By James Manning
• Nielsen can’t enter homes to service boxes, but no issues, yet
As recently as February OzTAM indicated the new audience measurement system Virtual Australia (VOZ) was on track to be available to OzTAM subscribers by the end of April 2020. However earlier this month OzTAM indicated because of measures introduced to fight the spread of COVID-19 it wouldn’t be able to keep to that timetable.
VOZ will offer advertisers new audience insights as it combines viewing via traditional linear viewing and on internet connected devices.
“We have temporarily put VOZ on hold. We are still working on it, refining it and getting clients prepared,” OzTAM CEO Doug Peiffer explained to Mediaweek.
“One of the things that happened when the lockdown started in response to COVID-19 was Nielsen [who collects ratings data for OzTAM] was not able to get into households. One of the main inputs into VOZ is OzTAM and RegTAM TV data and also VPM data – and that is fine because we collect it at device level through the player.”
Peiffer said they are keeping an eye on the main TV panel because if the current stay at home orders continued for or a long time there could be some issues. “For the 8,000 homes in the Australian panel we had to suspend field work,” he said.
OzTAM visits homes in the TV panels to service set top boxes when needed, add any new TVs that might have been purchased or add new family members. “The daily maintenance that goes on has come to a halt. We can do some of it over the phone, but recruiting of new households and installing new equipment has stopped.”
Peiffer said there has been no impact on the data that is being released daily at present. “That is because in 2016 and 2017 we increased our sample by 50% which was quite significant. Regional TAM did the same. The reason we increased to 8,000 was a response to viewing starting to fragment to SVOD and BVOD services to give us a bigger sample to make sure there was no volatility in the numbers because of sample sizes. That alone proved to be good preparation for the lockdown. Even if we start to lose households we still have a big sample.”
A lot of houses would have to drop off the panel before impacting the ratings data. “We would have to see some real attrition on the panel, maybe drop by half before we couldn’t produce data. We are a long way from that,” said Peiffer.
“What we really want to do at present is ensure the safety of the household panel members and the safety of the engineers who are going in, following all the COVID-19 rules. We still do phone calls where we can and we are finding ways of instructing households to add people to the boxes. So far the panel is holding up well and the percentage of good households is still running over 90%.
Peiffer and his team, most working remotely, are still at work on VOZ. He indicated just last week he was having meetings about VOZ nearly every day.
OzTAM has also been detailing the impact that COVID-19 has had on viewing. “Broadcast viewing has been up by massive amounts in daytime and BVOD viewing is also up significantly. What has happened is that all this has pushed more people in front of TV sets. What we call co-viewing is on the increase. That’s because of course there is more people at home and it’s not just in the evening. The TV set has been on a lot more and there are more people in front of it. We were looking at a co-viewing figure at the start of the year of about 1.4 and that has risen. In the first few weeks of lockdown we saw viewing go up with more people sampling news. More recently we have noticed a little bit of fatigue with people not spending as much time as they were with news programs, but they are starting to watch other things. Programs like Lego Masters and MasterChef have been doing very well. People want to be entertained as well.”
Peiffer explained that one of the things VOZ will do is track the viewing in BVOD only households. “During the start of the lockdown the number of BVOD only households started to drop because people were migrating back to broadcast TV. Now it has started to climb again as more people are using BVOD exclusively.”
OzTAM has had VOZ data since the start of the year, but it has been refining the model. “We are working with the broadcasters to make sure the data is robust.”
With big audiences turning to different forms of TV Peiffer noted it is disappointing not to be able to launch what VOZ promises just yet. “With no sport available you realise just how much live sport underpins the broadcast economy in terms of production, sponsorship, ratings and the knock-on impact to other industries.
“It is frustrating to know that viewing is up, yet there is pressure on every single one of my clients in terms of revenue. There are advertisers that fall into different categories. From those ready to start spending again those who are not trading so they stop spending all together. There are some who paused and are now starting again, but maybe changing where they are spending. Then you have some advertisers that are selling so much product that maybe they don’t need to advertise. The whole ad economy has moved a lot on the past few months.”
