Wednesday January 22, 2020

Nine Radio in 2020: Tom Malone on Jones, Stevenson, Hadley + Baz

By James Manning

• Music stations will run on auto-pilot: No breakfast shows, no announcers any time
•  “The coming together of radio and television is not about trying to get lots of Nine TV people on radio”

There has almost been a decision-a-day at Nine Radio since Nine CEO Hugh Marks appointed Tom Malone to run the seven AM stations across four metro markets in 2019.

See also:
Nine Ent Co appoints Tom Malone as head of radio to run talk stations

Malone had no preconceptions coming into the role about the changes that he might have to make.

Malone said Marks asked him to have a look at all parts of the business and work out the best path forward for radio. “We have subsequently made changes we think will be best for our audience in 2020,” Malone told Mediaweek on the day he axed what was left of Macquarie Sports Radio, turning the frequencies back into music brands.

Macquarie Sports Radio

“We had a good look at what the alternatives could be. One of them was continuing as a sports format or even possibly a news format. The best complement to our news/talk network is a music network. Just look at how successful Magic and 4BH were only four or five years ago running a music format. It soon became pretty obvious that was the best solution for those stations and then add 2UE to those stations.

“By targeting that demographic with music from the 70s, 80s and 90s we feel there is a gap in the market for that music. It also complements, not cannibalises, what we are doing on the news/talk network.”

Breakfast at 2UE, Magic and 4BH

Not only will there be no local breakfast shows at any of the rebadged AM music stations – there will be no announcers at all – in breakfast, drive or any other daypart.

“There will be local news, sports, traffic and weather in each market. What going music only enables us to do is to run 13 to 14 songs an hour.

As we go through the year we will look at introducing announcers.

Malone said having an announcer-free radio network was more about strategy than costs. “We want to do it properly. We don’t want to rush into anything. We will launch a music format, get it up and running successfully. We will monitor the performance then look at introducing presenters.”

See also:
Nine Radio kills sports experiment: music returns to classic brands

There will be at least one employee looking at 2UE/Magic/4BH content – former SCA executive Matt White (Grill Team EP and head of Triple M NRL) who most recently has been running Macquarie Sports Radio.

When Malone asked White for his thoughts about a music format, he replied: “I could do that for you as well.”

Malone is believed to have found internally running the music stations was best after speculation Nine considered outsourcing the music to another network.

Nine News radio integration progress

“People are already hearing a close relationship between our TV and radio news business. Where it makes sense, the newsrooms work closely together. It has to be audience led – the audience has to come first. That has been a clear direction from Hugh Marks all the time.

“It’s been terrific hearing TV news reporters filing radio news stories. There have been examples almost daily of strengthening the radio new bulletins with TV news reporters in the field filing for radio.

“That both enhances the radio content and there are some promotional benefits from a TV point of view.”

3AW and breakfast plans: Ross Stevenson’s next co-host

Malone confirmed the importance of having Stephen Beers back at the Melbourne station. “It is very important to have Stephen back at 3AW. He is an important stakeholder in that market for 3AW. Radio is all about being local and he holds all the relationships for Nine Radio in Melbourne.”

See also:
Beers back: Tom Malone reverses decision to sack 3AW executive

As to what might happen at 3AW when John Burns retires mid-year, Malone said: “We are still reviewing some of the options for then. We are in discussions with Ross Stevenson about that. He’s been #1 in Melbourne for close to 30 years with both Dean Banks and then John Burns. We will work with Ross as to who will be the next on-air partner for him.”

Malone said there was no existing plan about a younger broadcaster or a woman to fill the role. “We have to hire the best broadcaster and the best fit for Ross. It is a unique show and we need to complement Ross with the right person. That will be the first decision, not age or gender.”

See also:
Australia’s highest-rating breakfast radio team splits

6PR: What’s ahead for Baz?

Nine Radio doesn’t need a Nine personality hosting Perth breakfast, said Malone. “We need the best broadcaster for the audience. The coming together of radio and television is not about trying to get lots of Nine TV people on radio. Hugh Marks is very clear it has to be audience led and what’s best for the audience and the market.

Basil Zempilas is a terrific radio broadcaster and someone we want to have a long relationship with. We want him to host breakfast for many years to come because he is fantastic at it.

“The fact he is on TV for Channel 7 is not a big concern for us. We think he is great on 6PR and long may that continue.”

As to Zempilas potentially successfully running for Lord Mayor of Perth, Malone added: “We will cross that bridge when we come to it. We’d have to look at how involved the hours were and if he could do both without serious conflicts.”

2GB: Is there still an ad boycott?

“We have worked pretty hard across the summer refreshing not only our on-air line-up, but also behind the scenes. We have strengthened our editorial policy to make sure it complies and adheres to the broadcast services act and the code.

“We have had ongoing discussions with all of our broadcasters, not just in Sydney, to make sure they are aware of our expectations. We are now in a spot where we are pretty confident we have a great brand safe environment for advertisers.

“We know they like advertising on talkback radio because it is so effective because of the engaged radio audience.

“We are in a good spot with regards to revenue to make sure that advertisers can feel assured we are a good place for them to be.”

