• SMH editor Lisa Davies on Donald Trump, Nick McKenzie & newsletters
By James Manning
The editor of Nine Entertainment Co’s Sydney Morning Herald, Lisa Davies, told readers about the recent audience surge at the print and digital news brand in her most recent newsletter.
“Australia’s interest in Trump and the US election has been borderline obsessive. As we do with all major news events these days, we have helmed a live blog for most of the week – this time continuously, 24 hours a day, since Tuesday morning.
“On Wednesday, the blog accrued nearly 5 million page views – 420,000 of them were subscribers to the Herald, The Age, the Brisbane Times and WAtoday. The bulk of those – just under 4 million – came from smh.com.au. Thursday wasn’t quite as big but we still had more than 3 million total page views on the blog across all sites; 400,000 of those were subscribers.
“This is an absolutely enormous result, and we believe it could be the highest number of readers we have ever had on a blog.”
Speaking to Mediaweek on Tuesday, Davies added: “The Sydney Morning Herald remains the most-read masthead in print and digital in Australia. We want to remain relevant to the most people we can. Our live blog asset this year has done more work for us than we might have imagined 12 months ago.
“The audience has absolutely loved the coverage, reading multiple stories in each sitting. On Monday, the first day after the result when you might have expected something of a drop off, the Herald’s top 20 stories for subscribers featured 12 US elections stories. That’s unprecedented for an event that has, technically at least, finished.
“When you look at the overall site with subscribers and other visitors, 10 of the top 20 were US elections pieces.
“The Trump factor has been something that people have been endlessly fascinated with. Four years ago when it looked like he’d get elected someone in our newsroom joked Trump could save journalism.
“Four years later our readers remain committed to staying across what he is doing and how he is doing it. His increasingly erratic response to the coronavirus has provided yet another reason for people to read about him.
“It will be interesting to see if people are as enthusiastic about the way forward with the Biden administration. There will be a lot of issues that Herald readers are pretty engaged with like climate change and energy policy, which is something Biden has said he will be addressing.
“The transition phase alone will be compelling too.”
Davies added Herald readers are keen global citizens. Helping feed the appetite out of the US is North American correspondent Matthew Knott. “He’s been at the epicentre for us and he’s also been doing a US election newsletter and he’s also filed news stories and some very punchy analysis.
“Between Matthew and Peter Hartcher their analysis of the predicament as it played out last week were among our most-read stories. As well as wanting the facts, our readers also want context and analysis. Hartcher has worked at the Herald for 35 years and Matthew has built up a reputation as someone who understands the issues and communicates really clearly.”
Davies is expecting to convert some of the new casual readers to subscribers. “I am hoping that the audience liked what they saw. We staffed the election blog 24/7 from the Tuesday morning before the US polls opened and many used it as the launch pad into all out other content.”
Davies said The Sydney Morning Herald has enjoyed a good year regarding subscriber growth following on from audience increase they also received during bushfires and then from Covid coverage. “In all the tragedy and crisis there has been upside for us.”
Earlier this year parent company Nine reported 20% growth in digital subscriptions across its metro media titles to June 30 year-on-year.
Davies thinks the amount US coverage of the election was about right and she doesn’t think its success will change the way the paper covers the country or other international markets.
“We have always placed importance on having a US correspondent. We have three fulltime staff in North America. Matt is our correspondent in Washington. We have a senior digital editor and reporter in New York, Megan Levy. We also have Michael Idato as our entertainment editor-at-large on the West Coast for us.”
The live blog pulled in a lot of readers, with Davies noting she thought that live coverage was something the paper has always done well.
“During the bushfires from around this time last year, the blog was a very valuable way for people to get into our site and then they would bounce around.
“We have also had a coronavirus live blog running pretty much from 6am until 10pm since March across all sites. That blog and the bushfire coverage was free to anyone, but anything you click through to from there is counted towards website limits.
“The blog is a funnel for people who may not be familiar with the Herald and who may not be subscribers. It allows them to really see the breadth of content as different stories are showcased as they are posted live.
