In the first of a series of interviews with the controllers of what Australians get to watch on television, Mediaweek’s James Manning speaks to Seven’s director of network programming Angus Ross.
The schedule doesn’t change too much. We think the Winter Olympics will do very well, but Seven News, Home and Away and My Kitchen Rules all stay as building blocks in the early evening.
We will increase our audience significantly from around 8.30-9pm as they watch the Games as part of significant audience growth over the next few weeks.
My Kitchen Rules remains the only one of the reality shows that is doing over 1m viewers each night.
In the past week we are very happy with what The Good Doctor has done and the Beaumont children special.
This year we are winning the 7.30pm slot and the 9pm slot.
The Good Doctor remains the biggest show on television with the latest seven-day consolidated numbers giving it a metro audience of 1.4m. After this week there are five new episodes still to come from season one of The Good Doctor.
The Games will block out all programming for a week and a half. Seven News will remain.
[Ross wouldn’t confirm, but that is expected to push My Kitchen Rules back further into the year. In 2017 MKR finished on the last day of April, this year that could mean it will wrap later in May.]
Throughout the year we will have My Kitchen Rules and then House Rules. For the back half of the year we have made a few announcements – things like Dance Boss – but we have some other shows that are still to be announced for the back half.
With reality programming on Nine and TEN in the back half, we are going to have big shiny floor entertainment spectacles up against those shows.
There are two or three big projects for the back half of 2018 we haven’t announced yet.
It will be coming very soon. [Laughs. When asked if Seven had decided how to schedule it, Ross replied:] Yes, but I don’t wish to reveal our hand yet. It is all in post-production now. It’s looking very strong, but it is still early days in post-production.
[How many episodes are you making? They do seven in the US.]
These sorts of shows are very expensive and it would be difficult to make a lot of episodes.
I don’t think we have. What we are looking for is great ideas and they aren’t always easy to come by. We are prepared to try a few different things with drama. I have previously noted the FTA networks have been fishing in the same pond for the same audience, which means some of the shows were similar.
With dramas sometimes defined as safe shows doing around 500,000, it is time to take a few more risks.
The Good Doctor shows that a) international dramas can work, and b) there is still a FTA appetite for drama.
It was a good surprise for everyone, particularly Seven, that you can still get a US drama doing those sorts of numbers. We knew it was a great show, but I’d be lying if I said I knew it was going to do 1m viewers. People would have put me in the crazy house. As well as setting new consolidated records, it also set new streaming records. It is a triple threat that does everything you want a show to do.
Sports broadcaster Kelli Underwood says she was hoping to start of the year “nice and easy”. But it has been anything but that.
“My phone has been going bananas,” Underwood told Mediaweek during a recent conversation. “I called the tennis every day when the Australian Open was on [for Tennis Australia’s world feed]. Then I went straight into AFLW. I called three games over the weekend. Then I came up to Sydney last week for the Australian Sports Commission Awards.”
Underwood was honoured with an award for Best Coverage Of Sport By An Individual (broadcast media) at the event.
To cap off what’s already been a frantic year for the experienced presenter, Underwood was this month announced as the host of ABC’s Sunday morning sports program Offsiders. She is the third presenter of the program in its 13-year history following founding presenter Barrie Cassidy and sportscaster Gerard Whateley. The latter resigned from his hosting duties on the Offsiders at the end of last year for a new role with SEN.
“Rumour has it that Barrie started the program, because he just didn’t want to talk politics on a Sunday morning. He also wanted to talk about his two great loves, which are horse racing and Collingwood. If that was what I was expected to talk about, I would be in a bit of trouble,” Underwood said. [Laughs]
She isn’t a stranger to the format – she has been a panellist on the show for the past five years and previously filled in for Whateley as host. “Never ever once did I entertain the thought that I would be hosting the show because I never anticipated that the day would come,” she said. “I was a bit taken aback when the call came to me. I have big shoes to fill.”
Apart from her duties on Offsiders, Underwood has been a part of ABC Grandstand’s AFL commentary team for a decade and is also the co-host of Fox Sports’ The Back Page with Tony Squires.
