Wednesday August 1, 2018

How the new season of The Block shocked even the show’s creators

This year Nine’s The Block – season 14 – finished shooting in May and then wrapped post-production just two weeks before it goes to air on August 5.

By James Manning

Co-creators Julian Cress and David Barbour from Cavalier Television need to shoot and edit the open for inspection and auction episodes, but otherwise it is all done.

Julian Cress has taken advantage of the break and returned to his European base in Burgundy, France. It was from there that Cress asked Mediaweek about the latest on the Nine-Fairfax merger. He and the program have been at the forefront of the links between the two companies with The Block and Domain working closely for many series. “I think we could be working even closer now,” he laughed.

Shortly before talking with Cress, Mediaweek had a tour of the property at the centre of season 14 – the former Gatwick Private Hotel. Seeing what the rundown boarding house has become is one of the most impressive transformations on a series that has made transformation central to its DNA.

This is an excerpt from the full article, which appears on Mediaweek Premium. Read the full article here, or subscribe to Mediaweek Premium here.

Commercial TV CEOs unite on three Rs: ratings, regulation & revenue

Commercial television marketing body ThinkTV lined up its ducks in a neat row this week with the announcement from OzTAM about the new total TV measurement VOZ, the release of TV ad revenue data and more research explaining how well TV advertising works.

By James Manning

The cornerstone of this marketing attack though was a Sydney chief executive dinner hosted by ThinkTV CEO Kim Portrate, which united the chief executives of Foxtel, Ten, Nine and Seven onstage to talk about the sector.

For good measure the media industry’s go-to marketing professor Mark Ritson was also added to the bill.

Ritson was the first featured speaker and his presentation about how TV is not dead played well to the TV crowd. He painted Google and Facebook as the revenue thieves and ridiculed journalists for not better understanding the business imperatives that are driving the media industry.

Joanne Gray, Patrick Delany, Paul Anderson, Hugh Marks and Tim Worner

Next up were Foxtel’s Patrick Delany, Ten’s Paul Anderson, Nine’s Hugh Marks and Seven’s Tim Worner, who were interviewed by The AFR’s managing editor Joanne Gray.

Gray started with “my new boss”, Hugh Marks, and asked about the rationale behind the proposed Nine-Fairfax merger. Marks responded with what he has told all the interviewers he has faced over the past week, telling them it was about good content driving the business and attracting advertisers. Gray persisted with questions about editorial independence despite Marks reminding her it was a TV marketing forum and he would rather talk up the TV sector.

Patrick Delany, Paul Anderson, Hugh Marks and Tim Worner

When asked about Nine guaranteeing Fairfax editors editorial independence, Marks replied: “We are reliant on great editors continuing to do great work.” He then shot down any more talk about industry rationalisation.

Gray tried Tim Worner too on how Seven might respond, but he was even less inclined to talk about consolidation than Marks.

Worner instead warmed to the theme of the night, telling guests: “Nothing engages an audience like television. If you advertise on TV you need to make sure you have enough stock because you will sell out.”

Gray then asked about the ACCC’s digital platforms inquiry.

Ten’s Paul Anderson said: “All we want is a level playing field. We all operate in a regulated market, which mandates the sort of content we have to supply.”

When speaking about the future of TV, Worner hinted at a near-death experience. “Television was never dying. But it had a long afternoon nap for a while.”

On the various players working together, Worner said: “We should compete on content and collaborate on technology.”

On the power of the FTA platform, Anderson said: “The power of television is you get a big chunk of people over a short period of time.”

He later added: “The catch-up audiences alone on some shows are now bigger than radio show audiences.”

When ratings were mentioned, Worner said: “We shouldn’t provide overnight numbers – it is a number that is misleading.” He added they should release only the consolidated figures. Asked later when that could start, he quipped possibly today, as Seven was up against finals of MasterChef and Ninja Warrior last night.

Foxtel’s Patrick Delany spoke enthusiastically about forthcoming changes at the subscription TV provider. “We are really going to exploit streaming and we are going to develop other platforms.”

He reminded guests as to the size of Foxtel – “We have a $3b turnover and 2.8m households subscribing. The release of iQ4 will see us hammering streaming.”

The biggest achievement from the ThinkTV team was probably the guest list, which included heavy hitters from both sides of the Tasman.

