Thursday October 18, 2018

Mediaweek TV

Mediaweek’s James Manning spoke with CEO of Nine Hugh Marks just days before the expected biggest media merger ever in Australia. Tune in to Mediaweek TV at 2.30pm on Your Money (Foxtel 601 and 95 FTA).

Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media – Nine has revealed to advertisers its plans for 2019. Your Money was at the event where Nine CEO Hugh Marks spoke to us exclusively about the merger progress, the frustrations over the recent share price fall and how they will be growing revenue next year.

Podcast Week: What’s Best for Baby, Wippa’s new Invictus podcast

Mediaweek editor James Manning rounds up all the latest podcast news.

By James Manning

Cath Curtin’s Birth, Baby and Beyond

Author and midwife Cath Curtin (pictured) pitched PodcastOne an idea for a podcast after writing a successful book about the first weeks after a baby is born. Curtin found an audience for her audio series and is now working on her third season of 10 episodes.

Curtin has been a nurse, midwife and maternal and child heath nurse for over 40 years. “I have delivered lots of babies and helped mums with their post-natal parenting for a long time,” she told Mediaweek.

When I realised how great podcasts were, I pitched my idea to PodcastOne and I was lucky to be one of the first to get a spot on their platform. I love podcasting so much and I get great response from the audience – mums, dads and grandparents too.”

So far there have been 22 episodes across two seasons. Most of the podcasts feature a guest, although Curtin has hosted a few information-rich episodes solo.

Subjects have ranged from breast-feeding versus bottle-feeding to challenges like having a child who is later diagnosed with cancer. She has featured a couple of former AFL footballers who have talked about a father’s role in parenting.

Curtin is outspoken about women having the right not to breastfeed if they don’t want to. “If they choose to give a baby formula, for whatever reason, it is okay,” she explained. “You hear a lot about breast is best. I talk about fed is best.

Curtin wrote a book for publisher Allen & Unwin called The First Six Weeks. “I got so many emails then asking what happens after the first six weeks.” Her second book is therefore called After The First Six Weeks.

Learn more about Midwife Cath

Listen to Birth, Baby & Beyond here

Wippa launches podcast series with Invictus Games competitors

To coincide with this week’s launch of the Invictus Games, Nova’s Michael “Wippa” Wipfli is hosting a podcast series Invictus Games – The Soldier and the Story with Wippa featuring inspirational Australian competitors as well as an Ambassador for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

After launching the series on his Nova Sydney breakfast show this week, Wippa told Mediaweek: “Our men and women who represent Australia through their commitment to the services should be recognised, and their recovery supported, in as many ways possible. Their stories should be told and need to be heard and it’s an honour for me to present them to you.”

The fourth Invictus Games will see 500 competitors from 18 nations contest medals in 11 adaptive sports. More than 1,000 family and friends will accompany the competitors, with all being supported by over 1,000 volunteers.

Wippa and

In the podcasts Wippa speaks to competitors Kevin Jacoby, Vanessa Broughill and Craig McGrath, who share their stories of hardship and resilience that have led them to compete at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

The series is produced by Wippa’s media business Two Basic Scoops and Nova Entertainment and is hosted on the Acast platform.

Wippa said he approached the Invictus Games with the concept and they loved the idea and helped organise competitors to speak to.

There are four episodes planned for the series, with the first available now. Just one former service man or woman is featured in each episode.

Wippa said their stories can be quite harrowing. “It can be very confronting to hear about what these people have suffered and where they have been emotionally. Sometimes, many years later, they are still working through their challenges with either therapy or other treatments. Some have great stories of survival – not just from the battlefield, but when they got home and what they have had to go through.

“The battlefield stories include being in the wrong place at the wrong time when a bomb goes off and what happened to get them out of there. Their bravery is something that blows me away.”

Wippa is in awe of what people in the armed forces have done for their country. He said he attends Anzac Day every year: “It is the least I could do. I wear my grandfather’s medals.”

Listen to Invictus Games – The Soldier and the Story here.

New on PodcastOne:

• A new series of Health Hacker with Adam MacDougall has been released. MacDougall focuses on the top hacks to lose belly fat in his first two episodes.
Listen to Health Hacker here.

• The Mediaweek favourite Rusty’s Garage with motoring commentator and journalist Greg Rust featured Grant Denyer recently, which pulled big audiences. In the interview, Denyer recounted how Channel 10 contemplated announcing his death on-air following a tarmac rally crash at the Lake Mountain Sprint in 2017.
Listen to Rusty’s Garage here.

Nine Upfront 2019 minute-by-minute: New ratings weapons Australian Open, Hamish Blake & SeaChange

Date: 17 October 2018
Venue: Fox Studios Australia Stage 7
Guests: 1,350 clients, agencies and media

By James Manning

A Nine roadshow will then travel around all metro capitals to present, starting with Melbourne next week.

Advertised starting time 4.30pm. Despite heavy rain, only a few minutes late.

4.38pm: Married At First Sight clip with Nine personalities turning up – Karl and Georgie, Hamish and Andy, Scottie Cam and then… CEO Hugh Marks! Wow – it’s getting very loose as Shaun Micallef, Rodger Corser, Richard Wilkins also arrive, and then Tracy Grimshaw and Corser pash!

“This is getting awkward,” says the CEO.

Then it’s a MAFS dinner party with more Nine stars including Pete Stefanovic and Sylvia Jeffreys. During a dinner speech Karl commiserates with Gold Logie nominees who didn’t win – like Nine’s Tracy and Rodger.

“I can’t believe Grant Denyer won the Gold Logie,” said Grimshaw in the bathroom. Eddie McGuire looks on disapprovingly. When they leave, Georgie asks Karl and Pete if they want to share an Uber.

4.44pm: Hugh Marks onstage
“It has been an outstanding year of audience performance on all platforms,” the CEO tells the big crowd.