“The breaking news reporters we use are very calm and measured, keeping the tone very pragmatic and not hysterical.” She pointed out staffing the blog has ranged from younger reporters through more senior writers.
Some time ago there used to be a criticism levelled at the Herald that the tone of the digital product did not match the tone of the print product. That’s an issue no longer.
“Some would argue that the tone of the newspaper was far too dour and serious, maybe some would say it still is!” [Laughs]
“We have been able to bring the two products much closer together. When people look at The New York Times and The Guardian online you know what you are reading via the tone and their styles of reporting, it’s consistent. In the past that may have not been the case with the Herald. Now by and large you would know you are reading a Herald story.”
When asked if the multi-award winning investigative reporter Nick McKenzie had a few stories bubbling away, Davies replied, “Always. Nick is tireless in his pursuit of a good yarn and I know of a number of things he has on his plate. One of the things that is looming soon is the Brereton Report.”
The report into allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan is expected to be handed down later this month by Major General Paul Brereton, a Justice of the NSW Court of Appeal.
“Nick has led our reporting of alleged war crimes.”
Davies paid tribute to The Age investigation team which includes McKenzie and The SMH investigation team which includes Kate McClymont. “It was important to me to have a four-person investigation team at work. There is no pressure to rush things out. We want to get it right and do it well.”
Just last week both McKenzie and McClymont with Jacqueline Maley were acknowledged with wins at the Kennedy Awards.
Newsletters are becoming an increasingly important way publishers are building engagement with audiences. The Herald has around 15 at present with more to come.
Davies: “Newsletters are a way that subscribers can feel they get a curated and personal update about what’s happening. I do an editor’s newsletter once a week and we have others that range from daily. We have had a coronavirus newsletter for much of the year.
“We have a new suite of newsletter products we are preparing to roll out later this year or early in 2021. It is a way of showcasing stories people might have missed and summarising the big news of the day that is easily digestible. There is a lot more we could probably do in that space.”
Is Marty Sheargold part of the team for the new Melbourne breakfast show?
By James Manning
The culling season has started a little later than normal during a Covid-impacted 2020. It’s around surveys six and seven each year when broadcasters review their teams and move around the players in the hope of improving performance in the next year.
The broadcaster has decided that it is time for a new breakfast show at the highest-rating of those four stations – Triple M Melbourne. In a statement this morning SCA revealed The Hot Breakfast, hosted by Eddie McGuire and Luke Darcy, will finish up on Friday 27 November after 11 years on air.
An announcement regarding what’s next for Triple M Melbourne’s breakfast show will be made soon.
There is plenty of speculation about who will be part of the new show. Former Nova drive and Triple M breakfast and drive co-host Marty Sheargold is on the list of prospective new employees. SCA chief executive Grant Blackley confirmed to Mediaweek earlier this year that is programming team had been speaking with Sheargold.
However the talented performer is thought to be too expensive for the broadcaster as it looks to cut costs in a market where top talent salaries have gone off the chart.
Other candidates could be Mick Molloy and Jane Kennedy moving from drive to breakfast, something that would effectively kill a national drive show though. Triple M could network former Melbourne resident Lawrence Mooney, but that would be a very brave programming move. Other duos on the SCA books are Hit Network nights’ Tom and Olly, podcasters Matt and Alex, and a handful of talented regional broadcasters, some recently departed, that could be part of the build of a new show.
Highlights of The Hot Breakfast over the years have included annual AFL Grand Final eve soirées, trips to the US Superbowl, the London and Rio Olympic games, Hawaii and the show had the honour of being invited by the Australian Government to be the commercial broadcast partner of the Centenary of the landing of the ANZACs at Gallipoli.
Eddie McGuire said in a statement: “I joined Triple M 32 years ago as a young journo and this year has been a year like no other for all of us. We found ourselves able to broadcast six hours a day and on weekends when Covid-19 hit. Whilst gruelling, it has also been a true honour and pleasure for us to be with Melbourne every step of the way and the most important year in our show’s history. Without listeners radio is nothing and we have enjoyed the immediate connection with them day in day out and dominated our key target demos.
