Friday November 9, 2018

Bauer Media’s Paul Gardiner on dollars, digital and print audiences

• ‘Woman’s Day tends to get a hard time from its media competitors’

One of Australia’s biggest-selling and best-known magazines had a birthday this week. Bauer Media’s Woman’s Day has turned 70. The magazine celebrated by taking readers into its archives… and a cash giveaway! It’s a good news story in the sector when the headlines often surround closures or staff exits. To talk about magazines and their place in the market is the commercial director of Australia’s biggest magazine publisher, Bauer’s Paul Gardiner, joined Leanne Jones and James Manning on Your Money this week.

Is Woman’s Day an example of how magazines can survive?

Absolutely. We have 1.3m readers consuming Woman’s Day and spending on average over an hour with the magazine every week. That is quite incredible when time spent viewing in the digital space is about seven or eight minutes. The title still has a special place in readers’ hearts. You can get that content in other places, but it is hard to replicate the print experience.

Woman’s Day attracts a lot attention for its celebrity coverage – not all of it flattering. How important is the celebrity power to the title?

Woman’s Day tends to get a hard time from its media competitors. Its readers know that it is not a current affairs title, but an entertainment magazine.

The celebrity component of Woman’s Day is actually only a small part of the magazine. One in two readers of the title turn to it for its food content. Celebrity tends to get overblown in the context of the magazine.

What are the categories that are key to Bauer and attract advertiser support?

The categories we focus on at Bauer are those high-engagement categories, those points of passion – food, homes, lifestyle, fashion and beauty. People spend a lot of time consuming content in those categories and therefore advertisers want to be part of it.

The sector ad revenue numbers indicate serious drops in ad spend. Did some of the brands who used to support magazines exit too quickly?

When I came to this market I scratched my head around performance of readership versus ad performance. There is definitely a disconnect there. On average our readership across our portfolio has dropped by about 5%-7% over the last five years. Agency revenue in magazines has declined on average about 30%.

Do other markets where Bauer operates face the same challenges?

Globally all traditional media owners have the same challenges – chasing and protecting audiences as they continue to fragment.

How does Australia stack up compared to other mature print markets?

Readership is extremely high in this market. It is one of the highest read markets in the world. From an advertising side we don’t have the same strength as most developed magazine markets. On average our share of the market is around 2%. In most developed markets the magazine ad share is around 4%-5%. We have a job to do there. We take responsibility for that and part of our strategy this year has been to give advertisers a reason to come back and have a look at magazines and a look at Bauer.

Brands and agencies are receptive, but it is a little bit like if you lose a magazine subscriber it is quite hard to get them back. If you lose a magazine advertiser it’s also really hard to get them back.

What is Bauer doing digitally? Initially publishers tried magazines on tablets but that didn’t work. What is Bauer’s strategy now?

We are relatively new to the digital markets. We have only been in the digital market with our brands for three years. Sometimes being late to markets can be a real advantage because we have learnt from other people’s mistakes. We have a two-stream strategy: a brand community strategy with our specialist brands, for example Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. In the more generalist categories we go for a category play in the digital space. For women’s lifestyle we have Now To Love and with homes we have Homes To Love.

We have just recreated our new food offering in the market, which was Food To Love but is now becoming WomensWeeklyFood.com.au, which is leveraging on the strength of The Australian Women’s Weekly heritage in food.

How are you going monetising your digital audience?

Unless you are Facebook and Google, media owners face challenges in that area. Our digital audiences have grown roughly 35% year-on-year and as a result revenues have grown. However, a reliance on banner and display advertising for us is not sustainable going forward. We are looking at new opportunities and revenue streams like e-commerce and content plays.

What are some examples of titles thriving into the future?

A really good example is Take 5, a monthly title we have just launched. We have just had the first readership number come out at 750,000. It just goes to show if you do your research, and find the right market, there is still growth.

Are there any encouraging signs when it comes to younger readers?

We are seeing an increase in young female readers in our portfolio that is driven by Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. There is an opportunity in the young women’s space, but it won’t be the same content pillars that Cosmopolitan represented in the market. It will be a new product that represents changing reader needs.

Bauer doesn’t seem interested in digital-only brands.

