By Trent Thomas
“The lifeblood of talkback radio is that it is live and local”
Near the end of 2020, Nine Radio announced a raft of changes at its talk radio station 6PR. The key change was the announcement that mornings host Gareth Parker would move to the breakfast shift vacated by Steve Mills and Basil Zempilas, following Zempilas departing Nine Radio, with Mills moving to the afternoon shift.
60 Minutes journalist Liam Bartlett also re-joined 6PR as its new morning host with Oliver Peterson staying on drive, while Simon Beaumont was named to host a new Saturday/Sunday morning program.
A few weeks into the new line-up Mediaweek caught up with Gareth Parker about adjusting to an earlier start as the new breakfast host for 6PR.
“I am still very much getting used to the early alarm but it’s been good fun so far. Everything has been a bit unfamiliar because it’s a new show with new times and segments but fundamentally the task is the same, to connect to our listeners by putting on an informing and entertaining radio show,” said Parker.
“At the moment it’s just trying to get through each day, and we are still reviewing the show and tinkering with it and trying to get the balance right. Everyone is governed by the ratings so it’s important that it rates well.”
Talk radio isn’t new to Parker after hosting 6PR’s morning show since 2017 but admits that moving to the earlier slot has still taken an adjustment.
“A breakfast show on talk radio has more moving parts with an extra news bulletin each half-hour, daily segments, and the clock is watched a little bit more at breakfast which makes it more expansive.
“We are doing things that help people set up their day with traffic, weather, time calls amongst the other content we do such as interviews, talk topics, and the calls we take.”
Parker said that people at 6PR knew that change was coming after Macquarie Media became Nine Radio but was just focused on the morning show until he was asked to take over breakfast.
“We always knew that there was going to be change because Basil Zempilas was going to be leaving due to his decision to pursue the Lord Mayor opportunity. I took the view that I would worry about myself and our morning show. Then late last year Tom Malone and Greg Byrnes had the chat about what next year would look like and this is where it ended up.”
The new solo host breakfast format helmed by Parker broke away from the dual hosting style of the previous show. Both the shows previous hosts also enjoyed a long stint in breakfast with Zempilas spending over seven years on the show and Mills over 16, this meant there was always going to be a fair amount of change to the show.
“The nature of the show is different when you go from a two header to running a program on your own. Baz and Steve did a terrific doubleheader that was very entertaining and light, this is a slightly different show, we still need to keep the entertainment factor but with a deliberate strategy to bring a harder news edge to things.”
A big part of Nine Radio’s focus in creating new talk shows at its stations is being local, and Parker, who is a Perth lifer, thinks he fits that mold.
“I grew up here and lived my whole life here outside a few years in my 20s and would like to think I know how the place works, what makes it tick, and what is important to people.
“The lifeblood of talkback radio is that it is live and local, and we pride ourselves on the fact at 6PR that we are live and local. That is why our audience loves us when other radio stations go to national programming, at 6PR we are here in Perth.
Parker took over breakfast at a time where there is plenty for him to talk about, but he said that the pandemic and the COVID-19 lockdown in Perth has been the dominant story that people care about
“I don’t think people are excited about the election, it is useful to have for background but we haven’t focused on it at all and I think it’s a foregone conclusion who is going to win. The COVID lockdown that we’re going through was front of mind for our listeners.”
Parker has been writing columns for over 10 years and recently concluded his long tenure at The West Australian before joining WAToday.
“My background is newspapers, and I started my career in journalism at The West Australian in 2004 and worked there until 2016. After I left The West, I still wrote a column for it and the Sunday Times which finished up at the end of last year, and I am thrilled to be able to continue writing columns.”
Roy Morgan and OzTAM data shows Seven #1 commercial BVOD and fastest growing.
New data from Roy Morgan shows 8.6 million Australians now watch Broadcast Video on Demand (BVOD) services which include ABC iView, SBS On Demand, 7plus, 9Now and 10 Play, reports the research company.
Morgan estimates all five leading FTA BVOD services have grown significantly during 2020 as Australians endured a nation-wide lockdown from late March until early June and Victorians experienced a second, longer, lockdown soon after.
8.6 million Australians (40.6%) now view at least one of the BVOD services in an average four weeks and ABC iView is the clear market leader with 5.13 million viewers, up a large 2.12 million (+70.7%) from a year ago.
