By James Manning
Plus The Life of Brian, Nine’s new daily, Acast revenue opportunity
PwC marketing guru, Gruen regular and former TV executive Russel Howcroft is making an impression in the podcast world with his new series Brand New World. “I am busy,” Howcroft told Mediaweek this week. “But really good busy. To be asked by SCA to host this podcast has been great. Anything one can do to contribute in times like this you do.”
Launched just two weeks ago, the series has already featured the host with OMD chief executive Aimee Buchanan, branding guru Peter Field, marketing specialist Mark Ritson and brand builder Zoë Foster Blake. Of his talk with Buchanan, Howcroft said: “The media world is under real revenue strain. It needs calm heads, and Aimee definitely displayed that. She is a great leader.”
Howcroft is offering listeners learnings from academia and real-world practitioners. “The academic side of marketing is something we don’t use nearly enough. We had the rock star academic Mark Ritson, but also someone like Ken Roberts who is coming soon. He is a deep-thinking marketing specialist who has his own business. It’s great to talk to someone with an opinion based and research and analysis.
“I also spoke to Zoë Foster Blake who you have to call one of the great instinctive marketers. She uses touch, instinct and heart and it is textbook as well.”
When Howcroft got the call to host the series from SCA marketing boss Nikki Clarkson, he told her he wanted to investigate the business of brand. “Brand is the critical asset in the development and growth of business – not everyone gets that which is weird. I am interested in people where brand is central to their thinking.”
As to his other projects, why isn’t Gruen on air in a challenging time like this? “As far as I have heard Gruen will be back. It was the most popular series on the ABC last year.”
And how is PwC handling the COVID-19 challenge. “It is an amazing firm,” said Howcroft. “As a brand it has a very strong purpose – to build trust in society and solve important problems. When a moment like this happens it doubles down on its purpose and you get an amazingly energised organisation.”
Earlier this week Mediaweek covered the new Audible podcast series Nut Jobs from SBS broadcaster, reporter and author Marc Fennell.
During a Mediaweek podcast this week, Fennell told how he first became interested in the mystery surrounding the theft of $10m worth of nuts in California. “These trucks of nuts would just disappear, and nobody really knew where they went. One of the producers on my previous podcast It Burns told me about it.
“I have a slightly compulsive personality and I couldn’t stop thinking about the nuts, just asking myself ‘Why?’ I started investigating it and myself and some of the team from It Burns started Google docs about what the hell happened to these trucks. We then realised we had something worth pursuing.
“We were soon involved in a high-tech complicated heist which really excited me as a documentary maker.”
Although the heists started in2012, Fennell didn’t hear about it until last year. If you’ve been intrigued so far, you’ll need to listen to the series to hear Fennell on the ground investigating in California and you’ll find out if the nut case was cracked! You’ll get to meet some interesting characters too, including Rocky J Pipkin from the Pipkin Detective Agency.
Brian Mannix is a singer, songwriter, musician, actor, radio and television personality and author. He is best remembered as the exuberant front man of the very successful Melbourne rock band Uncanny X Men, who achieved platinum and gold albums plus top 20 singles including 50 Years – written by Mannix – which made the national top five.
The versatile Mannix has also turned his talents to the stage in the successful musicals We Will Rock You and Bad Boy Johnny and TV roles in Neighbours, Blue Heelers and The Flying Doctors and the movies Chopper and Bogan Pride. He was a regular panellist on Spicks and Specks and competed in Dancing with the Stars and The Apprentice.
His autobiography 50 Years will soon be joined by his follow up, an audio book called Hell I Don’t Even Like Al Green.
For the last three years Mannix has been one third of the popular Ruck ’n Roll podcast and now is launching his own podcast Life of Brian sponsored by Murcotts Driving Excellence.
The podcast, co-hosted by Kevin Hillier, will feature interviews (starting with Wilbur Wilde), plus a combination of stories from the audio book and Brian’s life.
A novice podcaster has secured six guests from companies worth a combined $2.5 billion, without even a web page or a single piece of audio recorded. “All I had was the concept and a powerpoint slide deck,” Darren Moffatt, host of the Nerds of Business podcast and co-founder of digital marketing agency Webbuzz said.