“I fly up to Sydney once a week to get together with The Back Page guys. It feels like you are hanging out with five or six older brothers almost. It is a lot more light-hearted [than Offsiders].”
She said she’d be forever grateful to the ABC for giving her the chance to call her first AFL game. She is the first woman to call AFL football on television and radio.
“It was a big deal to throw a woman in the deep end at the time,” Underwood said. “It was overwhelming the first time I did it. I knew it was something that would polarise fans, supporters and the footy community. But I don’t regret it. It has opened doors.”
• Game Changers podcast sees the superstar DJ with his former boss at 2Day FM
Kyle Sandilands doesn’t do a lot of interviews, even fewer podcast interviews.
We have also spent time with his co-host on Australian FM radio’s most successful breakfast show. Listen to our Jackie O podcast here.
Sandilands has finally surfaced again, this time talking to his former 2Day FM boss Craig Bruce on the Game Changers podcast Bruce runs in partnership with Melbourne producer Jay Mueller, now working at 1116 SEN as content director and EP of Gerard Whateley’s show, Whateley.
Over the time they worked together, Sandilands had a few battles with Bruce, one when Bruce came on air to shut down an interview Kyle and Jackie were having with a prostitute. That happened during the rocky months when Patrick Joyce was station GM. On another memorable day, Kyle and Jackie O sent one of their staff, naked, into the GM’s office to wait until he showed up.
Bruce has released a short preview of the podcast, which will become available to download on Saturday February 17.
During one of the segments Sandilands talks about the move from the Hot 30 evening show to drive and then to breakfast, describing it as something he pushed hard for, while Jackie would have been happy to remain on the evening show.
Sandilands talks about the breakfast negotiation with the CEO where he walked in and stated: “We want $1m each.”
Another highlight promises to be Sandilands explaining how he had to finish one of their programs “totally wasted”.
Bruce also asks Sandilands whether his radio show is much better at KIIS than it was at 2Day FM.
Photo: Kyle and Jackie O on air this morning with Jo from Married At First Sight
• Singles: The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar highest debut, Bazzi big mover
• Albums: JT, DZ Deathrays and Shannon Noll all debut inside top 10
Drake held at #1 again with Rudimental climbing higher from #10 to #4 with “These Days” for their third top five single.
Halfway through the second month of the year and there was just one new entry inside the top 50:
#18 The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar with “Pray For Me”.
Bazzi was a big mover from #84 all the way to #33 with “Mine”.
Kendrick Lamar & SZA are also top 20 this week with “All The Stars”, up from #30 to #19. These tunes at #18 and #19 are from the soundtrack to the forthcoming Marvel superhero movie Black Panther.
Other notable movers were:
#41 Vance Joy with “We’re Going Home” – new peak after four weeks.
#45 Liam Payne & Rita Ora with “For You (Fifty Shades Freed)” – new peak after five weeks.
#50 Zedd & Grey with “The Middle” featuring Maren Morris – new peak after two weeks.
Three new albums in the top 10, but none of them able dislodge The Greatest Showman soundtrack from the top, where it sits for a sixth week. Just one other album was new to the top 50 this week.
The chart new arrivals this week:
#2 Justin Timberlake with “Man Of The Woods” – fifth album, which managed only one and a half stars in the Fairfax Media review (but three and a half in The Australian).
#4 DZ Deathrays with “Bloody Lovely” – third album from Brisbane dance/punk duo.
#7 Shannon Noll with “Unbroken” – unusual promotional strategy: head to the jungle in South Africa, but it seems to be working for his first album since 2011.
#27 Rich Brian with “Amen” – debut album from the Indonesian rapper.
