Monday July 6, 2020

Paul Whittaker on Sky News audience growth, politics and accountability

By James Manning

• TV news boss on how TV ratings can be brutal as they deliver a verdict

Foxtel’s Australian news channel, News Corp-owned Sky News Australia, this week embarks on a major marketing campaign coinciding with the expansion of Alan Jones’ role at the channel. It is the biggest programming change at the channel under chief executive Paul Whittaker.

Sky News Australia had been under the control former CEO and managing editor Angelos Frangopoulos since 2000. Frangopoulos stood down for a role with Sky News Arabia in late-2018, leaving a position vacant for a senior newsperson at News Corp’s TV news channel.

That role went to the former editor-in-chief of The Australian, Paul Whittaker. While some critics think Whittaker pushed the new channel to the right in evenings, it was already a path that Frangopoulos had navigated when Paul Murray and Jones signed on and the ratings started to climb.

Since Whittaker took over those ratings have continued to lift, but not just in evenings. He has seen audience growing from breakfast until midnight indicating his move from newspapers to television has been a major success. (See separate feature on latest Sky News ratings.)

The former editor of The Australian and The Daily Telegraph had a brief from News Corp Australia group director of broadcasting Siobhan McKenna “to continue expanding Sky News to reach more Australians”.

That is exactly what has happened in the past 20 months. The latest investment to grow that audience even more arrives on Monday July 6 in the form of Alan Jones in a new 8pm Monday – Thursday timeslot. While Jones has been with the channel since 2013, this is his first daily show under his own name.

The last time Jones had a daily show was 1994 and his profile and TV skills are a lot more polished now. While he is a polarising figure, it would be a major surprise if Jones didn’t attract extra viewers pretty quickly.

As to why Whittaker chose TV instead of staying with newspapers, he told Mediaweek: “It was the opportunity to run a P&L as much as anything else. I’d been a newspaper editor for 12 years. I certainly knew the challenges of P&L in terms of taking The Australian to profitability, but running a new P&L was the main attraction. Getting the chance to run a business from top to bottom, but also having the ability to run the editorial side of the business as well. It’s quite a unique position in that regard, that you’re the chief executive, but also the managing editor.”

Tom Connell and Annelise Nieslen – AM Agenda

The biggest difference in TV perhaps was the speed at which TV needs to adapt to breaking stories. “You have to be ready to respond quickly,” Whittaker said.

And then there are the ratings. A minute-by-minute analysis of everything that happened, delivered just nine hours after primetime ends each day.

Television ratings are truly brutal. They’re unforgiving and they certainly concentrate the mind. By that I mean you know almost straight away, right down to the minute, if someone works well on television, or frankly, if they suck. There’s no real escaping that fact. No matter how much you might think the content works from your own perspective, the ratings can tell you a different story.”

Although Whittaker only got a week’s notice about his new role, he’d spent time with Frangopoulos in the past after being appointed to the board of Sky News Australia in May 2018. The Australian and Sky News had also collaborated over the years on some programming.

Andrew Clennell, Ashleigh Gillon and Kieran Gilbert – Sky News political team

The impact of Covid-19 has boosted the audience at Sky News. Whittaker: “If you look at our record, we’ve been the number one channel for the last 22 weeks on Foxtel, largely in the absence of live sport, but what’s been very encouraging is that a younger demographic has found Sky in this period.

“There’s been a general hunger for credible information and people have gravitated to us in that regard.”

Sky News has invested in some serious talent behind the camera in the past few years. Mark Calvert (ex-Nine head of news and current affairs), Chris Willis (ex-Seven News Sydney chief) and Jessica Burton (ex-creative head at Nine’s 60 Minutes) have all joined.

Audience didn’t leave when David Speers did

In front of the camera investments have included the arrival of The Australian’s Andrew Clennell in Canberra as political editor.

The losses included the departure of David Speers to the ABC. “David had a fantastic record here, and we only wish him well, but Kieran Gilbert stepped up strongly to become the network’s first chief news anchor to lead the Canberra bureau,” said Whittaker.

“The time slots that were previously hosted by David have all grown. Sunday’s Agenda has grown by 14%. That was previously Speers on Sunday. Afternoon Agenda in that time slot has seen audience increase of 28% between 4pm and 5pm, which was an hour that David did. And the Kenny Report which we moved from midday to 5pm, that’s up 35%.”

Whittaker and his team have worked ad revenue hard too. “I’ve had a very big focus in terms of advertising on not just our programmatic and dynamic advertising, but on direct sales. We’ve only had a direct sales team for a couple of years. It’s only a small team, but if you look at the sort of content that we’ve been producing, one of the series that I started was Our Town with Paul Murray where we visit regional and rural locations across Australia.

Even though we were interrupted by COVID in terms of live audiences, we’ve kept Harvey Norman on for a second year, Sony, and Commonwealth Bank came on this year.

Sky News remains right at night

Andrew Bolt

The highest-rating programming are the evening hours, which you would expect at any TV station. But the evenings on Sky News almost turn it into a different channel.

