Privateers Turn Nine Upside Down

The sale of the Nine Network’s Willoughby headquarters will move to the top of the agenda following James Packer’s decision to relinquish control of the station to private equity firm CVC Capital Partners last week.

CVC’s purchase of another 25 per cent in PBL Media, which also owns ACP Magazines and the internet joint venture ninemsn, could also prompt a rethink of publications including The Bulletin magazine.

Some insiders say it might become a monthly instead of weekly, with a bigger focus on its website.

However, PBL Media chief executive Ian Law insisted in a letter to staff yesterday that “the reality is that we are about growing our business by devoting resources to editorial and programming content as well as strengthening our efforts in sales and marketing”.

He also said ACP Magazines would not move out of Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd’s offices in Park Street, the SMH reports.

New England/North West/ Mid North Coast week22

Most watched programs
1  Prime News Monday to Friday  PRIME  68000
2 Seven News Monday to Friday PRIME 58000

3 NBN Evening News Sunday NBN 54000

4 McLeods Daughters NBN 53000

5 Friday Night Football Panthers v Eagles NBN 52000

6 60 Minutes NBN 49000

7 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation NBN 49000

8 Friday Night Football Dragons v Broncos NBN 47000

9 Where Are They Now PRIME 45000

10 Seven News Sunday PRIME 45000

Newcastle TV Ratings Week 22

Most Watched Programs
1  CSI: Crime Scene Investigation  NBN  115000
2 60 Minutes NBN 109000
3 Spicks & Specks ABC 107000

4 The Chasers War on Everything ABC 101000

5 NBN Evening News Monday to Friday NBN 98000

6 1 VS 100 NBN 95000

7 NBN Evening News Sunday NBN 94000
8 A Current Affair NBN 93000

9 CSI: Miami NBN 93000

10 Friday Night Football Panthers v Eagles NBN 87000

Station Ratings

                Week 22
2007 Week 22
2006 Prog
2007 Prog

NBN         36.8                 36.0                 34.8         36.5

PRIME     23.7                 20.9                 26.1         22.7

TEN         17.4                 21.7                 16.9         19.9

ABC         16.0                 15.5                 16.4         16.0

SBS         6.1                   5.9                  5.8             5.0

Seven Hangs on to Win Another Week

Channel Ten had a poor week all round, averaging just 21 per cent of the prime time audience. Thanks to Tuesday singing and Friday AFL, Seven won the week with 29.2 per cent, while Nine got 28.1, ABC 16.2, and SBS 5.5.

What Australia watched, week ending June 2

1 60 MINUTES Nine 1,703,000
2 SEVEN NEWS – SUN Seven 1,670,000
4 GREY’S ANATOMY Seven 1,554,000
5 SEVEN NEWS Seven 1,529,000
6 IT TAKES TWO Seven 1,526,000
8 CSI: MIAMI Nine 1,484,000
11 NINE NEWS SUNDAY Nine 1,463,000
12 TODAY TONIGHT Seven 1,456,000
13 NCIS Ten 1,434,000
14 WHERE ARE THEY NOW Seven 1,401,000
15 HOUSE Ten 1,349,000

Sunrise Changes Before Morning Show

Fill-in Seven News presenter and Melbourne-based reporter Rebecca Maddern has been announced as the new Weekend Sunrise newsreader. Executive Producer Adam Boland also revealed game show host and current news presenter Simon Reeve would be moving into the sports role.

Maddern, who will commute to Sydney each weekend, was described as “one of the real talents of our network” by Boland. Former sports presenter Kylie Gillies has been apppointed co-host of Seven’s The Morning Show, which will start at 9am on June 18, with Larry Emdur. Gillies is also in contention for the co-host role on Weekend Sunrise, after Lisa Wilkinson defected to the Nine Network’s Today Show.

Boland, who says over 50 people have applied for the position from within Seven and other networks, has not ruled out Gillies becoming the permanent co-host of Weekend Sunrise, in addition to her Morning Show commitments.

Meanwhile, Seven Morning News with Ann Sanders will be presented from Melbourne for the next two weeks, while rehearsals are done for The Morning Show. With the Martin Place Seven headquarters comprising of the news studio, Sunrise and The Morning Show, rehearsals couldn’t be done between 9am and 11am without preempting the 10:30am news.

While Rebecca Maddern will read the morning news from Melbourne for two-weeks leading up to The Morning Show’s debut, Ann Sanders will takeover from 11:30am on June 18, leaving half an hour for a studio transformation between The Morning Show and Seven Morning News.

Info from Media Spy and The Herald Sun

Local Web “Channel” Grows

Local online web "channel" Hunter’s Best continues to grow at a rapid rate. Launched on 1 January 2007 the site has grown to become one of the highest profile websites in the Hunter Region during the last 5 months.

