News Corp Australia has today launched in print what it calls its the most significant, unifying national brand campaign across all 30 News Corp metro and regional publications.
• Mediaweek launches five days of campaign coverage before TVC unleashed
• Sneak preview of TVC featuring Lennon & McCartney’s “A Day In The Life” this week on Sky News Business channel
• Michael Miller on significance of We’re For You, Tony Phillips on campaign origins
• Read what News Corp editors have to say from all over Australia
Michael Miller, executive chairman of News Corp Australasia, said: “This is an exciting time for our company, our brands and their evolution. The launch of our whole-of-company brand campaign is an opportunity to reignite our story, values and purpose, and to create an emotional connection which highlights our brands through the commitment: We’re For You.
“This is the first time we have had one unified voice across all our metro and regional mastheads, and we are confident the message We’re For You, will resonate with our readers, our subscribers, our advertising partners and the News Corp team.
To launch We’re For You, each editor has penned their own letter to their readers, featuring across pages 2 and 3 as double-page print advertisements in all metro and regional mastheads today, and in the Sunday metro newspapers on 25 February.
More messages to readers will follow each day this week.
News Corp chief marketing officer Tony Phillips (pictured top) told Mediaweek:
“We have had the idea incubating for the best part of a year. This is the first time we have every masthead aligned – metro and regional. I have been out speaking to all of those brands’ editors and managers to give people an understanding of why it is important.
“It is not just something they should do because they thought it the right thing to do, but there are good reasons for it. We listened to what they needed and we explained what we wanted to do as a suite of brands.
“Insights that they have told us include why people buy the News Corp papers. And interestingly, all people refer to the product as a newspaper, even if they are consuming it digitally. Paper is the vernacular for what it is we produce.
“Half of the reasons people buy our produce are for pragmatic things – they just want to know something or get something. The other half had reasons that were emotionally linked. Through our retail promotions and subscription offers we were appealing to the tactical, but really weren’t tapping into the emotional.
“Like many sectors we are in a continually fragmenting market in a competitive sector and people have choices. We need to be able to advertise our product and build our brands as any advertiser would want to do.
“The key emotional driver that came out in our research was pride – pride in the family, home, local community and also broader links to state and country.”
Across the week we will be carrying extracts from some of the editors’ letters to their readers.
Each day the Herald Sun tells the story of Victoria for Victorians, producing almost 90,000 words of news: the equivalent of a book every 24 hours.
But while a good newspaper informs its readers, a great newspaper does so much more.
This is the Herald Sun’s mission for the community we serve, whom we seek to inspire, entertain and challenge.
We champion our readers’ concerns and aspirations, keep a check on government and authorities, and fight for progress.
We are committed to representing Victorians, to giving you a voice and focusing on what matters in your lives: cost-of-living pressures, runaway energy prices, community safety, health and education. We are committed to accuracy, integrity, fairness and balance. We are passionate, enthusiastic and unashamedly parochial.
We’re not afraid to challenge our state and city to address problems unfolding on our streets.
We uncover bureaucratic excess and failings, recoil at the waste of taxpayers’ money, insist on real progress in Spring St and Canberra, and demand reform for community safety.
We cheer when the Tigers or Dogs make dreams come true and celebrate the world’s most liveable city in the greatest state in Australia.
We are for news. We are for Victoria. We are for you.
Follow the We’re For You News Corp campaign across the next four days in Mediaweek:
Tuesday: Tony Phillips on creating the campaign + The Daily Telegraph’s Chris Dore
Wednesday: Securing the editors’ support for We’re For You + more editors’ messages
Thursday: How did Tony Phillips and News Corp secure the rights for “A Day In The Life” + TVC preview as Phillips joins Mediaweek editor James Manning on Sky News Business
Friday: Tony Phillips reveals how News Corp will measure the success of the campaign and previews of the creative being used for the TVC and outdoor.
• Sensational changes to system will make Logies’ night extra special
• Qualification date change to make March TV schedule super crucial
TV Week has been working hard on planning for the special 60th anniversary of its TV Week Logie Awards. Last year it announced the annual awards ceremony was relocating from Melbourne to the Gold Coast.
The venue is The Star, Broadbeach, formerly known as Jupiters.
Revealing the awards’ date was not the only bombshell that TV Week editor Thomas Woodgate delivered to readers today.
