Monday July 20, 2020

Ben Fordham
Ben Fordham finalises Nine Radio contract as he settles into 2GB breakfast

By James Manning

• Why the new 2GB breakfast host is thanking Kyle Sandilands for his roast

2GB breakfast announcer Ben Fordham has finalised his new contract with Nine Radio, but it only happened in the past few days. It is a critical time for the Nine Radio business with new breakfast teams at all three of its east coast talk stations within the space of a couple of months.

In Sydney the new Ben Fordham Live breakfast show is getting primetime ads on the Nine Network. The first survey period in several months starts next weekend and the eventual release of the first 2GB breakfast ratings will be examined forensically by the media and advertisers. The last breakfast survey, before the Covid ratings break, saw 2GB with 17.9% of the Sydney breakfast audience.

The former 2GB drive announcer was a reluctant breakfast host, at first. “When I was first asked to do breakfast I said ‘No’,” Fordham told Mediaweek.

“And I think I said that about six more times. I was a bit scared to taking it on. If I am perfectly honest I was terrified. I always promised myself I would never be dopey enough to step into the shoes of Alan Jones. He has been a powerhouse for decades. Pity the poor fool who is sent into bat after Jones. When it was offered to me I said no and kept saying no.

“In the end I had people around me who were saying ‘Yes.’ Including [Nine head of radio] Tom Malone who is the guy who offered me the job. He’s someone whose opinion I respect sincerely. He convinced me that this was going to be a smart move. I had my wife [Seven’s Jodie Speers], my mum, my brother [talent manager Nick Fordham] and my sister all saying to me ‘You are crazy…this is a huge opportunity and you should be taking it.’

“In the end I had to go and see [Nine CEO] Hugh Marks about it because he wanted to eyeball me and make sure that I wasn’t all of a sudden going to change my mind and not do it. I told my wife Jodie that I had a day before my meeting with Hugh to pull the pin on the decision to take it. The meeting came and went and after that there was no turning back.”

Ben Frodham and Scott Morrision

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Ben Fordham’s first breakfast show

Regarding reports that Fordham moved to breakfast before signing a new radio contract, he explained:

“I said to Tom Malone that it was enough to take on board initially that I was even taking over the breakfast program. ‘I don’t think we need to worry about that right now, let’s just shake hands and we will sort out the detail later.’ We have now sorted that out as of the past few days when I signed my contract.”

Fordham told Mediaweek he hopes a lot of his drive audience will come with him to the new daypart, while he is also hoping to keep as many of Jones’ breakfast listeners as he possibly can. “You can’t force feed people. They will either like what they are being served or they won’t. Some will stay, some won’t and there’s nothing I can do about that. I respect everyone’s personal choice.

Fordham reads notes on air from former Jones listeners who have stayed on, praising the new show. “I have been blown away by the positivity from the audience. One of the reasons they have been so positive is that they know Alan is not coming back. I don’t kid myself for a moment, a lot of people would have been hoping to listen to Alan for the rest of their lives. They heard from Alan though that he had health concerns, had doctor’s warnings and that it was right to reduce his radio responsibilities. That made a difference.

“I had never filled in for Alan. But I’m told that anyone who filled in for Alan would always be bombarded with emails asking when Alan was coming back, wanting him back on. That’s because they knew he was coming back. The fortunate position for me is they knew he wasn’t coming back.

“Most reasonable people give people a break, a fair go, a chance. No one has been dwelling too much on Alan because they knew he wasn’t returning. He wasn’t on holidays or sick leave this time.”

Ben Fordham and Greg Byrnes

Nine Radio content director Greg Byrnes with Ben Fordham

Ask Fordham if his audience in drive was much younger than Jones’ in breakfast and he’ll tell you he’s not aware of the demos. His drive listeners did sound a lot younger than the calls breakfast used to get though.

“I don’t spend too much time focussing on those sort of things. I’m told I brought a younger audience to 2GB. But I’d be lying if I said I’d sat down and studied spreadsheets.

I want every listener. I want them all. When people ask my target demographic, I say I’m not targeting any demographic. I want nine-year-olds listening and I want 99-year-olds listening – and anyone in between.”

Home Front

The change to breakfast has brought some significant changes to the Fordham’s household. Ben’s wife Jodie is about to resume her early starts as Seven’s 5am newsreader after maternity leave following the birth of the family’s third child. “That means we need to find someone to come into our place at 3am every morning.”

Incredibly Fordham thinks he has found the person for that task during a visit to his local Bunnings store. “A woman called Pamela, a charismatic grandmother who had been a nanny, introduced herself to me to have a chat. I asked for her phone number and we now have a meeting with her this week about taking on that role.

The benefit for me at home now is that I get to pick the kids up from school, something I never got to do before. There is more work and more pressure, but a couple of months in we seem to be handling it ok. I feel a bit guilty about the extra pressure it has placed on Jodie and the family.”

Team Fordham

All of the former 2GB drive team including executive producer Zac McLean moved to breakfast with their host. Fordham: “I have a team who have been with me for a number of years on the drive show. I made it a condition of the job that everyone on that team would have the opportunity to come with if I moved shows. I wouldn’t have felt the same level of confidence and comfort if I didn’t have my team with me.

“It also means that when I am feeling like I am running out of steam, we can help out each other. We have all made the switch and we have all got the alarm clocks out.”

Fordham said everyone is coping with the early starts. “I have struggled a couple of days where I haven’t felt myself. I then realised it was about having the right attitude. When you have that the show sounds good. On days when you don’t the show suffers and we can’t afford to do that at that time of day.”

