Wednesday September 30, 2020

radio ratings
Radio Ratings 2020, Survey 6: Highlights + Full Results

• Full results and analysis for the GFK Radio Ratings Survey


• 2GB withstands superstar departure: Ben Fordham now breakfast king
• 2CH and smoothfm only commercial radio brands to grow share
• A big breakfast: Robbie and Wendy give ABC Sydney a boost
• smoothfm narrowly leads KIIS and ABC in drive radio race

Biggest movers

UP: 2CH +1.0
DOWN: 104.1 2Day FM -1.8

Read more: Sydney Radio Ratings 2020: Survey 6


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• Audience loving new 3AW breakfast: Ross & Russel climb 8.0 to 26.1%
• ABC and Triple M attract breakfast audience wanting news & information
• 3AW & ABC rule in drive, Mick and Jane buck the down trend on FM

UP: 3AW +3.0
DOWN: smoothfm/101.9 Fox FM -2.2

Read More: Melbourne Radio Ratings 2020: Survey 6


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• Less Covid threat keeps audiences tuned to FM as Nova returns to #1
• Nova and 4KQ the biggest movers in breakfast, Nova still #1 drive

UP: 4KQ +1.3
DOWN: 4BC -0.5

Read More: Brisbane Radio Ratings 2020: Survey 6


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• Mix strengthens grip as #1 overall, but Penbo & Will clear #1 breakfast
• Nova’s Ben & Liam #1 FM breakfast, but Nova drive slips behind Mix

UP: Mix 102.3 +1.1
DOWN: Cruise 1323 -2.1

Read more: Adelaide Radio Ratings 2020: Survey 6


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• Nova #1 overall and in breakfast, 6PR biggest breakfast mover
• Perth loving Nova drive as new combo climbs higher at #1

UP: 6PR +1.0
DOWN: Hit 92.9 -1.4

Read More: Perth Radio Ratings 2020: Survey 6


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Tom Malone on Nine Radio’s Ben, Ross, Russ, Neil, Steve, Baz & Gareth

By James Manning

• Strategy to better commercialise talk radio + plans for music network

Nine Radio highlights GfK Survey 6, 2020:

• 2GB 873 remains the clear leader in Sydney – #1 across Breakfast, Mornings, Evenings and Weekends recording its 128th consecutive survey win
• 3AW has posted an audience share of 16.9% (up 3.0 points) as Ross and Russel go off the chart in first survey for new show, a total of 219 3AW breakfast wins
• Growth for 6PR Perth breakfast with Steve and Baz, Neil Breen’s great 4BC Brisbane start

“A great result all round,” is how Nine Radio boss Tom Malone summed up the ratings for his stations from Survey 6, 2020.

Tom Malone

Emphasising this was just one result for the network’s new and revamped programs, he was certainly keeping a lid on it.

“The truth of it is that share is going to move around,” Malone told Mediaweek. There has been plenty of change in the past six months, not only in the radio business, but also from the impact of Covid. Today we see a result of that – people tuning to talk radio in unprecedented numbers for the latest in news, information and opinion plus also companionship. That is what we do better than anyone. We deliver the news with immediacy and intimacy.

“This is a great indication of the place talk radio holds in Australia, especially during big events, and this has been a big one, particularly in Victoria.”

Noting this was just the first survey for a new era of Nine Radio, Malone added: “The share will bounce around. We are pursuing a strategy to evolve talk radio and to attract new listeners to talk radio as we change the way we commercialise that as well.

“This is a great result, but everyone has to get up tomorrow and do another great show each day. The team knows that and we won’t rest on our laurels, but will continue to provide great shows and a great service for our listeners.”

Malone said each survey was a building block as Nine re-energises the content for the audience. “We want to have broad appeal and be the place people come to when they want to know what is going on in their community. No one does live and local better than our talk radio.”

As well as announcers performing well in new shows, Malone also pointed to veterans who continue to pull massive audiences like Ray Hadley and Neil Mitchell.

