Monday November 2, 2020

Christian O’Connell
Christian O’Connell: Can the British import continue to lead radio ratings?

By James Manning

• ‘Had I known how hard it was going to be, I’m not sure I would have come’

British DJ Christian O’Connell has revealed the size of the challenge he faced when he arrived in Melbourne in 2018. O’Connell took over the breakfast show at ARN’s Gold 104.3 and was initially met by hostile listeners and industry observers who thought he would be a ratings flop.

This week however he will be waiting to see if will again be the host of Melbourne’s #1 FM breakfast show when GfK radio ratings are released. O’Connell first won that trophy last year and has kept a grip on it since. During his interview with Mediaweek, O’Connell revealed how tough things got before his ratings started to improve. He recently launched his own iHeartPodcast series plus he’s also close to finishing a book about his move to Australia – and he’ been pitching TV shows too.

O’Connell’s ability to cut through the crap is key to why he does so well on breakfast radio in his adopted home of Melbourne. ARN was clever building his team too – Hamish & Andy colleague Jack Post has been a breakfast discovery, along with the show’s news presenter Patrina Jones.

The breakfast show host knows how to engage audiences and avoids easy segments that O’Connell calls “filler”. On his podcast too, O’Connell didn’t want yet another well known announcer interviewing celebrities. “There’s enough of those out there already,” he told Mediaweek in a recent conversation. “The simplicity of the Stuff of Legends podcast is asking people to tell the story of their life with three objects that really mean something to them. We have been unlocking stories that you might never normally get from a guest. Each episode has been very different and it’s remarkable that these little objects virtually become time portals that transport the listener to a different time and place.

“I have been interviewing Ricky Gervais for about 18 years and when he chose three objects and started telling stories I realised I’d never heard any of them before. They were things he’s never told before because they were not the sort of things you’d talk about when plugging your latest product.”

See also: Christian O’Connell on making Stuff of Legends

Few celebrity interviews

“I cut back on that a couple of years ago because I realised when celebrities are doing the rounds there is then nothing unique to your show,” said O’Connell. “They are likely telling the same story they are telling your rivals and it is repetitive and boring. I would see texts coming in from the audience telling me they thought it was boring and I started asking, ‘Why are we doing this?’

One exception recently was O’Connell’s exclusive interview with Jerry Seinfeld. “I had the only radio interview for Australia. When we make an exception I can make a big deal out of it, give it some time, and do it properly.

There are some shows that just cram in guests and a lot of it becomes just filler. Who is interested in the life story or views and opinions of some reality star who’s got on TV? If I do an interview I want it to be with someone who has got something to say and is entertaining.”

O’Connell told us he would have loved to be able to do a podcast about Jerry Seinfeld’s Stuff. “We are doing more episodes of my podcast and if goes well then we will do a second season. I will do everything I can to get him on it. He is such a great talker and so intelligent. He has an interesting take on life…he’s almost Zen like. He doesn’t waste a single word, and that’s coming from someone who wastes a lot of words in the morning because I have three hours to fill. He has a laser like focus with his word, as opposed to the rapid-fire gatling gun like me spewing words out in the morning. His stand-up is like that – very precise and well thought out with every word. Anything not needed is thrown out.”

Christian O’Connell and Jack Post on air at Gold 104.3

ARN is getting its pound of flesh out of O’Connell with his three hours daily, an hour in the evening and now the podcast series. “I should have checked the fine print on that contract,” he laughed. “Even if I die, they’d somehow keep the show going like Weekend at Bernie’s. They’d prop me up in the studio.

“But they did bring me out here so I have to pay back that immigration investment for the rest of my life with them.”

His critics made O’Connell dig deeper

In a recent social media post, O’Connell reminded one of several industry pundits about comments made when O’Connell was appointed that he wouldn’t work in Australia. The former Absolute Radio breakfast host told Mediaweek that became an incentive for him to succeed in Australia.

“It was huge motivator, absolutely. It has happened many times in my career. [Laughs]

“I heard there was an internal meeting as SCA with a very big programming boss during my first week. They played out some bits of my show to people gathered in the boardroom and this person forecast I was unlikely to last six months. I wrote the word ‘unlikely’ on a Post-it note and put it on my monitor in the studio.

“Every morning I would look at ‘Unlikely’ and it spurred me on.” [Laughs again] “It was the best thing they could have done. Please, please, keep writing me off. It made me only want to dig deeper.

“I have now been here for two-and-a-half years and I still find it miraculous it did work. I get why [they might think that it wouldn’t]. It could easily have gone the other way. Melbourne is a very proud city and I came in as an outsider. And I was English…a pom.

“I sometimes look back and wonder about that decision. I keep saying to [ARN content director] Duncan Campbell he must have had balls of steel. If I had known how hard it was going to be I am not sure I would have come out. The first year was brutal and there were many time I thought ‘I don’t think this is going to work. This is a really big mistake. What was I thinking, that I could rock up to the other side of the world and be given the keys to the city.’

“What has been achieved shows off the heart of the city and Melbournians, accepting me despite initially indicating they didn’t like me. On the second show I got a text from a listener: ‘No one invited you’. So those were my two motivators – ‘Unlikely’ and ‘No one invited you’.”

O’Connell is grateful that the people of Melbourne gave him a chance. “It’s a great Australian trait. You give people a chance as long as you are not full of BS. I have been humbled by peoples’ reaction and how they have taken to the show. The fact I have a national evening show now means the world to me. I can’t believe now that radio I do is heard in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane.”

