Thursday January 28, 2021

Podcast Week: Profitability – show me the money! Howie & Nice Garry

Compiled by James Manning.

PR Darlings, Lola Berry and Bridgerton’s steamy sex, Body+Soul’s Healthy-ish.

PodcastOne meets Fox Sports: Howie’s Nice Garry podcast and TV special

During Fox Cricket’s coverage of the fourth and final test against India this month, the channel screened packaged filmed highlights of the The Howie Games episode featuring Australian spinner Nathan Lyon, called Nice Garry: The Nathan Lyon Story.

The special was a ratings hit, pulling a crowd across several screenings close to the numbers watching the test cricket live. The podcast is also a big hit, keeping The Howie Games Australia’s #1 sports podcast.

“It was an absolute pleasure to sit down with Nathan and discuss his phenomenal rise from groundsman to test cricket star,” Howie Games’ host Mark Howard told Mediaweek.

“The GM of Fox Cricket, Matt Weiss, came up with the concept of a broadcast documentary tying in with the PodcastOne series. The end result, 30 minutes of television content which can lead the audience to the one-hour podcast.

Howie noted this may not be the last time there is a tie-up between PodcastOne and the Foxtel sports channels.

“With all the wonderful athletes that are part of the Fox Sports family, I’m excited by the prospect to further explore this path moving forward. Everyone’s a winner!”

Listen to The Howie Games here.

Howie and Nathan Lyon

The business is booming, but who is making money?

The US digital publisher Axios had a major feature on the weekend about the podcasting business and profitability. “Nearly every major media and entertainment company is pouring lots of cash into launching new podcasts. But many of them aren’t making big money – at least not yet,” started the feature by Sara Fischer.

“Only a few big players make meaningful revenue from podcasts today, but that’s expected to change as the industry matures.

“For most podcasters, including big media and entertainment giants, podcasts offer an incredible opportunity to expand their audiences or find new, niche ones. The financial return on investment in podcasts remains to be fully realised for most.”

When both ARN and SCA release their latest financials in February we will have an update on how the big podcast players are performing here. And just how well the growing army of smaller podcasters are performing is something we will continue to explore in Mediaweek.

Axios quoted the PwC forecast for US podcast sector ad revenue in 2024. In that year it is expecting US$1.7b in ad dollars. That year US radio is expected to write US$23.2b.

The PwC forecast for podcast revenue in Australia is much more bullish about the performance of podcasts compared to radio. PwC’s most optimistic forecast for radio ad revenue in 2024 has it at AU$1.4b. Its podcasting forecast also includes streaming and internet radio which it feels could grow to just under AU$1b.

Read the Axios feature here.

Felicity Harley to host Body+Soul

The founding editor of Women’s Health magazine, Felicity Harley (pictured below), is about to take over hosting the Healthy-ish podcast from News Corp lifestyle brand Body+Soul. Harley is taking over hosting and producing duties from Body+Soul digital editor Alison Izzo who is on maternity leave.

Meanwhile longtime News Corp journalist Alison Stephenson will take over while Izzo is away.

Izzo has set a cracking pace with the podcast. There has been 20 episodes at the time of writing this month, but they are easily digestible with nothing longer than 10 minutes.

Listen to Healthy-ish here.

Demystifying the (not so) dark arts: It’s PR Darlings

To combat the lack of understanding on how news becomes news and to shine a spotlight on the complex relationships between journalists and public relations practitioners, two former media colleagues have joined forces to demystify the misunderstood professions of PR and journalism.

New this month, the It’s PR Darlings podcast is a joint venture between Greer Quinn of Forward Communications and Jo Stone of Sticks and Stones PR who’ve been dusting off their much-loved radio craft skills to produce the show alongside their “day jobs”. Both are former ABC journalists.

In the first five-part series, Stone and Quinn speak to an array of journalists and industry experts, including feature writer and author Trent Dalton, Seven’s Sunrise reporter Tamra Bow, and ABC Mornings radio host Tom Forbes.

“These experiences as both journalists and PR professionals give us unique insights into the demands of the job on both sides of the fence and a deeper understanding of both those relationships,” said former ABC and Seven newsreader/journalist Jo Stone.

As well as being an educational tool to help people use PR as a tool for their businesses or causes, the duo also wanted It’s PR Darlings to be an advocate for the media which is “seen” but ironically often not heard.

“Traditionally, media and public relations professionals have been taught that they should report the story or promote the client, but never become the story themselves,” Greer said.

“Maintaining this admirable invisibility means there’s also a lack of transparency about our work which leads to either its glorification or demonisation, rather than people seeing it for what it is, which is often 2am alarms, constant deadlines and a genuine commitment to capturing and sharing stories.

“It’s the ultimate irony, that as storytellers, we’re somehow terrible at telling our own stories.”

Listen to It’s PR Darlings here.

Lola Berry reveals Secrets of Bridgerton’s sex scenes

The secrets of the steamy sex scenes from the hit Netflix period drama Bridgerton are revealed with “intimacy co-ordinator” Lizzy Talbot on a recent episode of Lola Berry’s podcast Fearlessly Failing.