“We are going to be introducing a live voting component this year,” Woodgate told Mediaweek.
“We did something similar a few years ago with the race for Gold. But it will be a little bit different this time.”
The editor said the changes give the event the chance to freshen up and move with the times. “With it being the 60th year, we wanted to do something that would really create some buzz. It should increase engagement too.”
With the Logies not being handed out until July, the Bauer Media magazine had to re-examine the qualifying period.
“Programs for all of 2017 will now be eligible, but also those broadcast until the end of March 2018. There is now a great opportunity for broadcasters to launch a show when voting is open.”
The other big news is that the number of TV Week Logie categories have shrunk from 27 to 21. “We are trying to make the whole experience a lot tighter. Everybody seems to love the Logies, but it is a lot of awards so we have combined some of them. It won’t take away anyone’s ability to win, but it will make the telecast pacier and hopefully even more enjoyable.”
The split between the popular and outstanding sections remains even – 10 for the former and 11 for the latter.
Here is how it works: Popular voting starts in two weeks. From March 5 to April 1 people wanting to vote log on to the TV Week website and cast their vote. They can vote for their favourites in the 10 popular categories.
Woodgate explained: “When we announce the nominations on May 27, we will do what we do every year, shortlist five in each popular category and six for Gold. In previous years we have known the winner. The difference this year is that on June 29, two days before the Logies’ ceremony, we will re-open the voting for all those categories and everyone can vote again.”
People will only get one extra vote, and there is an online authentication process to ensure that.
Voting will remain open until the end of the Logies Red Carpet telecast, about 7.30pm on the east coast.
“When we are on the red carpet we will not know who is going to win. It should be very exciting.”
That voting change will make red carpet appearances essential and wardrobe selection perhaps even more critical. And don’t be surprised to see stars holding signs with sneaky voting instructions in the final moments before the poll closes.
The original votes for nominees will remain, giving people the chance to give one extra vote to their favourite, or if their original choice didn’t make the top five, change their vote if they so choose.
Mediaweek Tuesday: Future looks promising for Bauer Media’s TV Week magazine.
• Road and retail continued to deliver double-digit revenue growth
• Revenue from Junkee Media and Cactus Imaging more than doubled
oOh!media has announced continued double-digit growth in revenue (up 13.1%) and underlying EBITDA (up 22.5%), while delivering significantly improved operating margins for the year ended December 31 2017 (CY17).
Digital revenue as a percentage of total revenue increased to a record 59.8% for the full year, extending the strong first half gains in revenue from oOh!media’s digital network of 8,000 screens.
oOh!media increased its market share in the sector, which, according to the Standard Media Index, grew at 7.3% in 2017 compared to the overall media sector growth of 0.7%.
Financial highlights included:
• Revenue of $380.3m, up 13.1% from the year ended December 31 2016 (CY16), from strong organic growth and acquisitions made in CY16
• Gross profit of $175.5m, up 21.1% on CY16
• Gross profit margin of 46.2%, up from 43.1% in CY16
• Underlying EBITDA of $90.1m, up 22.5% on CY16 and within guidance reaffirmed at the half year result
Operational highlights included:
• Leading industry position maintained with 8,000 digital panels across Australia/New Zealand, 12,000 classic panels and eight online platforms
• Acquisitions integrated with cost synergies achieved
• Ground-breaking campaigns conducted in CY17
oOh!media’s CEO Brendon Cook (pictured) said: “oOh! has delivered a quality financial result which continues the strong performance since our listing in 2014. The company has increased revenue by 46.0% and more than doubled underlying EBITDA to $90.1m since 2014.
“While the out-of-home sector has performed strongly, we’re growing our business faster than the market by continuing to lead the market in delivering innovative solutions for clients to integrate data and content as part of our audience-led strategy across our network.
“Over the course of the year we have worked with clients to deliver ground-breaking campaigns, leveraging our investment in data and audience insights, to deliver outstanding results for advertisers.
“The diversity and scale of our product offering across our physical assets, combined with engaging content and the ability to provide growing connections through online, mobile and social media provides a compelling opportunity to advertisers to connect with their desired audiences.
