With market consolidation in the media space under way, today we speak with Michael Anderson about what the impacts could be on the various sectors on both sides of the Tasman.
Michael is currently CEO of TV and radio broadcaster MediaWorks, he is a former CEO of Southern Cross Austereo and was for several years a director at Fairfax Media.
In what could be his last results presentation ahead of the proposed Nine-Fairfax Media merger, Fairfax Media CEO and managing director Greg Hywood has presented the full year results to June 30, 2018.
Below are the highlights from the full year results:
Hywood said: “Today’s result shows the strong position of the Fairfax Media portfolio. Each of our businesses has maintained a growth focus and delivered good cost outcomes that will underpin future performance.
“Over the past seven years, we have taken the big decisions. We have built businesses such as Domain and Stan. We have maximised the growth drivers of our core assets. We have addressed legacy cost issues to give our business time to adjust to the structural change it confronted. We have hit our stride going for growth.
“Fairfax is in good shape – and that’s the reason Fairfax shareholders have the opportunity to benefit from a step-change in growth through the proposed combination of our company with Nine Entertainment Co.
“We have long believed that media consolidation provided enormous potential to leverage increased scale of audiences and marketing inventory to grow our assets. Fairfax has consistently supported media deregulation because we saw the long-term benefits for shareholders.
“This is an exciting new phase in our development. It puts the important work we do through our journalism on an even stronger and more sustainable footing for the future.
“For the year, Domain delivered strong digital growth despite recent cyclicality in the property market.
“Metro has achieved its second consecutive year of EBITDA growth – with print showing signs of stability and digital advertising growth in H2. Our Radio business is lifting margin.
“Stan has broken through the 1.1 million active subscriber mark.”
Hywood said: “For the 2018 financial year, the Fairfax Group delivered operating EBITDA of $274.2 million, an increase on the prior year. This was driven by growth at Domain, Australian Metro Media, Macquarie Media and lower corporate costs.
“Group revenue of $1.684 billion was a modest 2.8% lower than the prior year.
“Our ongoing cost and efficiency focus delivered a 3.6% reduction in expenses, notwithstanding continued investment in growth initiatives at Domain and Stuff.
“Net profit of $124.9 million was 12.4% lower, with earnings per share of 5.4 cents. This result takes account of the increase in minority interests associated with the separation of Domain from 22 November 2017.
Hywood said: “Domain delivered 20% digital revenue growth. Residential depth revenue increased 24%, benefiting from a 21% increase in residential mobile enquiries and higher penetration of Platinum products. This strong residential performance fuelled higher core digital revenue growth along with an increased contribution from developers & commercial.
“Print revenue declined 13% reflecting the transition to a digital business somewhat offset by the launch of the Domain glossy magazine format.
“Reported expenses increased 15.7% reflecting investment in the business and the impact of separation costs included for the first time. Underlying costs on DHG’s reported pro forma basis increased 11% as a result of continued investment in staff, workspace and new transactions businesses, offset by a reduction in print expenses of 15%.
“The EBITDA increase of 3.9% to $117.6 million was achieved notwithstanding the impact of separation costs. Digital EBITDA increased 15%. On a like-for-like basis, as reported by DHG, Group EBITDA margins increased from 32.1% to 32.4%.
“Later this month Jason Pellegrino starts as CEO and his mission is to take the business to its next stage of growth. Domain is in terrific shape. It has large audiences, increasing depth penetration, geographic expansion and is broadening into the property ecosystem. We have great confidence in Domain’s future.”
Hywood said: “Our three publishing businesses are emerging from a period of great change. Each is profitable, generating valuable cash flows, and positioned with distinct markets, products and strategy to leverage growth. What they have in common is an ongoing emphasis on digital publishing; continuing focus on cost and efficiency; initiatives to maximise print earnings; and a focus on developing new revenue opportunities.
“Our printing agreements with News Corp herald a new era of greater industry cooperation. The arrangement delivers us greater cost variabilisation, reduced capital intensity, and further extend the cash-generating life of print. As announced on July 18, 2018, we expect the combination of the new arrangements and the changes to Fairfax’s printing network to result in an annualised full-year benefit of approximately $15 million. The financial benefits are expected to begin towards the end of FY19 H1.”
“Metro is a remarkable transformation success story,” Hywood said.
“For the past six years we have taken this business through radical change. We have reached the point where we can see a strong future for the business.
“This is the second consecutive year of EBITDA growth for Metro, up 8% for the year, with margins increasing from 9.4% to 10.8%.
“Advertising revenue benefited from improved H2 digital performance supported by the Google programmatic ad sales partnership, as well as moderating print declines.
“Circulation revenue declines moderated in H2, benefiting from strong growth in digital subscriptions with 9% growth in revenue for the year, and increases in cover prices. Net paid digital subscriptions for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review recorded growth year-on-year across all three mastheads to 313,000. The Financial Review is having particular success in B2B.
“Metro expenses declined 7.5% for the year, with a 9% reduction in publishing costs largely from savings in staff, technology and print production.”
“ACM’s continued strong cost discipline delivered a 6% reduction in expenses and underpinned the EBITDA margin of 16.3% for the year,” Hywood said.
“Total revenue declined 9%, with relatively stable contribution from Agricultural titles, benefiting from strong agricultural commodity prices and digital investment in the sector. This was offset by weakness in regional advertising and circulation, with some impact from the closure of several unprofitable mastheads. Declines in local and real-estate print revenue contributed to the advertising revenue result. Circulation declines reflected lower retail volumes.
“Regional Other revenue increased 7%, benefiting from a strong performance from Fairfax Marketing Services which delivers full digital marketing solutions to regional clients.
“ACM is a well-managed, profitable, high cash-generating business. Its strong connections with rural and regional communities underpin the momentum it is achieving with B2B revenues and local news subscription initiatives.”
Hywood said: “Stuff is powered by its national digital audience strength. Its membership model is supporting expansion into e-commerce and transactions adjacencies.
“The New Zealand business saw total revenue decline around 7.5% in local currency terms. Digital revenue growth of 21% was offset by lower print advertising. Digital revenue benefited from strong growth from Stuff Fibre and Neighbourly. Digital and non-print revenue now represents 18% of Stuff’s total revenue.
“Adjusted costs improved 6%, while underlying operating expenses were 4% lower reflecting a one-off provision, one-time items and investment in Stuff Fibre.