“We have made big decisions and we are not afraid to continue making big decisions.

“Content is bigger and more expensive than ever before.

“We are again the preferred destination for viewers 25-54 and 18-49, both for the primary channel and network.

“When it comes to launching new shows, our record far surpasses our opposition. You can rely on us.

“My aspiration for Nine has always been to ensure it leads the Australian market as a modern and contemporary content business, built on the foundations of great people, great content.

The combined Nine-Fairfax group will provide a scale and unparalleled breadth of platforms across television, radio, digital and print media.

Delivering content that will be recognised for its diversity, quality and recognition that indeed one media company can serve a number of audiences.

“Meaning we can build more powerful content partnerships, coordinated across all platforms.

“On the slide behind me you can see the depth and diversity of brands that you will be able to access through the merged business. It’s a powerful content mix that [for marketers] will deliver you results.”

Marks said Nine will be spending nearly $1b annually on content.

4.50: Content montage of local major franchises

4.53: Nine’s group content strategy director Lizzie Young on stage

“More content than ever before – what you are seeing is more than television shows. They are content franchises that engage with Australian audiences on all platforms.”

Young started with Married At First Sight – this year off the back of the Australian Open tennis. She then noted The Voice season eight will follow with Young claiming The Voice is the only shiny floor show in Australia.

Nine is commenting the move of Australian Ninja Warrior to Melbourne will guarantee audience growth. Nine is also guaranteeing a winner in 2019 – the person who goes furthest and fastest will win $100,000. If the competitor actually manages to scale Mount Midoriyama, the prize will jackpot to $300,000.

Love Island was a test if the younger audience wanted content on other platforms. Nine is going harder this year – moving the series from 9Go! to the primary channel. Family Food Fight will be back for season 3 in 2019. There have been changes to the format for season 2, including families of just two people.

More from Lizzie Young here.

5.01: Hamish Blake onstage in a Lego suit.

The radio and TV star announces he will be hosting the only new major franchise for 2019 – Lego Masters. “When Michael Healy asked me if I love Lego I said yes,” explained Blake.

“It is not about me, but Lego teams from all around Australia.”

Nine has secured the Brickman, aka Ryan McNaught, the only accredited Lego builder in the southern hemisphere, to be part of the series.

Young returned to stage and explained that MAFS attracts 2.4m people when you count the audience on all platforms.

5.07: Endorsements from marketers

Marketing executives from J&J, Youfoodz, Volkswagen and KFC talking about why they invested in Nine franchises like Love Island, Australian Ninja Warrior and Nine’s rugby league. “The Block needed Volkswagen, the Volkswagen needed The Block.”

5.10pm: Mention of Stan and Nine’s cross-promotion capabilities

Young talking about Nine’s big ideas. “9Powered works with big ideas that will drive the industry forward. Nine has the best big ideas for brands.

“Powered Hack puts clients in the room with content creators.”

A reel followed asking advertisers to consider drama opportunities. “Drama connects with audiences like no other.”

5.16pm: Stars of Doctor Doctor on stage

Rodger Corser says “We are back. We are working on storylines for season four right now and you can bet things will go pear-shaped for Dr Hugh Knight.

“We are Australia’s most successful drama – trust me I’m a TV doctor.”

Reel then previews Bad Mothers. “One sisterhood you don’t want to cross.”

Stars of Bad Mothers on stage – Mandy McElhinney, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Daniel MacPherson and Melissa George. “We are currently in our second week of shooting. I am thrilled to be working with these three actors who have returned to Australia to take up their roles.”

Nine shows clips from the first week of shooting.

Then the big news about the return of SeaChange with the original writers and creators. Sigrid Thornton and John Howard on stage. Then the rest of the cast join them onstage briefly.

5.24pm: Sport reel and WWOS boss Tom Malone

Reel starts with Australian Open highlights. “Summer’s hottest ticket on Australia’s sports network.”

Highlights of the commentary team: John McEnroe on video – “Let me start with [stands up] You. Cannot. Be. Serious.”

Rugby League highlights.

“We take you closer to the action than anyone else.”

Voiceover reminds the guests: The opportunities for brands to engage with major sports have never been better.

100 extra cameras installed in Rod Laver Arena.

5.37pm: Tony Jones onstage with Jim Courier and Lleyton Hewitt

Courier flew in this morning. “I never miss an upfront. The first one I’ve been asked to, but I never miss one.”

Long dwell on the Australian Open indicates how critical it is to Nine’s 2019 offering.

5.43pm: Pippa Leary onstage talking addressable advertising

Notes that 9Now has over 7m sign-ups – audience members Nine now has a one-to-one relationship with.

“We are one of the only broadcasters globally who can understand who is watching our content on the big screen.”

Talks about new content coming to 9Now including whole season stacking.

The power of television and the precision of digital can work together.

5.49pm: 9Galaxy is introduced with Star Wars theme

Scrolling banners with Star Wars theme as they explain the attractions and success of the investment tool.

Interviews with media buyers telling what 9Galaxy offers them.

“I can’t believe it was only 12 months ago on this stage we launched 9Galaxy,” said Michael Stephenson, Nine’s chief sales officer.

The commercial leader, who says he is obsessed with effectiveness and efficiency, said 9Galaxy as a ratings predictive tool has been very accurate. Out of all the campaigns it has been used to buy, it has not been required to issue a single make-good.

Four major announcements:

• By the end of 2019, all Nine content will be available to buyers on one platform.
• By the middle of 2019 the 7m signed-in customers will be integrated in 9Galaxy.
• By the end of 2020 Nine will release Galaxy 4.0. It will be a world -first selling content to audiences on all platforms.
• 9Voyager initiative offers SMEs the ability to buy a dynamic schedule from a web login using their credit card. It’s the first self-service platform for TV advertising.