“I would argue we have a lot more pluralistic views than some of the other channels who talk about their independence,” said Whittaker. “Our business value proposition is that we give you a centre right positioning, and a political perspective in that regard. Not just running from that perspective, but also hearing other points of view. Our hosts don’t all sing from the same song sheet. They all approach issues from different perspectives.

“People tackle a whole bunch of issues and our hosts aren’t all prescriptive. One host often will disagree completely with another host. I mean, of course that’s never reflected in some of the commentary, but the truth is Andrew Bolt had a strong position in relation to George Pell and Paul Murray had a different one.

“We have lots of different voices and lots of the guests come from very different areas. Often we’ll have Stephen Conroy and Michael Kroger tackling a particular issue and giving a perspective from both sides of politics. We do that right through the day and the night in terms of our coverage. We invite many people on, some come on, some don’t come on. But it’s not for a lack of inviting them.

Alan Jones: ‘He’s not perfect’

Alan Jones

Alan Jones makes more headlines for his controversies than his broadcasting ratings record. Whittaker: “Alan has had an amazing 35 year career, and he’s an incredible broadcaster, and he’s been doing this for 20 hours of live radio a week. He’s also human. He can make a mistake, and the thing is that when you’re broadcasting that amount of content, mistakes will happen. I challenge anyone to do what he’s done and think they could do the same, and never make a mistake. But if you make a mistake, you’ve got to correct it, and in terms of that, we passionately debate and discuss the issues on the national agenda through our journalism, commentary, analysis, which is important to a healthy democracy, and we’re committed to doing that in a way that meets editorial, journalistic, and community expectations.”

When asked if he was concerned if some people might lobby for an Alan Jones ad boycott at Sky News, Whittaker said: “Some advertisers, maybe it’s more often the media buyers representing certain brands, don’t apply the same standards to the social media platforms, whereas we know, given the state of traditional media, they spend a lot more money. But they never hold them to the same account for the vile and hateful abuse, fake news, outrageous claims that they facilitate the publishing of. It’s interesting that recent events show that may be changing. But it is interesting, whereas responsible media companies and broadcasters are totally responsible for all the content they produce, and have to be accountable for it, and are.”

A week ago 6pm Sky News host Peta Credlin responded to mistake she made on air, issuing a swift apology.

Whittaker: “If we make the mistake, it’s pure and simple, we have to correct it in a timely fashion. And we do. That’s only appropriate. I’ve done that during my whole career, running newspapers, and equally here. We are responsible for what we broadcast if we make a mistake, and certainly in Peta’s case, Peta very rarely makes a mistake, but she owned up to the mistake. She took accountability for it, as we did. She apologised, we apologised, and in fact she apologised on air and she reached out to the South Sudanese community leaders in a meeting where she listened to their concerns over some two hours.”

Sky News documentary programming

Whittaker: “We’ve produced four investigative documentaries in the past 12 months. We did Bad Blood New Blood on the rise and fall of Malcolm Turnbull and the ascension of Scott Morrison.

“We did Lawyer X with the Herald Sun. We did MH370 which was our highest rating documentary to date. That did fantastic numbers, close to 600,000 viewers on Foxtel alone. Our most recent documentary, not so much in the investigative category, was The Death of the Aussie Larrikin which was number one on Foxtel, like all the other documentaries, and we were the number one channel that night as well, with 4% share.”

Trump for President coverage

In addition to the Federal Budget and the Queensland election, both due in October, the channel will also be focusing on the US poll in November.

“We’ve assembled a very good team of that, including our contributors and panellists.

“We’ve got Joe Hockey who we recently signed exclusively to Sky News as a US political contributor. Miranda Devine, who’s been doing some great work at the New York Post, who’s a regular contributor on Sky News as well, and The Australian‘s Washington correspondent and Sky News contributor, Cameron Stewart. Along with our own people who, depending on COVID restrictions, we plan to send to America, it’s going to be a very big focus.”

Top Photo: Paul Whittaker

Marco Bassetti
Banijay completes landmark deal to acquire Endemol Shine Group

• Creation of the largest international player in content production and distribution
• New footprint includes approximately 200 entities across 22 countries
• Standout catalogue comprises 88,000+ hours of high-quality entertainment

Australian’s two biggest production companies are now owned by the one company after Banijay finally completed the acquisition of Endemol Shine Group, previously co-owned by The Walt Disney Company and funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management.

The closed deal, which has been successfully approved by the relevant regulators worldwide in consultation with relevant employee representative bodies, sees the French-headquartered group scale up significantly to approximately 200 entities across 22 countries.


The deal makes Banijay the largest international content producer and distributor, ramping up its distribution division, Banijay Rights, and building a catalogue of over 88,000 hours of multi-genre premium entertainment brands.

Earlier this year Australian Cathy Payne took up a new role as chief executive of Banijay Rights.

As of today, Banijay represents a number of the world’s biggest brands and global formats including Survivor, Big Brother, Peaky Blinders, Temptation Island, MasterChef, Wallander, The Kardashians, Mr Bean, The Wall, Hunted, Black Mirror, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Deal or No Deal.


