By James Manning
While there has been excitement at Mediaweek about the January return of the A-teams to FTA TV breakfast shows and 10’s early start to 2020 with I’m A Celebrity, one network that doesn’t slow at all over the summer break is SBS.
This month SBS has been able to not just boast 10 new series, but it was able to talk about its top 10 new series. Among the new content were shows coming to its suite of linear TV channels plus new content to SBS On Demand.
That new content included a second season of cross-cultural weddings in Australia, Marry Me Marry My Family, John Malkovich and Jude Law in The New Pope, the Lorne Michaels-produced Shrill fast-tracked from the US and the arrival of the impressive six-part series Save Me featuring Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster, Gentleman Jack) and Lennie James (unforgettable from the first season of Line of Duty).
SBS director of TV and online content Marshall Heald recently spoke to Mediaweek about content budgets and some of the biggest SBS properties coming soon.
War of the Worlds: “There are two series. Our is the contemporary reimagining. It is an international co-production shot across France and the UK featuring Gabriel Byrne. It is an eight-part survival thriller made by StudioCanal for Fox Internationally.”
The series will be screened in February in the US on Fox and soon after on SBS. The series screened in November and December in France.
SBS has two four-part Australian drama series this year. Hungry Ghost is finished, while New Gold Mountain will probably shoot around the middle of 2020. Heald revealed that there will be a third Australian drama for 2020 which has yet to be announced.
“New Gold Mountain is the first time we have done a period drama. In the past it has been too expensive for us, but with the help of Screen Australia and All3Media we have managed to make it happen for the first time. It will be great to have Benjamin Law on board as one of the scriptwriters. It is a murder mystery set during the height of the gold rush. It is a crucial part of Australian history that hasn’t been told very often from a multicultural perspective.”
Heald told Mediaweek that regarding the 2019-2020 programming budget, SBS has committed most of its spend. “For the year following we are probably about 30% committed. We have been able to grow the commissioning budget by virtue of third-party investment coming in. They are largely international distribution advances.
“Our factual spend has been fairly consistent as have the Viceland and SBS Food budgets. Where we have been able to invest more is in the On Demand area.”
“As a hybrid broadcaster we have the ability to run a limited amount of advertising and that has allowed us to acquire more shows for the platform.”
Heald said when SBS invests in international content it only ever acquires a licence for the Australian market. “Sometimes locally we will invest at an equity level. For example with The Chef’s Line we were an equity investor. We want to make as much as possible and our preference is generally to acquire a licence only. We are not in the distribution business anymore.”
SBS On Demand in 2020
Heald: “Our editorial strategy will remain pretty consistent. We are staying in drama, movies and factual. We are trying to create a short-form local commissioning strand with shows like Robbie Hood and Homecoming Queens. What we are probably getting better with over time is connecting audiences with shows as we understand audience behaviour.
“There is a huge investment going into the On Demand platform making sure it is a seamless experience for people and maintaining a digital footprint across 12 platforms is complex and time consuming.”
One of SBS’s biggest series comes next month with the February launch of Great Australian Railway Journeys. The series sits alongside with rest of the Michael Portillo-hosted franchise series plus other train travel programming SBS has picked up in recent years.
We asked Heald if SBS was at maximum trains?
“We are,” he grinned. “Aside from The Ghan, and the Michael Portillo Australia series, the remainder of the train series are acquisitions. I think we might have exhausted that well,” Heald said about future train travel content.
While SBS hasn’t had its traditional January slow TV festival that has been a feature for the past couple of years, SBS does have the premiere of Marni (NITV’s first Slow TV commission) at 7:30pm on Thursday January 23.
As Australia’s #1 sports podcast, PodcastOne’s The Howie Games is again ranked in the top 20 on the Podcast Ranker Chart for December.
Hosted by sports broadcaster Mark Howard, the series has started 2020 with a two-part interview with Fawad Ahmed.