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||6.8%||GEM||2.2%||ELEVEN||1.5%||Food Net||0.7%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||Ten Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||5.6%||GEM||4.0%||ELEVEN||1.3%||Food Net||0.7%|
|SUNDAY METRO ALL TV|
Friday Top 10
Saturday Top 10
By James Manning
• Seven sets new record on 2018 survey day one: 279 to go
• Seven’s My Kitchen Rules and Winter Olympics secure victory
• Nine posts biggest single audience for Married At First Sight
• I’m A Celebrity TEN’s best, Lisa meets Jacqui on Sunday Project
• Hawke doco part one debuts with 600,000+ for ABC
Seven has won the last week of summer survey with a win for total people for the primary channel and the combined channel share too. The broadcaster also managed to finish first in the key demos.
Seven had seven of the top eight shows thanks to MKR, The Good Doctor and the Winter Games.
TEN had two of the top three programs 25-54 with the Big Bash final and the Sunday episode of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here.
Nine’s best was Married At First Sight with all four episodes top 10 for the week 25-54. Nine also noted Married at First Sight is dominating the OzTAM VPM rankings in digital, where it already holds the top 1-8 spots with all the episodes passing 100,000 threshold.
Seven has started the year with a new record – the biggest combined channel share since OzTAM launched in 2001. Seven’s combined number of 39.9% was well ahead of Nine on 29.5% and TEN, which had a very tough night with 11.8%.
Seven News Sunday started the primetime leadership with 1.11m.
My Kitchen Rules‘ Sydney sisters Jess and Emma hosted the judges and their contestants at their Princess Pantry. They scored relatively well and ended up in the middle of the rankings. Their biggest triumph was a dessert of white chocolate cheesecake with berry compote which wowed the judges, earning them 19 from a possible 20 for the course. The Sunday audience was 1.162m, up from 1.10m the previous Sunday, but short of last week’s best, 1.19m on Tuesday.
The Winter Olympics coverage of night two followed with 1.04m early in the evening. Follow Mediaweek on Twitter (@mediaweekaus) for Seven’s detailed breakdown of each day’s ratings numbers.
Nine News Sunday was its first primetime program of the survey year with 960,000 securing a top five spot.
The first commitment ceremony then featured on Married At First Sight with 1.163m watching, which was narrowly the biggest single audience of the night. The episode had a more substantial lead across the key demos.
Screentime’s Underbelly franchise then returned to the channel with Underbelly Files: Chopper. Part one did 903,000, which is a great number given the opposition. Chopper did well in the key demos 18+, ranking second only behind Married. The episode was like a Chopper’s Great Hits (literally) as he recalled various career highlights for a nightclub audience.
Nine then sensibly programmed the Tough Nuts episode featuring Gangitano (with the series rebranded as Australian Crime Stories) with 375,000 watching – 172,000 of them in Melbourne.
Tough night that started with Family Feud Sunday just under 200,000.
The Sunday Project returned after a week off with Lisa Wilkinson at the desk talking about Barnaby Joyce and then a feature interview with the new recruit and Jacqui Lambie. The hour started on 242,000 and then edged higher to 390,000.
I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! was split into two parts, one of which included the first (planned) elimination – goodbye Tiffany. The ghost of the wonderful Charlotte Dawson was invoked in one spooky scene. The episode did 651,000 and 614,000.
The new CBS drama SEAL Team then did 185,000.
Part one of Hawke: The Larrikin and the Leader followed ABC News with 629,000 watching the doco.
Shetland screened after 8.30pm with just over half a million.
Eight Days That Made Rome was level with SBS World News on 134,000 for the channel’s biggest audience.
The screening of Atlantis Rising from James Cameron did 115,000.
Net loss improved to ($66) million compared to ($219) million in the prior year.
Total segment EBITDA of $329 million, a 1% increase compared to $325 million in the prior year.
Chief executive Robert Thomson said: “The robust first half results highlight the virtue of our strategy to become increasingly digital and global, the discipline of our financial management, and our commitment to premium content and high-quality, high-integrity news. First half revenues were up 4% and profitability improved by 27%, including strong results in the second quarter.
“Our mastheads are recording digital subscriber and audience growth, with digital accounting for 60 per cent of WSJ subscribers, while The Sun has now exceeded 90 million global monthly average uniques in the second quarter. But the potential returns for our journalism would be far higher in a less chaotic, less debased digital environment.”
