Thursday May 7, 2020

Podcast Week: Ash London, Matt & Alex return, 7am, Crimewave

By Trent Thomas

• London records five episodes of Sunny Side Up a week.

Happy place with Ash London

The busy Ash London was radiating sunshine as she shone down the phone line to talk about her first Podcast One original series Sunny Side Up. “I had always wanted to do something that offered people a positive way to start the day. When COVID-19 hit it was like the universe giving me a kick up the arse to actually do it,” she told Mediaweek.

Doing a short podcast is a nod to how busy people are, said London. “As a commercial radio girl I know that short and sharp is good. My radio breaks go for no more than three minutes.” London’s podcasts are longer, but not by much. “Not a lot of people can afford 40 minutes to themselves in the morning, but I think many can listen for seven minutes.” As a bit of a luxury, she allows some interviews to run for eight minutes.

People approached to talk to London have been prepared to have a chat. “There is such a hunger for good news that people are very willing to share positive experiences they have had in their lives. I find them often through the power of social media where people will tag me to something and say ‘You might like this’.”

London records five episodes of Sunny Side Up a week. Although she noted: “I moved house last week and gave myself two days off.” She has already notched up 25 episodes in five weeks. “It is a lot of work on top of my radio work, but it is rewarding.”

Her radio work includes Ash London Live nightly for SCA’s Hit Network. The program has been coming from London’s home(s) for the past seven weeks. “I’ll give you the hot tip…it’s going to be very hard to get me back in the studio. I miss my team obviously, but I am amazed at how much we have been able to put together remotely.

Ash London Live runs five nights a week on Hit Network, there is Best Of show on Saturday and a special Australian artists show on Sunday.

The schedule is so full now with radio plus podcasts, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, Tik Tok and Zoom that London has drawn the line at accepting any other projects. “It’s a lot of creating and a lot of talking, but I get it, it’s wonderful for our industry that people are rediscovering the power of audio and especially audio on demand.”

London has also been in demand for TV work with roles at MTV and Network 10 with Grant Denyer. She is also thrilled about the chance to guest on (“my favourite show”) Have You Been Paying Attention? last year too.

Listen to Ash London Live here.

Meshel Laurie & Emily Webb host Australian True Crime: Live

TEG Dainty is promoting an online event featuring comedian, TV host and crime reader Meshel Laurie and crime writer Emily Webb hosting a live Australian True Crime event onstage later this month. Joining them will be fan-favourites Ron Iddles and Narelle Fraser. The two detectives will – for the first time – come together to discuss some of the most notorious and interesting cases that they investigated in their decades on the job.

Long-time Australian True Crime podcast listeners will see Ron and Narelle unite for what the hosts are promising will be a gripping and thought-provoking evening. The duo will revisit and discuss stories and experiences from their involvement in some of the biggest cases in recent history, giving fans an insight into some of Australia’s most notorious crimes. At the end of the show, viewers will get the opportunity to ask questions.

In Conversation with Narelle Fraser and Ron Iddles will stream live online at 8 pm AEST on Saturday 16 May.

Early bird tickets (strictly limited) start at $14.90 and went on sale to the general public on Wednesday 6 May at 12 noon AEST from www.tegdainty.com.

Listen to Meshel and Emily on Australian True Crime here.

Matt & Alex: PodcastOne’s on demand breakfast show

SCA’s PodcastOne continues to expand its content offering, this time with what it is calling Australia’s first on-demand breakfast show. The platform is not taking any chances with this investment, assigning award-winning executive producer Sam Cavanagh to steer the new project.

After three years hosting triple j’s highest rating breakfast show, Matt Okine and Alex Dyson took a hiatus from radio at the end of 2016 to focus on their own projects. Now they are back with an on-demand breakfast show for listeners to enjoy at any time of the day.

Award-winning comedian Okine said: “I’m so excited about reconnecting with everyone who used to listen to us in the morning and even more excited about connecting with new fans who can’t stand waking up before 9am! In a time when the nation is spending all day in their pyjamas, it’s only fitting that we offer them an all-day breakfast show to match.

“After such a successful tenure at triple j, we were careful not to jump back in the booth together unless the conditions were right, and everything about SCA and our new show, All Day Breakfast, feels right!”

Creative writer Dyson added: “Since leaving triple j, we’ve definitely grown as people. Matt had his first child and I won a championship as the Chicago Bulls on NBA 2k19. I can’t wait to get back together with my radio Scottie Pippen and write a new chapter together.

