Seven West Media has announced it has amended its $750 million banking facilities with the company’s existing lender group.
SWM managing director and CEO James Warburton said: “We would like to thank our lenders for working with us to amend our facilities, for their continued confidence in our business and transformation strategy and for providing us funding certainty to enable us to implement that strategy over the next 18 months.”
Terms of the amended facilities include:
• Extended maturity on $450 million in limits from 2H21 to 2H22
• Substitution of existing covenants until December 2021, with monitoring of liquidity and the post COVID-19 earnings recovery
• The amended facilities are secured via a General Security Deed and come at an increased cost (margin of 4.5%) plus upfront fees.
• The ongoing transformation of SWM, outlined in August 2019, focuses on content led growth, operating model transformation and working down debt, and has so far delivered:
• Fundamental change to SWM’s content strategy with outsourced tent-pole, prime time productions:
• the launch of Big Brother in early June has helped deliver SWM seven ratings week wins in a row, at a significant margin across all key demographics
• three more prime time, tent-pole productions launching this year: Farmer Wants a Wife, Plate of Origin and SAS Australia
• 7Plus BVOD offering is now the market leader with increasing audience and consistent share of approximately 46% since April
• Continued strength of Seven’s programming spine throughout the day, underpinning the network’s ratings’ domination and revised content strategy:
• Seven News winning every 2020 calendar week to date with year on year audience growth of 13%, while Sunrise and The Morning Show have won every day this year
• The Chase remains the number one show at 5pm with 14% higher audience than its competitor;
• Home and Away remains Australia’s number 1 regular drama
• The revision/extension of the AFL broadcasting contract: AFL is Australia’s number one sport with free to air audience up 14% year on year since returning Round 2. The extension of the AFL contract, announced on 11 June, 2020, saves $87 million over the existing term and secures SWM’s relationship with the AFL until the end of the 2024 season (delivering total savings over 5 years of $128 million against the previous contract run rate)
• Implementation of $170 million in permanent cost reduction initiatives across SWM (including AFL), with the majority of benefits to be derived in FY20 and FY21 across both television and newspapers. This will reduce SWM’s television cost base to its lowest level since 2007 following a year on year reduction of 20%, and its lowest headcount since 2003. Additional temporary cost savings of $50 million were derived in FY20 to offset the immediate impact of weak advertising markets. Permanent and temporary cost savings continue to be pursued in both businesses
• $150 million in asset sales to date. Further net proceeds of potential asset sales (TXA, Ventures, 7 Studios) will provide additional liquidity for SWM and subsequently reduce debt.
Warburton added: “We are working tirelessly to transform both our television and newspaper businesses. While we are focused on achieving the lowest possible cost-base, our energy has been directed to driving audience and winning the content battle in both television and newspapers to deliver ratings, revenue and cash flow.
“Our content led growth strategy has come to life with the success of Big Brother, combined with the strength of the AFL and our programming spine throughout the day. We continue to focus on reducing our debt with a number of significant asset sale processes currently underway,” he added.
SWM will provide further details on its transformation plan and the amended debt facilities when FY20 results are released on Tuesday 25 August, 2020.
By Trent Thomas
• Editor Joanna Hunkin on how the Bauer title had its best-selling title in two years during Covid-19
Gourmet Traveller editor Joanna Hunkin joined the publication at an interesting time taking up her role in September 2019 – just a few months before COVID-19 sent the world into a spin.
Hunkin has been working with Gourmet Traveller’s smallest team ever with the number now down to six due to cost-cutting and redundancies but says that she has used this as an opportunity to focus on the readers.
“It hasn’t thrown up new issues as much as it has escalated some of the pre-existing issues that were there and sadly it has had some disastrous consequences for some magazines and titles,” Hunkin told Mediaweek. “We have survived and are still publishing but it is still difficult for everyone to know what is going around them in the industry.
“Very early on everyone goes through the panic and noise of losing their minds a little bit and I sat the team down to focus on what do our readers need right now and what do they want from us. This isn’t a crisis that is just affecting the publishing industry, the restaurant industry or the travel industry so what do our readers need from us.”