The Hunter’s Best concept mixes hi-frequency television advertising with a unique online presence to provide businesses with a cost-effective new way to reach potential consumers. Advertising has been running consistently on NBN, Prime and TEN since day one, urging consumers to visit the website to meet more of the Hunter’s Best businesses. And it has been working, with web traffic doubling every month to the point that the site is approaching 3/4 million hits.

The site itself offers a variety of reasons to visit. An up-to-date News Ticker lets you know the latest happenings and events, live weather and marine reports are available for the whole region, movies and the arts are well catered to, surfers can read daily reports from crack reporter Sandy Toggs, plus there is a growing business directory with clever profile pages.

A new innovation is the use of streaming video…check out the latest movie releases and trailers, surf action and more.

Hunter’s Best has just closed entries on competition to win a $12,000 champagne diamond ring in association with the Sunny Days Foundation, and the winner will be drawn this week. The competition attracted thousands of entries.

Hunter’s Best offers a real alternative to businesses looking to raise their profile. They offer TV commercials from $60 per spot including production, with online profiles included.

(Note: author has an interest in Hunter’s Best)

Northern NSW Ratings

Media Hunter has been picking up a lot of readers from Northern NSW, so we thought it might help to occassionally drop in ratings figures for this region. What is interesting is the difference in results from region to region. NBN has long enjoyed a very dominant position in the Hunter Region. Prime rates very well inland, while TEN fights well above its weight on the North Coast. It illustrates how regionality plays a big part in viewing habits, as these results are all vastly different to the national ratings landscape. Please note that these results are for the week of State of Origin 1 and therefore are very strong for NBN.

North Coast NSW

                Week 21
2007     Week 21 2006     Prog 2007     Prog 2006

NBN         32.5                     32.1                     29.2             28.5

PRIME     19.4                     25.2                     24.8             24.8

TEN         24.2                     24.5                     25.6             27.5

ABC         12.6                     8.6                     11.0              10.8

SBS         11.2                     9.5                     9.3                 8.4

New England/North West/Mid North Coast

                Week 21
2007     Week 21
2006     Prog
2007     Prog

NBN         33.1                     36.7                 30.7                 32.3

PRIME     30.1                     28.6                 31.8                 30.0

TEN         20.6                     17.8                 20.0                 20.7

ABC         11.1                     11.7                 12.5                12.7

SBS         5.1                     5.2                     5.0                   4.4


                Week 21
2007     Week 21
2006     Prog
2007     Prog

NBN         37.8                     40.9                 34.6                 36.6

PRIME     22.9                     20.8                 26.3                 22.8

TEN         18.5                     16.7                 16.8                 19.7

ABC         14.8                     14.4                 16.4                 16.0

SBS         6.0                         7.2                 5.8                    4.9

Nine and WIN to Merge?

A tipster has suggested to Media Spy that an interesting change may be reported next week by Channel Nine and WIN Television.

The tipster says Nine and WIN will announce a joint venture to become a single entity, to maximise exposure for buyers. A one-stop-shop for sales between metropolitan and regional Nine stations has previously been mooted.

With the merged network run out of Willoughby, our tipster says the WIN brand may be phased out in time.

Singo Leaves Adland

Simon Canning and Nick Tabakoff, The Australian May 31, 2007

JOHN Singleton, the most famous name in advertising, sold his ad agency last night, on the eve of celebrating 50 years in the business.

Mr Singleton sold his remaining parcel of 18 million shares in STW Group, telling Media: "It’s time to go."

The mercurial adman who went from working in the Sydney mailroom at J. Walter Thompson in 1958 to become the face of the industry, pocketed more than $50 million in the sale, saying years of holding a minority interest in the company he founded had finally taken its toll.

He will focus his attention on his other businesses, ranging from thoroughbred sales to brewing and lingerie.

However, in an exclusive interview with The Australian, Mr Singleton tipped that he may now focus on expanding his media empire, building on his interest in Macquarie Radio.

But he also lobbed a parting shot at his global advertising partner, WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell, whose company owns 14.5per cent of STW Group.

"It’s fair to say that WPP have done a very poor job in Australia," he said.

In recent months Singleton’s relationship with WPP has become increasingly tense, and he has called for the sacking of the head of JWT in Australia (in which STW owns a minority 49per cent share, with WPP owning 51 per cent).

Although he praised Mr Sorrell’s business acumen, he accused WPP of not being interested in Australia and failing to deliver on promises.

"When he gives his word it’s not worth two bob," he said.

"I think Australia for WPP is a missed opportunity from my point of view."

He said he should have retired when he sold half his shareholding in 2005.

"I should have sold out two years ago," Mr Singleton said.

"I’m of the psyche where I should have a controlling interest and be able to have a say. You are neither one thing or the other.

"I don’t want to be an ex, ex, ex has-been. I didn’t want to become Colonel Sanders."

