Friday November 13, 2020

AGM season: Kerry Stokes and James Warburton confirm Seven strategy

• Stokes: We didn’t elect Baz Lord Mayor, Warburton on holes in schedule

Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes and CEO James Warburton spoke at the AGM yesterday and confirmed the Seven strategy outlined by Warburton at the recent 2021 Upfronts.

Both made short presentations and Stokes fielded a number of shareholder questions from the value of the shares to editorial questions about The West Australian.

Kerry Stokes and James Warburton

Kerry Stokes and James Warburton

“The meeting marks the end of what has been the most tumultuous year in history for Seven West Media, the rest of the media sector and global economy as the Covid-19 pandemic impacted all of us,” said Stokes.

The chairman detailed how the initial plan he and Warburton signed off on in late 2019 was disrupted first by bushfires and then Covid.

“The unprecedented set of difficult economic conditions flowing from the pandemic brought more urgency to our plans to reinvigorate the group and we had to make very difficult decisions to shore up our business to withstand the economic shocks.

“This work continues with the divestment of non-core assets, a sharper focus on our cost structure, a refreshed programming schedule and content across all of our platforms.

Sadly the cost-cutting has resulted in the departure of many valued staff who have made significant contributions to the group over many years. They have our greatest respect and we wish them well in the future.”

“Our management team are preparing a very exciting programming schedule for 2021, have successfully re-negotiated our rights contracts in AFL and horse racing, with other sports and programming contracts identified for new arrangements.

“We believe these measures and others being put in place will put Seven in a long-term winning position, and we are best placed to be the first and strongest to recover from the current difficulties.”

Stokes on Zempilas and climate change at The West

Kerry Stokes was re-elected to the board, however in answer to a shareholder’s question he indicated the Seven West Media board could appoint an independent chairman at some time.

In answers to other questions, Stokes re-affirmed Seven wanted to keep the cricket and that building profits will be the key to improving shareholder value. Stokes denied that Basil Zempilas got preferential treatment from The West Australian during the election campaign for Perth Lord Mayor and he said neither The West Australia nor Seven were climate change deniers.

Warburton on how things started to improve – quickly

When James Warburton spoke he again outlined the moves made when he arrived:

“Fifteen months ago, we were in a tough spot. Our primetime television schedule was tired, stagnant and stale. Revenue in our core offerings was in decline. Cost reductions weren’t keeping pace with revenue, and we were stuck with uneconomic sporting contracts. Seven’s BVOD offering was a distant #2 and WAN’s digital offering was in the early stages of rollout. We were also hampered by significant debt levels.

“In August 2019, we embarked on a strategy to address all of these issues. The strategy had three pillars: content-led growth, transformation, and addressing our capital structure and exploring M&A.

“In FY20, we simplified the management structure of Seven West Media and appointed a new executive team.

We also made other transformative changes:

• We departed from our internal production strategy for key tentpole shows and launched a completely refreshed prime time line up which we believe clearly positions us to win

• We implemented $170 million of annualised gross cost saving initiatives, including the renegotiation and extension of the AFL contract

• We prioritised our digital strategy and reinvigorated our 7plus BVOD platform, securing the #1 position in about 12 months, and turbo-charged WAN’s digital subscription push

• And we secured proceeds of $150 million from the sale of assets to reduce debt.

“The reality of 2020 has turned out to be completely different. We thought our new tentpole programming strategy would take six months to come to fruition, but it’s not what happened.

“We had to delay filming of Home and Away. We weren’t expecting to lose the AFL for eight weeks. We weren’t expecting an Olympiad without the Olympics and Paralympics.

“We weren’t expecting that we would be forced to delay Holey Moley for six months or that we would lose Australia’s Got Talent entirely. It should be on air right now.

“Covid didn’t single us out, but it certainly affected us significantly more than it did our competitors.

“However, our new content-led growth strategy of outsourcing known and tried international formats kicked off in June this year and things started to change – quickly.

“We moved from almost five share points down in the first half to more than 2 points up in the second half, which is a remarkable turnaround in the TV business.

