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Late last month Foxtel executive director of television Brian Walsh made his annual pilgrimage to New York and Los Angeles to preview the US TV year ahead.
By James Manning
Upon his return he gave Mediaweek access to his May tour diary. Here are some of the highlights.
“In New York you get a perspective from the networks as to their strategy and the trends and how they are addressing viewership,” Walsh told Mediaweek. “The week in LA is purely about the shows.
“If you go and just see the shows you not looking at them in the context of why they are being commissioned. If you do the Upfronts and then the screenings you are getting context as well as content.
“With all the changes that are affecting our business globally the Upfronts were probably more relevant than ever. The big issue that all the networks addressed was advertising.
“The streaming services have conditioned people consuming scripted product commercial-free. It is an ongoing issue for networks in the US and in Australia how on-air advertising is managed in the future.”
• Arrive New York Sunday May 13
• 10am Monday NBC Universal at Radio City Music Hall
“Of all the networks NBC is the most spectacular. They spend the most money on their big corporate story for the group, not just the network. The E! network does live coverage of the NBC red carpet, which you can watch on the big screen inside the theatre while waiting for the upfront to start.”
Top photo: The cast of Gifted at the Fox Upfront with Brian Walsh (centre) and special guest appearance of Sky News boss Angelos Frangopoulos (right)
It’s been over 30 years since Seven News Sydney newsreader Mark Ferguson entered the media industry. However, life would’ve been very different for the well-known presenter had he not listened to his teacher in high school.
By Kruti Joshi
“When I was in year 10 in Tamworth, I wanted to be a country vet,” Ferguson told Mediaweek. “I did a lot of work experience with the local vet. I did about three weeks and I loved it. That was my plan of attack.
“Going into years 11 and 12, I did physics, chemistry and three-unit maths. By the end of year 11, I was failing physics and chemistry and wasn’t doing well in maths. The first time journalism popped its head up was when one of my teachers said, ‘You are good at English. You write really nicely. You are good in history and strong in geography. If you’re writing it down, it’s going well. If you’re adding up, it’s not going well.’ So in year 12, I started thinking about playing to my strengths and that’s when journalism started to appear on the radar.”
Ferguson got his start in regional Australia. Seventeen-year-old Ferguson joined NEN9 (now called Prime7) straight out of school as a cadet. His first job in a metro market was at Seven in Brisbane. In the early 90s, he worked as a London correspondent for Nine. “The best part of my career has been the journey – from being a 17-year-old who didn’t know much about journalism and the wider world to having travelled the world, met some fascinating people and covered some very big events – it’s been extraordinary.”
Home Beautiful and Harvey Norman have announced a partnership for the Cooks Co-op – a new content series and real-life renovation project to transform a quintessential Aussie shed into a field-to-fork restaurant while showcasing culinary local heroes.
Wendy Moore, general manager Homes and Food at Pacific, said:
“Over the next 12 weeks, the Cooks Co-op content series will cater to our audience’s love of renovation projects and passion for food whilst transforming a humble shed into an impressive farm-to-table restaurant. It’s a privilege to work with Gerry Harvey and renowned chef Martin Boetz on this once-in-a-lifetime project and we look forward to showcasing the incredible farmers, food producers and local hospitality on offer, only a short drive from Sydney’s CBD on the Hawkesbury River.”
In 2012, Martin Boetz – the chef behind the cult following of Longrain during his 13-year stint – escaped the bustle of the big smoke to take on a new adventure and snapped up a rundown property in the Hawkesbury Valley in NSW, with breathtaking river views. For the last six years, he has built up a unique providore business supplying the city’s chefs with culinary delights, such as sustainable seafood, free-range pork, goat’s curd and sourdough, straight from the Hawkesbury valley.
In 2018, Home Beautiful and Harvey Norman are now joining Martin’s journey with a three-month content series including twice-weekly webisodes, print features in Home Beautiful and Better Homes and Gardens showcasing behind-the-scenes portfolios and Martin’s step-by-step recipes, a dedicated website vertical and social and digital amplification across the broader Pacific group.