“I knew that to make this work I’d need some big-name guests, but I didn’t know any of them personally. I had to pitch them all cold. Nearly everyone said yes, so the response has been pretty incredible.”
Moffatt said a secret to his success was the unique structure of the Nerds of Business podcast. The premise of the show is to “solve the challenges of growing a business, one problem at a time”.
According to Moffatt, the name itself was also the key to getting high-profile guests on board. “A lot of the top entrepreneurs and tech founders are nerds at heart, so I think the name really helped get their attention. It’s a bit cheeky and fun.”
The roll call of guests for Nerds of Business is impressive with global head of growth at tech unicorn Airwallex Neil Luo, Fred Schebesta from Finder.com.au, Dr Rob Newman the CEO of ASX 200 company Nearmap, Pic’s Peanut Butter founder Pic Picot, Vinomofo founder Andre Eikmeier and Victoria Coster a CEO of small business, Credit Fix Solutions.
Acast has announced new updates to its Acast Open platform that will provide further support and revenue opportunities to local, independent podcast creators.
The announcement comes as the local podcast market continues to boom, with Acast hitting a record 25.3 million listens in Australia last month.
Acast Open provides a platform for new and independent podcasters to capitalise on the audience growth, while generating new revenue opportunities from ads via Acast Marketplace.
Johan Billgren, Acast’s co-founder and CPTO, said: “We launched Acast Open to put the same tools we built for the world’s biggest and best podcasts and publishers into the hands of every podcaster on the planet.
“Now we’re further democratising podcasting, opening up the possibility for anyone on Acast Open to monetise across any and every podcast player there is –they can start seeing financial payback for all the efforts they’ve made to build dedicated, engaged audiences around the world.”
Henrik Isaksson (pictured), managing director for Acast Australia and New Zealand, said: “More than ever before, people talk to us about wanting to start a podcast. Now, with Acast Open, we not only have an incredible, easy-to-use tool that provides access to the best tech in the industry, we can also tell all these potential podcasters that they could make money from their show. It feels great to be able to support local creators.”
Any podcaster opting into ads on Acast Open will receive monthly payouts, depending on the number of times an ad is served to a person listening to their show.
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age’s weekly news podcast Please Explain is going daily, rebranding to Please Explain Daily.
The expansion follows on from a trial during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The podcast joins the growing list of daily news podcasts including The Briefing, 7am, The Squiz, The Signal, Full Story and From the Newsroom.
Hosted by Nine newspapers’ Tory Maguire, with Herald senior journalist Jacqueline Maley and The Sunday Age editor David King also on hosting duties, Please Explain Daily features regular contributions from Europe correspondent Bevan Shields, North America correspondent Matthew Knot, chief political correspondent David Crowe, senior economics writer Jess Irvine and political and international editor Peter Hartcher.
“Please Explain Daily is an excellent example of how The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are always looking for new ways to engage with our readers and subscribers,” Maguire said.
By James Manning
All businesses have faced significant challenges as COVID-19 has impacted them in different ways. One of the challenges facing TV broadcasters was to keep their content pipelines open.
There were some temporary blockages in the system for Seven as COVID-19 spread, but according to Seven’s director of production Andrew Backwell, most shows are now underway and they should be able to deliver most of the 2020 schedule as promoted at the 2020 Upfronts.
Backwell is part of a refresh at Seven and he thinks the current team can deliver for viewers and advertisers. “James Warburton has brought with him some fresh air for this company. He has a very clear strategy and he knows what he wants to achieve,” Backwell told Mediaweek.
The challenge the broadcaster has had is that the production time for some of the new shows coincided with the arrival of COVID-19.
“Big Brother we managed to get in the can because the housemates went into their isolation before everybody else had to. We were also ready to start on SAS, we had shot the promo, and were days away from starting the series when we had to stop.
“We were three quarters of the way through House Rules and we managed to finish that. On Holey Moley [formerly Mega Mini Golf] we had shot for just two days in the US and we had to recall everyone to Australia.
“We were about to start shooting Australia’s Got Talent when we had to stop. That is a much bigger challenge for us because it involves bringing international acts. We will have to wait for international borders to open up.”