“We are resetting Stuff to take advantage of the strength of its digital platform. The pain of the restructuring efforts will prove worth it as the benefits start to flow in future years and bring forward the time when increases in digital revenue will outweigh declines in print.”
Hywood said: “Stan has achieved a subscriber base of impressive scale, with more than 1.1 million active subscribers, and is delivering strong active subscriber momentum. In the three month period to July, Stan delivered record quarterly gross and net subscriber additions.
“Stan’s subscriber growth, combined with the first price increases since launch three years ago, underpinned 72% growth in subscription revenue to reach just under $100 million. The year to June finished with a revenue run-rate of around $120 million. The strength of the operating model is reflected in revenue growth far outpacing the increase in operating costs, driving a 50% reduction in EBITDA losses between Q1 and Q4 FY18.
“Stan is strongly positioned to continue its growth trajectory and in a changing landscape is well placed to benefit from strategic alignment with global studios and networks.
“Stan’s position as the leading Australian streaming brand and dominant local streaming platform is underpinned by its compelling subscription proposition. This includes its exclusive Australian output deals with SHOWTIME, Starz, MGM and a range of exclusive content rights with global studios, as well as investment in original local productions.
“Stan kick-started FY19 with a strong and diverse lineup appealing to a range of demographics. This includes Power, Who is America and new seasons of Unreal and Better Call Saul.”
Hywood said: “Macquarie Media’s reported revenue was flat. Underlying revenue increased 4% excluding disposals and one-time items, underpinned by robust 9% growth from the primary stations. Macquarie Media’s move to develop Macquarie Sports Network is aimed at improving its secondary market performance.”
After previously selling its regional newspaper business to News Corp, divesting its New Zealand operations and with plans to sell Adshel to oOh!media, HT&E’s future is all about radio.
Below are the highlights from the half year results.
• Revenue from continuing operations up 10% to $137 million including Adshel, revenue would have been up 1% to $235 million
• Strong group EBITDA result up 28% to $30.4 million including Adshel, EBITDA would have been up 11% to $51 million
• Strong performance from ARN: EBITDA growth of 7% normalised for ACMA licence fees, compared to reported EBITDA growth of 13%
HT&E has released its results for the 6 months ending June 30, 2018. On a reported basis revenue from continuing operations was up 10% to $137 million compared with $124.8 million in the previous year. Assuming Adshel was not being sold, revenue would have been up 1% to $234.8 million compared with $232 million.
The Group delivered a strong EBITDA result from continuing operations, up 28% to $30.4 million in the first half, led by a solid first half for the Australian Radio Network (ARN). Including Adshel, EBITDA would have been up 11% to $51 million in the half.
HT&E CEO and managing director Ciaran Davis said: “We have maintained our position as Australia’s #1 radio network and had some significant ratings wins including WSFM in Sydney achieving its best result in 20 years. The changes we have implemented across the network have delivered market outperformance for both revenue and agency growth.
“Adshel made significant inroads into reinstating the national digital network and after the Metro Trains Melbourne assets went live in April the business saw an immediate uplift in advertiser engagement. We are confident that there’ll be further improvement in the second half once digital street furniture conversions start in the Public Transport Victoria contract.
“Our involvement in esports is progressing well with the launch of the inaugural Gfinity Elite Series in the first half delivering strong partnerships and sponsors and a second season planned for November.”
Australian Radio Network
• ARN revenue growth of 7.3% compared to market growth of 5.9%
• Costs up 11% (with the benefit of 2017 licence fee cuts, costs up 7%)
• Best H1 ratings performance
• WSFM achieved its best result in 20 years with its number one overall FM rating
• Kyle and Jackie O #1FM in breakfast for 22 consecutive surveys
• Successful launch and integration of 5 new shows
• Christian O’Connell launched in June on GOLD104.3; #2 FM breakfast show (Survey 4, 2018)
• iHeartRadio – 1.7 million+ app downloads; 1.1 million+ registered users
• Monetisation of digital audience
ARN outperformed the overall market in the first half with revenue growth of 7.3% year on year (9% after the impact of changes to accounting standards) to $118.0 million, compared to market growth up 5.9%.
Cost growth (excluding normalising for the impact of licence fee cuts in 2017) slightly exceeded revenue growth, with reported costs up 11% to $80.3 million. With the benefit of the 2017 licence fee cuts, reported costs were up 7%.
ARN’s plans for 2018 included growing ratings and gaining revenue share by recruiting and retaining the best radio talent in Australia. The focus has also been on building the future of audio entertainment in Australia, with an expanded digital offering and iHeartRadio as a key strategic pillar.
After ending 2017 as the leading national radio network in Australia, ARN has made a number of changes to on-air talent. New breakfast shows on KIIS in Melbourne, 96FM in Perth and a new national KIIS drive show commenced in January, and in June the Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show launched on Gold 104.3 in Melbourne.
While content changes saw an initial decline in ratings from the highs of survey 8 2017, by survey 4 2018 ARN was delivering steady ratings improvement. In Sydney, WSFM achieved its best result in 20 years with its number one overall FM rating, while Jonesy and Amanda held the #2FM breakfast show, only behind Kyle and Jackie O, who have held #1FM in breakfast for 22 consecutive surveys. GOLD in Melbourne was #1FM overall, with breakfast growing share to achieve #2FM in the first survey for the Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show. MIX102.3 Adelaide retained its clear number one overall position, which it has held for 17 consecutive surveys.
iHeartRadio continues to grow, and now houses Australia’s most comprehensive library of podcasts, sourced from partnerships with numerous International Podcast libraries. iHeartRadio app downloads now exceed 1.7 million with more than 1.1 million registered users.
In late 2017 ARN began commercialising the iHeartRadio audience utilising dynamic advertising insertion technology developed by AdsWizz. Plans to further expand the iHeartRadio offering are currently being developed.
• Revenue down 9% to $98.9 million; up 2.1% when normalised for the impact of the Yarra Trams contract loss in 2017
• EBITDA of $20.6 million, down 7%
• Network revenue impact of Yarra Trams in first half less than initially estimated
• Agreement to sell Adshel to oOh!media for an implied enterprise value of $570 million
The key challenge Adshel faced in the first half related to the loss of the national Adshel Live digital network, with Melbourne digital street furniture unable to be offered to advertisers. Significant effort has gone into reinstating this network. Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) assets went live in April and saw an immediate uplift in advertiser engagement with the digital network. This is expected to improve further once digital street furniture conversions commence in the Public Transport Victoria contract, which is expected in the second half. Adshel Classic formats remained resilient in the first half with overall yield flat.
