Compiled by James Manning
After we published a collection of tributes to former Seven production guru Brad Lyons yesterday following his death from cancer on the weekend, Mediaweek has spoken with three more people who worked with him.
Mikael Borglund is the CEO and MD at Beyond International, a place where both Lyons and Tim Worner worked after arriving in Sydney from Perth.
Brad was legendary at Beyond for many reasons – including the fact that he incurred the highest ever excess baggage bill in the history of Beyond on an international Beyond 2000 shoot.
Brad was an excellent field producer of Beyond 2000 and he and Tim Worner were a tight unit on and off the road.
When Brad moved on from Beyond 2000 he worked on a number of other shows at Beyond and created World’s Weirdest TV – which was produced for Nine, Sky UK and SVT in Sweden.
Brad always had my back and literally saved my life once at Friday night drinks at Nine.
Brad was a good mate and introduced me to surfing the Maldives with a bunch of his friends from Perth – I think we went four or five times.
We spent a number of Melbourne Cup days with Deb and Brad over the years – always lots of fun. I will miss Brad very much – as will his large circle of family and friends.
Brad was devoted to Deb and the kids and they will of course miss him more than anyone.
Lune Media and Lyons Content Studios produced Every Bite Takes You Home for the Seven Network, which was hosted by Kylie Kwong.
Brad and I first worked together on Harry’s Practice and then on various shows for Seven.
In 2019, we joined forces to produce Every Bite Takes You Home for Seven Network.
We had a great time on this very special series we were both passionate about which included our usual “punchy” discussions when we worked together. And as always, in true Brad form, his vision and heart always shone through.
Bradley and I first met in the mid 80s at TVW7 in Perth. Love at first sledge.
He made an impact like a meteor on everyone who crossed his path.
Bradley had his own laser fault finder, that had you feeling naked in his presence.
“Yeah look at you Mr Reeve, you just think you’re all bloody right don’t you.”
As you looked for something to whack him with, there it was, the glint in his eye, the smile breaking out and off he would charge to find more prey.
The funniest times definitely were playing cricket with him. Tim, Brad and I, the West Aussie lads, joined a team in Sydney called the Phantom Jamaicans. There may be some opposition reading this now whose veins will be bubbling under their skin. Many would say Steve Waugh had the best on field sledges. Steve never met Bradley Scott Lyons.
He was our keeper. “He’s got nuthin boys, nuthin”, as the batsman he stood behind at the crease hit the perfect cover drive to bring up his century. “Pure luck, nuthin boys, useless”.
With Brad, your reputation meant zip to him. I loved and envied that about him.
Our industry can be sycophantic, syrupy, people like me scared to say what they really think.
If something was crap, Bradley would tell you and 98% of the time he was right.
Bradley loved television like no one I’ve known … and he was very, very good at it.
A West Coast Eagles loving, feisty, prickly, talented, riotous, madman, whom I loved deeply.
And of course, he was right about that too … I did think I was alright!
By Claudia Siron
Senior journalist and columnist at news.com.au, James Weir, is well-known for his comedic reality TV recaps and more recently for his live-streaming podcast on Married at First Sight (MAFS). Funny-man Weir spoke to Mediaweek about his recapping of Australia’s number one TV show and its reception, as well as the advantage of live podcasting.
Weir has been recapping MAFS at news.com.au for over half a decade. With this season of the popular reality show, he said he’s been most drawn to former drug addict contestant Hayley. “I thought that it was really great to include her because with MAFS being in its seventh season, it’s really about what they can do next that hasn’t been done before but still push the boundaries or start a new conversation or shock people,” Weir told Mediaweek.
“Australia’s been there and done that with cheating scandals and affairs. When you add different kinds of people we haven’t seen, or different social situations, or people of different backgrounds with hardships and life experience, they can add a lot of interest. We saw that with Hayley because she was just a barrel of fun and chaotic.”
These days everything receives negative criticism and Weir said if you try to please everyone as a whole you’re going to have an average story or a really mediocre column. “It’s funny because with the recaps it’s always been really positive feedback. Perhaps it’s just that the news.com.au reader base has the same mindset as me? The emails and messages I receive on social media are from such a broad mix of people. It’s not just teenage girls, uni students, mums or women watching.
“I get emails from 70-year-old plumbers in Queensland or tradies saying ‘Oh, my girlfriend watches the show, I never watch it but then afterwards she reads your stories and so now I read them’. Before I wrote recaps, I never read a recap in my life. I just don’t read them. And if it wasn’t my job, I probably wouldn’t watch any reality TV either. It’s not my personal interest. But funnily enough the people who read them don’t watch the show, they just want to be involved in looking at this situation that’s capturing the attention of the country.”