SMI has reported strong growth in newspaper ad spend is the common early COVID-19 ad spend trend across the Australian and New Zealand media markets, although total media market trends vary markedly in March.
Australian media agency bookings are back 10.6% in March as a lower level than usual of late digital bookings failed to push the market into a single digit decline, as had been expected. However, if the figures were normalised for last year’s pre-election spike in political party/union bookings the market total is back 9.3%. But in New Zealand media agency bookings grew 1.1%, giving that market its third consecutive month of growth.
And as the first social restrictions began to take effect in late March here was some evidence of the market reaction in the SMI figures, with the most obvious being the growth in newspaper bookings.
Growth in Australian national newspaper bookings was the strongest in any media this month with the total soaring 30.2%, while in NZ total media agency bookings to newspapers lifted 35.7% to give that media its highest March ad spend since 2017.
SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe said as the COVID pandemic hit the NZ media was in a stronger financial position than Australia’s as NZ’s media has recorded a 4% increase in financial year ad spend while in Australia the market is back 6.6% over that period.
“This context is important as going forward we can see future confirmed bookings in NZ are already slightly above that evident in Australia, and that stands to reason as confidence in the NZ media market has been at a far higher level for the past nine months,” she said.
For the month of April, SMI’s forward pacings data shows that with a week of trading still to go the value of ad spend in the Australian market in April was 57% of that achieved in April 2019 (excluding digital) while in New Zealand the value of confirmed media was 59.7% of that reported in April last year.
“Those figures suggest that in both the Australian and New Zealand media markets we should see declines in media agency bookings of about 30% in April, although the final results won’t be known until we collect more data in just over a week’s time,” Ractliffe said.
She added SMI already has some good visibility into the media markets for May, with 31% of the value of NZ’s May 2019 ad spend already confirmed and 28% of Australia’s May 2019 bookings guaranteed even before the trading month has begun.
“We can see many product categories are already showing bullish levels of media investment in May, suggesting the market looks set to improve on the April results,” Ractliffe said.
“In Australia, advertisers in the household supplies category have already guaranteed 91% of last year’s total investment for May and in NZ ad spend from the other financial services category is already 40% above that recorded in May 2019,” she said.
This month, SMI has unveiled three new premium retail product sub categories: Supermarkets/Convenience Stores, Alcohol Retailers and Shopping Malls/Operators, bringing the total retail-specific categories on which SMI reports to nine.
Ractliffe said SMI was now working on new breakdowns for domestic bank ad spend, with six new premium sub categories to be released in May. They are Brand/Sponsorship, Consumer Banking, Business Banking, Institutional Banking, Home Loans and Savings/Deposits.
Meantime, SMI has now provided three extra COVID ad spend updates to the market outside its usual fortnightly data releases and will continue that extra service over the coming months.
“It’s never been more important to have the facts about how advertising demand is tracking and we want to ensure all our media and advertiser stakeholders continue to have an accurate view of the market on which to make important decisions in this unprecedented time,” Ractliffe said.
In September 2019 Daniel Johns initiated legal action against News Corp Australia over an item was published in The Sunday Telegraph. The newspaper claimed a photo it published showed the former silverchair singer and guitarist leaving a Sydney brothel.
It took a while, but Johns got his apology from the publisher this weekend.
There was no mention from News Corp Australia if it also paid Johns a financial settlement.
Johns’ statement last September said:
Today, I commenced defamation proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria against The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, its editor and a journalist.
On 11 August 2019, a photograph of me was splashed across the front page under the headline “King of the Kastle”. According to the newspaper, it was a photograph of me leaving a brothel called The Kastle, which the article described as specialising in bondage, S&M, “brown showers” and “adult babies”. The article stated that I am there so frequently that it has become my second home, spending up to 18 hours a day there for the previous two weeks. Additionally, it was stated that staff and patrons were “fed up” with me, and I was full of venom and anger.
The article was simply untrue.
No contact was made with me or my representatives to check the facts before the article was published.
I have asked the newspaper for an apology and retraction. Neither has been provided.
