgins
BETTER IN BLAK – [THELMA PLUM] – Thelma Plum / Alexander Burnett / Oliver Horton
BY THE SCARS – [DIESEL] – Mark Lizotte
CHARLIE – [ MALLRAT] – Grace Shaw / Leroy Clampitt
CHOIR – [GUY SEBASTIAN] – Guy Sebastian / Trevor Brown / William Simmons
EXIT SIGN (FT ILLY AND ECCA VANDAL) – [HILLTOP HOODS] – Barry Francis (DJ Debris) / Daniel Smith (MC Pressure)/ Matthew Lambert (Suffa)/ Sarah Aarons / Andrew Burford / Alasdair Murray (Illy)
FEAR OF MISSING OUT – [AINSLIE WILLS] – Ainslie Wills / Paul Dempsey / Lawrence Folvig / Arron Light
FINAL FORM – [SAMPA THE GREAT] – Sampa Tembo / Alejandro Abapo / Leon Sylvers
GOOD LORD – [BIRDS OF TOKYO] – Ian Berney / Ian Kenny / Glenn Sarangapany / Adam Spark / Adam Weston
I GET UP – [THE TESKEY BROTHERS] – Josh Teskey / Sam Teskey / Liam Gough / Brendon Love
LITTLE THINGS – [JESSICA MAUBOY] – Jessica Mauboy / Antonio Egizii / Chiara Hunter / David Musumeci
MISS SHINEY – [KAIIT] – Kaiit Waup / Vincent Goodyer / Nicholas Martin
OLD MAN – [STELLA DONNELLY] – Stella Donnelly
PARADISE – [TROPICAL FUCK STORM] – Erica Dunn / Gareth Liddiard / Fiona Kitchin / Lauren Hammel
RUSHING BACK – [FLUME FT VERA BLUE] – Harley Streten / Celia Pavey / Sophie Cates / Eric Dubowsky
SELF-IMMOLATE – [KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD] – Stuart MacKenzie / Michael Cavanagh / Joseph Walker
SEVEN DAY WEEKEND – [UNDERGROUND LOVERS] – Richard Andrew / Maurice Argiro / Glenn Bennie / Vincent Giarrusso / Phillipa Nihill
TEETH – [5 SECONDS OF SUMMER] – Luke Hemmings / Ashton Irwin / Louis Bell / Gillian Gilbert / Peter Hook / Stephen Morris / Evan Rogers / Carl Sturken / Bernard Sumner / Ali Tamposi / Ryan Tedder / Andrew Watt
ZERO GRAVITY – [KATE MILLER-HEIDKE] – Kate Miller-Heidke / Julian Hamilton / Keir Nuttal

Podcast Ranker Chart: Howie back in top 10, Katie highest new entry

Some of the people featured recently in Mediaweek’s Podcast Week column have seen their podcasts ranking well across the Christmas/New Year period.

The latest top 100 chart of original and radio show podcasts is not strictly a January chart – it covers the period December 23 to January 19.

PodcastOne’s Hamish & Andy continues to lead the chart despite no new episodes since November last year.

The Howie Games has jumped 12 spots and back into the top 10 at #3.

Also finding a top 10 home thanks to summer sports is the Fox Sports Audio Bulletin which climbed 20 places to #9.

The highest original podcast new entry on the Podcast Ranker this month belongs to Katie Williams who Mediaweek interviews today in Podcast Week. Her Better For It podcast debuts at #57.

Returning to the Podcast Ranked 100 this month are other PodcastOne series Adam Shand at Large (#76), Global Truths with Dr Keith Suter (#82), Gary Mehigan’s A Plate To Call Home (#84) and Birth, Baby & Beyond (#92).

Wil Anderson’s 2 Guys 1 Cup AFL podcast with Charlie Clausen is also new at #83 despite only dropping one episode (on January 10) since the AFL Grand Final. Anderson and Clausen also moved higher with TOFOP lifting from #40 to #30. Meanwhile Anderson’s third podcast on the Whooshkaa platform, Wilosophey, lifted higher in the top 10 to #7.