Gerry Harvey, entrepreneur, founder and executive chairman of Harvey Norman, is also a passionate farmer.
He says of the Cooks Co-op project: “This is the story about an urban chef, Martin Boetz, that came to the country and got involved in cooking, the community, the environment, fresh food, local produce and his whole life has a different meaning.”
Gerry Harvey will star alongside Wendy Moore, Martin Boetz, guest celebrity chefs (including Christine Manfield, Alex Herbert, Giovanni Pilu and Alessandro Pivoni), winemaker Lisa McGuigan and a range of amazing local producers for the series. The new restaurant is planned to be open in 2019 and will include regular guest-chef menu collaborations, special foodie and private events.
Martin Boetz says: “The Cooks Co-op is quite simply like no other project I know of.
“What began as a hypothetical idea with Wendy Moore over dinner and a glass of wine last September has become a dream come true. We’ll shine a light on some of the country’s best food producers, meet the locals who make this region so special, share delicious recipes and transform an old, humble tin shed into an impressive space, all against the backdrop of Sydney’s beautiful Hawkesbury that I have come to love.”
Top photo: Gerry Harvey and Martin Boetz
The ABC has just released a major refresh of the iview mobile apps and website. The broadcaster and publisher has detailed the changes in this release:
We’ve received a lot of feedback in recent times regarding the difficulty people had with locating all the relevant episodes and information about a show. We’ve taken this on board and are introducing show pages in iview. These new show pages bring together all of the available series, episodes, extras, cast and guest information in the one place, making it easier for you to browse and search for specific shows.
The new show page will group all available series and episodes of that show in the one space, with extras more easily distinguished. You’ll be able to easily jump between multiple series, if available, see all the episodes available to watch, and how much you’ve watched of each episode.
We’ll also be providing more information about the show itself, such as host, guests, cast and related links.
iview has been refreshed with an updated look and feel that brings it more in line with other popular ABC services such as ABC News and ABC Listen.
We have simplified and improved search to include only show results, rather than the confusing list of episodes that were provided before. We have also added the ability to recognise common misspellings for our popular programs.
The iview website and mobile apps have been completely rebuilt to make them faster and more reliable. This will also greatly improve our ability to add improvements and new features in coming months.
As part of the refresh, we have taken steps to improve accessibility of iview across web and mobile with support for voiceover and expanding text sizes. There are more improvements in this area coming soon.
As announced in March 2018, the ABC iview development team has been working hard to bring HTML5 (DRM) streaming onto the iview website, which removes the need for the Adobe Flash Player plugin. This is an upgrade that has required extensive changes to our video processing workflow and delivery pipelines, as well as the website itself. The new website will no longer require you to download, install or allow Flash in order to watch your favourite shows.
Twitter is today making In-Stream Video Ads available to all advertisers – including self-serve – in 12 global markets: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.
In-Stream Video Ads allow marketers to connect with their audience through pre-roll ads.
Twitter has partnered with dozens of video publishers in Australia and globally (including top TV networks like Seven West Media and Nine Entertainment Co, major sports leagues, and news outlets like Business Insider, IGN and Southern Cross Austereo).
Twitter notes In-Stream Video Ad campaigns drive positive shifts in key brand metrics for advertisers. Based on global Nielsen Brand Effect data, people who saw In-Stream Video Ads on Twitter were 60% more likely to recall the brand’s ad, 30% more likely to be aware of the advertiser’s brand, and had a 5% higher purchase intent (versus those not exposed to video ads).
Research also indicates people are 31% more likely to remember what they see on Twitter versus general online browsing.
Twitter partnered with Dentsu Aegis (@DentsuAegis) and Kantar Millward Brown (@K_MillwardBrown) and found that increased frequency of exposure to multiple video ad formats (e.g. In-Stream Video Ads + Promoted Video) increases brand health metrics across the funnel. In the US, exposure to two video ad formats versus one video ad format improves ad recall by 19 percentage points (pp), brand awareness by 4.7pp, and purchase intent by 3.1pp.