“The resurgence was led by our refreshed and rebooted Big Brother, coupled with the return of the AFL.

“Big Brother was a runaway success and we followed it up with a new version of Farmer Wants A Wife and now SAS Australia, which launched as the number one entertainment show in October. It’s been too long since Seven launched back-to-back hits, let alone three key new tentpole shows.”

Debt reduction: Active sale process underway

“The second strategic pillar focuses on the transformation of SWM and we have made significant progress in that area.

“In FY20 we delivered $170 million in permanent gross cost reduction initiatives across the business, with the majority of these savings to be realised in the 2021 financial year.

“Temporary savings initiatives of $51 million were actioned in March which helped limit the impact of Covid-19 on the business.

“The combined outcome of these savings has been transformational, resetting the business’s cost base, simplifying its structure, optimising processes, reducing headcount and addressing uneconomic contracts. We have started the transformation, but we are not finished. We’re targeting $30 to $50 million in further cost out initiatives in FY21 which will be incremental to the savings actioned in FY20.

“We have also made significant headway on our third pillar, capital structure and M&A. The total proceeds from asset sales in FY20 were $150 million, including the sale of Pacific Magazines.

“We have active sale processes underway with the proceeds to be used to work down debt. We’re at an advanced stage with those asset sales and will update the market in coming months.

“During the 2020 financial year we reduced net debt to $398 million, compared to $564 million at the end of FY19.”

Ad revenue down 5%, but holes in schedule fixed

Regarding a trading update, Warburton said: “We are confident that the slate we outlined at our upfront will ensure Seven is absolutely competitive in 2021 and beyond.

“Competitive content drives revenue. So far in FY21 we’ve seen strong revenue share performance when we’ve delivered engaging content. The holes in our schedule are fixed for 2021. When content works share follows, with each share point worth $22m per annum.

“The market has improved since the August results but remains short and volatile. The Metro FTA market was down 5% YoY for the period from July to October. Over the same period, the BVOD market continues to grow strongly, up 37%, with 7plus capturing share and growing 62% in that period.

“Forward bookings suggest Seven’s advertising revenue for the first half could be down approximately 5%.”

Nine agm 2020
Nine AGM: Q2 TV revenue +15%, Hugh Marks details digital first future

• Nine targets 60% revenue from digital, 35% from subscription products

Nine Entertainment Co CEO Hugh Marks explained at the AGM how 2020 had impacted the group in different ways.

“On the screen, you will see the performance of the various parts of our business and the obvious benefits of our portfolio of assets,” said Marks. “What you will see is that some businesses have thrived through the Covid period, particularly our subscription-based businesses, whilst others were negatively impacted by the short-term weakness in the ad market.

“In the three months since we last updated you on trading conditions, the underlying ad market has markedly improved since our August update.

“At the August result, we commented that we expected Q1 FTA revenue to be down around 15%, an estimate which proved broadly correct.

“However, since the end of September, the FTA advertising market and Nine’s share of that market, have both improved significantly, and with the added benefit of major event timing (State of Origin and NRL Finals), Nine’s December quarter is now expected to show growth in Metro FTA advertising revenue of around 15%.

“Meaning that we now expect Nine’s Metro TV ad revenues in the December half to be broadly flat on the prior period, and 9Now revenues in the December half to be up around 25% on the prior period.

“After a stronger start to calendar 2020, the challenges relating to Covid-19 heavily impacted on the property market and Domain through the fourth quarter. Notwithstanding an overall listing market that was down in the double-digits, Domain benefitted from its newly introduced pricing model, increased depth penetration and ongoing cost focus.

“First half FTA costs will be down in the double digits. We do expect second half FTA costs to increase on last year’s as a result of the return of the NRL, which was absent through the second half of FY20, as well as some reinvestment in content to support the continued recovery of advertising markets. Overall, we are expecting full year Free To Air costs to be down around 4% on FY20, prior to any revenue-related costs.”

Trading has recovered quickly after Covid impact

We are certainly trading more positively than we would have anticipated just three months ago and are very pleased with the operating performance and trends in each of our business units. Despite this, given our limited visibility on the second half advertising market, we do not believe we are in a position to provide guidance on earnings for the full year. We expect to be in a better position to address this at our half year results in February.

