Ten’s replacement shows for Wake Up, news hardly threatening

14/09/2018 // by admin

On repeat … Ten returns to soapie stronghold with The Bold and the Beautiful. Brooke (played by Katherine Kelly Lang) from Bold and the Beautiful, which will get an extra run on Channel Ten.
Nanjing Night Net

Bold and the Beautiful

Senior executives at the Seven and Nine networks will breathe a sigh of relief at Channel Ten’s new schedule.

Having axed the low-rating Wake Up and its early, morning and late news bulletins – as well as 150 staff – the struggling broadcaster had some big holes to fill.

But rather than compete head-on with its commercial rivals or try to grow its audience, Ten appears more focused on getting its costs down.

All its axed programs were expensive to produce – especially Wake Up, which required a purpose-built studio on Sydney’s Manly beach. The replacement programs are generally cheap overseas imports and local repeats; hardly a threat to Sunrise and Today.

The new schedule begins with an hour of Ready Steady Cook at 6am, American showbiz program Entertainment Tonight at 7am, then a Bold and The Beautiful repeat at 7.30am.

British cooking show Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals airs at 8am, followed by local program Studio 10 (which escaped the axe) at 8.30am.

Tellingly, Ten will screen “Australian content repeats, e.g. MasterChef” between 11am and noon.

Our main free-to-air channels are compelled to air at least 55 per cent Australian content between 6am and midnight. But as long as they meet the sub-quotas for first-run drama, documentaries and children’s programs, they can show repeats to reach the main target.

Ten’s now-defunct breakfast show and three daily news bulletins went a fair way to meeting the 55 per cent quota. All of it fresh, topical and home-grown.

Now, Ten has replaced this with a mish-mash of low-budget foreign shows and local repeats. This is not to say they won’t find an appreciative audience. (It’s safe to assume they won’t set the ratings on fire, either.)

But it’s always a shame to see Australian programs get the chop, not to mention talented news staff lose their jobs.

The long-term concern about this new schedule is that it reveals a lack of vision for Ten. Last month, CEO Hamish McLennan emphasised news as a “priority”. A few weeks later, he took an axe to what remains one of the best-performing programs for his network.

Conspicuously absent from Ten’s current line-up is a “tent pole” series such as The Voice or My Kitchen Rules. These are the kind of programs that viewers watch live, a few nights a week, attracting premium advertising rates. They also provide a great platform to promote new series and huge lead-in audiences for other shows. Indeed, they’re called tent pole shows because they prop up a network’s entire schedule.

Unfortunately, Ten misfired with its recent attempts: So You Think You Can Dance (too niche) and The Biggest Loser (too mean). MasterChef, a former ratings powerhouse, was diluted by too many spin-offs but still does comparatively well.

The absence of a tent pole show, however, can precipitate a downward spiral that’s hard to correct.

There are fewer viewers to promote programs to and eventually, even good shows go unnoticed. Your prime time programs have smaller lead-in audiences, so they suffer as well. And the effect is self-reinforcing, making it harder to break the cycle the longer it continues.

It’s often said that if only Channel Ten “would put some good shows on”, their woes would be fixed.

This is rubbish.

Ten already has plenty of great shows. It has the best dramas of any commercial network (Offspring, Puberty Blues, Secrets and Lies), some marvellous imported series (The Good Wife) and some great new local series (Have You Been Paying Attention?). There are many other examples.

But without some more bold attempts at tent pole programming, nothing will change.

McLennan has already indicated the network must focus on this kind of “event” television, but there’s not much to suggest he has anything up his sleeve right now. It must become a (well-funded) priority.

It would be shame for Ten to effectively throw in the towel by going further down the path of endless cost-cutting and cheap programming. This is not an inevitability. Only a few years ago, Nine’s sinking ratings and revenue problems seemed intractable – problems since solved by skilled management.

Ten already has many excellent programs that deserve a bigger audience. It also has passionate, talented and loyal staff. With the right leadership, it could again become a great network.Ten’s news chief questions [email protected]南京夜网.au

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

David Jones’ board backs $4 offer despite expert view

14/09/2018 // by admin

David Jones’s board is standing by its endorsement of South African retailer Woolworths’s $4.00 a share takeover offer, even though an ­independent expert has found that David Jones shares are worth as much as $4.14.
Nanjing Night Net

Independent expert Grant Samuel & Associates has valued David Jones shares at between $3.73 and $4.14 a share and says Woolworths takeover offer is fair and reasonable and ­therefore in the best interests of shareholders.

