By James Manning
• What readers have wanted from The Weekly during a pandemic
The boss of Australia’s biggest magazine now has a new job title to represent a big job in the publishing world. After the merger of Bauer and Pacific the editor-in-chief of The Australian Women’s Weekly, Nicole Byers, now overseas two additional magazines as her new title indicates – group editor-in-chief/associate publisher, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Country Style and Better Homes & Gardens.
We assume The Weekly sells more copies than any other magazine, but since Bauer and other publishers suspended circulation data it is hard to know. The title certainly drives the single biggest magazine digital audience as the key title in Bauer’s Now to Love digital offering. New emma data released today shows the Now to Love audience on 3,909,000. The closest competitor is now just down the corridor, Bauer’s New Idea.
In magazine print readership, Better Homes and Gardens ranks #1 with 1,730,000 versus 1,357,000 for The Weekly.
Sales results for magazines have been mixed during the pandemic. “As you can imagine we are not doing terribly well at the airports at present,” Byers told Mediaweek. “Where we have been performing well is in supermarkets with very healthy sales. Advertising has been challenged, but our subscription numbers are good with people wanting the magazine delivered and finding out how to organise copies for isolated fiends. Reader feedback has been strong with more people having time to engage with us.”
Of her new role, Byers said: “There are some real synergies between the titles and I am looking forward to working with the teams on the two magazines.” Byers will remain hands-on as editor-in-chief of The Weekly.
Byers, like the rest of the Bauer Media staff, continues to work from home.
“I have made a couple of guest appearances in the office,” she said. “I have had to go in a couple of times as we re-organise space to accommodate the new titles that have moved from Pacific. But I am mainly working from home.”
Byers explained that when the work from home order was first introduced The Weekly had just delivered an edition to the printer, giving them a few weeks to test out their new workflows before they had another edition due.
“The IT side of things has worked very well for us. However creating the content has been more of a challenge.”
She might not be visiting 54 Park Street much, but Byers has been busy in remote meetings partly because of the additional duties she now has following the Pacific merger. “The rest of the Weekly team are having regular online catchups, but in general less meetings which has let them spend more time on the content.”
Post COVID-19 will see more magazine staff working remotely, said Byers. “We have learnt a lot. We even did a story not long ago about people’s body clocks and how some are more creative and prolific in the evening while others are more morning people. Where we can we will be flexible around peoples’ working preferences.
“It is also about lifestyle choices. Some of our staff enjoy being able to go for a walk in the middle of the day, maybe even go horse riding, before jumping back on their computer, maybe late at night.”
An added bonus has been not having to print out everything multiple times during the production process. “One of the bad habits we have shaken off is using the paper job bags being circulated and the sky hasn’t fallen in. We will be using online methods that allow us to monitor workflow rather than rely on old fashioned systems.”
The Weekly has been using Trello software to track where jobs are in the system. “Some of our staff have also picked up new digital skills as their needs change. Our food editor who normally spends her time in The Women’s Weekly test kitchen furiously triple-testing recipes had a bit more time on her hands so during isolation with a tech-savvy daughter helped her master the art of creating food videos. It was something she hadn’t tried before and it has proven very popular with our followers.
“With very few fashion shoots our style director has been doing videos too, in her case tutorials on how to clean out your wardrobe, sorting your clothes, fixing up your jewellery and things like that. It has been welcomed by our readers on social channels.”
Regarding the different digital platforms, Byers noted the collaboration between them all has never been stronger. “Some of the videos have been repurposed for different platforms, for example one might want a longer or shorter version of something.”
Compiling editorial for the next issue has been the team’s biggest challenge given when they first started #WFH there was a bank of material to call on that hadn’t yet been used. “The stockpile has started to dry up. The next edition is the most creative one we have had to put together. The team has had to read the stories very carefully to work out how to best visually represent them. Previously we have usually done a photo shoot with the protagonist in the story, but now we don’t have that luxury. Some of the things being considered are collages, illustration and other things. It has been a positive thing to have different creative considerations to draw on. The staff have enjoyed the challenge, although it has been tricky in some cases.”
Recent editorial has included one of the staff writing about being in lockdown with a partner who was vulnerable to infection after returning home from heart surgery. The magazine has commissioned content from people living in rural areas about growing your own vegies or having chooks in the backyard, something Byers said she thinks is more appealing than ever to people now regardless of where they live.
Some potential problems haven’t turned out to be roadblocks for the title.
