Media billionaire Kerry Stokes has mining millions behind him in the launch of two new digital media ventures.
Stokes’ Seven West Media will leverage synergies between digital and free-to-air TV with the launch of a new evening “newspaper”, The Nightly, next month.
Based in Perth, WA, the web and digital-only edition will focus on politics, policy, business and culture, and is understood to have secured Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting as a major advertiser.
Mining interests are currently big spenders on advertising. An ‘Australia does well’ campaign last May – ahead of federal government’s industrial relations reforms and changes to environmental approvals – linked Australia’s success to the $63 billion mining companies are reported to pay in taxes and royalties.
The Nightly joins another new SWM venture within West Australian Newspapers, Streamer – a platform for local sporting teams and games – which was pitched at Seven’s upfront event last year with support from Geraldine Slattery, president of mining giant BHP.
Streamer already hosts the state’s curling league, an over-45s soccer competition and netball games between Catholic schools.
The Nightly is expected to target the ‘mainstream middle’ readership of existing mastheads such as News Corp’s The Australian and Nine’s the Australian Financial Review.
WAN applied to trademark The Nightly in November, but a Google search this week on https:// thenightly.com offers a link that promises (without delivering) in-depth articles and features that “unearth the secrets behind traditional craftsmanship, where skilled artisans transform raw materials into works of art”. A work in progress, perhaps?
On Facebook however, The Nightly updated its profile picture in December with a message that it was “coming early 2024”.
Although Seven has not made any announcement, reports suggest it will have a staff of about 12, half of whom will be based in Sydney and half in Perth. Among them as a senior political columnist will be former editor-in-chief of The Australian Chris Dore, who left News suddenly in 2022, saying in an internal note later that he was “exhausted”.
Heading the team will be WAN editor-in-chief Anthony De Ceglie – who worked under Dore at Sydney’s Daily Telegraph – with West Australian business editor Sarah-Jane Tasker as editor.
A partnership with the New York Times will also see some NYT-branded content included.
Staff at WAN’s West Australian were updated on the project last Friday at a gathering attended by Stokes.
Quite to what extent the timing of the news output of The Nightly will be driven by its branding remains uncertain. Depending upon the time of year, Perth is two or three hours behind Sydney’s NSW time zone, where Seven has its main TV news at 6pm. In Queensland it is presented at 6.30pm, preceded by half-an-hour of local news.
Seven – which already has a comprehensive news website, as well as news on “catch-up” channel 7+ – is expected to leverage national TV news to promote stories, and vice versa.
It competes as market leader in Australia’s FTA TV market against Nine Entertainment, which owns the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age, as well as the national Australian Financial Review.
Seven has already demonstrated the strength of TV-plus-media synergies with that between its Better Homes & Gardens TV programme and the print magazine of the same name, which is Australia’s largest-circulation paid print magazine. SWM sold then publisher Pacific Magazines to Bauer Media for $40 million in 2019, which rebranded as Are Media after a sale to Mercury Capital.