Friday October 2, 2020

Nova Entertainment dominates Covid-free metro markets

By James Manning

• Paul Jackson on hiring Joel Creasy and how he changed drive

Nova Entertainment ratings highlights GfK Survey 6 2020

• Nova is most listened to metro network with a cume of 3,440,100
• Nova #1 national drive show (4-6pm) in share (9.8%) and cume (1,380,600)
• Nova’s Smallzy’s Surgery 54 consecutive wins #1 national nights share & cume
• smoothfm 95.3 #1FM station Sydney in share (9.9%) and cume (1,042,000)
• Nova 919’s Ben & Liam Adelaide’s #1FM breakfast share and cume
• Fiveaa’s David & Will #1 breakfast in Adelaide share of 15.4%
• Nova 106.9 is Brisbane’s #1 station share (11.5%) and cume (593,000)
• Nova 106.9’s Ash, Kip, Luttsy & Susie O’Neill #1 breakfast share and cume
• Nova 93.7 is Perth’s #1 station share (12.9%) and cume (590,000)
• Nova 93.7’s Nathan, Nat & Shaun #1 Perth breakfast share and cume

Like his competitors at other networks, Nova Entertainment’s chief programming and marketing officer Paul Jackson agreed that the results from the first radio ratings in six months all seemed to make sense given the backdrop.

“It’s a credit to the system really, even factoring in we are 100% e-diary in Melbourne. The ratings have captured the exact sentiment of what is actually going on. Music and entertainment shows were down at the expense of stations like the ABC and 3AW. Some of the stations like Nova and KIIS were up a bit mid-mornings and then there was a dramatic drop off later in the day when people gravitated to television for the next update.

“It all makes total sense. As we are coming out of it I’m sure we’ll see a return to better numbers.” Jackson was feeling confident that by survey 8, 2020, assuming the Covid numbers don’t spike, that the FM music numbers will closer to their usual share of the market.

In Sydney the roads are quieter at the beginning and the end if the day and you wonder about the longer-term impact. We were nervous coming into this, but we now expect to soon be doing as well as we were doing pre-covid.”

Nova had strong results outside of Sydney and Melbourne. “Brisbane and Perth we are #1 cume and #1 share and # breakfast show. There’s been tough competition with a lot of activity around us.

“In Adelaide Ben and Liam have been on for eight months and they continue to offer sensational content. If you don’t follow them on Instagram you should, as they are absolutely brilliant. They are funny, cheeky, charming guys. They relate to everybody and the audience has taken them to their hearts. We have been plugging away in Adelaide for a number of years trying to get a breakfast share that would match Mix. We had to be relatively satisfied with coming in just behind, but you can see now with the cumes we have a #1 breakfast share inside a year. I’ve not seen anyone do that before and it is an outstanding performance.

Nova has had a good run with changes to Adelaide breakfast and national drive that seem to have gone smoothly, so far.

“It just shows you what you can do when you get the right talent. On our drive show Joel Creasy has settled in brilliantly well. We now have a new fresh, upbeat, optimistic, different dynamic of a show. When you get it right audiences respond pretty quickly.

Choosing Joel: It was easy

“Joel was genuinely our first choice,” said Jackson. “When Marty decided to leave, the first conversation that Kate, Tim and I had was an amusing one in the way it ended up.

“I said I had someone in mind and they said they had also been talking and they had someone in mind too. It was like, you show me yours and I’ll show you mine. We wrote them down and compared names and we both had Joel Creasy. We reached out to him and then did some work behind the scenes and we have a show with great rapport and chemistry. It all came together very quickly.

“He is someone we had looked at before, and this time we were able to turn it around in just a couple of weeks.

“He has breathed new life and energy into the program, sometimes shows need that. Introducing a new dynamic to a show can be difficult and it can go one of two ways – it either falls flat or if it clicks it means it is exceeding people’s expectations and it generally goes really well.”

Since Creasy’s arrival it seems to have lifted the performance of the whole Nova drive team. “They are out of their comfort zone,” said Jackson. “By that I mean the rapport with Marty was so easy after a number of years. When someone new comes in you have to up your game.”