SBS On Demand is in a clear second place and now viewed by 4.08 million Australians in an average four weeks representing an increase of 1.49 million (+57.6%) from a year ago.
However, the fastest growth over the last year has been for the traditional commercial broadcasters Seven, Nine and 10 which have all more than doubled their viewership.
The leader of the three is the Seven Network’s 7plus which is now viewed by 2.68 million Australians, an increase of 1.5 million (+125.8%) from a year ago.
Close behind is the Nine Entertainment Company’s 9Now which is viewed by 2.49 million Australians, up 1.25 million (+101%) on a year ago and Network 10’s 10 Play now viewed by 2.29 million Australians, up 1.41 million (+159.6%).
This new data comes from Roy Morgan Single Source consumer survey, derived from in-depth interviews with over 50,000 Australians each year.
Coinciding with the recent release of the Morgan survey data, is the OzTAM share data for summer. The OzTAM audience numbers reveal Seven took the crown in prime time with a total people network commercial summer share of 36.9%, ahead of Nine Network on 36.2% and Network 10 on 26.9%. Seven was also #1 in 16 to 39s and grew its audience share in that age group by 1.8 points over the summer months.
From 6.00am to midnight, Seven scored a total people commercial share of 40.3%, ahead of Nine on 35.8% and 10 on 23.9%, and ranked #1 in 25 to 54s and 16 to 39s.
Across the summer, 7plus was the #1 commercial free to air BVOD service, securing a share of 40.6%, ahead of 9Now on 40.2% and 10play on 19.2%. 7plus’ growth far outstripped the competition, growing viewership 49% year-on-year, compared to 35% for 10play and just 4% for 9Now.
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine (pictured below) says the lockdown during 2020 provided a big boost to subscription TV and this growth has also been experienced by their Free TV counterparts including ABC iView, SBS On Demand, 7plus, 9Now and 10 Play:
“Almost 8.6 million Australians are now watching at least one of the Video on Demand services offered by Australia’s Free-To-Air broadcasters the ABC, SBS and the leading commercial channels 7, 9 & 10 – growth of nearly 3.5 million (+66.7%) on 2019.
“This growth for Broadcast Video on Demand is faster (and larger) than experienced by subscription TV over the same period which was up 2.4 million (+16.2%) on 2019 to 17.3 million.
“It’s true that the overall audience for Subscription TV is about twice the size but the results over the last year show that Australians are increasingly discovering there are free alternatives to paying a monthly fee to providers such as Netflix, Foxtel, Stan, Amazon or Disney.”
Finecast, GroupM’s addressable TV business, has announced several senior appointments to strengthen its operations and client teams in line with its growth.
Matt Stephens has been appointed Head of Client Engagement. He has more than 13 years in advertising sales and leadership positions in Television and media. He joins from SBS where he spent the last 6 years leading the NSW Sales Team across TV and Digital, including its BVOD platform. Before that he spent 4.5 years with MCN/Foxtel Media.
He will be responsible for further driving the growth of Finecast and working with agencies and clients to drive understanding of the role of addressable TV to deliver results as part of a modern media strategy.
Georgina Fox (pictured) has been named as Head of Operations. She will be responsible for managing supply partnerships for Finecast and leading the operations team that implements all Addressable TV campaigns at GroupM.
Fox is transitioning to Finecast from GroupM where she was Publisher Partnerships and Supply Director managing all programmatic supply across video, display, audio, out of home and native, and was part of a number of digital innovation projects such as developing the first programmatic out of home supply marketplace in Australia, for GroupM.
Fox and Stephens will report to Finecast Managing Director Brett Poole and work closely with the Finecast leadership team including Liv Geen, Head of Client Services, who joined in 2020 from Mindshare, Tania David, Head of Marketing & Business Development and Dylan Dharmadasa, Head of Product.
Brett Poole, Finecast Managing Director, says: “Advertisers’ appetite for Addressable TV has accelerated in the past 12 months, as they discover the ability to reach television audiences in new ways using data and technology to target and measure. It’s exciting to welcome new additions to the team as we continue to grow Finecast, the only dedicated addressable TV business within Australia, committed to advancing TV advertising experiences for Australian brands and viewers.