“As someone who ate a cold hash brown at 3:15pm yesterday, All Day Breakfast is the show I was born to do. Instead of spreading out a breakfast show thinly over a number of hours, this will be a daily shot of the best content, ready when you want it. Like eating a glob of Vegemite directly from the knife, instead of having it wiped sparsely over toast.”

Episodes of the Matt & Alex – All Day Breakfast show run for about 40 minutes and will be released at 6am every weekday morning. Listeners will have the opportunity to contribute to show via regular segments and topics.

Listen to Matt & Alex – All Day Breakfast here.

Schwartz Media’s 7am podcast at home on Acast

Acast has partnered with Schwartz Media to host and distribute its daily news podcast, 7am, helping to expand the reach of the podcast dedicated to in-depth news analysis.

7am is the daily news podcast from the publisher of The Monthly and The Saturday Paper. Hosted by award-winning investigative journalist Ruby Jones, the podcast tells the news through in-depth, interviews and analysis, delivered to podcast feeds every weekday morning to help listeners start their day engaged and informed.

Another new entrant in what is becoming a competitive timeslot is PodcastOne’s The Briefing.

Rebecca Costello, chief executive of Schwartz Media, said: “7am has been a huge success since launch. We have found an enormous new audience for our journalism, and we are happy to be working with Acast to expand opportunities for the podcast. Every morning 7am produces some of the best reporting in the country, and I look forward to seeing it continue to grow.”

Listen to 7am here.

Game of Homes: How Patrick Delany slayed competing HBO bid

By James Manning

• News Corp stand by TV platform that might Binge soon

Speculation has been running rampant about the future of News Corp-controlled Foxtel in Australia for some time, but it reached fever pitch when COVID-19 impacted its sports content.

While the ability to broadcast sport at present is something Foxtel can’t control, it has boosted its non-sport offering by securing a new and expanded deal with Warner Bros, HBO, HBO Max and WarnerMedia networks.

The commitment from Foxtel to the new deal should, at least temporarily, suspend speculation about News Corp’s commit to supporting the Australian pay-TV and streaming service with over 2.5m customers.

Foxtel faced spirited bidding from another party, speculated to be Stan, with Foxtel securing the deal as recently as Sunday after a negotiation period that commenced mid-2019.

The WarnerMedia deal is the latest in a series of contracts that have seen CEO Patrick Delany redraw the output deals with the world’s biggest producers and distributors. Delany told Mediaweek those deals are “part of the whole transformation of the company”. He added that what people watched 25 years ago when Foxtel launched is not necessarily what they want to watch today.

“This WarnerMedia deal will also help us fuel and realise our streaming aspirations. The strategy of the company has been consistent from day one – to strengthen and maintain Foxtel. We have a big advantage in the market in that we have a premium service for a premium price. With Kayo we are getting part of the market that couldn’t afford Foxtel. Now we have the ability, if we want to, to launch a movies and drama service that would do the same thing across a whole range of content.”

Delany would not comment on the new streaming product believed to be called Binge. “Project Aries is something we are still considering. In the last 18 months with the transformation of all the content deals, and the creation of the Kayo platform, creates the right environment for us to have the ability and freedom to launch a world class service.”

Presumably with the WarnerMedia deal locked away consideration on Aries/Binge needs to be stepped up if Foxtel is to make its first half launch target.

Foxtel would not comment either on how much it is paying WarnerMedia under the new deal or for how many years the new contract runs. However the old HBO deal was expected to run until 2022, so Foxtel possibly now has the rights for five years beyond that.

Delany said the WarnerMedia deal was different to recent BBC, ViacomCBS, NBCU and Discovery deals. “Those deals were initially framed as channel deals and were recrafted as output arrangements that included channels. The WarnerMedia deal is a very, very high quality output arrangement across multiple brands. Even content in the library is quality – the most popular shows in the world are still Friends and The Big Bang Theory. We have picked them up for all of our platforms. The content can be used to fuel not only our channels, but also our iQ3 and iQ4 platforms for video-on-demand. It also allows us to fire up platforms outside the Foxtel brand.”

Delany would not speculate about who the other bidder for HBO was, but he did say: “They could have used the content well, but they probably couldn’t have monetised it as well as we can. The majority of the material is produced for subscription video services and is very, very premium. This is the highest quality and most popular material in the world. Having a premium product like Foxtel means that we are in a much better position to monetise the cost of an output arrangement like this.

And therefore presumably able to outbid any competitor as Foxtel goes into more homes with customers paying more money than the underbidder.