Print for us is an important part of the business. For us the print brands will underpin everything we do in the market. That’s where the equity lies in our business and the model in the future will be what else can we do around them.

Watch Bauer’s Paul Gardiner on Mediaweek on Your Money here.

Morgan readership: Leading magazines increase audience year-on-year

• Results for Roy Morgan Magazine Print Readership for September 2018
• Clear majority of top 15 magazines grow their print readership

A total of 15,117,000 Australians aged 14+ (74.1%) read magazines whether in print or online either via the web or an app. That is up 0.7%, or 110,000, from a year ago, according to the results released today from the Roy Morgan Australian Readership report for the 12 months to September 2018.

Readership of print magazines was over 13.6 million Australians aged 14+ (66.8%), down 0.4%, or 57,000, from a year ago. These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey of 50,377 Australians aged 14+ in the 12 months to September 2018.

Nine of Australia’s Top 15 magazines grew their print readership over the past year, with six of the leading titles growing their readership by at least 5% on a year ago. In addition, the new Take 5 (monthly) magazine has entered the list as the ninth most widely read magazine in Australia.

National Geographic had the strongest performance of Australia’s leading magazines, growing its print readership by 21.2% to 1,275,000 on the back of the special “Plastic or Planet” edition covered in detail by Roy Morgan here.

Australia’s two most widely read free magazines also performed well. Coles Magazine readership was up 16.2% and Fresh readership increased by 7.7%.

Better Homes & Gardens remains Australia’s most widely read paid magazine with more than 1.6 million readers.

Other leading magazines to perform strongly include Women’s Weekly (readership up by 4.1%), Royal Auto (+12.9%), Taste.com.au Magazine (+9%), Road Ahead (+8.9%), Australian Geographic (+1.1%), House & Garden (+3.6%) and, just outside the top 15, Gardening Australia was up a stunning 34.2%.

Food & Entertainment magazines continue strong growth led by Coles & Fresh

Food & Entertainment is again Australia’s best performing magazine category and is now read by 6,648,000 Australians, or 32.6% of the population – up 8.3% in the year to September 2018. Over the last year more than half of the 10 magazines in this category increased their readership.

The category continues to be dominated by the free supermarket titles, both of which saw exceptional year-on-year growth – Coles Magazine with readership of 4,618,000 (up 16.2%) and Woolworth’s Fresh now read by 4,124,000 Australians (up 7.7%).

Other titles to perform well over the past year include Gourmet Traveller Wine, which increased 19.6% to 67,000, Taste.com.au up 9% to 667,000 and Donna Hay up 1.5% to 279,000.

Foxtel launches beta version of sports streaming service Kayo

Is watching Kayo is better than watching Foxtel’s channels?

• 50 sports live and on demand, no contracts, from $25 monthly

Foxtel has launched a trial version of its much-anticipated sports streaming service Kayo.

The service is available for $25 monthly after a 14-day free trial, with no contract. The service allows a subscriber to watch two screens at the same time. For an additional $10 subscribers can be using three screens simultaneously. Every subscription includes HD broadcasts of live and on-demand content.

The sports on offer include Test cricket, The Big Bash League, one day international cricket, AFL, NRL, A-League, Formula One, NBA, NBL and NFL. Data charges will apply and there is no detail as yet of any data-free ISP deals.

In addition to HD quality, the web interface allows for split screen functionality, a no-spoiler policy and key moment highlight packages.

Customers can initially only watch via Mac and PC, mobile and tablets or Chromecast. The software has been optimised for Chrome, Safari and Firefox browsers on iOS and Android phones and tablets.

Kayo will soon be available for Android, iOS and Apple TV and Telstra TV.

Foxtel said Kayo is a proudly Australian game-changing sports streaming service created to give viewers the ultimate way to get closer to the sports they love.

From spoiler-free catch-ups, interactive stats, alerts and more, the unique features on Kayo are being promoted as the future of sports streaming in Australia.

The content is being supplied by the sports channels Fox Sports, ESPN and BeIN, who are key partners to Kayo.

