Are Australians getting sick of beer? Summer peak beer consumption is on the slide

As summer rolls around, Australians naturally drink more beer. But each yearly peak in consumption is on the decline. Photo: Arsineh Houspian Peaks and troughs: Ten years of Australians drinking beer, red wine and fortified wine. Photo: Roy Morgan.
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As summer rolls around, Australians naturally drink more beer. But each yearly peak in consumption is on the decline. Photo: Arsineh Houspian

Summer is to beer as winter is to log fires. Or so the theory goes. Each year Australia’s peak in consumption is dropping by a greater amount, new data shows.

The percentage of Australians who said they chugged beer in the past month between January and March steadily declined from 46 per cent in 2006 to 41 per cent in 2014, according to research firm Roy Morgan.

Between January and March this year, for the first time, the figure dropped to below 40 per cent. This summer, it is expected to fall much further.

Andrew Price, general manager of consumer products at Roy Morgan, said it was not just beer rapidly losing fans.

Yearly consumption peaks for red wine dropped from 36 per cent of Australian adults to 31 per cent, and for fortified wine, from 10 per cent to six per cent, over the past decade.

“The peaks soften as the years roll on, a trend consistent with the broader overall decline in liquor consumption, whereby the total proportion of Australians aged 18 and over who drink any kind of alcohol in an average four weeks has fallen from 72 per cent to 68 per cent in the past decade,” Price said.

The data reinforces analysis by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in May that people are drinking less alcohol now than at any time in the past 50 years.

Beer once accounted for three-quarters of all alcohol consumed, the ABS findings showed. It now makes up 41 per cent.

Rohan Miller, a senior marketing lecturer at Sydney University, said beer companies, now largely consolidated, were struggling to appeal to young men shunning drinks enjoyed by their fathers and aspiring to be in white collar jobs.

“It’s definitely a concern for the beer industry. It’s a pressing business issue, a mature category that’s going into decline,” he said.

“They’re trying to introduce new flavours to the palate and, rather than merely advertising on television, going for social media. They’re trying to make it a cooler type of product.”

Michael Livingston, research fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, said slowing alcohol consumption was almost entirely driven by young men and women.

He said the decline appeared across genders, socioeconomic groups, and in regional or urban areas. It was part of a global shift.

“One possibility is that the increase in the use of social media has altered the way young people interact, reducing the centrality of drinking in socialising,” he said.

“Exercising, eating well and avoiding alcohol and other drugs are important lifestyle choices for many young people, research has also shown.”

He said further research was crucial so that the decline in consumption could be sustained through appropriate interventions.

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Herald Breakfast – August 31 2015

Beachwatch: There’s the slight chance of a shower but overall it should be an okay day from the last official day of winter althoughsurf conditions are predicted to be treacherous.The wind will start from the south-west before heading south to south-east with the swell from the south around two to more than 2.5 metres.Wave conditions will be cleanest at the southern ends with the more open stretches dishing up plenty of close-outs and bumpy waves.
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Weather: Partly cloudy in Newcastle (18 degrees), a morning fog in Scone (18 degrees) and partly cloudy at Maitland (20 degrees) for the last day of winter.

Traffic: A diesel spill on the New England Highway at Muswellbrook, near Hassell Road, has been cleared. Height detectors remain out of order at Hexham bridge.

Trains:The 7.13am Gosford to Central service has been delayed due to an operational issue at Gosford earlier. Otherwise good service on the Newcastle and Hunter lines.

Morning Shot: Sunshine at Merewether, as captured by the Herald’sDarren Pateman.

No room for buses, cars at Wickham interchange: MPWICKHAM’S new transport interchange will have two taxi ranks and four drop-off spaces to its north in Station Street, planners say, following criticisms that the key project is shaping up as inadequate and underwhelming.

Revitalisation forum discusses city’s future:POLL NEWCASTLE’S ‘great bones’ were the key to transforming the former steel city into one of the world’s great regional cities, former Christchurch, New Zealand mayor Sir Bob Parker said on Sunday.

Flood victims still waiting:DUNGOG mayor Harold Johnston has admitted he wouldn’t let his mother live in the low-lying units at Alison Court, fearing the risk of future floods too high.