Jackson said the dynamic of the drive show had changed from two boys picking on Kate to three mates now making fun of each other and having a good laugh. “There’s a lot more positivity and an upbeat feeling which is exactly where we want to be.”

Jackson said the audience already senses how well the three already get on with each other. “It’s also a bit more PC which is appropriate for the times we live in.”

Major line-up changes don’t happen a lot. Before this year the newest Nova show was Chrissie, Sam and Browny for Nova 100 breakfast which launched five years ago. This year there have been two – Ben and Liam in at Nova Adelaide, and Joel Creasy in at Nova national drive. “We haven’t made any changes in Sydney, Brisbane or Perth and we don’t intend to.

“There will also be no changes on smoothfm and why would we?”

How ARN maintained ‘always on’ content strategy during pandemic

By James Manning

• Duncan Campbell on ARN’s #1 FM shows and coming out of Covid-19

ARN ratings highlights GfK Survey 6 2020

• Gold 104.3 #1FM station for the sixth consecutive survey
• Christian O’Connell breakfast #1FM for third consecutive survey
• GOLD 104.3 #1FM with 1,038,000 listeners
• Kyle & Jackie O Show and Jonesy & Amanda #1 and #2 FM breakfast
• Kyle & Jackie O Show #1 FM breakfast for 14th consecutive survey
• Mix 102.3 #1 overall for fourth consecutive survey share and cume
• Mix 102.3 #1 overall mornings, afternoons and weekends, #1 FM drive
• 4KQ # AM and #1 commercial AM breakfast with Laurel, Gary and Mark

“My view is radio has weathered the storm very well,” ARN’s national content director Duncan Campbell told Mediaweek.

If you take radio listening nationally there has been little movement. There has been changes obviously in terms of at home and in car, especially in Melbourne with the tighter restrictions impacting on lifestyle.

“ARN came out of it particularly well given the circumstances. It didn’t have the overall impact it could have had if the Melbourne Covid impact was seen around the country. When you look at the Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth results you could even be forgiven for asking if there was a pandemic. It remains a tight race in Brisbane, we continue to do well in Adelaide and Perth is continuing to improve.

“Even in Sydney there are highlights with Kyle and Jackie O doing very strong numbers in breakfast where they are now the second most-listened to breakfast show in the country in terms of cume. They have only been beaten by 3AW. WSFM has also been very strong for us as well.”

Campbell noted while there were drops in Melbourne, Gold’s ranking is still very strong. “Gold remains #1 FM station 10+ and #1 FM breakfast. In morning, afternoon and drive it is #1 FM and the #1 FM cume overall. That in isolation is a great result.”

The ARN programmer also pointed out there is unlikely to be any ongoing ratings trends from the results this week. “The pandemic is going to pass. There will be some residual impacts which will be permanent, like more flexible working arrangements. Things won’t go back exactly to the way they were prior to the pandemic.

Campbell is keen to see the country moving again and to see consumer confidence lift leading to advertisers spending money.

ARN executives haven’t been travelling as they normally do. “Not being able to get around to the different markets has been challenging. I am a bit tired of the newsreader view you get through Zoom or Teams.

“We have managed to maintain what we call an ‘always on’ content approach during the pandemic. It has paid dividends for us in that we have offered listeners great content this year. The quality of the content hasn’t dropped.”

Particularly compelling was The Kyle and Jackie O Show during the time Jackie went to Melbourne for The Masked Singer and continued broadcasting every day during her quarantine period.”

Google News Showcase
Google News Showcase promising publishers US $1 billion

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, has announced a new partnership with news publishers around the world, including unnamed Australian news companies:

Over the last several years, we’ve taken many steps to support the news industry, from sending 24 billion visits to news websites globally every month, to the Google News Initiative’s US$300 million commitment, including emergency funding for local publishers globally to help with the impact of COVID-19 and our Digital Growth Program aimed at small and medium-sized publishers to accelerate their business growth.