In valuing David Jones shares as high as $4.14, the independent expert is believed to have taken into account the value of David Jones’s property port­folio if development opportunities were exploited.

The four CBD stores are in the books at $612 million, but analysts believe they may be worth as much as $1 billion if air rights above the stores are developed. Grant Samuel is also believed to have applied a higher multiple to David Jones’s earnings than analysts have applied used the past and also took into account a premium for control.

David Jones shares were trading around $2.75 and were considered fully valued by most brokers before Myer approached the company last October with an all-scrip merger of equals proposal that valued the shares at around $3.11. The stock was trading around $3.21 before Woolworths, South Africa’s largest retailer, approached the board offering $4 a share cash in April.

The board quickly accepted the Woolworths offer, subject to no ­superior offers, and is standing by its decision. David Jones said on Thursday the offer price was within the expert’s range and represented a substantial premium over the David Jones share price before the offer was made.

Furthermore, in the absence of the Woolworths offer or any alternative offer it was likely that under current market conditions the shares would be trading at prices well below $4.

“The David Jones board continues to unanimously recommend that David Jones shareholders vote in favour of the scheme at the upcoming scheme meeting, in the absence of a superior ­proposal,” the company said.

Grant Samuel said the $4 a share offer represented a substantial 25 per cent premium over the share price prior to the offer.

This premium was “reasonable” but towards the lower end of the standard range, the expert said.

However, in Grant Samuel’s opinion, the premium based on prices up to January 30, when the Myer offer was revealed, was more relevant.

“These are undisturbed prices and are a better reflection of where David Jones shares would trade in the absence of a takeover offer or any speculation as to one,” the expert said.

“On this basis, the Woolworths offer represents very substantial premiums for control (circa 35 to 40 per cent).”

David Jones chairman Gordon Cairns has previously said that the board weighed up the Woolworths proposal against the value that could be created through David Jones’s five-year plan. It came to the conclusion that the offer was worth significantly more than David Jones’s intrinsic value and ­brokers’ valuation.

Woolworths is believed to have initially offered less than $4 a share but was convinced to lift its offer to $4 a share to win board approval.

Mr Cairns has also said that the board would be willing to consider other offers if one of the global retailers eyeing Australian expansion came along.

No counter-bidders have emerged, although analysts believe that other potential suitors would likely wait until after the Woolworths’s shareholder meeting next month before they made a ­move.

David Jones shareholders are due to meet to approve the Woolworths offer on June 30 after the Federal Court cleared the way for the scheme of arrangement to proceed.

The Australian Foreign Investment Review Board cleared the way for the merger two weeks ago and Woolworths gained South African Reserve Bank approval last Friday.

The deal will create the second-largest department store chain in the ­southern hemisphere and one of the top 10 such retailers in the world, with combined sales of $5.7 billion from more than 1151 stores in 16 countries.

Woolworths has identified synergies worth $130 million a year within five years – mainly by increasing the level of private label merchandise in David Jones stores from 3.5 per cent to at least 20 per cent.

Woolworths has also opened the door to selling off David Jones’s four CBD stores – a move that would reduce the cost of the $2.15 billion acquisition.

In a circular to Woolworths shareholders last week, the food and clothing retailer said it intended to “review alternatives” with respect to David Jones’s freehold property assets once further information became available.

This represented a subtle change in Woolworths’s position since it unveiled the offer.

Woolworths chief executive Ian Moir has previously said that ­Woolworths has no plans for the property assets and has denied that Woolworths was considering a sale and leaseback of the stores to help pay for the acquisition.

Woolworths’s wording in the official circular gives the company “wriggle room” to sell or redevelop the properties at some point in the future.

