Thursday November 2, 2023

Foxtel - Audience Measurement System
“Another data set is not a new challenge”: Media agency leaders react to Foxtel’s new audience measurement system

By Alisha Buaya

Media agency leaders discuss its potential impact on agency spend and if it will make a difference to the landscape

Foxtel Media announced its partnership with VideoAmp to develop a new measurement system that will capture viewing data from across Foxtel Group services.

This comes after the subscription television company reportedly inadvertently overstated its audience numbers on key sports matches by as much as 40 per cent, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald in March.

At Foxtel Media’s 2024 Upfront, CEO Mark Frain said that the Group had reached a digital tipping point in viewership, with 66% (3.1 million subscribers) of the company’s customer base coming from its streaming services. He explained that existing ratings methodologies were struggling to keep pace with the shift in viewership to digital streaming platforms.

Foxtel Videoamp

OzTAM responded to the announcement, noting that the: “Foxtel-only audience measurement system poses the risk of confusion in the market.”

“Introducing a new measurement service is expected to raise questions regarding reliability, comparability and integration into agencies’ buying systems. The industry has clearly stated that it wants one service to measure Total TV, and that is what OzTAM provides.

“OzTAM’s single source-of-truth measurement service underwrites the trust brands and media buyers continue to place in broadcasters’ audience delivery. OzTAM values our decades-long relationship with Foxtel as a participating broadcaster and OzTAM data subscriber, and we look forward to that continuing, as evidenced by its recent contract extension.”

With Foxtel’s new measurement system set to come into play in the future, leaders from independent and holding company agencies shared their thoughts with Mediaweek on what this means for the impact agency spending and whether it make a difference to the landscape.

Lucy Formosa Morgan, managing director of Magna

Lucy Formosa Morgan

The TV landscape isn’t the same as it once was.  Over two-thirds of TVs are now Connected TVs, which unsurprisingly is resulting in changing TV viewing behaviours and an ever-increasing share of media budgets being allocated to CTV. All of which makes cross-platform measurement more important than ever before. 

The whole industry has been talking about and asking for a total TV ecosystem for years, and that’s what VOZ promised to offer – linear TV and BVOD combined. However, TV isn’t as straightforward anymore.  Whereas we used to have linear, subscription TV and, more recently, BVOD, we now have all that plus SVOD, AVOD, FAST channels, YouTube, Smart TVs, etc., all demanding and commanding viewing on the big screen, thanks to internet-enabled / Connected TV sets. Increasingly, consumers are also watching live TV via the networks’ apps on their connected TVs when they could just be watching linear. So, there’s no doubt that TV viewing has evolved, and so too must measurement. VOZ could still be an answer, but I don’t think it should be the only answer. 

Earlier this year in the US, a number of programmers and agencies formed a ‘Joint Industry Committee’ to certify and offer multi-currency measurement solutions for TV/video audiences, rather than relying purely on Nielsen, the existing long-term audience measurement player. The JIC are still working through the process, but their goal is to set standards and criteria needed to certify multiple measurement currencies for the premium video landscape. VideoAmp, which Foxtel have partnered up with, was one of the audience measurement companies invited to apply, together with iSpot, Samba TV, and Innovid-TVShared, among others.

Competition is coming and we can’t ignore it.  It will absolutely disrupt the market so we need to ensure that we’re on the front foot when it comes to setting the standards and criteria for what will ultimately change the currency and how we trade video.

Will multiple currencies impact TV spend?  No, in fact I think it could bring more spend into the Total TV market if we’re using big data properly (versus a relatively small audience measurement panel) and measuring audiences and outcomes across the total premium video ecosystem to finally join up all the dots. It’s going to be noisy while we work through the different measurement providers, but we need to lean in to change, to test, to learn and continue evolving.

Claire Fenner, national CEO of Atomic 212°

Claire Fenner

Foxtel’s announcement that they have engaged Kantar to develop an audience measurement system to compete with (or complement) OzTAM was a really interesting development.

OzTAM has long been the TV industry’s source of truth, but we should welcome an additional lens on audience measurement. Competition improves offerings. It makes sense for Foxtel to tap into the data from their 1 million set top boxes and 3.1 million subscribers to provide a robust analysis of the viewership across their platforms.  

I personally think anything that offers another data point to reference is a good thing when we’re relying on surveyed data. Another data set is not the end of the world and not a new challenge for media agencies. Yes, consolidated data sources are what the industry needs but we’ve long survived without them, and consolidation without a true representation of the screens landscape is also limiting. 

I think at this stage, the likelihood of Foxtel’s measurement system changing the landscape dramatically is low. OzTAM data is so well integrated within our industry’s buying, reporting and finance system (which we all know doesn’t change quickly!), and the impact that Foxtel’s measurement system will have is somewhat constrained by the ability for Kantar to integrate with the that system, which at this stage is unclear. 

This move also makes sense with Foxtel’s shift to positioning themselves as a video publisher rather than a linear TV competitor and makes the delineation of Foxtel’s data from OzTAM a more palatable proposition for media planners and buyers. If the data is as robust as I anticipate, or hope for, it should provide an even better support and justification for the inclusion of Foxtel’s platforms on media plans.

We also know these things take longer to deliver than originally anticipated, so we’ll have to wait and see when the system is available to agencies, and how insightful and accessible it is. Free access is great, but it remains to be seen whether this means agencies will have direct access to the reporting system or will rely on the Foxtel team to run reports.

Overall, I’m optimistic about the potential benefits of this new audience measurement system but I will always remain a healthy sceptic until I see it for myself. 

Taz Papoulias, head of media of Murmur Group

Meeting of the Minds

The recent 2024 Foxtel upfronts caused a bit of stir in the market after Foxtel announced it has teamed up with Kantar Media to unlock viewing data collected from more than one million Foxtel set-top boxes.

This is because it’s quite evident that the industry has unequivocally expressed its desire for a singular, comprehensive service for Total TV measurement, and this is precisely what OzTAM offers (as Australia’s only independently audited Total TV measurement tool)

Most of the noise is coming from Agencies who are concerned about integration into agencies’ buying systems & just how reliable the data is not to mention Free to Air TV which has seen dollars shift to subscriber mediums. 

I totally agree with the industry – but personally, as a media leader who focuses on the best outcome for my client, which often involves a lack of granular data across many mediums (outside online), I can see the upside and I am going to reserve my official opinion once it has been rolled out.

CEO Mark Frain explained that existing ratings methodologies were struggling to keep pace with the shift in viewership to digital streaming platforms.

With 66% or 3.1 million subscribers of the Foxtel’s customer base coming from its streaming service it makes sense to capitalize on data and offer more robust pricing themes.

I totally agree with Mark in the sense that leading markets such as the US & Europe have been operating in a multi-currency landscape for several years now and have moved away from small panels to focus on large scalable data sets.

That’s not to say the fact Binge (owned by Foxtel) has met or exceeded impression goals and has been open to the wider market for some time now – has something to do with the play, as Foxtel itself does fluctuate quite a bit as times in terms of your clients forecasted impressions vs delivery.

Keep in mind publishers in general have been working on this for some time, as an example NewsCorp now allows you to buy “viewing time” instead of standard CPM rates and while competition is fierce – you can’t blame Foxtel for the move.

When the big boys make the big moves it’s very hard to promote change with their media power but we are all entitled to our opinion. Lets watch this space

Danny Molyneaux, chief strategy office of Claxon

Foxtel - Danny Molyneux

In an era where data is the new currency, Foxtel Media’s partnership with Kantar Media to introduce an advanced audience measurement service is poised to disrupt the media landscape. This strategic move is positioned to usher in a new era of precision and efficiency however, it comes with both opportunities and challenges. This move will also ruffle some feathers and create confusion in the industry as it looks set to diversify Total TV measurement, a move which Oztam has already been pretty vocal about.

Foxtel Media has access to data from over one million set-top boxes and 3.1 million streaming customers providing a treasure trove of valuable information. By harnessing this data, they aim to provide advertisers with a granular understanding of PayTV consumption and subscriber behaviour. When it comes to media planning this depth of insight is invaluable. It empowers advertisers to refine campaigns, ensuring precise targeting to reach the most relevant audience at the optimal moment. This ongoing trend for businesses to harness first-party data to boost their revenue isn’t going away and will only continue to increase.