Ben Fordham v Kyle Sandilands

In the past 2GB’s Ben Fordham was an unlikely guest at times on The Kyle and Jackie Show. However, something happened, and Sandilands unloaded on air on Sydney’s newest breakfast radio host when he got the Alan Jones’ job. Fordham surprisingly said he was happy to get comments from radio colleagues.

“I am very lucky that there are people out there willing to give me a hand,” chuckled Fordham. “If people on other radio stations are happy to give me some free publicity to promote 2GB breakfast I graciously accept. Sometimes people may sound like they are saying nasty things when in fact they are trying to help. Trying to publicise, trying to bring attention to Ben Fordham Live, Sydney’s best breakfast. If there are some high profile people who have gone out of their way to give me a helping hand, then all I can say to them is ‘think you’.

“Whenever anyone has done that I have offered personal thanks and I am happy to offer public thanks right now.”

The Block Scott Cam
Nine starts promoting the show that could secure it victory in 2020

During the season finale of The Voice last night, Nine started promoting the show which could secure it 2020 ratings victory and snuff out the resurgence at Seven.

The Block, Australia’s most successful renovation reality program, returns soon for an incredible 16th season – stepping back through time for a challenge unlike any other.

The Block Shayna

Shaynna Blaze

Nine says it will again be keeping it simple in 2020:

For those who haven’t been inducted to The Block the concept is simple. Five couples must transform five dilapidated houses into five luxury homes, delivering a room each week to be judged and scored.

This season will take us on a new journey, from the beginning of the 20th century up to the dawning of the rock ’n’ roll era. Five period homes from the 1910s, 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, all in a dire state, will be brought back to life by five eager new couples on a 2761-square metre block of land in the heart of sunny and affluent Brighton in Melbourne.

This year’s Block is walking distance to the beach and minutes from the world-famous Brighton Beach Boxes.

“We always change our show up and make it fresh and I think this is a great way of doing that, by having houses themed according to different decades,” said Scott Cam, the host of The Block who in 2020 is celebrating 20 years on television.

“I love that we are getting back to renovating family homes as well. People can watch The Block and see what the contestants are doing and get inspired to do it themselves.”

After overcoming all sorts of complex challenges in previous seasons, this year The Block encountered something that could never be planned for: dealing with a global health pandemic.

This will be the season that goes down in history as it captures the first ever shutdown of The Block, and the way the program was able to resume production in a world grappling with the upheaval of COVID-19.

Joining Scott Cam again will be his Block co-host, Shelley Craft, site foremen Keith and Dan, and Australia’s favourite renovation judges – Neale Whitaker, Shaynna Blaze and Darren Palmer.

The Block contestant

The five couples chosen from a record-breaking number of entries for The Block 2020 are:

Harry (57) and Tash (32) – The first father and daughter renovation duo, an IT manager and a social media project manager from Melbourne.
Sarah (27) and George (33) – Teacher and electrician from Sydney.
Daniel (35) and Jade (34) – Farmer and hairdresser from Wandearah in South Australia.
Luke (35) and Jasmine (36) – Chippy and teacher from Perth.
Jimmy (33) and Tam (31) – Plumber and bar manager from Brisbane.

At stake is $100,000 for the winner of The Block plus whatever profits their home can make on the critical auction day.

Look out for The Block to launch in August.

Seven cricket
New report reveals 76% of Australians value commercial TV more than ever

A new Deloitte Access Economics report released today and commissioned by Free TV, Everybody Gets It: the Economic and Social Benefits of Commercial Television in Australia, reveals the immense value Australians place on free, universally accessible news, entertainment, sport and drama.

The Deloitte research also quantifies the substantial contribution commercial television makes to the economy, contributing $2.3 billion to the nation’s GDP in 2019, employing more than 16,000 people and investing $1.6 billion annually in producing Australian content.

Deloitte research

The Everybody Gets It report found that 89 percent of Australians think commercial television is a valuable service and 76 percent believe it is more important than ever, while 86 percent think it supports Australian culture.

Audience surges of 15-20 percent during the peaks of the COVID-19 and bushfire crises suggest that Australians turn to commercial television in times of uncertainty – and expect it to be there for them. In this context, it is no surprise that news emerged as the primary reason people give for watching commercial television – 75 percent of respondents said they trust commercial television news.

Deloitte research

Free TV CEO Bridget Fair said: “In commissioning this report, Free TV Australia wanted to shine a light on our industry and its many contributions to Australia’s society and culture. We were also keen to ‘take the temperature’ of our audiences to understand the value they place on this free, universal service.

“It turns out that despite increased competition, Australians value commercial television even more than we expected. Access to local entertainment, news and sport is a very big deal for viewers, with 95 percent telling us that losing commercial television would have an impact on society, particularly through the loss of access to news, sport and entertainment.”

The Deloitte Access Economics analysis found of the $2.3 billion economic activity, the industry indirectly contributed $1.3 billion to the wider Australian economy last year, spanning motion picture and sound recording, scientific and technical services, retail and finance.

Deloitte also found that the industry facilitated $4.4 billion in additional economic benefit in 2019 from advertising.

John O’Mahony, Deloitte Access Economics partner and report co-author said: “Commercial television makes a strong economic contribution to Australia and is critical to the Australian screen production industry. The sector also continues to drive innovation through its content and use of new digital technologies to remain competitive, but our consumer research found it is the social and cultural contributions of the industry including trusted news, universal service provision and Australian stories that Australians continue to value most from this important industry.”