The combined group will be led by chief executive officer Marco Bassetti (pictured) with Sophie Turner Laing stepping down from her role as chief executive officer of Endemol Shine Group. Turner Laing’s final day will be Friday 10th July.

It is expected for the immediate future it will be business as usual in Australia for Screentime under the leadership of Rory Callaghan and at Endemol Shine Australia under Mark and Carl Fennessy.

Marco Bassetti commented: “The close of this unique deal represents the joining of two businesses built on entrepreneurialism, creativity and people. Aligned in thinking, and approach, we now stand together as the world’s largest international content creation and distribution group. Expanding our catalogue and investment in high-quality, multi-genre IP, extending our footprint significantly, and welcoming a number of new world-class creatives, we hope to become a go-to for clients, and home for the best talent to create the most innovative and fresh scripted and non-scripted programming. With newfound scale and increased strength in the industry, we are excited by the path ahead. I’d like to finish by thanking Sophie for her ongoing support and hard work in such a challenging year.”

The two Australian production houses make some of the key content for broadcasters. Screentime is currently at work on SAS: Australia for Seven, Anh’s Brush with Fame for ABC, RBT for Nine and Hughesy, We Have a Problem for 10.


Endemol Shine Australia has just been commissioned for another season of Big Brother for Seven, is planning new seasons of MasterChef and Survivor for 10 and Married at First Sight for Nine.

Ahron Young’s Ticker expands into a live news network – Ticker 2.0

Ticker is embarking on its biggest expansion of news programming yet, with the introduction of 30 minute news programs at the start of every hour of the day, from breakfast to dinner time.

Ticker News programming is promising to cover everything from the latest headlines to in-depth discussions on key issues including business, social, environmental and current events in Australia and around the world.

• Ticker Jumpstart begins the day, a breakfast show hosted by Alana McLean and Benjamin Norris.
• Award winning journalist and Ticker founder Ahron Young then hosts Ticker Today at 10 and 11am Monday to Friday – covering the ASX opening and all the day’s news – and interviews news leaders and business startup founders around the world.
• Spotee Your Call Hour with Elio D’Amato expands to Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, giving viewers the chance to ask the experts their questions about the stock market.

Former Fox Sports News journalist Adrian Franklin begins his new role hosting Ticker’s afternoon news programs from July 13 from 2-5pm, in addition to co-hosting Ticker Sport with David Davutovic every Friday at 11am.

Ticker’s current business-lifestyle programs will shift to the back half hours of each hour, including shows like She’s The Boss, Bread and Butter, Ticker Property, Black Belt Leader, Ticker Bytes, Innovate Today, Online Offline, Inside Entertainment and Fearless.

Ticker CEO Ahron Young said:

“Ticker News is everywhere! That’s always been our goal at Ticker. Today we announce Ticker’s future news expansion plans to what has been a continually evolving streaming ecosystem for the last 10 months.

“We began with a 20-minute show on 19 August last year, and since then we’ve increased our programming strategy to broaden our scope from covering just business and finance news to covering the issues impacting our audience around the country.”

The relaunch comes on the eve of a new network branding package, designed by the team at Lightrise Studio.

Ticker is available on the leading free digital TV platforms Apple TV, Android TV, Youtube Live, Facebook Live, Twitter, as well as apps on iOS and Android mobile devices.

Ticker commercial director Jed Bertalli said:

“Ticker has witnessed increased audience growth and viewership across all our platforms as we invest in our studios and infrastructure. We have had to completely rebuild our IT networks due to the increased demand for content and production.

“The reaction from our commercial partners has been extraordinary, despite the difficult economic conditions. We have grown our audience and our commercial agreements.”

Ahron Young added:

“This is my 20th year as a journalist, and the Ticker team’s can-do attitude has been inspiring. It hasn’t even been a year since we started broadcasting from a small coworking office in the city. We’ve now created a full programming list of more than 30 shows a week, as well as increased news programming.”

Matt Shirvington
Channel Seven welcomes Olympian Matt Shirvington to the team

Channel Seven has welcomed Olympian and seasoned broadcaster Matt Shirvington to the network.

In his new role role, Shirvington joins Australia’s #1 news team and will also be part of Seven’s commentary team for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Shirvington this week begins his new role with 7NEWS Sydney’s top-rating team – including Mark Ferguson, Mel McLaughlin, David Brown, Michael Usher and Sally Bowrey – as the new weekend sports anchor.

He’ll present sport alongside newsreader Michael Usher on Fridays and Saturdays.

In a sporting career spanning two decades, Shirvington brings with him more than 10 years’ experience presenting and reporting from some of the world’s biggest sporting events including multiple Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

Shirvington said he’s excited to start a new chapter at Seven.

“I couldn’t be more excited to start this new chapter at Channel Seven,” Shirvington said.

“To be working in a newsroom alongside the best in the business is a privilege.

“It’s a return of sorts, having begun my television career with Seven.

“And it would be no surprise that as an Olympian, being able to work on another Games coverage is exactly where I want to be.

“I have gained a wealth of experience from my time at Foxtel and Fox Sports, for which I am grateful, which will only strengthen my contribution to the 7NEWS team.”