5.57pm: Close to the end with a 10-minute reel of highlights wrapping the show

Hamish and Andy come on stage.

“We have noticed some of you looking at your phones. So we are going to re-run that and ask you to really concentrate. [Nervous laughs as some think they might have to watch it again.]

The duo then ask the audience to follow them, and a marching band, to another soundstage for the after-party.

Nine Upfront 2019: SeaChange re-imagined – Sigrid Thornton and John Howard returning in Aussie classic and more

Although most of Nine’s 2018 programming is returning next year, it has managed to find room in its schedule for a raft of new programs including a remake of a classic Aussie drama.

By James Manning


Two legends of Australian television, Sigrid Thornton and John Howard, are reprising their roles as Laura Gibson and Bob Jelly in the drama series, SeaChange.

Twenty years on, Laura (Thornton) returns to the beachside paradise of Pearl Bay. However, it seems that this time around Pearl Bay needs Laura just as much as she needs it. Original creator and head writer, Deb Cox, returns as executive producer alongside Sigrid Thornton, Fiona Eager and David Mott. SeaChange will commence production in 2019.

Sigrid Thornton said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be returning to Pearl Bay. Time has passed and the world has changed, so as we revisit this rich and strange place I trust we’ll all delight in the chance to explore how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. I can hardly wait.”

Andy Ryan, Nine’s co-head of drama, said: “Two decades after SeaChange changed the face of Australian drama, Pearl Bay is still a hotbed of romance, mateship and community spirit. With plenty of fresh faces and new challenges, SeaChange is perfect family entertainment.”

Jo Rooney, Nine’s co-head of drama, said: “SeaChange is one of Australia’s most successful and best-loved dramas, and we’re excited to rekindle that magic for a new generation of viewers. The perils faced by Laura and the townsfolk of Pearl Bay are more topical than ever, and we can’t wait to see how they respond.”

SeaChange is produced by ITV and Every Cloud Productions for Nine.

Bad Mothers

Bad Mothers follows five very modern women juggling the big issues of love, family, careers, infidelity… and murder.

When their lives collide following a series of shocking events, the Bad Mothers will learn that life can get a whole lot more complicated, more outrageous – and a whole lot more fun – than they ever imagined.

Bad Mothers boasts a stellar cast including Mandy McElhinney (Love Child, Hyde & Seek), Daniel MacPherson (The Bill, City Homicide), Don Hany (East West 101, Devil’s Playground), Shalom Brune-Franklin (Doctor Doctor, Our Girl), Jessica Tovey (Wolf Creek, Wonderland), Tess Haubrich (Wolf Creek, Pine Gap) and Melissa George (Grey’s Anatomy, The Slap).

Bad Mothers has principal funding from Screen Australia, in association with Film Victoria, with support from Create NSW.

Bad Mothers, created by Filthy Productions, is a Jungle Entertainment production for Nine.

Lego Masters

Next year Nine will unveil a brand-new format, Lego Masters, following its announcement earlier this year.

Lego Masters, hosted by Hamish Blake, will pit eight pairs of brickheads against each other in a quest to impress with their creativity, design and flair, driven by their unparalleled passion for the possibilities that will start with a single Lego brick.

Lego Masters is produced by Endemol Shine Australia for Nine.

Hamish And Andy’s Perfect Holiday

Next year Hamish and Andy return to what they love best, travelling. Audiences loved their gap year seasons and their caravan specials.

Now the duo will embark on another action-packed adventure, but this time with a slight twist, in Hamish and Andy’s Perfect Holiday.

There will be no new episodes of Hamish And Andy’s True Story in 2019.

Hamish and Andy’s Perfect Holiday is produced by Radio Karate for Nine.

Murder, Lies And Alibis

Nine’s new cutting-edge documentary crime series, Murder, Lies and Alibis, will dissect some of the most infamous criminal cases from here and around the world in a tenacious, gripping and confronting format. It’s true crime like you’ve never seen before.

A team of highly experienced investigators will re-examine cold cases police couldn’t solve – discovering fresh leads, unearthing chilling footage and audio, as well as securing crucial interviews with witnesses going on the record for the very first time.

Each episode is uniquely recounted through the eyes of the key players, such as victims, survivors, their families and friends, and in some cases, the persons of interest themselves.

Murder, Lies and Alibis is led by Nine’s Creative Director for News and Current Affairs, Mark Llewellyn, and produced by Nine.

New international content includes:

Dynasties With David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough will present a five-part landmark series called Dynasties.

Each episode follows different animal families – lions, hunting dogs, chimpanzees, tigers and emperor penguins – at the most critical period in their lives. Each is a ruler, a leader of their family, their troop, their pride – each determined to hold on to power and protect their family, their territory and their dynasty.

New Amsterdam

New to Nine in 2019 is the US medical drama, New Amsterdam. Inspired by Bellevue, the oldest public hospital in America, it follows the brilliant and charming Dr Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold), the institution’s new medical director who sets out to tear up the bureaucracy and provide exceptional care.

Goodwin must disrupt the status quo and prove he will stop at nothing to breathe new life into this understaffed, underfunded and under-appreciated hospital – the only one in the world capable of treating ebola patients, dangerous prisoners and the President of the United States under one roof – and return it to the glory that put it on the map.

ABBA: Let The Music Speak

It’s been 35 years since Sweden’s legendary disco group ABBA released their last single. In April 2018, after repeatedly stating that they would never reunite again, the four members of the group…

ABBA: Let the Music Speak is produced by the BBC.

Nine Upfront 2019: How 9Powered can link brands with big content franchises

Nine has showcased its leadership of the premium partnership space in Australia through the strategic client solutions division, 9Powered, at its 2019 Upfront event in a presentation from Nine’s group content strategy director Lizzie Young.