As of this week Backwell said both SAS and Holey Moley are back on track to be available for screening this year.”
“There is still a lot of good content coming and it has all been driven by James. He understood we couldn’t just rely on the same old franchises. He arrived and said we needed new content and he has invested in it. He’s very focused on that content and he understands that it is only content that is going to rebuild the network.”
The message from Warburton to the team is pretty clear. Seven has the AFL in winter, cricket in summer and the #1 news brand. Get 7.30pm firing again and Seven will be back at #1.
Backwell took Mediaweek through some of the biggest titles to come this year.
“We have the three biggest names in food who have come together to judge it. Manu Feildel with Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan. The format is essentially a world cup of home cooking. Our food culture is so rich with people from all around the world in Australia. The show will decide who has the ultimate food – it is Italy, is it France, is it India or somewhere else.”
The key to the show should be the chance to see the three judges working together. “It is great being on set with them because they are all friends. There is natural chemistry between them. What we saw during the shoot was fantastic and it has created a whole new dynamic.”
“It has all been delivered and starts on air soon. We are very happy with the way it has come up. It is almost an antidote to Married at First Sight. It offers genuine love affairs, a bit of Mills & Boon. We genuinely want the relationships to work. It is about going back to basics and helping couples finding true love.”
“This has also been finished and is ready to go. We have previously done separate specials with just guys and then also more recently with girls called Ladies Night. What we have done is combine them both together into a short run series that cuts between the guys and the girls rehearsing and climaxes with the performances of each. It’s a format that has been very successful for us and we have high hopes and we think it will deliver again for us. Look for it in a few months’ time.”
“That has also been finished and may get a run later in the year. That is almost a bit before my time.”
“The drama from Endemol Shine is in pre-production. They were close to start shooting when COVID-19 came. They will start shooting when they are able to. It won’t be on air this year.”
“That is all finished and ready to go so look for that in the schedule in the next couple of months.”
“That has been held up in production, but it is still coming. We will be waiting for its delivery. It is a co-production with the UK.”
The Daily Mail Australia has reached a significant milestone, becoming the number #1 commercial news site in Australia for the first time since entering the market in 2014.
In Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings for April 2020, Daily Mail Australia – with an average unique audience of 11.34m (-2.1% MoM) – jumped three positions to sit behind the first placed ABC News websites.
The #1 commercial ranking saw Daily Mail Australia almost 700,000 UAs ahead of its nearest rival, nine.com.au 10.67m (-7.7% MoM), followed by 7 News (10.64m, -10.2%), Guardian Australia (10.25m, -11.7%) and news.com.au (10.1m, -17.7%).
Daily Mail Australia editor, Barclay Crawford, said yesterday: “We never talk down to our audience and we are always listening and catering to their needs.”
Crawford said in just six years, Daily Mail Australia has carved a loyal and growing audience with a content formula of people-led news content and curation, along with a second-to-none distribution strategy.
Daily Mail Australia managing director Peter Holder (pictured) said: “This result is a testament to the hard work of our editorial team, which has not missed a beat or angle during this unprecedented run of news – starting with the Australian bushfires and continuing today as we navigate our way through these extraordinary and unsettled times.
“Whether it’s on the app, via direct access to our homepage or through preferred social platforms, Daily Mail Australia keeps its audience informed and engaged around the clock.”
In year-on-year data, the audience for Daily Mail Australia has doubled. In April 2019 it had a monthly unique audience of 5.45m and was ranked #4 commercial news site in Australia.
• Val Morgan Outdoor (VMO) Active network operating nationally by 15 June
• VMO Active has 4000+ screens in 770+ locations in Australia
• Research shows people are keen to return to gyms
Asia Pacific’s leading health and wellness organisation, Fitness & Lifestyle Group, conducted research to explore gym-member sentiment during the pandemic which revealed three in four gymgoers plan to return to their branch within the first week. (1)
“The health club environment clearly delivers many physical, social and mental health benefits and the closure of these venues has really proven how much we value the experience of working out together,” said Paul Butler, Managing Director of VMO.
In line with government health regulations, VMO’s health club partners are taking measures to help keep people safe by enforcing social distancing, limits on class sizes and strict hygiene practices.