Network director of news and public affairs Craig McPherson said Shirvington’s addition starts an “exciting new chapter”.

“Matt brings a wealth of experience and energy to our superb team,” McPherson said.

“The drive and commitment required to be an elite athlete has benchmarked Matt’s broadcasting career.

“Instilled qualities to be the best at what he does with a Sydney and sporting pedigree across athletics, rugby league, Australian Rules and rugby.

“This is an exciting new beginning for our 7NEWS sport department, 7Sport and Matt.”

Sydney News director Jason Morrison added: “Matt has proven himself to be a champion in everything he’s tackled, and he’s excelled in his media career. We can’t wait to have him working with Mel McLaughlin and our sports team.”

Born and raised in Sydney’s north-east, Matt Shirvington is one of the greats of Australian track and field and represented his country at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the 1998 and 2006 Commonwealth Games and seven World Championships.

He began his media career with the Seven Network in 2005 as a host and reporter on Beyond Tomorrow before joining Sky News in 2009. Since 2013, Shirvington has been a mainstay of Fox Sports NRL coverage, most recently as host of NRL Tonight.

Damian Eales
Damian Eales moving to New York for News Corp global role

News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson has announced the appointment of Damian Eales to the new role of global head of transformation. Eales, currently News Corp Australia chief operating officer, publishing, will relocate to New York for the position.

News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller said: “The role of Damian’s team will be to create a contemporary structure for the company that embraces a shared services model and uses shared skills and experiences to reduce costs and also ensure News Corp’s techniques and technology are genuinely the best in the world.”

Miller added: “One of Damian’s great achievements during his time with us has been aligning our goals and strategic direction across the whole of the company. He leaves the rest of the executive team with the building blocks in place to achieve an aligned, agile, growth-orientated future and I personally thank him for that major contribution.”

News Corp Australia has reported there won’t be a replacement for Eales’s COO publishing role, with several executives set to take on additional responsibilities ahead of Eales’s move to New York in September.

Mark Reinke and Richard Skimin will work together with the group’s editors in increasing audiences and consumer revenues, while recently appointed chief financial officer Michael Ford will oversee the M&A and strategy team.

Julian Delany will bring together all of the group’s digital and technology operations, and Lou Barrett and Emma Fawcett are responsible for commercial and client relationships.

Eales adds to the list of senior Australians running the business in New York. The other include Robert Thomson, News Corp CFO Susan Panuccio, and Tracey Fellows who moved from REA here to be president of global digital real estate. Also based in the Big Apple are Storyful editor-in-chief Darren Davidson and Dow Jones chief communications officer Natalie Cerny who returned to North America in 2018 from REA.

See also:
News Corp Aust leadership shuffle: Damian Eales’ COO role expanded
• News Corp’s Damian Eales elected president of INMA board

Big Brother week 27
Week 27 TV Ratings: Seven makes it four consecutive weeks at #1

By James Manning

A familiar pattern played out again during week 27. And it wasn’t just Seven winning its fourth consecutive week all people and in key demos. The weekday results have been unchanged during that time too – Nine won Sunday and Monday with help from The Voice before Seven then takes over winning the five remaining nights of the week.

Seven Week 27

Seven again dominated at 6pm for its News bulletin on every night of the week.
The three episodes of Big Brother were next best with all close to 700,000 as the franchise continues to lower the age of Seven’s audience.
The channel’s other key contributors to the primetime victory were AFL, Home and Away, America’s Got Talent, Better Homes and Gardens and The Front Bar.
Sunrise had another winning week too with an average of 289,000 on weekdays.

Primary all people 20.2% (Last week 20.7%)
Network all people 28.8% (30.5%)
Multichannels 7TWO 3.3% (3.4%) 7mate 3.4% (4.0%) 7flix 1.8% (2.1%)

Nine Week 27

The final episodes of The Voice battle rounds had audiences of 867,000 on Sunday and 775,000 on Monday – along with Nine News and A Current Affair they were the only entries in the top 20.
60 Minutes showed up in the top 30 for the week while Paramedics made the top 40.

 Primary all people 18.0% (Last week 17.9%)
Network all people 26.5% (25.9%)
Multichannels GO! 2.7% (2.5%), Gem 2.4% (2.3%), 9Life 2.1% (2.2%), 9Rush 1.3% (1.1%)

10 Week 27

MasterChef ep 53

The three episodes of MasterChef were the key performers as they were again all around 950,000 or higher and again all earned a spot in the top 10 for the week.
Have You Been Paying Attention? had its biggest audience for several weeks and was safely above 800,000.
There’s a bit of a gap though to the channel’s next best though with The Project 7pm on 510,000.
The Living Room returned to the schedule, making Friday night a bit more competitive with an audience of 468,000.
MasterChef Australia was up 50% compared to its 2019 average while Have You Been Paying Attention? was up 9% compared to its 2019 average. The Living Room new-look season kicked off on Friday night with its biggest launch since 2016 and was up 14% compared to its 2019 launch.
The Dog House lifted 10’s audience timeslot on Saturday 85% compared to its 2019 average.

