Thursday March 26, 2020

Podcast Week: Sam Squiers, Podcasters still open for business

By James Manning

• Plus Whooshkaa at home, Business flops, Finder’s Pocket Money

Sam Squires champions women in sport

Sports reporter and presenter Sam Squires is very dedicated to supporting her new PodcastOne series profiling women in sport On Her Game. She spoke to Mediaweek shortly before departing for the hospital to give birth to her second daughter. “Are you sure about this?” we asked. But she insisted and we didn’t keep her too long!

In recent years Squires was the weekend sports presenter and a senior reporter for Nine in Queensland as well as host of Surfing Australia TV on Nine and Fox Sports. Before that she also worked for Sky News and WIN TV. Recently she decided to relocate to Sydney where her husband had taken a job and was initially commuting back and forth to Brisbane.

Squires told Mediaweek she has always been an advocate for women’s sports. “That goes back to working in regional TV news through to working at Nine. I have always been trying to cover women’s sport stories in the media. In 2013 I launched a site dedicated to women’s sports – Sportette.com.au. With the subsequent explosion of women’s sport a podcast seemed a next good step. It’s a great medium with no word or time restrictions and my guests get to tell their stories in their own words.”

Squires said she first started talking with PodcastOne nearly 12 months ago and after working on the concept with them started production late in 2019.

“I have really been touched about the guests in the first series – they have really opened up in very raw, honest interviews.”

Season one is nine episodes, with the last interviews recorded just before coronavirus strengthened its grip on Australia.

There will now be a bit of break while Squires has her second girl. “They have been a bit of a motivator for me to. It makes me so proud knowing the sporting landscape is going to be completely different for them growing up.”

It was no surprise to Squires that when mainstream media finally covered women’s sport in good timeslots it did well. “People were going, ‘Wow, so many people watched.’ This is what we have been trying to tell people for so long. So many people thought sport was for and about men, something I could never understand. I could never grasp that because I always loved sport and played it. After people telling us for years there was no audience for women’s sport and then seeing 86,000 at the Women’s World Cup Final was incredible.” Squires admitted to blubbing at the start and then the finish when Australia won. “This is what happens when everybody works together.”

Of the six episodes released so far, Squires has covered six separate sporting codes with Ellia Green (Rugby 7s), Katie Brennan (AFLW), Tiana Penitana (rugby league), Karrie Webb (golf), Carson Pickett (soccer) and Alyssa Healy (cricket).

Baby update: Elle Soleil Squiers has just been delivered at Wollongong Private Hospital. Photo on Sam’s Instagram.

Listen to On Her Game here.

PodcastOne & major podcasters remain ‘open for business’

Australia’s biggest podcasters are continuing to record and distribute new content despite the challenges COVID-19 poses.

“As the COVID-19 virus continues to have a major impact on the world, we are entering uncharted waters, that are extremely fluid and affecting how we go about our daily life,” PodcastOne head of podcasting Grant Tothill told its podcast partners this week.

“With the new Federal and State Government initiatives please know we are seeking all the available information and continually assessing our business decisions on a day to day basis.

“The health and wellbeing of our podcast creators, producers, sales team and staff at PodcastOne Australia is our first consideration.

Given SCA and PodcastOne Australia is considered an essential service, we are still open for business and have elected to operate as normal, utilising our studios and resources across Australia, in particular in Melbourne and Sydney so we can continue to create and publish podcasts to entertain and inform Australians.

Tothill then when on to detail health and safety measures at the Melbourne and Sydney podcast hubs, and also at 90 plus studios at parent company SCA around Australia that podcasters also utilise for PodcastOne recordings.

ARN’s commercial product and audio partnerships director Corey Layton told Mediaweek:

“All ARN and partner podcasts will absolutely continue to create and publish on the iHeartPodcast Network as usual. The beauty of audio – radio and podcasts – is we can record anywhere with just one or two people. Right now Australia is leaning into consuming content that provides information, education and entertainment and we will continue to produce new and original content for our audiences.”

Kane Reiken, Nova Entertainment’s digital commercial director told Mediaweek: “The intimacy and immediacy of podcasting allows brands to have meaningful, yet cost-effective conversations with their customers. We continue to produce and deliver award-winning branded podcasts, episodes and segments for clients, as well as original entertainment and show content, and are confident the medium will remain buoyant and continue its leading growth position.”

Andrew Brentnall, managing editor of the Nova Network added: “We are committed to continue to provide original content for our audience during these unique times. The Babble and Finding a Unicorn will continue to record so we can keep our communities connected through the power of audio and lift spirits amidst what is a tough time for a lot of people.”

Whooshkaa makes work-from-home tech free to schools

Private podcast technology developed by Australian company Whooshkaa – and key in the World Health Organisation’s continuity of learning advice for schools – is being offered free to schools worldwide.

Whooshkaa’s new technology, released last week, enables businesses, schools and groups to broadcast audio to specified listeners. The technology uses any existing podcast app on any smartphone, but the audio is exclusively available to those granted access by the podcaster.

“We created this as an internal communications tool to inform and engage employees – particularly those working remotely,” said Whooshkaa founder and CEO Rob Loewenthal. “But we can see it has enormous potential to support students and schools through this period of global upheaval.

“The WHO says academic podcasts are a key plank in continuity of learning plans. With this in mind, Whooshkaa will set up free Professional private podcast packages for schools from kindergarten to year 12, across Australia and right around the world.”