News.com.au‘s latest podcast and live stream show Not Here to Make Friends is hosted by Weir and gives fans of reality TV recaps a new way to indulge. It currently airs twice a week on Sunday and Wednesday nights right after MAFS. “We do it as a live stream show and then that’s available immediately as a podcast. It’s been a new experiment for this year.”
“News Corp started its audio network towards the end of last year and we were talking about playing in that space with the reality TV genre. There’s been reality TV recap podcasts going for years. Over in the US it’s done for every show – not just reality, even scripted shows. In Australia over the last few years outlets have really started to play in that space. For us it’s about what we can offer that’s different.”
Reality TV particularly has such a social conversation around it, and when it airs at night all viewers on Twitter and Facebook are really invested in the conversation. Weir said with MAFS it’s on four nights a week and the conversation moves so quickly – there’s new stories coming out the next day and then that night there’s a new episode. “The way I see it is you’ve really got to jump on it while it’s hot. If a reality show goes to air on a Monday night and your team rolls in the next day and records a podcast mid-morning and posts it at midday, people have already moved on and they don’t care anymore.
“We wanted our podcast to be as immediate as possible and that’s when we decided to do it as a Facebook live stream straight after the show and talk about it in the way everyone talks about it in their living rooms. The panel and I watch the show as it airs, we have a few drinks (if you want to think like them, you’ve got to drink like them) and then we jump in the studio and it’s live from start to finish.”
Weir said it’s also great producing it live because they can bring in people watching the show, as most of their comments on social media are hilarious calls and observations. “It’s great to bring in their voices and really showcase them and how funny they are, so we bring in callers. It also gives us a chance when big, dramatic moments capturing Australia happen on the show, because then we get the contestants on themselves, and they explain their side of the story in real time.”
Seven has withdrawn its FY20 guidance, given with a number of caveats, just last month.
Due to the escalating uncertainty relating to COVID-19, a material fall in advertising market activity, and the suspension or postponement of productions and events, Seven West Media’s visibility into future advertising bookings is now insufficient to provide meaningful earnings guidance for the remainder of FY20, said the company in a statement released by the board.
The remainder of the statement said:
The AFL has announced the suspension of all games until the end of May 2020. While the International Olympic Committee’s (“IOC”) current position is that Tokyo 2020 is scheduled to proceed, the IOC has stated they are exploring a postponement scenario and the Australian Olympic Committee (“AOC”) and other national bodies have been more definite about a date change. There is no decision as at the date of this release but one is expected shortly.
Such postponements are likely to result in rights payments by SWM being pushed back to reflect the revised scheduling; any adjustments remain subject to negotiation. However, postponements may also incur cancellation costs from underlying suppliers.
Likewise, local productions are also facing challenges with travel restrictions and COVID-19 issues, and our teams are working tirelessly to deliver on commitments.
SWM has contingency measures in place to respond to such challenges. Over the last two weeks the company initiated its business continuity plans, establishing remote working for the majority of staff, to ensure the safety and well-being of its employees and minimal disruption to operations.
Despite these challenging conditions, the company remains focused on executing its key strategic priorities outlined at its interim financial results including transforming the business and working down debt ahead of scheduled maturities in November 2021 and 2022.
Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), has gone into a trading halt at the request of the national TV and radio broadcaster. The company has requested the halt ahead of an announcement about its trading conditions.
The SCA trading halt came after two major investors – Ubique Asset Management and Allan Gray Australia – have increased their shareholdings in the company. The investors now each hold close to 15% of the business.
Videos under the COVID-19 Government Updates will stream ad-free and are being provided with the aim of giving Australians the ability to access the content of government announcements and media conferences. All 9News bulletins will stream in real time on 9Now and videos will be available on-demand.
“We recognise at a time like this that there is a thirst for information and for access to what our leaders are saying,” said Darren Wick Nine’s Director of News and Current Affairs. “For this reason, we have launched a dedicated subsection which will carry the content of federal media conferences.”
News Corp Australia has invited leading Australian companies to utilise print advertising at no charge to communicate critical information to customers, staff and suppliers to assist with the financial and economic fall out of COVID-19.
The community service announcement (CSA) initiative will provide full page print advertising, valued at $8m, to leading companies including those in the travel, airline, retail, banking, sport, telco, utility and insurance sectors.