Top photo: Sattalat phukkum / Shutterstock
Australian entertainment and media companies must assess trust and create, capture and monetise their trust assets in order to find growth in the next five years, according to the PwC Australia Entertainment & Media Outlook.
The 17th annual report analyses trends and consumer and advertising spend across 12 segments and shows spending is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3% over the next five years, but with sharp differences between industry segments and sectors.
The subscription television market is the fastest-growing segment in spending, forecast to rise at a CAGR of 10.1%, trailed by the internet advertising market at 7.7%.
PwC’s Australian Outlook shows growth is broad-based but unevenly distributed across the industry, with the fastest revenue growth in digitally driven segments.
The internet advertising market is forecast to reach $12,681 million or 65% of the total advertising market in 2022 and will overtake the internet access market ($11,507m) for the largest segment in the entertainment and media industry.
Fast growth in video advertising, at a CAGR of 23.8%, will see the segment account for 25% of the total internet advertising market by 2022.
A substantial increase in digital revenue is underpinning total out-of-home market growth at 15.9% compared to -5.7% for physical.
Strong growth in digital music is also propelling the total music market, which is expected to rise at a CAGR of 5% and attract 6.4% ($1,792m) of consumer spend by 2022. Digital music is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.2%.
PwC Australia has forecast the newspaper, free-to-air television, magazine and filmed entertainment spending markets will reduce in size from 2018 to 2022.
For FTA TV, PwC comments AVOD revenues are small but growing strongly over the forecast period.
For subscription TV, SVOD will grow strongly over the forecast period, surpassing premium box-delivered revenue (Foxtel, Fetch) in 2022.
Podcasting and interactive gaming continue to outperform other consumer-funded entertainment sectors such as music and filmed entertainment.
The interactive games market shows signs of strong growth into 2022, with the sector forecast to attract 11.8% of the total Australian consumer spend in 2022.
Top photo: Shutterstock
Mediaweek editor James Manning looks at the weekend box office for June 7-10, 2018.
The box office gross for the top 20 movies over the weekend was up 28% to $14.19m thanks largely to the fourth instalment in the Ocean’s heist move franchise, Ocean’s 8.
There was also big contributions from Deadpool 2 and Solo: A Star Wars Story which each gathered over $2m.
The all-girl cast managed to top the chart on debut after the three previous Ocean’s movies – Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13 – were released between 2001 and 2007. Now a decade later the fourth in the series stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter. The film opened on 488 screens earning a respectable $11,374 per screen.
The fourth weekend of Deadpool 2 saw takings dip 37% as the screens showing the movie dropped by 29 to 308. Those screens delivered a screen average of $8,015 as the movie passed $32m.
Close to $15m after three weekends would be a hit for many releases. However, when you have Star Wars in the title, not so much. The movie shed 198 screens to 410 delivering a screen average of $5,055.
Good reviews have helped the release of the horror movie starring Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd and Gabriel Byrne. A modest opening on 214 screens delivered a screen average of $5,337.
The third biggest movie ever in Australia continues to hover, just, in the top five. Still on 210 screens, the movie had a screen average of $3,144 over the weekend. It has just passed a total of $61.05m to date.
Top photo: Ocean’s 8 actors Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Awkwafina at CinemaCon 2018
• Another top chef goes down at MasterChef: Khanh latest to win a pin
• MasterChef and Shark Tank win timeslots, TEN wins night 25-54
• Buying Blind below 600,000, Interview recovers, Dinner in the 70s
By James Manning
After just over 700,000 on Monday, Home and Away was on 713,000 last night.
This week on House Rules, Perth’s David and Chiara have handed over their keys to the renovators. House Rules had a strong 861,000 on Monday night with 713,000 last night.
After a disappointing audience of 373,000 a week ago, Interview featured Rebecca Sharrock, who has a memory that gives her total recall. The numbers jumped strongly, up to 477,000.
