By James Manning
• “We are always looking at how we can better serve female representation in sport on Foxtel”
The end of February and the start March are critical times for Foxtel. The business polishes off its two highest-rating winter channels and strategises to make sure as many people as possible subscribe, re-subscribe or add the sports tier back to their Foxtel subscriptions to follow the NRL and the AFL on Fox League and Fox Footy.
Long-time Foxtel executive Peter Campbell took over as head of Fox Sports after Patrick Delany moved into the Foxtel CEO role three years ago. Campbell doesn’t talk publicly much and never about sports rights. With Foxtel apparently walking away from Rugby Australia, Campbell wouldn’t be too far away from the action.
Campbell was Foxtel’s director of sports and Olympic Games for 13 years from 2000 and left the News Corp family in 2013 for four years to establish AFL Media. Campbell returned to steer and negotiate rights for Fox Sports in 2017.
Campbell put in a public appearance last week at the 2020 launch of Fox League, and today he will be present at the 2020 launch of Fox Footy.
Fox Sports’ two dedicated football channels have similar rights packages – they each have broadcast rights to every game of the year plus all the finals except for the Grand Finals. Fox League also misses out on the three State of Origin clashes.
Fox League and Fox Footy are both subscription drivers for the Foxtel platform, although not all those customers stay long term, instead dipping in and out for the respective football seasons. The Foxtel sports offering is even more potent now with the addition of Kayo which is rounding up sports fans who couldn’t justify or afford a Foxtel sports package.
Speaking to Mediaweek, Campbell explained: “Some people build seasonality into their subscription. They may not unsubscribe, but we would like to keep them in the sports package. What we have seen with Kayo coming on board is we can see easily where there are spikes. The football seasons really started in February with the NRL9s on in Perth, the AFLW and the AFL men’s pre-season and also of course the start of the Supercars season. It’s an exciting time of year.”
Between the four days of live games Thursday to Sunday, Fox League runs news and review programs with a bit of entertainment. “NRL 360 is the Fox League weekday flagship. Other programs include The Fan and then we wrap the week with entertainment.
“One of the things our team have been able to do is to make sure we have fun and put smiles on people’s faces– we don’t want to always be talking about hit-ups and yards. Matty Johns is key to our entertainment programming while The Professor has a new show this year – Narrow World of Sports.”
With the diversity of sports the Fox Sports channels offer, Campbell said: “Customer satisfaction, looking after our customer, and ratings are important metrics. We might like to have everything, but we can’t. The offering we do have is a comprehensive line-up of sport featuring both men and women.”
The growing women’s sport coverage has been drawing some big audiences. Campbell reminded us that the recent Australia v India Women’s T20 World Cup match was the second-highest rating female sports program of all time. The only event to pull a bigger Fox Sports crowd was Sam Stosur’s French Open loss in 2010.“We are always looking at we can better serve female representation in sport on Foxtel. On Fox Sports we are having a pop-up channel – FOXW – and we are very conscious of making sure don’t think it is just a stunt. It won’t be a focus for just that week. We are trying to put a spotlight on women in sport that week. Our commitment to women in sport over a 52-week period is just as strong.”
Fox Sports is currently in year three of a four-year cycle where it has been funded by the Federal Government to cover niche, under-represented and female sport.“We have to go through a process every year pre-submitting plans to the department for them to see what we are looking at doing that year. Then at the end of the year we put in another report dealing what we did. Over the first couple of years we over-delivered on everything we said we would do when we provide the year in review,” said Campbell.
With Fox Sports and Kayo now both an option for sports fans, Campbell is happy with wherever viewers choose to go: “My obligation and my remit to the Foxtel group is to make sure that the events that Fox Sports acquires, produces and packages is of the highest possible quality in a linear form for Foxtel and then for on demand viewing for iQ3 and iQ4 plus providing all that same content to Kayo, but packaged the Kayo way.”
The packaging of the popular Minis highlight packages are shared between Foxtel and Kayo to make sure the same packages are available to Foxtel and Kayo customers.
Fox Sports can usually manage the load of carrying all the live sport available, but Campbell noted: “When we are full, then Kayo can carry those additional feeds live.”
