Tuesday November 12, 2019

Kyle and Jackie O giveaway
GfK Radio Ratings 2019, Survey 7: Highlights + Full Results

• Full results and analysis of the seventh radio ratings report of the year

Sydney 

• 2GB and smoothfm again lead market
• Alan Jones and Kyle & Jackie O best in breakfast
• Moonman and The Chaser continue Triple M turnaround

UP: Sports Radio/Triple M/smoothfm +0.1
DOWN: 104.1 2Day FM -0.6

Read full report: Sydney Radio Ratings: GfK Survey 7

 

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Melbourne

• 3AW and Gold are the new leadership double
• Christian O’Connell now #1 FM breakfast, overtakes Fox
• Ross and John partnership secures 3AW another 20%+ breakfast

UP: 3AW +1.3
DOWN: 101.9 Fox FM -0.8

Read more: Melbourne Radio Ratings: GfK Survey 7

 

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Brisbane

• Nova 106.9 strongest of four FM stations all around 11%
• Breakfast war: Stav, Abby & Matt level with Ash, Kip, Luttsy & Susie

UP: 4BC +0.5
DOWN: Nova 106.9 -0.9

Read more: Brisbane Radio Ratings: GfK Survey 7

 

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Adelaide

• Hold the front page – Nova overtakes Mix and #1 overall
• Nova’s Kate, Tim and Marty dominate drive with massive 16.4%

UP: Nova 91.9 +0.7
DOWN: Mix 102.3 -0.4

Read more: Adelaide Radio Ratings: GfK Survey 7

 

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Perth

• Nova continues to rule with leading 10+ and breakfast shares
• Fred & Lisa lift at 96FM, but daytime share looses some recent growth

 

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Nine Entertainment Co on outlook at AGM: Weak trading conditions

• Anticipated December quarter recovery gone after recent performance

Nine Entertainment Co today held its Annual General Meeting in Sydney.

The company’s CEO Hugh Marks has provided shareholders with a current trading update and its outlook for FY2020:

The prevailing weakness in consumer sentiment in Australia has manifested itself in weak trading conditions for many consumer facing businesses, and general softness in the overall advertising market. Advertising from pretty much every major advertising category was weak in the September quarter particularly from auto, Government, domestic banks and gambling. And whilst our business has become much less subject to the vagaries of the ad market, this weakness has of course, impacted.

Specifically – for the first quarter, while Nine’s Metro Free To Air business achieved a leading revenue share of 39.8%, the market was down by 6.4% on last year…pretty much in line with the overall ad market. Early signs of an improvement in Q2, given a broadly flat September, have unfortunately dissipated in recent weeks. The FTA market in the second quarter looks like being down by at least as much as Q1 – we now expect the market to decline by mid-single digits across the full financial year. We remain confident about share gain through the second half on the back of our audience performance earlier this calendar year, and will be working hard to soften the impact of the weak start to the year. FTA costs are now expected to be 2.5% higher as opposed to the 4% we guided to earlier in the year.

Radio has experienced similarly soft market conditions in the current half exacerbated for Macquarie by the advertiser boycott around the Alan Jones’ program on 2GB. We are confident that full ownership by Nine from November will underpin improved performance, both in terms of reduced costs and the potential for incremental revenue on a medium-term basis. Integration work is well progressed and we are now operating under a new consolidated structure.

There are clear green shoots in the housing market in Australia, in terms of data points like house prices and auction clearance rates.

However, as Domain highlighted at its AGM yesterday, trading in FY20 to date remains challenging, albeit with some improvement on the trends experienced in Q4 FY19. The Group continues to selectively invest in growth initiatives, supported by ongoing cost discipline.

In Digital and Publishing, revenue momentum has built into Q2 across both 9Now and Digital advertising, with improving results from display and short form video in accordance with our strategy. The BVOD market grew by 34% in the September quarter and 9Now’s share remains just below 50%. And in Metro Media, we have continued to gain share across both print and digital mast-heads and further benefited from merger synergies.

In Stan, subscriber momentum has continued through the current period and the business is performing ahead of expectations on all metrics, including profitability and cashflow. Stan has an increasingly entrenched market position and will continue to grow as both international content supply, and consumer demand for that content expand further.

