Thursday October 10, 2019

Network 10 In 2020... Now You’re Talking

• Love, laughs, masks, horses, scheming, cooking, dancing, jungle camping and more love

This is the main release from Network 10 regarding content in 2020.

See also our Mediaweek interviews with:

CEO Paul Anderson
Chief Content Officer Beverley McGarvey
Chief Sales Officer Rod Prosser

Love, laughs, masks, horses, scheming, cooking, dancing, jungle camping and more love. We’re not going to lie, it’s been a big year here at Network 10, and trust us when we say it’s only getting bigger in 2020.

Kicking off in early January, our line-up of homegrown content across all platforms includes 10 “major franchises” (forgive the jargon), the biggest comedy shows on TV, proven local drama series, unique factual content (more jargon), innovative news and current affairs, some of the country’s most-loved sporting events and – yes – a brand new look and brand new judges for MasterChef Australia.

It’s a year-long schedule, spanning television, online, social media, podcasts and pretty much anywhere else people want to engage with our content. We call it “the 10 playground”. Our viewers think it’s TV as it should be.

Network 10 Chief Content Officer, Beverley McGarvey, said: “A year ago we talked about cementing our position as leaders in escapist entertainment and promised we would have differentiated flagship content targeting our key target market of under 50s – 50 weeks a year.

“We delivered on that promise and Australians responded. We’ve seen year-on- year TV share growth in all key demographics since August. 10 Play and 10 Daily have delivered record audience numbers. 10 All Access is an out-of-the-box success. Our 10 Speaks podcasts are winning new fans every day.

“This year we’ve successfully added new, multi-platform content that will grow in the years to come, including The Masked Singer Australia, Dancing With The Stars and Five Bedrooms,” she said.

“Those three new hits have joined a stable of proven performers including MasterChef Australia, Have You Been Paying Attention?, Gogglebox, The Bachelor Australia, Australian Survivor, The Project, 10 News First, The Bachelorette Australia, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, the Melbourne Cup Carnival and many more.

“In 2020, our content will be everywhere – across all platforms – creating a playground that will ensure our shows connect with Australian’s like never before and get all of Australia talking.”

Network 10’s big year starts in early January, when Julia Morris and Chris Brown step back into the jungle for a new season of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!

This year we proved Australians are looking for an alternative to summer sport on TV. The mighty jungle is showing no signs of sleeping in 2020, with more screams, snakes and suspense than ever before.

After posting its best audience numbers ever, Australian Survivor returns with Jonathan LaPaglia leading an All Stars format. It hits our screens in February. And the good news continues: there will be a second season of Australian Survivor in 2020.

Also in February, Amanda Keller and Grant Denyer will samba back onto our screens for a sparkling new season of Dancing With The Stars, live, fabulous and filmed in Melbourne.

Our love triangle of Bachelor In Paradise, The Bachelor Australia and The Bachelorette Australia will be back in 2020, with Osher Günsberg presiding over all the fun, romance, love and drama we’ve come to expect from the world’s most successful romance TV format.

Look out for Bachelor In Paradise early next year. And The Bachelor Australia will take on the Olympic Games, offering a strong alternative to wall-to-wall sport.

The phenomenon that is The Masked Singer Australia will be back in 2020 with new masked celebrities, extraordinary costumes and jaw-dropping performances. Did we mention it was our most successful new series launch in almost five years?

The Project enters its second decade next year setting the current affairs agenda and delivering news differently. 10 News First and 10 Daily lead Network 10’s news content and Studio 10 is back to freshen up your mornings.

Let’s talk about sport. Make that, big sporting events. 10 will again be the home of some of the biggest moments in sport, including the Melbourne Cup Carnival (we are, after all, its natural home), the Formula 1 2020 Australian Grand Prix and Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Proving that too much sport is barely enough, our line-up also includes more Supercars, Rugby including the Bledisloe Cup and the MotoGP World Championship.

Network 10 has a long and proud tradition of making Australians laugh. We will be doing it again in 2020 with new seasons of the hit shows Have You Been Paying Attention?, Gogglebox, Hughesy, We Have A Problem and Kinne Tonight, plus newcomer Drunk History. OK, the last one was part of Pilot Week in 2018 but the series is new. Speaking of Pilot Week, we will be making some very special announcements about this year’s pilots in the next few months.

You want drama? We have it. The breakout local drama hit of 2019, Five Bedrooms, returns in 2020, along with new seasons of Playing For Keeps and How To Stay Married. And we have the new series The Secrets She Keeps. As the name suggests, it’s all about secrets… that everyone wants to keep hidden.

Factual content is a key part of our line-up including The Living Room – with the wonderful Amanda Keller, Chris Brown, Barry Du Bois and Miguel MaestreAmbulance Australia, Todd Sampson’s BodyHack, Bondi Rescue, Trial By Kyle and One Born Every Minute Australia.

From lands afar – the US and the UK to be precise – comes new seasons of NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Bull, FBI, The Graham Norton Show, various Jamie Oliver series and more.

And new for 2020 are FBI Most Wanted, starring local-boy-makes-it-big-in- Hollywood Julian McMahon, and the keenly anticipated The Gilded Age from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. The ensemble cast of this spectacular series includes Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon and Amanda Peet.

Less than a year after it launched, 10 All Access is a hit with viewers. Next year our new platform will get even bigger, with fast-tracked series including Broke, In The Dark and MacGyver, plus new seasons of Survivor, The Good Fight, NCIS: Los Angeles, The Unicorn, FBI and Evil Season.

Over on 10 Peach, Australia’s longest running drama series – Neighbours – hits another milestone next year: its 35th birthday. Yes, it’s older than many of its current cast members but it’s still going strong.

Joining Neighbours on 10 Peach is a strong collection of content, including all-new The Loop, Dating #NoFilter and Bojack Horseman, plus the iconic sitcoms Seinfeld, Will & Grace, Two And A Half Men, Mom and 2 Broke Girls.

And on Monday, 14 October, the battle of the uber popular sitcom reignites as Friends finds its new home on 10 Peach, ready to rival Seinfeld for the coveted title of The World’s Most Popular Television Show.

10 Bold has had a big year, posting strong audience growth – more than seven months of growth in fact. That’s going to continue in 2020, with new seasons of Madam Secretary, SEAL Team, Hawaii 5-O, NCIS New Orleans, MacGyver and LA’s Finest. And fans of NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Law & Order: SVU and CSI: Miami can feast on classic episodes.

