Thursday June 18, 2020

Brendon Hill
Brendon Hill on 3.30am sale of Bauer Media to private equity

By James Manning

• Plans for new name, New Zealand sales, portfolio review, returning titles

The deal to sell Bauer Media Australia and New Zealand was made at 3.30am Wednesday morning. Chief executive of Bauer Media ANZ Brendon Hill and his management will be staying on under the new owners Mercury Capital.

Hill managed to get a couple of hours sleep before he fronted staff to confirm the transaction at 10am this morning via an all-staff Zoom call.

Hill told Mediaweek he expects after regulatory approval is granted the transaction should close in about four weeks.

Mercury Capital has been persistent with its pursuit of the media business. It claim close to a transaction last year, but held off until the Pacific Magazines $40m acquisition was completed.

Hill wasn’t able to discuss the price, but if it was close to the speculated $50m for all the brands in both countries, it was a bargain. Bauer Media bought the ACP Magazines business for $525m eight years ago without the Pacific titles.

Mercury weren’t the only potential buyers with at least one group of off-shore investors getting serious last year too. “We have talked to anyone who was seriously interested and gone through the process with them,” Hill told Mediaweek. “Mercury seemed like a really good fit for us with the calibre of its management team. Bauer Media was very keen to make sure the brands went to a company that could provide the support needed to make sure they flourished.”

New Zealand-born Hill said the Kiwi connection was of some comfort. “There are a few Kiwis there. But a lot of Australians too, particularly at the Mercury business in Sydney.”

Hill and his staff have been through a lot over the past couple of years navigating a troubled sector with an owner that wanted to exit the country.

I am really looking forward to working under the new owners, especially on the innovation and diversification programs we have been working on. Mercury will bring a lot to the table in that regard.”

It was too early to talk about further investment in the existing brands, said Hill. “In the next few months Mercury will have some workshop sessions with our leadership team to further understand the business. From that we will refine the strategy and go from there.”

There is no immediate plan for a business name. “But we will need a new one,” stressed Hill. “It might be a minor thing. But with Bauer and Pacific coming together its needs a fresh start so it will be great to come up with a new name, a new narrative and a new approach.”

Exiting New Zealand

When asked about the Bauer Media decision to close down and quickly exit the New Zealand market this year, Hill said: “For me it was difficult personally.” Hill worked in the New Zealand business as publisher and then managing director for seven years before returning to Australia to take over as CEO 12 months ago.

I had a lot of good friends at the New Zealand business and it had a great group of people working there. However we were the only product in supermarkets that was banned from being produced, even though our printers and distributors were operating. The cash flow impact was very severe, and we didn’t know how long the ad market was going to be down because of COVID.”

Hill said the Bauer family did the right thing to close the business properly. “All staff got paid out and all creditors are getting paid out and Mercury can now sell those assets to new owners if it wishes. I am very confident those titles will be back in some form.”

Bauer Australia is still publishing New Zealand editions of the big five titles – Woman’s Day, New Zealand Women’s Weekly, Lucky Break New Zealand, New Idea and That’s Life!

There has been an active sale process underway for the other titles in New Zealand with what Hill called “a lot of interest”. That will be a decision Mercury will now make the call on.

How long will Mercury hold its magazines?

Private equity owners get in, work on the assets, and then get out. Hill has yet to hear about Mercury Capital’s long term plans. “From what I know about the company they do tend to hold companies for a long time as an investment as opposed to the traditional PE model.”

Magazine sector resurrection

“With all the major titles now in one place we can do a better job of marketing ourselves,” Hill told Mediaweek. “We are about to launch a ‘Why magazines’ campaign. That’s something that hasn’t been done for a long time and we can start conversations about the medium in general.”

Portfolio review

Hill said it was his intention to work with the current portfolio of brands as it stands. “However if consumers change their tastes and want to stop buying a particular product, which happens often for FMCG items, the company would look to close it down and start a new brand. We have to act like that too, even when it is tough if a brand has a long legacy. We need to make sure brands are profitable and consumers really want them.

Hill named of a number of new products the company has launched, but have found challenging to get attention in the media. “People still want to talk about the closure of Cleo. It needed to change and we tried to, but sometimes you just need to move on.”

Suspended titles Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, InStyle and others

“We are still aiming to return those titles in September or October. The ad team are actively selling those issues in market and there has been some good support in recent weeks from the luxury sector which is pleasing to see. As soon as the advertising returns so will the magazines. It has been very hard on the staff of those titles that they are not being published at the moment.”

Newsagent and supermarket activity

Despite the closure of many outlets including railway and airport newsstands, Hill indicated there had been strong demand elsewhere for the group’s titles. “It has been outstanding the stability of some titles through the crisis. The hard thing for us at retail was obviously outlets where people travel. We are lucky to have a high percentage of newsagent and supermarket sales. Subscriptions have also been very strong too.”

Podcastone crappy happy
Podcast Week: Dissecting Ranker, New publishers, Good times at 7am

By James Manning

• Podshape’s Morning Mantra, Scholarship winner, The Zest is History

Biggest podcast publishers: Quantity and quality

The May edition of the Australian Podcast Ranker chart was released by Triton Digital this week. The Ranker will now be released every month, this time coming out on the third Tuesday of the month. There were a number of changes including the addition of two publishers (see below) plus details of the number of episodes released across the month for each podcast and a list of the top 10 podcast publishers in Australia.