There was always going to be a shift in earnings contribution in this financial year due to timing issues, particularly the one-off costs in the TV business – however, the current advertising market conditions will mean that our first half result is now expected to be approx. 10% down on pcp.

Notwithstanding, with the expectation of growth in linear FTA share, further growth in 9Now and Stan, a pick-up in activity at Domain and early synergies from Macquarie Radio, we are expecting this shortfall to be more than made up in the second half.

For the full year therefore, premised on a Metro FTA market down mid-single digits, we are now expecting to report low single digit growth in FY20 Pro Forma Group EBITDA, pre the impact of AASB16. And for the result to be more weighted to our non-broadcast assets, consistent with our longer term strategy.

Aussie acting royalty: Liana Cornell on Foxtel’s Britannia season two

By Claudia Siron

Epic fantasy series Britannia returns for a 10-episode second season on Tuesday, November 12 at 9.30pm, streaming on Foxtel and screening on Fox Showcase.

The new season – written by brothers Jez, Tom and John-Henry Butterworth – focuses on fulfilling a prophecy that would save Britannia from the Romans but then an epic battle of wills commences and divides the Druids and puts the prophecy in jeopardy.

The series also sees Australian actress Liana Cornell return as Ania. Cornell is the daughter of actor, director and writer John Cornell and actress Delvene Delaney and she lives between Australia and the UK. In season 2, her character Ania is living with the Druids and thriving. She is learning fast and her ability to look after her child while she learns and practices, impresses all. Cornell spoke to Mediaweek about shooting the second season, her connection with Ania, and what it’s like working with the cast and producers. 

Cornell said with season two, viewers can expect more blood, more strong feminine characters and more weirdness. “It’s the wacky world of Britannia. And I think season two is a lot better than the first season.”

Liana Cornell as Ania on Britannia season two

Cornell loves her character and feels deeply connected with her. “I want to hang out with her every day. She’s such a legend. I do reiki healing, and so a few years ago I started to channel characters like I would with reiki. It removed my ego; if someone didn’t like something, I would just be like ‘well I was channeling Ania in that’. She feels like a real person to me, because I feel her energy so clearly.

“She’s so strong and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks, she’s on her own journey. I just respect her. I think the world would be great with more Anias in it.”

Every character does have some sort of shift in season two. “I think Cait (played by Eleanor Worthington-Cox) has had a big transformation. She’s on this whole journey moving from the girl into the woman, as well as training to be this amazing, hopeful possibility for Britannia. Queen Antedia (Zoë Wanamaker) has a colossal shift. There are also new characters in the new season which is really exciting.

“I think something the Butterworth brothers do so well is that they create these characters and then they just turn it on its head. You’ll finish one season having a terrible time and then by the first episode you’re having the best time ever. You never know what’s coming.”

Cornell has admitted that she loves the Vikings drama series and read all of the Game of Thrones books when she was at drama school. “I remember wishing I could have a role in Game of Thrones, but by that point everyone had really been cast. And, you have to take you clothes off in that TV show,” she laughed. “Britannia suddenly came up and I didn’t have to be naked and I could be this strong female character. I loved it.”

Sometimes the cast and crew for Britannia would need to wake up at two in the morning for shooting the season. “There was one time we filmed from four in the afternoon until six in the morning, and the main producer was dressed as an extra and he was going around just to make sure everyone was happy because he’s so professional – it was so funny seeing him with a blacked out tooth. That night was crazy – there were three actors asleep on the ground, because everyone goes looney by 4am.”

David Morrissey as General Aulus in Britannia season 2

The makeup also takes quite a lot of time as there is so much detail to each character’s look. “After three hours of makeup I’m on set and there’s always a little bit of waiting around and then suddenly it’s just ‘action’ and I’m on a horse or battling someone. I also love that I’m outside; I’m in nature and I’m in visually stunning places and that’s just my dream come true.”

Cornell said the whole cast is phenomenal, professional, funny and intelligent. “There’s no ego as well, which I really respect. They’re all there for the story. I feel really blessed there; they are a beautiful family. Phelan (Julian Rhind-Tutt) is my favourite, he’s so funny. He can turn any moment into a comedy sketch. A lot of them are quite like that. I really love Mackenzie Crook who plays Veran – he’s one of the kindest and most talented people I’ve worked with. David Bradley who plays the Druid Elder – he was also Filch in Harry Potter – he is amazingly talented. When you’re surrounded by that much talent, you lift your game.”

