Thursday January 23, 2020

Podcast Week

By James Manning

• We Fact Up, New Hot 100 originals, Spotify, Nick & Femi

Imagine a world without the web: Welcome to We Fact Up

The team behind PodcastOne’s We Fact Up podcast has been in action since 2016. In those four years though the trio has changed twice.

The podcast poses a different question each episode, with the hosts having to try and work out the answer without access to the internet or other reference resources.

Founder Dave Zwolenski told Mediaweek: “We started with a friend of ours, a teacher called Hannah. The idea was just for the three of us to have a chat on air. It worked well, but after eight months she decided to do something valuable with her life (instead of wasting it with us bozos) and became a teacher.”

We Fact Up trio: Peterson, Martine and Zwolenski

Zwolenski and co-founder Redd Peterson then used special guests hosts – people like Hamish Blake, Tommy Little, Andy Lee and Arj Barker.

Eventually though the founders invited a third member back to the team, James Blake, also known as Martine. “Three white Aussie guys didn’t sound diverse enough, so we decided to add a French flavour and James changed his name to Martine.”

The show doesn’t have a set schedule, although Zwolenski said this year they are hoping for a new episode each fortnight.

Zwolenski explained the “Fact” each week is not the magnet for the audience. It is the gags between the hosts – and there is plenty of that each episode before the Fact arrives. Some episodes they pose two questions for discussion.

“Sometimes we might dive straight into the fact, but not often.”

Zwolenski has an audio business background that includes time in community radio, a role at Nova as a roving reporter and he now works at SCA. He’s also spent time on docos at SBS.

Martine is a producer at SCA on Kennedy Molly while Peterson works as a graphic designer and has no real media ambition, according to Zwolenski.

A favourite question featured in one episode was “Who invented the hi-five?” After the episode the trio discovered it has been documented and there was even a special made about the celebratory hand gesture.

Another one was “What does OK stand for?”

Zwolenski’s one warning for new listeners – don’t come hoping to get the answer. “Come for the fun we have along the way.”

Listen to We Fact Up here.

New originals in Podcast Rankers top 100

A number of podcast originals have turned up on the December Podcast Ranker top 100.

The highest debut belonged to Schwartz Media’s 7am which entered the chart at #4.

The podcast features a new team for 2020: Schwartz Media has appointed Ruby Jones as host and Osman Faruqi as editor. The podcast has been on a break since December 20 and returns next week.

Read more about 7am here.

Also new to the top 10 was Wil Anderson’s podcast with Whooshkaa, Wilosophy. The most recent guest to feature was Claire Hooper who’s interview with Anderson was published this week. Other recent guests to this popular podcast have been Nelly Thomas, Nath Valvo, Briggs and Scott Pape.

The weekly TOFOP podcast from Anderson and Charlie Clausen also charted, new at #40.

The Parent Brand had four podcasts enter the chart – Music Program at #59, Feed Love Play at #69, The Meanies at #89 and Play and Learn at #99.

In 2017 Kinderling Kids Radio acquired Babyology to create what it called Australia’s largest digital media company focused on families with young children, The Parent Brand. The Babyology brand now has over 10 podcasts title in its catalogue.

Will Spotify acquire The Ringer?

The Ringer, the US sports-and-culture media company founded by Bill Simmons, is reportedly in talks about a sale to the audio company Spotify — a deal that could be a financial windfall for the site’s founders and help Spotify gain a foothold in sports media, reports The Washington Post. But employees at The Ringer are raising alarms about what it means for their jobs.

The Ringer was founded by Simmons, the former ESPN columnist and for many years that company’s most high-profile writer. At ESPN, Simmons founded Grantland, the prestige-journalism website that hired big-name writers and specialized in magazine-style feature writing, analytics-driven sports coverage and pop-culture criticism. Simmons and ESPN parted ways in 2015; Grantland was shuttered soon after.

Simmons launched The Ringer the next year, with financial backing from HBO.

[Read the original]

Stars of 10’s The Amazing Race launching podcast

Two of the stars of the first season of The Amazing Race Australia on Network 10, Nick and Femi, are launching a new podcast.

Called Uncovered, the new series will celebrate its arrival at a Sydney launch event in early February. The two mental health professionals will discuss some of the topics around mental health in interviews with industry experts and celebrities.

The duo are part of a fundraiser in Sydney tonight where for just $30 guests can meet and have a wine with cast from The Amazing Race with the funds going to the Australian Red Cross.

More details here.

Promotions week at PHD as agency identifies leaders to drive growth

• Lucy Formosa Morgan and Stuart Bailey now joint Managing Directors
• Stephanie Douglas-Neal promoted to General Manager, PHD Sydney

• Stephanie Douglas-Neal promoted to General Manager, PHD Sydney

A series of promotions have been announced at PHD Australia by CEO Mark Jarrett to dive growth for the business and its clients.

Stephanie Douglas-Neal has been promoted from Chief Client Officer and Head of HR to General Manager, PHD Sydney.