“While we will update the market as we receive insights on audience traffic and engagement through our proprietary audience measurement tool, DART, we anticipate numbers will return quickly to pre-lockdown levels as more Australians return to their local fitness venue and further restrictions are lifted over the coming weeks,” Butler said.
To celebrate Australia getting back to fitness, VMO has designed a limited number of tailored launch packages which will be showcased to agencies over the coming weeks.
When fitness centres closed, VMO launched an online version of its popular Active Nation program, allowing media industry employees to partake in two free 30-minute fitness sessions per week, led by Fitness First personal trainer Kristy Curtis. The program also featured exclusive motivational talks from professional athletes, hosted by FAN+.
“We are pleased we were able to stay engaged with the media industry through our Active Nation program while gyms and health clubs were shut and are very much looking forward to welcoming them back into venues for group workouts soon,” Butler said.
(1) Fitness & Lifestyle Group Customer Survey, Q35. ‘How long after the government allows gyms to re-open, do you anticipate returning to train in your gym?’ – 57% straight away; 16% within a week.
Screen Australia has announced $2.1 million of production funding for 12 projects funded through the Producer Program and two through the Commissioned Program.
These projects include Shane, a feature documentary about cricketer Shane Warne, and Woven Threads – Stories from Within, a series about mental health for Pedestrian TV.
Also included are online documentaries Strange Beasts uncovering a tiger and lion park in 1970s Melbourne, and A Big Life about Australia’s femme and butch scene in the 1950s.
Screen Australia’s head of documentary Bernadine Lim said: “This is an exciting lineup of projects telling uniquely Australian stories across science, social issues, modern legends and even big cats, through different formats and media. It’s fantastic to support three co-productions which open up the teams to international opportunities in financing as well as audience reach.”
“The past few months have presented several challenges for the sector but it’s been great to see that many documentary projects have been able to continue production in some form, and we’re impressed with the adaptability and resilience teams have shown.”
Last month the agency changed the Documentary Development Program to be open year-round to increase flexibility for creatives. In the final round of development before the program was re-opened on 25 May, 12 projects received funding.
Screen Australia has provided a description of the approved projects:
THE COMMISSIONED DOCUMENTARIES ARE:
• The Science of Success: A one-hour science documentary for CuriosityStream, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Sveriges Television that reveals a series of new discoveries about how success emerges. This project is written and directed by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Annamaria Talas and produced by Simon Nasht of Smith&Nasht, the creators of The Kingdom: How Fungi Made Our World. The Science of Success is an Australia-Canada Official Co-Production with Intuitive Pictures, led by producer Ina Fichman. This project has also received principal production investment from the Canadian Media Fund and is financed with the assistance of Screen NSW.
• What Does Australia Really Think?: A three-part series for SBS from the makers of Is Australia Racist? and Is Australia Sexist?. This project will examine key social issues in Australia and the stigma that surrounds them. Producer Darren Hutchison teams up with executive producers Jacqueline Willinge and Dan Brown of Joined Up Films. This project is supported by Screenwest and Lotterywest and is financed with support from SBS.
THE PRODUCER PROGRAM DOCUMENTARIES ARE:
• A Big Life: A 15-minute online documentary from writer, director and producer Anna Brownfield (Wicked Women) and Poison Apple Productions. Exploring the life of Bobbie Nugent, a well-known part of the Australian femme and butch scene in the 1950s and 60s, this project tells a story of gangsters, sex workers, travelling side shows and Australian transgender history. A Big Life is financed with support from the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.
• A Plague on our Houses: A two-part documentary from Emerald Films and Possum Creek Films examining the factors that led to COVID-19 impacting the globe, which looks at the link between animal habitat destruction and environmental damage, and ‘spillover’ events that cause viruses. The series highlights a multi-disciplinary team in Australia and the US developing data linking human and animal health. The team is working to predict future events while encouraging change to bring about positive outcomes for global societies, and stop these spillover events at the root cause. The creative team features writer/director/producer Sally Browning (Project Planet), writer/producer Rachel Sullivan and executive producer Colette Beaudry (Attenborough’s Life in Colour).