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MAFS recap & ratings: Haley & David and Vanessa & Chris taking chances

The third episode of Nine‘s Married at First Sight featured the marriages of Hayley and David, and Vanessa and Chris.

The 32-year-old finance broker, Hayley, is probably one of the loudest personalities we’ve seen so far in MAFS history. She’s a recovering drug addict who found light at the end of the tunnel with health and fitness and is ready for a chance at love.

The relationship experts wanted to find someone who could cut through her toughness to find the softness, and so they matched her with 31-year-old combat sportsman, David. 

David loves his parents and he’s aware they ‘still live in the 1950s’ and believe the experiment ‘ruins the sanctity of marriage’. Let’s just say they were definitely unimpressed when they saw Hayley arriving at the ceremony, and even less impressed at the reception when she began to rap for everyone and shouted: “dad, get your f***ing kiss on!”

David revealed to producers that he is having a ball with his new wife and there is definitely strong sexual chemistry.

Australia also got to meet 31-year-old pharmacy manager, Vanessa, last night. She made it clear that she has damaged self-esteem due to her long struggle with disfiguring acne. 

The experts wanted to find her with a man who can build her up – and so they matched her with Chris.

The 37-year-old youth worker from Adelaide is a dad with two boys, and said he’s looking for someone to share his life with.

The wedding was awkward, from ceremony to car ride home. Chris made a joke in his vows that Vanessa didn’t quite catch on, and he gave her the world’s shortest kiss – more like peck – when it was time to kiss the bride. I remember kindergarten marriages in the playground that were less awkward than their wedding.

At the reception, Chris revealed to Vanessa that she’s not usually the type of woman he goes for – not the best thing to hear on your wedding day, especially when you already have such low confidence. They went outside for chat towards the end of the wedding and Vanessa was hoping that she would receive some sort of reassurance from Chris on whether or not he’s attracted to her. Instead, Chris dropped the bombshell that he’s a father. Vanessa was not expecting that, but she took the news like a champ. They did sleep in separate beds though.

Tonight, the first wave of honeymoons begin. Tune in at 7:30pm on Nine.

Your Domain returns this weekend on Nine network

Kick-start your weekend with a plunge into the Australian property market when Your Domain returns for a fresh new season this Saturday at 10.00am on Nine and 9Now.

Following on from its successful first season, Your Domain, hosted by Shelley Craft and Chris Kohler, provides an expert lens on everything you need to know about property this weekend.

Tapping into our nation’s ongoing obsession with property, Your Domain is must-watch viewing for all those wanting to gain a better understanding of the market. 

Domain’s Alice Stolz joins Shelley and Chris at the desk to discuss where the best buys for 2020 can be found.
The popular Dream Home segment is back and they start the year with an absolute stunner.

Plus, the show will feature some big-name celebrities as they prepare to buy and sell.

TV Ratings: February 5

By James Manning

• Married At First Sight records third consecutive 1m+ audience
• Nine’s reality champ bigger than Survivor & MKR combined
• Hard Quiz returns as Gold Logie winner remains popular

Night four of the final week of summer survey and Nine is still well ahead of the competition. Married At First Sight has secured its third consecutive audience over 1m. That size audience is huge as a one-off, to do its regularly is very impressive and a tribute to the people working on the program at all levels.

Doctor Doctor took advantage of the lead-in with an audience of 532,000 watching the first episode screening since 2018. That overnight number seems about as good as any drama could now expect.

Married At First Sight: Week 1

Monday 1,154,000
Tuesday 1,067,000
Wednesday: 1,014,000

The size of the MAFS audience is causing pain elsewhere. Still no joy for My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals. It’s going to take something pretty explosive on the program to get these numbers back up.

In a later timeslot First Dates Australia then did 345,000 which was a good retain of the 348,000 it did earlier in the night a week prior.

Home and Away was just under 600,000 after two nights over that mark to start the week.

My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals Week 1

Sunday 498,000
Monday: 517,000
Tuesday: 402,000
Wednesday: 428,000

10’s primary share slipped below 12% for the first time since Australian Survivor: All Stars launched. The episode was over 100,000 ahead of MKR in all people and even further ahead in key demos.