Douglas-Neal joined PHD from Zenith Optimedia in 2016. Since then, she has run multiple accounts at PHD and has led a people development strategy that has seen PHD be recognised beyond the media industry at the AHRI (Australian Human Resource Institute) awards. Douglas-Neal will continue to lead the People and Development team at PHD whilst managing a team of six Group Business Directors who encompass PHD’s growing client portfolio, including Unilever, Virgin Australia and Volkswagen Group.

Morgan and Bailey PHD

Morgan and Bailey

Of the promotion Douglas-Neal said: “I am delighted to be taking on a greater leadership role at such an important time in the evolution of PHD Australia. It’s a privilege to work with such a strong leadership team in Sydney, and I’m excited at the opportunity to work with them and the exec team to continue to offer our Sydney clients innovative & strategic comms solutions to drive their brands forward.”

Jarrett said: “Stevie’s contribution to PHD’s client relationships and people initiatives has been highly impactful on the business. As PHD has grown over the years, Stevie’s strategic and visionary approach to our talent program has ensured that we have continued to hire and retain some of the best talent in the industry. As the agency continues to grow, I have no doubt that Stevie is the right person to lead PHD’s evolving culture and client portfolio.”

Earlier this week PHD revealed promotions for Lucy Formosa Morgan and Stuart Bailey to joint Managing Director roles.

The appointments are effective immediately and both will report into CEO Jarret.

Formosa Morgan will be charged with continuing to drive growth for the agency and champion best practices across the ever-changing media landscape.

“Having been with PHD through a transformational period of growth, I am extremely excited to be taking on the joint Managing Director role and continuing the impressive momentum we have in Australia,” said Formosa Morgan. “The agency has incredible leadership and a great vision. I am  proud of everything we continue to achieve for our clients. The industry is changing at a rapid pace and to have this opportunity to help lead our clients throughout is a great honour.”

Previously Chief Investment and Commercial Officer at PHD Australia, Formosa Morgan began at Omnicom Media Group in 2006, starting at OMD. Since joining PHD nine years ago, she has built a market-leading investment team, driven commercial success for the business and served as a passionate advocate of PHD’s environmental programme, which has resulted in the agency being named Urban List’s Most Sustainable Agency.

Bailey will be responsible for evolving PHD’s integrated capabilities while continuing to provide strategic and creative consultancy to clients across the business. Bailey joined Omnicom Media Group in 2012 and in 2017 joined PHD as Chief Digital Officer. Over the past three years, he has transformed the agency’s digital product to provide best-in-class digital planning and media expertise, as well as elevated PHD’s data, tech and analytics capabilities to aid clients in accelerating their digital journey and maximising growth for their businesses. Bailey was recognised with an Industry Contribution award at the MFA’s latest awards ceremony for his work across the wider market, highlighting his dedication to driving transparency and education within the industry.

“The last three years have been an exciting journey at PHD, building out best-in-class digital capabilities that help our clients navigate an increasingly complex landscape,” said Bailey. “Clients expect digital expertise to be seamlessly integrated within our offering, and that means building an agency that is set up for the future with the right capabilities, the right people, and the right structure to cope with increasing digitisation of the media landscape. We continue to strive to provide clients with the best expertise to lead their transformation journeys, and I am excited to work with such a talented team at PHD.”

Jarrett added: “We have an abundance of talent within PHD’s executive and leadership team. After a period of sustained success for the agency, these promotions made complete sense from a business standpoint. Lucy and Stuart have demonstrated their ability to lead not just within our agency, but the wider industry. Considering where our business is heading and where we want to be in the future, I am confident in their ability and passion to put us at the forefront of our industry and drive growth for both our business and our clients.”

Top photo: Stephanie Douglas-Neal

New hosts for ABC's Insiders and Q&A returning this February

This February, two of the ABC’s iconic news and current affairs shows return with new hosts and fresh looks.

Join David Speers for Insiders and Hamish Macdonald for Q+A as they welcome in the new decade with all the usual lively debate and open discussion.

In its 20th year, Insiders is back– premiering Sunday 2 February – with new host Speers taking the helm of Australia’s most watched morning show. A Walkley award winner, Speers is one of the most respected political journalists in the country and joins Insiders following a 19-year career at Sky News where he was the network’s political editor in Canberra. 

David Spears – Insiders

Mike Bowers returns to Insiders with another season of Talking Pictures, and as always, will be looking for the funny and absurd moments in politics to lighten up your Sunday morning.

2020 promises to be an exciting year for Q+A – premiering Monday 3 February – with new host Macdonald in the chair. He’ll be travelling the show more frequently around Australia, sharing the stories of these local communities. 

The program returns with a bushfire special which will be broadcast live from the Bega Showground Pavilion, giving fire-affected communities the chance to ask questions of our leaders and take part in an all-important conversation about disaster management, community recovery and shaping national policy for the future.  