Cornell said she loves working with the producers on the show. “James Richardson and I really clicked and he’s a lot of fun, and I haven’t really had that with a producer before where it just felt like we were old friends. The Butterworth brothers are great – they’re crazy in the best way possible.

“I feel special being able to talk about character options and things like that with them because they’re kind of like national treasures. They were open to options with characters and script. They would ask ‘where do you want to go with it?’ and sometimes they’d say no and other times they’d fully take it on, so it’s exciting to act in something where you passionately feel what that character would do.”

Cornell said her favourite episode is where she’s riding in on the horse chopping people. “The situation everyone is in is very funny. It’s such a brutal scene, but what happens is hilarious. There were a lot of nude men around me, and because the blood is made of sugar water there were all these wasps all over us. We were walking through the scene during a take and I saw a wasp go straight into a guy’s bum – and to his merit, he didn’t move a muscle until they called ‘cut’. Everyone is just so committed,” laughed Cornell.

Britannia Season 2 starts streaming on Foxtel and screens of Fox Showcase from Tuesday, November 12 at 9.30pm

How to watch Matildas and Socceroos in action this week on Fox Sports

A big week of international football takes over Fox Sports with the Matildas and Socceroos both in action this week.

The Matildas will be looking to make it back-to-back wins over Chile when they face-off at Adelaide’s Coopers Stadium on Tuesday, November 12 at 8.00pm AEDT. The match is also available on Kayo and ABC TV.

It was a history making weekend for the Matildas with their 2-1 victory over Chile on Saturday attended by a record Australian crowd at Bankwest Stadium.

Saturday’s clash was the first time that Ante Milicic’s team had played since the 2019 FIBA World Cup with Sam Kerr again starring with two goals.

Fox Sports’ Tara Rushton will be joined by former Matildas Michelle Heyman and Georgia Yeoman-Dale to preview the showdown at 7.30pm AEDT before handing over to Brenton Speed and Grace Gill for the call of the game from 8.00pm AEDT.

The attention then turns to the Socceroos who continue their march to the 2022 FIFA World Cup when they take on Jordan, in the early hours of Friday, November 15.

Jordan has proved to be a thorn in the Socceroos side with Graeme Arnold’s side losing three of their last five clashes against them.

Simon Hill and former Socceroo Andy Harper will bring fans all the action from the match from 3.30am AEDT.

FOX SPORTS BROADCAST SCHEDULE

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY
Tuesday, November 12: Matildas v Chile at 8.00pm on Fox Sports 505

FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
Friday, November 15: Socceroos v Jordan at 3.00am on Fox Sports 505

Box Office: Last Christmas is #1 in first week in theatres

The Christmas season has officially begun and this year it has started in the first half of November as the Last Christmas opens its first weekend on top of the Australian box office.

The film is the first major release to star Emilia Clarke since the final episode of Game of Thrones aired earlier this year and also stars Crazy Rich Asian’s Henry Golding, and is directed by Paul Feig whos has directed comedy hits such as Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy, and Ghostbusters.

However, Last Christmas is not the only new film in the top five this week, it is joined by Stephen Kings: Doctor Sleep, the sequel to the cult classic The Shinning which came out 39 years ago and starred Jack Nicholson. 

The two films to drop out of the top five this week where Zombieland: Double Tap ( four weeks, $5.45m) and Hustlers (five weeks, $8.80m). 

Overall the Australian box office saw a 9% decline after making $9.49m this past weekend.

#1 Last Christmas $2.20m

The first Christmas movie to make its way into the top five this year had the highest average per screen among films in the top five after making an average of $5,605 on 393 screens.

 

 

#2 Terminator: Dark Fate $1.64m

The latest addition to The Terminator franchise has slipped one spot from last week but has still broken the $1m barrier after making an average of $4,024 on 410 screens bringing its total to $6.12m.

 

 

#3 Joker $1.20m

After six weeks the highest-grossing DC film of the year finds itself in third spot thanks to an average of $4,453 on 270 screens which has brought its total to $37.43m. The film continues to move towards the $40m mark, and a possible top five spot for 2019.