The list of episodes released makes for interesting reading. Here are the top 17 (podcasts on the Ranker with over 100 episodes) titles and the number of episodes released in May:

Nights with John Stanley 101
Jonesy & Amanda’s JAMcast! 103
The Ray Hadley Morning Show 105
Bob Murphy & Andy Maher 111
Fifi, Fev & Byron 112
Sky News – News Bulletin 114
SEN Breakfast 115
Rush Hour Melbourne 121
The Hot Breakfast 123
Mike E & Emma 124
SEN Afternoons 124
Ben Fordham Live 125
SCA NSW News 132
Whateley 144
The Alan Jones Show 159
Mornings with Neil Mitchell 162
Carrie & Tommy 172

See also: Boom! Casefile True Crime debuts on new Podcast Ranker at #1

Podcast Ranker: Top 10 Publishers as Audioboon, The West arrive

The Australian Podcast Ranker for May features a new Top 10 Publishers list as well as podcasts from Audioboom and West Australian Newspapers, who have joined the ranker for the first time.

The UK-based Audioboom offers US, UK and Australian titles, including Casefile True Crime, a cult-hit Australian podcast that deals with well-known murders, and is hosted by an Australian man who remains anonymous. Australian sales representation for Audioboom is provided by ARN/iHeartPodcast Network Australia.

West Australian Newspapers produces the acclaimed Australian podcast Claremont: The Trial, as well as The West Live Podcast and The Hard Ball Gets AFL Show.

See also: Podcast Ranker: New Top 10 Publishers

7am a good time for Schwartz Media

The Podcast Ranker Top 10 publishers list features a shootout from the major radio networks who have successfully been repositioning themselves as audio broadcasters and publishers in the past few years.

ARN/iHeartMedia topped the chart with 8.5m monthly downloads and 324 podcasts. If you factor in their new partnership with Audioboom those numbers jump close to 13m downloads and 550 podcasts.

In terms of the most podcasts by a single entity that belongs to PodcastOne who has celebrated their biggest month ever thanks to their 394 different series.

It’s certainly all about quality and quantity for the big publishers.

But quality is the main ingredient at 7am, the sole podcaster from publisher Schwartz Media, which recently celebrated its first birthday. (It’s an example of how young this sector when a 1st birthday is a celebration.) Schwartz managed to get a spot on the top 10 with just their one podcast – and 22 May episodes – which still managed to get over 1m downloads in May.

The average download per podcast brand across May for ARN/iHeartRadio was 26,000, while at PodcastOne it was 18,000.

Podcast scholarship winner


AFTRS, the national screen and broadcast school, and Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) have announced that Melbourne student Nicola Sitch (pictured) is the recipient of the CRA Podcast Scholarship for 2020.

The scholarship provides $7,500 to an interstate or regional student to relocate to Sydney to study AFTRS’ Graduate Diploma in Radio, which covers all aspects of audio, including podcasting.

Sitch will also complete a four-week internship at Southern Cross Austereo’s podcast network PodcastOne Australia later in the year.

“Nicola is a worthy recipient of the CRA Podcast Scholarship and we hope the experience acts as a spring-board to a creative and successful career in audio,” said Joan Warner, chief executive officer of Commercial Radio Australia.

AFTRS head of radio Fyona Smith said: “Nicola demonstrates a command of language well beyond her years. Her entry was sophisticated, articulate, highly emotive and deeply personal. She has an advanced understanding of the role of narrative and design in audio storytelling, her work is certainly one to keep an eye out for.”

SCA head of podcasting Grant Tothill said: “We’re looking forward to Nicola joining the PodcastOne Australia team in Melbourne for four weeks to put what she has learned into practice.”

Nicola Sitch said: “Receiving the CRA Scholarship has helped facilitate my move to Sydney to attend AFTRS full-time. I am also thrilled by the opportunity to intern at PodcastOne Australia, a network I have always admired, and learn via osmosis from the team there. I cannot wait to implement my AFTRS learnings in a professional capacity.”

Sitch’s ambition is to produce live radio, radio features and podcasts.

Zest is History launches

The new podcast The Zest is History is looking for good Australian yarns and is a side project from two media people. The hosts are Melissa Mason (managing editor – Sydney – pedestriantv) and Josie Roze (head of editorial pedestriantv).

The hosts put up a trailer recently to promote the new title, explaining in their notes: “What is The Zest Is History? I can’t be bothered typing it out, so just listen to this helpful trailer to find out more! We can’t wait to spin zesty yarns for you every week.” IN the trailer Roze said of the subject matter: “It could be old-timey or it could be yesterday.”

A Facebook group for the podcast already has 844 members and if offering plenty of content – eight new posts on Wednesday this week.

The first podcast episode was Gough Whitlam’s Dismissal – How Our Sexiest PM Got Famously Booted, the second was The Law of the Tongue – Killer Whales Killing, Uh, Whales.