“Some of the writers were initially concerned about doing phone interviews. We normally push to do face-to-face interviews with our subjects, whether it is a celebrity or otherwise. Being with them gives the writer a better experience. It allows them to read the body language and report of the colour of the situation. But so far they have found by using the phone that some of the subjects open up a little bit more when they are not sitting in front of someone.”
The first Women’s Weekly photo shoot for some time is a portfolio of nurses. Byers: “We visited hospitals around the country and there were no stylists, no photo studios, just the photographer and the subject. It turned out very raw and authentic and it really fitted the mood of the story. In some cases less is more and that was certainly the case in this instance.
“Having said that we are looking forward to getting back to some glamorous photo shoots eventually.”
The isolation edition covers have so far have featured Seven’s Edwina Bartholomew and more recently Lisa Wilkinson. “Edwina was shot with her beautiful new daughter on her property and it was an issue that sold very well because it summed up the importance of family in these times and was in the country where many of us would like to be right now.”
When asked about what readers want right now, Byers referred to the company’s Studio 54 division and recent research it has done. “We have to acknowledge COVID-19 and how it has changed our lives. From us people are looking for ways to navigate through it rather than hard news stories.
“We have covered resilience, the importance of friendship and connection. Also things that everyone is talking about like baking your own bread, gardening and growing vegetables. Subjects that are almost back to basics.
“People are also looking for joy and laughter, so we are trying to temper our content with some humour and some light-hearted offerings too.”
By James Manning
As one radio icon walked away from 2GB last week, a much younger one has taken over his shift from this morning. Mediaweek has always reported Ben Fordham would be the best internal candidate to replace Alan Jones and reset the station for a new generation.
Fordham wasted no time making a mark on day one, but he used up three massive interviews on his first day which might make it hard for his team to follow up with big guests for the rest of the week.
The new 2GB breakfast show has new theme music, but it’s not new to the Fordham drive audience – Coldplay’s Viva La Vida.
He asked his early risers for patience with the new boy – “I will be making a few errors along the way – bear with me.”
However it all seemed to go very well on day one as you would expect with the multimedia star who has always branded radio his #1 passion.
Headlining his first show was a dream team Fordham was promoting as “Sydney’s three biggest decision makers” – Scott Morrison, Gladys Berejiklian and Peter V’landys.
From the old Alan Jones show Fordham has retained local sports guy James Willis plus the foreign correspondents Harley Carnes in the US (who appeared twice today) and Adam Gilchrist in the UK.
One of the tag lines being used to promote the new show is “Opinions that matter – news you can trust”. Fordham had his first real opinion piece after 7am which seems like it will become a regular feature as it had been for Jones. Nothing too substantial on day one with Fordham commenting on the chance that Pete Evans might decide to enter politics.
Mark Latham got plenty of time with Fordham explaining the One Nation politician would be getting a spot every Monday.
The biggest news items to perhaps come out of the morning was Scott Morrison commenting on helping the Australian entertainment industry (at last), Gladys Berejiklian virtually signalling the next lockdown restrictions to be lifted would be gyms and dance studios along with kids sport and Peter V’landys promising he would never enter politics. “I have never been approached…but they know I am not interested.”
Australian news media brands have delivered record readership of 18.2m, reaching more than nine out of 10 Australians (96%), the highest since the inception of emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) in 2013.
The increase in readership has been fuelled by Australians seeking reliable and trusted news and information during CV-19 with digital consumption of news media the key driver.
Across measured digital platforms, news media reached 17.2 million Australians, representing 91% of the population aged 14+, a 10% audience increase compared to the previous period (Dec 19). Despite the pandemic, print audiences continued to reach 12.7 million, or two in three Australians (67%).
NewsMediaWorks CEO Peter Miller said: “Trusted news and information has never been more important to Australians and this is reflected by the dramatic increase in news media consumption. Misinformation has been rife during the pandemic, but these figures demonstrate that Australians know to turn to the trusted medium of news media when accuracy and trust are critical.
“As we start to emerge from lockdown, the need for reliable and timely information will continue and for businesses looking to bounce back by advertising in credible media channels, the trust halo news media generates will play a crucial role in their recovery.”
The top 10 most read mastheads in Australia have also seen impressive increases in their audiences (see table below).
Sky News has announced former Australian Ambassador to the United States Joe Hockey (pictured) has been appointed Sky News US political contributor and will play a key on-air role during the channel’s 2020 US Election coverage.