Regarding the 3AW station and breakfast result, Malone called it an extraordinary performance. “The impact has driven a lot more listeners as well as increasing time spent listening. Ross and Russ have the #1 breakfast cume in the market which is unprecedented for a talk show. 3AW is also #1 40-54 which again is extraordinary. They will continue to have success, but the numbers will move around. The show is sounding really good and the two of them have great chemistry already. We are also happy with how the whole station is sounding across the day into the evening.”

Ahead of the 2BG result, Malone admitted Ben Fordham had been nervous. “He has been getting better every day, but he has felt the enormous weight associated with taking over from Alan Jones. With every day and every week his is gaining more confidence as the show sounds better and better. This is a great vindication of all Ben’s hard work over the last 10 years on 2GB drive and the last four months on breakfast.

Neil Breen

Of all of Malone’s appointment this year, the biggest role of the dice was perhaps giving Neil Breen a metro breakfast radio show for his first hosting role. “I am really happy with Breeny’s 4BC result – 8.2%. Radio ratings are made up of cume and TSL and Neil’s TSL is actually stronger than 3AW and 6PR and only just behind Ben’s on 2GB.

“We need to just do more of a job of marketing him in Brisbane to get more listeners. Scott Emerson only started in drive four weeks ago and we will get more of an indication of how he is travelling in survey seven. Having local content on air at 4BC is so important for our strategy – we’ve got to be live and we’ve got to be local.

Although Malone was reluctant to comment on Perth local politics, he did indicate he thought 6PR’s breakfast host Basil Zempilas was a front runner in the race to be Perth Lord Mayor. The 6PR Steve and Baz show had a great result, up 2.2 to 11.2%. “I don’t think we will have more ratings results before election day. It’s also a great result for [morning host] Gareth Parker who is developing as a broadcaster.”

Malone said it wasn’t yet “official” that Zempilas would quit 6PR if elected. “We have flagged it would be unlikely that he would continue into next year as the breakfast co-host if he wins the election.”

Nine Radio’s AM music network

Malone: “We are very happy with the performance of the music stations, especially on 4BH and Magic which have a history as AM music stations. It might take a bit longer for 2UE. We need to do some more marketing around the stations to drive more listeners. The ratings indicate the people who do tune in are staying for very long period of time.”

Malone said there could be an upside for 2CH giving up its AM frequency and becoming a DAB+ station. But he warned, “We have to remember that for many people their app is their radio. We have to stop being defined by the way we distribute our content and instead be defined by the content however the listener gets it.

There is opportunity to get some 2CH listeners, but our music mix is about 10 years younger than theirs.

“It is a slow burn for our music stations and we are happy with the progress.”

Dan Rosen
Music industry bombshell: Dan Rosen quits ARIA to run Warner Music Australasia

• Rosen moving across February 2021 after transition at ARIA and PPCA

Dan Rosen has been named president of Warner Music Australasia, effective February 1, 2021. Rosen will join Warner after serving almost a decade as CEO of ARIA, the industry body for Australia’s record labels, and PPCA, the collecting society that licenses recorded music for broadcast and public performance.

An international search is currently underway for the CEO of ARIA and PPCA role.

Rosen’s 2021 start date will enable a transition at Warner Music Australasia, ARIA and PPCA. Reporting to Stu Bergen, CEO, International and Global Commercial Services, Warner Recorded Music, Rosen will succeed Niko Nordström. Nordström is returning to his native country to become managing director of Warner Music Finland and VP, Warner Music Nordics.

Stu Bergen said: “Dan is coming to us with an extraordinary depth of knowledge and range of experience – as a pioneering exec, an artists’ advocate, and a successful performer himself. He’s seen the business from all sides and has been a passionate and fearless defender and protector of the rights of music creators in the digital age. He’ll be an exceptional addition to our global leadership team, and a great champion of our amazing artists and teams in Australia and New Zealand.”