“With a zest for delivering client satisfaction and results through a consultative, partnership-led approach, Matt’s transition into the rapidly evolving world of Addressable TV is a natural partnership of skills and passion. Georgie’s track record at GroupM managing broadcast partnerships, supply and industry leading trading innovations, make her a fantastic addition to the team. I’m excited to drive another strong year of growth for addressable TV in Australia, delivering effective client campaigns and new industry-leading products.”
Finecast works with every major FTA broadcaster in Australia, meaning advertisers can plan across the entire BVOD ecosystem in one place. Thanks to the Finecast ID, which launched in 2020, advertisers, for the first time, can also measure and manage frequency and reach across BVOD through a single buying platform, which improves user experience and advertiser effectiveness.
Finecast is part of GroupM, the investment arm of WPP AUNZ, Australasia’s leading creative tech company.
The average audience per match in BBL|10 was 735,000, Kayo crowds up 100%+
An average audience of over 1.4 million watched the Sydney Sixers claim their third KFC BBL title over the Perth Scorchers on Saturday night across Seven, Foxtel and streaming services including Kayo. That represented a 15% increase on the BBL|09 Final and ranked as the fourth most-watched BBL game ever.
Cricket Australia reports the final capped a season that is now the most-watched on TV.
The BBL|10 Final between Sixers v Scorchers had an average audience of 442,000 across Foxtel Linear, Foxtel Go/Now and Kayo. The Foxtel linear audience was 346,000 with a further 96,000 watching on Kayo.
The final was the #1 game of BBL 10, well ahead of the next best game of the season achieved by game 12 Thunder v Scorchers with 376,000.
The Saturday final was 23% on last season’s final between the Sixers and Stars that had an audience of 360,000 across the Foxtel group.
The final was the #2 BBL Final on STV services of all time, behind the 2011/12 Final between the Scorchers and Sixers that had an average audience of 450,000.
It was the #3 BBL game of all time on subscription services (#1 is 2011/12 Game 2 Stars v Thunder with 478,000).
• The total audience of 44.82m across the 61-game tournament was the highest in league history – an increase of 5.9% across all platforms YOY, including linear TV growth of 1.4%.
• The total audience of 5.64m across the five-game Finals series was the highest in league history – an increase of 15% on last season.
• The average audience per match in BBL|10 was 735,000 across all platforms, ensuring the Big Bash League remains the most-watched sporting league in Australia on a per-game basis. The linear TV audience of 675,000 was 9,000 higher than BBL|09, while the streaming platform average of 60,000 per game represented 109% growth YOY.
• The most-watched BBL tournament was also the highest scoring from a first innings runs perspective. The 168.1 average first innings score (excluding abandoned and DLS affected matches) was up three runs on the previous benchmark of 165 set in BBL|06.
• In addition, the 643 sixes hit across the season were the most in the competition’s history, up 6.5% on BBL|09. This season also saw nine scores of 90+, the most in a single season.
Despite crowd restrictions, border closures and the need to stage the tournament in a bio-secure hub, a total of 522,140 fans attended matches across Covid-safe venues in seven states and territories.
Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia’s head of Big Bash Leagues, said:
“The KFC BBL has the best fans in the country, and we are grateful to the record number of Australians who tuned in to watch our tenth season.
“Bringing joy to our fans was the driving force for everyone across the league and clubs all season and we thank every one of them, whether they watched on TV or a device, listened on radio or attended at the stadium. We trust they enjoyed the incredible action on display in KFC BBL|10 and we can’t wait to welcome them back next season, hopefully in a more relaxed public health environment.
“I would also like to take the opportunity to once again thank all state and territory governments, KFC BBL clubs including all players and staff, match officials, broadcast partners Seven, Foxtel, Kayo and SEN, commercial partners KFC, BKT, Toyota, Sanitarium, Bupa, venues and curators and our own people who made this extraordinary season happen. Your commitment to the success of the Big Bash in unprecedented times cannot be overstated.”
• Growth in beauty and personal luxury advertising will remain below market average in 2021 and 2022
• Digital advertising spend to be 19% higher in 2022 than in 2019
• France and India to lead recovery in 2021 and 2022
Decreased consumer demand for cosmetics and fragrances amid continued social distancing will restrain the recovery in beauty and personal luxury advertising to 1.7% in 2021, according to Zenith’s Business Intelligence – Beauty and Personal Luxury report. This is below the 4.4% growth rate for total adspend in the 11 key markets included in the report*. Beauty adspend will total US$7.5bn across these markets in 2021, and then rise to US$7.7bn in 2022, growing by 2.6%, compared to 4.5% for the market as a whole.