Hunkin said that one of the main things that she learnt from this situation is to not go with the knee jerk reaction. She said a prime example was the May issue of Gourmet Traveller which was dedicated to all things Japanese, and was originally intended to be an Olympic Special.
“Working in the magazine industry we are working three months in advance so by the time the shit hit the fan in March we were already working on the May issue, which was meant to be about the Olympics in Tokyo which obviously didn’t happen. If I had the choice I probably wouldn’t have gone ahead with the Japan issue. My gut instinct was that it sounds like a terrible idea, pull it, but because of resourcing and everything going on I had no choice and had to run with it. Two months later it became our highest selling issues in two years.”
Content has been an interesting challenge for the Gourmet Traveller team, aware that their audience is sick of making pasta at home, wanting escapism and inspiration.
“Pre Covid our content breakdown was 65% recipes, maybe 10% restaurant news and reviews and 25% travel.”
Travel content was refocused to domestic adventures, and restaurant initiative news blossomed.
“We also introduced the good news section which focused on social outreach initiatives and the good things people were trying to do.
“In regards to digital we leaned into the recipe content but even before Covid, recipes were our biggest audience driver, our food content is the core pillar of what we do and its why people buy the magazine. Fortunately, just prior to Covid in March, we did a bit of market research so were really tapped into what people were looking for from us and what they responded to and through COVID that hasn’t changed.”
Cost-cutting and budget freezing was a major hurdle for Hunkin who found ways to preserve with her tight nit team.
“We had our budgets frozen for a while and were very limited in what we could do in creating content and photoshoots partly due to social distancing and partly due to the costs and this forced us to get very creative. Luckily, we have an incredible team who were committed to Gourmet Traveller legacy which has been around for almost 55 years, and none of us wanted to see that end.
“Being part of Bauer on the food floor there is all this material we have access to and through smart editing and curation, there were ways we could create content that was new to the Gourmet Traveller audience that wasn’t custom made for that audience.
An example of the Gourmet Traveller’s creative approach can be seen in the July issue which Huskin said was conceived during peak Covid-19.
“That was our peak Covid issue, we had to bring it together while under lockdown. The cover was shot by our creative director on her kitchen floor for the grand sum of $90 which was the cost of the bread and it went on to be the third best-selling issue of the year.”
Although Hunkin said there is a small sense of normality after the August issue’s photoshoot at The Old Fitzroy Hotel in Woolloomooloo which was the first shoot in 3 months.
“The reality is our resourcing has permanently changed so it can’t go back to the way we used to do things. Hopefully as things rebalance we will get more resources and bring back certain things and work with freelancers and contributors again.”
Even before Covid-19 Gourmet Traveller was looking beyond traditional sources of revenue but due to lockdown had to find an innovative solution to fill one of their main commercial pillars, experiential and event-based revenue.
“We were working with a wine partner named Church Road Wines, and we were meant to do a reader dinner with them in Sydney. We turned it into our first-ever virtual event where we did a virtual wine tasting. Readers could order and buy the wine online through an ecommerce site and got three bottles of wine delivered to their door and received recipes cards from Attica’s Ben Shewry who was our guest chef.
“I hosted the event on a Thursday night joined by Shewry and Chris Scott who is the chief winemaker for Church Road Wines. It was basically zoom drinks but we had 400 hang out and watch along with us. We sold over 100 wine orders with people spending up to $100. We got a lot of feedback from readers and followers outside of Sydney and Melbourne, and gave us a model to engage with a broader audience.”
The August issue of Gourmet Traveller is now on sale.
The impending departure of 3AW’s John Burns had hardly been mentioned before the arrival of the final week of the show. It became a part of the show right across his final week and stepped up a notch as Burns celebrated his 75th birthday on the program on Thursday.
The breakfast team presented him a chocolate cake and then hosted a countdown of his top 10 comments on air.
The final day started with 3AW overnight host Tony Moclair paying his own tribute before 5.30am.
The last day started with Ross and John’s regular theme song from The Cure about the best weekday – Friday I’m in Love.
Ross Stevenson then started the breakfast show asking his departing co-host about some of the photos on a tribute video wall the staff had compiled in the studio. A collection of the shows are also on the 3AW website here.
