Thursday February 8, 2024

News Corp results Q2 2024: Australian News Media ad revenues dip 9%

By James Manning

News Media group ad revenue down 9%, Kayo and Binge numbers climb higher.

News Corp reported improved revenue and profit for the company in the three months ending December 31, 2023.

In Australia, the News Media division saw revenues dip 6% year-on-year.

At the Foxtel Group, revenue was up 2% from a small increase in the numbers of Kayo Sports and Binge subscribers. However, there was also an increase in sports rights costs.

Commenting on the results, News Corp CEO Robert Thomson (pictured about with News Corp Australia’s Michael Miller) said: “News Corp again saw growth in both revenue and profitability this quarter as we continue to realise the collective benefit of our strategic shift to digital and subscription revenues, and away from sometimes volatile advertising revenues.

“We had particularly robust results across the three core pillars of our business – Dow Jones, Book Publishing and Digital Real Estate Services – and believe there are strong prospects for further growth as difficult macro conditions ease in some of our markets.

“We expect to be a core content provider for Generative AI companies, who need the highest quality, timely content to ensure the relevance and accuracy of their products.

“We patently prefer negotiation to litigation, courtship to courtrooms. But let’s be clear, in my view those who repurpose without approval are stealing and are undermining the very act of creativity – counterfeiting is not creating, and the AI world is replete with content counterfeiters.

“I also want to draw attention to the plight of our colleague Evan Gershkovich, who continues to be unjustly detained in a Moscow prison, solely for being a highly professional journalist. We hope that justice will prevail and thank all who publicly, and not so publicly, have been working to secure his emancipation.”

Thomson also spoke about the impending launch of Foxtel Group’s Hubbl. He said it would improve the search experience for “our cherished customers”. He also noted it would be a strong link between the content and those consumers.

News Corp results: All amounts US$

News Corp: Second quarter results

The Company reported fiscal 2024 second quarter total revenues of $2.59 billion, a 3% increase compared to $2.52 billion in the prior year period, primarily driven by higher Australian residential revenues at REA Group, continued strong growth in the professional information business at the Dow Jones segment, increased digital sales and improved returns due to better sell through of inventory at the Book Publishing segment and a $13 million, or 1%, positive impact from foreign currency fluctuations.

The increase was partly offset by lower revenues at Move due to continued challenging housing market conditions in the US and lower advertising revenues at the News Media segment.

The Company reported second-quarter Total Segment EBITDA of $473 million, a 16% increase compared to $409 million in the prior year primarily due to higher revenues, as discussed above, lower costs at the Book Publishing segment and gross cost savings related to the announced 5% headcount reduction initiative.

The increase was partly offset by higher sports programming rights costs at the Subscription Video Services segment.

Digital Real Estate Services

Revenues in the quarter increased $33 million, or 9%, compared to the prior year, driven by strong performance at REA Group partly offset by lower revenues at Move. Segment EBITDA in the quarter increased $19 million, or 15%, compared to the prior year, primarily due to higher revenues at REA Group partly offset by lower revenues at Move and a $2 million, or 1%, negative impact from foreign currency fluctuations. Adjusted Revenues and Adjusted Segment EBITDA increased 8% and 16%, respectively.

In the quarter, revenues at REA Group increased $52 million, or 22%, to $292 million, primarily driven by higher Australian residential revenues due to price increases, increased depth penetration, favourable geographic mix and an increase in national listings, as well as an increase from financial services.

Foxtel Group streaming numbers

Revenues of $470 million in the quarter increased $8 million, or 2%, compared with the prior year, driven by higher revenues from Kayo and Binge from increases in both volume and pricing, despite a more difficult summer sports season and inflationary pressures, partially offset by the impact from fewer residential broadcast subscribers and a $6 million, or 1%, negative impact from foreign currency fluctuations.

 Adjusted Revenues of $476 million increased 3% compared to the prior year. Foxtel Group streaming subscription revenues represented approximately 29% of total circulation and subscription revenues in the quarter, as compared to 26% in the prior year.

As of December 31, 2023, Foxtel’s total closing paid subscribers were over 4.3 million, flat compared to the prior year, as growth in streaming subscribers driven by Kayo and Binge was offset by fewer residential broadcast subscribers.

Broadcast subscriber churn in the quarter was flat compared to the prior year at 12.9%, despite the completion of Foxtel’s migration project of subscribers off cable. Broadcast ARPU for the quarter increased 3% year-over-year to A$86 (US$56).

Kayo

Dow Jones

Revenues in the quarter increased $21 million, or 4%, compared to the prior year, driven by growth in circulation and subscription revenues led by growth in professional information business products. Digital revenues at Dow Jones in the quarter represented 78% of total revenues compared to 76% in the prior year. Adjusted Revenues increased 3%.

Circulation and subscription revenues increased $24 million, or 6%, including a $3 million, or 1%, positive impact from foreign currency fluctuations. Professional information business revenues grew 13%, primarily due to 16% growth in Risk & Compliance revenues to $72 million and 15% growth in Dow Jones Energy revenues to $62 million.

Circulation revenues were flat compared to the prior year, as the continued growth in digital-only subscriptions, which benefited from an increase in bundle offers, was offset by lower print volume. Digital circulation revenues accounted for 70% of circulation revenues for the quarter, compared to 69% in the prior year.

During the second quarter, total average subscriptions to Dow Jones’ consumer products were over 5.4 million, a 10% increase compared to the prior year. Digital-only subscriptions to Dow Jones’ consumer products grew 15%.

Total subscriptions to The Wall Street Journal grew 7% compared to the prior year, to over 4.0 million average subscriptions in the quarter. Digital-only subscriptions to The Wall Street Journal grew 11% to over 3.5 million average subscriptions in the quarter, and represented 87% of total Wall Street Journal subscriptions.

Advertising revenues decreased $5 million, or 4%, primarily due to an 11% decline in print advertising revenues slightly offset by 1% growth in digital advertising revenues. Digital advertising accounted for 62% of total advertising revenues in the quarter, compared to 59% in the prior year.

News Media

Revenues in the quarter decreased $16 million, or 3%, as compared to the prior year, primarily driven by lower advertising revenues, partially offset by the $13 million, or 2%, positive impact from foreign currency fluctuations and higher circulation and subscription revenues.

Within the segment, revenues at News Corp Australia decreased 6%, driven by lower advertising revenues, while News UK was flat as lower advertising revenues were offset by a 5% positive impact from foreign currency fluctuations and higher circulation and subscription revenues. Adjusted Revenues for the segment decreased 5% compared to the prior year.

Circulation and subscription revenues increased $12 million, or 5%, compared to the prior year, primarily due to a $7 million, or 3%, positive impact from foreign currency fluctuations, price increases and digital subscriber growth, partially offset by lower print volumes.

News Corp

Advertising revenues decreased $24 million, or 9%, compared to the prior year, primarily due to lower digital advertising across the business units mainly driven by a decline in traffic at some mastheads due to platform related changes and lower print advertising at News Corp Australia. The decline was partially offset by a $5 million, or 2%, positive impact from foreign currency fluctuations.

