This week on Mediaweek TV James Manning speaks with Suzy Nicoletti, CEO of Twitter Australia. Tune in to Mediaweek TV at 2.30pm on Your Money (Foxtel 601 and 95 FTA).
Social media platform Twitter has globally reported its third consecutive quarter of double-digit growth this year. Innovations this year included introducing more live streaming video and Twitter this week released details of what was engaging its audiences in 2018. Twitter has also been purging fake accounts on its platform which has impacted the metrics of some users. To discuss the year in this market with Mediaweek’s James Manning is Twitter Australia CEO Suzy Nicoletti.
The TV veteran is in his element when working with talent and this year Walsh also hosted the Picnic At Hanging Rock launch event at Hanging Rock.
As he announced another 20 episodes of Wentworth had been ordered from executive producer Jo Porter and Fremantle, Walsh shared the stage with some of the prison drama’s cast including Susie Porter, Leah Purcell and Wentworth veteran Kate Atkinson.
Walsh spoke with Mediaweek after the Wentworth announcement.
Is commissioning drama and then launching it the best part of your job?
Of course. The creative process is the absolute reward for having a job like mine, and each and every year is different as we adjust to changing consumer behaviour and a very dynamic marketplace. There are more and more options available to consumers and it absolutely keeps you on your game. Making a decision like this on Wentworth was very considered and we gave a lot of thought to continuing the series or moving on.
When we stacked up all of the creative opportunities from giving the show some longevity, it was obvious that this was the right decision to make.
How important is it for Foxtel to get co-production dollars?
I’ve read some commentary over the last week from some of the other players in the Australian pay TV market that Australian drama, now by necessity, has to have international money to justify the expense. That is certainly one perspective but it’s not Foxtel’s perspective. We are an Australian company, we are a proud Australian company. We make and commission television essentially for Australians, content that will resonate with our customers.
If those shows happen to pick up sales internationally, that’s fantastic. That means we can reinvest and regenerate those funds into making new stories, new Australian stories, but we don’t commission with a lens of saying it’s got to have international presales. That to us is a bonus. If we were to do that, then we potentially would lose the unique and distinctive Australian flavour to our narrative and that would be a concern.
What does your drama schedule look like for 2019?
Obviously Wentworth will now take us through until 2021. We’ve spent the last six months taking submissions from various producers for another series to replace A Place To Call Home.
Next year we’ve got a big year. We start the year with Secret City Under The Eagle, which is the follow up to the original Secret City and it reunites Anna Torv with Jacki Weaver. Danielle Cormack joins the cast along with Don Hany.
We also have a second season of Mr Inbetween and I can see that running for a few seasons. It’s certainly attracted US interest in a way that we didn’t expect, but FX has picked it up for the rest of the world and that will be back for a second series.
We have two new projects. Tim Minchin’s The Upright which is currently shooting in South Australia, and we have The End which is a co-pro with Sky in the UK and that’s shooting on the Gold Coast.
We also have Lambs Of God which stars Ann Dowd, Essie Davis in a beautiful production which is in post at the moment and we’ll have that also for 2019, and Wentworth.
The next major series commission, to replace A Place To Call Home, we will announce in 2019 and go into production late next year with a view to it being on air in early 2020.
How challenging has 2018 been for you?
My memories of this year will be change and reinvention.
Foxtel needed to change to address changing consumer behaviour, and the company and my team, we all needed to reinvent to meet the dynamic market that we’re now working in.
People are watching scripted content in a different way than they were two years ago and that’s where free-to-air television has found it challenging with dramas because what the streaming services have done is condition people to be watching dramas interruption free, and that’s certainly what we do at Foxtel. We drop all the episodes in VOD and so people watch those episodes uninterrupted.
That’s how they watch on Netflix, that’s how they watch on Stan, that’s what Australians have come to expect of scripted television, and it is hard for free-to-air to compete on that level.
It’s been a very dramatic year in terms of change.
