• Mandi Wicks on 8 radio stations, big breakfast shows and 68 languages
By James Manning
The ambitious television schedule at SBS in sometimes misunderstood, with people questioning whether certain elements of that strategy are on charter.
It’s not a question you often hear directed at SBS Radio.
“Everyone who works in our audio division is from the communities we cover and they have lived the migrant experience,” Mandi Wicks told Mediaweek in a podcast last week.
Wicks is the SBS director of audio and language content. The former radio news director came to SBS via Austereo, Macquarie Radio and Nova. The SBS job is a big one – 200 staff, 8 live radio stations and programming in 68 languages.
“The stories that come out of our language services are amazing. I often say language is our superpower. Through language you can pretty much access stories anywhere in the world. More and more we are taking those stories and translating them into English and getting them out through our news services to programs like SBS World News, Insight, Dateline where they are shared with all Australians to enjoy and engage with.”
Wicks said it is frustrating not to be part of the GfK radio ratings, but it was a decision SBS made. “The reason is the ratings diaries are done in English, which makes sense, but with 4.8m people speaking a language other than English in Australia we feel that to be a part of that survey in English we would probably be underrepresented. People who don’t speak English at all would probably not be filling out a diary.
“We do our own research with McNair yellowSquares and we do a deep dive into the bigger languages every year to understand our reach and our share. Also the reasons people listen to us and their perceptions – are we trusted, are we considered balanced and impartial? Things that are really core to our charter and purpose.”
Wicks said SBS Radio has commercial partners, and the restrictions surrounding advertising and sponsorship are similar to those for SBS television. “We have a limit of five minutes per hour and the amount we sell always varies. Vietnamese is always full as it very popular.
“We have a radio sales team out selling and increasingly corporate advertisers are understanding and valuing the benefit of talking to people in their language. When people hear an ad in their language from a big brand it really resonates – you are reaching the heart, not just the head because you are taking the time to talk to people in their language.”
For advertisers that want to engage with many of the different communities that SBS Radio services, the broadcaster can help with the creative. “We have a commercial in-language production arm and all they do is help translate campaigns into languages needed.”
Wicks wasn’t able to break out the ad revenue that radio generates, but she was able to say year-on-year revenue was up. “The reason we take advertising is that it allows us to generate revenue to put back into distinctive, charter-focused content.”
One of the first things Wicks learnt when she moved from commercial broadcasting to SBS was the number of radio stars they employed. “When I started to go to outside broadcasts I would see our people being mobbed like rock stars.”
SBS radio, like ABC and commercial broadcasters, has its biggest audiences early in the day. “Most people have the best opportunity to listen live in the morning or on the way home. For some of our smaller languages it is appointment listening and there may only be two hours of an African language each week. If it is for example at 9am on a Sunday morning, it will receive a lot of engagement because that is the only time they have in the week. Increasingly people in those communities are also turning to on demand to hear the program.”
Wicks said SBS introduced six new languages last year, but made them all podcast first. “There is no linear radio associated. Languages likes Rohingya, Tibetan, Mongolian – these communities are young and very digital first.”
The biggest live breakfast shows include programs in Arabic, Mandarin and Italian. “There is a lot of news and current affairs, telling people what they need to know with music and talkback.”
She said it is not dissimilar to some ABC breakfast programs. There are no stunts like many FM stations run. “I have tried to get a few in, but no,” she laughed.
No gotcha calls either! “We do run competitions and there is light and shade, it’s not all serious.”
The Arabic breakfast show runs from 6-9am daily, while Mandarin and Italian are two-hour programs.
You won’t hear live reads on SBS Radio.
“We have clear guidelines around what we can do,” explained Wicks. “Within a radio program we can do recorded messages that can be voiced by our broadcasters. But we will not do a live read within program, which is set by our editorial guidelines. Our announcers can’t endorse a product.”
Top Photo: SBS Radio’s Mandi Wicks with Mediaweek’s James Manning
• National marketer ad spend slumps in February
• Largest percentage decline in ad demand seen since 2009
Australia’s media agency market has experienced the softest advertising demand seen in almost 10 years in February, with total bookings back 8.3% to $482.9 million from a record high February result in 2018, reports SMI.
The February decline of 8.3% is the largest seen in the SMI database since April 2009, and the usual strength of the media agency market is underscored by the fact that negative demand has only been recorded five times in SMI’s 12 years of data history.