The inaugural Gfinity Elite Series commenced during the first half. As Australia’s first city-based professional esports franchise league, the Elite Series sees six teams compete over seven weeks across three game titles: CS:GO, Rocket League and Street Fighter V.
Hosted in a purpose built, dedicated esports arena at Hoyts Entertainment Quarter in Sydney, content was streamed live on Twitch, while Rocket League was broadcast live on One.
Elite Series Season 1 was a great success with major sponsors Dell Alienware, Dare Iced Coffee and Logitech on board, cumulative viewership across both Twitch and One of more than 4.8 million people and more than 3.5 million unique streaming viewers. Elite Series Season 2 will commence in November 2018.
• Solid H1 market conditions are continuing into H2. Forward bookings are currently indicating revenue growth of circa 5% to 6% against improving comparatives (H2 17: up 5%)
• Cost growth is tracking slightly ahead of revenue growth, driven by cost of sales, increased digital headcount and further reinstatement of prior year savings
• After adjusting for $2 million of Yarra Trams revenue in July 2017, July revenues finished close to 5% up on last year. For the remainder of Q3, visibility across both markets is good, and after adjusting for a further $4.7 million of Yarra Trams revenues in Q3 2017, total bookings are approximately 9% ahead on same time last year.
• The Daily Telegraph wins News Brand of the Year, Photograph of the Year and Photographer of the Year
• Sharri Markson of The Daily Telegraph wins Sir Keith Murdoch Award for Excellence in Journalism
• Scoop of the Year goes to Ellen Whinnett of News360 for her story exposing the secret life of Clive Mensink
The Daily Telegraph was the standout performer at the News Corp Australia 2018 News Awards last night, collecting four awards, including two of the most prestigious – News Brand of the Year and the Sir Keith Murdoch Award for Excellence in Journalism.
Attended by 300 guests including visiting News Corp executives, Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch, the gala event in Sydney recognised and celebrated the creativity, tenacity and passion of News Corp Australia’s writers, designers, photographers, editors and innovators across the company, including FOX SPORTS and Sky News.
Michael Miller, executive chairman of News Corp Australasia, said: “We should all be very proud of our achievements as a company – proud of the role we play in Australian life and we must always passionately defend who we are and what we stand for.
“This year, we have seen a resurgence in the value of trusted media brands. Our journalism is stronger than ever. The stories of this year – those that exposed hypocrisy, demanded justice, campaigned for a fair go, or rejoiced in triumphs on and off the field – have contributed to a seismic shift in public faith and confidence in what we do.
“There is a palpable momentum, and optimism, about the role of real journalism, the journalism we provide day-in day-out, which is more relevant, more influential and more valued than ever before. We set the agenda and others follow, we take risks, push boundaries and challenge conventions in a way that no-one else can, or does.
“Thank you and congratulations to all of our winners and finalists,” Mr Miller said.
The Sir Keith Murdoch Award was presented by Lachlan Murdoch to Sharri Markson, National Political Editor, for the story she broke and the consequences she pursued with the Barnaby Joyce affair with his former staffer, Vikki Campion.
Lachlan Murdoch said: “Through your bold, take-no-prisoners reporting you broke ripper stories day after day, and shook and shook and shook the political landscape.”
Will Glasgow and Christine Lacy, Margin Call columnists at The Australian, received the Keith McDonald Award for Business Journalist of the Year; and Scoop of the Year went to Ellen Whinnett of News360 for her story exposing the secret life of Clive Mensink.
Innovation in Storytelling was won by The Australian’s record-breaking podcast The Teacher’s Pet, which has just hit 10 million downloads. It has also become a phenomenon – episodes have occupied the Number 1 spot on the US, UK, Canadian and Australian iTunes podcast charts and it has triggered the reestablishment of a police task force to investigate the disappearance of mother Lyn Dawson.
Three journalists were awarded Young Journalist of the Year – Richard Ferguson of The Australian, Chloe Lyons from Sunshine Coast Daily, and James O’Doherty from Sky News. They have each won a three-month international reporting stint in London at News UK.
delicious. won Magazine/Lifestyle Brand of the Year, Shelley Strachan of The Gympie Times won for Achievements in Regional Journalism and the Herald Sun’s Leo Schlink took out achievements in Sports Journalism for exposing one of the biggest racing scandals in our history.
The NT News received Headline of the Year for adding levity to the cricket scandal with ‘Why I’ve Got Some Sticky Near My Dicky’ among other winners.
Among the News Corp editors, journalists, cartoonists and photographers, were executives from Foxtel, FOX SPORTS, Sky News, REA, Harper Collins and MCN, including Siobhan McKenna, Patrick Delany, Pete Campbell, Angelos Frangopoulous, Tracey Fellows, James Kellow and Mark Frain.
Michael Miller called out Patrick Delany and Pete Campbell during his welcome speech, for their success in securing the broadcast cricket rights – an absolute game changer for Australia’s national sport and for News Corp.
“Our ambitions for cricket are exponential, and in collaboration with our mastheads, in print and online, we’re in for a very exciting summer.”
“Next year,” said Miller, “The 2019 News Awards will be reimagined, to fully incorporate and celebrate our extended family of Foxtel and FOX SPORTS. And as Patrick Delany would say, ‘It will be a News Awards like never before.’”
Winners of the 2018 News Awards
Young Journalists of the Year
Chloe Lyons, Sunshine Coast Daily
It began with Chloe asking a simple question of why three restaurants in Nambour appeared to be open for business, but never opened their doors. From there it grew into an investigation into the activities of an intriguing shadowy ghost corporation involved in suspected visa scams. Curiosity may have killed the cat but it’s never killed a journalist, as Chloe’s observation rapidly turned in to a scoop.
James O’Doherty, Sky News
As Sky News’ lone voice in New Zealand, James – while appearing not old enough to own a driver’s licence – tells stories otherwise not seen in Australia. He was the first to report that Australia’s then Deputy PM was in fact a New Zealander. He also landed an interview with PM Jacinda Ardern the day she announced her pregnancy, and that former NZ PM John Keys was receiving an Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia.