• Bob’s Manual for Living and Dying: A feature documentary from writer/director Amiel Courtin-Wilson (Bastardy) which follows the final week of Bob, a 65-year-old Jewish American man with Parkinson’s disease, as he prepares to die with dignity by choosing voluntary euthanasia. As Bob farewells friends and family, his life is transformed in this impressionistic, unflinching meditation on time and mortality. This documentary is produced by Courtin-Wilson and Alice Jamieson-Dowd, co-produced by Chris Luscri and executive produced by Michael McMahon (The Coming Back Out Ball Movie) and Sophie Hyde (In My Blood It Runs).
• Carbon – An Unauthorised Biography: A feature documentary from Genepool Productions for the ABC, CBC and ARTE which presents the untold story of carbon, the least understood element on earth. The film will take viewers on a journey from the death of a star to the birth of the modern world, and towards an understanding of today’s vital issues of energy, climate and survival. This project is proposed as a co-production with Canada, and is written and co-directed by Daniella Ortega (Enigma Man: A Stone Age Mystery) and co-directed and produced by Niobe Thompson (Equus: Story of the Horse). It is also produced by Sonya Pemberton (Vitamania) and Lucy Maclaren (Aftermath: Beyond Black Saturday). Carbon – An Unauthorised Biography is financed with support from the ABC and developed with the assistance of Film Victoria and Shark Island Institute.
• Facing Monsters: A feature documentary from Beyond West and Veerhuis Pictures. While pursuing his passion for an extreme adventure, a man wrestles with the dilemma that what defines him could also kill him. The creative team features director Geoffrey Smith (The English Surgeon), producer Chris Veerhuis (Breath) and executive producer Frank Chidiac (Nippers). This project is supported by Screenwest and Lotterywest.
• General Hercules: A feature documentary from Toy Shop Entertainment centred on the remote mining town of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia where Greek migrant and local eccentric John Katahanas, also known as General Hercules, tries to change the system by running for mayor. The first feature documentary from writer/director Brodie Poole (Where the River Runs Red), this film explores the relationship between the local government and its residents in the wake of economic and political changes in the town. Poole teams up with producer Ruby Schmidt (Belonging) and executive producer Matthew Bate (Sam Klemke’s Time Machine).
• SHANE: A feature documentary about iconic cricketer Shane Warne, exploring his rise as a controversial sporting star. This film will chart the evolution of Warne’s career and accompanying lifestyle while exploring universal themes about national identity and a shared need for love and acceptance. SHANE will be a co-production between Australia and the UK. It will be co-directed and co-produced by Jon Carey and Adam Darke of Gospel who collaborated on Forbidden Games: The Justin Fashanu Story. The producers are Sam Griffin and Brendan Dahill of Essential Media whose credits include Beyond the Boundary: Inside the Battle for the Ashes 2019, as well as Gospel’s Dave Rowley (Gilberto Silva’s Road to Rio) and Eclipse Films (Finding Your Feet), with co-producer Rebecca Bennett (Ghosthunter). They are joined by executive producers Paul Wiegard, James Erskine, Michael Cohen and Andrew Neophitou. Madman are on board as distributor and Dogwoof are handling international sales.
• Strange Beasts: A short online documentary from Oh Yeah Wow that shines a light on the Bacchus Marsh Lion Safari, a lion and tiger park on the edge of Melbourne that allowed visitors to drive their own cars through enclosures. During the 1970s the safari was one of Victoria’s most popular tourist attractions, but since its closure it has largely been forgotten. This project is directed and produced by Darcy Prendergast (Monster’s Playground), produced by Rachel Gilkison (The Water Song) and executive produced by Cameron Ford (The Bikes of Wrath).
• Strong Female Lead: A one-hour documentary that explores Australia’s struggle with the notion of women in power. Writer/director Tosca Looby (Magical Land of Oz) teams up on this project with executive producer Karina Holden (Love on the Spectrum) of Northern Pictures. Strong Female Lead has been commissioned by SBS for its Australia Uncovered series, and is financed with the assistance of Screen NSW and philanthropy through the Documentary Australia Foundation.