Credit for the great cover art goes to Urban List designer Katie Mason.

Listen to The Zest is History here.

Podshape’s Morning Mantra


Your Morning Mantra is a short daily podcast, 1-2 minutes each, from Jay Walkerden’s Podshape that’s intent is to start each day with inspiration, focus and practical tools to set up your days for personal achievement.

The podcast is hosted by Jennifer Cray, a mindfulness life coach and meditation teacher who is passionate about living a ‘lit up’ and meaningful life.

Walkerden said: “Jen is just awesome. I first came upon her meditations a few years back online and knew that at some point we could share her thoughts and messages with the world. It’s a pleasure to collaborate with her on such a meaningful project.”

Cray added: “When Jay shared his vision of a daily meditation podcast for everyday Aussies, I was super excited. Here was an opportunity of a lifetime to share inspiration and practical tools on a large scale that both meditators and non-meditators could relate to. It’s an absolute joy to collaborate with Podshape on this awe-inspiring project”

Listen to Your Morning Mantra here.

Podcastone crappy happy

Nine Radio offers sponsorships across news, sport, weather and traffic

Nine Radio has announced a new commercial offering for its news, sport, weather and traffic coverage, with exclusive sponsorship available for advertisers across all bulletins throughout the day and around the network.

The move comes as Nine brings to an end its 25-year relationship with the Australian Traffic Network.

“Over the past six months we have been examining all parts of our business to best serve the needs of our listeners and our advertisers,” said Tom Malone, Nine’s managing director – radio.

“We’ll be doing more live traffic and more local traffic, with dedicated reporters in each market, so the reports are faster and more accurate than anywhere else.

“And the advertisers will be getting a better experience too, each report will be preceded by a 5 second brand credit, and then the client gets 30 second solus adjacency reinforcing the marketing message. We’re creating a premium environment to deliver cut through.

“Commercially, it also means the only place advertisers can buy slots on one of our four talk radio stations, or three music stations, is through the Nine sales team. We’ve built premium sponsorship packages across the day, and around the network, aligned with our key verticals of news, sport, weather and traffic.”

Richard Hunwick, Nine’s newly promoted director for sales – television and radio, said the opportunity for marketers was a powerful premium product for both brands on a national stage and within individual local markets.

“We have tremendous success with our existing commercial strings, but in making these changes we are giving brands a different way of cutting through,” said Hunwick.

“Exclusive sponsorships in news, sport, weather or traffic can be tailored to the client and make an excellent complement to our existing suite of recorded ads and live reads.”

Controversial Top 20 radio programmers list from Radio Today

Radio Today has revealed its always controversial Top 20 list of radio programmers.

Nova’s Paul Jackson lost top spot this year as ARN’s Duncan Campbell ranked #1.

There are seven brand new entries in this year’s Top 20, while it should come as no surprise that most entries come from the two biggest markets.

What is a surprise perhaps is that Triple M Melbourne connections have three of the top five spots.

This year, 11 of the Top 20 are Sydney-based while another seven call Melbourne home.

There eight entries from Southern Cross Austereo, six from Australian Radio Network and three from Nova Entertainment. Grant Broadcasters and Nine Radio are also represented.

Radio Today said the list reflects the overall influence of stations, talent management and direction, music influence, experience, market size, competitive landscape and the scale of the position.

Below are Radio Today’s summaries of the top five.

Read the whole list here.

1. Duncan Campbell

Australian Radio Network’s national content director Duncan Campbell has overseen ARN as it became the #1 network. Campbell’s storied history in the industry saw him launch the first FM radio station on the central coast, before stints with Austereo at B105 and Triple M Melbourne as program director. Campbell oversaw the launch of KIIS 1065 in Sydney, poaching the Kyle and Jackie O Breakfast show from SCA. More recently he gave 96FM in Perth a content reboot and facelift that has seen the station become competitive again after years in the wilderness.

2. Paul Jackson

Paul Jackson is of the most influential people in radio, having served as the group program director at NOVA Entertainment since 2010, with his title recently changing to chief programming and marketing officer. He has also held such roles as chief executive and program director of Virgin Radio, and program director at Global Radio. Paul was responsible for the highly successful launch of smoothfm and oversees the direction of the Nova and smooth networks day-to-day.

3. Dave Cameron

Southern Cross Austereo’s new chief content officer Dave Cameron has been with the network for more than 25 years. He is responsible for the strategic leadership content across its 78 FM radio stations, 10 DAB+ stations, digital and on-demand content, and is also a member of SCA’s executive team. Previously the GM for SCA Melbourne, Cameron spent 11 years as a programmer in that city and six as a music director in Sydney. He is often credited for the launch of Hamish & Andy, one of the most successful Drive shows in Australian history.

4. Mike Fitzpatrick

Triple M’s head of content Mike Fitzpatrick leads the content teams for the Triple M Network across Australia’s metro markets. He is responsible for talent recruitment, development and coaching, music and listener research, as well as overseeing the overall sound of the network. He’s previously served as content director for Triple M at Southern Cross Austereo and got his start as a presenter and music director at B-Rock FM in Bathurst.