Within the news and information segment, News UK, News Corp Australia and Dow Jones revenues grew 7%, 4% and 1%, respectively.
Closing digital subscribers at News Corp Australia’s mastheads as of December 31, 2017 were 389,600 (including ARM), compared to 309,200 in the prior year.
Revenues in the Cable Network segment quarter increased $16 million, or 15%, compared to the prior year due to the acquisition of Australian News Channel, operator of Australia’s Sky News network, and higher affiliate revenues at Fox Sports Australia. Segment EBITDA in the quarter decreased $18 million, or 35%, compared with the prior year, primarily due to the timing of programming amortisation related to the launch of a dedicated National Rugby League channel at Fox Sports Australia and $2 million of transaction costs related to the proposed combination of Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia.
Foxtel revenues decreased 3% due to lower subscriber volume and lower advertising revenues. Foxtel’s total closing subscribers were approximately 2.8 million as of December 31, 2017, which was lower than the prior year, primarily due to the shutdown of Presto.
REA Group chief executive Tracey Fellows wants to consolidate the real estate firm’s market-leading position as she seeks to “take advantage” of turmoil at rival Domain after it parted company with her opposite number Antony Catalano, reports The Australian’s Darren Davidson.
Fellows was speaking after strong demand for REA premium advertising products pushed revenues 21% higher in the six months to December 31, 2017, bucking a fall in total property listings.
REA, operator of realestate.com.au, recorded revenue of $406.8 million and net profit of $147.3m – a rise of 21%.
The ABC has also launched its new brand position – ABC, Yours.
At the ABC’s inaugural annual public meeting chief financial officer Louise Higgins released new data outlining the ABC’s improving efficiency, and committed to further reporting that will improve the ABC’s transparency and accountability to the public.
Higgins reported the key digital platforms enjoyed growth in 2017, while detailing current audience engagement scores including:
• 3m Australians watch ABC TV each week
• 9m tune in to specifically watch News & Current Affairs
• 8m Australians each week listen to Radio
The ABC also revealed key performance indicators including:
• Value. In 1987 the ABC famously cost eight cents a day. Adjusted for inflation and population growth, the ABC today costs each Australian just half that amount. Since the mid-1980s its real funding has decreased by 28% or $336 million.
• Efficiency. In the last five years alone, working smarter has allowed the ABC to invest an additional $70 million into new programs, services, and platforms, while also returning $254 million back to government.
• Trust. More than 80% of Australians trust the ABC, compared to average trust of 57% for commercial media.
The ABC has also launched its new brand position – ABC, Yours.
Director of ABC audiences Leisa Bacon said:
“The ABC is unique in its ability to unite the nation, facilitate the important conversations and develop the minds of our children. It is a touchstone for independence, trust and quality and the new brand position ‘Yours’ says just that, we are here for every Australian.”
The ABC engaged Adam Ferrier, founder and consumer psychologist from Thinkerbell, the agency now part-owned by PwC, on the campaign.
Dentsu Aegis Network Australia and New Zealand has tapped iSelect executive Angela Tangas to head its revamped media agency, dentsu X, taking over from Adrian Roeling, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
Tangas, who will take on the role of dentsu X national manager director on March 5, will report directly to DAN Australia and New Zealand chief executive Simon Ryan and will join the holding company’s local board.
Tangas has been iSelect group executive of energy and telecommunications since November 2015, having joined the online insurance comparison website in October 2014. Prior to that, Tangas spent six years at Sensis.
The AFR also reports:
Former Australian Association of National Advertisers chief executive Sunita Gloster is joining PricewaterhouseCoopers’ marketing practice as the consultancy firm ramps up its push into media.
Gloster, who joined the board of PwC’s chief marketing officer advisory practice in March 2016, will now join the business full-time.
The former Network Ten chief commercial and strategy officer will start at PwC on Monday, based at the firm’s Barangaroo offices in Sydney.
Tax authorities have clawed back almost $500 million from international corporations such as Facebook and Google, reports News Corp’s Kylar Loussikian.