Potentially, the primary will be on media agency investment. Foxtel aims to encourage increased agency investment by facilitating more precise and efficient advertising. The ultimate goal that we marketers consistently strive for is the ability to attribute channel spend directly to return on investment (ROI), which is an exceptionally potent tool. With enhanced data on consumer behavior and preferences, media agencies can allocate budgets more efficiently, driving better outcomes. However, this shift towards precision advertising may result in increased demand for prime advertising slots, potentially leading to higher costs.

Ultimately, the extent of agency investment will depend on the measurability and reliability of the product. The real test lies in the results!

As Foxtel Media anticipates offering viewing data from the past two years, media agencies will have access to historical data that can be used to track trends and assess the effectiveness of previous campaigns. This will help in optimising future strategies and potentially reduce spending on unsuccessful advertising efforts.

On the other hand, there are challenges to be addressed. Privacy concerns are paramount when dealing with personal viewing data, and Foxtel Media must ensure that it complies with all relevant regulations and guidelines. The responsibility to use this data ethically and transparently falls on both Foxtel and the media agencies that utilise it.

Moreover, as Foxtel Media introduces this advanced measurement service, it may trigger a competitive race among media agencies to harness similar technologies and datasets. As more players enter this arena, costs for accessing such data could rise.

Top image: Lucy Formosa Morgan, Claire Fenner, Taz Papoulias and Danny Molyneux

Netflix - One Year Into Netflix Ads
Netflix Australia set to launch sponsorships and a variety of ad formats in 2024

By Danielle Long

Amy Reinhard: “We are also working diligently to bring more measurement capabilities to our advertisers globally”

Netflix will launch sponsorships and a variety of ad formats in the local market next year as it revealed its ad-supported tier reaches “around 15 million subscribers globally”.

Australian advertisers will be able to purchase title sponsorships for hit Netflix programs such as The Crown, as well as sponsor live programming events and ‘Moment Sponsorships’ to tap into cultural moments and local holidays. 

The streaming giant will also roll out a ‘binge ad (wt)’ format, which rewards binge viewers with one ad-free episode if they watch three consecutive episodes. 

Netflix will also roll out new ad formats in 2024, offering 10-, 20-, or 60-second spots, in addition to the 15- and 30-second options.

The plans were announced by Netflix’s newly appointed president of advertising Amy Reinhard, who also flagged plans to explore third-party measurement companies.

“We are also working diligently to bring more measurement capabilities to our advertisers globally, as we look to partner internationally with third-party providers to enable campaign verification in 2024.”

This comes a year after the streaming service launched its ad-tier subscription model in Australia.

At $6.99 a month, ‘Basic with Ads’ will features four to five ads at 15 or 30 seconds in length for every hour of viewing and is $4 cheaper than the ‘Basic’ offering at $10.99.

On a global conference call in October 2022, Netflix’s chief operating officer and chief product officer Greg Peters confirmed the start of a new Netflix subscriber tier.

Peters explained: “What stays the same: A wide variety of great TV shows and movies; personalised viewing experience;  a wide range of TV and mobile devices; change or cancel your plan at any time.

“What’s different: Video quality up to 720p/HD (now for both our Basic with Ads and Basic plans); an average of 4 to 5 minutes of ads per hour; a limited number of movies and TV shows won’t be available due to licensing restrictions, which we’re working on; no ability to download titles.

“In short, Basic with Ads is everything people love about Netflix at a lower price, with a few ads in between. Starting in November, signing up will be easy – visit and register with your email, date of birth and gender to get started.”

See also: Netflix launches its ad-tier subscription model in Australia

Podcast Week: bedtime explorers
Podcast Week: The life of Rupert Murdoch, Santa Radio returns

Tagged, Can escapism can go too far?, I’m at a Crossroad

Compiled by Jasper Baumann and Tess Connery

Documenting the life of Rupert Murdoch 

The team behind Schwartz Media’s 7am have launched a new podcast series, Rupert: The Last Mogul. The series is the first comprehensive audio documentary on the world’s most powerful media titan; Rupert Murdoch.

Hosted by Paddy Manning; award-winning journalist and author of the only biography of Lachlan Murdoch biography The Successor: The High-Stakes Life of Lachlan Murdoch, the six-part series unpacks Murdoch’s life and legacy, from Adelaide to the world.

Mediaweek spoke with Manning about telling the life story of a man with decades worth of story to tell.

rupert murdoch

Paddy Manning

When asked whether or not Murdoch’s decision to step down as chair of Fox and News Corp, Manning said that the podcast was well into production by then, but laughs that the timing “makes us look like geniuses.”

“The reality is we didn’t expect that at all. On any analysis, Rupert Murdoch has had an incredible year which started with his sworn testimony in the Dominion case, and then settlement. Also, his on-again off-again engagement with Ann Lesley Smith, and then a new love interest in Elena Zhukova

“The turmoil for him personally and professionally got a lot of editors thinking, how long can he cope with this pressure? I think there were people updating their obituaries, frankly, around the world.

“We got to work on the podcast in May. But then his decision to finally retire after 70 years makes it all the more timely.”

With so much material to work though, and with the amount of time Murdoch has been working, it was no small task to whittle down the podcast into six episodes. Manning said that the overall goal for the series was to break down Murdoch’s life and legacy, bringing it to a new generation of people. 

“There’s never been a proper podcast done about Rupert Murdoch’s life and legacy. There’s an audience that doesn’t know Rupert’s whole story – although he’s arguably been the biggest story in media for more than 50 years, for a younger listener, there might be a lot that they don’t know. For example, the young left-wing Rupert Murdoch, who inherited the Adelaide News and turned it into the most ‘small l’ liberal newspaper in the country. 

If you start looking at Rupert’s early career, it’s a very different picture than what we know today as the conservative proprietor of Fox News. It’s an incredible story, and it was an exercise in compression to try and fit it into a six part podcast.”

rupert murdoch

For those who may not know the depths of the Rupert Murdoch story, Manning said that he hopes listeners get an appreciation for just how significant his impact has been – both on Australia and the world. “We’re never going to see an Australian who has so much influence ever again,” Manning said.

“We’ve called it Rupert: The Last Mogul because with today’s technology and disruption, it’s hard to see anyone building what Rupert did – a global media empire that, at its peak in the early 2000s, reached three-quarters of the world’s population and spanned five continents. 

Prime Ministers, if they’re lucky, get 10 years, most of them probably three to five. Rupert Murdoch has had unprecedented power and influence for decades. It’s just hard to imagine an Australian achieving that level of global impact in the media ever again, because the media is fragmenting and pay TV and newspapers remain structurally challenged by cord-cutting and the internet.”

Although it may be easy to write off Murdoch’s stepping down as the end of an era, Manning makes one thing very clear: “Rupert’s story is not over yet.”

“Although he’s retired, we’ve just seen headlines this week about News Corp still lining up to buy Spectator in the UK. And there’s probably still more deals to come. 

“We’ve tried to focus on who he is as revealed through the relationships with the people closest to him, and how he’s used the power that he’s created over the course of his decades. We’re looking at who this character is, and what his legacy will be.”

[Listen to Rupert: The Last Mogul here]

AFLW players Sarah Hosking and Ruby Schleicher launch their new podcast, “Tagged”

Tagged is the new vodcast from Richmond and Collingwood players Sarah Hosking and Ruby Schleicher.

Each week will feature segments such as the Tagged list, with their weekly food and entertainment recommendations, and their DM Sesh for deep chats about close to anything, including social issues and hot takes.

Hosking said: “I love getting behind the mic with Ruby and creating this new show.”

“We talk footy, of course, and get all the inside goss from the league and teams for our audience, but we also both love chatting about food, reality TV, entertainment, pop culture and generally what’s happening in our worlds.

“We hope people love listening and watching as much as we love recording the show.”

Schleicher said: “I’ve always wanted to create a podcast, so to have the opportunity to team up with Hosko is a dream result,” Schleicher said. “We’re good friends and always make each other laugh.