By James Manning

In unveiling its 2019 program slate, Nine highlighted how, through its big-content franchises including Married at First Sight, The Voice, Australian Ninja Warrior, Family Food Fight, Love Island Australia, The Block and the new Lego Masters, it delivers marketers the strongest cross-platform opportunity to align with powerful “water cooler” content and reach mass audiences at scale, delivering real, measurable results for brands.

Lego Masters was announced earlier this year and it is expected to screen in the schedule midyear, perhaps between Australian Ninja Warrior and The Block.

Of the others, Love Island will move from 9Gem and Nine’s primary channel.

“In a fragmenting media world, premium partnerships are a key battleground that marketers are looking to harness and we are focused on continuing to lead this space,” said Young.

“In the US, this is a space that is projected to grow from $6 billion to $20 billion between now and 2021, and Australia is no different.

“Nine, through 9Powered, has shown the way in driving smart, strategically led integration – built around a big idea – that works for both brands and audiences. Each year shows like The Block, Married at First Sight or The Voice clearly demonstrate how we can help brands to enter into the conversation in a meaningful way that delivers for them.”

Young also outlined how Nine invested in building out expertise to better meet the needs of marketers.

“We now run collaborative ideation workshops called Powered Hacks to crack that ‘Big Idea’,” Young said. “We provide the expertise, through our content partnerships teams that work closely with our content creation teams, to make that idea a reality. Our studios team deliver the creative execution, our client experience team manage the process end-to-end, and we have a new hire in the effectiveness space, a role aimed at building our capability to demonstrate results and show marketers the real business impact of their partnerships with Nine.”

Young added that Nine has a very real competitive advantage in both strategic thinking around premium content partnerships and the strength of its content offering, across platforms – television, 9Now, the powerful digital properties such as and 9Honey – or off-platform.

“The strength of 9Powered in this area reflects Nine’s understanding of wider culture, be it in areas like relationships, music, food or renovation and, as a result, we consistently drive a meaningful conversation with millions of Aussies every night.

“We understand that being everywhere – across every platform – is critical for us in 2019, and being able to connect on their terms with made-for-purpose communication is an important part of driving results for marketers, which is what we are here to do.”

Nine Upfront 2019: news and current affairs unchanged for 2019… almost

If it ain’t broke… don’t try to fix it. That could be the motto at Nine news and current affairs after it has released its 2019 schedule.

By James Manning

At its 2019 Upfront event held in Sydney, the network said:

For more than 60 years, Australians have trusted Nine to deliver their news and current affairs.

When the big stories break, people turn to Nine for news they know to be reliable, credible and informative.

Every day our network-wide team across Australia produces more than 10 hours of news and current affairs that aim to inform, entertain and enlighten viewers with the very best in news gathering and reporting.

We strive to provide relevant information that helps busy families in their day-to-day lives.

And in 2019 we are determined to work even harder to ensure we continue to offer an unparalleled source of news and current affairs that speaks directly to Australians about the issues that affect them most.

The daily lineup starts with Nine News Early Edition weekdays at 5am.

Despite what seems like endless media speculation about his future, the network has confirmed Karl Stefanovic will be returning to Today in 2019 alongside Georgie Gardner.

Meanwhile Weekend Today will return with its regular hosts next year – Pete Stefanovic and Allison Langdon.

The rest of the weekday schedule is made up of Today Extra with Sonia Kruger and David Campbell followed by Nine Morning News.

Amber Sherlock hosts Nine News Now at 3pm daily before Nine Afternoon News broadcasts localised bulletins for each cap city metro market from 5pm.

The National Nine News 6pm bulletins remain the focal point of the news and current affair offering.

Rounding out the day is Gold Logie nominee Tracy Grimshaw and A Current Affair.

60 Minutes will return again in its Sunday timeslot(s).

The sole change for 2019 is a new documentary crime series, Crime Story Investigation Australia. Led by Nine’s new creative director for news and current affairs, Mark Llewellyn, and produced by Nine, it will dissect some of the most infamous criminal cases from here and around the world in a tenacious, gripping and confronting format.

Nine is promising true crime like you’ve never seen before.

Llewellyn is a former head of news and current affairs at Nine, who left during turbulent times at the network when Eddie McGuire was in charge. He later launched Sunday Night for Seven and then also produced real crime content for Seven.

Top Photo: National Nine News Sydney newsreader Peter Overton (left) with Nine head of news and current affairs Darren Wick and Nine CEO Hugh Marks

Nine Upfront 2019: Nine reveals strategy to increase share of $1b direct digital video market

At its 2019 Upfront, Nine unveiled the next stage of plans to simplify and further automate the buying of television through its proprietary technology 9Galaxy and launched 9Voyager, aimed at opening the TV market to more small and medium enterprise (SME) owners.

By James Manning

9Voyager is aimed to allow Nine to better serve small and medium businesses who can now access its inventory to create a dynamic schedule across off-peak and multichannel inventory using the new automated trading platform, and pay via credit card or PayPal, all in one simple transaction.

“Self-serve booking has long been the domain of the global technology companies, but 9Voyager will give two million SMEs access to Nine’s premium, brand-safe inventory and open up our business to an entirely new marketplace,” said Michael Stephenson, Nine’s chief sales officer.

“9Voyager was developed by our team right here in Sydney and is an example of the great entrepreneurial spirit at Nine and level of innovation we are capable of in Australia.”

Nine has estimated that the direct digital video market for small to medium businesses could be worth more than $1bn a year.

For new advertisers that do not have their own TV commercial, 9Studios will develop bespoke creative. Alternatively, 9Voyager users can provide existing creative through their agencies.

Nine also laid out a two-year roadmap for the 9Galaxy automated trading platform, which is already booking close to 30% of its off-peak and multichannel inventory.