In the quarter, Segment EBITDA decreased $7 million, or 12%, compared to the prior year, driven by lower revenues, as discussed above, partially offset by lower production costs at News UK driven by lower volume and newsprint prices and a $2 million, or 3%, positive impact from foreign currency fluctuations. Adjusted Segment EBITDA decreased 15%.

Digital revenues represented 38% of News Media segment revenues in the quarter, compared to 37% in the prior year, and represented 36% of the combined revenues of the newspaper mastheads.

News Media digital subscriber numbers

Digital subscribers and users across key properties within the News Media segment are summarized below:

• Closing digital subscribers at News Corp Australia as of December 31, 2023 were 1,051,000 (940,000 for news mastheads), compared to 1,011,000 (924,000 for news mastheads) in the prior year (Source: Internal data)
The Times and Sunday Times closing digital subscribers, including the Times Literary Supplement, as of December 31, 2023 were 575,000, compared to 550,000 in the prior year (Source: Internal data). The previously disclosed methodology change resulted in a 59,000 and 61,000 increase to the closing digital subscriber number at December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively
• The Sun’s digital offering reached 143 million global monthly unique users in December 2023, compared to 194 million in the prior year (Source: Meta Pixel)
• New York Post’s digital network reached 124 million unique users in December 2023, compared to 141 million in the prior year (Source: Google Analytics)

See also: News Corp Q1 2024 – Group profitability strong with growth and challenges in Australia

Tim Clover, chief executive officer, Glow. Glow, Kantar and PwC Australia partner to produce Social Responsibility Score
PwC Australia, Kantar, and Glow Partner on new sustainability metric for ROI fostering ESG investments

“The more we all speak the same language, the more positive impact can be created for businesses.”

Consulting industry leaders including Kantar, PwC Australia, and Glow, have collaborated to introduce a standardised metric aimed at facilitating investment in sustainability by correlating it with customer and employee loyalty. The Social Responsibility Score (SRS) is positioned as a straightforward tool for assessing sustainability return on investment, drawing insights from over twenty-five million brand interviews conducted over four years.

The SRS initiative comes amid a surge in environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) and sustainability program investments driven by regulatory compliance, shareholder expectations, workforce demands, and evolving consumer behavior, highlighting the need for consistent measurement tools.

By capturing feedback from consumers, customers, employees, or investors, SRS allows for benchmarking across brands, regions, and timeframes, providing a common evaluative framework.

Developed by research-technology firm Glow, SRS is available for licensing to research and advisory entities seeking to advance sustainability objectives.

Tim Clover, chief executive officer of Glow, said, “SRS makes it easier to quantify the commercial impact of sustainability efforts.

“The lack of standardised global measures to gauge stakeholder response to ESG/sustainability efforts has made it hard for businesses to prove ROI on sustainability programs and hampered investment up until now.

“The more we all speak the same language, the more positive impact can be created for businesses, the communities they serve, and the environment.”

Kantar and PwC Australia are integrating SRS into their existing measurement and transformation solutions, aiming to enhance service offerings and simplify sustainability assessment for businesses.

Meanwhile, five other global research and advisory firms are exploring the integration of SRS into their solutions. SRS data is already informing ongoing research initiatives, supported by Cint, NIQ (NielsenIQ), and publisher 3BL Media, aimed at determining the ROI of sustainability endeavours.

Jonathan Hall, Kantar’s global leader for sustainable transformation said, “We hear often from clients that they need a simple, common language for measuring sustainability, which is why we support this industry-wide opportunity to maximise our impact. No agency can solve this problem on its own.”

PwC Australia markets leader, Tom Gunson, added, “Quantifying social and environmental risk is now an imperative for Boards and Executives. Taking an evidence-based approach to measuring the effects of ESG actions on all stakeholders is new and exciting. 

“Combining consumer-driven data with our ESG, analytics and consulting solutions provides new insights on what is working well and what areas require more focus.” 

See also: Kantar Australia appoints joint MP consulting roles

 

Top Image: Tim Clover

Fox - Crikey - Lachlan Murdoch
Fox Corp reports lower Q2 revenues, Lachlan Murdoch bullish on sports streaming initiative

By James Manning

Fox News remains #1 cable news, NFL driving sports ratings, Tubi biggest free streamer.

Fox Corporation has released financial results for the three months ended December 31, 2023.

The company reported total quarterly revenues of US$4.23 billion [all figures US$] as compared to the $4.61 billion reported in the prior-year quarter.

Fox Corporation produces and distributes news, sports and entertainment content through its domestic brands, including Fox News, Fox Sports, Fox Entertainment, Fox Television Stations and Tubi Media Group.

Commenting on the results, executive chair and chief executive officer Lachlan Murdoch said: “At the halfway point in our fiscal year, our results demonstrate the strength and durability of our core brands and their ability to deliver solid audiences across our portfolio.

Fox Sports continues to benefit from the power of live sports programming and Fox News has maintained its leadership in cable news, while Tubi has been resilient in an increasingly competitive market. Combining this steadfast portfolio of assets with a best-in-class balance sheet underpins our ability to deliver value for our shareholders.”

Murdoch shared news about the continued progress at Tubi which he revealed was the most-watched free streaming service in the US in recent months.

Fox

Lachlan Murdoch on new sports streaming service

In addition to his brief comments in the announcement release, Lachlan Murdoch was quizzed about the new sports streaming service on the earnings call.

When asked about the size of the opportunity for the three JV partners, Murdoch mentioned some 60m US households not currently taking a cable sports bundle.

He noted the risks are low in the venture and Fox had been monitoring the space for some time waiting for an opportunity to launch a streaming sports product.

Murdoch also revealed he had seen prototypes of the new sports streaming app which looked impressive and innovative.

Streaming

See also: Australia has Kayo Sports, now TV giants to launch US domestic multi-sport streaming platform

Absence of special events impact result

Advertising revenues decreased 20%, primarily due to the absence of the FIFA Men’s World Cup (“Men’s World Cup”) at Fox Sports, lower political advertising revenues at the Fox Television Stations due to the absence of the 2022 midterm elections, and the impact of elevated supply in the direct response marketplace, lower ratings and higher pre-emptions associated with breaking news coverage at Fox News Media.

Other revenues increased 14%, primarily due to higher sports sublicensing revenues at the national sports networks, partially offset by lower content revenues at the entertainment production companies as a result of industry guild labour disputes.

Expenses decreased in the quarter, primarily due to lower entertainment and sports programming rights amortization and production costs, led by fewer hours of original scripted programming and the absence of the Men’s World Cup, partially offset by the renewed NFL contract.

For its coverage of FIFA Women’s World Cup Fox Sports set up HQ at Campbells Cove in Sydney

Fox Cable Network Programming

Cable Network Programming reported quarterly segment revenues of $1.66 billion, an increase of $26 million or 2% from the amount reported in the prior year quarter.

Affiliate fee revenues increased $5 million as contractual price increases were partially offset by the impact of net subscriber declines. Advertising revenues were $348 million as compared to the $451 million reported in the prior year quarter, primarily due to the impact of elevated supply in the direct response marketplace, lower ratings and higher pre-emptions associated with breaking news coverage at Fox News Media, and the absence of the Men’s World Cup at the national sports networks. Other revenues increased $124 million or 80%, primarily due to higher sports sublicensing revenues at the national sports networks.