“Having the freedom to show our personalities and chat about so many different topics is a lot of fun and we’ve loved creating the first episodes. We hope everyone gets a kick out of it!”

[Listen to Tagged here]

LiSTNR’s Santa Radio returning for Christmas 2023

LiSTNR’s Santa Radio has returned for Christmas 2023; officially opening the phone lines for Santa Radio’s Christmas Hotline and playing the most popular festive tunes.

Santa Radio is a 24/7 station playing Christmas tunes featuring Michael Bublé, Mariah Carey, U2, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Bon Jovi and more.

For its fourth year, Santa Radio has opened its direct phone line to the North Pole and Santa. By dialling 1300 223 374, callers can let Santa know what’s exactly on their wish list. 

Top eight songs on Santa Radio in 2022:

• Michael Bublé – It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
• Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You
• Paul Kelly – How To Make Gravy
• Ariana Grande – Santa Tell Me
• Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas
• Wham! – Last Christmas
• Kelly Clarkson – Underneath The Tree
• Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

[Listen to Santa Radio here]

Monash’s new “What Happens Next?” podcast asks if escapism can go too far

Monash University’s new podcast, What Happens Next? focuses on the drawbacks and benefits of escapism. 

Hosted by Monash academic and public commentator Dr Susan Carland, the episodes explore concepts such as pseudo-nostalgia, live-action role-play (LARP), video games, reality television and even drug addiction.

The series investigates the profound power of escapism, the line between fiction and reality and the balance between indulgence and addiction.

Dr Carland’s guest experts bring diverse perspectives to the discussion. Monash Business School Associate Professor Davide Orazi, a leading researcher interested in how escapism can affect consumer behaviours, offers insights into how these activities provide an essential respite from the monotony of everyday life, and how they can even contribute to personal growth and well-being.

[Listen to What Happens Next? here]

Students from the Australian Film Television and Radio School launch, “I’m at a Crossroad”

I’m at a Crossroad is a documentary podcast about life’s ultimate plot twists, exploring the crucial decisions that shape who people are. 

The six-episode season features stories from guests who left a cult, joined the army, or had a near-death experience that prompted a change in identity.

Featured in the program is Dr Catherine Kizana, who tells the story of when she admitted herself to a psychiatric unit for post-natal anxiety. “I found it great and therapeutic to tell my story,” Catherine says. “The gift is whenever you tell your story from beginning to end, you get to integrate it more and process it. Hopefully, sharing my story helps someone else and takes some of the stigma away from post-natal anxiety.”

The first two episodes will be released on November 2 on all podcast platforms.

[Listen to I’m at a Crossroad here]

Podcast Week: The Children in the Pictures

NCIS Sydney
Screen Australia Drama Report: Record 213 theatrical and TV titles produced in 2022-23

By James Manning

Cost of drama climbs as much adult drama moves to on demand streaming platforms

In Graeme Mason’s last few days as Screen Australia’s chief executive, he’s been explaining how the funding body gave grants, loans and investments of $82.27m to fund screen projects in the financial year 2022/23. Not a big chunk of the $2b+ invested overall in drama, but an amount that helps trigger many of the projects.

Mason did a round of media interviews, including TV and radio on Wednesday and Thursday this week, his penultimate week as chief executive.

See also:  Deirdre Brennan named as new Screen Australia CEO

While the total production dollar amount invested is down slightly year-on-year ($2.432b 2021/22 v $2.344b 2022/23), the number of titles produced is up (171 to 213).

In explaining the split between international productions versus domestic commissions, Mason said: “There were 96 foreign projects. What is interesting is that 16 of those were filmed in Australia, and 80 of them were what we call PDV – post digital visual effects. That means we had 117 local productions.”

One of the drags on production spend was less spent on production for cinema releases. “That is largely because we are comparing it to the previous year when there were more big budget films. There were three major international productions based in Sydney during this latest year – The Fall Guy, Godzilla vs Kong and The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.”

Australian titles made up $1.13 billion of total spend. Although expenditure by Australian subscription TV and Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) has decreased this year, growth in Free-to-Air (FTA) TV and Broadcaster Video-On-Demand (BVOD) has helped to offset those declines to deliver the second-highest Australian expenditure on record.

Mason has always cautioned about reading too much into a trend based on YOY comparisons. “For example, whoever is talking about this report next year will have figures impacted by the US production strike. At present there are no movies coming into Australia to film at the moment and it’s been like that for five months.”

Paper Dolls (L-R Thomas Cocquerel, Emma Booth and Ditch Davey) Top: NCIS: Sydney

Drama finds a home on STV and SVOD

One trend that Mason said is real is the move of adult dramas away from FTA linear TV to streaming services.

“Where it gets interesting is where there is overlap from parent companies. That would be Stan and Nine, Paramount+ and Network 10. You see some bleeding from one to the other.

“It’s also interesting to look at Neighbours now which was picked up and recommissioned by Amazon, yet premieres on 10. On that basis, should 10 get a credit in terms of hours and spend for Neighbours, or should it have been Amazon?

“Similarly, if Stan has something for a couple of weeks to drive subscribers and then it later goes on Nine. Do we care, and how should it be reported?

“With the exception of the public broadcasters, a lot of FTA drama spend is on soaps like Home and Away and Neighbours.”

Mason said the biggest spender on drama are the SVOD services, a bigger spend than the dollars invested in cinema releases in 2022/23. Yet they were down in hours produced by about 15%, and down in the number of titles by about 20%. They were also down in spend by about 11%.

“In an expanding market of more platforms with more subscribers, and more revenue, they are the biggest single player. But even they shrunk. We need to watch that to see if it is a trend.”

Spending patterns: Drama in 2022/23

Theatrical features $363m
FTA TV and BVOD $277m
STV and SVOD $398m

RFDS cast

Cost of TV drama hours

Drill deep into the report and you can calculate the cost of TV drama for networks and streaming platforms.

“The numbers are skewed by soaps which are cheaper than shorter run drama,” said Mason. “The difference between making The Lost Flowers of Alive Hart [Prime] and Home and Away [Seven] is off the chart.”

Serials cost roughly $500,000 per hour to produce, a jump from $300,000. Shorter run drama costs on average $2.1m.

“Drama costs more to produce, premium drama in particular is costing dramatically more [excuse the pun].”

Theatrical release The Royal Hotel

Where production money is spent

New South Wales set a record for the third year running, with over $1.3b in expenditure in 2022/23, accounting for 56% of the national total. Queensland also set a record, with total expenditure of $581m, 23% above last year. Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia all saw declines with spend falling 45%, 52% and 9% respectively. Combined spend in the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Tasmania declined to $4m in 2022/23.


Stan remains king of Australian Originals

Foxtel and SVOD platforms: Stan held the largest single share of total drama titles (38%) and total hours (33%) in this category, consistent with last year’s trend.

Children’s TV drama

Australian children’s TV and VOD expenditure reached $81m compared to $67m in 2021/22. The ABC continues to commission the majority of titles, accounting for nine out of the 12 titles that entered production, with support from Screen Australia, which contributed finance to 10 titles. The Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) supported four titles.

In the last five years, the ABC’s share of all children’s TV and VOD titles has increased from 45% to 75%.

BBC Showcase bluey


Graeme Mason not only Screen Australia departure

It is all change at the top of the screen sector development and funding body. Along with the departure of Mason, the chair of Screen Australia for the past nine years Nicholas Moore is leaving early in 2024. Since stepping back from his role as Macquarie Group CEO, Moore has been involved in many projects. Others included developing an economic strategy for Australian investment in South-East Asia to chairing The Smith Family.

Graeme Mason, Screen Australia

Who’s on the board of Screen Australia

Sitting alongside Mason and Moore have been deputy chair Megan Brownlow, and board members Marta Dusseldorp, Sacha Horler, Helen Leake, Deborah Mailman and Nicholas Pickard. Board members whose terms expired during 2022/23 were Claudia Karvan, Richard King and Joanna Werner.

Read the Screen Australia Drama Report here.

Welcome to TV Gold: Mediaweek’s weekly drama TV podcast

Listen now on your favourite podcast platform for 30 minutes of TV reviews and recommendations every week from Mediaweek’s Mercado on TV columnist Andrew Mercado and editor-in-chief James Manning.
We want your comments, feedback and questions – [email protected].