 

 

#4 Stephen King’s: Doctor Sleep $805,621

The continuation of the story first told in The Shining stars Ewan McGregor as a grown up Dan Torrance who is traumatised by the actions of his father. The film’s opening weekend made an average of $2,335 on 345 screens.

 

 

#5 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil $740,771

After four weeks the second installment of the Maleficent franchise has made $7.96m and finds itself in the top five for a fourth consecutive week after making an average of $2,723 on 272 screens.

 

TV Ratings Analysis: November 11

By James Manning

• The Block has dominated ratings for past 14 weeks – what’s hot now?
• Seven wins the night as Nine share slumps to lowest Monday of 2019
• Best performing non-news shows are 10’s Amazing Race and HYBPA?

Monday Week 46 2019

 • Seven News 1,051,000/1,022,000
• Nine News 833,000/833,000
• ABC News 703,000
• A Current Affair 678,000
• 7.30 642,000
• The Project 259,000/462,000
• 10 News First 354,000
• The Drum 174,000
• wdSBS World News 133,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 292,000
• Today 215,000

Seven

Home and Away averaged 549,000 last week and has started week 46 on 640,000.

Bride & Prejudice: The Forbidden Weddings continued with a wedding day. The episode did 575,000 after 453,000 on Sunday and 426,000 on Monday last week.

The Rookie was on 376,000 and the series final of S.W.A.T. did 216,000.

Nine

Reporter Steve Marshall was reporting on the bushfire latest for A Current Affair from Glen Innes. The program is also partnering with NRMA to support the Vinnies Bushfire Appeal. The show started week 46 on 678,000 after an average last week of 719,000.

RBT had big shoes to fill last night, taking over the 7.30pm timeslot from The Block. The program did 472,000 after 419,000 on Thursday last week.

Love Island Australia then started a little earlier at 8.30pm with 263,000 watching after 335,000 on Monday last week.

10

The Project featured some good guests from the music industry with visits from Fatman Scoop and then AJ Mitchell. The episode did 462,000 after 7pm following an average of 444,000 last week.

The Amazing Race Australia episode five got its first outing after the end of The Block. The episode did 651,000, its best yet, after 532,000 a week ago. The contestants travelled the four hours from Hanoi to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia last night as the teams took their second flight. It was a sad end to the race for South Australian alpaca farmer and firie, Chris and Adrienne, after Chris suffered a bad fall from a camel and was unable to continue in the series.

Have You Been Paying Attention? then did 754,000, a nice recovery after 611,000 on Cup Eve last week. Joining Ed and Sam on the panel were Anne Edmonds, Marty Sheargold and Geraldine Hickey. Guests asking the questions included new MasterChef judge Melissa Leong.

ABC

Australian Story featured artist Vincent Fantauzzo with an episode introduction from his wife Asher Keddie. The program did 642,000 after 573,000 a week ago.

Louise Milligan then reported the Four Corners episode on Digi Kids with 570,000 watching.

Media Watch was on 539,000, examining fellow Monday night program Q&A and its recent controversy.

Q&A then did 382,000.

SBS

A repeat of 24 Hours in Emergency did best at 8.30pm with 217,000.

Earlier in the night The Royal House of Windsor was on 208,000.

Week 45-46 TV: Monday
MONDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 15.2% 7 20.0% 9 14.6% 10  14.8% SBS One 5.1%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.1% 7TWO 3.3% GO! 2.8% 10 Bold 3.5% VICELAND 1.0%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 4.6% GEM 3.5% 10 Peach 2.1% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.7% 7flix 1.5% 9Life 1.8%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 0.3%         SBS World Movies 0.4%
TOTAL 19.5%   29.8%   22.7%   20.3%   7.6%

 

MONDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 14.0% 7 21.3% 9 13.1% WIN 10.4% SBS One 4.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.0% 7TWO 4.7% GO! 4.2% WIN Bold 3.2% VICELAND 1.3%
ABC ME 1.0% 7mate 4.1% GEM 5.5% WIN Peach 1.7% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.9% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.0% 9Life 1.9% Sky News  on WIN 1.8% NITV 0.2%
    7food (QLD only) 0.1%            
TOTAL 18.9%   32.3%   24.7%   17.1%   6.9%