Elsewhere on 10 The Project dipped close to 400,000 and after 9pm US drama Bull was on 193,000.

Multichannel 10 Bold had a good night, ranking as #1 multi with 4.8% on what is its strongest night of the week thanks to NCIS, NICS: Los Angeles and Bondi Rescue.

Australian Survivor: All Stars Week 1

Monday 624,000
Tuesday 562,000
Wednesday: 551,000

A returning midweek line-up started with Hard Quiz slipping back into the 8pm slot where it should be commissioned for the whole year. The returning show has started the year on 550,000

Also returning last night and equally deserving of a longer commission was Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell with season 11 launching with 592,000.
A new season of Black Comedy then started with 317,000.
A repeat of Tony Robinson Down Under did 268,000 at 7.30pm.
A repeat of Diana v Elizabeth then did 249,000.
Vikings continued at 9.30pm with 116,000.

Week 5 TV: Wednesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.4% 7 16.8% 9 23.6% 10  11.7% SBS One 5.8%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.7% 7TWO 3.0% GO! 2.1% 10 Bold 4.8% VICELAND 1.3%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 2.5% GEM 2.9% 10 Peach 2.3% Food Net 1.4%
ABC NEWS 1.6% 7flix 1.9% 9Life 1.9%     NITV 0.1%
                SBS World Movies 0.8%
TOTAL 17.1%   24.2%   30.4%   18.9%   9.4%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.8% 7 18.2% 9 19.7% WIN 9.7% SBS One 4.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.3% 7TWO 4.0% GO! 2.7% WIN Bold 5.1% VICELAND 1.6%
ABC ME 1.0% 7mate 3.4% GEM 5.4% WIN Peach 2.0% Food Net 1.5%
ABC NEWS 1.7% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.0% 9Life 2.4% Sky News  on WIN 1.7% NITV 0.1%
TOTAL 15.8%   27.6%   30.3%   18.6%   7.7%


87.8% 12.2%
  1. Married At First Sight Nine 1,014,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 985,000
  3. Seven News Seven 957,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 765,000
  5. Nine News Nine 758,000
  6. ABC News ABC 715,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 680,000
  8. Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell S11 ABC 592,000
  9. Home And Away Seven 583,000
  10. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 551,000
  11. Hard Quiz S5 ABC 550,000
  12. 7.30 ABC 545,000
  13. Doctor Doctor Nine 532,000
  14. The Chase Australia Seven 523,000
  15. My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals Seven 428,000
  16. The Project 7pm 10 411,000
  17. Hot Seat Nine 387,000
  18. First Dates Australia Seven 345,000
  19. The Chase Australia 5pm Seven 341,000
  20. 10 News First 10 320,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 285,000
  2. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 195,000
  3. The Project 7pm 10 108,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 107,000
  5. Doctor Doctor Nine 106,000


18 – 49

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 475,000
  2. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 308,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 202,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 194,000
  5. Seven News Seven 190,000


25 – 54

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 522,000
  2. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 332,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 252,000
  4. Seven News Seven 239,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 238,000
WEDNESDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 183,000
  2. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 174,000
  3. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 162,000
  4. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  5. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 138,000
  6. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  7. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  8. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  9. Dot. PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  10. Andy’s Safari Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 131,000
  11. Bondi Rescue Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 130,000
  12. Spicks And Specks ABCKIDS/COMEDY 129,000
  13. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 128,000
  14. Olobob Top PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  15. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  16. Go Jetters PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 122,000
  17. Border Security Australia’s Front Line 7WO 121,000
  18. Floogals AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  19. Border Security Australia’s Front Line 7WO 119,000
  20. Play School Nursery Rhyme News Time AMBCKIDS/COMEDY 118,000
  1. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 63,000
  2. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 50,000
  3. Location, Location, Location Lifestyle Channel 49,000
  4. Credlin Sky News Live 47,000
  5. Grand Designs Australia Lifestyle Channel 44,000
  6. Richo & Jones Sky News Live 43,000
  7. PML Later Sky News Live 43,000
  8. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 41,000
  9. The Simpsons FOX8 40,000
  10. Family Guy FOX8 39,000
  11. Family Guy FOX8 36,000
  12. Keeping Up Appearances FOX Classics 34,000
  13. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 32,000
  14. Coronation Street UKTV 31,000
  15. The Simpsons FOX8 31,000
  16. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 30,000
  17. American Dad! FOX8 30,000
  18. Live: ODI Nzl V Ind Game 1 FOX CRICKET 29,000
  19. Avenue 5 FOX SHOWCASE 26,000
  20. Blue Bloods FOX One 26,000