“Those closest to me have always known that I continued with breakfast radio while my boys were at school and now my youngest has finished it’s time too for me to finish up a wonderful 11 year run with a 4.00am alarm. I plan to take some time to reflect and recharge with my family and after a good, long break have a look at what the next project for Triple M looks like in 2021, building on new ground we forged back in 2009.”
Luke Darcy added: “The last 11 years has been the most enjoyable experience you could imagine. Sitting next to the man in the suit, Triple M royalty Rosie Walton and comedy giants Mick Molloy and Wil Anderson every morning has been the greatest gift. No media connects as intimately and as immediately to the public as live radio does and it has been a joy to speak to the people of Melbourne every day and be part of their lives. The Hot Breakfast has taken us to two Olympic games, four Superbowls, The World Cup Soccer in Brazil and a life changing dawn service at ANZAC Cove in Gallipoli. It has been epic.”
SCA chief content officer Dave Cameron said: “I’d like to sincerely thank Eddie and Darce for what has been a wonderful 11 years in the toughest spot in radio with Triple M Melbourne. The show forged new ground with news making radio alongside our strong sports, rock and comedy heritage and it’s been quite the ride. We are very grateful for the professionalism and loyalty Eddie and Darce have shown to Triple M and our listeners.”
Triple M head of content Mike Fitzpatrick said: “Eddie has brought a unique insight into our city every day and side by side with Luke Darcy, Mick Molloy and Wil Anderson, they created one of the great breakfast shows of all time. It’s been a pleasure and a highlight to work with this show and the incredibly talented people, both on and off air, who’ve made it.”
Luke Darcy will stay on as part of the AFL footy call team and Eddie McGuire will be back in 2021 with exciting new projects for Triple M.
Pictured top: Hot Breakfast team 2017: Eddie, Wil and Luke
News Talk 6PR 882 has unveiled a new and refreshed 2021 on-air line-up for the leading Perth talk station, announcing that mornings host Gareth Parker will move to the key breakfast shift. He will be taking over breakfast from Steve Mills and Basil Zempilas.
After successfully running a campaign to be elected Perth’s next Lord Mayor, Zempilas indicated earlier this year he would be leaving 6PR to focus on his new civic duties and his role at Seven.
Among the changes at 6PR is more Nine on-air talent joining the station.
60 Minutes journalist Liam Bartlett will re-join 6PR as its new mornings host, while Steve Mills gets to sleep in, moving from breakfast to afternoons.
Oliver Peterson continues in the drive shift, while Simon Beaumont will host a new Saturday/Sunday morning program.
“We’re very excited about 6PR’s new on-air line-up. Gareth Parker is perfectly placed to lead our talk radio format through the next decade with his great style of broadcasting and journalism he has honed in the mornings slot,” said Emily White, 6PR content manager. “His ability to break stories, analyse events and set the news agenda will be the driving force of a reshaped 6PR.
“We are similarly delighted that Liam Bartlett is making his return to daily radio as the new host of mornings, a slot he has dominated previously, and we’re very happy that Millsy has found a new home on afternoons. Together with Oly in drive and Beauy supercharging our weekends, it makes for a formidable line-up seven days a week and delivers on our promise of the best live and local, news, sport, weather, traffic, information and entertainment.”
Parker joined 6PR four years ago after more than a decade at The West Australian newspaper where he covered WA politics.
Bartlett re-joins 6PR from Nine’s 60 Minutes. Based in Perth, Bartlett has a long history in the state across Nine, the ABC, and as a columnist and feature writer for News Ltd/The West Australian. He will continue to file a number of stories for 60 Minutes each year.
“I couldn’t be more excited. It’s a huge privilege and big responsibility to wake up with our wonderful 6PR listeners and help get the day underway,” said Gareth Parker. “We want to set the agenda with the big interviews and the most relevant breaking news, but it’s also about that essential traffic and weather info that helps people navigate the morning, the latest in sport and entertainment while having those great talkback conversations and plenty of fun along the way.”