The lower bookings were partly due to some timing issues as the Winter Olympics were broadcast in February 2018 and that month also featured exceptionally strong increases in domestic bank ad spend (up 56.6% at the time) in the lead up to the Financial Services Royal Commission.
As a result all major media are reporting lower bookings this month, even with Government category advertising excluded to normalise the results.
And although television’s results were impacted by last year’s Olympics, SMI’s new digital client count detail shows there were far fewer corporates advertising in February – at least in the digital media – with the number of large digital advertisers decreasing 17.3% to 1,103.
SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe said while the decline in financial sector ad spend was the primary driver of the market softness other product categories contributing to the malaise included toiletries/cosmetics (ad spend -24.9% YOY) and media companies (ad spend -23.2%).
“There are also some positive signs in the data with SMI, for example, tracking ad spend by political parties and unions and in February – with the NSW and Federal elections approaching – we saw this category’s ad spend grow 52.5% to $4.43 million,” she said.
“The television media scored the largest share of this investment (43%), followed by radio (19.1%) and Outdoor with 14.9% of this category’s media investment.”
And as with any monthly result there are some bright spots, with those for the February 2019 period including:
• The largest category of automotive brand grew its media investment 7.4% in February
• Travel emerged as the 3rd largest category for the first time, driven by ad spend growth from cruise lines (+21.2%) and tovernment tourist bureaux (+30.6%)
• Within Subscription TV, the direct (non-automated) market continues to grow with its bookings up 16.7% YOY
• Regional radio grew the value of its advertising sales 1.1%
• SMI launched NZ’s first digital ad format detail, providing that market the first monthly view of online video, audio, display, native and search ad format ad spend
The February result continues a bleak financial year thus far, with total bookings back 1.2% to $4.56 billion with only the digital (+2.6%), outdoor (+6.7%) and radio (+2.5%) reporting any growth.
• New role focused on delivery of enhanced, strategic client consultation and services
GroupM, WPP’s Media Investment arm, has appointed David Fish (pictured) as chief client and business partner, a newly created, future-focussed role dedicated to delivering enhanced, strategic client consultation and services.
Fish will work across the business to align GroupM and agency teams, goals and operational structures to unlock the very best of GroupM’s people, relationships and capabilities for clients.
Reporting to GroupM Australia & New Zealand CEO Mark Lollback, Fish will work with the leadership and teams at GroupM agencies including MediaCom, Mindshare, Wavemaker and Essence.
Fish is currently managing director of Media Lab, GroupM’s bespoke agency serving Westpac. GroupM is undertaking a search for a general manager for Media Lab, and Fish will continue to oversee the business working closely with the senior leadership team.
Mark Lollback commented: “David was instrumental in setting up Media Lab for Westpac and we’re proud of the work he’s done there to inspire excellence in client leadership. David’s background is in running agencies, building teams and reshaping agency relationships. We’re lucky to welcome him into a group role where his experience and expertise will help supercharge outcomes across our agencies and client teams.
“The group level consultative role has been created in recognition that our clients’ marketplace challenges are greater than they have ever been, and there’s a need for continuous relection on how we work together to deliver even more effective relationships and outcomes. With this new senior consultant role, GroupM is leading the way and investing in the collective future for our business and our clients.”
David Fish added: “It can be very tempting to just focus on immediate business challenges, treating the symptoms rather than causes. For me this new role is about looking at things more collaboratively with our clients, delivering them best in class outcomes and having a bigger picture perspective. Ultimately we’re focused on strategic conversations and long-term solutions.
“It has been immensely satisfying to establish Media Lab in Australia and partner with our Westpac client to create this new way of working. I will continue to support in the development of this model while looking forward to the opportunity to take on new and different challenges with GroupM.”
Stan, Screen Tasmania and Screen Australia have announced AACTA Award-winning performers Emma Booth (Glitch, Once Upon A Time, Hounds of Love) and Ewen Leslie (The Cry, Safe Harbour, The Daughter) will head up the cast of the new Stan Original Series The Gloaming.
Production has commenced in Tasmania on the eight-part premium drama, with showrunner Vicki Madden (The Kettering Incident) at the helm. Joining Booth and Leslie in the cast are Aaron Pedersen (Mystery Road, Jack Irish), Kiwi actress Rena Owen (Star Wars, Longmire), Matt Testro (Nowhere Boys, Neighbours) and newcomer Josephine Blazier, with more cast to be announced soon.