Live from Washington DC, Hockey will provide exclusive US political and economic insights in the lead up to the pivotal US Presidential Election on Tuesday 3 November (Wednesday 4 November in Australia).
He will also contribute exclusive analysis during the channel’s live coverage of the US Presidential Debates, Election Day and Inauguration Day.
Hockey will appear across a range of Sky News programs including a regular segment on popular primetime program Paul Murray Live. Hockey will join Paul Murray on the program tonight from 9pm AEST for his first appearance as the channel’s US political contributor.
On joining the channel Hockey said: “There’s never been a more important time to understand events in the United States. What happens here can have a deep impact on Australia and the world.
“As we face great political and economic challenges, I’m privileged to be able to witness events here in Washington and bring them to Sky News viewers.”
Paul Whittaker, chief executive officer, Sky News Australia said: “Joe’s extensive US and international political experience will provide viewers with an unmatched insight into the 2020 Presidential Election and its ramifications for Australia. We warmly welcome Joe to the Sky News Australia team.”
As Australia’s Ambassador to the United States, Hockey held Australia’s most senior diplomatic position from January 2016 – January 2020, during the Barack Obama and later Donald Trump presidencies.
Prior to his diplomatic appointment, Hockey served in the Australian Parliament for almost 20 years across ministerial roles including financial services, health and welfare delivery, employment, workplace relations, small business and tourism.
Hockey lives in Washington DC and is founder and president of Bondi Partners – a strategic business specialising in infrastructure, investment, cyber security and politics. He is also a visiting Fellow at American University.
By James Manning
• Albums: The 1975 debut #1, beats Agust D, KSI to the top
Second week at the top for DaBaby with Rockstar.
Just missing top spot, again, was Ariana Grande, this time performing with Lady Gaga on Rain On Me which debuts at #2. If you want a hit collaboration, Ms Grande is a great choice. This week she is at #2 with Lady Gaga, three weeks ago she debuted at #3 with Justin Bieber on Stuck with U. Prior to this year her collaborations with various artists have cracked the top five six times. Rain on Me is the second single from Lady Gaga’s new album Chromatica.
The only other new release to debut top 50 is Go Crazy from Chris Brown and Young Thug at #34.
Re-entering the chart this week at #19 is Harry Styles with Watermelon Sugar. The track has spent a total of 13 weeks in the top 50 and is moving higher again off the back of the video featuring lots of models, lots of watermelon and lots of touching on the beach.
A new #1 this week with The 1975 taking Notes on a Conditional Form to the top. It is a second ARIA #1 album for the British band and their fourth album. Notes on a Conditional Form is the follow-up to A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships which peaked at #4 in December 2018. Guest vocals on the new album come FKA Twigs, Phoebe Bridgers and Greta Thunberg across some of the 22 tracks.
Eight other albums debuted top 50 with two others top 10:
#2: Agust D with D-2. BTS member Suga (performing as Agust D) makes his first solo appearance on the ARIA Charts with D-2, his second mixtape. Suga is no stranger to the chart this year with the BTS album Map of the Soul: 7 landing at #1 in March 2020.
#4: KSI with Dissimulation. The debut album from the British rapper includes contributions from Offset, Lil Pump, Trippie Redd, Rick Ross and Lil Baby.
#17: Gunna with Wunna. US rapper Gunna makes his ARIA Top 50 debut with his second album. Tracks feature collaborations with Roddy Ricch, Young Thug and Travis Scott.
#21: Benee with Fire On Marzz/Stella & Steve. The new release is a collection of the New Zealand singer/songwriter’s two 2019 EPs.
#23: Caligula’s Horse with Rise Radiant. The Brisbane metal band reach a new ARIA chart peak with their fifth album. The new album follows up 2017’s In Contact which peaked at #50 in September 2017.
#26: Donny Benet with Mr Experience. The fifth studio album pushes the Sydney multi-instrumentalist into the top 50 for the first time.
#33: Custard with Respect All Lifeforms. Indie faves return to the chart for the first time in over 20 years with their third album since reforming in 2009. The Brisbane band has not charted since 1999 when Loverama peaked at #19.
#39: The Seekers with Hidden Treasures. A collection of alternate versions, live tracks and jingles recorded by the folk group is the first of three Hidden Treasures releases from the ARIA Hall of Fame members.
By James Manning
Nine’s leadership in primary and network shares comes off the back of three episodes of The Voice which started the week and was then backed up with returning round 3 matches from the NRL on Thursday and Friday.