Dan Rosen said: “I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to take up the leadership of such an iconic Australian record company and would like to thank Niko for his hard work and dedication to the local industry over the last three and a half years. This is an exciting and dynamic time for music, with an explosion in opportunities across streaming and social media, especially given the levelling of traditional barriers in genre and geography. I am also very aware that the challenges of the pandemic demands that we remain very focussed on protecting creators’ rights. I’m looking forward to collaborating with the world-class team at Warner, expanding our investment in local talent, and strengthening the impact of Australia and New Zealand artists on the global stage.”

Rosen added: “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as chief executive of ARIA and PPCA for 10 years. As an industry we ended the decade in a much stronger position than we started, with a return to growth, credibility and optimism.

“While the events of the past year with COVID-19 has slowed this progress, I believe both ARIA and PPCA have the infrastructure and resilience to help lead the next phase of growth for our industry. I look forward to future challenges and will never stop championing Australian creativity.”

ARIA chairman Denis Handlin said: “On behalf of the ARIA board, we thank Dan for his outstanding service and dedication to the Australian music industry. Dan has been instrumental in the transformation of our industry bodies through his passion and loyalty and ensured that Australian music labels and artists are rightly positioned locally and internationally.

“Dan has been a tireless advocate for the music and creative industries, both in Canberra at the Federal level as well as State governments through policy and funding; restored the pre-eminent nature of the ARIA Awards; and most recently, supported the sector during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with ‘Great Southern Nights’. We wish him the very best in his new role and are pleased that he will continue to be involved with ARIA now as a board member.”

George Ash, chairman of PPCA, said: “On behalf of the PPCA board, I want to thank Dan for his dedicated service to the organisation. During his time as CEO, he championed the rights of Australian labels and recording artists, resulting in record revenues and distributions to our stakeholders. He achieved major policy outcomes with the Federal Government, won significant legal battles to establish increased rights and launched the ‘One Music Australia’ initiative. I look forward to us continuing our work together on the PPCA board.”

Rosen will conclude his ARIA and PPCA role in December 2020.

Sports Entertainment Network
Goodbye Crocmedia: Re-branding as Sports Entertainment Network

Crocmedia will re-brand as Sports Entertainment Network from 1st October.

The move acknowledges the evolution of the Crocmedia business from its regional radio beginnings to the multi-platform sports and entertainment business that it has become – connecting brands with fans across radio, television, digital, publishing, stadiums and events.

Today, the business owns and operates 16 radio stations around the country – including 1116 SEN Melbourne, 1629 SEN SA in Adelaide, the soon-to-launch 1170 SEN Sydney as well as 10 stations under its racing brand SENTrack. It also owns a newspaper, magazine and talent management business.

See also: Hutchy’s Crocmedia update: How COVID-19 impacted broadcaster

The national SEN radio footprint is underpinned by a digital platform – providing Australian sports fans with all the breaking sports stories as well as on-demand podcasts and live streaming of SEN audio and live sport commentary delivering:

• 698,000 unique digital users per month*
• 1.1 million audio streams per month*
• 2.1 million monthly podcast listens*

In addition to its owned radio stations, Sports Entertainment Network is the largest syndicator of sports radio content across Australia.

It holds broadcast rights to the AFL, NRL, A-League, Big Bash and Test Cricket as well as international sports events like NFL Super Bowl and boasts the biggest names calling the biggest games across its commentary teams: AFL Nation, NRL Nation, Big Bash Nation and Football Nation.

Other syndicated radio shows include the long-running, locally-produced weeknight Sportsday, Off The Bench, Reel Adventures – hosted by AFL legend and passionate angler Patrick Dangerfield and motorsport show The Driver’s Seat.

Its production business Rainmaker also produces live and pre-recorded TV programs from state-of-the-art studios in Melbourne’s Southbank – including Women’s Footy, The Oval Office and Footy SA & WA.

In addition, Rainmaker is also the production partner of Bowls Australia, Softball Australia, Athletics Australia, Hockey Australia and just recently WNBL – responsible for end-to-end live sport coverage for major tournaments and events for broadcasters including Nine, Seven, SBS, Fox Sports and ESPN.

CEO Craig Hutchison, who co-founded Crocmedia in 2006, said: “Our obsession for creating engaging sport and entertainment content has been embraced by sports-loving Australians and seen our business grow from a regional radio syndicator into a successful national broadcaster and publisher.”

