Monday November 19, 2018

Hot Tomato sale reveals the cost of buying Gold Coast radio station

Australia’s largest independent FM radio station has finally been sold after a tempting offer from a regional network.

The Hot Tomato Broadcasting Company and Grant Broadcasters have announced an agreement for the sale of the 102.9 Hot Tomato Gold Coast licence and business. Due diligence has been finalised with settlement and completion of the contract slated for November 30, 2018.

A sale price was not revealed, but there has been speculation the station sold for close to $30m.

Grant Broadcasters, established in 1942, is a family owned and operated group with a portfolio of 52 commercial radio station licences across the country.

Hot Tomato Broadcasting, also a family owned and operated company, was established in 2002 when it purchased the Gold Coast licence at a federal government auction. 102.9 Hot Tomato first went to air on August 1, 2003.

The Torv family, brothers Hans and Jaan and sister Anna (once married to Rupert Murdoch), paid $26m for the licence and then reportedly spent another $4m to get it to air.

Alison Cameron, Grant Broadcasters’ newly appointed CEO, stated: “We are thrilled to welcome Hot Tomato to the Grant Broadcasters family. The station’s ethos of live and local fits firmly into the values of our company and our other local radio stations. The Hot Tomato team has done an outstanding job in being the leading voice of the local community on the Gold Coast.”

Hot Tomato executive chairman Hans Torv said: “We have been approached by different groups a number of times about selling the business and, after consideration, the board implemented an expression of interest campaign. It was also time for us to either scale up or move on. The cultural fit with Grants was particularly important – they are genuine radio people, as are all the Hot Tomato team. This presents great opportunities for both the business and the terrific staff who have made Hot Tomato the success it is today.”

Photo: Hot Tomato’s breakfast show hosts Flan, Emily Jade and Christo with Amy Shark

Fremantle’s Dusseldorp deal: Development/productions with Marta

Fremantle has signed an exclusive development and production partnership with actress Marta Dusseldorp.

Dusseldorp has many distinguished television credits including the title character in Janet King, for which she won the AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in 2015, and her starring role as Sarah Adams in A Place to Call Home.

Dusseldorp’s body of work also includes Crownies, BlackJack and Jack Irish. She was associate producer on the Janet King series.

Fremantle will be the home for her original ideas and projects, which will then be developed and produced with her as part of Fremantle’s drama slate.

Chris Oliver-Taylor, CEO Australia & New Zealand, Fremantle, said: “We are incredibly excited that Marta is partnering with us at Fremantle to develop and produce her scripted projects. Marta has a unique and special combination of talent, creativity and foresight which we will embrace at Fremantle. Our scripted team, led by the remarkable Jo Porter, is striving to partner with the very best creatives, of which Marta most certainly is one.”

Marta Dusseldorp said: “I have always admired Jo Porter for her storytelling intelligence and overwhelming commitment to Australian drama. She is one of the leading producers in the country making smart, unique and daring television. I am thrilled to be collaborating with her and the fabulous scripted team at Fremantle. I hope to develop and produce dynamic female-driven Australian stories to Fremantle’s slate that not only Australians will want to watch but the world.”

Also announced today, Jono Gavin is joining the Fremantle scripted team. Gavin has worked as a creator, script producer and writer on popular and critical hits Sisters, Offspring, Cleverman, Seven Types of Ambiguity, The Beautiful Lie and Puberty Blues. Gavin joins the scripted team in the role of showrunner/creator/writer.

Jo Porter, director of scripted, Fremantle, said: “To have a creative the calibre of Jono join our team is a coup that further enhances our ability to tell unique and captivating stories. Aside from being one of the smartest creatives in the business, he’s also one of the most loved, drawing talent to work with him.”

Gavin joins Nat Lindwall (executive producer), Jason Herbison (executive producer), Brett Popplewell (head of production), Justin Davies (senior development executive), Nathalie Peter Contesse (development executive), Billy Bowring (development executive) and Erica Harrison (development manager) as the core creative team.

Porter said: “I’m so proud of the dynamic and talented group of people who are part of our scripted team. The key focus for us is optioning and developing a wide range of exciting projects with incredible IP and creatives attached and we look forward to taking them to market.”

Jo Porter also announced today Fremantle’s commitment to ensure diversity in all story rooms.

“At Fremantle we are committed to ensure we have a diverse range of voices in all rooms from the earliest stage of all our scripted development. Not only is it important to give opportunity to a range of voices and reflect contemporary Australia and the world, we also know this diversity strengthens our teams. Having a range of perspectives on the stories we tell brings nuance, depth and authenticity. We look forward to working with agents on this exciting initiative.”

