X-Men tops box office for second week beating Maleficent into second spot

X-Men: days of Future Past continued its domination of the box office across the weekend pulling in $4.473m on 610 screens, keeping new Angelina Jolie film Maleficent off the top spot for its opening weekend.

The new Disney film starring Jolie as faerie Maleficent, the antagonist in the Sleeping Beauty tale, managed to pull in $4.038m on 530 screens, while Family Guy and Ted creator Seth MacFarlane’s new film A Million Ways to Die in the West was third, taking $2.245m on its opening weekend on 353 screens.

They relegated monster hit Godzilla to third spot with a take of $1.195m, taking its total since opening three weeks ago to $12.655m. X-Men has so far taken $15.052m since it opened last weekend.

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Merrick Watts to talk radio promotions at Mumbrella360

merrick_wattsRadio presenter Merrick Watts is to discuss what makes for a great commercial radio promotion in a session at this week’s Mumbrella360.

Watts, currently co-presenter of 2DayFM’s breakfast show in Sydney, is one of the country’s most experienced radio presenters.

The industry veteran will discuss with conference moderator Paul Murray his attitude to brand integration and what makes a successful promotion.

Watts’ commitment to involving brands in his show has gone as far as cold calling the marketing manager of Meat & Livestock Australia as part of an on air stunt to pitch to replace Sam Neill as the organisation’s red meat spokesman Read more »

Mumbrella live blog: Monday, June 2

Welcome to Mumbrella’s live blog, the rolling diary of everything you need to know in media and marketing. Refresh the page for the latest updates.

Top stories:

4:44pm - Box office results from the weekend are in, and it was a big win for X-Men again, which held off new release Maleficent with a stonking result. Seth MacFarlane’s new film A Million Ways to Die on the West which came in third, check out the trailer here.

3:14pm - Saturday was World no Tobacco Day, and to celebrate it Quit commissioned M&C Saatchi to make a series of Vine videos to highlight how a smoker dies every six seconds, the same length as the clips. Check them out here.

1.40pm - Dr Mumbo has the goss on how Ten is being forced to pay out the rest of a $200,000 fibre optic contract to Manly despite having axed Wake Up. Read about it here. 

1.15pm - In other Fairfax related news Nielsen to end political polling leaving the publisher seeking new provider. Full story here.  Read more »

Nielsen to end political polling leaving Fairfax seeking new provider


Nielsen has announced it is ceasing political polling in Australia in a move that will mark the end of its respected Fairfax Nielsen poll.

In a statement director of Nielsen Pacific Chris Percy  said: “We have greatly valued the close relationship we have had with Fairfax on polling since the mid 1990’s and this was not a decision taken lightly. It reflects the evolution of Nielsen’s business towards a much greater focus on core strategic work directed at consumer purchasing and media consumption.”

The move leaves Fairfax looking for a new partner for its political polling with Newspoll, Galaxy and Roy Morgan the remaining players in the space in Australia.  Read more »

Quit uses Vine to highlight death stats for World No Tobacco Day

Global anti-smoking charity QUIT ran a social media campaign using micro-video site Vine this weekend to tie in with World No Tobacco Day this weekend  which focused on smoking related death statistics.

Created by M&C Saatchi, the pro-bono campaign played on Vine’s six-second looping video format to commiuncate that every six seconds someone in the world dies from a smoking related illness. Read more »

The Wheeler Centre turns tweets into discussion markers

Coles Fitz 1The Wheeler Centre, a Victorian government initiative launched in 2010 when Melbourne was officially designated a UNESCO City of Literature, has launched a campaign aimed at uncovering important topics missing from public discussion.

Created by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, the campaign takes tweets using the hashtag #discuss and turns them into a historical marker to be put up on buildings and surfaces throughout Melbourne.

Head of marketing and communications at the Wheeler Centre, Pauline O’Brien said:  “Twitter will spark this campaign but it’s people’s reactions that will really set it alight. Turning something as intangible as a tweet into a permanent object means people will be exposed to new questions, ideas and talking points and will in turn discuss them within their own community.”

Read more »

Fairfax scales back redundancies to production, lifestyle and photographic

FairfaxFairfax Media has announced new proposals regarding redundancies which would see the publisher scale back the number of redundancies by 18 full time staff, to between 50-60 full time positions, as the voluntary redundancy program opens today.

Last month the company announced a new round of cuts to its newspaper arm Australian Publishing Media (APM), across its editorial production, lifestyle and photographic sections that would have seen 70-80 staff lose their posts.