Howard calls Fawad a wonderful man with a remarkable story:
Born in Pakistan, he always dreamed of playing cricket for his country of birth. That story was never to be, with Fawad leaving his homeland fearing for his life. Arriving in Australia, Fawad had his cricket dream…but precious little else. Seeking asylum, Fawad went through all manner of highs and lows, including a 10-month period where he went from playing cricket for Hoppers Crossing, a suburban team in Melbourne’s west, to playing for Australia! This is a story that defies belief.
Here is a feature first published at the end of 2018 where Mediaweek’s James Manning talks to Howie about his podcasting career:
Sports broadcaster Mark Howard got into podcasting several years ago after he secured an interview with F1 driver Lewis Hamilton for Network 10 during the Melbourne Grand Prix.
“The interview ran for over 20 minutes, but because of the time constraints on modern sports television we were only able to screen about five minutes of it,” Howard recalled to Mediaweek.
“I was very frustrated and told a mate there is close to 20 minutes of Lewis Hamilton that no one will ever see. He told me I should do podcasts with the people I get to chat with. Can you believe just two years ago I actually said to him, ‘What’s a podcast?’ ”
Howard knows all about a podcast these days.
The Howie Games has extended his relationship with PodcastOne in a new long-term agreement after more than 9.5 million downloads in his first year on the platform.
The very first podcast Howard ever did was with AFL commentator Dennis Cometti before a game of Friday night football. “I remember deciding on the podcast name in a rush. I was surfing in the morning and was worried about what I would call the podcast when I interviewed Dennis. I had to come up with a name and that was it. I maybe should have given it a bit more time.” [Laughs]
The first podcast he released however was an interview with Adam Gilchrist. Signing with PodcastOne makes sense for Howard as he’s been part of the wider SCA family for some time, working on sport at Triple M for close to eight years.
“I was working with a guy called Michael James who was also working at Triple M and we did the podcast by ourselves for a year which was a fantastic learning experience. We initially had no idea what we were doing and we had to produce it, publish it and then market it.
“A year ago PodcastOne came to us and asked if we’d be interested in joining their platform. Hopefully it’s been beneficial to both parties.”
Howard had to think hard about naming his favourite interview so far. “The one that probably made the biggest impression on me was an interview with Ricky Ponting before a Big Bash game last year. [Ponting and Howard were both working on 10’s coverage of the sport. Ponting now works for Seven while Howard is a key member of the Fox Cricket team.]
“He recounted the story of one of his children being pretty crook and he started crying. I grew up thinking Ricky Ponting was the toughest man in the world and to see him shed a tear as an emotional father sat with me a fair bit.
“The podcast out of the 50+ so far I most recommend to people is Jack Jones. He is now a 90+ former football who played for Essendon and helped them win premierships in the VFL. Before that he fought in Papua New Guinea and his recounting of the war is fascinating. He’s someone the average sports fan would have never heard of.”
Like many podcasters, Howie doesn’t over prep and write questions down. “I would rather react to what people are telling me rather than be thinking about the next question.”
One of his longer interviews was with Aussie F1 driver Mark Webber which went for two hours and was published as two parts. “There’s also an upcoming one with [Aussie NFL star] Ben Graham which is also two hours and we will publish as two parts.
“The best part of the process is chatting to these people and when you are speaking with Mark Webber and he’s happy to keep going I don’t want to stop him.”
Howard is one of the busiest people in sports media with AFL commitments with Triple M and a new cricket deal with Fox Cricket. However he noted recording podcasts is the favourite of all his media work. “The world of the long form conversation has started to disappear in my world.”
When Howard finished talking to Mediaweek he was off to speak to new Australian cricket coach Justin Langer.
Listen to The Howie Games here.
Top photo: Howard at work at Fox Cricket
The series follows each step of an emergency response, from the Emergency Medical Dispatchers who answer the Triple Zero (000) calls and manage the high-pressure logistics of prioritising the most urgent cases, to the Paramedics who rush to an incident in the shortest possible time.