Cable Network Programming reported quarterly segment EBITDA of $564 million, an increase of $211 million or 60% from the amount reported in the prior year quarter, primarily due to lower sports programming rights amortization and production costs, including the absence of the Men’s World Cup, and lower legal, programming and production costs at Fox News Media.

Fox News programming early evening

Fox Television

Television reported quarterly segment revenues of $2.54 billion as compared to the $2.93 billion reported in the prior year quarter. Advertising revenues were $1.65 billion as compared to the $2.05 billion reported in the prior year quarter, primarily due to the absence of the Men’s World Cup at Fox Sports and lower political advertising revenues at the Fox Television Stations, partially offset by continued growth at Tubi.

Affiliate fee revenues increased $70 million or 10%, led by higher rates at both the company’s owned and operated stations and third-party Fox affiliates.

Other revenues were $132 million as compared to the $196 million reported in the prior year quarter, primarily due to lower content revenues at the entertainment production companies as a result of industry guild labour disputes.

Television reported a quarterly segment EBITDA loss of $138 million, as compared to an EBITDA contribution of $256 million in the prior year quarter, primarily from the revenue impacts described above. Expenses were consistent with the prior-year quarter as higher sports programming rights amortization, led by the renewed NFL contract, was partially offset by the absence of the Men’s World Cup at Fox Sports. Additionally, there were lower costs due to fewer hours of original scripted programming at Fox Entertainment as a result of industry guild labour disputes.

See also: Rupert Murdoch steps down from News Corp & Fox, Lachlan sole chair of both

Melissa Fein, chef executive officer Initiative Australia and New Zealand on Initiative Australia winning Crown Resort media account
Initiative secures Crown Resorts media account, ending 30 year partnership with Carat

Melissa Fein: “It feels like we have all the makings for a powerful partnership.”

Casino giant Crown Resorts has appointed Initiative as its media agency of record, following a competitive pitch. Initiative’s remit will cover full-funnel media strategy, planning and buying, including performance and digital. The assignment is in immediate effect, with first work from Initiative expected to hit the market in Q2.

The Crown Resorts media account was announced it would be up for pitch in October 2023, with the incumbent agency Carat notably not re-pitching for the account. Carat, part of Dentsu, held the Crown Resorts media account since the gaming and entertainment group‘s launch in 1994.

Melissa Fein, chef executive officer Initiative Australia and New Zealand, said, “As a proud Melbournian, I’ve always seen Crown as an iconic brand.

“Combine that with Initiative’s footprint mirroring Crown’s; our shared belief in the power of culture to grow brands; and all the positive impact we’ve created via our strategic project-based work to-date, it feels like we have all the makings for a powerful partnership.”

Yolanda Uys, newly appointed crown resorts group executive general manager – brand and marketing, added, “Crown is part of Australian history and has been a part of the stories that have shaped our cities. With a refreshed brand identity, re-energised marketing team and a strong appetite for growth, we are set to write the next chapter together.

“We look forward to partnering with Initiative to unlock strategic growth and tapping into their connected thinking to accelerate business growth and build brand value.”

The appointment comes after Crown’s recent unveiling of a refreshed brand, signalling a new era and strategy that looks to position Crown as a world-class entertainment destination.

Crown’s business will be managed out of Initiative Melbourne leaning heavily into Sydney’s strategy and planning capabilities. 

See also: Initiative Australia support youth mental health charity batyr with pro-bono campaign

Top Image: Melissa Fein

Podcast Week: happy hour
Podcast Week: LiSTNR's parenting podcasts, A Life Of Greatness, MAFS

Neil Mitchell Asks Why, My Millennial Money podcast rebrands

Compiled by Tess Connery

“Can be a tough market”: Behind LiSTNR’s parenting podcasts 

Whether you’re a new parent or raising older kids, LiSTNR has a parenting podcast for you.

Parenting is a massive podcast genre, and for those on the other end fo the mic, a space that comes with its own unique challenges for creators.

Podcast Week’s Tess Connery spoke with Shevonne Hunt, executive producer of Dr Golly and The Experts, Birth Baby and Beyond and The Good Enough Dad.

2023 was a big year for the LiSTNR parenting podcast team, but there was one highlight that stood out for Hunt.

“Getting Maggie Dent on board to do The Good Enough Dad was a huge coup. I used to host a podcast called Feed Play Love, and that’s where I met Maggie – I had interviewed her on and off over 9 or 10 years. During that period, I had come to learn who are the best educators.”

When it comes to the sort of content that the LiSTNR parenting team create, Hunt said that the North Star has always been making sure parents feel supported – even after they switch the podcast off.

We all have different definitions of what we consider to be good advice in the parenting sphere, but for me, it was always someone who had the science and someone who, when parents listened, they walked away feeling better about themselves. When I moved across to the EP role at LiSTNR, that’s the type of content I wanted to produce.

“Parenting podcasts can be a tough market – people come to parenting for different reasons, mostly for support. So it can be a little bit harder than if you have someone like Abbie Chatfield and her appeal. That’s a very different kind of podcast.”

Shevonne Hunt

Shevonne Hunt

When asked what it is that keeps people coming back to the content, Hunt said that the answer comes down to “pain points.” 

“Parenting is without a doubt one of the most challenging things anyone will do, so on a very practical level, parents come to podcasts to solve problems. For example, with Birth Baby And Beyond with Midwife Cath there are simple things about the first six months. We did a podcast last year that was all about fatherhood, so new dads just wanting to know the very basics might go to it for that. 

“The other part of the equation is that parents come to those podcasts for a sense of community, and to know they’re not alone. We are really connected in lots of ways, but parenting can still be very lonely. You are, especially at the very beginning, stuck at home in four walls trying to learn this new job in a very short period of time. Podcasting, more than any other medium is such an intimate, friendly experience.”

With 2023 behind them, Hunt jokes that she has “no idea” what’s in store for the team in 2024.

“What we are definitely focused on now is moving with the audience in terms of where they’re listening, and making sure we engage with them. The audio industry has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, and we’re trying to make sure that we’re meeting new parents where they’re coming to get information, or where they’re coming to get support and a sense of community.

“2024 is about expanding those audiences so that we can really go deeper into the idea of creating a parenting community. I think that’s really exciting – because one thing is for certain, and that is that parenting is so much easier when you’re doing it with others as opposed to doing it alone.”

[Listen to LiSTNR’s parenting slate here]

Season eight of A Life Of Greatness With Sarah Grynberg launches on LiSTNR

What do actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, author Deepak Chopra, actor Matthew McConaughey, Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo, singer Mel C and actress Geena Davis have in common? They have all spoken with writer, wellbeing expert, mindset coach and podcast host Sarah Grynberg to share and discover how to achieve greatness in life.

LISTNR_A_Life_Of_Greatness

LiSTNR podcast A Life of Greatness with Sarah Grynberg returns today for an eighth season. The podcast has resonated with listeners, earning praise for its interviews and storytelling. Hosted by Sarah Grynberg, the new season will delve even deeper into the lives of exceptional guests, providing audiences with a front-row seat to the insights, challenges, and triumphs that have defined their remarkable journeys.