Seven News was again the top-ranking bulletin across seven nights.
The channel’s next best was House Rules: High Stakes ranking #23 for the week with 673,000 and then The Chase at 5.30pm with 655,000.
Better Homes and Gardens was a timeslot winner on Friday as The Living Room revs up for a return on 10 making it three lifestyle shows competing head-to-head at 7.30pm Friday.
Sunrise was a breakfast winner too on 290,000, well ahead of Today on 203,000.
Primary all people 17.2% (Last week 17.7%)
Network all people 25.7% (25.8%)
Multichannels 7mate 3.3% (2.8%) 7TWO 3.2% (3.2%) 7flix 2.0% (2.1%)
The arrival of The Voice has had bigger launches, but it managed to win the all people timeslot each night. The series launched with 1.012m on Sunday and then did 951,000 Monday before lifting to 987,000 Tuesday.
A Current Affair lifted week-on-week to 767,000.
The returning NRL did strong numbers with 640,000 Thursday and 493,000 Friday.
No adjustment of the 60 Minutes overnight audience this week with the Kyle and Jackie O episode one the strongest in recent weeks with 697,000.
Primary all people 20.7% (Last week 19.3%)
Network all people 28.8% (27.6%)
Multichannels Gem 2.7% (2.6%), GO! 2.4% (2.6%), 9Life 2.1% (2.0%), 9Rush 1.0% (1.0%)
The primary channel ranked #2 channel in under 50s and 25 to 54s, #1 in 16 to 39s and 18 to 49s. The combined channel network share ranked #2 network in under 50s, 25 to 54s and 18 to 49s, #1 in 16 to 39s.
MasterChef was a winner all people and key demos on Wednesday and Thursday while the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday episodes were #1 under 50 and in key demos.
Also finding a place in the top 20 for the week was Have You Been Paying Attention? with 816,000.
The Project 7pm was on 559,000 which is down from 600,000 week-on-week.
Going out with its biggest audience of the series was The Secrets She Keeps with 548,000.
10 Bold was again the #1 multichannel with 4.2%.
Primary all people 14.3% (Last week 14.4%)
Network all people 20.3% (20.6%)
Multichannels 10 Bold 3.7% (4.0%), 10 Peach 2.2% (2.2%)
As some news audience pull back as the COVID-19 danger decreases, none of the ABC News bulletins averaged 800,000 this week after they have all been hitting that mark for a few weeks.
Next best for the week all came on Monday night as Four Corners did 655,000 and Australian Story was close by on 653,000 while Media Watch was next best on 599,000.
A memorable series climax for Mystery Road with 583,000 watching.
Primary all people 12.2% (Last week 13.0%)
Network all people 16.8% (17.7%)
Multichannels Kids/Comedy 2.5% (2.5%), News 1.6% (1.6%), ME 0.5% (0.6%)
The Bert Newton episode of Who Do You Think You Are? was again easily the channel’s most-watched on 364,000, albeit down on 416,000 watching Lisa Wilkinson in week 21.
A repeat of London: 2,000 Years of History did 282,000.
Primary all people 4.6% (Last week 5.0%)
Network all people 8.4% (8.3%)
Multichannels Viceland 1.4% (1.3%), Food 1.0% (1.0%), World Movies 1.1% (0.9%), NITV 0.2% (0.2%)
By James Manning
• The youngest ever and a former winner steer The Voice to victory
• Nine helped to #1 ranking with 60 Minutes over 700,000
• Sad social distancing farewell to Jess as MasterChef gets serious
Nine News 1,184,000
Seven News 1,169,000
ABC News 752,000
The Project 394,000/588,000
Nine News Late 501,000
10 News 335,000/269,000
SBS World News 204,000
Seven: The channel kept itself firmly in second place with two episodes of House Rules: High Stakes which included the final home reveal. It was the second double header in the past few weeks. The first episode was on 605,000 and most seemed to stay on with 597,000 watching the second.
Nine: The Voice had a number of notable auditions last night – one was the youngest ever from 12-year-old Emmagen Rain who ended up on Team Delta. (Interesting Delta reminded Alan Jones last week how she first wrote to him seeking career advice when she was just 12.) Later in the show a former winner of The Voice Armenia Masha Mnjoyan performed All By Myself. All the coaches responded enthusiastically with Team Kelly the new home of the international all-star.
After a launch audience of 1.012m a week ago, the second Sunday of The Voice was on 1.032m.
