The much-anticipated start of the final season of Game Of Thrones has delivered a massive episode one audience for Foxtel’s Showcase channel.
Foxtel screened the first episode live at 11am and then there were further screenings at 12pm, 2pm, 3pm, 8.30pm and 10.30pm.
The combined audience – 962,000 watching one of those screenings and then another 273,000 watching On Demand or via Foxtel Go – takes the total to 1,235,000.
The VPM VOD audience was the biggest daily VPM audience so far this year, overtaking Nine’s best Married At First Sight one-day VOD numbers.
Game Of Thrones launched initially on Foxtel with 56,000 watching the very first episode of season one. The audience then grew for every successive season.
The audiences for each season premiere (via sett top box, live and same day):
• Ep 1 S7 (914,000)
• Ep 1 S6 (777,000)
• Ep 1 S5 (642,000)
• Ep 1 S4 (331,000)
• Ep 1 S3 (245,000)
• Ep 1 S2 (140,000)
• Ep 1 S1 (56,000)
After an impressive start to the ratings year, Nine is working hard to market its offering for Q2 which starts post-Easter. The key properties are the veteran talent show The Voice, Hamish Blake’s new Lego Masters and the second season of Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation, hosted by Shaun Micallef.
By James Manning
“Mercifully there are only eight episodes this season,” Micallef told Mediaweek when speaking about the new season of his Nine series.
He quickly explained: “I say mercifully, because when we were at Channel 10, in some years there would be 26 episodes which seemed to go on forever. It was nice to have a smaller run.”
The series ran for four years on 10 before it moved to Nine last year after a six year rest.
Micallef explained the first and the last episodes of the shorter season are recorded on separate days, while the other six episodes are filmed two at a time. “The whole series takes about five weeks to shoot. It was done during my holidays and didn’t feel like work at all.”
Because he doesn’t have any role as a producer on the series, Micallef doesn’t take part in post production screenings and network reviews. Some of the feedback from that stage can filter back to him though.
“There can be a request to drop in a line or inquire if I mind if a line is cut. They still care enough about my reaction to ask me those things occasionally.
“I give the impression I am artistically pure, but frankly on this show I do a whole bunch of things and they can choose to use them or not.”
By contrast he explained: “On [my ABC series] Mad As Hell I get to do exactly what I want and it is very disciplined and organised and I am running the show. It is quite nice just to turn up and perform.”
A Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation shoot could run for as long as two hours, said Micallef, before the editors get involved to polish the final product.
Micallef assured us he and the Your Gen captains will be getting messy again this season. (A segment that features one or all the competitors flinging food or liquids around the set.) “We don’t do that every episode. When we knock off two shows in one setting, usually the second of those might be messy because we don’t want to have to mop down the floors. Every second show you can expect someone to be splattered in some sort of condiment.
“As this is the second season with Nine, bigger and better is always the mantra. There is a little bit more money in the kitty and that gets spent, some time on foodstuffs.”
Of the three team captains on Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation, Micallef admits to a longer friendship with Robyn Butler (Gen x) than the youngsters Andy Lee (Gen Y) and Laurence Boxhall (Gen Z).
“I have known Robyn for years and I have done a number of programs with her. I have also worked quite a bit with her partner Wayne Hope. I came to the rebooted series knowing her very well and may be one of the reasons she agreed to do it.
“I knew Andy reasonably well and had been on the radio show with he and Hamish quite a bit. Laurence I didn’t know, but he was very good at the auditions.”
Having worked for one season together, Micallef said season two was even more of a “doddle”, although he admitted season one was not exactly “a stretch of our abilities”.
“This season was great fun. People sometimes ask me about outtakes, but I tell them the show is made up of outtakes. If anything goes wrong, or is slightly off, that is the goal. The last thing you want this show to be is smooth or slick.
“There is an under-rehearsed slip-shod quality to the show I quite like.”
One of the guests in the new season is former ABC broadcaster, and long-time fixture at Nine on Hey Hey It’s Saturday, Red Symons. “He’s a friend of mine and we catch up occasionally. We used to do it quite a lot on air. When that stopped, we said we’d probably never see each other again! But this series allows us a more formal meeting.”