 

MONDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
87.5% 12.5%
Monday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,051,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 1,022,000
  3. Nine News Nine 833,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 833,000
  5. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 754,000
  6. ABC News ABC 703,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 678,000
  8. The Amazing Race Australia 10 651,000
  9. Australian Story ABC 642,000
  10. Home And Away Seven 640,000
  11. 7.30 ABC 616,000
  12. Bride & Prejudice The Forbidden Weddings Seven  575,000
  13. Four Corners ABC 570,000
  14. The Chase Australia Seven 555,000
  15. Media Watch ABC 539,000
  16. RBT Nine 472,000
  17. The Project 7pm 10 462,000
  18. Hot Seat Nine 419,000
  19. Q&A ABC 382,000
  20. The Rookie Seven 376,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 229,000
  2. The Amazing Race Australia 10 205,000
  3. Bride & Prejudice The Forbidden Weddings Seven 135,000
  4. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 128,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 117,000

 

18 – 49

  1. Have You Been Paying Attention?  10 387,000
  2. The Amazing Race Australia 10 339,000
  3. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 237,000
  4. Seven News Seven 225,000
  5. Bride & Prejudice The Forbidden Weddings Seven 223,000

 

25 – 54

  1. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 417,000
  2. The Amazing Race Australia 10 351,000
  3. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 303,000
  4. Seven News Seven 282,000
  5. Bride & Prejudice The Forbidden Weddings Seven 251,000
Monday Multi Channel
  1. The Bourne Supremacy PM (R) 7mate 183,000
  2. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 156,000
  3. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  4. Nella The Princess Knight PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 134,000
  5. Law & Order: SVU (R) 10 Bold 130,000
  6. Fireman Sam PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 130,000
  7. New Tricks 9Gem 127,000
  8. Doc Martin PM 7TWO 125,000
  9. Midsomer Murders 9Gem 121,000
  10. Floogals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 113,000
  11. Thomas And Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! ABCKIDS/COMEDY111,000
  12. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 111,000
  13. Olobob Top PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 109,000
  14. Play School Story Time PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 107,000
  15. Neighbours 10 Peach 105,000
  16. Foyle’s War PM (R) 7TWO 104,000
  17. Spicks And Specks ABCKIDS/COMEDY 102,000
  18. Dinosaur Train PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 102,000
  19. PJ Masks AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 101,000
  20. Luo Bao Bei ABCKIDS/COMEDY 100,000
Monday STV
  1. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 64,000
  2. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 62,000
  3. Credlin Sky News Live 50,000
  4. The Simpsons FOX8 47,000
  5. Cricket Legends: Shane Warne FOX CRICKET 45,000
  6. Family Guy FOX8 43,000
  7. Kenny On Media Sky News Live 42,000
  8. PML Later Sky News Live 42,000
  9. Family Guy FOX8 40,000
  10. The Simpsons FOX8 38,000
  11. Family Guy FOX8 38,000
  12. The Walking Dead FOX SHOWCASE 38,000
  13. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 38,000
  14. Live: Tour Match Aus A V Pak FOX CRICKET 37,000
  15. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 36,000
  16. Superstore FOX8 32,000
  17. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 32,000
  18. Border Security: International FOX8 32,000
  19. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver COMEDY CHANNEL 31,000
  20. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 31,000

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

Domain sees signs of improvement after housing's horrible year

Housing market conditions remain challenging for listings company Domain but chief executive Jason Pellegrino says there are signs of improvement with growth in prices and auction clearance rates signaling a return of buyers, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

New listings for the 2019-20 year-to-date were down 14 per cent nationally, while auction volumes in the two largest markets, Sydney and Melbourne, were down 10 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

Domain’s digital revenue was down 8 per cent compared with the same time last year – an improvement from the final quarter of 2018-19 which was down 11 per cent. Total revenue in the period was down 12 per cent – better than the 17 per cent decline in the final quarter of the last financial year.

Chairman Nick Falloon said the company was making progress on its long-term strategy despite the tough property market conditions.

“To put the environment in context, there were unprecedented declines in listings volumes in high-value auction markets in Sydney and Melbourne,” he said.