“Our business is podcasting,” he said. “We could see that leaders in business, research and many other professions wanted a way to update, engage and unite their teams – whether they’re at a city desk, in a home office, driving across a desert or in an airport lounge.”

Further information about Private Podcasts here.

The Great Fail business podcast

A recent series brought to our attention is The Great Fail – a business podcast told in a true-crime narrative on the deaths of great companies (and sometimes those not-so-great ones). The series debuted in early February with the death of LA Gear, and Google’s Glass, and it has since covered Crazy Eddie (from the 80s), the Fall of WeWork’s IPO and the death of Dr. Li, in a Special COVID-19 episode on the “whistleblower from Wuhan” released just last week.

The podcasters told Mediaweek that future episodes will be looking at some high-profiled VC funded companies that include the rise and fall of Juicero, Gawker, Theranos and some that are near and dear to us, including Tower Records, Pan Am, MySpace and Blockbuster.

Listen to The Great Fail here.

Finder’s Pocket Money podcast

Mediaweek’s Claudia Siron this week spoke to Kate Browne, managing editor of comparison site Finder, about recent developments including its podcast Pocket Money:

Something Browne has been passionate about since she began her role at Finder 18 months ago is building up the video production team, bringing in a creative director and developing podcasts. Finder has a team now that produces the weekly podcast, Pocket Money, with Browne as one of the hosts. The podcast looks at a whole range of financial topics as another way to engage with their audience and other potential audiences. “It takes the premise that money can sound really boring – I used to think it was boring too – but it involves everyone’s lives and it affects everything. Pocket Money is a bit of fun and it’s designed to be entertaining and informative.”

Read the complete Finder feature here.

Listen to Pocket Money here.

Nazeem Hussain releases Survivor's Guide to Coronavirus podcast

ARN’s iHeartPodcast Network Australia has partnered with Australian comedian Nazeem Hussain for the launch of his new podcast Survivor’s Guide to Coronavirus.

With live stand-up performances on hold for the foreseeable future, Hussain has taken the opportunity to pen the “definitive” survivor’s guide for these unprecedented times. Like so many people, Hussain admits he has no idea what to do with the world in crisis, so he’s drawing on the knowledge of people even less qualified than him to find his way.

Hussain has teamed up with Luke McGregor, Julia Morris, Karl Chandler, Collingwood’s Dane Swan, Scott Pape (The Barefoot Investor), Urzila Carlsson, Joel Creasey and even Melbourne Lord Major Sally Capp to stave of fear and doubt as they all try to navigate this new world.

See also: New Podcast Week column
Women’s sport advocate Sam Squires, Podcasters still open for business
Plus Whooshkaa at home, Business flops, Finder’s Pocket Money

Multiple episodes will be released weekly on ARN’s iHeartPodcast Network.

Nazeem Hussain said: “Given that as a comedian live performance is cancelled for the foreseeable future, I’ve turned my attention to something I’m both good at and still able to do – talk to my friends at a distance of at least two metres. What has become abundantly clear in these times is that people are still keen to stay connected despite being in physical isolation, as we all try to do our best to find ways to keep close with our friends and communities. I don’t know how informative this podcast will be but I can promise it will be funny and a great way to fill 15 minutes of your day in isolation. The other 23 hours and 45 minutes is up to you.”

ARN’s commercial product and audio partnerships director Corey Layton said, “We’re committed to helping podcast creators reach new audiences and ensuring it’s easy for our audiences to discover new content they love on our platform. As most of us move indoors, Nazeem’s Survivor’s Guide brings timely distraction as well as direction for getting through it, all in his unique style.”

See also:
iHeartPodcasts Network expanding Australian library

Listen to Survivor’s Guide to Coronavirus with Nazeem Hussain here

ACCC approves Pacific sale to Bauer, are titles still worth $40m?

The ACCC will not oppose Bauer Media’s proposed acquisition of Pacific Magazines, after deciding the transaction was not likely to substantially lessen competition in relevant markets.

Seven West Media CEO James Warburton has welcomed the decision by the ACCC to approve the sale of Pacific Magazines to Bauer Media and expects the sale to complete within a fortnight.

Bauer has yet to comment on the ACCC decision and there is speculation it could be wanting to revisit the terms of the sale given the current market conditions that have pummelled consumer confidence and media values.

Warburton said: “We welcome today’s regulatory approval of the sale of Pacific Magazines to Bauer Media. This transaction provides $40 million in cash consideration (pre-adjustments and leave provisions). Additionally, the $6.6 million of advertising we are receiving from Bauer over three years further enhances the value of the sale, allowing the titles to continue to reach the valuable audiences SWM commands.

“Pacific Magazines has always been an important part of Seven West Media and will leave a lasting legacy, and I want to personally thank the hard working and dedicated team who have worked tirelessly to transform the business in response to changing market conditions. These efforts mean that Pacific’s assets will have a bright future as part of a larger group with Bauer, and SWM will maintain a relationship through the successful television show Better Homes and Gardens.”

Seven expects a completion of the sale of Pacific Magazines to Bauer Media will take place on April 9, 2020.

The ACCC assessed the impact of the merger, given the close competition between the parties’ key print magazines, Bauer’s Woman’s Day and Take 5, and Pacific Magazines’ New Idea and That’s Life!

“The significant declines in the circulation and revenue experienced by many magazines are sustained, substantial and likely to continue, resulting in less investment in content and fewer retail promotions,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

“We note that some magazine titles have already closed, and others are likely to follow, regardless of this deal.