But there is more to do. Today I’m proud to announce Google is building on our long-term support with an initial $1 billion investment in partnerships with news publishers and the future of news.

This financial commitment—our biggest to date—will pay publishers to create and curate high-quality content for a different kind of online news experience. Google News Showcase is a new product that will benefit both publishers and readers: It features the editorial curation of award-winning newsrooms to give readers more insight on the stories that matter, and in the process, helps publishers develop deeper relationships with their audiences.

News Showcase is made up of story panels that will appear initially in Google News on Android. The product will launch soon on Google News on iOS, and will come to Google Discover and Search in the future. These panels give participating publishers the ability to package the stories that appear within Google’s news products, providing deeper storytelling and more context through features like timelines, bullets and related articles. Other components like video, audio and daily briefings will come next.

This approach is distinct from our other news products because it leans on the editorial choices individual publishers make about which stories to show readers and how to present them. It will start rolling out today to readers in Brazil and Germany, and will expand to other countries in the coming months where local frameworks support these partnerships.

We’ve signed partnerships for News Showcase with nearly 200 leading publications across Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the U.K. and Australia. The publications include award-winning national titles like Der Spiegel, Stern, Die Zeit, Folha de S.Paulo, Band and Infobae alongside regionally and locally significant publications such as El Litoral, GZH, WAZ and SooToday. The number of news publications will grow as we work to expand News Showcase to other countries including India, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The business model for newspapers—based on ads and subscription revenue—has been evolving for more than a century as audiences have turned to other sources for news, including radio, television and later, the proliferation of cable television and satellite radio. The internet has been the latest shift, and it certainly won’t be the last. Alongside other companies, governments and civic societies, we want to play our part by helping journalism in the 21st century not just survive, but thrive.

Melbourne Cup
SEN renews spring racing broadcast rights for Melbourne Cup Carnival

SEN and its new SENTrack stations will cover all the racing action this Spring – securing broadcast rights with the VRC for this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Racing fans can tune into the coverage and live race calls across the SEN radio network including 1116 SEN in Melbourne as well as 10 SENTrack stations around the country.

The entire SENTrack team, including six-time Group 1 winning jockey David Taggart and prominent owner and breeder Simon O’Donnell will help bring Flemington to life in loungerooms around the country.

Leading the SEN coverage once again will be SEN chief sports caller Gerard Whateley, who is synonymous with racing.

SENTrack is Australia’s first independent thoroughbred, harness and greyhound radio racing service. It launched earlier this year offering previews, analysis, insights and reviews of key races across the country – with plenty of fun and banter for punters.

SEN’s Melbourne Cup Carnival racing coverage can be heard across SENTrack radio stations:

2020 marks the 90th anniversary of Phar Lap famously thundering down the straight to lift the spirits of a nation during the Great Depression and this year fans are expected to equally embrace the moment as a welcome reprieve from the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Melbourne 1593AM
• Sydney 1539AM
• Brisbane 1053AM
• Gold Coast 1620AM
• Perth 657AM
• Mildura 89.1FM
• Wollongong 575AM
• Gosford 801AM
• Ingham 96.9FM
• Atherton 99.1FM

SEN’s chief commercial officer Pat Moloughney said SEN would provide fans with premium audio broadcast coverage befitting the iconic carnival.

“The excitement of this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival will be like no other and we take it as a great privilege and honour to broadcast the history-making moments of this pinnacle in the annual racing calendar,” Moloughney said.

Coverage can also be live-streamed on the SEN website and SEN app.

Jack Post
Jack Post signs with Brad March management company Marchmedia

Brad March’s talent management company Marchmedia has announced it’s signed Jack Post (pictured) to its roster of radio talent.

Post is well known for his work on the Christian O’Connell show on ARN’s Gold 104.3 where he’s worked for the past two years.

The show recorded its first #1 FM breakfast rating with 9.1% in Survey 7, 2019, just over a year after it launched.

Post is also heard as Cacklin’ Jack on the Hamish and Andy podcast and he also hosts the Jacky Road Podcast series where he chats to guests from his home bedroom studio.