“The opportunity to rejoin the 6PR team and represent our Perth audience was just too good to pass up,” said Liam Bartlett. “To advocate on behalf of so many great listeners and help keep our decision-makers honest is what makes the ‘Morning Program’ so special and the reason I’m so thrilled to be returning”.
• AFL Trade Radio crashes into top 10, SEN rises in publisher rankings
Three new entities appear in the Top 100 Podcast Ranker for October 2020, including Hamish & Andy’s Remembering Project (SCA-PodcastOne Australia), Hidden Brain (Stitcher) and Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People (Stitcher). Stuff You Should Know (ARN/iHeartMedia) remained in the #1 spot as the most downloaded podcast in the country in October.
As for the All-Australian Top 100, two new entities appear this reporting period, including Dr Justin Coulson’s Happy Families (ARN/iHeartMedia). Casefile True Crime (Audioboom) remained the #1 spot as the most downloaded Australian podcast in the country.
Hamish and Andy had the highest new entry this month. AFL Trade Radio, which only broadcasts for a few weeks each year, was the chart’s biggest mover, up 30 places from #36 to #6. Helping its growth were the 205 separate podcasts released across the month. The only Australian podcast with more episodes is SCA’s Carrie & Tommy with 212.
Off the back of AFL Trade Radio, SEN climbed the publisher rankings, moving from #9 to #7. SEN has 68 active podcasts.
ARN/iHeartMedia has the most monthly downloads, over 11m, while PodcastOne has the most podcasts, 381.
Total downloads of all shows by all participating publishers in the month of October is 49.4m.
Participating publishers in the Australian Ranker include ARN/iHeartMedia, Southern Cross Austereo, News Corp Australia, Audioboom, Stitcher, Wondery, Nova, Nine, Schwartz Media, TOFOP Productions, Kinderling Kids Radio, Australian Radio Network, Wavelength Creative, NBC News, West Australian Newspapers, Fear and Greed, and Sports Entertainment Network.
• The Block and Australian Crime Stories secure Nine Tuesday win
• Jackson withdraws from SAS Australia, Addicted Australia debuts
By James Manning
Seven News 981,000/970,000
Nine News 883,000/907,000
ABC News 697,000
10 News First 344,000/216,000
SBS World News 152,000
Daily current affairs
A Current Affair 715,000
The Project 283,000/487,000
The Drum 170,000
News Breakfast 228,000
Late night news
Nine News Late 147,000
The Latest 96,000
ABC Late News 54,000
Seven: Home and Away began the week with 547,000 and backed up on Tuesday with 540,000.
The recruits on SAS Australia were hoping Firass Dirani would be a voluntary withdrawal last night, however it was Jackson Warne that quit after a gruelling pack march. The audience of 582,000 was just under Monday’s 584,000. The messages from the recruits families were a highlight.
The 2013 movie Pacific Rim then did 170,000.
Nine: A Current Affair had a second successive night over 700,000.
The Block featured work on the backyards which don’t have much space after the swimming pools are factored in. There was plenty of stress trying to get on top of the to-do list which wasn’t made any easier after the defect lists were handed out. More trouble in the Brighton paradise is promised tonight too. The crowd of 828,000 helped secured Nine’s win and was up a little on 815,000 a week ago.
Australian Crime Stories saw its audience push above 400,000 with possibly the best episode of the series – A Deadly Friendship – a look at the case of killer Jonathan Dick.
Nine’s West Gate Bridge Disaster doco screened on the 50th anniversary of the bridge collapse with 229,000 watching.
10: The Project dipped below 500,000 with Tanya Hennessy ending the episode with some laughs.
A repeat episode of Ambulance Australia was on 248,000 after 7.30pm.
NCIS: Los Angeles then returned with 148,000 after 9pm.
ABC: Outback Ringer was on 362,000 at 8pm.
The doco on 2018 National Indigenous Cricket Team, Walkabout Wickets, did 179,000 after 8.30pm.
