Media Unmade podcast - Chapter four: Who Saved Channel Nine?

In which Nine finds a ratings winner after years of big losers, boss David Gyngell dodges going into administration, and starts working on Stan

  
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Welcome to Unmade.

This podcast instalment continues my narration of the audio version of my book Media Unmade, which you can buy in bookshops and online.

If you’d like to listen in the audio app of your choice, you can do so by clicking on the tiny link next to the audio player above. I’ve now managed to submit the podcast to the major audio apps directly, apart from Apple Podcasts which - like many aspects of Apple’s podcasting app - is a byzantine nightmare. But we’ll keep plugging away on that.

In today’s chapter, I share the story of the Nine Network at its lowest ebb.

By the time David Gyngell returned to run the network in 2007, Nine had lost its way following the death of Kerry Packer. Ratings were a disaster, morale was at an all time low and the banks were circling. Eddie McGuire’s short tenure as CEO hadn’t helped either.

The turnaround that Gyngell performed deserves to be taught in business schools. He floated the company on the ASX, completed the deals to become a five-city rather than three-city metro network, and untangled the unhelpful NineMSN joint venture with Microsoft. Along with Mike Sneesby, he was also the driving force behind the launch of Stan.

But first he had to go through the pain barrier of the rise of social media as a brutal, real time arbiter of programming, and flop after flop.

And then they commissioned The Voice, and it all began to turn around…

This chapter also explains how the TV ratings system OzTam woirks.

Among the characters covered in today’s episode are David Gyngell, Mike Sneesby, Adrian Swift, Michael Healy, James Packer, Mia Freedman. Mark Llewelyn, Ben Elton, and the appearance of a low profile executive called Hugh Marks.

Audio production on Media Unmade comes courtesy of Abe’s Audio, the people to talk to about voiceovers, corporate videos and commercials.


As ever, I welcome your thoughts to letters@unmade.media, or via the ugly brown comment button below.

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Enjoy the weekend.

Toodlepip…

Tim Burrowes

Proprietor - Unmade