David Jones shares closed down 1¢ at $3.94 on Thursday.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Australian shares make biggest gain in three months

14/09/2018 // by admin

Shares posted their best day since February boosted by a strong lead from Wall Street, a bounce in the iron ore price, and a better than expected reading of Chinese manufacturing activity, which is a positive for Australia’s major exports.
Nanjing Night Net

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index and the broader All Ordinaries Index both lifted 1 per cent, on Thursday to 5479.9 and 5458.1 respectively with the gains broadly based and all major sectors advancing.

Mining stocks rebounded as the spot price for iron ore, landed in China, recovered 1 per cent at $US98.50 a tonne. However, fears remain that the commodity price of Australia’s biggest export could continue to slide as increased global production collides with slowing demand growth and credit tightening in China.

Australia’s biggest producer of iron ore, Rio Tinto, rallied 2.6 per cent to $60.96, while iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group bounced 3.6 per cent to $4.59. Resources giant BHP Billiton gained 1.3 per cent to $37.65.

Zurich Financial Services took profits and sold out of its stake in FMG earlier this year but retains a confident outlook for the two biggest miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

“We got out of FMG after a good run in anticipation of the iron ore price falling below $US100 while the local dollar remains strong, but even on a very bearish outlook for iron ore prices where the metal price falls below $US90 per tonne and stays there for months BHP and Rio will still do well,” Zurich Financial Services senior investment strategist Patrick Noblesaid.

The market, and miners in particular, got an extra boost after a monthly measure of Chinese factory activity unexpectedly jumped to a five-month high. The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing purchasing managers index lifted 1.6 points in May to 49.7 beating the consensus forecast for 48.4. Alumina added 7.1 per cent to $1.43.

Australia’s biggest oil producer Woodside Petroleum rose 1.2 per cent to $41.72 following an investor briefing on the heels of Wednesday’s announcement it has abandoned an Israeli joint venture. Shareholders now expect a special dividend if the company can not identify a new investment opportunity.

Rumoured Woodside takeover target Oil Search added 1.2 per cent to $9.25. Brent crude oil, the benchmark most closely associated with the contract prices Australian producers fetch, was 0.1 per cent weaker at $US110.42 a barrel.

Gains in the big four banks also helped propel the market higher. Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose 0.6 per cent to $80.65, while Westpac Banking Corporation added 0.6 per cent to $33.86. ANZ Banking Group lifted 1.2 per cent to $33.41, and National Australia Bank gained 1.5 per cent to $33.54.

“The big four banks all look expensive but still have good fundamentals. It is not a good time to buy banks but they are still worth holding,” Mr Noble said.

Among other bluechip favourites, Telstra Corporation was unchanged at $5.36, Woolworths added 0.7 per cent to $37.50, and Wesfarmers, owner of Coles, rose 1.1 per cent to $43.22.

Building materials supplier James Hardie lifted 5.7 per cent to $14.47 after showing full year profit rose 118.7 per cent . The result was in the upper range of the company’s guidance and investors welcomed a move to up the final dividend from 13¢ to 20¢ and pay out another special dividend of 20¢.

Logistics group Qube Holdings jumped 6.4 per cent to $2.33 as its joint bid with industrial rail provider Aurizon won a government to develop an intermodal terminal at Moorebank in western Sydney. The freight hub, which is estimated to be a $1 billion development, will facilitate the transfer of goods between trucks and trains.

Bradken was the worst-performing stock in the ASX 200, down 4 per cent at $3.40, as investors digest the mining services group’s down-sizing plans.

Rare earths miner Lynas Corporation, which owns a processing plant in Malaysia, was the best-performing stock in the ASX 200 climbing 9.1 per cent to 12¢ amid reports China, the world’s biggest producer, is considering raising the taxes on rare earths. A $30 million shareholder share purchase plan offer from Lynas closes on Friday.

Healthcare was the best-performing sector, up 1.8 per cent, led by CSL. The vaccine and plasma product exporter lifted 1.3 per cent to $69.77 with investors please to see the Australian dollar trading back under $US93¢ for the second day in a row.

The latest listed investment company to hit the boards, PM Capital Asian Opportunities Fund, dropped 3.5 per cent on its initial public offer to 96.5¢. New Zealand’s Intueri Education Group will float its $200 million IPO on Friday.