Macdonald is a highly accomplished journalist and presenter, who has developed his storytelling over many years of reporting both domestically and overseas. On Monday nights he will host surprising and thought-provoking discussions that challenge our thinking on big and complex issues.

Woolworths again our Most Valuable Brand, Optus now Strongest Brand

• Woolworths crowned Australia’s most valuable brand, brand value AU$11.8 billion
• Telstra’s brand value drops 20%, falling to second most valuable after 4 years of dominance
• Optus becomes nation’s strongest brand with brand strength index (BSI) score of 86.3 out of 100
• 11 new entrants in ranking, including six wine brands

Woolworths has reclaimed the title of Australia’s most valuable brand, overtaking reigning champion Telstra, after recording a 5% uplift in brand value to AU$11.8 billion, according to the latest report by Brand Finance.

In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation.

Woolworths’ increasing brand strength, up 4.2 to a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 81.9, has enabled it to overcome a tough market, where retail activity is contracting, and economic growth forecasts are gloomy.

Fellow supermarket brand, Coles (brand value AU$7.5 billion), has also been feeling the pinch as shoppers are becoming increasingly careful with their spending habits. However, its small brand value increase (up 0.2%) is a very positive result following its demerger with Wesfarmers, the country’s largest ever demerger. Coles has achieved a AAA- brand strength rating for the first time, a reflection of the brand’s solid reputation for value for money.

Mark Crowe, Managing Director, Brand Finance Australia, commented:

“We are witnessing a decreasingly optimistic market, where many of the country’s biggest consumer brands are suffering. Household names, Woolworths and Coles, are bucking the trend, supported by their long-standing position in the marketplace. Woolworths is facing a difficult year ahead after the damaging investigation into staff’s pay – how the brand responds in the coming year will be pivotal if it is to retain its title of the most valuable Australian brand.”

Telstra calls for help

The country’s largest mobile network provider, Telstra, has recorded a considerable drop in brand value over the past year, down 20% to AU$11.7 billion. The NBN rollout has significantly affected the brand’s profits, which dropped 40% in 2019, and the long-term economic outlook for the brand looks challenging. Telstra is grappling with, along with the majority of key players globally, the rise in challengers in the Telco-OTT space, as well as rapidly diminishing margins as a result of fierce price competition.

Telstra’s BSI score has improved, however, up 1.9 to 84.0, largely due to a greater level of customers recommending the telecoms giant, a testament to the brand’s first-class customer service and solid customer satisfaction scores.

Optus now nation’s strongest

Optus (down 11% to AU$4.7 billion) claims the title of Australia’s strongest brand with a BSI score of 86.3 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating. This boost in brand strength has simultaneously knocked last year’s strongest brand Qantas (down 18% to AU$3.1 billion) off the top of the podium.

Seven Australian brands feature in Global 500

Seven Australian brands feature in the newly released Brand Finance Global 500, with Woolworths ranked the highest. Defending its position as the world’s most valuable brand for the third consecutive year, Amazon has broken the so far unattainable US$200 billion brand value mark. Following 18% growth from US$187.9 billion last year, Amazon’s brand value has now reached US$220.8 billion, over US$60 billion more than Google’s and US$80 billion more than Apple’s.

The world’s largest online marketplace, Amazon has also branched out into cloud computing, artificial intelligence, consumer electronics, digital streaming, logistics, and is looking to enter other industries. With a diverse product and service portfolio, and thanks to continued investment in fast-growing sectors and innovative technologies, Amazon is not only the leader of today, but also seems primed for tomorrow.

Nevertheless, the majority of Amazon’s revenue still comes from retail, and challenges to the growth of the company’s core operations may result in brand value stagnation in the future. In November 2019, it was announced that Nike would no longer be selling its merchandise on the platform, to develop its own direct sales channels. Amazon may have to contend with other big brands following Nike’s lead, which would undermine its reputation as the ‘Everything Store’. Another potential sticking point is the future of Amazon’s international business. From environmentalist opposition in Europe, to backlash from local retailers in India, to saturation of China’s e-commerce market by Alibaba and its subsidiaries – matching globally the status that Amazon enjoys in the US, may prove difficult.

Mediaweek Industry Awards: Best Australian News Brand

• Winner: ABC News

ABC News has won this category for the second consecutive year.

Again our readers have indicated by a big margin that they value the biggest news gathering organisation in Australia and one that is free of many commercial pressures.

That doesn’t mean ABC News doesn’t have to rate well though. The broadcaster and publisher wants to engage with the largest audience it can.

ABC News is the TV channel’s #1 ratings program, or close to it, on most nights of the year.

ABC Radio and the news bulletins and current affairs programs it carries are part of the radio ratings success story on the main metro stations.

ABC News websites ranked #2 in the Nielsen DCR December data with a monthly audience over 10m.

Across December and January, ABC News channel and other ABC platforms were acknowledged by many as having the most comprehensive, and at times only, rolling coverage of the bushfire crisis around the country.

