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BOTW: Small earthquakes and fake cakes
Welcome to Best of the Week, written on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning at beautiful Sisters Beach, Tasmania.
Happy International Sudoku Day.
Kids, ask your parents about Sudokus. Much as everyone went wild for Wordle 18 months ago, they lost their minds about Sudokus 18 years ago. They used to be published every day in these things called newspapers.
In today’s BOTW: Early evening TV gets a once-in-a-decade shakeup, and nobody cares; Is it possible to launch a new image library in the age of AI?; ARN Media bounces back; and Telstra’s country footy tale.
Today’s writing soundtrack: The Beatles - Rubber Soul
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Nobody hurt in small earthquake, but Big Girl is a letdown
Tim Burrowes writes:
I’m rather fond of the car I currently drive. But it does have one small flaw. Having been manufactured shortly before Sudokus became a thing, she lacks the ability to warn me I’ve left the lights on.
It’s a feature I rediscovered when I returned to Launceston Airport’s car park after Wednesday’s trip to Sydney for Nine’s Upfronts. In case you were wondering, 24 hours is ample time to drain the battery.
Big Girl, as her previous owner fondly knew her, is just one reminder of non-digital times we’re currently saying goodbye to.
I’ve already covered off some of the key aspects of Nine’s announcements in yesterday’s post (including 9Now’s AI-driven self-service platform for small and medium sized businesses, and the multi-platform Olympics.)
But less remarked upon after the event is the scale of the changes coming to Australian early evening TV scheduling, across the board. They’re the sort of changes that a decade ago would have led the conversation. Now, with broadcast TV fading, they were barely discussed.
The scheduling wisdom used to be that whichever network captured late afternoon and early evening viewing, saw that flow into the evening news bulletins, and would then win the night. So game shows and soaps used to really matter to the networks. And, therefore, to advertisers.
Paramount, whose upfronts are still a few weeks away, has already announced it is bringing Neighbours, now partly funded by Amazon, back to the main Ten channel. That’s a dozen years after switching Neighbours to its secondary channel Eleven and less than a year since it was axed.
For Nine, it will be the first time in quarter of a century that Eddie McGuire won’t be part of the daily schedule. Game show Hot Seat will be replaced by Tipping Point, which has been a staple of the ITV schedule for a decade. The Australian version will be hosted by Todd Woodbridge.
We’re also going to see on Nine a version of gameshow Jeopardy, hosted by comedian Stephen Fry and filmed in the UK with contestants sourced from expat Aussies. Fry also hosts the British version, which is due to launch next month. Doing it that way is a cost saving way of getting an international celeb but still hitting the local content quota.
And the ITV influence will go further yet. ITV is also behind the UK reboot of Wheel of Fortune, starring chatshow host Graham Norton. And, although it hasn’t been announced yet, there will be an Australian edition - also filmed in the UK - too.
According to the casting call, the show is “for a well known Australian broadcaster”.
This level of scheduling earthquake would previously have been a huge deal. Not to mention the speculation about Wheel of Fortune (Is it on Ten‽ Is it on Seven‽ Why haven’t they asked Larry Emdur‽). But that was in linear days.
This time round, I think I’m first to report it. I spotted the call out on the Aussies in London Facebook page last night.
With Seven, Ten, SBS, Foxtel and the ABC still to run their upfronts, they are going to face an even tougher challenge than Nine did this week. When the TV schedule stops mattering, how do you act big?
Are Media takes the cake
Speaking of more linear times, Are Media this week launched an initiative which is arguably a decade or two late.
The image archive of the magazine company formerly known as ACP Magazines (and Bauer Australia and Emap Australia and Pacific Magazines and Murdoch Magazines, given the consolidation in the sector) is finally available as an image library - Contentshop.
The target audience, according to the press release, is “marketers, creative directors, designers, PR agencies, social media managers and other publishers”.
Not everything that’s appeared on the magazines’ pages seems to be available. Searches for Australian Women’s Weekly’s most famous editor Ita Buttrose, or AWW’s most infamous photoshoot of Julie Gillard knitting a kangaroo for Prince William (yes, that really happened) comes up blank. But the word “cake” offers 180 pages of results.
Trying to monetise the archive is smart, but a year too late. Will anybody really pay Contentshop $1,320 to use an overhead shot of rhubarb crumble just because it appeared in Australian Gourmet Traveller?
Thanks to generative AI, Midjourney would produce roughly the same image for free. The image at the top of this post took me less than a minute to create, and came from the first prompt I tried.
Are Media has only been owned by private equity company Mercury for three years. so they can only play the hand they’ve been dealt. If Bauer had done it a decade ago, it might have worked.
Most likely, there will never again be a new, commercially successful image library. Thanks to Are Media, we’ll get to find out.
Campaign of the Week: This Is Footy Country
In each edition of BOTW, our friends at Little Black Book Online highlight their most interesting advertising campaign of the week.
LBB’s ANZ reporter Casey Martin writes:
If there is one thing Aussies love more than a hot summer's day, it's sport. With a myriad of sport themed spots passing through the industry as of late, The Monkeys have crafted a heartfelt and endearing campaign for Telstra that stands above the rest. It sees a bunch of ragtag misfits join together with the spirit of mateship to save the footy final.
Unmade Index sees a small spring in its step
Seja Al Zaidi writes:
After a weak week, the Unmade Index posted a lift of 0.23% to land at 628.7 points. The Index tracks how ASX-listed media and marketing stocks perform on a daily basis.
It was primarily positive performance across the board - the exceptions were Domain, which fell 1.74% - and Aspermont and Motio on the other end of the Index, dropping a respective 16.67% and 5.71%.
ARN Media saw a healthy rise in share price. It lifted 9.21% after a week which saw its market capitalisation fall to a new low.
Seven West Media followed, rising 6.25%. Nine scored a 1.53% lift, and Southern Cross Media rose 1.38%.
In case you missed it:
On Tuesday we examined the trust deficit faced by brands including Qantas and Optus:
In the latest edition of our REmade retail media newsletter, we heard from Mercato founder Vanessa Robb and shared the detail of the program for next month’s conference:
On Wednesday, we explored how low value content is being driven by rage bait and AI:
On Thursday, we spotlighted Australian audio startup Sonnant
And on Friday, we analysed the key takeouts from Nine’s 2024 Upfronts:
Time to let you get on with your Saturday.
Before I sign off, a quick postscript on last Saturday’s Best of the Week, and my analysis of the revenue hole the TV market is facing. I reported that the media market was back 1.3% in July following a 4.2% decline in the same period year before. This was based on SMI’s preliminary announcements at the time. In fact, SMI tells me that its final calculation for July 2022 was that it was actually up by 2.4% on July 2021.
We’ll be back on Monday with Start the Week, with Abe Udy and my colleagues Seja Al Zaidi and Cat McGinn. As well as looking ahead at another busy week, we’ll be discussing the launch of Nine’s RTLX retail media offering, and Cat’s program for REmade.
Have a great weekend.
Publisher - Unmade