Joining Grynberg for the first episode of 2024 is personal development, habits, and performance thought leader, James Clear, who is the author of number-one New York Times bestselling book, Atomic Habits. During their conversation, Grynberg and Clear discuss how a person can actively design and direct their habits and how small habits can have a profound impact on a person’s life, making it the perfect conversation for the beginning of a new year and season.

[Listen to A Life of Greatness here]

Couples dish goss for the very first time on new season of Married At First Sight podcast

Nine‘s official Married At First Sight Podcast is back; this season featuring exclusive chats with participants where nothing is off the table.

Each week following the dinner parties, podcast host Shelly Horton will break down the week’s romance, passion, emotion and drama with the MAFS experts – including regular chats with MAFS expert, John Aiken – as well as the singles.

mafs podcast

Host Shelly Horton, said: “Each episode is a rollercoaster of emotions. I love that everyone in Australia has an opinion about MAFS but I’ll get first access to grill the brides and grooms.”

The Official Married at First Sight Podcast launched on Monday February 5, with episodes released each week straight after the explosive and unpredictable dinner parties.

[Listen to The Official Married at First Sight Podcast here]

Neil Mitchell returns with season two of Neil Mitchell Asks Why

Broadcaster Neil Mitchell is back with the new season of the Neil Mitchell Asks Why podcast, boasting a new format and line-up of guests.

Neil Mitchell Asks Why

Each new episode delivers conversations ranging from personal revelations from one of Australia’s gold medal contenders at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, to the Australian doctor facing his death and what it’s teaching him, and the woman who broke a world record but wanted to give up every step of the way.

On the return of Neil Mitchell Asks Why, Mitchell said: “I don’t know how many times on radio over the years I have said ‘we’re out of time but we could talk for an hour about this’. Now we can. And I’m hungry; this is the longest I have been away from a microphone in more than 35 years. I’ve got things to say, news to analyse and fascinating people I want to talk to at length.”

[Listen to Neil Mitchell Asks Why here]

My Millennial Money podcast rebrands as This Is Money

Australian finance podcast, My Millennial Money, is embarking on a new direction as it rebrands to become This Is Money. Recognising the evolving landscape of financial needs, this change reflects the growing demand for finance, property and career advice for people of all ages and stages of life.

this is money

Hosted by Glen James, author, commentator, and former financial advisor, This Is Money, and spin-off podcasts This Is Property and This Is Work, will continue to deliver the same content, in a practical format. In addition, the podcasts will now have a broader scope that addresses the diverse financial, career and property needs of its expanding audience.

Having provided financial advice for over a decade, James found that rather than requiring a financial planner in the first instance, all people needed was a good spending plan and budget to get out of debt. This fundamental principle has not changed and is not unique to a particular demographic.

[Listen to This Is Money here]

Podcast Week: parenting podcasts

EV
Drivers start your electric engines: Two tech titans plug in for new podcast

Trevor Long and Stephen Fenech launch ‘Two Blokes Talking Electric Cars’.

Tech commentators Stephen Fenech and Trevor Long, have launched an EV podcast Two Blokes Talking Electric Cars.

The podcast is in addition to their existing podcast portfolio which includes Two Blokes Talking Tech.

That series was launched after the two tech reporters were brought together by Mediaweek for a podcast over 13 years ago. That podcast has become a staple in the tech world and boasts over 600 episodes.

The new show has attracted commercial partnerships with NRMA Insurance and Uniden Dashcams. The series explores the world of electrical vehicles (EVs).

Both Long and Fenech are passionate EV owners and advocates.

Fenech has been an EV owner for more than five years and said he sees this show as an opportunity to use his experience and knowledge to educate and inform those looking to buy their first EV.

“We want everyone, from EV enthusiasts to curious newcomers, to feel welcome on our podcast,” said Fenech. “Our goal is to demystify the world of electric cars and empower listeners to make informed decisions about their next vehicle.”

Long comes to the show with much experience with EVs, having driven almost every model released in Australia over the past decade.

He has also made EV road trips including one memorable journey from Brisbane to Adelaide with former colleague Chris Bowen.

“The electric car revolution is here, and it’s moving faster than ever,” said Long. “Two Blokes Talking Electric Cars will provide listeners with honest, informative, and entertaining insights into this dynamic space.”

What’s in each episode of Two Blokes Talking Electric Cars?

• Beyond the technical specs and EV reviews, the podcast delves into broader EV-related topics, including:
• The latest industry trends and developments
• Charging infrastructure and potential roadblocks
• Sustainability and environmental impact
• EV ownership experiences and tips for potential buyers
• A look at the new EVs as they come to market

Why marketers invested in Two Blokes

NRMA Insurance chief customer and marketing officer Michelle Klein said: “We are excited to partner with Stephen and Trevor to help our customers understand what it’s like to drive and own an electric vehicle.

“There is a huge amount of interest in electric vehicles and as new options come to the market, we are keen to help people transition to the best electric vehicle for them. This podcast will bust myths on EV driving and bring to life the real benefits and difficulties faced by Australians who want to make that change.”

Stephen Fenech and Trevor Long

Brad Hales, national marketing communications manager Uniden Australia, said: “The EV industry is important and Uniden is pleased to partner with this new podcast which will drive more demand and education to the market.

“Stephen and Trevor are leading tech journalists in Australia and will bridge the gap and help people understand what EV vehicle is right for them. We are hoping this podcast will help people understand what they need when purchasing a vehicle including car accessories like a dash cam.”

Two Blokes Talking Electric Cars is available on all major podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify (including Video), Amazon Music, Pocketcasts and YouTube.

Streaming
Australia has Kayo Sports, now TV giants to launch US domestic multi-sport streaming platform

By James Manning

Joint venture in the USA bringing together ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros Discovery.

The streaming world is getting a big shake-up regarding sports content in the US.

ESPN, FOX and Warner Bros. Discovery have just announced a joint venture streaming business for the sports that the three companies have the rights to.

Kayo Sports has been a world leader in offering a comprehensive Australian sports specialist streaming service. Now the US will be replicating much of what Kayo has achieved. The difference being that most of the rights for sports shown on Kayo are controlled by News Corp. There are exceptions though for things like the ESPN content that is also broadcast on Kayo.

The JV in the US will bring together both linear TV sports broadcasts and direct-to-consumer streaming platforms like ESPN+.

The sports on offer in the US will include NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, College Sports, UFC, PGA TOUR Golf, Grand Slam Tennis, the FIFA World Cup, and cycling.

Sports rights controlled by Paramount’s CBS and Comcast’s NBC won’t be available.

ESPN is currently negotiating its new NBA rights package

 

Streaming sport: Many details yet to be revealed

As yet there are still major reveals to come about the new service.

There are no details of the name, the start date, or the pricing structure.

The partners are saying the service will come via a new app that is being built to deliver the content to sports fans.

The Wall Street Journal reported it will still be possible for ESPN to offer a standalone service for subscribers who don’t want the bundle. The paper also reported it is expected the three partners control about 55% of all US TV sports rights.

The partnership comes as ESPN and Warner Bros Discovery are negotiating a new 10-year rights deal with the NBA. It had been reported that Fox was unlikely to bid for rights.

Joint venture partners

A statement from the partners has noted ESPN, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, Fox. and Warner Bros. Discovery have reached an understanding on principal terms to form a new JV.