Uber drivers, Gumtree ads and grocery bundles were subjects on A Current Affair with 782,000 watching after the Monday public holiday audience of 754,000.
The second episode of Buying Blind saw the experts Shaynna, Marshall and Rich helping Lis and Ali into their first family home. Episode two did 554,000 after 609,000 on debut last week.
A doco on the terror attacks last year – Four Days That Shook Britain – did 223,000.
The Project ended spectacularly with Maude Garrett trying to coax the stars of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom into giving her their dinosaur impersonations. All the stars wanted to see was Maude doing hers – and she was good. The episode did 580,000.
Another day of MasterChef saw the episode start and end in a car park at Mount Lofty House with an immunity challenge that saw another pin awarded. This time Khanh (pictured above) was a clear winner against the celebrity chef with both cooks trying to present a dish with Vegemite a key ingredient. The judges then gave what must have been close to the lowest scores ever for a professional chef in an immunity challenge on the show. The episode did 886,000, was #1 overall after 7pm and cleaned up in the key demos.
Shark Tank then did 614,000 with the interplay between the Sharks again often as intriguing as the pitches from the entrepreneurs. First up was Victorian husband-and-wife team Glen and Julie-Anne Mayer, who were seeking $120,000 for a 12% share in their baby bottle business, Subo. Steve jumped in with the first offer, agreeing to the full amount and stake the couple pitched.
Making Child Prodigies did 339,000 at 8pm.
Back In Time For Dinner was in the 70s with 572,000 after a crowd of 620,000 visited the 60s last week.
Miriam’s Big American Adventure then did 322,000.
A 2016 episode of Who Do You Think You Are? screened at 7.30pm featuring John Newcombe. The episode did 326,000 after 406,000 watched the final of the current season last week.
Insight then did 190,000 with a look at performance-enhancing drugs.
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||4.7%||GEM||3.7%||ELEVEN||3.2%||Food Net||0.9%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||Ten Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC ME||1.0%||7mate||6.6%||GEM||6.5%||ELEVEN||3.4%||Food Net||0.8%|
|TUESDAY 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
A US federal judge handed AT&T a sweeping victory on Tuesday and approved its US$85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, a deal that promises to reshape the US media industry, reports CNN Money.
After a six-week trial, Judge Richard Leon ruled that the government had failed to prove that the deal violates antitrust law.
Using unusually strong language, he discouraged the Justice Department from asking him to put the ruling on hold while they consider an appeal. He said such a request would be “manifestly unjust” because it would have the effect of killing the acquisition.
AT&T vowed to close the deal by June 20 – creating a powerhouse that will unite Time Warner’s movies and TV shows with AT&T’s enormous distribution system, including cell phone and satellite networks.
The judge’s ruling will likely be seen by tech and telecom giants as a green light to pursue a slew of major media acquisitions.
Comcast is widely expected to bid within days for part of 21st Century Fox. That would set up a showdown with Disney, which has already put in a bid for those assets. Fox stock jumped more than 6% in after-hours trading following the ruling.
A court’s approval of AT&T’s merger with Time Warner paves a clear path for Comcast to bid for 21st Century Fox assets as early as Wednesday and could trigger a round of deal-making by smaller media companies trying to keep up with the industry’s titans, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The AT&T deal, which survived the US Justice Department’s legal challenge, will create a juggernaut with an unprecedented mix of assets spanning TV distribution, cable programming, wireless and broadband.
Separately, Walt Disney Co. and cable giant Comcast appear headed for a bidding war over Fox assets, including its Hollywood studio and international properties.
Apple Inc., Google, Facebook and Amazon.com Inc. are all widely viewed on Wall Street and among media executives as potential acquirers of media assets, partly because of the moves they’ve already made to disrupt traditional TV and film.
Amazon explored the idea of splitting up the Fox assets with Comcast – whereby Amazon would get the domestic properties and Comcast would get international assets – but the idea didn’t advance so Comcast is proceeding on its own, people familiar with the matter said.