Stevenson also noted they were originally supposed to be broadcasting from Tokyo this week at the 2020 Olympic Games. Plan B was then to broadcast from Mount Bulla (Burns skis, Stevenson doesn’t) but then Covid also killed those plans.
See also the final interview: Bye bye Burnso: 3AW farewelling breakfast veteran John Burns
The show was again peppered with recorded tributes from listeners, something that had been a feature across the week. Colleagues past and present also delivered best wishes for the future and acknowledging Burns’ radio career, including former station manager Shane Healy.
Former 3AW breakfast producer, now journalist and author, Andrew Rule joined the show just after 6am. Rule also co-wrote the original Underbelly books with John Silvester who is still a regular contributor to the 3AW breakfast show and who also gave Burns a send-off earlier this week in person and again today on tape.
The US and UK correspondents both devoted their Friday reports before 7am to Burns. Both Bob Tarlau and Malcolm Stuart remembered time with Burns both in Melbourne and their own countries which of course involved food and wine.
The breakfast show’s sports reporter Jon Anderson also devoted his 7.25am spot to Burns.
Another guest who works for the Herald Sun was cartoonist Mark Knight who did a farewell illustration for Burns. “I’ve been doing a few farewell cards in recent times,” noted Knight.
Melbourne chef Shane Delia then arrived to cook a farewell breakfast for Burns and the breakfast team.
Burns even did a White Glove Movers live read just before the 8am news in response to a letter from a listener asking why he doesn’t do live ads.
The last 30 minutes saw emotions running high. The four-member production team – Kate Stevenson, Scorcher, Mikkayla and Damian Tardio – each read out a pre-recorded tribute to Burns. Stevenson noted the highlight of her 10 years with Burns was learning about his “lust for life”. Mikkayla said the pre-recording allowed her to get through her message without shedding a tear.
Tardio then unleashed his 10-minute highlight reel covering 20 years of John Burns.
The tears were close when both Burns and Stevenson shared their final moments on air. Against the background of Vera Lynn’s Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye, Burns struggled with his words, eventually telling his audience, “I’ve been the luckiest bloke in the world.” He then paid tribute to the team behind the scenes and rolled off a list of sponsors he wanted to thank.
Stevenson managed to get out: “It’s been amazing Burnso…let’s go and have a drink.”
Foxtel has reached a new agreement with Entertainment One (eOne) for a package of prestigious feature films for Foxtel’s premium movie service, expanding its existing offering of movie titles.
The deal consists of an exclusive slate of current feature films, including the critically-acclaimed, multi award-winning film 1917. Winner of three Academy Awards, two Golden Globes and seven BAFTAS, including Best Film, Best Director and Outstanding British Film, 1917 was eOne’s biggest theatrical release in the UK to date, grossing over $578 million worldwide.
The slate also features multi-award-winning hits such as Judy starring Renee Zellweger, who received an Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe award for the role and Vice starring Oscar and Golden Globe winner Christian Bale and Golden Globe winner Amy Adams.
Other titles include critically-acclaimed movies Wild Rose starring Jessie Buckley, Booksmart directed by Olivia Wilde, Australian coming-of-age drama Babyteeth, as well as Captive State, Thank You For Your Service and Just Getting Started.
The new agreement will also include Oscar-winning film Green Book starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen, Australian-made films Palm Beach and Top End Wedding and a significant number of library titles.
Foxtel’s chief commercial officer Amanda Laing said: “At a time when we know our customers are spending more time at home and more time watching Foxtel, this new deal with our partners at eOne adds to our great movie line-up. The relationship with eOne provides our subscribers with some of the world’s best hit movies, from Green Book and 1917 to Judy, some of which are available to watch immediately.”
eOne’s library of films includes more than 14,000 titles.
Foxtel’s movie channels are available to watch on Foxtel and to stream for Foxtel subscribers On Demand via internet connected IQ boxes, on smartphones and tablets using the Foxtel GO app and via Foxtel NOW.
Top Photo: 1917
Publicis Groupe ANZ CEO Michael Rebelo has appointed Anthony Ellis as Managing Director of the group’s media investment arm, Publicis Media Exchange (PMX), in the Australian and New Zealand market.
Ellis replaces Sarah Keith who has decided to leave the business after more than five years in the role.