“We also note that the content offered by the four key magazine titles, including celebrity news, ‘real life’ stories, puzzles, and food, health and lifestyle tips, is all available from other sources.

“Ultimately, we determined that although there is a notable level of competition between the particular print titles, the transaction was not likely to substantially lessen competition because publishers in other media, particularly online publishers, will increasingly compete with Bauer,” Sims said.

The ACCC found that while many of Bauer and Pacific Magazines’ customers value the tactile nature of physical magazines, they are often not regular buyers of the magazines. Further, increasingly others see online content as a ready alternative, and this should constrain Bauer’s ability to raise prices or reduce investment on content.

Background

The ACCC commenced a review of the proposed acquisition on 23 October 2019 and raised concerns about the acquisition in December.

Bauer Media is part of the Bauer Media Group, which is based in Hamburg, Germany. Bauer Media group is a privately owned international media company publishing over 600 magazine titles globally.

Pacific Magazines is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ASX-listed Seven West Media Limited. SWM is a national media provider across television, magazine and newspaper publishing and online platforms.

News Corp revamps dailies, launches new COVID-19 section

The editor of The Daily Telegraph, Ben English, told Mediaweek on Monday about impending changes to the daily newspaper. Today the company has revealed some of the changes.

See also:
Coronavirius impact on newspaper subs, sales and home delivery

News Corp Australia is transforming the content of its leading metro news brands to reflect the unprecedented changes Coronavirus is having on Australians.

In the biggest single repositioning ever of the mastheads, today’s editions of The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Courier-Mail and The Advertiser feature significant changes to pivot them with the aim of being the nation’s leading source of trusted news and information about the COVID-19 crisis.

The changes include the introduction of a new eight-page section, HiberNation, to provide practical advice and tips to help Australians with their lives during this crisis. Today’s inaugural edition provides expert advice for parents to help their childrens’ learning at home now that schools across the country are closing.

HiberNation will focus on three key news areas – health; education; and jobs, business and economy – and will feature reporting and insights from senior News Corp journalists as well as informed advice from acknowledged international experts in their relevant fields.

As audiences spend more time at home, the papers will also include TV and entertainment guides, recipes from Australia’s number one food media brand Taste.com.au, as well as puzzles catered to all ages.

The changes are expected to be rolled out across News Corp Australia’s regional titles in coming days as well as websites and apps.

The metro news brands are also implementing some significant changes to sports coverage. Despite all codes suspending or cancelling seasons there remains enormous thirst among readers to know what is happening, what the future of their clubs is and what the players are doing with their time.

Peter Blunden, chairman of the editorial board at News Corp Australia said the changes marked a significant re-positioning of the mastheads to cement their role as the nation’s leading source of trusted news and information on Coronavirus.

“No story we’ve ever told has been so big, so rapid to evolve or so widespread.

“The content changes launched today reflect the scale and impact that all Australians are feeling due to this unfolding crisis. Our readers are turning to us in record numbers for advice and we’re adapting to meet this demand.”

Online news time up 29%: Nielsen on changing consumption patterns

Nielsen has released the following report on digital news consumption from its Digital Content Ratings (DCR) data:

Highlights:

• Time spent on news digital sites and apps up 29%
• Weekday engagement on news sites nearly doubled
• Desktop usage growth outpaced smartphone growth
• Younger people (18-29 year olds) experienced the greatest shift

News consumption has understandably changed over the last few weeks, as people seek out information and return to news websites for regular updates. Overall time spent on news digital sites and apps is up 29% for March to date compared to the same period in February.

Data from Australia’s IAB endorsed digital measurement system, Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, reported weekday engagement last week (16th – 20th March) saw a huge increase in time spent on news sites, nearly doubling compared to the four previous weeks. For the first time in a long time, desktop usage growth outpaced smartphone growth with desktop time increasing 58% and phone time increasing 48%. It is expected desktop usage will continue to increase with the increasing amount of people working from home.

And although there have been significant increases in time for all age groups, younger people (18-29 year olds) experienced the greatest shift in behaviour with time spent on news sites nearly doubling for weekdays last week (up 93% vs previous 4 weeks) with the largest volume increase from people aged 30-39. Older Australians, who are traditionally heavy digital news consumers, still saw an increase in time of 28%.

COVID-19 impacts Southern Cross Austereo: Pay cuts for execs & talent

• CEO Grant Blackley trying to keep all staff “for as long as possible”

Southern Cross Austereo today notified staff about a range of measures designed to protect its people and operations due to the increasing impact of COVID-19 on the business.

The new measures will see changes to SCA’s employment arrangements including:

For a six month period from 1 April 2020, all SCA people earning a base remuneration of $68,000 or above will have their remuneration reduced by 10%. This change will not apply to any SCA employees paid an award-based wage and no employee will be required to work overtime during this period.

SCA’s on air talent have offered their assistance and also reduced their fees and contracts by 10%.

• Every employee will be required to take no less than 10 days’ leave between now and 30 June 2020. Employees with significant annual or long service leave balances are asked to utilise as much leave as possible over the next six months.
• There will be no executive incentives paid during the 2020 financial year.
• All recruitment activities will cease immediately.

We have taken these measures swiftly to protect the long term health of our business and our people. We are endeavouring to ensure our people’s jobs remain for as long as possible during this unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in,” SCA CEO, Grant Blackley, said.