60 Minutes was also up week-on-week with 716,000 with no radio superstars, after 697,000 last week. Last night featured the amazing story of the Instagram lingerie model Arabella Del Busso.
10: The Project featured Lisa Wilkinson’s interview with Lady Gaga recorded in person before borders closed and lockdown started. The episode did 588,000 after 521,000 a week ago.
As we suggested last week all the eliminations on MasterChef Australia will now be significant as there is nothing but very talented cooks left in the top 12. The first of them to go was Jess who failed during a double ice-cream challenge. It was a very teary end to the Sunday episode with no hugs as Jess broke down realising her dream was over. There is just one more elimination until the MasterChef 2020 top 10 is revealed. The episode last night was on 979,000 after 941,000 the previous Sunday.
The MasterChef and Project audiences helped 10 to rank #1 16-39 and #2 under 50, 25-43 and 18-49.
ABC: The lastest Sunday night drama Operation Buffalo launched very strongly with 555,000. The quirky series attracted a crowd that wanted to see what was next from one of the creators of Rake.
Earlier in the night Grand Designs New Zealand was on 452,000.
SBS: The second episode of the repeat of London: 2,000 Years of History did 225,000 followed by the third and fourth episodes of The Clinton Affair on 107,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.7%||7TWO||2.8%||GO!||2.7%||10 Bold||4.2%||VICELAND||1.1%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||4.4%||GEM||3.1%||10 Peach||3.0%||Food Net||1.5%|
|9Rush||1.3%||SBS World Movies||1.4%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||4.2%||7TWO||3.9%||GO!||3.7%||10 Bold||4.2%||VICELAND||0.8%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||3.9%||GEM||3.6%||10 Peach||2.4%||Food Net||1.1%|
|9Rush||1.1%||SBS World Movies||2.3%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.2%||7TWO||2.4%||GO!||2.4%||10 Bold||3.4%||VICELAND||1.3%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||3.4%||GEM||2.6%||10 Peach||1.4%||Food Net||0.8%|
|9Rush||0.8%||SBS World Movies||1.1%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.0%||7TWO||4.9%||GO!||3.4%||WIN Bold||3.5%||VICELAND||1.7%|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||3.6%||GEM||3.4%||WIN Peach||1.4%||Food Net||0.6%|
|ABC NEWS||1.5%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.5%||9Life||1.5%||Sky News on WIN||1.5%||NITV||0.1%|
Friday Top 10
Saturday Top 10
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
Facebook Australia was paid nearly $674 million by local advertisers using its platform in 2019, but it trimmed its income tax bill to a little under $17 million through a reselling arrangement that minimised its profits to $22.7 million, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
Facebook’s accounts for 2019 show it booked local revenue of just $167.1 million, classifying it as revenue from contracts with customers. This was up from $125.5 million in 2018. Due to this recognition of revenue, Facebook incurred an income tax expense of $16.8 million in 2019, up from $11.8 million the previous year, leaving the social media giant with Australian profits of $22.7 million, down from $23.3 million in 2018.
However, Facebook does not record the lion’s share of its revenue made from the local economy. It operates under a reseller arrangement, similar to models used by other major US technology giants such as Google, Netflix and Spotify.
“The principal activity of the company includes acting as a non-exclusive reseller of advertising services to designated Australian customers. From, 2018, the activities of the company have expanded to provide contract research and development services for another related corporate,” Facebook Australia’s accounts state.
The accounts reveal Facebook Australia actually booked a gross amount of nearly $674 million from advertisers, but its reseller expense was $507.9 million, taking its advertiser reseller revenue to just $166.1 million.
Google Australia managing director Melanie Silva says calls for digital giants to pay the local media industry hundreds of millions of dollars for the use of content are based on “inaccurate numbers and unfounded assertions”, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
Silva, in a blog post, said Google made just $10 million in revenue from clicks on ads against possible news-related search queries in Australia.
“The bulk of our revenue comes not from news queries, but from queries with commercial intent, as when someone searches for ‘running shoes’ and then clicks on an ad,” she wrote.
“As we work with the ACCC and government, as well as with media companies to build out new solutions to derive additional revenue, it’s important to base decisions on facts, not inaccurate numbers and unfounded assertions.”
Mushroom Group founder Michael Gudinski is pushing to get more Australian music on primetime television, following the impresario’s surprise success with Anzac Day’s Music From The Home Front special.