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

BVOD revenue soars 43%, but TV dollars down 5% in 2019

ThinkTV has announced the total TV advertising revenue figures for the 12 and six months to December 31, 2019.

Amidst overall challenging market conditions, for the first half of FY2020, the total TV market – which includes metropolitan free-to-air, regional free-to-air, subscription TV and Broadcaster Video on Demand (BVOD) – recorded combined revenue of $1.95 billion for the period, down 5.9% compared to the same period the year prior.

ThinkTV CEO Kim Portrate said: “Changes in the total TV advertising market, the most effective medium for driving business growth, reflect the state of the Australian economy and the impact of weaker consumer and business confidence.”

Growing consumption of content across BVOD platforms 7Plus, 9Now, 10 Play, Kayo and Foxtel Now, saw a rapid revenue increase with BVOD up 42.8% for the six months to December 31, 2019.

“The performance of BVOD continues to buck general market performance trends retaining the title of Australia’s fastest-growing advertising medium which demonstrates a growing list of advertisers who recognise the value and effectiveness multi-platform TV provides. This is an achievement all the more noteworthy given the challenging economic conditions the wider advertising landscape is currently grappling with,” added Portrate.

For the 12 months to December 2019, the total TV market recorded $3.86 billion in advertising revenue, down 4.8% compared to the 12 months to December 2018. For this period, BVOD saw an increase of 38.9%.

Disney+ reveals nearly 29m paid subscribers since launch

During its Q1 FY20 earnings results webcast, The Walt Disney Company announced that Disney has amassed 28.6 million paid subscribers, as of Monday, February 3. The service launched less than three months ago on November 12, 2019.

Additionally, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger revealed the paid subscriber numbers for ESPN+ and Hulu, as of Monday, are 7.6 million and 30.7 million, respectively.

“We believe the subscriber growth to date and the overall reaction to Disney+ reflects a variety of factors that include the uniqueness of the service, an excellent user interface and the high quality of our brands and content,” said Iger. “Although our volume will increase, we remain focused on providing quality content from our core franchises and brands, not just quantity, as we continue to build our portfolio.”

Disney+ launched in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands on November 12, 2019, followed by its debut in Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico a week later on November 19.

The service will launch on March 24 in markets across Western Europe – including the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland, and today Iger announced that Disney+ will launch in India as well on March 29 through Hotstar. Additional Western Europe markets, including Belgium, the Nordics and Portugal, will follow in summer 2020.

The company said consumers have embraced Disney+’s library of classic movies and shorts, popular series, recent theatrical releases and a growing slate of original content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and National Geographic.

Today, Iger announced that the new original Marvel Studios series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and WandaVision will premiere on Disney+ in August and December, respectively, and that the highly popular series The Mandalorian, from Lucasfilm, will return to the service in October.

Disney to leave Foxtel as streaming wars heat up

The Disney and Disney Jnr channels will leave Foxtel at the end of February, as content continues to flow back to the US giant following the launch of its own streaming service in Australia, reports AFR’s Max Mason.

It follows the removal of the Disney Movie channel, which included Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel and most Lucasfilm productions from Foxtel in November last year.

In November, Disney also had its content removed from Stan, a subscription video on-demand service owned by Nine, publisher of The Australian Financial Review.