This week: The Wiggles, Darradong Local Council, Fellow Travelers, Erotic Stories

We start this episode with The Fall of the House of Usher (Netflix series). No spoilers, but the Shows of the Week (two this week) come from these four programs – Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles (Prime doco), Fellow Travelers (Paramount+ series), Erotic Stories (SBS series) and Darradong Local Council (7mate and 7plus).
Tell us what you have been watching. Email: [email protected]

Listen online here, or on your favourite podcast platform.

Omnicom Media Group Australia
Omnicom Media Group Australia extends commercial partnership with Adgile

Alex Pacey: “The ongoing proliferation of consumer eyeballs onto all available screens is self-evident in Australia”

Omnicom Media Group Australia (OMGA) is extending its commercial partnership with TV technology business Adgile, which already measures Total TV effectiveness to its new Catalyst product.

OMGA is introducing a third-party quality assurance against every VOD campaign for all clients, in what the holding company calls “an industry-first move”.

OMGA believes it can address the ongoing transparency and quality issues in the VOD market through the new commercial partnership. 

Alex Pacey, OMGA chief product officer, said Adgile’s capability to benchmark a wide range of metrics empowers clients to generate insights at an impression level, addressing VOD quality issues immediately.

“The ongoing proliferation of consumer eyeballs onto all available screens is self-evident in Australia. Brand dollars are following. The mandate for Omnicom agencies is to ensure we can provide market-leading, tech agnostic, transparent view of where those dollars are going and where the ads are appearing.

“The opportunity to bring Adgile tech and measurement capabilities within our existing agencies processes gives OMG clients a clear market advantage.”

“We expect to be able to maximise VOD outcomes and especially CTV by continuing to grow our understanding of rapidly evolving market dynamics and keep the brands we represent well ahead of their competition.”

Thad King, OMD Australia national head of planning, said the deal will arm OMGA clients with the best data and tools available ahead of a “transformative” year.

“The VOD opportunities opening up for advertisers will increase significantly in 2024 from the likes of Amazon Prime, Paramount+, Samsung Ads plus an explosion in FAST channels,” said King.

“With such fragmentation, it’s critical to have a universal video measurement platform that doesn’t just report reach and frequency, but also provides quality metrics on delivery effectiveness and viewer engagement.”

“The benefits to our clients will be huge, as we have already identified several significant optimisation opportunities that will improve clients VOD campaign delivery and effectiveness.”

Suncorp’s executive manager of media, Greg Kearney, said this will be invaluable as an OMGA client – particularly with brands transitioning budget from Linear TV to VOD.

“Linear TV has long been a brand-safe platform with premium quality content and a premium viewer experience. However, VOD is still in its relative infancy with ongoing questions regarding user experience,” said Kearney.

“In theory, we should be able to deliver an even better, more personalised ad experience in VOD than linear TV; currently, I’m not sure we’re doing that. The Adgile platform will allow us to address these challenges which will be of huge benefit to both advertisers and the networks, who are working hard to ensure they’re delivering first class viewing experience.”

Craig Service, chief customer officer for Adgile, said: “Linear TV was built upon complete transparency that gave advertisers absolute confidence that their ads were going to reach the people they wanted to reach, in the shows they wanted to be seen in.”

“Our technology delivers advertisers the transparency they want, and the confidence they need, to invest further in VOD.”

ACMA investigation finds Seven to have breached online gambling advertising rules

The breach was made in December 2022

An Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation has found that Seven breached online content rules by showing gambling advertising outside the specified times.

The gambling advertisement was shown at 10:38 am on 7plus during a live stream of an NFL American Football game on 12 December 2022. This breach follows the ACMA giving a formal warning to Seven in October 2022 for a similar incident.

Current ACMA rules and guidelines state that gambling promotions cannot be shown during live streams of sporting events between 5:00 am and 8:30 pm, including the five minutes before and after a game. 

Seven has paid a penalty of $13,320, the maximum amount the ACMA can apply in this circumstance.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said that the Australian public is extremely concerned about the level of exposure to gambling advertising in live sporting coverage.

“The ACMA expects broadcasters to have robust systems and processes and associated assurance mechanisms in place to support compliance with these laws,” she said.

Regarding the breach, a spokesperson from Seven said that the network had implemented additional mitigation measures to avoid future errors, including additional oversight and training.

“This relates to an isolated instance of human error and was only streamed to a very small number of end users. Seven strictly adheres to all regulations,” a Seven spokesperson said.

“Seven has told us that the measures it has in place are adequate to ensure future compliance and it does not need to do more. Following repeated breaches by Seven, we will continue to closely monitor their compliance with the rules to make sure that is the case,” O’Loughlin said.

The results of the ACMA investigation come as a parliamentary inquiry has recommended that advertisements for online gambling should be banned across all media, at any time within three years. 

The recommendation has been made to combat the manipulation of an “impressionable and vulnerable audience.”

While it is unclear if the government will adopt the recommendations to their full extent, severe pushback is expected from commercial broadcasters, who have stated to the inquiry that free-to-air sports broadcasts would be cut as a result of the ban.

See also: ACMA appoints Common Ventures as creative partner for BetStop campaign

Year13 expands with acquisition of The Good Education Group

The announcement comes as the 2023 Year 12 cohort decides on their post school pathways

Year13 has announced the acquisition of The Good Education Group (GEG) which publishes the Good Universities Guide, Good Schools Guide and Studies in Australia for overseas students.

The announcement comes as the 2023 Year 12 cohort decides on their post school pathways.

See Also: Year13: New kids on the digital media block cutting through to Gen Z

In acquiring GEG, Year13 has also acquired the Australian Course Information Register, (ACIR). ACIR captures every accredited course offered by every university, TAFE and Registered Training Organisation in Australia and houses a record of every Australian school.

ACIR carries over 9,000 schools, over 1,100 post secondary education providers, and approx 14,000 course records.

With 30 years of history in Australia, The Good Education Group has more than 3.1 million visitors each year online, and continues to print a range of guides and information sources.

For Year13, the EdTech has 1200+ subscribing high schools and 1.5M students online each year, making progress toward its mission to upgrade the school to work transition.

year13 GED pres release asset compilation (1)

Year13 co-founder Will Stubley said “Good Education Group joining us is both synergistic and a growth strategy. Now school leavers and others planning their tertiary education can access a broader suite of tools, information, perspectives and ratings, all through Year13.

“Our ability to empower and support Gen Z to reach their potential grows with the group, and we’re making solid progress toward our mission of upgrading the school to work transition. We’re pleased to welcome The Good Education Group and their expert team to Year13.”

National partnerships director Annie Mulders said “The Good Education Group grows Year13’s data capability and audience footprint with young people, parents and schools, providing a unique opportunity for brands and industry to connect with youth as they are making big decisions about their future, experiencing life firsts, and establishing their foundational perceptions of brands”

The Good Universities Guide is the most referenced resource for tertiary studies in Australia, supporting students, careers advisors, schools and parents with post school education pathways including all University courses, all Tafe courses and all Registered Training Organisation courses. GUG’s course search widget is integrated into more than 1200 highschool websites and most career platforms. The Good Careers Guide provides information on over 600 careers and lives within the Good Universities Guide site.

Good Education Media Group general manager Ross White said “We are delighted to take the Good Education Group into full integration with the Year13 product suite. Having worked well with Year13 through Career Tools, we both saw the opportunity to bring The Good Education Group resources and deep data on schools, tertiary educators and students to the Year13 platform”

Alongside career education, Year13 works with a range of brands to provide young people with life skills and support their wellbeing, including Westpac on Financial Literacy, CeraVe on managing teen skin, Visa on life learnings gained through sports participation, Microsoft on digital skills, Levi’s on sustainability, and Scape on moving out of home for the first time.

Top Image: Year13 co-founders Saxon Phipps and Will Stubley

SMI September 2023: Ad market says YES to referendum spend before Australia votes NO

Market down YOY as spend fails to match 2022 record level, but still second-biggest month ever

Australia’s media agency market received a one-off boost from ad campaigns related to the Voice referendum in September, reports Guideline SMI in its latest data release tracking ad spend.