“Many people don’t know that SEN is the acronym of Sports Entertainment Network so it’s fitting to pay tribute to our origins via our new market-facing brand.

“But we never forget where we came from … and to this day, we are as passionate about producing content through a local parochial lens as we’ve ever been – ensuring audiences have the choice to consume what they want, when and where they want.

“Our Origin coverage this year for example, will include a dedicated, one-eyed Blues and Maroons live commentary – as well as a neutral call; while our commitment to local programming has seen us launch metro breakfast shows in each market – most recently with cricket legend Ian Healy and sports presenter Pat Welsh on SENTrack in Queensland.

“And regional Australia remains at the centre of our production DNA and we remain committed to providing unique and tailored content to all of regional Australia too.”

SEN boasts many of the biggest names in sport broadcasting include chief sports caller Gerard Whateley whose own show Whateley is Australia’s most popular sports radio podcast**.

Gerard Whateley

For its upcoming 1170 SEN Sydney launch, one of Australia’s great rugby league and media characters Matty Johns will make his return to radio when 1170 SEN debuts during 2020 NRL Grand Final week later this month.

Johns joins a line-up of the biggest names in sport including Australia’s most popular rugby league commentator Andrew Voss, Matt White, Bryan Fletcher, Joel Caine, Katie Brown and Jimmy Smith.

Sports Entertainment Network also publishes the iconic AFL Record which has not missed an edition since it rolled off the presses in 1912 – surviving world wars, floods, the great depression and now a pandemic!

The business also owns TV production company Rainmaker, talent management agency Bravo Management and entertainment and experience business Ballpark.

TV Demand: Star Trek, Schitt's Creek and Lovecraft Country join the charts

By Trent Thomas

The Boys have completed a clean sweep of TV Demand charts in Australia and New Zealand after a back and forth few months has seen the show jockey for position at the top with Netflix‘s The Umbrella Academy and Dinsey+ Original The Mandalorian.

While the top of the chart has been the same few names for a while there are a few new interesting additions to the chart with Star Trek: Lower Decks joining in both Australia and NZ. Schitt’s Creek has joined the Overall TV chart in Australia after a successful Emmy Awards, and Lovecraft Country has joined the overall TV chart in NZ.

Star Trek: Lower Decks is the first animated series for the franchise since Star Trek: The Animated Series in 1974. The show is also the first animated series for CBS All Access. The show is set in the year 2380  follows the support crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos which is considered one of Starfleet’s least important ships.

The Canadians from Schitt’s Creek dominated the Emmys as the show won the first seven awards (all of the comedy awards) of the virtual presentation event. The show is created by father-son duo Dan and Eugene Levy who also star as Johnny and David Rose, members of the Rose family who, after losing their fortune, have to move to a small town that they purchased as a joke years earlier. 

Eugene and Daniel Levy

The horror drama series Lovecraft Country is based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Matt Ruff and stars Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors. The story revolves around a young black man in the 1950s who travels across the segregated United States in search of his missing father who then learns of the dark secrets plaguing a town on which horror writer H. P. Lovecraft supposedly based many horror stories.

TV ratings: Tuesday Week 40 2020

By James Manning

• Plagiarism scandal rocks The Block: Shaynna steps in
• You got to love America’s Got Talent to love Seven this week
• 10 turns to voodoo for ratings grab: Final Body Hack episode

Primetime News
Seven News 1,069,000/1,024,000
Nine News 910,000/923,000
ABC News 784,000
10 News First 318,000/206,000
SBS World News 174,000

Daily current affairs
A Current Affair 678,00
7.30 615,000
The Project 282,000/462,000
Th Drum 215,000

Breakfast TV
Sunrise 267,000
Today 212,000
News Breakfast 183,000

Late night news
The Latest 144,000
Nine News Late 125,000
ABC Late News 98,000

Tuesday TV

Seven: Home and Away climbed to 589,000 after 552,000 on Monday.

