traction. issue #27

SEVEN UNVEILS MAJOR PROGRAMMING CHANGES AT 2021-22 UPFRONTS

Seven has confirmed that long-standing shows My Kitchen Rules and House Rules will not return in 2021 as the network announced a raft of new content as well as securing the rights to the Beijing Winter Olympics to complement the existing Tokyo Olympics. Plate of Origin, Pooch Perfect and Between Two Worlds were victims of low ratings in 2020 and will also not return next year. There are also no plans to return first Dates Australia to the schedule. Following the trend of rebooting previous formats, the network announced the return of Australian Idol in 2022 as well as Holey Moley, Ultimate Tag, RFDS, The Voice and Australian Gangster. Holey Moley, which has finished filming and will air in the first half of 2021 and RFDS were originally scheduled as new shows for this year but both were pushed back to 2021 due to the pandemic.

Returning shows include Big Brother, SAS Australia, Farmer Wants a Wife and Australia’s Got Talent, which was also delayed from this year by the pandemic, as well as The All New Monty, Highway Patrol and Border Security: Australia’s Frontline.

Seven also confirmed the return of cricket, including Test Cricket, the Ashes Series and the Big Bash. Next year, the Supercars series will also return to Seven after finishing its agreement with 10.

“2020 has been a year like no other. We’ve all faced challenges like never before, with our content for the year impacted and our partners forced to pivot strategies to capture the attention of audiences in different and agile ways,” said Kurt Burnette, Seven West Media chief revenue officer.

“But these challenges have presented us with opportunities to innovate and grow together and deliver great outcomes for our partners,” he added “For 2021 and 2022 Seven has strategically created and will deliver the most disruptive content line-up in a decade. Offering brands across Seven, 7plus and 7NEWS.com.au new ways to reach and target new audiences. Along with the most consistent and dominant content spine of Sunrise, The Morning Show, The Chase, 7NEWS and Home and Away. “We’re excited about what we’re able to offer to ensure that working together, we can make 2021 and beyond a success as we all embark on the road to recovery.”

Q&A WITH THE MEDIA STORE’S PAUL WILKINSON ON THE 7 UPFRONTS OFFERING

Paul Wilkinson – Head of Investment at The Media Store

What’s the most exciting thing to come from the presentation?

There was so much in that presentation it’s impossible to pin down one thing. After a testing year for Seven, undoubtedly the hardest hit by COVID, they seem to be coming back brimming with confidence and with a real focus on delivering the strategy they laid out in 2019: A new general entertainment content to bring a younger audience back to Seven, back to back sports confirmed through to 2025 in some cases, an enviable data offering, #1 News programming, community support throughout Australia, a growing BVOD platform AND making trading as easy as possible. They even covered off e-commerce…there’s a lot going on down at Seven!

Was there anything you hoped to see but didn’t?

Not at all. I thought that was the most well-rounded Upfront of the season.

What was your overall impression?

I was genuinely impressed. Of course, the production was always going to be exceptional, but I was really pleased to see that that they are taking some programming risks coupled with a balance of tried and tested formats. As a trader, I love that they are providing their audience growth predictions. I think it showcases the confidence they have in their suite but also highlights the focus they have on strategy to improve their delivery and overall viewer profile –not to mention how it helps us plan.

I feel they covered off each pillar of their strategy, from content to data, digital & trading –we got to see exactly how they are positioning themselves for the future. They gave thorough insights on what Seven IQ is –how it works and gave examples of how you can use it which is something other networks did not do. They also provided a clear and concise explanation on Seven IQ around what we can do with data they have available. My only concern is the amount of re-cycled programme formats –I can’t say I was particularly excited about the return of Australian Idol…

How do you think the network has performed in 2020?

They have had some serious challenges, and James Warburton was honest and candid about that, just as he was in the 2019 upfronts. Their content slate was impacted much more heavily than any of their competitors but they lived up to their reputation of reliability & honesty and delivered on all the elements within their control. Hats off to Kurt Burnette, Nat Harvey and the rest of the sales team.

How did you think the network fared in the virtual context -did you feel like you missed out on anything versus what a face to face upfronts offers?

I think that was the best upfront of the season and there was some stiff competition this year as Nine and Ten also delivered impressive presentations. However, in terms of covering the bases, I feel that Seven provided the clearest insight into the business moving forwards.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE UP FOR SEVENTH WEEK IN A ROW, NOW AT 20 WEEK HIGH

ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence increased 0.4 pts to 98.1 last weekend and is now 13.5 pts lower on the comparable weekend a year ago and is now 4.1 points above the 2020 weekly average of 93.9.