Jack Post started his career in radio at the age of 15 as an announcer on Melbourne community radio station, SYN FM.

Brad March said: “From his work with Hamish and Andy and now with Christian O’Connell, Jack clearly has a brilliant radio career ahead of him, having already worked alongside some of Australia’s best talent, best content directors and producers.”

March also oversees the careers of KIIS FM’s Jackie O Henderson, Nova’s Ben and Liam, SCA’s Abby Coleman, The Chaser and others.

Mercado on TV: All is forgiven Ryan Murphy, new project is superb

By Andrew Mercado

After the wretched Ratched (Netflix), it’s a relief to announce that Ryan Murphy has done a superb job with The Boys In The Band (Netflix). It’s as joyous as can be without shying away from its ugliness, so all is forgiven Ryan Murphy … for now.

Over five decades after the original Broadway play and William Friedkin movie, The Boys In The Band still features an all-gay cast. Only this time, Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto and Matt Bomer can be open about themselves. And fear not that political correctness has killed everything because every slur remains in the text to put that era into context.

Fargo (Thursday on SBS) is back for its fourth season and now comes with a more diverse cast including Chris Rock, Jason Schwartzman and the wonderful Jessie Buckley. This versatile Irish actress, last seen nailing a Russian accent in Chernobyl (Binge), now gets to be wacky with a Minnesota accent as she plays nurse Oraetta Mayflower.

Fargo may be slightly moving away from its original movie setting but the vibe stays the same with vicious crimes in blood splattered snow. Fargo has always been a black comedy, and now it finally features a black crime gang going head to head with an Italian mob.

Chris Rock in Fargo

It was sad to see the excellent Lindy Chamberlain: The True Story (10Play) tank in the ratings, getting less than half the viewers of Murder in the Outback (7Plus). Media Watch (ABC) rightly condemned that show for having no new evidence about Joanne Lees but it seems lurid crime theories are more attractive than the truth.

Now that Further Back in Time for Dinner (iview) has wrapped up, could the ABC be planning another spin on the format, like the BBC have done multiple times? Their latest is Back in Time For The Corner Shop Victorian (Thursday on Lifestyle) and if the ABC isn’t interested in keeping the delightful Ferrone family, Gogglebox Australia (Foxtel and 10) should snap them up instead.

The Heights (iview) finished its second series with a funeral, a wake and a smoking ceremony. Great stuff and the ABC should bring it back for more, but they probably won’t. At the very least, there is a spin-off show there with brothers Ash (Phoenix Raei) and Kam (Yazeed Daher) driving away to a new life, as per the final scene.

Finally, a shout-out to next week’s midday movies on Seven, with the 1941 Humphrey Bogart classic The Maltese Falcon on Thursday, followed the next day by 2015 Shakespeare inspired cowboy telemovie Rodeo & Juliet. That seems to sum up free to air these days – it’s a lucky dip out there and the gems are getting harder to find every year.

Top Photo:  The Boys in the Band cast

TV ratings: Thursday Week 40 2020

By James Manning

• Seven and Port Adelaide are big Thursday winners
• First AFL final second biggest Thursday AFL audience ever
• Seven records best 2020 Thursday, third best 2020 share on any night

Primetime News
Seven News 931,000/787,000
Nine News 925,000/925,000
ABC News 686,000
10 News First 278,000/159,000
SBS World News 158,000

Daily current affairs
A Current Affair 624,000
7.30 466,000
The Project 253,000/409,000
The Drum 186,000

Breakfast TV
Sunrise 251,000
Today 198,000
News Breakfast 196,000

Late night news
Nine News Late 166,000
The Latest 156,000
ABC Late News 120,000
World News Late 103,000

Thursday TV 

Seven: Home and Away got an outing across 90 minutes on the primary channel in Sydney and Brisbane and 7TWO elsewhere. The Thursday audience was 383,000 after a week high of 589,000 on Tuesday.

