Welcome to the first Mediaweek Industry Awards that give our readers a voice to celebrate the best of the year.
The Mediaweek team has selected nominations in some categories, while readers can vote for anything eligible in other categories.
Our nominations have tended to go for major productions or companies. The nominations in the various categories aren’t exhaustive and there are some omissions. In radio we have stayed with commercial radio because that is our focus at Mediaweek. We don’t completely ignore ABC radio, but it is not our speciality.
In TV, ABC programs are eligible because many of them are made by outside companies, whereas ABC Radio is largely an internal operation. We started rather late planning this year. Next year we anticipate there could be more categories depending on reader feedback.
By Your Money’s Ingrid Willinge and Mediaweek’s James Manning
Campbell spent 13 years at Foxtel looking after sports rights until he departed for the AFL in 2013. After several years running AFL Media he returned to Fox Sports as chief operating officer and was more recently appointed head of Fox Sports.
Campbell was Mediaweek’s guest on the Your Money channel this week just days before the First Test against India starts on Fox Cricket next week.
How happy are you with the Fox Cricket TV audiences so far? You had close to half a million last Sunday.
It was a great night at the SCG with close to a full house and the noise and colour that the Indian crowd brings to a match. It is early days but to get 460,000 for the second session of the T20 was very good. Ratings are but one measure of success, but they have been very encouraging.
Is the form of the Australian cricketers a concern?
We have unbelievable form – our women are World Cup champions. The men’s team is going through a rebuilding phase but Australians love nothing more than our backs again the wall. Australians do their best when they are under pressure and I think we might be pleasantly surprised with the team’s performance.
Can you build on these initial numbers?
We have never had international cricket played in Australia over the summer and is a real opportunity for us to build a narrative and a story over the next six years as we follow Australian cricket. It is a time of year when Australians love and absorb the sport.
Do you expect the numbers will drop for cricket matches you share with Seven?
Our audiences do tend to drop when we share a sports match with a FTA broadcaster. Hopefully between Seven and us what we are doing is growing the number of people who can experience cricket differently.
If you look at the AFL, in many instances Fox Footy and Seven take each other’s coverage. The difference with the cricket is that we are both largely doing very distinct and very different types of coverage of the game. We are giving our viewers very different opportunities and each broadcaster will express their different personalities that way.
How much do you have to do with the new Kayo Sports streaming service?
Most of the content that is available on Kayo comes through the Fox Sports business. But it is run very much as a distinct business unit. There are 50 live sports that can be watched through Kayo. With Fox Sports we are the Fox Sports channels. Kayo has the added benefit of sports not only available on Fox Sports but content from ESPN and beIN as well.
Have you been planning Kayo for some time so you could assemble the streaming rights?
It has been planned for a reasonably long time because we wanted to make sure we got the user experience right. In terms of the rights we have always sought, when acquiring sports rights, both traditional broadcast rights for subscription television and digital rights. Fox Sports and Foxtel have nearly always carried their products on a digital service either through Foxtel Now, Foxtel Go or Foxtel Play. Kayo is just a different way of presenting live sport to a different type of consumer.
You have all the most popular major sports now. What does that mean for niche sports like NBL, or maybe even The A-League, which is going through a transition period?
We are able to open up a sport like cricket, which we know has enormous appeal to third or fourth generation Australians. With newer Australians we know what cricket means to people who come from India. This gives us a brand new opportunity to talk to those Australians and to be able to say we have a product featuring your national team.
With NBL and The A-League, we are lucky to have sports that have always backed us to be able to acquire sports rights that will broaden the breadth and depth of sport to as many people as possible. We can cater to the big audiences through the traditional AFL and NRL, cricket and rugby, and to sports with smaller fan bases. There is clearly still much interest in those sports.
How are your 4K broadcasts performing, and could we see more 4K channels eventually?
So far there is just the one channel and we are very pleased with the audience reaction to 4K. Remember we still have customers who were watching in standard definition so when they move to 4K it is extraordinary. When you talk to Katie Page at Harvey Norman and hear about how many 4K sets they are selling, the natural progression for us would be to continue delivering the pictures. It is a big learning for us from a production perspective as we have to rebuild all our graphics in 4K and we need a new broadcast setup. We have done about six events so far and next is the test match in Adelaide in 4K.
Is the future of Foxtel in your hands? Aren’t sports rights the single most valuable pieces of content a broadcaster can have?