That’s just one of the reasons to listen to Australia’s favourite nutritionist, yoga and crystal loving hippie. Also a prolific author, Berry has recently relocated to Byron Bay and she has posted a couple of podcast episodes detailing the pre-Christmas move and how it has been going so far. Berry will be updating these shorter “Byron Diary” episodes every week.

But back to those steamy sex scenes!

More than 63 million homes binge watched the Netflix series in the first four weeks of release. “I was one of them!” said Berry. “I’m really excited to have interviewed, Lizzy Talbot, the ‘intimacy co-ordinator’ from Bridgerton. You know those steamy sex scenes that leave you wanting more? Well, it’s Lizzy’s job to choreograph them, much like how fight scenes are choreographed in movies!

“Believe it or not; being an intimacy coordinator is a relatively new job, it’s only existed in the last five years or so and for the cast of Bridgerton, this was their first experience working with one. Lizzy’s job coverers advocacy, co-ordinating and choreographing safe simulated sex and/or nudity scenes. We all can’t wait for more in season two which was commissioned just last week!”

Listen to Fearlessly Failing here.

the Amazing Race Australia cast
How 10 made the most of its own backyard on the Amazing Race Australia

By Trent Thomas

Mediaweek spoke with Network 10 executive producer Cathie Scott about how they brought the season together and what to expect from an all Aussie race.

The Amazing Race Australia will start its race across Australia when its second season premieres on Monday, 1 February at 7.30 pm on 10 and 10 Play.

See also: The Amazing Race Australia in Australia? Eureka EP on unique season

Filming during Covid 

Scott said that the aim was to make the most of staying within Australia, and while it impacted not just the location of the season but the day-to-day production, it all worked out.

“The team came up with a number of scenarios for The Race. The route had so many incarnations and we didn’t even finalise it until well into the actual racing due to border closures.

This year we had a really nimble team and we researched a lot more locations and potential challenges than we actually used, and I think the result was the best possible scenario.

Network 10’s Cathie Scott (Top Right) and Eureka’s Sophia Mogford

What to expect from this season of The Amazing Race Australia

Scott said that one of the things that make The Amazing Race Australia special is the authenticity the show provides to viewers.

“This show to me was quite unique, of all the shows that I have ever worked on, there is a real authenticity about it. We don’t set up challenges as stop and start, when these teams start racing they are really racing and we are along for the ride covering it the best we can. The Eureka team has done a brilliant job with the production values. There is a real authenticity and heart to this series that I think audiences will love.

Showcasing Australia

The new format for the show meant that the production team had to delve deep into Australian culture to produce unique and interesting episodes.

“We had to drill into our culture more than we do if we are traveling internationally. We know our own country and our own culture, but we had to find something new and exciting for our audience.

Australia is so vast and there are so many different environments for us to explore and discover. You forget how lucky we are to live in Australia.”

Amazing Race Australia host Beau Ryan

Scott said that the team went into the diversity of who Australians are, and this is also shown in the cast.

“You want to turn on to see somebody that you can relate to and barrack for.”

Pack your bags

When asked what she hoped the audience would take away from this season, Scott said that she hopes that it will encourage Aussies to go explore their own backyard.

“Everyone is going to book their Australian adventure holidays. They are going to be reminded and surprised about what opportunities they have for travel in Australia.”

Boomtown marketing lead
Boomtown announces Lucia Elliott as new marketing lead

Boomtown Chairman and SCA chief sales officer, Brian Gallagher has announced the appointment of Lucia Elliott as the new marketing lead for the regional media owner collaborative.  

Elliott is responsible for leading marketing as Boomtown seeks to change advertiser and agency perceptions of regional Australia and attract additional advertising dollars to the 8.8 million Australians living in regional Australia.

For the past seven years, Elliott has run her own marketing consultancy, Creighton Ward. During that time she has worked with several high-profile organisations, most recently spearheading the full marketing and events program for Sydney Airport’s successful SYD100 Centenary. 

Elliott was also Marketing Director at NewsMediaWorks and launched the industry’s new measurement currency, Enhanced Media Metrics Australia (emma).  

In other roles, she has led the Commercial (TV) Producers Council where she has increased membership by more than 100% in the past year. She launched Fairfax’s inaugural The Australian Financial Review Business Summit, delivered strategic, education programs and industry events for the Advertising Council Australia and has consulted to the Audited Media Association of Australia. 

She has also worked in agencies including George Patterson Partners, Mojo, The Campaign Palace on many blue chip brands including Coca-Cola, Unilever, Nestle, KFC, ACP Magazines, News Digital and Nine Network and Hoyts.  

Elliott joins Boomtown as it launches its expanded education masterclasses for media agencies and marketers, which will include national online and face-to-face sessions, and the launch of the Boomtown Hub, designed to make planning of regional media easier.  

Boomtown Chairman, Brian Gallagher, said: “Regional Australia is truly at an inflection point this year, as the pandemic has resulted in many people reassessing their lives and deciding to migrate to a sea or tree change as ‘work from anywhere’ becomes the norm. In addition, domestic travel to regional Australia is booming, as people rediscover their love for our diverse regions.  