“We are confident that our investments in our portfolio, data capability, systems and people provide us further opportunity to leverage the scale of our platform to deliver the next phase of revenue growth and sustainable value creation for shareholders,” Cook said.
oOh!media product highlights include:
• Road and retail continued to deliver double-digit revenue growth, with road up 10.0% to $137.1m and retail increasing by 15.7% to $126.3m. Within road, 21 premium screens were converted to digital during the year, bringing the total of metropolitan-owned large-format digital screens to 64. The retail business has benefited from extensive digital capital investments in the prior two years.
• Fly revenue was impacted by reduced spend by three major advertisers, with revenue down 1.8% on the prior year to $55.0m. However, the business improved significantly late in the second half of the year as advertisers returned to the segment, with revenue in the fourth quarter up 15.0%, creating a stronger platform into CY18.
• Locate revenue increased by 17.4% to $34.0m, with a stronger performance in the second half of the year led by further development of the sales packaging and team development driving an improved market understanding of the office product.
• New Zealand revenue grew by 28.0% on an underlying basis excluding the Westfield concession, which in-housed its advertising at the beginning of the year as had been expected. On a reported basis, revenue in this market declined modestly by 2.2%.
• Revenue from Junkee Media and Cactus Imaging more than doubled to $18.3m.
Mediaweek’s Kruti Joshi speaks with Hypetap co-founder Detch Singh about the power of social media campaigns.
Hypetap claims to be one of the first Australian influencer marketing companies to have built technology that allows brands to connect with influencers and helps deliver campaigns end-to-end, according to company co-founder Detch Singh. This includes planning, execution and reporting.
“We built the technology way back at the end of 2013/beginning of 2014,” Singh told Mediaweek. He co-founded of the business alongside Nikhil Madhok.
“What we have really set about to do is help measure the success of campaigns and measure the authenticity of audiences.”
Influencer marketing is the digital evolution of word of mouth. “If a brand tells you it is good at something, then you are going to take that with a pinch of salt. But if someone you know and trust as a tastemaker tells you something is good, it is more powerful,” Singh said.
There are many influencer marketing companies in Australia including Jules Lund’s Tribe. What is Hypetap’s selling point? Singh said, “While we are a technology-based company, we handle everything in-house. We will manage the whole campaign for a client.
“Our biggest selling point is around brand safety and data transparency. We make sure influencers have been vetted, that they fit, and haven’t worked with conflicting or competing brands.”
Hypetap’s influencers range from tier one to micro influencers. “This helps us offer a more holistic campaign,” Singh said. The company has about 2,800 influencers signed to the service – 80% of them are from Australia.
“It’s important to have a mix of influencers. The macro influencers tend to be the taste makers. There is a reason that millions of people follow them. They have unique market-leading content. The micro influencers tend to be a bit more on the followers’ side of things. They do create beautiful content but are less influential when driving the path to purchase,” Singh said.
“I know people say they have a higher engagement rate. However, one can argue that if you have 1,000 followers for example and 300 of those followers are your friends, you get a lot of obligatory engagement. We like to say in-house, ‘Not all the likes are created equal.’
“What we look for are results beyond engagement. It’s all well and good to say that you get a higher CPE [cost per engagement] from micro-influencers, but the reality is that you need to look deeper than engagement.”
Hypetap has influencers from blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. “Most of our campaigns are Instagram focused,” Singh said. “We like to have a multichannel focus though. We may say our primary focus is Instagram, but we might lead the reader to the influencer’s blog and then have a call to action. We structure the campaign depending on the brief.”
• Singles: Marshmello and Migos only new arrivals, Drake still on top
• Albums: Four new albums debut top six, but can’t dislodge Showman
As we enter the second half of February 2018, Drake remains only the second person, after Ed Sheeran, to top the singles chart this year with “God’s Plan” on top for a third week.
Two changes in the top 10 with arrivals from lower down the chart:
#19 to #5: Kendrick Lamar & SZA with “All The Stars” from Black Panther soundtrack, which debuted top 10.
#11 to #9: Dua Lipa with “IDGAF”
Just two chart debuts made it inside the top 50:
#32: Marshmello & Anne Marie with “Friends”
#40: Migos with “Stir Fry”
The Greatest Showman again leads the pack and is the chart champ for a seventh week.
Four albums debuted inside the top 10, but none of them were unable to make it all the way to the top. There of the top five albums are soundtracks.