I don’t think so. When you look at what Foxtel offers customers, it is such a broad depth and range of amazing content be it news, sport, entertainment, drama, movies and now 4K. The streaming service we are now able to offer customers via the iQ4 means the set-top box is an amazing on-demand streaming device in addition to the linear channels.
People really want a smorgasbord of content and the ability to consume it when they want to. The deals we have from HBO and FX are just amazing and we are the only place you can see that amazing product.
Are there any sports rights you are still chasing?
I always want more. If you think about the Australian sporting landscape we have got the big sports and also the smaller sports.
When it is time to renew your various deals? Does how you serve those sports matter, or do administrators ultimately look for the biggest cash offer?
The sports bodies look at a number of different things and they want a partner who is also on a subscription platform. Not everything can be covered properly on one channel for many sports. Sports rights owners are far more sophisticated now than 15 or 20 years ago when they started to embrace subscription television. Depth, reach and engagement with viewers – we are both after the same thing.
2018 got off to a surprisingly great start last New Year’s Eve when the ABC delivered exceptional TV coverage.
Everybody loved the Countdown concert, with the exception of Mark Latham after co-host Charlie Pickering mistakenly said, “It’s the one night of the year when you can kill a cop, I mean kiss a cop.” Latham insisted it was a scripted “leftie” gag, even though nothing was funnier all year than Studio 10 interviewing his empty chair when he failed to turn up with his latest leader Pauline Hanson.
Politics took over TV this year as Canberra descended into chaos. Unprecedented election results saw winners being declared in record time, thereby denying viewers a full range of Antony Green drinking games. Sky News was accused of inserting itself into the story, leading Paul Murray, via Mediaweek, to ask that his mates in the media look into the “nuance” of what they do, only to then get caught on tape confirming they were indeed a “Liberal echo chamber”. On an awkward scale, that’s right up there with The Honey Badger not picking a bachelorette.
Even Tom Gleeson got political, running a campaign for Grant Denyer to win a Gold Logie because it would be funny given Family Feud had just been axed. With Denyer’s next show, Game of Games, also destined for the chopping block, maybe Gleeson could try to get its over-the-top contestants nominated for acting awards, even though they will still face stiff competition from the cast of Bite Club.
Aussie drama just couldn’t compete with an avalanche of must-see dramas from overseas. Compiling a Top 10 list is now so 2017 because who on earth can possibly claim to have watched everything on offer? There are large numbers of series viewers start watching but never get around to finishing, so kudos to Mystery Road, Jack Irish, Rake, Picnic At Hanging Rock, Safe Harbour, Doctor Doctor, A Place To Call Home, Wentworth and Safe for keeping my attention for their entire seasons.
My favourite international dramas this year also had political axes to grind. From the largest transgender cast and crew in TV history came Pose, a sassy drama about gay dance balls and Trump Tower moneymakers in the 1980s. Bodyguard was set against a background of anti-terrorism legislation and The Deuce introduced New York councillors intent on cleaning up Times Square, circa 1977.
Meanwhile, The Handmaid’s Tale was accused of turning into torture porn as its second season got even more horrifying than its first. It was the only TV series of the year where I actually had to leave the room during certain scenes and part of me wishes they would tell us exactly when it will finish. But given how scary real-life politics has become, maybe The Handmaid’s Tale is the most important series of our time.
• Nine wins final survey Thursday as Paramedics has huge night
• Survey year nearly done: Seven on track for final week victory?
• 278 survey nights gone – just two left before summer schedules
By James Manning
The broadcaster has won four of the five nights so far this week and leads Nine narrowly in primary and combined channel shares. Its Friday combo of Better Homes and then the much-anticipated The Blake Mysteries should perform well.
The Home And Away triple play did 559,000 after two episodes over 600,000 and one just below during the week.
Orange Is The New Brown is still searching for an audience with 286,000 after 298,000 the previous Thursday.
The movie X-Men: Apocalypse then did 236,000.
Nine News Melbourne police reporter Alexi Daish talked to the parents of hero cop Dean McGrath on A Current Affair. The episode also covered a bad back breakthrough and looked again at energy bills. After three nights over 700,000, the Thursday episode was on 637,000.
Driving Test was then on 232,000 (Sydney and Brisbane only) followed by RBT with 555,000.
Medicine was then the theme with Paramedics on a massive 783,000 after 720,000 a week ago. They really are big numbers for late on a Thursday. Paramedics was a timeslot, evening and demo winner with its biggest audience ever.
Two episodes of Chicago Med then did 336,000 and 199,000.