I have now issued legal proceedings in order to publicly correct the facts and vindicate my reputation.
This false reporting has been very hurtful, humiliating, and damaging to me and my family. It is disappointing that the newspaper has not acknowledged this and apologised despite assertions from both myself, and a representative of the Kastle, that I simply was not, and have never been, there. In fact, I never even knew of its existence.
In a prominent page 3 apology in The Sunday Telegraph, and published in other News Corp Sunday newspaper that also carried the report last year, News Corp said sorry and highlighted Johns’ musical achievements:
Apology to musician Daniel Johns
On August 11, 2019, the Sunday Telegraph’s front page contained a photograph of musician Daniel Johns and alleged that he was swaggering out of notorious Sydney brothel, The Kastle.
The story was wrong. Mr Johns was not leaving the brothel and The Sunday Telegraph accepts he has never been there at any other time.
Mr Johns was in the area because he had been visiting a friend who lived in the vicinity of The Kastle.
We retract the story and we wish to extend a genuine and public apology to Mr Johns and his family for the error and the harm caused.
Johns is a highly decorated ARIA award winner with a total haul of 21 awards, including producer of the year ARIA for silverchair’s album Diorama along with being a three-time winner of Songwriter of the Year at the APRA awards. He has created multiple number one albums as well as scores of chart-topping singles.
Johns shows no signs of slowing down with numerous collaborations over the past few years including co-writing “Say It” by Flume feat. Tove Lo on the Grammy Award winning “Skin” album.
He also became the first act to play the much renowned Coachella Festival in 2018 without having released a single piece of music with his collaboration project DREAMS with Luke Steele of The Sleepy Jackson and Empire of the Sun.
Photo: Jordan Munns
By James Manning
Nine has ranked the #1 network again this week in both primary share and combined channel (network) share. It managed to win with its lowest shares of the year however – 18.3% and 26.8%.
The gap between Nine and second-placed Seven was just 0.4 in both primary and network shares.
Seven’s 17.9% primary share was its equal best in five weeks.
Network’s 10’s primary share of 14.5% was its second best this year, the only better week was a 14.7% during the Easter survey break.
Just two episodes of Lego Masters and the Sunday and Monday screenings were both over 1m viewers.
The next best primetime entertainment programs were part two of Informer 3838 on 565,000 and Doctor, Doctor on 510,000.
Primary all people 18.3%
Network all people 26.8%
Multichannels Gem 3.0%, GO! 2.6%, 9Life 1.9%, 9Rush 1.0%
The Sunday episode of House Rules: High Stakes was the best primetime entertainment performer with 640,000 followed by Better Homes and Gardens on 630,000. Home and Away averaged 609,000 for the week.
Primary all people 17.9%
Network all people 26.2%
Multichannels 7mate 3.2%, 7TWO 3.1%, 7flix 2.0%
Three of the five episodes of MasterChef Australia: Back to Win managed to pass 1m – the highest for the week was 1,084,000 on Tuesday with 826,000 on Monday. Gogglebox was the channel’s next best with 847,000 – the second best ever for the format and the last episode of the first season this year.
10 ranked #1 channel in under 50s and all key age groups (25 to 54s, 16 to 39s and 18 to 49s) in prime time for the week. The week 18 performance was up 41% compared to the same week in 2019.
Primary all people 14.5%
Network all people 20.4%
Multichannels 10 Bold 3.8%, 10 Peach 2.1%
The Australian Story episode on Sam Neill had the channel’s biggest audience of the week – 910,000 – outperforming the news averages of the week of 872,000 (Saturdays)and 863,000 (Mon-Fri).
Death in Paradise did 822,000 on Saturday while Hard Quiz did 710,000 on Wednesday. It was followed by the first episode of The Weekly with Charlie Pickering on 606,000.
Primary all people 13.4%
Network all people 18.1%
Multichannels Kids/Comedy 2.5%, News 1.7%, ME 0.5%
Great Canadian Railway Journeys had 352,000 watching last week where it was again the channel’s #1 with a new audience high.