The terms of the deal mean Foxtel has access to scripted originals from HBO Max, presumably indicating the new US streaming service launching late in May has no plans for an Australian service.

Delany did comment that including Warner Bros. International Television Production in Australia means producing scripted and non-scripted material for Foxtel. “Give their production expertise here and internationally that it is something that will be innovative for the Australian market. Either standing alone or in combination with other Australian producers they will do Australian drama really well.”

Foxtel commissions Beyond to make the Warner Bros distributed format Selling Houses.

When it comes to catalogue material, Foxtel is believed to have extensive picks over what’s available and it seems that The Big Bang Theory and Friends will live at Foxtel, possibly not at Stan (Friends) or Netflix (BBT).

Lachlan Murdoch on FOX Corp Q3 results and an optimistic outlook

Fox Corporation executive chairman and chief executive officer Lachlan Murdoch has hosted an analysts’ call that detailed the financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2020.

The US producer and distributor of news, sport and entertainment content reported total quarterly revenues of US$3.44 billion, a 25% increase from the $2.75 billion of revenues reported in the prior year quarter, reflecting revenue growth across all operating segments.

Lachlan Murdoch told how about 70% of all staff have been working remotely. He also detailed how FOX News has never had batter ratings and that its audience of younger viewers has been growing. He said the business was looking forward to the NFL releasing its 2020/21 schedule later this week.

The CEO revealed recently that he will not be taking any salary during the COVID-19 pandemic and that 700 senior members of the company would forego, or take reduced, salaries amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic so that other employees can continue to receive salaries and “FOX comes out of this crisis as an even stronger company” when things get back to normal.

FOX advertising revenues increased 44%, led by the broadcast of Super Bowl LIV at the television segment. Affiliate revenues increased 10%, led by increases at the Television segment due to higher fees from third-party FOX affiliates and higher average rates per subscriber, partially offset by net subscriber declines, at the Company’s owned and operated television stations. The Company also reported a 27% increase in other revenues, led by the operation of the FOX Studios Lot for third parties and the impact of the consolidation of Credible Labs Inc at the Other, Corporate and Eliminations segment.

Quarterly net income decreased to $90 million from the $539 million in the prior year quarter, primarily due to a loss recognized in other, net related to the change in fair value of the company’s former investment in Roku, Inc., as well as higher operating and selling, general and administrative expenses. The increase in selling, general and administrative expenses primarily reflects higher costs related to FOX operating as a standalone public company following the distribution in the prior year quarter.

Quarterly Adjusted EBITDA of $920 million was 20% higher than the prior year quarter, primarily due to higher contributions at the Television and Cable Network Programming segments. Adjusted net income attributable to Fox Corporation stockholders3 was $568 million ($0.93 per share), which was higher than the $471 million ($0.76 per share) adjusted result in the prior year quarter.

Commenting on the results Lachlan Murdoch said:

“We delivered exceptional operational and financial results in the quarter, highlighted by our successful broadcast of Super Bowl LIV on FOX. While we remain focused on continuing to execute against the strategy that drove this strong performance, we are acutely mindful of the global health crisis and its countless impacts. Our highest priority remains the safety and well-being of our employees and their families. Due to the selfless dedication of many of our colleagues, the strength of FOX has been on display throughout the crisis as we continue to provide news, information, entertainment and assistance to communities around the country. As we eventually emerge, we are confident that FOX’s focused collection of assets – centred on live and event programming – will be even more in-demand by advertisers and audiences alike, positioning us well for the future and enabling us to maximize long-term shareholder value.”

FOX Cable Network Programming

Cable Network Programming reported quarterly segment revenues of $1.47 billion, an increase of $84 million or 6% from the amount reported in the prior year quarter, reflecting increases in affiliate, advertising and other revenues. Affiliate revenues increased $38 million or 4% as contractual price increases, including the impact of distribution agreement renewals, were partially offset by net subscriber declines. Advertising revenues increased $28 million or 10% as stronger ratings and higher digital advertising revenues at FOX News Media were partially offset by the impact of higher preemptions associated with breaking news coverage at FOX News Media and fewer live events at FS1 due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”). Other revenues increased $18 million or 13%, primarily due to higher sports sublicensing revenues.