The accidental host
Micallef was not in the initial plan to host the series for Nine, he told Mediaweek.
“ITV, who also produce Mad As Hell, asked me to help out with the auditions. When I was getting to work with Robyn and Andy I started to think it would be fun. Laurence is from Adelaide where I am also from and there is a limited gene pool there so I felt I knew him anyway.”
• Kyle and Jackie O with zombies, frights and blood curdling surprises
• Jonesy and Amanda launch Laughing Clowns game for listeners
ARN has unveiled the new KIIS Eye Ferris Wheel as part of its partnership with The Sydney Royal Easter Show along with new WSFM Jonesy & Amanda Laughing Clowns carnival game, crowd favourite Kyle & Jackie O’s Haunted House and show ticket giveaways on KIIS 1065, WSFM and The Edge 96.ONE.
KIIS 1065 has brought back show favourites bigger and better this year including Kyle & Jackie O’s Haunted house with more zombies, frights and blood curdling surprises than ever.
Kyle & Jackie O’s World Famous Showbag has a fun twist this year with punters getting the choice of either Kyle’s Aussie Bum Undies or Jackie’s mini hair straightener. The show bag is packed with Kyle and Jackie’s favourite things including: KIIS 1065 branded trucker cap, mini Bluetooth speaker, drawstring bag, reusable coffee cup as well as H2coco Cocochoc coconut water and more.
This year WSFM’s Jonesy & Amanda have taken sideshow fun to a new level with their own Laughing Clown game in the show’s carnival area. Lucky WSFM listeners can also enjoy Jonesy & Amanda’s Best Seats in the House – an exclusive section of the Skydeck where guest will receive VIP treatment.
The WSFM 101.7 Jonesy & Amanda JAM Showbag is back again this year, packed with Jonesy and Amanda’s favourite things including: WSFM branded drink bottle, trucker cap, duffle bag, headphones, plenty of tasty treats and more.
ARN’s chief marketing officer Anthony Xydis said: “This year across both KIIS 1065 and WSFM we have our biggest roll out of activations across The Sydney Royal Easter Show.
“The new KIIS Eye Ferris Wheel is perfect for showgoers of all ages and complements our range of activity across the show including, Kyle & Jackie O’s popular Haunted House and Jonesy & Amanda’s Laughing Clowns and VIP area.”
The Sydney Royal Easter Show is running now until Tuesday, April 23
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have announced an election version of their brand and subscriber marketing campaign, “You Deserve to Know”, as their editorial teams gear up for the Federal Election on May 18:
Initially launched in February, “You Deserve to Know” builds on the “Independent Always” ethos of the Herald and The Age by highlighting cases of public interest journalism where they have led the national conversation.
This next stage of the campaign highlights the role both papers have played in helping the public make sense of the policies, spin and sound bites before casting their vote on May 18.
“The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have a long history in excellent election coverage and our newsrooms are focused on delivering the news our readers want,” said Chris Janz, Nine’s managing director of publishing.
Using the same design as the first phase of the campaign, the election-themed campaign uses imagery to make its political thrust clear with photos of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
The campaign was created by Dentsu-Aegis’ With Collective in partnership with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age’s subscription team. Digital agency Slik executed the campaign on digital and social channels.
Over five weeks, the campaign – designed to emphasise the strength and authority of the Herald and The Age’s election coverage – will run across print, digital display, outdoor and social media.
“Our editorial teams will cover the important news of the campaign to keep our readers informed, but we are very aware that subscribers expect more than ‘he said, she said’ reporting. Our approach will have a focus on policy and context in a way that enables you to cut through the noise and make up your own mind about key issues,” said James Chessell, group executive editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
“We have a large team of reporters on the road talking to voters and candidates as well as coverage coming directly out of Parliament House.”
Tory Maguire, national editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, said the team has already kicked into election mode.
