Today in Media Files, Sophie Monk is at loggerheads with News Corp over a picture of her it used in an ad, and sports broadcasters are gunning for smaller stadiums for better ratings.

News Corp’s Sophie Monk ad timing ‘awful’. The Bachelorette Sophie Monk is going after News Corp after it used her picture in an ad for a subscription offer. The offer includes a pair of Sennheiser headphones, which have been photoshopped onto Monk’s head in one of a series of similar ads featuring other notable people. Monk’s manager Titus Day told MediaWeek the timing was “awful”, and that had he negotiated a deal for Monk to appear in the ad, the fee would have been six figures.

“The fact that News Corp and Sennheiser are using her in the photo indicates that a deal to endorse headphones would be likely. It would be a good fit which is why they have done it. I have done plenty of deals with people like Bose in the past and a headphone deal was on our radar. It will be an impossibility now.”

Day told MediaWeek that when he complained about the ad, News Corp told him the picture didn’t indicate a connection between Monk and Sennheiser.

Sports broadcasters want smaller stadiums. The Nine and Fox Sports networks are pushing for Sydney’s suburban sports grounds to be upgraded before the bigger ANZ Stadium is revamped because empty seats are bad for TV ratings, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Bosses from the two networks have reportedly gone to the NSW government and the NRL pushing their preference for upgrades to smaller stadiums (including Allianz Stadium) because “they believe the flat atmosphere of small crowds at the 83,0000-seat venue is damaging rugby league”, Andrew Webster reports. The article claims that Fox Sports has been worried about poor turn-out, with ratings affected.

Last month, Foxtel was caught out using old crowd footage on a league game broadcast in what looked like an attempt to hide the poor turnout of just over 7000 fans, but Foxtel said it was a technical error.

Tele‘s Ten story misses the point. The very first word of this morning’s Daily Telegraph story about the Ten Network’s plan to cut jobs and programs (pre-collapse in mid June) was wrong:

“POPULAR Australian-made shows Bondi Rescue, Shark Tank and The Biggest Loser face the axe under a Network Ten secret management plan that would also slice almost $19 million in costs from news divisions alone.”

The three programs cited (and especially The Biggest Loser) would have been axed regardless of any secret plan because their ratings this year had collapsed. They have all reached the end of their natural lives, especially The Biggest Loser, which is a production of Endemol Shine, as is Shark Tank. Endemol Shine is 50% owned by 21st Century Fox, the other company of the Murdoch family, who control the Telegraph. Lachlan Murdoch was a shareholder in Ten and participated in two failed takeover attempts, losing out to CBS both times. The ratings for the trio have been falling for the past couple of years (four years for The Biggest Loser).

The Tele reported the plan was “formulated in July as Ten went bust”. Well, Ten went bust on June 14, but the plan is real and was referred to be the company’s managers on several occasions.

Ten’s statement that day included references to potential savings, and a transformation process that was underway.

The Telegraph also reported that the plan would reduce staff by 15% — 43 jobs cut from news and 59 in operations and engineering, while editorial salaries would be slashed and news production centralised to Sydney.

There is nothing new in that at all. After Canwest took control of Ten back in the early 1990s the network ran most of its news broadcasts out of Sydney and Melbourne. The weekend evening news broadcasts originate from Sydney. In fact, the state-based weekday news services trace back to when the former management decided to go down the news and opinion route in 2009 and 2010, with the 6.30 program hosted by George Negus and the original half-hour version of The Project. If anything, the cuts to news would have been more “back to the future” than anything new. They could still happen in modified form. — Glenn Dyer

The revolving door. News Corp Australia editors have been shuffled around after Lachlan Heywood’s shock departure from the top job at Brisbane’s Courier-Mail. The company announced last week he would be replaced by The Advertiser‘s editor Sam Weir. Weir will be replaced by The Mercury‘s editor Matt Deighton, who had previously been at the Adelaide masthead. His replacement hasn’t yet been announced. Scott Thompson has left the Gold Coast Bulletin for family reasons, The Australian reports, and will be replaced by Townsville Bulletin editor Ben English, whose replacement has not been announced yet, either.

Catalyst reporter’s research questioned. Former ABC Catalyst reporter Maryanne Demasi’s research is being questioned by the journal that published it. Demasi, who has presented some of Catalyst‘s most controversial and criticised programs, was the first author on a report for the Journal of Biological Chemistry published in 2003 as part of her PhD, about which the journal has now issued an “expression of concern”. The note is brief, but says more information will be provided when it is available.

In a statement to the Oz, Demasi said any allegations would be vigorously defended.

Glenn Dyer’s TV ratings. Some 879,000 watched Cannonball debut on Seven last night nationally. Their names and addresses have been noted so we can find out if they need help for Post Viewing Trauma Disorder.  Why, why, oh why was this program made? Clunky, badly made TV and commentary that tested the depths of inanity. Some 513,000 watched in the metros and 366,000 in the regions. 

Sophie Monk continues to carve up the night — 1.13 million nationally last night for Ten. Next she’ll be on Studio 10, then the 5pm News and perhaps backing up The Wrong Girl. How The Bachelorette goes tonight against the various footy shows will be an interesting test.

Doctor Doctor again did well for Nine after The Block (1.65 million nationally). The Doc managed 1.15 million national viewers. But is it getting a little too Home and Away for adult-like viewers? The most watched programs in regional areas last night were topped again by Seven News with 564,000, followed by The Block with 519,000, then Seven News/Today Tonight with 454,000, then Home and Away with 442,000 and Doctor Doctor was fifth with 405,000. — Read the rest on the Crikey website


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Peter Fray
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