A look at O’Connell’s social media also indicates he still has a substantial fan base in the UK dipping into this Gold 104 breakfast. “We have around 200,000 listeners in the UK. I’m not sure if they might see it as something of a science experiment, like a frontier DJ behind enemy lines.”

That sounds like a huge UK audience, but O’Connell reminds us that his previous radio show ran for 12 years in the UK with an audience of something like 3m. “People there grew up with me. They were forced to listen to me on the school run and then grew up and listened to me.”

Eight surveys year, really?

O’Connell: “In the UK ratings come out every three months which is much more civilised. When you are #1 there you a king for three months. Here it is every five or six weeks. It’s crazy how much more pressure there is here. At first it felt relentless, but now I have become used to it.”

Radio and beyond

Christian O’Connell and Jack Post

O’Connell: “I left England for a reason. I was feeling like I had lost my mojo personally and professionally. I came wanting something and I have been lucky enough to find it here.

“The last two-and-a-half years of radio here has been my toughest but also the most enjoyable of my life. But every year I don’t want to just do radio shows. I need to have other things going on. It stops me getting in a comfort zone.

“The podcasts help with that. I am also writing a book and am 60,000 words into it. It will be released next year and is about the first two years here, the radio show and moving with my teenage daughters. Maybe I’ll call it ‘Uninvited’.

There’s not much O’Connell hasn’t tried. He also been a successful stand-up comedian in the UK.

“I am missing doing stand-up and I’m itching to get back to a live connection with an audience. I am lucky in that I can still earn a living. But I know lots of comedians here and in the UK who are having a horrendous time and getting little support from the government.”

O’Connell has also pitched a couple of TV concepts to local TV chiefs with a view to conquering another medium.

Buying radio just got easier: RadioMATRIX briefing portal goes live

The Australian commercial radio industry’s new industry-wide RadioMATRIX media briefing platform is now live and operational, ushering in a new and easier way to plan and buy radio advertising.

The briefing portal is a key part of the industry ad buying platform RadioMATRIX and allows media buyers to log in and brief multiple radio networks on their campaigns once through a single, cloud-based platform.

Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer Joan Warner said the new module standardises the briefing process and allows advertisers to save time and get the best results for their radio campaigns.

“The radio industry has united and worked closely with media agencies to develop a world-leading solution that removes complexity, ramps up efficiencies and makes it easier for advertisers to consider radio for every campaign. We want radio to be a valuable innovation partner for marketers as the industry moves into recovery,” she said.

Michael Harvey, ARN’s chief operating officer and chair of CRA’s Automation and Programmatic Committee, said: “This solution will be the first stage of simplification of the radio buying process and will enable more efficient communication between agencies and radio networks.  The solution will ultimately enable agencies to plan and buy across the whole radio ecosystem in one place – broadcast, radio streaming, podcasting and more.”


The rollout of the briefings module follows extensive collaboration with agencies including Carat, Dentsu, Havas Media, Ikon Communications, Initiative, MagnaGlobal, Mediacom, Mindshare, OMD, Orion, PHD, Rufus, Spark Foundry, Starcom, The Media Store, UM, Wavemaker and Zenith.

Sophie Madden, chief executive officer of media agency industry body the Media Federation of Australia, said: “It’s exciting to see this initiative come to fruition.  It’s another big step forward in streamlining the radio media buying process and takes collaboration between agencies and the radio industry to a new level. Radio has shown a strong commitment to innovation that will allow agencies to work more efficiently and to ultimately deliver better results for advertisers.”

RadioMATRIX first launched in October 2017 with automated holdings and is in use by 200 media agencies to manage radio campaigns running across 370 stations. The first stage enabled buyers to shift from paper to online management of bookings. The platform has processed more than 1.5 billion items of radio inventory since launch.

Following the roll out of the briefings module, the next major stage of development of RadioMATRIX is the proposal module. This is now underway and will enable broadcasters to respond to briefs and submit and manage media proposals with individual or multiple media agencies concurrently. The proposals module is expected to roll out in the first quarter of 2021.

GfK radio survey data will be incorporated into the RadioMATRIX workflow, so that agencies and networks can test and estimate the audience, reach and frequency of each proposal while shaping the best campaign structure to achieve maximum results for clients.

Future stages of development will also enable large direct advertisers and smaller agencies to use the platform.

Watch the video explainer here.


AACTA Awards
First nominees announced for AACTA Awards: 58 TV productions

The countdown is on to a reimagined 2020 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel at the end of the month, with the first slate of nominees announced across television, online, film, documentary and short film categories.

This year’s AACTA Award winners will be announced across two events:

Friday 27 November – previously referred to as the Industry Luncheon, the AACTA Industry Awards presented by Foxtel will this year be delivered online as part of AACTA’s new ScreenFest event, featuring more than 40 free screen events open to the public and industry.

Monday 30 November – the usual Ceremony at The Star Sydney will be held over two sittings with a reduced capacity adhering to a COVID safe plan. Highlights from the two ceremonies will be broadcast on Channel 7 on Wednesday 2 December.

See a list of all the major film and television nominees here.


AACTA has announced nominations for 15 television categories – including performance nominations – with a total of 58 television productions receiving nominations so far.

This year’s nominees have captivated audiences of all ages, from Australia’s most watched programs of the year – including MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA and LEGO MASTERS AUSTRALIA – through to quirky new comedies which were quick to build fanbases, such as UPRIGHT and LOL: LAST ONE LAUGHING, and gritty dramas, such as STATELESS and WENTWORTH, with its cult fan-following continuing to grow worldwide.