Lego Masters

Commercial television is a stronghold of shared cultural experience available to 97 per cent of Australians at the click of a button, for free, and 93 percent of Australians believe it should stay that way. Other report findings include:

• Only 14 percent of those who do not watch commercial television think losing it would have no impact on Australian society.

• Overwhelmingly, Australians are choosing to consume Australia content ahead of international programs on commercial television. In 2019, all of the top 10 rated shows were Australian, even after excluding sport.

• Compared to on-demand viewing, broadcast TV viewers are almost 1.8 times more likely to watch with family or friends. Across the entire day, co-viewing sits at just under 42 percent of total television viewing. For the average commercial TV viewer, this reflects approximately 8 hours of family time every week.

• The broad reach of commercial television is particularly important for viewers who cannot afford to, or cannot get access to, alternative viewing. 87 percent highly value the ability to access commercial television without needing data or Internet access.

• In 2019, commercial TV provided more than 100,000 hours of Australian content. 86 percent think it supports Australian culture.

Nine News
Nine News Sydney reaches a new milestone with record winning streak

Nine News Sydney on the weekend claimed victory for 2020 and in doing so notched up its tenth year as the #1 Sydney news service.

Since 2011, there have been 380 ratings weeks. 9News Sydney has won 351 of them.

While that stat makes it look like a one-side ratings brawl, Nine’s director of Sydney News Simon Hobbs told colleagues on the weekend in an email:

“It’s been a dog fight each and every day. The only reason we have kept our heads in front is because of your hard work. Each of you play an important role. Your hard work, talent, and commitment to excellence is what’s made the difference.”

Nine News

Hobbs said his team’s hard work has never been more evident than in 2020 when they worked long hours over the summer break reporting on the bushfires.

“Long days turned into long nights, many of you worked long stretches without a proper break. It was exhausting.”

He then noted how the Nine News team had backed up to cover Covid-19.

“What I witnessed in our newsroom after that was absolute dedication and resilience,” said Hobbs.

“You took it up a notch, pushing harder than ever before. And you reminded everyone why you are the best news team in this country.

“This year, you made an additional 150 hours of breaking news, on top of the 1560 hours of television you make every year.

“I have lost track of the number of major exclusive stories you broke, stories of national significance that viewers heard first on 9News.”

Nine News

Hobbs then listed just some of the stories 9News has broken in 2020:

• The unthinkable news that NSW and Victoria would be locked down
• Coronavirus had been found on the Ruby Princess
• Mass gatherings would be banned
• Traditional ANZAC Day commemorations would be cancelled
• Qantas was standing down 20,000 workers
• We revealed emails between the Ruby Princess and NSW Health
• NRL competition called off
• And just a week ago, 9News broke the news about the NSW/VIC border closure

Nine News

Nine has calculated that its television audience is up 5.59% in 2020 year-on-year. 9News also doubled its Facebook engagement this year – up to 8.2 million vs 3.9 million in 2019.

All other social media measures are also through the roof.

Hobbs continued: “I would also like to thank everyone who has contributed to our success over the last decade. We couldn’t do what we do without tremendous support from the entire business. Hugh Marks, Michael Healy, Victoria Buchan, Brett Dickson, Andrew Peace, Michael Stephenson, Lizzie Young, Justin Bradshaw, Vanessa Morley, Corey Worgan and all of their teams have supported us every step of the way.

“To our team in the newsroom, you are the finest group of people I have ever worked with. You are the very best at what you do. Working alongside you is an absolute privilege.”

Lime Cordial
ARIA Chart: Lime Cordiale album is the 10th Aussie #1 in 2020

By James Manning

• Singles: Juice WRLD takes over singles chart with nine in top 50
• Albums: Lime Cordiale album is the 10th Aussie #1 in 2020

Singles

A third week at #1 for Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat) from New Zealand producer Jawsh 685 and American R&B star Jason Derulo.

Despite no change to the top five this week, the rest of the chart has hosted an unusual amount of activity – two songs debut top 10 with another six top 50 debuts, albeit most of them linked to Juice WRLD’s new album.

The two top 10 debuts are:

#6: Juice WRLD & Marshmello with Come & Go. The highest chart position of nine tracks from the new Juice WRLD album Legends Never Die which debuts at #3 this week. The other Juice WRLD tunes flooding the top 50 this week are Life’s A Mess (#8), Wishing Well (#14), Hate the Other Side (#15), Conversations (#19), Titanic (#40), Bad Energy (#42) and Blood On My Jeans (#45). Righteous (which peaked at #15 in May this year) has re-entered at #25.

A welcome return to the top 10 for Guy Sebastian with Standing with You which climbs from #35 in its third week on the chart. This is Sebastian’s 14th entry into the top 10.

Another Aussie on the move is Amy Shark with Everybody Rise up from #49 to #38 in its second week on the chart. It could be just a matter of time for this infectious track to rise higher as it’s hard to forget after a couple of listens.

Albums

Another Australian artist tops the chart this week, with another local act holding second spot.

Lime Cordiale’s second album 14 Steps to a Better You is the latest Australian chart-topper. The Sydney duo of brother Oli and Louis Leimbach first charted with Lime Cordiale’s Permanent Vacation back in October 2017 with a chart peak of #79. The band have been promoting their album with live shows at venues who have been re-opening after Covid lockdowns. Shows included two a night at the Oxford Art Factory in the past week and the northern beaches band return there this week for some more.