“What we have now should not be under-estimated. Our television business spans both free – through the Nine Network and broadcast video on demand through 9Now; and subscription through Stan. Not only does this mean that we have multiple routes to video audiences, but it also enables us to think differently about the content we pursue. We can now focus on making content decisions for the benefit of all of our television platforms, and optimising the value of that audience to the most desirable platform. A significant shift in how we assess our content investments. This enables Nine to benefit from both continued growth in television consumption as well as the shifts in viewer behaviour.”

How Stan and Nine will combine on sport

“Our recent foray into Rugby Union is perhaps the best example of the latter. Through its relationship with Nine, Rugby Union has secured television coverage for all of its matches – providing Rugby Australia with important Free To Air coverage of a range of its key games and increasing the profile of Rugby Union in Australia. Of course, as the broadcaster, Nine will also support the game through the news and other content, using the strength of all of our assets to promote the sport.

“This is effectively a ‘service’ that only Free To Air can provide. For Nine, it means we can address a valuable and passionate sports audience through Stan’s entry into the sports subscription market, providing us unique optionality as the content market continues to evolve over the next decade, an option we could not have pursued a couple of years ago. We expect Stan Sport to be a valuable addition to our broader television business as we continue to evolve into the future.”

Reader revenue key to future at Nine Publishing

“The other arm of our business is Publishing, primarily our Metro Media business, which is becoming increasingly digital and is not far from the tipping point where digital will outweigh print. Already reader-based revenue, which is pretty much everything ex advertising, accounts for 60% of the total and is eminently more defensible, and stable.

“We have made much progress already, but there is more to do. Firstly, we aim to reduce the cost base of our legacy Broadcast and Publishing assets by around $230m, ensuring they are fit for purpose. We now have a detailed blue-print to reach this target by 2024. Already, we have initiatives in place that will deliver around 80% of this cost out target.

“Secondly, through growth in our digital assets, we aim to source at least 60% of our Group EBITDA from digital sources – Stan, 9Now, as well as the digital components of Domain and Publishing. With the recovery in Free to Air markets occurring more quickly and steeply than we previously expected, it is possible this will retrace somewhat in the current year from the near 50% we reported in FY20. However, this longer term goal remains intact.

Thirdly, we expect more than 35% of Group revenues will come from subscription – Stan, and parts of Domain and Publishing, thereby reducing our exposure to advertising markets.

“And finally, we are targeting around 30% of Group revenues from VOD. So that’s SVOD through Stan, already a $1.5b market, and BVOD through 9Now, which at this stage is a relatively small subset of the broader $1.2b digital video market.”

Ovato dodges a bullet: Hannans and Are Media back print restructure

• Plan means 300 redundancies, but $40m rights issue saves 900 keep jobs

Ovato Limited, one of Australia’s largest print and distribution businesses, has announced a plan for a $40 million rights issue and restructure aimed at saving 900 jobs in the Australian manufacturing industry.

The plan would provide a viable future for Ovato and prevent possible insolvency. The plan includes 300 redundancies primarily through the closure of the Clayton printing plant in Melbourne.

The majority Ovato shareholder, the Hannan family, and a Mercury Capital entity Are Media Pty Limited have agreed to underwrite $35 million of the rights issue. Michael Hannan is Ovato chairman.

The Scheme is subject to completion of the rights issue and approval by creditors and the Supreme Court of NSW.

Michael Hannan

Michael Hannan

The Managing Director of Ovato, Kevin Slaven, said:

“Print-based industries have been significantly affected in recent years and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the pain this year for many parts of our group.

“Our industry has gone about as far as it can with mergers and consolidations in the last five years. Ovato has suffered losses for several years because of the costs of measures to meet the reduced demand for printed communications. This restructure allows for the company to get back to profitability and a sustainable future.

“Unfortunately, it means that over 300 employees will lose their jobs. However, the restructure will save 900 other jobs because the company would be facing an uncertain future without the restructure we are proposing.”