Richard Ferguson, The Australian
At a very young age Richard has been handed custody of some of The Australian’s most read, and high risk columns – Strewth, Cut & Paste and My Way. And as a reporter he embedded himself inside the story of African-linked youth violence in Melbourne, kicking off The Australian’s important State of Disorder series, and a national debate about lawlessness on the streets of the Victorian capital.
Innovation in Storytelling
The Teacher’s Pet, The Australian
What sets The Teacher’s Pet apart from other podcasts is that it is not simply retelling a crime story with a set conclusion, it is unfolding as it relies on new information from listeners. It has also become a phenomenon – episodes have occupied the Number 1 spot on the US, UK, Canadian and Australian iTunes podcast charts; there has been over 10 million downloads; and it has triggered the reestablishment of a police task force to investigate the disappearance of mother Lyn Dawson. Stay tuned.
Achievements in Specialist Journalism
James Weir, news.com.au
Everybody has their own definition of what’s news but for millions of Australians what’s news is what happened on last night’s reality TV shows. And James has personally created a new genre that is often more popular than the shows themselves. His Married at First Sight recaps– a show he likens to “handing your iPhone to a drunk stranger at 3am and giving them complete authority over your dating apps” – were read by more than 3.5 million readers.
Achievements in Human Interest Journalism
Mike Sheahan – Open Mike on FOX FOOTY: Merv Keane segment Mike’s experience reflects his humanity and legacy. It allows him to tell stories that others simply wouldn’t share with anyone else.
Achievements in Opinion and Commentary
Paul Kelly, The Australian
Paul is one of Australia’s most authoritative and respected columnists and journalists. As editor-at-large of The Australian newspaper and commentator on Sky News, he commentates with telling clarity, borne out of experience, about Australian politics, public policy and international affairs. When Paul voices an opinion, people listen – from the halls of Parliament to homes across the country.
Photograph of the Year
John Grainger, The Daily Telegraph
After a tip-off to where Vikki Campion was staying in Canberra, John waited a day and got nothing. But the following day, after a four-hour wait, Vikki emerged. “Vikki saw me and knew the game was up,” says John, “She didn’t say a thing”.
Photographer of the Year
John Grainger, The Daily Telegraph
Few photojournalists deliver front page images as often as John Grainger, which requires patience, persistence and perspiration in equal measure. And like a lot of news photographers his skill set is wide and varied, from front page scoops such as a grieving Vivian Vo to a pregnant Vikki Campion; to lifestyle images of a pre-dawn diver; race horses exercising in Botany Bay and some Bronte mates encountering a giant swell.
Achievements in News Reporting
James Campbell, Matthew Johnston and Alex White, Herald Sun
The initial reports about the Victorian ALP rorting the system was met with indifference. Office budgets were used to pay campaign workers to help Labor win the 2014 state poll. But Premier Daniel Andrews and his colleagues pleaded innocence. However, the newspaper’s dogged political team continued to report on the scandal. And a few weeks ago some Labor campaigners were arrested. Four years on Labor is going to a November election with members under police investigation.
Achievements in Design and Art
Hayley Incoll, delicious.
At the helm of creative for the delicious. brand, Hayley uses styling and design to unify the delicious brand in to a singular, identifiable “look” – from photography through to print layout and digital posting. Food magazines are highly competitive but Hayley has ensured that consistency of look, quality execution and images of “delicious” food cuts through on every occasion.
Keith McDonald Award (Business Journalist of the Year)
Will Glasgow and Christine Lacy – Margin Call – The Australian
The Margin Call column written by Will Glasgow and Christine Lacy has quickly established itself as a must-read column in the business world. Not only does it shine a light on the lighter side of business around the nation with irreverence and cheek but unlike some other business columns it relies on real information and not just gossip and character assassination.
Achievements in Community Journalism
Celeste Villani – Messenger Community News
The relationship between local newspaper and local council is always very close because the council makes the decisions that affect the community. But when the council becomes the story it takes an enormous amount of courage – particularly from a young journalist – to take it on. It’s David taking on Goliath and Celeste pulled it off by keeping the pressure on the lavish credit card spending of South Australia’s Onkaparinga Council.
Magazine/Lifestyle Brand of the Year
In look, feel and content it is not only delicious but also luxurious and sumptuous, and is poised to expand in to delicious TV later this year. Delicious TV, along with Sky, is transforming the News Corp Australia building in Holt Street into Australia’s best media environment, and delicious is a major player. It became Australia’s No 1 premium food/lifestyle brand in 2018, overtaking Good Food for first time, while the new Eat Out now boasts 685,000 page views per month.
Achievements in Regional Journalism
Shelley Strachan – The Gympie Times
The key role of a regional editor and their newspaper is to be their community’s biggest advocate. In the face of delay and obfuscation along a stretch of road that was killing Australians with tragic monotony the editor recruited her paper, her community, her local MP to force through the funding. Her achievements were duly acknowledged in Parliament House.
Achievements in Sports Journalism
Leo Schlink – Herald Sun
In Australian sport there are few bigger stories than a genuine racing scandal. The notion that the fix is on at the track is one of the most compelling stories and also one of the hardest to get. The extraordinary closed shop that is the racing industry ensures that. It’s a tribute to Leo that he broke the biggest scandal in racing since the Fine Cotton Affair, that led to the unprecedented disqualification of eight racing identities.
Bill Leak Cartoonist of the Year
Jon Kudelka – The Australian
As well as a great year of cartooning, a special selection of Jon’s cartoons tell the story – together with the absurdity and turmoil – that an affair between a Deputy PM and his staff member (and former Chief-of-Staff at The Daily Telegraph) can produce. All led to a bizarre “bonking ban” from the Prime Minister that Jon encapsulated perfectly.
Achievements in Campaigns
Save Our Children – NT News and Sky News
Confronted by an appalling crime and social tragedy literally thousands of miles away from most Australians, the NT News, working in partnership with Sky News ensured that a story that could not have reached mainstream Australia’s attention became a scandal we couldn’t avoid. The outrageous – and some say unfair – headline “Simply Does Not Care” – forced the Prime Minister to agree to come and confront the problem.
Scoop of the Year
Ellen Whinnett – Exposing the secret life of Clive Mensink – News360
When the political and financial failure of Australia’s Donald Trump – aka Clive Palmer – fell apart and his sidekick nephew disappeared with the money, even the AFP had given up on finding him. But facing personal danger from thugs and gangsters Ellen found and came face-to-face with runaway company boss Clive Mensink in Bulgaria. The story, borne out of tenacity, became national and international news.