The community service-style full page advertisements will appear in printed newspapers and in the digital editions on the news brands’ websites and apps.
News Corp Australiasia executive chairman, Michael Miller said the offer will provide much-needed support for business:
“Australians are being flooded with information, and in some cases misinformation. Our news brands will remain focused on being a trusted source of accurate information as well as important community service announcements from our business partners.
“Our leading companies will be able to show how they are helping manage this crisis and how it may personally impact the public and the customers they serve.
“This is a crisis that seems to respect no boundaries – it affects everybody – and it’s imperative we work together in a unified way to do what we can to help.”
News Corp Australia’s brands are experiencing a surge in consumer demand with the latest data showing audiences for News Corp’s metro mastheads and The Australian surging by 48 percent in the past week. Sales of newspapers in supermarkets, as well as digital subscriptions, have also spiked.
Returning to the MasterChef kitchen are 24 former contestants. Although these familiar faces from the past 11 seasons have forged strong careers in the food industry, they all have some unfinished business – they are back to win.
By Trent Thomas
Village Roadshow, Event Hospitality & Entertainment and Hoyts have been forced to close their cinema chains following a federal government-mandated shutdown announced on Sunday, so this will be the final weekly Box Office revenue report until the shutdown is lifted.
With some cinemas across the country last week beginning to shut their doors with stricter COVID-19 policies being handed down, the Australian box office has taken a major dip in revenue after making $1.80m. The 71% decline in revenue is quite historic as the movie industry wrestles with a situation that no one saw coming (apart from a disaster movie like 2011’s Contagion).
Two films found their way into the top five, with new release The Current War and I Still Beleive both able to attract moviegoers during the quiet weekend.
The two films to drop out of the top five were foreign language films Chal Mera Putt 2 (two weeks, $585,985) and My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (two weeks, $472,236).
The high octane action film has managed to survive two weeks in the top spot of the Australian box office as it managed to average $1,396 on 341 screens making it the most screened film in the country bringing its total to $2.16m.
The remake of the classic black and white film has made it four straight weeks in the top two as it continues to creep along making an average of $1,665 on 258 screens bringing its total to $7.90m.
In its sixth week of release, the film has managed to take advantage of the lack of new releases to one again scrape into the top five with its total now sitting at $12.08m. The film made an average of $553 on 292 screens.
The only notable new release of this weekend had an understandably slow start as the film based on the true story of Thomas Edinson’s and George Westinghouse’s war over which method of electricity that America would use finally made it to screens after an initial 2017 release was stopped due to the Harvey Weinstein incident after airing at the Toronto Film Festival. The film averaged $701 on 209 screens.
The film based on Christian musician Jeremy Camp and his first wife Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer shortly before they married, averaged $834 on 137 screens in its second week of release.
By James Manning
• Public thirst for COVID-19 updates continues to dominate
• Nine’s winning mix: News, ACA, MAFS and News
• Survivor final four: Tarzan no longer king of the jungle
The thirst for news continues to push news audiences higher. After record Sunday viewing numbers, the audiences watching on Monday were also much higher than recent averages.
Seven News 6pm Monday 1,234,000/1,211,000
The Latest Seven News Monday 649,000
Nine News 6pm Monday 1,193,000/1,171,000
A Current Affair 890,000
Nine News Special COVID-19 570,000
Nine’s highest weekday news audience since 2017. ACA biggest 2020 audience.
10 News First 5pm 571,000
10 News First 6pm 380,000
The Project 423,000/623,000
Biggest 5pm audience since January 2018. Biggest 6pm news audience ever, Biggest Project audience since January 2018.
ABC News 7pm Monday 955,000
SBS World News 6.30pm Monday 192,000
News Breakfast 301,000
Today biggest audience since May 2017. Sunrise biggest audience this year, comes after biggest week since 2017.
Nine won the night as it has done since mid-January with its mix of Married At First Sight plus big audiences for News early and late and A Current Affair.
Seven went into primetime news mode with news at 6pm, 7pm and then again after the penultimate night of MKR. The home cooks went into battle around 8pm with 508,000 watching.
10 had bumper crowds to for its two and a half hours of news and current affairs from 5pm until 7.30pm. The final four was decided on day 46 of Survivor with Brooke winning her fourth immunity. “The loyal four no more” she said as her passage to the top four meant David’s alliance had to lose one of its members and Tarzan was the person sacrificed as he became the 20th person voted out. The episode did 736,000.