The organisation reported ABC News increased its reach and engagement across all platforms in early January, in some cases breaking records:

  • ABC News channel on broadcast reached 3.4 million metro Australians in the first week of January, making it the top reaching week since channel launch, and up +65% on the 2019 weekly average
  • ABC News channel live stream on iview achieved 709,000 plays for that week, making it the top performing week since live streaming began, and up +323% on the 2019 weekly average
  • Daily users were up substantially on the 2019 averages across digital platforms
  • Website (including AMP) users that week were up +50% to an average of 2.3 million per day

The ABC has strengthened its news brand with a number of key appointments during 2019 including David Speers joining from Sky News to host Insiders, and Hamish Macdonald joining from 10 to host Q&A. Both the new hires made appearances earlier this month as part of the bushfire coverage.

ABC director of news Gaven Morris faces many of the same challenges his counterparts in the commercial world do. “It’s more complicated than it’s ever been as audience habits have changed vastly,” Morris told Mediaweekduring 2019.

Helping navigate those challenges though is the close to $200m the ABC spends on its news division.

See also:
Gaven Morris – News budget, David Speers, Four Corners, Q&A & more

Taking second place in the reader vote was National Nine News, with Sky News Australia taking third place.

Both those positions are also unchanged from the 2018 results.

Box Office: What was the biggest money maker of 2019?

By Trent Thomas

2019 was another great year for cinema that included the decade long pay off of Avengers, the conclusion of the latest Star Wars trilogy, live-action re-incarnations of classics such as Alladin and The Lion King, and critically acclaimed movies such as Joker and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood hitting Australian screens. Which in turn has resulted in the third biggest year in Australian box office history making a total of $1,228,741,000.

Disney’s Avengers Endgame was the highest-grossing film of 2019 finishing third overall in Australian box office history and achieved an impressive number of records:

• Highest opening day in cinema industry history
• Highest ever individual Wednesday / Thursday / Friday / Saturday / Sunday gross in industry history
• Highest ever 5 day opening weekend (Weds-Sun) – beating Avengers: Infinity War
• Highest ever 4-day weekend (Thurs-Sun) – beating Star Wars: The Force Awakens
• Highest ever presale total
• Highest ever opening screen count
• Highest & second-highest single days of total business in industry history (Wednesday $11.46m & Thursday $11.26m)– beating Anzac Day 2018 $11.25m

Helping Avengers: Endgame into top spot was the number of screens showing the film on opening day. On Anzac Day last year, Disney opened Avengers: Infinity Wars on 871 screens, in 2019 Avengers Endgame opened on Anzac Day eve on 1,070 screens.

The second highest-grossing film of 2019, The Lion King was also the fifth highest-grossing movie of all time in Australia and had the fifth-biggest opening weekend of all time, and is the most successful Disney live-action remake to date in Australia.

Disney was involved in eight of the top ten films including their cooperation with Sony on Spider-Man: Far from Home, the two non-Disney films where both DC offshoots with the Roadshow distributed Joker and Warner Bros. Aquaman being the outliers.

Both, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Aquaman’s totals were diluted by the fact that a sizeable portion of their releases was outside 2019 with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s 2019/2020 total sitting at $44.25m to date, and Aquaman’s 2018/2019 total sitting at $41.81m. Which would have made the films #3 and #4 respectively, while Frozen 2 is also still in theatres and would be #6 with $38.74m.

Toy Story 4, was able to see off Frozen 2 to be the highest-grossing animated film of the year with over $41m, although Frozen 2 could still overtake it in 2020.

Australian films took over $40m in 2019. The highest-grossing film, Ride Like a Girl, directed by Rachel Griffiths, has taken $11.7m to date.

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

The top ten films of 2019 accounted for $435.94m of the $1.22b total for the year.

1 Avengers: Endgame $84.16m
2 The Lion King $64.04m
3 Captain Marvel $41.62m
4 Toy Story 4 $41.62m
5 Joker $40.54m
6 Spider-Man: Far from Home $37.32m
7 Aladdin $35.26m
8 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker $34.01m ($44.25m 19/20)
9 Frozen 2 $32.56m ($38.74m 19/20)
10 Aquaman $24.77m ($41.81m 18/19) 

Annual Global TV Demand Award winners announced

Game of Thrones was the big winner at the 2nd Annual Global TV Demand Awards presented by Parrot Analytics today during the 2020 NATPE Miami Marketplace + Conference.

HBO’s epic series took home the top honor, Most In-Demand TV Series in the World, along with the trophy for Most In-Demand Drama Series in the World, for 2019. Netflix’s Stranger Things was acknowledged as Most In-Demand Digital Original and Disney+’s The Mandalorian won for the Most In-Demand Series Debut of 2019.