Dan Rosen, CEO of ARIA, said: “Congratulations to Louis and Oli of Lime Cordiale, and their team at Chugg Music, on topping the ARIA Albums Chart. Despite all the difficulties of the times, the band found a way to put on shows and connect with their audience. Their ingenuity, hard work and creativity has gotten them their first ever #1 album.

“I would also like to congratulate DMA’S for debuting at #2 with their album The Glow, their third Top 10 ARIA album. What a brilliant week for Aussie music!”

14 Steps To A Better You is the tenth Australian #1 album on the ARIA Charts in 2020.

DMA’S

As Mr Rosen noted above, to get to #1, Lime Cordiale had to outperform DMA’S this week, which they managed, just. With their #2 album The Glow, DMA’S record their highest chart position with their third album. All of their albums have cracked the top 10, with their previous releases For Now hitting #7 in May 2018 and Hills End at #8 in March 2016. The band is supporting the release with a residency of nine nights at The Factory in Marrickville starting next week.

The third of three new entries filling the top three spots is the late US rapper Juice WRLD with Legends Never Die. After passing away from a seizure at a Chicago Airport last December his posthumous vocals have appeared on a number of other releases ahead of the release of this album. Juice WRLD’s previous albums were Death Race for Love which went top 10 in March last year while Goodbye & Good Riddance just made the top 40 in December last year.

The sole other new entry this week was Monsters, the third album from the US synth pop duo The Midnight which debuted at #28.

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MasterChef
Week 29 TV: Seven’s sixth consecutive win with News, Murder & Big Brother

By James Manning

Seven was again unbeatable in week 29 as we move into the second half of the survey year.

Audiences have again shown how dedicated they are to a show once they invest their time in the first couple of episodes.
The penultimate week of the major mid-year reality franchises have all had consistent crowds across the week. MasterChef led the way with not a lot separating The Voice and Big Brother. The metro numbers for the episodes screened last week were:

MasterChef 1,047 – 1,010,000
The Voice 748,000 – 744,000 – 739,000
Big Brother 723,000 – 714,000 – 711,000

Seven Week 29

Seven again won the week with its primary and network performance allowing it to claim a win all people and key demos.
Seven’s week got off to a brilliant start with a Sunday win thanks to Murder in the Outback and then finished strongly again with AFL also a contributor.

Primary all people 21.1% (Last week 19.9%)
Network all people 29.5% (28.8%)
Multichannels 7TWO 3.3% (3.3%) 7mate 3.4% (3.5%) 7flix 1.8% (1.9%)

Nine Week 29

Nine was a clear second, and it didn’t have a lot of timeslot winners.
A Current Affair was its best competitor in primetime, winning at 7pm across six nights of the week.

Primary all people 19.1% (Last week 18.5%)
Network all people 27.4% (27.2%)
Multichannels GO! 2.5% (2.6%), Gem 2.5% (2.6%), 9Life 2.1% (2.2%), 9Rush 1.1% (1.2%)

10 Week 29

MasterChef continued its winning way as the #1 non-news show of the week with both episodes over 1m.
10 claimed domination of the demos with six of the top 10 shows in under 50s, 16 to 39s and 18 to 49s and four of the top 10 in 25 to 54s. This included the top four shows in under 50s, 25 to 54s and 18 to 49s and the top five shows in 16 to 39s, thanks to MasterChef Australia, Have You Been Paying Attention? and Bachelor in Paradise.
The network is reporting 26 consecutive weeks of year-on-year audience growth.

Primary all people 12.6% (Last week 12.0%)
Network all people 18.5% (18.2%)
Multichannels 10 Bold 3.6% (4.0%) 10 Peach 2.2% (2.3%)

ABC Week 29

ABC News averaged over 800,000 for its weekday 7pm bulletins.
The return of Hard Quiz was next best with 706,000.
The broadcaster’s other programs over 600,000 were 7.30, The Weekly with Charlie Pickering, Vera and Back Roads.

Primary all people 11.1% (Last week 11.7%)
Network all people 15.9% (16.5%)
Multichannels Kids/Comedy 2.5% (2.5%), News 1.7% (1.9%), ME 0.5% (0.5%)

SBS Week 29

The final episode of Tony Robinson’s World by Rail had the biggest audience with 363,000.
The only other show over 300,000 was the start of Michael Portillo’s Great Asian Railway Journeys.

Primary all people 5.2% (Last week 5.6%)
Network all people 8.7% (9.4%)
Multichannels Viceland 1.4% (1.4%), Food 0.9% (1.0%), NITV 0.1% (0.2%), World Movies 1.1% (1.2%)

TV Ratings Sunday July 19, Week 30, 2020

By James Manning

• Boom! Seven wins Sunday again with Murder in the Outback
• Networks to crime doco producers: “We want some of that”
• MasterChef shock: Reynold tumbles out leaving Laura v Emilia
• The Voice shocks: A Sebastian wins with smallest audience ever
• ABC surprise: The Sound starts with a modest crowd in difficult slot

Seven News 1,341,000
Nine News 1,172,000
ABC News 747,000
The Sunday Project 370,000/597,000
The Latest: Seven News 490,000
Insiders 474,000
Nine News Late Edition 324,000
10 News 312,000/255,000
Sunrise 273,000
Today 218,000
SBS World News 209,000

Seven: The question surrounding Seven’s Sunday was whether lightning could strike twice for the network with the audience igniting behind the second and final night of Murder in the Outback: The Falconio and Lees Mystery. The first two episodes from CJZ were screened last week to an average of 1,033,000. Viewers had to wait until close to the end of the fourth episode to hear the verdicts of the contributors to the four-part doco. Former criminal lawyer Andrew Fraser told viewers he thought a court looking at the case today would find Bradley John Murdoch not guilty. The audience last night was 961,000, behind MasterChef, but ahead of The Voice.