Headlines of the Year
NT News – Why I’ve Got Some Sticky Near My Dicky|GINGER MEGS|Abduckted
The NT News added levity to the cricket scandal with ‘Why I’ve Got Some Sticky Near My Dicky’; their response to the royal wedding could not have been more Australian with “GINGER MEGS”; and when aliens were blamed for stealing some prized fowl, they had to be “Abduckted”.
News Brand of the Year
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph has seen record growth in subscription and audience numbers driven by memorable front covers, and producing outstanding storytelling such as theEight Minutes podcast Opinion-maker Miranda Devine broke new ground with her internet radio show, Miranda Live; there was powerful advocacy through Project Sydney that saw hundreds of millions of dollars committed in a common cause to grow Sydney’s west; and once again, The Daily Telegraph owned NRL through its stable of news breakers and commentators.
Sir Keith Murdoch Award
Sharri Markson – The Daily Telegraph
Sharri’s telling of the story of Barnaby Joyce’s relationship – and his partner’s pregnancy – exemplifies the reassertion of real journalism over rumour. Here was a story that Sharri and The Daily Telegraph had the courage to publish when legions of people – including senior journalists who had deliberately chosen not to pursue the story – told the country that everyone knew the story. They did not. She not only broke the story but pursued the consequences of it, and it cost the Deputy Prime Minister his job.
Top Photo: Rupert Murdoch & Lachlan Murdoch
• “Lots of laughs, lots of tears and lots of learning”
Working as one of the three founding judges on Network Ten’s most-watched show doesn’t fill all of Gary Mehigan’s time. The MasterChef veteran has just seen the 10th season of the show wrap with a very popular winner of what many fans have called close to the best season ever.
In between his filming commitments, Mehigan has started a successful podcasting brand – A Plate To Call Home.
He has only just launched the second season, which is promising many hours of engaging conversations with people connected to the food industry. The first season featured many highlights including a two-part Nigella Lawson podcast plus interviews with MasterChef colleagues Matt Preston and George Calombaris.
Mediaweek spoke to the TV judge just as the latest MasterChef ended. “We have been loving the fact that everyone is so engaged this year,” he said, referring to the series’ good ratings. “We had a fabulous bunch of contestants this year. The show is a lovely snapshot of what is happening in Australia right now.”
Mehigan has taken to podcasting with the same enthusiasm he exudes on TV. He has been very prolific and was one of the founding foodies on the PodcastOne platform. He had 20 episodes in his first season and he has already recorded close to another 20 for season two.
“It has been such a pleasure having long, in-depth foodie chats with people I admire. There have been lots of laughs, lots of tears and lots of learning.”
If you want to sample Gary Mehigan’s tears, don’t miss the recently released wonderful Manu Feildel podcast where they both tear up during their chat.
Mehigan said the podcast experience has been the complete opposite to MasterChef. “On TV we have short sound bites and grabs, but here we are having deep and meaningful conversations with all sorts.”
The podcast is also different in that it is just Mehigan with a microphone. “I am picking the guests, and doing the research with producer Dave Zwolenski.”
Like most good podcasts, Mehigan asks his question and then gets out of the way, giving his guests the space to respond. “There can be an awkward moment of silence, but they soon fill that silence and the conversations we have are so much better.”
The podcasts keep on topic too – he emphasises the brand is A Plate To Call Home and the conversation has to be about food. “I can’t just have a random person on who doesn’t enjoy their food.”
Mehigan enjoys the medium’s global audio smorgasbord as a podcast listener and he said listening to podcasts allows him to listen and learn.
Global Truths revealed
Well-known international affairs commentator Dr Keith Suter launched his PodcastOne weekly series Global Truths six months ago.
Topics covered so far include the evolution of spying, the history of chemical warfare and the secrets behind Trump and Putin’s relationship.
Suter gives colour and context to some of the big stories in global politics in just 20 minutes.
He chooses one issue in global politics each week and tells his audience what is happening, why it is happening, what led to this issue developing and what is likely to happen next.
As Australia’s leading media commentator on geo-politics and global affairs, Suter has plenty of personal anecdotes about some of the world’s most powerful people as well as putting their actions into context.
Celebrating Jarrod Lyle
Mark Howard’s The Howie Games podcast has been celebrating its 50th episode as sports broadcaster Howie launches into the second series of his sports podcasts.
His 51st podcast though is one of his most poignant, a special tribute to golfer Jarrod Lyle who passed away earlier this month.
Howie writes in his intro to the episode:
This interview was recorded in March 2017. Excerpts from the chat have been featured in The Moment: Jarrod Lyle. However, large parts have remained unheard. We’ve decided, with Briony Lyle’s blessing, to release this full interview so you can truly understand what a spectacular man Jarrod was.
Over his journey, Jarrod was supported by – and in turn supported – the brilliant Australian charity Challenge. Please go to challenge.org.au to donate.
Alternatively, there is a GoFundMe page to help support Jarrod’s girls Lusi and Jemma and their future education. Simply Google GoFundMe and Jarrod Lyle.
To Jarrod’s family, our thoughts are with you. Rest easy, Big Fella.
Listen to the Jarrod Lyle podcasts from Howie here:
Milestone for Jessica and Denise
The popular weekly comedy podcast One Fat Lady & One Thin Lady by Jessica Rowe and Denise Drysdale has now reached over 200,000 downloads. Never ones to take themselves too seriously, Jess and Denise share hilarious and often candid moments from their day-to-day lives as they sit around Jessica’s dining table. Bother are now former co-hosts of Network Ten’s Studio 10. Rowe quits the morning show later this year and Drysdale confirmed her departure today!
By Kruti Joshi
“I am just in a cab heading to the airport feeling tired,” she told Mediaweek.
“I have been presenting the redesign to our Sydney and Melbourne clients for the past few days.
“It’s a nice way to get everyone into one room and let them know about the new era of Vogue Living.”
Caratti was appointed the editor of NewsLifeMedia’s Vogue Living in March 2018. The appointment came nearly a year after its former editor Neale Whittaker took a step back from the position. Edwina McCann had been looking after the brand in the time between the two appointments.
“When you inherit something, you need to make it your own,” Caratti said. “I accepted this job when I was still on maternity leave so I had the time to indulge in the magazine and read it back to front. I thought about what I thought was interesting and what I thought could use more feminine touch. That is what I have tried to bring into the magazine because predominantly our readers are female.”