Global Iconic Demand Award winner, David Crane with Global TV Demand Awards host Carson Kressley and presenter Meredith Vieira. Photo credit: John Parra/Getty Images

Hosted by Carson Kressley (Queer Eye), the Global TV Demand Awards acknowledged the most in-demand shows in 12 different categories. The winners are:

• Most In-Demand TV Show in the World: Game of Thrones
• Most In-Demand Digital Original in the World: Stranger Things
• Most In-Demand Drama Series in the World: Game of Thrones
• Most In-Demand Comedy Series in the World: The Big Bang Theory
• Most In-Demand Documentary Series in the World: Planet Earth
• Most In-Demand Variety Series in the World: The Daily Show
• Most In-Demand Reality Series in the World: The Voice
• Most In-Demand Series Debut in the World: The Mandalorian
• Most In-Demand Superhero Series in the World: The Flash 
• Most In-Demand Export from Latin America: La Rosa De Guadalupe
• Most In-Demand Export from Asia: One Punch Man
• Most In-Demand Export from Europe: Peaky Blinders

In addition, a special Global Iconic Demand Award was presented by Meredith Vieria (25 Words or Less, The View, Today) to David Crane and Marta Kauffman, co-creators of the TV series Friends, in acknowledgement of its enduring popularity around the world. Crane accepted the award on behalf of himself and Kauffman.

“The fact that this award reflects the continued global popularity of Friends makes us prouder than even Parrot Analytics could calculate.  It’s been over 25 years since we started the show.  That we’re still a part of the conversation is more than we could ever have imagined,” said Crane. 

Presenters at the 2nd Annual Global TV Demand Awards included actors Martin Kove (Cobra Kai), Esai Morales (Titans), Hailie Sahar (Pose), Jerry Springer (Judge Jerry) and Emily Swallow (The Mandalorian). 

“Parrot Analytics owns the world’s largest first-party content consumption and audience demand dataset, enabling the company to award the most comprehensive global ‘people’s choice award’ ever given to a TV show,” said Rebekah Zabarsky, Director of Marketing, Parrot Analytics, and Executive Producer of the Global TV Demand Awards. “This year’s Global TV Demand Awards was incredibly exciting, and I want to thank our host Carson Kressley, our presenters, David Crane and everyone who participated in today’s celebration. Congratulations to Game of Thrones and all the winners.”

Top photo: host and presenters pictured from left to right are; Hailie Sahar, Jerry Springer, Martin Kove, Carson Kressley (host), Esai Morales, and Emily Swallow. Photo credit: John Parra/Getty Images

JCDecaux installs giant sweatbands to mark Australian Open

Outdoor advertising company JCDecaux has thrown its support behind the Australian Open by installing giant sweatbands across several of its large-scale Melbourne Citylight signs.

The sweatband panels will be on-display in the lead-up and throughout the tournament at four locations in Melbourne, including two at Southern Cross Station, one at the busy corner of Flinders and Swanston streets, and one at Batman Avenue, close to the Opens Melbourne Park hub.

The sweatbands, which are made of towelling material with the Australian Open logo embroidered on them, have been attached to Australian Open ads via custom clamping, designed to keep them in place for the entirety of the campaign and not obscure the panels. They have also been weather-proofed to ensure they stand up to Melbournes notorious four seasons in one day weather patterns.

Tennis Australia Chief Marketing and Insights Officer, Josie Brown, said: The Australian Open is known globally as the happy slam and we wanted to find a way to demonstrate our playful personality to everyone in the city of Melbourne. We hope this fun outdoor installation raises a smile and encourages people to get involved in the summer of tennis.

JCDecaux Head of Creative Solutions, Ashley Taylor, said: We really wanted to create something memorable for commuters, and something that would play directly into the personality of this great tournament. Weve placed the panels in high foot traffic areas in Melbournes CBD to ensure they receive maximum exposure and were really encouraging sports fans to come and check them out – its a great photo opportunity.

This is the first-time that JCDecaux has created something like this for the Australian Open and we are so excited to be involved with such an important event on the national sporting calendar.

Indira Naidoo to be ABC Radio's Weekend Nightlife host

Award-winning broadcaster and author, Indira Naidoo, makes her return to the ABC on Friday 7 February, as the host of ABC Radio’s Weekend Nightlife.

Naidoo will present the national program each Friday, Saturday and Sunday, sharing hosting duties with Philip Clark – who presents the show Mondays to Thursdays.

Director of ABC Regional & Local, Judith Whelan, said:  “It is wonderful to have Indira back on the ABC and behind the Nightlife mic at weekends.  Indira is well-known and much-loved by ABC audiences and I’m sure Nightlife listeners all around Australia will welcome her with open arms.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining ABC Radio as the host of Weekend Nightlife,” Naidoo said.  “I began my broadcasting career at the ABC 30 years ago and there couldn’t be a more important time to re-join our national broadcaster.

As we’ve seen during this long bushfire-ravaged summer, ABC Radio plays a vital role in our community by helping Australians stay informed and safe. I look forward to continuing the wonderful legacy of Sarah Macdonald and the Weekend Nightlife team, by sharing compelling news and stories from across Australia and around the globe.”

