Nine pays up for early tennis, Seven gears up for the Cricket, Bauer cuts staff, and other media tidbits of the day.

Tennis comes early for Nine … The Nine Network has confirmed it will carry the Australian Open in January 2019 — a year earlier than scheduled from the Tennis Australia rights deal made in March. Nine had already secured a $300 million, five-year deal from 2020, taking the rights from long-running broadcaster Seven. They paid another $48.5 million to Seven to get started a year earlier.

Nine CEO Hugh Marks told “There’s an air of excitement at Nine about being the new home of tennis, so to be able to start our new deal a year early brings us all much delight. As I said back in March, the timing of tennis and the audience demographics it delivers are a perfect fit for Nine and its advertisers.”

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Seven’s CEO Tim Worner said in a statement that the deal was “a great outcome for Seven, delivering a profit for our shareholders, and freeing us up to concentrate on making our coverage of cricket the very best that it can be.”

… And cricket starts on Seven. When Seven let the tennis broadcasting rights go, it took the rights to the cricket from Nine (now shared with Foxtel). Worner talked up Seven’s cricket in his statement on the tennis, saying, “And then it’s into the first of our historic summers of cricket, which will set new audience records, and give us a level of consistency and surety on our content for years to come.”

Some of that consistency will be in the commentary box, with the network announcing over the weekend that Michael “Slats” Slater– who’d previously been a mainstay of Nine’s commentary team — will commentate for Seven’s Tests and Big Bash League broadcasts. He’ll join Ricky Ponting (who’d been calling BBL for Ten) and Damien Fleming.

And Cricket Australia has a new premium sponsor in property listings website Domain. Magellan Financial Group dumped its naming rights for the men’s test matches after just one year in the wake of the ball tampering scandal in March. Domain will now be the “presenting partner” of men’s test cricket for four years.

Bauer redundancies. German magazine publisher Bauer Media is cutting 11 jobs from its Australian offices in a restructure of its celebrity entertainment titles. Editorial teams working on Woman’s DayNW and OK! will be integrated, rather than having separate staff working on each title. A spokeswoman for Bauer said in a statement it would look to redeploy the 11 impacted staff elsewhere in the business. The titles’ editors will remain, and the statement said the “well loved brands will not change”. 

Ten’s new spinner. The Ten Network has announced its new chief spinner. Vida Scott will start as head of communications next week. She has most recently been at Westpac, and previously worked for News Corp Australia and APN in communications and marketing roles.

A game of two front pages. NSW secured the State of Origin for the Blues last night, winning the second game of the series. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph is, of course, delighted. Brisbane’s Courier Mail less so, choosing to point out the rarity of a Blues win.

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. The first State of Origin game on a Sunday night since 2001 may have been a big hit, but well under game one’s figures. Sydney on a Sunday night, despite what we might think in the Blue City, was not a ratings knock out; falling to 880,000 against 885,000 for game one. For all the publicity about the new look team coach and game one victory, that should have been much higher.

Game two averaged 3.16 million nationally down from 3.45 million nationally for game one. So a success, but not the smash that might be expected. Interestingly,  Seven’s House Rules averaged 1.4 million, its best Sunday audience. The last half of House Rules ran up against the first half of Origin. Seven rested House Rules in NRL markets for game one, but not last night — an interesting approach that paid off.

Yes, the World Cup was on SBS, but coverage of England v Panama didn’t start until past 9.30pm. And the ratings show it had no impact until 9.45pm when the Origin game ended. Origin topped regional figures with 1.04 million followed by the Origin Post Match with 605,000, then Seven’s 6pm News with 599,000. The Origin Pre-Match was fourth with 566,000 and House Rules was a solid fifth with 520,000. — Read the rest on the Crikey website.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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