Primary all people 12.5% (Last week 11.9%)
Network all people 19.0% (18.3%)
Multichannels 10 Bold 4.1% (4.0%), 10 Peach 2.4% (2.4%)

ABC Week 27

ABC News was the only programming over 700,000 with Back Roads the next best on 639,000 followed by 7.30 on 622,000.
Pushing above half a million were Four Corners, Foreign Correspondent, Home Delivery, Media Watch, while The Weekly was oh-so-close on 499,000.

Primary all people 11.7% (Last week 12.3%)
Network all people 16.8% (17.1%)
Multichannels Kids/Comedy 2.6% (2.7%), News 2.0% (1.7%), ME 0.5% (0.5%)

SBS Week 27

The primary channel had its best share in eight weeks. The biggest difference was the Saturday share which was boosted week-on-week by Extreme Railway Journeys and then two hours of Life Drawing Live with Rove hosting.
The channel’s best was Who Do You Think You Are? which climbed above 400,000 again for the Julie Bishop episode.

Primary all people 5.2% (Last week 4.6%)
Network all people 8.9% (8.1%)
Multichannels Viceland 1.4% (1.5%), Food 0.9% (1.1%), NITV 0.2% (0.2%), World Movies 1.2% (0.8%)

ARIA Chart : New #1, Jack Harlow goes top 10, Guy Sebastian top 30

By James Manning

• Albums: Home Front #1 second week, Khruangbin and Haim top 10


The cosy chart dominance we talked about last week has been broken with a new #1. Jawsh 685 and Jason Derulo see Savage Love climb to the top after three weeks on the chart, up from #3 last week. This the fourth time at #1 for Derulo and the first for 17-year-old Josh Nanai from Auckland, also known as producer Jawsh 685. ARIA notes that Nanai is the first New Zealand lead artist to have a #1 on the ARIA Singles Chart in 24 years, and only the third since the ARIA charts began. It follows Dave Dobbyn with HerbsSlice of Heaven (#1 May 1987) and OMC’s How Bizarre (#1 April 1996).

US rapper and songwriter Jack Harlow has slipped into the top 10 at #9 after 13 weeks on the chart, up from #38 last week.

Two other top 50 debuts:

#12: Blackpink with How You Like That. The K-pop act land in the top 50 for the second time in 2020 after their Lady Gaga collaboration peaked at #8 last month.
#23: Guy Sebastian with Standing with You. It’s been a massive couple of weeks with the recording artist and coach on The Voice. The release of a new first single coincides with charges being laid against his former manager. His 24th entry on the singles chart is another track from his next studio album and the first to chart since Choir exactly 12 months ago.


It’s another week at #1 for Music From The Home Front which means another week at #1 for an Australian album. The triple vinyl set we mentioned last week won’t be released until the end of this month.

New albums to the chart this week include two making the top 50:

#4: Khruangbin with Mordechai. Chart debut for the third album US rock trio from Texas.
#7: Haim with Women in Music Part III. The three American sisters make the ARIA top 10 for the third time with their third album.
#18: Gordi with Our Two Skins. The second album from folktronica singer/songwriter Sophie Payten performing as Gordi had a stunning gestation judging by the backstory associated with the song writing. Her previous album Between Reservoir peaked at #20 in 2017.
#30: Grey Daze with Amends. A compilation album from Grey Daze, a band that featured the late Chester Bennington before he left to join Linkin Park. The album includes new music from the members of Grey Daze with vocals from the vault.
#33: Pop Smoke with Meet the Woo 2. The second mixtape from the US rapper was released just days before his death in February this year. The first and final album from him, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, was released in the past couple of days.
#40: Bananagun with The True Story of Bananagun. First album from the Melbourne psychedelic band comes after the release of two singles in the past 12 months. The band held a live stream album launch just over a week ago.


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TV Ratings Sunday July 5, Week 28, 2020

By James Manning

• Nine wins with The Voice playoffs, News and 60 Minutes
• Departure of TV food icon gives 10 most competitive Sunday

Seven News 1,201,000
Nine News 1,051,000
ABC News 752,000
The Project 337,000/531,000
10 News 301,000/254,000
Sunrise 254,000
Today 235,000
SBS World News 194,000

See also:

Saturday TV:
Seven kicks AFL goal as it secures another Saturday win
The Dog House and Rove’s Life Drawing Live lift 10 & SBS shares

Friday TV:
Big AFL crowd and Better Homes lift Seven’s share
10 rises week-on-week with return of The Living Room

Sunday TV

Seven: The Sunday 6pm news had its best audience for six weeks. Couldn’t have been driven too much by anticipation of a competitive AFL match though as Melbourne rolled over early on and was never a serious contender against what had been an out of form Richmond. The afternoon AFL audience watching in Melbourne was 259,000.
A Covid-19 scare forced the Big Brother house into lockdown but it didn’t stop the housemates playing the game as the audience remained steady close to 700,000. Daniel made a secret deal with Chad to keep himself and Mat safe in the game, throwing the challenge and giving Chad the power to nominate. Chad put best friends Xavier and Casey up for eviction alongside pal Sarah, who he knew had found Big Brother’s secret token which would keep her safe from eviction. Given the chance to remove a major player, Daniel and Mat turned on their former ally and Xavier was evicted from the house, attracting all six votes.
The 2016 movie Captain America: Civil War was then on 235,000.