Naidoo has hosted and reported for some of the country’s most distinguished news and current affair programs – including ABC’s late edition news and as presenter/reporter for SBS TV’s World News Tonight.  She was formerly media manager for the consumer advocacy group, Choice and has written two best-selling books The Edible Balcony and The Edible City.  Naidoo has also guest-presented ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and hosted SBS’s Filthy Rich and Homeless.

In 2019, Naidoo co-hosted the 2CH Breakfast show with Trevor Sinclair.  She replaces Sarah Macdonald who is hosting the NSW and ACT Evenings show following Chris Bath’s departure from ABC Radio Sydney in December 2019.

Celebrity Mastermind: SBS reveals the first eight celebrities

• Sixteen well-loved Australian celebrities will battle it out for the winning title across five weeks.

The first eight celebrities to face the pressure as they answer questions based on their speciality subjects are legendary drag queen Courtney Act, journalist and author Jessica Rowe, cook and television host Adam Liaw, author and comedian Adam Spencer, journalist and personality Marc Fennell, comedian and writer Alex Lee, and comedians Sam Simmons and Nazeem Hussain.

Specialty topics include The Nanny, domestic cat breeds, Asian cuisine, great mathematicians of the 20th century, Star Trek: The Next Generation, rats, the slow loris and mangoes.

TV host, journalist and self-confessed quiz junkie Jennifer Byrne (ABC’s First Tuesday Book Club, 60 Minutes, Foreign Correspondent) will return to SBS as quizmaster for both series, questioning contenders for two tense minutes on their chosen specialist subject.

Jessica Rowe said: “I’m a crazy cat lady. No, I’m not a cat fancier, cat enthusiast or a cat lover. I’ve heard some cat fans shy away from the term ‘crazy cat lady’ but I’m proud to wear to the tag! And that is why I’m beyond excited to be quizzed on my cat knowledge as a part of Celebrity Mastermind (I also have a serious girl crush on Jennifer Byrne). But I digress – what is it that I love about cats? They’re elegant, stylist, wild, feral, independent, clean, aloof and, like my daughters, they don’t always come when you call them.”

Adam Liaw said: “I’m inherently extremely lazy so choosing Asian cuisine as my specialty topic means I don’t actually have to go and study anything beyond going out and eating lunch. Plus, I know I’ll never match Jess Rowe’s encyclopaedic knowledge of cats so I’ve really got to try and take every advantage I can.”

Courtney Act said: “In the 90’s I had such a crush on Fran Drescher, I’m still not sure if I wanted her, or wanted to be her…or maybe it was both. She was this fish out of water and I thought she was the epitome of glamour, I loved how she didn’t try and assimilate but rather leaned into her difference and made it a strength. It’s that quintessential 90’s sitcom that keeps you laughing and smiling and feels like an old friend.” 

Marc Fennell said: “Having filled-in behind the quizmaster’s chair, I plan to use my completely unfair advantage to crush the competition. I think we can all agree that 2020 can’t possibly hold any competition of greater global significance than Celebrity Mastermind and I will be approaching it with the brutal, humourless intellectual rigor it surely demands.” 

Alex Lee said: “I’d love to say that I’m delighted to be on Celebrity Mastermind but I am genuinely terrified, because I have chosen one of my phobias as my speciality topic: Rats. I’ve figured I have to know absolutely everything about them in order to defeat them in hand-to-paw combat. Also, the producers wouldn’t let me have the specialty topic ‘Jennifer Byrne’. As for general knowledge, my local pub trivia team have described me as “deadweight” “consistently wrong” and “just in it for the half price schnitty” so I’m really looking forward to showing the other contestants, and Jennifer Byrne, what I’ve got.”

Sam Simmons said: “I’m an animal tragic, studying zoology before being distracted by the circus (comedy). By far the most fascinating creature I came across was the slow loris, my spirit animal. I can’t wait to astound you with my nerdiness.”

SBS Commissioning Editor for Entertainment Josh Martin said: “We’re thrilled to have Mastermind returning for a second season, and we can’t wait to premiere Celebrity Mastermind in an Australian first. One of the joys of the format is the diversity of participants and their choice of speciality topic – from ‘Frogs Found in NSW’ to ‘Aquatic Ape Theory’. There is no end to the passion and inquisitiveness of Australians, and Mastermind celebrates and welcomes all contenders.”

Quizmaster Jennifer Byrne said: “I grew up watching Mastermind and being obsessed with trivia. One of my earliest memories as a child is sitting down with my father and solving crosswords together. Playing games – quizzes, crosswords, board games, trivia – is still one of my favourite pastimes. Last year, being quizmaster for Mastermind was a dream and I’m thrilled to be hosting Celebrity Mastermind in 2020. I can’t wait to meet some of Australia’s well-loved celebrities and discover just how well they know their fabulous specialist topic.”

Both series will be available after broadcast on SBS On Demand. Mastermind is a BBC UK format and is produced for SBS by BBC Studios.

