By James Manning
• Could Marty compete against them? How Joel will change the show
• Why Kate & Tim never thought about quitting drive too
When Marty Sheargold revealed on air July 24 that he would be quitting the Nova drive show, his on-air colleagues Kate Ritchie and Tim Blackwell had known about his departure for close to month.
Three weeks later Nova staged another drive moment when it was announced that Joel Creasy would be the new third member of the drive show. Sheargold has just five shows left with the new recruit moving in on Monday September 14.
Although Ritchie and Blackwell knew the split was coming, it still caught them off guard when they announced it on air. Blackwell told Mediaweek: “Knowing for a month beforehand was enough time for us to deal with our emotions, or so we thought. Only we realised we really hadn’t completely dealt with our emotions when he said it live on air.”
Ritchie added: “I don’t think Marty had either as he was quite emotional – quite unexpectedly.”
Blackwell said that over the years of working together, “Marty always played by the Marty Sheargold rule book and does what is right for him and this is obviously right for him. We have worked with each other for over 10 years. I leave with a friend for life. I’m not sure how he feels, but maybe he has questioned, especially during Covid, that should he really be leaving a comfortable fulltime job on his own choosing? Ultimately it is his call, and this is how he has lived his life.”
Although Sheargold was departing, Ritchie and Blackwell never had any thoughts about not continuing.
Ritchie: “Tim and I are quite happy to continue on this road.”
Blackwell: “Absolutely. It’s been a very successful show and as you can hear on air, we enjoy each other’s company immensely. I was always thinking this would be a 50-year show.” [Laughs]
Ritchie: “Fingers crossed! It’s a great gig and [it would be] a very big decision to walk away from a show like this and I’m not ready to do that just yet.”
Both drive co-hosts have also worked in breakfast radio and they are adamant that drive is by far the best time to work in radio.
Blackwell: “I’ve done breakfast – hard work. Nights too. Drive is great – you are home at 6.30pm every night.”
Ritchie: “It doesn’t matter which shift you do, you find the negatives about everything. On drive I can never pick my daughter up from school. But when weighing up positives versus negatives this one truly wins out.”
Kate, Tim and Marty is one of the reasons that FM drive is now the alternative radio primetime. Something that SCA’s Hamish and Andy also helped along.
The Nova Kate, Tim & Marty drive show has been the #1 national drive show across Australia for 26 consecutive surveys. During their time on air, the team has won seven Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) – Best Networked Program in 2015, Best On Air Team in 2016 and 2017, Best Syndicated Australian Program and Best Networked Show in 2018 and Best Networked Program and Best Syndicated Program in 2019.
Blackwell: “We are on air against some of my friends and radio heroes. Mick Molloy worked with us in Brisbane for a little while before we even stumbled upon Marty Sheargold. We also had Hughesy and Kate up against us. You just have to turn the radio on between 4pm and 6pm to hear how much radio talent there is in this country. They are world class performers and it is a very nice little club to be a part of.”
As to hiring Joel Creasy to replace Marty Sheargold, the remaining Nova drive hosts were very much part of the recruitment process. “Or at least they pretended we were,” laughed Ritchie.
“Who is it?” asked Blackwell the day before the announcement was made.
“It was hard to find someone who was available who would fit this role,” said Blackwell. “We are not replacing Marty. We are getting a completely different person who will change the whole dynamic on air. In the past when one of us has been off for different reasons, the show sounded very different straight away.”
He added there won’t be too many changes though: “We have had segments that have stayed since Brisbane breakfast…we are not throwing out everything and starting from scratch.”
There has been a fair bit of speculation about what Sheargold might do next.
If Sheargold ended up on air in a competing drive show, Blackwell said he would be terrified! Ritchie asked: “He wouldn’t dare would he?”
Nova Entertainment has been good to Blackwell, and vice versa off course. The versatile host has been on air in different programs in different states for close to 20 years. “He’s one of the [Nova] originals and he wears it like a badge of honour,” said Ritchie.
Ritchie has called Nova home too since 2007 when she left Home and Away and started in breakfast with Merrick and Rosso.
Because the drive show continues to be a ratings powerhouse, Nova Entertainment chief programming & marketing officer Paul Jackson and the Nova execs leave the show largely to run its own race.
“With a new show we might lose some audience, but we will also gain some audience too,” said Blackwell. “We have been allowed in the office when everyone else is still working from home. It’s been nice not to have anyone pop in with feedback!”