The two weeks of big audiences could see networks scrambling to find other real crime docos they could program in early prime.
Seven then cleverly programmed an episode of The Latest with host Melissa Doyle starting off the bulletin with a review of the Lees and Falconio case. The bulletin did 490,000.
The network won 25-54. 

Nine: The season final of The Voice started with a duet between finalist Siala Robson and The Veronicas. Covid-19 restrictions meant it was a pre-recorded Grand Finale with Boy George in London and Kelly Rowland in Los Angeles and no live audience – except the fans watching on Zoom. Later in the show Chris Sebastian got to sing The Horses with Daryl Braithwaite which might have helped tip him over the line. While the episode was the smallest audience watching a Voice Grand Finale ever, Nine noted it was also one of the closest votes ever for a winner. Strangely the audience watching the start of the finale – 911,000 – was bigger than the audience watching the announcement of Chris Sebastian as the winner – 871,000.
Chris’ winner’s single, Bed For 2, is available to stream now, and a Complete Collection, including the single and featuring songs performed throughout his journey on the show, is available through EMI Music Australia.
60 Minutes then followed with 561,000, close to 556,000 a week ago.

10: The Project featured by ABC anchor and reporter Hamish Macdonald returning to the show with Rachel Corbett, Tommy Little and Madeleine West. Lisa Wilkinson couldn’t be in the studio because of continued home isolation, but she was online, remotely introducing her feature interview with the band previously known as The (Dixie) Chicks. The 7pm half hour was on 597,000 after 462,000 last week.
The penultimate episode of MasterChef Back to Win started with three contestants and ended with two left to battle it out in the Monday night Grand Final. The episode started with a profiles of the final three – starting with Reynold and what the pandemic had meant for his retail businesses. Laura noted she had been in nearly every single elimination. “I know today will be the hardest challenge they have ever set us, but this is everything I have ever wanted and I cannot let it slip away.” Emelia then said: “For the last six years I have been baking cakes.” A clip package showed the emotional cook going beyond her comfort zone with some amazing dishes. “I am one cook away from the finale and this is not the time to hold back.” The penultimate challenge – a pressure test created by Sydney chef Martin Benn especially for this episode – was to recreate Benn’s toffee apple. The time allowed was 3 hours and 45 minutes for 113 steps. The two best dishes got through to the Grand Finale. “Do not fall at the final hurdle,” said judge Andy.
Emilia seemed the most comfortable through the marathon challenge despite a few hiccups. She was then the first chosen for tonight’s final. It looked early on that the unthinkable might happen and Reynold would not make the final two. And so it was as Laura was named as the other grand finalist. Reynold usually keeps his cool, but he broke down after learning of his elimination and it looked like a few deft edits stopped us having to watch all his pain.
The episode did 1,151,000 which was the biggest penultimate episode since 2016. It was also the second-biggest audience this year after the 2020 launch crowd of 1.228m. The Sunday episode won all the key demos and steered 10 to a win under 50 and in key demos for the network and the primary channel.

 ABC: Grand Designs Revisited followed the ABC News with UK host Kevin McCloud visiting a build in Strathaven with 435,000 watching.
Vera fans were then rejoicing with another episode, this time Cuckoo, the second episode in the four-episode season nine. It was the second episode to feature Paul Kaye (the freaky psychiatrist from Ricky GervaisAfterlife) in a recurring role as Dr Malcolm Donahue. The episode was on 597,000 after 626,000 last week.
The launch of the new weekly music show The Sound started modestly with 117,000 at 5.30pm. It’s a tricky timeslot with NRL and AFL matches close to their climax and then news bulletins kicking in at 6pm.

SBS: Following the news was a repeat Mont Saint-Michel, Scanning the Wonder which did 133,000.
Two episodes of a repeat Supervolcano followed with an average audience of 77,000. The show looked at the volcano in the Yellowstone National Park.

Week 29-30 TV: Friday-Sunday
FRIDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 10.3% 7 23.2% 9 18.2% 10  9.3% SBS One 5.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.0% 7TWO 3.7% GO! 2.8% 10 Bold 3.3% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 3.7% GEM 2.1% 10 Peach 3.1% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 2.0% 7flix 2.1% 9Life 2.2%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.3%     SBS World Movies 1.0%
TOTAL 15.9%   32.7%   26.7%   15.8%   9.0%

 

SATURDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 9.3% 7 20.7% 9 15.7% 10  6.6% SBS One 6.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.7% 7TWO 4.1% GO! 4.7% 10 Bold 3.9% VICELAND 0.8%
ABC ME 0.7% 7mate 4.8% GEM 4.1% 10 Peach 2.0% Food Net 1.3%
ABC NEWS 2.3% 7flix 3.6% 9Life 2.7%     NITV 0.2%
        9Rush 1.5%     SBS World Movies 2.0%
TOTAL 15.0%   33.3%   28.7%   12.5%   10.5%

 

SUNDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 11.1% 7 22.8% 9 21.1% 10  17.8% SBS One 3.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 1.9% 7TWO 2.0% GO! 2.5% 10 Bold 2.8% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.4% 7mate 3.3% GEM 2.0% 10 Peach 1.5% Food Net 0.6%
ABC NEWS 1.4% 7flix 1.1% 9Life 1.4%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 0.5%     SBS World Movies 0.9%
TOTAL 14.7%   29.2%   27.5%   22.1%   6.5%

 

SUNDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.2% 7 26.5% 9 18.6% WIN 12.1% SBS One 3.8%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.0% 7TWO 3.9% GO! 3.5% WIN Bold 3.9% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 3.4% GEM 3.4% WIN Peach 0.7% Food Net 0.5%
ABC NEWS 1.4% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.4% 9Life 1.8% Sky News  on WIN 0.8% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 0.9%
TOTAL 14.1%   35.3%   27.4%   17.6%   6.6%

 

SUNDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
88.9% 11.1%
All People Ratings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 1,065,000
  2. Nine News Nine 1,061,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 979,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 960,000
  5. ABC News ABC 734,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 626,000
  7. Seven’s AFL: Friday Night Football Seven 619,000
  8. The Chase Australia Seven 610,000
  9. Hot Seat Nine 565,000
  10. Better Homes And Gardens Seven 556,000

 

Saturday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 965,000
  2. Nine News Saturday Nine 895,000
  3. ABC News-Sa ABC 690,000
  4. A Current Affair Nine 606,000
  5. Seven’s AFL: Saturday Night Football Seven 490,000
  6. Shakespeare And Hathaway ABC 439,000
  7. Seven’s AFL: Saturday Night Football – Pre Match Seven 404,000
  8. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line (R) Seven 388,000
  9. Getaway Nine 377,000
  10. 10 News First 10 349,000
Sunday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,341,000
  2. Nine News Sunday Nine 1,172,000
  3. MasterChef Australia – Grand Finale Part 1 10 1,151,000
  4. 7news Presents – Murder In The Outback Seven 961,000
  5. The Voice Grand Final Nine 911,000
  6. The Voice Grand Final -Winner Announced Nine 871,000
  7. ABC News Sunday ABC 747,000
  8. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 597,000
  9. Vera ABC 597,000
  10. 60 Minutes Nine 561,000
  11. The Latest: Seven News Seven 490,000
  12. Grand Designs Revisited: Strathaven Revisit ABC 435,000
  13. Seven’s AFL: Sunday Afternoon Football Seven 412,000
  14. The Sunday Project 6.30pm 10 370,000
  15. Nine News: Late Edition Nine 324,000
  16. Insiders AM ABC 314,000
  17. 10 News First 10 312,000
  18. FBI 10 306,000
  19. Landline PM ABC 275,000
  20. Weekend Sunrise Seven 273,000
Sunday Multichannel
  1. Offsiders AM ABC NEWS 226,000
  2. ABC News AM ABC NEWS 207,000
  3. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 190,000
  4. Shaun The Sheep AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 175,000
  5. Go Jetters AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 164,000
  6. Insiders AM ABC NEWS 160,000
  7. Digby Dragon AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 154,000
  8. M- Deadpool PM (R) 7mate 153,000
  9. Close Of Business PM ABC NEWS 145,000
  10. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 138,000
  11. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  12. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 132,000
  13. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 131,000
  14. Motorsport: 2020 Motogp Live 10 Bold 129,000
  15. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  16. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line 7mate 118,000
  17. Death In Paradise 9Gem 116,000
  18. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  19. Weekend Breakfast: 10am AM ABC NEWS 114,000
  20. Book Hungry Bears AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 111,000
Sunday STV
  1. Live: AFL Hawthorn V Melbourne FOX FOOTY 229,000
  2. Live: AFL Carlton V Port Adelaide FOX FOOTY 225,000
  3. Live: NRL: Panthers V Cowboys FOX LEAGUE 217,000
  4. Live: AFL Fremantle V West Coast FOX FOOTY 158,000
  5. Live: NRL: Warriors V Sharks FOX LEAGUE 135,000
  6. Live: Supercars Sydney Motorsport Park FOX SPORTS 506 121,000
  7. Live: Supercars Sydney Motorsport Park FOX SPORTS 506 115,000
  8. Live: AFL Pre Game Sunday FOX FOOTY 113,000
  9. Live: F1: Hungary Race FOX SPORTS 506 92,000
  10. Outsiders Sky News Live 85,000
  11. Outsiders Sky News Live 84,000
  12. Live: Supercars Live FOX SPORTS 506 83,000
  13. Live: Sunday Night With Matty Johns FOX LEAGUE 75,000
  14. Live: Supercars Sydney Motorsport Park FOX SPORTS 506 74,000
  15. Live: Supercars Live FOX SPORTS 506 70,000
  16. Live: Super2 Sydney Motorsport Park FOX SPORTS 506 67,000
  17. Live: Supercars The Grid FOX SPORTS 506 66,000
  18. Live: Supercars The Grid FOX SPORTS 506 65,000
  19. Live: Bounce: Episode 18 FOX FOOTY 62,000
  20. Live: MotoGP Spain FOX SPORTS 505 60,000

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

TV revenue cut by a third despite more people watching

Commercial television revenue slumped over 30 per cent in the second quarter of the year as advertisers spooked by low consumer confidence and a weak economy pulled back on spending, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Unaudited internal commercial revenue data, obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, shows the extent of the revenue lost by the broadcasters during the coronavirus pandemic despite posting strong audience growth on the back of AFL and NRL matches and shows like MasterChef Australia, Big Brother and The Voice.