“Our audio and video team is geared up for breaking video news and extra episodes of our weekly podcast, Please Explain. I’ll be roping in reporters from the road for Please Explain such as chief political correspondent David Crowe, political editor Peter Hartcher and 9News political editor Chris Uhlmann,” she said.
Bauer Media’s Now To Love has set a new record with a March unique audience of 2.1m, up 17% from last month and 75% this year (since January 2019), moving into third position in the Family & Lifestyle category according to Nielsen’s latest DCR data.
Bauer Media said original and local content produced by the Now To Love editorial team was the key driver of engagement across the site in March, with readers spending an average of 3 minutes and 38 seconds reading and watching MAFS content.
Royals and parenting content that speaks to Australians is also a key driver of engagement with audiences, said Bauer. Advertiser led native content is delivering an average dwell time of 3:59 seconds on the site.
Fiona Baker (pictured), digital content director of Now To Love, said: “It’s very exciting to see the impact Now To Love has had in such a cluttered and competitive category, especially as we’ve only been around for a little over two years.
“Our strategy to deliver original and targeted content our audience is hungry for – and in the past couple of months that has been all things reality TV and royals – has certainly been behind our staggering success of recent months, along with the unrivalled opportunity to collaborate brand-first with heritage brands like Woman’s Day, Women’s Weekly and TV Week.
“We’ve also recently unveiled a refreshed and redesigned platform to give audiences more of what they want and upgrade the user experience. All in all it’s been our honed and well-thought out content and audience development strategy that has seen Now To Love garner such a strong and engaged Australian audience.”
• Shazam! holds at #1, Wonder Park goes top 5, Hellboy doesn’t
By James Manning
Early school holiday cinemagoers helped the box office to a very modest 1% rise on the weekend.
As well as Shazam! holding top spot, four of the top five were there again with Wonder Park the only new release to go top five.
Missing out on a top five finish were the new releases Hellboy ($771,000 with $2,688 screen average), Little ($694,000 with $4,206) and The Aftermath (493,683 with $4,571). The screen averages for Little and The Aftermath were better than any of the top five except for Shazam!
The new superhero has grossed $10m by the end of its second weekend. Cinemas showing the movie dropped 192 to 507 as takings slid 26%. However the screen average jumped from $8,792 on its opening weekend to $10,448 on its second weekend.
In its three weeks on the chart Dumbo has ranked 2-3-2 in the top five and has passed the $7m mark. It added 10 screens this weekend to 353 with its screen average on $4,098 with both the weekend gross and screen average up on Dumbo’s second weekend.
The second of two superheros in the top three is now close to $40m after six weeks. The weekend gross was down only 10% as the screens showing the movie dropped by 22 to 293. Screen average was $3,340.
The animated adventure film made it into cinemas just in time for the Easter holidays. After preview screenings on 142 screens a week ago, the movie opened proper on 297 screens with a screen average of $3,340.
The Hollywood horror movie spends a third week in the top five with total gross just under $8m. The screen average was $3,832 from 249 screens, down 109 this week.
• Cricket mates Matt & Luke second team into MKR semi-final
• “The Tele deserved it”: Media Watch on Geoffrey Rush case
Monday: Week 16 2019 (Easter week 1)
By James Manning
• Seven News 1,008,000/1,054,000
• Nine News 926,000/946,000
• A Current Affair 796,000
• ABC News 731,000
• 7.30 614,000
• The Project 247,000/443,000
• 10 News First 387,000
• SBS World News 138,000
• Sunrise 257,000
• Today 186,000
The 7pm soap Home And Away continues through the Easter survey break and it started the week on 675,000. The average week 15 audience was 669,000, down from 705,000 in week 14.
My Kitchen Rules rolled out the red carpet, asking teams to create canapés for a cocktail party full of VIPs including Seven TV hosts. Both Matt & Luke and Pat & Bianca received perfect scores from the judges. But cricket mates Matt & Luke’s Sunday roast secured the second semi-final place. The Monday audience was 850,000 after a week ago the episode against the season final of MAFS did 710,000.
Tonight on MKR there is a reunion with teams from previous seasons.
A Current Affair was on 796,000 after a week 15 average of 776,000 which was close to the year’s best weekly averages around 780,000.