The marathon Rebel v Bauer legal battle finally over: What ended it?

• Rebel Wilson: “It was never about the money, it was about standing up to a bully”
• Bauer: “Our audience trusts our content and our writers, and they love our iconic brands”

Actress Rebel Wilson has been at war with Bauer Media Australia’s Woman’s Day magazine ever since she originally went after them seeking $7m compensation over articles first published in May 2015.

On September 13, 2017, Justice John Dixon found in favour of Wilson in the amount of $4,749,920.60, the largest defamation award ordered in Australian legal history. Bauer later appealed the decision.

The Court of Appeal eventually revised the damages in the amount of $600,000.

Wilson then made an application to the High Court to overturn the court of appeal’s decision.

That court today refused her application to continue the case, with costs awarded against her.

Wilson was sitting in the front row of the Canberra courtroom this morning to hear the decision.

As she left the court, Wilson said: “This has been a long fight and a long journey in the courts, but the great thing about today is that it brings it to a definitive end.

“Today was just about a small point of special damages and for me it was never about the money – it was about standing up to a bully and I’ve done that.”

There is also a sense of relief from Bauer Media Australia that this matter is now behind it. Bauer Media considers the matter closed, it said in a statement.

Bauer Media’s general counsel Adrian Goss said: “Bauer Media is pleased that the High Court has chosen to bring an end to this matter.”

Bauer Media’s chief executive officer Paul Dykzeul said: “Bauer Media is invested in its Australian business now more than ever. Here in Australia, we reach more women than any other publisher in market connecting with nine out of 10 women across the country. Bauer owns more magazine brands than any other publisher locally. Our audience trusts our content and our writers, and they love our iconic brands like Woman’s Day and Australian Women’s Weekly.”

More media greats inducted into Australian Media Hall of Fame

Another 48 greats of national journalism have been inducted into the Australian Media Hall of Fame.

An induction event took place in Melbourne on Friday night. The event completed the national foundation of the Media Hall of Fame – a decade-long project of the Melbourne Press Club.

They include world-famous war cameramen Neil Davis and David Brill, TV legends Ray Martin and Geraldine Doogue, magazine queen Dulcie Boling, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Pat Oliphant and groundbreaking Aboriginal journalist John Newfong.

Also honoured was the celebrated former political editor of The Age and The Australian, Michael Gordon, a champion of social justice journalism who died suddenly in February this year.

Launched in Victoria in 2012, the Media Hall of Fame last year expanded to include NSW. This year’s inductees include greats from Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the territories.

The Australian Media Hall of Fame seeks to demonstrate the importance and public benefit of journalism in the face of threats from digital disruption and political interference.

“The achievements of these extraordinary men and women show the abiding importance of great journalism for our democracy and why we should celebrate and defend it,” Melbourne Press Club CEO Mark Baker said.

The Advisory Panel for this year’s nominations was former editor of The Age Michael Smith, former editor-in-chief of The Australian Chris Mitchell, media historian Bridget Griffen-Foley of Macquarie University and Mike Bowers, photographer-at-large for The Guardian.

The full list of November 2018 inductees:

• Joe Alexander
• Bert Lillye
• Charles Bean
• Douglas Lockwood
• Dulcie Boling
• Hugh Lunn
• Jim Bowditch
• Catherine Martin
• Ted Bray
• Ray Martin
• David Brill
• Ken May
• Charmian Clift
• Keith McDonald
• Bob Cronin
• Maxine McKew
• James Cruthers
• Bill Mitchell
• Gay Davidson
• Paul Murray
• Neil Davis
• John Newfong
• Geraldine Doogue
• Pat Oliphant
• Shirley Stott Despoja
• Andrew Olle
• John B Fairfax
• Steve Pennells
• Ian Fitchett
• Alan Reid
• Peter Game
• Paul Rigby
• Michael Gordon
• Gerard Ryle
• Max Harris
• Howard Sattler
• Derryn Hinch
• John Silvester
• Les Hinton
• Trevor Sykes
• Adelie Hurley
• Hedley Thomas
• Ken Inglis
• Jack Waterford
• George Johnston
• Don Whitington
• Tony Koch
• Marian Wilkinson

Top 10 Game Charts: Red Dead makes it three on the trot

Things remain virtually unchanged at the top of the Australian games charts for the third week in a row, with Rockstar’s record-breaking Red Dead Redemption II holding firm in first position and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 hanging onto second spot. 