Checklist: Coming Soon To 10

Ambulance Australia*
Australian Survivor All Stars* Bachelor In Paradise*
Bondi Rescue*
Celebrity Name Game*
Dancing With The Stars*
Drunk History*
FBI Most Wanted
Five Bedrooms*
Formula 1 2020 Australian Grand Prix*
Have You Been Paying Attention?*
Hughesy, We Have A Problem*
I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!*
Jamie Oliver
Kinne Tonight*
MasterChef Australia*
Melbourne Cup Carnival*
MotoGP World Championship*
NCIS: Los Angeles
Pilot Week 2020*
The Bachelor Australia*
The Bachelorette Australia*
The Conners
The Gilded Age
The Graham Norton Show
The Living Room*
The Project*
The Secrets She Keeps*
Todd Sampson’s BodyHack*
Trial By Kyle*

Network 10 in 2020: Paul Anderson, Chief Executive Officer

• Sports rights, audience measurement, multichannels & more

Part one of Mediaweek’s interviews at the Network 10 2020 Upfront

By James Manning

It is only 10 weeks since Network 10 today announced Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris would not return as judges in the next season of MasterChef Australia. Has it been a challenge to find replacements?

It has been a bit of a challenge, but we are extremely happy where we have landed. The key to a major franchise is to change them [a little] each year, but keep them basically the same. We think what we are announcing this week goes a long way to refreshing the whole franchise for us.

Over the years the show has performed extraordinarily well. There have been some peaks and troughs and we rebuilt the show significantly in the second half of the last decade.

MasterChef might have been your most costly series. Has The Masked Singer now replaced that?

People have been getting about carried away and our industry loves to gossip about the costs of shows. Some of the numbers that have been reported are way off the mark. We bid really hard for it because it lends itself to 10.

You are adding a second season of Australian Survivor, does this fill out your year at 7.30pm without any gaps?

Next year we will have known content with consistency in ratings, which is key for advertisers. It is all brand friendly and reaches younger audiences which are harder to reach.

Is 10 still a shopper for sports rights?

We are. The Melbourne Cup was a good example. It was an attractive product as is the Rugby World Cup. We are interested in any premium sports rights that come up. We have bid for the NRL before and we have had the AFL before. They are a little way off, but at the right time we will be interested.

It will be interesting to see how the Olympics go next year. They are extraordinarily expensive and they go for a very short period of time. We’ve always run hot with our programming against the Olympics because there is a non-sporting audience out there.

Have you been able to monetise your Melbourne Cup flutter?

We are very happy. There was conjecture about what we paid for the Melbourne Cup. We did our homework before that. It is a great platform for us to launch our shows for next year. It also opens up a whole new category of advertisers in a space we haven’t played in before.

[Anderson said it is partly a marketing pend.] All those big events are. They are used for promoting shows. With the VRC it works both ways. The Cup Carnival will promote our shows and we are promoting the Cup Carnival through a number of our programs.

How important will VOZ audience measurement be when introduced in 2020?

It will be extremely important. There are too many metrics at the moment in the market across various platforms and players where people effectively mark their own homework. To have one measurement across all of television viewing is critical.

It is important we have measurement systems in place irrespective of the size so that advertisers can place their money with confidence and trust.

BVOD is growing fast off a small base.

10 CEO Paul Anderson and James Manning

You are not launching a new multichannel in 2020. Have you gone close?

We have always looked at that. Sometimes the market forgets we are being marked with three channels [while Seven has five and Nine has four]. We are yet to land on a model that adds genuine numbers to our overall portfolio and doesn’t cannibalise them from the other channels. By that I mean viewers and dollars.

What is the report card now on 10 Daily?

It has come along in leaps and bounds in the past 12 months. It is growing at about 20-25% a month. It sits within our news portfolio. As part of our eco system it allows us to generate more traffic and to leverage our news and entertainment brands.

And a report card on 10 All Access?

August was our biggest month since we launched last December. It gives us a seat at the table with an SVOD or streaming service. That space is getting pretty cluttered so it is important we are now part of it. It comes at marginal cost in that it comes from CBS. We have 7,000 hours of content and major new launches in Why Women Kill and The Twilight Zone.

You seem to have 7.30pm sorted, do you have any plans for overhauling 6-7pm?

There is always part of the schedule we are trying to build. For us 6.00pm to 6.30pm has always been challenging in some aspects. We are always looking for new ideas and we have a few up our sleeve we would like to test at some stage. We need to be quite considered about it before making a change. We don’t want a short-term fix in what is a busy part of the evening.

Over the years we have messed about with news services and changed the times of The Project. We wouldn’t rule anything out, but we [have tried news there before]. Our mantra is to do news differently and to be an alternative.

Network 10 in 2020: Beverley McGarvey, Chief Content Officer

• Part two of Mediaweek’s interviews at the Network 10 2020 Upfront

By James Manning

Your only major programming change next year seems to be two seasons of Australian Survivor?

CBS has done two cycles of Survivor every year since 2001 and it is a format that stands up to two cycles a year. We are doing it because it has been so successful in 2019. We also needed something at the top of the year that was really familiar to audiences and that could cut through against other constructed reality shows.

We are doing All Stars, which is a big thing for the format. If you are a Survivor fan it is probably one of the most-loved things.

What is happening in terms of production?

We are filming it at the moment. We will reveal some of the contestants this week. For Survivor fans it will be interesting information and on Thursday we will release the names of eight of them. There will be 24 in total so we will still have something to talk about before the show launches next year. We have contestants from all four Australian seasons and are using the people who made the biggest move and played the biggest game.

Cathie Scott is looking after production for us, while Stephen Tate is on The Amazing Race. We have a lot of shows shooting overseas this year.

Did you have trouble convincing people who were in the 2019 season to do it all again?

People who love Survivor are so into it that they didn’t need much of a break before they are out there doing it again.

You didn’t have much time between securing The Amazing Race format and the start of filming. How is it going?

That was the first part of the race! It is a complex show, it is fast and always on the move. It looks very different to all our other shows. Part of the attraction was the spectacular locations and the opportunity to cast a show differently. By that time of year [end of October] viewers have seen lots of big groups of reality contestants and The Amazing Race lends itself to a different type of contestant. From an audience point of view it looks very different with new Australian voices on television.

Australians are really good at playing The Amazing Race because they are used to such long flights. Anything under 14 hours feels like a short trip.

You shortened the format of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! last year, will it be a similar length next year?

It will be similar, but starting a week earlier. Last year starting on January 12 really worked for us. We got really clean air before the tennis kicked in. We beat the cricket every night it was on. We have really cemented our 50-week strategy this year so we are starting on January 5. We have seen shows this year that appeal to family audiences do very well.