An episode of Young Sheldon did 502,000 at 7.30pm.
Later in the night the 1980 movie Raiders Of The Lost Ark did 316,000.
The Easter break is giving the channel some breathing space.
It recorded its best Monday share since mid-February as Dancing With The Stars got down to the final three. The penultimate episode of the first season on 10 welcomed back co-host Grant Denyer and featured its trademark slick production values. The audience started on 543,000 and grew to 556,000 for the elimination of Jett Kenny and his dancing partner Lily. The biggest audience so far was for the launch episode in February with 615,000.
Four Corners and Australian Story both made the top 10 with audiences of 710,000 and 661,000 respectively.
Media Watch covered the Geoffrey Rush defamation case complete with paparazzi footage of the journalist involved and claiming the News Corp newspaper deserved what it got. The audience of 669,000 was well up on last week’s 578,000.
The biggest audiences watched Trust Me I’m A Doctor (178,000) and Queen Victoria And Her Nine Children (169,000).
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.7%||7TWO||3.4%||GO!||3.7%||10 Bold||3.2%||VICELAND||1.1%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||3.1%||GEM||2.0%||10 Peach||1.8%||Food Net||0.9%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.9%||7TWO||5.8%||GO!||4.2%||WIN Bold||3.7%||VICELAND||1.7%|
|ABC ME||1.3%||7mate||3.7%||GEM||3.7%||WIN Peach||2.1%||Food Net||0.9%|
|ABC NEWS||1.3%||7flix||1.9%||9Life||1.8%||Sky News on WIN||1.2%||NITV||0.1%|
|MONDAY METRO ALL TV|
16-39 Top Five
18-49 Top Five
25-54 Top Five
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
Even before Disney’s $71.3 billion takeover of most of 21st Century Fox, James Murdoch, the now-unemployed former Fox CEO, seemed to be focused on life beyond the family business.
It was clear months before the deal closing that there was no role for Murdoch at the merged company, and in March he founded investment firm Lupa Systems, leading longtime observers to ask: What does the 46-year-old son of Rupert intend to do next? reports The Hollywood Reporter.
While flush with an additional $2.1 billion or so from the Disney transaction, James will undoubtedly raise funds from a few strategic partners before investing in next-generation media companies, many Wall Street observers say, though he is also expected to plough some money into environmental issues and innovations in other sectors.
Observers agree on what types of investments the mogul is likely to focus on. “Technology, short form content and ad tech have been areas of interest,” says a banker familiar with Murdoch’s thinking. “He understands both the art and the science of the entertainment business,” adds Ben Weiss, chief investment officer at 8th & Jackson Capital Management.
Lupa has offices not only in Manhattan’s Financial District, but also in Mumbai, India, and James Murdoch is listed on LinkedIn as founder and CEO. Former Fox deputy general counsel and deputy chief compliance officer Jeff Palker is listed as managing partner and general counsel. Nitin Kukreja, the former CEO of Star Sports, is heading the Mumbai office and told The Economic Times in March that the firm will look for opportunities where there is “an interesting interplay of content and technology going on”. He added that Lupa “will be a bit diversified, for sure”.
Leslie Lee (pictured) has been named vice president of kids’ content, overseeing Cartoon Network, Boomerang and POGO networks in Asia Pacific, and assumes the role this week.
Based in Singapore, his responsibilities include the programming, operations, brand and franchise management, as well as the content direction for the three brands.
Ricky Ow, president of Turner Asia Pacific, said: “It’s rare to meet someone quite so passionate about kids content and Leslie is a great addition to our regional management team. I’m looking forward to Leslie bringing his experience, fresh perspective and new ideas to help us to grow our leadership position in the kids space.”
Lee has more than two decades’ experience and expertise in the entertainment industry across numerous Asian markets. This includes 19 years on kids’ brands working on both linear TV and digital aspects of the business.
Lee added: “I’m a huge fan of pop culture and animation, and I’ve now got the opportunity to work with some of the very best brands and most iconic franchises ever created. It’s a fantastic opportunity and it’s a privilege to be a part of a great team.”