Effective immediately, Ellis will move from his current position as Chief Investment Officer at Zenith, with his replacement at the media agency to be announced shortly.
Rebelo said: “Over the years, Anthony has played an integral role in Zenith’s national leadership team, building strong relationships not just with media partners, but also clients. At Publicis, we have a clear focus on constantly evolving our business to deliver client solutions based on business outcomes and value. Anthony’s vast experience will ensure the continued strengthening of our trading and investment strategy.”
Ellis joined Zenith in 2001 and has previously held a number of group investment leadership roles within Publicis. “I’m looking forward to leading the exceptional investment talent that we have across our network in Australia and New Zealand; whilst continuing to grow our product to meet the needs of our clients in a dynamic media landscape,” Ellis said.
On Keith’s departure, Rebelo said: “On behalf of the Groupe, I would like to sincerely thank Sarah for all that she has contributed, and wish her the best for the future. She has delivered strong results for our Groupe, leveraging her cross-media experience to add value, insight and support for our agency investment teams and clients.”
Keith added: “I wish Anthony luck as he expands his responsibilities. Having worked closely with him for the past five years, I am delighted to hand over an amazing team. When I started building PMX, programmatic was still a specialist silo, TikTok didn’t exist in the market, and Nine was not negotiating across multiple channels. I am proud of developing a specialist team that has grown and adapted with the rapidly changing media world, building products and driving insight and value for all the clients in our portfolio.”
By Andrew Mercado
Australia has always punched above its weight when it comes to horror. There’s been outback thrillers like Wolf Creek, killer wildlife in Razorback, and now we have the haunted house from Relic (streaming on Stan).
One of the best ways horror can unnerve you is by having a simple, believable premise and then ratcheting up the suspense. In Relic, a lonely lady (Robyn Nevin, doing horror for the first time) goes missing. Her daughter (Emily Mortimer, doing a good Aussie accent) and granddaughter (Bella Heathcote, fresh from Bloom, also on Stan) come looking for her, and things turn ugly.
Relic explores the family dynamics when an older parent needs to be put into aged care – and could anything be more scary right now? It’s an impressive debut from first time director and co-writer Natalie Erika James, not to mention executive producer Jake Gyllenhaal.
Budget restraints on Aussie productions often mean horror is more about a creeping sense of dread, rather than splashy blood and gore. But some international TV dramas are sinking to lower lows of bad behaviour to make them edgy. Instead, it’s making them unwatchable.
Zero Zero Zero (SBS On Demand) had a thrilling premise and cinematic feel, but when it ended, I felt dirty about wasting my time on such awful people. Hightown (Stan) also had a wild opener, but its cast of bottom feeders got more horrible with every episode, so I’m out and won’t be going back.
Once upon a time, horror could be scary with minimal violence. Dark Shadows (Amazon Prime) screened briefly on Nine and Ghost Story (Blu Ray through ViaVision) was on Seven, and there are episodes of those that have never left me.
Ghost Story is an anthology series from legendary horror producer William Castle. Each episode is introduced by Sebastian Cabot and features a who’s who of the era, like Angie Dickinson and Karen Black, not to mention child stars like Jodie Foster and Leif Garrett.
Australia did something very similar with The Evil Touch (Nine, 1973, host Anthony Quayle) and Twisted Tales (Nine, 1996, host Bryan Brown). The former had guest stars like Jack Thompson and Leslie Nielsen, while the latter features Richard Roxburgh and Claudia Karvan. Surely either is worth a replay somewhere today.
Instead, the only other horror we get on Aussie TV now is Sky News. Rowan Dean did another factually incorrect show about “cancel culture” where he lurched around a Captain Cook statue like the Frankenstein monster, desperate for someone to show him some love, but hardly anybody would engage.
Instead of putting that down to his lack of charm, humour and investigative skills, Dean surmised that people “did not dare speak publicly” about the statue of “old mate” because of “fear of the effect on their families. This is barbaric.” The horror, oh the horror.
Top Photo: Relic
By James Manning
• Nine blitzes Tuesday with primary and network shares
The third episode of Australian Ninja Warrior has delivered Nine another ratings victory with strong support from Nine News and A Current Affair.