Foxtel is looking at new ways to present our content and the recent launch of Kayo Sports is indicative of that move.
Have recent changes at Foxtel seen you question you future there?
I never ask myself that question because I don’t feel that I have finished my contribution to the industry as yet. I’m excited by change, I have increasingly changed the way that I approach the creative process at work. We’re bringing through a lot of young emerging talent into the business rapidly and that’s important.
Is Foxtel still examining its business model, or is the plan set for the future?
We’re not working on the model and we have our absolute business plan.
Foxtel is in three million homes and those three million homes love their Foxtel, and they love the lean back experience. They love channels that are curated and presented.
They also embrace VOD, so our on demand part of the business is doing particularly well, and we have to super serve those customers. At the same time, we need to grow our business in the streaming space.
The Foxtel cable and satellite business is robust and strong and we have a great deal of loyal customers. At the same time, we’re developing our new products to serve the market that is quickly emerging in the streaming space, and I think we’ll continue to be Australia’s first choice for home entertainment because we will have diverse methods of delivery, and still the best content available in the Australian market.
Foxtel has announced AACTA and TV Week Logie award-winning drama Wentworth has been commissioned for a further 20 episodes. The history-making announcement will see Australia’s longest-running one-hour drama series remain on air until 2021.
A seventh season is currently in post-production and will screen in 2019. Season eight is supported by Film Victoria and will commence production next year.
A Fremantle production, Wentworth is a re-imagining of the original Prisoner series, launched in 2013, and has been a global phenomenon with over 140 territories including United Kingdom, France, Canada, Finland, Israel and Macedonia screening the series and adaptations produced in four countries.
Brian Walsh, Foxtel’s executive director of television, said: “Foxtel is proud and delighted to confirm a further 20 episodes of Wentworth. The renewal of this much-loved drama is testament to Foxtel’s unwavering commitment to Australian story-telling.
“Wentworth has captivated audiences in Australia and all over the world with its gritty nail-biting storylines, remarkable performances by an extensive ensemble cast and high production values. The commissioning of these additional episodes will see it reach an extraordinary 100 episodes.”
Fremantle CEO Asia Pacific, Chris Oliver-Taylor, said: “Foxtel has nurtured and supported the confronting world of Wentworth beautifully through its first seven award winning series and we are thrilled to be producing another 20 episodes with it. Jo Porter and Pino Amenta lead an exceptionally creative production team with Marcia Gardiner at the helm of our brilliant writing team. Wentworth is a premium global drama for Fremantle and the news of Series 8 will be celebrated around the world.”
Wentworth created history being the first Australian drama to win both the Most Outstanding Drama and Most Popular Drama Logies for Series 5 bringing the total number of Logie Awards to six, along with four AACTA Awards and four ASTRA Awards.
When Season 7 of Wentworth returns to Fox Showcase in 2019 the prison is on the brink of imploding as the fiery confrontation between the two emerging titans, Rita and Marie, is imminent after the Season 6 bloody finale.
Sony Music has completed the acquisition from John Woodruff’s company, John Woodruff Management (Exports) (JWM), of all of JWM’s ownership interests in the Savage Garden catalogue and the first two solo albums by Darren Hayes.
As a result, Sony Music will, through Sony Music US and Sony Music Entertainment Australia, own the Savage Garden catalogue and first two solo albums by Darren Hayes for the world.
The acquisition covers the extensive catalogue of this iconic and record-breaking Australian duo including the albums Savage Garden and Affirmation, which feature timeless hits and generational anthems including Truly Madly Deeply, To The Moon and Back, I Knew I Loved You and I Want You to name a few. The acquisition also includes Hayes’ solo work with his first two albums Spin and The Tension And The Spark.
The multi-platinum selling music of Savage Garden resulted in #1 singles and albums in over 51 countries while Darren Hayes’ solo albums have notched up sales of nearly 2 million units worldwide. The catalogue includes many iconic recordings that will continue to resonate with audiences around the world for decades to come.