5. Dan Bradley

Dan Bradley moved to Melbourne to become the content director at SCA after years of service at the hugely successful Gold Coast station 102.9 Hot Tomato. Bradley got his start at 7HO in Tassie, and had roles as music director at SCA’s FM104.7, Fox FM, and Triple M, before being snapped up by DMG Radio as their regional group PD. He was the founding programmer for Nova 100 Melbourne, taking the station to #1 within just 12 weeks. He is also the director and founder of Kaizen Media, record label Laneway Music, Active Instore and Purple Wax.


Read the whole list here.

Stan announces Relic movie, first of series of new original productions

Stan has revealed the Stan original film Relic will premiere on July 10, leading a series of brand new originals and theatrical releases to be announced over the coming weeks. 

The announcement comes following the record breaking release of Justin Kurzel’s True History of The Kelly Gang at the beginning of the year, which formed part of Australia’s biggest ever line-up of original productions over the past summer on Stan – including original series The Other Guy Season 2, The Gloaming and The Commons – alongside the recently released second season of Bloom.

Stan has a series of announcements on its forthcoming originals slate to be made over the coming weeks.

Directed by Japanese-Australian director Natalie Erika James and led by an all female cast spanning three generations, Relic stars Emily Mortimer (Mary Poppins Returns, The Newsroom), Australian theatre legend Robyn Nevin (Upper Middle Bogan, The Matrix franchise), and Bella Heathcote (Stan Original Series Bloom, Dark Shadows).

The Australian horror feature was written by Natalie Erika James and Christian White and was co-produced by Carver Films’ producers Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw (Partisan, Snowtown), and Nine Stories’ Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker (Wildlife), with the Russo Brothers’ (Avengers: Endgame) AGBO executive producing.

Relic enjoyed its world premiere in the Midnight section at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and currently boasts a perfect 100% score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The film was also programmed in the Midnighters section at SXSW.


Robyn Nevin

A thrilling tale that serves as a deeply felt metaphor for the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease, Relic tells the story of Edna (Robyn Nevin), an elderly and widowed matriarch who goes missing, and her daughter Kay (Emily Mortimer) and granddaughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) who must travel to their remote family home in the Melbourne countryside to find her. Soon after her return, they start to discover a sinister presence haunting the house and taking control of Edna.

Nick Forward, chief content officer at Stan, said: “Natalie Erika James’ extraordinary film Relic adds to our growing line-up of original productions with the world’s best writers, creative artists and directors. The Australian screen industry has experienced a challenging year, however, we are excited about a fresh line-up of Stan originals that is bigger than ever and working with the Australian production industry as we bounce back stronger than before.”

Relic Stan

Bella Heathcote

Natalie Erika James, co-writer and director, said: “I’ve been absolutely thrilled to be working with Stan to share Relic with Australian audiences as a Stan Original Film. Having made the film with an Aussie team in and around Melbourne, it means so much to launch on ‘home turf’ at the same time as our US release.”

Caroline Pitcher, Film Victoria CEO, said: “Natalie Erika James and Christian White are two of Victoria’s most exciting emerging screen talents and we’re thrilled that their debut feature will premiere in Australia as a Stan Original Film. Relic follows in the footsteps of another Victorian-filmed feature, True History of the Kelly Gang, and we’re delighted to see the continuing support for original local content which is fantastic for our filmmakers and for Australian audiences.”

Relic is a Carver Films and Nine Stories production. Major production investment from Screen Australia, in association with AGBO. Developed, produced and filmed on location in regional Victoria with support from Film Victoria. Distributed by Umbrella Entertainment.

The Walkley Foundation reveals 2020 Mid-Year Celebration winners

The Mid-Year Walkley entries are peer-judged and winners are selected on the basis of journalistic excellence. All the entries shine a light on great Australian journalism in their categories.

Walkley Foundation chief executive Louisa Graham said, “Our Mid-Year Celebration was established to recognise the work of young journalists and specialist writers not included in the Walkley Awards. They are not Walkley Awards, they have a different trophy, but they are determined through the same rigorous processes and according to the same standards of excellence and expert judging. To avoid duplication with the Walkley Awards at the end of year, we have taken this opportunity to honour one of our significant benefactors by rebranding these awards in her name.

June Andrews was the sister-in-law of our founder, Sir William Gaston Walkley, and now her legacy will be commemorated by honouring excellence in the craft. In this program, we also announce several awards we managed on behalf of other organisations, specifically Our Watch, Media Diversity Australia and the Geraldine Pascall Foundation.”

Annabel Hennessy from The West Australian was named the 2020 Young Australian Journalist of the Year for her powerful investigation Kill or Be Killed?: The First Chapter: The incarceration of Jody Gore”. This story was also the winner of the Public Service Journalism category. Hennessy wins a two-week trip to US newsrooms, thanks to the support of the Jibb Foundation.

The Walkley Judging Board, represented by Tory Shepherd, Stella Lauri and Heidi Murphy, found Hennessy’s entry stood out among a strong field.

“Annabel Hennessy’s work deserves this honour because it demonstrated true excellence at every turn. She discovered the thread of a story, teased it out, chased it relentlessly and brought it to public attention. Her storytelling was factual and compassionate, moving deftly between the human, legal and political elements of this story. And the impact of her journalism has been immense – a woman freed from prison, and laws re-written.”