Screen Producers Australia (SPA) has announced the finalists in the 18th Screen Producers Australia Awards. The Awards celebrate great Australian screen productions; honour the skill, accomplishment, and imagination of its production businesses; aim to increase awareness of the role producers play in creating Australian screen stories; and spotlight the importance of international trade to screen businesses.
This year, 46 production businesses have been recognised across 13 categories of film, television and interactive productions. Finalists in each category will now be voted on by the SPA Membership, with the production receiving the highest number of votes declared the award recipient.
“The quality of Australian screen content produced this year has been exceptional, and I congratulate all of the finalists for being selected in such a competitive environment,” said SPA CEO, Matthew Deaner. “Thank you to all our members who took the time to enter the Awards. Your work continues to promote and strengthen the Australian screen industry. We urge producers to continue to #MakeItAustralian and look forward to celebrating our industry’s collective achievements in November.”
The Award recipients will be revealed at the Screen Producers Australia Awards ceremony, which takes place at the Forum Theatre, Melbourne on Thursday November 22, 2018 on the final night of Screen Forever (November 20-22, 2018).
• Wrigley, UMA, Clemenger, Mediaworks team up for an Australian YouTube first
Up-and-coming Aussie musicians will from today feature in pre-roll ads on YouTube as part of a new campaign for EXTRA Gum, created in partnership with Clemenger BBDO, Universal Music’s BRING, Mediacom and YouTube.
The EXTRA Support Acts program has paired 16 emerging musicians with Aussie music royalty, 5 Seconds of Summer, Alison Wonderland, The Rubens and 360, who’ll play an active role in promoting and raising the profile for the grassroots talent involved in the program.
Through an innovative use of YouTube’s pre-roll ads, the headline artists are transforming the ads that run before their videos into digital Support Act slots, exposing these up and coming acts to audiences of hundreds of thousands. EXTRA Support Acts is a platform that essentially lets emerging artists go view-for-view with Australian music royalty.
The campaign launches today via the EXTRA Support Acts YouTube hub (link: https://www.youtube.com/extrasupportacts), featuring 60+ pieces of content from the headline artists and their support acts, as well as a suite of OOH and social content in support.
In what is an Australian-first for YouTube, the platform is excited about the potential future use of pre-roll ads in creating innovative solutions for bands across the country.
“YouTube is excited to be working with EXTRA® Gum and Universal Music Australia on this concept, showcasing how the platform can bring together artists, music fans, and brands to support the next generation of Australian musical talent,” said a spokesperson for the company.
Universal Music Australia Managing Director, New Business, Roddy Campbell, said, ”We’ve seen all manner of branded music platforms and really feel this will be one of the best – an authentic role for the brand that creates value for consumers and artists alike.”
Clemenger BBDO Sydney Chief Creative Officer, Ben Coulson, said, “Turning ads into a stage for emerging artists seemed like an interesting idea, and fit nicely with EXTRA’s brand position.”
MediaCom Head of Strategy & Planning, Dan Connor, said, “This is a brilliant example of how you can innovate and change the way you partner with platforms like YouTube – building reach and using real music discovery data to bring the idea to life.”
EXTRA® Gum’s Marketing Director, Alison Levins, said, “At EXTRA® Gum, we’re focused on helping give Australians the confidence they need to be at their best. We wanted to extend that support to Australia’s grassroots music scene, and what better way to do it than by transforming YouTube’s pre-roll ads into digital support act stages. We can’t wait to introduce the country to the next big acts in the Australian music scene.”
Client: EXTRA® Gum
Senior Brand Manager EXTRA® Gum: Virginia Marsh
Wrigley Marketing Director: Alison Levins
Freshening Marketing Manager: Alexandra Hume
Creative agency: Clemenger BBDO Sydney
Chief Creative Officer: Ben Coulson and Paul Nagy
Creative Director: Brendan Willenberg
Creative team: Willy Maitland and Zander Williment
Head of Craft: Daniel Mortensen
Lead digital producer: Claire Bisset
Head of Account Management: Madeleine Marsh
Senior Account Director: Hanne Haugen
Senior Account Director: Emily Taylor-Delplanque
Senior Account Manager: Katie Scrutton
Production company: Milkmoney
Director: Ethan Mclean
Producer: Emma Whitehouse
DOP: Don Buppapirak
• Anderson has held senior editing positions at Mamamia and Kidspot
Kidspot news editor Shauna Anderson has been appointed editor of Nine’s 9Honey.
“It is great to welcome Shauna back home to Nine,” said Nine’s digital content director Helen McCabe. “Shauna knows the lifestyle vertical really well, having worked for a number of key players within the space, and I know she will be able to drive 9Honey further as we look to grow the brand in both the digital and cross-platform environment.”
Anderson, who will take up her new role in October, has previously held senior editing positions at Mamamia and Kidspot. Prior to that she was a chief of staff for the Today show.
“I’m so excited to be joining 9Honey – a site that in less than two years has established itself as a real leader in the online lifestyle space,” Anderson said. “This is a great opportunity to continue growing the audience and developing the proposition for an audience of women interested in our lifestyle content.”
The appointment of Anderson follows the promotion of launch editor of 9Honey, Kerri Elstub, to the role of Digital Editorial Director in early July. Elstub continues to report to McCabe but now oversees editorial on all of Nine’s key digital lifestyle, news and sport sites: 9honey.com.au,nine.com.au, 9news.com.au and WWOS.com.au.
As a part of the changes, 9Honey deputy editor Julia Naughton has been promoted to the new role of managing editor of lifestyle.
“Julia has done a phenomenal job since joining Nine in early 2017,” said McCabe. “She has taken up every role we have thrown at her with passion and boundless enthusiasm. This new role will include managing the upcoming site relaunch and reflects our intention to continue building out the 9Honey verticals as we evolve our lifestyle network.”
Prior to joining Nine, Naughton held various editorial roles at the Huffington Post and Cosmopolitan.
Nielsen reported 9Honey’s audience was 2.4 million in July, giving it the highest user engagement of any top 10 lifestyle site with 9 minutes and 7 seconds.
Top Photo: Julia Naughton
APRA AMCOS has finalised an agreement with Facebook that will see Australian, New Zealand and international songwriters, composers and music publishers remunerated for the use of their music on Facebook, Instagram, Oculus and Messenger.
