Call for ABC to go back to basics

Original article by Nick Tabakoff, Andrew White
The Australian – Page: 24 & 26 : 18-Feb-19

The process for recruiting a successor to the ABC’s former MD Michelle Guthrie has begun, with newspaper advertisements stating that the successful candidate will need to be a ‘strong collaborative leader’. Contenders for the role are said to include acting MD David Anderson, the ABC’s head of news Gaven Morris, former Foxtel CEO Kim Williams and former SBS MD Michael Ebeid. A former ABC executive says Anderson would be regarded as a safe choice as he has been at the public broadcaster for a long time and is highly respected within the ABC.

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AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, FOXTEL MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, SPECIAL BROADCASTING SERVICE (SBS), NEWS LIMITED

HT&E tunes in to potential deals after strengthening balance sheet

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 14-Feb-19

Radio broadcaster HT&E has posted a net profit of $36.7m for calendar 2018, which is 23 per cent higher than previously. Revenue was five per cent higher at $271.8m and EBITDA rose seven per cent to $71.8m. The company’s Australian Radio Network division has posted revenue of $235.5m and EBITDA of $84.6m for the year. CEO Ciaran Davis says HT&E is open to acquisitions, but he says there are no "definitive opportunities" at present.

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HT&E LIMITED – ASX HT1, AUSTRALIAN RADIO NETWORK PTY LTD, ADSHEL PTY LTD, NZME LIMITED – ASX NZM, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, ALLAN GRAY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Radio star Jones fights to overturn gag order

Original article by Charlie Peel
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 14-Feb-19

A Brisbane court is hearing an application to lift an injunction that prevents veteran radio broadcaster Alan Jones from repeating imputations that prompted a record defamation payout in 2018. The Wagner family was awarded $3.75m in damages after the Supreme Court ruled that Jones had defamed them in a series of broadcasts on 2GB and 4BC. The Wagners’ lawyer has argued that the injunction simply prevents Jones from repeating the allegations and does not prevent him from discussing the case.

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2GB, RADIO 4BC BRISBANE PTY LTD, SUPREME COURT OF QUEENSLAND, COURT OF APPEAL (QUEENSLAND)

Tighter rein on Google, Facebook

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 3 : 13-Feb-19

Free TV Australia CEO Bridget Fair has stressed the need for greater regulation of digital platforms to ensure that the rights of content producers are protected. A report commissioned by the British government has recommended the creation of a regulator to monitor the quality of news that is distributed by digital giants such as Google and Facebook. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is slated to deliver the final report of its own review of digital platforms in early June.

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FREE TV AUSTRALIA LIMITED, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, TELSYTE PTY LTD

Foxtel’s Kayo quick off the blocks

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 25 : 9-Jan-19

Foxtel’s subscriber churn rate rose to 15.6 per cent in the December quarter, compared with 12.9 per cent in the three months to September. News Corporation CEO Robert Thomson attributes the rise in customer churn to an increase in the cost of traditional Foxtel services, but he stresses that the Kayo sports streaming service is not cannibalising pay-TV customers. Thompson adds that Kayo has attracted 115,000 subscribers – including 100,000 paying customers – since its launch in November.

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FOXTEL MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, KAYO SPORTS, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, MORNINGSTAR PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE, NATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE, FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Streaming eases pull-back in bank ads

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 18 : 8-Feb-19

Data from KPMG shows that advertising revenue for broadcast video on-demand services such as Foxtel Now and 7Plus rose 43 per cent to $61 million in the six months to December, compared to the previous corresponding period. Advertising revenue for traditional capital city free-to-air television and subscription TV fell by four per cent to $1.7 billion, with a fall in advertising by banks blamed for much of the decline.

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FOXTEL NOW, FOXTEL MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED, KPMG AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Magazine readership continues to increase

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 8-Feb-19

Roy Morgan has released the Australian Magazine Readership report for the 12 months to December 2018. A total of 15,189,000 Australians aged 14+ (74.2 per cent) now read magazines, whether in print or online either via the web or an app. This is up 1.2 per cent from a year ago. Readership of print magazines is just under 12.6 million Australians (61.5 per cent), up 0.2 per cent from a year ago. Nine of Australia’s top 15 magazines grew their print readership over the past year, with six of the leading titles growing their readership by at least five per cent. ‘Women’s Weekly’ is now Australia’s most widely-read paid magazine after growing readership by 5.1 per cent to 1,570,000 in 2018. However, the free ‘Coles Magazine’ remains the most widely-read print magazine, with an average readership of 4,806,000 per issue (up 15.8 per cent).

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ROY MORGAN LIMITED

Over 15.7 million Australians read newspapers in print or online

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 8-Feb-19

Roy Morgan has released the latest readership results for Australian newspapers, for the 12 months to December 2018. Over 15.7 million Australians aged 14+ (76.9%) now read or access newspapers in an average seven-day period via print or online, a fall of 1.3 per cent from a year ago. Although most leading newspapers had a decline in total cross-platform readership, the ‘Herald Sun’ grew its digital audience to over two million; ‘The Australian Financial Review’ also increased its digital audience over the last year, up by 1.2 per cent to 1,169,000. ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ is still Australia’s most widely-read masthead, with a cross-platform audience of 4,135,000, down 2.8 per cent from a year ago. Meanwhile, ‘Good Weekend’ remains Australia’s most widely-read newspaper inserted magazine, with print readership of 1,045,000 (down 12.8 per cent).

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ROY MORGAN LIMITED

Labor demands say on picking Aunty’s chair

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 3 : 6-Feb-19

Shadow communications minister Michelle Rowland says Labor should be consulted about the appointment of a successor to Justin Milne as chairman of the ABC. She has criticised the federal government’s poor record with regard to ensuring the ABC’s independence, noting in particular its failure to respect the independent nomination panel process for appointments to the board. The ABC’s ‘Media Watch’ program has reported that Communications Minister Mitch Fifield was given a shortlist of three candidates in mid-January.

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AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, GILBERT AND TOBIN LAWYERS, CITIGROUP PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Private equity funds size up regional titles

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 24 : 4-Feb-19

Allegro Funds, Anchorage Capital and Platinum Equity are said to be the leading contenders to acquire Nine Entertainment Company’s portfolio of regional newspapers, which it inherited via the merger with Fairfax Media. Independent expert Grant Samuel had valued Fairfax’s Australian Community Media division at $100m to $120m in 2018, and the business generates EBITDA of around $52m a year. Nine is also believed to be looking to sell Fairfax’s New Zealand business, Stuff.

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NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY MEDIA, ALLEGRO FUNDS PTY LTD, ANCHORAGE CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD, PLATINUM EQUITY HOLDINGS, STUFF LIMITED, RURAL PRESS LIMITED, APOLLO GLOBAL MANAGEMENT LLC, MACQUARIE CAPITAL PTY LTD, TPG CAPITAL LP, GRANT SAMUEL AND ASSOCIATES PTY LTD, JEFFERIES AND COMPANY, HT&E LIMITED – ASX HT1, NZME LIMITED – ASX NZM, MACQUARIE MEDIA LIMITED – ASX MRN