“The scheme will reduce our cost base, make us more sustainable and provide customers, suppliers and the 900 remaining staff certainty around a viable and profitable future.”

Ovato operates in Australia and New Zealand with print, distribution and marketing services. Ovato made a net loss after tax of $108.8 million last financial year, on revenue of $539.3 million.

Creditors will meet on 30 November. All Ovato businesses outside of the Australian print operations are unaffected by the restructure. Many hundreds of jobs in the downstream distribution industry will not be affected.

See also: Ovato chair Michael Hannan’s plea for manufacturing sector support

Good Weekend special edition marks 30th anniversary of 52 Weekends Away

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age’s Good Weekend will mark the 30th anniversary of its annual 52 Weekends Away, celebrating the domestic travel sector with a special edition this Saturday, November 14.

Co-edited by the Good Weekend and Traveller teams and set against the backdrop of Covid-19 restrictions, the 30th annual edition, which runs at 64 pages, features weekend escape ideas from every state and territory, and reviews of accommodation from luxury adults-only to family friendly.

The short break has changed markedly over the three decades since Good Weekend published its first 52 Weekends Away issue on November 17, 1990. And as borders re-open, Australians are set to tour their own country like never before.


“Thirty years ago, a weekend away meant driving for an hour to a fibro shack in a sleepy beachside town, where we’d put home-made spaghetti bolognese and a bottle of red on the table and call it dinner,” said Good Weekend editor Katrina Strickland. “Today we fly or drive; stay in everything from fibro shacks to upmarket city hotels; and often choose our destination according to its foodie cred.

“Just as the weekend away has evolved over the three decades in which Good Weekend has been publishing this annual issue, so too has 52 Weekends Away. Today it covers every state and territory and a vast range of accommodation. Covid-19 might have disrupted our international travel plans but the silver lining is the way it’s turned the spotlight onto our own backyard. There are so many places nationwide that I’ve been dying to visit but haven’t quite got to. 2021 is the year I will – and I’ll be using this issue as my guide.”

Good Weekend 52 Weekends Away edition

The cover features a painting by Melbourne artist Tom Adair, which depicts the ocean pool at Bronte Beach, Sydney. Adair says he wanted to capture how central water is to our sense of identity. Good Weekend, together with Adair and his Sydney gallery, Nanda\Hobbs, are releasing 50 limited edition prints of the painting which can be purchased here

The edition also has major sponsorships from both Destination NSW and Tourism Tasmania, which have taken advertising false covers on the front and back of the magazine. There’s an eight-page mini-magazine insert and sponsored content from Destination NSW revealing some of the hidden getaway gems of the state, and a seven-page advertorial from Tourism Tasmania delving deep into the Apple Isle’s off-the-beaten-track spots.

Good Weekend 52 Weekends Away edition will be available in this Saturday’s edition of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, and online at

Nominees Revealed for the 2020 Casting Guild of Australia Awards

The Casting Guild of Australia has announced the nominees in all categories for its annual CGA Awards. 

The only casting awards ceremony in the southern hemisphere that celebrates and recognises casting across all mediums including film, television, advertising and theatre and online content, the winners will be announced at the virtual ceremony via Facebook on Saturday 28 November.

Hosted by Bert and Amanda LaBonté, the Awards seek to acknowledge and support the critical role casting directors play in bringing together great casting opportunities both on a national and international stage.

CGA President David Newman said: “In uniquely trying times, very brave producers have found ways to keep industry practitioners employed and engaged. Casting Directors have hugely appreciated all those efforts and been there every step of the way to support that process. The CGA nominations for 2020 represent that persistence and dedication to adapt. We’re immensely proud of the resilience of all the nominees and indeed all members and look forward to celebrating their achievements at our upcoming Awards.”