The formation of the new service is subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements amongst the parties.

Each entity would own one-third of the JV, have equal board representation and license their sports content to the joint venture on a non-exclusive basis.

Although the excact launch date is unknown, the partners are targeting some time in the US autumn – March – May to start. The Major League Baseball season kicks off March 28 which might be a nice date to start. However, the new service won’t carry all MLB games.

Subscribers would also have the ability to bundle the product with other subscriptions, including Disney+, Hulu and/or Max.

This could be something Australian sports fans will see soon. As part of the Foxtel Group’s new Huddl service, don’t be surprised to see Kayo Sports being offered as a bundled product with subscriptions to other streaming platforms.

List of US sports networks

US sports channels that are part of the service include ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SECN, ACCN, ESPNEWS, ABC, FOX, FS1, FS2, BTN, TNT, TBS, truTV, as well as ESPN+.

Disney

Rupert Murdoch and Disney’s Bob Iger in 2019 when Disney acquired 21st Century Fox

Broadcast CEOs comment

Bob Iger, chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company said, “The launch of this new streaming sports service is a significant moment for Disney and ESPN, a major win for sports fans, and an important step forward for the media business. This means the full suite of ESPN channels will be available to consumers alongside the sports programming of other industry leaders as part of a differentiated sports-centric service. I’m grateful to Jimmy Pitaro and the team at ESPN, who are at the forefront of innovating on behalf of consumers to create new offerings with more choice and greater value.”

Lachlan Murdoch, executive chair and chief executive officer of Fox said, “We’re pumped to bring the Fox Sports portfolio to this new and exciting platform. We believe the service will provide passionate fans outside of the traditional bundle an array of amazing sports content all in one place.”

David Zaslav, chief executive officer of Warner Bros Discovery, said “At WBD, our ambition is always to connect our leading content and brands with as many viewers as possible, and this exciting joint venture and the unparalleled combination of marquee sports rights and access to the greatest sporting events in the world allows us to do just that. This new sports service exemplifies our ability as an industry to drive innovation and provide consumers with more choice, enjoyment and value and we’re thrilled to deliver it to sports fans.”

The 2024 Super Bowl is on CBS Sports in the US. Parent company Paramount is not part of the new sports streaming JV

Sporting events on the platform

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Val Morgan summer hols
Val Morgan: "Female-led summer" sees almost 9.8 million admissions

48% of total admissions across the holidays fell within the P14-39 demographic.

It’s been a big season for cinema, with Val Morgan reporting that almost 9.8 million Australians have gone to the movies over the 2023-24 summer season.

48% of total admissions across the holidays fell within the P14-39 demographic, up from 46% last year. This lift was driven by titles like Anyone But You, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and Mean Girls.

The biggest performer of the season was Wonka, which drove the most admissions across the holidays. 

Since its release on December 14, Wonka has seen over 2.05 million admissions across Australia, and surpassed the box office performance of both the original 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Tim Burton’s 2005 film adaptation Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Set in Sydney, Australia, Anyone But You starring Sydney Sweeney resonated with youth audiences and recorded 1.04 million admissions during its school holiday run, with 48% of admissions delivered from the P14-24 demographic.

Illumination Animation’s Migration also contributed to the school holiday period boost with 1.02 million admissions, and DC’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was not far behind with 974,000 admissions.

Tina Fey’s American musical comedy, Mean Girls, has recorded 460,000 admissions since releasing on 11 January.

Guy Burbidge, managing director of Val Morgan Cinema said “Amongst a very diverse slate, we’ve witnessed a predominantly female-led summer at the cinema, driven by compelling narratives that highlight and celebrate the strength of female characters. This builds upon the positive momentum initiated by powerhouse hit, Barbie, and this is only set to continue in 2024.”

As the 2023-24 summer season comes to an end, there are a number of big titles on the horizon such as Dune Part Two, Kung Fu Panda 4, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire and Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.

The Big 10 of 2024 – Release dates:

Dune: Part Two: 29 February
Kung Fu Panda 4: 28 March
Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire: 28 March
Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga: 23 May
Inside Out 2: 13 June
Despicable Me 4: 20 June
Deadpool 3: 25 July
Joker: Folie a Deux: 3 October
Wicked Part 1: 28 November
Mufasa: The Lion King: 19 December

See Also: LADbible Group inks five-year strategic deal with Val Morgan Digital

oOh!media - Andrew Every
oOh!media names Andrew Every as chief strategy and transformation officer

Every joins oOh! from the NRL, where he was the executive general manager of strategy and transformation.

oOh!media has appointed senior NRL executive, Andrew Every to the newly created role of chief strategy and transformation officer to accelerate the outdoor media company’s digital transformation. 

Every joins the oOh!’s executive leadership team and will focus on identifying areas of strategic growth across its core business and adjacent markets to lead the Out of Home industry to a digital first future. 

Cathy O’Connor, oOh! CEO, welcomed his appointment and noted that he will work closely with the executive team strategically to assess the market, both globally and locally, analysing the competitive dynamics and closely monitoring and driving market opportunities. Every is also experienced in driving transformative change across consulting and high-profile commercial environments.

Every joins oOh! from the NRL, where he was the executive general manager of strategy and transformation, led the partnerships with the league’s long-term major media partners, and spearheaded a number of improved financial outcomes for the past three years.

Prior to the NRL, Every worked as an executive leader in Telstra’s Media business, which included driving the growth of Foxtel, Telstra TV and Telstra’s live sports apps. He is not entirely new to the Out of Home industry having spent 10-years working with Adshel as one of his key clients during his career at PwC.
 
Every said he was looking forward to joining oOh! and the opportunities ahead. “The people I’ve met with so far have been really impressive. There is enormous potential for growth in Out of Home and I can’t wait to get started,” he added.

This comes after oOh!media named UnLtd CEO Chris Freel was appointed to a new sales role, having been appointed to the newly created position of group sales director – Australia.

The position has been created as part of a sales consolidation that works to bring agency, direct, boutique and independent (DBI) teams under single oOh!media leadership.

See also: UnLtd CEO Chris Freel joins oOh!media in new sales role

Top image: Andrew Every

Ryvalmedia Sydney group image
Ryvalmedia Sydney talks momentum, acquisition and driving growth following launch

Bianca Falloon: “We have big growth ambitions and a great plan of attack”

When RyanCap opened the doors of Ryvalmedia Sydney in July 2022, the move positioned the media and communications agency, which already had offices in Melbourne and Brisbane, as the fastest-growing digital agency in the country. Fast-forward 18 months, and Ryvalmedia Sydney is living up to the hype with a record of solid growth in staff, clients and billings.

Looking ahead, Bianca Falloon, the general manager of Ryvalmedia Sydney, believes the focus is to continue building on the agency’s momentum to drive growth.

“We had a successful 2023, I think this year is about building on that momentum,” said Falloon. “This year’s already got off to a really fast start; we’ve already had two pitches, and a lot is coming down the pipeline already.”

She told Mediaweek the focus in 2023 was “building a team of high-performing talent”, which included key hires such as strategy lead Cameron Roberts and group business director Matthew Cuda. With the team in place, 2024 is all about growth.

“We’re super focused on continuing the momentum and capitalising on the growth we experienced last year and doing awesome work for our clients to help grow their brands and their businesses.”