• Television Event: A feature documentary from Common Room Productions that looks back at a 1983 telemovie The Day After which confronted the politically divisive nuclear arms race during the Cold War. This documentary tells the story of how a North American commercial network broadcast what would become one of the world’s most influential television moments. Television Event is directed and produced by Jeff Daniels whose credits include Mother with a Gun and The 10 Conditions of Love. This project is presented by Impact Partners and has been developed with the assistance of Film Victoria.
• Thin Ice VR: A 20-minute virtual reality project from Monkeystack which traverses the historical expedition of Ernest Shackleton in Antarctica, presented by polar adventurer and climate activist Tim Jarvis. Telling a story of adventure, leadership and survival, this project is written and directed by James Calvert (Whirlpool) and written by Ruth Cross (Recognition: Yes or No?). The creative team also features producers Justin Wight (Kokoda VR), Kath McIntyre (Risking It All) and executive producer Tim Jarvis (Shackleton Death or Glory). Thin Ice VR is financed with support from Torrens University, Microsoft, the South Australian Film Corporation and the Adelaide Film Festival.
• Woven Threads – Stories from Within: An 8 x 5 minute animated online documentary series for Pedestrian TV which aims to de-stigmatise mental health issues for young people, by sharing real stories from those with firsthand experiences. This project is created by the team behind the AACTA Award-nominated series Woven Threads: Stories from Afar, with writer/director/producer Michi Marosszeky and producer Paul Sullivan. It is financed with support from the NSW and Federal Governments through the Mental Health Stimulus, and AIA Insurance.
By James Manning
• When Poh wins so does MasterChef: 1m+ make show #1
• Next best: Home and Away, Home Delivery, The Weekly
Seven News 1,152,000/1,133,000
Nine News 1,110,000/1,015,000
ABC News 805,000
A Current Affair 752,000
The Project 375,000/618,000
10 News 418,000/293,000
News Breakfast 228,000
The Drum 228,000
SBS World News 184,000
Seven: Home and Away has slipped lower after 683,000 on Monday to 608,000 Wednesday.
Work on a charity home renovation continued with House Rules: High Stakes with 505,000. The challenge was outlined for the four teams taking part in the Grand Final.
The final two episodes of Bodyguard then screened with audiences of 282,000 and then 240,000. The Front Bar returns to the timeslot in some markets next week.
Nine: After A Current Affair began its week on 859,000 the Tuesday episode recorded an audience of 762,000 with Wednesday slipping another 10,000 to 752,000.
Taronga: Who’s Who in the Zoo was on 503,000 with the audience climbing slightly to 530,000 for Paramedics at 8.30pm.
10: Just when Poh looks like she might be on the way out, the superstar Adelaide cook makes a stunning comeback. She did that last night becoming the final MasterChef contestant to qualify for the immunity battle tonight which will decide the first person through to the top 10. When Poh does well so does MasterChef with the midweek audience pushing above 1m and securing a demo and under 50 win for the channel and the network.
Earlier in the night Nakkia Lui made lots of sense during her contributions on The Project. Courtney Act also spoke about Pride Week on Neighbours. The audience was just over 600,000.
ABC: Jacqui Lambie was the guest of Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery with 566,000 watching.
The Weekly then did 533,000 with Charlie Pickering doubling as the head of HR at the ABC.
At Home Alone Together then did 403,000.
Planet America should have attracted a record audience and maybe 335,000 is close to its best ever? The show did 283,000 a week ago.
SBS: Tony Robinson: Egyptian Tomb Hunting did 196,000 at 7.30pm.
A repeat of Mystery of the Northern Lights then did 170,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.3%||7TWO||3.4%||GO!||2.7%||10 Bold||4.6%||VICELAND||1.2%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||2.6%||GEM||2.6%||10 Peach||2.5%||Food Net||1.2%|
|9Rush||0.9%||SBS World Movies||0.9%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.8%||7TWO||4.7%||GO!||2.8%||WIN Bold||4.9%||VICELAND||1.1%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||3.2%||GEM||4.6%||WIN Peach||2.1%||Food Net||0.7%|
|ABC NEWS||1.3%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||2.1%||9Life||2.1%||Sky News on WIN||2.6%||NITV||0.5%|
16-39 Top Five
18-49 Top Five
25-54 Top Five
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
Seven West Media has been questioned by the ASX about conspicuous share price and volume spikes that have seen its stock rise by more than 50 per cent in the past three days, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.