Monty Python member Eric Idle has been delighting interviewers across the country this week on his book tour and he was a guest on The Project. He got an impressive eight minutes, which was marvellous TV. The episode did 389,000 after 436,000 on Wednesday. Python week continues on The Sunday Project with special guest Michael Palin.
How To Stay Married got the 7.30pm slot last night and did 291,000 after 264,000 later in the night last week.
The Conners was then on 213,000 at 8pm after 283,000 a week ago.
Two episodes of Law & Order: SVU then did 199,000 and 149,000 while the late, late slot saw Blue Bloods on 116,000.
Grand Designs Australia featured Peter Maddison tracking the building of a three-level beach house in Byron Bay. The show did 476,000 after 8pm.
Episode one of the second season of Endeavour then did 343,000.
Alex Polizzi’s Secret Italy did 186,000 at 7.30pm.
Two episodes of Waco followed with an average of 121,000 watching.
|ABC 2||2.5%||7TWO||4.1%||GO!||3.8%||10 Boss||2.9%||VICELAND||1.5%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||5.6%||GEM||3.7%||10 Peach||2.4%||Food Net||1.4%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC 2||3.0%||7TWO||4.9%||GO!||4.6%||WIN Boss||2.7%||VICELAND||1.8%|
|ABC ME||1.3%||7mate||5.7%||GEM||6.0%||WIN Peach||1.3%||Food Net||1.6%|
|ABC NEWS||1.8%||7flix||1.9%||9Life||1.7%||Sky News on WIN||0.7%||NITV||0.4%|
|THURSDAY METRO ALL TV|
16-39 Top Five
18-49 Top Five
25-54 Top Five
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Former ABC chairman Justin Milne has given detailed reasons for the sacking of managing director Michelle Guthrie in September, reports The Australian’s Stephen Brook.
In his submission to a Senate inquiry, Milne, who resigned three days after Guthrie was sacked after allegations of his interference leaked, said the termination was due to very poor results in a 360 leadership review, including that Guthrie’s score for integrity was in the fourth percentile, meaning 96% of people scored above her, while her score for autocracy, arrogance, criticism and distance was in the 90th percentile, meaning only 10% of people scored above her.
“Ms Guthrie was terminated due to poor leadership skills leading to a loss of confidence and trust in her by the board of the ABC and many of its employees,” Milne said.
Guthrie and journalist Emma Alberici clashed over a submission to the inquiry that the ABC’s chief economic correspondent says contains false claims about her stories.
Guthrie told the inquiry into allegations of political interference in the ABC, that Alberici was “reprimanded” over her stories on company tax and innovation, some of which contained errors in fact and omission, that drew complaints from the prime minister and government ministers.
“There was also a conversation with Alberici that included a reprimand, and a conversation with her editors,” Guthrie said.
Bob Geldof never really explained why he was in Australia when he turned up at the ARIA Awards. However The AFR’s Rear Window column has an explanation:
How much does it cost to fly, house and feed several hundred clients, partners, and Bob Geldof to Sydney so they can talk about the future?
Before the ageing rocker insulted Keith Urban at the ARIAs, he made an appearance at EY’s multi-day Future Realised conference. Which was held on Sydney Harbour’s sea-locked Cockatoo Island, and also guest-starred Julie Bishop, Stan Grant, Alan Joyce and a number of EY’s internal rock stars.
And from what we hear, the conference set the firm back…the better part of $4 million – a lot of it spent on flights and accommodation.
The ABC has been struck by another embarrassing technical glitch, with the NSW bulletin at 7pm replaced with a 30-minute news service out of the national broadcaster’s Canberra bureau, reports The Australian’s Sascha O’Sullivan.
NSW viewers were shown a frozen screen at the beginning of last night’s bulletin, while the disembodied voice of regular newsreader Jeremy Fernandez introduced a news story about Scott Morrison’s trip to the G20.
After several seconds, shouts could be heard as the show cut to Canberra newsreader Dan Bourchier, who apologised for the fault, but Fernandez’s voice continued to be broadcast over the top of Bourchier.
An ABC spokesperson confirmed there was a technical issue with the NSW news service this evening but would not elaborate.
Mail Online’s ad revenues have overtaken those for the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday for the first time despite losing almost 2 million digital readers in the last year, reports The Guardian.
The website managed to hit the milestone despite a 13% slump in its global audience after Facebook’s move this year to deprioritise news appearing on users’ timelines. Its daily global unique browsers fell from about 14.83m to 12.9m, a loss of 1.93m, in the year to the end of September.