Ryvalmedia Sydney leadership team

According to strategy lead Cameron Roberts, The Ryvalmedia Sydney team remains optimistic despite the tightening macroeconomic conditions, thanks to a “laser focus” on the clients and their business objectives.

“Marketing has never been harder and more challenging for marketers,” said Roberts. “The number of choices to be made in media, technology and data can create inertia for organisations trying to make the right decisions to grow their brands and sales in the digital economy.

“Brands are looking for partners they can trust, that put their interests first and can help in making those decisions with the best information available. We’ve been able to help our clients navigate the deluge of choices facing brands today by putting a lot of rigour in our strategic responses and executing flawlessly. This has been a common theme speaking to our clients and one they value in us, communication and collective KPIs being the key.”

Roberts continued. “By integrating tightly with our clients, we’ve been able to scale testing efficiently and effectively, to find pockets of growth in competitive categories. It’s set us up for a strong year – we’ve been able to deliver results and it makes conversations with brands easier as our body of work speaks for itself.”

The agency has also benefited from the Labelium acquisition late last year, providing staff and clients with access to the network’s global team and best-in-class media thinking and execution.

“There’s already been great knowledge sharing; we’ve been chatting about marketing science, performance, and measurement, and bouncing ideas around is massively useful for the whole team. Connected thinking, for consumers in-market or those that are out, is what brands are looking for. Our product will continue to sharpen to meet any challenge our clients face.”

Falloon believes the agency’s ongoing success lies in its approach to partnering with clients to drive growth – which unsurprisingly is also the strategy to grow Ryvalmedia Sydney. “We have big growth ambitions, and we think we’ve got a great plan of attack to help our clients grow and, in turn, our own business. Our success is their success, and more brands that see that kind of mentality and the lengths we go to ensure we are working as true partners will continue to drive our business forward”. 

See also: RyanCap CEO Simon Ryan shares the reasons behind the sale

G Squared - Meriton 2
G Squared to lead Meriton Suites digital strategy, paid media and search

The consultancy was selected based on a full-funnel digital strategy geared towards delivering a substantial performance uplift.

G Squared has been appointed by Meriton Suites to lead digital strategy, paid media and search engine optimisation to drive the hotel chain’s online bookings, as well as incorporating their online shop.

The independent Sydney consultancy was selected based on a full-funnel digital strategy geared towards delivering a substantial performance uplift with an integrated approach, leveraging paid and organic tactics based on market and business needs.

For more than 20 years, Meriton Suites has been the market leader in apartment-style hotel accommodation with 23 locations and 6,204 hotel suites located across Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

George Photios, director at G Squared, said they are looking forward to be working with an iconic Australian hospitality brand that brings its specialist technical expertise to for holiday and business travellers.

“The hotel accommodation sector is an incredibly competitive one and as the leader in hotel apartments Meriton Suites has ambitious objectives to further strengthen its digital footprint while continuing to drive direct bookings to its portfolio of properties,” Photios added.

G Squared - Meriton 1

Miriam Nagib, Meriton Suites’ national marketing manager, added that the apartment-style hotel brand is looking forward to working with G Squared on delivering their goals across the year ahead.

Meriton Suites is the latest new business win for G Squared and follows its appointment by leading online marketplace, Gumtree, to drive search and deliver improved customer experiences following a multi-agency pitch. 

This comes after G Squared launched Burrow, a 24/7 community management and social monitoring agency with clients including Specsavers, Australian Super, Monash University, Stockland and Bunnings.

The digital consultancy launched Burrow as its own business practice after increased client demand from enterprise clients to safeguard brand reputation while moving beyond traditional community management and social monitoring practices.

See also: G Squared mitigates online brand risk with its social monitoring agency Burrow

WIll & Woody ARN
Will & Woody renew their contract, staying at ARN until 2026

The show now reaches 1.674 million people each week.

ARN’s Will & Woody have signed a contract extension with The KIIS Network for a further three years, keeping them with the network until the end of 2026.

Will & Woody first joined KIIS in 2018, achieving ratings success in the years since – including being crowned the #1 National Drive Show multiple times in 2023.

The show has grown its audience since starting out as a national drive show on the KIIS Network. In 2021 it expanded its reach via syndication on 42 stations across the country and now reaches 1.674 million people each week.

On renewing their contract, Will McMahon said, “Admittedly, I still have a bit of imposter syndrome about this job. Certainly, when I consider the other people we compete against; people we used to listen to ourselves as kids. But the truth is, it will be nine years of drive radio when this next deal finishes. So even if I feel a bit unworthy, the support and confidence has never waned from KIIS. I love Woody, our team, and our listeners, and so I will forever be grateful to the network for making me an imposter, in what is now, an epic life.”

Woody Whitelaw added, “Did we re-sign?! Awesome!! In all seriousness, the idea that I have three more years of getting to spend my afternoons shooting the breeze with my best mate is a dream that I’m excited to keep living.”

ARN’s chief content officer Duncan Campbell added, “Will & Woody’s vibrancy is so contagious that it is really a no brainer as to why they have become so synonymous with the KIIS brand. Their candour and genuine friendship are why they continue to connect with audiences nation-wide and the country has continued to fall in love with them since 2018 when they first joined our network. 

“The past 12 months have been monumental for the boys both personally and professionally, from having their first children (not with each other, to be clear!) to reaching the #1 National Drive Show in 2023, and we look forward to continuing to be a part of their journey as we invest in our shared future.”

Will & Woody can be heard on KIIS 1065, KIIS 101.1, KIIS 97.3 and Mix102.3 from 4-6PM, on 96FM from 5-6pm, or via the iHeartRadio app.

See Also: Oh my God, Oh my God: Have we found Australian radio’s favourite song?

coles The Savvy Dinner Plan campaign
Coles and News Corp partner on national campaign to make dinner time cheaper

The meal plans can save consumers up to 25 per cent on dinner.

Coles and News Corp Australia have expanded on their 10-year long partnership with the launch of taste.com.au’s The Savvy Dinner Plan campaign. As the country faces a cost of living crisis, the campaign works to help consumers save money and time when it comes to making dinner.

The Savvy Dinner Plan sees the most searched-for family dinner recipes on taste.com.au redesigned by experts from both the website and Coles, giving users shortcuts and ingredient swaps to make the recipes cheaper.

The meal plans can save consumers up to 25 per cent on dinner when they cook all four weeks of Savvy Recipes.

Taste.com.au editor-in-chief Brodee Myers-Cooke said: “February is the month with the highest dinner searches on taste.com.au as cooks get back to the timeless ritual of preparing dinner and managing the household budget. To make a difference and genuinely help Australians looking for solutions, we knew this campaign had to be big.

“What makes The Savvy Dinner Plan stand out is the sheer magnitude of the challenge we gave taste.com.au’s food editors. They’ve really shown their genius with this one, with recipes that are savvy in every way – cost, time, effort, and tips and tricks that are set to excite even the most seasoned budget-busting cooks with new and innovative ingredient swaps that really bring down the cost per serve.”