Nine: The Sunday episodes of The Voice have dropped consistently over the past month and last night hit a new low of 809,000. However the first night of the Playoffs also introduced Covid-19 distancing to the series, with coaches Boy George and Kelly Rowland contributing via video from the US and the UK.
The combo of Nine’s programming though was enough to keep it #1 all people.
Later in the night 60 Minutes had an audience of 697,000.

10: It was the last cook for Poh in the MasterChef kitchen last night. The TV food icon had dodged a few bullets during her Back to Win journey this season, but last night she took a hit and was eliminated. The top five to battle it out for the title are Reynold, Reece, Amelia, Laura and Callum.
The Sunday audience was on 978,000 which delivered a timeslot win in all demos and lead 10’s primary channel to a Sunday #1 in key demos 25-54, 16-39 and 18-49.
The night was 10’s most competitive Sunday since the launch of I’m a Celebrity back in the first week of January. 

ABC: The final episode of Operation Buffalo brought to an end a wonderfully quirky drama. The final ep did 463,000, up slightly on 443,000 a week ago.
Earlier in the night Grand Designs UK did 536,000.

SBS: SBS World News attracted the biggest audience with 194,000.
A repeat of Decoding the Great Pyramid did 158,000 at 7.30pm.
Joanna Lumley’s Quest for Noah’s Ark was then on 152,000.

Week 27-28 TV: FRIDAY-Sunday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 10.2% 7 24.7% 9 16.8% 10  9.4% SBS One 4.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.5% 7TWO 3.4% GO! 3.0% 10 Bold 3.5% VICELAND 1.0%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 4.4% GEM 2.3% 10 Peach 2.1% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.8% 7flix 3.2% 9Life 2.0%     NITV 0.2%
        9Rush 1.2%     SBS World Movies 2.4%
TOTAL 14.9%   35.7%   25.4%   15.0%   9.0%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 10.8% 7 20.6% 9 12.3% 10  8.9% SBS One 6.0%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 4.1% 7TWO 3.7% GO! 3.5% 10 Bold 4.5% VICELAND 0.9%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 4.9% GEM 2.8% 10 Peach 2.5% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 4.6% 7flix 2.0% 9Life 2.5%     NITV 0.4%
        9Rush 1.6%     SBS World Movies 1.6%
TOTAL 19.9%   31.3%   22.6%   16.0%   10.2%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 11.6% 7 17.7% 9 22.1% 10  17.0% SBS One 4.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 1.8% 7TWO 2.6% GO! 2.8% 10 Bold 3.4% VICELAND 1.7%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 2.4% GEM 2.8% 10 Peach 1.4% Food Net 0.7%
ABC NEWS 1.4% 7flix 1.5% 9Life 1.8%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 0.7%     SBS World Movies 1.5%
TOTAL 15.3%   24.3%   30.2%   21.8%   8.4%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 11.3% 7 18.2% 9 19.8% WIN 12.4% SBS One 4.8%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.3% 7TWO 5.1% GO! 2.7% WIN Bold 4.4% VICELAND 2.0%
ABC ME 0.7% 7mate 2.8% GEM 4.9% WIN Peach 0.9% Food Net 0.7%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.5% 9Life 2.4% Sky News  on WIN 1.4% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 1.5%
TOTAL 15.8%   27.6%   29.8%   19.1%   9.1%


86.8% 13.2%
All People Ratings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 1,035,000
  2. Nine News Nine 953,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 936,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 875,000
  5. Seven’s AFL: Friday Night Football Seven 664,000
  6. ABC News ABC 660,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 607,000
  8. The Chase Australia Seven 597,000
  9. Hot Seat Nine 571,000
  10. Better Homes And Gardens Seven 567,000