The deal licenses the use of the millions of songs that APRA AMCOS represents in Australia and New Zealand including the songs of its 95,000 songwriters and publisher members. Facebook has a community of more than 2 billion people and continues to grow globally.
“We are delighted to be working with Facebook to ensure the creative content of our members and affiliates that is used on the platform is fairly remunerated,” said APRA AMCOS chief executive Dean Ormston.
“This is a landmark deal not just for songwriters, composers and music publishers, it also provides the Australian and New Zealand public with peace of mind that music rights holders will be compensated for the use of their works on Facebook.
“Whether it’s live music or digital, the sustainability of Australian and New Zealand music relies on our industry working in partnership with platforms like Facebook to support new developments in music consumption, ensure the public has access to great music and that music creators have a sustainable industry that supports their careers.”
As part of the agreement, APRA AMCOS will be working with Facebook to help develop its rights reporting system.
Financial details of the agreement are confidential. The Australasian deal follows agreements between Facebook and rights management organisations in other territories such as the UK, Sweden and Germany.
Animal Logic CEO Zareh Nalbandian has announced the launch of a new production company, Truant Pictures, which will develop and produce live-action genre films in Australia.
Animal Logic is recognised as one of the world’s leading independent creative digital studios, producing award-winning design, visual effects and animation for over 25 years. Recent work has included the Peter Rabbit and The Lego movies.
The new company, a subsidiary of Animal Logic, will primarily develop and produce the films in collaboration with emerging and established Australian talent. Wherever possible the films will be produced in Australia for a worldwide market.
Zareh Nalbandian will produce while Toby Nalbandian and Greg Schmidt will serve as VPs of development and production.
“Animal Logic has had great success developing and producing four quadrant, major studio films in Australia,” said Zareh. “I am excited about expanding our focus through Truant Pictures to a new slate of genre projects with an incredibly talented pool of filmmakers down under.”
“Truant was born from our passion to cultivate, nurture and promote Australian talent internationally,” said Nalbandian. “Working in this space allows us to engage with a diverse range of talent that will represent some unique and oftentimes underrepresented points of view.”
“Some of the most important and relevant stories today are being told through genre,” said Schmidt. “We’re thrilled to be producing thought-provoking genre films out of Australia that have commercial appeal in the global marketplace.”
Truant Pictures will be headquartered at Animal Logic’s Sydney-based studios and will also operate out of its Los Angeles offices alongside sister company Animal Logic Entertainment.
The Truant Pictures team are actively seeking stories and material to build out their slate of feature projects. Current projects in development include The Haunting of Mary Todd with Zak Hilditch and Justin Monjo, Biohackers with Stephen McCallum and Michael Kratochvil, The Galvanist with Shayne Armstrong and S.P. Krause, and The Gooynboon with Jub Clerc.
News Prestige Network’s editorial director of GQ Australia Edwina McCann has announced that the brand will produce a special issue of GQ Style to be published in September as part of GQ Australia’s 20th anniversary celebrations.
McCann said: “While GQ Australia covers everything from food and drink to cars, fitness and long-form features, this GQ Style special issue will meet the growing demand in the Australian market for a comprehensive guide to all the latest trends and trendsetters that are shaping the future of men’s fashion. Importantly, it will champion Australian style, and how significant an impact that is now having globally.”
GQ Style will be a standalone luxury men’s fashion magazine that complements the existing GQ Australia brand. With a focus on high-end fashion, the issue will offer an international perspective on the world of menswear, with editorial shoots featuring some of the most acclaimed fashion brands of the moment.
GQ Australia editor Mike Christensen said: “Never has the Aussie gent been more invested, interested and knowledgeable about luxury fashion. The market in this country for luxury fashion has grown exponentially over recent years and we’ve seen the evolution of men’s attitude to style, to the point where we are spending more online for clothes than women. So the timing is perfect for this title.
“In GQ Style, we aim to illustrate the growing influence international luxury fashion is having on Australian trends and vice versa, championing local brands making it on the global scene while delving deeper into how luxury houses have reimagined Australia’s fashion landscape. There really has never been a more exciting time for menswear fashion.”
GQ Style will be available from September 27 through selected newsagents for $14.99.
• Record launch audience welcomes Honey Badger to The Bachelor
• Nine narrowly wins primary race, but The Block second in timeslot
By James Manning
Home and Away pushed above 700,000 for the first time this week after two nights below that mark.
Two episodes of Highway Patrol did 601,000 and then 631,000.
9-1-1 then did 470,000.
A Current Affair dipped below 800,000 for the first time this week.
The Block wasn’t able to hold top spot last night as the audience dipped to 823,000, over 100,000 behind The Bachelor.
The Playmaker Media crime drama Bite Club launched with 509,000, with mixed reviews but a stellar cast.
Bachelor Nick Cummins was a guest on The Project ahead of the series launch. The 7pm half of the program did 517,000.
The Bachelor 2018 then launched with a record opening night crowd – 940,000. The first episode was #1 program across the capital cities, #1 entertainment program in total people and it pushed TEN to #1 25-54 last night.
Anh’s Brush With Fame did 654,000 at 8pm.
The Weekly With Charlie Pickering did 546,000 with Tom Gleeson’s Stay Away hammering Melbourne. Even Pickering commented it was a harsh assessment! Gleeson also revealed Stay Away had been renewed for another year.
You Can’t Ask That did 366,000 and Adam Hills: The Last Leg did 266,000.
Tonightly did 106,000 and host Tom Ballard has been hilarious in the two shows broadcast since the ABC cancelled the program. If a broadcaster is looking for someone to ignite late night, Ballard needs to be seriously considered. His intro on the day he was sacked started with: “How was your day?”
The second episode of Filthy Rich & Homeless did 345,000 after launching with 387,000.
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||3.1%||GEM||1.2%||ELEVEN||1.9%||Food Net||1.0%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||Ten Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC ME||1.0%||7mate||3.4%||GEM||2.9%||ELEVEN||2.1%||Food Net||1.3%|
|WEDNESDAY METRO ALL TV|
16-39 Top 5
18-49 Top 5
25-54 Top 5
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
ABC Commercial has announced a proposal to exit the ABC Shop Online business by the end of this year. The proposal would also involve the closure of the in-store ABC Centres.
ABC DVDs, music, books, toys and other merchandise would remain just as widely available through approved retailers both online and in stores around Australia.
Andrew Lambert, general manager ABC Commercial, said: “Consultation with employees and union representatives on this proposal begins today and we look forward to their input over the coming weeks.