The full list of winners is below.

Young Australian Journalist of the Year
Supported by Jibb Foundation
Annabel Hennessy, The West Australian, “Kill or Be Killed?: The First Chapter: The incarceration of Jody Gore
Thanks to the support of the Jibb Foundation, Hennessy will fly to the USA for a two-week trip to meet with BuzzFeed, The New York Times, Columbia Journalism Review and Quartz.

All media: Shortform journalism
Supported by ABC
Luke Henriques-Gomes, Guardian Australia, “Robodebt leaks expose botched scheme’s failure

All media: Longform feature or special
Supported by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age
Ella Archibald-Binge, The Feed, SBS Viceland, “Australia’s stolen wages shame

All media: Coverage of community and regional affairs
Supported by Google News Initiative
Sherryn Groch, The Canberra Times, “‘Culture of fear’: Canberra private school engulfed by bullying allegations

All media: Visual storytelling
Supported by Sky News
Marty Smiley, Jack Tulleners and Pat Forrest, SBS TV On Demand and Online, “Christian Democratic Party

All media: Public service journalism
Supported by News Corp Australia
Annabel Hennessy, The West Australian, “Kill or Be Killed?: The First Chapter: The incarceration of Jody Gore

All media: Student journalist of the year
Supported by Macleay College
Andre Nassiri, University of New South Wales and, “The dark side of Africa’s ‘poster child’” and “Who wins when Rwanda plays the ‘genocide guilt card’

June Andrews Award for Industrial Relations Reporting
In memory of Helen O’Flynn and Alan Knight
Supported by Ai Group, Unions NSW, ACTU, UTS and MEAA
With philanthropic support in memory of Emeritus Professor Alan Knight
Ben Schneiders and Nick McKenzie, The Age, “John Setka, domestic violence and the unions

June Andrews Award for Freelance Journalist of the Year
Supported by Media Super
Karishma Vyas, 101 East – Al Jazeera English and Foreign Correspondent, ABC “The War on Afghan Women,” “Afghanistan: The Healers” and “Behind Enemy Lines

June Andrews Award for Women’s Leadership in Media
Supported by PwC
Joanna Lester, Madeleine Hetherton and Rebecca Barry, Media Stockade, NITV and SBS On Demand, “Power Meri

Our Watch Award
Supported by Our Watch and managed by The Walkley Foundation
Nina Funnell,, The Mercury and NT News, “Let Her Speak

Media Diversity Australia Award
Supported by Media Diversity Australia, CoHealth and the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council
Mahmood Fazal and Rebecca Metcalf, Audible Originals, “No Gangsters in Paradise

Arts Journalism Prizes
Through the support of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, the winner of each award will receive $5000 in prize money.

June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism
Supported by Facebook and the Copyright Agency
Steve Dow, Meanjin, The Saturday Paper and Guardian Australia  “Stream Drama,” “Acts of Faith” and “A Buŋgul, a Procession, An Overnight Vigil

The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism
Managed by The Walkley Foundation
Supported by the Geraldine Pascall Foundation and the Copyright Agency
Mireille Juchau, and The Monthly, “How Dreams Change Under Authoritarianism,” “Twilight Knowing: Jenny Offill’s Weather” and “Missing Witnesses: Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children’s Archive

Top Photo: Annabel Hennessy: Young Journalist of the Year

Logie award-winning show in  Little J & Big Cuz in pre-production for season three

NITV, Screen Australia and ABC Children’s have announced that the award-winning animation series, Little J & Big Cuz is currently in pre-production for season three.

The new season will be broadcast on NITV and ABC Kids and have catch up available on SBS On Demand and the ABC Kids app as well as iview. The show was financed with the support of Film Victoria, the Tasmanian Government through Screen Tasmania, the Australian Council for Educational Research and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation.

Ned Lander Media, Media World and Blue Rocket will once again be teaming up with Aboriginal writers from across Australia and the voice talent of Deborah Mailman, Miranda Tapsell, Aaron Fa’oaso, Ursula Yovich, Renee Lim and Shari Sebbens.

The shows first two seasons has reached remote Indigenous communities through the creation of 11 language versions. Season three will see the creation of episodes in additional languages.

The show features Little J, Big Cuz and their friends who are guided by Nanna and Old Dog as they reflect Indigenous cultures and ways of learning through Little J’s world, centred around Nanna’s wonderful backyard and Ms Chen’s classroom.

Little J & Big Cuz director, Tony Thorne, and short fiction writer, Adam Thompson, join the talented team of writers consisting of Dot West, Erica Glynn, Beck Cole, Danielle MacLean and Sam Paynter.

The first series of Little J & Big Cuz was supported through development by Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department and the Australian Council for Educational Research, and was based on an Indigenous perspective on the Early Years Learning Framework, to build engaging resources to help Indigenous kids transition into school.

NITV Channel Manager, Tanya Orman, said: “Here at NITV, Little J & Big Cuz has a very special place in our hearts. The program plays an integral part in creating more representation on screen here in Australia, and giving Aboriginal kids a national platform to see their own faces and hear their own voices – something that is so important for our mob.