Bloomfield buys piece of Integra mine:BRAZILIAN mining company Vale has signed an agreement to sell its Integra mining operation near Singleton to Hunter company Bloomfield and international operator Glencore.

Knights want Rabbitohs coach to jump ship: SOUTH Sydney mentor Michael Maguire has emerged as a genuine contender to coach the Knights next year.

Faithful mob Gidley like a rock star:EVEN a man of Kurt Gidley’s famed fitness levels was entitled to be exhausted.

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Australian consumers to be kept in the dark on seafood origins

Scallops caught by Aqua Marine Tasmania pictured at Deepwater Jetty in Triabunna, east coast of Tasmania. Photo: Matthew Newton Debbie Wisby’s husband Glen Wisby, right, unloading a catch of scallops with his crew at Deepwater Jetty. Photo: Matthew Newton
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Debbie Wisby swears you can “taste the sea” in the wild-caught scallops her business plucks from the waters off Tasmania, which are whisked to restaurants and takeaway shops across Australia.

Once diners taste the sweet, creamy parcels – eaten grilled, pan-fried, steamed or even raw – “they refuse to eat other, certainly imported, products,” Wisby says.

But many consumers are denied that choice after the Senate this month rejected a push to force restaurants, cafes, pubs and takeaway shops to disclose if their seafood is local or imported.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon introduced the bill after a Senate inquiry recommended the measure for cooked or pre-prepared seafood. Proponents say it would have enabled diners to support the Australian seafood industry and know their meal was clean, sustainable and legal.

Xenophon said the government, which sided with Labor to defeat his bill, was “weak and indecisive” on the issue.

“They have taken the lazy way out … consumers and the Australian fishing industry expect better from our government,” he said.

Seafood consumption in Australia has doubled since 1975 and about three-quarters of it is now imported.

This is despite research in 2006 showing about 70 per cent of Australian consumers prefer local over imported seafood.

Australian medical experts have expressed concern over the amount of Asian fish imports containing banned antibiotics.

The Senate inquiry heard some fish and chip shops were selling imported shark, known as “flake”, potentially derived from threatened species or from unsustainable or illegal fisheries.

Restaurants using terms such as “fish of the day” did not indicate where the fish was from and may have led customers to believe it was locally caught, the inquiry heard.

Producers warned a “tsunami of barramundi” would hit the domestic market this year from countries including Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

During Senate debate, Liberal senator Michaelia Cash said country-of-origin labelling changes must be undertaken in cooperation with states and territories.

Xenophon rejected that argument, saying the government could have found ways around the hurdles.

Industry groups are pushing state governments to improve seafood labelling, hoping to emulate the Northern Territory which introduced such laws for restaurants and other dining venues in 2008.

A spokesman for Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said the government was reforming country-of-origin food labelling in the retail sector after careful consideration including market research and consultation.

The government would review the scheme after two years, and may consider extending it to the services sector, he said.

Wisby said consumers have the right to “know what they are putting in their mouths”.

“We also need to know so [consumers] can support local businesses, local employment and economic growth,” she said.

“If you buy something that’s caught in Australia you know it’s well managed and sustainable for the future.”

By the numbers

75 per cent the proportion of seafood consumed in Australia thought to comprise imported fish and fish products

70 per cent the proportion of Australian consumers who prefer local to imported seafood, according to 2006 research

90 per cent the proportion of Australians more likely to buy food labelled “Made in Australia”

$2.26 billion Australian fisheries production in 2010-11

Source: Senate inquiry report into current requirements for labelling of seafood and seafood products.

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need2know: Calm start to week

Local shares are poised for a quiet open after a hectic week, as investors reassess positions at the end of the earnings season and as the focus turns to the strength of the US economy.
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What you need2know

SPI futures up 12pts to 5246 on Saturday

AUD at 71.71 US cents, 87.27 Japanese yen, 64.12 Euro cents and 46.52

On Wall St, S&P 500 flat, Dow flat, Nasdaq +0.3%

In Europe, Stoxx 50 +0.2%, FTSE +0.9%, CAC +0.4%, DAX +0.2%

Spot gold up $US8.60 or 0.8% to $US1133.60 an ounce

Brent crude up $US2.49 or 5.2% to $US50.05 a barrel

What’s on today

Australia business indicators for June quarter, private sector credit, inflation gauge

Stocks in focus

Deutsche Bank says the message from results season seems to be that earnings momentum is not weak (the June half beat/miss ratio of 50 per cent is around average). “But the prevalence of downgrades to forecasts (for two-thirds of companies) suggests that momentum isn’t particularly strong either. The share price reaction for much of August looked overdone, but relative performance has perked up.”

