ABCs: Cleo and Dolly continue to struggle as several monthly mags increase

Bauer Media's Dolly magazineBauer Media’s Cleo and Dolly have continued to experience steep circulation declines, while high fashion magazines have continued to stabilise with Harper’s Bazaar posting a modest increase.

The Audit Bureau of Circulation figures for the six months ended June 2014 saw Cleo record a 30.10 per cent circulation decline, its numbers dropping from 76,163 to 53,221.

Dolly struggled more with its circulation dropping from 80,315 to 50,125, a decline of 37.60 per cent.

Media analyst Steve Allen told Mumbrella: “They’re categories that the kind of content they’re offering is available instantly everyday online. They just don’t have enough difference in what they’re presenting editorially and pictorially to sustain the circulation.”

Bauer Media combined the two magazines’ teams into one at the end of last year, working under editor-in-chief Lucy Cousins.

It was a similar story at Pacific Magazines’ Girlfriend, which saw its sales drop from just above 70,000 to just above 50,000.

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Fairfax executive justifies $2.4m pay rise saying they back themselves to hit targets

Fairfax logoOne of four Fairfax executives who shared a $2.4m remuneration increase in the last financial year has justified the move by saying the “management was prepared to back itself to achieve set targets –  something the journalists are refusing to do”, after staff were offered a pay freeze.

Today’s full-year  financial report showed four execs – CEO Greg Hywood; Allen Williams, MD of the Australian publishing media division, chief financial officer David Housego;  and general counsel Gail Hambly – shared the extra remuneration with nearly $2m coming in the form of preference shares given to them for hitting targets.

However, in an email accidentally forwarded to journalists from a Fairfax PR consultant, Hambly said there had been no “base” pay rise for the executive saying:  “The increases are all incentive based”. The company today reported a full-year profit of $224m, based on the sale of digital assets, but showed steep declines in print revenues with only marginal gains in digital.

This afternoon MEAA union members at Fairfax were due to hold a stop work meeting to discuss a pay freeze offered to them by management, with Williams telling staff when they made the proposal “the best people should be paid more”.  Read more »

Live blog: Thursday, August 14

Welcome to Mumbrella’s live blog, our daily roundup of what’s happening in media and marketing.

Top Stories:

3:47pm - One of the four Fairfax execs who received the $2.4m pay increase wrote in an email the management “deserved” it because they were prepared to back themselves to hit targets, while journalists weren’t. 

2:23pm - Staff at Fairfax are preparing to go into a stop work meeting to discuss a pay freeze, just hours after it emerged four of its execs shared $2.4m in extra remuneration

12:45pm – July had a series of major news events including MH17 disaster, the Commonwealth Games and FIFA World Cup final which helped boost audiences to most of the major news sites, according to the latest Nielsen online rankings.

11:45am - Telstra’s latest ad for its ‘Unexspected upgrades’ program takes place in a hotel.

11:34am - In agency related news experiential outfit Chieftan Communications has sold a stake to shopper marketing agency Creata, now led by Charles Rallings, with a view to expanding abroad. Read more »

Qantas Loyalty to kick off marketing push after launch of frequent flyer portal

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 5.16.08 PMQantas has created a new online hub for its 10 million Frequent Flyer members with a major marketing blitz set to begin early next week.

The launch of will include a new ‘online mall’ featuring a range of partners enabling members to earn points when they shop online. Brands include David Jones, Apple, Selfridges, eBay and Macy’s.

Surprisingly, it is the first time a dedicated portal has been created for its Frequent Flyers program with members previously accessing their account through the core flight booking website.

The marketing push will include Razorfish-designed ads of a cartoon-style city featuring Qantas Frequent Flyer partner companies. The ads carry the tagline ‘Discover a whole new world of Qantas points’.

Qantas Loyalty chief marketing officer Stephanie Tully told Mumbrella the team was also looking to bring some of its media buying in-house although it will continue to use agencies, including ZenithOptimedia, “where it is relevant”.