Alan Jones is back on air on Tuesday January 28 and Malone said he and head of content Greg Byrnes have spent time with Jones as part of a 2GB group and as individuals. “We speak very regularly, like we do with all our broadcasters.”

See also:
Greg Byrnes returns to radio: Tom Malone’s second key appointment

Ray Hadley looked likely to replace Jones at 2GB breakfast at one stage last year. “I have spent quite a bit of time with Ray and he is very happy on the morning show,” said Malone. The two have known each other for over 20 years when Malone was also at 2UE and the radio chief said he has a great relationship with his morning host.

Malone said there was very little opportunity for networking content across the news/talk stations. “We want to be as local as we can.”

Any decision to offer local programming nationally will come via podcasting. Malone offered: “One of the plans for FY21 will be building out our digital and podcast strategy.”

Biggest challenges for 2020

Malone: “Our biggest challenge will be to promote our individual brands in each market. We want to get all the new shows successfully launched and then launch the music format successfully.

“The plan then is keeping costs under control, and really focus on the revenue.”

Media among the crowd to welcome home Polar explorer Geoff Wilson

By James Manning

The Australian media has been tracking the progress of polar explorer Dr Geoff Wilson as he trekked around Antarctica in recent weeks.

The Gold Coast-based vet arrives home tonight and should be much in demand to recount the highlights of his one-man expedition.

Wilson travelled with a satellite phone and conducted interviews with media miles from anywhere as her travelled with kite power on the 58-day trip. He also photographed the journey with a draw-dropping collection of media.

On Thursday November 7, 2019 Wilson arrived at the Russian base, Novolazarevskaya (Novo) Station, near the coast of Antarctica.

On Friday November he transferred for 12-hours via vehicle to Thor’s Hammer for the expedition start.

His achievements along the journey included being the first unsupported Australian to reach The Pole of Inaccessibility and he was then the first person unsupported to reach Dome Argus.

Wilson arrived back at the Russian base on January 4. He later flew out to South Africa before making the journey back to Australia.

Dr Geoff Wilson: Records

No stranger to challenges the Currumbin Valley vet has three new records to add to his already considerable achievements:

Fastest Coast to Coast crossing via the South Pole of the Antarctic continent (53 days),
Fastest crossing of Greenland south to north (18 days)
The first and only wind-assisted crossings of the Sahara Desert (42 days) and the infamous Torres Strait (3 days).
NEW: First Australian to reach The Pole of Inaccessibility in Antarctica, unsupported (solo mission, 23 days)
NEW: First person to reach Antarctica’s Dome Argus unsupported (solo mission, 37 days)
NEW: Longest Journey by a human in polar region, unsupported (solo mission, 58 days)

Friends, family, media and supporters are rallying to welcome him home, including his close-knit expedition team, who have been tracking his every move thanks to his technology partner Pivotel, whose satellite technology enabled him to do live television and radio from one of the most remote places on earth.

Expedition comms lead, Karen Eck, from Sydney PR agency eckfactor, said the campaign was extraordinary on many levels.

“The campaign had a true beginning, middle and end, punctuated by drama and upset along the way, from blizzards and temperatures as low as -40C and obviously dangerous terrain. While we planned everything to the finest detail, nothing was predictable. We had to expect the unexpected at all times, go with the flow and not interfere with the natural progress of the mission.

“We remained focused on the number one priority, which was for Geoff to make it home alive! My job was to create a streamlined and highly strategic approach to shining a spotlight on an extraordinary human endeavour. It was made even more special given that Geoff is a great Aussie bloke, supported by an incredible family, including his wife Sarah, who Geoff credits with ‘putting him back together’ when he needed it most during the mission.

Geoff is also the greatest talent I’ve ever worked with when it comes to creating PR relevant content in extraordinary, albeit often unforgiving, circumstances. The quality and quantity of his content is amazing, which will be captured in his documentary special he is producing for National Geographic Channel and used as part of a new keynote he is creating on a subject he knows too well: resilience.

“It’s been a privilege to be a part of a campaign that has brought people together, generated much needed funds for a great cause (the McGrath Foundation) and created history, from which many more stories will be told.”

Mediaweek Industry Awards: Best Streaming Platform

• Winner: Netflix

On the day that Netflix has updated its latest subscriber numbers, Mediaweek reveals that our readers have voted the platform as their favourite streaming service.

The sheer volume of content on the Netflix platform makes it a must-have for many consumers. The seemingly never-ending stream of TV programming has been added to with an increased number of major movies over the past year.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings today announced the platform now had over 100m subscribers outside the USA.

Overall Netflix membership was up 21% in Q4 of 2019.

Netflix doesn’t breakout subscriber numbers for any international market, but it did report numbers for the APAC region (which includes Australia) enjoyed record growth last year.

Netflix also said there was minimal impact so far on its numbers in Australia from the launch of additional streaming platforms like Disney+ and AppleTV+.

Netflix reported the new season of The Crown helped drive growth in 2019:

In its first four weeks, over 21m member households have chosen to watch season 3 of The Crown (up over 40% from Season 2 over the same time period) and in total, over 73m households worldwide have chosen The Crown since the series launched. The Crown and the all new Season 3 cast just won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble in a Drama series and star Olivia Colman won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama Series.