There is nothing else on air really like Nova drive and the hosts hope that will continue. Blackwell: “What we love about this show is how honest we are with each other and our audience. It almost has something of a podcast feel to it at times. We are prepared each day. Ugly Phil taught me you need to prepare so much that you are comfortable to go off the run sheet. It’s good to have the notes, without having to use them.”
Top photo: Kate, Tim and Marty
The chief executive of the new AAP Emma Cowdroy has launched a GoFundMe campaign to boost the revenue base at the newswire.
The initial target is $500,000 with Cowdroy pointing out to Australians:
“Quality journalism doesn’t come for free and Australian Associated Press needs help to maintain the nation’s balance of fair, objective reporting – a bastion of our democratic life.
“AAP, a national treasure, is under new governance, operating as a not-for-profit company dedicated to covering news for all Australians.
“AAP journalists and photographers are the quiet achievers and first responders in Australian media. You might not know us by name but undoubtedly you would have read, heard or seen our articles – millions of them across our 85-year history. With no political axe to grind, nor advertisers to please, we are independent, trusted, accurate and consistent.
“We operate in an era of unprecedented disruption, national emergency and consolidating media ownership. Australians need AAP’s uncompromising focus on delivering facts fast more than ever. AAP plays a vital role in preserving Australia’s media diversity and is an essential piece of democratic infrastructure.
“AAP has a shared audience of more than five million. We provide hundreds of stories and images every day to hundreds of trusted newspaper, website and radio outlets across Australia. AAP’s domestic content is also beamed to other media around the world.
“The costs of collecting, covering and distributing national news are high. That’s why Sir Keith Murdoch and John Fairfax put their rivalries aside to build AAP in 1935, and the economic logic remains the same.”
Cowdroy noted that AAP is now competing in a market with new options for publishers.
“News Corp has announced its intention to rapidly re-enter the commercial sector under the NCA newswire brand. The well-funded move threatens AAP’s unique role, supplying independent content.
“While the consequences of the first ever competition in the newswire market are uncertain, it will create further disruption to AAP, and in turn the media market more generally, at a time when the industry is on its knees. Some of Australia’s oldest regional and local newspapers have closed. A growing number of areas in regional Australia are becoming news deserts.
“Our daily news service and historic text and image archive play an essential role in maintaining many of Australia’s media outlets, as well as supporting the ability of new players to enter the market. This is the diversity of voice that AAP wants to help protect and encourage.”
Cowdroy added: “We have launched a crowdfunding campaign so that all Australians can help AAP deliver its commitment to media diversity.
“As our media customers struggle in the toughest advertising market in modern history and as the government struggles to find a way to support media competition and diversity, we are reaching out to all Australians for their help.
“Of course, crowdfunding will only ever be one part of our income but we are prepared to try many things to get us through this tumultuous time. We want to diversify our revenue base as much as possible so we have a sustainable future. When you support AAP, you help protect an essential building block of media diversity.
“The more support we receive from Australians, the more stories about Australians we can cover. And as CEO of AAP I’m determined for our team to cover as many Australian stories as we can.”
By James Manning
• Matty Johns and Matty White join Vossy and Fletch on air mid October
It’s been a massive few days for ASX-listed Pacific Star Network (aka Crocmedia) as the business launches not one, but two, radio networks to cover Australia.
The focus recently has been on Sydney and NSW with racing station SENTrack 1539 and DAB+ launching into Sydney. Next month the company will push the on-air button for 1170 SEN Sydney during NRL Grand Final week.
Chief executive Craig Hutchison has been busy signing a raft of big names to the station and in recent weeks has unveiled how the station will sound across the day starting with Andrew Voss in breakfast.
The biggest announcements came across the weekend when Hutchy revealed he had secured former Seven and Network 10 sports anchor Matt White to host mornings Monday through Thursday. Taking the Friday slot is the station’s biggest start (so far!) with Matty Johns returning to radio.
Pacific Star is investing big in Sydney where it will be offering four separate stations – 1170 SEN, 1539 SENTrack, Classic Hits 2CH and also the SEN Victoria channel for those wanting announcers like Garry Lyon, Tim Watson, Gerrard Whateley and Dwayne Russell as part of their weekday audio diet. Whateley will also do an hour live for Sydney from noon until 1pm Monday to Thursday.
