Sky News Business introduced a new addition to its lineup in mid-February to satisfy the demands of political and business junkies.
The nightly program titled Ticky is a joint production between Sky News Business and News Corp’s The Australian. It analyses news events around business and politics.
The presenter of the new show Ticky Fullerton told Mediaweek, “We hit the ground running.
“I joined Sky on 31 January and we were on air a couple of weeks later. So it was a pretty quick turnaround.
“In the typical Sky style we thought, ‘Let’s get this baby on the road as fast as possible’,” she said, adding that the program wasn’t consciously scheduled to premiere at any particular time of year.
“It’s great to have the support of so many chief executives who were delivering their company results over this time, coming on the show and talking about some of the issues concerning them.”
The hour-long show starts at 6pm, a primetime slot for the channel. It is also the time the majority of the corporate employees call it a day at work. The program, Fullerton said, fills a gap in the market.
“There is very little on television or in video content at the moment that deals exclusively with business and politics and where they meet,” Fullerton said. “It’s a fascinating area. It doesn’t matter whether you are talking about international topics like the Trump effect, Brexit or what’s happening in China, or domestic topics like the energy crisis or the WA election – everything overlaps.”
With a lot happening in the world of politics and business on any given day, for Fullerton the challenge lies in deciding which stories get a run and which are to be left out of the roundup.
“Imagine packaging a one-hour program and trying to get as much in it as possible, every day. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a gear up from what I was doing last year,” she said.
Prior to her current position, Fullerton was at the ABC contributing across a number of shows on the public broadcaster including Four Corners. She was also the presenter of ABC’s The Business. The seat vacated by Fullerton on the show has been filled Elysse Morgan.
Fullerton’s new show on Sky News Business broadcasts live from the News Corp HQ on Holt Street in Sydney. Being based in Sydney CBD means the set is easy to get to for the talent coming on the show.
Fullerton said: “There is no doubt that coming out of Holt Street makes the accessibility for so many people in town much easier to negotiate.”
It’s been just over a month since the show launched. Asked if she’s gotten comfortable in her new seat, Fullerton instantly replied: “Oh, I don’t think anybody should be comfortable, except for possibly a former prime minister, who is very relaxed and comfortable.
“You should always be alert especially when you are doing a live show like this. Things change, literally, on the day and that’s the nature of news these days.
“I still go upstairs to change and realise that I still have the labels on a couple of my outfits, which I have already worn,” she said, laughing. “You get in there and your head’s in another space.”
News Corp acquired the Australian News Channel, the parent company of Sky News in Australia and New Zealand, in December 2016. Fullerton said that the setup to broadcast from the News Corp HQ in Australia is one of the things to come from that partnership as the two companies explore new opportunities to work together.
The fact that Ticky is the first show to leverage the resources of both Sky and News after the takeover is what makes the show important for both of the organisations involved, she said.
“It comes right at the time when News has taken over Sky and they are looking at what they can do with that relationship. There will be more to come on this,” Fullerton teased.
“I am sitting here on the floor of The Australian, as I am speaking to you, surrounded by all these magnificent journalists. It’s quite a scene.”
The program will regularly feature the masthead’s journalists to take the viewers through the biggest stories of the day.
Being based in the News Corp office, would it be difficult for Fullerton to have journalists from its competing publisher Fairfax Media walk the floors of the building to come up to the sets of Ticky? “I don’t think so,” she answered. “Sky has always had journalists from both News Corporation and Fairfax on all the time. I don’t think there will be any issue.
“We have the flexibility and the time to tackle an issue, talk to the key players whether they be corporate, political or regulators and then get some analysts to speak about it from either Sky, News Corp or beyond.”
Fairfax and News Corp rivalry at home
Fullerton is the partner of Michael Stutchbury, the editor-in-chief of Fairfax Media’s national newspaper The Australian Financial Review.
“Business is always a topic of discussion at the dining table or anywhere else,” she said, laughing. “It’s pretty terrific.
“We can have a laugh about the odd victories on the one side or the other. So it’s quite competitive.”
Working for subscription TV v a public broadcaster
Fullerton spent more than two decades of her career working for the ABC before taking up her current role at Sky News Business.
“Everybody wants to get the best content that they can,” she said. “The Sky model is a linear model and clearly a leader model.
“The use of VJs at Sky…they’ve got it down to a fine art. There is a lot more use of panels to engage the audience. It’s a faster way of getting content to air.
“The ABC probably has better resources to put more traditional packages to air. But they are under a lot of pressure there as well.
“At the ABC, they also have more flexibility with the camera crews and that sort of thing, whereas they are more strategic here [at Sky].”