A big attraction for sports fans will be the split screen option. Here is some detail on the key Kayo features:

SplitView: The only thing better than watching an incredible game is watching one, two, three or up to four at once. Kayo SplitView lets subscribers watch up to four feeds simultaneously, on PC, laptop or tablet. On Kayo Beta, it’s just the one screen on mobile but, once the app drops, you’ll get SplitView on there too.

Key Moments: Kayo Key Moments lets viewers ditch the filler, and watch selected games from every wicket, try, or wipe-out. It’s back-to-back action. Plus, for major codes and competitions like cricket, Hyundai A-League and rugby viewers will see the key moments revealed as they are watching live.

No Spoilers: Kayo gives customers the option to remove all the scores and annoying reveals from its Preference Centre, so fans can view every game as though it were happening right then and there.

Get online at https://www.kayosports.com.au/

Mercado on TV: Whatever happened to the TV dumping ground?

Summer TV used to be a dumping ground for repeats and short-lived flops but, for the past few years, that has been changing and now something unprecedented is happening.

All November, the month during which free-to-air used to start finishing up, now there are new shows arriving every week. It’s about time too, with declining viewership and rising streaming numbers no doubt the reason this is finally happening.

Networks have finally realised that they just can’t show rubbish for two months and expect people to come back with all the new competition out there. Netflix might have had a patchy year but it goes into summer with buzzworthy dramas like The Haunting Of Hill House, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Bodyguard and House of Cards. And Amazon Prime has Julia Roberts’s first TV series Homecoming, which, in good news for the TV time-poor, has 10 episodes at just 30 minutes long. Less is more these days when it comes to drama and nobody gets that better than the British.

From the same team that brought you The Night Manager comes another extraordinary John Le Carre thriller, The Little Drummer Girl, which goes for just two jaw-dropping episodes from Wednesday on BBC First. Compare that to 10 hour-long episodes of Castle Rock, a Stephen King mash-up, which starts Monday on Fox Showcase with Sissy Spacek and nods to The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Shining. More may not be more with this one.

Meanwhile, FTA is celebrating the end of another school year with kids everywhere. Guy Sebastian is inspiring them in Don’t Stop The Music (Sunday on ABC), Child Genius is hosted by Dr Susan Garland (Monday on SBS) and The Secret Life Of 4 Year Olds is coming soon to 10. Somehow missing this trend, Seven brings back a show about brain-dead parents as Yummy Mummies returns for an inexplicable second series. Now airing at the not so yummy time of 10pm on Mondays, it’s as welcome as a kid with a tummy bug.

And possibly destined for the third series of Yummy Mummies is Ali because she is going to find true love, again, next Thursday in The Bachelorette finale. And if that doesn’t work out, she could always try to join Tim Robards again on Neighbours where he now plays a suave investor.

Neighbours has had killer guest stars all year like Kerry Armstrong, Madeleine West, Magda Szubanski, Denise Drysdale and Natalie Bassingthwaighte. And while Home And Away seemed to skip its 30th anniversary this year, at least it will have a big summer cliffhanger.

Neighbours won’t because it now airs 52 weeks a year. That means Ramsay Street can turn on a fair dinkum Christmas this Christmas, more fair dinkum than Scott Morrison. And while viewers might welcome a break from politics this summer, nobody will complain about networks staying in the game all the time.

TV Ratings Analysis: October 8

• Turnbull triumph: Q&A pulls one of biggest audiences with former PM
• ABC TV Festival of Malcolm pushes share to Thursday high for 2018
• Paramedics key part of Nine primary win, Seven #1 network share
• Aussie comedy shoot-out: Helliar defeats Hussain, but both winners

By James Manning

Seven

Home And Away dipped well below its 600,000 threshold to end the week with three episodes averaging 513,000.

The debut of Nazeem Hussain’s Orange Is The New Brown had plenty of laughs with a memorable performance from the comedian and his colleagues. The series launched with 422,000 as two Australian comedies went head-to-head. Hussain might have been out-rated by Peter Helliar, but both shows were winners.

Nine

A Current Affair helped a family stop their dad from being deported last night. The episode did 644,000.