Johns will host his first show on 1170 SEN Sydney on the Friday of launch week just two days before the NRL Grand Final on what will be a must-listen preview program.
The former star player won’t just host Friday mornings 9am-12noon, but he will appear for an hour on Monday mornings on breakfast with Vossy and a catch-up with Fletch and Joel during drive each week.
“When Hutchy first approached me, he offered me 9am – 12noon Mondays – but I said I wasn’t interested,” said Johns on the weekend. “It’s hard to justify having a beer at that time on a Monday…but Fridays…well that’s different, so I said yes!
“I love radio, but after eight years of breakfast shifts, I needed a break. The lure of a 24/7 sports station with a proven track record, plus the opportunity to join a team of this calibre, was too good to refuse.”
Johns hosted Triple M Sydney’s breakfast show for eight years as well as being a regular on Nine’s The NRL Footy Show and now his own The Matty Johns Show on Fox Sports. He also hosts a cult podcast including episodes of Matty at home with the rest of the family – wife Trish and sons Jack and Cooper who don’t hold back.
Hutchison said Johns would bring something truly special to the station.
“It’s ‘game on’ for SEN in Sydney – we’re absolutely pumped that Matty will be joining us and rapt that he has chosen our platform for his much-awaited return to radio.
“Matty has a rare and rich connection with audiences and is one of the best creative minds in the business. He’s a respected former player, media identity, brilliant host and born entertainer – there’s no doubt he’ll bring the ‘E’ for entertainment to SEN and we couldn’t be prouder that he’s now on our team,” Hutchison added.
Hutchison thanked Fox League for their support of Johns’ return to the airwaves. Indeed SEN has built a close relationship with Fox League in Sydney just as it has in Melbourne where some of the SEN talent is also on air on Fox Footy. That Melbourne talent on both brands includes Garry Lyon, Gerrard Whateley and Dwayne Russell.
Sydney announcers doing time with SEN and Fox League in addition to Johns include Andrew Voss and Bryan Fletcher.
The biggest Sydney announcement though since the appointment of Voss to breakfast was the weekend revelation that Matt White is joining to host weekday morning Monday to Thursday.
White has more than 30 years experience in media across television, radio and newspapers. He is respected for his work covering and commentating Olympic and Commonwealth Games, Supercars and Formula 1, Australian Open Tennis, US Open Golf, basketball and Ironman.
White has hosted a wide range of programs, from Sports Tonight to RPM – and a number of news, public affairs and entertainment shows.
He worked at Network 10 for 16 years, including most recently as head of sport, and also spent 10 years at Seven Network including time hosting Today Tonight.
“As a sport lover I’m thrilled that 1170 SEN is coming to Sydney and even more thrilled to be part of the line-up. Radio is a two way conversation and I can’t wait to bring mornings alive with sport, sport and more sport,” White said.
White is not the only new signing for Sydney’s newest station 1170 SEN with respected nrl.com reporter Katie Brown also joining the team. Brown will be heard every morning reporting on sport between 6-9am during breakfast with Vossy.
The pair join a stellar list of names signed for the station including Sydney’s voice of sport, Andrew Voss who will host breakfast, Bryan Fletcher and Joel Caine for the drive home and Jimmy Smith who will be heard in the evenings 6-9pm.
By James Manning
Seven then ranked #1 each night it had AFL – Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The primary and network shares for Nine and Seven were both down week-on-week, while 10, ABC and SBS lifted in both measures.
Nine has started to break out the ratings for the reveal of The Block room winner in the Sunday episode, giving the episode two audience figures.
The other Top 20 performance worth noting is the appearance of the final episode of this run of Veraon the ABC with an audience of 713,000.
Primary share: 18.1% (19.3%)
Network share: 26.9% (27.7)%
Multichannels: GO! 3.2% (2.5%) Gem 2.3% (2.4%) 9Life 2.1% (2.2%) 9Rush 1.1% (1.2%)
The second weeks for Nine’s two major August/September franchises were down. While The Block had averages of 1,022,000/942,000 on Sunday, the rest of the week trended downward with audiences of 744,000, 692,000 and 651,000 across the following three nights.
Halifax-Retribution had audiences of 521,000 and 469,000 in week 35, in week 36 that number was 478,000 for one episode on Tuesday.