The first week numbers for Australian Ninja Warrior look like this (the numbers in brackets are for first three episodes of 2019):
Sunday 1,040,000 (1,009,000 – in 2019 launched on a Monday)
Monday 848,000 (879,000 – Tuesday)
Tuesday 793,000 (923,000 – Sunday)
Seven’s America’s Got Talent was called up early this week with only two episodes of Farmer Wants a Wife a week. AGT did 379,000 and helped account for Seven’s lower share.
10’s best were The Project 7pm on 581,000 and then Bachelor in Paradise on 576,000.
The second episode of Shaun Micallef’s On the Sauce did 595,000 for the ABC after launching with 661,000.
By James Manning
• Nine’s RBT just missed the top 10 with 578,000 followed by Emergency on 535,000.
Seven can claim a midweek win with the first AFL match of a marathon run of 33 games being played in 20 days with coverage spread across Seven and Fox Footy. Seven gets four primetime clashes in a row this week starting last night with the Richmond v Western Bulldogs clash keeping Seven in front in AFL markets via an audience of 482,000 with 323,000 in Melbourne. Also performing well in AFL markets was an episode of The Front Bar screening after the football with 347,000 (258,000 in Melbourne).
Nine’s RBT just missed the top 10 with 578,000 followed by Emergency on 535,000.
The Wednesday episode of Bachelor in Paradise cracked 600,000 for 10. Not only was it the biggest episode of the season, it was the biggest episode since April 2018. It was the #1 Wednesday show in key demos.
ABC did well with Hard Quiz busting above 700,000 followed by the season final of The Weekly with Charlie Pickering on 561,000. Rosehaven also found a top 20 spot with 468,000.
By James Manning
• It was a dud AFL match, but it kept Seven #1 for another night
Seven’s primary and network shares ranked #1 as the broadcaster also ranked #1 in key demos. The Thursday AFL match was a dud with Melbourne smashed by Port Adelaide with the Demons only scoring their first goal in the final minute of the first half. Amazingly the match still attracted an average audience of 453,000, 243,000 of them in Melbourne while Adelaide had 116,000 very happy viewers.
Nine’s Thursday night NRL clash was a more competitive meeting, although Souths were clear winners in the end over Dragons. Nine’s audience was 381,000 – 234,000 in Sydney and 123,000 in Brisbane. The NRL was the key to Nine finishing a clear #1 in Sydney and Brisbane again.
10’s best was The Project 7pm with 510,000, with Kitty Flanagan helping keep the audience over half a million, followed by Celebrity Gogglebox on 329,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.5%||7TWO||3.2%||GO!||2.2%||10 Bold||3.8%||VICELAND||1.4%|
|ABC ME||0.3%||7mate||3.5%||GEM||2.7%||10 Peach||2.5%||Food Net||0.8%|
|9Rush||1.1%||SBS World Movies||0.9%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.4%||7TWO||3.6%||GO!||2.5%||10 Bold||4.8%||VICELAND||1.8%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||3.6%||GEM||3.0%||10 Peach||2.3%||Food Net||0.9%|
|9Rush||1.1%||SBS World Movies||0.9%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.5%||7TWO||4.5%||GO!||1.9%||10 Bold||4.5%||VICELAND||1.4%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||4.5%||GEM||1.8%||10 Peach||2.5%||Food Net||1.0%|
|9Rush||1.1%||SBS World Movies||0.6%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.6%||7TWO||6.9%||GO!||1.9%||WIN Bold||5.5%||VICELAND||1.7%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||3.4%||GEM||3.4%||WIN Peach||2.8%||Food Net||0.5%|
|ABC NEWS||1.9%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||2.2%||9Life||3.1%||Sky News on WIN||1.9%||NITV||0.1%|
|THURSDAY METRO ALL TV|
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
Google and Facebook together scooped up almost $400 million more in Australian advertising revenue than five major domestic media outlets combined last year, underscoring the significant market power to be targeted in a new code of conduct forcing the tech titans to share their revenue, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Fergus Hunter and Zoe Samios.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will unveil a draft code on Friday that seeks to rein in the might of the digital platforms and strengthen Australian media organisations that have lost hundreds of millions in revenue to the US companies.