Well behind in the Industry Awards voting and taking second place was the Nine-owned streaming platform Stan.

Stan originals have been key to summer viewing with titles including the return of Matt Okine’s comedy The Other Guy, relationship drama The Commons, cracking crime thriller The Gloaming and the Stan Original Film True History of the Kelly Gang which has been attracting very mixed reviews ahead of its TV premiere this week.

Close behind Stan in third place is the SBS free On Demand platform.

The streaming home of most SBS content, and much more, it features a huge movie library with new additions every month and the platform is a treasure trove for fans of Nordic noir – which counts for much of the best crime fiction available.

Downloads soar as Aussies binge on Netflix, Stan, Optus Sport & Kayo

Australians are spending less time talking on their mobile phones and downloading substantially more data than they were even a year ago, the ACCC’s Communications Market Report for 2018-19 has found.

The rapid take-up of streaming services such as Netflix, Stan, Optus Sport and Kayo Sports contributed to a 47 per cent jump in data downloads over the year, with fixed broadband services accounting for 88 per cent of all data downloaded.

The report shows how Australians’ communication methods are changing, as minutes spent using traditional voice services on mobile phones dropped the first time over the year, reflecting the increasing use of social media and over-the-top services like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber.

At the same time, the proportion of Australians who solely rely on mobile services for broadband is declining, dropping from 23 per cent in 2014 to 16 per cent in 2019, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Unlimited data fixed broadband plans have increased from 6 per cent in 2014-15 to 57 per cent in 2018-19.

“More Australians are getting fixed broadband services at home as their data needs increase,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

“A jump to more than half of all plans offering unlimited plans in just five years really is a sign of the times.

“The quality of Australia’s communications services is also improving, allowing more of us to use and enjoy data-heavy activities like streaming in high definition.

“This trend is likely to be further boosted during 2019-20 with the entry of new competitors such as Disney+ and Apple TV+.”

The ACCC notes investments in mobile networks, particularly with 5G, may bring stronger network-based competition to the NBN. However, the scale of 5G deployment is still uncertain in the short term as some of the future-use cases of 5G (e.g. network slicing and mass machine-to-machine connectivity) are less clear.

Average real prices for mobile phone services dropped by 6.6 per cent during the year, while fixed broadband prices fell by 1.5 per cent. These annual price decreases are slightly below the average price reductions experienced over the past five years, which were 7.5 per cent for mobile phone services and 2.3 per cent for fixed broadband.

While average prices continued to decline, the ACCC has observed a reduction in the number of affordable entry-level plans available on the market. These are being withdrawn in favour of higher priced plans with more inclusions.

“While competition and investment is giving consumers better value in terms of higher quality services for their money, consumers who do not want ‘bells and whistles’ are struggling to find cheap, entry level, fixed broadband and voice products,” Sims said.

“Although the very recent changes to NBN Co’s products and pricing are helpful, the ACCC is continuing to consider whether further action is needed to make sure consumers aren’t worse off when they switch to the NBN.”

By 30 June 2019, 5.5 million NBN services were in operation, as the NBN overtook legacy DSL and HFC networks as the primary fixed-line access network in Australia.

“Market shares for NBN services have continued to shift as customers living in metro areas generally stay with their same provider when migrating from ADSL and cable services. As a consequence, Telstra’s share of NBN access services was less than 50% with potential for this trend to continue as the NBN rollout is completed.

“As the NBN rollout concludes, we will continue to help ensure Australians benefit from this investment,” Sims said.

“In particular, we are keen to ensure that NBN Co and retail service providers have incentives to upgrade and fix infrastructure where it is not meeting consumers’ needs and expectations.”

The ACCC remained active in seeking better outcomes for telecommunications consumers during 2018-19.

“At a wholesale level, we have successfully advocated for lower entry level prices for NBN services and improving NBN service standards through 2019-20,” Sims said.

“We’ve also been helping consumers with guidance around speed claims, transparency and competition through our Measuring Broadband Australia program, and taking enforcement action when needed.”

Consumer complaints to the ACCC and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman remain high, with many relating to connection and service quality issues.

The ACCC’s 80-page report is available here.

Eurosport to launch on Fetch as partnership with Discovery grows

Eurosport has a new Australian home on Fetch, with the partnership between Discovery and Fetch TV being expanded to a market-leading, eight-channel portfolio from Saturday 1 February.

The agreement with Fetch TV furthers Eurosport’s goal to power its dedicated viewers’ passions as the number one destination for specialist sports in 2020.

Eurosport’s exciting offering this year includes: major international athletics events throughout the year, beginning with the World Indoor Tour events in Germany in February; ad-break-free live stage coverage of key cycling events including two Grand Tours – the Giro d’Italia in May (exclusive to Eurosport) and the Vuelta a España in August – plus all Spring Classics and Monuments; the world’s biggest snooker tournaments including the World Championships in May; the final events in the winter sports World Cup seasons including Freestyle Skiing, Snowboarding, Alpine Skiing, Ski Jumping and more.