If you don’t love America’s Got Talent then Seven hasn’t offered you a lot across the last two nights. Another night of AGT semi-finals filled close to another four hours with audiences of 232,000 and 186,000.

Nine: A Current Affair went from 755,000 on Monday to 678,000 last night.

Some call it plagiarism, others reckon it could be cheating. It reared its head last night on The Block as Luke and Jasmin were accused of copying designs of another bedroom they had seen. Judge Shaynna Blaze arrived to explain why it is not OK to copy a design opposed to using other work for inspiration. The Tuesday episode was on 809,000 after 807,000 a week ago.

Episode six of Halifax: Retribution featured Jane discovering the identity of the killer stalking Melbourne. The show has been rock solid around 500,000 in the past few weeks with last night on 496,000.

10: The Project featured Graham Norton talking about his new novel as his talk show returns from its summer break. After 546,000 on Monday, last night was on 462,000.

A repeat of Ambulance Australia was moved into the 7.30pm slot with 287,000 watching.

The final episode of the short three-episode season of Body Hack went to its old timeslot of 8.30pm. Todd Sampson underwent an initiation into voodoo to end the season. After 305,000 a week ago, the season wrapped with 255,000.

ABC: Deborra-lee Furness was the subject on Anh’s Brush with Fame which did 716,000 after 639,000 last week. The final 15 minutes of the painting session outrated The Block in Sydney.

The season final of Annabel Crabb’s Further Back in Time for Dinner was on 591,000 after 545,000 last week.

Seven new filmmakers then shared their stories of living under Covid-19 restrictions in Lockdown Stories which was on 238,000.

SBS: Every Family Has a Secret covered crime and showbiz last night. Helping the two guests track the family trees were a number of specialists in their different fields including Age journalists John Silvester and Karl Quinn. The episode was the channel’s second most-watched show last week on 286,000 and episode two was on 260,000 last night.

Insight followed on 166,000 as Janice Petersen spoke to people about near death experiences.

Week 40: Tuesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 15.3% 7 14.6% 9 21.2% 10  8.8% SBS One 5.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.7% 7TWO 3.5% GO! 3.3% 10 Bold 3.5% VICELAND 1.7%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 4.0% GEM 2.7% 10 Peach 2.9% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix 1.9% 9Life 3.1% 10 Shake 0.2% NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.6%     SBS World Movies 0.7%
TOTAL 19.7%   24.0%   31.8%   15.3%   9.2%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 12.7% 7 14.4% 9 17.8% WIN 8.4% SBS One 4.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.3% 7TWO 4.4% GO! 3.9% WIN Bold 4.4% VICELAND 1.7%
ABC ME 0.7% 7mate 7.2% GEM 4.8% WIN Peach 2.8% Food Net 0.6%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.5% 9Life 2.7% Sky News  on WIN 2.7% NITV 0.2%
                SBS Movies 0.4%
TOTAL 16.9%   28.5%   29.2%   18.4%   7.4%


87.7% 12.3%
  1. Seven News Seven 1,069,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,024,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 923,000
  4. Nine News Nine 910,000
  5. The Block Nine 809,000
  6. ABC News ABC 784,000
  7. Anh’s Brush With Fame ABC 716,000
  8. A Current Affair Nine 678,000
  9. 7.30 ABC 615,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 602,000
  11. Further Back In Time For Dinner ABC 591,000
  12. Home And Away Seven 589,000
  13. Halifax-Retribution Nine 496,000
  14. Hot Seat Nine 494,000
  15. The Project 7pm 10 462,000
  16. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 366,000
  17. 10 News First 10 318,000
  18. Hot Seat -5pm Nine 299,000
  19. Ambulance Australia (R) 10 287,000
  20. The Project 6.30pm 10 282,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. The Block Nine 196,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 122,000
  3. Nine News Nine 108,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 105,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 100,000

18-49 Top Five

  1. The Block Nine 358,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 242,000
  3. Nine News Nine 212,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 203,000
  5. Seven News Seven 195,000

