Monday March 9, 2020

Eddie McGuire: Busy media man cramming more in than ever

By James Manning

“There is a bit on this year,” Eddie McGuire told Mediaweek recently in Melbourne. The TV/radio host who also doubles as a company chairman, and president of AFL club Collingwood, is close to being revealed as the host of a new project which will again stretch his workload to the limit.

Just over a week before the start of the AFL season, Fox Footy host and commentator McGuire is full of anticipation about what lies ahead: “At this stage of the year before the footy you just can’t wait for it to start. It promises to be an amazing season with so many teams so close.”

Although he works across different genres, sports is the broadcaster’s main passion. McGuire has been covering the AFL for a long time and he’s a proud carrier of a media pass for 42 years. “Luckily I still get the same excitement as I did when I was 13.

“You look at how sophisticated the AFL media coverage is now – they all do a great job. From Fox Footy to Seven to all the radio stations. It has just got bigger every year.”

His latest role seems like it will be hosting an additional midweek episode of Footy Classified on Nine, a program his company Jam TV makes for the network. However as Nine has yet to officially announce it, he can’t formally discuss the project.

However if he did take on another footy hosting job, he told how he cleared it with Foxtel.

McGuire said he would he like to host another footy show on Nine after the demise of the Thursday edition of The Footy Show.

Fox Sports would have to sign off on it, but it wouldn’t be in competition with them. If it was to go to air when people are speculating it might, it would be later in the night.

“My sporting work is with Foxtel, Fox Sports and Fox Footy. I already had an agreement with Nine that Foxtel signed off on for me to go back and host the Footy Show.

Patrick Delany, Peter Campbell and I sat down and we found a solution in that we could promote Fox Footy through the shows I am hosting for Nine.”

McGuire was hard to pin down when asked about his contracts with Nine and Foxtel. He famously had a lucrative contract with both, but he advised us he never speaks about that now.

However regarding the type of agreement he has, McGuire explained. “All we have is a handshake…and I think I am the last of them. I have a handshake with everybody. Lawyers get in the way and make contracts too hard these days.

Fox Footy duties

McGuire with Fox Footy colleagues Mark Ricciuto, Mark Maclure and Dwayne Russell

“I will host the Thursday night or Friday night coverage from the studio depending on what Collingwood is doing. I will also call a game on a weekend and do whatever they need me to do in between.”

Although McGuire is perhaps better known as a host, he notes being a match commentator was what he always wanted to do when he was a kid. “For all the years doing the football, it was only when I got to Friday night AFL on Nine that I got to call it on the television. I had called a lot on radio and we founded Triple M football over 20 years ago.

“My first ever call was in 1987 at the Battle of Britain game with Bruce McAvaney. It was my first trip overseas and when I landed in London we made the front page of The Guardian when the game got out of control and the place went mad. [The exhibition game featured many punch-ups.] My first AFL game was when Collingwood won in 1990.”

McGuire lists among his sporting commentator idols race caller Bill Collins and footballer-turned-commentator Lou Richards. “To me they all seemed to have the best lives. When I found out that Lou Richards was a premiership captain of Collingwood and also owned a pub I thought what is there he cannot do!”

Just days after hosting the recent combined Fox Footy/Seven coverage of the Bushfire charity State of Origin game, McGuire is hopeful of getting it back as a regular event. But not just one game, and not every year.

“I was involved with [AFL CEO] Gil McLachlan and some other AFL people in deciding to hold that game as the president of a club.

“The 1988 Bicentennial Carnival is the template for the future – all states play over a two-week period. Pre-season is the best time of year to hold it. It could be held perhaps every three years. You should pay the players properly. In TV, everybody is looking for good event television. You could have cities bid for the carnival to fill their stadiums up.”

Nine’s game show king

McGuire’s biggest TV role is holding down a critical hour for the Nine Network at 5pm each weekday hosting the game show that leads into the 6pm news.

“The east coast figures are fantastic for Millionaire Hot Seat. It kicked big time toward the end of last year and also so far this year.”

McGuire records the shows in blocks to keep Nine stocked with programming inventory. “We recorded 12 last week and I am doing another six tomorrow.”

Breakfast radio with Triple M

“It’s going great guns,” said McGuire before we asked him about the ratings. Was 2019 a challenging year in the ratings? “The ratings are all over the place. We started the year #1 for the first couple of surveys. According to the survey in Grand Final week we dropped and then went up the next survey. We finished #1 FM in the only demographic that counts for Triple M – 25-54 men.

“I get a bit jaundiced with people not understanding how radio works. It is completely different to TV and we pitch our content to a certain demographic.

“Our show is a small part of 24 hours at Triple M and then we control one third of that timeslot and they control the ads and the music. Triple M experimented with the music last year. Our podcast last week apparently did record numbers.

“We have a different show this year with a different line-up. [Wil Anderson left at the end of 2019.] It is probably more news-based and we have broken big stories every day.

“We have been on air for 10 years and when you average it out we have been #1 for 10 years.”

McGuire’s production company Jam TV

McGuire didn’t want to comment on speculation about a TV show being pitched by Jam TV to Amazon Prime Video covering all AFL clubs.

It sounds like a good idea, we suggested. “Hopefully it comes to fruition for everybody. It would be amazing for the AFL to be the focus of an international documentary series as we have seen in other spots like Formula 1 and English football.”

When asked about the production company structure, McGuire described it as “just a family business”. Jam TV makes Footy Classified, The Sunday Footy Show, Millionaire Hot Seat for Nine and A Moveable Feast for Seven. “We are not a listed business like Crocmedia and we just quietly go about our business.”

Top Photos: Eddie McGuire with Richmond Premiership coach Damien Hardwick at Fox Footy 2020 launch

Triple M's Ewan Giles on kicking off another season of AFL and NRL coverage

By Trent Thomas

Triple M’s head of sport Ewan Giles is prepared for a busy March with Supercars already kicking off and the NRL and AFL around the corner as Triple M kicks its sports coverage into gear.