The AFL Qualifying Final between Geelong and Port Adelaide was Seven’s key to a Thursday win as an NRL-free evening on Nine was a gift to Seven. The match was even at half time, keeping audiences tuned into the second half although Port Adelaide got a second-half lead that was hard to haul back in a low scoring game. Port President David Koch looked well happy sitting in the stand beside long-time Seven West Media comms chief Simon Francis. The football had an audience of 918,000 with 497,000 in Melbourne and 183,000 in Adelaide. The result puts Seven right back on the Week 40 map after Nine won the first four nights. The clash was the second-best Thursday AFL audience ever.

Nine: A Current Affair was on 624,000 after two nights just under 700,000.

The NRL-free Thursday was instead filled with RBT (437,000) and then Paramedics (301,000).

10: The Project was just over 400,000 at 7pm after 546,000 and then 462,000 to start the week.

The second episode of the US version of The Masked Singer was on 225,000 after launching on 285,000 on Wednesday.

Gogglebox was the highlight but it was boxed in behind The Masked Singer. After 654,000 last week, Gogglebox was on 475,000 last night.

ABC: Episode 30 was the season final of the second season of The Heights with an audience of 230,000 at 8pm.

Episode 60 of Escape from the City saw 236,000 watching a family considering a move to Gippsland.

SBS: Michael Mosley has been given a Thursday timeslot for a repeat of Queen Victoria’s Slum launching to 179,000 at 7.30pm.

Episode five of Secrets of the Tower of London then followed with 165,000.

Week 40: Thursday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 9.7% 7 25.9% 9 16.4% 10  9.4% SBS One 4.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.2% 7TWO 4.6% GO! 1.9% 10 Bold 3.3% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 0.4% 7mate 5.9% GEM 2.1% 10 Peach 2.4% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix 2.1% 9Life 2.0% 10 Shake 0.7% NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.2%     SBS World Movies 1.2%
TOTAL 13.6%   38.5%   23.6%   15.9%   8.4%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 9.1% 7 21.6% 9 16.0% WIN 8.9% SBS One 3.9%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.5% 7TWO 6.5% GO! 2.8% WIN Bold 4.4% VICELAND 1.7%
ABC ME 1.2% 7mate 6.1% GEM 3.8% WIN Peach 2.6% Food Net 0.7%
ABC NEWS 1.0% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.8% 9Life 1.7% Sky News  on WIN 2.4% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 1.1%
TOTAL 13.9%   36.9%   24.4%   18.3%   7.6%


84.9% 15.1%
  1. Seven News Seven 931,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 925,000
  3. Nine News Nine 925,000
  4. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football Finals Seven 918,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 787,000
  6. ABC News ABC 686,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 624,000
  8. The Chase Australia Seven 526,000
  9. Gogglebox 10 475,000
  10. 7.30 ABC 466,000
  11. Hot Seat Nine 444,000
  12. RBT Nine 437,000
  13. The Project 7pm 10 409,000
  14. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football Finals – Pre Match Seven 398,000
  15. Home And Away Seven 383,000
  16. Sammy J ABC 325,000
  17. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 306,000
  18. Paramedics -Encore Nine 301,000
  19. 10 News First 10 278,000
  20. Hot Seat -5pm Nine 271,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football Finals Seven 245,000
  2. Gogglebox 10 138,000
  3. Nine News Nine 105,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 99,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 99,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football Finals Seven 368,000
  2. Gogglebox 10 232,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 209,000
  4. Nine News Nine 205,000
  5. Seven News Seven 171,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football Finals Seven 390,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 273,000
  3. Gogglebox 10 262,000
  4. Nine News Nine 261,000
  5. Seven News Seven 223,000
Thursday Multichannel
  1. Seven’s AFL: Thursday Night Football Finals 7mate 238,000
  2. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 207,000
  3. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 160,000
  4. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 155,000
  5. Fireman Sam AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 150,000
  6. Floogals AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  7. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  8. Peter Rabbit PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  9. Kiddets AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 136,000
  10. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  11. Dog Loves Books AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 128,000
  12. Dinosaur Train AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  13. Nella The Princess Knight PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  14. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 122,000
  15. Murdoch Mysteries PM 7TWO 121,000
  16. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  17. Father Brown PM 7TWO 119,000
  18. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 116,000
  19. Love Monster ABCKIDS/COMEDY 112,000
  20. Home And Away 7TWO 108,000
Thursday STV
  1. Live: AFL Qf#1 Port Adelaide V Geelong FOX FOOTY 303,000
  2. Live: Finals Footy On Fox FOX FOOTY 149,000
  3. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 68,000
  4. Credlin Sky News Live 64,000
  5. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 64,000
  6. Alan Jones Sky News Live 57,000
  7. Live: Finals Footy On Fox FOX FOOTY 57,000
  8. PML Later Sky News Live 49,000
  9. Live: First Crack FOX FOOTY 46,000
  10. Chewing The Fat FOX FOOTY 36,000
  11. Live: NBA: Lakers V Heat ESPN 35,000
  12. Fletch And Hindy: South Africa FOX LEAGUE 31,000
  13. Escape To The Country Lifestyle Channel 29,000
  14. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 29,000
  15. Newsday Sky News Live 28,000
  16. NCIS FOX Crime 28,000
  17. Antiques Roadshow Lifestyle Channel 27,000
  18. The Simpsons FOX8 27,000
  19. NCIS: Los Angeles FOX Crime 27,000
  20. AM Agenda Sky News Live 27,000