The AACTA Award for Best Entertainment Program struck just the right note with audiences of all ages, offering light moments and the humour needed to endure the challenging year that was. Last year’s winner, LEGO MASTERS AUSTRALIA, is again nominated this year, and once again proved a ratings winner, with the finale averaging 1.22 million viewers. It competes with EUROVISION: AUSTRALIA DECIDES – GOLD COAST 2020, HARD QUIZ, THE VOICE, THE WEEKLY and HAVE YOU BEEN PAYING ATTENTION, which this year celebrated its 200th episode, and today receives its first AACTA nomination.

The AACTA Award for Best Factual Entertainment Program sees last year’s winner, YOU CAN’T ASK THAT, again compete with GOGGLEBOX AUSTRALIA and WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, both nominated in 2019. Also nominated are HAMISH & ANDY’S “PERFECT” HOLIDAY, THE PROJECT and newcomer LOVE ON THE SPECTRUM, hailed by critics and audiences for its unique insights into the lives and dating journeys of people with autism.


Reality television also proved a salve to the challenging year that was, as reflected by record ratings – including for perennial fan favourite MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA. The popular cooking contest not only recorded its highest-rating premiere of the past five years in 2020, but has also become

Australia’s most nominated reality TV program of the past decade, with today’s nomination for the AACTA Award for Best Reality Program (which it has won three times), bringing its total AACTA nominations and wins to 14 nods since 2010.

MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA faces tough competition from fellow past Best Reality Program winners AUSTRALIAN SURVIVOR: ALL STARS (which won in 2019 for its CHAMPIONS VS CONTENDERS series), and THE AMAZING RACE AUSTRALIA (chasing its 2013 win) – both of which attracted nearly 1 million viewers for their tense season finales. Also competing are 2019 nominee THE BLOCK and I’M A CELEBRITY… GET ME OUT OF HERE!, along with newcomer series THE REAL DIRTY DANCING.


Luke McGregor and Celia Paquola in Rosehaven

In a year when we needed it most, Australia’s best loved and most acclaimed comedians shone across the television comedy categories, spanning long-running series, to COVID-inspired lockdown laughs.

In light of the expanding talent and innovating formats within Australian TV comedy, AACTA this year created two new comedy awards – Best Comedy Series, and Best Comedy Entertainment – to be inclusive of broader formats such as stand-up and panels, alongside more traditional formats of narrative and sketch comedy. 

Nominations for the AACTA Awards for Best Comedy Series and Best Comedy Performer see tight competition, with new lockdown-lifestyle parody AT HOME ALONE TOGETHER – which had a strong debut with almost half a million viewers – competing in both categories with well-established and newcomer odd couple series ROSEHAVEN and UPRIGHT.

The Best Comedy Performer category sees past winner Celia Pacquola nominated with fellow ROSEHAVEN actor Luke McGregor, alongside UPRIGHT’S Tim Minchin and Milly Alcock, and comedian Anne Edmonds – nominated for her performances as Dr. Dianne Strize and the emotionally unstable ‘sa-wrong, sa-right’-clad Helen Bidou in AT HOME ALONE TOGETHER.

Having received a nomination every year since 2017, ROSEHAVEN this year competes for the AACTA Award for Best Comedy Series with fellow past nominee BLACK COMEDY and THE OTHER GUY, along with UPRIGHT and AT HOME ALONE TOGETHER.


While MYSTERY ROAD season two leads the race alongside the emotionally-charged refugee drama STATELESS, each securing seven nominations, WENTWORTH has become one of Australia’s most accoladed TV dramas of the decade, with two nominations today bringing the gritty prison drama’s total to 21 wins and nominations since the series began in 2013 (just one win/nomination short of the record set by TOP OF THE LAKE).

MYSTERY ROAD and WENTWORTH are competing for the coveted AACTA Award for Best Drama Series alongside BLOOM season two, which was also nominated last year, and first-time nominees DOCTOR, DOCTOR, THE HEIGHTS and HALIFAX: RETRIBUTION, a reprisal of the ‘90s fan favourite HALIFAX F.P.

STATELESS is one of five nominees for the AACTA Award for Best Telefeature or Miniseries, competing alongside noirish police procedural THE GLOAMING, multicultural supernatural drama HUNGRY GHOSTS, cold war-era comedy/drama OPERATION BUFFALO, and suspenseful thriller THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS.

The AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama sees last year’s winner, Ewen Leslie, nominated for OPERATION BUFFALO, alongside Aaron Pederson and Bryan Brown – again nominated for their roles as Jay Swan (MYSTERY ROAD) and Ray Reed (BLOOM) – and STATELESS performers Fayssal Bazzi and Jai Courtney, today receiving his first AACTA nomination.

See a list of all the major film and television nominees here.

The Block
Week 44 TV: NRL and The Block are an unbeatable Nine double

Nine just had four different primetime programs in the top 50, but that’s all you need if they are the right ones. Nine’s numbers got a great boost week-on-week thanks to the NRL Grand Final football on Sunday night.

Meanwhile, Seven learned exactly how much a Brownlow Medal and an AFL Grand Final are worth, and 10 got a reminder about how primetime sport can fix your weekend.

Nine Week 44

Work underway on Harry and Tash’s Block front yard makeover

Primary share: 23.2% (17.4%)
Network share: 31.2% (25.3)%
Multichannels: GO! 2.7% (2.4%) Gem 2.2% (2.6%) 9Life 1.9% (1.9%) 9Rush 1.1% (1.0%)

Nine’s four primetime programs in the top 50 were NRL Grand Final, Nine News, The Block and A Current Affair. Primary and network shares both got a nice bump and Nine should be well positioned to keep on winning if the Rugby League State of Origin matches deliver nearly as well in November as they have in previous seasons mid-year.