Stephenson announced that the next stage of the rollout would integrate 9Now into 9Galaxy, allowing linear TV and 9Now to be traded in one seamless transaction using one technology platform.

By mid-2019, Nine will also have integrated both the Virtual Oz database and its seven million-plus 9User IDs into 9Galaxy, enabling advertisers to buy against behavioural segments like new car buyers or heavy shoppers, as well as age and sex demographics, across both linear TV and BVOD.

By the end of 2020, Nine has promised that 9Galaxy will deliver all the audiences that marketers and agencies want to buy across the key inventory sources, across linear TV, live streaming and 9Now on a connected TV, mobile, desktop or tablet. It will deliver your campaign in the most efficient way possible to deliver better results.

“Today Nine has clearly laid out its technology roadmap for the next two years,” said Stephenson.

“We are changing at a rapid pace to meet the needs of our advertisers, and adapting our business to make advertising with Nine more effective and efficient. Our development roadmap will ensure that we lead the way globally, not just in Australia.”

Nine launched 9Galaxy last year at its 2018 Upfront showcase, promising it would offer marketers and agencies far greater certainty on their television campaigns by guaranteeing 100% delivery of dynamic campaigns bought via the platform.

Nine has been asked to present the 9Galaxy platform globally, with executives invited to attend next month’s Sales Innovation & Tech Fest and Customer Experience Innovation & Tech Fest in Cape Town in South Africa.

Top Photo: Michael Stephenson

ABC radio guru Michael Mason announces his departure from the ABC

Director of ABC Regional & Local, Michael Mason, has announced that he will be leaving the ABC in early December.

In a statement to staff Mason said that when he accepted the new role as director regional & local, he did so with a view that he would revisit that decision after 12 months.

“After 34 years at the ABC and the last five years as director of radio and then regional & local, I can honestly say I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to work alongside some of this country’s greatest broadcasting and media talent – both in front of and behind the mic.

“I am aware that we have just experienced significant change at the highest levels within the ABC. I am also keenly aware of the incredible depth of talent that exists in both the ABC’s executive leadership team and the regional & local executive team and it is for this reason that I believe now is the right time for me to step down as director,” Mason said.

Mason said his decision to leave the ABC was made in early August before the departure of former managing director Michelle Guthrie and former chairman Justin Milne and was in no way linked to those events.

Mason added in a note to colleagues this morning: “I want to tell you that this decision is one of the hardest I have ever made.  I genuinely love my role and every day I am inspired by the passion, creativity, resourcefulness and free spirit of my colleagues.

“Being the director of the regional & local team may well be the best job in the ABC. However, as you know, I have been in this game a long time, and I believe there is always a right time to call time. I’m extremely lucky for the timing of this decision to be of my own choosing. All businesses need continual refreshing and that applies to all roles as well – including the senior leadership positions.”

Mason said he would assist the acting director in a short transition phase in addition to working on 2019 content commissioning.

“After that, I am going to ‘drop off the grid’ for a long break before I give some thought to the range of options regarding my next steps and life after the ABC.”

The role of director of regional & local will be advertised internally as soon as possible with the aim of appointing a new director before Mason’s departure in mid-December. Until that process is completed, head of specialist, Judith Whelan, will act as director of regional & local.

Judith Whelan has worked in the media for more than 30 years including time as the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and Good Weekend magazine. She has also overseen ABC radio brands RN, Grandstand and the ABC’s capital city local radio network in her former position as head of spoken content within the former Radio division.

ABC Radio to cover all A-League 2018-2019 matches nationally

ABC Radio will be covering all A-League matches nationally in its most extensive coverage of Australia’s premier football league to

In addition to covering every game, ABC Radio will also introduce a new preview program each Friday evening prior to kick off. Popular podcast The Boot Room, presented by Ned Hall, also returns for the 2018/19 season.

ABC manager of sport, Nick Morris, said the increased coverage of the A-League this season was in response to the growing number of A-League fans wanting access to every match.

“With every game of A-League to be broadcast on ABC NewsRadio nationally and on the ABC listen app, football fans around the country will be able to listen where and when they want,” Morris said.

The ABC kicks off its national coverage of the A-League this week, when Ned Hall is joined by former Socceroo Damian Mori for the action live from Hindmarsh Stadium, as Adelaide United hosts Sydney FC.

The Grandstand commentary team led by Ned Hall will be joined by experts including former Socceroos Paul Wade, Simon Colosimo, Stan Lazaridis, Jade North and Damian Mori, along with former Matilda Cheryl Salisbury.

ABC NewsRadio is available in capital cities and regional areas, including Adelaide 972AM, Brisbane 936AM, Canberra 103.9FM, Darwin 102.5FM, Hobart 747AM, Melbourne 1026AM, Perth 585AM and Sydney 630AM. Visit the ABC’s frequency finder website to look up your local ABC NewsRadio station, or download the ABC listen app.

ABC podcast survey: Audiences grow as women turn towards crime tales

The popularity of podcasts is on the rise with Australians listening to more podcasts more often, driven in part by the growing appetite among women for true crime tales.

The ABC’s third annual Podcast Survey reveals that almost half (44%) of podcast listeners tuned into true crime in the past month, up from 30% in 2017. The surge in listening to true crime – including the ABC’s new series Unravel: Barrenjoey Road – was strongest with women, among whom listening increased by 15 percentage points.

Women also led an overall increase in podcast engagement, with almost two-thirds (65%) claiming to listen to more podcasts in 2018 than in the previous year – versus 51% of men. While women turned to true crime, men were more likely to look for laughs – with the number of men listening to comedy podcasts up 10 percentage points.

Nine out of 10 Australian adults (91%) are now aware of podcasts, while one in three (33%) claimed to have listened to a podcast in the past month.