“This coupled with the 8.8 million – and rising – Australians living and working in regional Australia, is a perfect time for advertisers to take advantage of this lucrative audience. Lucia will lead our marketing activities as Boomtown launches into a busy and exciting 2021 and her wealth of client and agency experience will be invaluable to our team.”  

Commenting on her new role, Elliott said: “I became particularly engaged with and attached to regional markets during my time visiting 30+ news media sites – from Bundaberg and Burnie to Bunbury and back – on the annual roadshows at NewsMediaWorks. So the chance to take the much loved and highly respected Boomtown brand to the next level at such an exciting time for regional media, was an opportunity too good to miss.”  

Elliott’s appointment is effective immediately. 

Are Media appoints Melissa Mason as Digital Editor for ELLE and marie claire

Are Media has appointed Melissa Mason as Digital Editor of its heritage fashion brands ELLE and marie claire.

With an extensive background in fashion, style, and beauty, Mason has more than ten years of print and digital experience. Prior to joining Are Media, Mason worked at Broadsheet Media as Content Director, Pedestrian Group as Managing Editor and Senior Style and Features Editor, and was Editor of News Corp’s 

For more than two years she worked at Pacific Magazines as Features and Beauty Editor for Girlfriend and Total Girl, and began her career at Bauer Media (now Are Media) where she was a beauty writer.

Speaking about her new role, Melissa Mason said: “I’m so excited to work across these market-leading brands. Both ELLE and marie claire are renowned globally for championing women and bringing their audience smart, engaging content across everything from fashion and beauty to cultural and social issues. There is an opportunity in Australia to provide women with content that entertains them and also engages with them on a deeper level. As for the fashion content in both these brands, it is second to none.”

Are Media announced it was relaunching as a purely digital play in November last year. In the same month, Neilson’s Digital Content Ratings (DCR) showed was the number one fashion and beauty website in Australia, posting a record audience of 700,000 for the month.

Fiona Baker, Are Media’s Digital Director of Fashion and Entertainment, added: “ELLE and marie claire are such powerhouse digital properties in Australia and long-time leaders in fashion and women’s media. With her wealth of experience in media, Mel will be pivotal in driving forward the digital editorial strategies of these two luxury brands in 2021, collaborating closely with the marie claire magazine team and building on ELLE’s success as a digital-only brand here in Australia.”

annabelle herd
ARIA and PPCA appoint Network 10’s Annabelle Herd as new Chief Executive

Herd joins ARIA and PPCA following a 16-year career at Network 10.

The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) have announced the appointment of Annabelle Herd (pictured) to the position of Chief Executive Officer.

Commencing on 1 February, Herd will be responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of both Australian music industry organisations in a joint role, reporting to the Boards of both ARIA and PPCA.

In her new role, Herd replaces Dan Rosen who announced his departure to Warner Music late last year. Rosen departs after leading ARIA and PPCA for a decade. He will be President of Warner Music Australia.

See also: Music industry bombshell: Dan Rosen quits ARIA to run Warner Music Australasia

Herd joins ARIA and PPCA following a 16-year career at Network 10 where she most recently held the role of Chief Operating Officer. At Network 10, Herd was responsible for leading the network’s broadcast operations; group strategy; corporate and internal communications; interstate markets; policy, regulatory, compliance and government affairs; and lobbying and stakeholder relations.

Prior to Network 10, she spent several years working at senior levels in Canberra with the Government, which culminated in four years as Senior Advisor (Broadcasting and Copyright) and Acting Chief of Staff for then Minister for Communications and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston. Her other Canberra based roles included Government Lawyer within the intellectual property branch of the Attorney-General’s Department and Executive Officer of the Australian Digital Alliance and Australian Libraries Copyright Committee from 1996.

“I am delighted to be taking on this role serving and supporting our amazing Australian music industry at a time when the inspiration, connection and joy that our artists and musicians give us is more important than ever,” said Annabelle Herd. “The last year has been challenging for our artists and members, so I look forward to representing and advancing the interests of those who make our industry so special given the pivotal time that we are in.”

ARIA and PPCA have also announced that longstanding executive Lynne Small has been elevated to the role of Chief Operating Officer of ARIA and PPCA, reporting to Annabelle Herd.

Small joined the organisation in 1996 and most recently held the role of General Manager. She is responsible for the ARIA and PPCA financial, operational, risk and governance requirements. She is also Company Secretary of ARIA, PPCA and Music Rights Australia.

“On behalf of the ARIA Board, we are delighted that Annabelle has joined the organisation and we look forward to the wonderful value and experience that she brings to the role,” said Denis Handlin, Chairman of ARIA. “With her unique quality background, skills, and leadership, as well as her tremendous passion for Australian music, we know that she will help take ARIA forward into a new era and achieve so much for the artists and industry.

“I would also like to congratulate Lynne Small on her well-deserved new role, and we all recognise how integral Lynne is to ARIA and PPCA.”

George Ash, Chairman of PPCA, said: “On behalf of the board of PPCA we are excited to have Annabelle join the organisation in her new role as CEO. Annabelle will bring an incredible new focus to our organisation representing artists and labels across the industry. She brings immense skills and experience from the entertainment industry and a true love of artists and music. We look forward a new future at PPCA where Annabelle’s innovation and energy will bring a new outlook to the organisation and our artist community.”

what is google news showcase
What is News Showcase, Google’s solution to media code laws?