An ob doc trio then helped the channel to win its first primary share night of the week:

Driving Test 205,000 (Sydney, Brisbane only)

RBT 429,000 (an hour in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth)

Paramedics 561,000

TEN

Mandy Patinkin returned as a guest to The Project last night, but get this, he didn’t get the slot after 7.25pm. That was saved for PJ Helliar and his How To Stay Married co-star Lisa McCune as they promoted the show and laughed about their new life together. The episode did 429,000.

The Bachelorette is getting close to a decision (we hope) and the home visit episode had a surprise for the viewers. The episode did 605,000 after 514,000 on Thursday last week.

How To Stay Married then did well to hold much of that audience with a debut of 508,000. It’s a good sitcom in a tough slot with a wonderful supporting cast.

The Bachelorette and How to Stay Married were the top two programs in under 50s and all key demographics (16-39, 18-49 and 25-54).

The return of Law & Order: SVU then did 217,000.

ABC

It was all about Malcolm Turnbull on the channel last night with the former PM getting his own edition of Q&A on a separate night. Second episodes of Q&A in a week don’t always attract many viewers, but this special Thursday outing took Q&A off its chart with an audience of 666,000. The combined metro and regional audience was just short of the magic 1m – 956,000. The Thursday share rose to 14.1%, a high for the year, probably one of the best Thursdays for a couple of years, on a night where share often slips into single figures.

The second episode of a repeat screening of Endeavour then did 295,000 after launching last week on 272,000.

SBS

A repeat of The Secret Life Of Queen Victoria did 202,000 at 7.30pm.

Week 45 TV: THURSDAY
THURSDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 14.1% 7 16.6% 9 17.3% 10  14.3% SBS One 4.3%
ABC 2 2.5% 7TWO 3.5% GO! 3.8% 10 Peach 2.6% VICELAND 0.9%
ABC ME 0.9% 7mate 5.0% GEM 3.6% 10 Boss 1.8% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 2.3% 7flix 2.4% 9Life 2.5%     NITV 0.2%
TOTAL 19.8%   27.6%   27.2%   18.7%   6.7%
THURSDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 13.1% 7 18.2% 9 15.8% WIN 12.0% SBS One 3.3%
ABC 2 3.2% 7TWO 4.3% GO! 4.1% ONE 2.7% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 1.5% 7mate 5.7% GEM 5.2% ELEVEN 1.7% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 2.2% 7flix 1.9% 9Life 1.9% Sky News  on WIN 0.7% NITV 0.3%
TOTAL 20.0%   30.1%   27.0%   17.1%   5.4%

 

THURSDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
84.6% 15.4%

 

THURSDAY FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 850,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 823,000
  3. Nine News Nine 768,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 730,000
  5. ABC News ABC 667,000
  6. Q&A Special: Malcolm Turnbull ABC 666,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 644,000
  8. The Bachelorette Australia 10 605,000
  9. 7.30 ABC 594,000
  10. Paramedics Nine 561,000
  11. Home And Away Seven 513,000
  12. How To Stay Married 10 508,000
  13. The Project 7pm 10 429,000
  14. RBT Nine 429,000
  15. Orange Is The New Brown Seven 422,000
  16. The Chase Australia Seven 414,000
  17. Hot Seat Nine 404,000
  18. 10 News First 10 335,000
  19. Endeavour (R) ABC 295,000
  20. Modern Family Seven 274,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. The Bachelorette Australia 10 221,000
  2. How To Stay Married 10 133,000
  3. Paramedics Nine 130,000
  4. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 118,000
  5. Orange Is The New Brown Seven 114,000

 

18-49 Top Five

  1. The Bachelorette Australia 10 339,000
  2. How To Stay Married 10 244,000
  3. Paramedics Nine 210,000
  4. Orange Is The New Brown Seven 179,000
  5. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 178,000

 