[Read the original]

 

Former Bauer exec backs private equity takeover of publisher

Former Bauer Media executive Marina Go is hopeful a new era of ownership for the publisher of titles including Australian Women’s Weekly and Woman’sDay could help revitalise the struggling magazine sector, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

Go, who left Bauer in 2016 after two years as general manager of the company’s Hearst brands, was encouraged by reports Sydney-based private equity firm Mercury Capital was in advanced talks to buy the Australian and New Zealand arm of the German publisher for $150 million.

“A private equity sale would be a great outcome for the owners, particularly at the multiples that are being talked about,” Go said. “It could potentially be a positive outcome for the company too and the good people who work there providing that the intention would be to develop the business, the people and the brands.”

[Read the original]

News Brands

Former editor moves from academia to editor-in-chief of indie publisher

Eric Beecher’s Private Media has appointed Peter Fray (pictured) as its new editor-in-chief (EIC) and managing editor of Crikey.

As EIC of Private Media, Fray will oversee the editorial direction of the company’s three publications, Crikey, The Mandarin and SmartCompany.

As managing editor of Crikey and its Inq investigative unit, he will take a hands-on role in running the editorial operation, leading its reporters, writers and editors, and working closely with the publisher and commercial team.

Fray is currently a professor of journalism practice at UTS and the co-director of the Centre for Media Transition, an applied research centre supported by the faculties of law and social sciences. He has previously been the editor-in-chief of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Sun-Herald, the editor of the Canberra Times and The Sunday Age and the deputy editor of The Australian. In 2013, he established Australia’s first stand-alone fact-checking site, PolitiFact Australia.

“We’re delighted to bring Peter into Private Media,” said Eric Beecher, chairman, and Tamsin Creed, general manager and Crikey publisher. “He is one of the outstanding editors of his generation, he is passionate about journalism and wants to play a big part in shaping its future.”

Fray said: “I am over the moon to be joining Private Media and be given this chance to make a significant contribution to the growth of its titles, staff and financial success. The health of a fiercely independent, home-grown news media is vital to Australia.”

“I have long admired the work of Crikey and celebrated the work of the Mandarin and SmartCompany. The new Inq team brings a compelling dimension to Crikey’s subscriber offering, with its investigative work. I am very much looking forward to being part of its development.”

News publisher knocks down paywall surrounding bushfire coverage

“Catastrophic” is not a word used flippantly. The highest possible level of bushfire danger across NSW has led the Premier Gladys Berejiklian to declare a State of Emergency for the first time in six years, writes the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald Lisa Davies.

As a result, the Herald will provide open access to our coverage – meaning that for the duration of this crisis, bushfire stories will be free for all readers.

We will be updating readers live via our blog and at smh.com.au. Amid the tragic tales of lives and homes lost, our teams of reporters and photographers on the ground around NSW will also bring you tales of bravery from our emergency services, volunteers and residents alike.

On behalf of us all at the Herald, please stay safe and stay informed.

[Read the original]

Television

Deb Knight addresses 'challenging year' at Nine breakfast show

Today presenters Deborah Knight and Tom Steinfort have paid tribute to their departed co-host Georgie Gardner, reports The Age’s Michael Lallo.

“Before we get to the news, we wanted to acknowledge this morning our colleague and friend Georgie Gardner,” Knight said.

“You might have read over the weekend that Georgie has left the Today show and after a really challenging year, we want to wish Georgie all the very best.”

Newsreader Tom Steinfort added: “She really has been a committed and passionate member of the team here, particularly when she’s been sharing the stories of everyday Australians who are doing it tough. These are issues that she wanted to focus on, and [to] shine a light on people who needed it most. She has always been a woman of strength, a woman of class. Who could forget her very wicked sense of humour that would just pop up from time to time as well.”

“She gave it a red hot go,” Knight said. “For now though, Georgie’s enjoying the time with her family, with her friends, taking Wilbur the dog for a walk. And we look forward to seeing you, Georgie, on our screens again very soon.”

[Read the original]

Scott Cam guarantees the one thing you won’t see on The Block anymore

“I’m looking forward to a break. It’s been a big one.”

That was the first thing The Block host Scott Cam said after wrapping up this year’s season of the popular renovation show on Sunday night, reports news.com.au’s Shireen Khalil.