Beauty and personal luxury adspend fell roughly in line with the market in 2020. The sharp drop in spending on cosmetics and fragrances as people stopped meeting in person was mitigated by continued demand for both hair and skin care. With hairdressers and salons harder to reach, consumers took hair care into their own hands at home. Skin care, meanwhile, benefited from the heightened desire for health-enhancing products during the pandemic.
During the recovery, though, overall demand for beauty will not change much as consumers remain reluctant to return to their pre-pandemic habits, reducing sales of cosmetics and fragrances in particular. Most beauty and personal luxury brands will not raise budgets substantially, and will be more likely to redeploy spending from underperforming channels instead.
Better environments and ecommerce help digital compensate for declining reach of magazines and TV
Beauty and personal luxury brands spend much more of their budgets on magazines and TV than the average brand. Beauty, the quintessential category of appearance, thrives on its ability to create emotional connections through imagery in a high-quality environment. Zenith estimates that in 2020 beauty brands spent 18.3% of their budgets on magazines advertising, 4.3 times more than the average brand, and 42.2% on television, 1.6 times more than average. But while the effective reach of traditional media declines, consumers are turning to digital and social platforms in increasing numbers.
Globally, beauty and personal luxury brands have been relatively slow to adopt digital advertising, spending 34.1% of their budgets digitally in 2020, compared to 53.1% for the market as a whole. This is a result of the historic lack of premium digital environments that support the high-quality brand imagery that beauty and personal luxury brands need to convey. It is also due to the difficulty the beauty industry has had adapting to ecommerce, because consumers feel the need to sample and try on beauty products in person before committing to a specific product. According to Euromonitor International, 11.8% of beauty and personal luxury sales were through ecommerce in 2019, compared to 13.2% for the market as a whole.
However, technologies like video-on-demand and connected TV, and social platforms like Instagram and TikTok, are creating new premium environments that showcase beauty and personal luxury brands effectively. Brands have also greatly stepped up investment in their ecommerce offerings since the start of the pandemic as a matter of necessity, as bricks-and-mortar retail sales shrank. Digital channels are therefore becoming more valuable for both brand and performance advertising.
In Australia, as more and more interactions moved online in 2020, we saw the use of cosmetics decline, with 52% using cosmetics less than before the pandemic began, according to results from a ZenPoll conducted last week**. And while skin care remains of high importance, half of Australians have simplified their skin care routine and are investing more in their own self-care.
Zenith Australia’s Head of Strategic Insights, Kim Xavier, said: “Although many people had to resort to purchasing cosmetics and skin care products online through lockdown periods, the in-store experience of purchasing these products is still very important. While 55% are more likely to research beauty products online, only one in three are purchasing more of their beauty products online.
“This signals an opportunity for beauty brands to continue not just to accelerate their ecommerce strategies, but actually have a dual strategy focused on in-store engagement, while also driving greater innovation in online experiences through new technologies.”
Zenith estimates that the global beauty category increased its spending on digital advertising 2.8% in 2020, despite the pandemic. This was twice the 1.4% growth rate of digital advertising across all categories, as beauty and personal luxury brands began to compensate for previous underinvestment. Zenith forecasts average growth of 5.9% a year in digital advertising between 2019 and 2022. Beauty and personal luxury adspend on all other media will decline over this period, by between 1.2% a year for TV and 12.4% a year for magazines.
*The eleven markets included in this report are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US, which between them account for 59% of total global adspend. Beauty and personal luxury is defined as the combination of four sub-categories: cosmetics, fragrances, hair care and skin care.
**Zenith Australia GenPoll, carried out 3rd February, 2021. Base n=317
ARN has announced that Caitlin McArthur has been appointed Executive Producer of KIIS FM’s Jase & PJ in the Morning.
Caitlin has previously held roles as Senior National Producer, Executive Producer, and Producer at Southern Cross Austereo.