Primary share: 18.0% (19.3%)
Network share: 27.9% (28.9%)
Multichannels: 7TWO 3.8% (3.6%) 7mate 3.9% (3.7%) 7flix 2.2% (2.2%)
Seven’s smaller share wasn’t helped by Plate of Originwhich launched with 667,000 and then did 510,000 Monday and a worrying 419,000 on Tuesday.
Seven’s only other 500,000+ entertainment offerings were Home and Away on 558,000 and Better Homes and Gardens on 545,000.
Primary share: 13.6% (12.8%)
Network share: 17.9% (17.1%)
Multichannels: Kids/Comedy 2.4% (2.4%) ME 0.4% (0.4%) News 1.5% (1.5%)
As mentioned above, Vera ended its run in the top 20 and over 700,000.
Brush with Fame and Hard Quiz were both just under 700,000 while Shetland did 658,000, Australian Story was on 650,000 and the first episode of Further Back in Time for Dinner was on 582,000.
Primary share 11.2% (10.8%)
Network share: 17.4% (17.0%)
Multichannels: Bold 4.1% (4.0%) Peach 2.1% (2.2%)
Two nights of The Masked Singer remain the channel’s best with 938,000/729,000 on Sunday and 797,000/681,000 on Tuesday.
The other program cracking the top 20 for the week was Have You Been Paying Attention? which continues to improve – up from 701,000 to 767,000 this week.
Sundays remain an Achilles’ heel for 10 with share of 7.4% as Family Feud could only manage 249,000.
Primary share: 6.3% (5.8%)
Network share: 9.9% (9.4%)
Multichannels: Viceland 1.5% (1.5%) Food 0.8% (0.9%) NITV 0.2% (0.3%) World Movies 1.1% (1.0%)
Train, trains and the Tour de France helped lift the primary channel’s share this week. The first full week of the delayed Tour de France helped boost late night share.
The most watched shows overall were again The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys on 320,000 and Great Asian Railway Journeys on 256,000. Even Walking Britain’s Lost Railways did well with 189,000.
* Figures in brackets are Week 35 shares.
By James Manning
Singles: Raunchy & provocative = three weeks at #1 for Cardi B’s WAP
Albums: UMA the biggest force on the album chart for a second week
If buzz about a single, its lyrics and accompanying video count for anything, a fourth week at #1 for Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion with WAP shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. It’s been three weeks so far and there were just two new entries in the top 50 this week.
The most likely contenders to threaten WAP for the top among those already on the chart are 24kGolden (#4 to #2 this week with Mood) or Joel Corry and MNEK (#7 to #4 this week with Head and Heart).
The two new arrivals were:
#16: BLACKPINK & Selena Gomez with Ice Cream. The third time in the top 50 for K-pop stars BLACKPINK this year. This is the second track from their forthcoming LP to chart. That release – called The Album – is set to drop on October 2.
#17: Calvin Harris & The Weeknd with Over Now. The first collaboration between the Scottish producer and the Canadian performer marks Harris’ first chart appearance since April 2019. Since then he has also been busy releasing music under the name Love Regenerator. The Weeknd is no chart stranger either with three top 20 releases this year and not forgetting 2019’s Blinding Lights which topped the chart for the first three months of 2020 (and is still in the top 10 after 40 weeks!).
After entering the chart at #42 and #49 there were big jumps for both Jubel featuring NEIMY with Dancing In The Moonlight (up to #26) and also Jason Derulo with Take You Dancing (up to #27).
Another big week for major releases with 11 new albums in the top 50, five of them debuting top 10.
It was also another big week for Universal Music Australia. Last week the music group had eight of the top 10 albums on the chart and this week it has 10 of the top 12.
Leading the way for UMA are new albums from Metallica and Katy Perry at #1 and #2, while Taylor Swift has eased out to #3 after six weeks with folklore.
Metallica top the chart with S&M2, revisiting a collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony 20 years after S&M topped the chart in November 1999. Metallica’s seventh #1 album features arrangements from the original S&M concerts plus new songs recorded in the years since.
Debuting at #2, Katy Perry was unable to equal her previous best with the albums Teenage Dream (2010) and Prism (2013) which both debuted at #1. Smile is actually Perry’s fourth #2 album and follows up Witness which peaked at #2 in 2017.
Sydney singer-songwriter Josh Pyke debuts at #8 with his sixth album Rome. He is one of two artists from Sony Music to bust up UMA’s top 10 domination. Pyke’s previous studio album But For All These Shrinking Hearts peaked at #2 in 2015 and he too also had an orchestra collaboration, with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Live at the Sydney Opera House, which peaked at #27 in 2016.