APN Outdoor has UBS and Morgan Stanley to hand to raise equity should the company agree terms to buy smaller outdoor advertising rival Adshel, reports Street Talk.
As first reported by Street Talk, APN Outdoor has mandated the two brokers as joint lead managers to help sell the deal, which analysts reckon could involve a $250 million to $300 million equity offer as part of the funding package.
Adshel’s owner, HT&E, is running an auction for its company, which specialises in advertising at bus shelters, trains and other “street furniture”.
Starcom Brisbane doubled the number of students it hosted from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) for its second Starcom Challenge event, which was held on June 7.
The winning team of Natalie Hogan, Angelica Cooke, John Beckinsale and Avi Dharmasiri will have lunch with Starcom general manager Caleb Watson. They will have the chance to learn about working in the media industry. All participants are also offered an internship at Starcom.
Watson said: “We are delighted to continue our strong relationship with QUT with our second Starcom Challenge event, following the success of our inaugural event last year. It’s a great way to encourage young talent and give them ‘real world’ experience.
“Responses to the Buderim Ginger brief from the teams of students were impressive and demonstrated some great ideas, which made choosing a winner very challenging. I’d like to congratulate all the students involved, and our staff, for making the day such a success.”
The lecturer for Advertising and Digital Marketing at QUT’s School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, Dr Louise Kelly, said: “We are delighted to have the continued support from the Starcom team in providing our students with real world agency experience. The Starcom Challenge aligns with the QUT priority of supporting our students to develop their professional networks and enhancing their employability and it gives our students valuable insights into a career in advertising and media. This is so important, as it helps our advertising students see that what they are learning at QUT is relevant to their future careers and this agency experience invigorates their learning as they have an exciting end goal in sight.”
Australian mobile advertising startup Unlockd has gone into voluntary administration, making it the latest high-profile local technology outfit to run into turbulence, reports The Australian’s Supratim Adhikari.
Unlockd, which delivers targeted advertising to users when they unlock their smartphones, has been locked in a do-or-die legal struggle with Google since April, which forced the company to shelve its planned IPO.
Google threatened to pull the plug on Unlockd’s app on its Google Play store and disable advertising content from its AdMob marketplace on the startup’s apps. The threat forced the company to put its IPO on ice and a cash-starved Unlockd has now had to call in McGrath Nicol as administrators, despite winning court injunctions against Google last month.
Unlockd’s senior management and board, which includes former Telstra boss Sol Trujillo, is now working with the administrators to find a buyer for the company or alternative investment options.
Tributes have flowed for the late investigative reporter Ben Hills, praised by colleagues for breaking some of Australia’s biggest stories, reports Fairfax Media’s Carolyn Webb.
Hills, who was a leader of The Age’s legendary Insight team of the 1970s, died from cancer in Sydney on Sunday.
His team exposed crooked land deals under the Hamer/Thompson Victorian Liberal government, which forced the resignation of two ministers and was significant in the government’s downfall.
Hills reported from 60 countries as an Age foreign correspondent. Later at Melbourne’s Herald newspaper, Hills’s probes into worker asbestos deaths led to his book Blue Murder, about victims of the asbestos mine at Wittenoom, WA.
Hills was a producer for TV program 60 Minutes. While at The Sydney Morning Herald, Hills won a Walkley Award in 1991. In 2014 he was inducted into the Melbourne Press Club hall of fame.
Jailed Australian filmmaker James Ricketson will face trial in Cambodia after a year in prison, accused of espionage by the country’s increasingly authoritarian government, reports Fairfax Media.
The pre-trial investigation into Ricketson, 69, was completed last month and the first hearing has been scheduled for Friday June 15, according to a statement from the filmmaker provided to Fairfax Media.
Ricketson, who was recently transferred to a prison hospital with health complaints after months in a cramped cell with more than 100 other men, said it would be impossible to formulate a defence and organise witnesses in time for the trial.