The results of the ABC’s survey of 2,583 podcast listeners, by ABC Audience Data & Insights, were revealed at today’s OzPod podcast industry conference in Melbourne. Other key findings of the 2018 survey of podcast listeners include:

65% listened to a podcast in the previous 24 hours, up from 57% from 2017.
59% listened to more podcasts in 2018 than in the previous year.

The average listening time for those who listened to a podcast in the previous week is 6.1 hours, across an average of six podcast episodes and five series.

See the survey results here.

Top Photo: Unravel: Barrenjoey Road podcast presenter Ruby Jones

TV Ratings Analysis: October 17

• Midweek race: Nine wins by narrow margin primary & combined
• 7.30 race: The Block #1, ABC second, then reality and ob docs follow
• US dramas 8.30-ish: Manifest narrowly out-rates 9-1-1 in metro
• ABC punches hard: Hard Quiz and Micallef top 10, close to 700,000

By James Manning


After dipping from close to 700,000 to 600,000 at the start of the week, Home and Away Wednesday was on 644,000.

Highway Patrol then did 529,000, followed by Beach Cops on 544,000. Among the rescues was a dog from a car in the hot sun.

Another episode of the US drama about ob doc stars, 9-1-1, followed on 502,000. Jennifer Love Hewitt plays a 911 operator in the series which recently launched season 2 in the US.


With regular host Tracy Grimshaw shocking advertisers with her behaviour at the Nine Upfront last night, guest host Leila McKinnon took over A Current Affair. After confronting The Honey Badger in Papua New Guinea, reporter Reid Butler found a gold-digging granny last night. After audiences of 815,000 and then 759,000, Wednesday was on 729,000.

The Block was front and centre at the Nine Upfront too with host Scott Cam explaining next year’s building, just up the road from The Gatwick, is nearly twice as big. With only a few days before the reveal of the challenge apartment final rooms, the Wednesday edition did 921,000 after 917,000 last week.

The second episode of the US missing plane drama Manifest then did 545,000 after launching with 659,000 a week ago.


On The Project Nigella Lawson was speaking from London while the show’s royal reporter Anne Edmonds was following Harry and Meghan. The midweek episode did 463,000.

The Bachelorette did 544,000 after launching a week ago with 631,000.

Playing For Keeps was on 359,000 after 377,000 last week.

Madam Secretary then returned to the schedule with 134,000.


Good numbers at 8pm with Hard Quiz pushing just over 700,000 after 688,000 last week.

Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell was also up week-on-week – from 647,000 to 674,000.

Four comedies followed:

Back In Very Small Business 312,000

Black Comedy 200,000

Superwog 141,000

Adam Hills: The Last Leg (series return) 127,000


A repeat episode of Great British Railway Journeys did 247,000.

Food Safari followed on 155,000.

The 8.30pm slot was Albert: The Power Behind Victoria, which promised the untold story of Prince Albert. It pulled 186,000 despite the story being told quite a bit of the past couple of years.

Week 42 TV: Wednesday
ABC Seven Nine Ten SBS
ABC 12.9% 7 20.0% 9 20.9% TEN 10.9% SBS One 5.3%
ABC 2 2.1% 7TWO 3.8% GO! 3.7% ONE 3.4% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 3.5% GEM 2.8% ELEVEN 2.6% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 1.8% 9Life 1.8% NITV 0.1%
TOTAL 17.1% 29.1% 29.2% 17.0% 7.6%
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates Ten Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.6% 7 22.0% 9 17.3% WIN 8.8% SBS One 4.4%
ABC 2 3.2% 7TWO 4.2% GO! 5.2% ONE 3.7% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 1.2% 7mate 3.6% GEM 4.7% ELEVEN 2.4% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix 2.4% 9Life 1.6% Sky News  on WIN 0.9% NITV 0.1%
TOTAL 16.3% 32.2 28.8% 15.8% 6.8%


84.9% 15.1%


  1. Seven News Seven 988,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 927,000
  3. The Block Nine 921,000
  4. Nine News Nine 876,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 865,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 729,000
  7. Hard Quiz ABC 704,000
  8. ABC News ABC 701,000
  9. Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell S9 ABC 674,000
  10. Home And Away Seven 644,000
  11. 7.30 ABC 614,000
  12. The Chase Australia Seven 572,000
  13. Manifest Nine 545,000
  14. Beach Cops Seven 544,000
  15. The Bachelorette Australia Ten 544,000
  16. Highway Patrol Seven 529,000
  17. 9-1-1 Seven 502,000
  18. 9-1-1 E2 Seven 474,000
  19. The Project 7pm Ten 463,000
  20. Hot Seat Nine 453,000
Demo Top Fives

16-39 Top 5

  1. The Bachelorette Australia Ten 219,000
  2. The Block Nine 216,000
  3. Playing For Keeps Ten 134,000
  4. The Project 7pm Ten 122,000
  5. Home And Away Seven 122,000


18-49 Top 5

  1. The Block Nine 398,000
  2. The Bachelorette Australia Ten 324,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 226,000
  4. Playing For Keeps Ten 216,000
  5. The Project 7pm Ten 211,000