“These measures will impact all of us and I would like to thank and acknowledge our incredible staff for their support and commitment to our business.”

Seven’s Kurt Burnette at Seven’s Tokyo 2020 launch
Seven's Kurt Burnette responds to COVID-19 upheaveal

Following the upheaval to TV network schedules including Seven not being able to air the AFL or Olympics as planned Kurt Burnette chief revenue officer & director of Olympics for Seven West Media has released an update:

“It’s been a big, unprecedented couple of weeks. In fact, there aren’t any words to truly describe and capture what Australians and our global community are going through right now. There are many unknowns, but the one thing we do know is that we are in this together, and together we will get through It.

Our business has deployed far reaching continuity plans to limit disruption to our broadcast and sales operations. Continuity of our broadcast is vital for the Australian public to get the information they need. Evidence of immediate change to our viewer’s behaviour is in the huge spikes in week on week viewing on 7 broadcast, 7plus and 7NEWS.com, as it has been for The West Australian.  

With the AFL deciding to suspend the season until the end of May our teams will be in touch with your relevant teams in regards to the impacts on your bookings, and other programming changes.

Regarding the Olympics. As we have seen overnight the IOC have moved to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to July 2021. We will now be working with local and global officials, as well as our client partners here, to work collaboratively through this postponement, with detailed updates to follow. From there we will mobilise our teams and develop the very best transition practices to get us to a highly successful Games in July 2021.

With regards to content, production of House Rules High Stakes and Farmer Wants a Wife have not been impacted. Those two tent pole shows will be building on a strong base with 7NEWS, The Latest, Sunrise, Home and Away and Better Homes and Gardens, as well as our strong dramas at 9 PM. We are confident our Quarter 2 content slate across broadcast and BVOD will produce a strong audience result year on year. Q2 on 7 and 7plus will be providing much needed entertainment and information for Australians, and a powerful and effective marketing platform for brands to be able to connect with those viewers. We will deliver a mix of much needed information that Australians will continue to be seeking, plus entertainment for escape and inspiration.

Although there has been some disruption to a number of our programs, I wanted to clarify that Plate of Origin is in production. Big Brother has had a pause in production, however, production restarted yesterday. Holey Moley, SAS Who Dares and Australia’s Got Talent have been impacted and we wait for a clearance to recommence production. As soon as that information comes to hand we will be in touch. Our plan remains to ensure we deliver a strong schedule every week of the year, and most of those plans are well in place with finalisation in the coming week. 

This is an incredibly challenging time for us all but we are in this together. If there is anything the team or I can do to help you and your teams through this period, please do not hesitate to reach out.”

Play on: Publisher says free AFL Record digital edition every week

AFL fans may miss the football this winter, but they won’t be starved of their beloved AFL Record, thanks to the publisher Crocmedia.

The company has announced that despite no matches at AFL grounds until May 31, a free edition of the AFL Record would be available online each week.

The AFL Record, now sponsored by Karcher, has been part of the AFL landscape since 1912.

Each Friday, the AFL Record will be available for free download on the AFL app, afl.com.au, SEN app, sen.com.au and aflnation.com.au, ensuring footy fans right across the country can still get their regular weekly footy fix even while there are no games.

Last week’s edition was the first ever online and the weekly digital edition will continue again from this weekend, in collaboration with SEN digital.

AFL Record Editor Michael Lovett said that the publication felt a social obligation to provide content and companionship to fans this winter.

“The AFL Record has survived world wars, floods, the great depression, you name it,” Lovett said.

“We’ll do our very best to deliver for our fans in the circumstances, keep the supporters updated and replicate a tiny part of their weekend experience as best we can.”

AFL’s general manager commercial Kylie Rogers said: “During these unprecedented times, the much-loved AFL Record will provide an important and comforting connection with our fans and supporters.

“It has always been there for the fans and we expect will be welcomed now more than ever before,” Rogers said.

SEN digital director Simon Chapman said it was an honour to be allowed to distribute the AFL Record free to fans.

“Our team and the AFL Record team have enjoyed collaborating over the past year and the fast-growing SEN app is already there to add to the fan experience for free every day of the year,” Chapman said.

“We’ve all loved hearing the record girls and boys yell ‘Record’ at the footy, and now they get to hit the tab each Friday for free on our ever evolving app.”

Foxtel giving customers a bonus with more content, more screens

Foxtel has announced a series of initiatives for customers as they spend more time at home to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Foxtel Group chief executive officer Patrick Delany said: “We have heard from our customers that during these challenging times, one of the things that really makes a difference is being able to keep the whole family entertained, informed and connected as they settle in at home.

“We’re all in this together and we want them to know that Foxtel is there for them. These initiatives provide customers with an even better entertainment experience in their homes with more content, access on more screens and more data, all at no extra charge.”

Effective from today until 31 May, Foxtel customers will have access to:

• More content with access to Foxtel’s full range of Drama, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Documentaries, Reality and Kids TV channels and on demand libraries.
• Customers will have access to Multiscreen (depending on connection), giving expanded access to watch on up to two additional devices at the same time including casting the Foxtel GO app to additional TVs
• Foxtel Now customers will have Drama Extra, Docos, Pop, Lifestyle and Kids added to their Essentials, Pop or Lifestyle packs
• Unlimited broadband data for all Foxtel Broadband and Foxtel NBN customers who are on monthly data allowances for streaming and home internet without limits.