“It is great for the market to see a few big IPOs coming through,” Mr Noble said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Carol Wall – Books that Changed Me

14/09/2018 // by admin

Author Carol WallCarol Wall is an American writer and former English teacher whose storytelling skills won over reluctant students. Her memoir about an unlikely friendship that transformed her life, Mr Owita’s Guide to Gardening, is published by Random House Australia.
Nanjing Night Net

Our Town Thornton Wilder Our Town is actually a three-act play that my students read almost every year I taught high school English, and it gets a special mention in Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening. The students especially enjoyed the assignment of creating booklets in which they noted small things that brought joy to their daily lives. On the cover they wrote the words of Emily Webb, “O Earth, you are too wonderful for anyone to realise you”.

Washington Square Henry James What a great story—a masterpiece of storytelling. Not a single step is placed awry. I also found it amazing how much my students were drawn to the 1949 film adaptation, The Heiress, starring Olivia de Havilland. They would start off making snide remarks over being forced to watch an “old movie” in class. Invariably, they were racing to my classroom so that they could watch as much as possible during that day’s class time.

To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee Every high school teacher in the South teaches To Kill a Mockingbird, and I was no exception. I loved that book, having read it for the first time as I was growing up in the South in the 1960s. I was Scout, the curious and (sometimes) bold seeker. More importantly, my dad, though not a lawyer, was the Atticus Finch of our small town. You can tell from my description of him in Mister Owita that he was my hero. I miss him very much.

Einstein Walter Isaacson I love biographies and one of my favourites is Walter Isaacson’s Einstein: His Life and Universe. I love to read about people and their approaches to their problems, which everyone has of course. I admired the creative and unconventional aspect of Einstein’s life—his penchant for questioning conventional wisdom and his respect for free thinking. Often, my friend Giles Owita and I had discussed Einstein and his theories, and I was therefore especially interested in this book.

Spoken From the Heart Laura Bush Laura Bush’s autobiography is one of my more recent favourites. She writes with grace, candour and humour about her fascinating life, both before her eight years in the White House and during her husband George W’s presidency. What a classy, elegant woman. I’m not sure she was in love with the political scene, and I have often thought I would love to talk with her—not about her time in the spotlight, but about other things.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Festival of Australia and NZ arts launches in London

14/09/2018 // by admin

Author Tim Winton argues there is a common streak through all Australian art. Photo: Marco Del GrandeFrom time to time, Australia launches little cultural assault fleets back to the mother country.
Nanjing Night Net

One year it might be a Leo McKern, who ruled the Old Bailey in his television portrayal of Rumpole, tying a neat bow around the whole convict saga.

Another year it might be a John Pilger or a Julian Assange, doing the journalistic equivalent of selling ice to the Eskimos: a bolder, freer, cooler brand of ice, more sharp and uncomfortable than the usual Fleet Steet sleet.

And of course there are Clive James, Barry Humphries and Germaine Greer  – whose mega-talents took swinging London by storm.

Some of these Aussie Vikings settled down, hung up their helmets and became part of the landscape. Others came back home, Patrick White-style, Tim Winton-style, with new perspective or homesick hearts.

Though … it seems a little unfair. Do we really have to come cap in hand to Europe or North America seeking success and recognition, or some kind of  validation stamp in the career passport?

This month Australia launches a new, full-frontal literary invasion of London.

But the aim is not a reverse colonisation. Instead, according to Jon Slack, it is to demonstrate that no matter how far or how wide our writers roam … etc etc.

“Over here people have a very narrow view of what happens in Australia – the top-level, stereotypical view,” he says.

“There’s some truth to stereotypes but there’s so much more – writing talent, acting talent, film – there’s so much to show off.”

Slack – ex-Adelaide, now a UK resident for just over a decade – is the director of a new, ambitious summer festival in the UK.

This Way Up, the Australia and New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts, boasts some of the two nations’ biggest talents, supported by some familiar international names, in 60 events over four days.

Tim Winton will discuss his new novel, Helen Garner talks about memory and imagination, Fay Weldon chats to New Zealand writer Paula Morris, other events feature Anna Funder, Greta Scacchi, Kathy Lette and Anita Heiss.