Beverley McGarvey with Mediaweek's James Manning

Beverley McGarvey with Mediaweek’s James Manning

How back-to-back are you with major franchises at 7.30pm in 2020?

There are not many nights without one. Celebrity is a five nights a week franchise, which takes us into Survivor Australia All Stars, which is when we also have Dancing with the Stars and Ambulance – lots of premium Australian content at the top of the year.

We also have Bachelor in Paradise around that time as well and then go into MasterChef for four nights a week.
Then we have Survivor Australia and The Bachelor at the same time on four nights a week.
We then move into The Masked Singer and then The Bachelorette and The Amazing Race.

The schedule is well-packed for the whole year.

How do you manage juggling 28 local productions next year?

We are lucky to have very talented executive producers in-house at 10. We also work with great partners in the production community. We work with most of the major production houses and make sure we have a strong voice is casting those shows.

The team on Survivor have been on it since the beginning and they just love it. Same with MasterChef.

You have been very generous to the producers from Pilot Week 2018 with five pick-ups.

Trial By Kyle will launch later this month and Drunk History is for next year.

We haven’t made our decisions on Pilot Week 2019 because it played a bit later and our Upfront is a bit earlier. The important thing for us is to not just commission the big franchises but also to be looking for new ideas and to make sure we are innovative in the comedy space.

Will I Am Roxy be commissioned?

Roxy is a very fascinating lady and there are still many interesting parts of her life to be examined. The question for us is what is our need in the schedule and how it compliments what we already have next year.

What are your key drama commissions for 2020?

We have Five Bedrooms coming back, which was much-loved and had really good consolidated numbers. We will soon be running season two of Playing For Keeps and we have a series called The Secrets She Keeps, which is very different to everything else on the slate. It’s a dark, twisted thriller.

We also have some scripted comedy – How To Stay Married will be back next year.

Do you have any room, or budget, for further commissions or acquisitions for 2020?

We do talk to producers about what we are looking for. As well as being specific about what we want, we are also open to ideas.

We have already spent quite a bit, but for the right big program we will look at it if it makes sense for the business.

Will movies be your answer from now on Saturday nights?

Saturday nights are very challenging for us and we spend a lot of time working out what we could do to cut through the sport and the older-skewing drama.

Network 10 in 2020: Rod Prosser, Chief Sales Officer

• Content comes first for sales boss + data, tech, 10Buy, 10Play

Part three of Mediaweek’s interviews at the Network 10 2020 Upfront

By James Manning

What are the big messages to clients from 10 sales?

There are three significant messages around data, technology and the newly installed sales team and what we will be offering the market next year.

We have delivered on our promise to accelerate our data strategy. For the last 12 months we have been building and moving quickly. As of July 1 we started addressable advertising across all our digital platforms and the next evolution of that was to announce out data partners.

We feel we have the best of the best with eyeota, Quantium and Greater Data.

This will really allow us to create robust segments and allow our advertisers those segments to trade off.

We have grown our first party data significantly over the past 12 months because we have been really strategic. We have relaunched our web base for 10 Play and soon we will be launching our app.

See also:
10’s data targeting just got smarter with best-in-class data partners

Explain to us your deal with You.i TV?

This gives us advertising technology that allows us to insert advertisements into content. Equally when viewers pause we will be able to serve up ads.

It works across 10 Play on all platforms and we will bundle it up with both sponsorships and day-to-day trading.

Any possible backlash from viewers that it might be too invasive?

We will be really smart about how we deliver the ads. We are testing and learning and we will make sure the viewing experience remains strong as well as looking after our advertisers. This is a market first in terms of the technology.

The 10 Play user experience was not quite where you wanted it 12 months ago, has it improved a lot?

We set out this year to improve the viewer experience and we did that with the launch of the web-based 10 Play and soon we will have a new app. The AI we have around the web application is a lot stronger.

Why is Buy10 returning to your suite of products for clients?

It was a pioneering product back over a decade ago, which gave agencies the ability to engage directly with our advertising technology. It is our dynamic advertising tech stack, which will give advertisers the opportunity to trade dynamically. The evolution of that will be an environment where they can buy all of our assets in one place.

See also:
Network 10 goes dynamic across its playground of assets

How important is the Upfront in your communications to clients?

It is very critical that we get to show off our line-up – content comes first. Advertisers also have expectations to see what we are doing in the ad tech space and with our audience and data.

The format this year is Sydney with two shows on Thursday and then we move to Melbourne on Monday and then each of the other states.

We then visit individual agencies and we have a number of annual deals with the various consortiums, which remain very important.

The Upfront gives the clients as well as agencies an opportunity to come and see what the network is doing.

10 seems to have its best ratings momentum for some time – how confident are you that advertisers are getting the message?

We are thrilled with how our back half is performing and we have a very strong plan for the first half of next year. The advertisers and the agencies are starting to resonate with our under 50s proposition. We know our viewers lean in a little harder and our advertisers understand that and we are starting to see that reflected in the revenue.

Network 10 goes dynamic across its playground of assets

Network 10’s Buy10 trading announcement from the 2020 Upfront event:

Buy10 is back to simplify ad planning and trading across 10’s playground of assets including 10, 10 Bold, 10 Peach, 10 Play, 10 Daily and 10 Speaks.

From today, 10 is unlocking dynamic advertising capabilities through its Buy10 platform, allowing advertisers to effectively target their ads across 10’s ecosystem, at scale. Buy10 enables precision targeting, inventory optimisation and automated tracking, delivering advertisers more cost-effective campaigns.

In 2020, 10 will launch Buy10 YOU, a self-serve buying platform for small to medium sized enterprises to reach 10’s younger, more engaged audience.

10 will also launch real-time commercial availability on-demand in 2020, a market-first, to remove the friction of manual ad planning while providing greater transparency for advertisers.

Network 10’s chief sales officer Rod Prosser said: “Buying across 10 just became refreshingly simple. With Buy10, advertisers will have complete end to end trading automation for their campaigns and total inventory optimisation – think about it as delivering 101 per cent of the audience you need.

“Our difference is our younger, more engaged audience, and we are making it easier to access this valuable target market effectively.

“10 has a rich history in innovation and in doing things differently. We were the first network to launch reality television, the pioneer in cooking formats and the first to introduce new advertising assets into the market from ‘Seriously Short Breaks’ to ‘Playouts’ to ‘Integrated Billboards’.

