Tuesday October 30, 2018

3.9m ABC metro viewers embrace spirit of Invictus Games 2018

• Broadcaster celebrates Invictus Games Sydney 2018 multi-platform reach

To date, ABC’s eight-day coverage of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 on the ABC main channel and ABC News has reached 3.9 million people across the five capital cities, representing 23% of the metro population, reports the broadcaster.

The audience numbers will be updated when regional and 7-day consolidated are confirmed.

Michael Mason, director ABC regional and local, said: “Australians have connected strongly with the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 during the past week, and the ABC has been central to that. Our ABC team has brought the stories of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 competitors and their families to life over the past few months.

“In the past week of competition, we have brought audiences coverage of an unprecedented scale across the breadth of ABC digital and broadcast platforms – ABC TV, iview, radio, digital and social. It has been richly rewarding for the ABC to have worked on this event alongside so many inspiring people, and it has been equally rewarding to see how many Australians have enjoyed our coverage.”

ABC’s coverage highlights

• The Opening Ceremony was the most watched non-news program on the night with an average audience of 640,000, delivering the biggest Saturday night primetime share since March 2017 of 14.8%.
• Invictus Games Today, hosted by Chris Bath and Lehmo, averaged 416,000 viewers with a 10.3% share, and Australian Story’s Invictus special attracted an audience of 668,000 viewers.
• The Closing Ceremony drew an average audience of 579,000 and was #1 in its timeslot against Seven (Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix), Nine (Hey Mate – A Concert for the Farmers) and Ten (Ambulance Australia/NCIS: New Orleans).
• Across the period, the Invictus Games live streams generated a total of 119,000 plays.
• ABC News articles published last week generated 820,000 page views, with a total of 1.6 million page views for related articles in October to date.

Photo: ABC’s Invictus Games team including Chris Bath, Lehmo and Dylan Alcott

The fine print:

Figures based on overnight metro preliminary data

Source: Google Analytics, Apple News Analytics

Source: OzTAM, Overnight, Invictus Games Coverage, Closing Ceremony, Total People, 5 City Metro

Source: OzTAM, Overnight, Reach on ABC+ABC NEWS 20.10.2018-27.10.2018, includes Australian Story (inc rpt on 27.10.2018) + Catalyst Special, Without Limits, Fighting Spirit, You Can’t Ask That, Wheeling Diggers, Sports Highlights, Golden Moments, Opening Ceremony inc. pre show, Wheelchair Rugby, Invictus Games Today Highlights, Powerlifting, Athletics Track and Field, Invictus Games Sydney, Invictus Games Today, Competitor Profiles, Total People, 5 City Metro

Source: OzTAM VPM+Plays

Seven Allfronts: Kurt Burnette on food, cricket & audience growth

Taking to the stage early during the Seven Allfronts in Sydney this year was Seven West Media chief commercial officer Kurt Burnette. 

By James Manning

As soon as his presentation had ended he talked to Mediaweek to expand on some of the key attractions for advertisers.

Did you debate for long on launching a food channel?

It was a pretty easy decision in the end. It’s going to be launched at the start of the cricket in December so we’ve got really, really big opportunities for cross promotion. We will use the Melbourne Cup as a launch platform as well. We’ve been in market actually on the quiet for the last few days and I can say that it’s been somewhat of a feeding frenzy, to excuse the pun, for brands wanting to get involved. That’s a really good early sign.

Are you running a lower ad load at launch of Food Network?

We are and we are actually going to stay with less advertising. We’re going to greatly reduce the ad load and there are a number of reasons for that. One is for a better consumer experience, but it also means if you reduce the ad load, reduce the clutter, you get great cut-through for this channel in particular. We are doing a callout to creatives and advertisers who actually want to run longer creative. You can run a 60 or 90-second creative and actually do it not as a television commercial but as content in context. There is nothing better than that. Advertising in content is always better. We’ve done a lot of research with our sporting sponsorships and it comes up every time, if you have an ad in context around sports, it goes off the scale in terms of recall. If you do the same with this food channel, 60 or 90 seconds long-form creative inside food about food, it’s going do an amazing things for brands.

With Food Network you have a partnership with Discovery for lots of international content. Your library supplies lots of Seven Australian food content. Will you be commissioning any new Australian programming?

We’re going to have original commissions, not at launch, but certainly through the year, and again that’s going to be working with a lot of advertising partners. It’s about how can weave their brands inside content we can shoot together. When you think about the people we have on our network now, obviously it’d be no surprise to think that we’ll be working with them as well on creating new content.

Kurt Burnette , Natalie Harvey and Angus Ross

You started the year spending a lot of money on cricket rights. You have reported that getting the revenue back has started strongly.

I’ve been in television for 28 years and I’ve never seen an uptake as fast as what we saw with the cricket. We haven’t put out any press releases or shouted from the rooftops who our partners are, we just get on with it. Some of Australia’s biggest brands have seen what the cricket can do with The Big Bash League and test cricket on one network and they have invested in it. Our team has done an amazing job and the result shows the faith in the product we have been taking to market.

This is an excerpt from the full article, which appears on Mediaweek Premium. Read the full article here or subscribe to Mediaweek Premium here.

Seven Allfronts: Amplify, Zenith & Starcom on Seven in 2019

Earlier this month media buyers from Amplify and Starcom reported on the Nine Upfront event for Mediaweek. At the end of last week they also attended the Seven Allfronts event.

Joining Amplify’s Ashley Earnshaw and Starcom’s Toby Barbour at the Seven event was Zenith’s Anthony Ellis.

Mediaweek’s agency team will be reporting later this week after the Network Ten Upfront.

Anthony Ellis, Chief Investment Officer, Zenith

Anthony Ellis

The Seven lineup is consistent and strong, combining proven product with some new formats. This content is underpinned by the very solid backbone of premium sport that underpins the entire calendar year, creating a great platform to promote their content.

The strategy of creating various versions of successful formats like My Kitchen Rules is not new and it is true that it hasn’t always worked in the past. That said, I believe that a format that is likely to contain past winners or favourite contestants will provide Seven with positive results in the back quarter of next year. The fact that MKR is locally produced and already has long-term sponsors will also help drive premium revenue.