2020 CGA Award nominees include:

Best Casting in a TV Comedy
Black Comedy S4 – Anousha Zarkesh
How To Stay Married S2 – Nick Hamon
The Other Guy S2 – Kirsty McGregor & Gemma Brown
UPRIGHT – Nathan Lloyd

Best Casting in a TV Drama
Mystery Road S2 – Anousha Zarkesh
Neighbours – Thea McLeod
The Heights S2 – Annie Murtagh-Monks
Wentworth S8 – Nathan Lloyd

Best Casting in a TV Miniseries & Telemovie
Deadhouse Dark – Stephanie Pringle & Alison Fowler
Halifax: Retribution – Nathan Lloyd
Operation Buffalo – Anousha Zarkesh
The Secrets She Keeps – Amanda Mitchell

Achievement in Casting
100% Wolf – Kirsty McGregor
Guy Sebastian ‘Standing With You’ – Daisy Hicks
Holy Holy ‘Maybe You Know’ – Mel Mackintosh
The InBESTigators S2 – Nathan Lloyd

Nielsen digital news rankings October 2020: ABC #1 ahead of

Nielsen Digital Content Ratings data reveals that Australians spent a total of 40 million hours reading news content online during the month of October 2020 – up 39% when compared to October 2019.

With two months of the year still remaining in 2020, Australians are spending an average of 46% more time reading online news each month when compared to the same time last year.

ABC News websites retained the top position, with a unique audience of 11.8 million for the month of October 2020. ranked second with a unique audience of 10.8 million, followed by in third position, up from fifth on last month, with a unique audience of 9.9 million. 7NEWS ranked fourth with a unique audience of 9.5 million. Daily Mail Australia ranked fifth with 9.4 million.

The Australian returned to the top ten with a unique audience of 3.3 million in October 2020.

Mercado on TV: Aunty Donna go global, the Reagans and the Windsors

Three blokes from Ballarat share a house in the outrageous new Aussie comedy show Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun (Netflix). Good to see something so magnificently bonkers, right down to the random Aussie food references nobody will get but us, and a cameo from The Boys’ Antony Starr.

By Andrew Mercado

It’s also good to see Aussie comedy travelling the world, but how do we feel about Australia becoming an international joke for its news coverage? Sky News Australia will end up a bigger cheerleader for Donald Trump than Fox News, and it appears to be the only news network outside of the US legitimising his unproven claims of voter fraud. Although they might be sympathetic in Slovenia.

Thanks to Sky News Australia’s rapidly growing YouTube channel, millions of Americans can now watch Alan Jones reading out conspiracy theories from obscure blogs. In the words of the man himself, Sky News Australia should just “do us all a favour” and change their name to Sky News America.

The fall of the Trumps will lead to multiple documentaries and let’s hope they are as revealing as The Reagans (Monday on Stan). The Showtime four-part doco series rips apart the couple’s “Hollywood myth making” and looks into the casual and blatant racism that helped propel Ronald to becoming President.

Crazy, Not Insane (Wednesday Nov 25 on Foxtel) is the new Alex Gibney documentary which follows Dr Dorothy Otnow Lewis, a psychiatrist who treated serial killers to check their mental capabilities. She challenged the notion that people are born evil and discovered that many were severely abused as children, with some suffering from full-on dissociative personality disorder.

Crazy, Not Insane is fascinating but also disturbing, especially when it delves into the party atmosphere of audiences waiting outside state executions. It’s another winner though from HBO which has been smashing it lately with true stories like this. Also recommended – Class Action Park (Binge), the wild New Jersey theme park where the rides regularly killed people.

Enjoy watching The Crown (Sunday on Netflix) this weekend. Can’t wait to see Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, or Spain standing in for Australia when Charles and Di tour down under.

TV ratings: Thursday Week 46 2020

• Final weeknight episode of The Block wins with season close to climax

By James Manning

Primetime News
Seven News 943,000/930,000
Nine News 832,000/820,000
ABC News 681,000
10 News First 304,000/205,000
SBS World News 162,000

Daily current affairs
A Current Affair 642,000
7.30 601,000
The Project 281,000/416,000
The Drum 179,000

Breakfast TV
Sunrise 260,000
Today 228,000
News Breakfast 193,000

Thursday TV

Seven: Home and Away dipped to just under 500,000 after three nights above that mark.

Britain’s Got Talent then had another modest crowd with 215,000 watching.