Disney launched its own streaming service, Disney+, in Australia in November. In Australia, Disney+ is a M15 rated platform, while in the US it is PG13. Disney has an expansive range of other content that sits outside of its core brands Pixar, Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic, which it will not put on the Disney+ platform.

Read more

Michelle Wood to join News Corp Australia

Michelle Wood is set to join News Corp Australia as its new head of executive communications, reports News Corp’s Leo Shanahan.

In the new role, Wood will be working closely with Michael Miller, News Corp executive chairman Australasia and Damian Eales, chief operating officer, publishing.

Wood will be reporting to Campbell Reid, News Corp’s group executive of corporate affairs, policy and government.

Wood is joining News Corp from Uber where she was previously director of communications in Australia and New Zealand.

Previously, she held a position as general manager of marketing and communications at the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is deputy-chair of the Australian Republican Movement, co-founder of the Sydney Salon, and a director of the Internet of Things Alliance.

Read more


Michael Clarke to join Big Sports Breakfast radio with Laurie Daley

Former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke is about to enter the cutthroat world of Sydney’s breakfast radio, taking on the likes of Kyle and Jackie O in his new role, reports News Corp’s Phil Rothfield.

Clarke is tipped to be named as a co-host of the Big Sports Breakfast alongside rugby league legend Laurie Daley on the Sky Sports Radio network.

In a deal that will be finalised this week, Clarke will go up against the likes of 2GB’s Alan Jones and KIIS FM’s Kyle and Jackie O.

Clarke replaces veteran broadcaster Terry Kennedy, who stood down last year after 18 years in the chair.

The show has struggled in the ratings for years although the figures began to improve last year and they beat their now-defunct Macquarie Sports Radio rivals in the ratings.

The Clarke appointment is a shock in that he is such a polarising figure in Australian sport.

However, he has strong opinions and knows his rugby league as a mad Wests Tigers fan.

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Michael Hing joins Lewis Hobba for triple j Drive

Comedian Michael Hing has been announced as the permanent replacement for Veronica Milsom on triple j Drive, reports Radio Today.

Lewis Hobba’s long-time co-host Milsom announced last week that she won’t return to triple j once she departs the station to have her second child.

On Tuesday’s Drive show, Veronica & Lewis had intended to tease out the process, but the former accidentally revealed that Hing was the replacement ahead of time.

Hing will step into the role alongside Hobba in two and a half weeks time, after recently departing SBS current affairs show The Feed. He also hosts Good Game on the ABC.

“I’m really excited to be hosting triple j Drive with Veronica,” said Hing.

“She’s a close friend, a great comedian and someone I’ve always looked up to… wait, Veronica’s the one leaving? So I’m hosting with Lewis? Okay, I guess that’s fine.”

Hing has filled in across several triple j slots over the past few years, and is also a stand-up comedian.

“I’ll really miss triple j, but I’m excited about the advertising opportunities once I leave,” said Milsom.

“Sometimes I wonder if collaborating with a major sporting brand will feel disgusting and shameless, but my gut says Just Do It.”

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Spotify is buying Bill Simmons’ The Ringer Podcast Network

Spotify, continuing to beef up its podcast offerings and expand its sports coverage, announced Wednesday that it will buy The Ringer, the popular website and podcast network created by Bill Simmons, a former ESPN commentator and sports personality, reports The New York Times.

The terms of the acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of this year, were not disclosed.

Simmons started The Ringer in 2016 after a bitter dispute with ESPN, which he left in 2015 after working for the network for nearly 15 years. The sports and culture website was originally hosted on Medium and switched to Vox Media under a partnership announced in 2017.

The Ringer now has a lineup of more than 30 podcasts, including The Bill Simmons Podcast and The Rewatchables. It also houses a video network, film production division and book imprint.

“We spent the last few years building a world-class sports and pop culture multimedia digital company, and believe Spotify can take us to another level,” Mr. Simmons said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited to unlock Spotify’s power of scale and discovery, introduce The Ringer to a new global audience and build the world’s flagship sports audio network.”