He spoke with Mediaweek about what lies ahead in 2020 for Triple M’s NRL and AFL coverage and what it takes to spot good on-air talent.

Giles says that while it’s important to get good feedback from listeners, Triple M also relies on feedback from the players about the coverage.

“There has been a real focus on really making sure that we are the call players listen to. Our anecdotal feedback is the players love what we do on-air, NRL especially.”

This year sees an influx of new on-air talent at the station with NRL stars Mitchell Moses, Jai Arrow, Damian Cook, and Wade Graham joining the Triple M team throughout the season.

“It is important to include the current players where we can to make our opinions more relevant, the way the game was played 30 years ago is not the way the game is played now and opinions from 30 years ago aren’t the same as opinions now.”

Over at the AFL Giles said they are trying to think outside the box when finding new and exciting talent.

“We are really keen to identify talent across all parts of media, not just ex-footballers. In AFL land we are really eager to find talent outside the traditional sphere like Sarah Olle from Fox Sports and Tony Armstrong.  With the greatest respect to Tony he only had a 38  game career, but he was a guy who worked really hard and graduated through the National Indigenous Radio Service and as far as we are aware he is the first Indigenous play by play commentator in commercial radio.”

When asked what the secret is to finding the best talent for the broadcast Giles said that he looks for players with a glint in their eye who have an X factor about them but also share one major quality.

“The biggest thing with finding talent is they’ve got to be ambitious, and not just when they realise they don’t have a contract next year. Some players focus is solely on playing footy so they aren’t the most media-friendly until they realise the clock is ticking on their career and then they are very media-friendly the next couple of months because their next job might be coming from us.”

With a big sports year ahead Giles said he is most looking forward to State of Origin in Adelaide, and owning the AFL’s Thursday night slot, but he says the secret to a successful year is simple.

“Take the game seriously but don’t take yourself seriously, I think that’s the big thing. Treat the game with respect but don’t get bogged down in the minutiae of how important your opinion is.”

Mark Di Stefano’s media journey from ABC copy boy to The FT

By James Manning

The list of Australian journalists working in UK media is long with many expats working both as European correspondents to those who make the move longer-term working for British-based news organisations.

A recent appointment has seen ABC and BuzzFeed Australia alumni Mark Di Stefano take up an important posting at the Financial Times, better known to its readers as The FT.

Di Stefano is perhaps best known locally for his time at BuzzFeed Australia where he arrived six months after launch as its first news hire. He was hired by founding editor Simon Crerar after five years at the ABC. His years at the ABC ran the gamut from copy boy/runner.

“I tried many times to get Fairfax and ABC cadetships. At the ABC I did time on the autocue and I used to work on the 7pm Sydney news for Juanita Phillips. I also did autocue for Jeremy Fernandez on ABC News 24 just after launch. I did time working overnights and I got to present the news on Triple J for about six months,” Di Stefano told Mediaweek in London recently.

Di Stefano then got into TV, working in Darwin for the ABC for 10 months.

His remit at BuzzFeed in 2014? “Simon said just break news.” His title was breaking news reporter. Looking back at those years, he said: “I had no idea what to do. I tweeted a lot and chased the biggest story of the day. For the first year and a half I wrote up any story I could find and then I was appointed political editor.”

Di Stefano joined BuzzFeed in the same year as Daily Mail Australia started and shortly after the launch of Guardian Australia at a time of much activity in the digital news space. “There was an ascendency then of digital media that threatened the long-term future of many legacy publications.

Facebook then made changes to its news feed algorithm which impacted online publishers. Some were also operating on a business model that hadn’t been proven.

“BuzzFeed was breaking some big stories, but then other publishers like Daily Mail, Nine, Fairfax would replicate what we were doing. BuzzFeed tried a lot of innovation in how we presented the news. Some of it was great, and some of it was bad.”

A move to the UK followed when Di Stefano’s wife managed to convince him to relocate after she had the opportunity to work in London. “I told her I would give it two years. I subsequently applied for the BuzzFeed UK media job and I started working with Janine Gibson, who I now work with at The FT. She took me under her wing and taught me how to be a media reporter. I networked as much as I could taking people out for coffees and drinks. I realised the way to be a reporter in 2020 hasn’t changed that much – it’s all about who you know, having mobile phone numbers and being able to call and text message sources. Old school reporting techniques make for the best stories.”

His time at BuzzFeed UK included the now infamous Waitrose story.

See also:
This Vegan Journalist Pitched To Waitrose Food Magazine, And The Editor Replied Proposing A Series About Killing Vegans

In 2019 The FT offered Di Stefano the role of media and tech reporter. “To me it was a dream job at a newspaper that I completely admire with amazing reporters. It was a compliment that after just two years in the UK I could be trusted to report for The FT.”

The demands of the job at BuzzFeed and The FT are quite different. “I spent my first four weeks there sitting in workshops learning The FT style. It is about communicating what can be incredibly complex things very simply and very clearly. It could be about explaining what is a specialist topic for someone who works in finance and then translate it for someone who comes from a different industry.

“BuzzFeed is much more conversational where you can sometimes here the writers talking to you. At BuzzFeed it was about how can I tell you the news in a way it would work if I was talking to you in a loud pub.

“That is changing now and the quality of reporting at BuzzFeed news I would put up against any other news outlet in the world. The people who now work at BuzzFeed Australia – Gina Rushton, Hannah Ryan and Cam Wilson – can compare with anyone at Nine or News Corp. Other companies will sometimes go and rewrite their reporting and it is a real compliment to the quality of the work at BuzzFeed.

“Some still say they thought BuzzFeed was all cats and gifs, but the perception is changing. The challenge of every media organisation is to find new audiences and get people’s trust.”