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey has swapped places with FIFA 19 but, beyond that, there’s been little movement in the upper portion of the charts.

As predicted, Just Dance 2019 and LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4/5-7 Collection have already dropped from the top 10, replaced with the return of evergreen hits like the impressively tenacious Rainbow Six: Siege from 2015 and Mario Kart 8.

There are just a handful of high-profile releases left for 2018 and it’s likely Battlefield V, Hitman 2, Fallout 76, and Just Cause 4 will poke their noses into the charts before the year is out.

ARIA Charts: Ariana #1, XXXTentacion, Imagine Dragons

• Singles: Ariana #1, Queen, XXXTentacion, Imagine Dragons surge
• Albums: 5 new releases into top 10 but they can’t topple Gaga & Brad


Ariana Grande was always going to pose a threat this week after hitting #2 on debut a week ago. That springboard has seen her make the hop to #1 with Thank U, Next, perhaps surprisingly only her second ARIA #1 single after No Tears Left To Cry earlier this year.

After three weeks at #1, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper have slipped to #2 in their sixth week charting with this tune from A Star Is Born, a soundtrack that is secure topping the album chart again this week.

Little action elsewhere in the top 10 with the smallest possible change – Billie Ellish lifts to #10 from #11, returning to its previous peak in its fourth week.

Queen were the biggest movers on the chart as audiences continue to celebrate Freddie Mercury and the band. The title track from Bohemian Rhapsody jumps from #26 to #18 in the former #1’s 48th week on the chart.

Meanwhile a former Queen top 5 hit Another One Bites The Dust soars from #51 to #39. Somebody To Love at #50 is the last of three tunes from them in the chart this week.

Just two new releases debuted inside the top 50:

#31 Rapper XXXTentacion with Bad
#35 Rockers Imagine Dragons with Bad Liar at #35.


The soundtrack to A Star Is Born holds at #1 for Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper for a fourth week.

It was a very strange top 10 this week with audiences celebrating the best from the past along with five new releases.

Queen again had three albums in the top six: Bohemian Rhapsody #2 Greatest Hits #3 and The Platinum Collection at #6.

If that wasn’t enough best of British rock nostalgia, they were joined in the top 10 by The Beatles with the 50th anniversary release of The Beatles (aka The White Album).

American rockers Imagine Dragons are making a habit out of peaking at #4. The band’s fourth album is their fourth #4 peak.

Midnight Oil’s Armistice Day: Live At the Domain, Sydney sees the ARIA Hall Of Famers celebrate their reunion tour. Recorded in The Domain in Sydney on November 11, 2017, the album features many of the band’s best-known tracks.

Muse crack the top 10 at #7 with their eighth album Simulation Theory, which is their fifth time with a top 10 album. The band’s previous album Drones made it to #1 in 2015 and they also topped the chart in 2009 with The Resistance and Black Holes and Revelations in 2006.

British metalcore band Architects take out a second top 10 entry with their eighth album Holy Hell. After All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us peaked at #2 in 2016, this is the first album without founding member and songwriter Tom Searle, who passed away in August 2016.

Rounding out the top 10 newcomers is the re-release of The Beatles 50 years (it is really 50 years??) since The White Album dazzled fans with its mix of riffs and melodies. The re-release comes in a mindblowing range of configurations with remixes and seemingly endless versions of tracks – some that made the original release and some that did not.

Outside of the top 10 there were three new arrivals:

#15 Lil Peep with Come Over When You’re Sober Pt 2
#33 Kane Brown with Experiment
#36 Trippie Red with A Love Letter To You 3

Christmas albums have yet to take over the chart, but they are making an impact.

David Campbell’s Baby It’s Christmas climbs to a new peak at #25 after three weeks.

And as predicted, that Christmas album veteran Michael Bublé is back with Christmas re-charting at #30. Human Nature’s The Christmas Album has been back in the top 50 for a second week, lifting from #45 to #37.

TV Ratings Analysis: November 18

• Nine’s Sunday combo with early 60 Minutes a winner
• Seven’s All Together Now – The 100 biggest non-news

By James Manning

TV ratings Week 46: Seven wins the third-last week of ratings year 

Seven has taken top spot in another week’s ratings with a win in primary share. With The Block out of the way, Seven has won the past three survey weeks. There are just two weeks left until the end of the survey year on Saturday December 1.