Viewers addicted to the “no ad breaks during play” strategy from Fox Sports have no cause for concern the strategy might change. “We are blessed by amazing commercial partners who want to invest in Fox Sports. Those partners understand our ad-free during play proposition to viewers. That gives us an opportunity to integrate those partners into live play with some branding, using different things. In the cricket for example Toyota gets naming rights of the Flying Fox, or maybe McDonald’s and the scorecards.”
Follow @mediaweekAUS on Twitter for detailed TV sports ratings every weekend
News Corp Australia and software platform Telaria have partnered to develop an Australian-first cost-per-completed-view (CPCV) programmatic solution for video.
The first-to-market, guaranteed CPCV performance based solution for programmatic video using the OpenRTB (real-time bidding) protocol, allows video inventory to be traded via a client’s demand-side platform.
News Corp Australia’s digital network reaches 12.8 million Australians. It is the leading premium publisher for online short-form video – producing more than 70m content streams a month.
As marketers increasingly invest in programmatic video, measurement criteria for this format will mature from viewability and completion rate benchmarks to performance-based models.
Jason Denny, general manager, commercial operations at News Corp Australia, said: “This capability demonstrates to clients the effectiveness of our video solutions through performance-based buying metrics.
“Our solution with Telaria provides our advertising partners with something the walled gardens of the digital platforms cannot – an efficient trading solution with independently verifiable performance measurement in a premium, trusted and brand-safe environment.”
James Young, GM Australia at Telaria, said, “For the programmatic video industry to mature, the availability of performance-based metrics from which advertisers can plan and measure their campaigns is a necessity. The ability to offer CPCV measurement will allow publishers to be more flexible with their offerings and further optimise yield for their premium inventory.”
delicious. launched it’s inaugural American Express delicious. Month Out festival on Friday night with the event set to take over Sydney throughout March.
The retail-centric program is designed to encourage consumers to support venues and businesses with special offers, experiences and free activations to highlight local precincts throughout the City of Sydney.
The event was held at Barangaroo House with each level offering a unique experience that started with House Bar, on the ground floor hosting a Party Starter.
On level 1 Barangaroo House’s flagship restaurant Bea hosted a VIP dinner which started with guests being welcomed with a seafood station paired with Veuve Clicquot. The entree on the evening was bread with house made butter, glazed beetroot with pepita and sorrel, stracciatella with broad beans and mint tuna tartare with jalapeno and lime paired with a 2014 Petaluma Hanlin Hill Riesling. For mains guests dined on grilled striploin with dijon and salsa verde, crushed kipfler with green shallot dressing, and butterleaf salad with chardonnay dressing paired with a 2017 Petaluma B&V Vineyard Shiraz.
The night ended on the top floor of Barangaroo House at Smoke on level 2 which hosted a one-night-only Veuve Clicquot pop-up bar which also offered the nights desert a Milo mini magnum which was paired with a 2010 Petaluma Essence Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc Semillon.
Some of the people in attendance included:
Kerrie McCallum, Editor-in-chief, delicious
Fiona Nilsson, Director of Food Corp, News Corp Australia
Julian Delany, Managing Director, News DNA
Damian Eales, Chief Operating Officer, Publishing, News Corp Australia
Lou Barrett, Managing Director, National Sales, News Corp Australia
Mick Carroll, Editor, The Sunday Telegraph
Edwina McCann, Editorial Director, Vogue Australia, Vogue Living and GQ Australia
Bettina Brown, General Manager, Consumer Marketing, News Corp Australia
Naysla Edwards, Vice President Brand, Charge Cards and Experiences, American Express
Corrina Davison, Managing Director, American Express Australia & New Zealand
Jee Moon, Vice President Marketing American Express
Councillor Jess Miller, City of Sydney
Councillor Angela Vithoulkas, City of Sydney
Darren Robertson and Magdalena Roze
Hayden Quinn and Jax Raynor
As well as offers running all month, each Thursday night in March delicious. and American Express, with the support of the City of Sydney, will activate across three precincts within the City of Sydney – the CBD (Thursday, March 5), Surry Hills (Thursday, March 12) and Potts Point (Thursday, March 19). A special event will also be held in Parramatta on Thursday, March 26.
Restaurants already registered to participate during the month include: Cho Cho San, Bennelong, Mary’s Underground, The Apollo, Nomad Up the Road, Nour and Firedoor.