Rebecca Kent, General Manager of Discovery, Australia, New Zealand & Pacific Islands, said: “We are thrilled that Eurosport has a new Australian home with Fetch TV as we expand our partnership. Eurosport has a loyal audience of Aussies who are extremely passionate about sports like cycling, athletics, snooker and winter sports. We believe that every fan counts and are proud to continue fuelling their passions by delivering a line-up of premium events throughout the year.

Scott Lorson, CEO of Fetch TV, said: “Fetch TV is very excited about our expanding relationship with Discovery, and look forward to adding Eurosport, Discovery Turbo, and Investigation Discovery to the Fetch platform over the next two months.

“Eurosport has been one of our most requested channel additions, and we are pleased to be able to service this passionate fan base.  Eurosport continues to invest in premium content and the future is bright with expanding rights, and compelling coverage.  Eurosport is a perfect complement to our existing premium international sports offering, and will join Optus Sport, ESPN, EDGESport, beIN SPORTS, and UFC Pay-Per-View on the Fetch platform.”

Eurosport will be available on Fetch CH 156 on a free trial basis to all Fetch direct retail customers throughout the month of February.  It will then be offered as an A La Carte Special Interest channel for $8.99 per month. Fetch partner ISP launch dates will be confirmed shortly. 

The addition of Eurosport to Fetch brings the partnership between Discovery and Fetch TV to a market leading eight channels.  This follows the December announcement of the renewal of Discovery Channel, TLC, HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel on Fetch, as well as the upcoming 1 March launch of Discovery Turbo and Investigation Discovery (ID). There will also be an expansion in video-on-demand rights.

A year of record spending: CEO of Screen Australia reviews 2019

Today the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA) published the finalised box office data for 2019, with Australian films taking $40.2 million at the local box office.

Rachel Griffiths’ directorial debut Ride Like A Girl, which was funded through Screen Australia’s Gender Matters program, was the highest-grossing feature.

The data completes the set of annual, objective metrics Screen Australia utilises to monitor the health of the local screen industry, including the annual Drama Report, ratings, viewership, and the agency’s own spend on content.

“The Australian screen industry performed solidly in 2019, with creators not only producing works that resonated with audiences, but with the sector remaining incredibly resilient despite the upending of entertainment business models globally,” said Graeme Mason, CEO of Screen Australia. “In part that is due to the bedrock of direct and indirect government funding that ensures Australian stories are told, but the bottom line is a film or series needs to be quality to attract the kind of solid viewership we’re seeing. To that end, our local creators are to be congratulated.

“Despite the explosion of choice, Australians are still seeking out local stories on television, at the cinema and online. Compared to other English-speaking markets, Australia produces exceptional, internationally regarded content at a fraction of the budget one would expect in the UK and US, and at a volume that belies our small population.

“Where and how Australians are consuming that content is undeniably changing, with real time TV viewing shrinking as catch-up is growing. We’re also seeing consumers make very deliberate choices about the type of film they want to see at the cinema, as opposed to enjoying at home, compounded by the continued squeeze on the indie film market. Documentary remains popular, particularly on the public broadcasters, and the resurgence of theatrical docs that started in 2016 is continuing. The online content we’re funding is growing in production values and often duration, and the fact the 2019 top trending YouTube video in Australia was a scripted series by Superwog is extraordinary.

“How commercial success can be measured is diverging by format, and as an industry we need to take a more nuanced approach rather than relying on old metrics in isolation. Linear television series are still expected to perform strongly from episode 1, as are films on their opening weekend. Yet in practice, this is the opposite of the viewing behaviour that streamers and online platforms like YouTube are training us to adopt, where you discover and consume content in your own time.

“Whilst the viewer may make no distinction about how a piece of content got on their screen, in reality productions are now also financed in completely different ways. Producers of a film made for cinema or a terrestrial TV series will typically enjoy a long tail of income as international, home entertainment and auxiliary rights are sold. Conversely, streamers are now buying the worldwide release of a title for a flat fee, providing a swift payday and incredible profile to creators, but with no further income due and no promise they will ever know how many people watched their work. Online platforms are offering an entirely different business model again, and in Australia we often see scripted creators supplementing that income with live theatre offerings.

“As a result, at Screen Australia we are looking to fund productions that are not only creatively exceptional, but are crafted and financed for the new market conditions. We want to see very deliberate choices in budget, the use of Offsets, target audience, release strategy and international partners, with success measures that are realistic. The aim is to support creatively and culturally significant work that resonates with audiences, and from which the creators financially benefit.”

Screen Australia directly injected nearly $76 million into the screen sector in 2018/19, including over $54 million in TV, film and documentary production funding which triggered over $360 million in activity (refer appendix 3). An additional $207.69 million was provided by the Federal Government through the Producer Offset tax incentive administered by Screen Australia.

The latest Drama Report found 2018/19 expenditure on Australian scripted titles was a record-breaking $768 million, driven by an all-time record spend on Australian television and a five-year high spend on Australian features.

“All signs point to 2020 being an incredibly busy year for both the production and release of Australian stories. Coupled with the fact the production of foreign works in Australia has been bolstered by several large productions, Australia has become a very robust and competitive screen market.”