The seven new arrivals into the top 50 are:
#2: Black Panther: The Album soundtrack.
#4: Fifty Shades Freed soundtrack: Liam Payne and Rita Ora feature along with Sia, Ellie Goulding, Hailee Steinfeld and Julia Michaels.
#5: The Wombats with “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life”: British trio’s fourth album and third time in the ARIA top 10.
#6: Hockey Dad with “Blend Inn” – their second album recorded in Seattle.
#16: Adam Eckersley and Brooke McClymont with “Adam & Brooke” – the first album collaboration from the husband and wife duo.
#28: Franz Ferdinand with “Always Ascending” – the band’s fifth album and the first since 2013.
#31: MGMT with “Little Dark Age” – the US duo’s fourth album, which is also five years since their last.
Mediaweek editor James Manning looks at last night’s TV ratings.
Seven romped home in first place as it reported the biggest survey launch week in history, bigger than any network ever.
Seven also noted it had as many viewers as Nine and Ten combined in week one of survey.
Seven had total people share of 39.8%, 6.4 points better than the previous best of 33.4% in 2012.
The 25-54 share of 42% was 7.8 points above previous best of 34.2% in 2012.
Seven noted it was the first network to ever open survey with a combined channel share over 40% for people 25-54.
Nine had plenty to boast about too last week, noting it was the week where Married at First Sight overtook My Kitchen Rules, taking the lead in both metro rankings and winning most of the national ones as well.
Nine said Married At First Sight has a significant margin on MKR in key demos like 25-54 (where it reported most revenue is written) with a lead of 100,000 plus.
Nine had the top five metro audiences of the week.
Injecting a little bit of niggle into the commentary, Nine reminded people the Winter Games were performing well, but that came with a cost close to $200m. Nine also reported in detail on what it called the “continued freefalling” of My Kitchen Rules.
The primary channel shares year-on-year for week seven were (2017 in brackets)
Seven 27.7% (21.4%)
Nine 19.3% (20.7%)
TEN 9.8% (12.4%)
ABC 10.8% (13.1%)
SBS 3.7% (4.6%)
The biggest move amongst the multichannels was 7mate, which is carrying an Olympic load, with the channel on 7.1% last week, and 3.0% in week seven last year.
• Married At First Sight’s record 1.35m, next Sunday it’s against Australian Spartan
• Mix of Russian cooking and Korean peninsula action a winning cocktail for Seven
Russians have been causing havoc in the US with the links to the election of Donald Trump. Russians were causing havoc on Seven last night too where Olga and Valeria were cooking from their Sydney instant restaurant. The Sunday numbers were down ever-so-slightly week-on-week as the duo now tops the leader board in group two with 108 which was powered by the maximum possible of 20 from the judges for their White Russian dessert.
After 8.30pm it was back to PyeongChang for night 9 of the Winter Olympics, which did a very healthy 935,000.
The biggest scandal in Married At First Sight’s history was promised to play out at a commitment ceremony. It was fitting the biggest scandal pulled the biggest-ever MAFS audience for a regular episode – 1.35m. The biggest audience for the show last week was 1.16m, which was also for the Sunday episode and was a crowd that was also the biggest in week 7.
60 Minutes then followed with one of the stories featuring Liz Hayes speaking with Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull. The episode did 810,000, which Nine would be happy with up against the Winter Olympics.
Sunday crime continued to be a theme for the channel with the first episode of Born To Kill: Class Of Evil next with 334,000.
The Project featured Lisa Wilkinson’s exclusive interview with Celine Dion in Las Vegas with the second half of the program on 411,000 after it opened on 281,000. The Project 7pm last Sunday did 390,000.
Coincidentally, tickets for Celine Dion’s Australian shows went on sale this morning.
I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! welcomed more new arrivals – this time a duo billed as Australia’s most dysfunctional married couple, which turned out to be David and Lisa Oldfield. As they arrived, actress Kerry Armstrong departed. The elimination rated 618,000, while the remainder of the episode was on 544,000. The elimination episode a week ago did 644,000.
NCIS has been moved to Sunday and the episode did 338,000, which was a nice improvement on SEAL Team’s 190,000 a week ago.
The second part of the Hawke doco, The Larrikin and the Leader, did 744,000 after part one did 629,000.