Two further Australian artists round out the top 10 newcomers this week:
#9: Private Function with Whose Line Is It Anyway?. The second album from the Melbourne punk band comes 12 months after their debut St. Anger.
#10: Diesel with Sunset Suburbia. The first studio set in four years from the gifted singer-songwriter-guitarist with some of the tracks coming from previous EP releases. This is Diesel’s first time in the top 10 since Solid State Rhyme peaked at #10 in 1994 and he charted most recently with Americana in 2016, peaking at #15.
This week’s other new arrivals:
#12: Disclosure with Energy. First album in five years from British electronic duo, brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence.
#21: Seether with Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum. Highest chart entry so far for the South African rockers’ eighth album.
#23: Washington with Batflowers. The third album from the Brisbane singer-songwriter is the follow-up to There There which peaked at #5 in 2014.
#28: Miiesha with Nyaaringu. The debut album from the singer-songwriter who hails from Woorabinda in Central Queensland. Miiesha won New Talent of the Year at the 2020 National Indigenous Music Awards.
#36 PVRIS with Use Me. Third album from the US rock band who have played in different genres and changed the spelling of their name over the past six years.
#43 Internet Money with B4 The Storm. An album from the rap record label collective under the guidance of Taz Taylor.
By Trent Thomas
• Nine has big Sunday win as The Block finds form
• ABC ranks second on primary share thanks to Shetland and Midsomer Murders
• Plate of Origin starts second week with 459,000
Seven News 1,038,000
Nine News 1,044,000
ABC News 829,000
The Project 272/424,000
10 News 260,000
Nine News Late Edition 295,000
SBS World News 146,000
Seven: Seven slipped to third in primary share last night with 15.8% after Plate of Origin got 459,000 down from last Sunday’s 667,000 launch episode. The next best performers for Seven were AFL afternoon football (409,000) and Crime Investigation Australia: Most Infamous (339,000). Seven had a network share of 23.6% which was #2 for the night.
Nine: Nine enjoyed a big Sunday night win in both primary share (23.6%) and network share (33.1%) with the driving force being The Block which easily won the 7:30 pm slot with 924,000 and 985,000 for the room winner announcement. While this was down on the 943,000/1,016,000 from last Sunday this was a return to form for the show after the series’ most recent episode last week had the show’s lowest ratings in over five years.
10: 10 had a primary share of 7.6% and network share of 13.1% which were both #4 for the night with 10’s best-performing show being the 7 pm edition of The Project with 424,000.
ABC: ABC had another strong Sunday even without the one-two punch of Vera and Shetland, with the former being replaced in the lineup this week by Midsomer Murders. The public broadcaster had the second-highest primary share of the night with 16.5% and the third best network share with 20.4%
SBS: SBS had a 6.3% primary share and 9.8% network share with the highest rating show being Lost Worlds and Hidden Treasures with 196,000. Tour De France stage Nine had 155,000 viewers tune in.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.4%||7TWO||4.2%||GO!||4.4%||10 Bold||3.0%||VICELAND||1.6%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||3.7%||GEM||2.3%||10 Peach||2.2%||Food Net||0.7%|
|9Rush||1.2%||SBS World Movies||1.2%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.1%||7TWO||3.8%||GO!||2.9%||10 Bold||4.4%||VICELAND||0.9%|
|ABC ME||0.3%||7mate||3.3%||GEM||3.0%||10 Peach||2.2%||Food Net||0.8%|
|9Rush||1.7%||SBS World Movies||1.7%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.1%||7TWO||1.7%||GO!||3.9%||10 Bold||3.7%||VICELAND||2.1%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||3.9%||GEM||2.6%||10 Peach||1.8%||Food Net||0.6%|
|9Rush||1.2%||SBS World Movies||0.6%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.8%||7TWO||2.4%||GO!||4.4%||WIN Bold||4.5%||VICELAND||1.8%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||4.1%||GEM||5.0%||WIN Peach||1.2%||Food Net||0.9%|
|ABC NEWS||1.6%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||2.2%||9Life||2.3%||Sky News on WIN||1.4%||NITV||0.0%|
|SUNDAY METRO ALL TV|
Friday Top 10
Saturday Top 10
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
A month after Australian Associated Press 2.0 was launched as a not-for-profit company the 85-year-old newswire is under financial pressure and appealing to the public for monetary contributions, report Guardian Australia‘s Amanda Meade and Anne Davies.