“Nine wasn’t expecting half of that, especially as I didn’t deliver the line-up to them until the Friday,” Gudinski told The Australian Financial Review’s Michael Bailey from his Toorak home, in the lead-up to the release of a vinyl triple album of performances from the show.
“Good on [Nine chief executive] Hugh Marks for taking a punt. It’s been a long time since we had shows with bands like The Panel and Rove – and God knows we all miss Countdown – so I just hope I’ve opened some doors in terms of getting live music back on primetime television in Australia.”
With the sponsors Mushroom secured for the special helping give the artists their first paid gig in weeks, Gudinski called Music From The Home Front “one of the top five things I’ve done in my career”.
The staff from his Frontier Touring who helped produce Music From The Home Front have been kept busy with The State Of Music, an online series supported by the Victorian government’s $2.35 million Victoria Together program for digital arts content while live venues are shut down.
Featuring the likes of Paul Kelly and Tim Minchin in short segments cut together, it’s a concept Gudinski is trying to get the TV networks interested in as well.
A triple-vinyl edition of Music From The Home Front, with all copies signed by Michael Gudinski, is set for release on June 19.
Regional media businesses are pushing Communications Minister Paul Fletcher to urgently change laws to allow mergers to save journalism jobs following the axing of hundreds of regional journalists by News Corp, reports The AFR’s Max Maon.
Sources told AFR Weekend a raft of regional media businesses, including WIN Corp, Prime Media, Southern Cross Austereo, Grant Broadcasters, ACE Radio, Capital Radio Network, Broadcast Operations and Australian Community Media have been talking to the government and urging the removal of ownership legislation which does not factor in the existence of the internet.
It is easy to characterise, as some have, the impending closure of the print editions of many of News Corp Australia’s regional and community mastheads as a disaster for journalism in Australia, writes News Corp Australia’s COO Damian Eales in The Australian.
But doing so, to borrow an editorial term, buries the lead. It was a difficult decision, yes. But disastrous, by no means.
Certainly, it was difficult in the sense of the human cost. As with so much in the digital world, the stark reality is that fewer and different roles are required to produce the digital equivalent. Last week was therefore extraordinarily difficult for many of our people who are now without a job.
Ironically, those commentators that have been most critical of our strategy to sustain journalism in recent days are themselves largely digital media businesses, and beyond advocating that the First Estate ought to subsume the Fourth Estate, or insisting that journalism should be a philanthropic enterprise, they have no solution. In contrast, on July 1, we will have just under 100 regional and community titles through Australia that will be immediately profitable, wholly digital, and growth businesses.
They didn’t just bury the lead, they missed it altogether.
Mediaweek reported on the new digital strategy and talked to News Corp Australasia executive director Michael Miller about it.
The long and inglorious tradition of chequebook journalism in Australia appears at an end with Nine’s 60 Minutes dumping its talent budget amid the largest cutbacks in the flagship current affairs show’s history, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.
The Australian understands that Nine management has made the call to cut the budget for paid talent for 60 Minutes as part of large funding cuts to the program, which include travel, cameramen and other key staff as network CEO Hugh Marks finds savings worth $100m from its free-to-air television programming.
The decision also follows a series of disastrous paid interviews and payments to families in recent years, culminating in Sunday evening’s interview with NRL star Josh Reynolds’s ex-partner, Arabella Del Busso.
News Corp’s The Sunday Telegraph has denied it called the son of Kings Cross identity John Ibrahim a “mobster” or “Mafia figure” but says it can prove he is involved in organised crime, as it fights a high-stakes defamation claim filed against it in the Federal Court, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michaela Whitbourn.
Daniel Taylor, also known as Daniel Ibrahim, is suing the newspaper over a 24-page spread on the Ibrahim clan published on June 23, 2019, under the headline “Inside the house of Ibrahim: Unauthorised”.
In documents filed in court, lawyers for Taylor say the “special report”, which branded Taylor the “wise guy son” of Ibrahim, defamed him by suggesting he is “a mobster”, a “member of the Mafia” and “a criminal involved in organised crime”.
The newspaper denies any of those meanings were conveyed. As a fall-back defence, it says it is “substantially true” to say Taylor is involved in organised crime.
Tracy Grimshaw turns 60 in June and has been in television for 39 years, the past 14 of them as host of Nine’s A Current Affair, reports The Sun-Herald’s Michael Koziol.