Denis Handlin, chairman & CEO, Australia & New Zealand and president, Asia, Sony Music Entertainment, commented: “I am thrilled to welcome Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones back to the Sony Music family. I have immense respect for these incredibly talented musicians who I have known for more than two decades. It is a privilege to take on responsibility for the Savage Garden catalogue and Darren Hayes’ first two solo albums, and I look forward to bringing these incredible recordings to people of all ages all around the world with respect, creativity and passion.
“I first worked with Woody in his pioneering days with great Australian rock band The Angels and on many other projects since then. Nearly 40 years since we first met it feels like we have come full circle. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to reunite with him on this deal.”
CEO of JWM, John Woodruff said: “Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones represent all the best reasons as to why I was attracted to a life in music. Two very young people, with a heady combination of innocence, astounding raw talent and a sheer blind faith in a dream.
“How often was I heard to remark, ‘There is a God’, as one record company or another refused to show faith in a wonderful song-orientated band, and Christine and I were forced by circumstance, in the middle of the grunge era, to put up our own resources and become our own record company, to help expose Savage Garden to the world.
“With a lot of help from Charles Fisher, we made a record in his living room in Rose Bay, over a six month period, which was destined to take the world by storm and change all of our lives forever.
“As my wife and I move on to our next life it is very fitting that the music continues to flourish with Sony, the first international company that showed the faith right after Roadshow in Australia had so assisted at the christening.
“These two guys continue to show all the humanity that they possessed on day one.”
Darren Hayes said: “I will forever be indebted to John Woodruff who, in 1995, was the only ‘yes’ underneath a room full of rejection letters. He plucked us from obscurity and believed in us without any outside interference. His dedication to the idea of what we could be, catapulted us all the way from the suburbs of Brisbane Australia to the overwhelming madness of New York’s Madison Avenue and the hallowed halls of Columbia Records.
“That impossible journey profoundly changed all of our lives for the better.
“There’s a poetic justice knowing that our master recordings have now returned home, humbly, under the guardianship of another Brisbane music industry legend, Denis Handlin. The full circle-ness feels right and I’m incredibly grateful to John for taking us home, and to Denis and all at Sony Music Australia for their respect for our catalogue.”
Daniel Jones said: “To finally be signed to our “now worldwide label” in our home country is just perfect. “Growing up in Australia and watching the success stories of artists behind the mastermind Denis Handlin and his amazing team at Sony has always been an inspiration for me.
“I could not be happier! I belong here, I plan to stay here, I am home!”
The appointment comes one month after ARN revealed that executive producer Bruno Bouchet would be leaving radio.
Jahshan has been promoted into the role of executive producer after working on The Kyle & Jackie O Show as senior producer for the past two years.
Of the appointment, head of content KIIS Sydney and Melbourne, Derek Bargwanna, said: “Sonia’s passion for creating great content for The Kyle & Jackie O Show has made her a valued senior member of the team over the past two years and her new role will ensure a smooth transition for the team in 2019.”
Of her new role, The Kyle & Jackie O Show’s new EP Jahshan said: “I’m excited to lead the producing team in 2019, and Kyle and Jackie have huge plans for their listeners in 2019 with more of the world’s biggest stars, exclusive interviews and some big surprises.”
The Kyle & Jackie O Show has also announced Tom “Draco” Whitaker will join the team as producer and will also be on air for KIIS 1065. Draco brings to the role experience working in regional, provincial and metro radio.
Missy Balfour will move from her part time role as on air advisor (aka the show’s censor) for The Kyle & Jackie O Show to fulltime in 2019. This promotion follows the decision of long time on air advisor Vanda Leigh to relocate to Norfolk Island for a sea change.
The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) celebrated its 60th year last night at the 2018 AACTA Awards Ceremony presented by Foxtel in Sydney at The Star Event Centre.
In a big year for Australian screen stories, Sweet Country, Mystery Road, Riot, Ladies In Black, Nicole Kidman, Warwick Thornton, Deborah Mailman and Simon Baker were among the winners.