25-54 Top Five

  1. The Block Nine 413,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 298,000
  3. Nine News Nine 261,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 258,000
  5. Seven News Seven 258,000
Tuesday Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 177,000
  2. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 160,000
  3. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 149,000
  4. Aussie Salvage Squad PM 7mate 148,000
  5. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY 136,000
  6. Escape To The Chateau 9Life 127,000
  7. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  8. Ghost In The Shell 9GO! 124,000
  9. Aussie Salvage Squad-Ep.2 Pm 7mate 124,000
  10. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  11. Highway Patrol PM (R) 7mate 121,000
  12. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  13. Fireman Sam AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  14. Love Monster ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  15. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 117,000
  16. Highway Patrol-Ep.2 Pm (R) 7mate 116,000
  17. Peter Rabbit PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  18. Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 114,000
  19. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 111,000
  20. Neighbours 10 Peach 111,000
Tuesday STV
  1. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 78,000
  2. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 77,000
  3. Credlin Sky News Live 76,000
  4. Wentworth FOX SHOWCASE 65,000
  5. Alan Jones Sky News Live 64,000
  6. Live: The Back Page FOX SPORTS 503 47,000
  7. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 45,000
  8. PML Later Sky News Live 40,000
  9. 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown UKTV 35,000
  10. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 34,000
  11. Escape To The Country Lifestyle Channel 33,000
  12. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 31,000
  13. Newsday Sky News Live 31,000
  14. Blue Bloods FOX One 31,000
  15. Live: NRL 360 FOX LEAGUE 29,000
  16. The Simpsons FOX8 28,000
  17. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 27,000
  18. Below Deck Mediterranean FOX Arena 27,000
  19. AM Agenda Sky News Live 26,000
  20. AM Agenda Sky News Live 26,000

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

Australian kids' shows could face the axe in TV content overhaul

The amount of children’s programs on commercial free-to-air television will shrink from next year under new rules to be introduced by the federal government that retain overall local content quotas but give networks more flexibility over the shows they commission, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Streaming companies such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and Stan will also be asked to tell the government how much they spend on Australian content but will not be required to air a certain amount of local programs or films.

Both reforms are likely to frustrate the Australian production industry, which supports the current guidelines requiring commercial networks to produce children’s TV and has been calling for local content quotas for the US streaming giants.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, who will announce the changes on Wednesday, said the changes to the Australian content quotas will provide flexibility for commercial broadcasters, which have invested large amounts of money in children’s shows despite the small audiences they attract and low interest from advertisers. The changes will remove specific obligations to air shows such as Beat Bugs, Alien TV and The Bureau of Magical Things.

To support the production sector the government will announce an additional $30 million in funding to Screen Australia over two years, $3 million for screenwriting and script development and $20 million to the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. The tax offset for television programs and films will be 30 per cent, which Fletcher believes will encourage the television and production sector to commission new content.

“Our direct funding … complements what the broadcasters might choose to do,” he said. “The most popular programs for children are overwhelmingly on ABC and children are high users of downloaded content, streaming content. What we want to do is continue to support Australian high-quality children’s TV to be shown in Australia and globally.”

[Read more]

Paul Fletcher: Safeguarding Australian content in a changing world

We need Australian stories on our screens. It’s important to Australia’s cultural identity – and, with the production sector employing 25,000 people, it’s important economically too, writes Paul Fletcher, the federal minister for communications, cyber safety, and the arts, in Nine newspapers.

That is why, for decades, there have been rules requiring commercial television networks to show specified amounts of Australian drama, documentaries and children’s content.

Meeting these “sub-quota” requirements, along with an overall requirement to show 55 per cent Australian content, costs Australia’s free-to-air television broadcasters tens of millions of dollars a year.

Yet audiences for free-to-air television are dropping sharply, down more than 30 per cent in five years. Revenue too is way down.

And in 2020 COVID-19 delivered a further revenue hit to the free-to-air broadcasters and most film and television production stopped due to social distancing rules. In response, as a short-term step, the government suspended the sub-quotas for 2020.