Of the appointment ARN’s Chief Content Officer Duncan Campbell said, “Caitlin has a very genuine passion for radio and will be an invaluable asset to Jase & PJ in the Morning. Creatively she has some wonderful content ideas that will continue to deliver our listeners the unexpected, good hearted fun they’ve come to expect. We welcome her to the ARN family.”
Of her new role, Executive Producer of Jase & PJ in the Morning, Caitlin McArthur said, “I am beyond excited to be joining the Jase & PJ show as I’ve been an admirer for quite a while. They’re always up to something, so together with their chemistry on air and brilliant team behind them, this year is going to be a whole lot of whacky fun and I can’t wait to see where we take the show next.”
Last year it was announced that AFL premiership legend and Brownlow medallist Dane Swan was joining Jase & PJ’s show. The deal by ARN was negotiated with Liam Pickering’s Precision Sports Entertainment Group which represents Swan.
At the time Duncan Campbell said, “Dane will be a terrific addition to Jase & PJ in the Morning. His AFL knowledge and insights combined with that unique sense of humour of his and laid-back style means he’s a perfect fit for the show. He will create even more engaging local content for KIIS 101.1 breakfast listeners.”
In the final Melbourne survey results of 2020, KIIS’s station cume pushed back above 900,000 while breakfast cume also lifted – up 80,000 to 395,000. Breakfast share for Jase and PJ climbed, up 0.7 to 5.4%. The next radio survey results are due out March 11.
By Trent Thomas
The Australian box office had a steep decline of 29% after making a total of $5.12m
The Dry is continuing to make progress towards the top 10 for domestic films in Australia with its total now sitting at $16.20m after six weeks of release. The film needs to exceed the $21.76m made by Strictly Ballroom to make the top 10.
However, The Dry isn’t the only local film enjoying success in Australia at the moment with the top five also featuring Penguin Bloom and High Ground. This is the second week in a row that the Australian box office has featured three Aussie films in the top five, as local films continue to benefit from the lack of international releases.
The only new entry to the top five this week is the horror film Wrong Turn which took the place of The Croods: A New Age which has made $20.25m over the last seven weeks, making it the second highest grossing film since cinemas re-opened behind only Wonder Woman 1984.
Overall, the Australian box office had a steep decline of 29% after making a total of $5.12m.
One of the strongest performing local films in a number of years, The Dry continues to power forward with another 1m+ week after averaging $2,954 on 386 screens.
The drama starring Naomi Watts and Andrew Lincoln has spent a third straight week in the top two with its total now sitting at $5.15m. The film averaged $2,209 on 328 screens.
The Liam Neeson action flick has a total of $2.60m over the last three weeks and averaged $1,631 on 256 screens this past weekend.
The meat pie western completes the trilogy of Aussie films in the top five and has made $1.51m over the last two weeks. Over the weekend the film averaged $1,671 on 242 screens.
The only new entry to the top five this week made an average of $2,500 on 147 screens.
By Trent Thomas
• Ratings Bombshell: Seven wins night despite first night of Aus Open
• Home and Away #1 entertainment program of the night
• The Amazing Race Australia continues upwards trend
• Ratings Bombshell: Seven wins night despite first night of Aus Open
• Home and Away #1 non-news program of the night
• The Amazing Race Australia continues upwards trend
Seven News 1,051,000 (6 pm)/1,041,000 (6:30 pm)
Nine News is 846,000 (6 pm)/879,000 (6:30 pm)
ABC News 719,000
10 News First 371,000(5 pm)/249,000 (6pm)
SBS World News 177,000 (6:30 pm)/154,000 (7 pm)
Daily current affairs
The Project 296,000 (6:30 pm)/522,000 (7 pm)
The Drum 151,000
News Breakfast 187,000
Late Night News
ABC Late News 101,000
World News Late 40,000
Nine had to wait a little longer than usual to serve up its premier sporting event of the Summer but the Australian Open finally aired its first night of play last night with Nick Kyrgios cruising to a comfortable win while also generating headlines at the same time.
The Australian Open’s evening session had 486,000 viewers which was down on the 538,000 that it had last year.
The match between Kyrgios and Frederico Ferrira Silva saw the audience peak with an audience of 1.09m (metro: 772,000 reg: 318,000). The average audience through the match was 797,000 (metro: 605,000 reg: 193,000).