Despite the marketing investment prior to the referendum vote, total advertising revenues fell short of matching last year’s record September total.

The value of total ad spend for the September month declined by 3.8% year-on-year. That’s still a good result given a record period last year for September 2022 which was the first time the market topped $800 million/month.

Outdoor and cinema big ad spend movers

SMI has reported outdoor has again emerged as the market’s largest growth media in September with revenues up 12.4% year-on-year. Cinema ad spend also continued to grow with total revenues up 17.1%.

Television bookings were back 8.3%. Inside that media type, subscription TV direct continued its strong growth while regional TV was flat YOY.

Total digital revenues were back 3% mostly due to a large decline in programmatic bookings, said SMI. Video Sites/streaming TV market continued to outperform within that media with growth of 20.6% in September.


Guideline SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe said despite the headline decline against last year’s record level of September ad spend, the September 2023 total was still the second largest in SMI’s 16 years of data history.

“While the headline number shows a decline against a particularly strong prior year period, the market remains 0.6% larger than in the pre-Covid September 2019 period with most product categories having returned to the pre-Covid level,” Ractliffe said.

“Key media are continuing to deliver strong growth, with outdoor lifting its share of total ad spend by 1.7 percentage points year-on-year to now represent 13.5% of all agency ad spend. Outdoor’s Covid recovery is accelerating as new inventory comes online and as key categories move share from the TV and digital media.

Ractliffe explained the largest percentage growth of any product category this month came from the Political Parties/Industry Associations/Unions category as campaigns ramped up before the Voice referendum.

“This category reported a 72% year-on-year increase in ad spend in September with TV, outdoor and radio gaining the majority of the extra ad spend.”

This was offset by the continuing decline in consumer electronics ad spend and a large fall in retail category ad spend, mostly due to lower media investment from the hardware and alcoholic retailer subcategories.

SMI: Financial year Q1

For the July to September quarter the market is now back just 1.5% on last year’s record period, although outdoor revenues are up 13.9% and cinema ad spend has jumped 11% given the strength of hit movies like Barbie.

SMI: Calendar year to date

SMI reports the market is back just 2.5% against the record revenues reported for this period last year with outdoor (+15.4%), cinema (+4.5%) and magazines (+2.2%) all outperforming the market.

See also: FIFA Women’s World Cup boosts ad market in August 2023: Optus & Kayo benefit

The Civic Partnership - Brendan Rowswell, Rora Furman and Jason Aldworth
The Civic Partnership acquires CPR from the Enero Group

Jason Aldworth: “As a former employee of CPR, this acquisition has seen the business come full circle”

The Civic Partnership (Civic) has announced its acquisition of CPR Communications & Public Relations (CPR) from the listed Enero Group Limited.

CPR contributed 1.2%, or $ 2.7 million, of Enero Group’s net revenue for FY23. Enero Group will recognise a non-cash loss on sale of approximately $ 2.5 million to $2.7 million before the impact of income tax.

This investment in the 29-year-old public affairs agency will see highly experienced and former long-term employees Brendan Rowswell as managing partner, government relations, and Rora Furman as managing partner, communications.

Clients will benefit from the unrivalled expertise of CPR’s incoming bi-partisan Strategic Counsel team, including former Labor federal minister, The Hon Alan Griffin, former Labor Victorian minister, The Hon Luke Donnellan and CPR’s former long-term Strategic Counsel, and former Liberal MP, The Hon Bill Forwood.

Jason Aldworth, managing partner of Civic, said: “As a former employee of CPR, this acquisition has seen the business come full circle. I am excited about this investment and the opportunity to strengthen and grow our offer for both Civic and CPR clients.”

During his 12 years at CPR, incoming managing partner, government relations, Brendan Rowswell helped a significant number of clients to attract billions of dollars in government investment and to deliver important policy outcomes.

Roswell said: “I am energised to return to the business to support CPR’s government relations clients, which include some of Australia’s top companies and for-purpose organisations across sectors including health and medical research, technology and resources.”

Furman said: “I am looking forward to bringing Civic’s experience and insights to CPR to further grow its reputation as experts in delivering integrated communications campaigns that achieve positive outcomes for clients.”

Enero Group CEO Brent Scrimshaw said: “The sale of CPR will enable Enero to sharpen its focus and synergy across its global portfolio of businesses and capabilities, while continuing to invest in Enero’s priority markets.”

“We wish the team at CPR and Civic all the best in their new adventures.”

Top image: Brendan Rowswell, Rora Furman and Jason Aldworth

slingshot - inghams
Slingshot wins Inghams’ media strategy, planning and buying account

Simon Rutherford: “We’re excited about helping them bring that story to life”

Slingshot announced it has won the media strategy, planning and buying account for poultry supplier Inghams.

The win for the independent creative media agency comes after a slew of new other client wins, including Standards Australia, Pacific Smiles and Capilano.

Inghams was founded in 1918 and is one of Australia’s largest integrated poultry suppliers of chicken and turkey products with agreements with major retail and quick service restaurant (QSR) customers.

Simon Rutherford, Slingshot CEO and partner, said: “Our agency aspires to work with celebrated brands and individuals who stretch and challenge us, so we are loving working with the Inghams team. Inghams is an iconic Australian brand, steeped in history with a fantastic brand story.

“We’re excited about helping them bring that story to life. When you apply creativity across all areas of media and data, transformational growth occurs, we’d love to deliver that for Inghams,” he added.

Simon Rutherford

Rebekah Lagan, marketing manager, Inghams, said: “We recently refreshed the Inghams brand and wanted to broaden our thinking to unlock the potential of this campaign. Being more targeted in our approach and clearly communicating our brand story.

“We wanted an agency that would question our assumptions and get us thinking in some fresh ways, Slingshot have definitely done that across both media and content strategy. We have really welcomed their creative thinking and we are excited about our upcoming campaign.”

In September, the IMAA-member agency and its content and creative arm, onesmoothstone announced a restructure to meet the demands of a converging media environment with creative at its core.

As part of the changes a new executive and senior leadership team was installed to drive client and agency growth by capitalising on critical thinking skills across media and creative. Jane Waterhouse, general manager of onesmoothstone has been appointed managing director of Slingshot working alongside Rutherford and CIO, Simon Corbett.

See also: Slingshot launches creative arm and appoints Jane Waterhouse as GM

Hubspot research finds AI saves the Australian workforce two days per week

Dan Bognar: “AI is not something that’s about to disrupt our day-to-days — it already has”

HubSpot research has found AI saves time, drives effectiveness and increases productivity.

The newly released report, conducted by YouGov, focused on the usage and attitudes around generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Australia.

AI saves time, drives effectiveness and increases productivity
While Australia has long considered itself an early adopter of technology, the research noted that the surging popularity of generative AI has shone a spotlight on gaps in productivity in Australian workplaces. The latest reports show GDP per hour worked shrank 3.6 per cent across the year and is languishing back at 2016 levels, however, Goldman Sachs predicts successful AI adoption could directly boost global GDP by 7 per cent.

On average, marketers in Australia estimated they would save 2.9 hours per day using AI tools to create marketing content, while sales professionals predicted a saving of 2.6 hours per day. With a potential productivity gain of nearly two days per week, the prospect of moving towards a shorter, yet more productive, work week en masse could finally become a reality. This is becoming increasingly pertinent as budgets come under scrutiny and national levels of burnout increase.

The Australian workforce is overwhelmingly behind this move, with nine in ten (91 per cent) marketers saying they would save time using AI tools to create content, and 86 per cent of sales professionals and marketers claiming they are more productive at work using AI tools compared to without them.

In addition to benefiting from time efficiencies, businesses stand to reap the rewards of greater effectiveness through AI. With over three quarters of respondents (76 per cent) heralding AI tools as effective in making their content more personalised, increased adoption of the technology is likely to lead to deeper, more scalable connections between businesses and their customers.

Education the key to unlocking AI’s full potential

When it comes to the biggest challenges in leveraging AI, education has proven to be a significant barrier to entry. Around one in three sales professionals and marketers say they find it difficult to know how to prompt AI tools to achieve desired results (35 per cent). Just over a third say AI sometimes produces inaccurate information (34 per cent), the content GAI produces isn’t always relevant to their desired goal (32 per cent), or they don’t know where to begin with GAI tools and need education and training (31 per cent).