By Tess Connery

Users will still need to subscribe directly to news organisations.

As the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code – often just called Media Codes – continues to work its way through the Senate committee, major tech companies Google and Facebook continue to oppose it. As a solution, Google has put forward the Google News Showcase – a program run by the platform which would operate under the code, as well as some proposed amendments to the draft. 

Google has said that the passing of the media code laws would set a “dangerous precedent,” and has called the draft code “unworkable” in its current form. The company even went as far as to say they would have no choice but to shut down the Australian branch of Google if the laws were to pass.

Google News Showcase is a program that was announced in 2020, and was originally meant to be rolled out first in Australia, Germany, and Brazil. Once the Australian Government moved ahead with debating the media codes, however, Google pulled the rollout in Australia. Germany and Brazil are currently the only countries where News Showcase is live.

According to an open letter penned by Google Australia’s Managing Director, Mel Silva (pictured), the News Showcase will have AU$1.3 billion invested into it over the next three years, and will be paying journalists for their “editorial expertise and beyond-the-paywall access to their journalism, rather than for links.” 

Essentially, the program will pay participating news organisations to give users access to some – but not all – paywalled articles. The users will still need to subscribe directly to the news organisations to access everything, which Google says is “providing a way for the publisher to build a relationship with readers.”

The platform displays news to users using a sliding panel that users can scroll through to access articles, and has recently added a panel to highlight top articles from news sources that a user chooses. This panel, called the “For You Feed”, will give a user updates on local, national, and international news from any outlet that they manually follow.

Speaking at the Senate Committee hearing into the media code laws last week, Nine’s Managing Director of Publishing, Chris Janz, criticised the News Showcase model.

“Google claims to be open to paying for news by pointing to their Showcase product – a product that was recently announced but is yet to launch,” he said.

“[News] Showcase is exactly what you would expect from a monopoly. It works at a price set by Google based on an opaque global formula.

“The take-it-or-leave-it terms are set by Google. And it doesn’t address the bargaining power imbalance of Google’s core search product identified by the ACCC.”

While the debate between tech companies and news organisations continues in Australia, Google has reached an agreement to pay French news organisations for the use of their work. A translated version of the decision reads:

“Google unilaterally decided that it would no longer display article extracts, photographs, and videos within its various services, unless the publishers give it to them, free of charge.

In practice, the vast majority of press publishers have granted Google free licenses for the use and display of their protected content, without negotiation and without receiving any remuneration from Google.”

stan sport price
Stan announces pricing for Stan Sport ahead of Super Rugby season

Today Stan has officially announced pricing for its new add-on Sport package in the lead up to the Super Rugby season kicking off.

Stan’s add-on Sport package, Stan Sport, will be available for a price of $10 a month and will make Rugby matches available ad-free, live, and on demand. From later this week Stan users will start to see the Stan Sport menu item appear in their app, where they will be able to pre-activate up until Stan Sport launches.

Stan Sport will also air the Super Rugby AU, Super Rugby Aotearoa and Trans-Tasman tournament live in fan-friendly timeslots, along with the Rugby Championship, Bledisloe Cup, Shute Shield, Hospital Cup, Currie Cup and New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship, plus Super W, Wallabies and Wallaroos test matches, and SANZAAR Union home tests.

Stan CEO Mike Sneesby said: “As Rugby kicks off with Stan Sport, Stan will continue to deliver Australians the highest quality productions whilst maintaining great value for money. For the first time in Rugby’s history, fans can experience the game from its grassroots all the way to the international level, allowing a whole new generation of Australians to connect with the sport.”

Stan’s add-on Sport package will stream on more devices than any other streaming service. It will work on selected Smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony, Hisense, TCL, Panasonic and Android TVs; gaming consoles, including PS4, PS4 Pro, PS5, Xbox One, One S and One X; media players, including Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Fetch TV, Telstra TV and the Foxtel Now box; and via the web on Mac and Windows computers plus mobile devices, including iOS and Android.

Rugby fans can also relive great moments of Australian Rugby, with access to an extensive library of classic Wallabies and Super Rugby matches on Stan.

To pre-activate Stan Sport, users can go to to register.

The Tourist
Stan Original Series The Tourist announces first cast members + US partner

The Tourist is a six-part thriller charting one man’s search for his identity.

Stan, along with BAFTA-nominated and Emmy and Golden Globe-winning production company Two Brothers Pictures have announced the casting of Jamie Dornan as the lead in the new Stan Original Series, The Tourist.

The Tourist is a six-part thriller charting one man’s search for his identity. The release also confirms HBO Max as US partner, after the series was announced by Stan and BBC ONE last year, and will begin production in early 2021.

Dornan (A Private War, The Fall, Wild Mountain Thyme) stars as a British man who finds himself in the glowing red heart of the Australian outback, being pursued by a vast tank truck trying to drive him off the road. A cat and mouse chase unfolds and the man later wakes in hospital, hurt, but somehow alive. Except he has no idea who he is. With merciless figures from his past pursuing him, The Man’s search for answers propels him through the vast and unforgiving outback.