Bell Potter upgraded Vocus Communications to “hold” from “sell” and moved the price target to $5.50 a share from $5.75 previously.

Deutsche Bank has a “buy” recommendation on Flight Centre and a target price of $46 a share. “While it was disappointing to see profit decline, the result was within the guidance range that preceded the recent downgrade and the situation is not nearly as dire as what management’s commentary and the sharp share price decline implied only two months ago. The outlook seems to have improved and the guidance range suggests the group is now sufficiently diverse to deliver reasonable earnings growth despite subdued Australia leisure demand.”

Currencies

Macquarie Wealth Management says: “The depreciation of the $A towards our end-2015 target of $US0.69 will help regain some non-mining momentum once volatility subsides. But we remain of the view that the RBA is likely to ease rates in November, when it downgrades its growth and inflation outlook in the quarterly Statement on Monetary Policy.”

Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said the recent volatility in global markets could quickly ease and possibly pave the way for the first US rate hike in nearly a decade.

The greenback gained versus all its Group-of-10 peers except the yen last week. “The dollar looks very attractive to me, both against euro and yen,” Richard Franulovich, chief currency strategist for the northern hemisphere at Westpac Banking in New York, said by phone. “Fischer’s commentary suggests the odds are actually higher” for a September rate increase, he said.

Commodities

ANZ cut base metal price forecasts to reflect current spot prices. “However, without the supply overhang that other markets have, we expect base metals to recover once the heavy selling across global markets subsides.” Copper target Dec 2015 cut 10 per cent to $US5400 a tonne, average 2015 cut 5.5 per cent to $5603, average 2016 cut 4.2 per cent to $6100, average 2017 cut 0.05 per cent to $US6350.

World No.1 copper producer Codelco increased output in the first-half of 2015 compared to a year ago, although a slide in the copper price eroded profits. Codelco produced 831,000 tonnes of copper from its fully owned projects in the first six months of 2015, up 5.5 per cent on 2014, boosted by new projects like Ministro Hales.

World oil prices roared back to $US50 a barrel in the second day of a frenetic short-covering rally on Friday, with violence in Yemen, a storm in the Gulf and refinery outages helping extend the biggest two-day rally in six years.  Brent, the global oil benchmark, gained 10 per cent on the week; US crude’s front-month contract rose 12 per cent. “A severely oversold and shorted oil market is creating a bid for covering,” said Chris Jarvis, analyst at Caprock Risk Management in Frederick, Maryland.

United States

US stocks ended little changed, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index on track for its worst month since May 2012, as equities found some respite from the wide swings prevalent earlier this week.

For the week, the Dow gained 1.1 per cent, the S&P rose 0.9 per cent and the Nasdaq added 2.6 per cent.

The S&P remains down more than 5 per cent from when the market began to sell off on August 18. The turmoil has prompted several strategists to cut their end-of-year forecasts for indexes.

Credit Suisse, for example, cut its year-end target for the S&P 500 to 2100 from 2200 on Friday.

Europe

After wild swings over the past few days, European stocks ended up posting their first weekly gain since China devalued its currency.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.3 per cent at the close of trading, adding most of those gains in the final settlement period. An advance of 0.3 per cent in the first few minutes of trading gave way to losses of as much as 1 per cent as the session progressed, before the gauge moved higher. The stocks index had daily moves of 1.7 per cent or more in the past seven days as China’s currency devaluation rattled markets. Despite the volatility, the Stoxx 600 ended the week 0.6 per cent higher.

Italy’s FTSE MIB Index tumbled the most among western-European markets, dragged lower by a 5.6 per cent decline in Salvatore Ferragamo. The luxury shoemaker posted first-half revenue that missed estimates.

Former Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ leftist Syriza will emerge as the biggest party in next month’s election but without the majority it was hoping for, the first opinion polls since he resigned showed on Friday.