Attending with the CEOs were some of their key team members, commercial directors: Seven’s Kurt Burnette, Nine’s Michael Stephenson, Ten’s Rod Prosser and new MCN chief Mark Frain.

TV programmers included Seven’s Angus Ross, Nine’s Michael Healy, Ten’s Beverley McGarvey and Foxtel’s Brian Walsh.

Comms teams keeping an eye on their bosses and circling journalists included Ten’s Vida Scott, Nine’s Vic Buchan and Nic Christensen, Seven’s Stephen Browning with ThinkTV’s Dominic White and Rochelle Burbury also keeping an eye on the journos.

Guests from New Zealand included MediaWorks CEO Michael Anderson (also a former Fairfax board member for six years) and outgoing Sky Television CEO John Fellet, who is running the business until they find a replacement. Also invited was TVNZ chief Kevin Kenrick.

Invited media agency chiefs included IPG’s Danny Bass, WPP’s Mike Connaghan and John Steedman, OMG’s Peter Horgan and GroupM’s Mark Lollback.

Advertisers attended from Volkswagen, Virgin Australia, AANA, L’Oreal, Nissan, Unilever, Optus, Nestlé, KFC, Suncorp, Aldi, Audi and Vodafone.

Other industry figures included OzTAM’s Doug Peiffer, reps from the NRL and AFL, Ebiquity’s Richard Basil-Jones, PwC’s Megan Brownlow, Sunita Gloster and Russel Howcroft, Fox Sports’ Peter Campbell, new ACMA CEO Creina Chapman, Fairfax Media’s James Chessell, Seven’s Clive Dickens, MFA’s Sophie Madden, Freeview’s Liz Ross, Stan chief executive Mike Sneesby and ThinkTV’s Steve Weaver.

ThinkTV reports total TV ad revenue market was $4.15 billion: up 0.5%

The total TV ad revenue experienced strong growth in the six months and the 12 months to June 30, 2018.

According to the figures released by the industry body ThinkTV, the total TV ad revenue market (excluding SBS) increased by 1.8% to $1.98 billion for the six months to June 30, 2018. This brought the total financial year revenue for the sector to $4.15 billion.

The result was driven by a particularly strong performance in the free-to-air sector, which was up 3.81% in the June half, to report revenues of $1.36 billion and $2.86 billion, up 2.53 % for the full financial year.

Mass consumer uptake of the Broadcaster Video on Demand (BVOD) platforms 7Plus, 9Now, tenplay and Foxtel Now has translated into record digital growth, with BVOD revenues up 40.5% to $50 million for the six months to June 30, 2018.

The success highlights consumers’ growing demand for streaming TV content, which lifted BVOD revenues for the financial year to $92.8 million, up 32.38% year-on-year.

ThinkTV CEO Kim Portrate said: “The Total TV ad market remains strong with just under $2 billion invested in the past six months and more than $4 billion for the full financial year. It’s important to note that we have seen strong revenue growth across the premium BVOD market and the wider linear television market.

“The rise in BVOD revenues demonstrates the explosive growth that has been driven by the TV industry’s commitment to satisfying its audiences’ hunger for professionally produced content at the time, place and on the device of their choice. Given that demand and the industry’s recent announcements regarding advanced audience targeting, BVOD will remain an area of rapid growth.

“Advertisers and agencies are increasingly recognising that the premium content that powers multiplatform TV provides gives their brands and business a powerful advantage in today’s increasingly competitive environment. Moreover, nothing beats TV for reach, scale or return on investment – and all in a brand-safe environment – so these results are very pleasing.”

Over the full financial year, the Total TV ad revenue market was $4.15 billion, an increase of 0.5% compared with the previous corresponding period.

The Total TV metric includes metropolitan and regional revenues from commercial broadcasters, including ThinkTV members Seven, Nine, Ten and Multi Channel Network/Foxtel.

Life after magazines: What’s still to come from Donna Hay

After 17 years and 100 issues, food guru Donna Hay’s journey with News Corp Australia came to an end. The last issue of her eponymous bimonthly magazine hit the stands earlier this month.

By Kruti Joshi

“I always remember thinking, ‘I want to go out on a high,’” Hay told Mediaweek. “When you are looking at an issue with one and two zeros on the front, it makes for a pretty good rounded number. It was time to wind it up.”