SBS: Surprisingly Great British Railway Journeys wasn’t the channel’s #1 last night. That accolade went to the series launch of Addicted Australia which was on 239,000.
There were 215,000 Michael Portillo fans tuning in for their railway journey at 7.30pm.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.7%||7TWO||4.4%||GO!||2.0%||10 Bold||3.5%||VICELAND||1.3%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||2.8%||GEM||2.1%||10 Peach||3.1%||Food Net||0.9%|
|ABC NEWS||2.3%||7flix||1.6%||9Life||2.6%||10 Shake||0.5%||NITV||0.1%|
|9Rush||1.3%||SBS World Movies||0.5%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.6%||7TWO||5.1%||GO!||3.0%||WIN Bold||4.8%||VICELAND||1.4%|
|ABC ME||1.3%||7mate||4.9%||GEM||3.9%||WIN Peach||2.7%||Food Net||0.5%|
|ABC NEWS||1.7%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.7%||9Life||2.3%||Sky News on WIN||3.0%||NITV||0.3%|
|TUESDAY METRO ALL TV|
16-39 Top 5
18-49 Top 5
25-54 Top 5
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
Sony Music Entertainment chairman and chief executive officer of Australia and New Zealand Denis Handlin has revealed a number of key staff appointments including the hire of a key executive from Nova Entertainment.
Ryan has returned to the Australian company as Senior Director, Business Development, ANZ, reporting to Denis Handlin.
In her new role, Ryan will have a multi-faceted role that includes cross-marketing and developing both Australian and New Zealand local artists in each other’s markets, working closely with Kim Boshier (MD, New Zealand) and Wayne Ringrow (VP, Australian Artists Marketing). Therese will also be involved with the company’s Brands and Artist Management divisions by growing our revenue across these new verticals.
Ryan joined Sony Music Australia in 2009 as Publicity & Promotions Coordinator after interning in the A&R department. In 2010, she was promoted to National Publicity Representative and went on to Manager, National Publicity, Senior Manager, National Communications and then Director of National Communications.
In March 2019, Ryan relocated to the Hong Kong office to take up the position of Senior Director, Artist Development, Asia, where she was responsible for developing and executing regional campaigns for our international and local artists, and enhancing the presence of artists in the Asian markets. She led the ARO marketing team to drive promotion, marketing and sales success by constantly liaising with international labels and all Asian markets.
Marshall has joined the company as Senior Director, Catalogue Streaming & Strategic Partnerships, reporting to Sophie McArthur (VP, Partner Development & Streaming Strategy, ANZ).
In this role, Marshall will be responsible for growing digital market share for Sony Music’s priority catalogue artists through digital marketing initiatives and DSP artist activations in partnership with the digital account management team. With Marshall’s radio programming experience, she will support the continued growth of Sony Music playlists in the Filtr range. Marshall will also work closely with Dan Nitschke (VP, Business Development & Media Partnerships, ANZ) on fostering and expanding our relationships with key brand, entertainment and commercial partners.
With a career spanning 24 years in radio, Marshall commenced at Southern Cross Austereo prior to moving to Nova Entertainment after it launched in Perth. Marshall held music programming roles for almost a decade at the Network before moving to Sydney in 2014 to become Nova Entertainment’s Music Marketing Director, tasked with building the business’ live music brands including Nova’s Red Room and smooth’s Feel Good Night.
Hock has joined the company as Senior Manager, Social Media & Content, reporting to Sophie Paterson (Senior Director, Audience Development & Digital Communications, ANZ).
In this role, Hock joins Sony Music’s in-house audience development team who are responsible for leading the social media and content strategy for a range of both domestic and international artists. He will be also involved with the ideation and execution of broader company social and content initiatives.
Hock has extensive experience across PR, social media, paid media, content creation, influencer content and project management. He joins us from IAG where he held the role of Creative & Innovation Specialist from 2019. Prior to this, he worked at We Are Social as a Senior Account Manager from 2016 to 2019. He also held the held the role of Senior Account & Creative Manager at Adhesive PR from 2012 to 2016.