Seven’s most-watched shows last week were its news bulletins across seven days and then its Sunday night show, All Together Now – The 100.

Nine was 2.0 behind the leader in primary share and over 3.0 points behind in combined channel share.

Nine’s best results were for its week day and Sunday news bulletins and then the second part of its Queen: Days Of Our Lives doco, which did big business on the Sunday night.

10 managed to record the single biggest audience of the week for The Final Decision part of the last episode of The Bachelorette – 926,000. It also managed a top 10 spot for the rest of that final episode. Next best was the penultimate episode of Have You Been Paying Attention? on 724,000.

Week 47 Sunday


All Together Now – The 100 sorted out the contestants for the series grand final. The penultimate episode this year did 698,000.

Sunday Night followed with 611,000, much improved after 432,000 a week ago.


60 Minutes again had the early slot with 713,000 last night after 650,000 at 7pm last week.

An episode of RBT did 554,000 filling the gap before an 8.30pm movie.

That 8.30pm movie was Jason Bourne, which did 421,000.


If all the people discussing The Sunday Project watched, the numbers would surely lift. The program reverted to a weekday formula last night with guest comedians – Umbilical Brothers and Susie Youssef. The episode then did 353,000 after 326,000 a week ago.

The Graham Norton Show replaced Game Of Games at 7.30pm. Norton’s guests included Sir Ian McKellen and Michael Bublé. The talk show did 354,000 after the game show was on 229,000 a week ago.

NCIS followed on 291,000.


The second episode of Don’t Stop The Music did 518,000.

An episode of Maigret got the 8.30pm crime slot with 535,000 watching.


Part two of Pompeii’s Final Hours did 244,000 at 7.30pm. It was the channel’s most-watched show on 246,000 a week ago.

Week 46-47 TV: Friday-Sunday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.5% 7 20.9% 9 15.5% 10  11.8% SBS One 5.8%
ABC 2 3.7% 7TWO 3.8% GO! 2.9% 10 Peach 3.8% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 4.3% GEM 2.5% 10 Boss 1.8% Food Net 1.5%
ABC NEWS 2.2% 7flix 2.2% 9Life 2.8%     NITV 0.2%
TOTAL 19.2%   31.2%   23.6%   17.4%   8.6%
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.0% 7 19.9% 9 18.2% 10  7.0% SBS One 4.9%
ABC 2 3.5% 7TWO 4.7% GO! 4.9% 10 Peach 4.3% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 0.7% 7mate 4.0% GEM 2.7% 10 Boss 3.0% Food Net 1.4%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 3.1% 9Life 2.7%     NITV 0.3%
TOTAL 17.8%   31.7%   28.5%   14.2%   7.7%
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 13.9% 7 19.7% 9 20.2% 10  9.1% SBS One 4.8%
ABC 2 2.6% 7TWO 3.5% GO! 4.2% 10 Peach 2.4% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.4% 7mate 4.4% GEM 3.5% 10 Boss 2.6% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix 1.6% 9Life 3.3%     NITV 0.4%
TOTAL 18.2%   29.2%   31.1%   14.1%   7.5%
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 12.2% 7 18.3% 9 18.6% WIN 8.3% SBS One 4.7%
ABC 2 3.2% 7TWO 3.4% GO! 4.5% ONE 2.2% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 1.3% 7mate 5.7% GEM 7.3% ELEVEN 1.5% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix 1.40% 9Life 3.2% Sky News  on WIN 0.3% NITV 0.4%
TOTAL 17.9%   28.8%   33.6%   12.3%   7.1%


85.1% 14.9%


All People Rankings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 807,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 766,000
  3. Nine News Nine 713,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 666,000
  5. ABC News ABC 599,000
  6. Better Homes And Gardens Seven 564,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 524,000
  8. The Chase Australia Seven 464,000
  9. Death In Paradise (R) ABC 433,000
  10. The Living Room 10 400,000