Kerry Stokes‘ Seven West Media suffered the biggest decline in revenue for the three months to June 30 – down about 38 per cent – while Nine Entertainment Co (publisher of this masthead) and Network 10 also experienced double digit declines.

The three broadcasters booked a combined $465 million in advertising revenue over the last three months, a fall of 33 per cent from the $694 million made the same time last year. By comparison, advertising revenue fell by 8 per cent for the three months to March. The unaudited figures are subject to change and the official numbers are due to be released by industry body Think TV in a couple of weeks.

While the last few months have been difficult, the market is showing slow signs of recovery.

Seven’s chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette said he was pleased to see the rate of decline improving. “We are seeing further signs of that continual improvement into the current quarter. This clearly shows the resilience and effectiveness of TV and BVOD as key mediums advertisers return to for their messages,” Burnette said.

[Read more]

Harder than it looks: How to make money from podcasts

Podcasting can give brands access to a younger and more affluent audience, but despite the format being more than 15 years old, making money and turning it into a sustainable business on its own is still in its infancy, reports The AFR’s Natasha Gillezeau.

Australian Radio Network’s head of commercial audio and podcasts Corey Layton says podcasting was still in the relatively nascent stages of building out a sophisticated commercial architecture to underpin the industry, for example, with the availability of solid independent data and research.

Layton said podcasts are heavily weighted towards a highly educated audience.

Layton’s approach to pushing podcasting into the mainstream involves two key strategies: posting video ads and podcast content via social media channels where new content types are more intrinsically discoverable than on apps like Apple Podcasts and Spotify; and using ARN’s commercial radio stations, including KIIS FM and Pure Gold, to direct traditional radio listeners to new podcasts.

Shameless Media co-founders Zara McDonald and Michelle Andrews – who host four separate podcasts – have been able to get brands such as Nissan, Maybelline and ANZ to advertise on their shows.

The pair approached female-founded relationship app Bumble last year with a cold pitch sent out to a series of guessed email addresses, and were promptly commissioned to produce their sex and relationship podcast Love Etc, which has been downloaded 1.3 million times and is now in its second season.

[Read more]

Banijay to look at Seven Studios as broadcaster restructures

French production giant Banijay is expected to run the rule over Seven West Media’s studio business, along with Britain’s ITV and US giant NBCUniversal, when the Kerry Stokes-controlled media business soon reignites the sale process, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Banijay Group, which recently completed a $US2.2 billion ($3.2 billion) acquisition of Endemol Shine Group, is believed to have had a look at Seven Studios earlier this year when investment bank Morgan Stanley began a sale process. Its interest has previously been unreported.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic led to Seven taking its foot off the gas on the sale. Production schedules around the world were thrown into chaos amid the spread of coronavirus, with many shoots forced to shutdown due to government imposed restrictions on movement. Shooting has been steadily coming back, including Seven Studios’ Home & Away.

[Read more]

Seven West newspaper spin-off in the spotlight

The idea that Kerry Stokes could privatise Seven West Media’s newspaper division was doing the rounds long before the arrival of former Fairfax Media boss Greg Hywood as a consultant. Now, speculation about his plans are more rampant than ever, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Hywood’s appointment was part of ‘broader transformation’ efforts, according to Seven, however the company has largely remained silent on what specifically it expects from his work. If Warburton’s track record to date is anything to go by, a spin-off from the television-focussed mothership is a definite possibility.

Privatising WAN would let Stokes keep a stake in the media industry that he wants to be a part of. And without a newspaper division, Seven becomes an even more enticing proposition for a buyer.

[Read more]

News Brands

News Corp’s Sydney community newspapers return to print

News Corp Australia will resume printing three community newspapers in Sydney this week after strong demand from readers and advertisers, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

The Wentworth Courier will return on Wednesday, and The Mosman Daily and North Shore Times the following day in the wake of the NSW government’s easing of coronavirus restrictions.

News Corp Australia general manager of real estate Clare Starling says the titles, which have been online-only since April, reach 85 per cent of households in Sydney’s affluent eastern and northern suburbs.

The return of the print editions of the three community newspapers comes as News Corp looks to launch 15 digital-only local mastheads by the end of September as part of plans to launch more than 50 during the next three years.

News Corp recently shifted 76 of its community and regional newspapers, with 375 journalists, to digital-only titles as part of its publishing restructuring plan announced in May.

Tim McIntyre, the editor of the three community newspapers, said the real estate markets in Sydney’s north and east had been “very resilient”, which had been an important part of the group’s decision to bring back the mastheads.

[Read more]

ABC News channel flags 'on demand' future after a decade on-air

Whether it’s covering international conflicts or transforming the national broadcaster, ABC News director Gaven Morris isn’t one to shy away from a challenge, reports The Age’s Broede Carmody.

The ABC News channel plays a significant role in Australia’s broadcast mix. Its breakfast program, which airs on ABC’s main channel as well as its news channel, draws a combined audience that sometimes exceeds that of commercial rival Today.

The ABC says its 24-hour news channel is reaching an average 4.2 million Australians on any given week this year, a 37 per cent increase compared to 2019.

“[ABC News] has taught all of our teams to get out of that deadline mentality of scheduled broadcast news,” Morris says. “It taught us to think about the audience’s needs. I think the launch changed the commercials’ approach to news as well.