“Mail Online continues to focus on attracting traffic directly to its homepages on desktop and mobile or its apps,” said Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT), the parent company of the Mail titles and the Metro freesheet. “Indirect traffic, notably via social media and search platforms, has reduced.”
Looking ahead to 2019, the company said: “Digital advertising revenues are expected to grow, helping to offset anticipated print advertising declines, with advertising market conditions likely to remain volatile.”
Eric Bana will act in his first Australian movie since 2007’s Romulus, My Father, starring as Aaron Falk in the feature adaptation of Jane Harper’s bestselling novel The Dry, reports Fairfax Media’s Karl Quinn.
Robert Connolly, who produced Romulus, will direct, from a script he has co-written with Harry Cripps (co-writer with Tim Minchin of the ill-fated Dreamworks animated movie Larrikins).
“I’m still getting over the fact that I can actually wake up in my own bed and achieve something then go back to my own bed at night,” says Bana, who is based in Melbourne but primarily works in the US. “It’s unbelievable. It’s an absolute novelty to me that I cannot get enough of.”
LA-based Australian producer Bruna Papandrea (Big Little Lies, Gone Girl, Wild) snapped up an option to develop the story for the screen even before the book was published. About 12 months ago, the project made its way to the Port Melbourne office Eric Bana shares with Robert Connolly’s Arena Media. It is set to start shooting in Victoria in February, with Papandrea’s Made Up Pictures producing and Bana and Connolly as executive producers.
Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue and artistic director of Condé Nast, will attend the Australian Open in 2019 and headline the AO Inspirational Series on Thursday 24 January.
Widely regarded as the most influential figure in world fashion, Wintour will be the keynote speaker at the AO Inspirational Series, an event designed to celebrate women’s achievements in all aspects of life and also shine a light on gender equality issues.
In recognition of her achievements, Wintour will also be honoured at a special ceremony at Rod Laver Arena between the two women’s semifinals matches.
“As a lifelong tennis fan who’s spent years watching the Australian Open on television at odd hours of the day and night in New York and elsewhere, I’m delighted to be headed to Melbourne to see my very first Australian Open up close and in-person,” Wintour said.
“And, particularly given the dynamic state of today’s women’s tour, I’m very excited to speak about the transformative impact of women in the game, both on the court and off, in terms of what’s been accomplished as well as what challenges remain.”
January 2019 will mark the fourth edition of the AO Inspirational Series which has featured tennis luminaries and former Australian Open champions, including Billie Jean King, Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Kim Clijsters, along with speakers from business, the arts, media, sports and philanthropy.
The exclusive event is the brainchild of Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley, a founding member of Male Champions of Change Sport.
“I’m delighted to welcome Anna to Melbourne, to the Australian Open and as our special guest at the AO Inspirational Series,” Tiley said.
“Anna has achieved so much throughout her career and she communicates with great wit and wisdom on the challenges we all face in this rapidly changing world, both professionally in our working lives, as well as personally.”
Photo: Anna Wintour at the US Open in 2018
After a long relationship with the Seven Network, Cosentino is changing channels as he returns to TV screens in Australia.
On Wednesday December 5th, the latest blockbuster TV production from Australia’s greatest illusionist and escapologist, will be screened in prime time on the Nine Network.
Next week the 90-minute special The Elements: Cosentino, which is written, produced by Cosentino, will screen at 8.30pm on Nine’s primary channel.
The program was made in partnership with Sony International Pictures for the SONY AXN Channel, who are Asia’s biggest TV broadcaster.
This TV special is themed around the four elements – Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. The TV special showcases Cosentino performing his world renowned death-defying escapes, stage illusions and mind bending street magic in some of the most iconic locations across Asia.
The Elements: Cosentino series has been seen in 22 countries. It was the #1 general entertainment TV show (English speaking) right across Asia in January and February this year, reaching an estimated 70 million viewers per night.
Episode one – Earth – was the most successful original production launch of any TV program for Sony AXN Asia.
Cosentino said, “I had such an incredible experience filming this series in Asia. People’s reactions to magic are universal – from the kids in Manila to royalty in Malaysia. Magic can truly transcend cultural barriers and that’s what The Elements: Cosentino was all about: uniting the region”.
Ex-Australian Test captain Michael Clarke has refuted any suggestion he was responsible for declining cultural standards in the lead-up to the ball tampering scandal in Cape Town, reports AAP.
Clarke unleashed a social media tirade on high-profile journalist Gerard Whateley, labelling the sports broadcaster a “headline chasing coward” for criticising his leadership.