“When we launched Buy10 in the early noughties, we were first to market with a self- serve platform for media buyers which enabled them to view live commercial and programming information. Almost a decade later, we’re pumped to be rebooting the brand and platform, bigger and better than ever.”

The launch of Buy10 and 10’s dynamic advertising capabilities come less than a year after 10 brought its sales team back in-house.

10’s data targeting just got smarter with best-in-class data partners

Network 10 Upfront announcement regarding new third party data partners:

Network 10 is continuing to roll out its data strategy and has announced key data partnerships with Quantium, Eyeota and Greater Data. These partnerships extend 10’s targeting capabilities across more industries, interests, behaviours and demographics focused firmly on purchase behaviour and intent, life stage triggers and in-market signals.

From November, advertisers will be able to target audiences in these premium segments overlayed with 10’s rich first party data on web, mobile and connected TVs for all Apple and Android devices.

Network 10’s chief sales officer Rod Prosser said: “We have a solid foundation of first party data on 10 Play and 10 Daily, both of which continue to achieve record audiences this year. We know more about our audiences than we ever have.

“Our ambition has been to work with market-leading data partners who deliver industry specialised offerings. The partnerships with Quantium, Eyeota and Greater Data help us become smarter with our targeting. They’re about extending our current capabilities to develop deeper, more effective solutions for advertisers, and they’re about getting the balance right so advertisers know who they’re engaging with, and reaching the people they want to, at scale. That’s the power of partnering with 10.

“When we re-launched our sales team last year, we said we were accelerating our data strategy and that we were going to invest in a premium and differentiated data offering. With the support of CBS’ systems and technology, we have achieved this in less than a year.”

The partnership with Quantium will provide access to Q.Segments, which accurately predict purchase behaviour and intent across a range of FMCG, retail, travel, lifestyle and household categories.

Quantium’s executive – media Lawrence Puang said: “Quantium is proud to be partnering with another world class media company, Network 10. Advertisers can now leverage more than 400 Q.Segments on Network 10 platforms. Powered by more than 2.5 billion annual retail transactions, Q.Segments help advertisers reach their audience at the right time, with the right message, and with unrivalled accuracy and efficiency.”

The partnership with Eyeota will unlock access to an extensive range of premium data sources, including purchase behaviour and intent that spans all financial institutions.

Eyeota’s senior manager ANZ, data supply Jimmy Aoun said: “We are excited to leverage our premium data partnerships to enhance Network 10’s understanding of their data and create new and exciting audience solutions. By linking premium intelligent purchase behaviour and intent data with Eyeota’s more than four billion unique user profiles worldwide and Network 10’s mass audience, we’re able to support Network 10’s position as data-driven leaders in the media & entertainment sector.”

The partnership with Greater Data will arm 10 at its core, providing robust, premium quality demographic data from a multitude of sources.

Greater Data’s founder and managing director Georgie Brook said: “Greater Data’s strength is the breadth of our partnerships and the intelligent way we maintain our data assets. This partnership with 10 gives us the opportunity to lift previously offline datasets into digital media, at scale.”

Further data partnerships will be announced soon. The announcement of these partnerships follows the launch of 10’s addressable advertising solution on 1 July.

Podcast Week

• Sportsbet, The Australian, SMH & Age, Whooshkaa

By James Manning

Sportsbet’s Special Delivery for racing fans

Sportsbet’s suite of podcasts has expanded with the addition of 16-time Group 1 winning jockey Simon Marshall’s Special Delivery podcast.

The likes of Damien Oliver, Hugh Bowman, Craig Williams and Kerryn McEvoy all feature in the series, with a new episode landing each week on iTunes, Spotify and YouTube throughout the Spring Racing Calendar.

First off the ranks is a man who has achieved all there is to do in Australian racing, three-time Melbourne Cup winner and 117-time Group 1 winning jockey, Damien Oliver.

He takes his great mate Simon Marshall through the significant ups, and some of the downs of his remarkable career, expanding on the dark period of 2012 where he was dealt a 10-month suspension for betting on a race, his 15-month layoff due to a spinal injury, the tragic loss of his brother Jason, and what it feels like to be coming up the Flemington straight sitting atop a Melbourne Cup winning horse.

“At Sportsbet, we regularly provide tips and insight on our social channels, podcasts and TV shows like Three Wide No Cover and Insider Trading, but now we’re providing a peep through the curtain into the lives of the biggest names in racing. I’m hoping the fans enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed interviewing,” said Sportsbet’s racing ambassador, Simon Marshall.

The Australian announces new property podcast with Westpac

The Australian this week launched a new six-part podcast series On The Fence in partnership with Westpac.

To help Australians unpack the current property market, the new podcast series tackles the issues central to the economic future and prosperity.

On The Fence is hosted by The Australian’s economics editor and award-winning journalist, Adam Creighton, who will apply his opinion and fresh insights to a topic that dominates discussion across the country.

Joining Creighton is demographer and The Australian columnist Bernard Salt, author and historian George Megalogenis, property economist Nerida Conisbee and financial commentator Peter Switzer.

Creighton said: “We are excited to launch a podcast that offers a range of perspectives on important topics including investing, affordable housing and the future of Australia’s capital cities. Each week, we will enlist the help of two expert guests with contrasting viewpoints, who will join me to discuss the issues that matter to our audience.”

On The Fence will run for six weeks, with a new episode released each Wednesday.

Listen to On The Fence here.

The Sydney Morning Herald & The Age launch new crime podcast

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age this week launched a new podcast, The Last Voyage of the Pong Su.

The 10-episode series details the true story of a diplomatic crisis involving the North Korean government and a plot linked to an Asian crime syndicate to import the biggest-ever shipment of heroin into Victoria in 2003, and The Wire-style federal police operation that brought it undone.

Presented by The Age investigative journalist, Richard Baker, The Last Voyage of the Pong Su comes from the team behind the award-winning Wrong Skin and Phoebe’s Fall podcasts.

“We have really tried to push the limits of how a podcast can sound with this one,” said Baker. “The Pong Su story is like an action movie but we have told it through the lenses of the little fish caught up in it. And to have access to bugged conversations, to hear a criminal conspiracy unfold in real time, is exciting.”

James Chessell, executive editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, said: “Richard isn’t interested in following the pack with his podcasts. Telling great yarns is at the heart of what he does, but he also wants to challenge our audience, to take them somewhere unexpected.

“In The Last Voyage of the Pong Su, Richard and our award-winning podcast team live up to the high standards set in Phoebe’s Fall and Wrong Skin. We’re immensely proud of our storytelling through the podcast medium.”