Saturday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 726,000
  2. ABC News ABC 613,000
  3. Nine News Nine 606,000
  4. M- Cinderella Seven 410,000
  5. Queen: Days Of Our Lives – (R) Nine 405,000
  6. Victoria ABC 392,000
  7. Doc Martin (R) ABC 348,000
  8. M- Snow White And The Huntsman Seven 267,000
  9. Back Roads (R) ABC 257,000
  10. 10 News First Sat 10 253,000
Sunday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 913,000
  2. Nine News Nine 851,000
  3. 60 Minutes Nine 713,000
  4. All Together Now – The 100 Seven 698,000
  5. ABC News ABC 694,000
  6. Sunday Night Seven 611,000
  7. RBT Nine 554,000
  8. Maigret ABC 535,000
  9. Don’t Stop The Music ABC 518,000
  10. Jason Bourne Nine 421,000
  11. The Graham Norton Show 10 354,000
  12. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 353,000
  13. Manhunt Seven 297,000
  14. Seven News At 5 Seven 292,000
  15. NCIS 10 291,000
  16. Nine News: First At Five Nine 278,000
  17. 10 News First Sun 10 274,000
  18. Insiders AM ABC 252,000
  19. Pompeii’s Final Hours: New Evidence SBS 244,000
  20. Weekend Sunrise – Sun Seven 241,000
SUNDAY Multichannel
  1. Back To The Future Iii 9GO! 161,000
  2. M- Thor: The Dark World PM 7mate 154,000
  3. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line 7Two 153,000
  4. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line 7TWO 149,000
  5. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 142,000
  6. Midsomer Murders 9Gem 134,000
  7. Andy’s Baby Animals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  8. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  9. Wanda And The Alien PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  10. Masters Of Flip 9Life 131,000
  11. Hey Duggee AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 129,000
  12. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 129,000
  13. Insiders AM ABC NEWS 129,000
  14. Fixer Upper 9Life 128,000
  15. Floogals AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  16. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  17. Dino Dana ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  18. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line 7TWO 121,000
  19. Waffle The Wonder Dog PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  20. Shaun The Sheep ABCKIDS/COMEDY 117,000
SUNDAY Subscription TV
  1. NCIS TVH!TS 54,000
  2. NCIS TVH!TS 47,000
  3. S.W.A.T. FOX8 46,000
  4. Blaze And The Monster Machines Nick Jr. 42,000
  5. 24 Hours In Emergency LifeStyle Channel 42,000
  6. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 39,000
  7. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 38,000
  8. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 38,000
  9. The Day Henry Met Nick Jr. 37,000
  10. Selling Houses Australia LifeStyle Channel 36,000
  11. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 35,000
  12. Top Wing Nick Jr. 34,000
  13. Live: Moto3 FOX SPORTS 506 34,000
  14. Shimmer And Shine Nick Jr. 33,000
  15. Grand Designs LifeStyle Channel 32,000
  16. Love It Or List It Australia LifeStyle Channel 32,000
  17. Live: Test Match: Ireland V All Blacks beIN SPORTS 3 32,000
  18. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 31,000
  19. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 31,000
  20. Operation Petticoat FOX Classics 31,000

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

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

Antony Catalano tries to stop Fairfax Media merger with Nine

Former Domain chief executive Antony Catalano has thrown in an eleventh hour attempt to stop the merger of Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media, but is not interested in making a full takeover bid for the publisher, report Fairfax Media’s Max Mason and Sarah Thompson.

Catalano wrote to Fairfax chairman Nick Falloon on Sunday night with a proposal to buy 19.9% of the publisher and prevent its merger with Nine. He has asked for a meeting of shareholders, due to take place today, to be delayed so shareholders can consider his offer, which is conditional on the merger being defeated, and him being given a seat on the Fairfax board.

It is understood Fairfax is not inclined to delay the meeting and the expectation at this stage is it will proceed as scheduled with no disruption to the vote. Proxies received by the scheme of arrangement’s deadline had fallen overwhelmingly in favour of the merger.

Catalano told The Australian Financial Review he is not interested in a full takeover of Fairfax and urged the board to delay the vote on the Nine merger.

“There is no downside in delaying the vote and only upside in exploring options that provide the best outcome for shareholders,” he said.

“I’m asking Fairfax shareholders to support a strategy that returns proceeds from the sale of assets to them. The alternate proposal became increasingly more compelling as the share price dropped.”

Catalano has offered an alternative proposal to “build and realise value for Fairfax shareholders” that would include divesting non-core assets and building up Domain.

[Read the original]

Fairfax Media’s John McDuling adds:

Antony “The Cat” Catalano was a strong supporter of the historic Fairfax-Nine merger when it was announced back in August. So much so he even contacted director David Gyngell and chief executive Hugh Marks of the free-to-air broadcaster to congratulate them on the “sensational” deal.

Now, he sees things differently. The question is how seriously to take his audacious, last-minute proposal to scupper the deal.