As specialist roles like Prompt Engineer and Natural Language Processing Engineer gain in popularity, their years of experience can not exceed the lifespan of AI, which is still in its infancy. In the meantime, Aussies are teaching themselves the tools of the trade. Of those that have mastered the tools, nearly all (97 per cent) say they are important for their day-to-day work. For example text generation (66 per cent) and visual AI (63 per cent) are the tools perceived to be most important for the day-to-day work of marketers, followed by chatbots (56 per cent) and audio AI (49 per cent).

Recent research from Microsoft and the Tech Council of Australia reveals GAI could contribute as much as $115 billion a year to Australia’s economy by 2030, showcasing the value of championing upskilling in the field. But businesses that have avoided formalising a roll out of the tools could fall  behind the curve. HubSpot’s data shows that over half (59 per cent) of Aussie workers are using AI tools in their role despite their organisation not investing in these tools. AI is gaining in popularity extremely quickly, and business leaders must encourage its safe deployment of AI within the organisation to reach its full potential.

In the epic David-vs.-Goliath battle, AI is the slingshot

As a nation of innovators and early adopters, Australia has an opportunity to become a global leader in AI. Larger organisations are currently getting ahead of the game, with 66 per cent having invested in AI tools compared to just 54 per cent of small businesses, and 92 per cent of marketers and sales professionals at large businesses claiming AI would make them more productive, compared to 82 per cent of those at small businesses.

But for SMBs, AI tools provide an opportunity to level the playing field to compete like never before. Large companies once dominated because they had big budgets and big teams until inbound marketing proved that the size of your brain mattered more than the size of your wallet to attract customers. Activities that once took time, money, and deep expertise no longer do. As a result, SMBs with less time and fewer resources can now generate content, insights, and commands in seconds, closing the gap between enterprises and SMBs.

Dan Bognar

Dan Bognar, vice president and managing director, JAPAC, HubSpot, said: “AI is not something that’s about to disrupt our day-to-days — it already has.

“Streamlining content creation and increasing effectiveness in the sales function are just the tip of the iceberg, it’s what’s underneath that makes the opportunity truly mind blowing —  its accessibility to businesses of all shapes and sizes. AI is levelling the playing field and putting the sling shot into the hands of the SMB community. This is particularly true when it comes to personalising customer interactions, driving customer connection and accelerating scale and growth which, thanks to AI, can now be optimised.

“I expect Australia’s business community will be quick to take advantage of that opportunity. It’s a bit like the David and Goliath metaphor,  AI democratises technology and gives equal opportunity for SMBs to go after the big giants.”

Earlier this year, HubSpot unveiled HubSpot AI, a new set of platform-wide AI-powered products and features to help customer-facing teams unlock productivity, harness data for improved performance, and create deeper connections with customers.

HubSpot’s recent launches of Content Assistant and ChatSpot are early examples of how it helps its users boost productivity, improve conversion rates, and delight customers. Whether drafting a blog post, an email to a prospect, a new landing page, or converting a report into a presentation, HubSpot provides the tools needed to connect with customers and grow, no matter the challenge. 

M&C Saatchi - Steve Coll
M&C Saatchi welcomes Steve Coll as group chief creative officer AUNZ

Coll joins from Meta, where he was the head of creative shop for Australia and New Zealand for four years

M&C Saatchi has appointed Steve Coll as group chief creative officer AUNZ, replacing Cam Blackley, who left the agency last month.

Coll joins from Meta, where he was the head of creative shop for Australia and New Zealand for four years.

Coll takes on an expanded remit and will be tasked with driving greater integration across the M&C Saatchi Group. His role will aim to integrate different agency skill sets and capabilities including strategy, creative, media, design, UX, production and PR in a bid to better cater to client needs.

“I am looking forward to bringing my Meta experience to the Group’s diverse expertise in strategy, creative, media, design, UX, production and PR,” said Coll. “They have been steadily connecting these fundamental capabilities which excites me because, in my experience, gathering diverse skills around big ideas can be absolutely transformative. Not only do creatives want this, clients want it too.”

Justin Graham, group chief executive officer, M&C Saatchi APAC, praised Coll’s “unique” blend of experience from working in integrated and digital agencies as well as in-house at a media company.

“Clients today seek holistic brand experiences, and Steve will play a pivotal role in creatively integrating our end-to-end Group capabilities, merging impactful storytelling with data, technology, and media. We know he will resonate across our clients, ushering in a fresh approach and an inclusive culture to our Group agencies”.

Prior to his time at Meta, Coll served as chief creative officer at WiTH Collective, Droga5 and Havas Australia. He also held senior creative roles at AMV BBDO in London and Leo Burnett Sydney.

His appointment comes just weeks after Blackley’s shock departure from the agency last month after nearly six years.

At the time of his departure, Blackley said: “For several months now I have had robust and respectful discussions with Justin on the shape of things to come. M&C Saatchi globally is going through a period of transition and that has accelerated the decision to part company. The ad industry feels beautifully disrupted at the moment, I’ve never been one to lean into the status quo and I’m keen to build something new after a break. I will be leaving the agency in great shape and will cheer on its success from the sidelines.”

See also: Chief Creative Officer Cam Blackley leaves M&C Saatchi AUNZ

Top image: Steve Coll

SCA - Luke Minto
SCA appoints Luke Minto as national head of audio sales

Luke Minto: “I’m looking forward to working with our audio sales teams to deliver results for our advertising partners”

SCA chief commercial officer Seb Rennie has announced the appointment of Luke Minto as national head of audio sales, following the resignation of national head of audio sales Andrea Salmon after eight years. 

Minto, who joined the radio network in September as head of regional sales strategy, was previously with Nova Entertainment as group commercial director Australia. He spent 19 years with Nova, most recently as group sales director and was also general manager of Nova 96.9 and Smooth 95.3. 

In his new position, Minto will be responsible for SCA’s national radio portfolio, working closely with market heads of sales along with regional leaders to lead and drive SCA’s audio sales strategy and results. 

Rennie said: “Luke brings extensive knowledge of the national audio sales market, plus trusted existing relationships with our valued partners in the marketplace. I am confident that he will hit the ground running and ensure a seamless transition into the role both for our teams and business partners. 

“Throughout her time with us, Andrea has provided exceptional leadership to our national sales teams, achieving year on year share growth in FY 2023 and delivering market leading engagement scores from our partners. I would like to extend my gratitude to Andrea for the significant contribution and impact that she has made on our business and wish her all the very best in her next step.”

Minto said: “It is a privilege to take the baton to lead our people nationally on this powerful portfolio of 99 Hit and Triple M stations. Radio audiences are growing here at SCA in broadcast and our digital audio listening is growing at double digit pace. It’s truly an exciting time for our commercial offering and I’m looking forward to working with our audio sales teams to deliver results for our advertising partners.”

Meanwhile, Salmon said of her time with the radio network: “I’ve had the most incredible and rewarding time during my eight years at SCA. Every role, project, or committee I’ve been fortunate to be a part of, has provided me not only growth and development, but an opportunity to work with some of the most talented people in the media industry.

“I’ve truly had the most fun of my career here at SCA. So, whilst it will be sad to say goodbye, the opportunity to take on another big career challenge is too great a drawcard and was the driving force behind my decision. Thanks to all ‘SCAers’ for making my time here so memorable.”  

Salmon leaves SCA on 15 December and Minto starts in the new role on 11 December 2023. 

Top image: Luke Minto

imaa Andrea Salmon
Nine names Andrea Salmon as director of sales – Melbourne

“I’m very excited to join the incredible team at Nine and to represent their unparalleled line up of media assets”

Nine has announced the appointment of Andrea Salmon as the director of sales – Melbourne. 

Salmon will be responsible for the network’s metro, regional, streaming and on-demand TV, radio, print and digital publishing teams. Her role will also encompass helping brands to create big ideas and deliver better business results leveraging Nine’s unique suite of assets and unrivalled scale, alongside Powered by Nine.