When the news of Hay and News Corp parting ways was announced, it was believed that she would be launching her own independent publishing business with a new subscriber-only magazine. However, this is not the case.

“I will be staying in publishing, because I still have books coming out. What I said was, if I do look at a new model for a magazine it would be a subscriber model – something small and niche. I haven’t put a date on this, nor is it a definite,” Hay said. “We would never go back to a full newsstand, supermarket model. It would be more of a passion project for me.”

This is an excerpt from the full article, which appears on Mediaweek Premium. Read the full article here, or subscribe to Mediaweek Premium here.

VMO unveils its first 84-page custom magazine for Fernwood Fitness

VMO has unveiled the first issue of its new-look custom magazine Fernwood, featuring Amy Schumer on the cover.

VMO announced its partnership with Fernwood Fitness in July for the magazine as well as a digital advertising network throughout its clubs. 

Fernwood is distributed in 69 health clubs nationwide. It features content that expands beyond health and fitness, including travel, beauty, fashion, tech and motoring.

CEO Val Morgan Group Dan Hill said: “VMO is proud to deliver a magazine that’s dedicated to supporting and motivating today’s active women. We look forward to releasing subsequent issues and bringing this content to life via a premium, in-club digital network.”

Fernwood Head of Marketing Lisa O’Brien said: “Fernwood magazine has been a much-loved part of our member experience for many years now. The recent refresh by VMO has really taken this product to the next level – it’s a sophisticated, high-calibre publication full of engaging health, wellness and lifestyle content that speaks to Australian women.”

The Fernwood partnership sees VMO reaching an additional audience of 70,000 highly active women who visit their health club an average of three times per week. 80% of Fernwood members are aged 20-50.

The Sep/Oct edition of Fernwood magazine is currently in production, scheduled to release on September 19.

News Awards finalists: 'Outstanding year for storytelling across company'

The finalists for News Corp Australia’s annual in-house News Awards were revealed yesterday ahead of the winners being announced on Wednesday August 15.

Michael Miller, executive chairman of News Corp Australasia, said: “Once again, it has been an outstanding year for storytelling across our company. We have engaged audiences with brilliant stories and features, images and vision, cartoons and illustrations, columns and opinions, creativity and innovation. The competition was, as always, of a very high standard and judging was an extremely difficult, but ultimately rewarding task.

“The finalists in the 20 categories of the News Awards represent a broad cross-section of our brands across print, digital and broadcast products. Their level of commitment and professionalism is a reflection of the high journalistic standards we hold here at News, and their work deserves to be recognised and celebrated.

“I’d like to wish all finalists the very best for the 2018 News Awards.”

 The 2018 finalists are:

Young Journalist of the Year

• Chloe Lyons – Sunshine Coast Daily
• James O’Doherty – Sky News
• Richard Ferguson – The Australian

Innovation in Storytelling

• Captain Cook Rediscovered and The First Fleet: A Graphic Journal – Trent Dalton, Eric Lobbecke, Idit Nilsson and Veda Todd – The Australian
• Miranda Devine Live – The Daily Telegraph
• The Teacher’s Pet – The Australian – Hedley Thomas

Achievements in Specialist Journalism

• James Weir – news.com.au
• Rosie Lewis, Joe Kelly, Rachel Baxendale and Michael McKenna – Canberra bureau – The Australian
• Sue Dunlevy – News360
• Tom Sangster – SuperCoach

Achievements in Human Interest Journalism

• Candace Sutton – news.com.au
• Cas Garvey – Daily Mercury
• Mike Sheahan – FOX SPORTS

Achievements in Opinion and Commentary

• Paul Kelly – The Australian
•Louise Roberts – The Daily Telegraph
• Mark Robinson for FOX SPORTS

Photograph of the Year

• Gary Ramage – Network
• Jason Edwards – Herald Sun
• John Grainger – The Daily Telegraph

Photographer of the Year

• John Grainger – The Daily Telegraph
• Nigel Hallett – The Courier-Mail
• Toby Zerna – The Daily Telegraph / The Sunday Telegraph

Achievements in News Reporting

• Emma Partridge – The Daily Telegraph
• James Campbell – Herald Sun
• Paul Toohey – News360
• Sharri Markson – The Daily Telegraph

Achievements in Design and Art

• Hayley Incoll – delicious
• Sean Callinan – News DNA
• Shireen Nolan – The Australian