When a news organisation hires Mark Di Stefano they are also getting a marketing machine as well. He works hard to promote both the brand and its journalism – his own and that of his colleagues. “Part of that is my Twitter addiction.

From when I wake up to when I go to bed I am looking at my phone. Twitter is a place where I can get information and ideas. Naturally I am going to tweet. There have been times in the past when I have tweeted something and my boss has called me and questioned whether it was a good look for us. Then I might go and delete that tweet!

“Now in 2020 journalists are expected to promote their work and their employer as an extension of their job. But these days you need to ask how every tweet reflects on you as a journalist and how it signals to the rest of the internet the stuff you are interested in and the type of person you are.”

As to the perception that Twitter has become a cesspit of negativity where trolls roam out of control, Di Stefano said: “There is bad shit everywhere. In the early years of the platform, Australian Twitter was a really great place. It was dominated by people like Mark Colvin, Annabel Crabb, George Megalogenis. It was about sharing links and telling people what was good to read.”

Di Stefano recalled how he nearly got fired from the ABC early in his career there over something he tweeted. “I was transcribing and saw the name of a Canberra media adviser with the same name as a European footballer. I tweeted about the shared name and subsequently got a call from the then bureau chief telling me to take down the tweet. I subsequently received an official warning for something that was just a joke. That is a good example for young journalists that you need to be really careful and that your employer and people who will possibly be your sources could always be watching.

These days Twitter is much more confrontational, and people are losing their minds on a daily basis. The disappointing thing is that people have lost all notion of proportionality. Small infractions can be blown up into the biggest issues. There is a great quote: ‘Every day there is a main character on Twitter and it is your goal not to be it.’ There can always be a series of fights underway on Twitter and they create tweets that go viral and are turned into new stories that grow from there. Those cycles can then last from one to four days and up to a week.

You don’t really change anyone’s mind on Twitter. The only reason that you would fight is because you are having fun or you don’t care about the result.

“What I get from Twitter is conversations that lead me to make enquiries. Any journalist who isn’t addicted to Twitter I would like to shake their hand and ask them to tell me their secret. I would not have got to where I am – in the 10 years from first joining the ABC – without Twitter.”

Working at The FT is a good place to be, said Di Stefano, who is enjoying an independent news brand in a market where competitors are sometimes linked to particular agendas.

The business if owned by Japanese media group Nikkei. “Unlike some newspapers in Australia, The FT doesn’t have preoccupations that can dominate its news coverage. Because it has a paywall, and a dedicated audience paying a fee for the news, it liberates you from having to cover everything. You are always thinking about the stories the audience wants and is happy to pay for.

“Paywalls don’t work for everyone, but they work for The FT.”

As to his future plans, Di Stefano is very happy where he is. His Twitter addiction though needs to some work. “It impacts my relationship in an acute way. My wife can be talking to me while I am scrolling through Twitter. She might stop and I won’t notice. I am concerned about my consumption of news might be impacting my mental health because I am a very anxious person.

“However I understand that things should be consumed in proportion. If I spend 30 minutes on Twitter, then putting it away to have dinner will probably be the most important 30 minutes I will spend that day.”

Top Photo: Mark Di Stefano in London in February

Ausbiz prepping for late March launch with all-star finance team

The business streaming service founded by Kylie Merritt and backed by David Koch is gearing up for a launch later this month.

Sharing the same name as the social media hashtag, ausbiz is planning to stream finance market coverage for eight hours every weekday from 8.30am with an all-star team.

Merritt, who also is managing director of the new business, won’t be holding down an on-air spot. Merritt and Koch have been long-time colleagues with Merritt a board member of the Koch family company Pinstripe Media for a decade until 2016.

Merritt also helped launch Sky News Business and is a former commercial director of Sky News.

The business stream will be hosted from purpose-built studios in Barangaroo and is the first newsroom to go live with the cloud-based newsroom system DiNA.

In addition to the daily live feed, ausbiz will feature on demand content available via its interactive app and website.

There will be additional distribution of ausbiz content via IRESS terminals,, 7plus and Adviser Ratings. The market open and daily start-up show will be live streamed on Twitter.

A team of 15 started are currently working at Auzbiz. And that all-star on air team? It will feature anchors Nadine Blayney, David Scutt, Daniel Weiner and Ingrid Willinge. Contributing anchors are Seven’s David Koch and Gemma Acton.

Top Photo:  David Koch (centre) with the ausbiz team [L-R] Daniel Weiner, Nadine Blayney, Ingrid Willinge, Gemma Acton and David Scutt

Melbourne Press Club: 2019 Quill Awards winners

The winners of the 25th Quill Awards for Excellence in Victorian Journalism were announced on Friday evening.

The Quill Awards for Excellence in Victorian Journalism are the premier media awards in Victoria. Established by the Melbourne Press Club in 1995 with 10 awards, the Quills now celebrate the best work in over 30 categories across all media.

The best category winner is selected as the Gold Quill winner, receiving a $7,500 prize supported by principal sponsors Virgin Australia and Monash University.

Entrants to the Quills must be employed by a media organisation that is based in Victoria or conducts substantial publishing or broadcasting activities in Victoria. They must work primarily in Victoria or have been sent from Victoria on an interstate or overseas assignment for a Victorian media organisation.