Nine: A Current Affair returned with 642,000 after a night off due to State of Origin.

The final weeknight episode of The Block, and the third-last before Sunday’s reveal and then the auctions a week later, had 748,000 tuning in. Despite the mid-season disruption the series has managed to deliver again for Nine, although it’s biggest challenge, the auctions, is yet to come.

A Paramedics repeat then did 399,000.

10: The Project had a second successive night close to 400,000.

The return of Jamie’s Quick & Easy Food was on 267,000 after returning on Wednesday with 272,000.

ABC: Laura Tingle was guest-hosting 7.30 with 601,000.

Scottish Vets Down Under then did 373,000 followed by Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure on 359,000.

SBS: A repeat of The Great Fire of London did best with174,000 at 7.30pm.

Week 46: Thursday
ABC12.7%717.1%920.6%10 9.0%SBS One3.9%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY3.1%7TWO4.3%GO!3.4%10 Bold3.7%VICELAND1.4%
ABC ME0.7%7mate4.7%GEM2.5%10 Peach3.0%Food Net0.9%
ABC NEWS2.0%7flix1.8%9Life2.2%10 Shake0.6%NITV0.2%
    9Rush1.2%  SBS World Movies1.0%
TOTAL18.4% 27.9% 29.9% 16.3% 7.4%


ABCSeven AffiliatesNine Affiliates10 AffiliatesSBS
ABC11.3%719.4%917.6%WIN7.0%SBS One3.3%
ABC ME1.1%7mate4.8%GEM3.8%WIN Peach3.2%Food Net0.6%
ABC NEWS1.7%7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)2.1%9Life1.9%Sky News  on WIN2.0%NITV0.3%
        SBS Movies1.0%
TOTAL17.0% 32.2% 28.3% 16.4% 7.2%


Thursday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 943,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 930,000
  3. Nine News Nine 832,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 820,000
  5. The Block Nine 748,000
  6. ABC News ABC 681,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 642,000
  8. 7.30 ABC 601,000
  9. Home And Away Seven 498,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 454,000
  11. Hot Seat Nine 436,000
  12. The Project 7pm 10 416,000
  13. Paramedics -Encore Nine 399,000
  14. Scottish Vets Down Under ABC 373,000
  15. Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure (R) ABC 359,000
  16. Bluey-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 331,000
  17. 10 News First 10 304,000
  18. Hot Seat -5pm Nine 290,000
  19. The Project 6.30pm 10 281,000
  20. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 275,000
Demo Top Fives

16-39 Top 5

  1. The Block Nine 190,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 113,000
  3. The Project 7pm 10 112,000
  4. Nine News Nine 101,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 99,000


18-49 Top 5

  1. The Block Nine 322,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 203,000
  3. Nine News Nine 186,000
  4. Seven News Seven 178,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 177,000


25-54 Top 5

  1. The Block Nine 357,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 245,000
  3. Nine News Nine 232,000
  4. Seven News Seven 222,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 216,000
Thursday Multichannel
  1. Bluey-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 331,000
  2. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 212,000
  3. Peppa Pig-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 186,000
  4. M- Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince-PM (R) 7mate 154,000
  5. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 142,000
  6. Neighbours 10 Peach 135,000
  7. Father Brown-PM 7TWO 135,000
  8. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 128,000
  9. Dog Loves Books ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  10. Love Monster-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  11. Murdoch Mysteries-PM 7TWO 123,000
  12. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  13. Peter Rabbit-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 113,000
  14. Under Siege 2 9GO! 113,000
  15. Go Jetters-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 108,000
  16. Murdoch Mysteries E2-PM 7TWO 106,000
  17. Hawaii Five-O (R) 10 Bold 103,000
  18. Pocoyo-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 103,000
  19. Book Hungry Bears-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 102,000
  20. Hard Quiz S5 ABCKIDS/COMEDY 99,000
Thursday STV
  1. Outback Opal Hunters Discovery Channel 71,000
  2. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 67,000
  3. Alan Jones Sky News Live 61,000
  4. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 57,000
  5. Credlin Sky News Live 56,000
  6. Live: Trading Day FOX FOOTY 52,000
  7. Highway Patrol FOX8 43,000
  8. Border Security: Australia’s Front Line FOX8 41,000
  9. The Simpsons FOX8 37,000
  10. The Simpsons FOX8 37,000
  11. PML Later Sky News Live 35,000
  12. Trading Day FOX FOOTY 34,000
  13. Border Security: International FOX8 33,000
  14. Ricky Zoom Nick Jr. 32,000
  15. Escape To The Country Lifestyle Channel 31,000
  16. Abby Hatcher Nick Jr. 31,000
  17. Antiques Roadshow Lifestyle Channel 30,000
  18. Bargain Hunt Lifestyle Channel 29,000
  19. Love It Or List It Australia Lifestyle Channel 28,000
  20. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 28,000