She was only a few months into that role when one of the biggest stories of her career unfolded: the Beaconsfield Mine collapse. Like so many of the country’s journalists, she flew to Tasmania to report from the scene. And she remembers it like it was yesterday. “I was fully engaged and fully immersed and I had no concept of the world outside of Beaconsfield for two weeks,” Grimshaw says.
But the story we’re currently immersed in dwarfs all of that. As Tracy says, “This is all encompassing.”
Television newsreaders tend to get a bad rap in popular culture. The stereotype perpetuated from Frontline or Anchorman to The Newsroom and Morning Wars tends to range from dim and vacuous to cynical and self-obsessed. It’s always the dogged newspaper reporter, shabbily dressed and married to the job, who exposes injustice and saves the day.
Some might suggest there’s a grain of truth in that but, of course, that’s not the reality. Tracy is a case in point. For one thing, when there’s a big story on, she throws herself into it – whatever the personal toll.
“I tend to go for full immersion, and I get very involved,” she says. “I don’t advocate that, by the way. I think it’s probably just my nature. I tend to be able to empathise fairly well and be able to put myself in people’s positions. Fully immersing yourself in a story if you happen to have that nature is kind of unavoidable.”
Photo: Sunday Life
Tim Arvier, 9News US correspondent, has been detained by police at gunpoint while reporting on the riots, reports 9News.com.au’s Sarah Swain.
Arvier is in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the riots began last week over the death of a black man, George Floyd, while he was in police custody.
He tweeted: “Just been detained and searched by #Minneapolis Police. They cuffed my cameraman and our security but were respectful and have now let us go.”
Arvier said he and his crew, including a cameraman and security guard, heard gunfire nearby, as they approached a police blockade by car.
The city is in lockdown – but journalists and crews are exempt from the curfew and are allowed to travel across the city.
The trio yelled out they were press as they approached the roadblock.
With a shake of the hand 10 years ago, Melbourne’s bitter radio war between Eddie McGuire and Neil Mitchell came to a peaceful end – until this week when Mitchell labelled “Everywhere Eddie” a “world class hypocrite”. So will these old foes ever bury the hatchet? asks News Corp’s Alice Coster.
Neil doubled down on “untouchable Eddie” for being a “world class hypocrite” this week after he called out the Geelong Football Club. He said the Cats should have been more transparent about details surrounding the stabbing of star recruit Jack Steven.
Eddie returned fire, calling Neil an “over puffed windbag” on a “highway for clickbait”.
He likes the description. Eddie called Mitchell a “self-appointed self-important windbag” in 2010.
Mitchell told Page 13 he has been feuding with Eddie on-and-off for years.
His main gripe is that Eddie has a conflict of interest in his role as Collingwood president and radio host.
“From my point of view it is an intolerable conflict,” said Mitchell.
Eddie has his own view in this battle of the super egos.
“This caper is a contact sport, so he can’t complain if he cops a whack occasionally.
“I’m just a bit disappointed when people who should know better want to be part of the click bait generation.
“Reporting on that rather than the truth of a position is where many are leaving themselves open for criticism. Good journalism, vigorous debate and advancing the cause is what life is all about.”
Cast and crew on Australian film and television productions may be asked to enter quarantine “bubbles” before filming intimate scenes or fights and will be encouraged to self-isolate for two weeks after such shoots, under COVID-Safe guidelines released by an industry taskforce on Friday, reports The Age’s Karl Quinn.
The 42-page Australian Screen Production Industry COVID-Safe Guidelines document brings together mandatory government health advice regarding social distancing and hygiene and industry-specific recommendations, which are not mandatory or enforceable but are designed to enable production to ramp up with minimal risk to cast and crew.
Among the recommendations that are likely to be widely adopted are the increased use of plastic and bags to wrap sterilised garments and props, the preparation of individual pre-packaged meals rather than self-serve buffets for catering, make-up artists dedicated to a single performer, and zoned production areas with minimal crossover.
Visitors to set will be all but eliminated.
Big wave surfer Ross Clarke-Jones is taking legal action against the producers of Australian Survivor claiming he suffered a debilitating injury during filming of the hit reality show, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.
Clarke-Jones, who is named as Howard Ross Clarke-Jones in court documents, is suing Endemol Shine Australia, the production company that produces Australian Survivor for Channel 10.
He is claiming damages, loss of past and future earnings, and medical expenses after injuring his ankle during a rope challenge.