FOX Television

Television reported quarterly segment revenues of $1.93 billion, an increase of $556 million or 41% from the amount reported in the prior year quarter, reflecting increases in advertising, affiliate and other revenues. Advertising revenues increased $454 million or 56%, primarily due to the broadcast of Super Bowl LIV, partially offset by the impact of one less NFL Divisional playoff game compared to the prior year quarter. Also contributing to the increase in advertising revenues were higher cyclical political revenues at FOX Television Stations, partially offset by a decline in the local advertising market as a result of COVID-19. Affiliate revenues increased $101 million or 22% due to increases in fees from third-party FOX affiliates and higher average rates per subscriber, partially offset by net subscriber declines, at the Company’s owned and operated television stations.

Impact of COVID-19 on FOX

The impact of COVID-19 and measures to prevent its spread are affecting the macroeconomic environment, as well as the business of the company, in a number of ways. For example, while the company’s national news ratings remain strong, sporting events for which the company has broadcast rights have been cancelled or postponed, the production of certain entertainment content the company acquires has been suspended and demand in local advertising markets has declined. The magnitude of the impacts will depend on the duration and extent of COVID-19 and the effect of governmental actions, consumer behavior and actions taken by the company’s business partners in response to the pandemic and such governmental actions. The evolving and uncertain nature of this situation makes it challenging for the company to estimate the future performance of its businesses, particularly over the near to medium term, including the supply and demand for its services, its cash flows and its current and future advertising revenue. However, the impact of COVID-19 could have a material adverse effect on the company’s business, financial condition or results of operations over the near to medium term. A significant decline in estimated advertising revenue or the expected popularity of the company’s programming could lead to a downward revision in the fair value of, among other things, the company’s reporting units, indefinite-lived intangible assets and long-lived assets and result in an impairment and a non-cash charge that is material to the company’s reported net earnings.

Record audiences help attract new funding for Guardian Australia

Philanthropic trading company VivCourt has donated $200,000 to Guardian Australia, via the Guardian Civic Journalism Trust, to help maintain the publisher’s independent journalism during the coronavirus crisis, the publisher announced earlier this month.

The platform’s audience grew to a record 11.6 million readers in March, making it the fourth most popular news site in the country.

Despite this growth, Guardian Australia’s advertising revenue has declined as the domestic economy starts to feel the financial impacts of the pandemic.

In response, the Guardian Australia has launched the Coronavirus Crisis Project, a request for philanthropists to help protect its investment in journalism through this time. All funding will go to The Guardian Civic Journalism Trust, which is run in partnership with the University of Melbourne and gives students at the Centre for Advancing Journalism an opportunity to work with industry and receive invaluable professional development. The Guardian Civic Trust already runs successful philanthropic projects with The Balnaves Foundation, The Susan Mckinnon Foundation, The Limb Family Foundation and others. These projects have had a substantial impact on Australia, sparking senate inquiries and changes in government policy.

The first donation to the project has come from VivCourt, who had previously supported Guardian Australia’s series, Fair Go?. Rob Keldoulis, CEO of VivCourt, says that he sees Guardian Australia as a vital service.

“We should all be passionate supporters of the Guardian in a time when information has never been more vital,” says Keldoulis.

“We are relying on our governments to tell us the truth. I believe that we’re all capable of dealing with even very dire situations if we fully understand what’s happening.

“What shakes us is being misled and not knowing the full story. Honest and open reporting has never been more critical and I would urge supporters to stand alongside us to support the Guardian and their brand of independent journalism.”

Guardian Australia managing director Dan Stinton (pictured) said: “We are tremendously thankful to the Vivcourt team for their support of our journalism. Almost half of Australia is reading our coverage of this crisis – this funding is a substantial help in maintaining the essential reporting that our growing audience relies on.”

Seven Studios boss departs as production business looks for buyer

As part of the ongoing transformation of Seven West Media and as a result of the significant financial and operational impact of COVID-19, Therese Hegarty will be stepping down from her role of CEO, Seven Studios, the company announced yesterday.

It is believed that Seven West Media would sell the growing international production business if a buyer comes forward.

Hegarty joined the organisation in 2012 and under her leadership Seven Studios has achieved major milestones in the domestic and international market. These include production commissions and co-productions with global platforms Netflix, Amazon and Facebook among others, as well as significant commissions on tier one platforms including BBC1, resulting in Seven Studios content being seen around the globe.

Current Sydney-based programs include Home and Away, Plate of Origin, Back To The Rafters and Better Homes and Gardens.

Seven West Media managing director and chief executive officer James Warburton said: “Therese has been a true asset to the business, delivering a wealth of knowledge and experience during her time at Seven. I’ve enjoyed working with her over the past eight months and wish her all the best for the future.”