The debt-laden media company has denied any imminent announcement despite a restructure of the network’s debt expected to be finalised soon.
The Kerry Stokes-backed media company has $569.5m in net debt (as of December last year) which, combined with drastic advertising losses and sports cancellations on the back COVID-19, has dragged Seven’s share price to record lows.
The share price dropped to 6c in April, however in the past three days SWM shares have spiked in price and volume, bouncing from a low of 8.6c on Monday June 1 to an intraday high of 13.5c on June 3.
Seven sources on Wednesday attributed the price rise to value investors buying up the stock after a sell-off of SWM by some institutional investors.
Nine’s Europe Correspondent Sophie Walsh (pictured above) has been assaulted during a live television cross in London by a man making motions to stab her.
Walsh had been speaking to 9News Adelaide’s Brenton Ragless last night when the man approached her and yelled the words “Allah Akbar”.
Walsh screamed out as he grabbed her, reports Nine News’ Luke Cooper.
“Sorry, I just had somene come up and try and… A man just came up and grabbed me. It’s okay, he’s not armed,” she told Ragless.
The man was then chased and detained by Nine’s camera operator, Jason Conduit, and other bystanders at the scene until police arrived.
It is unclear whether the man was armed with a screwdriver, however he has since been arrested for threats to kill and possession an offensive weapon.
Walsh remains shaken by the incident, but is unharmed.
“Nine News appreciates the enormous pressure our international correspondents are under and is offering Sophie Walsh ongoing support,” Nine has said in a statement.
“Sophie is grateful for the outpouring of support she has received from the public and wishes to reassure our viewers that she is safe and well.”
A second Nine reporter has been attacked while reporting on protests over the death of US man George Floyd, reports Nine’s Natalie Oliveri.
Europe correspondent Ben Avery was ambushed by crowds while on-air, reporting on protests happening in London on Thursday morning.
While speaking to Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon on Today just after 5.30am, Avery and his camera operator were grabbed by angry crowds and forced to flee.
“A bit of a clash with us here at the moment,” Avery can be heard saying.
“OK, guys. What’s happened, we’ve been trying to walk away from the danger here. It’s been following us,” he said.
UK-based distributor DCD Rights has confirmed new sales of its six-part psychological thriller The Secrets She Keeps, ahead of its US launch on Sundance Now.
The series was made by Lingo Pictures for Network 10 and has just finished screening in Australia.
AMC Networks’ streaming service Sundance Now has picked up North American rights with transmission starting on Thursday 16th July. The series is also currently airing in Latin America on DIRECTV Satellite Services and DIRECTV GO, OTT platform.
The popular drama series, starring Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey), has also been picked up by RTL Crime Germany and C More has secured rights in Denmark and Norway.
DCD Rights has already signed deals in the UK, North America, France and French Speaking Europe, New Zealand, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Israel, Russia, CIS & Baltic States for the Lingo Pictures Production, produced for Network 10 Australia, with production funding from Screen Australia in association with Create NSW.
Nicky Davies Williams, CEO at DCD Rights, said: “Boasting a strong cast, The Secrets She Keeps is an extremely well-written and suspenseful drama offering appeal for a wide audience demographic. We are delighted by the international interest this series has attracted and to be able to announce further sales in major territories underlines its continued global success.”
The Secrets She Keeps (6 x 60’), also starring Ryan Corr (Bloom) and Hazem Shammas (Safe Harbour), is an adaptation of bestselling author Michael Robotham’s acclaimed novel, which tells the story of two women who have a chance encounter in a supermarket in an affluent Sydney suburb. They are the same age, both heavily pregnant and due at the same time. Meghan (Jessica De Gouw – The Crown, The Hunting) is a glamorous online ‘influencer’ on the rise with an ambitious television sports reporter husband Jack (Michael Dorman – Patriot, Wonderland). Agatha (Laura Carmichael – Marcella, The Spanish Princess) works in the supermarket as a shelf stacker. Both women have secrets and both will risk everything to conceal the truth. But their worlds are about to collide in one shocking act that cannot be undone.