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

Industry welcomes $200m+ production boost in NSW, Victoria

Good news this past week for production in New South Wales and Victoria, reports TV Tonight.

Screen NSW has announced $175m over 5 years for the Made in NSW production fund, while Film Victoria has announced $33.8 million for international and local projects.

With cameras rolling again around Victoria, the Victorian Government will provide a major financial boost to ensure the screen industry is ready to capitalise on the huge global demand for content, backing thousands of local jobs.

Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson has announced a record investment of $33.8 million in Victorian screen productions and programs, to allow more international and local projects to be to be made in Victoria, with the vast majority of the fund to be committed this financial year.

There will be $4.7 million for the development and production of local content across film, television, online and digital games and $8.6 million to continue Film Victoria’s successful local production investment and industry and skills development programs. More than half of the investment will be allocated in the current financial year, providing significant immediate job stimulus. Film Victoria’s investment in the development of locally generated digital games will double.


New South Wales
The NSW economy will be boosted and jobs created with $175 million for screen production through the Made in NSW fund under a landmark announcement made by the NSW Government today.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the successful Made in NSW program will support high-end screen production in NSW, creating jobs, providing new opportunities for communities in Western Sydney and regional NSW, and significantly contributing to the State’s economy.

“Made in NSW has injected more than $900 million into the NSW economy through local production since 2016, and supported more than 26,000 jobs on international productions and local TV drama series.”

[Read more]

Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch avoids Trump attacks at annual meeting

Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch held court at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, which was held in-person this week on the Fox lot in Los Angeles, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The names Biden and Trump were not mentioned in Murdoch’s 15-minute introductory statement, though he did praise Fox employees and Fox News, which he said had a record-breaking year thanks to its “live news, analysis, and clear and strong opinion.”

“Our journalistic excellence saw viewers across the country and across the political spectrum turn to us” for coverage of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the 2020 election, Murdoch added.

The only politician mentioned at the annual meeting was a former one: Ex-House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Fox board member who joined Murdoch on stage at the meeting. Lachlan’s father, Rupert Murdoch, chose to attend remotely via phone.

According to the invitation, all in-person attendees were mandated to wear a face covering and stay at least 6 feet from other attendees, with seats blocked out to maintain a social distance. Fox also required a health screening for all shareholders attending, including a questionnaire and temperature check.

[Read more]

News Brands

Prosecutors withdraw some charges against media in Pell contempt trial

Prosecutors have withdrawn 13 of the 100 contempt charges against Australian media companies and journalists over the way they reported George Pell‘s conviction, but lawyers for the news outlets argue more charges should be dropped, reports The Age’s Adam Cooper.

Twelve news outlets and 18 individual journalists have faced trial this week in the Supreme Court, accused of breaching a court-imposed suppression order and other rules related to Cardinal Pell’s initial conviction on child sex abuse charges in December 2018.

On Thursday, prosecutors withdrew some charges against News Corp mastheads and journalists.

[Read more]

Judge dismisses Donald Trump's libel suit against CNN

This hasn’t been the best month for the 45th President of the United States. On Wednesday, a Georgia federal court judge rejected a defamation lawsuit brought by Donald Trump against CNN, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Trump’s campaign filed its complaint back in March. It targeted an opinion piece from Larry Noble, a former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission who took the position that Special Counsel Robert Mueller should have charged Trump campaign officials with soliciting dirt on his opponents. The lawsuit made specific objection to a line how the Trump campaign “assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table.”