Screen Australia greenlights $3.5 million for new projects

Screen Australia has announced two feature films, one television drama and two online projects that will share in $3.5 million of production funding.

Robert Connolly, writer/director of box office hit Paper Planes, returns to Western Australia for a feature film adaptation of Tim Winton’s acclaimed novel Blueback; creator and star of Kiwi hit The Breaker Upperers Jackie van Beek joins forces with Australian producers to create absurdist dramedy feature Nude Tuesday; and Erik Thomson teams up with South Australian hit-makers Closer Productions to produce new TV comedy Yes, Chef!.

Screen Australia’s Head of Content, Sally Caplan said, “We are thrilled to be funding productions across four states and to be back collaborating with New Zealand on a co-production.

“Blueback is a great Australian fable coming to the screen from local IP that will have global appeal. And we have been waiting for more comedies so we’re delighted to get behind Yes, Chef! and Nude Tuesday.”

“We’re also very pleased to provide two emerging teams with their first allocation of production funding through the Online fund. This avenue has proved to be an excellent way for creators to develop a profile and their audience,” Caplan continued.

The online projects are Amazing Grace series 2 and Sonia & Cherry.

Amazing Grace is a five-part series for Facebook and other online platforms that follows teenager Grace as she navigates life after the death of her father; starring Justine Clarke and Ben Wood

Sonia & Cherry is a seven-part comedy for Facebook and YouTube centred on two best friends who think they know each other until they become mums. This project is written and directed by Victoria Thaine and produced by Naomi Mulholland. Thaine also stars alongside Petra Yared and Dave Lawson.

Box Office: What where the top Australian Films of 2019?

59 Australian films were released in 2019 (36 of which were fiction) earning a total of $39.8 million according to Screen Australia and made 3.3% of the local box office for 2019.

They competed with 694 foreign films released in Australia that earned $1.09 billion. Four Aussie films did over $4 million, and it was a good year for the theatrical documentary with both 2040 and Mystify entering the all-time top 10 Australian feature documentaries. The 28 foreign blockbuster films released in Australia in 2019 were responsible for 60% of all cinema takings locally.

Graeme Mason, CEO of Screen Australia said:  “On the big screen, the market remains incredibly tough for indie films from all countries, so to have both Ride Like A Girl and Top End Wedding break-out was a great result. I was also particularly pleased to see three feature documentaries take over $1 million, and all subsequently licenced for broadcast. Special mention also to the team from Hotel Mumbai, which took over AUD$29.3 million internationally, representing an extraordinary commercial result for a mid-budget film.”

“The blockbuster domination of the cinema space is here to stay, and we continue to see even mainstream Academy Award and BAFTA Best Picture nominees struggling to get to $5 million in Australia. So whilst we will continue to see Australian films that can capture the $10+ million mark, they will be rare. Our films will absolutely continue to be made, but in terms of how producers monetise these works, it is an increasingly delicate dance between production budget size, distribution, marketing, and attracting international finance and audiences.”

Rove, Ricki-Lee and Ash Barty team up to launch Disney+ DNA

Disney+​ has today announced the launch of ​Disney+ DNA​ – designed to help people find out what characters truly represent who they are as a person.

The interactive Disney+ DNA test ​measures your reaction to hundreds of scenes from iconic films and shows across the Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and National Geographic library that make up Disney+. Your reactions are then analysed to reveal your Disney+ DNA make up, represented by famous heroes, villains and princesses that are featured in Disney+, along with the reasons why you share attributes with each character.

To encourage Australians to find out who they really are, Disney+ recently enlisted the help of several well-known Aussies including World Tennis Champion, ​Ash Barty​, entertainer and TV presenter, ​Rove McManus, ​and singer ​Ricki-Lee Coulter, ​and asked them to delve deep into their own, albeit surprising, Disney+ DNA results.

Barty​ said: “When they asked me if I’d be willing to take a Disney+ DNA test to prove what I was really made of, I said ​hakuna matata​!

“I have always loved ​Simba​ and ​Moana​. But when I found out that I was 56% The Hulk​ I was a bit surprised. Even though I didn’t know much about the big green guy I realised we shared some similarities… I’d like to think I have a bit of his endurance, determination and superhuman strength!”

McManus, who famously voiced the role of Crab in Disney Pixar’s ​Finding Nemo, ​added: “I am super excited to now be on board with Disney+. I’m an unabashed fan of their entire range of content – and can even proudly say I am part of a teeny tiny bit of it.”

Ricki-Lee​ said: “I am so excited to be part of the Disney family and to be involved in the Disney+ DNA campaign with Rove & Ash. I’ve been obsessed with all things Disney since I was a little girl, so to grow up and work with such an iconic brand alongside two Aussie icons is a real dream come true in so many ways,”

The Disney+ DNA campaign kicks off today. To complete your Disney+ DNA test, head to ​the website.

NME announces Australian award winners for 2020

Legendary music powerhouse NME has revealed the winners of the six new Australian categories in its annual NME Awards.