The Daily Telegraph reports an extra $496 million in GST was paid in the past 18 months in a Turnbull government crackdown on tax avoidance. But corporate giants such as Facebook are still paying tiny amounts of tax – just $3.3 million in 2016 on revenues of $325 million.
Revenue Minister Kelly O’Dwyer will reveal changes to the tax rules today, threatening to aggressively pursue companies using overseas trusts and other exotic arrangements to avoid tax.
The new mediaweek.com.au site has gone live ahead of a more formal launch as we test and add more content this week. We will have much more to say about that over the next few weeks.
Existing subscribers will be advised how to access the new premium section of the site, while new subscribers are able to set up their account now.
For a look at what is going on visit mediaweek.com.au.
There have also been some changes to the Mediaweek Morning Report.
Last time we tampered with this, many were initially dismayed but then later said they had grown accustomed to the new look. However, we are happy to receive feedback from our audience any time.
Meanwhile the much-anticipated launch of the new Fairfax Media masthead sites is getting closer.
In fact a visit to The Brisbane Times or The Age will give you an idea of how The SMH will look online shortly.
Fairfax Media’s Managing Director of Australian Metro Publishing, Chris Janz, said: “The launch of The Age on our new publishing platform – soon to be followed by The Sydney Morning Herald – puts Fairfax at the forefront of digital publishing. We’re delivering a market-changing vision that prioritises reader experience and connects advertisers to our audiences in highly impactful ways.”
The Age Editor Alex Lavelle said: “It’s a privilege to work on bringing the next iteration of Melbourne’s iconic masthead to our readers. We’ve been part of the Victorian conversation for 164 years and today’s relaunch of The Age shows we’re continually evolving to remain at the heart of their digital news experience.”
Mediaweek spoke with Lavelle about the new website rollouts last year.
“We will have more pictures at the top of the homepage for bigger impact,” Lavelle said at the time. The redesign is aimed to encourage people to scroll down the homepage and explore the other stories on offer.
The Age offered readers an insight on the weekend about what the changes would involve:
Find what matters most
Our new homepage design brings you the most important stories, front and centre, so you can easily find the news that matters most.
From Good Food, Traveller, Domain and more, you’ll also find the best of our quality content in our new Featured section, no matter your interests.
Pick up where you left off
With our new Shortlist feature, you can now easily queue the stories you want to read later. You can also revisit your favourite stories and articles with Reading History. Simply log in to sync your shortlist across all your devices.
More time reading, less time waiting
We’ve built the new experience for speed, so you can spend more time doing the things you love. Simple.
Network Ten has parted company with John Choueifate, who has resigned as executive director, News, to pursue several business opportunities.
Choueifate was appointed executive director, News, in April 2016. He was previously network news director and, prior to that role, director of news, Sydney.
Network Ten chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said a new head of the news division would be announced shortly.
In the interim, Network Ten executive consultant, news and current affairs, Peter Meakin, will oversee the news division in conjunction with the state news managers.
“TEN Eyewitness News First At Five dominates its timeslot and is a key part of the TEN brand and our content schedule, while the launch of our exciting and innovative new website ten daily this year will take our news content – and other content – to a new audience.
“We are committed to further expanding our commitment to News and will be making some announcements soon,” McGarvey said.
Choueifate said: “My time at Ten has been enjoyable and I have formed many close relationships.
“I would like to thank each and every one of you working in newsrooms across the country for your professionalism and work ethic. You are all superstars in my eyes.
To promote the launch of the fourth season of the TV series I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, Spark Foundry and Network Ten partnered with Val Morgan Outdoor (VMO) to deliver a 360° campaign domination at Sydney’s iconic Manly Wharf – a media first at a landmark commuter hub that attracts more than 16,000 visitors daily.
The four-week out-of-home campaign includes a full takeover of the Manly Wharf environment combining window and floor decals, hanging banners with WiFi integration and dynamic digital creative delivered via VMO’s premium, large-format digital screens.
VMO’s GM sales and marketing Paul Butler said: “Delivering the right solution for Network Ten was paramount to achieving their campaign objective. Our Manly Wharf location offered the scale and impact at launch and played a key role in generating hype for their upcoming season of the show. The formula is simple yet potent: engage the right audiences in the right locations and at the right time.”