Keith McDonald Award (Business Journalist of the Year)

• Anthony Klan – The Australian
• Ben Butler, Michael Roddan and Elizabeth Redman – Banking Royal Commission – The Australian
• Leo Shanahan – Sky News Business
• Will Glasgow and Christine Lacy – Margin Call – The Australian

Achievements in Community Journalism

• Celeste Villani – Messenger Community News
• Jack Paynter – Leader Community News
• League Life – FOX SPORTS – Blocker Roach Try Time

Magazine/Lifestyle Brand of the Year

• delicious
• Kidspot
• Vogue

Achievements in Regional Journalism

• Gold Coast Bulletin
• The Gympie Times
• The Townsville Bulletin

Achievements in Sports Journalism

• Brenton Speed – FOX SPORTS
• Leo Schlink – Herald Sun
• Peter Lalor – The Australian

Bill Leak Cartoonist of the Year

• Eric Lobbecke – The Australian
• Jon Kudelka – The Australian
• Warren Brown – The Daily Telegraph

Achievements in Campaigns

• NT News and Sky News – Save Our Children
• The Courier-Mail and NRM – Save Our Schoolkids
• The Mercury – Election Blackout

Scoop of the Year

• Damon Kitney – James Packer interview – The Weekend Australian Magazine
• Ellen Whinnett – Finding Clive Mensink – News 360
• Emma Partridge – Walcha Murder – The Daily Telegraph

Headlines of the Year

• Anthony De Ceglie – Bundle of Joyce | Delay Ole, Delay Ole | Baliclava – The Daily Telegraph
• NT News – Why I’ve Got Some Sticky Near My Dicky | GINGER MEGS | Abduckted
• The Daily Telegraph backbench – Bad Santa | President Pepe Le Pew | Bad Look

News Brand of the Year

•The finalists and winner will be announced at the News Awards Gala Event

Sir Keith Murdoch Award for Excellence in Journalism

• Anthony Klan – The Australian
• Ellen Whinnett – News 360
• Sharri Markson – The Daily Telegraph
• Sue Dunlevy – News 360

New CJZ drama for TEN: Lucy Lawless to star in My Life Is Murder

Network Ten has commissioned an Australian contemporary mystery series, My Life Is Murder, which has received principal production investment from Screen Australia.

My Life Is Murder stars iconic actress Lucy Lawless as complex, contrary and compelling investigator Alexa Crowe, who cannot help fighting the good fight – whether it is solving murders or combatting the small frustrations of everyday life. Fearless and unapologetic, Alexa’s unique skills and insights into the darker quirks of human nature allow her to provoke, comfort and push the right buttons as she unravels the truth behind the most baffling of crimes.

Network Ten head of drama Rick Maier said: “Crimes that confound your average detective are no more than an irritant for Alexa Crowe. She is not your average cop. Brilliant, insightful, and completely without filter, Alexa is that rare breed of television hero – she doesn’t give a damn how she solves the crime or who she offends in the process, as long as she gets it done.

“With a star turn for a great actress in Lucy Lawless, brilliant scripts from some of our best writers, and a cracking yarn each week, My Life Is Murder will be one of the freshest new dramas on our screens next year.”

CJZ head of drama development Claire Tonkin said: “With a fascinating and deeply irreverent investigator at its heart, this crime series’ development has been the most fun you can have while plotting murder (of the fictional variety). We are thrilled to partner with Screen Australia and Network Ten – and what an absolute joy to be working with the brilliant Lucy Lawless to bring this fearless character to life.”

The series will be set and shot in Melbourne and commence production at the end of 2018.

My Life Is Murder is a CJZ production for Network Ten with principal production investment from Network Ten in association with Screen Australia and financed with support from Film Victoria. International distribution will be handled by DCD Rights.

TV Ratings Analysis July 31

• MasterChef: Sashi win delivers TEN best share since New Year’s Day
• Ninja Warrior: Nine wins the night, but 2017 Warrior final much fitter

By James Manning

Seven

The channel had its lowest share of the year apart from three nights in January that didn’t have tennis.

Seven went old school on the first night after House Rules with a soap into an hour of ob docs and then Andrew Denton.

Home and Away dropped from 724,000 to 670,000 for its second episode of the week.

The ob docs weren’t a potent force, which is more about the opposition last night than the programming. Border Security did 423,000 followed by The Force on 374,000.