Analysis of the companies’ financial results shows that in 2019, Google’s $4.3 billion and Facebook’s $674 million of Australian advertising income topped the takings of the country’s largest publicly listed media companies.
In that calendar year, Seven West Media’s revenue was $1.1 billion, Southern Cross Austereo’s was $633 million and Prime Media’s was $184 million.
In the 2018-19 financial year, Nine Entertainment Co generated $1.48 billion in advertising revenue while News Corp Australia brought in $1.2 billion in advertising income and revenue from readers.
In total, the revenue generated by the five media companies was about $4.6 billion compared to the two tech giants’ $4.97 billion.
Facebook’s business and user growth remained strong amid the coronavirus pandemic as the social media giant reported its second quarter financial results, which lifted its stock price in after-market trading reports The Hollywood Reporter.
On Thursday, the social media giant, led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, said revenue was up 11 percent to $18.69 billion and it earned $1.80 a share, up 98 percent year-on-year, as it unveiled its latest quarterly financials after the market close.
“We’re glad to be able to provide small businesses the tools they need to grow and be successful online during these challenging times. And we’re proud that people can rely on our services to stay connected when they can’t always be together in person,” Zuckerberg said in a statement.
Advertising revenue was up 10 percent to $18.32 billion, while revenue from payments and other fees was $366 million, up 40 percent from last year. The social network has faced an advertising recession in the broader economy, and an advertiser backlash over how it moderates offensive content, including hate speech, on its platform.
And Facebook posted 699 million DAUs in the Asia-Pacific for the second quarter, against 678 million in the first quarter. The monthly active users came in at 2.7 billion, a slight beat on an analyst forecast of 2.63 billion. The social network had 2.6 billion MAUs at the end of the first quarter.
Facebook’s propagation of dangerous misinformation is out of control and the company is making huge profits from it, reports The Australian’s Chris Griffith.
That’s a charge that its CEO Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t adequately address at a mammoth four-hour hearing looking at the monopolistic behaviour of tech giants Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple.
The four CEOs faced a grilling at the congressional antitrust hearing early Thursday AEST.
Zuckerberg couldn’t fend off claims that Facebook’s operation to remove this content simply failed. Facebook was accused of financially benefiting from it because it was the most engaging content. He had no answer to the charge that efforts to remove it often did not work – especially in the first hours after initial publication when major damage was done.
The Facebook CEO said he disagreed that this content was helpful to his business. “It is not what people want to see,” he said, adding that Facebook ranked its content on what it believes is most meaningful to people and creates long term satisfaction.
Advertising revenue for the Google-owned video platform YouTube fell to US$3.8 billion in the second quarter of this year, down from Q1, when it brought in just over $4 billion in ad revenue, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
YouTube’s ad revenue was still up from Q2 of 2019, when it brought in $3.6 billion, highlighting the rapid growth for the free video platform despite global circumstances impacting advertising sales and consumer demand for goods and services.
Despite the slowdown, executives at parent company Alphabet told investors in its quarterly earnings report that business was beginning to bounce back after the ad market hit the skids in mid-March, with Alphabet and Google CFO Ruth Porat saying that the quarter saw a “gradual improvement in our ads business.”
Alphabet only revealed YouTube’s ad revenue for the first time in February of this year, disclosing that the video platform saw $15.1 billion in ad revenue in 2019, up from $11.1 billion in 2018 and $8.1 billion in 2017. Despite the pandemic impact, YouTube appears poised to set yet another revenue record in 2020.
European broadcaster Sky has reported a US$750m (£575m) plunge in revenues as more than 200,000 customers switched off in the three months to the end of June while key programming such as Premier League football was off air during the coronavirus pandemic, reports The Guardian.
Sky, which is owned by US pay-TV giant Comcast, reported a 15.5% year on year fall in revenues from $4.8bn to $4bn in the period as coronavirus impacted sports fixtures, subscriber viewing and advertising.
The company, which makes the lion’s share of its revenue and profits in the UK but also has operations in Germany and Italy, saw subscription revenues fall by 9.4% year on year to $3.5bn.