“Back then, the commercials wouldn’t have gone three to four hours on a significant event. They didn’t have as many news bulletins. And so we met them at breakfast but equally [they] rose to the challenge of doing more live news events.”

Now, Morris is preparing the public broadcaster for another seismic shift in the way it operates – all while juggling a smaller budget, job losses and calls for greater diversity. At least 70 jobs are expected to go in the ABC’s news division in the coming weeks.

[Read more]

Television

Discovery ramps up production, taps Irwin family for life in bubble

Discovery has ramped up production of documentaries and filmed a special about the Irwin family, thanks to the creation of a “production bubble” at the start of the coronavirus crisis, which has halted other filming projects, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

 

The US-based media group’s local boss, Rebecca Kent, says the company has been “very fortunate” that it has been able to continue to film programs in remote locations, such as Coober Pedy in South Australia and Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, during the coronavirus crisis.

It has also taken advantage of the unusual COVID-19 situation by filming a special program about the Irwin family, called Crikey! It’s The Irwins: Life in Lockdown.

Kent has also been busy expanding Discovery’s local presence, most recently by striking a joint venture with Nine Entertainment to set up a new free-to-air TV channel called 9Rush in March. It is Discovery’s first foray on local free-to-air TV.

[Read more]

Hermione Norris travelled across the world for role in new drama

She’s one of Britain’s best known – and most respected – actors, famous for her roles in some of that country’s biggest drama series. So it comes as something of a surprise to see Hermione Norris, who starred as Karen Marsden in Cold Feet and who also appeared in the most recent series of Luther alongside Idris Elba, pop up in an Australian drama created by the same man responsible for A Place to Call Home, Packed To The Rafters, Winners and Losers and All Saints, reports Clare Rigden in Nine newspapers.

Yet there she is, front and centre in Seven’s new drama, Between Two Worlds, from creator Bevan Lee. The series, set in Sydney, focuses on the goings on of an unfathomably rich family, and is chock full of characters that can only be described as, well, pretty reprehensible.

For Norris, that was entirely the appeal.

Phillip Quast (who plays Norris’ tycoon husband in the series) and I, we delighted at the insanity and hilarity of those people, and the way they were these vile, disgusting characters,” says Norris. “(My character, Kate) is complex and conflicted, and that is always interesting as an actor. She really is trapped in a web of her own secrets and lies – and love.”

[Read more]

Karl Stefanovic hires publicist Adriana Glass to join his team

Two months after announcing he had a new agent, Karl Stefanovic has brought a publicist into his team, reports News Corp’s Briana Domjen.

Sunday Confidential reports Stefanovic will use the services of well-known Sydney fashion PR Adriana Glass.

Glass has just been enlisted by Stefanovic’s new agent, Mark Morrissey, to oversee the publicity for a number of his clients.

Glass, who looks after the PR for Stefanovic’s wife Jasmine’s shoe brand Mara & Mine, has worked with a number of big fashion brands, including Alice McCall and Ellery, and a number of high-profile international brand ambassadors, including Kim Kardashian West, Gigi Hadid and Justin Bieber.

[Read more]

Nicole Kidman brings $100m production of Moriarty miniseries to NSW

Oscar-winning actor Nicole Kidman is leading the revival of Australia’s screen production business by bringing a $100 million blockbuster production and hundreds of new jobs home to NSW, report News Corp’s Linda Silmalis and David Meddows.

Kidman, who will also star in the much-anticipated screen adaptation of Sydney author Liane Moriarty’s bestseller Nine Perfect Strangers, won permission from the state and federal governments to bring in international and interstate cast and crew under strict COVID-19 guidelines.

Police will supervise an isolated production hub at Kidman’s Southern Highlands property to allow pre-production to proceed as the team quarantines.

Kidman, husband Keith Urban, and children Sunday and Faith, as well as cast and crew members, will serve a 14-day quarantine under strict government guidelines in a fully-contained facility, with Kidman and her co-producers to pay all medical and security costs.

The series, to be produced in Byron Bay by Kidman’s Blossom Films and Bruna Papandrea’s Made Up Stories, in conjunction with Endeavor Content and the US streaming company Hulu, will also star actors Luke Evans and Melissa McCarthy, and Australians Asher Keddie and Samara Weaving.

[Read more]

Sports Media

Sale of the century: NRL in talks about potential $1 billion equity deal

The NRL has begun due diligence on a bid by private investors to take a stake in the NRL that could bring between $500 million and $1 billion into the game, reports Adrian Proszenko.

The Sun-Herald reveals Melbourne Storm chairman Matt Tripp is helping to facilitate a private-equity bid involving Oakwell Sports Advisory. The London-based firm has brokered a number of mammoth sporting deals globally – such as CVC Capital Partners’ purchase of a stake in the UK rugby premiership and Top 14 competition – and now has investors eyeing off a piece of the NRL.

Oakwell’s initial valuation of the NRL is $3 billion, meaning a stake of 20 per cent would cost about $600 million. However, the parties agree the $3 billion figure is on the high side and more work will be done to determine its true worth. Regardless, sources with knowledge of the negotiations suggest that investment interest could reach the $1 billion mark, depending on the size of the stake available.

Any deal would be contingent on the support of at least 12 of the 16 clubs, the NSWRL and QRL, as well as the ARL Commission.

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo confirmed the talks with Oakwell and said the dialogue will continue as part of broader considerations to future proof rugby league.

[Read more]

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