This is the first time that the NME Awards has included categories to specifically recognise the Australian music scene since their inception in 1953, and comes off the back of the launch of NME Australia last December.

Tame Impala came out on top, scoring two awards: Best Australian Band and Best Australian Song for Borderline, released in April last year. 

Mallrat was named as Best Australian Solo Act and Tones & I picking up Best New Australian Act. Stella Donnelly bagged Best Australian Album for her brilliant 2019 release, Beware of The Dogs.  

St Jerome’s Laneway Festival was awarded 2019’s Best Australian Festival. 

Meng Kuok, CEO from NME said: “I’m excited to be able to celebrate the best in Aussie music and talent. The field of nominees was incredibly strong in this first year of Australian awards and the winners were hotly debated by everyone in the editorial team.

“Our big winners, Tame Impala have been going from strength to strength as not only one of Australia’s greatest exports but also one of the most influential bands of their time. Everything we’ve seen so far from The Slow Rush suggests that it’s destined to be another classic and leaves us eager to see what’s next. 

“Tones & I’s meteoric rise in 2019 made her an obvious choice for Best New Act – dominating charts and setting new records, there’s no question she’s made a massive impact with her distinct, quirky pop style.

Australian festival culture has been excellently vibrant in the last 12 months, and we’re recognising Laneway for its ability to retain its taste-making cultural cachet as it’s expanded in Australia and regionally, mixing the international and local heavy hitters with up and comers and delivering the highest quality festival experience.”

The UK and Global Award nominees were also announced today on Best Australian Album Winner Stella Donnelly, has been nominated for Best Album in the world, while Amyl and the Sniffers are up for Best Live Act. Australian fans can watch out for the Awards night announcements live from the ceremony in London 12 February at

BEST AUSTRALIAN ALBUM: Stella Donnelly – Beware Of The Dogs
BEST AUSTRALIAN SONG: Tame Impala – Borderline
BEST AUSTRALIAN FESTIVAL: St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival

TV Demand: Doctor Who joins The Mandalorian & The Witcher on top

By Trent Thomas

It has now been nine straight weeks that Disney +’s The Mandalorian has topped the TV Demand charts in Australia and New Zealand as it continues to hold off Netflix’s The Witcher with daylight between them and the rest of the field.

With The Witcher being released on December 20 and its own score going down it looks like it may not be the show to end The Mandalorians run like it did in the USA.

The most notable entry to the charts this week is a show that has existed in a few different forms over the years, Doctor Who which commenced its 12th season on January 1 the show returned in 2005 after an initial 26 season run between 169 and 1983.

Jodie Whittaker returns for her second series as the Thirteenth Doctor, in the second season led by Chris Chibnall as head writer and executive producer, alongside executive producer Matt Strevens. 

The series follows an alien Time Lord who travels through time and space in what appears to be a British police box called the TARDIS. The series is the only show from the UK to make the charts this week as it enters the Overall TV charts third in Australia and fourth in NZ.

Summer TV Ratings: Nick Kyrgios match keeps Nine #1, Brownless out of jungle

A first round match featuring Nick Kyrgios has lifted Nine’s primetime share and secured a Tuesday win.

However it was a Nine TV personality that helped 10 win the demos and the timeslot for I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

Nine had a second night of 22%+ primary channel share as the average evening tennis audience was just short of 700,000.

The audience for I’m A Celebrity however was close to 730,000 for both parts of the program which featured the departure of Billy Brownless from the jungle. The latest Celebrity departure is the co-host Triple M’s The Rush Hour with James Brayshaw and has been a Nine AFL Sunday Footy Show regular.

Seven last night featured the BBL clash between Melbourne Renegades and Hobart with both innings audiences close to 330,000.

On the ABC, a replay of Griff’s Great Australian Rail Trip did 302,000. The series screens just before SBS runs the long-awaited Michael Portillo series Great Australian Railway Journeys.

The biggest audience on SBS was 146,000 for Inside Selfridges.

Week 4 TV: Tuesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 9.0% 7 15.2% 9 23.1% 10  15.1% SBS One 4.1%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.9% 7TWO 3.6% GO! 3.4% 10 Bold 4.2% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 1.2% 7mate 4.3% GEM 1.7% 10 Peach 2.5% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 1.6% 7flix 1.6% 9Life 2.4%     NITV 0.2%
                SBS World Movies 1.2%
TOTAL 14.8%   24.7%   30.6%   21.8%   8.0%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 8.5% 7 17.1% 9 19.4% WIN 13.0% SBS One 3.2%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.5% 7TWO 5.1% GO! 5.5% WIN Bold 5.2% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 1.1% 7mate 6.1% GEM 1.9% WIN Peach 2.1% Food Net 0.6%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.7% 9Life 2.9% Sky News  on WIN 0.9% NITV 0.1%
TOTAL 13.4%   30.1%   29.7%   21.3%   5.4%