Saturday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 967,000
  2. Nine News Saturday Nine 771,000
  3. ABC News ABC 722,000
  4. A Current Affair Nine 482,000
  5. Seven’s AFL: Saturday Night Football Seven 479,000
  6. Shakespeare And Hathaway ABC 452,000
  7. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line (R) Seven 368,000
  8. Seven’s AFL: Saturday Night Football – Pre Match Seven 365,000
  9. The Dog House 10 348,000
  10. Getaway Nine 339,000
Sunday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,201,000
  2. Nine News Sunday Nine 1,051,000
  3. Masterchef Australia 10 978,000
  4. The Voice Nine 809,000
  5. ABC News Sunday ABC 752,000
  6. 60 Minutes Nine 697,000
  7. Big Brother Seven 695,000
  8. Grand Designs ABC 536,000
  9. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 531,000
  10. Operation Buffalo ABC 463,000
  11. Seven’s AFL: Sunday Afternoon Football Seven 435,000
  12. Nine News: Late Edition Nine 406,000
  13. FBI: Most Wanted 10 338,000
  14. The Sunday Project 6.30pm 10 337,000
  15. 10 News First 10 301,000
  16. Insiders AM ABC 281,000
  17. Sunday Afternoon NRL Live Nine 273,000
  18. Landline PM ABC 263,000
  19. 10 News First 6pm 10 254,000
  20. Weekend Sunrise Seven 254,000
Sunday Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 171,000
  2. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 171,000
  3. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 166,000
  4. Offsiders AM ABC NEWS 158,000
  5. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 151,000
  6. Insiders AM ABC NEWS 151,000
  7. Shaun The Sheep AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  8. Death In Paradise 9Gem 142,000
  9. Close Of Business PM ABC NEWS 139,000
  10. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 134,000
  11. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 134,000
  12. ABC News AM ABC NEWS 129,000
  13. Go Jetters AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  14. Weekend Breakfast: 10am AM ABC NEWS 123,000
  15. The Bourne Ultimatum 9GO! 121,000
  16. Dot. AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 117,000
  17. Book Hungry Bears AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  18. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 104,000
  19. The Vicar Of Dibley-Ep.2 Pm 7TWO 104,000
  20. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 104,000
Sunday STV
  1. Live: NRL: Sea Eagles V Knights FOX LEAGUE 229,000
  2. Live: NRL: Bulldogs V Rabbitohs FOX LEAGUE 218,000
  3. Live: AFL Melbourne V Richmond FOX FOOTY 211,000
  4. Live: AFL Adelaide V Fremantle FOX FOOTY 175,000
  5. Live: AFL GWS V Hawthorn FOX FOOTY 167,000
  6. Live: NRL Pre Game Sunday Ticket FOX LEAGUE 132,000
  7. Live: F1: Austria Race FOX SPORTS 506 111,000
  8. Live: Bounce: Episode 16 FOX FOOTY 97,000
  9. Outsiders Sky News Live 96,000
  10. Outsiders Sky News Live 88,000
  11. Live: Sunday Night With Matty Johns FOX LEAGUE 75,000
  12. Live: Motorsport: Grand Prix Sunday FOX SPORTS 506 58,000
  13. Live: NRL Pre Game Sunday Ticket FOX LEAGUE 53,000
  14. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 52,000
  15. Live: First Crack FOX FOOTY 42,000
  16. Midsomer Murders UKTV 37,000
  17. Sunday Agenda Sky News Live 37,000
  18. Chewing The Fat FOX FOOTY 35,000
  19. Midsomer Murders UKTV 33,000
  20. Chris Smith & Friends Sky News Live 30,000

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

Network Ten swings to $226m loss as virus triggers sports writedown

Network Ten has slumped to a $226m loss and been forced to write off tens of millions from the value of its sports broadcasts deals and program rights, reports The Australian’s John Stensholt.

The network, usually the third-highest rating among the free-to-air-broadcasters, has also taken a major hit to its revenue because of COVID-19, copping months where income was as much as 38 per cent less than the same time in 2019 since the economic repercussions of the global pandemic hit Australia in March.

Details of Ten’s financial performance were revealed in the company’s 2019 financial report, lodged with the corporate regulator late on Friday and obtained by The Australian.

Excluding significant items, Ten recorded earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $24.2m for 2019, and an underlying after-tax loss of $45.3m.

[Read more]

After asset sales, Seven West Media nears deal on debt covenants

Seven West Media is believed to be almost out of the woods for now with its financiers, with suggestions that the free-to-air broadcaster is close to announcing a deal to waive its debt covenants, reports The Australian’s Bridget Carter.

It comes as the group has moved swiftly to sell down assets and cut costs, which is understood to have pleased the lenders.

The media group is not thought to be taking on any additional debt.

It is understood that US-based private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management made an approach to buy the business, but was rebuffed by Seven West.

Oaktree was one of the private equity firms that recapitalised Seven’s rival Nine Entertainment when it was on the brink of collapse and also made efforts to buy the Ten Network when it went into administration.

[Read more]

The AFR’s Street Talk reports:

It is understood James Warburton’s team is set to tap Grant Samuel to find a buyer for Seven West Ventures, which includes the network’s stakes in Airtasker, Health Engine and SocietyOne.

The portfolio is on Seven West Media’s books for about $95 million, and it’ll be Grant Samuel’s job to try to find another venture capital-minded buyer to take the investments.

[Read more]

Free TV wants to abandon content quotas to battle streaming giants

Australia’s peak commercial TV body is calling on the government to abandon “outdated” local content quota rules and allow traditional broadcasters to compete with the fast-paced growth of streaming services, reports The Australian’s Angelica Snowden.

Free TV Australia, which advocates for commercial free-to-air television networks including Channel 7, Nine and Network 10, said the effects of shrinking advertising revenue and the introduction of streaming services had been exacerbated by COVID-19 and left some parts of the industry “fighting for survival”.

Regulations require commercial broadcasters, but not subscription video-on-demand services, to air a minimum of 55 per cent Australian content on their primary channel and an additional 1460 hours on secondary channels each year between 6am and midnight, as outlined by the Broadcasting Services Act.

Free TV Australia CEO Bridget Fair said the federal government should deregulate quota obligations other than an overall Australian content target.