Danielle Macdonald (I Am Woman, Unbelievable) will star as Helen Chambers, a fledgling Probationary Constable, and Shalom Brune-Franklin (Line of Duty, Roadkill) is set to play Luci, a waitress who’s swept into The Man’s journey for answers. Hugo Weaving (The Lord of The Rings, Patrick Melrose) plays Agent Lachlan Rogers, one of the most highly regarded detective inspectors in Australia, leading Major Crime for the state police.

Jamie Dornan said: “The Tourist are some of the most exciting scripts I’ve ever read. I can’t wait to go to Australia with such a talented group of people.”

Harry and Jack Williams, writers and managing directors of Two Brothers Pictures said: “We’re hugely excited about this show. It’s tonally breaking new ground for us, and having Jamie Dornan on board is the icing on the Australian cake. Thrilled to be working with Chris Sweeney again as well as the BBC, HBO Max and Stan.”

Hugo Weaving said: “I’m very excited to be slipping into the skin of one of the fabulously idiosyncratic characters who people the desert landscape of The Tourist. The scripts are wonderful. Dark and shocking, surprising and hilarious and always very human. This is a tonally uniquely project and should be an unforgettable ride and shoot for us all.” 

Nick Forward, Stan’s chief content officer said: “Set in Australia’s iconic outback, The Tourist is an incredible cat and mouse story. We’re thrilled to have Jamie Dornan as the lead in this original series, along with a strong local cast including Danielle Macdonald, Shalom Brune-Franklin and Hugo Weaving. Working with world class partners like BBC One, HBO Max and Two Brothers Pictures, along with local partners South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and Highview Productions, The Tourist is a remarkable original series – and our biggest one yet. We can’t wait to bring this thrilling six-part series to Stan.”

Heading into production in early 2021, The Tourist is produced by Two Brothers Pictures and written by Jack and Harry Williams in association with Highview Productions, All3Media International and the South Australian Film Corporation. HBO MAX is also confirmed as the US broadcaster and ZDF as the German broadcaster, having been commissioned last year by BBC One in association with Stan, the Australian co-commissioning partner. The Stan Original Series also received funding from the Australian Government under the Location Incentive program.

marc fennell mastermind
Busy Marc Fennell finds time to join Mastermind as Season Three Quizmaster

Quiz show Mastermind is returning to SBS Monday, February 15 at 6pm with Season 2 finals, and a new season with a new host to premiere the following week.

Last year’s finals results still haven’t been announced after filming for the quiz show was delayed due to COVID-19. After almost a 12 month wait, the winner of the 2020 season of Mastermind will finally be crowned. 

Jennifer Byrne will return as quizmaster for finals week before handing over the reins to Walkley award winning journalist, Marc Fennell, who will helm the third season from Monday 22 February. Marc, best known for The Feed (SBS) and Download This Show (ABC), has filled in as the Mastermind quizmaster before, for a short but successful stint in 2019.

Marc Fennell said: “I think Mastermind is a genuine insight into Australia’s psyche. Every one of us has that one obsession, that one thing we know and love above all things. The best part of being the quizmaster is seeing the wild diversity of obsessions and topics that the contenders bring with them. But make no mistake, it is the toughest quiz show on Australian television. I’ve been both a fill-in host and celebrity contender on Mastermind Australia, I know first-hand how intimidating it can be. While I may be the one holding the questions, I truly marvel at the gumption of the contenders. It’s going to be intense.”

SBS Commissioning Editor, Josh Martin, said: “It’s been a long wait, but we’re thrilled to finally be presenting the 2020 Mastermind winner. Jennifer has expertly quizzed contenders since we re-launched Mastermind to Australian audiences in 2019. She leant the show her considerable intellect, warmth, and authority and we thank her for the instrumental role she has played in the show’s success. We’re excited that the quizmaster baton will be passed on to SBS’s own Marc Fennell, no stranger himself to the Mastermind hosting role, who will bring his own unique style and energy to this one-of-a-kind quiz show.”

Specialist subjects for finals week will include the Kokoda Track Campaign, The Wombat, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, The Kingkiller Chronicle, Casablanca, Ozzy Osborne, Joan of Arc and the Spike Milligan War Memoirs.

Mastermind Season 2 semi-finals return weeknights from Monday, February 15 at 6pm on SBS, with an hour-long grand finale Friday, February 19 at 7.30pm. Season 3 begins Monday, February 22 at 6pm. Both the seasons will be available to stream on SBS On Demand.

TV Demand: Cobra Kai and The Mandalorian continue to dominate

By Tess Connery

Marvel’s WandaVision climbs the charts, moving from fourth to third.

Cobra Kai is continuing to enjoy its time on top of the overall TV charts this week, although The Mandalorian has snuck back to number one on the digital original chart. The Mandalorian spent ten weeks strong at the top of both charts after the release of a second season, until it was unseated by Cobra Kai two weeks ago. 