My initial thoughts on the Seven and News partnership, with limited detail, is that any partnership that provides greater results for clients is attractive. The challenge with cross-company partnerships is always how the revenue is divided.

The launch of 7Food Network will be very appealing for the right advertisers. The challenge for Seven is that the launch will also come with expected budget growth and, while the television market is showing steady growth, it still means more inventory to sell.

Scale is important for Seven. However, I would say consistency across the year in the right demographics is key.

Toby Barbour, CEO, Starcom Australia

Twelve consecutive years deserve respect and Seven did deliver on its promise to strengthen the second half 2018 schedule with audience growth. However, I think 2019 will be a fascinating battle and, if ever Nine were going to take the lead, it’s in 2019.

Seven will once again rely on sport as the spine to combine with news, MKR and Home & Away as the base foundation for audience stability.

Event highlights for me included:

• Number One News with launch of 7news.com.au is good.
• Navigate Auto: It’s certainly interesting for our auto brands Inchcape (Subaru, PCA and Trivett) with also Fiat Chrysler Australia. More interesting is the alliance with News to create this vertical solution: is it a sign of the future?
• Cricket: I was underwhelmed – no new technology or benefits for the viewing experience. The brand’s sponsorship board is impressive, with a balanced commentary team and good community integration. The women’s sport promotion with T20 Internationals is great but I expected more on the product itself.
• I question the strength of Seven’s slate with new content launches: The Super Switch vs MAFS, The Proposal vs The Bachelor. I’m really not sure here.
• MKR 10th Anniversary will be a winner, again.
• 7Food Network is a significant announcement and will take time to build audience.

The overall brand integration opportunities across the slate are a question for me versus Nine, and what is the clear solution of Powered?

Seven has the No. 1 BVOD platform with 7Plus, but I’m less convinced of its addressability solution and data story, with 3.7 million UIDs. It will be interesting to watch in 2019 with 7 million UIDs at 9Now.

Overall Seven had a very different performance from Nine – it was less slick and the messages less clear. However, 12 years as No. 1 does deserve respect, and 2019 will be close!

Ashley Earnshaw, Chief Investment Officer, Amplifiy ANZ

Seven demonstrated a solid lineup of tried and tested formats coupled with the new formats, as well as cricket, for our clients into 2019.

There is no doubt that the schedule retains the attractiveness for clients’ television investment.

Regarding catch-up, it would have been positive to see more of future plans for targeting and for cross-screen execution across their assets base including 7Plus.

For agencies there is demand to see more detail in the roadmap for automated buying, to deliver further execution stability and to remove the friction from the buying process.

Seven’s content was covered in depth and we are clear on the programs to access for our advertisers in 2019. They seemed to have most of our clients’ valued demographics covered off across reality, drama, sport and lifestyle.

MKR into Q4 will give more stability to their back half, but it remains to be seen if this will be enough year-on-year to give growth.

It was interesting to see the joint venture between Seven and News Corp with their go to market for Navigate Auto.

This will couple the benefits of platform reach, the multiplier effect for our auto clients’ campaigns, enable improved strategic asset use while also adding in exclusivity in category.

Navigate Auto points towards the future for the market to collaborate and compete with new and existing global competitors.

The 7Food Network launch across all their asset base will be interesting to watch and maybe could lead to more joint ventures should Auto with News Corp prove mutually beneficial.

Foxtel’s FoxFlicks rocks the State Theatre with Bohemian Rhapsody

• Foxtel subscribers have a feelgood night at the flicks

Close to 2,000 packed Sydney’s historic State Theatre last night as Foxtel and its recently launched FoxFlicks brand treated subscribers to a night at the movies.

The marketing initiative should make those subscribers feel a lot better about the brand at a time where it is being assaulted from all fronts by lower-priced offerings.

The crowd wanting to see the Queen biography stretched down Market Street and then up Pitt Street last night indicating the response from RSVPs was going to be very strong.

The crowd was asked to dress “rocking” and TV host Mike Goldman easily won that prize.

It was the right movie, at the right time… and at the right price!

Soaking up the atmosphere as crowds surged through the State Theatre doors just after 6pm was a team of Foxtel executives and talent.

Among the crowd enjoying pre-show drinks and the Queen cover band (not a “Tribute” band – apparently there is a difference) were Foxtel executives including Brian Walsh, Stephen Baldwin, Paul Myers, Jo McAlister and Jamie Campbell. Helping organise the crowd was Campbell’s publicity and promotions team who worked with veteran subscription TV event organisers Garry Farrar and Hamish Campbell.

Foxtel talent included the evening’s MC, actor Julian Maroun (looking sharp in MJ Bale), plus fellow cast member from Fighting Season Sarah Armanious. They were joined by A Place To Call Home cast members Sarah Wiseman, Craig Hall, Dominic Allburn, Conrad Coleby, Jenni Baird and David Berry.

Fox Sports host, outgoing Triple M breakfast announcer and recent AACTA Award nominee Matty Johns was there with wife Trish and their family plus colleagues and friends Brett Finch and Elli Finch and Steve Roach and Cathy Roach.

And the movie – wow! Forget the naysayers and the jokes about the teeth. Bohemian Rhapsody is one hell of a movie. They don’t make ’em like this any more. If you’ve ever worked in or with the entertainment industry you will love it even more. And that music!

If you only see one movie this year…

Foxtel Original on Fox Showcase: Fighting Season gallery

A platoon of soldiers returns from Afghanistan after a controversial mission marred by bitter mistakes and cover-ups. 

Fighting Season is the story of these men, the unfolding mystery of what really happened, and the impact keeping this secret has on them and their families.

The series launched Sunday October 28 on Fox Showcase and will also be available On Demand after each episode premieres on Sunday nights.

Fighting Season is about an army culture of stoic self-sacrifice that can corrode even the strongest marriage, about the politics of war and the bonds of mateship forged in a warzone, of experiences so intense that those back home in the civilian world can’t understand. And about a secret these men will do anything to keep.

See also:

Ewen Leslie on Foxtel Original Fighting Season from Goalpost Pictures
• The busy star of many recent landmark dramas now says he’s ‘totally available’

See the gallery of The Fighting Season below:

How The Block Gatwick apartments sold for $14.49m

They were laughed at for not choosing a penthouse but Hayden and Sara have won The Block 2018 with a $3,020,000 apartment sale and a $645,000 prize.