Matt Moran said: “I’m really excited to be part of this great new campaign that spotlights local precincts to get people out and about and enjoying some of our city’s amazing dining experiences. ”
delicious. Editor-in-Chief Kerrie McCallum said: “American Express delicious. Month Out is a really exciting initiative for delicious. The hospitality industry has been under pressure over the last couple of years, so with the help of our partners at American Express, the City of Sydney and our network of industry contributors, who are all still very much at the forefront of the dining scene in Australia, we look forward to injecting energy into a diverse range of venues across Sydney. There will be something for everyone, with great dining experiences and unique offers that encourage consumers to get out and eat out as much as possible throughout March.”
For entry to the American Express Lounges, card members simply present their cards at the door. Diners without an American Express card are also welcome to attend by registering up to two weeks in advance at www.amexinvites.com.au.
Top Photo: Kerrie McCallum, Matt Moran, Fiona Nilsson
Nine has now won the first three weeks of the survey year and has been ranked #1 for the past six weeks since the start of the Australian Open.
The program still securing Nine’s leadership status is Married At First Sight which held the top four spots of the week 9 rankings with all episodes over 1m and a high of 1.205m for the Sunday episode.
Nine News bulletins also made the top 10 while both 60 Minutes and A Current Affair were top 20.
Nine had the No. 1 primetime network commercial share across the following key demographics: People 25-54s (40.6%), People 16-39s (38.9%) and Grocery Shopper with Child (41.6%). Nine won Total People with a share of 40.0%.
Seven’s share was also down this week, mainly because it didn’t have another dominant Sunday event like the Fire Fight Australia Concert. The channel’s best was Seven News with the weekday bulletins and the Sunday bulletin in the top 10.
Rebel Wilson’s Pooch Perfect was next best and just missed the top 20, ranking #21 for the week with 624,000.
The Friday night AFL State of Origin charity match for bushfire relief did well too with 607,000.
Sunrise continues to be the clear breakfast favourite with 266,000 last week to Today’s 196,000.
10’s share lifted marginally from 10.6% to 11.2%. The channel’s best was the return of Gogglebox with 685,000 watching on Thursday night to rank the episode #15 for the week.
Next best were the week’s three episodes of Australian Survivor: All Stars with the highest ranking #17 with 647,000 while the other two made the top 30.
Across the week, 10 had four of the top 10 shows in under 50s and all key age groups (25 to 54s, 16 to 39s and 18 to 49s), thanks to Australian Survivor: All Stars, which had its biggest audience of the season on Monday, and the return of Gogglebox.
Network 10 and 10 grew their audiences 17% and 12% respectively, compared with the same week last year, with 10 Bold growing 20% and 10 Peach lifting 34%. 10 Bold has now achieved 56 consecutive weeks of year-on-year growth.
ABC share lifted 0.8 for the week thanks to a big Monday share of 18.3%. Not surprisingly the channel’s top three shows last week were all part of that Monday line-up: Four Corners on 794,000, Media Watch on 764,000 and Australian Story on 732,000.
Share was also bigger this week thanks to the audiences watching live coverage of the Mardi Gras with an audience close to 270,000. Although Saturday share of 10.0% was SBS’s best for a long time, it didn’t deliver the channel’s biggest audiences of the week. That honour again goes to Great Railway Journeys of Australia with 334,000 watching on Tuesday.
Digital news media audiences have grown by 1% year on year as Australia’s news media audience demand for trusted, premium news and information continues.
Across measured digital platforms news media reaches 15.64 million Australians, representing 83% of the population aged 14+, the latest emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) data for December 2019 shows.
Australian news media across print and digital platforms reaches nine in ten Australians (94%), or 17.6 million people aged 14+. Print audiences remain strong with 12.86 million, or seven in ten Australians (69%), choosing print news formats.
NewsMediaWorks CEO, Peter Miller, said: “Australia’s devastating bushfires during the end of last year see readers turn to news media brands as trusted sources of news and information. The continued growth in digital audiences and the strength of print audiences demonstrates that there is no more trusted media channel in the country than news media, in both print and digital channels.
“News media is able to attract and retain large, valuable audiences due to the premium environment that news media delivers. Plus, our AdTrust research has proven that trust in content and ads increases consumer intent to purchase, which provides a powerful return on investment to advertisers.”