“Now three seasons on, we continue to strive to create relatable children’s programming that explores diversity, and celebrates the stories and culture of our mob to share with all Australians. The success of Little J & Big Cuz, reminds us that there is a want and need for diverse children’s content no matter where kids are tuning in from.”

Penny Smallacombe, Head of Indigenous at Screen Australia, said: “We are proud to support the third season of this incredible show, which has resonated with children around the country. The Indigenous writers and Indigenous animator, continue to entertain, educate and inspire young audiences.”

Commissioning Editor, ABC Children’s Content Mary-Ellen Mullane, said: “We are extremely pleased to be supporting the production of a third series of Little J & Big Cuz. Beautifully crafted stories from Indigenous writers across Australia, inviting children everywhere to celebrate the richness of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander everyday life: Wow! Shows like Little J & Big Cuz are game changers.”

TV Ratings Wednesday June 17 Week 25 2020

By James Manning

• Leigh Sales’ 7.30 ranks #1 in the early even primetime slot
• On the commercials, AGT ranks #1 ahead of Bondi Rescue
• Nine’s midweek dip returns, cutting into Sunday/Monday wins

Seven News 1,107,000/1,058,000
Nine News 1,016,000/940,000
ABC News 787,000
A Current Affair 664,000
7.30 580,000
The Project 315,000/530,000
10 News 398,000/259,000
The Latest 282,000
Sunrise 270,000
The Drum 234,000
News Breakfast 215,000
Today 208,000
SBS World News 171,000

Seven: Home and Away was back under 700,000 for its Wednesday episode.
At 7.30pm the channel launched season 15 of America’s Got Talent featuring the return of Heidi Klum as a judge alongside newcomer Sofia Vergara. The episode was on 525,000.
The arrival of AGT pushed back the start of The Front Bar with the show’s hosts making several references to it and the impact it had on their start time. Fitzy was a special guest, crossing to a donut truck the show had organised outside the Seven Docklands building. The episode was on 335,000 with 216,000 in Melbourne. The later timeslot saw the numbers drop from 400,000 a week ago.
Seven’s winning share hardly moved though, down from 21.2% a week ago to 20.5% last night.

Nine: Karl Stefanovic was hosting A Current Affair last night with the audience again just over 650,000 keeping it second in the slot, just ahead of Home and Away and behind ABC News.
Nine flipped its Tuesday and Wednesday line-up this week, yet Kath & Kim had an even smaller audience at 7.30pm midweek. The numbers week-on-week went from 385,000 to 333,000.
The movie Crocodile Dundee is often a Saturday night special, but in a midweek outing it did 243,000.
Nine still narrowly leads the week-to-date all people, but that will come under pressure across the next three nights.

10: With no more MasterChef Wednesday the channel’s primary share slipped week-on-week from 15.2% to 11.0%.
Bondi Rescue took over at 7.30pm with 486,000 for the first episode and then 433,000 for the second. The audience for the first ep was the biggest for the franchise in over two years. And it helped 10 to rank #2 in some demos for the night.

ABC: Actor Yael Stone was the guest on The Drum 234,000 with 475,000 at 8pm, down from 556,000 seven days ago.
The numbers then lifted to 517,000 for The Weekly. Ronny Chieng was the guest on Tom Gleeson’s Yard Chat.
At Home Alone Together then did 356,000, up from 333,000 a week ago.

SBS: The second episode of Tony Robinson’s World By Rail did 325,000, a big jump from debuting on 284,000 a week ago.

Week 25 TV: Wednesday
ABC13.4%720.5%915.8%10 11.0%SBS One5.8%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY2.5%7TWO3.2%GO!2.3%10 Bold5.2%VICELAND1.4%
ABC ME0.4%7mate2.9%GEM2.6%10 Peach3.0%Food Net1.2%
ABC NEWS1.7%7flix2.2%9Life2.1%  NITV0.4%
    9Rush1.3%  SBS World Movies1.0%
TOTAL18.0% 28.9% 24.1% 19.2% 9.9%


ABCSeven AffiliatesNine Affiliates10 AffiliatesSBS
ABC11.0%719.6%915.4%WIN9.4%SBS One5.2%
ABC ME0.7%7mate3.6%GEM4.6%WIN Peach2.4%Food Net1.1%
ABC NEWS1.5%7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)2.4%9Life2.3%Sky News  on WIN2.4%NITV0.2%
        SBS Movies1.1%
TOTAL15.8% 30.9% 25.6% 20.0% 8.8%