With unrestricted access to the Queensland Ambulance Service and narrated by Lisa Wilkinson, Ambulance Australia is the ground-breaking series which looks beyond the lights and sirens to the heart and soul of the men and women devoted to helping others on the toughest day of their lives.
NME has announced six new Australian categories in its annual NME Awards. This follows last December’s official launch of the music and culture brand into the Australian market. At the same time, NME has revealed their nominations for all six Australian categories for 2020.
The NME Awards started in 1953 to celebrate the most brilliant people in music and pop culture each year. For decades the awards have maintained their reputation for being one of the world’s wildest award celebrations, beloved by artists and attending fans alike for being the UK’s most infamous night out in the music calendar each year.
The newly introduced Australian categories will celebrate the best in Aussie music and festival culture, shining a spotlight on outstanding Australian talent in the Best Australian Band, Best Solo Act and Best New Act categories. Best Song and Best Album celebrate the best in 2019’s releases, and a gong for Best Australian Festival is up for grabs.
Meng Kuok, CEO from NME said, “The past decade has seen Australia strengthen its position as a major player in the global music scene, producing festival headliners like Tame Impala, cult heroes like King Gizzard, breathtaking punk upstarts like Amyl & The Sniffers, powerful voices like Courtney Barnett and quirky pop champs like Tones & I and Stella Donnelly.
“It was no easy task to whittle down the incredible achievements of the past year into our shortlist of nominations. The fact that it was such a challenge for our editorial team speaks volumes for the quality of talent bubbling out from down under. As we enter the 2020s, and as we toast the launch of NME Australia, it’s only right we celebrate the artists down under who deserve to be recognized on a global stage,” said Kuok.
The Australian winners will be announced early alongside the much-anticipated global and British categories and nominees revealed next week.
$2 from every ticket sold on Sunday, January 19 at participating cinemas will be donated to three charities supporting bushfire relief efforts
This statement was issued by the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA), National Association of Cinema Operators (NACO), Australian Independent Distributors Association (AIDA) and Independent Cinemas Australia (ICA),
“As an industry, we have been deeply saddened, like all Australians and many people around the world, by the bushfires ravaging our country. The loss of lives, wildlife, homes and land is heart-breaking, and our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted.
We send our sincere thanks to all the firefighters, volunteers, defence personnel, charities, organisations and communities who are working tirelessly to protect and support fire-affected Australians. We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of those who have donated their time, money and resources.
We want to help, so on Sunday, 19 January, we will be donating $2 from every movie ticket sold at participating cinemas to bushfire relief.
100% of the proceeds will be shared across three Australian charities doing incredible work in fire-affected communities.”
Ausfilm supports this initiative.
On last night’s episode of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! Rhonda Burchmore opened up about an eerie note she received from an obsessed lover who she lost her virginity to. Burchmore divulged to the camp that her first time doing the deed was with her university lecturer.
AFL legends Billy Brownless and Dale Thomas revealed the differing pay packets of players today compared to back in the day.
Brownless revealed he was paid $120,000-a-year at the height of his career, but had to juggle a full-time job and football commitments. By comparison, his son Oscar, who was drafted last year, has a starting salary of $80,000, plus has his rent covered.
Thomas said AFL pay packets increased in the 2000’s after an increase in player demands. He also disclosed on the drafting process, telling the camp that clubs go as far as to call school principals to gauge on work ethic and behaviour for new recruits.
The celebrities went through the reasons they nominated their chosen charities, and Tanya Hennessy shared the shocking statistics of suicide and why RUOK?’s awareness strategy is so crucial.
Burchmore became emotional as she touched on her personal experience with her sisters fatal motor neurone disease diagnosis, and the wonderful work of her selected charity, Neura.
Nikki Osborne spoke about her son’s autism and her charity Autism Spectrum Australia. She expressed her desire for the ‘abnormal’ to become ‘normal’, highlighting some of the judgement parents of autistic children receive from the uneducated public.
Ryan Osborne opened up about his mother’s life-long battle with cancer, citing that her cancer is now active and he is unsure of what state she will be in when he returns home.