25-54 Top 5

  1. The Block Nine 464,000
  2. The Bachelorette Australia Ten 326,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 295,000
  4. Nine News Nine 272,000
  5. Seven News Seven 252,000
WEDNESDAY Multichannel
  1. The Big Bang Theory TX1 9GO! 168,000
  2. The Big Bang Theory TX2 9GO! 165,000
  3. The Big Bang Theory TX3 9GO! 148,000
  4. Peppa Pig-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 148,000
  5. Dot. ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  6. Wanda And The Alien-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 142,000
  7. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  8. Neighbours ELEVEN 134,000
  9. Hey Duggee-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  10. Dino Dana ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  11. Judge John Deed-PM 7TWO 133,000
  12. Rosemary & Thyme-PM 7TWO 132,000
  13. Octonauts ABCKIDS/COMEDY 130,000
  14. Kiddets-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  15. Bluey-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  16. Little Roy-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  17. The Big Bang Theory 9GO! 122,000
  18. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  19. Family Guy-PM 7mate 121,000
  20. Fireman Sam-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
WEDNESDAY Subscription TV
  1. Gogglebox Australia LifeStyle Channel 174,000
  2. Love It Or List It Australia LifeStyle Channel 107,000
  3. Live: Pak V Aus 2nd Test Day 2 FOX CRICKET 91,000
  4. Live: Pak V Aus 2nd Test Day 2 FOX CRICKET 89,000
  5. Live: The Big Break FOX CRICKET 64,000
  6. Live: Tea Break FOX CRICKET 64,000
  7. Live: Trade Lowdown FOX FOOTY 62,000
  8. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 50,000
  9. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 49,000
  10. Live: Pak V Aus 2nd Test Day 2 FOX CRICKET 48,000
  11. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 40,000
  12. The Simpsons FOX8 38,000
  13. The Flash FOX8 37,000
  14. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 37,000
  15. Grand Designs LifeStyle Channel 37,000
  16. NCIS TVH!TS 36,000
  17. Credlin Sky News Live 36,000
  18. Top Wing Nick Jr. 36,000
  19. The Young And The Restless ARENA 35,000
  20. Bones TVH!TS 34,000

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

Seven indigenous screen practitioners exploring US opportunities

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Screen Australia and Australians in Film Foundation have announced that seven Australian indigenous screen practitioners will travel to Los Angeles next month for a series of high-level networking opportunities.

The delegation includes Caméra d’Or-winning director Warwick Thornton (Sweet Country, Samson & Delilah), powerhouse actor, writer and director Leah Purcell (Wentworth, Cleverman) and acclaimed writer and director Steven McGregor (Sweet Country, Mystery Road TV series).

This extension of Screen Australia’s Talent USA initiative coincides with the Australian Federal Government screen agency celebrating 25 years of indigenous screen stories.

The week-long (November 5-10) program will focus on setting up business connections for the delegates with US film and television industry stakeholders, as well as providing opportunities to learn from established LA-based creators and decisions makers.

Participants were selected based on considerable international success and/or having established interest in the US.

“It is fantastic to be able to offer this incredible opportunity to luminaries of our industry, which will assist in opening new doors to expand their already successful careers in the US market,” said Penny Smallacombe, head of the indigenous department at Screen Australia.

Photo: Leah Purcell and Warwick Thornton (Photo: Dominic Lorrimer)

Michael Idato meets Ten’s new owners: CBS plays the long game

As the first anniversary of CBS’s acquisition of Ten approaches – the deal was finalised on November 16, 2017, after the network spent five months in the financial wilderness – its American owners say the one-year report card is one of “optimism and excitement”, reports Fairfax Media’s Michael Idato.

“We have accomplished a lot in a relatively short period of time and, that said, I feel like we’re just scratching the surface,” says Armando Nunez, the president and CEO of CBS Studios International, who oversees the Ten operation. “We have invested in a legacy Australian asset that has a lot of room and opportunity for growth and for the future.

“There was a feeding frenzy from a media perspective [when the deal was done] and I think there was an expectation like the next day that things were going to look and feel different,” Nunez adds. “As I’ve said repeatedly, this is an evolution, not a revolution.”

The next step in CBS’s Ten strategy will be the launch of a subscription streaming platform, likely named Ten All Access. With Netflix and Stan dominating what looks to be a tight local streaming market, and Foxtel’s Presto having fallen by the wayside, Nunez is unfazed.

[Read the original]

TV dealmaking: Seven the odd one out in TV land – but for how long?

While Nine is preparing to finalise a deal to acquire Fairfax Media and Ten is adjusting to life under ownership of American giant CBS, Kerry Stokes-controlled Seven remains the odd man out. The question is, for how much longer? ask Fairfax Media’s John McDuling & Jennifer Duke.

Nine chairman Peter Costello and Fairfax chairman Nick Falloon entered the broadcaster’s Upfront event in Sydney on Wednesday evening together – a sign of solidarity, perhaps, amid renewed questioning of their deal.

But if a few things fell differently, it might have been Kerry Stokes sitting next to Falloon at Seven’s event next week.

The two companies were in advanced talks over a merger that would have been just as historic but would have changed the Australian media landscape in different ways.

Under the arrangement, Seven Group Holdings (the diversified parent company of the TV broadcaster Seven West Media) would have retained a stake of about 15% in the combined company, down from 40% currently.

[Read the original]

How proceeds for 21st Century Fox breakup will be shared

Rupert Murdoch’s six children are each in line to receive $US2b from the breakup of his media empire and the sale of his entertainment businesses to Walt Disney, said multiple people briefed on the matter, reports The Financial Times.

The figure comprises the 17% interest in 21st Century Fox held by the Murdoch Family Trust, which is worth US$12b at the US$38 a share Disney has agreed to pay. Disney’s offer for businesses that include the Fox movie studio and portfolio of cable channels and Star of India is worth $US71.3b.

The six direct beneficiaries of the trust are Rupert Murdoch’s adult children, Prudence, James, Lachlan and Elisabeth. His daughters with ex-wife Wendi Deng Murdoch, Grace and Chloe, are also beneficiaries of the trust but do not have any voting interest in it.

[Read the original]

Netflix shares jump as Wall Street applauds record subscriber growth

The video streaming pioneer shocked Wall Street last quarter by falling short of new subscriber estimates, but Tuesday’s figures put its total customer base at 137 million worldwide, two million more than consensus forecasts, reports Reuters.