  1. Seven News Seven 1,107,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,058,000
  3. Nine News Nine 1,016,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 940,000
  5. ABC News ABC 787,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 664,000
  7. Home And Away Seven 660,000
  8. The Chase Australia Seven 644,000
  9. Hot Seat Nine 590,000
  10. 7.30 ABC 580,000
  11. The Project 7pm 10 530,000
  12. America’s Got Talent Seven 525,000
  13. The Weekly With Charlie Pickering ABC 517,000
  14. Bondi Rescue 10 486,000
  15. Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery ABC 475,000
  16. Bondi Rescue Ep 2 10 433,000
  17. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 398,000
  18. 10 News First 10 398,000
  19. At Home Alone Together ABC 356,000
  20. Hot Seat -5pm Nine 344,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. Bondi Rescue 10 143,000
  2. Nine News Nine 135,000
  3. Bondi Rescue Ep 2 10 130,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 129,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 125,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. Nine News Nine 261,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 248,000
  3. Bondi Rescue 10 239,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 238,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 229,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. Nine News Nine 327,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 318,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 287,000
  4. Seven News Seven 270,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 267,000
WEDNESDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 229,000
  2. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 172,000
  3. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 165,000
  4. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 160,000
  5. Nella The Princess Knight PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 155,000
  6. Neighbours 10 Peach 154,000
  7. Rita And Crocodile PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 150,000
  8. Floogals PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 149,000
  9. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 149,000
  10. Thomas And Friends: Big World! Big Ad ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  11. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  12. Rusty Rivets PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  13. Dog Loves Books ABCKIDS/COMEDY 136,000
  14. Little J And Big Cuz AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 131,000
  15. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 126,000
  16. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  17. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 116,000
  18. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  19. 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown (R) SBS VICELAND 115,000
  20. Go Jetters AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 113,000
  1. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 76,000
  2. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 74,000
  3. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 69,000
  4. Credlin Sky News Live 58,000
  5. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 52,000
  6. PML Later Sky News Live 50,000
  7. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 49,000
  8. Richo & Smith Sky News Live 47,000
  9. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 46,000
  10. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 45,000
  11. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 44,000
  12. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 42,000
  13. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 42,000
  14. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 41,000
  15. Aussie Salvage Squad Discovery Channel 41,000
  16. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 38,000
  17. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 38,000
  18. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 38,000
  19. Deadliest Catch Discovery Channel 36,000
  20. Ready Set Dance Nick Jr. 35,000

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

Why regional papers needed to go: News Corp boss Robert Thomson

News Corp global chief executive Robert Thomson says the shutdown of more than 100 print newspapers in regional and community areas in Australia in favour of a digital-only model was necessary to ensure the viability of the titles shifting to online, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

“We did have the strategic review, the net result of that, we’re suspending the printing of over 100 community and regional titles in Australia,” Thomson told the Credit Suisse virtual communications conference overnight.

“That’s not a decision that was taken lightly. It’s an unfortunate action, it’s a necessary action. That action was taken cognisant of the consequences, being respectful of the traditions of those newspapers, but also being very aware it’s all well and good to have a tradition, but it’s our job to fashion the future,” Thomson said.

[Read more]

Veteran AAP executive Emma Cowdroy to lead newswire for new owners

The consortium of investors and philanthropists expected to buy Australian Associated Press’ newswire will appoint long-standing executive Emma Cowdroy to the helm of the organisation, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Industry sources said AAP chief executive Bruce Davidson is expected to lead what is left of AAP – Mediaverse, Medianet and Pagemasters, while Cowdroy will be appointed chief executive of the newswire once the sale is completed.

Cowdroy, who is currently AAP’s group general counsel and has worked with the company for almost 20 years, has been involved in discussions relating to the potential sale of AAP.

Nine and News Corp, under Davidson’s leadership, will retain the Medianet, Mediaverse, Pagemasters and Racing businesses. Pagemasters is expected to be a smaller operation once News Corp brings subediting and production in-house later this year. The remaining businesses could still be sold, but there are no imminent plans.

[Read more]

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook to allow users to block political advertising

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revealed the social media platform is to launch a campaign aimed to boost voter registration and turnout. And Facebook will also be allowing its users to avoid the delivery of political advertising if they wish.

Writing in USA Today, Zuckerberg said:

Platforms like Facebook can play a positive role in this election by helping Americans use their voice where it matters most – by voting. We’re announcing on Wednesday the largest voting information campaign in American history. Our goal is to help 4 million people register to vote.

To achieve this, we’re creating a new Voting Information Centre with authoritative information, including how and when to vote, as well as details about voter registration, voting by mail and information about early voting. We’ll also include posts from state election officials and verified local election authorities. We’ll show this centre at the top of the Facebook News Feed and on Instagram to make sure everyone gets a chance to see it.

We have a responsibility to protect the integrity of the vote itself. In 2016, we were slow to identify foreign interference on our platform. Since then, we’ve built some of the most advanced systems in the world to protect against election interference – investing billions of dollars in technology and hiring tens of thousands of people to work on safety and security. We’ve learned from this experience and have protected against interference in more than 200 elections around the world.

The threat of election interference is real and ongoing, but our systems are more prepared than ever. We took down more than 50 networks of malicious accounts in 2019, and we’ve removed 18 this year. This work is never finished, but we’ve learned a lot and have adapted our systems to protect against interference.

By giving people a voice, registering and turning out voters, and preventing interference, I believe Facebook is supporting and strengthening our democracy in 2020 and beyond. And for those of you who’ve already made up your minds and just want the election to be over, we hear you – so we’re also introducing the ability to turn off seeing political ads.