Shetland followed with an average audience of 528,000.
History night on SBS with episode three of Eight Days That Made Rome at 7.30pm did 159,000.
A National Geographic special then, China’s Megatomb Revealed, did 147,000.
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||4.4%||GEM||2.8%||ELEVEN||1.6%||Food Net||0.6%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||Ten Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC ME||0.8%||7mate||4.3%||GEM||4.2%||ELEVEN||1.2%||Food Net||0.5%|
|SUNDAY METRO ALL TV|
Friday Top 10
Saturday Top 10
Prime Media Group has released its half year results.
The headlines were revenue of $113.3m, down 13.3% on the prior corresponding period and EBITDA $24.3m, down 22.1% on prior corresponding period.
Operating costs were up 3.5% year-on-year.
Prime Media Group reported a consolidated loss of $8.6m for the half-year ended 31 December 2017, a decrease of $26m or 149.4% on the prior corresponding period. Included in the consolidated loss is a one-off non-cash impairment of the television licences of $31.0m. Prime indicated the impairment reflects the on-going decline of regional free-to-air television advertising markets and increasing program costs.
Prime’s total advertising revenue is down 13.7% on the prior period, which included the 2016 Rio Olympics. When compared to two years ago, total advertising revenue is down 6.6%.
Chief executive officer Ian Audsley said, “During the reporting period Prime maintained an industry-leading national revenue share of 41.8% for the half year, albeit at a level less than the prior year.
“In the current circumstances, it is important that we put Prime in the optimal position to successfully navigate this period of uncertainty where declining audiences and declining advertising revenues are colliding with increasing content costs. Over the past couple of years Prime has reduced its dividend payout ratio to increase the rate of interest-bearing debt reduction. In keeping with previous commentary to the market, the board has decided that it must now prioritise debt reduction. Accordingly, the board will not be declaring an interim dividend and will suspend dividend payments until further notice.”
As to the full year outlook, Audsley commented: “While there are a number of key sporting broadcasts in the second half, including the Winter Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, which will provide stimulus to the entertainment schedule, it does not necessarily point to long-term revenue growth in regional TV advertising markets.
“We reported to the market in August 2017 that the group’s full year result was likely to be between 25% and 30% below the prior year. The current trading conditions suggest that Prime will be at the bottom end of that guidance, inclusive of a successful Commonwealth Games.”
KPMG Australia has appointed former Zenith managing director Karen Halligan to lead a new Media Value Advisory practice that will help clients navigate the changes and challenges in the media, publishing and advertising industries.
Announcing the appointment, Carmen Bekker, partner, KPMG Customer, brand and marketing advisory said: “With Australian ad spend valued at over $15bn, the media value chain is more important than it has ever been to our clients. KPMG Media Value Advisory is responding to a global need by providing advertisers, publishers and agencies with advice and direction in an increasingly challenging environment. We see a lot of inefficiencies in the media ecosystem that benefit no-one, and we want to help make it better for all parties.”
Halligan will lead a specialist team in Sydney and Melbourne that will help clients face a number of issues affecting the media value chain, including dealing with technology changes, disintermediation and measurement. It will also help clients understand how to optimise revenue streams and maximise return on investment. Clients will include large Australian and international organisations including advertisers and publishers.
Karen Halligan said: “The Australian media industry had been my passion for over 20 years. There has never been a more exciting time to be a part of this industry as it continues to evolve. I have had the pleasure of working with clients, agencies and media owners and think there is a real opportunity to bring this all together and work with them to deliver value. I look forward to bringing the expertise and capabilities of KPMG to this exciting sector.”
Halligan brings over 20 years’ specialist experience in media buying, strategy, and optimisation including agency roles at Zenith, Mediacom and Universal McCann and in-house positions with South Cross Austereo and Coca Cola.
She joins a list of senior industry leaders who have joined the CBMA practice, which has grown from 25 to 90 people since it launched in July 2017. Other new joiners including partners Amanda Hicks (Acuity), Lisa Bora (ex-Google), Mark Hassell (ex-Virgin Australia) who joined as partners, and directors Louise Pogmore (ex-One Green Bean), Melanie Evans (formerly GM of Business to Business IT at Telstra) and Nick Deverson (ex-AMR Australia).