When an unidentified woman is found brutally murdered, Detective Molly McGee (Emma Booth) must team up with Alex O’Connell (Ewen Leslie), a fellow cop with whom she shares a tragic past to solve the crime. What begins as a routine investigation exposes something more insidious as political corruption and shady business dealings intertwine with sinister crimes and occult practices. To catch the killer, Molly and Alex have to face the ghosts of their past, the unsettled dead that linger in the liminal space between light and dark, life and death – The Gloaming.
Stan Original Series The Gloaming will be directed by a line-up of internationally renowned, Australian talent including Michael Rymer (Hannibal, Battlestar Galactica, American Horror Story), Greg McLean (Wolf Creek, Jungle) and Sian Davies (Reef Break, Wentworth).
Created by Madden, the series is a co-production with Stan and Disney’s ABC Studios International, developed by Madden’s Sweet Potato Films and John Molloy’s 2 Jons and produced by Madden. Molloy and Fiona McConaghy with Keli Lee, Nick Forward, Jon Adgemis and Michael Gudinski are executive producing.
The series received major production funding from the Tasmanian Government through Screen Tasmania and Screen Australia, in association with Film Victoria, and was financed with support from Stan. Currently filming in various locations across Tasmania, The Gloaming will premiere exclusively on Stan this summer, with the premium drama to be distributed by Disney’s Global Content Sales and Distribution, a part of the Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment.
Said Madden: “To have the opportunity once again to create a series based in Tasmania is a great privilege. Its gothic landscape and haunted past have inspired me since I was a child. I’m thrilled to have Emma Booth and Ewen Leslie bring my beloved Molly and Alex to life, and Stan and ABC Studios International on board to share The Gloaming with audiences around the world.”
Stan’s chief content officer Nick Forward said: “We’re thrilled to be collaborating with our international partner ABC Studios International in taking Vicki Madden’s next trailblazing project to audiences in Australia and around the world. We’re can’t wait to see how Vicki and the phenomenal production team bring the mysterious world of The Gloaming to life. We are also grateful to the state and national screen bodies who play such a vital role in these projects.”
“ABC Studios International is thrilled to join forces with these incredible partners on our first production with Stan. This exciting, innovative project brings together a stellar cast and a visionary creative team,” said Keli Lee, managing director international content platforms and talent for ABC Studios International.
Sally Caplan, head of production at Screen Australia said: “Vicki Madden has carved out her own niche – Tassie Noir. Her new series The Gloaming is appealing because it’s a compelling crime drama centred on a complex and flawed female police officer set amongst striking Tasmanian landscapes which bring their own uniquely Australian identity to the series.
“Madden has a proven record with The Kettering Incident of creating engaging Australian content that resonates with local audiences while also delivering commercial success with international sales. I’m excited by her commitment to and development of this genre and look forward to seeing this talented cast bring this mystery to life.”
Top Photo: Emma Booth with Vicki Madden and Ewen Leslie
The new partners claim the addition of 2CH to the SCA stable will increase the ability to deliver to a wider audience across the 25 – 50+ age demographic, which will enable engagement with new listeners and advertisers.
2CH is a natural extension to SCA’s audio offering, with localism at its core. It’s home to the baby boomers, aged 50+, who care about news and events that shape their community and family.
SCA’s national head of radio sales Nikki Rooke said, “We already successfully represent EON Broadcasting’s Sunshine Coast stations and are thrilled to now be representing 2CH in the agency market. This partnership will allow to us increase our reach in the increasingly valuable 50+ demographic, as well as opening up new brands and categories to us to work with. 2CH is such an iconic part of the Sydney radio landscape and we are very encouraged by the strong start they have made to the year with their new classic hits format. I am convinced that this, in combination with the with the resources and skills that SCA bring, will result in very beneficial outcomes for all and we can’t wait to get cracking.”
Carla Vella¸ SCA’s head of radio sales Sydney, will be heading up this new addition to the SCA family and has appointed Melissa Nicholls to the role of 2CH specialist.
Eon Broadcasting’s group national sales director John Cranley said, “We are truly excited to be continuing and adding to our long-standing relationship with the SCA. 2CH brings a strong position in market with the 50+ audience only furthering SCA’s offering, which will now encompass 25 to 55+. This added with SCA’s professionalism and their delivery we can ensure clients a truly unique audience proposition.”