Hegarty said: “I have been privileged to work with such an incredible team of talented, generous people, many of whom I am proud to call friends, across the eight years and various roles I have held at Seven.

“I’d like to express my sincere thanks to all of them. I’m very sad to be leaving Seven but look forward to new challenges in the future.”

Hegarty will remain with the business for an interim period to ensure a smooth transition of Seven Studios as its operations commence reporting to Seven director of production Andrew Backwell.

TV Ratings Wednesday May 6 Week 19 2020

By James Manning

• Home and Away, BGT & Wonder Woman keep Seven #1
• MasterChef’s week in the burbs continues to deliver for 10
• Doctor Doctor and Paramedics lift Nine to second spot

Wednesday news highlights

Seven News 1,193,000/1,134,000
Nine News 1,106,000/1,037,000
ABC News 876,000
Current Affair 754,000
7.30 699,000
The Project 409,000/646,000
10 News 450,000/339,000
Sunrise 303,000
The Drum 248,000
News Breakfast 240,000
The Latest 235,000
SBS World News 207,000
Today 197,000

Nine: After ranking #3 all people on Tuesday, Nine ranked #2 Wednesday with Doctor Doctor on 488,000 and then Paramedics on 455,000.

Seven: The channel’s most-watched after 7pm was again Home and Away with 655,000.
Britain’s Got Talent isn’t winning it slot, but its audience of 530,000 was part of a ratings-winning line-up. Seven offered two episodes last night with the second with a timeslot-winning 444,000.

10: MasterChef kept the lead in the timeslot and was again #1 entertainment and #1 in key demos as it stayed in the burbs. The themed week has been another clever move by producers this season with 984,000 watching the fight for immunity this week. Th second part of that challenge will play out tonight as Amina, Emelia and Tracy prepare plates for a sushi train.
The third episode of Lingo Pictures’ brilliant drama The Secrets She Keeps followed with 388,000. Last week’s overnight audience of 399,000 added 65,000 in Consolidated7 and grew to 809,000 with BVOD and TV encores.

 ABC: Specialist subjects on Hard Quiz included Gossip Girl, Jack the Ripper, Tiger Woods, and the ultimate winner, Branwell, who knew a lot about Julia Gillard! The episode did 708,000 after 710,000 a week ago.
Hard Quiz host Tom Gleeson was back then at 8.30pm with his first appearance on The Weekly with Charlie Pickering with a new look Yard Chat segment. The episode did 591,000 after 606,000 last week.

SBS: Durham Cathedral was the destination for Tony Robinson on Britain’s Cathedrals with 286,000 watching.

Week 19 TV: Wednesday

WEDNESDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 13.8% 7 18.1% 9 17.0% 10  15.9% SBS One 5.2%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.1% 7TWO 2.7% GO! 2.5% 10 Bold 4.5% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 2.9% GEM 2.3% 10 Peach 2.5% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 1.6% 7flix 1.9% 9Life 1.7%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.3%     SBS World Movies 1.0%
TOTAL 18.0%   25.7%   24.8%   22.9%   8.7%

 

WEDNESDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 12.2% 7 20.4% 9 15.7% WIN 12.4% SBS One 4.6%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.7% 7TWO 4.1% GO! 2.9% WIN Bold 5.2% VICELAND 1.3%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 3.3% GEM 3.0% WIN Peach 2.3% Food Net 0.6%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.6% 9Life 2.0% Sky News  on WIN 2.4% NITV 0.2%
                SBS Movies 1.1%
TOTAL 16.6%   30.5%   23.7%   22.4%   7.9%

 

WEDNESDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
87.6% 12.4%
WEDNESDAY FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,193,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,134,000
  3. Nine News Nine 1,106,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 1,037,000
  5. MasterChef Australia 10 984,000
  6. ABC News ABC 876,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 754,000
  8. Hard Quiz S5 ABC 708,000
  9. 7.30 ABC 699,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 665,000
  11. Home And Away Seven 655,000
  12. The Project 7pm 10 646,000
  13. The Weekly With Charlie Pickering ABC 591,000
  14. Hot Seat Nine 565,000
  15. Britain’s Got Talent Seven 530,000
  16. Doctor Doctor Nine 488,000
  17. Paramedics Nine 455,000
  18. 10 News First 10 450,000
  19. Britain’s Got Talent-Late Seven 444,000
  20. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 416,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 288,000
  2. The Project 7pm 10 167,000
  3. Nine News Nine 143,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 130,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 127,000