Newlyweds Hayden Vale and Sara Tumino defied the odds to win as their apartment was auctioned second during the season’s final episode.

The old Gatwick Hotel in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, went under the hammer as The Block came to a surprising conclusion, with all five apartments selling despite Melbourne’s auction clearance rate hitting a six-year low last weekend.

The season that featured the biggest renovations ever ended up with an auction clearance rate of 100%. This was despite a gloomy forecast from the Domain experts at the start of the show, who reminded the contestants and viewers that Melbourne was in the middle of the quickest downturn in house price history and that the sellers were looking at the most challenging real estate market since 2011.

That year just happened to deliver the smallest winning prize ever in The Block history when Polly and Waz won in Richmond with “just” $115,000.

The apartments this year all sold with profits ranging from $209,000 to $545,000 (Hayden and Sara got an extra $100,000 for being the highest).

In auction order last night:

Kerrie & Spence, Reserve $2.423m, Sale $2.850m, Profit 415,000
Hayden & Sara, Reserve $2.475m, Sale 3.020m, Profit $545,000 (+$100,000)
Norm & Jess, Reserve $2.650m, Sale $2.859m, Profit $209,000
Bianca & Carla, Reserve $2.690m, Sale $2.991m, Profit 301,000
Courtney & Hans, Reserve $2.360m, Sale $2.770m, Profit $410,000

Total sale price $14,490,000

Total profit $1,980,000

Project manager Hayden and flight attendant Sara celebrated as the hammer came down on their apartment at $3,020,000. The price was $545,000 over their reserve, which claimed them the grand prize of an additional $100,000 – netting them a total of $645,000. The controversial pair also shared the news that they are expecting a baby boy next April.

They surprised audiences when they won the first challenge of the year and opted to renovate apartment 3 in the old Gatwick, bypassing the chance to build a brand-new penthouse. However, their decision paid off, with the three couples who renovated the old Gatwick apartments all making more than the two penthouse teams.

In second place were the South Australian renovators Kerrie and Spence, the oldest couple on the show, who took home a profit of $415,000 as their apartment sold for $2,850,000.

Kerrie and Spence

High-flying fiancés Courtney and Hans claimed a close third place when their apartment went under the hammer for $2,770,000. They walk away with a profit of $410,000. Their apartment was sold to the previous Gatwick owners, sisters Yvette Kelly and Rose Banks, who will now own a slice of the place they called home for nearly 50 years.

Flight attendants Hans & Courtney prepared for the worst

Best friends from Melbourne, Bianca and Carla, walked away in fourth position with a cool $301,000 when their penthouse sold for $2,991,000.

Bianca and Carla with Spence

Queenslanders Norm and Jess earned themselves $209,000 over the reserve when their penthouse sold for $2,859,000 in a nail-biting auction.

Queenslanders Norm and Jess

The Block continues to be one of TV’s greatest success stories, and this season has been no exception, with the program continuing to dominate in all areas,” said Nine program director Hamish Turner.

“After 14 seasons, The Block regularly tops overnight rankings night after night. It continues to deliver across all platforms, with year on year increases on broadcast video on demand (BVOD).”

Scotty with the winners Sara and Hayden

Next season Scott Cam, along with Shelley Craft and the team, will be back for season 15 in 2019 at the historic Oslo Hotel in St Kilda.

The Block continues as Australia’s richest reality program, taking total prize money across 14 seasons to $20,775,501.

PREVIOUS BLOCK WINNERS

2003 – Bondi – Adam & Fiona, $256,000
2004 – Manly – Jamie & Andrew, $178,000
2010 – Vaucluse – John & Neisha, $305,000
2011 – Richmond – Polly & Waz, $115,000
2012 – South Melbourne – Brad & Lara, $606,000
2013 – All Stars (Bondi) – Phil & Amity, $395,000
2013 – Sky High (South Melbourne) – Alisa & Lysandra, $395,000
2014 – Fans v Faves (Albert Park) – Steve & Chantelle, $736,000
2014 – Glasshouse (Prahran) – Shannon & Simon, $435,000
2015 – Triple Threat (South Yarra) – Darren & Deanne, $935,000
2015 – The Blocktagon (South Yarra) – Dean & Shay, $755,000
2016 – The Block 2016 (Port Melbourne) – Will & Karlie, $815,000
2017 – The Block 2017 (Elsternwick) – Josh & Elyse, $547,000

Ten years of News Breakfast: The evolution of the ABC show

It’s been 10 years since ABC’s News Breakfast first appeared on Australian TV. However, it is still a young show compared to its competitors in breakfast. 

By Kruti Joshi

This, according to News Breakfast host Michael Rowland, comes with its own challenges.

“Our numbers show that our audience has been growing year-on-year. That has certainly been the case in the last year, where Sunrise and Today have fallen,” Rowland told Mediaweek. “The thing with breakfast shows is that it takes a while to establish yourself. We shouldn’t forget that Today has been on-air for over 35 years and Sunrise has been on-air since the 1990s. Those were well established by the time we burst onto the scene.

“Ten years is a long period of time but in TV terms, compared to the other two, we are still very young.”

News Breakfast began in 2008. Rowland has been with the show since 2010. He replaced Joe O’Brien.

Rowland said the ABC breakfast show, which airs on ABC’s primary and news channel, is dramatically different now from what it was in 2010.

“We had a lack of resources back then,” Rowland said. “We definitely cover news but we also break it up with light and shade. There is more colour and we do more entertainment stories. We have the mix pretty much right now.”

While entertainment stories are important to News Breakfast’s lineup, the heart of the show is news and analysis. This has a big influence on the type of audience it attracts.

In 2018 YTD, News Breakfast on the ABC main channel with 107,000 viewers and on the news channel with 45,000 has achieved a combined metro average audience of 152,000. This is +1% above the 2017 series average.

“In this era of fake news and lots of nonsense, they really trust the ABC News brand,” Rowland said. “That is a reason why people are switching to us. They want some serious news and they want a breakfast show that treats them intelligently.”

While Rowland isn’t a fan of the term chemistry to describe the rapport between presenters, he said it’s very important for them to gel. Rowland said this is something he and co-host Virginia Trioli have strengthened over the years.