Clive James is doing a new one-hour show about his life in writing, and the festival closes with a new composition by composer Mark Bradshaw set to the biblical poem Song of Solomon, read by actor Ben Whishaw.

I meet Slack on a sunny day in Brighton. He says the idea grew out of a touch of homesickness. “I wanted to work out a way of connecting what I was doing here [in the UK] with back home [in Australia and New Zealand]. I was getting really out of the loop on everything that was happening back in Oz.

“There are so many festivals over here but having a country-specific focus was quite unique … There’s rivalry, affection, understanding [between Australia and the UK]. The more I looked into it the more sense it made.”

There is a risk of backfire in attempting this kind of showcase. Last year London’s Royal Academy, to great fanfare, opened an exhibition of some of Australia’s best and most iconic works of art, from pre-colonisation to the present day.

Reviews were mixed. While few were as scathing as those of the Sunday Times, whose critic ended up musing that in Australia the wrong people became artists, some found the whole idea old fashioned. The Guardian said an exhibition whose “aim is the broad sweep of a country, let alone a continent” risked ending up as “potted history and pop-up content”.

“I am not interested in what might constitute some sort of Australian artistic identity, because I doubt there is one,” the reviewer wrote.

Another critic wrote in the Independent that “more than most countries, [Australia] has carried a baggage of hyper-sensitivity about its place in the world”.

Slack says the reaction to the exhibition showed there was a lot of passion about Australia’s representation in the UK. He hopes the multi-event format of his festival will immunise against such criticism.

He does believe there is a character to Australian writing that will emergeduring the festival.

“If you watch a film from Australia or read a book or even just go back home, there’s something very intangible but you can sense it,” he says. “There is such diversity … [but] the person who described it the best was Tim Winton.”

In a speech in London last year, Winton said he found new perspective on what his home country meant to him when he lived in Paris in his late 20s – his first trip abroad.

He thought the difference would just be language and history, but “the moment that I stepped off a plane at Charles de Gaulle [airport] I knew I was not a European,” he said. “[Australia’s] geography, distance and weather have moulded my sensory palette, my imagination and my expectations.”

Winton found Europe’s land and the sky less beautiful, even saccharine and closed. From afar he recognised Australia as the Neverland of Peter Pan – more wild, a place “more landscape than culture” where the night sky would threaten to suck you up into the stars.

“I was calibrated differently to a European,” he said. “Everything we do in our country is still overshadowed and underwritten by the seething tumult of nature.”

Slack says the Australian voice can vary widely – contrast Winton with Christos Tsiolkas – but at the same time sound alike.

“It’s very direct, it’s bold, it’s just in the character. Even though there’s a lot of bullshit, there’s no bullshit. That’s what people respond to over here.”

Slack says Winton is still a little “under the radar” in the UK, despite the many highlights of his long career.

There is an ongoing question as to whether Australian writers do better if they make a more permanent move to the northern hemisphere, he says. It is even being addressed during the festival, in a “big debate” on whether the cultural cringe is over.

“It’s hard to deny that if you’re based here you’ve got that ongoing presence, it’s easier to have those meetings, do those events, have those conversations you need to have,” Slack says. “The tyranny of distance is still a thing.

“There are some people who still make jokes about ‘cultured Australians, oxymoron’ …People love and respect individual Australians, in films or writers, but I think there is still quite a long way to go. There’s definitely an ignorance of what’s going on … Unless someone has been to Australia you just don’t get past the beach and the sport. It’s really hard for people to do that.”

The festival has a “shoestring budget” in proportion to its scale, but Slack says in planning it became a “controlled explosion” as more people agreed to take part. The event has been part-funded by the Australia Council – which at one stage doubled its support when the project’s ambition grew. One of the council’s aims is to establish a reputation for Australia as an “artistically ambitious nation”, says Jill Eddington, director of literature funding at the council.

But the festival is there, in a nutshell, to help the authors find their market, and the market to find the authors.

“The big challenge for all writers worldwide is discoverability in a huge global online market,” says Eddington. “No, [writers] don’t need to move to the northern hemisphere. The old boundaries and borders are less and less relevant. The work of great Australian writers is relevant to readers anywhere in the world.”

This Way Up is at Kings College, London, from May 29 to June 1.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.