Seven managed a narrow win over Nine last night in both primary (19.0%) and network shares (28.7%) off the back of Homey and Away with 587,000 viewers which was the top entertainment program last night.
Holey Moley had 528,000 which was the lowest amount of metro viewers that the show has had since its February 1 launch.
Monday, February 1: 983,000
Tuesday, February 2: 737,000
Wednesday, February 3: 543,000
Sunday, February 7: 629,000
Monday, February 8: 528,000
In the episode, Jayden Lawson and his signature pink putter flew through the course and landed a trip to the Grand Final for a chance to win $100,000 on Greg Norman’s Tomb of Nefer-Tee-Tee.
Holey Moley was followed by 9-1-1 (325,000) and The Rookie (189,000).
10 is continuing to build momentum for its 7:30 program The Amazing Race Australia after posting a season-high number of viewers for the second night in a row. 558,000 tuned in as The Parents, Shane and Deb sadly withdrew from the competition due to a pre-existing knee injury was giving Shane grief following the Road Block challenge on Magnetic Island. The Amazing Race Australia was also #1 in all key demos last night.
The Amazing Race was followed by the return of Hughesy We Have a Problem with 264,000 as David Hughes was joined by regulars Nazeem Hussain and Becky Lucas alongside long time radio stablemate Kate Langbroek and comedy stalwart Ross Noble. The show also featured zooms from international guests Carole Baskin and Gary Busey.
Later on 10 Sam Neil was on The Graham Norton Show with 129,000 and was up against stiff competition in… Sam Neil hosting The Pacific: In the Wake of Captain Cook.
ABC dished up its Monday current affairs line up with 7:30 (533,000), the return of Australian Story (443,000), Four Corners (514,000), and Media Watch (489,000) followed by The Pacific: In the Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neil with 326,000.
Super Bowl LV
On Seven the Super Bowl had 279,000 with 319,000 tuning in for the half time show while ESPN had 107,000 viewers.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS||2.3%||7TWO||4.3%||GO!||2.3%||10 Bold||4.8%||VICELAND||1.5%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||4.0%||GEM||1.5%||10 Peach||2.8%||Food Net||1.0%|
|ABC NEWS||1.7%||7flix||1.4%||9Life||2.0%||10 Shake||0.8%||NITV||0.1%|
|9Rush||1.4%||SBS World Movies||0.3%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS||2.4%||7TWO||5.6%||GO!||3.7%||WIN Bold||6.1%||VICELAND||1.8%|
|ABC ME||1.0%||7mate||3.9%||GEM||2.1%||WIN Peach||3.2%||Food Net||0.8%|
|ABC NEWS||1.4%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.4%||9Life||2.4%||Sky News on WIN||1.6%||NITV||0.1%|
|MONDAY METRO ALL TV|
16-39 Top Five
18-49 Top Five
25-54 Top Five
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2021. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Nine Entertainment is looking at a bill of more than $2.5 million after Elaine Stead was awarded the vast majority of her costs in her defamation case against Australian Financial Review columnist Joe Aston, reports News Corp.
Justice Michael Lee, in a brief hearing in the Federal Court in Sydney on Monday, awarded Dr Stead “indemnity costs” in the matter, from the date of April 22 last year, when Dr Stead offered to settle for a $190,000 payout.
Fairfax will be forced to pay Dr Stead $280,000 in ordinary and aggravated damages, $16,500 in interest, plus her costs from April 22. Her lawyer, Sue Chrysanthou, said last week that Dr Stead’s total costs ran to more than $1.1 million.
Australian journalist Cheng Lei has been formally arrested by Chinese authorities after six months of detention on suspicion of sharing state secrets overseas, reports News Corp’s Will Glasgow.
The former CGTN television network anchor has been denied access to her lawyer since being taken from her Beijing apartment on August 13, sources familiar with the matter said.
The formal arrest was made less than two months after Haze Fan — a Beijing-based journalist at Bloomberg and close friend of Cheng — was detained on suspicion of endangering national security. “We are absolutely convinced of her innocence,” said Cheng’s family in a statement.
One of the most prominent Australians in China, Cheng is widely known among the Australian business, political and diplomatic communities.
GB News presenter and chairman Andrew Neil set out his anti “woke” vision for GB News on the same day that the channel faced an attempted advertising boycott prompted by campaign group Stop Funding Hate, reports Press Gazette.