Netflix shares have gained about 81% this year and are worth six times what they were at the start of 2015, a reflection of the overwhelming faith investors have in the company’s lead in video streaming.

Some have begun to question, however, whether Netflix’s business model is as durable as the share price action suggests, given the huge investments the company has begun to make in its own content, and burgeoning competition.

[Read the original]

Outdoor Media

Unbranded Adshel 'teaser' campaign works for SA Tourism

South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) has reported outstanding results from a daring, unbranded “teaser” campaign across the Adshel network, which highlighted seven little-known parts of South Australia, repositioning them as hidden, luxury tourist destinations.

The Tell Us Where campaign rolled out across digital small-format out-of-home Adshel sites in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, targeting consumers on their daily commute, and Adshel Rail with station dominations in Sydney and Melbourne.

The campaign aimed to capture the imagination and pique the interest of commuters with seven stunningly beautiful location shots that asked people to guess where each idyllic spot was located.



Real estate cash: The biggest winners and losers in Block history

While the creators, producers, judges and stars of The Block were at the Nine 2019 Upfront Wednesday night, Domain has been running the numbers over the biggest winners and losers.

After a disappointing run in Season 9, Dea and Darren Jolly made up for it in Season 10 with the biggest win in Block history. The couple walked away with a total winnings of $935,000 for their South Yarra apartment, reports Domain’s January Jones.

The three biggest winners:
• Dea and Darren – Triple Threat: Season 10
Property: Former apartment block in South Yarra
Total winnings: $935,000

• William and Karlie – The Block 2016: Season 12
Property: Heritage Art Deco building in Port Melbourne
Total winnings: $815,000

• Dean and Shay – Blocktagon: Season 11
Property: Former hotel, South Yarra
Total winnings: $755,000

Domains also notes three formers contestants left the show with zero winnings, while another two took away “just” $10,000 each.

[Read the original]

SeaChange marks first scripted drama for ITV Studios Australia

The announcement of SeaChange returning to screens yesterday marks the first scripted drama from ITV Studios Australia, reports TV Tonight.

ITV Studios has the rights due to its heritage through Granada Television and previously Artist Services (which originally produced the series co-created by Andrew Knight & Deb Cox).

It will produce the series with Every Cloud Productions, Cox’s production company co-owned with producer Fiona Eagger.

ITV Studios Australia has four new and returning shows commissioned by Nine: SeaChange, Love Island, Talkin’ ’Bout Your Generation and The Voice.

David Mott, CEO ITV Studios Australia, said, “I couldn’t be more delighted that our deepening relationship with Nine Network has led to several of Australia’s favourite shows returning to air in 2019 including the record-breaking SeaChange, with our partners at Every Cloud Productions, as we diversify our Australian operation into scripted.”

HBO salaries: Westworld stars score big raises ahead of third season

HBO is doling out raises to its Westworld stars, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The leading actors of the Emmy-nominated HBO series have scored salary increases in advance of the sci-fi drama’s third season, often the point in a successful show’s cycle when contracts are re-evaluated. As with many other series with ensemble casts, the Westworld actors are divided into multiple pay tiers, with only the first grouping – made up of Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright and Thandie Newton – said to be part of these contract negotiations.

According to sources, the foursome are each making roughly US$250,000 an episode for the upcoming third season. The newly negotiated pacts represent generous bumps to their previous salaries, which were rumoured to be varied amounts in the $100,000 to $150,000 range.

[Read the original]


After Hollywood triumph, Hans signs to David Wilson’s Watercooler

Fresh off the plane from Hollywood after his powerhouse debut on America’s Got Talent 2018, Adelaide-based superstar Hans (pictured) has signed an exclusive worldwide management deal with Watercooler Talent.

This boy wonder via Berlin won the hearts of 16 million Americans with his cheeky humour and electrifying song and dance routines on the juggernaut American talent series. Hans was much loved amongst judges Mel B, Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and host Tyra Banks. As Hans puts it, “Darlings, I went there to make America glitter again. It was calling and I answered!”

Hans is the creation of Adelaide-born Matt Gilbertson, himself an accomplished journalist who has worked in print, radio and television. Over the past 10 years Hans has performed at comedy and cabaret festivals in Australia and the UK. In 2017 Hans won the Edinburgh Fringe Festival award for Best Cabaret, and has been the winner of several Adelaide Fringe Festival awards over the years.

The self-proclaimed sex symbol, accordionist, homewrecker and Madonna fan is a true international superstar, and now Hans is one of Australia’s most successful cabaret artists.

David Wilson, managing partner at Watercooler Talent, said, “Hans fills every room he walks into with pure joy… and a lot of sequins. We are so excited to be part of his fabulous world and see a big global appetite for cut-through artists like Hans.”

On signing with Watercooler Talent, Hans said, “Honey, planning world domination is not an easy task and sometimes even superstars need a little help along the way! That’s why I’m so excited to be represented by David Wilson and Andrew Gaul at Watercooler. I can’t wait to bring my shows to even more people and get this world laughing again!”

Sports Media

Bolt turns down offer from Valletta to stay with A-League’s Mariners

At a cosy cafe by the water in Gosford, Usain Bolt gave Central Coast the news they had been waiting to hear, reports News Corp’s Emma Kemp.

It was about lunchtime on Wednesday, the morning’s training session at Pluim Park had wrapped up, and Bolt sat with club chief executive Shaun Mielekamp at local hangout Tommy’s.

Renewed conjecture had followed the eight-time Olympic gold medallist incessantly since revelations 36 hours earlier he’d been offered a two-year, trial-free contract with a Maltese outfit.

But as the pair sipped their lattes and the rain pattered down outside, Bolt informed Mielekamp he had categorically ruled out joining Valletta FC.

Plus, he told Mielekamp, he loves Australia and its occupants, and the club’s culture, and wants to continue his round-ball education here.

[Read the original]

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