Consumer Confidence has now increased for seven straight weeks and is up 7.9 pts since ending August at 90.2. Driving this week’s small increase was more confidence that now is a good time to buy major household items. Brisbane was the city with the highest leap in confidence, up 8.9 points to 107.8 points.

ANZ Head of Australian Economics, David Plank said “Building on the momentum from the Budget, confidence gained for the seventh week in a row. Barring Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria, all the states are above the neutral level of 100. Among the major cities, Melbourne weakened while confidence in Brisbane and Sydney surged. Further easing of COVID-19 induced restrictions should support the index over this week as it seeks to move back to its pre-pandemic level.”

Source: ANZ/Roy Morgan

AS AUSTRALIA IS ONE OF JUST EIGHT COUNTRIES WHERE CONFIDENCE HAS RISEN

The Global Consumer Confidence Index is the average of each of the 24 world markets’ National Indices. This month, eight countries show significant growth (1.5 points or more) in their National Index: China (+3.0), Japan (+2.5), Australia (+2.5), Mexico (+2.2), South Africa (+2.1), Brazil (+1.7), Saudi Arabia (+1.7) and the United States (+1.6). Japan and Mexico have shown significant gains in each of the past two months.

Source: IPSOS

AFTER JUST 6 MONTHS, STREAMING SERVICE QUIBI IS TO CLOSE DOWN

Just six months after it launched, short-video streaming app Quibi is shutting down after struggling to find customers. Backed by high profile media identity Jeffrey Katzenberg, Quibi raised $2.4bn from investors for its launch in April.

Episodes and films were only 10 minutes long and aimed at people wanting to watch something on their phones while they’re out and about. When Quibi launched, it was just one of several new services trying to challenge Netflix’s dominance in this space with competition from Amazon and Disney.

The company doesn’t release subscriber figures, but US mobile research firm Sensor Tower estimated Quibi’s mobile app had 9.6 million installations since its launch. Installations don’t equal paying users, so when you consider Disney+ reached more than 60 million subscribers since launching in November 2019, Quibi didn’t get big numbers.

In Australia, sign up rates were so poor that in August Quibi allowed Australian users to try the service for free with advertising, and lowered its monthly subscription to $AUD 6.99 a month.

MEANWHILE NETFLIX REVEALS DROP IN NEW SUBCRIBERS AS “PANDEMIC PARTY” ENDS

Netflix has revealed it signed up 2.2 million subscribers in the third quarter of 2020 — below investors ‘expectations and under Netflix’s own previous forecast. The company had previously forecast adding 2.5 million paid streaming customers in the third quarter, after record subscriber numbers of 10.1 million in Q2 and 15.8 million in Q1 this year — a massive lift Netflix attributed to stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus crisis. “The pandemic streaming party has come to an end,” Paolo Pescatore, an analyst at PP Foresight, declared.

Despite this news, Netflix reminded investors that it’s still on track for a record number of 34 million new subscribers in 2020 – or more than 200 million overall.

TOP 10 METRO TELEVISION PROGRAMS (TOTAL PEOPLE, 7 DAYS TO OCTOBER 21st)

Ranking

Program

Network

Projection

1

SEVEN’S AFL: SATURDAY

NIGHT FOOTBALL FINALS

Network 7

1,147,136

2

SEVEN’S AFL: FRIDAY NIGHT

FOOTBALL FINALS

Network 7

1,113,154

3

THE BLOCK -SUN -ROOM

WINNER

Network 9

1,079,333

4

THE BLOCK -SUN

Network 9

1,008,487

5

NINE NEWS SUNDAY

Network 9

987,210

6

SEVEN NEWS – SUN

Network 7

984,074

7

SEVEN NEWS

Network 7

951,561

8

SEVEN NEWS AT 6.30

Network 7

935,125

9

NINE NEWS

Network 9

893,763

10

NINE NEWS 6:30

Network 9

878,937

Source: Oztam

US GOVERNMENT SUES GOOGLE! THE MEDIA STORE’S ALLY COONEY EXPLAINS ALL

Ally Cooney – Digital Director at The Media Store

What has happened?

Straight out of Washington, the Justice Department has accused Google of illegally protecting its monopoly over search and search advertising. This is the US government’s most significant challenge to a tech company’s market power in a generation. It could reshape the way consumers use the internet.

More detail on the lawsuit

Google is accused of locking up deals with partners like Apple and stifling competition through exclusive business contracts and agreements. Google’s deals with Apple, mobile carriers and other handset makers to ensure its search engine is the default option for users. This accounts for most of its dominant market share in search, the agency said, a figure that it put at around 80 percent. The agency said, “For many years, Google has used anti-competitive tactics to maintain and extend its monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising and general search text advertising —the cornerstones of its empire.”