Later in the show, it was announced by the hosts that Dilruk Jayasinha was the first celebrity to be voted out of the jungle. Jayasinha was well-loved in camp and struck up a surprising relationship with Charlotte Crosby.
On his time on the show, Jayasinha opened up about his addiction to alcohol, which stemmed from a lack of self-confidence.
Jayasinha may be on his way back home to Australia, but it is confirmed that another A-list celebrity is on the next flight out and headed for South Africa. Be watching Sunday night to find out.
By James Manning
The Thursday night Big Bash League match in Sydney to be screened on Seven last night was washed out after only 40 balls were bowled. That cost Seven the night as primary share slipped to a week low of 13.9%.
Nine ranked #1 all people with a line-up of 20 To One and then two repeat episodes of Travel Guides.
10 managed to win the core demos with a very clear victory under 50. No cricket helped 10 to grow 5% week-on-week for its primary channel. Dilruk became the first person voted out of I’m A Celebrity with 745,000 watching the elimination announcement compared to 734,000 watching the regular part of the episode. 10 is able to boast a commercial share under 50 of 47% last night during Celebrity.
Elsewhere on the channel The Project ranked #1 under 50 after 7pm where a highlight was a Lisa Wilkinson interview with Robbie Williams.
On the ABC Doctor Who did 255,000 at 8pm.
At the same time on SBS an episode of Luke Nguyen’s Railway Vietnam did 145,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.2%||7TWO||5.0%||GO!||2.5%||10 Bold||4.6%||VICELAND||1.7%|
|ABC ME||1.0%||7mate||4.5%||GEM||4.5%||10 Peach||3.1%||Food Net||1.7%|
|SBS World Movies||1.7%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.0%||7TWO||7.1%||GO!||3.0%||WIN Bold||5.2%||VICELAND||1.6%|
|ABC ME||1.3%||7mate||7.9%||GEM||5.4%||WIN Peach||2.1%||Food Net||0.9%|
|ABC NEWS||2.1%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.7%||9Life||1.2%||Sky News on WIN||0.8%||NITV||0.1%|
|7food network (QLD only)||0.0%|
|THURSDAY METRO ALL TV|
16 – 39 Top 5
18 – 49 Top 5
25 – 54 Top 5
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Billionaire businessman Kerry Stokes has pledged $10 million to Australian bushfire relief, amid a growing swell of public and government support, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich
Seven Group Holdings and Australian Capital Equity, which count Mr Stokes as their biggest shareholder, will together donate at least $5m in cash and $5m in services in kind such as equipment to bushfire relief and rebuilding efforts.
Stokes, who is executive chairman of the diversified Seven Group, said the companies are “uniquely placed to help provide short and long term solutions to the terrible damage being wrought across our country by the bushfires”.
Not that long ago, Rupert Murdoch abandoned his climate scepticism and pledged to cut emissions within his media empire. Then, something changed, reports The Syndey Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.
At a conference in Tokyo almost 15 years ago, Rupert Murdoch stood in front of a crowd and publicly declared his dedication to the climate change cause.
It was 2006 and the billionaire News Corp founder decided that while he had previously been sceptical of the global warming debate, it was his organisation’s duty to “take the lead” on the issue.
“Some of the presumptions about extreme weather, whether it be hurricanes or drought, may seem far fetched,” Murdoch said at the Tokyo event. “What is certain is that temperatures have been rising and that we are not entirely sure of the consequences. The planet deserves the benefit of the doubt.”
The statement would be referenced by business entrepreneurs such as Dick Smith and former prime ministers John Howard and Malcolm Turnbull for years to come. In 2014, News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt wrote about how “warmists” demanded he write to his bosses’ script. Murdoch, who was 75 at the time, certainly did not say it by mistake.
A federal judge is allowing a group of CBS shareholders to pursue a lawsuit over what investors were told about sexual misconduct allegations at the company.