86.6% 13.4%
  1. Seven News Seven 875,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 845,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 821,000
  4. Nine News Nine 810,000
  5. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Elimination 10 737,000
  6. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 723,000
  7. 2020 Australian Open D2 PM Nine 672,000
  8. ABC News ABC 609,000
  9. The Chase Australia Seven 501,000
  10. The Project 7pm 10 492,000
  11. 7.30 ABC 460,000
  12. 10 News First 10 442,000
  13. 2020 Australian Open D2 PM Pre Match Nine 364,000
  14. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League Melb Ren V Hobart Seven 362,000
  15. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League Melb Ren V Hobart S1 Seven 348,000
  16. The Chase Australia 5pm Seven 325,000
  17. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League Melb Ren V Hobart S2 Seven 324,000
  18. NCIS 10 320,000
  19. Griff’s Great Australian Rail Trip ABC 302,000
  20. The Project 6.30pm 10 297,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Elimination 10 166,000
  2. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 164,000
  3. 2020 Australian Open D2 PM Nine 130,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 100,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 95,000


18 – 49

  1. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Elimination 10 303,000
  2. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 294,000
  3. 2020 Australian Open D2 PM Nine 203,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 201,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 186,000


25 – 54

  1. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Elimination 10 346,000
  2. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 344,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 256,000
  4. 2020 Australian Open D2 PM Nine 231,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 227,000
TUESDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 177,000
  2. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  3. Bondi Rescue Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 135,000
  4. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 134,000
  5. Outback Opal Hunters PM 7mate 130,000
  6. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 129,000
  7. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 128,000
  8. Neighbours 10 Peach 127,000
  9. Dot. PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  10. Highway Patrol Ep.2 Pm 7mate 125,000
  11. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  12. Cold Case PM 7TWO 122,000
  13. CSI: Miami 10 Bold 122,000
  14. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  15. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  16. Spicks And Specks ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  17. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 118,000
  18. Lethal Weapon 3 9GO! 117,000
  19. Olobob Top PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 117,000
  20. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  1. Live: BBL Post Game FOX CRICKET 181,000
  2. Live: BBL: Renegades V Hurricanes FOX CRICKET 147,000
  3. Live: BBL: Renegades V Hurricanes FOX CRICKET 129,000
  4. Live: Between The Innings FOX CRICKET 122,000
  5. Avenue 5 FOX SHOWCASE 40,000
  6. Credlin Sky News Live 38,000
  7. Chris Smith: Inside The News Sky News Live 38,000
  8. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 38,000
  9. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 37,000
  10. Live: B4 The Bash! FOX CRICKET 36,000
  11. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 36,000
  12. Live: U19 Cricket WC: Ind V JPN FOX CRICKET 35,000
  13. PML Later Sky News Live 32,000
  14. Escape To The Country Lifestyle Channel 32,000
  15. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 31,000
  16. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 31,000
  17. Lewis UKTV 31,000
  18. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 30,000
  19. NCIS FOX Crime 30,000
  20. Bargain Hunt Lifestyle Channel 28,000

Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

Downloads soar as Australians binge on streaming

Australians are spending less time talking on their mobile phones and downloading substantially more data than they were even a year ago, the ACCC’s Communications Market Report for 2018-19 has found.

The rapid take-up of streaming services such as Netflix, Stan, Optus Sport and Kayo Sports contributed to a 47 per cent jump in data downloads over the year, with fixed broadband services accounting for 88 per cent of all data downloaded.

The report shows how Australians’ communication methods are changing, as minutes spent using traditional voice services on mobile phones dropped the first time over the year, reflecting the increasing use of social media and over-the-top services like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber.

At the same time, the proportion of Australians who solely rely on mobile services for broadband is declining, dropping from 23 per cent in 2014 to 16 per cent in 2019, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Unlimited data fixed broadband plans have increased from 6 per cent in 2014-15 to 57 per cent in 2018-19.

See feature today.

David Einhorn on Netflix "Narrative is finally coming to an end"

The US hedge fund manager David Einhorn, who has long been bearish on Netflix, argues that the company’s domestic subscriber picture will suffer with the wave of new competitors, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Einhorn, who has long been bearish on Netflix, argues that the company’s domestic subscriber picture will suffer with the wave of new competitors from big entertainment companies, while the international expansion will be hurt by lower prices in developing countries.

“It appears to us that new subscriptions are slowing and cancellations are accelerating,” Einhorn wrote. “Competition is denting the Netflix domestic story, just as the platform loses its two most popular shows, Friends (in 2020) and The Office (in 2021), forcing management to spend aggressively to create and market binge-and-forget Netflix Originals and stand-up comedy specials, which lack staying power.”

[Read the original]

News Brands

Financial Review & The Australian report audience increases

The Australian Financial Review is the only traditional news masthead to increase both its print and digital readership over the past year as it makes further audience gains on its national rival, reports the Nine-owned nosiness newsbrand.

Australia’s first national newspaper increased its total monthly audience by 8 per cent, or 209,000, to 2.68 million readers over the year to October, according to the latest Enhanced Media Metrics Australia report.

In contrast to the Financial Review‘s audience gains, overall print and digital readership of national rival The Australian fell by 8 per cent in the year to October, according to the EMMA report.

Financial Review editor in chief Michael Stutchbury said the masthead’s readership growth was particularly pleasing for a business, finance and political publication that operated behind a premium online paywall.