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

Nine director of commercial Alexi Baker to leave after nine years

Nine managing director of commercial Alexi Baker is leaving the business after nine years with the group to pursue opportunities outside the media sector, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Baker played important roles in Nine’s merger with Fairfax Media in July 2018, the broadcaster’s decision to switch from cricket to tennis rights in March 2018, the acquisition of the remaining stake in Macquarie Radio that Nine did not own, as well the growth of subscription video on-demand service Stan.

However, with Nine largely finishing its deal-making and M&A cycle, Baker has decided to leave to take on a new challenge.

“I just wanted to let you know that after much thought over the last while, I’ve decided it’s time for me to move on from Nine,” she said in an email to her management colleagues.

“I have so enjoyed my time at Nine and don’t do it lightly. But with the big deals done and the business in such a great position, I think it’s time for me to explore what is next in my career.”

Nine chief executive Hugh Marks said: “The whole management team at Nine wish Alexi well and thank her for the enormous contribution she has made to the transformation of Nine.

“Alexi will be missed by us all but we understand her desire to seek new opportunities and wish her well for the future.”

[Read More]

News Brands

Matthew Drummond on 20 years of the AFR Magazine Power issue

It arrived with a portentous thud, tucked inside the September 28, 2001 edition of The Australian Financial Review newspaper, writes AFR Magazine editor Matthew Drummond.

“The Power lists comprise three premier lists,” stated the opening line of the 110-page inaugural Power issue of The Australian Financial Review Magazine. “These identify the people with the tightest grip on three major strands of power in this country: overt, covert and cultural.”

And then the next line, as if to fend off an expected torrent of criticism: “Of course the process was not intended to be scientific. Power is in large part a matter of perception and opinion.”

This year the AFR Magazine Power issue turns 20. John Howard was midway through his prime ministership when it launched. “I think it is fair to say that it created a good deal of interest among members of Parliament, and also probably within the broader community,” he says, when asked to comment on the milestone. “I hope you continue with the enterprise.”

The Power issue has been a consistent hit with readers and advertisers alike. The 2020 iteration is inside Friday’s Financial Review, looking much like that first issue in 2001. For why mess with something that worked from the get go? “There was a hole in the analysis of power in Australia, and it needed to be filled,” says Andrew Cornell, who wrote the main essay inside the issue from 2003 to 2013. “Power was understood in a piecemeal fashion, but there was no rigour pulling it all together.”

[Read more]

The 2020 AFR Power List:

1. Scott Morrison
2. Josh Frydenberg
3. Brendan Murphy
4. Gladys Berejiklian
5. Daniel Andrews
6. Greg Hunt
7. Matt Comyn
8.Philip Lowe
9. Mark McGowan
10. Anthony Albanese

[Read more]

Jenny Brockie to step down as Insight host after two decades

After nearly two decades, Jenny Brockie has decided to step down from her role as presenter of SBS’s flagship current affairs program, Insight.