The initiatives are available to Foxtel customers including those that subscribe to Foxtel through Telstra and Optus.

Delany added: “With these changes we are making thousands of hours of additional live and on demand content available to our customers. I want to acknowledge the support we have received from all our content partners to make this happen including Discovery, BBC Studios, ViacomCBS, Turner, NBC Universal and National Geographic.

“This is also a time when staying informed is more important than ever. All our customers will have access to Foxtel’s full range of news services including Sky News and the dedicated Sky News COVID-19 news channel along with international news from CNN, FOX News, BBC World News, Sky News UK, CNBC and Bloomberg Television.

“For kids who are spending more time at home, the additional range of documentary content including BBC Earth and National Geographic will help them continue to learn more about the world around us.

“Our call centres are working hard to prioritise callers with an immediate need and we appreciate our customers’ patience and support as we navigate the current challenges ourselves.”

Customers do not need to activate the changes. The additional tiers of content, multiscreen and unlimited broadband will be opened up by Foxtel Thursday morning allowing customers to enjoy the premium content and features immediately until 31 May.

No live motorsport, but Fox Sports doco on 2019 Supercars season

Fox Sports will air the world premiere of the eight-part docuseries Inside Line – A Season with Erebus Motorsport on Tuesday, March 31 at 7.00pm.

In its first year of Supercars’ behind-the-scenes coverage of its race teams, the docuseries, which will showcase a different team each season of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship starts with Erebus Motorsport and owner Betty Klimenko.

Erebus Motorsport Team Owner Betty Klimenko

Viewers will follow driver and Bathurst winner David Reynolds and his young teammate Anton De Pasquale as they experience the ups and downs of a Supercar season.

Available only on Foxtel (channel 506) and Kayo Sports, Episode Two will air on Thursday, April 2 at 7.00pm, with two episodes a week to be shown on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Erebus Motorsport Team Owner, Betty Klimenko, said: “I was all for doing this. In the beginning it was a little daunting, but once you got used to a crew they were really good about it and it just became part of every weekend. I forgot about them half the time. I’d go to the bathroom and leave my mic on by mistake!

“I think people will love it because they’re going right behind the scenes. Not just right into the garage but de-briefs, the personal lives of the people who make up Erebus. They’re going to see what makes us tick. Every team is different and this is how we do it.”

Supercars CEO, Sean Seamer, said: “Our new annual docuseries Inside Line provides an excellent insight into the world of Supercars and all the dynamics of a motorsport team – getting to know their personal lives, the explosive track action and the team’s full-blown rivalries. With unprecedented access to the inner sanctums of the team and drivers, both on and off the track, this compelling series is a must watch for any sports fan and showcases what is at the very heartbeat of our championship.”

Head of Fox Sports, Peter Campbell, said: “Inside Line – A Season with Erebus Motorsport is a fantastic addition to our unrivalled motorsport offering and we’re thrilled that the first and only place it will be seen is on Foxtel and Kayo Sports.

“Following on from the success of Formula One’s Drive to Survive on Netflix, that is also available on the new Foxtel user experience, we’re very proud to showcase our own characters from the Supercars Championship and take fans to places they’ve never been before. Foxtel subscribers will also be able to stream the series anywhere, anytime on Foxtel GO.”

Fox Sports is available on Foxtel and Kayo Sports.

BROADCAST SCHEDULE

Episode One: Tuesday, March 31 at 7.00pm
Episode Two: Thursday, April 2 at 7.00pm

Top Photo: Supercars driver David Reynolds during filming for Inside Line – A Season with Erebus Motorsport

TV Ratings March 25 Wednesday Week 13 2020

By James Manning

• More record news audiences: Nine, Seven both 1.2m+, ABC 1m
• MAFS sets a record too with 1.2m+ for final dinner party
• Best of the rest: Hard Quiz, Bondi Rescue, The Front Bar

Nine News has hit a new high and ABC has made it to 1m viewers. Seven continues to rank #1 across the metro markets with its national audience close to 2m at 6pm. The metro Nine and Seven 6pm broadcasts are edging closer to 1.3m.

Seven News 6pm
Monday 1,234,000/1,211,000
Tuesday 1,275,000/1,232,000
Wednesday 1,277/1,260,000

The Latest Seven News
Monday 649,000
Tuesday 630,000
Wednesday 603,000

Nine News 6pm
Monday 1,193,000/1,171,000
Tuesday 1,196,000/1,141,000
Wednesday 1,260,000/1,215,000
Highest ratings Nine News in close to five years.

A Current Affair
Monday 890,000
Tuesday 886,000
Wednesday 940,000
Highest rating episode in over 12 months.

Nine News Special COVID-19
Monday 570,000
Tuesday 1,071,000
Wednesday 803,000

10 News First 5pm
Monday 571,000
Tuesday 525,000
Wednesday 541,000

10 News First 6pm
Monday 380,000
Tuesday 337,000
Wednesday 299,000

The Project 6.30/7pm
Monday 423,000/623,000
Tuesday 426,000/614,000
Wednesday 384,000/602,000

ABC News 7pm
Monday 955,000
Tuesday 997,000
Wednesday, 1,000,000

7.30
Monday 911,000
Tuesday 873,000
Wednesday 888,000

SBS World News 6.30pm
Monday 192,000
Tuesday 189,000
Wednesday 193,000

Breakfast TV

Monday
Sunrise 379,000
Today 314,000
News Breakfast 301,000

Tuesday
Sunrise 347,000
Today 261,000
News Breakfast 271,000

Wednesday
Sunrise 351,000
Today 276,000
News Breakfast 280,000
Second-highest rating Today episode of 2020.