Spotify reported on Wednesday a 29 percent rise in paid subscribers to its audio-streaming services in the fourth quarter of 2019, to 124 million as of Dec. 31, giving it a significant lead over its main rival, Apple. The company, which is trying to expand beyond music streaming to all online audio, acquired three podcast companies in 2019, including Gimlet Media, the maker of the popular podcasts Crimetown and Reply All.

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Sonia Kruger will host Big Brother on Channel 7 in 2020

Television’s worst-kept secret has been confirmed – Big Brother 2020 will be hosted by a face familiar to the franchise, reports News Corp’s Bella Fowler.

After months of speculation, Channel 7 has confirmed Sonia Kruger will host the long-awaited reboot of Big Brother.

In a 10-second teaser aired during My Kitchen Rules, Kruger – who hosted the wildly popular reality show’s Channel 9 iteration – was revealed as the host of the new-look season.

While we are yet to be given a premiere date for Big Brother 2020 – the teaser confirmed the contestants have been selected.

Big Brother was first hosted by Gretel Killeen on Channel 10 from 2001 – 2007, before Kyle and Jackie O took over for a year until 2008.

When it moved over to Nine, Kruger became the new face of the show, from 2012 to 2015.

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Seven’s My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals struggles on 2020 return

Seven Network’s programming boss Angus Ross has defended the early poor television ratings performance of its rebooted My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals, saying it takes time for audiences to adapt to major change, reports News Corp’s Lilly Vitorovich.

The 11th season of the cooking competition show, whose format has been changed in a bid to spice things up, has been thrashed in the television ratings battle by Nine’s reality dating show Married At First Sight and Ten’s Australian Survivor: All Stars.

While the tenth series of MKR last year struggled against MAFS, it is now also trailing Ten’s Survivor in the prime-time evening timeslot, which is key for advertisers.

“For over a decade, My Kitchen Rules has been serving up great entertainment programming, and this year we have refreshed it with MKR: The Rivals,” Ross told The Australian.

“As with any big change to an established format, it takes time for people to adapt.”

The latest season of MKR has dropped its popular “instant restaurants”, where viewers watched contestants cook meals in the kitchens of their owns homes, in favour of a converted warehouse.

Ross said there is “a lot to look forward” to throughout the first quarter of the year, with its new dog grooming reality competition show, called Pooch Perfect, with actress Rebel Wilson and several prime time special events.

“We remain on track to deliver our refreshed and exciting prime time programming line up across all of 2020, including programs such as Big Brother, Farmer Wants a Wife, Plate of Origin and Mega Mini Golf.”

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'Disappointed': Deaf community flags concerns over pay TV captions

A national advocacy group for Deaf Australians has expressed its disappointment with the rules governing captions and subscription television, reports The SMH’s Broede Carmody.

Australia’s media watchdog has taken the first step in giving Foxtel the green light to temporarily slash its captions quota for the BBC World News. A proposal unveiled this week could result in Foxtel providing captions for 20 percent of the news service’s total broadcast hours instead of 40 percent.

The development comes after a string of preliminary exemptions relating to foreign news, documentaries and religious programs. Video streaming platform Fetch TV has asked the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to waive quotas for Channel News Asia, France 24, Nat Geo Wild and the Australian Christian Channel, according to documents published by the watchdog.

The media watchdog has acknowledged pay TV providers incur “significant financial costs” due to caption quotas. ACMA has also suggested it is better for a program to provide some captions than for that program to be removed altogether so as not to be penalised under the relevant legislation.

Deaf Australia’s chief executive Kyle Miers says the watchdog’s leniency, however, will have an impact on the Deaf community. He said he has been “very disappointed” with ACMA’s recent exemptions and target reduction orders.

“Access to information is a human right,” he said. “The Broadcasting Services Act is designed to protect the broadcaster’s interest not the consumer’s. The percentage of captioning and requesting for exemptions is a legal way to discriminate against us. We have advocated for this to be removed.”

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Optus scores goal in soccer push with Japanese Football League rights

Optus Sport has secured a three-year exclusive deal for the Japanese Professional Football League as the streaming service chalks up 800,000 subscribers and positions itself as the home of soccer, reports The SMH‘s Zoe Samios.