Jenny Brockie said: “After a break this year and a lot of thought, I’ve decided it’s time for a change. I care deeply about SBS and I couldn’t be more grateful to James Taylor and Mandi Wicks for supporting my decision to step away from my role on Insight. We’re talking about new ideas and how I might contribute to the network in the future.

“Hosting Insight for nearly two decades has been a highlight of my professional life. I’m proud of the work I’ve done and am hugely grateful to the talented Insight team and the many other fine people at SBS who’ve made that work possible. I have enormous regard for Insight’s viewers and want to thank them for all the warmth and kindness they have shown me. Above all, I want to thank the thousands of guests who’ve trusted me with their stories over so many years. It’s been an honour and a privilege to help you share your experiences.

“I’m looking forward to what comes next for me. I have no doubt Insight will continue to flourish and I will be welcoming the new host in 2021.”

SBS managing director, James Taylor, said: “Jenny is one of Australia’s most respected journalists and has played an integral role as part of our highly-regarded news and current affairs team. I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge Jenny’s substantial contribution to SBS over almost two decades with Insight, and for her award-winning body of work. Jenny has been instrumental in growing and refining Insight from its early days to become the world class forum program it is today, and we look forward to building on that success. Jenny will always be part of the SBS family and we’re hopeful she will return to our screens in the future.”

Newly appointed SBS director of news and current affairs, Mandi Wicks, said: “Jenny is renowned for her curiosity and fairness, bringing a forensic attention to detail and a warmth that puts interviewees at ease. She has unearthed some extraordinary first-person stories over the years, delivering the high-quality journalism our audiences know and trust us for. Jenny will be taking a break, and while we are sad to lose her from Insight, we’re discussing opportunities and fresh ideas in the hope we can work together at SBS in the future. I look forward to working with the Insight team during its next phase in 2021 as it continues to deliver balanced, considered and intriguing debates, delving into a wide variety of topics with a fresh perspective.”

SBS will commence its search for a new Insight host for 2021 in the coming weeks.


Let's hope good intentions in film, TV reforms don't pave way to hell

The Australian film and television reforms announced this week by minister Paul Fletcher were much needed and long overdue. They are loaded with good intentions, too – most notably to foster “higher production values and programs with a better prospect of being sold into the global content market”. But there’s a very real chance they will fail, writer SMH‘s Karl Quinn.

The big winners of the reforms are the commercial TV broadcasters, which have had their obligations to commission Australian drama, kids content and documentaries simplified (a good thing) and reduced (good for them, not so good for those who think Australian voices, stories and talent in these areas matter).

The streamers – Netflix, Stan, Amazon, Apple TV+, Disney+ – have escaped regulation, being asked merely to report their spending on Australian content. The veiled threat is that if they don’t commission willingly, they will be forced to do so by regulation.

It’s an enormous leap of faith in more ways than one.

[Read more]

Will The Heights return? “We obviously want to keep going”

Fans of The Heights last night took to social media after its season 2 finale, all wanting to know one thing: will there be more? Reports TV Tonight.

The Matchbox Pictures serial reached a conclusion of sorts, but like many Australian dramas, writers were faced with an ending without ever knowing if it would be renewed.

Co-creator/producer Warren Clarke tells TV Tonight he still doesn’t know if the Perth-made serial will return – especially given’s ABC funding challenges.

“We’re certainly hopeful that we get to go again, though are appreciative of the circumstances at the ABC and the challenges we would face,” he says.

“We obviously want to keep going but we understand those constraints they’re under, and that hard decisions are having to get made. Given the fact that we haven’t moved, obviously, that window starts to close.”

Sixty episodes were filmed in total, set in the fictional Arcadia Heights housing commission flats. With arguably the most diverse ensemble in an Australian drama, the show has won critical praise for its slice-of-life approach.