Andrew Denton: Interview did 440,000 with Keith Urban a special guest.

Nine

A Current Affair was up from 816,000 on Monday to 867,000 last night.

The final of Australian Ninja Warrior was again a quest to conquer Mt Midoriyama. Nobody did, which means that will still be the goal next year. The final helped Nine to a win last night, although it didn’t attract the single biggest audience of the night. The final did do 1.08m for the bulk of the episode with 1.13m watching the climax. No winner, but this year there was a medal for the contestant who did best – student Rob Patterson. The first season final night did 2.05m and 2.13m last year.

Nine then screened Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol ahead of the latest release in the MI franchise this weekend. The film did 359,000 and helped Nine secure the evening victory.

TEN

Pointless started primetime on 322,000.

Christopher Pyne was a guest panellist on The Project along with Tommy Little. Matt Preston talked about the final of MasterChef. He was dressed almost conservatively after the colourful outfits he has dazzled with in the season’s final episodes. The 7pm segment did 527,000.

Sashi Cheliah was crowned the winner of MasterChef Australia for 2018, after securing the highest score ever seen in a Grand Final. Sashi beat fellow competitor Ben Borsht by a massive 16 points, securing victory with a grand total of 93/100.

For the victory Sashi gets $250,000 plus a monthly column in Delicious magazine. As runner-up, Ben gets $40,000. The Grand Final episode did 1.12m with the announcement of the winner lifting to 1.30m. The year-on-year comparisons are eerily similar with the 2017 final starting on 1.12m and growing to 1.20m.

Shark Tank followed running late into the evening with 440,000. The penultimate episode of the season offered dried dog food and masks that minimise wrinkles, but it was better tent pegs that attracted the episode’s only investment.

ABC

Foreign Correspondent did 460,000.

The audience for episode two of War On Waste then was 512,000.

SBS

A repeat of the Julia Morris Who Do You Think You Are? was on 228,000 followed by Insight on 190,000.

Week 31 TV: Tuesday
TUESDAY METRO
ABCSevenNineTenSBS
ABC10.6%715.1%923.8%TEN21.3%SBS One3.8%
ABC 22.5%7TWO2.7%GO!3.5%ONE2.3%VICELAND0.8%
ABC ME0.5%7mate3.9%GEM3.0%ELEVEN1.8%Food Net0.6%
ABC NEWS1.1%7flix1.3%9Life1.3%NITV0.1%
TOTAL14.7%23.0%31.6%25.4%5.4%
TUESDAY REGIONAL
ABCSeven AffiliatesNine AffiliatesTen AffiliatesSBS
ABC11.0%716.5%920.1%WIN15.7%SBS One4.0%
ABC 22.5%7TWO4.3%GO!4.2%ONE2.6%VICELAND0.9%
ABC ME1.2%7mate6.0%GEM5.1%ELEVEN1.8%Food Net0.7%
ABC NEWS1.1%7flix0.9%9Life1.5%NITV0.1%
TOTAL15.8%27.7%30.9%20.1%5.7%

 

TUESDAY METRO ALL TV
FTASTV
88.2%11.8%

 

TUESDAY FTA
  1. Masterchef Australia – The Winner Announced Ten 1,309,000
  2. Australian Ninja Warrior -Final Stage Nine 1,139,000
  3. Masterchef Australia – Grand Finale Part 2 Ten 1,126,000
  4. Australian Ninja Warrior -Grand Final Nine 1,088,000
  5. Seven News Seven 1,066,000
  6. Nine News Nine 995,000
  7. Nine News 6:30 Nine 993,000
  8. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 991,000
  9. A Current Affair Nine 867,000
  10. ABC News ABC 697,000
  11. Home And Away Seven 670,000
  12. The Chase Australia Seven 642,000
  13. Hot Seat Nine 533,000
  14. The Project 7pm Ten 527,000
  15. 7.30 ABC 524,000
  16. War On Waste ABC 512,000
  17. Foreign Correspondent ABC 460,000
  18. Interview Seven 440,000
  19. Shark Tank Ten 440,000
  20. Border Security – Australia’s Front Line Seven 423,000
DEMO TOP FIVES