“You can’t just plant two people, sit them on the one couch and expect the magic to happen from day one. You have to build a relationship with your co-presenter. That is what Virginia and I have done over the last eight years on News Breakfast.

This is an excerpt from the full article, which appears on Mediaweek Premium. Read the full article here or subscribe to Mediaweek Premium here.

Pacific Magazines launches The Who 100 List: special travel edition

Pacific Magazines’ Who brand has relaunched its online travel vertical to coincide with the publication of The Who 100 List, the brand’s first travel one-shot showcasing the world’s 100 hottest holiday destinations.

The launch follows research conducted by the brand that found 88% of Who’s audience of 2 million had travelled in the past year, and a further 83% intending to travel in the next 12 months.

Keshnee Kemp, editor and content director of Who, said: “Australians are travelling more than ever – we’re going further than ever before and we’re spending more on holidays than we have in the past. The Who audience typifies this trend with 71% of our readers keen to experience new and exciting destinations. With the help of our advertising partners, we’re helping them do just that.”

Online, the new-look travel platform features the Who team’s secret spots, honest reviews and travel video diaries, as well as tried and tested travel tips and advice.

On sale from today, The Who 100 List features the top 100 hotels, destinations, restaurants and spas as experienced and chosen by the team at Who.

A partnership with LUX Resorts & Hotels and Scoot will mean one lucky reader will also win two flights and a week in the Maldives, worth $12,000.

Gereurd Roberts, CEO of Pacific, said: “The Who 100 List follows several hugely successful standalone editions from Pacific brands this year, including the sold-out New Idea Royal Wedding souvenir one-shot and Home Beautiful’s Hamptons Homes.

“Like those launches, this one has been developed out of Pacific’s audience data and resulting consumer insights, and is supported across all channels. Given that, and the propensity of the Who audience for travel, this is sure to be successful as well.”

Drama Report 2017/18: record expenditure on Australian titles

• Film spend up, but TV down year-on-year
• Cost of producing an hour of TV drama climbs past $1.5m

Screen Australia’s annual Drama Report shows a record high expenditure on homegrown stories, with $718 million spent on local productions, up 7% on last year.

The Drama Report measures the health of the Australian screen industry by covering the production of local and foreign feature films, TV dramas, online programs plus PDV (post, digital and visual effects) activity.

The 2017/18 record local expenditure included 36 TV dramas such as Mystery Road, Playing for Keeps and the forthcoming Lambs of God, and their combined spend of $295 million was above the five-year average, although it was down year-on-year.

Mystery Road

Spend on Australian feature films was up 12% on last year to $321 million due to strong official co-production activity. Thirty-eight Australian feature films were made including box office hit Ladies in Black and the forthcoming Storm Boy. Ten children’s television programs went into production including fan favourite Bluey, with $49 million spent on Australian children’s programs, up 3% on last year’s spend but below the five-year average. Eighteen online drama titles went into production, with a 256% increase in expenditure, driven by content with longer episodes and a higher cost per hour.

Playing for Keeps

Overall $814 million was spent on 133 screen productions in 2017/18 compared to $1.3 billion on 166 titles in 2016/17. This drop was largely due to reduced foreign film production spend. New South Wales accounted for the largest share of total expenditure in Australia (37%), while Western Australia ($37 million) and South Australia ($82 million) set new expenditure records.

Australian TV drama production was down on last year’s record, with 423 hours of content produced with combined budgets of $301 million and Australian spend of $295 million. The decline in hours can be attributed to the production of shorter-running series and miniseries. However, the average cost per hour to make miniseries reached $1.567m, indicating a trend towards high production value content.

Dead Lucky

For the first time in a decade the slate included a new serial, The Heights for the ABC (30×30 minutes). Other new titles in production included the forthcoming On the Ropes for SBS, comedy Orange is the New Brown for Channel 7, and drama Lambs of God for Foxtel.

Foreign TV drama shoot activity accounted for $4 million in Australian expenditure in 2017/18, below the five-year average of $16 million. Two foreign shoot titles contributed to this result including Old Boy and Love in Aranya, both from China.

Top Photo: Ladies in Black

Australia’s finest listed as AACTA Awards nominations revealed

With just five weeks until the 2018 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel, anticipation about who could win the nation’s top screen awards increased when the Australian Academy announced the nominees in all categories.

The winners will be announced at the two major 2018 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel events, held at The Star Event Centre in Sydney, home of the AACTA Awards: The Industry Luncheon on Monday December 3, and the AACTA Awards Ceremony on Wednesday December 5, telecast on Seven with encore screenings on Foxtel.

Tickets to both events are on sale now from www.aacta.org/whats-on.

The 2018 AACTA Awards mark the 60th Anniversary of AFI | AACTA, giving the Australian Academy and the screen industry the opportunity to celebrate its incredible history, talented practitioners and world-class productions.

Comedy-drama LADIES IN BLACK, drama series MYSTERY ROAD and gay rights movement miniseries RIOT lead the way with 11 nominations each, followed closely by Australian western SWEET COUNTRY with 10 nominations.

FEATURE FILM

In another record-breaking year, a total of 19 feature films have received nominations, with five films competing for the highly coveted AACTA Award for Best Film presented by Foxtel: BOY ERASED, BREATH, CARGO, LADIES IN BLACK and SWEET COUNTRY.

The five nominees for the inaugural AACTA Award for Best Indie Film presented by Event Cinemas – which honours the finest Australian films of the past year with a budget of under $2 million – are: The Jacobson Brothers’ dark comedy BROTHERS’ NEST; Benjamin Gilmour’s JIRGA, which was recently announced as Australia’s entry for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar®; Stan’s first Australian “Original” feature film, Mairi Cameron’s THE SECOND; Alena Lodkina’s Venice Film Festival Biennale College-funded film STRANGE COLOURS; and Jason Raftopoulos’s WEST OF SUNSHINE, whose star, the late Damian Hill, also received a posthumous nomination for Best Lead Actor.

Leading individual nominations are Joel Edgerton (BOY ERASED) and Simon Baker (BREATH), who compete in four categories: Best Film, Best Direction, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor. Not only does this mark first-time production and direction nominations for the AFI and AACTA Award-winning auteurs, it also marks the first time in AFI | AACTA history that an individual has been nominated in both direction and acting categories in the same year.