AAP’s chief executive, Emma Cowdroy, has revealed some clients have signed for “much shorter periods” as they may be “testing the service and they also know there is a new entrant coming into the market”.
The new entrant referred to by Cowdry is News Corp Australia’s inhouse newswire, NCA NewsWire, which will be offered to non-Murdoch outlets once its non-compete clause ends in five months. AAP was previously owned by News Corp and Nine Entertainment.
Cowdroy said the speed of News Corp’s “well-funded” move “threatens AAP’s unique role supplying independent content”.
If some AAP customers, like Seven West Media and Antony Catalano’s Australian Community Media, were to sign up for NCA NewsWire next year, AAP’s revenue stream from the smaller media companies would be insufficient for it to stay afloat.
The newswire has applied for funds from the $50m Public Interest News Gathering (Ping) fund established by the government to support regional newsrooms but to date has not heard the outcome. AAP was ineligible prior to the sale.
New Zealand’s largest independent commercial broadcaster MediaWorks and Discovery Inc. (“Discovery”) have announced a binding agreement regarding the sale of MediaWorks’ free-to-air TV business. The transaction is subject to a number of pre-completion approvals and is expected to complete by the end of the year.
The MediaWorks TV acquisition will be Discovery’s most significant free-to-air investment in the New Zealand market to date, and includes entertainment channels Three and Bravo, streaming service ThreeNow, and multi-platform news and current affairs service Newshub, as well as the further channels Three+1, Bravo+1, The Edge TV and The Breeze TV. Discovery will continue the partnership with NBCUniversal for the Bravo channel joint venture.
In the New Zealand market, Discovery currently operates a portfolio of six pay-tv channels including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, Living and Discovery Turbo and two free-to-air channels HGTV and Choice TV.
Glen Kyne has been appointed General Manager of TV, a role that will continue under Discovery post-completion. Discovery’s Australia and New Zealand operations will move under Simon Robinson, president APAC, and, following completion of the sale, Kyne will report to Robinson. Gareth Codd has been appointed Acting commercial director for MediaWorks Group in the interim. Rebecca Kent, GM of Discovery Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands, will continue to oversee the New Zealand pay-TV portfolio and free-to-air channels Choice and HGTV, and the Australia operations.
MediaWorks Group will continue to focus on its radio and out-of-home media businesses.
Jack Matthews, MediaWorks chairman, said: “MediaWorks has made great strides over the past several years and I believe Discovery is the ideal new owner to continue that momentum across the TV business. The sale will enable MediaWorks to have a greater strategic focus on the long-term future growth of its highly successful and market leading radio and out-of-home business, offering effective advertising solutions to our customers and great news and entertainment to our audiences.”
Simon Robinson, Discovery president APAC, said: “This is an exciting moment for Discovery. MediaWorks TV is New Zealand’s leading independent free-to-air commercial broadcaster, with popular shows and great brands. Discovery is a global content creator, a major free-to-air broadcaster across several European markets, including the UK, Germany, Italy, Poland and the Nordics, and has expertise in evolving our linear business to direct-to-consumer. With a 26-year heritage in the New Zealand market, we are committed to drive MediaWorks TV’s future growth and success, delivering increased value to audiences and advertisers across all screens in New Zealand.”
Michael Anderson, MediaWorks CEO, said: “We are very pleased to have reached a sales agreement with Discovery and to share this news today. This is the best possible outcome for the future of MediaWorks TV and its passionate and dedicated people who work tirelessly to make it a unique and special business. Under the ownership of Discovery, Three, Newshub and Bravo will have a long-term home and continue to play a vital role in New Zealand society.
“The ongoing success of our radio and out-of-home business demonstrates that MediaWorks has a very bright future and with this unique and powerful combination, our focus now is to accelerate the opportunities that exist for our clients.”
Glen Kyne, general manager of TV, said: “I will be thrilled to lead the Three and Newshub brands in the market as well as collaborating with NBCUniversal on the Bravo JV, on completion of the sale. Our very talented teams continue to focus on bringing New Zealanders trusted, local news and current affairs and quality entertainment content.”