The producer offset for Australian-produced film and television content will be standardised at 30 per cent. Maintaining a higher level for film and a lower level for television makes no sense in today’s market.

From January 1 next year we will reinstate sub-quota requirements on commercial broadcasters, but they will be more flexible and less prescriptive.

Rather than a requirement for each of drama, children’s content, and documentaries, there will be a global requirement across the three types of content. It could be met entirely by drama, entirely by children’s content or with a mix of documentaries and other content.

The requirement will be in points not hours – with more points for more expensive productions. This means a stronger incentive to commission bigger-budget drama – which is more likely to be sold globally rather than only be seen in Australia.

[Read more]

Google: Payments negotiations with media companies unworkable

Google Australia boss Melanie Silva says the proposed arbitration process between it and the media companies on payments made for use of their articles is unworkable, given the unrealistic numbers put on the table.

The draft news media bargaining code, announced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in July, gives media companies three months to strike a deal about payment for use of their articles. If there is no agreement, a final arbitration process is put in place to decide between the most appropriate of the two final payment offers.

Silva said the size of the payments proposed by the media companies so far was unreasonable.

“This concept of final offer arbitration usually is used when the parties are very close in numbers…we’ve already seen in the last several months numbers that are completely extraordinary,” Silva told Zoe Samios in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Silva added that she expects the code, that will force it to pay news organisations for use of articles, to be watered down before it is presented to the government.

“The message from the government privately and publicly has been pretty consistent – it’s a draft code,” she said. “They want to hear from all the stakeholders involved and they want to make sure that the policy objectives are achieved.”

“We are in a public consultation period and the word draft means that they’re looking for feedback and for workable alternatives.”

[Read more]


Newsagents disappointed that Are Media working with Aussie Post, Aldi

Newsagent industry commentator Mark Fletcher has commented on Are Media’s revelation in Mediaweek yesterday it was expanding its retail network. Fletcher called it a move that will harm newsagents.

See also: As Bauer becomes Are Media, publisher explores new revenue opportunities

Fletcher commented further:

Magazine sales are in decline. While there was a Covid bump, it is shown to be over in states where there are minimal movement restrictions. Last year, unit sales of magazines over the counter in newsagencies were down around 12%. We know from [distributor] Ovato’s annual report that the decline was considerable across all magazine retailers.

Outside of Covid, based on current basket data, magazine sales will decline this year too.

Newsagents were essential, remained open all through, serving magazine customers and publishers. Many remained open and losing money. The timing of Are Media bringing on yet more retail outlets is disappointing.

Newsagents have put up with years of minimal change to magazine cover prices, meaning that the real GP contribution from magazines has been falling even more than the decline in unit sales.

But that has not stopped the experts at Are Media from thinking magazines should be in more locations. This is a move that will harm newsagents no matter how Are Media people try and spin it. It does not make sense to me.

[Read more]


CBD and Kyle and Jackie O on Seven, Mariah Carey and Australian Idol

The Seven Network is courting US superstar Mariah Carey to be a judge on talent contest The Voice, reported Stephen Brook and Samantha Hutchinson in their CBD column in Nine newspapers earlier this week:

Nine spent about $40 million on its version of The Voice, with a fair whack of cash deposited in the pockets of judges Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian and overseas imports Boy George and Kelly Rowland.

The fate of the judges is uncertain. But CBD has learnt that Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton, who plans to cut the program’s costs to about $20 million, is wrapping up negotiations with Carey to appear in the series next year. If successful, the signing will be a formidable statement of competitive intent against his free-to-air TV rivals.

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KIIS FM Sydney breakfast hosts Kyle and Jackie O subsequently commented on the story. The show’s newsreader Brooklyn Ross then explained: “I have a bit of inside info on this too. Our friend Michael Pell, who works at Seven, has been setting up this deal with Mariah.” When questioned by the hosts why Ross was revealing his source, he replied, “because it’s in the newspapers”.

Kyle and Jackie O said: “How good would it be with Mariah”.

The hosts then also commented on the rumour that Network 10 is looking at resurrecting Australian Idol for 2021. Ross asked Sandilands if he would return as a judge if asked.