Both series are follow on stories from wildly popular franchises – The Mandalorian from Star Wars, and Cobra Kai from The Karate Kid – so the fact that those shows are dominating the charts is no major surprise. Overall on the Australian charts, Cobra Kai came in with a 57.7 point difference from the market average this week, while The Mandalorian came in at 40.9. Both shows far outstrip third place Attack on Titan with 26.6.

Staying in galaxies far, far away, the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars joined the top ten Australian digital originals this week. The vacancy was created by Netflix’s Star Trek: Discovery, which fell out of the top ten entirely after coming in at third last week. Trekkers have no need to worry, however. Star Trek: Discovery has kept its eighth place in the overall charts.

WandaVision continues to climb the charts this week, moving from fourth to third place on the digital original charts and holding ninth overall. The series is something quite different for Marvel Studios, and the gamble has paid off for them. WandaVision is the first Marvel show to be released on Disney+ for the year, but The Falcon and the Winter SoldierLoki, and Ms. Marvel are all shows to watch out for when they’re released later this year.

i'm a celebrity
TV Ratings: Summer survey, Wednesday Week 5

By Trent Thomas

• Nine wins night with A Current Affair, Travel Guides and The Dish
• I’m a Celebrity top non-news again as Paulini leaves the jungle

10 has continued its hot start to the year with I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! again dominating the 7:30 pm slot and winning all key demographics. 

Last night’s episode featured the celebs at the edge of the jungle for the fourth night in a row, where they all tried their luck at milking 500ml from a camel. 

Showing their farmhand inexperience, it was off to the Hell Hole Of Destiny for Paulini, Adam and Ash, where it was time to guess how many critters inhabited the dreaded clandestine box, which saw Paulini’s tenure end with a splash.

Nine won the night with the highest primary (19.7%) and network share (29.0%) off the back of a strong night from A Current Affair (750,000), followed by the second night of Travel Guides which improved on its Tuesday night audience (584,000) with 658,000. Nine then aired Aussie classic The Dish which followed the channel airing fellow Working Dog produced classic The Castle on Tuesday night.

Without any Big Bash League, Seven served up Border Security and Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect.

The ABC’s top show of the night was a repeat of Hard Quiz with 506,000, while Spicks and Specks: 2010s Special had 326,000 viewers. 

Week 5: Wednesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 11.7% 7 13.1% 9 19.7% 10  17.4% SBS One 5.0%
ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS 3.5% 7TWO 3.3% GO! 2.9% 10 Bold 4.6% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.3% 7mate 1.7% GEM 3.2% 10 Peach 2.8% Food Net 1.4%
ABC NEWS 2.2% 7flix 1.6% 9Life 2.0% 10 Shake 0.7% NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.2%     SBS World Movies 0.5%
TOTAL 17.7%   19.7%   29.0%   25.5%   8.1%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 11.9% 7 14.0% 9 16.6% WIN 13.8% SBS One 5.0%
ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS 2.8% 7TWO 5.4% GO! 2.8% WIN Bold 4.9% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 2.7% GEM 5.9% WIN Peach 4.0% Food Net 0.7%
ABC NEWS 1.6% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.6% 9Life 2.4% Sky News  on WIN 1.4% NITV 0.2%
                SBS Movies 0.6%
TOTAL 16.9%   23.7%   27.7%   24.1%   7.7%


88.1% 11.9%
Wednesday FTA
  1. Seven News  Seven    925,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30  Seven    920,000
  3. Nine News  Nine  916,000
  4. Nine News 6:30  Nine  889,000
  5. A Current Affair  Nine  750,000
  6. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!      10  731,000
  7. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!   Elimination    10  719,000
  8. ABC News   ABC TV  711,000
  9. Travel Guides  Nine  658,000
  10. 7.30 Summer   ABC TV  542,000
  11. The Project    10  509,000
  12. Hard Quiz (R)  ABC TV  506,000
  13. Hot Seat  Nine  465,000
  14. The Chase Australia  Seven    455,000
  15. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line (R)  Seven    392,000
  16. 10 News First    10  332,000
  17. Spicks And Specks: 2010s Special   ABC TV  326,000
  18. The Dish  Nine  323,000
  19. Hot Seat  Nine  303,000
  20. The Project    10  293,000
Wednesday Multichannel 
  1. Bluey   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  194,000
  2. NCIS (R)  10 Bold  181,000
  3. Bluey   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  172,000
  4. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  171,000
  5. Brave Bunnies   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  164,000
  6. Hey Duggee   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  163,000
  7. Peppa Pig   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  158,000
  8. The Adventures Of Paddington   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  154,000
  9. Kangaroo Beach   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  150,000
  10. Neighbours  10 Peach  147,000
  11. NCIS: Los Angeles (R)  10 Bold  145,000
  12. Peppa Pig   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  143,000
  13. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R)  10 Bold  130,000
  14. Noddy Toyland Detective   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  130,000
  15. Peter Rabbit   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  129,000
  16. Play School   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  126,000
  17. Andy’s Safari Adventures   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  125,000
  18. As Time Goes By   9Gem  123,000
  19. Kiddets   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  118,000
  20. Dino Dana   ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus  116,000
Demo Top Five