Coles general manager brand digital and media Kate Bailey said “We pride ourselves on being a destination for delicious food and drinks. Coles is really proud of the taste.com.au partnership because it’s providing great value food inspiration online at a time that our customers are looking for ways to save more than ever before. The Savvy Dinner Plan is responding to our customers needs’ to feed their families and loved ones with popular meals on a budget.”

The Savvy Dinner Plan meal plans and recipes, along with supporting articles, videos, galleries, and blogs, will live in a dedicated hub at taste.com.au/savvydinnerplan

Claxon - Brian Collin
Claxon appoints Brian Collins as head of growth

Collins will be responsible for new client partnerships across the independent agency’s entire integrated service offering.

Claxon has appointed Brian Collins into the newly created role of head of growth, reporting directly to chief growth officer Jade Axford.

Collins, who also joins the agency’s senior leadership team, will be responsible for new client partnerships – globally – across the independent agency’s entire integrated service offering as Claxon moves onto the global stage via an ambitious acquisition and expansion strategy.

Axford said Collins to the growth team and noted that his track record and extensive experience in media were factors that made him an ideal leader to spearhead Claxon’s expansion efforts, both locally and globally.

“Brian’s deep passion for his craft aligns seamlessly with our culture, which places high value on curiosity, creativity, and collaborative spirit. As we move forward, Brian’s leadership will play a pivotal role in helping our clients navigate and excel in this transformative era, driven by digital and AI technologies.”

Collins boasts an international career, including senior leadership roles both agency and client-side, and he was most recently head of digital at True and head of UK Media for Ogilvy UK, global head of digital performance for Strong Roots and head of digital for ContentCal (now part of Adobe).

She brings more than 15 years of experience to Claxon solving digital problems to drive client growth working across some of the world’s most iconic brands including Mattel, Nokia, Colgate, Rolls Royce, Bacardi, Vodafone and The European Parliament.

Collins he was looking forward to taking on the new challenge that will allow him to leverage key capabilities the independent agency has invested in, particularly integrating AI into clients’ marketing strategies.

“My heart will always be in paid social & ecommerce but as the landscape has changed – an omnichannel approach is required. In recent years my focus has moved towards growth and I’m super excited to finally get to join the agency that was my first pick when moving to Australia, at a pivotal time in their evolutionary journey.”

Daniel Willis said: “After a two years courtship and Brian packing up his life and moving from the UK to Australia, it’s great to finally have him onboard. His appointment follows our people ethos of ‘Better people are better’ and he brings a wealth of experience, and charisma, and good old Irish humour into a key role as we continue to scale up.”

Fuel appoints Ed Bechervaise as Creative Strategy Director - 7 Feb 2024
Ed Bechervaise named new creative strategy director of Fuel Agency Melbourne

“Ed was part of the Fuel family well over a decade ago, and it’s great to welcome him back.”

The Fuel Agency Melbourne has appointed Ed Bechervaise in the role of creative strategy director, moving from iD collective. As an art-based creative director, Bechervaise will work closely with Ben Growns, Fuel’s writer-based creative director.

Bechervaise said, “Fuel is a great agency with a solid foundation. They have already done great work and have awesome clients. The team is super clever and have a good time doing things that are smart. I believe coming on board we can help clients find that next level and bring out their A type personality. To achieve something brilliant, impactful and enduring.”

Growns added, “As much as it is an exciting new chapter for the agency, it’s also a wonderful full-circle moment too. Ed was part of the Fuel family well over a decade ago, and it’s great to welcome him back.”

In Bechervaise’s previous position at boutique creative advertising, public relations, social media, influencer and events agency, iD Collective, Bechervaise headed up brand strategy across Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and New Zealand.

Prior to iD collective, Bechervaise worked as creative strategist and creative director at Icon Agency, where he helped the agency merge into a full-service 360 creative communications agency. The transformation resulted in 80 award nominations and over 30 award wins, scaling the agency scaled from 35 to 75 people.

Bechervaise’s portfolio lists a number of global brand experience including Malaysia Airlines, Timberland, Lacoste, Footlocker, Milwaukee Tools and Accor Hotels, FMCG including Peter’s Drumstick and finance (ING bank, Me Bank) as well as notable local brands including Yarra Trams and Red Nose, and both federal and state government departments.

Tim Kidman, chief executive officer at the independent Fuel Agency, said, “I’m thrilled with the transformative power Ed brings to our clients and the agency as creative strategy director.

“We recognise that creativity is the driving force behind impactful brand building and Ed’s addition marks a significant stride towards our vision of inspiring our clients to see their potential, propel them further and help transform their future. A fresh and invigorating energy has permeated throughout Fuel and with it comes a wealth of boundless opportunities.

“This hire not only reinforces our commitment to fostering innovative strategies but also underscores our dedication to elevating the creative landscape.”

Top Image:  Ed Bechervaise, Tim Kidman & Ben Growns

The Mars Agency acquires The In Group New Zealand - 8 Feb 2024
The Mars Agency acquires New Zealand brand activation agency, The In Group

The acquisition furthers The Mars Agency’s global expansion, which started with the opening of a London office in 2010.

The Mars Agency has expanded its foothold in the Australasian region with the acquisition of The IN Group, a New Zealand-based brand activation agency. This move builds upon the agency’s efforts to bolster its position in experiential marketing, following its previous acquisition of Australia-based XPO Brands in spring 2022.

The acquisition also continues the United States-based Mars Agency’s international expansion, that began in 2010 with the launch of a London office.

Sally Tobin, managing director of The Mars Agency Australia and New Zealand said, “The IN Group is well known for their relentless focus on results, their precise execution, and most of all for the passion they bring to everything they do.

“They are the perfect partner for building brand experiences that will resonate with shoppers at the local level while driving client success throughout the region.”

Chris Coffey, founder and managing director of The In Group, will continue leading local activity in her current role. Coffey launched The In Group 16 years ago after recognising the need for more effective, results-driven product sampling and brand activation in the CPG and healthcare marketplaces while serving in high-level marketing and management roles at GSK (now Haleon), Microsoft and Grey Worldwide.

Said Coffey, “With the resources and expertise of The Mars Agency supporting us, we’ll be able to drive even greater success for our clients. I’m beyond excited to start this next chapter in our history.”

Rob Rivenburgh, global chief executive officer of The Mars Agency, added “We’re aligning ourselves with best-in-class organisations around the world to provide marketing excellence wherever our clients need it.

“The  talent, passion and relentless focus on results that has made The In Group New Zealand’s leading brand experience agency is exactly the foundation we need to launch our full suite of services in the region.”

 

See also: XPO: The Mars Agency welcomes Gavin McColl as eCommerce director

Top 30 Australian Idol
TV Report February 7, 2024: Australian Idol judges hand out final Golden Tickets

Confessions Week continues on MAFS.

• TJ Zimba stuns the Australian Idol judges

Nine

Nine’s A Current Affair reported once again on mum-of-three Samantha Murphy. Now, Police have released fresh CCTV footage of her last public sighting as the search reaches the four-day mark.

Then on Married at First Sight, Confessions Week continued. While the fallout of Jayden’s confession continued with wife Eden,  Natalie and her husband Collins come together to complete the Photo Ranking Task. Collins places his wife at the top of the list; however, Natalie believes Collins isn’t being honest with her and questions his intentions. 