Egderton and Baker compete for Best Direction alongside two past category winners: Cannes Golden Camera Award-winner Warwick Thornton (SWEET COUNTRY), and two-time Oscar® nominee Bruce Beresford (LADIES IN BLACK), whose nomination marks his seventh Best Direction nomination, tying him with Paul Cox for the most nominations in the category.

Emmy winner Julia Ormond receives her first AACTA Award nomination for LADIES IN BLACK, while Oscar® nominees Lucas Hedges and Rooney Mara follow past recognition at the AACTA International Awards with nominations for their performances in BOY ERASED and MARY MAGDALENE, respectively.

Also receiving nominations for BOY ERASED are Oscar® and multi-AFI and AACTA Award-winners Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, who is vying for her second consecutive Best Supporting Actress win.

SWEET COUNTRY’s Hamilton Morris and Natassia Gorey-Furber both receive nominations for their acting debuts, while Daniel Monks receives a Best Lead Actor nomination for his feature film debut in PULSE.

Feature films BREATH and SWEET COUNTRY are nominated for the inaugural AACTA Award for Best Casting presented by Casting Networks alongside television miniseries FRIDAY ON MY MIND and RIOT.

TELEVISION

In television, 51 productions compete for 21 awards, with five nominees competing for the AACTA Award for Best Drama Series: JACK IRISH, MR INBETWEEN, MYSTERY ROAD, RAKE and WENTWORTH.

The AACTA Award for Best Comedy Program sees four previous AACTA Award-winning and nominated productions – ROSEHAVEN, TRUE STORY WITH HAMISH AND ANDY, THE LETDOWN and BLACK COMEDY – compete against the first AACTA nominated stand-up special, NANETTE, which had garnered worldwide critical acclaim following its release on Netflix in June.

Nominated for Best Direction in a Television Drama or Comedy are Rachel Perkins (MYSTERY ROAD), Nash Edgerton (MR INBETWEEN), Jeffrey Walker (RIOT) and last year’s winner Glendyn Ivin (SAFE HARBOUR).

Oscar® nominee and eight-time AFI and AACTA Award winner Judy Davis – who currently holds the record for most wins across performance categories – receives her first nomination in a television category for MYSTERY ROAD.

Among those receiving their first nominations are: Hannah Gadsby (NANETTE); Hazem Shammas and Nicole Chamoun (SAFE HARBOUR); Xavier Samuel (RIOT); and the five nominees for the Subscription Television Award for Best New Talent, Inez Currõ (PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK), Markella Kavenagh (ROMPER STOMPER), Nick Riewoldt (AFL 360), Chika Yasumura and Scott Ryan (MR INBETWEEN).

Celia Pacquola’s nomination for ROSEHAVEN marks her fourth nomination for Best Performance in a Television Comedy and sees her chasing her fourth consecutive AACTA Award win. Other actors receiving consecutive nominations include: Tina Bursill (DOCTOR, DOCTOR), Leah Purcell (WENTWORTH), Wayne Hope (BACK IN VERY SMALL BUSINESS), and Richard Roxburgh, who received his seventh Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama nomination.

Also chasing a fourth consecutive AACTA Award win is MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA, which receives its eighth consecutive nomination. Other productions receiving consecutive category nominations include: WENTWORTH (Best Drama Series); ROSEHAVEN and TRUE STORY WITH HAMISH & ANDY (Best Comedy Program); AUSTRALIAN SURVIVOR and MY KITCHEN RULES (Best Reality Series); HARD QUIZ, JULIA ZEMIRO’S HOME DELIVERY and LITTLE BIG SHOTS (Best Entertainment Program); and SELLING HOUSES AUSTRALIA, which is vying for its second consecutive win for Best Lifestyle Program.

In Subscription Television, presenters Margaret Pomeranz (SCREEN), Shaynna Blaze (SELLING HOUSES AUSTRALIA), Yvonne Sampson (LEAGUE LIFE, BIG LEAGUE WRAP, THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTY, SUPER SATURDAY) and Andrew Winter (LOVE IT OR LIST IT AUSTRALIA, SELLING HOUSES AUSTRALIA) all see consecutive nominations in the Best Presenter categories. Nominated in Best Live Event Production are BATHURST 2017, CMC MUSIC AWARDS 2018, JEFF HORN V GARY CORCORAN WORLD TITLE FIGHT and SKY NEWS LEADERSHIP SPILL.

Also announced today were the nominees for the inaugural AACTA Subscription Television Award for Best Sports Presentation: AFL 360, FINALS FOOTY ON FOX: RICHMOND V COLLINGWOOD, LEAGUE LIFE and SUNDAY NIGHT WITH MATTY JOHNS.

DOCUMENTARY AND ONLINE

GURRUMUL and MOUNTAIN lead nominations in the documentary categories with five each, both receiving nominations for Best Feature Documentary alongside GHOSTHUNTER, JILL BILCOCK: DANCING THE INVISIBLE and WORKING CLASS BOY.

Nominated for Best Documentary or Factual Program are: AFTER THE APOLOGY, EMPLOYABLE ME, HAWKE: THE LARRIKIN AND THE LEADER, THE QUEEN & ZAK GRIEVE and YOU CAN’T ASK THAT.

This year’s AACTA Award for Best Online Video or Series sees BC EXPLAINED, DEADLOCK, HOMECOMING QUEENS, KIKI AND KITTY and SMALL TOWN HACKERS all receive nominations.

“AFI | AACTA has been celebrating our industry and its immense talent since the first AFI Awards in 1958, where 10 awards were presented. 60 years on, we have 395 individuals from 105 productions competing for a total of 54 Awards, recognising excellence across all industry sectors, including feature film, television, documentary, short film, online, visual effects and animation,” said AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella. “We’re thrilled to see such a wealth of screen talent recognised at this year’s Awards – from some of the earliest AFI Award winners to many emerging and early-career practitioners – and we look forward to celebrating their fine achievements, as well as our 60th anniversary as the longest-standing national screen culture and industry development organisation at the 2018 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel in Sydney.”

Top Photo: Mr Inbetween

TV Demand: Horror, Daredevil and Riverdale top the charts

After Halloween horror dominated all the TV Demand charts last week, the genre still features heavily, although it is sharing top spot with other titles this week.