The NRL Grand Final season reached its climax with 2.975m (metro 2.103m, regional 872,000) tuning in to watch Melbourne Storm defeat Penrith Panthers. The match was up 12% nationally from 2019, and it won across all key demographics 25-54, 16-39 and Grocery Shopper + Child, and took out the #1 show of the week.

The match recorded the biggest live BVOD audience of all time, securing a live average BVOD crowd of 153,000 on 9Now.

Seven Week 44

Primary share: 16.8% (27.3%)
Network share: 25.1% (35.1%)
Multichannels: 7TWO 3.4% (2.9%) 7mate 3.0% (3.0%) 7flix 1.9% (1.9%)

Look at that network share and you get the message of how much the AFL delivered for Seven in Week 43, even if it was only just one game. Seven’s network share tumbled 10.0 week-on-week without any primetime sport.

Seven’s best primetime brands were no surprises last week – leading the way, as always, was Seven News followed by SAS Australia, then Home and Away and Better Homes and Gardens.

SAS Australia is really driving BVOD numbers which is a good thing after the Tuesday audience slipped below 700,000. The first episode of SAS Australia has now become the most-watched show ever on 7plus.

7TWO was the #1 multichannel with three successive nights over 4.0% from Tuesday.

ABC Week 44

Primary share 13.6% (11.8%)
Network share 18.9% (16.5%)
Multichannels: Kids/Comedy 2.4% (2.6%) ME 0.4% (0.4%) News 2.5% (1.7%)

Gruen was the broadcaster’s champion again with 784,000 on Wednesday. The next best were ABC News (M-F), Four Corners and Hard Quiz with all three just under 700,000.

10 Week 44

10’s Stephen Quartermain, Tom Gleinser and Gorgi Coghlan on day one of the Cup Week coverage

Primary share 10.7% (10.3%)
Network share: 16.9% (16.1%)
Multichannels: Bold 3.3% (3.2%) Peach 2.4% (2.2%) Shake 0.4% (0.4%)

The channel’s week-on-week lift is thanks to the Bledisloe Cup match as part of the Tri Nations Tournament on Saturday night. It’s the first of the rugby international matches in this series to be scheduled in primetime and the result gave 10 its first Saturday night primary share in double figures so far in 2020.

The AAMI Victoria Derby Day – The Race and Rugby: 2020 Wallabies V New Zealand Test were #1 across their timeslots on Saturday. The AAMI Victoria Derby Day – The Race was the #1 horse race watched by metro television viewers. (Seven’s coverage of the Golden Eagle was #1 nationally on Saturday afternoon.)

The channel’s only other offerings over 500,000 were the season finale of Gogglebox on 700,000 (up 10% on its 2020 average) and Have You Been Paying Attention? on 612,000.

SBS Week 44

Primary share: 4.5% (4.2%)
Network share: 7.9% (7.0%)
Multichannels: Viceland 1.2% (1.1%) Food 0.9% (0.8%) NITV 0.2% (0.1%) World Movies 1.0% (0.8%)

The numbers climbed week-on-week after Tuesday and Wednesday got oh-so-close to 5.0% and Saturday delivered a 5.2%.

The channel’s best was Walking Britain’s Roman Roads on 199,000. Also close to 200,000 were Insight (194,000) and the final episode of the three-part WildBear production Australia Come Fly With Me on 192,000.

Bruce Springsteen
ARIA Chart

By James Manning

• Singles: A new #1 – just the ninth in the 44 weeks of 2020
• Albums: Bruce Springsteen battles Ball Park Music for top spot


Ariana Grande is the owner of the ninth single to top the ARIA Singles Chart this year. If we discount her new song Positions, and Taylor Swift’s one week at the top, that means seven artists have shared 42 weeks in top spot giving those artists an average of six weeks at #1.

Grande’s Positions comes just before the release of her new album and the single is her fourth #1 after she topped the chart twice in 2018 (No Tears Left To Cry and Thank U, Next) and once in 2019 (7 Rings). Grande was at #3 in May this year with Justin Bieber on Stuck with U. Positions was the only new arrival in the top 10.

Three other new releases found their way into the top 50 on debut:

#14 Luke Combs with Forever After All. Now the most successful single for the American country music artist, Forever After All improves on Beer Never Broke My Heart which peaked at #44 in June 2019.

#20 The Kid Laroi with So Done. The Sydney rapper’s best chart performance too, improving on Go which peaked at #23 in June this year. This is The Kid Laroi’s first new release since the mixtape F*ck Love which reached #3 on the album chart in August this year. He is nominated this year for three ARIA Awards including Best Male Artist and Best Hip Hop Release.

#45: James Arthur with Train Wreck. A winner of the UK series of The X Factor, Arthur hasn’t troubled the scorer here for some time. He landed a #2 single with his debut Impossible in 2012 and then landed a #1 with Say You Won’t Let Go in 2016. Since then he hasn’t cracked the top 50, until now, with another track from his 2016 album.


There’s just no stopping Bruce Springsteen. The 71-year-old rocker has released his 20th studio album Letter To You (and an accompanying documentary on Apple TV+) and is working the publicity trail as hard as ever. This becomes his fifth ARIA #1 on the Album Chart. His first album recorded with The E Street Band in six years comes after Springsteen last topped the chart in 2019 with Letter to You. His first #1 album in Australia was Born to Run in 1984, 36 years ago.