Primary all people 5.3%
Network all people 8.5%
Multichannels Viceland 1.3%, Food 0.9%, World Movies 0.8%, NITV 0.1%
By James Manning
• Singles: Top 3 unchanged, Travis Scott & Kid Crudi new at #4
No movement in the top three this week with Saint Jhn again at #1, holding out The Weeknd at #2 and Drake spending a third week at #3.
The sole change to the top 10 was the chart’s highest new entry, and one of four tunes new to the top 50 – Travis Scott and Kid Cudi with The Scotts The Scotts which was previewed during Fortnite performance recently. While Scott was in the chart with Highest in the Room at #3 last October, it’s been a while between drinks for Kid Cuti. The Cleveland performer and producer last charted top 50 singles with Just What I Am in October 2012. He did collaborate with Kayne West on the 2018 album Kids See Ghosts which peaked at #4.
Dua Lipa celebrates six months on the chart with Don’t Start Now. The single is still top 10 at #6 after 26 weeks with a peak at #2. Her #1 album Future Nostalgia spends another week at #2 after five weeks on the chart.
This weeks other top 50 chart debuts:
#15 Juice Wrld with Righteous. A posthumous release for the rapper who died in December last year after suffering a seizure at a Chicago Airport.
#42 Surf Mesa with Ily. An electronic soundscape created by young producer/DJ Surf Mesa with vocals by Emilee.
#45 Travis Scott with Goosebumps. A 2016 tune from Scott enjoying new exposure after his recent online Fortnite performance.
A relatively quite week on the chart with three new top 50 arrivals. One managed to debut at #1 – Birds of Tokyo with their sixth album Human Design making it another Aussie #1 – the sixth this year. This is the Perth band’s second #1 after March Fires topped the chart in 2013. Their previous album Brace peaked at #3 in 2016.
Birds Of Tokyo’s Adam Weston said: “We’re so happy to receive the news that Human Design has topped the ARIA charts! Thanks to everyone who got behind us during such a crazy time. It has been an incredible journey making this very cathartic record and it couldn’t have been done without the support of many who work closely with us and of course our fans who allow us to continue doing what we do. We can’t wait to tour where we can further bring these songs to life.”
ARIA CEO Dan Rosen added: “Massive congratulations to Birds Of Tokyo and their entire team on their #1 album Human Design. It comes off the back of a stirring performance of hit song Unbreakable with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra for the Music From The Home Front concert. Even in isolation the band are still pushing boundaries, and their stirring anthems are just what the country needs in these challenging times. It is so great to see another Australian act top the ARIA Chart, and proves that in this time of crisis Australian music fans are looking to our local artists for comfort and entertainment more than ever.”
We mentioned last week how The Smith Street Band worked their fans to buy their new album at the right time. It worked. They scored a #1 a week ago, and it has crashed out of the chart this week.
The second top 10 for the week is from Trivium with What the Dead Men Say at #5. The ninth studio album from the Florida metal band is their sixth to crack the top 10.
RVG debut at #28 with Feral. First time in the top 50 for the Melbourne rockers with their second album, three years after their debut Quality of Mercy.
Another chart milestone for Taylor Swift this week as her former #1 album 1969 notches up 200 weeks on the chart. The album has sold over 500,000 copies. The only other album on the chart to achieve that status is Ed Sheeran’s Divide which sits at #17 this week after 165 weeks.
ARIA noted this week how the Michael Gudinski/Jimmy Barnes Music From The Home Front show on the Nine Network pushed a number of Aussie artists up the top 50 including Tame Impala’s The Slow Rush (up four to #19), Tones And I’s The Kids Are Coming – EP (up seven to #27), Cold Chisel’s The Best Of Cold Chisel: All For You (re-entry at #38), G Flip’s About Us (re-entry at 42) and Paul Kelly’s Songs From The South: Paul Kelly’s Greatest Hits 1985-2019 (re-entry at #48).