16-39 Top 5

  1. Masterchef Australia – The Winner Announced Ten 403,000
  2. Masterchef Australia – Grand Finale Part 2 Ten 348,000
  3. Australian Ninja Warrior -Final Stage Nine 309,000
  4. Australian Ninja Warrior -Grand Final Nine 285,000
  5. The Project 7pm Ten 159,000

18-49 Top 5

  1. Masterchef Australia – The Winner Announced Ten 614,000
  2. Masterchef Australia – Grand Finale Part 2 Ten 530,000
  3. Australian Ninja Warrior -Final Stage Nine 513,000
  4. Australian Ninja Warrior -Grand Final Nine 475,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 269,000

25-54 Top 5

  1. Masterchef Australia – The Winner Announced Ten 655,000
  2. Masterchef Australia – Grand Finale Part 2 Ten 552,000
  3. Australian Ninja Warrior -Final Stage Nine 548,000
  4. Australian Ninja Warrior -Grand Final Nine 510,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 327,000
TUESDAY MULTICHANNEL
  1. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 226,000
  2. Octonauts ABCKIDS/COMEDY 212,000
  3. Floogals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 208,000
  4. Outback Truckers-PM 7mate 194,000
  5. Noddy Toyland Detective-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 194,000
  6. Dinosaur Train ABCKIDS/COMEDY 189,000
  7. Little Roy-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 183,000
  8. The Big Bang Theory Tx2 -(R) 9GO! 182,000
  9. Hey Duggee-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 179,000
  10. Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 178,000
  11. Peppa Pig-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 177,000
  12. Fireman Sam-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 173,000
  13. The Big Bang Theory Tx1 -(R) 9GO! 164,000
  14. The Big Bang Theory Tx3 -(R) 9GO! 161,000
  15. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 157,000
  16. Shaun The Sheep ABCKIDS/COMEDY 157,000
  17. Luo Bao Bei-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 154,000
  18. Sarah & Duck-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  19. Neighbours ELEVEN 139,000
  20. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 139,000
TUESDAY  SUBSCRIPTION TV
  1. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 87,000
  2. Wentworth showcase 77,000
  3. Jones & Co SKY NEWS LIVE 64,000
  4. The Bolt Report SKY NEWS LIVE 62,000
  5. Paul Murray Live SKY NEWS LIVE 58,000
  6. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 51,000
  7. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 49,000
  8. Live: NRL 360 FOX LEAGUE 49,000
  9. Live: Back Page FOX SPORTS 50 1 49,000
  10. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 45,000
  11. Bob FOX FOOTY 44,000
  12. Kid-E-Cats Nick Jr. 43,000
  13. Credlin SKY NEWS LIVE 42,000
  14. NCIS TVH!TS 41,000
  15. Shimmer And Shine Nick Jr. 39,000
  16. Kiva Can Do! Nick Jr. 37,000
  17. NCIS: Los Angeles TVH!TS 37,000
  18. As Time Goes By FOX Classics 35,000
  19. PML Overtime SKY NEWS LIVE 35,000
  20. Family Guy FOX8 35,000

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

Key Fairfax shareholders voice opposition to planned merger with Nine

Two key Fairfax Media shareholders have voiced opposition to its planned merger with Nine Entertainment, with one key backer of both companies tipping Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to enter the fray and disrupt the deal, report Fairfax Media’s John McDuling and Jennifer Duke.

It comes amid speculation Nine’s biggest shareholder, Bermuda-based billionaire Bruce Gordon, had lifted his interest in the free-to-air broadcaster in an attempt to ensure he maintains influence if the merger goes through.

“I don’t think all the cards are on the table yet,” Martin Currie Australia chief investment officer Reece Birtles, who controls a 6% stake in Fairfax, and also holds shares in Nine, told the Herald.

Gordon, the owner of regional TV network WIN Corporation, holds nearly 15% of Nine, and a further economic interest of about 5% through equity swaps, believed to be through broker Deutsche Bank.

In a statement to the ASX on Tuesday, Deutsche Bank said its stake in Nine had increased from to 6.9% to 9.5%.

[Read the original]

Investor Alex Waislitz believes Nine takeover offer for Fairfax is too low

Fairfax Media shareholder Alex Waislitz believes Nine Entertainment’s takeover offer of the 187-year old publisher is too low, while venture capitalist Daniel Petre has decried the deal as a “national tragedy”, report The AFR’s James Thomson, Jonathan Shapiro and Max Mason.