Meanwhile, Ellie and Ben, who have gone from strength to strength, hit a roadblock with the introduction of the Values Task. Ellie, who has always wanted to be a Mum, places family-orientated at the top of her list, while husband Ben places family much lower.

Then, the final Confession Letter Task is given to Sara and Tim. Tim reminds Sara how he had been cheated on which has resulted in him developing trust issues and Sara can sympathise. However, even though Tim is glad his wife understands the significance of this, when the Phone Swap Task arrives Sara refuses to do it leaving Tim to suspect that Sara is hiding something.

Seven

Over on Seven, Mackenzie and Levi were drawn together on Home and Away and Harper felt alone while Remi and Eden got shock news.

Then on Australian Idol, the final night of auditions cemented the Top 30, with 24-year-old TJ Zimba’s performance leaving judges Marcia Hines, Kyle Sandilands and Amy Shark ready to throw out the rule book.

The unique hip-hop artist from Karratha, WA – who writes, produces, and records his own songs – was handed a Golden Ticket immediately after his performance of Khalid’s Location, skipping the final deliberation round.  

“We’re going to get in big trouble, but I don’t care. You’re too good,” Amy said. 

Imogen Spendlove, 23, stunned with her performance of Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing. The factory worker from Melbourne gave Kyle goosebumps with her “absolutely beautiful” voice, while Marcia told her: “I think we’re looking at the next Australian Idol.”  

10

On 10The Project welcomed via satellite Steve Clemons, SEMAFOR Editor-at-large, who revealed how much closer Donald Trump is to facing prosecution concerning allegations he plotted to overturn his 2020 election defeat and whether this could be the thing that sticks.

Then, it was time for Ambulance Australia. During the episode, paramedics were called to a 7-year-old boy gasping for air, and a serious multi-motor vehicle accident where a rescue was hampered by downed power lines and a childbirth emergency.

FBI: International followed as the Fly Team searched Bucharest for a Romanian surrogate who went missing shortly before carrying the biological child of an American couple to term. Plus, Scott fears for his neighbour’s safety.

ABC

On ABC’s 7.30, Sarah Ferguson interviewed Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and the program looked at how culture wars continue in Canberra as Parliament returns.

Then, Tom Gleeson put superfans to the test on Hard Quiz. This week they went head-to-head with Godzilla, Marilyn Monroe, Swan Lake, and the whale shark. 

The Weekly with Charlie Pickering was up next, back for its 10th Season.

UK drama This Is Going to Hurt followed as Adam was juggling his personal life with his hectic job on the labour ward. He meets new recruit Shruti; however, he is not the mentor she might have been hoping for.

SBS

Over on SBS, Scottish Islands with Ben Fogle saw the host travel to Arran and Holy Isle, learning how they’re a haven for diverse faiths and beliefs, making Jewish Challah bread and visiting a Buddhist Peace Centre.

Then in the documentary Shackleton’s Endurance: Lost Ship Found, we took an in-depth look at a thrilling recent discovery as Sir Ernest Shackleton’s long-lost ship Endurance was finally found more than a century after it was trapped in polar ice and sank into the frigid waters of the Antarctic. 

Business of Media

Moscow confirms Putin interview with Tucker Carlson

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, granted an interview to the US television host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday, the Kremlin said, claiming it was arranged because Carlson’s approach differs from the one-sided reporting of many traditional western news media, reports The Guardian’s Richard Luscombe, Chris Michael, and Andrew Roth.

The interview was likely to be aired on Thursday, according to Russia’s Tass news agency, citing reports by the Wall Street Journal.

Speculation had been growing for days that Carlson, who was dumped by Fox last year for “getting too big for his boots”, had traveled to the Russian capital to meet Putin, whose reasons for invading Ukraine he says should be heard by the American public.

[Read More]

Snap hits 414m active users, losses narrow to $248m for latest quarter

One day after announcing plans to reduce its workforce by 10 percent, Snap Inc. reported fourth-quarter 2023 earnings that mostly beat Wall Street expectations, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Weprin.

The tech company, led by CEO Evan Spiegel, reported revenue of $1.36 billion in Q4, up 5 percent compared to the same quarter last year. It also reported a net loss of $248 million in the quarter, compared to $288 million a year earlier.

Daily active users were 414 million, and the company says that its AI-powered subscription service Snapchat+ now has 7 million subscribers.

[Read More]

Television

Why did TV shows return to coding as a single entry in TV ratings?

Amongst one of the welcome changes in the new-look television ratings is the removal of ‘split-coding’ for Seven News, Nine News, The Project, The Chase and more. Now most shows are coding as a single entry in line with their EPG and playout, reports TV Tonight.

There are still some exceptions including in Breakfast television, and where two half hour shows screen as a one hour double.

But what triggered the change, which began on January 1st?

[Read More]

Pat Cash, Luc Longley and Cathy Freeman take their turn at The Front Bar

Three footy fans in a pub having a beer talking about sport. Andy Maher admits that when the idea for The Front Bar was initially being pitched it was a tough sell, reports Nine Publishing’s John Mangan.

“When they first heard about the concept, I think most people were saying well you’re not going to make that work,” says Maher. “Three blokes who’ve never played the game sitting around a front bar talking about it, how can you make that interesting?”

But when the three people are seasoned AFL broadcaster Maher, comedian and star of Crackerjack Mick Molloy, and Logies host Sam Pang, think again. The show, which started out streaming on the AFL website, is now a staple of the Seven programming slate.

[Read More]

Sports Media

How you stream sports is about to be transformed by a blockbuster media deal

It’s one small step for sports kind. Disney’s ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery on Tuesday announced a new sports-streaming venture that promises to make life easier for consumers who are frustrated with all the platforms they have to sign up for to watch their favorite teams play, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Isabella Simonetti and Amol Sharma.

The as-yet-unnamed service will bring together in one streaming package all the content those companies offer—from the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB to college basketball and football. Plenty of consumers will find that appealing. But before you get too excited, there is some fine print to be aware of, from pricing to availability of the content you love.

[Read More]

NRL shuffles the deck on the eve of Vegas

What does it say about an organisation starting a restructure one month out from one of its most ambitious projects? Nothing good, reports Nine Publishing’s Mark Di Stefano.

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo began telling staff – frantically preparing the opening round in Las Vegas – on Tuesday that some of his direct reports were leaving.

The game’s executive general manager of strategy, Andrew Every, had found another gig, while Jaymes Boland-Rudder, who some insiders saw as a potential CEO successor, was also heading for the exit. With the NRL’s communications chief Grant Williams also departing to set up his own PR consultancy, Abdo was losing nearly half his executive team in one go.

[Read More]

How Vince McMahon got TKO’d

When Vince McMahon stepped into the New York Stock Exchange on Jan. 23, he was on hand to celebrate what was supposed to be a triumph for TKO Group Holdings, the company for which he was executive chairman, and the owner of the WWE, the wrestling promotion that McMahon turned into a multibillion-dollar business, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Weprin.

Earlier that morning the WWE announced a blockbuster 10-year, $5 billion deal with Netflix to stream Raw in the U.S. and almost all of its other live programming in other markets around the world. And Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, one of the WWE’s biggest stars — turned global movie star — was set to ring the opening bell, in connection with an agreement to join TKO’s board of directors.

[Read More]

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