Nine: After two nights of final dates on Married at First Sight it was time for the final dinner party. Episode 32 gave further clues as to who might make it out in the real world with an audience of 1,206,000 which is the biggest yet in 2020. Later in the night Footy Classified went to air around 10pm in AFL markets. The episode featured Eddie McGuire and Caroline Wilson alone at separate ends of the desk with reporter Sam McClure contributing from a stool on the other side of the studio that he shared with Matthew Lloyd. The episode did 161,000 with 111,000 in Melbourne.

Seven: The network went with Highway Patrol after the 8pm finish of The Latest. The Front Bar is continuing with the footy with the hosts spread across the complete width of the bar. Guests were remote and poor Skype audio stopped a new interview with the show’s first ever guest, AFLW footballer Lily Mithen. No sign of new recruit Andy Lee. Seven’s Tim Watson was a running gag as the sole audience member. The show did 311,000 with 186,000 in Melbourne.

10: With no Survivor on Wednesday the channel’s share slumped to single figures. An hour of Bondi Rescue went to air after 7.30pm with 452,000 watching the first episode and then 408,000 watching the second. It was the best episode in close to two years.

Two episodes of Bull then did 244,000 and 189,000.

ABC: Hard Quiz made the top 10 at 8pm with 809,000. Mad As Hell started with COVID-19 observations with 757,000 watching. You Can’t Ask That was a special on nudity with the audience just short of 500,000. The episode last week with contributors wearing clothes was just short of 400,000. The final episode of the season of Adam Hills: The Last Leg went to air without an audience and the host wondering what the world will be like when he returns in six weeks. The episode did 311,000 after premiering earlier in the week on ABC Comedy. There was actually no episode of Revelation screened last night. Two episodes will be screened next week – Tuesday and Thursday.

SBS: The channel hasn’t wasted any time getting Tony Robinson’s History of Britain to air with 246,000 watching after 254,000 last week.

Week 12 TV: Wednesday
WEDNESDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 14.4% 7 16.5% 9 25.8% 10  9.0% SBS One 4.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.0% 7TWO 2.7% GO! 1.8% 10 Bold 4.3% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 2.3% GEM 3.3% 10 Peach 2.4% Food Net 0.7%
ABC NEWS 3.7% 7flix 1.8% 9Life 1.6%     NITV 0.2%
                SBS World Movies 1.3%
TOTAL 20.7%   23.3%   32.5%   15.7%   7.9%

 

WEDNESDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 13.0% 7 17.0% 9 20.1% WIN 9.6% SBS One 4.2%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.0% 7TWO 4.2% GO! 2.6% WIN Bold 5.4% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 2.7% GEM 4.6% WIN Peach 2.2% Food Net 0.6%
ABC NEWS 3.6% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.7% 9Life 1.8% Sky News  on WIN 2.6% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 0.8%
TOTAL 19.2%   25.6%   29.2%   19.9%   7.0%

 

WEDNESDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
89.1% 10.9%
WEDNESDAY FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,277,000
  2. Nine News Nine 1,260,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,238,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 1,215,000
  5. Married At First Sight Nine 1,206,000
  6. ABC News ABC 1,000,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 940,000
  8. 7.30 ABC 888,000
  9. Hard Quiz S5 ABC 809,000
  10. Nine News Special: COVID 19 Nine 803,000
  11. Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell S11 ABC 757,000
  12. The Chase Australia Seven 658,000
  13. Hot Seat Nine 638,000
  14. The Latest: Seven News Seven 603,000
  15. The Project 7pm 10 602,000
  16. 10 News First 10 541,000
  17. You Can’t Ask That S5 ABC 478,000
  18. Bondi Rescue 10 452,000
  19. Hot Seat 5pm Nine 428,000
  20. The Chase Australia 5pm Seven 427,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 303,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 193,000
  3. Nine News Special: COVID 19 Nine 189,000
  4. Nine News Nine 177,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 159,000

 

18 – 49

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 534,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 372,000
  3. Nine News Nine 368,000
  4. Nine News Special: COVID 19 Nine 349,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 303,000

 

25 – 54

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 594,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 445,000
  3. Nine News Nine 431,000
  4. Nine News Special: COVID 19 Nine 410,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 354,000
WEDNESDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 209,000
  2. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 195,000
  3. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 192,000
  4. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 166,000
  5. ABC News At Noon PM ABC NEWS 158,000
  6. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 157,000
  7. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 155,000
  8. Neighbours 10 Peach 155,000
  9. Moonraker 9Gem 153,000
  10. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 148,000
  11. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 146,000
  12. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  13. ABC News Mornings AM ABC NEWS 144,000
  14. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 141,000
  15. Dot. PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 139,000
  16. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY 138,000
  17. Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 138,000
  18. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 138,000
  19. Bondi Rescue Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 136,000
  20. The Business ABC NEWS 136,000
WEDNESDAY STV
  1. Gogglebox Australia Lifestyle Channel 187,000
  2. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 142,000
  3. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 104,000
  4. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 79,000
  5. Credlin Sky News Live 70,000
  6. PML Later Sky News Live 69,000
  7. Newsday Sky News Live 50,000
  8. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 44,000
  9. Afternoon Agenda Sky News Live 44,000
  10. Afternoon Agenda Sky News Live 42,000
  11. Afternoon Agenda Sky News Live 40,000
  12. The Alliance Sky News Live 39,000
  13. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 39,000
  14. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 38,000
  15. AM Agenda Sky News Live 36,000
  16. Newsday Sky News Live 35,000
  17. Border Security: Australia’s Front Line FOX8 34,000
  18. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 34,000
  19. AM Agenda Sky News Live 34,000
  20. Blaze And The Monster Machines Nick Jr. 33,000

Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

News Corp Australia team to take pay cuts

News Corp Australia boss Michael Miller has said he and the executive leadership team will take a pay cut and he would do all he can to save jobs at the company, but has steeled staff for job losses amid the ongoing economic crisis caused by COVID-19, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

While the public are turning to trusted news brands in huge numbers, falling business confidence is impacting the advertising revenues of all media businesses with Nine Entertainment, Seven West Media, Southern Cross and oOh! Media all putting out guidance updates in the last week.

Despite soaring readership and subscriptions during the coronavirus crisis, the advertising market has been hugely affected by the outbreak, forcing businesses to close en masse.

[Read more]

Publishing

Major magazine merger call won't be swayed by virus: ACCC

ACCC chair Rod Sims said the competition regulator’s decision on the merger between Australian Women’s Weekly publisher Bauer Media and New Idea’s owner Pacific Magazines will not be focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the media industry, reports The SMH and The Age’s Zoe Samios and Sarah Danckert.

Mr Sims told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age any merger decisions during the pandemic would be made to ensure the economy emerges in “good structural shape” once the crisis is over, rather than to save businesses in the short-term.

“We don’t know how long coronavirus is going to be mucking around the economy, but let’s assume it’s six months and we are hoping things will be back to normal pretty quickly … it would be a shame to make a decision on the basis that this next six months … is the full world,” Mr Sims said.

[Read more]

Entertainment

Tony Awards postponed due to pandemic

The Tony Awards are the latest industry event to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, reports Variety’s Cynthia Littleton and Brent Lang.

The American Theatre Wing, which backs the show, announced on Wednesday that the 74th edition of the annual celebration of the best of theater will be pushed back indefinitely. The ceremony was originally scheduled to air live on CBS, from Radio City Music Hall in New York City, on June 7.

However, Broadway has been closed since March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with producers tentatively setting April 12 as the date that theaters will reopen. That may have been optimistic given that the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow and New York City is at the epicenter of the public health crisis.

“The health and safety of the Broadway community, artists and fans is of the utmost importance to us,” the American Theatre Wing said in a statement. “We will announce new dates and additional information once Broadway opens again. We are looking forward to celebrating Broadway and our industry when it is safe to do so.”

[Read more]

Radio

ARN music director Jason Staveley tests positive to coronavirus

Australian Radio Network executive Jason Staveley has tested positive for COVID-19, reports Radio Today’s Jake Challenor.

In a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday (March 24), the GOLD104.3 Melbourne and WSFM Sydney head of music confirmed the virus can “hit hard”.

“I have tested positive to #coronavirus and am now in quarantine at home,” he wrote. “It hit me fast and can hit hard, so please do everything the experts are asking. The testing process is well organised – my result was delivered late yesterday in a little over 24 hours. The follow up from the Federal Health Dept has also been great.”

Yesterday, ARN was forced to temporarily close its Melbourne office after an unnamed employee tested positive for COVID-19. GOLD104.3 breakfast host Christian O’Connell broke the news on Twitter, saying that the station “has had to go into a 24hr emergency Corona lockdown”.

[Read more]

Television

The Block shuts down production, cast sent home

Filming on The Block has shut down, with contestants being dispatched to their homes around the country on Wednesday morning as the coronavirus crisis worsened, reports The SHM and The Age’s Karl Quinn.

Building work on the site in Brighton continues, however, with around 40 builders and tradies to continue working to create extensions at the rear of the five properties.

“We’re looking at our show in the same way the government is looking at the country – that is, trying to balance economics against an unprecedented health crisis,” said executive producer Julian Cress, who created the show with fellow EP David Barbour. The show airs on Nine, publisher of this masthead.

[Read more]

MAFS: Rejected wife brutally insults husband

A gaslighting Married At First Sight husband has dumped his wife in a flippant statement before backflipping on the remark – with the move pushing his emotionally exhausted missus to hit him where it hurts: his saggy forehead, recaps news.com.au’s James Weir.

Steve has essentially broken up with Mishel at the dinner party and then backflipped so he doesn’t look like the bad guy. She has copped a lot tonight – so she decides to get her own jab in.

“If this was reversed, I would say I like your chest. Your chest is quite nice. But I don’t like your forehead. I’d say let’s go get some filler or something,” she squawks. Mishel’s hoping this insult pushes Steve to finally reveal what it is he’s not attracted to. It doesn’t work.

[Read more]

Survivor star Brooke on whether she’ll watch Locky on The Bachelor

It’s a good thing Brooke got to show her strength, because earlier in the season her game was in danger of being overshadowed by a possible island romance with tribemate Locky Gilbert, reports news.com.au’s Nick Bond.

She said the two were “incredibly close” on the island – and she had been “shocked” when he was announced as the new Bachelor the morning after his eviction aired. As she revealed on social media that same day, the pair had booked a romantic trip to Bali together.