Network Ten is fighting the transfer of its stake in satellite owner and operating TX Australia to its free-to-air rivals for just $1, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
TX Australia, a joint venture between Seven, Ten and Nine Entertainment, owns and operates the satellites that the three metropolitan broadcasters use to broadcast their linear television signal.
Under the shareholders’ agreement of the joint venture partners going into administration it can trigger TX Australia being valued and allow the other members to buy the others out. Ten going into administration in June 2017 triggered that clause.
Ten is fighting the move in the NSW Supreme Court.
News Corporation is eyeing an increase in its stake in joint-venture content marketing agency Medium Rare, reports The AFR.
Sources said News Corp is keen to jump on an opportunity, but acutely respects the independence of the agency and the stewardship of managing director Gerry Reynolds and executive general manager Sally Wright who started the business with News Corp’s backing in 2014.
Macquarie Media Limited (MML) executive chairman Russell Tate has announced the long-anticipated promotion of Adam Lang to the position of chief executive officer, effective April 3 2018.
Prior to the formation of MML, which followed the merger of Macquarie Radio Network (MRN) and Fairfax Radio Network (FRN) in April 2015, Lang had been CEO of FRN for three years.
Tate announced he would be scaling back his executive role over the remainder of the 2017/18 financial year, and would assume a non-executive chairman role from July 1 2018.
Tate said that over the three years since the merger of Macquarie Radio and Fairfax Radio he and Lang had developed an excellent working relationship.
Meanwhile, Macquarie Media released its December half results this week, noting underlying EBITDA up 21% on prior year. Underlying profit after tax was up 11% on prior year.
Macquarie Media reported a 2% increase in total revenue largely driven by an increase in core radio revenue.
Commenting on the results, Macquarie Media Limited soon-to-step-back executive chairman Russell Tate said that underlying earnings (EBITDA) grew for the fifth consecutive half-year since the formation of MML following the merger of Macquarie Radio Network (MRN) and Fairfax Radio Network (FRN) in 2015.
“Our HY2018 earnings (EBITDA) growth of 21% over the prior corresponding period maintains the earnings momentum we’ve enjoyed since the merger, and which in FY2017 had increased annual earnings (EBITDA) by 97% over pre-merger levels,” said Tate.
“We have continued to realise cost saving and efficiency opportunities across the business but we have also seen strong and sustained growth in our core radio revenues from late in the first quarter of FY18.
SBS has announced Adam Sadler will become the new director of SBS Media from Friday March 16.
Currently SBS Media’s national TV and digital sales manager, Sadler has been an integral member of the team and wider organisation for more than eight years.
SBS managing director Michael Ebeid said: “I’m delighted to welcome Adam to the SBS executive team. Adam’s oversight of SBS’s national multiplatform offering and in-depth knowledge of the media market, combined with strong client relationships, means that he is perfectly placed to step into this position.”
Sadler will succeed Andrew Cook, who joined SBS as director of SBS Media in March 2012 and will depart the organisation on Friday March 16.
Sadler said: “SBS Media is a high-performing media sales team, with a clear strategy and passion for SBS’s point of difference. I look forward to building on the great success that Andrew has achieved and lead the team into the next stage of its journey.”
Ebeid added: “Over the last six years, Andrew Cook has completely transformed SBS Media, impacting all areas of the division and contributed enormously to the wider SBS. I’d like to thank him for his significant achievements and wish him every success for the future.”
Cook joined SBS in 2012 after a career in print sales at News Limited, Fairfax Media and then ACP Magazines.
Middle Eight was unveiled as the new music column in the Review section of The Weekend Australian.
Writer Andrew McMillen was appointed to take over as the paper’s national music writer, stepping into the shoes of Spin Doctor, the name of the column written by the late Iain Shedden.
McMillen wrote on the weekend:
I chose this name for my column because I want to use this space to tell music stories that enlighten, surprise or move you, as the best middle eights tend to do. That’s a high bar to set myself for a weekly column, but I think it’s fitting, as the previous music writer on this newspaper was held in such high esteem by everyone who crossed paths with him.
It was with no small amount of trepidation that I began this role last month, as Iain Shedden — or Spin Doctor, as he was known on this page — was a giant astride the worlds of music and journalism. I wrote album reviews for him here, between 2011 and 2016, which allowed me a small insight into his unflagging professionalism and positivity.