He said the decision to abandon the advertising industry completely was driven by a comment that he would be celebrating 50 years in the business next year.

"Some silly bugger said I was going be celebrating 50 years in advertising next year, so why don’t we have a party. I figure 49 is a good time to get out."

Having started at JWT, Singleton moved to ad agency Berrie Curry, where he flourished. Flushed with success, he then moved on to found Spasm in 1968. By 35 he had sold out of the industry, opting for early retirement. But the lure of advertising was too strong and in 1985 he founded John Singleton Advertising, which went public in 1993.

"I had 20 years the first time and 22 years the second time," he said. "I think it’s just time. I have no regrets, but I just have so much else to do.

"I should have sold out two years ago, but you cling to your old school or footy team.

"I’m looking at getting bigger or smaller in radio and building a bigger brewing business. I have Lonely Planet and the lingerie, which is No.1 in Myer and Moscow.

"I think it is just time to do new things.

At 35 I felt this way and I feel it now."

Mr Tate said while Mr Singleton’s departure from the agency share register was a loss because of his name, the adman had not been involved in the day-to-day running of the business for several years.

Note: STW are majority shareholders in Peach Advertising in Newcastle.

Seven’s Strike Against Foxtel

Michael Bodey, The Australian May 31, 2007

THE Seven Media Group is taking on pay-television group Foxtel’s dominance of the digital video recorder market with a new alliance to introduce the TiVo digital recorder to Australia by 2008, even though it enables faster forwarding of ads.

Seven Media Group, a joint venture between the Seven network and US private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, is teaming with the Nasdaq-listed DVR group TiVo in a move it hopes will revolutionise free-to-air TV.

The deal also sees Seven re-emerge as a subscription-TV player, as some of the TiVo services will require monthly subscriptions.

It will also strengthen Seven’s ties to telco groups, with Seven’s director of digital media Rohan Lund saying the TiVo would be sold as a bundle with telco groups’ mobile phone and internet deals.

TiVo and Seven downplayed the impact of being able to fast-forward ads and pushed the benefits of its interactivity and functionality, saying TiVo users watched 20 per cent to 25 per cent more TV.

"We think the interactivity presents an exciting upside as we’ll have the capability to communicate directly with the audience," Mr Lund said.

"It’s something we are embracing and it’s one thing to think about in terms of higher viewership of free TV in homes with these services."

Mr Lund also denied giving viewers the ability to fast forward through ads would force Seven to reduce its advertising rates.

"On the contrary, it will increase the viewing of the ads and increases activity, which will bring a greater brand recall," he said.

Seven said the TiVo platform could be used by the other TV networks and broadband content owners to "create a compelling, interactive, free-to-air digital terrestrial TV offering".

The service will require co-operation for the first uniform free-to-air electronic program guide, a service that some argue should have been launched with the introduction of digital broadcasts in 2001.

Bridget Godwin, head of policy and regulatory affairs at the Seven network, said the free-to-air TV industry supported an industry-wide EPG and concerns that Nine or Ten would not participate were moot given the participation of the industry body, FreeTV.

The TiVo service allows viewers to pause live high-definition TV, fast-forward ads, record shows from any of the free-to-air digital TV channels and access broadband content such as video on demand and other interactive web-based applications.

It does not have an ad-skip component, is copy-protected and will be able to update its software when required through downloads.

Seven and TiVo were reluctant to release key numbers including pricing for the DVR box or subscription packages and the kinds of bundled content packages that will be available other than to say it will be a "low price point, incredibly compelling".

The present high-definition TiVo model is sold in the US for $US599 ($732).

But TiVo’s main local competitor, pay-TV group Foxtel, questioned the wisdom of trying to sell DVR boxes, a notion backed up by the poor penetration of digital set-top boxes in Australia.

"We discovered that when we introduced it and when we went to a subscription model, they took off," said Foxtel’s executive director of content, product development and delivery, Patrick Delaney.

"And these things really come into their own when you’ve got a lot of content feeding in.

"When you’ve got 130 channels, it’s a ripper."

Foxtel’s DVR, known as the iQ, is in more than 200,000 Australian homes, and Foxtel says more than one-third of all new Foxtel customers take the service.

"Foxtel welcomes Seven to the 21st century by finally dipping their toe in the water of digital TV," a Foxtel spokesperson said.

But TiVo is also developing time-sensitive advertising and expanding capabilities through its web applications.

"You can have enhanced ways to interact with a sponsor," said Josh Danovitz, head of international for Tivo.

He said TiVo users remembered ads better, and disputed the reported number of people who skipped ads while watching TiVo-recorded TV, said to be 70 per cent to 80per cent, saying it was "probably less than 50 per cent".

Internet telephony group Engin, which is partly owned by Seven, will be one of the telecommunications providers expected to distribute and support the TiVo product.