Potential ripple effect

The lawsuit could set off subsequent antitrust lawsuits from other states. Already, there are about four dozen states and jurisdictions, including New York and Texas, that have conducted parallel investigations and some of them are expected to bring separate complaints against the company and its grip on technology for online advertising. This lawsuit reflects pent-up bipartisan frustration toward a handful of companies —Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook in particular —that have evolved from small and scrappy companies into global powerhouses with outsized influence over commerce, speech, media and advertising. Conservatives like POTUS and liberals like Senator Elizabeth Warren have called for more restraints over Big Tech. You can view Warren’s thoughts on this subject here during her run for POTUS in March 2019.

What has been Google’s response?

Unsurprisingly, they’re not happy. Google called the suit “deeply flawed.”Google has long denied accusations of antitrust violations. They are expected to fight the U.S. government’s efforts by using its plethora of lawyers, economists and lobbyists. According to the New York Times, Alphabet is valued at $1.04 trillion with cash reserves of $120 billion. The company spent $12.7 million lobbying in the United States in 2019, making it one of the top corporate spenders in Washington. In its defense, Google says it has strong competition in the search market, with more people finding information on sites like Amazon. It says its services have been a boon for small businesses. In a blog post, Google’s senior vice-president of global affairs, Kent Walker, wrote “This lawsuit would do nothing to help consumers. To the contrary, it would artificially prop up lower-quality search alternatives, raise phone prices, and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use.”

What does this mean for the ACCC’s subsequent inquiries post its Digital Platform Inquiry?

Rod’s eyes are on Washington. According to our ABC, he has been having a lot of talks with the US Government concerning Google’s monopoly power. He also has said that he is “delighted” that the US Department of Justice decided to file a lawsuit against the internet giant. He has not indicated the ACCC would follow the US lead by filing a similar lawsuit in Australia. To refresh memories, the ACCC has filed two cases against Google in the past year: one accusing Google that it misled consumers about how much personal information it was tracking -even on “non-Google” sites, and the other claiming that Google misled consumers about the personal location data it collected.

The TMS Take

This lawsuit will most likely outlast the Trump administration (should he continue for 4 years). The DOJ spent more than a decade taking on Microsoft for similar reasons back in 2001. Google’s representatives said they anticipated that it would be at least a year before the case went to trial. Our take is that even under a Biden/Harris administration, it is unlikely this lawsuit would be withdrawn. Of all the discourse happening in Washington, this seems to be one of the very few bipartisan issues.

Tweet of the week

An American Automaker now has the World’s Fastest Car. SSC’s Tuatara clocked a record 316.11 mph (508.73 km/h) on a dusty desert highway outside Las Vegas. Oliver Webb, the 29-year-old Englishman who drove the Tuatara, hit 301.07 (484.53 km/h) mph on his first run and 331.15 mph (532.93 km/h) on his second run in the opposite direction. The average of those times will count as the official fastest time.

GOOGLE TREND OF THE WEEK :RM WILLIAMS BACK UNDER AUSTRALIAN OWNERSHIP

Source: Google

TASMANIAN CRIME SERIAL “THE NURSE” RISES TO #1 IN AUSTRALIAN PODCAST CHARTS

Source: ITunes

THE LONG READ: THE NEW TV SHOWS SET TO GO GLOBAL AS COVID-19 CHANGES TV

“The rise of the streamers and the investment in drama has obviously put more pressure on the broadcasters and they’re now having to look to alternatives. That probably means that for the US it is very bullish but Australia doesn’t have the same challenges.“

https://www.smh.com.au/culture/tv-and-radio/seven-new-tv-shows-set-to-go-global-20201017-p5661c.html

FACEBOOK ROLLS OUT DATING SERVICE IN EUROPE AFTER LENGTHY DELAY

Facebook has announced the European launch of its dating offering –a competitor to Tinder and other dating apps -using the existing profile a user has created on Facebook to find potential matches. Facebook tailors these matches with a user’s preferences, Facebook activity, and, if you opt-in, groups and events. Facebook chose to push back the service’s launch after regulators in Ireland took issue with the timing of the planned launch. Companies launching such products must undergo a review called a Data Processing Impact Assessment (DPIA) under the European Union’s GDPR protections, and Facebook reportedly informed regulators too late of its plans, raising concerns about data privacy compliance. Already live in several regions, there is no word on an Australian launch date yet.

 

Quote of the week

“There’s a lot of wild stuff in it that you do not hear in regular documentaries. It’s wonderful to work like that.”

Werner Herzog, Director of “Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds ” which looks at meteors and comets and their connection to our planet. You can watch the trailer here.