What happened on Friday

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index and the All Ordinaries index both closed 0.6 per cent higher for the day and 0.9 per cent higher for the week, at 5263.6 and 5274.7 respectively.

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iBosses has eight steps to start-up success but is shy on own sales growth

iBosses is offering 25 million shares at 20¢ in a bid to raise up to $5 million and begin trading on the ASX on September 30.A fledgling Singaporean entrepreneur coaching company that is about to float claims starting up a business can be done in eight simple steps, but iBosses is yet to break the $100,000 mark for revenue at its own venture.
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The one-year-old start-up is solely focused on growing its customer base and as such says in its prospectus, which has no financial forecasts and limited detail on operating history, that it is “unlikely to introduce any additional primary revenue streams in the future” outside of its mentoring service.

But  chief executive Patrick Khor said he did not think the youth of the company would deter investors.

“Track record today is a question of effectiveness and not duration. There are numerous companies that have emerged over the years, which many felt literally came out of the blue. Some of these companies, by the time you hear about them, it is because someone bought them out already,” Dr Khor said.

“Also, we are very new but very interested to show the IPO [initial public offering] path to our clients.”

iBosses is offering 25 million shares at 20¢ in a bid to raise up to $5 million and begin trading on the ASX on September 30.

iBosses launched in August 2014 and offers training and coaching for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs. The company has a proprietary eight-step model for guiding its clients through business development – from being passionate about an idea to launching a company. They currently offer these courses and consultancy in Singapore and Hong Kong. Significant transformation

Singapore’s start-up scene has undergone a significant transformation since the government began to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into stimulus and support programs for its fledgling tech companies.

The capital raised through the IPO will be used to expand more aggressively across Singapore and Hong Kong in the coming years as well into the Philippines and Malaysia. Dr Khor said they were also keen to establish a presence in Australia to cater to the growing start-up and new-business community.

If the full amount is raised, $1.2 million will be invested in growing the company’s new and existing business centres, $1.2 million into exploring and purchasing potential acquisitions and $1 million into developing its online offerings.

Deputy chairman Steven Lau said they had explored listing on a range of exchanges, both local but also in Hong Kong and London, but decided to list on the ASX as it was a well-regulated market tincreasingly popular with Singaporean companies.

“There is a growing trend of our tech and media companies sector going Down Under to list, so we felt that ASX was the most appropriate for a company of our size, we are very small start-up and the ASX is good for fast-growing companies,” he said.

The company is wholly owned by Dr Khor and his immediate family. If the maximum $5 million is raised, they will own 60 per cent of the company.

The offer is not underwritten and the IPO has a minimum subscription of $2.5 million to proceed. iBosses will list on the ASX on September 30.

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Local content will bring advertisers back to free-to-air, Nine boss David Gyngell says

David Gyngell is facing sleepless nights getting to grips with the ever diffuse TV landscape. Photo: Louie DouvisAdvertisers will come back to free-to-air television on the back of local original content, says Nine Entertainment Co chief executive David Gyngell.
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News, current affairs and sport will be the core of what Nine will produce and air because international content doesn’t work, Mr Gyngell said.

“I’d like to make more original things and own more IP (intellectual property). If you look around the world, free-to-air is really going to survive on the bones of news, current affairs and sports,” Mr Gyngell said.

“[In two years] I would say that we would be more committed to news and current affairs than we are now, not less. It just works for us.”

Having the mix of local content including, reality TV, panel shows, drama and sport will be a point of difference for free-to-air, he said.

“There’s an incredibly opportunity to have a different relationship with advertisers, which we have to keep proving to them.”

“I believe they will come back, especially the large advertisers who will try to get out in front of their competitors who are nipping at their heels. Because they’re larger and they’ve got more money, they’ll spend on television. Having the locally owned content is going to create more value and it’s going to define us.”

Nine did admit that its ratings share over the 2016 financial year will come in slightly lower than 2015, due to increased competition and one-off events, such as the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games on Seven next year.

In the latest Standard Media Index figures from July, Nine had ad revenue share of 37.1 per cent, down from 39.1 per cent in July 2014. Seven remained number one with ad share of 38.5 per cent, down from 39.7 per cent from a year earlier. Ten rose from 21.2 per cent in July 2014 to 24.4 per cent in July 2015.