ABC News and 7.30 were both over 900,000 after averages over 800,000 for each last week. Q&A managed to outrate Four Corners which has possibly never happened before as Hamish Macdonald hosted an hour of COVID-19 questions with Dr Norman Swan applauded by the viewers the same day that The Australian’s Chris Kenny asked if he deserved media plaudits. Swan certainly seemed better at providing answers than the show’s other guests – Professor Sharon Lewin and Professor Paul Kelly. Although as Kenny pointed out, Swan doesn’t carry a burden of responsibility as Kelly and perhaps also Lewin do.
SBS World News had what must be close to a record Monday audience at 6.30pm with just under 200,000 watching. Follows the 200,000+ on Sunday.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||1.9%||7TWO||3.3%||GO!||2.4%||10 Bold||3.7%||VICELAND||1.0%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||3.3%||GEM||3.3%||10 Peach||2.2%||Food Net||0.7%|
|SBS World Movies||0.8%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.2%||7TWO||4.9%||GO!||2.0%||WIN Bold||4.0%||VICELAND||1.0%|
|ABC ME||0.9%||7mate||3.7%||GEM||4.5%||WIN Peach||2.3%||Food Net||0.5%|
|ABC NEWS||2.8%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.3%||9Life||2.0%||Sky News on WIN||2.2%||NITV||0.1%|
|MONDAY METRO ALL TV|
16 – 39
18 – 49
25 – 54
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
San Francisco-based private equity firm HMI Capital has further solidified itself as a major player in the future of oOh!media as the outdoor advertiser attempts to raise capital at a heavy discounted price, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
oOh!media has historically been a hunter, bulking up into Australia’s largest outdoor advertising business largely via acquisitions. But with recent share prices collapses, sources told The Australian Financial Review that a number of companies and firms are now running the rule over oOh!media.
There have been no approaches to the company at this stage as the near- to medium-term future of the advertising market remains unclear, particularly for outdoor during statewide shutdowns of non-essential services amid the coronavirus pandemic.
HMI Capital increased its holding in oOh!media from 16.3 per cent to 18.6 per cent last Wednesday, according to a notice lodged on Monday. On Friday, oOh!media went into a trading halt as it started searching for support for a $167 million equity raising, which would more than double the amount of shares it has on issue.
As state governments implement shutdowns, streaming is expected to increase further, with services such as Stan and Netflix asked to do what they can to reduce loads on Australia’s broadcast network, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
In what might be evidence many parents pre-empted a government shutdown of schools and brought their kids home, Dreamworks series The Boss Baby: Back in Business was the no.1 TV show on Netflix from Thursday through to Sunday.
The only other kids program to make a list across subscription video on-demand services Netflix and Stan and broadcast video on-demand services 9Now, 7Plus, 10play, ABC iView and SBS on-demand was Warner Bros movie Looney Tunes: Back in Action on Netflix. Disney declined a request to provide any top list of programming for Disney+ in the last week.
The coronavirus fallout continues to wreak havoc in the media industry, as Southern Cross Media reviews the damage and oOh!media scrambles to raise capital, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.
Southern Cross, which operates 80-plus radio station s under the Triple M and Hit Networks brands, requested a trading halt on Monday, just days after outdoor advertising group oOh!media’s call for some breathing space.
The company, which swung to a net loss of $120.3m for the six months to December, said the trading halt was necessary to enable it to “assess the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on its business”, and actions it could take to mitigate the impact.
Southern Cross Media has been placed in a trading halt at the request of the television and radio broadcaster, which owns Triple M and Hit Networks, as management assess the fallout from the coronavirus, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.
Southern Cross shares had dropped nearly 33 per cent, or 8c, to 16.5c before the trading halt was announced at lunch time on Monday, giving it a market capitalisation of $188.4m. The trading halt will remain in place until Wednesday or when an announcement is released to the market.
Southern Cross is the second company within the Australian media industry to request a trading halt as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The C-word is thrown in an ugly bar fight between three Married At First Sight wives that is as messy and unnecessary as the slice of bruschetta hurled into one of the women’s faces, reports News Corp’s James Weir.
“What gives you the audacity to attack me?” Stacey launches into Hayley, as we open day two of the trial. “You’ve undermined my law degree and told me I got it out of a cereal box. You brought my two beautiful innocent children into it. And you’re sitting here thinking you’ve got off scot-free because you’ve owned it. Who do you think you are?”