16-39 Top Five 

  1. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!      10  158,000
  2. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!   Elimination    10  142,000
  3. Travel Guides  Nine  125,000
  4. Nine News 6:30  Nine  108,000
  5. The Project    10  107,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!      10  291,000
  2. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!   Elimination    10  273,000
  3. Nine News  Nine  212,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30  Seven    211,000
  5. Travel Guides  Nine  206,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!      10  356,000
  2. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!   Elimination    10  335,000
  3. Nine News  Nine  268,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30  Seven    266,000
  5. Seven News  Seven    256,000
Wednesday STV
  1. Paul Murray Live  Sky News Live  77,000
  2. Credlin  Sky News Live  68,000
  3. Chris Smith Tonight  Sky News Live  56,000
  4. Inside The News  Sky News Live  56,000
  5. PML Later  Sky News Live  54,000
  6. The Magnificent Seven  FOX Classics  43,000
  7. The Kenny Report  Sky News Live  41,000
  8. The Big Bang Theory  FOX Funny  31,000
  9. Selling Houses Australia  Lifestyle Channel  30,000
  10. First Edition  Sky News Live  30,000
  11. Homestead Rescue  Discovery Channel  30,000
  12. Highway Patrol  FOX8  29,000
  13. The Simpsons  FOX8  29,000
  14. The Big Bang Theory  FOX Funny  28,000
  15. The Big Bang Theory  FOX Funny  27,000
  16. Blue Bloods  FOX One  27,000
  17. Blue Bloods  FOX One  26,000
  18. NCIS: New Orleans  FOX Crime  25,000
  19. Peppa Pig  Nick Jr.  25,000
  20. NCIS  FOX Crime  25,000

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

Media Code

Media push on tech giants ‘a dress rehearsal for world’

Heavyweight international publishing groups have warned tech titans that the world is viewing the debate over the proposed news media code in Australia as a “dress rehearsal” for similar deals across the globe, and rubbished Google’s “silly” threat to exit certain markets if it is forced to pay for news content, reports News Corp’s James Madden and Lilly Vitorovich.

News Media Alliance — the largest media trade organisation in the US, which counts The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times as members — said Australia was leading the global charge against the bullying tactics of Google.

“Misinformation is a plague on civic society and the Australian government is a leader in understanding that the first step to addressing the problem is ensuring that quality news and information can live online.”

[Read More]

Google’s ad dominance under fire

Google’s digital advertising dominance and potential misuse of market power will be pursued by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, which has raised concerns over the tech giant’s stranglehold on person­alised display ads, reports News Corp’s Geoff Chambers and David Swan.

The interim report for the ACCC’s Digital Advertising Services Inquiry, to be released on Thursday, warns of a lack of competition and transparency across the $3.4bn display advertising sector and Google’s “ability and ­incentive to favour its own related business interests”.

The consumer watchdog’s investigation into digital display advertising, which makes up 37 per cent of the $9.1bn online advertising market, found Google held up to 90 per cent of the industry when measured via impressions, and 70 per cent of the revenue.

[Read More]

Ad experts warn Google’s Australian exit could hurt businesses

Advertising experts have warned Google’s threat to cut off search in Australia could hurt businesses but said they can survive as the competition watchdog prepares to release new findings that expose the tech giant’s dominance of the local digital ad market, reports SMH‘s Zoe Samios and Lisa Visentin.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has found a lack of competition and transparency in Australia’s $3.4 billion a year ad tech industry is causing significant problems for publishers, advertisers and consumers following a year-long inquiry into the sector.

Ahead of Thursday’s release of a report outlining concerns about Google’s continued dominance and anti-competitive behaviour, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has indicated further regulation may be needed.

“We need to ensure our regulatory frameworks keep pace with the changes being driven by digital platforms,” Frydenberg said.

[Read More]

Media code is a Stalinist show trial

Last week Google Australia’s managing director Melanie Silva told a Senate committee that if the government’s proposed media bargaining code becomes law then Google will turn off its widely used search engine in the country, writes AFR‘s Richard Holden.

This is neither an idle threat nor an unreasonable one. The media bargaining code is hopelessly flawed. It misunderstands the cause of the decline in media revenues, seeks to extract money from unrelated activities of technology companies like Google and Facebook, has requirements that threaten the core business of those companies, and has a bargaining system that could most politely be described as “rigged”. It is the public policy equivalent of Stalinist show trial.

And it is, sadly, easy to see how it came about. An overzealous competition regulator with questionable economic acumen in Rod Sims proposes something that, if one doesn’t really think about it sounds plausible. This benefits local media companies and hurts big bad multi-trillion dollar, multi-national technology companies. Those local media companies naturally come out in favour of it and politicians, who live and die by their media coverage, fall in behind it. It is the perfect storm of bad policy with no check on it.

[Read More]

Business of Media

HBO Max Reaches 37.7M, Including 17.2M “Activated,” Subscribers

The final few weeks of 2020 proved invaluable for WarnerMedia’s HBO Max. The streaming service, buoyed by an eight-months-in-the-making distribution deal with Roku and the Christmas Day release of Wonder Woman 1984, ended the year with 17.17 million activated users, twice as many as at the start of the fourth quarter, AT&T disclosed Wednesday, report The Hollywood Reporter’Georg Szalai and Natalie Jarvey.