By James Manning
• Lego Masters ‘3D masterpiece’ build leaves series with top 5
• Nine secures another Sunday victory with Lego & 60 Minutes
• Dani out of MasterChef despite pin as she fails to get gooey
Sunday news highlights
Seven News 1,253,000
Nine News 1,119,000
ABC News 859,000
60 Minutes 686,000
Nine News Late 577,000
The Project 340,000/553,000
10 News 352,000/261,000
SBS World News 256,000
ABC Weekend Breakfast 190,000
Nine: “Create a masterpiece” was the instruction to the remaining teams on Lego Masters. Tim and Dannii got to avoid the elimination build because of their previous win which guaranteed them a place in the top five. The 3D piece of art the other five teams had to build in 12 hours needed to fit a Lego frame that Brickman showed at the start of the episode. “This was the hardest Lego Masters judgement I have had to make,” said Brickman at the end of the episode, just before he told Jay and Stani they were out of the comp. Trent and Josh were the winners for the second time this series.
60 Minutes followed with 686,000, a big lift on the 532,000 watching a week ago.
Seven: Tanya and Dave got to see the work on their renovated Perth property on House Rules. There seemed to be a lot of work to still do as the final day started, but as happens in most reno shows, the teams managed to get most of it done. The episode did 643,000, close to last week’s 640,000.
The 2015 movie The Martian followed with 268,000.
10: “Make it delicious,” was Melissa Leong’s instructions to contestants at the start of a two round elimination cook on MasterChef Australia. “We want the dishes with the best crunch,” added Jock Zonfrillo. The crunch cook saw the cooks facing elimination culled down to five and it was and all-star shootout with Hayden, Khanh, Callum, Brendan and Dani needing to deliver something gooey. The judges were faced with dropping Dani who had liked the 20-1 odds at the start of the episode as she decided not to play her immunity pin. “There is a fine line between runny and gooey,” agreed Andy and Jock as the judges delivered the bad news to Dani. The episode did 1m after a lower Sunday of 967,000 a week ago.
ABC: Mystery Road is halfway through the six-episode season with 576,000. The series is third-ranked of all shows on VPM catch-up at present behind only Killing Eve and Informer 3838.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.6%||7TWO||2.5%||GO!||3.4%||10 Bold||3.5%||VICELAND||1.5%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||4.1%||GEM||3.2%||10 Peach||1.9%||Food Net||1.2%|
|9Rush||1.2%||SBS World Movies||1.1%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.9%||7TWO||3.6%||GO!||4.3%||10 Bold||3.5%||VICELAND||0.8%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||4.2%||GEM||5.7%||10 Peach||1.9%||Food Net||0.9%|
|9Rush||1.1%||SBS World Movies||1.2%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.4%||7TWO||2.4%||GO!||3.4%||10 Bold||3.1%||VICELAND||0.5%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||2.9%||GEM||2.2%||10 Peach||2.5%||Food Net||0.7%|
|9Rush||0.8%||SBS World Movies||0.6%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.2%||7TWO||3.8%||GO!||5.5%||WIN Bold||3.6%||VICELAND||0.5%|
|ABC ME||0.8%||7mate||3.0%||GEM||3.0%||WIN Peach||1.6%||Food Net||0.7%|
|ABC NEWS||1.3%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.5%||9Life||1.4%||Sky News on WIN||1.4%||NITV||0.1%|
|SUNDAY METRO ALL TV|
Friday Top 10
Saturday Top 10
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Google has dismissed claims it has not worked constructively with Australian news organisations and rejected calls for it to directly pay publishers, as the search giant looks to safeguard its business from a major regulatory overhaul, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.
Melanie Silva, Google Australia’s managing director, on Sunday claimed in a blog post that the tech giant struggles to make money from news content as she attempted to break down “misconceptions” on the firm’s relationships with publishers.
Silva said that news content had “significant social value”, but that Google did not make money from organic search results or news that appears in the ‘News’ tab. She said publishers benefit by appearing in Google search results.
“In the offline print world, publishers have long paid retailers, news stands and kiosks to distribute their newspapers and magazines – acknowledging the value of acquiring audiences to a publisher’s content and the advertising publishers sell alongside it,” Silva said.