The BBC recently screened the series in an early afternoon soap timeslot and Clarke says the audience feedback has exceeded expectations.

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Sports Media

Channel 7 commentator Michael Slater wants cricket stoush resolution

Channel 7 commentator Michael Slater has admitted his concern over the network’s TV rights war with Cricket Australia and is hoping for a speedy resolution, reports News Corp’s Ben Horne.

Slater is currently in Dubai calling the IPL, but will return home early to help anchor Channel 7’s coverage of the WBBL starting later this month in Sydney.

Channel 7 is set to take their dispute to an independent tribunal next Tuesday to seek an independent valuation on the new rights value, although Cricket Australia have told them they’re not within their rights to do so.

The ugly standoff still has the potential to end up in court, and Slater, one of the stars of the Seven stable along with Ricky Ponting and Mel McLaughlin, says he shares the anxiety of cricket fans worried about what it all means for the future of the game in Australia.

“I think the cricket community in Australia would be concerned as to what’s going on there. My current alignments are with Channel 7 and, of course, I want it to be sorted out and I want to be commentating as normal,” said Slater.

Channel 7 claim CA has breached its contract, and at the heart of their concerns is the Big Bash League, and a belief the value of the product will be heavily compromised if there are international stars absent and matches are played in neutral venues.

Slater has called on the Big Bash to follow the benchmark set by the Indian Premier League if they want to make Twenty20 cricket sing on television screens, even without a crowd.

“Honestly, they’re setting the standard. (The fake crowd noise they’re using) sounds fantastic. There was the real applause when there was a boundary, the hint of a buzz around the ground and they’ve certainly not overdone it or underdone it,” said Slater.

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Foxtel lodges bid with Rugby Australia for broadcast rights

Foxtel has made an offer to broadcast rugby union next year as it looks to continue its two-decade long relationship with the code, which is also in talks with Nine Entertainment Co, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

The broadcaster missed the deadline for formal expressions of interest for the rights in early September but continued to discuss ways to work together.

Industry sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Foxtel submitted a bid this week. Foxtel had been paying between $30 million to $40 million a year but wanted to renegotiate the price. It has already secured a discount on its rights for the AFL and NRL and is trying to renegotiate its deal with Cricket Australia. Foxtel and Rugby Australia declined to comment.

The industry sources said Foxtel’s offer was for the rights to what it currently broadcasts – the Super Rugby, the National Rugby Championship and Wallabies Tests – at a similar price to what it previously paid. It is unclear whether Foxtel is prepared to trial new formats of the game, such as State of Union – a tournament similar to the NRL’s State of Origin.

Foxtel, Ten and BSkyB are at the end of a $285 million five-year deal with RA signed in 2015.

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Swimming Australia and Seven terminate broadcast partnership

The Seven Network and Swimming Australia have agreed to terminate their broadcast partnership following Swimming Australia’s inability to hold the Olympic and Paralympic Swimming Trials in 2020 due to the COVID- 19 pandemic as required under Seven’s media rights agreement.


Swimming Australia chief executive Leigh Russell said: “While we are disappointed with the outcome, we acknowledge that these are unprecedented times for businesses all over the world, including our own, and understand Seven’s position.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Seven for the generous contribution they have made to the sport of swimming over the years.

“Through a strong working relationship with Seven, we have been able to bring swimming to Australian lounge rooms – not just in an Olympic and Paralympic year but every year in between and that has been vital to telling the story of our incredible athletes and coaches.

“We see the broadcast of swimming in Australia as crucial to our sport and the fabric of the Australian sporting landscape and we will continue to explore options within the media and digital landscape for opportunities to share and showcase our amazing sport, which literally millions of Australians are involved in.

“With 2021 Olympics and Paralympics around the corner, we are firmly focused on the future for our athletes, coaches and fans.”

Lewis Martin, managing director Seven Melbourne and network head of sport, said: “We have enjoyed our partnership with Swimming Australia since 2016 and have been proud to broadcast their events to Australians.

“We thank Swimming Australia for the great relationship we have had with them and wish them nothing but the very best going forward.”

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