General manager of 2CH Cherie Romaro said, “This partnership signals a powerful alliance between one of Australia’s iconic media companies, Southern Cross Austereo and the EON Broadcasting Group. With SCA’s highly skilled team, in the market as Classic Hits 2CH, 2CH DAB+ Digital Channels, it will deliver a unique and powerful combination of both our media assets in the highly competitive agency landscape.”
SCA will take over sales representation of 2CH from April 12.
Photo: 2CH breakfast team Trevor Sinclair and Indira Naidoo
Discovery, Inc. and BBC Studios have jointly announced a series of agreements, reigniting their historic relationship with a significant multi-million pound global content partnership spanning a library of premium factual series to power a new global streaming service, and a bespoke development deal for BBC Studios’ iconic genres of natural history, animals, adventure, science, travel, space, history and civilisation documentaries
Additionally, the two companies have concluded the future of UKTV’s channels business in the UK with a structured split that complements the strategic focus and commercial business of both organizations.
The new 10-year content partnership, effective in all territories outside the UK, Ireland and Greater China, will make Discovery the exclusive global home of BBC landmark natural history programmes in SVOD, including the Planet Earth, Blue Planet and Life collection of titles, the recently lauded Dynasties and others, as well as future BBC-commissioned landmark series from BBC Studios, following their linear transmission.
Discovery also acquires SVOD rights to hundreds of hours of BBC programming across factual genres. All of this iconic content will form one of the pillars of a new global streaming service, which will also include some of the best of Discovery’s programming library, original content created for the service, and experiences and offerings that go well beyond video. The service will launch by 2020 and will form a key part of Discovery’s unique and growing portfolio of direct-to-consumer services that will enable fans to “view and do.” These services will also be made available to distribution partners for retail.
Discovery and BBC Studios have also signed a bespoke development deal to create new landmark factual content for Discovery that furthers audiences’ discovery of the world for both linear and digital distribution. This deal reunites the two media and entertainment brands that worked together on unrivalled natural history series such as Planet Earth, Walking with Dinosaurs, Life and Blue Planet. The two companies will co-fund a dedicated development team within BBC Studios.
Discovery to take full ownership of UKTV’s lifestyle channels and BBC Studios of UKTV’s entertainment channels
Under the terms of the UKTV deal, which is expected to complete in late Spring 2019, Discovery takes full control of lifestyle channels Good Food, Home and Really, in line with its editorial strategy and further strengthening its global leadership position in factual entertainment. Discovery has an existing portfolio of 16 channels in the UK including Discovery Channel, TLC, ID, Animal Planet, Eurosport, Quest and Quest Red and the Quest OD video-on-demand service. This new agreement strengthens Discovery’s position in the UK as a factual entertainment leader engaging passionate communities of fans on every screen with trusted, high quality brands and content.
Following completion, James Gibbons, EVP, GM, UK/IRL/ANZ and commercial development, Discovery EMEA, will manage the lifestyle channels as part of Discovery’s UK portfolio.
BBC Studios acquires the remaining seven channels – Alibi, Dave, Drama, Eden, Gold, Yesterday and W – along with digital player UKTV Play, and the UKTV brand.
These channels are the most closely aligned to its own content strategy and supply, with BBC programmes currently delivering around half the viewing for these seven channels, and accounting for around 95% of BBC Studios’ content on UKTV today. Following these changes, the entertainment channels will continue to operate under the UKTV brand out of UKTV’s offices and BBC Studios will look to grow investment into UK programming, including original content, for the channels it will own.
Following completion, Marcus Arthur, president, UK, Ireland and ANZ, BBC Studios Distribution, will also assume the role of CEO, UKTV. Marcus Arthur, who joined BBC Worldwide in 1991, has previously held the roles of managing director, BBC Magazines and MD, global brands and new ventures, and sits on the UKTV Board.
As part of the UKTV agreement, BBC Studios will make payments totalling £173m to Discovery. This includes a balancing payment in relation to the channels acquisition and the assumption of £70m of debt, currently financed by Discovery. This will be financed through existing borrowing facilities. Discovery will also receive at least an additional £10m from UKTV, as the parties will share the existing cash on the company’s balance sheet, reflecting outstanding dividend, and other ancillary value transfers to Discovery through the transaction.