The top 10 most read mastheads in Australia continue to deliver large and influential audiences. As these mastheads add new ways to talk to audiences, they continue to grow their ability to reach Australians at scale.
• Singles: #1 The Weeknd, highest new entry, The Weeknd
Another week with little new music managing to find its way even close to the top and four new arrivals into the top 50.
The Weeknd has spent another week on top giving Blinding Lights its sixth week at #1. Ironically the highest new entry into the chart, and just missing a top 10 debut, was also from The Weeknd, with After Hours entering the chart at #11.
On from BTS was the next best in terms of new arrivals with a chart debut at #29. It is a track from the fourth album from the Korean superstars and the album features a version of the single featuring Sia. The band performed the new single inside New York’s Grand Central Station last week during a performance on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show.
Two more artists managed to debut just outside the top 40:
#42 Lil Mosey with Blueberry Faygo. An American rapper, singer and songwriter from Seattle, Washington known to his family as Lathan Moses Echols.
#43 Endor with Pump It Up. A remix release from the British DJ which has already raced to 40m streams globally.
No shortage of newcomers at the top of the album chart with four new arrivals holding down the top four spots this week – three of them metal acts. The differences between the top of the two charts regarding longevity are substantial.
The top four singles this week have been hovering around the chart for a combined 71 weeks. The top albums have been charting for a combined…four weeks!
Those newcomers are:
#1 BTS with Map of the Soul 7. The seventh album from the Korean superstars (fourth sung in Korean). The band has just postponed a string of April dates in the South Korean capital’s Olympic Stadium because of coronavirus concerns. This is their second #1ARIA album.
#2 The Amity Affliction with Everyone Loves You…Once You Leave Them. The seventh album from Gympie’s finest and it could be the first of the last five releases not to go #1 if it doesn’t creep higher which would be unlikely given the way albums shoot up and then down the chart.
#3 Polaris with The Death of Me. More metal new this week, this time from the Sydney band Polaris with their second album.
#4 Ozzy Osbourne with Ordinary Man. The 12th solo album (and first in a decade) from the British music legend and the first apparently made while completely sober! Also the first solo album from Ozzy in the top 10.
Of the four other newcomers this week, one of them made it into the top 10:
#10 Grimes with Miss Anthropocene
#35 King Krule with Man Alive!
#39 A Boogie wit da Hoodie with Artist 2.0
#48 John Farnham with Greatest Hits
By James Manning
• ‘You’re embarrassing everyone here’: Stinky end to poo scandal
• MAFS couple depart as Nine share the best since Aust Open
• Best of the rest: 60 Minutes, Grand Designs and Stateless debut
Nine viewers saw Haley and David depart Married At First Sight last night as the experts intervened to rid the program of the stink surrounding the poo scandal. The episode had an audience of 1.184m, slightly below last week’s season best of 1.205m.
Later in the night 60 Minutes saw Sarah Abo reporting on the controversial Tamborine Mountain High School principal while Karl Stefanovic investigated a case of sexual misconduct and violence against Chanel Miller by a champion athlete. The episode did 902,000 which is its best this year.
The Sunday Project did 362,000 for 10, with guests including NSW politician Andrew Constance and 10 dancer Claudia Karvan.
Dancing with the Stars featured Latin Week with Beau Ryan and dance partner Megan Wragg saying adios to their dancing dreams, leaving seven couples remaining in the competition. The start of the episode averaged 417,000, then 410,000 saw the elimination.
On My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals it was the third elimination cook off in the series with 482,000 watching, the first Sunday audience in three weeks. The best the series did last week was 489,000 on Monday.
The Good Doctor followed with 331,000 after 390,000 on Sunday a week ago.
ABC’s FTA screening of the UK home building series Grand Designs continues to do solid numbers on Sunday nights after the ABC News. The News was on 708,000 last night which then became 518,000 for Grand Designs. The London home build last night ranked second in the slot behind MAFS.
After 8.30pm the premiere of Stateless did 441,000 which secured it a spot in the top 10 and it ranked second in the timeslot behind 60 Minutes. Producer Tony Ayres and Matchbox Pictures assembled an incredible cast – expect it to do well also on ABC iview and then later in the year globally on Netflix.