Seven Group chief executive Ryan Stokes has poured cold water on a capital injection from the diversified investment group into Seven West Media or his family taking the free-to-air broadcaster and publishing business private, labelling them extreme scenarios, report AFR’s Max Mason and Brad Thompson.
Seven West Media, which appointed James Warburton as chief executive 12 months ago, has been selling off assets and slashing costs in an effort to stabilise the company.
There has been constant speculation about the future of Seven West after it held negotiations with Fairfax Media from late 2017 through to mid-2018 regarding a merger of the two businesses but failed to come to a deal. It saw Nine swoop in and do a deal with Fairfax.
During the pandemic, there has been speculation around whether Kerry Stokes would privatise Seven West via his private investment vehicle Australian Capital Equity or potentially take West Australian Newspapers private and sell the TV network to News Corp.
News Corp has dampened rumours it was looking to buy Seven and was focusing on turning pay TV business Foxtel around.
Ryan Stokes, whose father Kerry Stokes is chairman of Seven West Media and Seven Group, said Seven West was continuing a “transformation journey”.
Asked if the Seven Group would inject capital if needed or the Stokes family would look to take Seven West private, Stokes said they were extreme scenarios.”
Google has been accused of deliberately misleading users by claiming in “manipulative” new advertising that a proposed revenue-sharing deal with media companies, backed by the nation’s competition regulator, would fill its search results with junk, reports News Corp’s Kieran Gair.
The technology giant, which generated $4.8bn in local revenue last year, released a series of new ads on the weekend claiming the new regulatory code would give media organisations an “unfair advantage” over others by allowing them access to the company’s secret algorithms.
“If we talk about our search signals too much then people will manipulate them and that breaks search entirely,” Google vice-president of engineering Dave Besbris says in one ad.
In separate videos, Google claims the proposed revenue-sharing deal is not connected to paying for news but about “being required to give an unfair advantage to news companies in search”.
Australian media groups pay a tax rate up to 100 times greater than Facebook and Google on their local earnings with an estimated $6 billion in Australian-sourced earnings not taxed here, latest corporate filings show, reports AFR‘s Neil Chenoweth.
The vast disparity in tax rates makes it almost impossible for any level playing field to exist in negotiations between local media companies and the two US tech giants, which have threatened to limit or block Australian news stories over new rules that will force them to share income.
Last year President Donald Trump‘s administration successfully pressured Australia and the UK to drop plans for a 3 per cent digital tax on turnover.
Both Facebook and Google reported paying more than the standard 30 per cent Australian company tax rate on their local profits in the year to December 2019 – 33 per cent for Facebook Australia and 36.7 per cent for Google.
This is more than the 29.3 per cent tax reported by Nine Entertainment, the publisher of AFR Weekend, on earnings before impairments in the year to June. News Corp Australia pays little or no tax besides the $137 million paid by its subsidiary REA Group, but the level of financial engineering in the News accounts makes it unclear whether the newspapers actually make any significant profit to pay tax on.
But the similarity between traditional media and tech is illusory on two grounds: Google and Facebook report less than a fifth of their Australian-sourced income as local sales; and they pay no GST on most of that.
While Google and Facebook had estimated Australian sales of $7.4 billion in the year to December, Google and Facebook reported local sales of only $1.4 billion as taxable, representing a $6 billion tax break.
International groups representing publications across the US and the UK have thrown their support behind Australia‘s “big tech” bargaining code, calling on the federal government to hold firm and declaring that if successful, a similar mechanism should be implemented in their jurisdictions, report’s News Corp’s David Swan.
The overseas push comes after Facebook last week threatened to stop Australians sharing news articles on its platform if the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s draft bargaining code becomes law.
The world-first news code would allow media companies to negotiate with Google and Facebook over payment for news content on its platforms.
The boss of international trade association Digital Content Next, which represents publishers including NPR, CBS Interactive, Condé Nast, The New York Times, The Guardian and News Corp, told The Australian that Facebook and Google had attempted to paint Australia as an “outlier” on tech regulation.
“This couldn’t be further from the truth,” DCN chief executive Jason Kint said.
“What is happening in Australia after a robust multi-year investigation of the digital advertising market is a sign of things to come, as the rest of the world across oceans and political ideologies attempt to unlock competition and innovation again to breathe oxygen into dependent businesses and information markets whether small or large.”
The Daily Telegraph and Sky News asked the Snowy Monaro regional council for $15,000 in cash and services to help pay for the newspaper’s “bush summit” conference in Cooma last week, according to council documents, reports News Corp’s Amanda Meade.