Salmon’s career spans over 20 years, she was previously the director of sales in Melbourne for Southern Cross Austereo, and Bauer (ACP). Her most recent role was the director of sales – radio at Southern Cross Austereo where she had responsibility for the national sales team.

Michael Stephenson, Nine’s chief sales officer, said of Salmon’s appointment: “Nine has the most senior media sales team in Australia, we are obsessed with attracting the most innovative leaders in the market, and there is no one better than Andrea. There isn’t a more perfect person in the country for this massive role.”

Salmon said of her new role: “The media industry is constantly evolving and innovating to deliver clients even better outcomes and Nine is at the forefront. I’m very excited to join the incredible team at Nine and to represent their unparalleled line up of media assets.”

Salmon will begin her new role on January 22, taking over from Sam Brennan, who has taken on a new role as director of strategic partnerships – retail media, leading Nine’s Retail Media Partnership Program RTLX. 

Salmon is also mentor in the IMAA’s Female Leaders of Tomorrow programme.

The six-month IMAA programme aims to create a support network between accomplished industry leaders and their mentees by matching senior staff with up-and-coming women in indie media agencies for knowledge-sharing and professional development opportunities.

Top image: Andrea Salmon

SAS Australia 2023 winners
SAS Australia 2023: Two recruits pass selection after 10 days in the desert

“I am just so elated”

On Seven‘s SAS Australia, after completing the 10-day desert course, actor Tim Robards and former Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham passed selection.

See Also: SAS Australia 2023 Recap — Season Finale: Only two Recruits make selection during brutal last mission

The four remaining recruits – Tim, Matthew, Abbey Holmes and Dr Craig Challen – were challenged with a three-phase final mission to test their psychological and physical capabilities, with the DS wanting to determine who was worthy of selection.

Phase one saw the recruits woken by stun grenades before being hooded and held captive by the DS for two hours and forced to film a death message to their loved ones without showing any emotion.

Tim and Craig controlled their emotions to pass phase one, while Abbey and Matthew failed after becoming overwhelmed and bursting into tears.

Phase two was a physical test, a five-kilometre run carrying their bergens before a 150-metre-high cliff assault with a vertical ascent to the summit.

With phase two of the final mission completed, the DS delivered the news that one recruit would be culled, missing out on final selection. After deliberating, the DS announced Abbey would not be progressing to selection.

Abbey said: “I’m very disappointed not to get to the end, but what this experience has shown me is that your mind and your body are capable of so much more. I know that I’ve pushed as hard as I possibly could. I’ve been lucky enough to really learn a lot about myself, and I’ve learned not to chase perfection.”

With Abbey gone, the three remaining recruits entered the third phase of the final mission, a hostage rescue.

The recruits were charged with avoiding detection while clearing buildings to find two hostages held in separate locations and transport them to the safety of the extraction vehicle.

Having saved the hostages and escaped to safety, Tim, Matthew and Craig had completed the third phase of their mission and the SAS Australia course.

After deliberation, DS Ant Middleton announced that Tim and Matthew had passed selection.

The decision meant hat Tim had equalled his wife’s (Anna Heinrich) performance on the course in 2022.

“I’m so happy. It’s shown what strength I’ve got inside. I probably doubted that a lot. Now I’m getting teary…” Tim said.

“It was hard work. So many times you just want to stop, and you want to quit, and you’ve just gotta keep pushing and pushing. I can’t wait to call my wife and tell her that I made it.”

Matt was also pleased to have passed selection. “I am just so elated,” he said. “This has been the best experience of my entire life. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude.

“I did come in as a survivor and I have definitely thrived throughout this course. I was controlled by my inner saboteur before. But now I feel capable of doing basically anything.”

SAS Australia is produced by Screentime, a Banijay Group company, based on a Minnow Films format. 

Mary Fowler Matildas
TV Ratings November 1, 2023: Matildas’ almighty win over Chinese Taipei at Olympic Qualifier

By Anita Anabel

Two recruits pass selection during SAS season finale

• Jana and Cor eliminated from The Amazing Race
• 1.26 million tune in to The Block in Total TV

Total TV Ratings, October 25

1,268,000 watched Nine’s The Block where it was three days until the front garden and facade week reveal, up 47%.

886,000 viewed Seven’s Home and Away as Felicity faced the consequences of her actions, up 28%.

721,000 saw ABC’s Hard Quiz as Challengers were quizzed on knowledge of Jurassic Park, Elvis, Ex PM Gough Whitlam, up 15%.

635,000 tuned into 10’s The Amazing Race Australia. The celebrities were led on a spiritual journey to Angkor Wat, Cambodia up 50%.

Overnight TV Ratings, November 1


Primetime News
Seven News 806,000 (6:00pm) / 763,000 (6:30pm)
Nine News 671,000 (6:00pm) / 709,000 (6:30pm)
ABC News 484,000

Daily Current Affairs
A Current Affair 621,000
7.30 393,000
The Project 252,000 7pm

Seven won Wednesday night with a primary share of 17.0% and a network share of 26.0%. 10Bold has won multi channels with a 4.5% share.
Meanwhile, Ten took a 16.2% primary share and a network share of 24.1%, toppling Nine out of the top two which received a primary share of 15.4% and a network share of 24.1%.


398,000 began their evening in Summer Bay with Seven’s Home and Away as Felicity and Mackenzie went head to head. Bree also met Remi’s parents and Eden supported Cash. 

The Season Finale of SAS Australia followed as 351,000 saw the four remaining recruits: Tim Robards, Matthew Mitcham, Abbey Holmes and Dr Craig Challen, challenged with a three-phase final mission. Designed to test their psychological and physical capabilities it was a brutal and gruelling exercise. While Holmes was culled at the end of the second phase, Robards and Mitcham passed selection after being put under enemy fire. Unfortunately, Challen failed to pass, even though he completed the course.

SEE ALSO: SAS Australia 2023 Recap — Season Finale: Only two Recruits make selection during brutal last mission


On 10, The Project (252,000 7pm) spoke to “Michael” who suffers from a rare disorder called Body Integrity Dysphoria, a condition that makes him feel like his hand is not his. The panel also chatted to Drag superstar Courtney Act (Shane Jenek) who was unveiled as Cowgirl on The Masked Singer on Tuesday. 

The Amazing Race then followed for 328,000 as our top five celebrity teams trekked through Cambodia’s second-largest city, Siem Reap, in the tightest contest yet. Emma and Hayley were first to arrive at the Pitstop while Jana and Cor were eliminated from the race.

Matildas fans then watched our Aussies play Chinese Taipei in the AFC Olympic Qualifiers. Once again, our girls were victorious, beating their opponent 3 – 0 with Sam KerrMary Fowler and Tameka Yallop all scoring a goal each. 456,000 tuned in on the action.


Nine’s A Current Affair (621,000) interviewed a small business owner who feared she’ll be closed down by Christmas if shopping giant Shopify doesn’t overturn its ban on wholesalers selling her product.

Then it was time for My Mum Your Dad. While the season premiere saw 290,000 tune in, on Wednesday, 279,000 sat down for the second episode where two newcomers entered The Retreat and Dani was ‘hurt’ by Boss‘ true feelings.


393,000 watched ABC’s 7.30 explore how as governments consider introducing a total ban on engineered stone, suppliers are pushing back. The program also looked at how fire crews across Queensland have spent another day fighting blazes and Sarah Ferguson spoke to Ehud Olmert, former PM of Israel.

432,000 then watched Hard Quiz. Tom Gleeson quizzed contestants on Dr Victor Chang, racehorse Makybe Diva and Young Ones.

Question Everything was up next for 351,000. Joining host Wil Anderson and Jan Fran were Mark Humphries, Dane Simpson, and Bec Melrose.

A repeat of Would I Lie to You? saw 236,000 watch on.