Directed by Catherine Millar and Jennifer Leacey, with Lingo Pictures’ Jason Stephens and 10’s Rick Maier as executive producers, the series is produced by Helen Bowden and Paul Watters and written by Sarah Walker and Jonathan Gavin.
Casual MasterChef fans could be forgiven for asking one simple question when the show’s three new judges were announced last October: Who? reports news.com.au’s Nick Bond.
Granted, most probably recognised Andy Allen, who won season four of the show, but food writer Melissa Leong and restaurateur Jock Zonfrillo were anything but household names.
Departing judges Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan had become the most recognisable trio on Australian TV – 10 was taking quite the risk replacing them with relative unknowns.
It’s paid off. Ratings during last year’s season of MasterChef slumped to as low as 366,000 viewers – this year, about a million viewers are tuning in to each episode.
Rugby league television personalities Bryan Fletcher and Paul Kent have inadvertently become entangled in the NRL’s Dally M betting scandal, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Chris Barrett and Kate McClymont.
Their names appeared on betting records provided to police investigating the use of inside information to successfully wager on Melbourne Storm’s Craig Bellamy to win the coach of the year award in 2019.
Former NSW and Australian player Fletcher and journalist Kent are both employees of Fox Sports which broadcast the end of season Dally M awards ceremony on October 2, three weeks after voting was finalised.
Last week two executives of sports data company StatEdge, which compiled the voting results for the NRL, were charged with using prior knowledge to bet on the result of the coach of the year.
The NRL had been notified of the winners in four categories including coach of the year just after 6pm on September 13 via an email from Ben Trevisiol, the general manager of StatEdge. Police will allege within an hour of sending the email Trevisiol and Joshua Wilson, the chief executive of StatEdge, started betting on Bellamy to win coach of the year.
Not satisfied with just beating the AFL to the punch in resuming its season, ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys attempted to ram home the NRL’s dominance by sabotaging the rival code’s broadcast rights deal, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Chammas.
The NRL, led by V’landys and interim chief executive Andrew Abdo, requested a “most-favoured clause” in its five-year extension with Foxtel that would have prohibited the pay television provider from striking a better deal with the AFL.
While Foxtel knocked back the clause request, which would have guaranteed the NRL received more per game than the AFL, it highlighted V’landys’ appetite to take the fight to the code that long regarded as the benchmark of Australian sport.
The NRL under the V’landys regime has drawn the ire of the AFL, which was left behind as the 13-man code returned to competition with record television ratings last week.
A battle for NRL streaming rights could be on the horizon after revelations an alarming number of young viewers are switching off rugby league on television, reports AAP.
Statistics released by Roy Morgan on Wednesday indicate that NRL TV viewers under the age of 34 have dropped 10 per cent in the past four years.
Viewership has declined across all age groups, but it is the drop in the young demographic that will be of most concern at Rugby League Central.
“Overall this important demographic comprises around 25 per cent of the 6 million NRL TV viewers,” Roy Morgan industry communications director Julian McCrann said.
“A further 25 per cent are aged 35-49 while around half are aged in the 50-plus age bracket. For the NRL to turn around the decline in TV viewership, it’s vital to find a way to re-engage this audience.”
The development comes on the same day it was reported the NRL would block Telstra from streaming its matches after the 2022 season.
Channel 7 has “suspended” its two main AFL shows days out from the season resumption with both Game Day and Talking Footy falling victim to cost-cutting, reports News Corp’s Russell Gould.
Game Day, hosted by Hamish McLachlan, has been a Sunday staple for 11 years, shown nationally and boasting big name regulars including AFL legend Leigh Matthews.
Talking Footy has gone through several incarnations since it was first broadcast in 1994, and most recently has been hosted by former Western Bulldog Luke Darcy since 2013.
In announcing its full roster of AFL games coverage of Rounds 2-5 when the season resumes on June 11, Channel 7 also confirmed the two main news and analysis shows were being put on ice.
There was no indication given as to when, or if, they might return.
In a statement the network confirmed the “the prevailing market conditions” had forced their hand.
“The prevailing market conditions that have severely impacted most sporting bodies throughout Australia have meant Seven has made the decision to temporarily suspend Talking Footy and Game Day,” the statement read.