Guy Sebastian has joined the global line-up for the #TogetherAtHome series of virtual concerts on Thursday, alongside Keith Urban, Shawn Mendes and John Legend, reports News Corp’s Kathy McCabe.
Sebastian may premiere a new song he started writing when he received the news he would have to quickly leave Los Angeles where he had been in songwriting sessions to make it home before Australia’s borders were closed.
Sebastian said the cheeky song called All For It attempts to put a positive spin on being in quarantine with your loved one. “I had to write a coronavrius song,” he said. “It’s a lighthearted take on bunkering down, that if I have to bunker down with you and repopulate the world, let’s do it.”
Sebastian has been in self-isolation since arriving home last Tuesday. With production of The Voice postponed due to the other coaches unable to enter Australia and future touring plans shelved, Sebastian admits he fears for the financial and mental health of not only his band members and crew but the wider music community.
Regional media owners are asking the Morrison government to release funds from the small and regional publishers innovation package as they scramble to adapt to market conditions caused by COVID-19, reports The SMH and The Age’s Zoe Samios and Jennifer Duke.
The available funds – estimated to be about $40 million – are part of the Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package, and would give publishers money to help them operate through the pandemic. Sources familiar with the discussions said Country Press Australia, which represents the interests of 140 regional and community newspapers, and Eric Beecher, chairman of Private Media, contacted the government in the last few days to discuss the immediate release of the money, to combat increased financial pressure due to reduce advertising spending.
Country Press Australia has been lobbying for the release of the funds since the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s digital platforms inquiry, but the renewed calls come as publishers become burdened financially by the pandemic. Industry sources said the preference would be to use the money as a survival fund.
The International Olympic Committee has decided to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games because of the coronavirus pandemic, IOC member Dick Pound has told USA Today, reports The SMH.
Major sporting nations Australia and Canada had already withdrawn on Monday as organisers came under global pressure to postpone the event for the first time in the Olympics’ 124-year modern history.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound was quoted as saying by the US newspaper. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
The report said the Games, scheduled for July 24-August 9, were likely to be held in 2021, with the details to be worked out in the next four weeks.
The NRL is taking the unprecedented step of suspending the season due to the global coronavirus pandemic, reports nrl.com’s Dan Walsh and Alicia Newton.
The ARL Commission held a meeting at Rugby League Central on Monday and right up until midway through Monday afternoon NRL officials were determined to keep the competition going given the financial fallout of postponing games, however the rapidly shifting nature of the pandemic has forced the NRL’s hand.
“Our pandemic and biosecurity experts said due to the outbreak it is no longer safe for our players to play,” V’landys said. “We are going to look at all the options.
The immediate reaction in clubland to the suspension of the NRL season was one of disappointment and nervousness – with the big question being how players will get paid, reports The SHM’s Christian Nicolussi.
Even if the players were forced to take a 50 per cent pay cut, one Sydney club official was not convinced any massively reduced salaries could be accommodated.
Just how many clubs were potentially set to go bust was also a hot topic as reality slowly started to sink in.
Panthers Group CEO Brian Fletcher was forced to shut the doors to five leagues clubs at midday, only to find out by the close of business the NRL had been suspended.
The football media landscape faces a challenging time in the coming weeks as it comes to grip with the AFL shutdown, reports News Corp’s Scott Gullan.
There will be major disruption to a number of shows but Fox Footy has gone on the front foot and is introducing a new program.
A podcast-style show starting at 3pm will include a revolving panel of three experts who will debate the latest football news and also wander into the lifestyle area. All of the big guns will be involved including Sarah Jones, Brad Johnson, Dermott Brereton, Jonathan Brown, Anthony Hudson, Jason Dunstall, Nick Dal Santo, Nick Riewoldt and David King.
The show will run until 6pm every day and lead into AFL Tonight and then resume again from 6.30pm-7.30pm before AFL 360 kicks into gear. Footy starved fans will be able to get their fix with games from the past set to be aired on Thursday and Friday nights.
Decisions about other traditional football shows including Fox’s On The Couch, Channel 9’s Footy Classified and Channel 7’s Talking Footy will be made in the coming days.
The A-League will follow other major codes by shutting down the competition on Tuesday morning, reports Fox Sports’ Zac Rayson.
The Football Federation Australia (FFA) revealed that CEO James Johnson will make a “significant announcement regarding the conduct of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season” at 10am AEDT on Tuesday morning.
According to multiple reports, that press conference will be used announce the indefinite suspension of the competition.
But, incredibly, one final match went ahead on Monday night – between Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City – despite the impending shutdown.