“I intend to call on the Australian [government] to provide a witness who can testify on the question of whether or not I have been conducting espionage on behalf of my [government], with monies supplied to me back in 1996 by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Film Commission – from whence came the funding for my documentary, Sleeping with Cambodia,” Ricketson said.
TV host Sylvia Jeffreys has launched an attack on gossip magazine New Idea after the publication printed that her relationship with Peter Stefanovic was in trouble, reports News Corp’s Kris Crane.
Jeffreys and the younger Stefanovic brother tied the knot in 2017, and their relationship has regularly been fodder in the glossy mags ever since.
The latest story titled “New Relationship Hell” pushed the well-liked Today newsreader to call out the story online.
“Today’s offering from the “Fabricated Stories Based on Unflattering Paparazzi Photos” file. Why no byline @newideamagazine ?#itsanextensivefile,” Jeffreys posted on her Instagram account.
After months of speculation, Foxtel is said to have received the green light for a second season of The Real Housewives of Sydney, reports Sydney Confidential.
Sources close to the controversial reality show have told Confidential that several cast members have been contacted about the show’s return.
One insider said schedules for filming were currently being worked out.
“Several members of the cast got calls late last week discussing the second season,” the insider said.
“Foxtel has signed on to air the show after back-and-forth discussions with the production team.
“At this stage it looks like production will not recommence until early 2019.”
13 Reasons Why has achieved what is a very rare feat on the Cross Platform On Demand charts as measured by Parrot Analytics. Not many programs that have topped the Digital Originals chart also make it to the top of the Overall TV Shows chart.
This week the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why has done just that – but in both Australia and New Zealand. The controversial teen drama is #1 on both charts in both territories.
The Overall TV Shows, as we mentioned last week have been dominated by The Walking Dead this year – all 19 weeks in fact, until now. Before The Walking Dead, Game Of Thrones had a strong grip on top spot for much of 2017.
New to the Digital Originals Top 10 in both markets this week was Carpool Karaoke.
Love Island Australia also created some chart history this week when it appeared on the Overall TV Shows chart in Australia at #5. Not many Australian productions make that chart, The Voice was the only other one this year where it charted for four weeks.
If there’s one thing that Craig Foster learned from the late, great Les Murray, it’s that no one is bigger than the world game, reports News Corp’s James Wigney.
As the SBS commentator, who also earned 29 caps as a Socceroo, prepares to head to Russia to cover his first World Cup without the Aussie football great, his longtime friend and mentor’s wise words will be ringing in his ears.
“I remember very well the first thing that Les told me,” says Foster, who will now spearhead the coverage alongside commentators Lucy Zelic and David Basheer, former players David Zdrilic and Craig Moore and one of the world’s finest callers in Martin Tyler.
“He said: ‘It’s not about you or me, it’s about the game. Our job is to bring the game and interpret it for people at home, it’s not to be the game’.
“We are not there to be a ‘personality’ – quite the opposite, we are there to interpret for the public, positive and negative, and let them make up their own mind and really get inside the World Cup in every way possible.”
As to who will lift the trophy after the final on July 15, Foster can’t quite decide.
“I am vacillating between Germany and Spain,” he says.
Craig Hutchison may be one of the biggest media moguls in Australia.
But he says he made a number of errors earlier in his career, as his desire to break news trumped other journalistic principles, reports Fox Sports’ Sarah Olle.
And there’s one story he wishes he could take back.
In 2004 Hutchison wrongly identified Justin Koschitzke as one of the two St Kilda players at the centre of sexual misconduct case.
“It was my lowest day in journalism,” Hutchison said on Fox Footy’s Open Mike this week.
“There’s no escaping that and it’s one of those things that you can never take back.
“To incorrectly name one of the two players in a sexual misconduct investigation was a horrific error. One that would have been sackable, I think. I was expecting not to have a job the next day and offered as much.”
While Hutchison kept his job at Channel 7 the consequences of his error were far reaching.
Not only did Koschitzke successfully sue the news breaker, but the story stuck with the forward for the rest of his career.