“In contrast, Google Search sends readers from Australia and all over the world to the publishers’ sites for free – helping them to generate advertising revenues from those audiences and convert them into paying subscribers. Everyone benefits from this exchange. While news content has significant social value, it is often difficult to make money from.”
The fate of Australian Associated Press is set to go down to the wire, with sale talks expected to continue for several more weeks, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.
Two months after AAP’s shareholders called time on the 85-year-old media company, which consists of a national newswire and press release distribution business Medianet, AAP’s board is locked in talks with potential buyers. AAP chairman Campbell Reid said on Sunday that the board has “entered into detailed discussions with a number of parties that have expressed interest in AAP and Medianet”. “These discussions are confidential and are expected to take several weeks,” said Reid, who is also a senior News Corp executive.
The AFR’s Max Mason reports:
The AAP board met over the weekend to discuss proposals which were put forward by Friday’s 5pm deadline.
“You should also be aware that even after the board has met, it could still be some time before any announcement is made, depending on the assessment of the bids,” AAP chief executive Bruce Davidson said in a staff email on Friday afternoon.
On March 3, AAP announced it would close its doors after 85 years in operation, affecting 180 editorial staff and a total of 500 individual staff members and 100 contractors across its business.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has ordered his department to look into the issue of Australian film and television productions being unable to get insurance cover amid the COVID-19 crisis, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
The move is to help get projects back up and running again as prominent producers ask the government to step in as the insurer of last resort.
Jason Burrows, chief executive of Jungle Entertainment, producers of No Activity and Mr Inbetween, said production companies weren’t big enough to cover a total shutdown financially themselves and insuring cast and crew was a major issue that needed to be resolved before the sector could get back to work.
Chris Oliver-Taylor, chief executive of FremantleMedia Australia, producer of Neighbours and Picnic at Hanging Rock, said the government was listening and taking the industy’s concerns on board.
“If you can’t insure and show, you can’t make it, so what do we do?”
The parent company of premium US television network HBO wants flexibility in its next content deal with local media companies that would allow it to launch its own streaming service in Australia, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.
News Corp-controlled Foxtel and Nine Entertainment’s Stan are both vying to secure an output deal with HBO, which is owned by WarnerMedia, a subsidiary of telecom giant AT&T. While a deal is viewed as critical for both companies, industry sources told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that no formal bids had been made.
Television sources previously said that HBO has given Foxtel and Stan until early May to formalise bids for its content.
Sources said it is likely ViacomCBS will pull its Showtime and Nickelodeon brands from Stan and Foxtel once the contracts expire and pull them into its local streaming service 10 All Access.
Australian journalist Mark Di Stefano made his only comment via Twitter on Friday after being accused of reporting on a Zoom meeting of staff from the UK publisher of The Independent and Evening Standard:
“Hi, letting everyone know today was my last day at the FT. This afternoon I offered my resignation. Thank you everyone who has given support. I’m now going to take some time away and log off x” said Di Stefano.
The statement was met by sympathetic comments from friends and former colleagues, many of whom said they expected Di Stefano to bounce back after some time off following this setback. Others were more critical, including this comment from entertainment reporter Peter Ford:
“Hope you learn from this. You’ve orchestrated campaigns against many people, including myself, in the past. You’ve encouraged pile-ons and a cancel culture against anyone you consider ‘conservative leaning’. Despite this I hope in time you bounce back as you’re clearly not a fool.”
The Guardian’s Mark Sweeney reported:
Di Stefano’s actions were in breach of the FT’s code of conduct, which states: “The press must not seek to obtain or publish material acquired by … intercepting private or mobile telephone calls, messages or emails. Engaging in misrepresentation or subterfuge … can generally be justified only in the public interest and then only when the material cannot be obtained by other means.”
“Last week, the FT received a complaint from the Independent that a reporter had joined a staff conference call without authorisation,” an FT spokeswoman said. “Access details had been shared with him. The journalist in question has now resigned from the company.