Mr Gyngell said the audience was still there for Nine, but people were watching in different ways, such as video on demand, where numbers aren’t yet officially measured, making it hard to negotiate pricing with advertisers.

“The challenge we’ve got now is all our shows that we’re talking about, that people are worried about, are all pretty close to the numbers they were doing two years ago. But, they’re coming in at catch-up; they’re coming in on an AVOD service, but we can’t charge for them. This is a worldwide problem we’re dealing with,” Mr Gyngell said.

The industry is working towards to an accepted measure of capturing audiences on catch-up services.

Mr Gyngell also commented that Stan, the subscription video-on-demand service it started with Fairfax Media, publisher of the Australian Financial Review and BusinessDay, has exceeded expectations, but it was not going to be “the saviour” of Nine long-term.

“Stan is running ahead of what we thought it was going to be, but then again the category is,” Mr Gyngell said.

Stan has had 300,000 gross sign-ups, and the company claims 70 per cent of users who take on a free trial stay on as paying customers.

“Are we getting our share? I think we’re probably keeping in touch, just. We’re up against the hottest brand in the world right now in Netflix,” Mr Gyngell said.

“The difference between us and our competitors is that we’re going to have a much more Australian tone to it. This is the space to watch and it is going to cause us a lot of sleepless nights in free-to-air until we get a really good understanding of it.”

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Australian business calendar, August 31-September 4

MONDAY, August 31
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Sydney – Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) business indicators for the June quarter

Sydney – TD Securities-Melbourne Institute inflation gauge for August

Sydney – Housing Industry Association new home sales for July

Sydney – Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to release financial aggregates for July

Sydney – Australian Ethical Investments full year results

TUESDAY, September 1

Sydney – RBA monthly board meeting and interest rate decision

Sydney – RBA index of commodity prices for August

Sydney – ABS balance of payments and international investment position for the June quarter

Sydney – ABS building approvals for July

Sydney – ABS government finance statistics for June quarter

Sydney – ANZ-Roy Morgan weekly consumer confidence survey

Sydney – The Australian Industry Group performance of manufacturing (PMI) index for August

Sydney – RP Data Core Logic Home Value Index for August

Sydney – Dun and Bradstreet business expectations survey

Brisbane – Collins Foods annual general meeting

WEDNESDAY, September 2

Sydney – ABS national accounts, including gross domestic product, for the June quarter

Perth – Africa Down Under Conference, day one of three

THURSDAY, September 3

Sydney – ABS Retail trade for July

Sydney – ABS international trade in goods and services for July

Sydney – Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Services Index (PSI) for August

Sydney – Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott and Financial Services Council chief executive Sally Loane speaking at Australian Israel Chamber of Commerce lunch

Perth – Africa Down Under Conference, day two of three

FRIDAY, September 4

Sydney – ABS overseas arrivals and departure for July

Sydney – ING releases report for women in financial services

Perth – Africa Down Under Conference, day three of three

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Bart Cummings, Colin Hayes, Tommy Smith: The end of a special era of trainers

Tommy Smith with champion racehorse Tulloch. Photo: Stuart MacGladrie Colin Hayes. Photo: Robert Banks
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The Australian racing community woke up on Monday morning to the reality that the last of the nation’s three most revered horse trainers had passed away.

The death of Bart Cummings, 87, at his property in NSW on the weekend, brought to an end not only a breathtaking career but also an era in Australian racing.

Colin Hayes, Tommy Smith and Bart Cummings dominated the racing industry in Australia for half a century. They not only won thousands of races across the national calendar but in their own way reinvented horse training.

From Monday it’s the next generation: Anthony Cummings, Gai Waterhouse and David Hayes, the sons and daughter of the big three, who are left to take their trade to another level.

After speaking to them overnight it’s indeed a daunting task for this group.

While the senior Cummings managed 12 Melbourne Cups and hundreds of major races he proved that tapping into the New Zealand bloodlines of the 1960s and `70s was imperative in finding a stayer.

Cummings had bases at different times in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney and is arguably Australia’s greatest horse trainer.

​But he is in distinguished company with the likes of Smith; the master of the Sydney racing industry for decades, he established a stunning strike rate and proved to the world that having more than 100 horses in work at one time was manageable and more importantly, could be highly successful..