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ABC Innovation appoints Ten’s product consultant Louise O’Donnell as head of strategy

Louise O'Donnell ImageABC Innovation has appointed Network Ten strategic product consultant Louise O’Donnell to the newly created position of head of strategy.

O’Donnell, who starts on August 18, joins the ABC after just over two years with Ten where she created their cross platform catchup service TenPlay, a role which coincided with her stint at Hoodlum as director of digital.

She said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the ABC Innovation department. They are at the forefront of digital innovation and I’m going to be able to work on some exciting projects and partnerships. My background is in broadcast and digital production, driving audience engagement through integrated communications strategies and seamless user experience, so I’ll be able to apply many facets of this to the ABC’s digital offerings.” Read more »

Four Fairfax execs get $2.4m pay hike as staff at two biggest publishers battle for rise

News Corp salary Australia’s two biggest newspaper publishers have drawn the ire of their own staff in recent days as they refuse to match inflation in their salary negotiations.

Today’s Fairfax results revealed the senior executive team of four people had a combined pay rise of $2.4m during the year, including CEO Greg Hywood whose salary package rose $900,000, at a time when newsrooms are facing ongoing job cuts.

In ongoing pay negotiations Fairfax’s first offer to staff saw no automatic pay rises proffered, and a proposal to reduce the amount it pays those who work after 6pm, while at News Corp Australia a staff vote involving more than 1,200 people yesterday on the current enterprise bargaining agreement saw 83 per cent vote against the deal.

News Corp staff campaign for a better offer have placed posters including a fake NT News front page headlined “Staff tell News Corp management IT’S A CROC” and have published the lavish menu from The Australian’s much-hyped 50th anniversary VIP party around the building.  Read more »

SBS switches A-League to main channel after pressure from football authorities

SBS 2SBS will switch its live Friday night A-League football from SBS Two to SBS One following pressure from Football Federation Australia (FFA) to move coverage to the public broadcaster’s main channel.

It is understood SBS has been lobbied by football authorities who were disappointed that SBS had elected to broadcast its one weekly live match last season on its digital multi channel.

While audiences were regarded as reasonably strong, shifting the coverage to SBS One is expected to deliver a ratings boost and further elevate the game in Australia, on the back of strong ratings for the FIFA World Cup in June and July.

500px-FootballFederationAustralia_logo-300x300The FFA told Mumbrella it believed the sport deserved to be taken to a wider audience and confirmed it had held talks with the broadcaster.

“FFA has discussed this matter with SBS since the original decision to start the coverage on SBS 2 last season, and we’re delighted the network has given the game a vote of confidence by broadcasting the A-League on the primary channel in Season 10,” FFA chief operating officer John Kelly said. Read more »

More record audiences for online news sites in July

The Daily Mail Australia has crept another place up the Nielsen Online rankings, overtaking Yahoo!7’s digital assets and adding another 23,000 readers in July from June. extended its lead at the top of the table with a unique audience of 3.937m readers, it’s biggest ever audience, which Nielsen says gives it an audience reach of 22.51 per cent. dropped slightly but maintained second place with 3.453m, whilst Ninemsn’s suite of sites is third with 3.033m readers, with the site continuing as the logoff page for the Microsoft Outlook email service.

July saw a series of high-profile news events including the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines plane MH17 over the Ukraine, fresh conflict in Gaza and a number of sporting events including the FIFA World Cup final and Tour de France.

Source: Nielsen

Source: Nielsen

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Telstra celebrate unexpected upgrades with hotel spot

Telstra is continuing to celebrate upgrades in its campaign promoting its ‘Telstra Upgrade’ offer created by DDB.

The spot sees a middle aged couple walking down a drab hotel hallway while the woman talks to a friend on the phone about her low expectations of the booking due to her husband booking it.