2019 Quills: The Gold Quill
Michael Willson of AFL Media won the 2019 Gold Quill for his photo ‘The Kick’

2019 Quills: Artwork
Sam Mularczyk won the 2019 Artwork Quill for animation work on Network 10’s The Project

2019 Quills: Breaking News Coverage
Mike Amor, Sharnelle Vella, and Nick McCallum of 7NEWS won the 2019 Breaking News Coverage Quill for their coverage of the George Pell guilty verdict

2019 Quills: Business Feature
Amy Bainbridge, Loretta Florance & Lucy Kent of ABC 7.30 won the 2019 Business Feature Quill for ‘Bankruptcy Hunters’

2019 Quills: Business News
Nick McKenzie, Grace Tobin & Nick Toscano won the 2019 Business News Quill for ‘Crown Unmasked’

2019 Quills: Cartoon
Jim Pavlidis of The Age won the 2019 Cartoon Quill for ‘Who Are You Wearing?’

2019 Quills: Coverage of an Issue or Event
Chris Vedelago, Sumeyya Ilanbey & Cameron Houston of The Age won the 2019 Coverage of an Issue or Event Quill for ‘Toxic Cowboys’

2019 Quills: Feature Writing
Tom Cowie won the 2019 Feature Writing Quill for ‘Two Guys And The Yiayia Next Door’

2019 Quills: Features Photograph
Jason South won the 2019 Features Photograph Quill for coverage from Christchurch for The Age

2019 Quills: The Grant Hattam Quill for Investigative Journalism
Andy Burns and Geoff Thompson won the 2019 Grant Hattam Quill

2019 Quills: Innovation in Journalism
Margaret Burin, Nathan Hoad, Ben Spraggon & Matthew Liddy won the 2019 Innovation In Journalism Quill

2019 Quills: The Keith Dunstan Quill for Commentary
Waleed Aly won the 2019 Keith Dunstan Quill for Commentary

2019 Quills: News Photograph
Jason South of The Age won the 2019 News Photograph Quill

2019 Quills: News Report in Writing
David Estcourt & Clay Lucas of The Age won the 2019 News Report in Writing Quill

2019 Quills: Podcasting
Richard Baker, Rachael Dexter, Kate Cole-Adams & Siobhan McHugh won the 2019 Podcasting Quill

2019 Quills: The RACV Transport Quill
Matthew Johnston, James Campbell, Tom Minear & Kieran Rooney of the Herald Sun won the 2019 RACV Transport Quill

2019 Quills: Radio Journalism (Long Form)
Rafael Epstein, Tess Armstrong, Kristian Silva & Erin Marsicovetere won the 2019 Radio Journalism (Long Form) Quill



2019 Quills: Radio Journalism (Short Form)
Amy Bainbridge of ABC Radio AM won the 2019 Radio Journalism (Short Form) Quill

2019 Quills: Regional and Rural Journalism
Charmayne Allison and Cath Grey of the Riverine Herald won the 2019 Regional and Rural Journalism Quill

2019 Quills: Sports Feature
Konrad Marshall of Good Weekend magazine won the 2019 Sports Feature Quill

2019 Quills: TV/Video Feature (Long Form)
Rachael Brown, Josie Taylor, Chris Gillett & Greg Nelson of ABC 7.30 won the 2019 TV/Video Feature (Long Form) Quill

2019 Quills: The Young Journalist of the Year
Sam Cucchiara of Nine News is the 2019 Young Journalist of the Year

2019 Quills: MPC Student Journalist of the Year
Liam Petterson of University of Melbourne won the 2019 Student Journalist of the Year award

2019 Quills: Sports News
Leo Schlink and Mark Buttler of the Herald Sun won the 2019 Sports News Quill

2019 Quills: Sports Photograph
AFL Media photographer Michael Willson won the 2019 Sports Photograph Quill for ‘The Kick’



2019 Quills: Suburban Journalism
Anthony Piovesan of Whittlesea Leader won the 2019 Suburban Journalism Quill

2019 Quills: The TAC Towards Zero Quill for Road Safety Reporting
Cathy Jacobs, Ben Knight, Mary Gearin & Cameron Best won the 2019 TAC Towards Zero Quill for Road Safety Reporting

2019 Quills: TV Camera Work (Creative Camera Work)
Travis Nemtsas of Nine News won the 2019 TV Camera Work (Creative Camera Work) Quill

2019 Quills: TV Camera Work (Shot of the Year)
Trigby Chvastek of Nine News won the 2019 TV Camera Work (Shot of the Year) Quill for coverage of the arrest of Jonathan Dick

2019 Quills: TV/Video Feature (Short Form)
Mimi Becker of Nine Network’s A Current Affair won the 2019 TV/Video Feature (Short Form) Quill for ‘Teachers Under Attack’

2019 Quills: TV/Video News
Jayde Vincent of Nine News won the 2019 TV/Video News Quill

2019 Quills: The VicHealth Quill for Coverage of Women in Sport
Lucy Carter of ABC 7.30 has won the 2019 VicHealth Quill for Coverage of Women in Sport

2019 Quills: The Victorian Government Quill for Reporting on Cultural Diversity
Ian Burrows & Jason Fang of ABC News won the 2019 Victorian Government Quill for Reporting on Cultural Diversity

2019 Quills: The Victorian Government Quill for Reporting on Disability Issues
Belinda Hawkins, Mark Farnell, Ian Harley & Vanessa Wiltshire of Australian Story & ABC News won the 2019 Victorian Government Quill for Reporting on Disability Issues

2019 Quills: Lifetime Achievement Award
Bruce McAvaney, Seven Network

Top photo: Quills McAvaney Lifetime Achievement

7plus announces launch of Australian first Freeze Frame

Seven today announced that it has partnered with GroupM to launch a test of Freeze Frame on its BVOD service 7plus, with Westpac as the brand featured.

Freeze Frame is a custom creative, non-intrusive user-initiated ad experience that appears when a viewer presses pause whilst watching 7plus content across connected TVs and on web. Freeze Frame allows brands to deliver relevant messaging to the 7plus audience during a natural, user-determined break.


Nicole Bence, Seven’s Network digital sales director, said: “We’re delighted to work with GroupM and Westpac on this innovative new ad unit. Freeze Frame takes advantage of a natural, user-determined break to deliver relevant messaging to viewers.