[Read more]

Netflix, Stan, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video unite on content review

Major streaming players Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ have united to reach consensus on local content requirements, arguing if the government is set on regulation a light-touch approach would ensure the young industry is not stymied, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Sources said the three global streaming giants and Stan, which is owned locally owned by Nine have collaborated on a submission to the Supporting Australian Stories on our screens options paper released by Screen Australia and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

It is understood the streaming players argue there is no market failure to address in terms of investment in Australian content and heavy regulation on an industry in its early stages could have unintended consequences in a rapidly changing environment.

The subscription video on-demand businesses will urge any policies need to take into account the varying business models across subscription video on-demand and a one-size-fits-all approach is not the best outcome.

[Read more]

Group investing in AAP’s future now numbers 35

The AFR’s Max Mason speaks with Nick Harrington, a 30-year old sustainable investment manager and winner of the 2017 BOSS Emerging Leaders MBA Scholarship, and one of the investors in AAP.

Harrington says, like most, he read about the closure of AAP on March 3 when the company said it was no longer viable to continue. Its largest shareholders Nine and News Corp decided they could no longer subsidise the newswire by more than $10 million a year as they continued to cut their own costs amid structural changes in the media sector. ACM and Seven both contributed more than $1 million per year. Clients of the service pay much less to access AAP content.

“I genuinely assumed someone would pick it up. There’s so much value and heritage in the business. As it progressed, it wasn’t until mid-to-late April, it looked like no one would buy it, and it looked like it would close, so I reached out to a few impact investors,” Harrington says.

“Speaking to the non-shareholder customers – ABC, SBS, Guardian, ACM, Schwartz Media – to hear from them and the concerns for life without AAP was pretty powerful.”

The AAP newswire funding group has grown to 35 people or organisations from five states and from a range of occupations, including people who have worked in media, finance and even aviation.

[Read more]

News Brands

Former Liberal leader sues A Current Affair, Tracy Grimshaw

Former Liberal Party leader John Hewson is suing Channel 9 and A Current Affair presenter Tracy Grimshaw, alleging they falsely portrayed him as the incompetent chief of an insurance company that “dudded” victims of a savage storm, reports News Corp’s Perry Duffin.

GSA Insurance Brokers, chaired by Dr Hewson, was identified as the “insurance company” recommended to Storage King North Parramatta customers Nicole and Adrian Dolahenty in the segment aired in May this year.

The Dolahentys put in a claim to GSA after they lost the contents of their storage unit when hundreds of millimetres of rain fell across Sydney in early February and the unit was inundated.

The former federal opposition leader launched a defamation case in the Federal Court against Nine, Grimshaw and journalist Danielle Post late last month saying they all knew Dolahanety’s claims were false.

[Read more]

Seven takes on 60 Minutes with launch of investigation series

Seven is restoring long-form current affairs to its schedule six months after the disappearance of Sunday Night and Today Tonight, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

The new show, to be called Seven News Spotlight Investigates, will start later this month.

It is understood that the show will start airing in late July with the much-anticipated interview of Danny and Leila Abdallah, who tragically lost three children when they were hit by a car in Oatlands in Sydney’s northwest.

The Abdallah interview with Michael Usher won’t be going head-to-head with 60 Minutes, with that first instalment to screen on a weeknight.

And indeed, Seven News Spotlight Investigates won’t have a regular schedule at all, running on any night between Sunday and Wednesday on any given week.

[Read more]


The Bachelor to premier in August after filming resumes

Network Ten’s latest instalment of The Bachelor has resumed filming with extensive protocols in place to protect the cast and crew during the pandemic crisis ahead of its premier next month, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

Ten’s head of entertainment Stephen Tate says the eighth season is in full swing, with this year’s bachelor and former Survivor contestant Locky Gilbert back after filming was suspended in March over fears about the spread of the virus.

A cocktail party and rose ceremony was filmed at the show’s mansion last Friday with strict social distancing and other health protocols in place. They include temperature testing twice a day, daily QR code sign-in and out requirements and restricted access to some areas.

Prior to the resumption of filming, cast and crew were put in isolation and tested twice. The Bachelor’s wider team, which includes catering and other staff, “runs in the hundreds”, he said.

Given the extraordinary situation, The Bachelor will also feature virtual dates that took place after the suspension of filming at the mansion.

[Read more]

Sports Media

England v West Indies to be shown on Fox Sports as Test cricket returns

Australia has been saved from a cricketing blackout, with Fox Sports striking an emergency deal to broadcast the game’s long-awaited return from the wilderness, reports News Corp’s Ben Horne.

England’s COVID-19 bubble Test series against the West Indies starts next week and the hastily arranged return to action had left TV chiefs in a race against time to seal a deal to show the action.

However, Fox Sports has come to a temporary agreement with the England Cricket Board, meaning there will be prime time Test cricket on Australian screens from Wednesday night.

There is ever-growing optimism that Australia will be able to tour the UK for a one-day tour in September, and negotiations are ongoing between Fox and the ECB to get a long-term TV deal in place to ensure Aaron Finch’s team are shown down under.

[Read more]

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