Michael Palin in North Korea managed to rank top 20 for SBS with 257,000 watching.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.5%||7TWO||3.2%||GO!||3.5%||10 Bold||3.7%||VICELAND||1.2%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||4.5%||GEM||2.2%||10 Peach||2.9%||Food Net||1.1%|
|SBS World Movies||1.0%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||4.1%||7TWO||3.6%||GO!||4.5%||10 Bold||4.4%||VICELAND||0.9%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||2.0%||GEM||4.4%||10 Peach||3.3%||Food Net||1.1%|
|SBS World Movies||0.7%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.6%||7TWO||2.8%||GO!||3.6%||10 Bold||3.6%||VICELAND||0.8%|
|ABC ME||0.3%||7mate||3.1%||GEM||2.1%||10 Peach||2.5%||Food Net||0.9%|
|SBS World Movies||1.4%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.8%||7TWO||3.6%||GO!||5.3%||WIN Bold||4.3%||VICELAND||1.3%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||3.9%||GEM||2.3%||WIN Peach||1.6%||Food Net||0.6%|
|ABC NEWS||1.2%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.8%||9Life||1.7%||Sky News on WIN||1.2%||NITV||0.0%|
|SUNDAY METRO ALL TV|
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
Former Seven West Media boss David Leckie is back in the fold with the network, reports Sydney Confidential.
Four years after the high-profile media executive left Seven, the Daily Telegraph column reports Leckie has been brought in by new chief executive James Warburton on a consultancy basis.
The consulting work will not require Leckie to be in the office and it is understood to be a few hours per week.
The paper has reported Warburton has consulted Leckie since he began his top position with the broadcaster in August.
The new relationship is understood to have been formalised after those initial conversations with Leckie advising Warburton on key programming decisions.
Warburton said: I’ve been speaking to him regularly since I returned to Seven and have formalised those conversations into a part-time consulting role, where David can act in a mentoring capacity to a small number of key executives in the business.”
Leckie stood down as Seven West Media CEO in 2012 and was replaced by Tim Worner.
Seven West Media is preparing for coronavirus to force the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics in what would be a financial disaster for the network amid struggling ratings and growing debt, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.
Seven West Media paid around $200m for the rights to the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Olympics and has based its entire 2020 strategy on ratings and advertising around the Tokyo Games.
Barry O’Brien, founding chairman of advertising group Atomic 212, estimated the sponsorship deals for Seven were worth “$90 to $100m.”
However he doubted the Games would be cancelled. “I think it’s highly unlikely that they don’t go ahead. The Japanese have $5bn worth of sponsorship rights tied up in this thing. With all those big Japanese companies, I can’t see them doing it.”
WarnerMedia is believed to have Foxtel and Stan vying to secure new content deals, including HBO, as the battle for premium content in the streaming wars heats up, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
Sources told The Australian Financial Review that Stan, along with Nine, was talking to WarnerMedia, owned by US telecommunications giant AT&T, about securing HBO content for the subscription video-on-demand service, as well as other Warner Bros content across the media business, including the Nine Network and ad-funded streaming service 9Now.
Foxtel, which holds exclusive first-run rights for HBO content in Australia, was also understood to be vying to keep the content beyond the two years left on its agreement.
National news agency Australian Associated Press is facing mass job cuts and the prospect of closure as its shareholders confront one of the toughest media markets in history, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.
Sources close to discussions about AAP’s future, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the operation has been under immense financial pressure and major shareholders Nine Entertainment Co and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp were assessing all options.
AAP executives will meet with Nine and News Corp Australia executives this week to make a final decision about the operation’s future. As many as 180 jobs could go as a result of the planned changes – representing the entirety of AAP’s remaining editorial operations.
AAP posted a profit in 2019 after a major restructure, with chief executive Bruce Davidson assuring it would be the last of the major editorial redundancy rounds for the news wire service.
Ahead of their must-win clash against the old enemy New Zealand, Australian cricketers today appear in the fashion bible as it uses its trademark style to shine a spotlight on the women’s T20 World Cup – and examine what the tournament means for all Australians in 2020, reports News Corp’s Justin Lees.
Stars like Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry swap cricket whites for summer styling in an on-field photoshoot blending classic and cool, giving off a 1950s movie-star vibe.
In an accompanying article, cricket bosses share their strategy for grabbing worldwide attention with the culmination of the Cup, Sunday March 8 on International Women’s Day while the players reveal what the changing face of cricket means to them.