BBC Studios and Discovery have also agreed a short-term Programme Licensing Agreement for the supply of BBC Studios lifestyle content to Discovery’s UKTV channels in the UK.
A battleground in cinemas on the weekend saw three new releases land in the top five with two of them each pulling over $2.5m. That box office competition drew extra people into cinemas as the takings of the top 20 movies climbed by 42% week-on-week.
The top two movies took $7.5m between them, which was the strongest performance from two movies since early January. While it was no record weekend, the takings total of $14.25m was the second best since January, only beaten by the opening weekend of Captain Marvel four weeks ago.
The relatively low-budget US horror movie topped the US box office a week ago where it avoided a clash with Dumbo. But it did take more than Dumbo on debut both there and here. Cinema owners might have been expecting a different weekend result – look at the comparative screen averages for the top two. Us opened on 319 screens with a screen average of $12,049, which is the fourth best this year after Aquaman, Captain Marvel and How To Train Your Dragon.
The live action remake of the Disney classic seems to have opened slightly below box office expectations. Directed by Tim Burton and starring Colin Farrell and Michael Keaton, the movie opened on 501 screens with a screen average of $5, 498.
After three weekends leading the box office the movie has slipped to third spot. It still managed $2m+ as it shed 226 screens to 419, which delivered a screen average of $5,444. Captain Marvel is just a touch under $35m with a bit of steam left which sees it rank amongst the top five most successful movies of the past two years.
With so many attractions on offer over the weekend, the US romantic drama about two young cystic fibrosis patients did very well. It opened on 256 screens and delivered the second best screen average of the weekend – $6,252.
Takings slipped 31% as the number of screens showing the sequel dropped from 391 to 323 with a screen average of $4,072.
• MAFS couples Martha & Michael, Ning & Mark decide future
• Steve Marshall chases Jean Nassif for A Current Affair interview
• Plus: Home And Away cracks 700,000, Rove meets David Attenborough
By James Manning
• Seven News 1,029,000/1,030,000
• Nine News 960,000/981,000
• A Current Affair 924,000
• ABC News 756,000
• 7.30 621,000
• The Project 283,000/485,000
• 10 News First 394,000
• SBS World News 125,000
• Sunrise 283,000
• Today 183,000
Home And Away will be hoping for some recognition in the TV Week Logie voting that closed on Sunday night. Meantime the program has launched into a new week on 740,000 after enjoying its best week of the year and its first 2019 weekly average over 600,000.
My Kitchen Rules contestant Victor boiled up and stormed out, followed by G, and then his secret girlfriend Piper. While they were gone, a fed up Veronica outed Piper’s relationship with Victor, telling teams “when she f*cking leaves at night-time and goes into his bed I don’t know what the f*ck is said.” Whoa! But what about the food? Josh and Austin’s Caribbean Americano menu received mixed reviews and they weren’t surprised to receive low scores from their guests. Judge Manu was not impressed either with 13 out of 30. Pete wasn’t so harsh, scoring them 20 out of 30. And the ratings? 831,000 after 763,000 on Monday last week.
The channel has been hanging onto the special Mrs Brown’s Boys episode, which screened in the UK on Xmas Day. It did 404,000 screening after 9pm last night.
A Current Affair reporter Steve Marshall was on the trail of Sydney property developer Jean Nassif last night and Nassif was very reluctant to stand still for an interview about his business. Simon Bouda next had news about the missing Roxlyn Bowie investigation. Then it was time to catch up with Mick from MAFS who was interviewed at his Gympie property by Reid Butler about life after Jess and they shared a beer. The show started the week on a very strong 924,000. Last week its average audience was 742,000, close to the previous week’s 747,000.
Two more couples exchanged their final vows on Married At First Sight in a short week with only three episodes ahead of the final episodes next week. Of the two couples last night – Martha & Michael and Ning & Mark – one relationship looked promising while the other looked over. The Monday audience was 1.407m (a Monday high this season) after 1.318m on Monday last week.
Bad Mothers helped cement Nine’s ratings victory with a healthy 9pm drama audience of 538,000 after 486,000 a week ago.
The late night Monday football talk shows followed with Footy Classified with a three market audience of 156,000 (Melbourne 102,000) while 100% Footy did close to 70,000 in two markets (Sydney 40,000).