“The FT wishes to apologise to the Independent and the Evening Standard, which subsequently informed the FT that the same reporter had accessed a meeting it had held.”
The office of Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made an official written complaint to the ABC over some of its reporting on the government’s much-discussed COVIDSafe app, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.
A formal letter, with “COMPLAINT” written in block letters in its subject line in case anyone missed it, has been emailed by ScoMo’s senior media adviser Nick Creevey to ABC news supremo Gaven Morris. The email objects to reporting by ABC investigative journalist Dylan Welch online and on TV about the app, on April 24.
Among the claims made by Creevey was that Welch’s reporting online and on ABC news bulletins about COVIDSafe that day was “unnecessarily alarmist”.
Forty days after it was shut down, production on The Block will resume today, May 4, amid a suite of new precautions that executive producer Julian Cress believes will keep cast, crew, tradies and the general public safe, reports The Age’s Karl Quinn.
“My job is to mitigate risk, and I feel comfortable we have done that to a degree that I think we can start up again with minimal risks to anybody on our site,” says Cress, who believes he can deliver the 16th season of the show to broadcaster Nine on schedule.
That’s in large part because the building of the extensions of the five properties in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Brighton has been able to continue throughout the filming shutdown. Under nationwide COVID-19 guidelines, construction is deemed an essential activity.
Cress says there’s no trickery in The Block having carried on building while contestants were sent back to their homes around Australia on March 25.
“It is a construction site. There’s no question about that,” he says. “There was no legal impediment to us continuing to build. In fact, if we’d wanted to, we could have continued to film. I just felt at that time that the risk was too great. But on balance, looking at the situation currently, that risk is very low.”
When Melissa Leong was appointed a judge on MasterChef, she chose not to delete her earlier criticisms of the program on Twitter, reports The Age’s Michael Lallo.
“There’s no point in sanitising your past,” says the 38-year-old food writer and TV presenter. “I believe everybody deserves to evolve and change their perspectives. To be human is an ongoing process.”
Leong’s remarks were hardly incendiary – she joked about former contestants falling back on their plan B jobs – but they proved irresistible to the tabloids. Given the upheaval surrounding Network 10’s hit cooking competition last year, this is no surprise.
In July, 10 pulled the plug on judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris. Network sources blamed their ‘unreasonable’ pay rise demands while the trio denied this, insisting they only wanted more freedom to work on other projects. Some observers predicted their absence would trigger a ratings rout; instead, Leong and fellow judges Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen have given the show its biggest audience in years.
Leong in particular has drawn much praise on social media. “Melissa represents something you don’t see too much on TV today: a woman who enjoys food and isn’t scared to eat it,” wrote one Twitter user. Others applauded her extensive knowledge, “razzle dazzle” earrings and warm rapport with contestants, all of whom appeared in previous seasons of MasterChef.
Nine Entertainment Co has expressed interest in taking over the NRL’s digital arm as part of cost-cutting measures in a revised broadcast deal, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Chammas.
Sources close to the negotiations say Nine’s proposal for an extended deal until the end of 2025 includes the code’s digital arm, led by NRL.com, which the free-to-air network believes currently runs in direct competition with its two broadcast partners.
Nine, which is the publisher of this masthead, has proposed it takes over the NRL’s profitable digital network, which was recently valued at $50m and costs about $15m a year to run, including $10m to provide clubs with digital services.
Nine and Foxtel have been at loggerheads with the NRL for three years, arguing that their rights investments have been used to prop up a digital division that would in the future be pitted against them in a battle over broadcast deals.
The proposal nullifies the potential competition, but also gives Nine access to the NRL’s 1.6 million account holders and the largest social media footprint (5 million people) of any sport in the country.
It believes it can operate the websites and apps of the 16 clubs, the two states and the governing body under a more cost-efficient model, while also providing content through its Wide World of Sports production empire.
ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys has rejected the argument that the NRL will be a less valuable product to broadcasters without crowds, saying he hopes the game’s two television partners “see reason and pay what we ask” for the rest of the season, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Chris Barrett.