Michael Clarke debuts on the Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast in Sydney on Monday with the most hectic 21-hour schedule for his first stint alongside footy legend Laurie Daley and Gerard Middleton, reports News Corp’s Phil Rothfield.
Afterwards he will rush to Melbourne to call the crucial Australia v New Zealand Women’s World Cup T20 game.
This is his diary:
• 2.30am Alarm, 3am gym
• 4.30am Arrive at BSB studio at Frenchs Forest
• 5.30am On-air, 9am show finishes, taxi to airport
• 11am Flight to Melbourne
• 3pm World Cup call
• 9pm Flight to Sydney
• Midnight: Sleep
• 4.30am Tuesday Back at Big Sports Breakfast
Stav Davidson isn’t fazed about the three-way tussle for top spot on Brisbane FM radio, describing the system that measures radio audiences as archaic, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.
Davidson, who co-hosts breakfast show Stav, Abby & Matt weekdays on Hit105 with Abby Coleman and Matt Acton, says he doesn’t care about ratings, which has helped with his longevity on-air.
“If you go chasing them you’ll end up failing. If I don’t think I’m doing the best show regardless of what it’s rating, then I shouldn’t be doing the show,” Davidson told The Australian. “I just try to do the best show I can do, and hopefully that resonates with people. The way they take the ratings is very archaic and I don’t think it’s very accurate.”
Diva demands of a furnished marquee, pricey wine and a cameo appearance by Plucka Duck dressed up as Father Christmas make for a tantalising yuletide tale, reports News Corp’s Alice Coster.
But Daryl Somers says claims he was fired from hosting Ballarat’s Carols by Candlelight last year because of his over-the-top demands are simply untrue.
The three-time Gold Logie winner aid he feels vindicated after a costly legal stoush was settled this week when entertainment journalist Peter Ford and TV presenter Basil Zempilas personally apologised for their “false comments” [made on Perth radio].
“There were a lot of false allegations made against me and I thought, not this time I need to get to the bottom of this,” Somers said.
“It came down to a full and unreserved apology been issued to me from Peter Ford and Basil Zempilas.”
Zempilas also issued an apology this week, acknowledging disparaging comments were made and that Somers was of good character and someone who had made an enormous contribution over many years.
Veteran entertainment reporter Peter Ford, who is no shrinking violet, said Somers should, um, “piss off.”
The entertainment journalist said he expected to cop a degree of flack when he so often dished it out. But Somers legal demands wore him down over the past three months.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has warned current Australian regulations are condemning local film and TV to sharp decline and must be updated to help content producers hold their own in the era of global streaming services, report Nine publishing’s Fergus Hunter and Zoe Samios.
Fletcher said the Australian film and TV sector had an opportunity to capture a share of the growing international market for content fuelled by the rise of Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime and other services. The platforms boast 500 million subscribers globally, with the number expected to double in the next five years.
“We won’t capture that opportunity while we have a set of regulatory and funding arrangements premised on an industry structure which is long gone,” Fletcher told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
“Traditional broadcast television is facing sharp declines in viewer numbers and revenues – yet existing regulations require industry participants to spend millions on shows which fewer and fewer people are watching.”
The issue of local content on Australian television has reared its head again with news last week that the Seven network has halted the production of children’s television and Nine boss Hugh Marks saying his network was looking at doing the same, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Nathanael Cooper.
The Australian communications bureaucracy also needs to urgently find a way to level the playing field between free-to-air broadcasters who pay to broadcast and the streaming platforms like Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime, Disney + and Apple TV+ who do it without paying and without the same regulation. Stan is making huge inroads making content here, Netflix dipped its toe in but appear to have given up. Prime has a reboot of Packed to the Rafters coming, but nothing else has been revealed. Disney and Apple don’t even seem to be aware Australian content exists. They have a duty to support our screen economy or frankly, they can bugger off. The relationship can’t only be one directional.
Foxtel is in negotiations with entertainment giant ViacomCBS to renew its distribution deal for children’s brand Nickelodeon as the News Corp controlled pay TV company readies the ground for the launch of an entertainment based streaming service, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.