His career includes spells at MediaCorp, Viacom and he was most recently executive director of media networks at Disney Southeast Asia – a company he joined in 2007. His various roles have included marketing communications, programming, channel management, content localisation and acquisitions, animation development and media distribution.
Lawyers for 36 Australian news organisations and journalists accused of committing contempt of court over their coverage of Cardinal George Pell’s sex abuse trial have told a hearing the case could have a “chilling effect” on open justice, reports ABC News’ Emma Younger.
The news outlets and individuals, including the editors of The Age and Herald Sun newspapers, are accused of breaching a suppression order which banned reporting on Cardinal Pell’s first trial until the conclusion of a planned second trial, involving another set of charges, which was subsequently dropped.
Barrister Matt Collins QC, representing the accused media, told the first hearing of the case in the Victorian Supreme Court that prosecutors needed to provide more detail about how it was alleged the offences were committed, dismissing some of them as “unsound”.
The case will return to court on June 26 for another directions hearing.
Australian journalism is the poorer today for the passing of legendary sports editor Kevin Jones, who lost a protracted battle with cancer on Sunday, reports Chris Stedman.
Jones was a commanding figure on The Australian’s newsroom floor in a career spanning five decades but none more so than the 12 years he spent as sports editor from 1977 to 1989.
During his time in the chair he oversaw the work of some of the best, most influential sports writers in the country, including Phil Wilkins, Richard Sleeman, Peter Muszkat, Jim Main, Tony Arrold and Steve Crawley. After starting his career on the Burnie Advocate in Tasmania, Jones worked on Brisbane’s Telegraph and The Sydney Morning Herald before finding his home at The Australian in Sydney a few years after Rupert Murdoch launched the national daily.
The APRA board of writer and publisher directors will posthumously bestow the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music upon Rob Potts, the celebrated manager, promoter and country music champion, who passed away in 2017.
In a career spanning more than three decades, Potts’ passion and belief in country music and its potential in Australia never wavered. Originally from Hobart, Potts moved to Sydney and became the booking agent for the likes of an up-and-coming Keith Urban, Tommy Emmanuel, Lee Kernaghan and James Blundell, and more recently he guided the career of Newcastle native and bona fide Nashville star Morgan Evans, a dual nominee at the 2019 APRA Music Awards.
As CEO of his company Entertainment Edge, Potts helped open doors for Aussies into the competitive Nashville scene thanks in part to the connections he made as the Australian concert promoter to some of the biggest artists in country music, including Brooks & Dunn, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Dixie Chicks and many more. In 2009, he brought a pre-superstar Taylor Swift to Australia for her first shows in the market.
The success of his tours led to Potts establishing the CMC Rocks festival brand and forging a long running partnership with Michael Chugg’s Chugg Entertainment. Their flagship CMC Rocks Queensland is now the biggest country music festival in the southern hemisphere. It sold out for the first time in 2016 and every year since.
The 2019 APRA Music Awards will be held on Tuesday 30 April
Melbourne Town Hall. The event will be hosted by Brian Nankervis and musical director is Kate Miller-Heidke.
Stepping onto the APRA Music Awards stage as guest presenters will be Tina Arena, Briggs, Tania Doko, Tim Rogers, Dallas Frasca, Louis Schoorl, Megan Washington, François Tétaz and Lee Kernaghan.
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival has dumped the Barry Award from its honour roll following controversy over the prize’s namesake, iconic funnyman Barry Humphries, reports News Corp’s Nui Te Koha.
The Barry, which honoured the festival’s best show, will be renamed the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award.
“Melbourne International Comedy Festival is one of the world’s greatest comedy festivals and it is time for the award for most outstanding show to be in our name to celebrate the city that inspired the growth of our festival and its outstanding artists,” festival director Susan Provan said.
Australian comedy superstar Humphries made headlines last year over his comments to The Spectator, which were interpreted as transphobic.
HT&E’s radio business ARN has appointed Tony Aldridge as content director for Melbourne’s KIIS 101.1. It means the Adelaide market has lost another key radio executive following the departure of Sue Carter to ARN’s Gold 104.3 12 months ago.