Three other albums debuted in the top 10 this week:

#2: Ball Park Music with Ball Park Music. The Brisbane band continue their impressive chart run with their sixth album becoming their fifth to crack the ARIA top 10. The new album comes after Good Mood peaked at #5 in 2018, later being nominated for three ARIA Awards. Vinyl reissues of earlier albums Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs and Puddinghead that were bundled with digital versions of their new Ball Park Music also charted this week at #26 and #34. The vinyl demand from fans sees Ball Park Music hold six spots in this week’s ARIA Vinyl Albums Chart Top 10. Just a week ago Ball Park Music covered the Radiohead classic Paranoid Android for triple j’s Like A Version.

#5: Gorillaz with Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez. The band’s seventh studio album follows their 2018 release The Now Now which peaked at #4. The new album includes contributions from Elton John, Peter Hook, Beck, St Vincent and The Cure’s Robert Smith.

#8: Nothing But Thieves with Moral Panic. The third album from the British band returns them to the chart (and the top 10 for the first time) after Broken Machine peaked at #12 in 2017. The new album debuted at #3 in the UK, behind only Springsteen and Gorillaz.

Three other albums also debuted in the top 50 (in addition to the two from Ball Park Music mentioned above):

#20: Pearl Jam with MTV Unplugged. The first major release of this 1992 performance comes as the band released the full video of the show on their YouTube channel. Earlier this year Pearl Jam peaked at #3 with their 11th album Gigaton.

#21: Hilltop Hoods with Drinking from the Sun (Instrumental Edition).
#45: Joyner Lucas with Evolution.

TV ratings: Sunday Week 45 2020

By James Manning

• “I am in love” TV judge and audience like what they see on The Block
• Nine keeps control on Sundays despite arrival of Beat the Chasers
• Best of the rest: Junior MasterChef, Restoration Australia, Biden v Trump

Primetime News
Nine News 926,000
Seven News 915,000
ABC News 646,000
10 News First 298,000/237,000
SBS World News 189,000

Daily current affairs
Insiders 470,000
The Project 296,000/436,000

Breakfast TV
Sunrise 238,000
News Breakfast 230,000
Today 214,000

Late night news
Nine News Late 293,000

Seven: Beat the Chasers saw The Chase franchise move into primetime. It launched on 660,000 which put Seven in second place, albeit well behind The Block, but well ahead of Junior MasterChef.

The Matt Doran-hosted Crime Investigation Australia followed, subtitled ‘The girls who knew too much’. The episode looked at Sallie-Anne Huckstepp and Juanita Nielsen and why the activists were murdered. The show was on 262,000 which saw the episode rank third or fourth depending on the market. 

Nine: The Block judge Neale Whitaker claimed “I’m in love” when he stepped into the front garden of Jimmy and Tam’s Brighton home. Their corner block came up a treat after a frantic week that saw them drop $51,000 on a Palm Springs-inspired transformation. The audience liked what the judges saw too with 1.014m watching the whole episode.

The Block started with 24 hours to go until Scott called “tools down”. Harry and Tash were doing it tough and it was hard watching at times as they were pushed to the limit. “We have to win,” said Tash almost in a trance as she dabbed paint onto the walls as the rain poured down. In the end it was a tie between Sarah and George and Jimmy and Tam. Judges Darren and Neale each gave out a 10, Darren’s other scores were all 9.5 while Neale and Shaynna each awarded three teams 9.5.

60 Minutes followed on 649,000, up from 519,000 when it was last on air a fortnight ago. Sarah Abo had a fascinating report on the White Island volcano explosion and any Labrador owners need to watch Liam Bartlett’s time with Scottish sports commentator Andrew Cotter.

10: The Sunday Project was on 436,000 after 7pm with Gold Logie winner Tom Gleeson a special guest.

Junior MasterChef was on 528,000, up from 498,000 when it was last on air on a Sunday two weeks ago. It was a brutal episode with Ben and Ruby eliminated after starting the show in a magical winter wonderland.

ABC: Another engaging episode of Restoration Australia with a mother and daughter renovating historic huts in regional Victoria. The program managed half a million against the NRL a week ago, and it did it again last night with 540,000.

The first episode of the brilliant UK drama Roadkill saw Hugh Laurie again making it hard not to enjoy his unlikeable character. The episode did 403,000 sitting in second place behind Nine.

SBS: Episode two of the three-part Rise of the Empires looked at the Mayans with 158,000 tuning in.

Interest in the US election then pushed the SBS audience to 183,000 for The Choice 2020: Biden v Trump.

Week 44-45: Friday-Sunday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 16.1% 7 17.7% 9 14.9% 10  10.9% SBS One 4.6%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.2% 7TWO 3.1% GO! 2.3% 10 Bold 3.2% VICELAND 1.7%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 4.1% GEM 2.4% 10 Peach 2.7% Food Net 1.4%
ABC NEWS 3.0% 7flix 2.5% 9Life 2.4% 10 Shake 0.6% NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.4%     SBS World Movies 1.1%
TOTAL 22.7%   27.4%   23.5%   17.5%   8.9%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 14.3% 7 14.2% 9 16.5% 10  10.0% SBS One 5.2%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.7% 7TWO 3.7% GO! 4.8% 10 Bold 3.7% VICELAND 1.0%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 1.8% GEM 2.8% 10 Peach 2.5% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 6.8% 7flix 2.6% 9Life 2.1% 10 Shake 0.7% NITV 0.3%
        9Rush 1.5%     SBS World Movies 1.5%
TOTAL 24.3%   22.3%   27.6%   16.9%   8.8%


ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 11.8% 7 17.0% 9 24.4% 10  12.9% SBS One 5.6%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.7% 7TWO 1.5% GO! 2.8% 10 Bold 3.1% VICELAND 0.7%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 2.5% GEM 4.6% 10 Peach 2.0% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 2.0% 7flix 1.2% 9Life 2.0% 10 Shake 0.5% NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 0.8%     SBS World Movies 0.5%
TOTAL 16.9%   22.2%   34.6%   18.5%   7.8%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 12.6% 7 20.1% 9 19.8% WIN 8.4% SBS One 4.6%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.4% 7TWO 2.4% GO! 3.4% WIN Bold 4.3% VICELAND 0.9%
ABC ME 0.4% 7mate 3.7% GEM 4.7% WIN Peach 2.3% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 2.1% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.4% 9Life 2.2% Sky News  on WIN 3.1% NITV 0.2%
                SBS Movies 0.4%
TOTAL 17.5%   27.6%   30.2%   18.2%   6.9%


88.1% 11.9%
All People Ratings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 848,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 832,000
  3. Nine News Nine 818,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 783,000
  5. ABC News ABC 673,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 572,000
  7. Gardening Australia ABC 538,000
  8. Vera (R) ABC 502,000
  9. Better Homes And Gardens Seven 471,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 425,000


Saturday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 809,000
  2. Nine News Saturday Nine 788,000
  3. ABC News ABC 555,000
  4. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 437,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 417,000
  6. Rugby: 2020 Wallabies V New Zealand Test Live 10 415,000
  7. Getaway Nine 313,000
  8. Border Patrol Seven 306,000
  9. Victoria ABC 264,000
  10. Weekend Sunrise Seven 261,000
Sunday FTA
  1. The Block Nine 1,014,000
  2. Nine News Sunday Nine 926,000
  3. Seven News Seven 915,000
  4. Beat The Chasers Seven 660,000
  5. 60 Minutes Nine 649,000
  6. ABC News Sunday ABC 646,000
  7. Restoration Australia ABC 540,000
  8. Junior MasterChef Australia 10 528,000
  9. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 436,000
  10. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COME DY 424,000
  11. Roadkill ABC 403,000
  12. 10 News First Sun 10 298,000
  13. The Sunday Project 6.30pm 10 296,000
  14. Nine News: Late Edition Nine 293,000
  15. Insiders AM ABC 277,000
  16. FBI 10 276,000
  17. Crime Investigation Australia: Most Infamous Seven 262,000
  18. Landline PM ABC 252,000
  19. Doc Martin (R) ABC 240,000
  20. Weekend Sunrise Seven 238,000
Sunday Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 424,000
  2. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 228,000
  3. Insiders AM ABC NEWS 193,000
  4. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 174,000
  5. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY 167,000
  6. Chicago PD 9Gem 163,000
  7. Death In Paradise 9Gem 150,000
  8. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 149,000
  9. Love Monster ABCKIDS/COMEDY 139,000
  10. Floogals AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  11. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 134,000
  12. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 130,000
  13. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 129,000
  14. Go Jetters PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 125,000
  15. Book Hungry Bears AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 125,000
  16. Weekend Breakfast: 10am AM ABC NEWS 124,000
  17. Dinosaur Train AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  18. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 117,000
  19. PJ Masks PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 116,000
  20. Chicago Fire 9Gem 116,000
Sunday STV
  1. Deadly Decisions Sky News Live 132,000
  2. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 89,000
  3. Live: F1: Emilia Romagna FOX SPORTS 50 6 80,000
  4. Outsiders Sky News Live 72,000
  5. Outsiders Sky News Live 71,000
  6. Live: F1: Grand Prix Sunday FOX SPORTS 50 6 48,000
  7. 24 Hours In Emergency Lifestyle Chan el 40,000
  8. Live: WBBL: Renegades V Sixers FOX CRICKET 36,000
  9. Highway Patrol FOX8 34,000
  10. Chris Smith & Friends Sky News Live 32,000
  11. Judge Judy FOX Arena 30,000
  12. Judge Judy FOX Arena 30,000
  13. Sunday Agenda Sky News Live 29,000
  14. Border Security: Australia’s Front Line FOX8 29,000
  15. Judge Judy FOX Arena 29,000
  16. Outsiders Sky News Live 27,000
  17. Teen Mom 2 MTV 27,000
  18. Live: Cricket: Sheffield Shield FOX SPORTS 50 3 25,000
  19. Judge Judy FOX Arena 25,000
  20. Sharri Sky News Live 24,000

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

Record $46.5m distributed to Screenrights members in 2019/20

Screenrights has announced that a record $46.5 million was distributed to members in the 2019/20 financial year.

“It’s been a challenging year for both screen content creators and educators,” said board chair Kim Dalton. “Easily accessible online video content and secondary royalty streams have perhaps never been more important. I thank the board and staff for all their hard work to make sure that members and licensees have not been disadvantaged by the pandemic when it comes to Screenrights’ services.”

The Australian Educational Licence received 3.5 million usage records, up 143% from 2018/19. “This extraordinary usage demonstrates the ongoing value of our licences to educational institutions. We’re pleased that our members’ content provides such support to educators, especially during COVID-19 remote learning requirements,” said Screenrights chief executive James Dickinson.

During the financial year Screenrights’ membership grew 6.1% to total 4,709 members from 69 countries around the world, and collections from Screenrights’ disbursements service came to $5.4 million, up 84% year on year.

At its AGM held remotely last night, Screenrights chair Kim Dalton also revealed the board election results.