On the Digital Originals charts, The Haunting Of Hill House from Netflix is still #1 in New Zealand and #2 in Australia. However, Marvel’s Daredevil has lifted to top spot in Australia after four weeks in the top 10.

New to that chart in both markets this week is the new Netflix series Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina.

American Horror Story topped both markets’ Overall TV Show charts last week and remains #1 in New Zealand and #3 in Australia.

Moving into top spot in Australia though on this chart is Riverdale, up from #2 last week.

Marvel’s Daredevil has entered the Overall TV chart in both countries this week, at #4 in Australia and #6 in New Zealand.

Top Photo: Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Social Content Ratings: The Block and A-League Sydney Derby #1

The series final of Nine’s The Block Gatwick on Sunday has topped the Social Content Ratings Non-Sport chart with over 110,000 interactions, well ahead of the next best, The Bachelorette Australia episode from last Wednesday on TEN.

Four networks were represented on the chart with Seven and ABC also in the top five.

The A-League is perhaps the surprising leader on the Sports category with games from Saturday and Sunday taking the top two spots. Top spot went to Saturday’s Sydney Derby at a time when A-League critics are questioning just how popular the sport is.

The NBL also managed to find a spot in the top five with the Nine and Fox Sports coverage of Wildcats v United ranked #4.

Box Office: A Star Is Born survives Halloween

Despite the buzz of Halloween season drifting into theatres this weekend the overall box office totals still saw a 4% decline after bringing home $12.24m.

By Trent Thomas

In the theme of the holiday season, two spooky films have made their way into the top five. The appropriately titled Halloween debuted in second spot, while the more family-friendly Goosebumps: Haunted Halloween marked its first week in third place.

The two films to drop out of the top five this week were Ladies in Black, which has made $10.8m over six weeks, and Bad Times at the El Royale, which has generated $2.60m after three weeks.

#1 A Star Is Born $5.04m

 

Producing another strong effort in its second weekend in theatres after only a 17% decline, the re-make of the 1976 Barbra Streisand film starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper has generated an average of $12,865 across 389 screens.

#2 Halloween $2.77m

 

The eleventh film in the Halloween series and a direct sequel to the 1978 original, featuring Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle in their original roles, produced a strong average of $6,327 after debuting on 439 screens.

#3 Goosebumps: Haunted Halloween $1,04m

 

Based on the novels by R.L Stein and the sequel to the 2015 film has Jack Black returning (voice only) with a new set of teen actors in Jeremy Ray Taylor, Madison Iseman, and Caleel Harris. Taking advantage of the Halloween weekend the family-friendly movie made an average of $4,032 on 260 screens.

#4 Venom $978,415

 

Dropping to fourth spot in its fourth week in cinemas, the Sony produced Marvel film has brought its overall total past 20 million as it had an average of $2,903 across 337 screens.

#5 First Man $568,774

 

The biopic of Neil Armstrong has kept its spot in the top five after three weeks despite a 49% drop off in revenue. It generated $1,909 on 298 screens.

TV Ratings Analysts: October 29

• End of The Block sees ratings realignment: Nine down, others up
• Nine’s lowest Monday share in 16 weeks, other channels climb

By James Manning

Seven

The channel’s improved showing was its first Monday win over its commercial competitors since Brownlow Medal Monday and before that the last Monday in July.

Home And Away was labelled as perhaps Seven’s most important program at its Allfronts Event last Friday. The 7pm drama has started the week on 663,000 after a week 43 average of 588,000.

Bride & Prejudice has been reshaped using the reality rulebook and has launched with 633,000, which put it ahead of Family Food Fight and Blind Date. The series hasn’t been on since the start of last year where it launched in late January with 874,000 off the back of My Kitchen Rules.

Seven is burning through this season of Wanted with another two episodes last night doing 400,000 and 307,000.

Nine

The numbers tumbled with The Block gone from the schedule. Nine is not alone in trying to find big TV crowds in the final few weeks of survey each year.

Family Food Fight was no substitute for The Block with a launch episode on 411,000 after last year’s series started on 555,000.

Earlier in the night A Current Affair was on 757,000 after a week 43 average of 688,000.

The 2016 movie Bad Moms then did 226,000.

TEN

The Project started a new week on 445,000 at 7pm after a week 43 average of 407,000, which is close to an all-time low weekly average.

Blind Date was then on 347,000 after 377,000 last week.

Have You Been Paying Attention? then did the heavy lifting for the channel, pushing the audience higher to 683,000 thanks to the addition of Mick Molloy to the contestants.

ABC

The channel had its second-best Monday share of the year [best was 17.5% on August 27].

Leading the charge after ABC News and 7.30 was Australian Story on 769,000. One of its biggest audiences this year was watching ideas to help tackle a lack of water on the land.

Four Corners then did well too with 721,000 watching Louise Milligan report on the British royal family and the way they manage “The Firm”.

Media Watch was up there too with 632,000 before Q&A dropped to 284,000.

SBS

Professor Alice Roberts took viewers to Cheltenham on Britain’s Most Historic Towns – 266,000 of them.

Week 44 TV: Monday
MONDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine Ten SBS
ABC 16.7% 7 20.0% 9 16.4% TEN 12.4% SBS One 5.2%
ABC 2 2.2% 7TWO 3.7% GO! 4.3% ONE 3.6% VICELAND 1.3%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 3.3% GEM 2.6% ELEVEN 1.8% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix 1.8% 9Life 2.0%     NITV 0.2%
TOTAL 20.7%   28.8%   25.3%   17.7%   7.5%
MONDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates Ten Affiliates SBS
ABC 15.3% 7 20.7% 9 12.2% WIN 9.4% SBS One 4.5%
ABC 2 3.1% 7TWO 5.2% GO! 5.5% ONE 4.0% VICELAND 0.9%
ABC ME 1.1% 7mate 4.6% GEM 4.1% ELEVEN 2.0% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.7% 7flix 1.5% 9Life 1.9% Sky News  on WIN 0.8% NITV 0.2%
TOTAL 21.2%   32.0   23.7%   16.2%   6.4%

 

MONDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
86.2% 13.8%

 