Summer TV Ratings: January 22

• Nine ranks #1 share, Celebrity ranks #1 hottest show

Nine continues to lead the week in primary all-people primetime with its third consecutive 20%+ share for night three of the Australian Open.

When it comes to hottest primetime show though I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! continues to rank #1 after the Seven and Nine News. The program last night farewelled Erin Barnett with an audience of 700,000 watching. That was up a little on the previous Wednesday of 683,000.

Seven News was a big winner in all markets except Melbourne and Sunrise toppled Today again.

Seven’s Big Bash League featured the clash between Adelaide and Melbourne Stars with the first innings on 436,000 and the second growing to 485,000.

After the News and 7.30, Sherlock performed best for ABC with 211,000. Later in the night Adam Hills was revelling in his Prince Harry moment and conducted a quiz on Australia during The Last Leg with 171,000 watching.

A repeat of Tony Robinson Down Under on SBS did 207,000.

Week 4 TV: Wednesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 8.3% 7 17.4% 9 22.2% 10  13.9% SBS One 4.6%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.9% 7TWO 3.6% GO! 1.6% 10 Bold 5.6% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 2.9% GEM 3.0% 10 Peach 2.8% Food Net 1.3%
ABC NEWS 1.6% 7flix 2.3% 9Life 2.2%     NITV 0.2%
                SBS World Movies 1.4%
TOTAL 13.6%   26.1%   29.0%   22.3%   8.9%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 8.4% 7 18.4% 9 17.1% WIN 11.4% SBS One 4.8%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.8% 7TWO 5.1% GO! 2.6% WIN Bold 6.8% VICELAND 1.3%
ABC ME 1.2% 7mate 3.6% GEM 4.7% WIN Peach 2.3% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.7% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.6% 9Life 2.7% Sky News  on WIN 1.0% NITV 0.2%
TOTAL 14.2%   29.7%   27.2%   21.6%   7.3%


85.9% 14.1%
  1. Seven News Seven 933,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 806,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 806,000
  4. Nine News Nine 763,000
  5. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 700,000
  6. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Elimination 10 669,000
  7. ABC News ABC 619,000
  8. 2020 Australian Open D3 PM Nine 551,000
  9. The Chase Australia Seven 537,000
  10. The Project 7pm 10 517,000
  11. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League Ade V Melb Stars S2 Seven 485,000
  12. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League Ade V Melb Stars S1 Seven 436,000
  13. 10 News First 10 402,000
  14. 7.30 ABC 401,000
  15. 2020 Australian Open D3 Late Nine 399,000
  16. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League Ade V Melb Stars Inn Seven 394,000
  17. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League Ade V Melb Stars Post Game Seven 385,000
  18. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League Ade V Melb Stars Pre Game Seven 339,000
  19. The Chase Australia 5pm Seven 338,000
  20. The Project 6.30pm 10 318,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 156,000
  2. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Elimination 10 147,000
  3. 2020 Australian Open D3 PM Nine 119,000
  4. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League Ade V Melb Stars S2 Seven 111,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 111,000


18 – 49

  1. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 299,000
  2. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Elimination 10 288,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 198,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 196,000
  5. 2020 Australian Open D3 PM Nine 194,000


25 – 54

  1. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 347,000
  2. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Elimination 10 337,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 249,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 245,000
  5. 2020 Australian Open D3 PM Nine 218,000
WEDNESDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 190,000
  2. PJ Masks AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 168,000
  3. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 166,000
  4. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 166,000
  5. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 165,000
  6. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY 165,000
  7. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 164,000
  8. Bondi Rescue Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 164,000
  9. Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 161,000
  10. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 152,000
  11. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  12. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 146,000
  13. Dot. PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 146,000
  14. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  15. Floogals AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 143,000
  16. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 142,000
  17. Border Security Australia’s Front Line 7TWO 138,000
  18. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  19. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  20. Thomas And Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  1. Live: BBL: Strikers V Stars FOX CRICKET 191,000
  2. Live: Between The Innings FOX CRICKET 185,000
  3. Live: BBL: Strikers V Stars FOX CRICKET 169,000
  4. Live: BBL Post Game FOX CRICKET 96,000
  5. Love It Or List It Australia Lifestyle Channel 50,000
  6. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 47,000
  7. Live: B4 The Bash! FOX CRICKET 46,000
  8. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 43,000
  9. Credlin Sky News Live 36,000
  10. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 35,000
  11. The Simpsons FOX8 35,000
  12. Location, Location, Location Lifestyle Channel 33,000
  13. Chris Smith: Inside The News Sky News Live 33,000
  14. Family Guy FOX8 33,000
  15. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 33,000
  16. Vanderpump Rules ARENA 30,000
  17. PML Later Sky News Live 30,000
  18. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 29,000
  19. Family Guy FOX8 29,000
  20. Lewis UKTV 29,000

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

Magazine issues ‘scupper Bauer Media sale’ to private equity

Private equity suitor Mercury Capital has abandoned its plan to buy Bauer Media, as the German family-owned media group grapples to salvage its landmark magazine deal with Seven West Media, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich and Leo Shanahan.