Leading the 2018 AACTA Awards season with a total of six awards, Sweet Country scooped three awards at the Wednesday ceremony, including Best Film presented by Foxtel and Best Direction for Warwick Thornton, who also won Best Cinematography at Monday’s Industry Luncheon.
Receiving their first AACTA Awards, Sweet Country’s Hamilton Morris and Ladies In Black’s Angourie Rice took home the Best Lead Actor and Best Lead Actress awards respectively, while Simon Baker received the AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for Breath.
Making AFI | AACTA history, Oscar, BAFTA and Emmy Award winner Nicole Kidman won the AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actress for Boy Erased, becoming the first actress to win two consecutive Best Supporting Actress Awards (winning last year for Lion).
Mystery Road and Riot swept the television categories, receiving three awards each including Best Drama Series and Best Telefeature or Mini Series, respectively.
Also winning her first AACTA Award was first-time nominee Hannah Gadsby, who received the AACTA Award for Best Performance in a Television Comedy for her critically acclaimed stand-up Netflix special, Nanette.
Twenty years after receiving her first AFI Award for her acting debut in Radiance (1998), Deborah Mailman took home her fifth Award – Best Guest or Supporting Actress in a Television Drama for Mystery Road – while co-star Wayne Blair won the AACTA Award for Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a Television Drama.
The remaining television awards went to Australian Survivor: Champions Vs Contenders for Best Reality Series, The Weekly With Charlie Pickering for Best Entertainment Program and Selling Houses Australia, which won Best Lifestyle Program for the second consecutive year.
Marking first-time AACTA Award wins for both director Paul Damien Williams and producer Shannon Swan, Gurrumul won the AACTA Award for Best Feature Documentary.
Bryan Brown accepted the AACTA Longford Lyell Award, Australia’s highest screen accolade. The Award was presented to Brown by Simon Baker, with touching tributes from Warwick Thornton, Sam Neill, Sigourney Weaver, Tom Cruise, Baz Luhrmann, Ben Mendelsohn and Rose Byrne, among others.
• Penultimate episode of Mad As Hell midweek ratings champ
• Young Sheldon, Home And Away commercial shows over 500k
By James Manning
After the Seven News, Home And Away was over half a million with 525,000 for three episodes.
The channel then broadcast the 2018 AACTA Awards with 291,000 watching. Stephen Curry was a real livewire hosting the evening. The audience was close to last year’s 298,000.
A new episode of Young Sheldon did 547,000 followed by a repeat on 448,000.
The special Cosentino: The Elements then did 339,000. The show was a compilation of episodes Cosentino made for TV in Asia this year.
Book publishers must love The Project and the time it gives authors to discuss their work. Last night first up was Dylan Alcott who spoke about his new work Able, while later on in the show Mel B was promoting her memoir Brutally Honest. The midweek episode did 347,000.
Jamie & The Nonnas did 361,000 followed by Blind Date with 244,000.
The channel’s best was Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell on 675,000, which wraps its ninth season next week.
Hard Quiz was on 646,000, down from 742,000 last week.
Tomorrow Tonight did 441,000 followed by Adam Hills: The Last Leg with 256,000
A repeat of Great British Railway Journeys was on 209,000 at 8pm.
Preceding it was Destination Flavour China on 171,000.
|ABC 2||2.6%||7TWO||4.2%||GO!||4.6%||10 Boss||4.7%||VICELAND||2.3%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||3.6%||GEM||3.5%||10 Peach||2.2%||Food Net||1.5%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC 2||3.3%||7TWO||6.0%||GO!||5.0%||WIN Boss||5.0%||VICELAND||2.6%|
|ABC ME||1.0%||7mate||3.2%||GEM||6.4%||WIN Peach||1.7%||Food Net||1.5%|
|ABC NEWS||1.8%||7flix||2.6%||9Life||2.0%||Sky News on WIN||1.0%||NITV||0.2%|
|WEDNESDAY METRO ALL TV|
16-39 Top Five
18-49 Top Five
25-54 Top Five
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Macquarie Media shares jumped more than 12% yesterday after Nine Entertainment confirmed it was looking to mop up the shareholding of the radio company, home of 2GB’s top radio stars Alan Jones and Ray Hadley, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich and Bridget Carter.