Rove landed a good gig on The Project last night – interviewing Sir David Attenborough. The opportunity to promote Attenborough’s latest project was perhaps one that others were able to decline given that the channel had to plug Our Planet’s broadcaster – Netflix. The Monday episode was on 485,000 after 7pm following a week 13 average of 422,000, up a little on 412,000 the previous week.
On Dancing With The Stars the judges hit the dance floor with each picking a team with US DWTS winner Bindi Irwin doing the judging. Scott Tweedie stood in for the ailing Grant Denyer. By the end of the show the top five had been decided with Sir Curtly Ambrose not making the cut.
Both parts of last week’s show were close to 450,000 with 430,000 last night which climbed to 500,000 for the elimination announcement.
Australian Story featured Behrouz Boochani, the man who won Australia’s richest literary award, but remains unable to set foot in this country. The episode did 542,000.
Four Corners looked at climate change and in particular what is changing in Australia right now with 544,000 watching.
Media Watch was on 565,000 with a look at a secret Adelaide bomb plot the media couldn’t report and then it examined Al Jazeera’s One Nation sting.
The final episode of The Kennedy’s covered the assassination of Robert. The episode was on 153,000.
A repeat episode of Michael Mosley: Trust Me I’m A Doctor did 152,000 followed by 24 Hours In Emergency on 159,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.0%||7TWO||3.4%||GO!||3.4%||10 Bold||3.2%||VICELAND||1.0%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||3.1%||GEM||1.9%||10 Peach||1.7%||Food Net||0.8%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.3%||7TWO||4.9%||GO!||3.8%||WIN Bold||3.2%||VICELAND||1.2%|
|ABC ME||1.0%||7mate||3.4%||GEM||3.7%||WIN Peach||1.8%||Food Net||0.9%|
|ABC NEWS||0.8%||7flix||1.4%||9Life||1.3%||Sky News on WIN||1.1%||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
Google has hit back at the government’s plan to punish social media executives who fail to rapidly remove abhorrent violent material from their platforms, warning there is no “feasible way” for humans to review every piece of uploaded content, report The Australian’s Zoe Samios and Rosie Lewis.
The tech giant’s senior vice-president for global affairs and chief legal officer, Kent Walker, said the government’s proposed laws designed to prevent another terrorist attack from being live-streamed online was not necessarily an “appropriate model” for managing illegal content.
“There is something like 500 hours of content that’s uploaded to YouTube every minute, so without shifting over to having someone giving you permission before you can upload a family movie or trying to invert the model where you can send communications across the internet, what we need is a system – and we think we largely have – where there’s appropriate notice of illegal content, are we working appropriately to remove it?” Walker said.
The future of online real estate group Domain outside of Australia’s biggest cities is being discussed as part of Nine Entertainment Co’s sell-off of 160 regional and community newspapers, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.
Bidders are currently in the due diligence phase of the auction process for Nine’s regional news business known as Australian Community Media, with April 24 marking the cut-off date for a second round of offers. A deal is expected to be done by the end of the month.
Sources close to the sales process say that during negotiations some bidders have raised what the deal will mean for Domain. Nine owns 59% of Domain.
At the moment, Domain magazine inserts appear in some of the newspapers serving larger regional cities. Branded sections such as Domain Rural appear in many others.
Former Domain chief executive Antony Catalano was among those who made an indicative bid in early March, alongside Australian private equity firms Anchorage Capital Partners and Allegro Funds. Catalano is hoping a commitment to support the property listings platform in the long-term will put him and his partners in a stronger negotiating position with Nine.
A parliamentary report into allegations of political interference in the ABC has recommended that the public broadcaster’s board review the events leading up to managing director Michelle Guthrie’s sacking in September and the subsequent fallout, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.
The Environment and Communications References Committee – which was charged by the Senate in October to investigate the allegations – said the board should “formally review” the lead up to Guthrie’s axing over her performance, and her subsequent allegations of political interference by then chairman Justin Milne.
“Based on the information provided to the inquiry, the committee accepts that the ABC board made its decision without reference to real or perceived political interference (of which they had little knowledge). “This is not to say that such interference was absent from the corporation,” the committee said in their 84-page report.
The BBC has announced a £173 million takeover of UKTV channels from Discovery as part of the “largest ever” deal in the broadcaster’s history, reports the Press Association.
The Dave and Gold provider, which is jointly owned by Discovery and the BBC’s commercial arm BBC Studios, will be divided up between the US and UK broadcasters, with BBC Studios retaining the UKTV brand.