When the pair enter the hotel room they express their surprise while Iggy Azalea’s song ‘Fancy’ kicks in. It ends with the tagline ‘Everyone loves an upgrade’.

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Experiential agency Chieftain eyes international expansion in tie-up with promo agency Creata


Fontanot and Rallings

Experiential agency Chieftain Communcations is combining with marketing and promotions agency Creata to form Chieftain Communications Australia as the agency looks to expand internationally, Mumbrella can reveal.

The new offering is a joint venture by the founders of both companies which will see Chieftain become part of the independent Creata global network and will be led by Chieftain CEO Steve Fontanot, who takes the titles CEO and creative director.

Fontanot said: “Over the last six years Chieftain has created some of the best experiential campaigns in APAC. Working with a partner that is a global leader in retail, promotion, digital, insights and licensing puts us in a position to complete the path-to-purchase for our clients.”

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ZO hires Nickie Scriven as Melbourne managing director

ScrivenZenithOptimedia has recruited Australian Super’s head of marketing and brand Nickie Scriven to the role of Melbourne managing director

Scriven replaces Leanne Brinkies who left in February and will sit on the agency’s national executive board, reporting to Ian Perrin CEO of Australia and New Zealand.

“As the agency for the open world, it’s critical for us to find leaders who have different backgrounds, skills and personalities, so I am absolutely thrilled that Nickie has decided to join our team. The calibre of her credentials shows, in no uncertain terms, the level of ambition we have for our business in Melbourne,” said Perrin. Read more »

Wonderland season 2 debut draws just 519,000

The debut of the second season of Ten drama series Wonderland drew just 519,000 metro viewers last night, well down on its 2013 debut which last year drew 948,000 viewers.

The result meant Wonderland did not even make the top 20 for the network with it shows The Project, The Bachelor, Ten Eyewitness News and Family Feud outrating it, despite being in the 8.30pm slot.

The Block Glasshouse was the biggest non-news show of the night with its first show at 7.30pm getting 1.024m viewers. A second show broadcasting in Sydney and Melbourne, ahead of the Thursday night NRL, got 432,000 viewers from 8.30pm, against the launch of the ABC’s new comedy Utopia which drew a solid 778,000 viewers, and Wonderland. The other markets had two reruns of the Big Bang Theory for the hour.

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STW revenues rise but Mike Connaghan admits there has not been enough new business



The STW Communications Group has delivered improved revenues for the half year ended June 30, with CEO Michael Connaghan telling a public briefing the group needs to focus on winning more business in the second half of the financial year.

The part WPP-owned holding group – whose dozens of agencies include Ikon Communications, Ogilvy, Howorth, TCO, Tongue and JWT – reported revenues rose by 5.3 per cent in the first half of the year to $188.3m while EBITDA – earnings before interest, depreciation, taxation and amortisation-  rose by 2.2 per cent to $36.5m.

CEO Mike Connaghan told a public briefing: “We are facing a very challenging market, that’s clear. That said, many parts of our businesses are performing very well. If we can improve our new business win record in the second half, which we must do, I believe we can still have a really strong second half.

“Our new business performance has not been up to our expectations, we’ve actually lost a couple of accounts and there’s been a couple of pitches out there which we would have hoped to have won which we didn’t win. That is something we need to address, there is plenty of opportunity in the pipeline for us in the second half. Read more »

Telstra lifts net profits to $14.3bn but media revenue slips despite rise in TV income

telstraRevenue from Telstra’s media interests slipped 0.5 per cent in the 2014 financial year despite a five per cent rise in TV income.

The Telco’s media portfolio, which includes a 50 per cent stake in Foxtel, generated $982 million, a fall of $5m from last year. TV revenue hit $699m with growth in both its Premium Pay TV and Foxtel on T-Box ‘paylite’ services.

But Telstra said this was offset by a sharp 22 per cent decline in Sensis voice and advertising services. The company sold 70 per cent of its Sensis marketing business in February for $454m.