[Read more]

News Brands

Aussie Larrikin shows Sky News audience loving local doco specials

The premiere of Sky News Australia’s fourth locally produced documentary, The Death of the Aussie Larrikin? Screened on Tuesday night with an average audience of 122,000 making it the #1 program on Foxtel on Tuesday.

The Rowan Dean-hosted program reached a total of 233,000 unique viewers.

Additionally, Sky News was the number one channel on Foxtel with a 4.0% share.

The Death of the Aussie Larrikin? was also the highest rating program on Sky News on WIN, reaching 115,000 viewers across the WIN regional free-to-air network.

The Larrikin doco follows the channel’s previous top-rating documentaries, Bad Blood/New Blood, Lawyer X: The Untold Story and MH370: The Untold Story.

The Death of the Aussie Larrikin? featured Dean speaking with Delvene Delaney, Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Paul Fenech.

Earlier this year MH370: The Untold Story Part 1 had an average audience of 175,000. Prior to that Bad Blood Part 1 did 122,000 and Lawyer X Part 1 did 103,000.

The Guardian: Petition calls for UK newspaper to be shut down

Local Australian editors and supporters of the woke UK paper The Guardian have gone to ground in the wake of accusations of hypocrisy over the paper’s historic backing of slavery – including the fact it was founded on money from the slave trade, reports News Corp’s Clarissa Bye.

The left-wing Guardian has editorialised in favour of the Black Lives Matter protests and even backed the toppling of historic statues in Britain – but now won’t comment after a petition called for the same “cancel culture” treatment to be dished out to it.

More than 11,000 people have now signed the petition, which points out the paper, which started life as the Manchester Guardian, was founded in 1821 using profits from a cotton plantation that used slaves.

The paper set up a digital green left platform in Australia with the help of former PM Malcolm Turnbull, who kept his role secret until this year.

But it won’t comment about its infamous past. Nor would contributors, such as Greens MPs David Shoebridge and Senator Mehreen Faruqi.

Editor Lenore Taylor referred queries to her London bosses and said global editor-in-chief Katharine Viner “addresses that issue” in a 2017 essay.

“I have not editorialised on the matter,” she said.

[Read more]


Kyle Sandilands reveals he’s scheduled for a throat operation

Kyle Sandilands has opened up about his health concerns again on KIIS FM this week, revealing he’s booked in for a “throat operation” in the coming months, reports

While Sandilands suggested the procedure was imminent on air on Wednesday morning, he did not provide further details on his health situation.

The topic was raised during a segment on The Kyle & Jackie O Show with their resident psychic Georgina Walker, when Walker suggested an “unlucky day” was looming for the host in July.

“I think I do have to have an operation on my throat,” Sandilands responded.

[Read more]


Hamish Blake reveals Disney objection to Lego Masters’ Star Wars episode

Host Hamish Blake has revealed Disney made producers of Lego Masters cut part of the reality show’s recent Star Wars episode because of his inappropriate antics with Stormtroopers, reports News Corp’s Amy Price.

Blake, who hosts the Channel 9 Lego-building competition, said the network had to get permission from Star Wars owners Lucasfilm and Disney to feature Star Wars on television, including having Stormtroopers in the episode.

But parts of the episode never aired after it was sent to the powerhouse production companies for approval.

Blake made the revelation during a virtual visit to the Queensland Children’s Hospital on Wednesday.

“They were really lovely and they let us do the Star Wars episode, but there were a few things I did with the Stormtroopers that initially we had in the episode which then when they saw it, they were like ‘no, you can’t put that on TV’.”

Juiced TV’s virtual visits are designed to keep spirits high at the hospital during COVID-19 lockdown.

Blake spoke to patients at the QCH for more than an hour on Wednesday morning.

[Read more]

Sports Media

Foxtel, AFL at loggerheads over broadcast rights extension

Foxtel has been unable to reach agreement with the AFL for an extension for its broadcast rights due to the substitution of games in NSW, South Australia and Western Australia on to free-to-air TV broadcaster Seven West Media, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Foxtel locked in a saving of about $90 million over the next three seasons of the current agreement through to the end of the 2022 season, while Seven will save about $70 million on rights fees in the same time.

But Seven signed an extension with the AFL until 2024, while Foxtel did not.

Foxtel recently signed an extension with the NRL until 2027 – an extra five years on the agreement in place – and sources said Foxtel was looking for a similar extension with the AFL.

However, the AFL’s agreement with Seven, which has four games per round but is able to substitute games out in particular states, is not seen by Foxtel executives as a good deal for the pay TV broadcaster.

[Read more]

SEN show Crunch Time hit by budget cuts after COVID-19

SEN’S award-winning radio program Crunch Time has been crunched, reports News Corp’s Scott Gullan.

The Saturday morning show has been dialled back by an hour for this season and will start at midday instead of its regular 11am timeslot.

Gerard Whateley will continue to host the show but given budget cuts and other issues surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, it has been scaled down.

Ironically a similar show on Fox Footy, which features members of the original Crunch Time team, has been locked in for the rest of the season.

Saturday Countdown from midday is a podcast style show involving Anthony Hudson, Mark Robinson, David King and Dermott Brereton, all of whom have worked on the SEN show previously.

[Read more]

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