Week 44: Wednesday
ABC12.1%717%915.4%10 16.2%SBS3.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS3.2%7TWO3.5%GO!2%10 Bold4.5%VICELAND1.4%
ABC ME0.4%7mate3.5%GEM2.9%10 Peach2.5%Food Net1.2%
ABC NEWS2.5%7flix1.1%9Life2.4%Nickelodeon0.9%NITV0.3%
  7Bravo1%9Rush1.4%  SBS World Movies1.1%
        SBS WorldWatch0%
TOTAL18.2% 26% 24.1% 24.1% 7.6%


  1. Seven News Seven 806,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 763,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 709,000
  4. Nine News Nine 671,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 621,000
  6. ABC News ABC TV 484,000
  7. The Chase Australia Seven 458,000
  8. Football: Matildas V Chinese Taipei 10 456,000
  9. Hard Quiz ABC TV 432,000
  10. Home And Away Seven 398,000
  11. 7.30 ABC TV 393,000
  12. SAS Australia Seven 351,000
  13. Question Everything ABC TV 351,000
  14. The Amazing Race Australia: Celebrity 10 328,000
  15. Hot Seat Nine 328,000
  16. The Chase Australia Seven 280,000
  17. My Mum Your Dad Nine 279,000
  18. The Project 7pm 10 252,000
  19. Tipping Point Nine 245,000
  20. Would I Lie To You? ABC TV 236,000
Demo Top Five

16-39 Top Five

  1. Football: Matildas V Chinese Taipei 10 90,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 68,000
  3. The Amazing Race Australia: Celebrity 10 68,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 62,000
  5. Seven News Seven 62,000

18-49 Top Five

  1. Football: Matildas V Chinese Taipei 10 160,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 130,000
  3. The Amazing Race Australia: Celebrity 10 128,000
  4. Seven News Seven 128,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 117,000

25-54 Top Five

  1. Football: Matildas V Chinese Taipei 10 182,000
  2. Seven News Seven 177,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 176,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 176,000
  5. Nine News Nine 151,000
  1. Highway Patrol 7mate 116,000
  2. The Force – Behind The Line 7mate 104,000
  3. Highway Patrol 7mate 103,000
  4. Spicks And Specks ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 98,000
  5. The Force – Behind The Line 7mate 94,000
  6. Bargain Hunt 7TWO 91,000
  7. Football: Matildas V Chinese Taipei 10 Bold 86,000
  8. Bluey ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 79,000
  9. Vera ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 75,000
  10. The Adventures Of Paddington ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 74,000
  11. Shaun The Sheep ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 74,000
  12. Would I Lie To You? ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 74,000
  13. Midsomer Murders 9Gem 73,000
  14. Pj Masks ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 73,000
  15. As Time Goes By 9Gem 72,000
  16. Fixer To Fabulous: Welcome Inn 9Life 72,000
  17. Heartbeat 7TWO 71,000
  18. Andy And The Band ABC Kids/ABC TV Plus 70,000
  19. Lewis 7TWO 70,000
  20. NCIS 10 Bold 69,000
  1. Live: Icc Cwc: Nzl V Sa FOX CRICKET 72,000
  2. Live: Icc Cwc Innings Break: Nzl V Sa FOX CRICKET 63,000
  3. Love It Or List It Australia Lifestyle Channel 55,000
  4. Credlin Sky News Live 52,000
  5. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 51,000
  6. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 49,000
  7. Outback Cops Real Life 43,000
  8. Highway Patrol Real Life 39,000
  9. Sharri Sky News Live 36,000
  10. Chris Kenny Tonight Sky News Live 36,000
  11. Gold Coast Cops Real Life 35,000
  12. The Late Debate: The Papers Sky News Live 33,000
  13. The Late Debate Sky News Live 31,000
  14. Coronation Street UKTV 26,000
  15. Eastenders UKTV 21,000
  16. Live: Wbbl: Renegades V Thunder FOX CRICKET 21,000
  17. Police Ten 7 Real Life 21,000
  18. Live: Icc Cwc Pre Game: Nzl V Sa FOX CRICKET 20,000
  19. Piers Morgan Uncensored Sky News Live 19,000
  20. Live: Icc Cwc: Nzl V Sa FOX CRICKET 19,000

Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2023. 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

YouTube is getting serious about blocking ad blockers

YouTube is broadening its efforts to crack down on ad blockers. The platform has “launched a global effort” to encourage users to allow ads or try YouTube Premium, YouTube communications manager Christopher Lawton says in a statement provided to The Verge, reports the publication’s Emma Roth.

If you run into YouTube’s block, you may see a notice that says “video playback is blocked unless YouTube is allowlisted or the ad blocker is disabled.” It also includes a prompt to allow ads or try YouTube Premium. You may get prompts about YouTube’s stance on ad blockers but still be able to watch a video, though, for one Verge staffer, YouTube now fully blocks them nearly every time.

[Read More]

Condé Nast, publisher of Vogue, will cut 5% of its work force

The magazine giant Condé Nast will cut about 5 percent of its work force, backtracking on a much-ballyhooed plan to build up an in-house video studio to tap into Hollywood’s demand for film and TV ideas, report The New York Times’ Katie Robertson and Benjamin Mullin.

The layoffs will affect about 270 employees. Roger Lynch, the chief executive of Condé Nast, told workers in a note on Wednesday morning that the cuts were a response to digital advertising pressures, a decline in social media traffic and shifting audience behaviors, including a move to short-form video. He said the video business would be folded in with the editorial brands.

[Read More]

Netflix says ad tier userbase has tripled since May

Netflix‘s advertising tier is one year old today, and growing quickly, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Weprin.

In a blog post commemorating the one year anniversary of the tier, Netflix’s newly-installed head of advertising Amy Reinhard gave an update on the streaming giant’s still-nascent ads business.

For starters, Reinhard writes that it now has 15 million global monthly active users. That is up from 5 million, as announced back in May. The tripling in the last 5 months suggests that users are increasingly opting for the ad tier when they sign up for Netflix, or that the company’s password-sharing crackdown is working.

[Read More]

Videos played in court show Andrew O’Keefe screaming and cursing at police during arrest

Videos played to a Sydney court show former television host Andrew O’Keefe screaming at police during a 2021 arrest, after insisting he needed to collect his medication, reports the ABC’s Jamie McKinnell.

The 52-year-old returned to Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday for the continuation of a hearing over charges including common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, resisting a police officer and contravening an AVO.

The charges, which he denies, relate to an alleged incident in September 2021.

[Read More]

Why can’t we look away when celebrities post on global news events?

Celebrities love to give their hot take on what’s happening in the world, whether ordinary people like you and me like it or not, reports the ABC’s Caitlin Rawling.

Social media platforms such as Instagram have become a common way celebrities can share their views on certain news events like the Israel-Gaza War.

From a post on their feed to posting something on their story, celebrities will share these with millions of followers.

[Read More]


Jana Pittman heartbroken by Amazing Race viewer backlash

Former Olympic athlete Jana Pittman and her teenage son Cornelis were the latest team to be eliminated from The Amazing Race: Celebrity Edition during Wednesday’s episode – and Pittman spoke out over the show to reveal she was “heartbroken” by the criticism she’d received from viewers about her time on the show, reports News Corp’s Nick Bond.

Pittman and her 17-year-old son came a respectable fifth place in the show, which this season has seen Australian celebrities pair up with a loved one for a race around countries including India, Cambodia and Malaysia.

But after their elimination, hurdling champ and mum of six Pittman shared a lengthy post on Instagram, revealing that viewer comments about her relationship with her son during the season had stung.

[Read More]

Block nerves ahead of Auction Day

On Sunday night TV’s biggest show comes to a close when The Block goes under the hammer, reports TV Tonight.

But after a drama-filled 2022 auction when three homes were passed in, and another sold for a record $5.66m amount, producers are in a last minute push to secure maximum bidders.

“These last few days before the auction are always an incredibly nervous time for me, and Scotty and the crew,” executive producer Julian Cress tells TV Tonight.

[Read More]

Superman Tim Robards broken inside: SAS Australia champ on why looks can be deceiving

From the outside, Tim Robards looks like Superman. Inside though, he fears his body is falling apart. That’s the admission super-fit former Bachelorette star Robards has made after passing selection in the brutal SAS Australia reality TV show, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

Robards and Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham are the only two of 14 to have passed selection in Wednesday’s series finale.

“In what I do as a chiropractor and with the different brands I work with, there is a responsibility I feel in some ways to be invincible like Superman,” Robards told The Daily Telegraph.

[Read More]

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