Nine will own a 54.5% stake in ASX-listed Macquarie Media after its $4 billion merger with Fairfax Media wraps up on Friday but that leaves the remaining 45.5% up for grabs.
Top advertising boss John Singleton is Macquarie Media’s second biggest shareholder with 32%. The remaining balance is owned by minority shareholders, which include Wilson Asset Management with 2.91% and Jones’s Hadiac with 1.27%.
In these tense times of super power rivalry, the Chinese government’s English-language China Daily is closely watched in Washington for Beijing’s line, reports Fairfax Media’s Kirsty Needham.
The newspaper is a major propaganda tool in China’s influence arsenal, but it’s little known that it was started with funding from the Australian government and a commercial partnership with The Age.
China Daily began publishing in 1981, with the assistance of Australian grants, after a deal between Beijing and the newspaper’s publisher David Syme & Co. At the start, it struggled to get Chinese permission for even a company bicycle.
Forty years ago, top Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping had started his market reforms, opening China to the world after the death of Mao Zedong. At the same time, the relationship with Australia, started under the Whitlam government, was developing. The Fraser government established the Australia China Council to bridge a big knowledge gap about China.
A new book to be launched this week in Beijing by Australian ambassador Jan Adams and council chairman Warwick Smith records the first 40 years of the Australia China Council. Its author, ANU researcher Paul Farrelly, said he was surprised to learn about China Daily’s links to Australia.
He’s arguably the greatest Test captain Australia never had but Shane Warne happily took charge of The Advertiser to edit Thursday’s edition of the paper on the eve of the first Test against India, reports News Corp’s Reece Homfray.
The second highest Test wicket-taker in history, Warne attended morning conference, pitched story ideas, had his say on others and penned an exclusive column on how the Aussies can topple Virat Kohli’s India at Adelaide Oval from Thursday.
“It was good fun, very similar to the set-up of a team and it’s a team effort to get the paper up,” Warne said.
“But at the end you’ve got to make some decisions and I actually really enjoyed it. It’s nice to see that side of things instead of waking up in the morning and seeing the paper and thinking ‘why would they put that story there?’”
Warne, a key member of the Fox Cricket commentary team, found himself on the front, back and inside pages of the papers throughout his career and was firm in his call for Adelaide boy Travis Head to be on Page 1, ahead of his first Test on home soil.
“It was a tough one between Virat Kohli and a local boy Travis Head, but it’s a good, positive story having him playing his first Test match in his home town in Adelaide,” he said.
Read the edition of The Advertiser editor by Warne here.
Photo: Warnie editing The Advertiser yesterday
Nine’s national director of news and current affairs Darren Wick has told staff that Mark Calvert was stepping down as executive producer of its breakfast show Today and as director of morning television, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.
His departure follows a slump in ratings this year and alleged tension with the show’s co-host, Karl Stefanovic.
In an email to staff, Wick said “there is no more challenging role in news and current affairs than the daily breakfast battle” between Today and rival Seven Network’s breakfast show Sunrise.
“It’s a national ratings race where audience loyalty fluctuates from city to city, and often suburb to suburb,” said Wick.
Calvert told colleagues it had been an “enormous privilege to lead Today over five roller coaster years”.
The Daily Telegraph reports A Current Affair boss Steve Burling will replace Calvert in an attempt to rejig the show.
The summer vacations of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! contestants will be abruptly cut short because 10 needs them on air on Sunday January 13. It also means a shorter January holiday for hosts Julia Morris and Chris Brown (pictured).
With the launch date looming, the annual guessing game of who will be entering the jungle is back.