“Perhaps if he was talented enough or courageous enough to make it onto a cricket pitch he would have a better perspective than from behind a microphone,” Clarke wrote on Tuesday night.
[The two have traded insults this week. Whateley via his SEN radio show and the SEN website, Clarke via Instagram and Macquarie Sports Radio.]
“What Gerard has said is completely out of line,” he told Macquarie Sports Radio.
“Trying to blame me for cheating in South Africa is an absolute disgrace. “I’ve been able to cop my fair share of criticism. But when somebody questions or insults my integrity and my credibility, that’s not for sale, that’s not on.”
Michael Clarke was one of the most polarising figures to have worn the baggy green in recent times and as the renewed discussion this week about Australia’s team culture has shown he can create a headline, reports Fairfax Media’s Andrew Wu and Christian Nicolussi.
Which makes it all the more puzzling why in the expanded cricket media landscape one of Australia’s most decorated players, a former captain regarded as being one of the more astute tacticians and only three years out of the game, cannot land a gig in Australia.
There have been numerous theories as to why Clarke was not signed by Seven, Fox, the ABC, Macquarie or SEN. Among the more popular have been a belief he grates with punters and that former players who would now be his colleague again do not want to work with him.
Fox Sports’ head of live sport Steve Crawley has heard the rumours but says the network did not hire Clarke as it was conscious of forging its own identity. The pay TV station has hired Shane Warne as its headline act while another former Nine commentator, Ian Healy, has also joined.
Clarke’s price tag may also be too high for the networks, who between them splashed $1.182 billion on the new rights. It’s believed his last contract at Nine was worth $200,000 a year, which is well above what Seven and Fox can afford after taking care of their leading stars.
There is big money at stake in the boxing clash tonight. It will cost big money too if you want to watch the fight.
Former WBC middleweight champion Jeff Horn and former WBA super-middleweight champion Anthony Mundine will clash in a boxing blockbuster River City Rumble at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Both boxers are expected to earn around $2.5m from the battle.
Televised coverage of the fight will be available on Foxtel’s Main Event channel at a cost of $59.95.
Many pubs and clubs will be offering coverage of the fight.
The fight will be held about 9.30pm Brisbane time, 10.30pm along the rest of the east coast of Australia.
For people who find the cost prohibitive they can follows the fight on radio.
Macquarie Sports Radio is mounting special coverage of River City Rumble with 2GB morning host Ray Hadley calling the fight live and free. Hadley will switch networks for the fight to be heard on 2GB’s sister station.
Hadley will be working with former Australian professional boxer Billy Dib, and the fight can be heard Macquarie Sports Radio via 954AM Sydney, 1278AM Melbourne, 882AM Brisbane, DAB+ channel in Perth and online at sportsradio.com.au
Radio coverage will also be available via ABC Grandstand. Working on the ABC coverage is sportscaster Corbin Middlemas and boxing trainer Billy Hussein.
Foxsports.com.au will carry a live blog following the action during the fight.
It’s the unintended consequence of expansion that is causing A-League bosses a serious headache – how many rounds to play when two new teams are added, probably next season, report News Corp’s Tom Smithies and Emma Kemp.
Assuming expansion goes ahead, Confidential can reveal that Fox Sports will inform Football Federation Australia their preference is to broadcast a 22-round regular season, with every club playing each other home and away, followed by the finals series.
That equates to almost exactly the same number of games being broadcast – 137 in a 22-round competition plus finals, as opposed to 140 this year with 10 teams – but it will mean between two and three fewer home games for each club in terms of revenue.
Some had assumed the league would expand to 33 rounds, but at roughly $80,000 production costs per game, that would cost Fox an extra $2.5m – money the broadcaster has made clear it cannot afford.
Seven’s WBBL coverage starts this Saturday December 1 live from the Junction Oval with a big weekend festival of cricket.
All eight teams will take to the field over two action-packed days of cricket to launch the WBBL 4 season.
Seven will broadcast more women’s cricket than ever on free-to-air this summer including 23 WBBL matches.
Reigning champions the Sydney Sixers appear the team to beat as Alyssa Healy aims to continue her stunning form from the World T20, while Perth welcome Meg Lanning for her long-awaited Scorchers debut.
Fresh from their triumph at the ICC World T20, the Aussie stars will take to the field for their WBBL teams.
Abbey Gelmi, Andy Maher and Jason Richardson host Seven’s WBBL coverage throughout the summer with expert commentary from Lisa Sthalekar, Julia Price and Dirk Nannes.
Fans of the cricket will be able to keep up to date with all of the action by following @7Cricket on social.