Listen to The Last Voyage of the Pong Su here.

Whooshkaa opens access to Stitcher’s stable of stars

My Favorite Murder, Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, The Bill Simmons Podcast and Freakonomics Radio are among the properties Whooshkaa has added in a partnership with Midroll Media, the advertising arm of US podcast giant Stitcher.

The deal will make Stitcher’s top-tier podcast inventory available to advertisers in Australia.

Midroll is the world’s largest podcast advertising network, representing more than 250 plus shows downloaded more than 150 million times a month by an affluent, educated demographic.

“Stitcher is thrilled to bring our decade of expertise in the podcasting space to Australia, a market with an active and growing podcast fanbase,” said Sarah van Mosel, chief revenue officer at Stitcher. “Whooshkaa is an excellent partner with unparalleled insights into the Australian marketplace and will help to connect new brands and audiences with our roster of some of the biggest names in podcasting.”

Whooshkaa CEO Rob Loewenthal said advertisers were increasingly connecting with rising numbers of loyal, affluent, media-savvy listeners.

“Messages spoken and endorsed by a popular host have unbeatable cut-through,” Loewenthal said. “Audiences are all ears for hosts such as Oprah Winfrey (Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations), Stephen J. Dubner (Freakonomics Radio), Bill Simmons and My Favourite Murder’s Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark.

“Engaged listeners love these shows and the hundreds of others available from Stitcher,” he said. “The take-up of podcasting is growing exponentially, and that’s good news for Whooshkaa’s podcasters and advertisers.”

Bondi Vet: Coast to Coast comes to Nine on October 11

Follow the adventures of Alex Hynes, Danni Dusek, Lewis Hunt and Peter Ricci when Bondi Vet: Coast to Coast premieres this Friday, 7.30pm on Nine.

The show will provide a unique insight into the heartwarming, heartbreaking and rewarding world of four special vets dedicated to caring for animals every day.

Nine has provided a sneak peek at the shows newest vets:

Dr Alex Hynes is an emergency veterinarian who is always in the thick of the action at Brisbane’s Animal Emergency Service. When she is not saving lives in the emergency room she is pursuing her other passion, health and fitness.

Dr Peter Ricci, the Perth-based veterinarian, lives and breathes animals as he works around the clock in the emergency hospital at Murdoch University and at Perth Zoo, as well as looking after his own menagerie of animals at home.

In Sydney, we follow Dr Lewis Hunt who was destined to be a vet – he is the son of one. He runs his practice on the Northern Beaches, adored by clients for his warmth and wholehearted approach to his work.

Dr Danni Dusek in Melbourne, is the new darling of the series, with an emotional and candid approach to the job and her clients. With such passion for animals, Dr Danni is loved by all.

Joining the team will also be the tenacious Dr Kate Adams. No ordinary veterinarian, she runs the ever busy Bondi Vet Hospital and works tirelessly to ensure pets and other animals always get the treatment they require.

This program is produced by WTFN for Nine.

Publicis Groupe will give staff the day off on Mental Health Day

In support of World Mental Health Day, Publicis Groupe Australia and New Zealand today announced it will close its doors for the day on October 10 and their 1,800 employees of the marketing, communication and digital transformation group will be given the day off. 

Michael Rebelo, CEO, Publicis Groupe ANZ, said: “Publicis Groupe is absolutely committed to ensuring our people can thrive in a mentally healthy workplace.”

Publicis Groupe ANZ’s Next Generation Board’s aim is to create a positive community impact by identifying and addressing social initiatives that intersect with the business.

Michael Rebelo, CEO, Publicis Groupe ANZ

The program also includes quarterly happiness health check surveys used to develop wellness initiatives, mental health first aid training, an employee assistance program, and a broader series of events leading up to 10 October. This includes yoga, meditation and boxing classes for staff; as well as ongoing initiatives throughout the year.

The mental health program covers Publicis Groupe’s businesses including Arc, Digitas, Digitas Affinity ID, Herd MSL, Leo Burnett, Marcel, MBM, MercerBell, Performics, Prodigious, Publicis Sapient, Publicis Sport & Entertainment, Saatchi & Saatchi, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith. 

“The happiness and health of our people is paramount to Publicis Groupe, and we wanted to give our people the day to reflect and focus on their own mental health,” said Pauly Grant, Chief Talent Officer, Publicis Groupe ANZ. 

Publicis Groupe Next Generation Board member Bianca Wallis said the mental health program was inspired by research from the social purpose organisation UnLtd and Publicis Groupe ANZ’s own staff surveys.

Finalists announced for the SEMrush Australian Search Awards

SEMrush announced today the finalists for this year’s SEMrush AU Search Awards, which celebrate the success of online marketing professionals in Australia.

The SEMrush awards ceremony will be hosted by singer, performer and television presenter, David Campbell, OAM, at a gala dinner at Sydney Opera House on November 12, 2019.

Over two hundred brands, agencies and freelancers that have significantly improved their online presence in Australia in the past year have entered this year’s awards, after a highly successful inaugural event last year, hosted by Osher Günsberg.

Olga Andrienko, Head of Global Marketing at SEMrush, said: “The SEMrush Australian Search Awards set out to shine a light on the amazing work and outstanding content produced by the very talented digital marketing community in Australia. We have been overwhelmed by the extraordinary quality of the entries this year and we look forward to finding out who the winners are. We’re planning a few surprises to make the ceremony even more memorable and are looking forward to another amazing event hosted by David Campbell.”

David Campbell

The judging panel includes Lyndon Barnett (Vodafone), Shefali Joshi (Monash University), Jeremy Cabral (Finder) and Jeremy Brook (Deliveroo).

The full list of the 22 categories and their award finalists.

TV Ratings Analysis: October 9

• Gruen debates celebrity endorsements: From George to Carrie
• The Block gets wet as storm dumps on studio week, day three
• The Bachelorette launches up 22% YOY, #1 in all key demos
+Hamish Blake cameo, Julia Zemiro & Costas, Struggle Street returns

Wednesday Week 41 2019

By James Manning

• Seven News 934,000/874,000
• Nine News 775,000/792,000
• A Current Affair 707,000
• ABC News 624,000
• 7.30 578,000
• The Project 261,000/465,000
• 10 News First 331,000
• The Drum 155,000
• SBS World News 145,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 259,000
• Today 199,000


After two evenings close to 640,000, Home and Away was on 573,000.

Bride & Prejudice: The Forbidden Weddings featured lie detector tests with 397,000 watching.