BBC Studios will pay Discovery £173 million in the takeover deal, which will see seven channels come under BBC Studios control.
Discovery will take Good Food, Home and Really under its brand, while BBC Studios will gain Alibi, Dave, Drama, Eden, Gold, Yesterday and W.
Discovery has also agreed a new 10-year deal to air BBC Studios’ flagship natural history shows, including Planet Earth and Blue Planet, outside the UK and Ireland.
Discovery will launch a new video-on-demand subscription service (SVOD) with rights to use BBC Studios’ natural history content, including landmark David Attenborough series.
See also separate feature today.
Bad news: social media has lost one of the good ones, comments News Corp’s Cameron Adams.
Singer Pink has shut down her Instagram comments after a troll finally broke her last nerve.
It took a while; Pink has put up with a lot. You get the feeling she didn’t mind the occasional vent against dolts keen to give her advice on her (seemingly pretty OK) life.
And up until now, she’s managed to squeeze troll hunting in between parenting, singing, songwriting, performing, hanging upside down on stage and generally conquering the world of entertainment.
However when she posted a photo of her naked son that led one Instagram user flaming Pink about why he was circumcised (spoiler alert: Pink is Jewish) she snapped and shut down the ability to comment on any of her photos from now on.
“I’m shaking my head at the state of social media and keyboard warriors and the negativity that you bring to other people’s lives,” Pink wrote to explain the shutdown. “There is something seriously wrong with a lot of you out there.”
Jessica Rowe has opened up about appearing on the Today show this morning, more than a decade since her unsuccessful stint as co-host of the Channel 9 breakfast show, reports news.com.au’s Andrew Bucklow.
Rowe hasn’t set foot on the Today set since she walked away from the show in 2007 after a year as Karl Stefanovic’s co-host.
But this morning she appeared in studio and was interviewed by Deborah Knight and Georgie Gardner about her new book, Diary of a Crap Housewife.
After the Today show interview, Rowe popped up on her old show Studio 10 where she was asked what it was like to appear on the Channel 9 show she used to host.
“I did have to do a nervous poo before I went on,” she told the Studio 10 panellists.
“It’s so different … totally different circumstance, different people, and my beautiful Gorgie, (Georgie Gardner) my lovely friend, was so welcoming and made me feel very at ease and they were divine.
“But yes, I was nervous.”
During her time with Channel 9 in 2006/7, Rowe clashed with Eddie McGuire who was then the network’s CEO.
Less than a year into Rowe’s hosting role, McGuire wanted to sack her and allegedly said: “What are we gonna do about Jessica? When should we bone her? I reckon it should be next week.”
McGuire denied ever using the term, despite his former colleague Mark Llewellyn signing an affidavit to say he did.
He had a tumultuous time in television, but Tom Ballard hasn’t ruled out a return to the small screen despite his axing – provided TV bosses take a bolder leap with comedy.
Ballard has taken aim at TV executives after his show, Tonightly with Tom Ballard, was cut, accusing them of being risk-averse when it comes to comedy.
“The ABC has to walk a tightrope between funding pressures and political considerations, SBS is under-resourced, Stan is still trying to establish itself, Netflix has no obligation to make local content and the commercial networks often just cling to familiar faces or commission reality shows featuring people they criminally underpay to cook, renovate and have sex,” the 29-year-old said.
While he was quick to point out recent exceptions, such as ABC’s Fresh Blood, Network Ten’s experimental Pilot Week and SBS’s widely applauded The Family Law, Ballard said the calculated risks local networks made were far and few between.
“Overwhelmingly, it feels like executives are so risk-averse and uninterested in making smart, bold decisions and sticking by them,” he said.
“Having said that, please employ me, executives, I love you all.”
Football Federation Australia and the A-League clubs have been warned to sort out the A-League or face a huge drop in the amount of money the game will receive for the next broadcast rights deal, report The Australian’s Ray Gatt and John Stensholt.
The sobering kick up the backside came to light after details emerged yesterday of the draft New Leagues Working Group (NLWG) recommendations report into the formation of an independent national competition.
In a submission to the group, Fox Sports is believed to have expressed concerns about falling ratings and suggested the A-League in current form is unsustainable.
The clear message from Fox Sports is that unless things change, the broadcast rights fee will fall.