Sky blamed lower sports subscription revenues, as “crown jewel” properties such as the Premier League, Germany’s Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A halted fixtures, as well as an overall decrease in the number of customers receiving Sky’s services, which include broadband and mobile.
TV advertising revenue plummeted by 43% to $321m, which Sky said was a combination of a generally weak market, exacerbated by brands freezing spending as high streets closed and travel, sports and entertainment events were stopped, as well as new, tighter laws restricting gambling ads in the UK and Italy.
French-based global outdoor advertising company JCDecaux has reported a plunge in revenues in its first half 2020 results released overnight. The company doesn’t break out its results for Australia, instead including the performance in the Asia Pacific block. The figure for that region showed revenue down 41% for the half.
Global revenue was also down 41%, while the Q2 fall was -63%.
The biggest fall in the half was felt in the transport sector where impacted airports saw revenue down 44%. Street furniture dipped 39% and billboards were down 37%.
Commenting on the 2020 first half-year results, Jean-Charles Decaux, chairman of the executive board and co-CEO of JCDecaux, said:
“During the Covid-19 lockdown period, the temporary historic drop in urban and transport audiences as well as severe economic uncertainties led companies to react immediately and to reduce their advertising spend in an unprecedented scale. Once lockdown measures were lifted, urban audiences started to recover progressively in Street Furniture and in Billboard while Transport audiences are still lagging significantly, mainly in airports.
“Advertising revenue has, for the time being, not followed the same pace of recovery and we see an important difference between audiences’ levels, which are in some geographies close to pre Covid 19, and revenue levels which do not yet reflect the positive momentum in urban audiences.
“Looking forward, the global advertising market remains highly volatile with low visibility. Considering the risk of new waves of Covid-19 and new local lockdowns being implemented, it remains very difficult to give a guidance for Q3 2020.”
Celebrity manager Titus Day has abandoned plans to apply for an AVO against Guy Sebastian after being charged by police over allegedly defrauding his former client for years, reports News Corp’s Derrick Krusche.
Police allege Day, 46, of Bondi, ripped off Sebastian to the tune of $1 million between 2013 and earlier this year when managing the income source of The Voice judge’s career.
In May, Day said he had filed an application in court for a provisional apprehended violence order against Sebastian before he was arrested by police and charged with 61 fraud offences a few days later.
Lawyer Daniel Wakim, appearing on behalf of Day, told Waverley Local Court on Thursday his client had decided to withdraw the application for the AVO.
“We would like to emphasise that the withdrawal was based on mutual and consented agreement between the parties with all parties bearing their own legal costs,” Wakim told The Daily Telegraph outside court.
Brisbane influencer Miann Scanlan has stood by her 30th birthday gift grab, saying her social media platform could boost sales for brands. Reports News Corp’s Amy Price.
It was revealed on Wednesday that the Instagram influencer, who has 48,600 followers, sent an 11-page marketing proposal to top publicity agencies around Australia asking for freebies for her birthday, under the campaign Miann30, promising to spruik the brands to her followers.
Scanlan, who had not responded to requests for comment, shared an Instagram post defending the move today, saying her goal was to establish relationships with brands that would “resonate” with her audience.
Scanlan said Instagram was previously her main source of income but she stepped away from the platform, with which she had an “up and down relationship”, for a number of years.
She resigned from her full-time job earlier this year and returned to Brisbane to be close to her family as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, motivating her to return to Instagram “with hopes to secure paid campaigns”.
Lawyers for the Duchess of Sussex have claimed five female friends who spoke anonymously to a US magazine to defend her against British tabloid bullying are entitled to a “super-charged right of confidentiality” as she fought to protect their identities in her privacy battle against the Mail on Sunday, reports The Guardian.
Forcing her to make public their names was an “unacceptable price to pay” for pursuing her legal action over publication of extracts from a private letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, 75, the high court in London heard.
The duchess, 38, is seeking damages from Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), the publisher of the newspaper and Mail Online website, for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.
The publisher is contesting the case, and denies the allegations, in particular that the letter was edited to change its meaning.
It claims the US magazine interviews first made mention of the existence and content of the handwritten letter, thus putting it into the public domain. It is seeking to publicly identify the friends, which Meghan has named in a confidential court schedule.