“Freeze Frame is yet another example of Seven’s continual innovation, focussed on enhancing the viewing experience with relevant and contextual messaging at the right moment, which results in delivering the best outcomes for our clients.”

Venessa Hunt, chief digital strategy officer at GroupM, said: “It is exciting to see so much innovation coming out of the Seven Network as they continue to balance the best for the viewer with user experience and best for advertisers with high impact opportunities. The new freeze frame format gives an interactive brand canvas on the largest screen in the household, the connected TV, whilst ensuring it is unmissable between interacting with broadcast content. It is also great to see Westpac taking full advantage of first to market opportunities and embracing the convergence of online and offline media.”

The trial of Freeze Frame commences on 7plus on Sunday 8th March, with Westpac as the brand featured. The Freeze Frame will be available to the market in April and will be exclusively available to Olympic Partners and Sponsors during the Games.

Week 10’s best TV: MAFS, Doc, Survivor & Gogglebox

By James Manning

The first week of Autumn TV has again been dominated by Nine’s Married At First Sight. In fact MAFS was the only non-news show in the top 10, while the only other non-news or current affairs programs to crack the top 20 were ABC’s Doc Martin and 10’s Australian Survivor: All Stars and Gogglebox.

Nine this week saw season highs for both A Current Affair (Wednesday episode) and 60 Minutes.

Nine won across the primetime commercial shares for the key demographics, and had the following wins: People 25-54s (41.8%), People 16-39s (40.8%) and Shopper with Child (43.4%). Nine had a share of 40.9% Total People.

Nine also won the primary channel commercial shares for the key demographics, and had the following: People 25-54s (30.8%), People 16-39s (30.7%) and Shopper with Child (31.9%). Nine had a share of 29.6% Total People.

Nine had a total of seven spots in the top 10 shows of the week, taking out the first four spots with MAFS.

Seven’s highlights again were its dominance in news weeknights and Sunday at 6pm. Home and Away was the most-watched drama of the week and Sunrise continues to be #1 at breakfast. Pooch Perfect had a disappointing response to the second episode with the numbers down week-on-week from 624,000 to 441,000.

10’s best for the week was the Tuesday episode of Australian Survivor: All Stars when Harry was sent home just one day after Nick. Also sitting in the top 20 for the primary channel was Gogglebox. Performing well just outside the top 20 were the other two episodes of Survivor while Ambulance Australia posted a year best audience of 509,000 on Thursday night which pushed it ahead of Seven’s Pooch Perfect.

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).

Network 10 and 10 grew their audiences 15% and 11% respectively, compared with the same week last year, with 10 Bold growing 25% and 10 Peach lifting 22%. 10 Bold has now achieved 57 consecutive weeks of year-on-year growth, while 10 Peach has achieved seven consecutive weeks of year on year growth. Network 10 has achieved commercial share growth every single week in 2020.

On the ABC all 7pm episodes of ABC News across the week made the top 20 as did Doc Martin. The next best, and all either just above or below 600,000, were 7.30, Australian Story, Hard Quiz, Mad As Hell and Endeavour.

SBS travel programs hosted by veteran UK broadcasters were its best with Great Australian Railway Journeys on 341,000 on Tuesday and then Michael Palin in North Korea on Sunday on 257,000.

ARIA Chart : Lady Gaga straight into the top 10 with single ‘Stupid Love’

By James Manning

• Albums: Third release from Melbourne’s Slowly Slowly debuts top 10


The Weeknd is now celebrating seven weeks at the top of the ARIA Singles Chart was Blinding Lights.

The highest new entry on the charts sees Lady Gaga with her first hit in over a year with Stupid Love, the first track released from her sixth album Chromatica due next month. After first charting in 2008 with Just Dance, this is Lady Gaga’s 13th top 10 single.

The only other new top 10 entry is American rapper Doja Cat with Say So, which climbs from #21 last week to #8 after six weeks on the chart.

New to the top 50 this week:

#32 Powfu with Death Bed
#43 Justin Timberlake and SZA with The Other Side
#44 Ashe with Moral of the Story
#50 24KGoldn with City of Angels


Slowly Slowly

BTS and their new album Map Of The Soul: 7 spend a second week in the top spot. Getting a #1 album for successive weeks doesn’t happen too often on the Albums chart, or does it?

Harry Styles managed it earlier this year with Fine Line on top for the chart for the first two weeks of the year after initially hitting #1 in mid-December 2019. Kanye West did it for two weeks in November 2019 with Jesus Is King. Post Malone, Ed Sheeran, Billie Eilish almost wreck our argument as they also racked up multiple weeks at #1 too in 2019.

Metal releases continue to perform well on debut on the ARIA Album Chart with Five Finger Death Punch new at #2 with their eighth album F8.

The third album to debut in the top 10 this week is from Melbourne pop punk band Slowly Slowly with Race Car Blues at #7. The band’s third album comes two years after their second album St Leonards peaked at #77. The band played the Lemonade Music Festival in Sale, Victoria, yesterday and tours the new album around Australia from mid-April.

Four other albums debuted in the top 50 outside the top 10:

#20 Lil Baby with My Turn. Second album from the US rapper.
#23 James Taylor with American Standard. The 20th album from the 71-year-old singer-songwriter.
#35 Caribou with Suddenly. The fifth album from Canadian composer-musician-performer Dan Snaith performing as Caribou.
#47 Saviour with A Lunar Rose. Fourth album from the Perth hardcore band.


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TV Ratings: March 8

By James Manning

• Married and T20 World Cup combo push Nine share to 43%
• MAFS remains close to 1m as women’s cricket pulls 500k+
• MKR and DWTS slump as Sunday audience spoilt for choice

For 21 nights Married At First Sight has dominated the ratings for Nine and the Endemol Shine Australia produced reality show did it again to start another ratings week on a night where there was more on offer than ever.