[Read the original]

Nine Entertainment keeps options open on Domain & Macquarie Radio

Nine Entertainment has left the door open to sweeping up minority stakes in Macquarie Media and Domain after its merger with Fairfax Media is complete, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

The combined Nine-Fairfax will have a robust balance sheet, with strong cashflows and low levels of debt, and could explore a number of strategic options.

Fairfax holds a 60% stake in Domain and a 54.5% share of Macquarie Media, which operates radio stations 2GB and 3AW.

Asked whether Nine would look at the ownership structures of the two businesses, which are both publicly listed, Nine chief executive Hugh Marks and chairman Peter Costello, while not definitive, left open the possibility.

Costello said Nine is focused on completing the merger. “What we do down the track, we’ll let you know when we do it,” he said.

The Nine-Fairfax merger is expected go through on Monday morning with overwhelming support. Proxy votes were due on Saturday morning at 10am and it is believed the deal received well over the requirement of 75% of votes to be cast in favour.

[Read the original]

Bruce Gordon backs long-awaited Nine-Fairfax media deal

Nine Entertainment Co’s largest shareholder, billionaire tycoon Bruce Gordon, has vowed to maintain a stake of as much as 14% of the enlarged media company if its long-awaited merger with Fairfax Media is approved at today’s Fairfax shareholder meeting, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

In a rare and exclusive interview with The Australian from his Bermuda home on the eve of the Fairfax vote, the reclusive WIN Corporation owner has given a ringing endorsement of the merger, and expressed particular enthusiasm about Nine taking full ownership of streaming platform Stan.

“Personally, I think it will be a very, very good thing for both companies,” Gordon said.

“The Fairfax people come out well on it, and Nine gets the opportunity to put things together. In particular, if it goes through, they will get the other 50% of Stan that Fairfax owned. I think this will work very well for them, as Fairfax is not really in the entertainment business.”

[Read the original]

John B Fairfax unhappy about merger, not backing Nine deal

A prominent member of the Fairfax family has attacked the Nine takeover of Fairfax, saying the newspaper company has more credibility than the commercial network associated with media moguls Kerry Packer and Alan Bond, report Stephen Brook and John Stensholt.

“It should be the other way around, and it is not,” said John B Fairfax, who sold his 9.7% stake in Fairfax Media in 2011 for $193 million.

Billionaire investor Alex Waislitz has said he planned to vote his Fairfax shares against the merger. “I’m not going to back the merger… even though I can see there are some structural and strategic benefits to having the wider platform for products to be sold across, and also there are a lot of synergy benefits to it,” he told The Australian.

Waislitz’s listed fund Thorney Opportunities and private fund Thorney Investment Group combined own more than 50 million Fairfax shares, about 2% of the company.

“(Nine’s) Hugh Marks and the team there have done a good a job at Nine. However, I do think they have been clever at buying Fairfax at a very good price and with the recent fall in the share price Fairfax shareholders are missing out on a lot of value with the scheme going ahead,” Fairfax said.

[Read the original]

Former SBS boss says entire ABC board should consider resigning

The recently departed head of SBS, Michael Ebeid, has delivered a scathing verdict on the ABC’s tumultuous year, arguing the entire board should leave and calling for an upheaval of how directors are chosen at both public broadcasters, reports Fairfax Media’s Michael Koziol.

Ebeid – who left SBS in October after seven years at the helm – said an independent panel should select a new ABC board, and the board should then pick its chair as well as any future directors.

“That’s how every board in the country’s done,” Ebeid told Fairfax Media. “I’ve never understood why the board of the SBS and the ABC cannot select their future board members [based on] people who have the right skills rather than connections to a government of either persuasion.

“As an independent public broadcaster, the government should have no say whatsoever in board members, including the chairman.”

[Read the original]

UK publisher of the Scotsman and i newspapers enters administration

Johnston Press, the owner of the i, the Scotsman and Yorkshire Post, has gone into administration after being brought to its knees by debts of more than £200m, reports The Guardian.

The publicly listed newspaper publisher, which put itself up for sale last month in a last-ditch effort to save the business from going under, has gone into administration admitting that its shares are now worthless.

Under the process, the group, which publishes more than 200 regional titles, will move into a newly incorporated company controlled by the bondholders who control its debt. The company was due to pay the bondholders about £220m in June next year.

“There were offers for the whole group, as well as for some individual titles,” said David King, Johnston’s chief executive. “Each approach was examined carefully. Yet none of these offers, or combinations of offers, would have raised enough money to repay the £220m debt that we are obliged to settle in June 2019, nor did they allow the defined benefit pension scheme to remain attached to the company.”