Elected to the Screenrights board is writer/director Jub Clerc as Authorial Director, an Aboriginal woman from the Nyul Nyul/Yawuru nations of the Kimberley whose directing credits include The Heights as well as numerous short films and mini docs; Rachel Antony as NZ director, CEO of Greenstone TV and member of the facilitation group for Aotearoa’s 2030 Screen Sector Strategy; and Sandra Davey, whose career spans product management of more than 30 digital B2C and B2B products across telecommunications and Internet, cross-platform media, sport, and non-profit endeavours.

Returned to the Screenrights board are: Anne Chesher, who has over 20 years’ experience producing online education creative media for the television industry and who has been director since 2014; and Chris Gardoll, whose previous roles included CFO and company secretary with publicly listed company API, CFO with APRA|AMCOS, and COO with Screenrights, who has been filling a casual vacancy since July this year.

TikTok aiming to add 100 new staff in Australian hiring spree

Viral short form video platform TikTok is pushing ahead with plans to hire 100 new staff in Australia by the end of the year despite heightened geopolitical tensions and government concerns about its links to the Chinese Communist Party, report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios and Nick Bonyhady.

Online searches shows the company has publicly advertised for at least 20 vacant roles but multiple industry sources said TikTok was on a hiring spree for another 100 roles in Australia by December. Most of the roles being recruited for are in media strategy and marketing. Some of the roles include looking for trends and creators and helping them grow.

A TikTok spokesperson said the company was spending more on local users and brands.

“As we work to build a positive and safe environment for users, our focus is on continuing to grow our local operations and invest in our growing community,” the spokesperson said. “This includes hiring the right local talent to support the Australian TikTok community across the content, operations and commercial side of the business.”

[Read more]

oOh!media cops fresh blow with loss of Sydney Airport billboards

The NSW government’s Sydney Gateway roadway project has claimed about 20 per cent of outdoor media company oOh!media’s billboard presence around Sydney Airport, reports The AFR’s Miranda Ward.

A total of 18 billboard faces have been dismantled along Qantas Drive between the international and domestic airports.

This leaves oOh!media without a presence along the usually busy stretch of road before arriving at the Qantas Drive-O’Riordan Street-Joyce Drive intersection, where the company’s premier billboard, “The King”, is located.

“The billboards in question are no longer available to advertisers as a result of a NSW government land acquisition for the Sydney Gateway project,” an oOh!media representative said.

“The company still retains a strong local presence, with 69 advertising faces in the airport precinct.”

[Read more]

Indigenous leader Warren Mundine appointed to SBS board

Indigenous leader Warren Mundine has been appointed to the SBS Board for a term of five years, effective immediately, reports The Australian’s James Madden.

The former Indigenous Advisory Council chairman, who has extensive media experience as a commentator and presenter, will be a part-time non-executive director on the nine-person board.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said Mundine’s diverse work history made him eminently qualified for the role.

Mundine is a distinguished Australian. He will be a valuable addition to the SBS Board, bringing over 40 years of experience in roles across government, business and the community sector,” Fletcher said.

The 64-year-old replaces Bulent Hass Dellal, who retired in June. Soon after his departure, existing non-executive director George Savvides was announced as chair of the SBS Board.

[Read more]

AAP newswire lost $10 million before rescue deal

Australia’s oldest newswire company lost $10 million in the year before it was sold in an eleventh hour rescue deal, according to documents filed with the corporate regulator., reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

The annual financial report from Mediality (previously known as Australian Associated Press) reveal the parlous financial position it was in before major shareholders Nine Entertainment Co and News Corp Australia moved to close it down.

AAP’s core newswire service lost $5.4 million alone, with further losses from press release distribution service Medianet and editing unit Pagemasters, bringing the total loss to $10 million for the financial year. The loss was compared to a profit of $929,000 the year prior, which occurred after a major restructure. In 2018, the company posted a $10.5 million loss.

[Read more]

News Brands

Rudd backs FriendlyJordies as serious ‘broadcaster’ despite controversial acts

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd says controversial Labor YouTuber FriendlyJordies should be treated as a serious journalist and has defended working with the satirist, as NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay appeared to distance herself from him after a week of stunts and off-colour remarks, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Koziol.

The performer, whose real name is Jordan Shanks, is becoming an active force in state politics on account of his 500,000 YouTube subscribers, 50,000 Twitter followers and engagement from high-profile Labor figures. His podcast has also notched up two million downloads.

But Shanks’ rise also poses questions for the political and journalistic establishment grappling with his unorthodox antics and explicit partisanship.

Last week one of Shanks’ associates was escorted from a Gladys Berejiklian press conference after heckling the Premier and calling her “Ms Maguire”, in reference to her former lover Daryl Maguire, while Shanks directed a homophobic tweet at two male NSW ministers.

[Read more]

Twitter reinstates New York Post account after two-week lockout

Twitter Inc. on Friday unlocked the New York Post’s Twitter account, ending a stalemate between the social-media company and the newspaper stemming from the latter’s publication of stories it said were based on documents allegedly obtained from the laptop of Hunter Biden, reports The Wall Street Journal.

“We’re baaaaaaack,” the Post’s Twitter account tweeted on Friday afternoon, just minutes after Twitter said that it was reversing its policies in a way that would allow the Post to be reinstated.

“We believe this is fair and appropriate,” the company said in its tweet announcing the rule change.

The Post had been unable to tweet to its 1.9 million Twitter followers since Oct. 14, the date it began publishing a series of stories based on the alleged Hunter Biden material.

[Read more]

Scope of Kennedy awards ‘too broad’, calls to return to NSW focus

The NSW-based Kennedy media awards have been criticised for neglecting local journalists and allowing interstate entrants, leaving the nation’s busiest media hubs without a state-based awards night, reports The Australian’s Emily Ritchie.