She said she hadn’t quite decided whether she’d watch his season of The Bachelor. “Right now I think I’m going to avoid watching, but I think I’m going to be too curious to see what the girls are like. Suss out who’s taken him over!” And does she have any advice for those girls? “Umm…. nah, I don’t. (laughs) I’ve got no idea!”

[Read more]

Will Love Island proceed for Nine?

With all the shows that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic what is the outlook for Love Island Australia in 2020? Any 2020 series is currently facing limitations around international filming and social distancing rules, subject to things changing in coming months, reports TV Tonight’s David Knox.

Nine’s Director of Programming Hamish Turner has given TV Tonight an update from a previous programming wrap. “Last time we were discussing what the future of that held and where we were going to shoot. That conversation has obviously shifted again with the current circumstances that we’re in,” he said.

“We’re still working with ITV if there is a show this year how you can get that to air. We’re obviously in extraordinary times and there are certain things out of our control that have put a bit of a spanner in the works. We’re working through those at the moment.”

[Read more]

Google + Amazon Prime join Netflix in reducing video quality

Google is cutting back YouTube streaming quality in Australia in line with its actions overseas. The move is aimed at reducing congestion online with families at home turning to the internet for work, schooling and entertainment, reports The Australian’s Chris Griffith.

Google is joining Netflix and Amazon Prime in agreeing to a temporary bitrate reduction. Netflix agreed to cut back its streaming configurations from yesterday.

Telstra also has been working with streaming companies. “Given we are expecting a significant increase in network traffic over the coming weeks, we are speaking to our streaming partners about whether they can limit the resolution of their streams should network capacity become a concern,” a Telstra spokesperson said, adding that many of its streaming partners have video optimisation capability.

[Read more]

Stefanovic grills Centrelink boss on system glitches

Speaking to Services Australia general manager Hank Jongen on Today this morning, Karl Stefanovic asked the question everyone wants to know, reports news.com.au’s Bronte Coy.

“When we’re talking about two million-plus potentially, how long before you can get the system sorted?” he pressed Mr Jongen.

“I want to reinforce that we are doing everything possible, but my advice is this – be patient and persistent. The quickest way for us to get you into the system is for you to ring the number, 132 850,” he replied. Don’t put yourself at risk by coming into our offices. Once you get through, we will give you the links you need to enable you to then get into the system.”

During the interview, a frustrated Stefanovic also questioned why the initial issues hadn’t yet been fixed. “No one pretends this is easy. But the minister was on this show this time yesterday saying this would not happen again and it has happened again. It’s really not good enough for those people, is it?” he asked.

[Read more]

Footy won’t be bailed out by TV

Struggling sporting codes won’t be bailed out by broadcasters if hundreds of millions of dollars of sporting rights are not paid this year because of postponed or cancelled seasons, reports The Australian‘s Leo Shanahan.

A day after the NRL suspended its season, the code’s administrators and broadcasters Nine Entertainment and Foxtel were on Monday mapping out scenarios of what a delayed or cancelled season would mean for payments worth $90m a quarter to the NRL.

While discussions on broadcasting contracts are yet to decide whether payments would be made to the code without a season, The Australian understands no major broadcaster is willing to bail out the NRL should it face financial ruin as a result of a lost season.

[Read more]

Sport

Australian athletes face $25m funding drop in Olympic year

Australia’s Olympic athletes face an uncertain lead-in to next year’s Tokyo Games after their official postponement, with federal governing funding to their sports forecast to plummet by $25 million next year, reports The SMH’s Chris Barrett.

Sports are technically in a better position than they would have been under previous models in that they have been guaranteed their funding from the federal government via the Australian Institute of Sport until the end of the calendar year. But they are now in the dark about whether a huge $25m reduction in government funding that had been forecast for 2021 will be re-assessed given it is now an Olympic year.

With many contracts of high-performance staff coming to an end this year because it was to close out an Olympic cycle, sports chiefs are eager for answers as they re-adjust their planning. Their hope is that funding for this year can be rolled over, effectively creating a five-year Tokyo funding window, but with the nation gripped by the COVID-19 crisis and the federal budget pushed back to October they may have to bide their time.

[Read more]

World Rugby under pressure to bail out Australian game

Prominent Australian rugby figures have called on World Rugby to funnel its World Cup profits into struggling national unions as they face the loss of entire seasons of revenue amid the coronavirus emergency, reports The SHM’s Georgina Robinson.

One day after a high-level World Rugby working group met to discuss how it could help member unions through the catastrophic downturn, World Cup-winning Wallaby Phil Kearns and former Rugby Australia chief executive John O’Neill called on the global governing body to open its coffers and offer grants or low-interest loans to those unions, including Australia, who face the prospect of insolvency.

World Rugby is yet to release the full financials from last year’s World Cup in Japan but predicted record revenue and a healthy profit from the tournament.

[Read more]

NRL players to suffer huge pay cuts amid COVID-19 crisis

NRL players are facing a financial blow of almost $50 million collectively with the code’s elite to be subjected to 50 per cent pay cuts as the coronavirus pandemic cripples rugby league, reports News Corp’s Peter Badel and Travis Meyn.

The NRL’s annual contracting period starts on November 1, meaning all players have thus far received five months of payments in full, totalling $4.8m of each club’s $10m salary cap this year.

That leaves seven months of outstanding payments worth $5.8 million to each club. A 50 per cent pay cut from April 1 will see each club’s playing group forfeit a total of $2.9m, which is 29 per cent of the $10m payment ceiling.

[Read more]

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