 

18-49 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 462,000
  2. The Project 7pm 10 299,000
  3. Nine News Nine 271,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 252,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 243,000

 

25-54 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 493,000
  2. The Project 7pm 10 334,000
  3. Nine News Nine 331,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 323,000
  5. Seven News Seven 319,000
WEDNESDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 196,000
  2. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 173,000
  3. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 152,000
  4. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 150,000
  5. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 149,000
  6. Luo Bao Bei ABCKIDS/COMEDY 149,000
  7. Nella The Princess Knight PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 148,000
  8. Rita And Crocodile PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  9. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 147,000
  10. Thomas And Friends PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  11. Floogals PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  12. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 144,000
  13. Rusty Rivets PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 142,000
  14. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  15. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 139,000
  16. Neighbours 10 Peach 138,000
  17. Play School Nursery Rhyme News Time ABCKIDS/COMEDY 138,000
  18. Shaun The Sheep AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  19. NCIS: Los Angeles Late (R) 10 Bold 129,000
  20. Molly And Mack PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 125,000
Wednesday STV
  1. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 140,000
  2. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 80,000
  3. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 72,000
  4. Credlin Sky News Live 60,000
  5. Richo & Jones Sky News Live 58,000
  6. Live: Supercars All Stars E-Series FOX SPORTS 506 50,000
  7. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 49,000
  8. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 45,000
  9. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 44,000
  10. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 44,000
  11. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 44,000
  12. Ugly House To Lovely House Lifestyle Channel 43,000
  13. Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind FOX SHOWCASE 42,000
  14. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 39,000
  15. PML Later Sky News Live 38,000
  16. Escape To The Country Lifestyle Channel 37,000
  17. Vanderpump Rules ARENA 36,000
  18. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 36,000
  19. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 35,000
  20. Becca’s Bunch Nick Jr. 34,000

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

Minister: Report on ABC funding cuts ‘surprising, deeply regrettable’

 

A forensic look at activist group Get Up’s report on ABC budget cuts that was rapidly endorsed by pre­senters has been condemned for containing glaring inaccuracies, reports News Corp’s Matthew Benns.

The report by Get Up and left wing think tank Per Capita claimed the ABC had lost $783 million in funding to its budget since the coalition came to power in 2014.

But the report contained major errors including claims Aunty had lost $148.8 million in funding for a contract to broadcast internationally that was axed six years ago.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said: “It is deeply regrettable when factually inaccurate claims are made about ABC funding.

“To claim the ABC has been ‘defunded’ is at odds with the facts,” he said. “The numbers show that ABC funding in 2019-20 is higher than in 2013-14 and will be higher again in 2021-22.”

The report claimed the ABC budget was $879 million – failing to mention the $183.7 million transmission funding that takes it to its actual budget of $1062.3 million. That will increase to $1070.8 million in 2021-22.

[Read more]

Coronavirus exposes a weakness in Disney’s business plan

Walt Disney said the coronavirus pandemic took a $US1.4 billion bite out of its earnings, as the company detailed how the global economic fallout would affect every part of its entertainment business for the foreseeable future, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The pandemic has caused practically every part of that machine to grind to a halt. The close co-ordination that made for lucrative use of characters and storylines across different parts of the company has now led to a domino-like cascade of problems throughout its divisions.

The division that includes the Disney+ streaming service posted revenue of $4.1 billion in a quarter that registered a significant boost in subscribers.

But Disney is still spending heavily on production and marketing the service, and consolidation of its Hulu holding led to an operating loss at the division of $US812 million. Disney controls Hulu following its $US71.3 billion acquisition of the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox.

Disney+ has been a rare bright spot for the company since the pandemic led to stay-at-home orders around the world. The streaming service had 54.5 million subscribers as of Monday, Disney finance chief Christine McCarthy said, up from 33.5 million on March 28.

Like its parks division, Disney’s media networks segment, which includes ESPN, will likely take a big hit in the fiscal third quarter as major sports leagues stay on the sidelines. Some ESPN efforts to engage sports fans in alternative ways appear to be paying off. A popular Michael Jordan documentary has set viewership records, executives said, and a remotely hosted National Football League draft was watched by more than 55 million viewers over three days.

[Read more]

ITV reveals scale of Covid-19 impact due to advertising losses

ITV has revealed the scale of the impact of coronavirus as advertising slumped 42% in April, forcing the broadcaster to take measures including furloughing 800 staff, reports The Guardian.