The cuts, which included major changes to the photographic desks of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age with the outsourcing of much of its photographic capacity to Getty Images, led to mass walkouts across Fairfax’s major mastheads.

In an email to staff today managing director of APM Allen Williams confirmed the number of proposed redundancies would be reduced by eight in both photograph and production, while lifestyle section life media would keep an additional two staff.   Read more »

Mel Greig claims she tried to stop royal prank call going to air in Seven interview

Former 2DayFM DJ Mel Grieg. Picture: Sunday Night

Former 2DayFM DJ Mel Grieg. Picture: Sunday Night

Former Today Network DJ Mel Greig has claimed she tried to prevent the notorious royal prank call from going to air but was overruled by the station.

“I feel like a failure as a human being,” A teary Greig told interviewer Mel Doyle on Seven’s Sunday Night program. “I am ashamed of myself. I should have tried harder to not let that prank call air.”

The station and DJ’s Greig and her co-host Michael Christian made international headlines in December 2012 when the pair managed to get a call through to the hospital where The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton was being treated for morning sickness after they impersonated The Queen and Prince Charles. The Nurse who initially put the call through, Jacintha Saldanha, later took her own life and blamed the DJs in a suicide note.

In last night’s interview Greig said that just moments after the call was made she emailed station management urging them to disguise the voices of the nurses if the call was broadcast. However the decision was made to allow the call to go to air unchanged.

Southern Cross Austereo, which owns the Today Network, is not commenting on Greig’s claims. Read more »

Royal prank DJ interview draws more viewers for Sunday Night on Seven

Seven’s Sunday Night show got a big lift last night with former DJ Mel Greig opening up about the fallout from the royal prank call incident grabbing an extra 150,000 viewers on last week.

The show, which got 1.124m viewers, was sixth overall and second in its 7.30pm to 8.30pm timeslot, behind Nine’s The Voice, which won the night with 1.886 million viewers, and 60 Minutes which got 1.198m viewers according to the OzTam preliminary overnight metro ratings.

Nine won the night with 27.1 per cent of the viewers, and Seven managed to get the second most viewers overall with a 21.2 per cent share, followed by Ten with 11.7 per cent, down from 14.8 per cent last week, and The ABC on 10.7 per cent.

In the 6pm news battle Nine News won with 1.401 million viewers beating Seven News which grabbed 1.344 million.

Read more »

Mumbrella Awards tables sold out

Tables at Thursday night’s Mumbrella Awards have now sold out.


The event, being held at The Star Event Centre in Sydney, will see 800 members of the media and marketing industry gather to celebrate the winners across 25 categories. The shortlist can be viewed here.

The results will come after one of the most rigorous industry judging processes Australia has seen. Juries visited shortlisted agencies across Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland, while a panel of senior marketers gathered in Singapore to judge the APAC network categories.

A further nine juries met simultaneously in Sydney last week to hear from shortlisted teams across a further 19 categories.

awards jury briefing

Thursday night’s awards will be presented by ARN’s drivetime host Tim Ross.

The jury featured some of the industry’s most senior and best respected marketers, recruiters, consultants and agency players.

The Jury:

Read more »

REA Group names Tracey Fellows as new CEO



Former president of Microsoft Asia Pacific Tracey Fellows has been named as the new CEO of REA Group this morning, filling the role left vacant when Greg Ellis handed in his notice last December.

Fellows, who spent two years at Microsoft, has been general manager of  communications services for Australia Post for the last 18-months as that business  looks to transition itself to the digital age.

REA Group chairman Hamish McLennan said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange this morning: “We believe that Tracey is the perfect for for the company and we look forward to seeing her apply her leadership experience as we navigate through the next evolution of our business.” Read more »

Morning Update: You Can Drive a Mercedez-Benz in Mario Kart 8; Team behind Dove Real Beauty Sketches join digital agency; Ad Agency creates jewellery meant to combat sexual assault

This is our Morning Update, rounding up international media and marketing news from while you were sleeping.

Creativity-Online: You Can Drive a Mercedez-Benz in Mario Kart 8

From Japan, home of the wacky, the weird and the downright innovative, comes this commercial for Mercedes-Benz, which promotes a new tie-up between the automaker and Nintendo’s Mario Kart 8. The spot inserts a Mercedes GLA into old-school game footage of Super Mario Brothers, then segues into a live action sequence featuring a real-life GLA, driven by an extraordinarily buff “Mario” with muscles bulging under his denim overalls.”

Read more »

Ten announces Family Feud with Grant Denyer

The troubled Ten Network is to revive 37-year-old quiz format Family Feud as the centrepiece of its early evening schedule.