The pair, who spoke separately at The Australian Financial Review Innovation Summit in Sydney on Tuesday, did not hold back on their opinions about the $4.2 billion tie-up between the two Australian media titans.

It comes as new figures released on Tuesday added fuel to the argument the television sector is turning around, with free-to-air revenue jumping 2.5% to $2.9 billion in the 12 months to June 30.

Waislitz, who was supportive of the deal last week when it was announced, has since changed his tune. While he said the deal made sense, it was not attractive enough.

[Read the original]

Property market could make life harder for property listing portals

The softening property market could make life harder for the high-growth online classifieds companies that rely on property listings for revenue, Citi has warned with a nod to the upcoming earnings season, reports The AFR’s Sarah Turner

Telecom, media and technology analyst David Kaynes said digital darlings REA Group, Carsales.com, Seek and Domain all had high expectations baked into their share price performance.

On Tuesday’s prices, REA shares are trading at 40.2 times forward earnings, Carsales is on 25.7 times, Seek is on 35 times and Domain is on 35.3 times, according to Bloomberg data.

[Read the original]

Sparro recognised in AFR’s Top 100 Most Innovative Companies

Sparro ranked 12th on the overall list from more than 1,000 nominated organisations across Australia and New Zealand.

Independent digital marketing agency Sparro has been recognised as one of Australia and New Zealand’s Top 100 Most Innovative Companies by The Australian Financial Review.The annual list, published by the AFR, is based on a rigorous assessment process managed by Inventium in conjunction with a panel of industry expert judges.

Sparro ranked 12th on the overall list from more than 1,000 nominated organisations across Australia and New Zealand. The list was announced last night at a sold-out event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney.

Sparro was recognised for its internally developed, live artificial intelligence (AI) bidding platform for client campaigns. The platform, called AO for Always Optimising, brings advanced artificial intelligence tech into the marketing industry.

Sparro co-founder and partner Morris Bryant said, “To be recognised on the AFR’s Most Innovative Companies list is a huge honour for us – testament to our fantastic, forward-thinking people – and, more importantly, for an independent Australian agency.”

“We’ve always wanted to change the idea of the traditional agency model by recruiting people without a preconception of what an agency is and does. Cameron (Bryant) and I both studied degrees outside of marketing, so we aren’t interested in what experience or degrees applicants have – we just want to recruit the sharpest minds to help us grow our vision. So, we developed our own interview process that valued character, approach and potential over industry experience. We place value on problem-solving abilities and willingness to learn.”

Cameron Bryant added: “During interviews, we test applicants against our unique Sparro values: agility, transparency and providing value. We’ve since hired more than 40 people from diverse backgrounds such as engineering, business, geography, journalism, statistics and the arts. This collaborative, creative process strengthens our team, our work and our relationship with clients.

“We have no traditional account managers – just doers. Everyone is in both a hands-on and client-facing role, and we have no secondary functions – no sales, HR, finance or even a receptionist. We believe having channel experts on the tools is critical to our clients’ success, and we’ve made this a priority since our first hire.”

Sparro has achieved 85% revenue growth this year and its paid media business is up 119% year-to-date. The company was also recently named Asia Pacific Innovator of the Year at the 2018 Bing Partner Awards, which were announced in Seattle, USA. The agency’s clients include Estee Lauder Companies, Catch, Bing Lee, Rydges, QT Hotels, TAFE NSW and Domino’s Pizza.

Calls for CBS chief Les Moonves to step down or be removed

Les Moonves’s amazing track record building CBS into a media powerhouse is “totally irrelevant” in the face of sexual misconduct allegations, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Tuesday, reports CNBC.com.

“We know what has to happen,” Cramer told Squawk on the Street, suggesting Moonves must step down or be removed.

“This is an issue of conscience. It’s an issue of morality. It’s an issue of life. It’s not an issue of stock,” Cramer contended, pointing out Moonves acknowledged in a statement responding to Friday’s report by The New Yorker that he “may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances”.

Asked whether Moonves deserves “due process” before judgment is rendered, Cramer said, “It’s a ‘statute of morality’. That’s a higher ‘statute’, an easier standard.”

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UK ad spend for Q1 grows 6% YOY: Mobile and radio two of strongest

UK advertising expenditure grew 5.9% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018, reaching £5.7bn, the latest Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report has revealed, reports Campaign.