MAFS managed to go oh-so-close to 1m viewers while the next biggest audience in its timeslot was also tuned to Nine – watching the final of the Women’s T20 World Cup on Gem where Australia turned it on for its best match of the tournament. The cricket audience averaged 531,000 for the game that ran from 6pm until just after 9pm. The national cricket audience was 825,000 while an extra 341,000 were watching Fox Cricket.

Back on Nine’s primary channel, 60 Minutes recorded its biggest audience of the year with 842,000 watching Liam Bartlett in scary illegal wildlife markets in Asia and Dolly Parton telling Tom Steinfort she would never retire.

The MAFS commitment ceremony and cricket combo was bad news for Nine’s competition.

Seven posted its smallest audience ever for My Kitchen Rules with the audience on 395,000. Later in the night The Good Doctor did 286,000.

10 did it tough too with Sunday share under 10% and an audience of 352,000 watching Travis Cloke depart Dancing with the Stars. This means both Ed Kavalee and Claudia Karvan are among the final six remaining. Also on 10, The Sunday Project 7pm did 321,000.

On the ABC the second week of Stateless did 363,000 after launching with 441,000. That first episode added a further 127,000 in Consolidated 7 data to 568,000 metro after one week.

Grand Designs was on 404,000 earlier in the night.

Week 10-11 TV: Friday-Sunday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 16.8% 7 19.5% 9 16.4% 10  8.9% SBS One 3.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.6% 7TWO 3.6% GO! 3.7% 10 Bold 3.7% VICELAND 1.6%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 3.0% GEM 2.8% 10 Peach 2.8% Food Net 1.4%
ABC NEWS 1.9% 7flix 2.8% 9Life 2.7%     NITV 0.1%
                SBS World Movies 1.2%
TOTAL 22.0%   28.9%   25.6%   15.4%   8.2%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 14.1% 7 17.3% 9 15.5% 10  8.3% SBS One 4.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.9% 7TWO 3.3% GO! 4.6% 10 Bold 4.6% VICELAND 1.0%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 3.2% GEM 3.6% 10 Peach 2.8% Food Net 1.3%
ABC NEWS 2.0% 7flix 3.8% 9Life 2.7%     NITV 0.4%
                SBS World Movies 2.5%
TOTAL 20.6%   27.6%   26.3%   15.6%   9.9%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 10.3% 7 13.2% 9 25.0% 10  9.2% SBS One 3.8%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.3% 7TWO 2.9% GO! 3.5% 10 Bold 3.5% VICELAND 0.5%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 3.4% GEM 13.1% 10 Peach 1.9% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix 2.1% 9Life 1.7%     NITV 0.1%
                SBS World Movies 0.7%
TOTAL 14.3%   21.6%   43.3%   14.6%   6.1%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 8.7% 7 13.6% 9 20.1% WIN 8.3% SBS One 4.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.0% 7TWO 3.5% GO! 4.3% WIN Bold 3.5% VICELAND 0.7%
ABC ME 1.0% 7mate 4.7% GEM 15.8% WIN Peach 2.0% Food Net 0.5%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.0% 9Life 1.9% Sky News  on WIN 1.1% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 0.6%
TOTAL 12.9%   23.7%   42.0%   14.8%   6.2%


84.8% 15.2%
All People Ratings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 799,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 793,000
  3. Nine News Nine 745,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 688,000
  5. ABC News ABC 618,000
  6. Endeavour ABC 570,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 525,000
  8. Better Homes And Gardens Seven 491,000
  9. Gardening Australia ABC 463,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 450,000


Saturday Top 10

  1. Nine News Saturday Nine 698,000
  2. Seven News Seven 693,000
  3. Doc Martin ABC 682,000
  4. ABC News ABC 653,000
  5. Taronga: Who’s Who In The Zoo Nine 438,000
  6. Agatha Raisin ABC 329,000
  7. 2012 Seven 294,000
  8. Weekend Sunrise Seven 288,000
  9. Getaway Nine 275,000
  10. Weekend Sunrise Late Seven 248,000
Sunday FTA
  1. Married At First Sight Nine 976,000
  2. 60 Minutes Nine 842,000
  3. Seven News Seven 789,000
  4. Nine News Sunday Nine 766,000
  5. ABC News Sunday ABC 598,000
  6. ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 Final AUS V IND 9Gem 531,000
  7. Grand Designs ABC 404,000
  8. My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals Seven 395,000
  9. Stateless ABC 363,000
  10. Dancing With The Stars 10 352,000
  11. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 321,000
  12. Murder On The Internet Nine 307,000
  13. The Good Doctor Seven 286,000
  14. Weekend Sunrise Seven 273,000
  15. Insiders AM ABC 266,000
  16. 10 News First 10 262,000
  17. A Very English Scandal ABC 225,000
  18. The Sunday Project 6.30pm 10 222,000
  19. Seven News At 5 Seven 220,000
  20. Landline PM ABC 216,000
Sunday Multichannel
  1. ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 Final AUS V IND 9Gem 531,000
  2. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 185,000
  3. ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 Final – AUS V IND 9Gem PRE MATCH 178,000
  4. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 175,000
  5. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 159,000
  6. Kiri And Lou AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 152,000
  7. Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 148,000
  8. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 142,000
  9. Floogals AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  10. Insiders AM ABC NEWS 140,000
  11. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  12. Gran Torino 9Gem 137,000
  13. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 131,000
  14. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  15. Bondi Rescue Ep 3 (R) 10 Bold 113,000
  16. Law & Order: SVU Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 106,000
  17. Weekend Breakfast: 10am AM ABC NEWS 106,000
  18. The Day The Earth Stood Still PM 7mate 104,000
  19. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 98,000
  20. Thomas And Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! ABCKIDS/COMEDY 98,000
Sunday STV
  1. Live: ICC Women’s T20 Innings Break FOX CRICKET 341,000
  2. Live: ICC WT20 World Cup: Final FOX CRICKET 315,000
  3. Live: ICC Women’s T20 Post Game FOX CRICKET 290,000
  4. Live: ICC WT20 World Cup: Final FOX CRICKET 237,000
  5. ODI RSA V AUS Game 3 FOX CRICKET 117,000
  6. Live: Cricket: ICC WT20 World Cup: Final FOX SPORTS MORE 102,000
  7. Live: ICC Women’s T20 Innings Break FOX SPORTS MORE 102,000
  8. Live: Cricket: ICC Women’s T20 Post Game FOX SPORTS MORE 95,000
  9. Live: ICC Women’s T20 Pre Game FOX CRICKET 93,000
  10. Live: Cricket: ICC WT20 World Cup: Final FOX SPORTS MORE 91,000
  11. Live: Marsh Series: COLL V ST K FOX FOOTY 91,000
  12. Outsiders Sky News Live 57,000
  13. Live: Marsh Series: GWS V Richmond FOX FOOTY 55,000
  14. Outsiders Sky News Live 51,000
  15. Midsomer Murders UKTV 43,000
  16. Live: Marsh Series: Carlton V Brisbane FOX FOOTY 42,000
  17. Live: Cricket: ICC Women’s T20 Pre Game FOX SPORTS MORE 38,000
  18. Basketball: WNBL: Final G3 STH V CAN FOX SPORTS MORE 37,000
  19. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 35,000
  20. 24 Hours In Emergency Lifestyle Channel 35,000