“ABC Shop Online and the ABC Centres are an important part of the ABC’s commercial operations, and these decisions are never taken lightly.
“This proposal directly responds to the changing market, in particular consumers’ shift to digital delivery of audio and visual content. Coupled with the intensifying global competition affecting the entire retail sector, the resulting decline in physical sales means the retail business is becoming increasingly unviable.”
It is anticipated there would be up to 16 redundancies as a result of the proposal.
For 2017-18, SEEK reported revenue of $1.3 billion, a 25% increase on the previous year. Net profit was down 75% to $53.2 million, largely caused by $142 million in non-cash write-downs to its Latin American businesses flagged last week.
Underlying profit, excluding early stage investments, lifted to $229.5 million, compared with $220.8 million in the previous year.
SEEK is forecasting revenue growth between 16% and 20%, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to lift between 5% and 8%.
The Daily Telegraph took out Brand of the Year at News Corp Australia’s major awards ceremony last night, while the newspaper’s national political editor won the company’s top journalism award for the groundbreaking revelation that former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce was fathering a love child with his staffer, reports the Sydney newspaper.
Sharri Markson received the Sir Keith Murdoch Award for Excellence in Journalism at last night’s News Awards for the exclusive story which forced Joyce to step down as the nation’s deputy leader.
Presenting the award, News Corp International co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch commended Markson on her persistence: “Your bold, take-no-prisoners reporting meant you broke ripper stories day after day, and shook and shook and shook the political landscape.”
The Australian’s editor-at-large Paul Kelly was recognised last night with an achievement in opinion and commentary award for his commanding analysis of politics, public policy and international affairs, report The Australian’s Elias Visontay and Stephen Brook.
Kelly’s unrivalled depth of knowledge and authority gained while covering governments since Gough Whitlam’s was acknowledged at News Corp’s annual awards ceremony held in Sydney.
National chief correspondent Hedley Thomas won the innovation in storytelling award for the groundbreaking podcast series The Teacher’s Pet, which has had more than 11 million listeners worldwide.
The ceremony was attended by News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch. News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch paid tribute to both his grandfather, Sir Keith Murdoch, whose Gallipoli letter alerted Australian and British authorities to the futility of the wartime campaign, and to his father, Rupert Murdoch.
“When we first conceived of these awards 14 years ago the idea was to celebrate our company’s culture,” Lachlan Murdoch said. “To celebrate our collective values as journalists and, of course, to celebrate you and the tireless, brave and profoundly important journalism that you produce.”
An ABC story headlined “Jetstar is paying its cabin crew as little as $100 a week” has so angered the airline that its chief executive Gareth Evans is understood to have made a written complaint to ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie, reports The Australian’s aviation writer Robyn Ironside.
Last night the ABC was yet to confirm it had received the complaint. An ABC spokeswoman said yesterday the broadcaster exchanged 21 emails and had at least nine phone conversations with members of the Jetstar team before the story was broadcast. A request for an on-air interview was declined but a written response featured prominently in digital and broadcast versions of the story.
Castlemaine Secondary College got a surprise yesterday as triple j breakfast hosts Ben & Liam snuck into their school with confetti cannons and some news.
Masquerading as firefighters responding to an alarm, Ben & Liam pulled up in a big red truck to surprise 16-year-old Kian with the news that he had won triple j’s 2018 Unearthed High with his track Waiting.
triple j Unearthed music director Dave Ruby Howe said: “It’s a near impossible task to separate the five finalists in 2018’s Unearthed High, all of whom would make worthy recipients of the crown. In the end though, Kian stood out the strongest this year, emerging as one of the most promising voices in the country high school aged and otherwise. It feels like just the beginning of this young artist’s story.”
Kian will now visit triple j to record, mix or master his music, which will be played on triple j and triple j Unearthed. Last year, as part of his prize, Arno Faraji was teamed up with his music idols Remi & Sensible J. This year Kian will also hook up with a musical mentor.
Scott Pape is more commonly known by his media moniker, The Barefoot Investor, and his book of the same title has sold more than a million copies since its release in December 2016, reports AFR Rear Window columnist Myriam Robin.
It was Australia’s best-selling book in 2017, which for an uncontroversial title filled with uncomplicated, commonsense Australia-centric investment advice and recommendations is simply extraordinary.
During proceedings of Kenneth Hayne’s royal commission, HostPlus chief executive David Elia referred to the “Scott Pape” effect, which, he divulged, had resulted in a $2.5 billion funds under management bump.
And here’s another consumer trend we reckon can at least be partly traced to the might of Pape: in 2017, ING nearly doubled its number of fee-free Orange Everyday Accounts.
News Corp’s Lexie Cartwright writes in praise of Nick Cummins as The Bachelor 2018:
Year after year producers have opted for these personal trainer, perfect gentleman, straighty-180 stereotypes that just – kind of – blend.
They rock up in their aeroplanes, James Bond cars and bathe their women in creepy chocolate rose baths surrounded by candles, acting like they’ve orchestrated and masterminded the whole over-the-top, lavish affair.
Fast forward to real life, they go on to become Insta-famous stars, move to Sydney’s eastern suburbs and seemingly live a really glamorous life going to all the VIP parties wearing free designer clothing.
There has not been one bogan Bachelor. Honey Badger, we’ve been bloody waiting for you.
He’s rough around the edges, wouldn’t know the difference between Louis Vuitton and Target and is the kind of bloke who would think throwing some Coles sausages on the BBQ on a Sunday afternoon while watching the sunset with his missus is the epitome of romance.
He might be a rugby star, but he’s real. And he’s been around “celebrity life” long enough to see through the deception of it.
Meanwhile News Corp’s Victoria Hannaford has another opinion:
Casting Nick “Honey Badger” Cummins is jumping the shark. He’s a case of too much on the one hand, with his bonkers hairdo and distracting rhyming couplets, and not enough of the silent-staring-longingly-into-the-horizon-while-pulling-a-blue-steel vibe, on the other.
There’s no point to the show if the romantic hero that sets seemingly sane ladies into overdrive is a hyperactive version of a bloke you might meet at the pub. We can all head out to our local if we’re after that sort of entertainment.
The Honey Badger might be nice enough, but he’s not the inscrutable bloke whose chiselled jawline merely provides the scaffolding for the high drama that we love, or love to hate, on the small screen.