The slump, prompted by advertisers holding back or pulling campaigns during the lockdown, is less than the 50%-plus decline that City analysts feared. In early March, ITV optimistically predicted a 10% fall in ad revenues for April.

Still, the better-than-expected figures delivered on Wednesday gave rise to a more than 5% increase in ITV’s share price in early trading.

The broadcaster said it had furloughed about 15% of its UK workforce, mostly at ITV Studios, which makes shows including Coronation Street and Emmerdale, after TV and film production was shut down nationwide in mid-March.

[Read more]

News Brands

Rodrigo Duterte pulls plug on his strongest critic in The Philippines

The Philippines’ largest broadcast network has been forced off air after parliament refused to renew its franchise licence in a move rights groups have warned would have a chilling effect on the nation’s media, reports The Australian’s Amanda Hodge.

ABS-CBN shut down on Tuesday night after its 25-year licence expired, despite officials having previously given assurances that the network of television, radio and internet broadcasting channels would be allowed to continue operating.

The 66-year-old media conglomerate, which President Rodrigo Duterte has regularly accused of favouring the political opposition, urged the government-controlled lower house to reconsider its decision at a time when Filipinos desperately need reliable news sources.

It is the second time the network has been shut by hostile government forces after dictator Ferdinand Marcos ordered troops into its Manila headquarters on September 22, 1972, to seize the facilities, hours after ­declaring martial law.

It was not until Marcos’s overthrow in 1986 that the Lopez family, which still owns the media conglomerate, was handed back the keys to the network.

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The New York Times tops 6m subscribers as ad revenue plummets

In the first three months of the year, The New York Times Company added more digital subscribers than it had gained during any quarter since it started charging readers for online content in 2011, reports the US publisher.

But that increase was driven by widespread interest in news of the coronavirus pandemic, which has ravaged the US economy and cut deeply into The Times’s advertising revenue.

By the end of a dramatic quarter, Times employees had grown accustomed to working remotely, and readers were flocking to the newspaper’s website, drawn by articles on the coronavirus and its effects that were offered at no charge.

Many of those readers bought subscriptions. The company reported on Wednesday that it had netted 587,000 new digital subscriptions during the quarter. The majority – 468,000 – were for the core news product, and the remaining 119,000 were for other digital products, including apps like Cooking and Crossword.

At the end of March, The Times had more than five million digital subscribers, a high. Of those, there were 3.9 million subscriptions for news and 1.1 million for apps. The total number of subscriptions, including those to the print newspaper, stood at 5,841,000. Overall subscription revenue rose 5.4 percent during the three-month period, to $285.4 million. Total revenue rose 1 percent, to $443.6 million.

Overall ad revenue fell more than 15 percent, to $106.1 million, in the quarter. Digital ad revenue declined 7.9 percent, while print ad revenue had a drop of 20.9 percent.

Over all, adjusted operating profit for the quarter was $44.3 million, a decline from the $52.4 million the company made during the equivalent period last year.

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Radio

Melbourne radio presenter given all clear in cancer battle

Popular radio presenter Mark Allen has ticked off a significant milestone in his 15-month cancer battle, reports News Corp’s Scott Gullan.

For the second time the former golfer has been given the all clear after scans revealed the latest tumour in his lung – which was discovered in October – had now disappeared.

Earlier last year Allen was told he’d overcome stage four cancer after getting a quarter of his lung and more than two-thirds of his rectum removed.

But three months later a new tumour was found in his “good lung” which required immediate surgery.

On Tuesday Allen had a full body scan – his second since he’d finished treatment for the latest issue – and was told the cancer had disappeared.

“It’s unbelievable,” Allen said. “From when I first got diagnosed and found a tumour in my rectum, then three days later they found another one in my lung.

Allen and his long-time on air radio partner, former Melbourne star David Schwarz, have moved to 3AW after the closure of the Macquarie Sport network last year.

The former SEN drive hosts are now on air every Saturday between 5pm-7pm for ‘The Twilight Zone’.

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Television

The story of Catherine the Great, but not as you've seen it before

It takes enormous courage in the historical drama genre to declare that your work plays fast and loose with the facts. Most such period epics are obsessed with getting it right, or hiding the cracks where they have parted ways with the history books, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Idato.

The Great, Australian screenwriter Tony McNamara‘s hilarious take on the life of Russian sovereign Catherine the Great, does none of that. Instead it wears the badge of “historically inaccurate” with some pride, McNamara says.