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

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

Disney+ makes strong debut with estimated 1.2m Aust subscribers

The force appears strong with Disney as new analysis shows the US media giant has accrued 1.2 million subscribers in Australia for its streaming service, less than five months after it launched, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Disney+ launched in Australia on November 19 with Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian, and according to new analysis by AMPD Research, part of Media Partners Asia, is now the third largest streaming service in this country in an increasingly crowded market.

“The depth of the streaming economy is here to stay,” Media Partners Asia executive director Vivek Couto told The Australian Financial Review.

Couto said Disney+ had a strong debut, but other streaming services, including Netflix, Stan and Kayo continue to add subscribers, noting Stan had added 100,000 subscribers in the half despite losing Disney content in November and is now adding to Nine’s profits.

[Read more]

Business as usual say networks as coronavirus shutters key TV market

Australia’s broadcasters say it will be business as usual despite the cancellation of one of the year’s two key international television content markets, April’s MipTV, over coronavirus fears, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Idato.

Foxtel’s director of content Ross Crowley said all international events like MipTV would “be subject to scrutiny in the short term, and [content] rights trading will go online for a period until we can all meet safely again”.

10’s chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said her network would instead lean into its global relationships to monitor emerging content. “We have insights from around the world about what is going on and we have access to a pretty amazing content pipeline from the CBS and Viacom channels around the world,” she said. 10’s US parent company ViacomCBS also owns the UK’s Channel 5.

Nine’s program director Hamish Turner said the network was “regularly in contact with all producers and distributors and have representation on the ground in London who will be taking meetings over the coming weeks”.

[Read more]

Broadcasters criticise ACMA report on advertising influence

Commercial free-to-air television networks have criticised a discussion paper released by the media regulator which raised concerns about the influence of advertisers in news programs, warning any changes to media rules would be problematic for journalism, report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios and Jennifer Duke.

Industry group Free TV, which represents the interests of Nine Entertainment Co, the publisher of this masthead, Seven West Media and Network 10, in its submission says there is “no evidence” to suggest regulation is needed.

ACMA’s paper analysed 160 hours of television news and current affairs on commercial networks and 80 hours of commercial radio content in January. It found 77 per cent of participants were concerned there was a lack of disclosure of the commercial arrangements between networks and advertisers, putting pressure on the broadcasters to provide viewers with greater disclosure.

[Read more]

News Brands

Australian newsrooms prepare for COVID-19 outbreak

Journalists have forever been on the frontline of global crises, from World Wars to catastrophic weather events. Now newsrooms around the world are preparing for the unprecedented challenges of delivering the news amid a potential ramp-up in the coronavirus outbreak, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

On Sunday afternoon, there were more than 70 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia and three deaths, a relatively small number compared to other countries. But Australia’s newsrooms are building and testing contingency plans to allow them to keep the public informed during an era of misinformation across social media, while maintaining a level of safety for staff should there be a large uptick in cases in Australia.

Managing editor of The Australian Financial Review, Joanne Gray, said the health of staff is the publisher’s overriding concern.

The Australian Financial Review Business Summit will go ahead on Tuesday and Wednesday and all precautions are being taken, Gray said. The event will include the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Reserve Bank deputy governor Guy Debelle, US ambassador Arthur B. Culvahouse, and UNSW professor of global biosecurity Raina MacIntyre, a COVID-19 expert.

[Read more]

Internal newswire on cards at News Corp after AAP’s demise

News Corp Australia is understood to be looking at setting up an internal newswire to produce content for its vast media operations, including newspapers, websites and Fox Sports, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

The plan – which is still in the early stages – comes ahead of the planned closure in June of national news agency Australian Associated Press.

The move is expected to see News Corp hire about 30 journalists, including AAP’s well regarded court reporters and some of its sports journalists. News Corp is also believed to be looking to establish an in-house centralised sub-editing team.

AAP chief executive Bruce Davidson is also examining the prospect of a business that produces horse racing content and puzzles, plus content moderation, along the lines of AAP’s sub-editing and production business Pagemasters.

[Read more]

AAP subscribers in discussions over partnership as they plan for future

Australian Associated Press subscribers are holding discussions about pooling resources and forming journalism partnerships that could replace the newswire when it closes in June, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

AAP clients, which include Daily Mail Australia, Guardian Australia and Verizon Media, have started looking at how to fill gaps in their existing editorial teams that will be caused by the closure of AAP, according to sources familiar with discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

AAP chief executive Bruce Davidson has also confirmed he will be part of a new private business that will include AAP’s fact-checking division and parts of its editorial services arm Pagemasters.