Monday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 979,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 973,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 891,000
  4. Nine News Nine 878,000
  5. Australian Story ABC 769,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 757,000
  7. Four Corners ABC 721,000
  8. Abc News ABC 716,000
  9. 7.30 ABC 698,000
  10. Have You Been Paying Attention? Ten 683,000
  11. Home And Away Seven 663,000
  12. Bride & Prejudice – The Forbidden Weddings Seven 633,000
  13. Media Watch ABC 632,000
  14. The Chase Australia Seven 549,000
  15. Hot Seat Nine 469,000
  16. The Project 7pm Ten 445,000
  17. Family Food Fight Nine 411,000
  18. Wanted Seven 400,000
  19. Ten Eyewitness News First At Five Ten 370,000
  20. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 354,000
DEMO TOP FIVES

16-39 Top 5

  1. Have You Been Paying Attention? Ten 227,000
  2. Bride & Prejudice – The Forbidden Weddings Seven 175,000
  3. Home And Away Seven 124,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 116,000
  5. Blind Date Ten 112,000

 

18-49 Top 5

  1. Have You Been Paying Attention? Ten 382,000
  2. Bride & Prejudice – The Forbidden Weddings Seven 273,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 244,000
  4. Nine News Nine 223,000
  5. Home And Away Seven 213,000

 

25-54 Top 5

  1. Have You Been Paying Attention? Ten 433,000
  2. Bride & Prejudice – The Forbidden Weddings Seven 298,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 297,000
  4. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 276,000
  5. Nine News Nine 274,000
MONDAY Multichannel
  1. The Big Bang Theory Tx2 – (R) 9GO! 226,000
  2. The Big Bang Theory Tx3 – (R) 9GO! 213,000
  3. The Big Bang Theory Tx1 – (R) 9GO! 194,000
  4. NCIS E2 (R) ONE 152,000
  5. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 152,000
  6. Hey Duggee PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 146,000
  7. Rusty Rivets PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 146,000
  8. Doc Martin PM 7TWO 143,000
  9. New Tricks 9Gem 141,000
  10. Dino Dana ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  11. Dot. ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  12. The Big Bang Theory – (R) 9GO! 136,000
  13. Pj Masks PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  14. NCIS (R) ONE 133,000
  15. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 131,000
  16. Wanda And The Alien PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 130,000
  17. Neighbours ELEVEN 129,000
  18. Little Roy PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  19. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  20. Octonauts ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
MONDAY Subscription TV
  1. Live: Motorsport: F1: Mexico Race FOX SPORTS 506 88,000
  2. Mr Inbetween showcase 79,000
  3. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 61,000
  4. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 54,000
  5. The Simpsons FOX8 48,000
  6. Credlin Sky News Live 46,000
  7. The Simpsons FOX8 45,000
  8. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 44,000
  9. The Walking Dead showcase 44,000
  10. Sharri Sky News Live 41,000
  11. Father Brown UKTV 41,000
  12. Ncis TVH!TS 39,000
  13. The Walking Dead showcase 39,000
  14. Supergirl FOX8 38,000
  15. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 38,000
  16. Bones TVH!TS 38,000
  17. Family Guy FOX8 36,000
  18. Family Guy FOX8 36,000
  19. Selling Houses Australia LifeStyle Channel 35,000
  20. PML Overtime Sky News Live 33,000

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

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

Google slams News Corp ‘algorithm review board’ hopes

Google has slammed News Corp’s proposal for the government to introduce a review panel to scrutinise algorithms used by digital platforms, telling the competition regulator the publisher’s idea was “unnecessary and ill-conceived”, report Fairfax Media’s Jennifer Duke & John McDuling.

In a second submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) inquiry into digital platforms, the search giant claimed that an algorithm review board would not be practical, and more transparency could expose the search engine to being manipulated by bad actors.

Other digital platforms have privately said an algorithm review board would be “impossible”, with many platforms requiring thousands of iterations changing constantly to be able to personalise their platforms.

[Read the original]

UK Budget 2018: Tech giants face digital services tax of 2%

UK Chancellor Philip Hammond plans to introduce a digital services tax from April 2020 following a consultation, reports BBC News.

He said “established tech giants” will be targeted rather than startups.

Companies such as Amazon and Facebook have been criticised for the small amount of tax they pay in the UK.

Both the 36-member OECD and the European Commission have been trying to reach a consensus on imposing a digital tax on social media platforms, internet marketplaces and search engines.

However, Hammond said that progress was “painfully slow”.

He said: “It is clearly not sustainable or fair that digital platform businesses can generate substantial value in the UK without paying tax here.”

The Treasury forecasts that the tax will generate £275m in 2019-20, rising to £370m in the following year.

It then expects that digital services tax receipts will reach £400m in 2021-22 and £440m the year after.

The chancellor is proposing a 2% tax rate against the sales that large digital companies make in the UK.

[Read the original]

9 out 10 books: Australian authors flood the bestsellers list

Remember when books were dead, and nobody could make a living writing them, especially not in Australia? Not so fast, writes guest Strewth columnist Caroline Overington in The Australian.

Dymocks says nine of the books in this week’s top 10 are Australian, a feat no one can remember happening before. They are: The Lost Man by Jane Harper; Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty; No Spin by Shane Warne; Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak; The Price of Fortune by The Australian’s Damon Kitney; Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape; Johnathan Thurston: The Autobiography (with James Phelps), Barefoot for Families, also by Pape, and Leigh Sales’s Any Ordinary Day.

[Read the original]

News Brands

Geoffrey Rush case: Actor Eryn Norvill felt ‘frightened, alone’

Actor Eryn Jean Norvill told a colleague she was frightened, felt alone and was being “ferociously hounded” by the media as stories about her King Lear season with Geoffrey Rush appeared in a newspaper, according to text messages tendered in a Sydney court, reports ABC News’s Jamelle Wells.

An emotional text message exchange between Norvill and actor Robyn Nevin was tendered to the Federal Court on Monday as part of Rush’s defamation case against Nationwide News – publisher of The Daily Telegraph.

A 2017 article suggested Rush behaved inappropriately towards a young co-star during the Sydney Theatre Company’s 2015-16 season.

It was later revealed that the colleague was Norvill. Rush denied the allegations, claiming the stories defamed him.

Nevin, who played The Fool to Rush’s King Lear, broke down in court as she described how the stories affected the Oscar-winner.