HBO Max now reaches 37.7 million total subscribers. That compares with 28.7 million subscribers, including 8.6 million activated users, as of the end of September.

Combined, HBO and HBO Max had 41.5 million U.S. subscribers as of the end of 2020, compared with 38.0 million as of the end of September.

Launched at the end of May, HBO Max faced a pair of formidable early challenges, overcoming its confusing branding — at the time, WarnerMedia also operated streaming products HBO Now and HBO Go — and its lack of distribution on two major connected TV platforms, Roku and Amazon Fire. Unlike competitor Disney+, which attracted more than 26 million subscribers in its first two months, HBO Max plodded along, adding 4.1 million activated users in its first month.

But interest in the service began to pick up heading in the final few months of 2020 after it struck a distribution deal with Amazon in November and released a content lineup that featured buzzy original series The Flight Attendant and HBO limited series The Undoing.

[Read More]

News Brands

Businesswoman called ‘feminist cretin’ by AFR journalist Joe Aston wins $280,000 in defamation case

A former managing director of a venture capital firm has been awarded damages of $280,000 by the federal court after it found she was defamed by the Australian Financial Review and columnist Joe Aston, reports Guardian Australia‘s Amanda Meade.

Sydney’s federal court on Wednesday awarded damages and aggravated damages to Dr Elaine Stead for the “high degree of subjective hurt to feelings aggravated by the campaign that had been and was being maintained against her”. The amount awarded to Stead is a fraction of the legal fees for both sides, which according to the publisher are in excess of $2m.

“[Aston] did single her out for focus and engaged in a sustained campaign of offensive mockery which amounted, in my view, to a form of bullying, federal court justice Michael Lee said.

Aston and the Australian Financial Review were sued by Stead, then of Blue Sky Alternative Investments, for defamation over Rear Window columns published in February and October 2019.

Aston, who is based in Los Angeles, described Stead as a “feminist cretin” and said that she “set fire to people’s money”.

[Read More]

AFR columnist Joe Aston trod fine line with sharp tongue in $280,000 defamation trial

You have likely seen enough of Joe Aston’s feet. Behold, now, his not inexpensive tongue, reports News Corp’s Caroline Overington

Aston’s decision to describe the venture capitalist, Dr Elaine Stead, as a “cretin” who “set fire to other people’s money” has cost his employer, Nine Entertainment Co — publisher of Aston’s Rear Window in the Australian Financial Review – $280,000 in ordinary and aggravated damages.

There will likely be some interest and some legal bills.

It sounds like yet another loss for the media, but Justice Michael Lee, presiding in the Federal Court in Sydney, did have some fond words for Aston, and some encouraging ones for the media.

Columnists are entitled to their opinions, he said. But those opinions must be “properly held” which is to say, based on identifiable facts.

In this case, it seemed to Justice Lee that Aston had engaged in something that more closely amounted to “a form of bullying.”

[Read More]

Blue Sky manager could still be out of pocket after $280k award

Venture capitalist Dr Elaine Stead could still find herself out of pocket despite the Federal Court awarding her $280,000 in damages after finding that The Australian Financial Review columnist Joe Aston was not justified in calling her a “cretin”, reports AFR‘s Michael Pelly.

The court is yet to decide the issue of costs, but Dr Stead faces a negative return for her litigation if the court finds she is only entitled to ordinary costs. These usually cover only about two-thirds of a person’s legal fees, which can top $1 million for defamation trials.

[Read More]

Joe Aston defamation trial: AFR’s detailed coverage and analysis

• Read below for a full list of AFR’s reaction to the case

Tony Boyd: Justice Michael Lee said the nature of Blue Sky’s demise warranted the focus and comment of Joe Aston but the judge found Aston went too far in his comments on Elaine Stead.

[Read more]

Defamation plaintiffs on a roll

Michael Pelly: Elaine Stead’s victory over The Australian Financial Review has continued a run of adverse judgments against media outlets.

[Read more]

Justin Quill: Another day in court, another chipping away at free speech

This court decision shows that honest opinion is anything but free due to Australia’s unfair defamation laws.

[Read more]

Michael Pelly: Aston’s words ‘a bridge too far’

Elaine Stead had the law on her side when she took objection to a columnist’s ‘honest’ opinion.

[Read more]


Talkback radio meltdown: Announced axed after racist call encouraged

Vodafone and Kiwibank have suspended advertising on the radio station and its website as New Zealand talkback host John Banks is taken off air after yet another racist outburst, The Spinoff’s Alex Braae reports.

In an alarming segment of talkback radio, former Auckland mayor John Banks endorsed the views of a caller who described Māori as a “stone age people with a stone age culture”.

The comments have prompted major advertiser Vodafone to announce that it suspending advertising on the station.

Banks, who has also been an MP and had a long career in media, is currently filling in for Peter Williams on Magic Talk’s morning show. After the original publication of this story, a Mediaworks spokesperson subsequently gave an update that Banks would not be on air over the rest of the stint, which would instead be filled by regular night-time host Leah Panapa.

[Read more]

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