Hundreds of tweets have been sent to banks, mobile phone companies and other brands using the hashtag #DontFundGBNews. GB News is a news channel launching next month that is being led by CEO Angelos Frangopoulos, a former CEO of Australia’s Sky News Channel.
Although GB News has yet to broadcast a second of coverage, Stop Funding Hate used articles from the Evening Standard and Guardian, speculating that the channel will be right-wing in the mould of Fox News, to justify its campaign.
Chairman of GB News and presenter of the channel Neil described the “woke warriors” behind the advertising boycott as “hilarious”.
In a letter to The Guardian (that was not published), CEO Frangopoulos has said GB News is “committed to impartial journalism” and looking for a “range of voices and perspectives”.
“GB News will be staunchly independent. That is our point. Our investors know this, our journalists will know it and so will our viewers. We aim to serve British communities who feel poorly represented by mainstream television media, especially outside London.
“We are proud to be adding plurality to UK media by investing in journalism that will be as diverse and broad-minded as the British people themselves.
“We are absolutely committed to our mission to report news in the most accurate and balanced way we can.”
2GB radio host Ben Fordham was forced to pay a listener $1,000 after an awkward blunder, reports News Corp’s Mibengé Nsenduluka.
While hosting the station’s 2GB For Me competition, Fordham accidentally declared a caller named Kathy the winner of $1,000 despite her not answering the phone correctly.
The competition requires listeners to answer the phone within 15 seconds and say “2GB For Me” to win $100 followed by a code word to win $1,000, however Kathy skipped the first requirement and stated the code word “winner”.
“Hang on a moment… Did you say 2GB for me?” Fordham asked Kathy after already announcing that she had won the cash.
Scott Morrison has been taken to task by veteran radio presenter John Laws over rogue Liberal MP Craig Kelly’s coronavirus comments, reports News Corp’s Frank Chung.
Speaking to Laws on his 2SM program on Monday, the Prime Minister was accused of “avoiding the question” about Kelly in a testy back-and-forth.
“It’s always good to hear what you’ve got to say – you’re the boss, and Australians care about what you say, they don’t care too much about what Craig Kelly says,” Laws said at the start of the interview. “What your thoughts on Craig Kelly?”
Morrison replied, “Well, we dealt with that last week. I think that got enough oxygen last week.”
Laws hit back, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. It didn’t get oxygen here.”
Morrison said he didn’t know about Laws’ program but it did “in many other places, so I think we should stick with that”.
Laws said, “In other words, you’re avoiding the question, Prime Minister. That’s very unlike you.”
Channel 10 has removed a video of Waleed Aly’s controversial 2017 interview with former AFL star Heritier Lumumba on The Project in the wake of backlash, reports News Corp’s Mibengé Nsenduluka.
The clip mysteriously disappeared from the broadcaster’s online platforms last week after Aly was accused of hypocrisy after openly doubting Lumumba’s claims of racism during a TV interview.
The Gold Logie winner continues to face backlash amid calls for him to apologise to Lumumba following the release of a bombshell investigation, which recently found Collingwood guilty of “systemic racism”.
At the time, Aly and his co-host, Peter Helliar, who are both AFL fans, questioned Lumumba’s claim that he was called a “chimp” by fellow Collingwood players from 2005-2014.
TV Tonight can confirm Australian Ninja Warrior will film its 5th season in Homebush, NSW.
Filming will get underway in coming weeks.
Ben Fordham & Rebecca Madden return as hosts.
Last week it was revealed that Foxtel and its chief commercial officer Amanda Laing had scored the broadcast and digital rights to the national Super Netball competition for the next five years, a steal from incumbent broadcaster Nine, writes News Corp’s Melissa Yeo and Christine Lacy.
The move was an intercept Nine wasn’t going to take lightly, sparking a “stoush” of sorts as described by Nine’s own Sydney Morning Herald.
Margin Call hears it was the make-up of Nine’s proposal, including Nine’s insistence on taking a stake in the sport was instrumental in NA deciding to sign with a new broadcaster.
Nine’s mooted proposal was perhaps mistimed as it came on the heels of Netball Australia’s own study into the future of the sport, led by none other than the netball legend Liz Ellis and released in mid-December called out future potential private equity investment as a key focus for the commission in the years ahead.