Having just the basics of an education, Smith had heads of government, High Court judges and wealthy businessmen vying to be part of his operation.

Smith, whose daughter Gai Waterhouse is now in the upper echelon of trainers, was a trainer who had success right across the eastern seaboard for many years.

And the other racing legend that has also died was Colin Hayes who successfully showed that you can train a huge number of racehorses away from the city track.

Some years ago the Queen was a guest at the vast Hayes property at Angston in South Australia. After viewing the comfort and space afforded every horse on the rolling paddocks of the Adelaide hills racing base, she turned and said, “Colin, it’s just wonderful how every horse in your care has a room with a view”.

Hayes, too, came from a working-class background to achieve what everyone said was impossible. Old-time horsemen declared he would be broke in months.

Hayes dominated South Australian racing for 30 years and also had a vice-like grip on premierships in Victoria. He managed to not only train a huge team at Lindsay Park but also run a highly successful breeding operation on the same property.

These three rewrote the training manual for those horsemen who came after them.

While Hayes and Cummings had a vehement dislike for each other, Hayes’ son David explained that it was an understandable disagreement.

“You’ve got to remember dad (Colin Hayes) and Bart were the very best of horsemen in a very tiny town of Adelaide so there was always going to be such bitterly strong rivalry.

“But the loss of Bart Cummings is very sad and now those three great pioneers are gone but fortunately their legacies have been instrumental in forging the future of training,” Hayes said.

And while it may seem far fetched to suggest the sons, daughters, grandsons and grandaughters of these three racing trailblazers can better their fathers’ or grandfathers’ deeds, remember a line all three used many times on the climb up the ladder to greatness.

Give Up never won a race.

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Has Jason Day produced the greatest year by an Australian golfer ever?

Jason Day takes FedExCup lead
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“How long until he becomes No.1 in the world?”

Of all the questions during Jason Day’s commanding six-shot win at The Barclays, that is the one that occupies the Australian’s mind more than any other, for we know how badly he wants it.

He could yet do so by the end of this year, but according to the legendary Nick Faldo, the world No.3 has unofficially gone past the game’s marquee man, Jordan Spieth, who this week lost his No.1 mantle back to Rory McIlroy as the game’s “Big Three” continue their takeover.

“This guy is the best player in the world right now,” the six-time Major Champion said about Day during commentary of The Barclays, having posed the above question early in the round.

“Jordan was before, but right now and over the last month, this is the guy they’ve got to beat.”

And there are a couple of other questions worth asking right now, too.

For instance, has any Australian golfer had a better year than Jason Day’s in 2015?

The 27-year-old is on the verge of climbing a mountain no other golfer from this country has been able to. That is, winning the PGA Tour’s coveted US$10 million FedExCup – which is basically the end-of-season “premiership” for golfer’s on the world’s top circuit introduced in 2007.

In AFL terms, Day’s win at the Barclays on Monday morning, AEST, was kind of like winning a qualifying final in the first week of September.

He will now head into the remaining two events of the Tour Playoffs – the Deutsche Bank and BMW Championships – ranked No.1 in the standings and in the box seat to stay there for the grand final the following week, which is the Coca-Cola Tour Championship.

If he were to win one, two or all three of those tournaments and lift the FedExCup, Day would set a new standard of excellence for Australian golf.

Our best of the modern era, Greg Norman, had a flagship year in 1986 when he won two PGA Tour events, one on the European Tour and of course his first major – the 1986 Open Championship – to go with second-place finishes at the Masters and PGA Championship that year.

He also won a bunch of minor events in Australia that don’t really come into the equation, because the Australian summer is much different now and Day has elected not to play our domestic events this year due to the birth of his second child.

This was the year of the “Norman Slam”, as he became the first player to hold the 54-hole lead in all four Major events, thus playing in the final group and having the greatest chance ever of achieving the Grand Slam that Spieth flirted with this year.

Day, in comparison, has now won four times this year – starting with his win at the Farmers Insurance Open in February – and three times in his past four starts – the Canadian Open, his breakthrough major title at the PGA Championship and now the Barclays.

It is the first time since Bruce Crampton in 1973 that an Australian has won four events on the US PGA Tour in one season.