As a freelance journalist and contributor to Review since 2010, I simply enjoyed reading his work, which was often among the most insightful music journalism published in Australia. I hope that, in this column and elsewhere in the newspaper, I can tell a few stories that would have made Iain smile.
The Advertiser paid tribute to journalist Nick Griffith, English-born and Adelaide-based, who spent many years on The Adelaide News:
Nick’s passion for newspapers started early in life. He loved them and at the age of 15 became a copy boy/messenger of the Sunday Dispatch on Fleet Street.
Moving to East Africa with his parents, he worked on the East African Standard and the Daily Nation in an explosive political environment.
Nick returned to England with his first wife, Barbara, and worked on the Newcastle Evening Chronicle and the Daily Express in Manchester as night editor before becoming the founding associate editor of the new Daily Star, which rocketed to more than a million in sales in a year.
Nick was with The News until its last page turned in 1992 and then travelled extensively with partner Rae, drawing upon the couple’s adventures and his rich career in undertaking freelance feature writing.
Agenda-setting local news coverage, compelling commentators and educational lifestyle content are among the weapons of choice in the arsenal of Queensland’s The Sunday Mail as it seeks to boost readership, reports The Australian’s Dana McCauley.
These are days of “accelerating change in the newspaper business”, says Sunday Mail editor Peter Gleeson, who insists news brands should not rest on their laurels.
Gleeson, in the top job since 2013, is confident of a turnaround, having relaunched the paper last week after “meticulously” tweaking it to better serve readers.
Major changes include scrapping Stellar to bring back U magazine, an increased emphasis on motoring and real estate, plus a new personal wellness section complete with fitness, nutritionist and medical columns, a child psychology column and personal wealth advice from Scott Pape of the Barefoot Investor.
The Sunday Mail will also boost its coverage of women’s sports and experiment with sports graphics.
Seven has surprised some people by announcing it is unleashing the Australian Spartan Arena on Sunday nights on Seven, starting in just one week.
There had been some speculation Spartan might start after the Commonwealth Games.
By rushing the new family series to air before then, the series manages to qualify for consideration in the next TV Week Logie Awards.
The first episode will premiere on Sunday February 25 at 7pm.
The series hosts Edwina Bartholomew and Hamish McLachlan have been hosting primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics for Seven.
Australian Spartan format:
Teams race across a series of specially designed obstacles engineered to challenge their ability to work together as a group and challenge their physical and mental toughness.
In the end, only one team will rise to become the ultimate Australian Spartan champions.
After a series of heats and one semifinal, 10 grand finalists compete in an extended Spartan course. From there, the two teams left standing race head-to-head in a spectacularly designed grand final course with the winning team taking home $150,000.
Australian Spartan is a Matchbox Pictures and Eureka Productions co-production for Seven.
The format rights for Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge are held by NBCUniversal International Formats and are distributed worldwide by NBCUniversal International Distribution.
Matchbox Pictures credits include multiple series of The Real Housewives franchise, as well as many unscripted productions in Australian, Asia and New Zealand. Matchbox Pictures scripted output includes Seven Types of Ambiguity, Glitch, Barracuda, Secret City and Deadline Gallipoli and the International Emmy-nominated series Wanted for Seven.
Australian Spartan is produced in partnership with Eureka Productions, which produced over 70 hours of programming in 2017. Eureka produces multiple series in Australia, the United States and Canada including The Chefs’ Line, Behave Yourself, The Launch and co-producing The Voice.
Annie Jones, one of Neighbours’ most iconic and adored characters from the early years of the much-loved soap, is returning to Ramsay Street to reprise the role that made her a household name.
In 1989, Jones (pictured) won a TV Week Silver Logie for Most Popular Actress for her portrayal of Jane Harris, the character she played from 1986 to 1989. She was nicknamed “Plain Jane Superbrain”, starting out as a nerdy bookworm, then blossoming into a beauty who would become best friends with Charlene Mitchell (Kylie Minogue) and Scott Robinson (Jason Donovan). Her character went on to fall in love with Mike Young, played by a then 19-year-old Guy Pearce.