The deal, which will fill the telecommunication provider’s content schedule for the year, is the first for Optus Sport in the Asian market. Up to four matches per round will be broadcast live and on demand for viewers as part of the arrangement.

Optus’ head of TV and content, Corin Dimopoulos, said the new rights deal solidified the company’s position as home of the world’s “best football”.

“We’re excited to be announcing the acquisition of the J League rights as we commence our 2020 campaign and to really solidify our position as the home of the best football from around the world,” Dimopoulos said.

The J League – which includes top club Yokohama F. Marinos coached by former Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou – will add to Optus’ existing football offering, which includes the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and the FA Women’s Super League. Postecoglou’s team were the 2019 champions and will defend the title once the competition starts in February.

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V8 Supercars in talks with broadcasters over rights deal

V8 Supercars is in negotiations with commercial broadcasters for a new sports rights deal as its existing arrangement with Network Ten and Foxtel comes to an end, reports The SMH’s Zoe Samios.

CBS-owned Network Ten, Seven West Media and Foxtel are among the broadcasters in discussions with the motorsports organisation, sources close to negotiations said. Ten, Foxtel and Seven declined to comment. V8 Supercars was unavailable for comment.

In 2013, under former V8 Supercars boss and current Seven chief executive James Warburton, the business signed a six-year, $241 million media deal across Foxtel and Ten for the 2015-2020 seasons.

The existing deal includes the Adelaide 500 – formerly known as the Clispal – Townsville 400, Sydney 500 and the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. It was the biggest rights deal landed for the sport in its history. Warburton has a stake in the business.

V8 Supercars’ discussions, which started last year, came after Seven West Media announced a multi-year deal with Australian Racing Group, which includes the TCR Australia Series, S5000 and categories from the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships. Warburton is a non-executive director of Australian Racing Group and has a stake in the business.

But Seven has a long history with the Supercars, as broadcaster from 1963 to 1993, and from 2007 to 2014. A deal with V8 Supercars would extend its current offering which includes the cricket, AFL and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Meanwhile, Network Ten currently has the rights to the Melbourne Cup carnival and a deal currently in place with Rugby Australia, which is about to go to tender.

Foxtel’s exclusive Formula One rights, which it took from Network Ten in 2017, will expire in 2022.

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Shute for the stars: club rugby rights battle set to shape $1b TV deal

Rugby’s billion-dollar, four-nation broadcast deal is being held up by a battle over the future of the Sydney club competition, reports The SMH’s Georgina Robinson.

Once the forlorn, forgotten gem in the crown of Australian rugby, the Shute Shield has emerged as the prized bargaining chip in the fraught negotiations over the sport’s next broadcast deal.

On one side is Rugby Australia, which wants to elevate the Sydney and Brisbane club competitions to greater prominence on the rugby calendar, and wants to sell a five-year, exclusive club-to-Wallabies package to the highest-bidding broadcaster.

On the other side is Fox Sports, RA’s long term broadcast partner, which, concerned RA could have its head turned by rival Optus, appears to be moving to secure what rugby content it can.

The outcome is a stalemate set against a backdrop of unprecedented tension over the rights negotiations for Super Rugby and the Wallabies from 2021.

Of the four-nation SANZAAR joint venture, which operates Super Rugby and the Test-level Rugby Championship, Australia is the last major partner to finalise its deal, having chosen to enter into a competitive market process for the first time in the history of the game.

RA wants to have the new deal announced by the end of March, but it cannot start the bidding process without knowing whether it is selling the Shute Shield or not.

Fox, meanwhile, fuming that RA did not accept its initial offer to extend their 25-year partnership, is trying to cut the governing body out of the process and secure some presence in the sport. News Corp reported late on Wednesday that Fox had decided not to bid for the 2021-2025 rights. An RA spokesman said the governing body had not been notified of any such decision.

Some observers noted the broadcaster could be interested in disrupting RA’s plan to pitch a whole-of-game offering, potentially reducing the value of the overall rights package RA might sell to a rival such as Optus.

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