Although sharply narrowing the focus of the suit that was filed in the wake of a New Yorker exposé about ex-chairman Leslie Moonves, the legal action will nevertheless proceed. On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni issued a 48-page decision on CBS’ motion to dismiss.
The suit focuses on top executives including Moonves who allegedly sexually harassed women behind the scenes for years. The plaintiffs are alleging that amidst the #MeToo movement, the risk of CBS losing its key leaders was high, yet the company and its board of directors failed to disclose risks tied to a hostile workplace and issued misleading statements suggesting all was fine at CBS.
Reports The Hollywood Reporters Eriq Gardner, Read more
Australia’s media regulator has raised concerns about the disclosure of commercial deals on television and radio after finding eight out of 10 Australians are worried about the influence of advertisers on news, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios and Jennifer Duke.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority will today release a discussion paper after analysing 160 hours of television news and current affairs on commercial networks including Seven West Media, Network Ten and Nine Entertainment Co, as well as 80 hours of commercial radio content.
The ACMA paper will put the broadcasters under pressure to provide viewers with greater disclosure about the links between news content and advertising arrangement after finding many viewers believed there was widespread commercial influence on news programs even if this was not the case. The ACMA is now considering whether impartiality of news content requires more regulatory focus and whether advertising relationships should be better disclosed to viewers.
“We were quite surprised by the level of concern,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said. “But that meant that it was something we should have a look at. Impartiality was high and commercial influence was significantly high, probably much higher than we expected.”
Australian newspapers stopped releasing circulation data some time ago. Now a major UK newspaper and has broken ranks and will stop too, reports the UK Press Gazette:
Telegraph Media Group, publisher of the Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, is pulling out of the ABC newspaper circulation audit, saying it is no longer a “key metric” for its subscriber-first strategy.
The group said it would instead publish its core subscriber numbers each month for the first time as it focuses on its target of reaching 10m registered users and 1m paying subscribers by 2023.
The papers’ final audit report shows the Daily Telegraph had an average December 2019 circulation of 317,817 while the Sunday Telegraph was on 248,288. Both saw a 12% decline from December 2018.
Glenda Bailey, the editor in chief of the luxury fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar, will step down at the end of February. The move was announced by Hearst, the publisher of the magazine, on Wednesday.
Bailey, who led Harper’s Bazaar for nearly 19 years, was one of the last in a line of fashion editors producing expensive, glossy monthly magazines. Her departure follows a number of other notable changes at Hearst, and signals an almost complete shift from the old order of magazine publishing, which has been decimated over the last decade by the internet.
In 2018, David Carey, the president of Hearst Magazines for eight years, stepped down. Troy Young, who had previously overseen the company’s digital presence, succeeded him. (Carey returned to Hearst Corporation earlier this month as senior vice president of public affairs and communications.)
Within a month, Joanna Coles, the chief content officer of Hearst and the former editor of Cosmopolitan, the Hearst magazine with the highest circulation, left. The editor in chief of Esquire, Jay Fielden, left the next year, as did Anne Fulenwider, the editor of Marie Claire.
Nine has appointed Terry Stuart as Communications Manager with long term Head of Publicity and Marketing Michelle Stamper promoted to Director – Marketing and Partnerships, reports TV Tonight.
Both have been long term senior roles at GTV9, stemming back to Nine’s days at Bendigo Street, Richmond.
Terry Stuart will lead the Publicity team in both Television, as well as responsibilities for 3AW, reporting to both Stamper and Nine publicity boss Victoria Buchan.
Michelle Stamper will report to GTV9 managing director Matt Scriven and sit on the Melbourne executive team as well as sitting on the Group Marketing Leadership team run by Lizzie Young. Her role will cover local marketing strategies for Nine Melbourne, 3AW and The Age.
Victoria Buchan said in a staff email, “I want to congratulate Michelle on this new expanded role and I know she will really make a difference and have a big impact on the success of our business in that market across all our brands.”
She added, “Terry is a great asset to our business, his knowledge and experience will ensure the comms team nationally gets well represented in that market.”