25-54 Top Five

  1. The Bachelorette Australia 10 352,000
  2. How To Stay Married 10 282,000
  3. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 227,000
  4. Paramedics Nine 227,000
  5. Orange Is The New Brown Seven 227,000
THURSDAY Multichannel
  1. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 190,000
  2. M- A Good Day To Die Hard PM 7mate 189,000
  3. Wanda And The Alien PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 182,000
  4. The Big Bang Theory Tx1 9GO! 175,000
  5. Becca’s Bunch PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 171,000
  6. Waffle The Wonder Dog PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 164,000
  7. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 156,000
  8. The Big Bang Theory 9GO! 155,000
  9. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 155,000
  10. Octonauts ABCKIDS/COMEDY 155,000
  11. Luo Bao Bei ABCKIDS/COMEDY 149,000
  12. Rusty Rivets PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 148,000
  13. Andy’s Wild Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  14. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 146,000
  15. Hey Duggee AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  16. Shaun The Sheep ABCKIDS/COMEDY 143,000
  17. Death In Paradise 9Gem 142,000
  18. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 142,000
  19. Go Jetters PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 139,000
  20. Dino Dana ABCKIDS/COMEDY 138,000
THURSDAY Subscription TV
  1. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 66,000
  2. Inside Dame Elisabeth’s Garden LifeStyle Channel 63,000
  3. Gold Rush Discovery Chanel 57,000
  4. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 55,000
  5. Love It Or List It Australia LifeStyle Channel 47,000
  6. Bering Sea Gold Discovery Channel 41,000
  7. PML Overtime Sky News Live 41,000
  8. Inside The Queen’s Garden LifeStyle Channel 39,000
  9. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 38,000
  10. Bones TVH!TS 38,000
  11. Credlin Sky News Live 35,000
  12. The Simpsons FOX8 34,000
  13. The Simpsons FOX8 33,000
  14. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 32,000
  15. Treasure Quest Snake Island Discovery Chanel 31,000
  16. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 29,000
  17. Family Guy FOX8 27,000
  18. Top Wing Nick Jr. 27,000
  19. Real Detective: North Of The Border crime + investigation 27,000
  20. NCIS TVH!TS 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-Fairfax green light: Why the ACCC will not oppose media merger

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has detailed its reasons for not opposing the merger:

The ACCC examined a number of markets affected by this proposed merger. Australian news, including online news, current affairs reporting and investigative journalism, was the key issue, and in particular whether the merger would substantially lessen competition in the creation and provision of Australian news content.

The merger investigation was extensive and involved contact with hundreds of stakeholders, consideration of the more than 1,000 submissions, and examination of internal documents the ACCC compelled from both Nine and Fairfax.

“While the merger between these two big name media players raised a number of extremely complex issues, and will likely reduce competition, we concluded that the proposed merger was not likely to substantially lessen competition in any market in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

“This merger can be seen to reduce the number of companies intensely focusing on Australian news from five to four. Post the merger, only Nine–Fairfax, News/Sky, Seven West Media and the ABC/SBS will employ a large number of journalists focused on news creation and dissemination.

“With the growth in online news, however, many other players, albeit smaller, now provide some degree of competitive constraint. These include, for example, The Guardian, The New Daily, Buzzfeed, Crikey and The Daily Mail,” Sims said.

Continued at mediaweek.com.au

See also:
Fairfax & Nine: A new era for the media with second biggest player
• IBISWorld explores how the merger will impact the media industry

‘A blow to journalism’: MEAA says merger will do untold harm

Today’s decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to greenlight the takeover of Fairfax Media by Nine Entertainment Co is a body blow to media diversity, and the forerunner to future mega-deals that will reduce coverage of matters of public and national interest and do untold harm to media jobs, said the Media & Entertainment Arts Alliance.

What still has to happen before Nine takes control of Fairfax?

Nine’s Hugh Marks and Fairfax’s Greg Hywood on ACCC decision and merger plans

Nine deal is death knell for Fairfax, says Paul Keating

Paul Keating has sounded the death knell for Fairfax’s newspapers, saying the merger with the Nine Network will see its journalism poisoned by the “low-rent” television company and consign them to the “ethical dustbin”, reports The Australian’s Troy Bramston.

The former prime minister blasted the decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to approve the $4.2 billion merger of Nine with Fairfax yesterday, characterising it as a “truly appalling decision”.

“The ACCC has today displayed its intellectual and policy weakness by consigning The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review to the ethical dustbin of Channel Nine,” he said in a statement provided to The Australian.