[Read the original]

The Australian: AFR’s ranking of  judges based on flawed data

Details published in The Australian Financial Review on the productivity of Federal Court judges were based on data from a research company that says it knows nothing about measuring judicial productivity, reports The Australian’s legal affairs editor Chris Merritt.

The AFR’s analysis, which has triggered a wave of criticism in the legal profession, was based on data provided by internet research company Scraping Solutions, which said it did not present its findings to that newspaper as a measure of judicial productivity.

“The recent articles in The Australian Financial Review are fundamentally flawed and unfair both to the court and to extremely hard-working individual judges,” Federal Court Chief Justice James Allsop said in a statement yesterday.

[Read the original]

Ipsos survey: BBC is Australia’s #1 online international news brand

The BBC News brand is growing at least twice as fast as CNN, Bloomberg and CNBC among affluent audiences in APAC according to the latest release of the Ipsos Affluent Survey Asia Pacific (Q3 2017-Q2 2018).

BBC was also named as Australia’s #1 online international news brand among all affluent audiences and affluent millennials.

Jamie Chambers, regional director ANZ, said: “Against the backdrop of a polarised media environment and a growing demand for quality, impartial journalism that can be trusted, these latest results prove the value of BBC.com with audiences in Australia. Coupled with our recent investments into content effectiveness insights and new products like BBC Reel, our curated video platform, this provides advertisers with even more reason to partner with BBC.com to reach quality audiences at scale in an effective and premium environment.”

According to the Ipsos survey, the BBC in Australia is the #1 international news brand online reaching influential audiences including:

• BDMs
• Top management
• High income individuals
• High net worth individuals
• Senior Finance Decision Makers (CFO/Treasurer/ Financial Controller)
• Business opinion leaders
• IT decision makers
• Senior Government officials

The BBC also showed strength among travel and sports audiences being announced as #1 online international news brand among:

• Business travellers
• Leisure travellers
• Cricket fans
• Rugby fans
• Tennis fans

Television

Seven’s MAFS-like makeover to Bride & Prejudice is shameless

For a reality show that limped through a 9pm timeslot and an ever-dwindling audience early last year, it seemed odd that Seven doubled-down on Bride & Prejudice. A second season, really? And a 7.30pm primetime launch, too, comments Fairfax Media’s Robert Moran.

One episode in, and there’s already around 300 therapy sessions worth of issues to unpack. I’m hooked. At the risk of saluting a franchise of embedded evil (you know, allegedly): MAFS, thank you for showing the way.

[Read the original]

Reality rules: Hank and Lily speak out after Bride and Prejudice debut

Bride and Prejudice’s Hank says he doesn’t agree with his parents’ old-fashioned views about women and will stand by his fiancée Lily, reports The Courier-Mail’s Amy Price.

During the Channel 7 show’s debut episode on Monday night the Gold Coaster’s parents, Terry and Margaret, shocked viewers with their contempt for their son’s 23-year-old fiancée, who Margaret lamented was a “controlling, feminist vegetarian” who “doesn’t like what I cook”.

Terry said he didn’t believe the relationship would last and added: “She thinks women should be independent. She will go on about women not getting equal pay… all the lefty jargon – she believes it.”

[Read the original]

Ben Fordham addresses rumours he’ll return to the Today show

Radio host Ben Fordham has no interest in returning to Channel 9’s embattled breakfast show, Today, reports Sydney Confidential.

Rumours have been leaking from inside Nine for several months that the 2GB host may replace troubled host Karl Stefanovic on Today, but Fordham said he had no passion for the job.

“Not at all. I have no intentions of going back to Today,” Fordham said.

“I had a great time on the show with Karl and Georgie (Gardner) and the team for many years but won’t be returning any time soon.”

[Read the original]

Sports Media

Broadcast hours up for women’s sports under taxpayer-funded Fox Sports deal

Women’s sports coverage on subscription television has jumped 39% over the past year, a report into the federal government’s $30 million grant for Fox Sports has found, reports News Corp’s Rob Harris.

The first report on the funding, to be released today, found more than 4,800 hours of women’s, niche and emerging sports hit the screens in the past 12 months, including about 1,600 live hours.

It comes as Fox Sports, owned by News Corp Australia, announced it would further enhance its coverage of sports over the coming 12 months including all W-League soccer games, the inaugural Hockey Pro league, the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 cricket and the FIBA Women’s World Cup basketball.

The Coalition government announced in its 2017 Budget it would provide $30 million from 2017-18 to 2020-21 to support television and online coverage of sports that received low or no broadcast exposure, including women’s sports, niche sports and those sports that command high levels of community involvement and participation.

The costs incurred by Fox Sports for the acquisition and broadcast of women’s niche and emerging sports has exceeded the $7.5 million taxpayer grant.

[Read the original]

Sports Media

Game over: Harold Mitchell retires from Tennis Australia board

Tennis Australia yesterday announced Harold Mitchell is retiring from the board having served his full term.

The former ad man was involved in controversy during his time with the sport. Mitchell led a series of broadcast rights negotiations exclusively with Seven in 2013 at the same time he was chairman of Free TV Australia with accusations of conflict of interest. At the time it was claimed Nine and Ten never had an opportunity to bid for the rights. ASIC subsequently investigated the contact renewal.

Fast forward to earlier this year though and Nine won the tennis broadcast rights and is now the new home of tennis in Australia.

Tennis Australia yesterday said Mitchell has been a key member of the Tennis Australia board during the last 10 years, driving business throughout the greatest growth period in its history.

Tennis Australia president and chair Jayne Hrdlicka paid tribute to her Vice President during the company’s AGM in Melbourne.

“The contribution Harold has made to our sport and organisation is significant. We are deeply grateful for his hugely generous spirit, commitment to strengthening the sport and importantly his focus on ensuring the long-term financial health of our balance sheet. The benefits of Harold’s commitment to tennis will be enjoyed for generations to come,” she said.

Sitting board member Greg Hutchinson was re-elected at the AGM for another three years.

The Tennis Australia board now comprises: Jayne Hrdlicka, president and chair, Graham Bradley, Diane Grady, Greg Hutchinson, Ken Laffey, Elizabeth Minogue, Peter Robertson and Janice van Reyk.

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