Gilmore has joined the company as Manager, Data & Analytics, reporting to Sophie McArthur.
In this role, Gilmore will be responsible for analysis using our internal and third-party data sources to deliver insights, identify business opportunities and create efficiencies. He will support the team and business by developing market, audience and platform reports and tools.
Gilmore has been working in and around music and data for over a decade. He joins us from Universal Music Australia where he held the role of Digital Catalogue Campaign Manager from 2015 and prior to that, Pricing & Commercial Analyst from 2013 to 2015. Prior to this, he was the Chart & Music Manager at The Music Network from 2010 to 2013.
Real-estate listings company Domain unveiled plans to cut almost 12 per cent in costs in the first half of the new financial year but has warned the crucial spring selling season has been weaker than in previous years, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.
Domain was one of many companies that was forced to scrap its dividend at full year results due to increased financial pressure caused by economic factors related to the coronavirus pandemic. The company swung to a $227 million loss, dragged by a major write-down of its digital division, while revenue fell 22 per cent.
At its annual general meeting on Tuesday, Domain told investors it would cut 12 per cent from its $96.5 million cost base in the first half of the current financial year through the JobKeeper scheme and its program, Project Zipline, which gave staff the option to reduce the amount they were paid in cash for share options.
News Corp Australia has rejected former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s allegations that its newspapers blamed last summer’s deadly bushfires on arsonists, reports News Corp’s Lilly Vitorovich.
“This unsubstantiated statement is blatantly untrue. The facts demonstrate starkly the falsity of Turnbull’s claim,” a News Corp spokesman said on Tuesday after the former Liberal leader criticised the coverage during ABC’s Q+A program.
News Corp’s newspapers including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Courier-Mail and The Advertiser published 3335 stories about the bushfires from September 1 last year to January 23. Only 3.4 per cent of the published stories mentioned “arson” or “arsonists”.
Over the same period, News Corp’s national news site, news.com.au, published more than 300 bushfire stories, of which only 16 mentioned arson, equivalent to 5 per cent of stories.
“Not one of these small number of stories stated the bushfires were ‘all the consequence’ of arsonists,” the spokesman said.
Earlier this year, News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller refuted claims that the media company did not believe in climate change.
“Contrary to what some critics have argued, News Corp does not deny climate change or the gravity of its threat,” Miller said.
A war of words has erupted between embattled Attorney-General Christian Porter and the ABC over the public broadcaster’s reporting of allegations that he had a relationship with a staffer and how he was asked to respond to the claims, reports The Australian’s Richard Ferguson.
Porter was the focus of the Four Corners episode in which former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull alleged he counselled the then social services minister over his behaviour after being seen with a young woman at the popular Canberra bar Public in December 2017.
The Attorney-General – who denies the allegations and is considering his legal options – attacked journalist Louise Milligan for not directly contacting him over the story.
But after initial confusion over the sequence of events, Porter’s office confirmed to The Australian that it had been contacted several times by other ABC journalists – including Four Corners’ long-time executive producer Sally Neighbour – about the program’s allegations over a two-week period.
Nine culled jobs from its promo department last week, not long after moving into the new North Sydney headquarters.
TV Tonight reports around a dozen redundancies were made in 9Creative last week.
The shift from Willoughby has led to technological and skills changes but COVID has also seen smaller teams working across projects.
In recent months most of the Promo staff have been working from home.
Virat Kohli’s baby bombshell has split cricket’s broadcasters, but Fox Sports is seizing on a rare chance to claim almost exclusive rights to a global phenomenon, reports News Corp’s Ben Horne.
Kohli’s announcement that he will fly home after the first Test in Adelaide and not return puts free-to-air partner Channel 7 at a major disadvantage, because Fox has sole access to the six-game white ball series that the Indian superstar will headline to open the summer later this month.
“We’ve been sweating on Kohli coming here and something is better than nothing. But not only that, we’ve got those first six games exclusive on Fox Cricket,” said Fox’s executive director, Steve Crawley.