[Read the original]

News Brands

Karl Stefanovic’s fading star in Nine’s losing breakfast TV battle

A veritable who’s who of the Nine Entertainment Co’s on-air personalities, past and present, took over top chef Luke Mangan’s fashionable Sydney inner-city eatery last week to celebrate the 40th birthday of current affairs icon 60 Minutes, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

But one notable no-show for the big event did not go unnoticed by the assembled glitterati: that of Nine’s highest-profile star and regular Minutes contributor, Karl Stefanovic.

Stefanovic may not have been physically present, but, as has become customary at Nine over the past couple of years, the Today co-host was the elephant in the high-powered room.

Conversations involved what insiders at the network have dubbed the “Karl Conundrum”. That conundrum could best be summarised as follows: while Stefanovic is undoubtedly Nine’s biggest on-air star, the publicity generated by relentless headlines about what he does off-camera has increasingly become a ratings liability and a distraction for the network.

The big question on the night was the same as many media watchers have asked for much of the year: will Nine stick with Stefanovic on Today in 2019? This has come amid persistent speculation the broadcaster has been taking a long hard look at regular Today stand-in host Ben Fordham and Adelaide 6pm news presenter Brenton Ragless.

Nine’s head of news and current affairs, Darren Wick, shuts down the question. “We have backed him every step of the way, and we continue to do so,” Wick tells The Australian. “Karl is a great broadcaster, but we recognise that 2018 has been a trying one for him personally.”

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ABC programming changes in 2019: The Drum moves to primetime

Ahead of its reveal today in Melbourne of its 2019 schedule, ABC TV has flagged a number of moves.

ABC current affairs panel show The Drum will move to a new timeslot on ABC TV in 2019 with an expanded format.

The Drum will run for an hour from 6pm AEDT as a lively lead-in to the flagship ABC 7pm News, replayed at 7pm AEDT on the ABC News channel.

Julia Baird and Ellen Fanning will continue to share hosting duties during the week.

Patricia Karvelas has an expanded role from 4pm weekday afternoons on the ABC News channel. Karvelas will deliver viewers news-breaking interviews and analysis of politics and national affairs.

Jeremy Fernandez and Karina Carvalho will host the ABC News channel from 8pm to 9.45pm.


The truth about Lisa Wilkinson’s ‘embarrassing’ Sunday Project ratings

Amidst a blaze of publicity, Lisa Wilinson’s Sunday Project debut in January drove ratings to a high of 813,000 – more than double the previous week’s audience. “There were four months of relentless [media coverage] between me leaving Today and starting on The Project,” Wilkinson tells Fairfax Media’s Michael Lallo. “There was always going to be a bump for that first episode.”

That bump was eclipsed last month when her interview with controversial Bachelor star Nick Cummins lifted the audience to 884,000.

Since Wilkinson arrived, the program’s 7pm segment has grown by 26% to a national average of 550,000, while the 6.30pm slot is up 6% to 372,000. “I don’t know of any other [long-running] show that’s experienced this kind of growth in 2018,” she says.

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Darren Levin: Child Genius might be the worst show on TV

The televised quest to find Australia’s smartest kid is on like a dodecahedron. It’s called Child Genius and it kicked off last week on SBS.

The show – hosted by Dr Susan Carland, who has “multiple degrees and a PhD”, just in case someone ever questioned her ability to host a show called Child Genius – pits tiny mind against tiny mind in a bid to discover who is the smarterest. Or something.

Like calculus, I’m not really sure what the point is. Then again maybe I am too dumb to understand – even though I have multiple degrees myself, plus a Year 11 Premier’s Award for Australian Studies which I won in 1997. So there.

Child Genius, however, is about real geniuses. Not high school overachievers, or kids whose parents think they’re geniuses, which is basically everyone who ever had a kid.

It seems to me that people enrol their kids in a show called Child Genius for one reason only: a good old-fashioned humblebrag. The kids here are clearly extraordinary, but couldn’t their stories be told without a stressful Hunger Games-like atmosphere?

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Returning favourite: The Blake Mysteries’ future is up in the air

Nadine Garner has been through the wringer, reports News Corp’s Colin Vickery.

In March last year, the 47-year-old actor was devastated when the ABC announced that it was axing The Doctor Blake Mysteries.