While the competition draws closer to a May 28 resumption with the New Zealand Warriors flying into Tamworth on Sunday night and players to resume training on Tuesday, the game is yet to strike agreement with Nine and Foxtel.
As former ARLC chairman John Grant urged the governing body not to part with its digital arm, telling the Herald it could be a $2 billion asset for the game, V’landys strongly disputed the notion that matches would carry less value for television without crowds, as the broadcasters have argued in attempting to drive down the price for this season.
A Nine spokesperson said on Sunday night the rest of the season being a diminished product was at the core of discussions with the NRL. Foxtel chief executive Patrick Delany could not be contacted.
While Nine has targeted an acquisition of the game’s digital department as part of a proposal for an extended deal, V’landys said the NRL wanted to retain resources in that space while working more closely with broadcasters, rather than in competition with them.
“We will always have our own digital,” he said.
Sports are set to miss out on at least $200m from broadcasters even if respective competitions resume later this year, as networks push to wind back highly priced broadcast fees, arguing the content will be inferior without crowds in grandstands, reports The Australian’s John Stensholt.
The free-to-air broadcasters and Foxtel have told the executives of the big sports such as AFL and NRL, as well as motor racing, soccer and rugby union, that they should not expect to receive broadcast fees this year simply calculated by subtracting the number of matches to be missed this year from a usual season’s contract.
In a best-case scenario, the NRL is likely to receive at least $80m less from Nine Entertainment and Fox Sports this year compared to the $320m it received in broadcast revenue in 2019.
Network 10 is believed to be preparing to walk away from being the free-to-air broadcaster of V8 Supercars when the current contract runs out this season as Australian media companies weigh up the value of sports rights amid the COVID-19 crisis, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
Sources told The Australian Financial Review that Supercars was a loss-making endeavour for 10 and the ViacomCBS-owned network was no longer prepared to invest in the sport.
“Supercars’ discussions with 10 are focused on racing again as soon as possible and then the shape of this year’s championship,” a Supercars spokeswoman said.
The current six-year record $241 million deal between Ten and Foxtel, signed in 2013, began in 2015 and finishes at the end of the 2020 season. It was brokered by the then Supercars chief executive James Warburton, who is now Seven West Media CEO and has a stake in the Archer Capital-owned racing body.
It is believed Seven was looking at potentially making a bid to become Supercars’ free-to-air broadcaster again, having telecast the motorsport from 1963 to 1993, and from 2007 to 2014.
A-League club owners are hopeful the competition’s long-term relationship with Fox Sports can be salvaged, with arrangements for the resumption of the season set to progress this week, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Vince Rugari.
As revealed by the Herald, Football Federation Australia has belatedly received the near $12 million quarterly payment from Fox that was due last month after tense discussions led by chief executive James Johnson.
The money enables planning for the final rounds of the A-League season to move ahead, with FFA and the clubs waiting on Friday’s national cabinet meeting before finalising the specifics of when, where and how matches will be played.
Perth Glory chairman Tony Sage said his fellow club owners were “very happy” that Fox had paid FFA and was optimistic that the three seasons left on the A-League’s broadcast deal would be honoured.
Footy Classified’s Caroline Wilson has a string of media accolades and awards having broken through several barriers ever since she was appointed Chief Football Writer at The Age at the end of 1998, reports TV Tonight.
‘Caro’ as she affectionately nicknamed, has never shirked from having an opinion or speaking her mind and such frankness has famously come at a price. But she remains optimistic there are signs of improvement in what has traditionally been a tight boys’ club.
“People are going to attack me because I may have strong opinions and sometimes I deserve pushback. But I notice it changing already in the younger blokes who work in the industry – journos, commentators, producer – are so different to the older ones. I see already times are changing,” she tells TV Tonight.
“I do think the industry is still tough on women. I don’t know why so many of the people laid off at Fox Footy, for example, have been women. I think ‘difficult women’ in the industry don’t tend to survive, ‘difficult men’ do. That is something that needs to change. But in the end I hope people will be able to look at my example and see how much it’s changed, not how bad it is.”