The robust growth in adspend made Q1 2018 the strongest first quarter in three years.

Mobile spending was up 26.5% across the three months, while overall internet spending was up 10.8%.

Almost all digital channels recorded a notable increase in spend, with video on demand up 11.9%, national newsbrands’ digital revenues up 2.9%, and regional newsbrands digital rising 16.6%, although magazines saw digital spend down 4.5%.

Radio saw an overall surge in adspend, rising 12.5% year-on-year, while radio’s digital ad formats grew 39.3%.

In terms of forecasting, 2018 is predicted to play out positively for internet (9.8%), TV (2.5%), out of home (3.2%), cinema (4.3%) and radio (6.9%), with growth forecast across those same media in 2019.

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News Brands

Guardian Australia reports operating profit of $700k five years after launch

Guardian Australia has turned a profit and is on a sustainable business footing, five years after its launch, reports the Guardian’s Amanda Meade.

Financial results for 2017-18 released on Tuesday show the organisation making an operating profit of $700,000.

Under the Guardian’s business model all profits made are reinvested in journalism.

The Australian edition of the global Guardian was founded in 2013 under the leadership of Katharine Viner, who is now editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media.

Now edited by Lenore Taylor, the independent online news site employs 80 staff and has news bureaux in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane.

The managing director of Guardian Australia, Dan Stinton, said while other media companies had put up a paywall the Guardian wanted its journalism to be “open and available to all, in order for it to have the greatest impact possible”.

“Clearly our readers understand the importance of this – we have 65,000 readers who have made some form of financial contribution to Guardian Australia, and those funds go directly towards producing quality, truly independent journalism,” Stinton said.

Guardian Australia has grown to become the fifth most popular news website in the country, with 3 million unique visitors every month, according to the latest figures from Nielsen. It has more online readers than News Corp Australia’s mastheads the Australian and the Daily Telegraph.

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News agency Reuters unveils news app for business professionals

News agency Reuters has unveiled a personalised news app designed to help business professionals make better decisions.

The new Reuters news app is available now on iOS devices.

Users of the app can discover thousands of topic feeds from Reuters global news resource and curate these into a customised news service. Additionally, the app offers a range of personalisation features, including customised alerts, market watchlists and bespoke analysis of stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities.

Isaac Showman, managing director of Reuters Consumer, said, “People rely on Reuters to inform their personal and professional decision-making. In building the new app, we wanted to make it easier for users to access quality news and data across the thousands of specialist topics we cover. By being a ‘news utility’, we’re focusing on being incredibly useful, fast and relevant for our users.”

The app also features Editor’s Highlights cards that provide a summary of major stories in each feed, a personalised news bulletin from Reuters TV, where users can select their program length and offline access.

An Android version will be available in coming weeks

Television

Brisbane engineering student Rob Patterson gets Ninja Warrior medal

Brisbane engineering student Rob Patterson is kicking himself for rushing through stage two of the Australian Ninja Warrior grand final course, reports News Corp’s Amy Price.

The 22-year-old gymnast was given a medal for being the furthest-fastest competitor in the second stage after none of the finalists completed the course for a second year.

Patterson was one of three ninjas to fall at the penultimate hurdle, the unstable bridge, doing so with 38 seconds remaining, five seconds faster than 20-year-old Bryson Klein.

Channel 9 offered Patterson a medal after viewers voiced their disapproval when no one was named winner of the inaugural season last year.

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ITV Studios’ Love Island UK final delivers ITV2 biggest audience ever

Love Island’s UK finale was watched by a peak audience of more than 4 million Britons – with millions more watching on streaming services – as the program gave hope that Britain’s television industry can still create lucrative programs that appeal to younger audiences, reports the Guardian.

The dating show came to an end on Monday night as Dani Dyer and Jack Fincham were crowned winners of the Mallorca-based program, taking home £50,000 in prize money and embarking on their lucrative careers as Instagram influencers.

Substantially more money will have been made by ITV, which saw an average of 3.6 million people watch the final – ITV2’s biggest audience ever.

Its production company ITV Studios has already sold the format around the world, with Australian and German productions already on air and a number of Scandinavian variants to follow.

The British program has also been an unexpected hit on the American streaming service Hulu. As a result a US version of the program could soon be coming to American audiences.

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