The show, which first aired in Australia in 1977, will air nightly at 6pm and be hosted by former Sunrise weatherman Grant Denyer. It will be produced by Fremantle Media.

Family Feud grant denyer

The move comes as Ten attempts to recover for a ratings slide which has seen it fall far behind its rivals Seven and Nine, as well as ABC1.

The announcement sees Denyer move across from Seven, where he most recently hosted quiz show Million Dollar Minute although he left the show within two months. Denyer is reportedly currently involved in legal action with Woman’s Day over allegations relating to his personal life. He today told The Sunday Telegraph that he received treatment for “exhaustion” after his sudden exit. Read more »

Ten’s I Wanna Marry Harry debuts with just 341,000 viewers

I Wanna Marry HarryTen has seen yet another failed series launch, with the opening episode of I Wanna Marry Harry rating just 341,000 metro viewers last night.

The US show – featuring 12 women competing in a Bachelor-style competition for the affections of an actor they were tricked into believing is Prince Harry – was heavily promoted by Ten.

The show was originally announced for primetime on Sunday nights – one of the key battlegrounds of the week. Ten described it as “compelling” and “hilarious”.

But earlier in the week, Ten had a change of heart and moved the launch to the less competitive Friday night. It followed the show flopping in the ratings for Fox in the US.

The original trailer when Ten had I Wanna Marry Harry scheduled for Sunday:

I Wanna Marry Harry was fourth in its timeslot and 24th for the night, according to overnight ratings from OzTam. It was beaten by seven-year-old movie Wild Hogs which rated 383,000 for Seven despite only airing in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Read more »

Mumbrella live blog: Friday, May 30

Welcome to Mumbrella’s live blog, the rolling diary of everything you need to know in marketing and media. Refresh the page for the latest updates.

Top stories:

5:56pm - Next week sees the return of Australia’s biggest conference for media and marketing, Mumbrella360. Whilst we could bang on about having Lachlan Murdoch, Buzzfeed, DDB, Facebook, CNN et al speaking, it’s probably best you have a look for yourselves at the program here, and get your tickets for it here.

Mumbrella360 with Nine logo

4:48pm - Southern Cross Austereo has issued a profit warning today, saying it expects earnings to be down around ten per cent because of tanking TV and radio ratings from Ten and Today. Read more »

Ten’s long-standing Melbourne director of news Dermot O’Brien resigns

TenNetwork Ten’s long term Melbourne director of News Dermot O’Brien is departing the company in what the company says is a resignation, and will leave the network on July 4.

News of his departure comes just a week after the struggling network announced cuts to its news department, with the early, mid-morning and late news shows cut and with as many as 150 jobs to be made redundant.

It follows comments from news director Peter Meakin who told Fairfax papers he would have to wait and see if he remained at the network, quipping “having  high-priced old fart like me around is a bit of a luxury” following news of the cuts, which also saw breakfast show Wake Up axed.

O’Brien joined the network initially in 1992, working as executive producer of the current affairs program Hinch until 1994, and returned there in late 1995 as ATV 10 Melbourne director of news, a role he has held ever since.

Read more »

Southern Cross Austereo expects earnings to be down 10 per cent on last year, blames struggling Ten and 2DayFM ratings

Southern Cross Austereo logoSouthern Cross Austereo (SCA) has said it expects its earnings to be 10 per cent down on last year’s,  blaming poor TV ratings for Network Ten and a slump in the Today network’s listenership following the departure of Kyle Sandilands and Jackie ‘O’ Henderson for Kiis FM at the end of last year.

The company issued an earnings guidance statement on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) today which warned its earning would be “substantially under” last year’s $96.1m. It warned earnings would be ten per cent below the like-for-like earnings of $89m following the sale of the Sunshine Coast business.

It adds: “The revised outlook takes into account additional share loss predominately as a result of the challenging Channel 10 television product and metropolitan radio ratings which has led to lower revenue performance combined with a softer advertising market and increased investment in marketing and promotional activities across the metropolitan radio network.”

SCA is the  regional affiliate broadcaster for Network Ten, and owns the Today and TripleM radio networks. Read more »

News Corp hands full creative duties to incumbent Archibald Williams

News CorpArchibald Williams has won the full News Corp creative account and is to set to take full responsibility for the brand from June 1, with the other incumbent AJF Partnership stripped of duties for the brand.

The agency will be responsible for all of News Corp Australia’s national brand, retention, acquisition, digital, retail and trade advertising activities.

The appointment is understood to exclude any activity with NewsLifeMedia brands. Read more »

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