From the second Sunday in January, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! will be live from the jungle, five nights a week and 10 is again promising to deliver plenty of fun, laughter, the most hideous and hilarious trials in history, heart-stopping adventure and endless surprises.
From tomorrow, 10 will begin releasing celebrity clues as well as revealing a new Saturday show.
Network 10’s head of entertainment and factual programming Stephen Tate said: “Five years in and the sounds of the Australian summer have become celebrity screams as they find out what Chris and Julia have in store for them in the African Jungle. We cannot wait to reveal this year’s amazing cast.”
When 32-year-old Melbourne-born actress Ruby Rose was a little girl she would build cardboard bat wings, fix them to her back and jump from whatever she could find. Somewhere, in the sometimes bruising gameplay of a little girl, there lurked a budding Batwoman, reports Fairfax Media’s Michael Idato.
Rose now comes to the role of Batwoman in the most improbable of circumstances: a guest arc in a crossover event titled Elseworlds, which will link the Supergirl, The Flash and Arrow programs.
In that three-part story Rose will play Batwoman, and her Gotham City heiress alter-ego Kate Kane, who teams up with Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), Flash (Grant Gustin) and Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), before spinning off into her own series intended to land on US television in late 2019.
“I was drawn to the role because of what it meant in the bigger picture,” she adds. “It’s an enormous responsibility when you are playing a character that has never been adapted for the big or small screen and is so beloved.
“On the one hand it’s a rare privilege to be the first actor to play Batwoman and on the other it can get overwhelming if you think about it too much, you just have to go with your gut and find yourself in the script and remove any outside pressure,” she says. “It’s a double-edged sword.”
Elseworlds screens on Fox 8, Monday-Wednesday at 8.30pm.
Hannah Gadsby was unable to attend the AACTA Awards last night to accept her trophy. As The Hollywood Reporter tells today, Gadsby was a guest speaker at an event in Los Angeles:
Hannah Gadsby doesn’t like the way “good men” talk about “bad men”
“I want to speak about the very big problem I have with the good men, especially the good men who take it upon themselves to talk about the bad men. I find good men talking about bad men incredibly irritating, and this is something the good men are doing a lot of at the moment,” Gadbsy, star of the Netflix stand-up special Nanette, said in her opening remarks for The Hollywood Reporter’s 2018 Women in Entertainment gala. “Not this moment, not this minute, because the good men don’t have to wake up early for their opportunity to monologue their hot take on misogyny.”
Monica Lewinsky later quoted Gadsby’s Nanette in her speech when she spoke about making mistakes and becoming a more “resilient” woman. Other speakers at the VIP event included Lena Dunham, who introduced Lewinsky, as well as Kesha and Viola Davis, the 2018 Sherry Lansing Award honouree, presented by the former CEO of Paramount Pictures and the first woman to head a Hollywood studio.
As a cricketer, Damien Fleming was fast. He was renowned for his right-arm swing, his hat-trick on debut against Pakistan in 1994 and the mullet that once brushed the collar of his Test whites, reports Fairfax Media’s Louise Rugendyke.
In the commentary box, he’s pretty quick as well. Rattling off statistics and his “bowlology” quips (the “avenue of apprehension”, “hallway of hesitation”, “pathway to the pavilion”) with lightning speed.
And, it turns out, on the phone he’s even faster. There’s barely time for a hello before he describes how he’s storm-proofing his house in Melbourne and then swings into PR patter for his new cricket overlords, Channel Seven.
“We’ve got a nice blend this year on Channel Seven,” he says. “We’ve got the ability to do the Test matches – five days of constant pressure and two innings. It’s a real battle, a real test. And then you’ve got the fun of the Big Bash, which will get bigger again this year.”
Since he retired from the game in 2001, Fleming has trod the same path as many a former cricketer, honing his commentary skills across radio and television, with stints in the box on ABC Radio’s Grandstand and commentating across Ten and Foxtel.