“Um…Australian Idol was the show I enjoyed the most. I didn’t like The X Factor. Idol was easy, you didn’t have to be a coach.”

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Wentworth held us captive until the end, but is it really the end?

Wentworth finished filming – forever – on September 4. A few days later the set, in the western suburbs of Melbourne, started being demolished.

“The Victorian Government have plans for that site, we always had to move out of there this year,” Wentworth producer Jo Porter tells News Corp’s Cameron Adams.. “But we’ve relocated sites once before (the show’s first three seasons were filmed in Croydon.)”

The big question – is this really the end of Wentworth? The show returned to film 20 episodes to bring the hit drama to a conclusion. The first 10 episodes (filmed pre COVID) aired this year – episode 10 airs this week – with the final 10 (filmed under COVID-safe restrictions) airing in 2021.

While the show’s intensely passionate fanbase still have another year of episodes to come, there’s already wishful thinking from fans about a spin-off.

Porter is leaving the door slightly open for some kind of continuation in the future.

“Never say never,” Porter says. “It feels like this chapter of the show has finished. This season has had a big spike in audience domestically. We’re getting new audiences all the time. There’s a few characters who survive, there are possibilities but at the moment we’re focusing on this being a beautiful bow to draw a close to this chapter.”

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Sydney ratings: How 2GB’s Ben Fordham ate his sceptics for breakfast

There are plenty of surprises in Ben Fordham’s triumphant radio ratings result – his first in the all important breakfast shift, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is how the 43-year-old has brought in a new generation of listeners to 2GBs more traditional mature audience.

It seems even Fordham’s bosses at 2GB were preparing for the worst after the fresh-faced breakfast host stepped into veteran broadcaster Alan Jones’ shoes so to speak.

Spin reigned in the weeks leading up to the GfK ratings results with conservative estimates playing down Fordham’s chances and predicting a figure of between 10 and 12 per cent.

Well, they got that estimate terribly wrong with Fordham registering a phenomenal 17.3 per cent of the breakfast market and making him a clear leader.

Incredibly, in the 10 to 17-year-old age bracket, 2GB as a station has increased its audience by 5.1 percentage points while in listeners aged over 65, it has decreased 5.3 percentage points.

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Sydney radio ratings: Fordham, Hadley and Sandilands comment

Ben Fordham played down his 2GB win while speaking to News Corp’s Jonathon Moran after the results were released.

“It is only one survey and there are many more to come,” he said.

“I tend to prepare for the worst and hope for the best and so I wasn’t preparing for a figure like this but I am just really thankful that I have got great people around me, I have got a talented team who work their guts out every day, I put them under a lot of pressure and they rise to the occasion every morning and I am really thrilled for them because of the hard work they put in but also for our listeners.”

Elsewhere at 2GB, Ray Hadley’s morning show remained the market leader in the timeslot with a whopping share of 16.8 per cent. Station newcomers Deb Knight and Jim Wilson recorded slight drops.

“It is the first radio ratings that haven’t included Alan Jones who has dominated breakfast radio ratings in Sydney for 30 years, having retired from radio,” Hadley said on air this morning.

“The expectation was it would impact on the entire radio scene. 2GB has been the number one station for over 16 years has recorded an unprecedented 127 survey victories up until today. Alan Jones turned the fortunes of this network around 18 years ago and today it is up to those here now to uphold the standards. On that basis, I am absolutely delighted to say that the figures are quite remarkable.”

Kyle Sandilands applauded the KIIS results and shared a blunt message for his rivals.

“Listen up everyone, survey results came out and yes of course, The Kyle and Jackie O Show is still obviously number one FM right across the country,” Sandilands said.

“Over on the AM network, Ben Fordham still holds the number one spot in Alan Jones’ old spot. He did pretty good but then most people who listen to 2GB don’t even know how to change the radio so how well did he do? A lot of them are on respirators so it’s very difficult for them to change the channel,” he joked.

“Well done Ben, well done us and suck it to everyone else that took a tumble in the ratings.”

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