Aldridge joined ARN in 2018 as content director for Mix 102.3 and Cruise 1323 in Adelaide, where he replaced Carter, and built on previous success for the station including the city’s #1 breakfast show hosted by Jodie and Soda.
Aldridge will work shaping the content strategy for KIIS and take on all operational responsibility for the station alongside KIIS 101.1 assistant content director Daniel Bozykowski, and with focus on both the Jase & PJ breakfast show and the Will and Woody national drive show.
ARN national content director Duncan Campbell said: “I’m delighted to welcome Tony to the role of KIIS 101.1 content director in Melbourne and pleased to be able to make this appointment internally as well.
“During his time in Adelaide, Tony’s leadership skills along with his creativity and attention to detail created an environment that brought out the best in our team there. Tony will strengthen the team at KIIS 101.1 and highlights our continued focus on the station.”
Smoothfm hosted a Through the Grapevine event late last week in partnership with Wine Selectors. Guests sampled some of Australia’s greatest wines, accompanied with smoothfm hit songs, plus a curated menu by Olio, Kensington St, located in Chippendale.
Over 80 smoothfm and Wine Selectors guests along with clients mingled at the modern Italian venue, with the event dressed in florals by Twig & Vine.
Smoothfm953 More Music Breakfast Show announcer Glenn Daniel hosted the event and welcomed guests into the venue, before inviting guests to wine tasting, paired carefully with mixed appetisers.
Wine Selectors wine educator and expert Adam Walls introduced the wines on offer whilst Daniel introduced the matching Canapes.Smoothfm music director Kate Mason curated the playlist for the evening to suit the tones and moods for each pairings of ine and food.
The merlot was paired with slow cooked wagyu, whilst listening to the sounds of Spandau Ballet, Thompson Twins and Kim Carnes. Whilst the sparkling wine was offered around the room, the guests were listening to the upbeat tunes of Kool & The Gang, Prince and Lionel Ritchie.
Listeners and guests walked away from the event with a generous goodie bag and a better understanding of different types of wine, courtesy of Wine Selectors.
Production is underway in China on a Mandarin-language version of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, with the series to screen on the Tencent Network in the first half of 2020.
Every Cloud Productions originally announced that Shanghai-based production company Shanghai 99 Visual Company had acquired the China format rights to their top-rated drama series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries 18 months ago.
The format deal allowed Shanghai 99 the option to produce up to 52 x 1 hour episodes of the series.
The company has announced it will produce 30 × 42-minute episodes, partnering with Tencent Penguin Film, art of the biggest TV network in China, and Easy Entertainment, one of China’s top artist-management companies.
This is the first Australian series to have been re-versioned in China.
Every Cloud’s Fiona Eagger and Deb Cox, who created the series, will serve as creative consultants to the production.
“It’s such a thrill to be on set in China for the first week of production and to see Miss Fisher incarnated in the fabulous setting of 1930s Shanghai. The cast and crew here are wonderful custodians of the Miss Fisher brand and we look forward to a continuing successful relationship with Shanghai 99,” said Cox and Eagger.
Shane Withington has celebrated 10 years being John Palmer on Home And Away – but that wasn’t initially the plan, reports News Corp’s Sally Coates.
“I was only asked in for 12 weeks and I stayed for 10 years,” he told Confidential.
“I think I qualify as the kind of guy you don’t ask to dinner.
“In 10 years it’s gone from strength to strength, it has capacity to reinvent itself and stay at the forefront of whatever is happening. It’s perennial.”
Overall Withington said he believed the storylines were actually quite relatable, it’s merely the fact that they’re all happening in one tiny coastal town that makes them unbelievable.
“I thought I’d have to deal with a lot of unrealistic scenarios but I’ve been really surprised,” he said.
“We’ve dealt with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), coming out as being gay in a small town, bullying, anorexia, dealing with a major injury.
“So we’re dealing with very hard-hitting issues – that’s not usual of a soap – and I’m proud of that.”