[Read the original]

Meanwhile News Corp’s national daily last week reported audience for The Australian is rapidly growing, with the national newspaper recording a dramatic 16.5 per cent lift in digital readers over the past 12 months.

The latest official Nielsen Digital Content Ratings data show The Australian’s subscriber-only website registered a monthly audience of 2,106,916 for December.

The result is the second successive month The Australian has recorded an audience above 2 million.

The other national newspaper, The Australian Financial Review, had 424,490 fewer readers than The Australian over the same period.

[Read the original]

Harry and Meghan threaten to sue over Canada paparazzi shot

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have fired a warning shot at the world’s press in a salvo designed to discourage paparazzi from strangling their new life in Canada, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Bevan Shields.

Lawyers for the pair sent legal warnings to media outlets on Tuesday following the overnight publication of a photograph of Meghan taking eight-month-old son Archie for a hike in a public park on Vancouver Island.

The image highlights what the couple will be up against outside the protection of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ in Britain – struck following the death of Princess Diana – that severely limits the ability for paparazzi to sell their work to newspaper editors.

Their UK legal team has claimed the image was obtained without the consent of the Duchess of Sussex and that the photographer was hiding in bushes when it was taken.

[Read the original]

Scott Morrison's mastery of TV means something has to change

Scott Morrison finishes every interview with a hearty “thank you”, usually addressed to the interviewer, writes The Age’s Craig Mathieson.

“Thanks a lot, Leila, it was good to be with you,” the Prime Minister will say, or “Thanks very much, Michael.” It’s a personalised touch that also serves as a sign of strength: the interview has gone well and Morrison wants to show that he’s the magnanimous victor.

Television audiences, who’ve been following the Prime Minister’s recent appearances with urgent interest amid the bushfire crisis, are often not nearly as grateful.

The media’s commentary on the Prime Minister has been good, but trying to turn it into queries he’ll simply never consider is failing. It also narrows the scope of interviews: it was frustrating to watch the question of Australia’s response to climate change being reduced to emissions targets from the Kyoto agreement, for which the Prime Minister had a set answer.

[Read the original]


Sober Ash Bradnam on about visiting his first nightclub in a decade

Brisbane radio presenter Ash Bradnam walked out of a nightclub when he feared his sobriety was being tested, reports News Corp’s Amy Price.

The Nova 106.9 breakfast show host, who is four years sober after a debilitating and public battle with alcohol addiction, opened up about overcoming a “big moment” surrounded by partygoers during his first visit to a nightclub in a decade.

Discussing the night on Ash, Kip, Luttsy & Susie on Tuesday morning, Bradnam explained he had taken his wife Jodie and their three boys – Levi, 16, Sid, 14, and Archie, 7 – to an all-ages Hilltop Hoods concert, which was held at a nightclub in Hawaii, over the holiday break.

[Read the original]

I’m A Celeb: Why Nova’s Fitzy rejected offer to enter the jungle

An Aussie radio star has revealed why he rejected an offer to appear on this season of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!

Fitzy, from Nova’s Fitzy and Wippa, told listeners Tuesday morning that he not only turned down an approach from the reality show’s producers but that he also suggested who they should call instead.

“I got a phone call saying, ‘Do you want to do the jungle?’” Fitzy said on Nova. “We (himself and co-host Wippa) get this every year.

“I said, ‘No, no way. I can’t … We go back to work on January 20.’ I said, ‘I can’t do it.’”

Fitzy said that as soon as he got off the phone, he thought of a celebrity who would be “perfect” for the show and who had “a bit of time up his sleeve”.

[Read the original]

Eddie McGuire doesn’t worry about ratings as breakfast show returns

Eddie McGuire says he isn’t concerned by ratings as he starts a new radio year with fresh enthusiasm, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

McGuire’s Hot Breakfast show on Triple M has undergone a shuffle, losing comedian Wil Anderson and leaving McGuire and Luke Darcy to co-host with rotating guests.

“The ratings are bouncing around everywhere, it’s all over the place,’’ he said.

“At the start of the year we were clearly no.1.

“If you know that your show is good then you’re a chance. We don’t worry about that. I’ve been around too long, I’ve seen it all a thousand times.

“Melbourne is a very competitive market. It’s hard to say (this), because people think it’s a cop out, but you are going for specific demographics. For 25-54 (year-old) males that’s exactly what we’re going for, we’re no. 1 by a mile.”

[Read the original]


Jodi Anasta to quit TV soap Neighbours after three years

After three years on Ramsay Street, actor Jodi Anasta has made the decision to quit TV soap Neighbours, reports News Corp’s Jodi Anasta.

And she says the move has nothing to do with her taking time off for exhaustion last year.

“It is completely unrelated,” Anasta told Confidential. “At the moment I am feeling happier, healthier and better than ever and just excited about change, a fresh new opportunity or discovering something else.”

Anasta, 34, took a three-week break from shooting Neighbours in June 2019, citing exhaustion as the reason for taking time off.

She has split her time between Sydney and Melbourne for the more than three years she has appeared as Elly on Channel 10’s Neighbours as she and ex-partner, Braith Anasta, share custody of their young daughter, Aleeia.

[Read the original]

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