“The ACCC’s naive waffle in its media statement today that ‘Nine’s television operations and Fairfax’s main media assets do not compete closely with each other’ shows a complete misunderstanding of the role of capital-city print journalism in shaping the media debate in television and print on a daily basis.”

[Read the original]

21st Century Fox posts higher profit: Update on Disney sale progress

21st Century Fox said its profit rose in its latest quarter, but the company’s cable-network business reported weaker-than-expected sales, reports Dow Jones Newswires.

The company’s cable business, which includes Fox News and Fox Sports 1, booked $US4.35 billion in revenue in the quarter ended September 30, up about 4% from a year ago.

The company said higher affiliate and advertising revenue in the cable unit was offset by a 5% increase in expenses, primarily related to broadcasting the FIFA World Cup on both FS1 and Fox Networks Group International.

Revenue increased almost 3% to $US7.17 billion, less than the $US7.21 billion analysts forecast. Revenue from its television unit rose 20% from a year earlier, helped by stronger political advertising spending related to the US midterm elections and ad spending from sporting events. Film unit sales fell 8%.

In a statement, executive co-chairmen Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch said the company is making important strides toward completing its deal with Disney and launching the new Fox in the first half of next year.

[Read the original]

News Brands

Luke Foley allegations detailed in statement from ABC journalist

An ABC journalist has confirmed an incident involving NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley at a Christmas party in 2016, report ABC News’s Jamie McKinnell and state political reporter Sarah Gerathy.

In a statement, reporter Ashleigh Raper said Foley placed his hand down the back of her dress and inside her underpants.

Raper said she did not wish to make a complaint but was forced to make a statement after the incident was raised under parliamentary privilege in both Sydney and Canberra.

A separate statement from the ABC said the corporation considered it extremely unfortunate that media and public pressure had been applied to Raper and caused her to speak publicly on an issue she did not wish to pursue or to comment on.

Speaking at a press conference where he resigned as Labor leader, Foley, who had previously described the claims as “lies”, maintained the allegations were false.

[Read the original]

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-08/luke-foley-nsw-labor-leader-abc-harassment-allegations/10432098

ABC journalist Ashleigh Raper’s statement in full.

The Australian’s Andrew Clennell: Foley resignation the only option

It was in February when I first heard an allegation that Luke Foley had sexually harassed an ABC journalist, in April when I discovered the identity of the journalist and later that month where I spoke to her about it, reports The Australian’s Andrew Clennell.

When I first got the tip-off my initial reaction was: if this stacks up Foley is gone as Opposition Leader. I had seen John Brogden fall on his sword as NSW Liberal leader over what has emerged as a less serious allegation.

When I saw Ashleigh Raper in the corridors of parliament in April I asked to talk to her and put the allegation directly to her.

She just kept telling me that she could not comment and to go to ABC Media.

I recall telling Raper at the time that if she did not want the story pursued I would not pursue it but she just kept telling me “no comment”.

I understand Raper has agonised over the decision to go public on this for months. She did not want to expose herself but she did not want Luke Foley to become premier either.

His denials upset and angered her, friends have told me.

The pursuit of this story by The Australian was a difficult one. At all times we have respected the wishes of Ashleigh, who has been brave in releasing this statement today.

[Read the original]

Foley denies Ashleigh Raper’s allegations, now here come the lawyers

“I’m not a philanderer, I’m not a groper, I’m just a drunk idiot.”

Well, yes, comments The Australian’s Caroline Overington.

If what ABC reporter Ashleigh Raper has said about NSW Labor leader Luke Foley is true – if he shoved his hands inside her underpants without her consent – an action he vehemently denies – that’s not groping and that’s not philandering. That’s assault, either sexual or indecent.

So, yes, he’d be right: Foley wouldn’t be a philanderer, or a groper, or a drunk idiot, he’d be guilty of a serious crime.

And so he’s suing Raper and probably a host of media organisations for defamation.

[Read the original]

See also:

Once again, the woman cleans up the mess caused by harassment claims, reports Fairfax Media’s Jacqueline Maley.

The statement from ABC journalist Ashleigh Raper tells you everything you need to know about why women generally don’t report sexual harassment.