Brisbane’s #1 radio station Nova 106.9 has announced a partnership with the Seven Network, making Nova the Official Brisbane FM Commercial Radio Broadcaster of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Nova 106.9 will be the only FM radio station that can broadcast any of the 2018 Commonwealth Games content locally.
In addition to the rights to broadcast the audio and commentary from Seven’s broadcast of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Nova 106.9’s breakfast show Ash, Kip & Luttsy with former Olympic and Comm Games swimming star Susie O’Neill will broadcast live from the Commonwealth Games every weekday morning during the games.
The opening day of the Games, Wednesday April 4, will also see Nova’s morning show with Greg Burns, and the afternoon show with Katie Mattin, broadcast live from the Gold Coast. Nova 106.9 will be live from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games for 10 hours from 6am until 4pm.
Jay Walkerden, Nova’s general manager, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with the Seven Network to bring the passion and joy of one of the greatest sporting events on the planet to our listeners.
A Commonwealth Games champion is joining the new series of The Block.
A Commonwealth Games champion has been revealed as one of the contestants taking on the challenge to breathe new life into the fleabag Gatwick Hotel on the new series of The Block, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.
Former netball champion Bianca Chatfield was seen on Thursday along with a gaggle of other contestants filming outside the St Kilda property, which has been heavily scaffolded,.
MasterChef will whet the world’s appetite for South Australia in its 10th season, reports News Corp’s Anna Vlach.
The Channel 10 hit reality cooking series, which is broadcast in more than 180 countries, is currently filming in SA.
Judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris and the latest batch of contestants, including locals, will shoot a week’s worth of episodes to screen later this year.
“When we announced where we were going, we got an amazing reaction. You would have thought we were saying we were going to go to Paris,” Preston said. “The whole idea is to take the contestants to SA and introduce them to some of our favourite chefs, restaurants and produce because that’s what makes SA so strong in terms of food … that wonderful mix, and an amazing wine scene.”
TV Tonight gives Nine’s new Tuesday show Date Night 1.5 five stars out of 5:
Landing as a mix between First Dates and Gogglebox, Nine’s new dating series is ready to judge a book by its cover. Four singles are looking for matches each week and their friends / family are happy to advise.
As narrator Gyton Grantley tells us, online dating is now a spectator sport. Swipe Left for No, Swipe Right for Yes.
I get that this is cheap and cheerful telly, but it feels like there just isn’t enough originality to warrant everybody’s time (including mine). I suspect it would also feel more at home on 9GO! than the primary channel.
Ahead of its annual Showcase sales event, which next week sees 700 of the world’s top TV executives fly into the UK to view and buy British TV content, BBC Worldwide has revealed its top-rating programs around the world.
Blue Planet II is likely to be amongst the top raters this year as it rolls out internationally but it is already New Zealand’s highest-rating finished program, and the highest-rating natural history program in New Zealand since Frozen Planet in 2012. The series launches shortly on Nine in Australia.
Doctor Foster was a big BBC drama that has proved successful internationally with sales to 226 territories. The series screened in Australia on BBC First and later on ABC.
However, the highest-rating program in Australia was Death in Paradise, which also debuts on BBC First with a later screening on ABC.
The accompanying infographic tracks the popularity of different programs around the world.
Sports radio station 1116 SEN has been slapped with an almost $1 million legal demand for lost wages and damages by two of its biggest former on-air stars, reports News Corp’s Stephen Drill.
Former Melbourne champion David Schwarz and his The Run Home co-host Mark Allen have sent letters of demand to station management.
Lawyers for Schwarz and Allen claim station bosses had agreed in writing to a binding new two-year deal with the duo before SEN merged with Hutchison’s Crocmedia.
Schwarz has demanded $562,126.93 for the work he was slated to do on his afternoon radio show and commentating on games for the sports station.
Allen demanded $418,710.46, according to legal letters seen by the Sunday Herald Sun.