The request was approved a week before the summit despite objections from two councillors, John Castellari and Bob Stewart, who argued the money should go to needy community groups in a region that was devastated by the bushfires and Covid-19.
The bush summit is the Sydney newspaper’s major branding event and Daily Telegraph editor Ben English hosted prime minister Scott Morrison, state and regional politicians and business leaders last Friday “to brainstorm a future driven from the bush”.
Domain has dismissed a junior lifestyle reporter after an investigation revealed she was fabricating quotes in articles that appeared on the real estate listing website.
Kate Bartels, who joined Domain in April 2019, wrote two articles that quoted Melbourne-based clinical psychologist, Dr Sarah Barker. However, Dr Barker was not interviewed for the articles and the quotes were not provided by her.
Domain has since publicly apologised for the two articles, but an investigation has discovered there have been multiple other incidents of fabricated quotes or interviews written by the reporter. Hundreds of articles written by Bartels have been taken down from the Domain website until the investigation is complete.
British pop legend Boy George and ex-Destiny‘s Child diva Kelly Rowland are set to be the two main casualties when The Voice makes its switch from Channel 9 to Seven later this year, reports News Corp’s Amy Harris.
Sources close to the sing-off, which Nine has broadcast for the past nine years, say the two international ring-ins will be the first and obvious big-name victims of Seven’s cost-cutting axe.
Remaining Aussie judges Guy Sebastian and Delta Goodrem are believed to be safe for now however bean-counters at Seven are said to be taking a close look at Goodrem’s lucrative contract, believed to be worth a whopping $1.5 million a year.
George and Rowland pull down a combined salary of $5 million a year for their part on the talent show, which they both joined in 2017.
Two-thirds of that reportedly goes to George who is currently the highest-paid on-air celebrity at Nine.
Their departure will free up some funds to throw in the direction of Kylie Minogue who is believed to be at the top of Seven’s list of replacements.
It’s believed Seven is also in talks with US hip-hop superstar Usher, who acts as a coach on the US version of the show, as well as Queen frontman Adam Lambert and Aussie songbird Jessica Mauboy.
Network Ten has appointed Irish dancer Tristan MacManus as co-host of its television morning show Studio 10, alongside Sarah Harris following the axing of stars Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Natarsha Belling from the program’s line-up as part of wider cost-cutting, reports News Corp’s Lilly Viktorovich.
MacManus, who is best known to local viewers as a judge on 10’s dancing competition show Dancing With The Stars, will make his Studio 10 hosting debut on September 14
The decision to cut Studio 10’s panel of seven hosts to two co-hosts was reported by The Australian last month, and falls in line with a two-person format similar to Seven’s Sunrise and The Morning Show, and Nine’s Today and Today Extra.
The changes to Studio 10 are part of a restructuring of 10’s news operations across the nation, including the consolidation of its weather presenters to just one, in a bid to save money.
The widow of Australian television mogul Reg Grundy is looking to continue his legacy by helping to bankroll a budding entrepreneur with a new idea for a TV entertainment show, reports News Corp’s Lilly Viktorovich.
Joy Chambers-Grundy has partnered with Australian Academy Cinema Television Arts to create the AACTA Reg Grundy Award, consisting of an annual $50,000 prize, for the most original idea for a new entertainment program.
Chambers-Grundy said the award had been created to “help discover budding entrepreneurs of Australian entertainment” in her late husband’s name.
Fox Sports will continue talks with Rugby Australia over the coming weeks as it seeks clarity over what is exactly up for sale in the code’s new TV rights deal, reports SMH‘s Tom Decent.
The pay-TV network missed RA’s Friday deadline for formal expressions of interest in a new broadcast deal but discussions are ongoing.
The code’s existing free-to-air broadcaster, Network 10, also remains in talks with the governing body. Sources with knowledge of the negotiations suggest the network is keen on a discount from its previous rights deal.
Fox Sports, which as broadcast Super Rugby since its inception in 1996, are understood to be interested in rugby – particularly Super Rugby and Test matches – and have had meetings with RA over the past few weeks. There have also been internal discussions among executives to talk about the potential production costs associated with broadcasting rugby once again.
A source with knowledge of the negotiations said that while Foxtel didn’t formally express interest on Friday, they had a “foot inside the process” and that clarity was being sought as to what was exactly on offer.