Nickelodeon, which runs shows including Spongebob Square Pants and Paw Patrol, operates in Australia as a joint venture between its US parent and Foxtel. The joint venture was first formed in 1995 and was set to expire in January but Foxtel and ViacomCBS have agreed to an extension. The new length of the joint venture agreement is not clear.
“Foxtel’s support of Nickelodeon-branded businesses in Australia has been and continues to be instrumental to its two decades-plus of growth and diversification across television, digital, consumer products, live events and location-based experiences,” a ViacomCBS Network spokesman said.
The number of people tuning into prime time free-to-air television is in freefall as the commercial networks struggle to retain fracturing audiences in the face of increasing competition from streaming services, reports The Australian’s Lachlan Moffet Gray.
Nine’s Married At First Sight might have come out the winner against Seven’s My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals and Australian Survivor: All Stars on 10 last Monday (February 24), but there was little cause for celebration.
Just over 2.1 million people in OzTAM’s five-city metro ratings tuned in – well down on the 2.645 million who tuned in to watch MKR, MAFS and 10’s Dancing with the Stars at the same time on Monday, February 25 last year.
One of Hollywood’s most successful independent production companies is coming to Australia in a bid to unearth new talent to satisfy the explosion in demand created by streaming, reports The Age’s Karl Quinn.
Imagine Impact, an offshoot of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer‘s Imagine Entertainment (winner of 46 Emmys, 10 Golden Globes and 10 Oscars), is launching its “Silicon Valley accelerator approach” to development in Melbourne, the first iteration of the scheme outside the US.
“We’re looking to discover creators whose work connects with wide, global audiences – the future George Millers and Rebel Wilsons,” says Tyler Mitchell, who founded Impact with Howard and Glazer in 2018.
The program runs as an intensive eight-week workshop in which “creators” (new writers) are paired with “shapers” (established writer-producer-showrunners). It culminates with a pitch day at which at least some of those projects will hopefully find willing buyers.
Applications for Impact Australia open March 3. Details: imagine-impact.com/accelerator/australia
The National Rugby League has signed a new sponsorship deal with electronics company Hisense as a naming rights sponsor for Thursday Night Football and major sponsor for the State of Origin series, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.
NRL boss Todd Greenberg has confirmed talks with US-based digital streamers Amazon and Facebook as well as setting a deadline to finalise his own contract negotiations with NRL chairman Peter V’landys.
With Thursday Night Football to run every round in 2020 following strong ratings performance, securing Hisense naming rights for the fixture and as a major sponsor for State of Origin is a win for the NRL in what is the toughest ad markets in years.
If there’s a man who can help the A-League navigate through the current fog of streaming and sports rights wars, it’s Richard Scudamore, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.
The former executive chairman of the English Premier League who helped the competition become No 1 in the world and pulled off a sport’s rights deal worth more than $10bn is now working with the A-League in an attempt to bring it up to standard.
Even though Australia’s top-flight soccer league is entering the exciting championship stage of the season, it has been experiencing a decline in crowds, ratings and, some would argue, overall quality that has been an unfortunate recurring theme for soccer leagues in this country.
Scudamore told The Australian he thought the quality of A-League play was comparable to other leagues around the world, but it needed to grow and “earn” that growth by putting on a better show for the fans.
He has won a Brownlow Medal, done jail time, associated with some of Perth’s most notorious underworld figures, and been one of the country’s highest-profile drug addicts, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.
Six months after his release from prison, tortured former AFL star Ben Cousins has granted the country’s most sought-after sports interview to Seven’s Basil Zempilas.
Tabakoff understands the “no question off limits” interview took place in secret over five days in Perth last week, and will screen later this month as a feature-length special.
The special is being produced by Mark Llewellyn who returns to Seven as a fly-in, fly-out “super producer” on big event specials like the Cousins interview.
Gogglebox favourites Adam Densten and Symon Lovett are hosting a new show on Fox Footy, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.
The pair who left the Foxtel hit show last year, will front Premierships and Footy Trips, an engaging and fun talk show that reminisces on the glory years.
Each week the boys, who work as physios, will sit down with a legend of the game, sharing stories fans have never heard before.
“It’s always a leap of faith but it is time for us to grow up,’’ said Lions fan Adam.
“The basis of the show is trying to find out urban legends and mythical stories that people never worked out are true or not.
“We are big footy heads so it’s a match made in heaven.”