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Kyle & Jackie O stream Sydney’s #1 FM breakfast on day without producers

It is normally one of the best-resourced breakfast shows on Australian radio, but today breakfast at Sydney’s KIIS 106.5 went to air without the help of producers.

Kyle and Jackie O took total control at the ARN station, answering all the phone calls and finding contestants for the various competitions across the four-hour program. “Producer-free-Friday” got off to a shaky start though as Jackie accidentally hung up on the first caller, she answered looking for a contestant for the Tradie v Lady segment.

Kyle Sandilands said the program recalled his early days in radio in regional markets like Darwin where there were no producers and the announcers had to do everything to keep the stations on air.

The program was streamed on Facebook showing the hosts juggling calls as songs went to air. “Hello, KIIS FM, please hold,” said Kyle as he answered call after call.

“Are we going to keep these calls on hold for ages,” asked Jackie as the calls piled up and Kyle struggled to keep up with people ringing the station.

About 6.20am the announcers slipped out of the studio for their first tobacco break and the cameras kept rolling in the studio as Intern Pete and assistant Adam adjusted the microphones giving the audience something to watch. “If you are ringing the station now for First Calls, good luck,” said Pete.

Kyle and Jackie told listeners the producers were worried about their jobs, concerned management could see that the program can work without a team of producers. Kyle hoped that Australia’s highest paid entertainers might also get a salary boost for their extra work as ARN could make a saving without production staff. As if!

Another big name follows Eddie out the door at Triple M Melbourne

Brownlow medallist Chris Judd is the latest big name to be leaving Triple M, reports Scott Gullan.

The former West Coast and Carlton champion has scaled back his media commitments and won’t be heard on the station’s Friday night football coverage in 2021.

Judd is understood to have reached the realisation there were too many conflicts with his role as Carlton football director and as a critical football analyst.

That was the reasoning for his departure from Channel 9’s Footy Classified in 2019.

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Grant Broadcasters welcomes Jake Powell to the family on Sunshine Coast

Following Ben Cullen’s decision to pursue business opportunities outside the radio industry, Grant Broadcasters Sunshine Coast has been given the opportunity to bring former B105 music director and announcer Jake Powell into the family as content operations manager for Zinc 96.1 and Hot 91.1.

Jake Powell

Jake Powell

Grant Broadcasting’s group content director Ryan Rathbone said: “Ben’s contribution to the station can’t be understated. Having been part of the team for 12 years he is a part of the fabric of the radio station and will be greatly missed from a personal and professional point of view from everyone on staff. We appreciate Ben’s work ethic and outstanding skills and wish him all the best in his new endeavours.

“The silver lining to Ben’s departure is the opportunity to welcome Jake to the Family here on the Sunshine Coast. While other networks are shedding staff or not replacing those that leave, Grant Broadcasters are committed to our local footprints around the country. Jakes experience, passion for the industry and connection to the Sunshine Coast region means he will be a fantastic fit for the team.”

Powell’s first day will be November 16.

Sports Media

Foxtel, Cricket Australia reach broadcast compromise, Seven not yet

Foxtel and Cricket Australia have quietly reached a compromise on broadcast fees amid the Covid-19 hit summer of cricket, as tensions between Seven West Media and the sporting body continue to rise, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Foxtel chief executive Patrick Delany has, in recent weeks, been extremely complimentary of Cricket Australia, and sources from both the pay TV business and the sporting body confirmed they had reached a revised agreement on its $100 million a year contract for this summer.

On Thursday, Seven chairman Kerry Stokes weighed into the dispute with Cricket Australia, alleging Cricket Australia has failed to offer recompense to the free-to-air network for the pandemic-hit summer.

“Our company love cricket. We couldn’t be more excited about cricket and the people who play it and the games and watching Australia represent us in the middle of the oval,” Stokes told shareholders on Thursday at Seven’s annual general meeting.

“It’s outside the oval and in the administrative offices where we have some issues.”

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