Episode five of Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions did 267,000 after 273,000 a week ago.


A Current Affair has found an Australian Basil Fawlty who gives as good as he gets in online reviews. The mid-week episode did 707,000 after 669,000 on Tuesday.

A literal storm hit The Block last night on an episode that also featured the charity challenge. The episode did 855,000, close to last week’s 853,000.

After the opening two nights of Love Island saw the audience slide from 494,000 to 357,000 the Wednesday episode was on 290,000. However Nine has detailed how the series is up significantly on last year when factoring in national numbers and the 9Now audience.


The Project should have pushed higher because of a special appearance from Angie Kent. But it was still well short of half a million with 465,000 watching.

The former Gogglebox star then starred in the season return of The Bachelorette. Viewers saw Angie prepping for the series and then the love quest got underway with the arrival of the first contestants. Timm started well, arriving with a massive bunch of sunflowers with plenty of opening night drama later in the episode. The format launched with 717,000 after a 2018 launch audience of 631,000.

Network 10’s head of network programming Dan Monaghan commented this morning: “What a fantastic launch for Angie’s season of The Bachelorette – up 22% year on year nationally and smashed all the demos as the #1 show of the night in under 50s and all key demos (16 to 39s, 18 to 49s and 25 to 54s).

“We’re absolutely thrilled with the result for what is the best season of The Bachelorette yet. Angie is funny, warm and authentic, we can’t wait for the rest of the country to follow fairytale.”

The 2018 Aussie movie Swinging Safari followed with Guy Pearce, Kylie Minogue, Radha Mitchell, Julian McMahon, Asher Keddie and Jeremy Sims. That wasn’t enough to draw a crowd of more than 213,000.


Leigh Sales was speaking on 7.30 with Michael Parkinson ahead of his speaking tour. The episode was on 578,000.

Julia Zemiro launched a new season of Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery with the wonderful Costas Georgiadis with a tour of the eastern suburbs. The program offered a surprise North Bondi RSL performance at the end for the audience of 595,000.

Gruen then spent close to its first 20 minutes with an hilarious look at Blackmores vitamins and celebrity endorsements. Some of the vitamin spruiking work of Carrie Bickmore and George Calombaris was discussed and the episode ended with a tribute to the former Swisse vitamin ambassador Calombaris. The episode was on 715,000 after 755,000 last week.

The series final of Utopia ended with the usual government department confusion about an Infrastructure Future Fund. A bearded Hamish Blake turned up as a motivational speaker for the team at the end of the episode. He was talking about winning the Gold Logie, but how he felt nothing inside. “What’s the point,” he said with a shrug of his shoulders. The final episode did 571,000 after 599,000 last week.

Boy and Bear were then one of the artists on The Set with 129,000 watching.


Tony Robinson’s Britain’s Ancient Tracks was in the Peak District with 243,000 watching.

A new season of Struggle Street followed with families from various places in the Riverina district. There has been much less controversy surrounding this season. The opening night audience was 259,000, the channel’s best figure for the night. The format debuted back in 2015 with sensational tabloid coverage and an audience that comes with that – 935,000.

Week 41 TV: Wednesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 13.4% 7 16.9% 9 18.1% 10  15.2% SBS One 5.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.2% 7TWO 3.6% GO! 3.3% 10 Bold 5.0% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 0.9% 7mate 2,4% GEM 3.2% 10 Peach 2.1% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix 1.4% 9Life 1.7%     NITV 0.1%
    7Food 0.8%         SBS World Movies 0.6%
TOTAL 17.8%   25.1%   26.4%   22.3%   8.5%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.7% 7 16.8% 9 14.3% WIN 12.4% SBS One 4.9%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.8% 7TWO 4.3% GO! 4.2% WIN Bold 6.3% VICELAND 1.7%
ABC ME 1.0% 7mate 4.0% GEM 5.3% WIN Peach 2.0% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.4% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.9% 9Life 2.3% Sky News  on WIN 2.1% NITV 0.2%
    7food (QLD only) 0.2%            
TOTAL 16.0%   27.2%   26.1%   22.9%   7.8%


85.2% 14.8%
Wednesday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 934,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 874,000
  3. The Block Nine 855,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 792,000
  5. Nine News Nine 775,000
  6. The Bachelorette Australia Launch 10 716,000
  7. Gruen ABC 715,000
  8. A Current Affair Nine 707,000
  9. ABC News ABC 624,000
  10. Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery ABC 595,000
  11. 7.30 ABC 578,000
  12. Home And Away Seven 573,000
  13. Utopia ABC 571,000
  14. The Chase Australia Seven 525,000
  15. The Project 7PM 10 465,000
  16. Hot Seat Nine 404,000
  17. Bride & Prejudice The Forbidden Weddings Seven 397,000
  18. 10 News First 10 331,000
  19. The Chase Australia 5PM Seven 311,000
  20. Love Island Australia Nine 290,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. The Bachelorette Australia Launch 10 273,000
  2. The Block Nine 190,000
  3. Gruen ABC 124,000
  4. The Project 7PM 10 119,000
  5. Love Island Australia Nine 111,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. The Bachelorette Australia Launch 10 417,000
  2. The Block Nine 366,000
  3. The Project 7PM 10 206,000
  4. Gruen ABC 197,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 188,000


25-54 Top Five

The Bachelorette Australia Launch 10 431,000

The Block Nine 424,000

Nine News 6:30 Nine 244,000

Seven News Seven 241,000

Gruen ABC 237,000

WEDNESDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 167,000
  2. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 156,000
  3. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 154,000
  4. Border Security Australia’s Front Line 7TWO141,000
  5. Border Security Australia’s Front Line 7TWO 138,000
  6. Agatha Christie’s Marple 9Gem 123,000
  7. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 122,000
  8. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  9. PJ Masks AMABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  10. Octonauts AMABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  11. Battle Los Angeles 9GO! 114,000
  12. Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 110,000
  13. Bing AMABCKIDS/COMEDY 110,000
  14. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 110,000
  15. Rusty Rivets AMABCKIDS/COMEDY 107,000
  16. Pawn Stars PM7mate 107,000
  17. DCI Banks 9Gem 107,000
  18. NCIS Late (R) 10 Bold 105,000
  19. Peppa Pig AMABCKIDS/COMEDY 104,000
  20. Lah Lah’s Stripy Sock Club AMABCKIDS/COMEDY 103,000
  1. Gogglebox Australia Lifestyle Channel136,000
  2. Live: RWC: Wal V Fij FOX SPORTS 503 116,000
  3. Love It Or List It Australia Lifestyle Channel107,000
  4. Live: RWC Post Game: Wal V Fij FOX SPORTS 503 98,000
  5. Richo & Jones Sky News Live 63,000
  6. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 62,000
  7. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 59,000
  8. Live: RWC Pre Game: Wal V Fij FOX SPORTS 503 54,000
  9. Credlin Sky News Live 46,000
  10. Blue Bloods TVH!TS 43,000
  11. Find Me A Beach House Lifestyle Channel 43,000
  12. Kid E Cats Nick Jr. 39,000
  13. Live: RWC: Sco V Rus FOX SPORTS 50338,000
  14. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 35,000
  15. Escape To The Chateau Lifestyle Channel 34,000
  16. Location, Location, Location Lifestyle Channel 33,000
  17. NCIS TVH!TS 31,000
  18. Family Guy FOX8 31,000
  19. Shaun The Sheep Nick Jr. 31,000
  20. PML Later Sky News Live 31,000

Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

Michelle Guthrie’s ABC exit: new legal cost revealed

Taxpayers can add another $233,913 to the $1.3m bill the ABC paid to get rid of Aunty’s former managing director Michelle Guthrie, reports The Australian’s Will Glasgow.

Previously secret documents show the ABC’s external lawyers Minter Ellison were paid $233,913 at the end of January for their work advising then ABC chair Kirstin Ferguson and her boardmates in their legal dispute with Guthrie.

Readers might remember that the ABC tenure of Guthrie – a one-time Google executive in Singapore – came to an abrupt end in September 2018 when the then ABC chair Justin Milne sacked her for not being, in his and the board’s opinion, up to the job.

The ABC didn’t end up settling with Guthrie until March.

That was after the intervention of investment banker Simon Mordant – a former ABC board member – who helped negotiate an additional $500,000 for Guthrie in return for her future non-disparagement of the public broadcaster and its current and former board members.

The $500,000 top-up from taxpayers was in addition to the earlier $800,000 that Guthrie was paid after her September dismissal.

[Read the original]

SBS boss lashes media tokenism and 'tick-box' diversity

SBS managing director James Taylor is set to call on the media industry to avoid a “tick-box” approach to diversity and instead look at genuine efforts to tell the stories of a multicultural country, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

In a speech to be delivered on Thursday evening, seen in advance by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Taylor criticises the media for failing to represent diversity accurately.

“Too often, when it comes to reporting and representation in the media, the nuances of communities are not reflected, and stereotypes prevail,” a copy of his speech says.

“Whilst I applaud the recent awakening at other media operators that diversity is in equal measure important and lacking, for SBS this has long been a hygiene factor. It is just simply the way we operate,” he says.

SBS is now set to launch a new feature for streaming app SBS On Demand to allow non-English language logins and navigation.

As part of his speech, Taylor will be revealing this new initiative which he describes as a “first” in Australia. He’s also hoping to expand the language options on the app, which offers Chinese and Arabic options at the moment.

[Read the original]

ABC to 'review' property portfolio amid funding pressure

ABC managing director David Anderson has found millions of dollars in cost savings across the public broadcaster and is now looking to review the taxpayer-funded organisation’s property holdings as he grapples with a funding freeze, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

Anderson has been reviewing ways to save $84 million over the next three years after an indexation pause was revealed by the Turnbull government in the 2018 federal budget, with $40 million a year in savings needed from the 2021 financial year.

In an email to staff on Wednesday he said the broadcaster had so far managed to cut $17 million in annual expenses from 2021 onwards and was looking into other initiatives.

In June, Queensland Liberal senator James McGrath said the ABC’s headquarters in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane should be sold. The ABC has 37 properties and Senator McGrath claimed 81 per cent of the portfolio’s $522 million value is tied up in these capital cities.

[Read the original]

Competition boss warns Australia must act to thwart tech takeovers

Competition tsar Rod Sims has warned Australia will be left behind if the government does not give it fresh powers to block mergers and acquisitions involving tech titans as its global counterparts unite behind the proposal, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

Following an 18 month inquiry into digital platforms such as Google and Facebook, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has asked for new laws allowing it to block tech giants from buying startups, if the acquisition risks thwarting a potential competitor from being created.

The digital giants have opposed additional oversight of their future merger plans as potentially damaging to the Australian tech sector.

Sims told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that when he convened a meeting in New York in September of about eight global competition regulatory bodies to talk about common approaches “everybody was keen to do that”.

[Read the original]


AWMA winners: Women in music take a bow on their night of nights

A year after co-hosting the inaugural Australian Women in Music Awards, two of the nation’s leading artistic voices have been recognised for their significant career achievements, reports The Australian’s Andrew McMillan.

In Brisbane on Wednesday night, singer Christine Anu took home awards for artistic excellence and diversity in music, while singer-songwriter Katie Noonan (pictured) received the award for creative leadership.

Katie Noonan

As well, Noonan performed a tribute to the 2019 AWMA honour roll inductee, Judith Durham of folk-pop group The Seekers, who was unable to attend in person but accepted the accolade via video link from Melbourne.

Singer-songwriter Joy McKean received a lifetime achievement award for her extensive work within the country music realm alongside her husband, Slim Dusty, who died in 2003, while at the other end of a life’s work Melbourne-based musician Alice Skye took home the emerging artist award.

[Read the original]

See a complete list of the AWMA winners here.

News Brands

'Congratulations Mrs Nassif' meme star sues Seven over report

Her husband’s lavish gift of a bright yellow Lamborghini elevated Nisserine “Nissy” Nassif to social media fame that spurred a torrent of send-ups, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Angus Thompson.

Now the wife of western Sydney developer Jean Nassif is suing the Seven Network over a news report that took aim at the finances of the non-profit organisation the pair founded, Wiping Tears Charitable Foundation.

Mrs Nassif, whose husband’s zealous cry of “congratulations Mrs Nassif” spawned a popular meme, has launched defamation proceedings in the Federal Court alleging the February 2019 Seven News broadcast portrayed her as running a charity under false claims.

Court documents allege the network made out the charity as having raised $210,000 for the “stated aim” of helping struggling families but only spent $5000.

In its defence, Seven denies the portrayals alleged by Mrs Nassif and the charity were capable of being conveyed by the story. It further claims that if it is found to have portrayed Mrs Nassif and the charity in the way alleged, the report was justified by the defence of truth.

[Read the original]

Kerri-Anne Kennerley suggests running over climate change protesters

Studio 10 host Kerri-Anne Kennerley has slammed climate change protesters, suggesting motorists should “use them as a speed bump”, reports’s Frank Chung.