For some of the entities, the loss of AAP content and resources could have a financial impact. With smaller editorial staff, budgets and teams restricted to certain parts of Australia, the absence of a newswire creates gaps that urgently need to be filled for the benefit of readers. But any co-operative, should it be formalised, would not run like AAP’s existing newswire, according to those involved in discussions.

News Corp and Nine are considering developing their own breaking news services.

[Read more]


Production house WTFN settles with 10 over The Living Room

Network 10 has reached a settlement with The Living Room producers over the use of its name, paving the way for the show to return in 2020, reports TV Tonight.

The agreement means 10 has been able to avoid plans for a new-look lifestyle show with hosts Amanda Keller, Chris Brown, Miguel Maestre and Barry DuBois.

But in a telling sign of negotiations, producers WTFN will no longer produce the series.

WTFN said in a statement to TV Tonight, “WTFN has reached a commercial settlement with Network 10 to sell the name and trademark for The Living Room.

“WTFN is retaining its rights in the format and all international rights to the program and the format.”

WTFN CEO Daryl Talbot said “When we created The Living Room, we reinvigorated the lifestyle TV genre on Australian TV. Obviously, Australians loved the fresh approach to information about food, renovation and travel.

“We appreciate the opportunity 10 gave us to develop an original concept that has become an iconic brand.”

The deal also enables WTFN’s distribution company, FRED to sell completed episodes to networks around the world. FRED recently sold several seasons to CBS in the USA, which is expected to start airing in the next few months.”

[Read more]

Is another break-up for Karl Stefanovic on the cards?

One of television’s closest partnerships could be over, with industry sources adamant Karl Stefanovicis in the process of splitting from his agent of 17 years and friend Sharon Finnigan, reports News Corp’s Briana Domjen.

While Stefanovic could not be reached for comment yesterday, Finnigan was quick to shut the talk down. “He is still with me,” the agent said.

Stefanovic is in the final year of his lucrative five-year $3-million-a-year contract with Nine.

His earning power, going forward, could be under a cloud with Nine’s Today show registering only a small ratings lift since his return to the program in January.

[Read more]


Inside Jonathan Brown and Sam Pang’s bromance

Jonathan Brown says he is proud he can call himself a broadcaster having entered his fifth year of breakfast radio, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

The former footy champion started his career on Nova 100 alongside his current co-hosts Sam Pangand Chrissie Swan.

“Pang still thinks it’s funny when I refer to myself as a broadcaster, he gets a laugh out of that,’’ Brown said.

“The main thing is the friendship we have, it’s a lot of fun and we stir each other up. Swanny cooks me all my meals and I get to play golf with Pang. It does go quick, which is a good sign.”

Brown said he and Pang play golf most days after their early starts.

“It’s better than taking the kids to school,’’ he said. “(My wife) Kyles reckons I’ve got the hero shift, the school pick up.

“I’m down to 13 (golf handicap), Pangy is down to 15 or 16, but we probably should be lower for the amount of times we play.”

[Read more]

Fifi Box reveals how she orchestrated Brendan Fevola’s radio career

Broadcaster Fifi Box has paid tribute to the power of Brendan Fevola and the way he keeps winning over audiences on their top-rating radio show, reports News Corp’s Nui Te Koha.

Box, who co-hosts Fox FM’s breakfast show Fifi, Fev and Byron with Fevola and Byron Cooke, told Confidential how the unlikely duo have bonded since becoming work mates.

“I only knew Fev the footballer, but I didn’t know him well,” she says.

“When he went into the jungle (and won I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here in 2016), I saw a different side to Fev. I was enamoured with him immediately.

“I said: ‘This guy is gonna win because he’s a firecracker, his personality is phenomenal, but he’s a really good guy.’

“As soon as he got out of the jungle, I said to my boss: ‘Quick, get him in.’ It was such a nice fit from the moment he was on our show, and he’s become one of my best friends.”

Box said Fev has helped their show achieve top ratings because “he has a heart of gold.” She added: “Everybody loves Fev because he is authentic and genuine.”

[Read more]

Billy Brownless inks new radio deal after I’m A Celeb heartbreak

Footy Show favourite Billy Brownless has secured his future with a partner who has stuck by him through thick and thin, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

Brownless, who ventured into the robust world of reality shows in January with a stint on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!, has started his new role as an early evening host with Triple M.

He and his long-time radio partner, James Brayshaw, have had their Rush Hour show moved from its traditional mid-afternoon home to the 6pm-7pm timeslot as part of Triple M’s national strategy.

Along with the new timeslot, Brownless has inked a new three-year deal with the station.

That comes after he signed a new one-year deal with Channel 9 to continue into 2020 as part of the Sunday Footy Show.

Triple M Melbourne content director Dan Bradley said Brownless was much loved by listeners.

“Billy is a superstar, we love him at Triple M and our listeners love him just as much. We could not be more pleased that Billy will remain part of the Triple M family for the next three years,” Bradley said.

[Read more]

Sports Rights

Seven West Media tried to offload Big Bash League to reduce debt

Seven West Media offered to sell Network 10 the Big Bash League broadcasting rights as part of new chief executive James Warburton‘s efforts to reduce the company’s debt pile and free up cash, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Sources familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the Kerry Stokes-controlled Seven had a discussion with the ViacomCBS-owned 10, which held the BBL rights until 2018. Network 10 declined the offer.

Seven had already indicated it paid too much for the rights, writing down the value of the cricket at its half-year financial results as part of a $52 million carve-out for onerous contracts. Excluding the final, audiences for the BBL were down by 10 per cent year on year and fell by 41 per cent compared with the last time it was broadcast on Network 10.

[Read more]

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