Annie Jones said: “I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to return to Neighbours. As an actor, the best thing you can be is a working actor. I’ve done a lot of guest roles but usually very short-lived, so this has been lovely to come back for an extended period and really get my teeth into a part.”
Jones returned to the set of Neighbours in December last year, the first time since a brief appearance for the series’ 20th and 30th anniversary specials. Her character arrives back on the famous street on a mission to rectify the past and raise some eyebrows in the process.
Jason Herbison, executive producer of Neighbours for FremantleMedia Australia, said: “Annie is a beloved star from the golden era of Neighbours and we are honoured to have her back on the show. She had a very interesting take on what her character Jane might be up to nowadays and we incorporated it into the storyline. There’s warmth and nostalgia yet also a very fascinating character journey.”
The host of Great British Railway Journeys and Great Continental Railway Journeys, Michael Portillo, has confirmed to 3AW breakfast he is in the country to film a new TV show about Australia.
“We were terribly excited when a caller rang during the week and said, ‘I saw Michael Portillo at the Queen Victoria Market’,” breakfast co-host Ross Stevenson said.
3AW breakfast listeners have spotted Portillo at numerous Victorian locations, including aboard Puffing Billy and sheering a sheep in Birregurra.
“Yes, I am indeed. I am filming Great Australian Railway Journeys, we’re basically going to cover all the coastal cities, of course the Indian Pacific and we’ll be on The Ghan as well,” Portillo said.
“All those spottings are absolutely true. I was indeed on Puffing Billy – what a lovely train that is,” he said.
The Great Railway Journey series is made by Boundless, part of FremantleMedia UK. The series are screened in Australia on SBS.
Marathon filming sessions, bag searches for smuggled snacks, and talking bans have been revealed as the reality of Seven’s hit My Kitchen Rules, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.
Outspoken Melbourne contestants Roula and Rachael Hamer have opened up about the pressurised environment that created drama-filled TV on the hugely popular series.
The instant restaurant phase of the competition is anything but instant with some of the dinners ending in the very early hours of the next morning.
“We are dropped off (at the location) at 2pm, it was always 2pm, and not allowed to have a phone or watch with us,” Rachael said.
Asked how long an instant restaurant could take to film, Roula revealed: “14 hours.”
“The longest finished at 5am,” she said.
Kerry Armstrong has eaten her final meal of beans and rice in the South African jungle after being sent packing from reality show I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.
The acclaimed actor tonight became the second celebrity eliminated from the Channel Ten reality series, following 80s pop singer Tiffany’s departure last week.
“It is good timing,” Armstrong said when told the news by hosts Julia Morris and Chris Brown. “Thank you, everyone. Blessings.”
Moran also reports:
Outspoken duo David and Lisa Oldfield have vowed to shake things up in the jungle.
Announced as intruders for I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! tonight, the couple won’t be holding back when they enter the South African jungle camp.
“From what I’ve seen of the show so far, everyone is being very polite and very nice,” Lisa told News Corp.
“That makes for frustrating TV and I think some people need a rocket up them.”
First cab off the rank for the couple will be Paul Burrell, the former butler to the late Princess Diana.
“He has been milking that poor dead princess 20 years on,” the Real Housewives of Sydney cast member said, adding: “Let the poor lady rest in peace. Or if he wants to keep talking about it, let’s hear who she shagged. The first question I am going to ask is, did she shag Bryan Adams?”
Former footballer-turned-actor Matt Nable has signed up as an NRL commentator for Fox Sports’ coverage of all eight NRL games each week, joining the likes of Warren Smith, Andrew Voss, Brenton Speed and Matt Russell, reports News Corp’s Phil Rothfield.
This is the voiceover guy that Fox Sports used last year to promote its new NRL channel.
Throughout the off-season Nable has been a regular at Fox Sports studios to learn the craft.
“I’ve had Steve (Roach) and ‘Brandy’ (Greg Alexander) with me doing dummy calls,” he said.
“I feel lucky to get the opportunity. They won’t throw me to the wolves. I’ll have to be ready.”
Fox Sports head of television Steve Crawley is a big fan and is looking forward to his debut.
“Matt Nable is a rare talent,” he said, “He played first grade rugby league, he’s as tough as nails, an author of four books and at times irreverent.
“He’s won major awards for acting both here and in the US. He’s one of a kind and he has Fox League written all over him.”