Speaking candidly to news.com.au after Tess and Luke’s triumphant win, the always honest Cam revealed the one thing you wouldn’t be seeing on the show again.

Throughout the three-month series, Cam reminded viewers of the sheer magnitude of The Oslo – a once rundown, trashy hostel that Channel 9 bought for a reported $10 million.

At first, many thought it was just a way to entice people into watching the show, and while that may have been true, it didn’t dismiss how it affected the five teams and the crew.

“We learned that it was too big, and we won’t be doing it this big again, I can guarantee it,” Cam told news.com.au.

“We always try and go bigger and better but we probably crossed the line.

“It’s achievable because it all got done and sold really well. But I think just for the crew and everybody in future, it will still be a big construction and still be big, but it just won’t be as big as this.”

[Read the original]

Sports Media

ABC ‘short-sighted’ over cancelling Olympics radio coverage

The Australian Olympic Committee has condemned the national broadcaster as being “monumentally short-sighted” and ignoring the obligations of the ABC Charter by failing to provide live radio coverage of next year’s Tokyo Games, reports AAP.

AOC chief executive Matt Carroll has vowed to do everything in his power to see the decision overturned before Tokyo 2020 starts next July and said the committee would be contacting ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose personally about the matter.

“The ABC should reconsider this decision. The AOC is prepared to put this case to the chair of the ABC directly, on behalf of the eight million Australians who participate in Olympic sports,” he said. “(That is) not to mention the millions more who follow, support and celebrate those athletes.”

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ABC sports veteran shattered after broadcaster quits Olympics

A grateful listener once called former ABC broadcaster Gerry Collins to thank him for his accurate and atmospheric calls of Olympic swimming, telling him: “You can’t take a TV down a mine,” reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Phil Lutton.

The point was, that wherever you could take a radio, you could tune in to the fortunes of Australia’s athletes at the Olympics. And the assumption was that the national broadcaster would always be there when the medals were won, or perhaps lost, in dramatic and often unforgettable fashion.

“So many people tell you those stories,” Collins said. “Newspaper front pages are covered with the biggest news and usually the ABC is always there. Now there will be gold medals where it will be all over the front pages but the ABC won’t be there describing it.”

Collins, who was the voice of ABC’s swimming coverage from the 1988 Games in Seoul to the 2008 Games in Beijing, was shattered for those among his former colleagues who would have been part of the broadcast team at next year’s Olympics in Tokyo.

They may still be on the ground in Japan as part of a news team but the ABC won’t be providing live calls of Olympic events for the first time since 1952, citing budget pressures and a changing broadcast environment for the decision.

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Ex-Tennis Australia boss reveals he didn't tell board of rival offers

The former boss of Tennis Australia says he did not tell the board of the organisation about the level of interest for the broadcast rights to the Australian Open despite being in receipt of this information, a court has heard, reports The Age’s Sarah Danckert.

The ex-boss of Tennis Australia, Steve Wood, told the Federal Court that he was aware of potential offers from Nine Entertainment and Network 10 but thought board director Harold Mitchell would raise the matter at a board meeting.

Wood’s evidence could help to blow a hole in a key part of the corporate watchdog’s case: that it was Mitchell and former Tennis Australia director Stephen Healy who deliberately withheld such information from the board, thus giving preference to the incumbent holder of the rights, Seven West Media.

His testimony on Monday also raised questions about how seriously the rival offers and the interest from Ten was, with Wood agreeing Ten’s offer may have been a “mischievous” ploy to get Seven to increase its offer for the rights.

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Channel 9 chase network rival in search of Ray Warren replacement

Channel 9 is planning for life after legendary commentator Ray Warren by approaching highly regarded Fox Sports and Triple M caller Dan Ginnane, reports News Corp’s Phil Rothfield.

We can reveal Channel 9’s director of sport and now 2GB boss Tom Malone contacted the off-contract Ginnane last week about joining the free-to-air network next season.

This isn’t to say the great Ray ‘Rabs’ Warren won’t continue next year but it’s not guaranteed that he will.

Warren has told Channel 9 he will make a decision before Christmas.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” Warren said. “Tom Malone spoke to me a few weeks ago and is expecting me to make a decision soon. They’ve got to plan and I understand totally.

“I have a different thought in my head every day. Seriously I don’t know.”

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