Clarke-Jones was paid $25,000 to take part in the series, called Australian Survivor: Champions v Contenders, which was shot in Fiji between April 29 and June 23 last year. At stake was a $500,000 first prize.
Clarke-Jones and the other contestants in late May last year took part in a challenge where they had to swing on a rope from one raised wooden platform to another.
Clarke-Jones was the third contestant to swing on the rope, which broke while he was in mid-air. He crashed to the ground, injuring his ankle, and had to leave the show.
In a statement of claim filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria, it is claimed Clarke-Jones, who lives on Phillip Island, suffered loss of earnings, as well as depression and anxiety, as a result of the injury to ligaments in his ankle.
The financial impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt by the AFL, with host broadcasters the Seven Network and Fox Sports withholding payment on their second instalment of the season, reports The Age’s Jon Pierik.
Seven and the pay television provider were due to deliver their second of four payments of the year by May 31 but the absence of matches has meant this will not go ahead. However, sources close to all parties said the payment could be made up in full – or in part – as part of a new broadcast rights contract, which may be signed as early as next week.
Seven and Foxtel had made their initial payments, despite this including only the Bushfire Appeal game and round one of the home-and-away season.
The AFL earns an average of $417 million a year in TV rights as part of its six-year, $2.5 billion deal, with Seven, Foxtel and Telstra, which underpins the entire competition.
Nine CEO Hugh Marks stands by claims he would have walked away from rugby league had Nine’s vision not aligned with the NRL’s. He also stands by the fact he would have battled it out in a courtroom if it had come to it, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Chammas.
In a series of meetings, ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys managed to provide a blueprint Nine was willing to invest in. It included a major reduction of costs at head office, a guarantee the clubs would be empowered to grow their own brands and a willingness to change an on-field product that had become stale in the eyes of many.
“I think it’s the best television sport, by far, if it is conducted in the right way,” Marks said.
Foxtel has extended its partnership until the end of 2027, but Nine is in no such rush.
“You have got remember we are still in a crisis,” Marks said.
“I don’t know what the free-to-air business looks like in six months’ time let alone two-and-a-half years’ time. I think its just wise at this point to pause and work out what the business is like post-COVID.
“To do a long-term extension now, I just don’t think anybody has the information to be able to work out on what basis you’re going to make that decision.”
ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys has hailed the revised TV agreement between the NRL and its broadcasters as “a very good deal, under the circumstances”, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Roy Masters.
For him, the word “circumstances” does not refer to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sport but a longer-term sickness – the unsustainable cost of sports broadcasting rights in a world where free-to-air and pay-TV are under huge pressure from streaming behemoths such as Netflix and Amazon.
However, the ARLC chief will not specify what Channel Nine, the publisher of this masthead, and Foxtel are paying in the revised agreement, citing “commercial-in-confidence”.
Nor will he compare the new deal with the 2018-22 deal, under which both broadcasters paid $1.8 billion, together with Telstra’s $20m.
He rejects as “wrong” the reported figure of $1.7bn for a revised eight-year 2020-27 contract, and said Foxtel had been awarded a five-year renewal for an undisclosed amount.
This long-term renewal, together with Foxtel securing the rights to HBO movies, means Rupert Murdoch’s pay-TV network has an assured future, particularly if it also secures AFL.
Nine has also done well, paying a considerably reduced fee for 2020-22. Chief executive Hugh Marks has extracted discounts of $27.5m for both 2021 and 2022, with an even greater unknown deduction for this year’s shortened season.
Nine appears to be the biggest winner. The network has won a significant discount on its 2020 payment, without committing to future years, as Foxtel has done.
Strong rumours have begun bubbling out of Martin Place that Channel 7 is seriously considering selling its rights to the postponed Tokyo Olympics now slated for August 2021, reports News Corp’s Amy Harris.
Insiders at its parent company Seven West Media say that the COVID-19 crisis coupled with a crashing share price has forced the almost-unthinkable move to dump the rights in an unprecedented fire sale.
Seven paid $170 million for a three-Games rights package back in 2014, starting with Rio de Janeiro in 2016, the Pyeongchang winter Games in 2018 and ending with Tokyo.
And in a stunning twist it seems Channel 10, with the backing of its US parent company ViacomCBS, is considered the most likely contender to snap up the rights in what would be the network’s first broadcast of a summer Games since Seoul in 1988.
A rep for 10’s Chief Content Officer Beverley McGarvey also declined to weigh in on the speculation.
“Network 10 will decline to comment on this one,” a spokeswoman said.