The Kennedys, which are being held this Friday at Sydney’s Royal Randwick racecourse, were established in 2012 as NSW-based awards in honour of the late crime journalist Les Kennedy.

After the 2015 ceremony, the board decided to drop “NSW” from the title to reflect the entries they were receiving, and “in keeping with the foundation’s mission to be as inclusive as possible in promoting excellence”, according to Kennedy Foundation chairman Rocco Fazzari.

“We deliberately set out to encourage the best of the best, regardless of their postcode, to enter,” Fazzari said.

Daily Telegraph editor Ben English said Sydney was “big, brash and ugly enough to have its own media awards”.

“It is true in media as much as it is in politics, if you’re not in Sydney then you’re camping out,” English said.

“The majority of news in Australia comes out of Sydney and NSW so why wouldn’t you have a state-based media award. The Kennedy Awards are, after all, named for legendary crime reporter Les Kennedy. He was a quintessential Sydney character who spent his working life documenting crime and the city’s underworld quirks.”

Lisa Davies, editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, said state-focused categories “should take priority”.

[Read more]

Alan Kohler no longer writing columns for The Australian

Eight years after joining The Australian following News Corp’s purchase of Business Spectator, Alan Kohler is moving on, reports that paper’s Nick Tabakoff.

Kohler, who has written two columns a week for The Australian, told Tabakoff on Sunday: “I love The Australian, I’ve worked there three times, but it’s time for a change.”

The change will take effect from the end of November, after which he will take a “break”. Kohler will, however, carry on his weekly Money Cafe podcast, co-hosted with The Australian’s Wealth editor James Kirby.

[Read more]


AACTA Award nominee Lucy Coleman signs Netflix deal for Hot Mess

Forget the year from hell – 2020 just keeps getting better for Sydney writer and director Lucy Coleman, who has earned her first AACTA nomination for the indie film she’s just sold to Netflix, reports News Corp’s Holly Byrnes.

The 31-year-old spent $3000 to make her hilarious indie film, Hot Mess, which has attracted the attention of the international streaming platform, now streaming it to audiences worldwide.

But her success doesn’t end there, with Coleman’s next dark comedy film, Exposure, the product of being mentored by Snowtown and True Story of The Kelly Gang screenwriter, Shaun Grant, through funds provided by Impact Imagine, Ron Howard’s talent ‘lab.’

“That project’s out to market right at the moment,” Coleman told News Corp Australia, “and we’ve had some very cool expressions of interest.”

[Read more]

Sports Media

Foxtel, Supercars and Seven in streaming standoff regarding paywall

Motorsports organisation Supercars has told Foxtel that it may not be able to air popular races for free on streaming service Kayo Sports because of an agreement in place with its other broadcast partner Seven West Media, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Foxtel announced two weeks ago it would put some Supercars events in front of its paywall, in a move designed to attract more customers and win more advertising. But a dispute between Supercars, Foxtel and Seven is about to flare up over which events can be aired for free on Kayo.

Industry sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential indicated Foxtel is unable to stream events such as the Bathurst 1000, which will air on Seven, for free on Kayo due to exclusivity provisions given to the free to air broadcaster in its new deal.

[Read more]

Channels 10 and Seven battled to be first past the post on Saturday arvo

Racing’s Grand Final for four-year-olds again delivered on the big stage for Seven on Saturday afternoon, with The Golden Eagle’s peak audience on Seven hitting 303,000 nationally.

The $7.5 million Golden Eagle was run for just the second time on Saturday, with Australia’s third richest race on Seven outperforming the Victoria Derby on 10 in some metrics.

The Seven race had a metro average audience of 137,000, narrowly trailing 10’s coverage of the Victoria Derby on 141,000. However, Seven had a bigger national audience watching its race. The Golden Eagle race drew an average audience of 227,000 – 31% more than the Derby race – and topped the Derby in every market except Melbourne.

Seven’s Saturday afternoon had an average of 128,000 nationally tuning in, 23% more than 104,000 tuned into Channel 10’s full-day coverage of Derby Day.

Rugby boss Hamish McLennan flick-passes code's broadcast talks

It’s a tough gig at the top for Rugby Australia chair Hamish McLennan, report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Samantha Hutchinson and Stephen Brook. The indefatigable executive is overseeing the sport just when it needs to secure a strong broadcast deal. Only problem is that getting the job done also involves managing a slew of perceptions of conflict of interest.

News Corp majority-owns Foxtel, which is fighting aggressively to keep the broadcast rights. News Corp also owns the largest stake in online real estate giant REA, which McLennan chairs.

So it comes as no surprise to learn McLennan has been telling anyone who asks that he’s flick passed negotiations to interim RA chief executive Rob Clarke.

In addition to REA, McLennan also chairs Here, There & Everywhere (formerly APN News Media) which has News Corp as a major shareholder.

[Read more]

Rugby Australia, Nine close to broadcast rights reveal

Super Rugby matches and Wallabies Tests could be live on Nine Network and Stan for the first time next year under a multi-year deal that would end Foxtel’s two-decade long relationship with the code, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios and Sam Phillips.

Industry sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the process is confidential said Rugby Australia is finalising details to approve an offer by Nine Entertainment Co (owner of this masthead) to broadcast the sport from next year. Both Nine and rival bidder Foxtel have submitted term sheets which were still being reviewed by RA late on Sunday.

Multiple industry sources have said Foxtel considers the deal with Nine is done, although no contracts have been signed. Any successful bid will need to be taken to SANZAAR for formal approval and there is still a chance RA could decide to go with Foxtel. Nine and Foxtel declined to comment.

[Read more]

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