[Read the original]

Macquarie Street cements its reputation as the grubbiest Parliament in the country, by FairfaxMedia’s Kylar Loussikian.

Corrections Minister David Elliott detonated a bomb in question time on October 18 that was really only ever going to end one way.

It’s time to stop turning a blind eye, by News Corp’s Sharri Markson.

Luke Foley’s resignation raises huge issues around how we treat claims of sexual misconduct, especially for NSW Labor which failed to properly investigate its leader.

[Read the original]

Rush team accuses The Daily Telegraph of ‘irresponsible journalism’

The barrister acting for Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush in a defamation case against The Daily Telegraph says the stories about his client are an example of “cruel” and “reckless journalism”, reports ABC News’s Jamelle Wells.

As the three-week defamation trial reaches its final days, Rush’s legal team on Thursday issued its final statements before Justice Michael Wigney in the Federal Court in Sydney.

Barrister Bruce McClintock said stories about Rush’s conduct towards a female co-star – later identified as Eryn Jean Norvill – during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear had no evidence to support them.

He said the stories were an example of “power without responsibility”.

“Does The Daily Telegraph care about people whose lives it smashes and ruins?

“Clearly it does not.”

The trial is expected to finish tomorrow.

[Read the original]

Television

Don Burke sued for defamation over comments in TV interview

A woman who alleges she was sexually harassed by former Channel 9 star Don Burke is suing him for defamation, reports ABC News’s Lorna Knowles.

Wendy Dent told the ABC last year Burke asked her to audition topless for a role on his popular gardening show, Burke’s Backyard.

“I went from feeling like this talent with a future to feeling like I was just a pair of boobs to him,” she said.

In an interview with Channel 9’s A Current Affair program in November last year, Burke denied the claims.

Dent alleges Burke had defamed her because he had implied she lied and that she was part of a “witch hunt” against him.

High-profile barrister Stuart Littlemore QC is representing Dent.

In statement of claim filed in the court, lawyers for Dent allege Burke defamed her when he told A Current Affair: “These things didn’t happen.”

The claim alleges Dent had been “greatly injured in her credit, reputation and occupation and has been brought into public scandal, odium and contempt”.

It also alleges Burke made “deliberately false attribution of blame to herself [Dent] and his other victims”.

Dent is seeking damages and aggravated damages from Burke.

She is not suing Channel 9.

[Read the original]

Malcolm Turnbull on Q&A: Oh how he missed the applause

The applause. Oh, how he had missed it in the 11 long weeks – to the very day – since the coup had ended the prime ministership of Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, reports The Australian’s Stephen Brook.

But there he was, back once again, in Studio 22, back on Q&A, the ABC program that had done so much to rehabilitate his political career after his first massive defeat cast him out into the political wilderness.

Tommy, the shaggy-haired warm-up guy, something of an institution on the ABC panel show, had got the audience and star interviewee in a jocular mood by cannily anticipating the first question about insurgents that cost Turnbull his political career, by yelling out across the studio: “Can you please tell us your secret diplomatic code word for ‘that guy can go and get f**ked’?”

The former prime minister replied with some vague Malcolmism and the moment was quickly lost as soon the theme tune started up and host Tony Jones leaned across to shake Turnbull’s hand and mouth the words “Welcome back”.

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Also in The Australian:
Malcolm Turnbull Q&A live: Former PM appears on special edition of Q&A by Greg Brown.

Fairfax Media:
‘Madness’: Turnbull takes whip to colleagues over coup by Neil McMahon

Nine Perth looking for new programmer and marketing manager

Graeme Hill, programmer & marketing manager at Nine Perth, has resigned after three years to pursue new opportunities, reports TV Tonight.

Prior to joining Nine he had over 30 years in programming and marketing at Seven.

“After three years and countless flights across the Nullarbor it’s time to go home to Melbourne,” he told TV Tonight.

“Perth is a challenging market to crack but over the three years we have made some major inroads – we’ve had great year on year growth for the past two years in the key demographics and we’ve never given up.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to achieve in a short time, from programming to ratings to publicity to marketing – it’s been absolutely relentless.”

Hill departs Nine in mid-December. Nine is yet to announce his replacement.

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