Mercury’s decision comes after the competition regulator stymied local magazine consolidation last month, citing concerns about the industry’s outlook if the two biggest magazine publishers were allowed to merge.

Bauer ANZ chief executive Brendon Hill confirmed to TheAustralian that Mercury had walked away from the bid, describing it as “nice to be looked at”.

[Read the original]

Profit shock: UK publisher doubles result as digital drives dollars

Pre-tax profits at specialist publisher Haymarket Group have doubled year-on-year, with the business said to be in “sound financial shape”, reports Press Gazette.

The company has reported profit before tax of £15.2m for the year to 30 June 2019, returning to pre-2018 levels when numbers fell sharply. It reported pre-tax profit of £8m in 2018 and £15.9m in 2017.

Print now makes up £43.1m or just over a quarter (26.7 per cent) of total revenues for Haymarket, down from 31.4 per cent last year.

Digital has grown from 44.2 per cent to 48 per cent of total revenues at £77.6m, while live events are now worth £36.2m, or more than a fifth (22.4 per cent) of revenues.

[Read the original]

News Brands

US Journalist arrested in Indonesia over alleged visa violation

An American journalist has been arrested in Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan province and told he faces up to five years in prison for alleged immigration violations while on a business visa, reports The Australian’s Chandni Vasandani.

Philip Jacobson, an award-winning editor and content strategist for online environmental news site Mongabay based in San Francisco, was placed under “city arrest” last month for attending a meeting between the country’s largest indigenous rights advocacy group, AMAN, and state MPs to discuss land burn offs.

[Read the original]

See also:
‘Journalism is not a crime’: Environment reporter detained in Indonesia by The Sydney Morning Herald’s James Massola.

Tim Blair: Open season as Nine’s SMH cools off climate ad

“Independent Always”? Maybe not. The Sydney Morning Heraldmay need to ditch its slogan following an apparent incident this week of craven media compromise, reports News Corp’s Tim Blair.

The climate-fixated former broadsheet newspaper surprisingly rejected a paid full-page advertisement by environmental group Greenpeace targeting the Australian Open and climate change.

A Nine spokesman, however, said the decision was entirely motivated by legal considerations.

“We declined to run the advertisement on legal grounds,” Nine’s managing director of publishing Chris Janz said.

[Read the original]


Monty Python stars remember Terry Jones who has died aged 77

Terry Jones, a founding member of the anarchic Monty Python troupe who was hailed by colleagues as “the complete Renaissance comedian” and “a man of endless enthusiasms”, has died after a battle with dementia, report press agencies in a news item published in The Sydney Morning Herald.

The actor and comedian directed and featured in some of the comedy troupe’s most-loved works, including Life Of Brian and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

With Eric Idle, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam, Jones formed Monty Python’s Flying Circus, whose anarchic humour helped revolutionise British comedy.

Jones wrote and performed for the troupe’s early-70s TV series and films including Monty Python and the Holy Grail in 1975 and Life of Brian in 1979.

[Read the original]

Josh Thomas tells Michael Idato about his new series on Stan

In his new series screening on Stan, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, Josh Thomas plays Nicholas; a young, gay Australian man on holiday visiting his American father, and his two half-sisters, Matilda (Kayla Cromer), who is on the autism spectrum, and Genevieve (Maeve Press), who is landing puberty with a thud, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Idato.

In the opening episode his father Darren (Christopher May) reveals he has incurable cancer, forcing Nicholas to step up and become custodian of his younger half-siblings.

The series is less autobiographical than Please Like Me– note that in the former Josh played Josh, while here Josh plays Nicholas – but Thomas does concede they are all reflections of himself.

“[Nicholas is] a bit more thoughtful than I am, a little more articulate than I am,” he says. “That’s the nature of a TV character. I feel like in Please Like Me, honestly, Josh was probably one of the worst versions of me. And in Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, Nicholas is like the best version of me.”

[Read the original]

Ally Langdon crashes Karl Stefanovic’s interview with Neil Mitchell

Karl Stefanovic thought he and Neil Mitchell had a special connection, but Neil was more interested in interviewing Today’s new kid on the block, Ally Langdon, reports 3AW.

Ally, who was being interviewed elsewhere at the time, decided to surprise Neil and Karl by walking in at the last minute.

“I don’t let anyone talk to Neil, he’s mine,” Karl said as she entered.

“Not anymore, darl, we’re sharing!” Ally snapped back.

That happened after Karl opened up to Neil about keeping things in perspective amid what he admits was a difficult period after leaving Today in 2018.

“I thought, hang on, a lot of people go through [divorce], why is mine such a big deal?”

“I still don’t know why it is but I got divorced, I did find love again, and I’m sorry if people are offended by that but it made me very happy.

“I have a really great core of people around me now and that centre is the most important thing moving forward.”

[Read the original]

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