The decision made no sense. The Aussie crime drama, which starred Craig McLachlan as Doctor Lucien Blake and Garner as housekeeper Jean Beazley, was a huge ratings hit.

Last October, the mood turned to elation when Channel 7 announced it was going to rescue the show – commissioning four Doctor Blake telemovies.

That plan came crashing down three months later, when McLachlan was accused of indecent assault and harassment by some of the cast of The Rocky Horror Show.

McLachlan denied all allegations, but there was no way he could continue as Blake. It looked like the project was dead.

Fast forward to April, and Seven found a way to revive the TV project – renamed The Blake Mysteries – with Garner’s Beazley taking charge.

“It was a rollercoaster – we were punch drunk,” Garner tells TV Guide. “By the time Seven came around and said yes to a telemovie we were seeing stars.

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Publishers close White magazine: Advertiser backlash makes it unviable

The publishers and founders Luke and Carla Burrell of White magazine had much publicity over the weekend. They posted a note online about their closure of the weddings magazine:

Twelve years ago, we started White magazine to tell a different kind of story about marriage. Back then the wedding industry was a pretty bleak place. Rather than celebrating love and commitment, it commercialised weddings and devalued the seriousness of the commitment couples were making to each other.

Celebrating love and relationships – rather than selling products – has always been White’s message.

Last year the Australian law was changed to allow same-sex couples to marry. Since then we have been asked repeatedly why our magazine had not yet featured all couples.

Like many people, we have had to reflect on our beliefs, not to judge ourselves or others, but to intentionally make space for new conversations. It’s a long and continuing journey, it’s not black and white, there are so many grey areas that need to be explored. Our greatest mandate is to love and the biggest question we’ve continued to ask ourselves throughout it is, how do we best love?

White magazine has always been a secular publication but, as its publishers, we are Christian. We have no agenda but to love. We have no desire to create a social, political or legal war, which only divides people further and does more damage than good. To us, our faith is anchored in love without judgment.

A number of advertisers withdrew their sponsorship out of fear of being judged, or in protest. We have had to recognise the reality that White magazine is no longer economically viable.

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Commenting about the closure on the newsagency blog, Mark Fletcher wrote:

The publishers say they were hounded out of business because of their decision to not include same sex couples in their pages.

They make it clear the title is not advertising driven. That leaves the decision to be either due to non-viability of the title or them not wanting to deal with agitation for representation of all marriages.

It could be that White is closing because it has not kept up with the times, because they refused to or were not ready to made a decision to publish about all weddings. Regardless, it comes down to the commercial viability of the title. Blaming others for the consequences of decisions you have made is poor form.

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See also:

White magazine shuts down after refusing to feature same-sex weddings

Religious freedom lost as White magazine shuts


Triple M’s Robin Bailey marries Sean Pickwell in emotional ceremony

“I’ve waited 50 years for this man to come into my life… but, at the same time, we came to each other when we were both ready to – the timing is everything,” Triple M Brisbane breakfast co-host Robin Bailey told The Sunday Mail’s Kristy Symonds before they exchanged vows in front of more than 120 family and friends at Newrybar near Byron Bay.

“I feel like he is my absolute soulmate and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him. He is the most precious gift, for my children and for me.”

Bailey first met former radio executive Pickwell over 25 years ago, but reconnected with him in 2015, leading to a slow-burn romance that culminated in his move from Sydney to Brisbane to be by her side in May before he proposed to her at Movie World on the Gold Coast during a visit with all their children in July.

In what proved to be an enormous week for the radio host, Bailey’s Triple M radio show The Big Breakfast with Marto, Robin and The Moonman also came out on top in the ratings survey.

The wedding featured a “special guest appearance” by her Triple M colleague Lawrence “The Moonman” Mooney in the character of former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

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Sports Media

Melbourne to host new $5 million All-Star Mile horse race

Melbourne will host one of the richest horse races in the world next year, cementing its status as the centre of racing in Australia, reports News Corp’s Scott Gullan.

The new $5 million All-Star Mile will sit alongside the Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate as jewels in Victoria’s racing crown. And racing fans will get the opportunity to decide who contests the race through a public ballot.

The inaugural All-Star Mile will debut at Flemington on March 16 with super mare Winx at the top of the wish list.

Racing Victoria has been desperate to hit back at its Sydney counterparts after they launched the Everest concept, with its world-record prize money, to much fanfare two years ago.

The All-Star Mile takes over from the Hong Kong Mile ($4.29 million prize money), which is run in December, as the richest 1,600m event in world racing.

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