Kennerley made the comments on the Channel 10 show after a news story about arrests of Extinction Rebellion protesters currently disrupting traffic and services across the country as part of a week-long “Spring Rebellion”.

“Personally, I would leave them all super glued to wherever they do it,” she said.

“The guy hanging from the Story Bridge. Why send emergency services? Leave him there until he gets himself out. No emergency services should help them, nobody should do anything, and you just put little witches hats around them, or use them as a speed bump.”

Realising she may have gone too far, she said, “Oh, we’re going to get into trouble! Is that wrong?” She added, “Put them in jail, forget to feed them. Some of the aged care homes around Australia, that would really sort them out.”

A Channel 10 spokesman said, “This morning on Studio 10 Kerri-Anne Kennerly made comments regarding climate protesters that were said in jest. Before the show concluded, Sarah Harris reiterated the tone of her remarks, affirming that Kerri-Anne wasn’t inciting violence.”

[Read the original]


ABC appointment: Aidan Laverty appointed ABC head of specialist

The ABC has appointed award-winning creative, commissioner and producer Aidan Laverty as head of specialist, overseeing content across the genres of arts, science, health and technology, religion and ethics, education and society and culture.

Since joining the ABC in 2017 to relaunch flagship science program Catalyst, Laverty has been influential in the creation of shows such as Gut Revolution, Feeding Australia, The Great Australian Bee Keeping Challenge, Staying Younger for Longer and this year’s Stargazing: Moonand Beyond celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Michael Carrington, ABC Director of Entertainment & Specialist, said: “The ABC’s specialist content is at the heart of our duty to inform, educate and entertain all Australians. Aidan’s wealth of experience in public broadcasting, particularly in driving digital innovation and creativity, will ensure we continue to tell important stories to audiences that impact their daily lives and the world around them.”

Aidan Laverty

Aidan Laverty said: “I’m really thrilled to be taking on this new role. Specialist is home to so many talented people across radio, television and digital and what we do has never been more important to the ABC.  I’m looking forward to working together to find new ways to inform, delight and surprise our audiences.”

Laverty will start in his new role on 10 October.

Laverty joined the ABC in May 2017 as executive producer of Catalyst. In 2018, he was appointed manager of the ABC’s newly-created specialist science genre, working with our leading journalists, producers and digital creators.

Prior to joining the ABC, Laverty was specialist factual commissioner at the BBC, where he launched series such as Make It Digital, The Truth About, Natural Wonders, The Secrets of Quantum Physics and Girls Can Code. He was also Editor of the BBC’s science program Horizon and launched The Secret Life of the Cat, Science Under Attack and Eat Fast and Live Longer, which helped spark the 5:2 diet phenomena. He also developed the long-running BBC series Trust Me I’m a Doctor.

Ratings season's tail end, when reality TV feels prehistoric

We’re on the home straight, the final run of programs before the November conclusion of the official ratings season, a period sometimes colourfully referred to as “the back end”. This is the time when the commercial free-to-air networks stage their last bursts for the year, reports The Age’s Debi Enker.

They’re now approaching the critical period in which advertising rates are negotiated for the coming year and victory brings a certain prestige, bragging rights and a promotional advantage. For Seven and Nine, again wrestling for domination this year, it’s a tussle so close that every point counts.

But as the commercial broadcasters trot out their offerings – loudly and proudly plugging what’s just arrived and what’s to come – it has to be said that, overall, it isn’t a selection destined to send the spirits soaring with giddy anticipation. Nor is it likely to alter the views of those who darkly predict that free-to-air television is a dinosaur simply marking time until its inevitable extinction.

[Read the original]

Playing for Keeps: Art imitates life for TV star Olympia Valance

There she was. Standing in a gaggle of WAGs wearing a floor-length, red fur coat and knee-high boots, watching her AFL beau out on the field.

It could have been a scene from Network 10’s drama Playing for Keeps, but for the show’s star, Olympia Valance, this was real life. Since Valance began dating Essendon ruckman Tom Bellchambers earlier this year, she has noticed how often her personal life can mirror that of Tahlia Woods, the feisty character she plays on screen, reports The Age’s Siobhan Duck.

Like Tahlia, Valance has a naughty sense of humour. She is also a savvy entrepreneur who has gained a huge social media following – and a variety of sponsorship deals – since finding fame on Ramsay Street in 2014. And she shares her character’s passion for flamboyant fashion.

“Every time I go to the football, I always seem to dress up a bit Tahlia-like and stick out like a sore thumb,” she laughs. “It is weird. It really is. And I honestly never thought I would go out with a footballer.

“Obviously it is dramatised, but I have gone to a few games and you can see similarities. You can see who the Tahlia of the group is. And the wives and girlfriends of players all go out for dinners and lunches,” she says.

When we last saw Tahlia, Kath (Madeleine West) and the other WAGs at the Playing for Keeps fictional Southern Jets Football Club, most of their relationships were in tatters. Yet, Valance laughs, when the show returns for season two on October 16, they are all still “lurking around the club”.

[Read the original]


'I don’t apologise for that': Jon Faine leaves ABC with no regrets

ABC broadcaster Jon Faine is renowned for criticising his own bosses. But on the eve of his retirement, the veteran radio presenter has revealed he hasn’t always gotten away with it, reports The Age’s Broede Carmody.

“I’ve been hauled over the coals quite a few times,” the 63-year-old says. “I’ve been sat down and told, what do you think you’re doing? And I always argue, well, I’m doing what you employed me to do. Which is to say what I think on the audience’s behalf and to give them an authentic experience. We should not be so glass-jawed and thin-skinned that we can’t ask ourselves the same questions we ask of everybody else.”

Strangely, this isn’t the first time Faine is preparing to hang up his headphones. In 1994, the broadcaster’s afternoon program on 3LO (as ABC Radio Melbourne was then known) was given the chop. But ABC management asked him to come back two years later.

“Back then, it was very much the practice of ABC Radio to turn presenters over every couple of years,” he says. “No one lasted long. And so the idea that someone has been in the job like this for 23 years is, quite frankly, hilarious.”

On Friday, Faine will farewell listeners after more than two decades hosting his popular mornings timeslot – a much longer period of time than the “decent” four or five year stint he asked for when returning to ABC Radio in 1997. This farewell, of course, will be different – the veteran broadcaster hasn’t been sacked. Instead, he is passing on the baton to respected television host Virginia Trioli.

[Read the original]

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