Year In Review: Industry leaders on what 2022 has looked like in content

year in review

Mediaweek speaks to Daniel Monaghan, Derek Bargwanna, and Poppy Reid

As the year comes to a close and 2023 looms on the horizon, it’s time to pause and look back at the successes of a year that wasn’t necessarily predicted to end as well as it has.

Mediaweek spoke to Daniel Monaghan (SVP content and programming, Paramount), Derek Bargwanna (head of KIIS Network, ARN), and Poppy Reid (editor in chief, The Brag Media) to get their thoughts on the year that was, and what comes next.

What have your key highlights of 2022 been?

Monaghan: “Personally, the highlight of 2022 for me was 10 launching the #1 new show of the year, Hunted. The format is a phenomenon and it really captured Australia’s attention, which showed us that audiences are ready to embrace new shows. We took a few risks this year, and having one pay off to that level was certainly a highlight.”



Bargwanna: “The KIIS Network has produced plenty of memorable content that we’re proud of both from a local brand perspective and as a national network. This year we have combined more as a group to create content that keeps our audiences engaged, listening and growing. It was fantastic to see Kyle & Jackie O being inducted into the Commercial Radio Australia Hall of Fame. We have had so many award winning moments from our team across the network this year.”

Reid: “The Brag Media has had a banner year with highlights happening almost every month for us, but two key moments stick out for me.

“Launching Variety Australia in February was a big moment, not just for us as we expand our ever-growing publishing roster, but for the local media industry. Bringing the iconic title to market means we get to shout about local entertainment talent on the world stage thanks to our partnership with PMC and our close relationship with Variety in the US.

“We also expanded Rolling Stone to New Zealand this year and held our very first Rolling Stone New Zealand Awards. Being able to celebrate the incredible music talent in Aotearoa in a live setting (with stadium act Six60 performing) was a huge privilege, but getting to champion Kiwi acts in a bigger way as we grow further into the Aotearoa market is immensely exciting to me as a Kiwi myself.

“Check out some footage from the night here.”

the brag media

What have you had to consider when commissioning and creating content in 2022?

Monaghan: “The content world has never been more crowded than in 2022. With more series made locally and internationally than ever, every show has to compete for the same eyeballs against increasing choice. Content has to stand out, be fresh but also somehow familiar.

“While one platform is trying to appeal to the niche, the next is chasing the broad-church. For example, at Paramount, we are focused on providing our content across our suite of platforms so that audiences can enjoy it wherever and whenever they choose.”

Bargwanna: “The feel of right now and what our audiences are experiencing in their life has been important to get a handle on for our teams. We spend a lot of time researching our market and audience. This year we found connecting more with the community and creating powerful feel good moments became a focus, but of course as we head into the new year things may shift and given our robust research at ARN we will be ready to adjust if/when we have to, so we continue to deliver the market and audience needs.”

Reid: “Much consideration goes into all content we commission, including our quarterly Rolling Stone AU/NZ magazine. Working quite far out before the print issue hits shelves means we need to be making sure we are adding value, diversity and careful consideration to music and culture topics. Rolling Stone coverage speaks truth to power and that is always front of mind for us.”

How much of an impact has economic uncertainty had on the industry this year?

Monaghan: “Network 10 launched MasterChef Australia off the back of a GFC and it tapped into the psyche of Australian audiences at the time. Consumers were watching their wallets, keen to cook at home and happy to be entertained at home.

“Traditionally when there is economic uncertainty, our industry is there to provide audiences with the best content from the comfort of their home. That may be for free with FTA, BVOD and the explosion of FAST channels this year. Or, it may be for a small monthly subscription to SVOD that individually will cost them less than it would to leave home; and for that price they’re getting entertainment for the whole family.

“At Paramount, we have had more scripted and comedy projects in production in 2022/23 than ever before, alongside a wealth of unscripted projects and news and current affairs. The production slate has not yet slowed down against economic uncertainty.”

Bargwanna: “While we have strong ratings on the KIIS Network, there is always room for us to grow. I think it’s important we recognise the economic uncertainty, however it’s only challenged our teams to work even closer with clients in creating the engaging content in a smarter way, ensuring we create scale, multi-platform content delivery with an easy transaction.”

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Reid: “The Brag Media is only six years old so I would say economic uncertainty amidst the Covid pandemic is par for the course.

“However, over the past twelve months, we have doubled down in our offerings and output, increased staff, and invested more into the growth of the business than ever before. We are already seeing the fruits of that investment, with 100% YoY revenue growth.”

What are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?

Monaghan: “The media industry remains healthy, but as always, it exists in a state of perennial change.

“Production levels are extraordinarily high across all platforms, and all content businesses face a similar challenge of how best to engage and monetise their audiences.”

Bargwanna: “It’s thriving. Radio and audio is about personable connection. Our on and off air teams create many hours of brilliant market leading content each day and radio is still the medium that people turn to, to discover it, feel connected and be involved. We need to ensure as an industry we are fostering the next generation of talent; giving as much opportunity to as many people we can to create live content – this is the differentiator for radio. The podcast world has now provided a great opportunity for our radio shows to have a catch up audience and of course increase our audience reach through special interest content.”

Reid: “The media sector has always been a hive mind for innovation and adaptability, but I think those characteristics are in a purple patch at the moment as we navigate the pandemic. Personally, I’m loving the response to evolving generational behaviours from big-name brands as I believe that is the only way to maintain relevance.”

Looking ahead, what do you think the key trends of 2023 are?

Monaghan: “In terms of editorial, it looks like utilising known IP – be it a book, a reboot or a big star – and making it new and fresh will continue to be a big trend.

“Network 10 had a stellar breakout hit in Hunted this year and we’ll invest in trying to find the next 2023 hit so we can balance our slate with the new and the much loved.

“In terms of key trends for platforms, well FAST is the new black. We’ll use a stellar back catalogue to ensure we have a top tier offering of FAST channels moving throughout 2023.”

Bargwanna: “The industry is getting better and the shows, people and standards are getting richer. So to win, you have to be genuine, and be better consistently and give people a reason to choose you. The audience and our clients want and deserve more and I think our plans for 2023 will deliver on that.”

Reid: “For the most part, the media industry is in the business of culture reflection, but I think there are so many fun opportunities in the business of imagination.

“Some imagination-based trends I think we’ll see next year are further crossover collaboration between media and SVOD, bringing digital formats to life with events either IRL or in the metaverse, and mobilising media title audiences to engage in the next generation of E-commerce and digital products.”

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Top Image: Daniel Monaghan, Derek Bargwanna, Poppy Reid

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