Three Australian actors will head the cast of the new Amazon Prime Video prequel to The Lord of the Rings, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Idato.
Though the streaming platform is yet to release firm details of characters and storiesthe series will feature, it has confirmed that Tom Budge (Bran Nue Dae, Judy & Punch), Markella Kavenagh (Romper Stomper, Picnic at Hanging Rock) and Tyroe Muhafidin (Two Sands, Caravan) will be among the leads. The series will also star Morfydd Clark (Dracula), Ismael Cruz Cordova (The Undoing) and Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones). The series, steered by showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, will be set in the “second age” of Middle-Earth, before the events depicted in the books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The first season will comprise eight one-hour episodes; production will commence in New Zealand in February.
The Project is set for a re-shuffle as Channel 10 tries to bring more certainty to its on-air team in 2020, reports The Herald Sun’s Colin Vickery.
And Grant Denyer’s Celebrity Name Game appears doomed with Ten happy with the ratings of its expanded 90-minute nightly news bulletin.
Ten wants to strengthen its early evening ratings which have been a weak spot at a time when 7.30pm shows such as Australian Survivor and The Masked Singer have been flourishing.
The Project was a ball of confusion for most of 2019 with a rotating roster of fill-in hosts covering extended absences by Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar.
Sundays were locked in with Lisa Wilkinson but most other nights were a lottery with Gorgi Coghlan, Dave Thornton, Joel Creasey, Susie Youssef, and others presenting.
Ten believes ratings will grow if viewers have more confidence about who they will see when they switch on the show in 2020.
Bickmore (who is reportedly contracted for three nights per week), Helliar, and Waleed Aly would likely be locked in for Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays right throughout the year.
“You won’t see the same faces six nights a week but what I would like to have is consistency and familiarity,” Ten program chief Beverley McGarvey said.
On the eve of her 35th birthday, radio announcer Margaux Parker has written a letter to her 11-year-old self, warning about the trappings of social media and of trying to be the perfect size 8, reports The Courier Mail’s Kylie Lang.
Parker, who fronts Triple M Brisbane’s The Big Breakfast, plans to read the letter on air on Friday.
It follows an on-air “fail” by Parker, who is married to league legend Corey Parker, when she promised to reveal a “bombshell” Brisbane Broncos announcement on Thursday, then didn’t.
In the letter to her much younger self, Parker, who has previously revealed her own battles with weight and body image, says it is “totally OK to be any size you want to” and that life would be unbearable without being able to eat good cheese and drink great wine.
57 on-air talent and execs employed by the US broadcast company have lost their jobs, or as iHeartMedia has termed it, been “dislocated”, reports Radio Today.
As MBW reports, the latest staffing changes have made waves due to the statement that came with the news citing a renewed investment in artificial intelligence.
“We are modernizing our company to take advantage of the significant investments we have made in new technology and aligning our operating structure to match the technology-powered businesses we are now in,” said iHeartMedia.
It’s believed that the 57 are mostly radio jocks carry decades of experience working across genres of music including Rock, Urban, Country, Top 40, Hits and more.
“During a transition like this it’s reasonable to expect that there will be some shifts in jobs – some by location and some by function – but the number is relatively small given our overall employee base of 12,500.”
Neroli Meadows has scored a new TV gig, working for ESPN at the Super Bowl in Miami, reports The Herald Sun’s Jackie Epstein.
Meadows, who was a high-profile host on Fox Sports, said it was a bucket list event.
“It’s exciting, it feels like a big adventure,’’ Meadows said.
“I lived in the States for six months when I finished my studies in 2005 and always wanted to experience a Super Bowl.
“I’ll essentially be doing colour and on the ground coverage.
“It’ll be fun to do something completely different and work with an overseas team.”
Meadows is the court announcer on Rod Laver Arena in the first week of the Australian Open. She also worked at the Brisbane International in the same role.
The Super Bowl is on February 3 Australian time and her role with ESPN Australia.
“In Miami it will be such a festival feeling,’’ Meadows said.