Overall, Telstra lifted its net profit after tax by 14.6 per cent to $4.3 billion in the 12 months ending in June. Total income climbed just over six per cent to $26.3bn while earnings before interest and tax increased 9.5 per cent to $11.1b.

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Fairfax reports profit of $224.4m on back of asset sales

Fairfax logoPublisher Fairfax Media has posted a $224.4m profit for the 2014 financial year, well up on 2013 result which saw it record a loss of $16.4m on the back of further writedowns and its staff redundancy program.

The result was also boosted by the sale of online travel business Stayz, with significant items after tax totalling $66.7m. Company revenue was down three per cent $1.972m while the EBIDTA profit – earnings before interest, depreciation, taxation and amortisation – was up 1.8 per cent $306.4m.

Underlying EBITDA – the best like-for-like comparison with previous years – was $312.7m, down on last year’s $315.7m.

“Transforming a business as diverse as Fairfax was always going to be multi-year journey,” said Greg Hywood, CEO of Fairfax in a statement. “Our achievements to date are reflected in the the stable operating earnings performance announced today, a result that has been achieved despite continued structural change in our markets.”

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Diageo marketing boss: ‘I was sick and tired of wasting strategy money’



Diageo marketing and innovation chief Adam Ballesty has predicted more companies will want a single agency to handle both their creative work and media buying after admitting he was “sick and tired” of having his strategy interpreted differently by a variety of agencies.

His comments came as the alcohol beverage giant beds down its newly-struck agreement with Leo Burnett, with Diageo confirming in July that it had dumped media agency Ikon Communications and appointed the creative agency to oversee its media account in addition to its creative work.

While only two weeks in to the new arrangement, Ballesty told Mumbrella it will be “phenomenal”.

“My vision is to create and deliver the one strategy through the one partner,” he said. “What was happening was that we were having one strategy interpreted three or four different times in different channels by different partners.

“What I was sick and tired of was paying for strategy and not seeing my hard-to-get dollars being used to create love and fun for our brands and with our consumers and customers.” Read more »

Live blog: Wednesday, August 13

Welcome to Mumbrella’s live blog, our daily roundup of what’s happening in media and marketing.

Top Stories:

3:22pm - On Monday we ran a story about former CommBank marketer Andy Lark’s frustration at customer sales calls from a company purporting to represent Telstra. Now Telstra’s CEO David Thodey has waded into the debate in the comment feed, writing:

I read this article and was very concerned to read some of the comments. We do not ‘wholesale our brand’ but unfortunately we do have companies representing themselves as Telstra which we refer to the ACCC. I am sorry that you have not received good service from us and I know Mark Buckman has discussed with you the issues…and our lack of responsiveness on your tweets…we do care about service and the only way we can improve our reputation is by improving our service and ability to personalise the support we provide our customers. “

The brand also pushed out a new ad this week through The Monkeys as it rolls out its Easy Share Business Plans:

1:44pm Network Seven has been accused of “poor taste” after showing an episode of Family Guy last night which featured jokes at the expense of actor Robin Williams, hours after he was found dead. Read more »

Mumbrella video hangout with Utopia co-creator Tom Gleisner

Working Dog’s Tom Gleisner joined Mumbrella in a video hangout and discussed the launch of its new comedy series Utopia on ABC.

The satire is set inside the offices of the “Nation Building Authority”, a newly created government organisation responsible for overseeing major infrastructure projects, centring in the challenges that occurs when bureaucracy and the grand dreams of politicians collide.

Working Dog and its team of writers Gleisner, Santo Cilauro and Rob Sitch were the creators behind some of Australia’s best known satires including The Hollowmen and Frontline.

During the discussion with Mumbrella deputy editor Nic Christensen Gleisner revealed some of the inspiration behind the show, as well as explaining it is hard to parody the civil service and make it funnier than real life. Read more »

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