The Great stars Elle Fanning as Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, and Nicholas Hoult as Peter III, her husband and, ultimately, the man she overthrew to claim power for herself. As with McNamara’s film The Rage in Placid Lake, which was based on his play The Cafe Latte Kid, The Great is based on another of McNamara’s stage works, a play of the same name mounted by the Sydney Theatre Company in 2008.

The Great premieres on Stan on May 16.

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Debi Enker: Middle-aged actresses no longer on TV's edges

They are formidable. They are fierce. Sometimes they’re murderous, and often they’re mothers. And they’re not young: no fresh-faced teens, perplexed millennials or dewy newlyweds in this bunch. These women, on shows such as Killing Eve, Ozark and The Good Fight, have seen some life. They have the scars, physical and emotional, to prove it. And they can do some damage.

Once upon a time, the range of roles available to middle-aged women on TV was limited. They might be cast as wise-cracking secretaries, devoted wives, nosy neighbours or meddling mothers-in-law. When actresses hit 40, romantic leads were out, action heroines were unthinkable and the future seemed to hold a screen life consigned to the margins.

Not any more. A new and exciting breed of female characters has emerged.

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Sports Media

ARL Commission boss Peter V’landys confident of NRL TV deal

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys has revealed rugby league’s revised broadcast deal will be finalised in the next fortnight – clearing the final hurdle for the NRL’s Project Apollo launch on May 28, reports News Corp’s Peter Badel.

While the RLPA has reached a player-pay resolution, the premiership cannot start until the NRL, Channel 9 and Fox Sports shake hands on a revised TV rights deal that considers the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the value of this year’s 20-round season.

The Courier-Mail reveals broadcast talks have reached an advanced stage, with V’landys moving to scupper talk of a feud with Channel 9, insisting the free-to-air giant will not walk away from rugby league.

Asked if the broadcasting deal will be done within the next two weeks, V’landys said: “Yes. Absolutely. It will be resolved before May 28.

“I won’t be talking figures through the media, but I am confident with our position and what we have put forward to the broadcasters.

“I am not concerned about Hugh Marks’ or Channel 9’s statements. Look, Hugh has a clearly defined strategy (saving money for Channel 9) and he is implementing it, which I understand.

“We have had some good conversations and I will have more good conversations with Hugh moving forward.”

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Optus seals domestic deal for Korean league days before kick-off

Optus Sport has secured domestic broadcast rights to the K League, ensuring Australians will be able to watch one of the first football competitions in the world to return amid the coronavirus pandemic, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Vince Rugari.

The South Korean top flight begins on Friday night, with Optus moving quickly to secure a deal to show two live games a week on the telco’s sports streaming platform – making it the only Australian broadcaster with live football.

The first match involves two Socceroos, Adam Taggart and Terry Antonis, whose Suwon Samsung Bluewings outfit face reigning champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at 8pm (AEST).

“I know I’m not the only one who’s been staring longingly out the window waiting for live sport to return, so to bring the K League to viewers in such a friendly time zone from this weekend is something we’re really excited about,” said Richard Bayliss, Optus director of sport.

While the pandemic has caused huge financial issues for most broadcasters, it has barely put a dent in Optus’ viewership. The telco reported just a 0.5 per cent retraction to 820,000 activated subscriptions between the start of March and the end of April.

The agreement continues the expansion of Optus’ suite of football offerings, headlined by the English Premier League. It is the telco’s second move into the Asian football market, having also acquired the rights for Japan’s J.League this year – which, like the K League, has a distinctly Australian flavour due to the presence of coaches Ange Postecoglou (Yokohama F. Marinos) and Peter Cklamovski (Shimizu S-Pulse).

Friday night’s match will also be shown free on YouTube and Twitter worldwide as part of a one-off promotion by the K League.

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Former television exec to take over as Rugby Australia’s next chairman

Former Network Ten boss Hamish McLennan looms as Rugby Australia’s next chairman, while former ARU chief operating officer Rob Clarke will step in as interim chief executive amid farcical boardroom bickering that has seen the resignation of new director Peter Wiggs, reports News Corp’s Jamie Pandaram.

RA confirmed on Wednesday morning that Wiggs had resigned just two days after he’d been endorsed as the next chairman, and only 37 days after he’d been appointed to the board.

Wiggs tendered his resignation after fellow board members and executive chairman Paul McLean refused to allow him to immediately appoint Australian Olympic Committee boss Matt Carroll as RA chief executive, to replace the departed Raelene Castle.

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