So good has Day been that his play has forced the game’s leading judges to ponder another question they never thought they would bother asking: Has anyone had a better year than Jordan Spieth?

It seems implausible that a man who won both the Masters and the US Open could not win the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award.

However there is a real danger that Day could yet steal the award, becoming the first Australian to do so since Norman turned that trick in 1995 – in a magnificent year in which “The Shark” never won a major but became No.1 in the world.

Day is in a zone right now, one that Norman once had access to back in his heyday, if not similar to that which Tiger Woods use to frequent more than any other of recent times.

The Queenslander’s win at The Barclays was an encore to his history-making score-to-par in a major at the PGA Championship.

He went 63 and 62 over the weekend to blitz the field – making only one bogey along the way.

He is starting to create superstar moments, too, much like Spieth has done all year.

“Oh my goodness, this guy is sensational”: that was the call on commentary when Day rolled in a long, winding putt on the 15th hole that was so tough that the TV broadcaster’s predictor gave him just a six-percent chance of making it.

He pumped his fist and let out a big roar to match that of the crowd’s.

Since the US Open in late June, he has produced 20 straight rounds under par.

The toughness factor has played big for Day.

Not only did he guts it out to finish tied 9th at the US Open, overcoming a bout of vertigo that caused him to collapse, he came through at The Barclays despite having to withdraw from the pro-am with a back complaint.

Golf is such that one’s consistency of contending is not recognised until you stop contending and start winning.

That is true for Day, who has had five top 10s to add to his four wins this year – including a tied fourth at the Open Championship and the US Open finish.

Spieth, though, has been on another level in terms of consistency – completing 10 top 10 finishes to go with two other wins on the PGA Tour in 2015.

He also finished second (PGA Championship) and tied fourth (Open Championship) in the other two majors he didn’t win, all of which means Day needs to keep winning over the next three weeks to make those judging the Player of the Year award forget about the incredible body of work Spieth has put together.

Then, again, you wouldn’t put anything past Day right now.

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New digital partnership pays off for Football Federation Australia

Australia’s Massimo Luongo celebrates after scoring a goal during January’s Asian Cup final. Photo: Steve ChristoFootball Federation Australia is getting all its ducks in a row with the help of Perform Sports Content and Media, as it aims to maximise what it can get for its next broadcast deal.
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FFA will announce on Monday a partnership with Perform, which it started 12 months ago, to improve its digital assets and offerings to fans.

“We’re focused on growing our digital platforms with a view to getting the best deal possible in the next rights deal. That means returning value to Perform, creating value for sponsors and advertisers and you’re only going to do that if you’ve got really good products for the fans,” FFA head of commercial Luke Bould told Fairfax Media.

“If we get the fan offering right, then we’ll get the commercial sponsorship offering right, and that will maximise our ability to do a really good rights deal next time.”

Perform has been enlisted to help with drive traffic to FFA’s online assets, including the Socceroos, Matildas, A-League and W-League, through things such as statistics, editorial content and video and simulcast streaming of the A-League’s Friday night match.

The partnership has led to 27 new websites across the FFA, iOS and Android apps for A-League clubs, the league and the Socceroos.

Over the past 12 months, FFA has seen a 54 per cent pick-up in unique audience across its digital network and a 72 per cent increase in revenue from those assets. FFA digital assets had 7.9 million unique visitors during the latest A-League season.

The deal, which is aligned with its broadcast rights, runs through until the end of the 2017 season. ‘Suck it and see’

“From a commercial point of view, the first six months was a little bit of “suck it and see”, commercially, but the past six months has been very positive and we’re seeing significant increases in revenue occurring across all the assets, and across all the platforms,” Mr Bould said.

“We’re probably coming from a reasonably low base 12 months ago, but the adoption by our partners and the market has been really strong and consistent.”

Football in Australia has enjoyed one of its most successful years ever, match results wise, with the Socceroos winning the Asian Cup in January, the Western Sydney Wanders winning the Asian Football Confederation Champions League and the Matilda’s performing strongly at this year’s FIFA women’s World Cup.

To maintain interest and growth, it is important to be offering audiences an engaging product, not just on the television, but through other devices before, during and after matches, Perform Australia managing director Alex Peebles said.

“If you rewind and look at a football consumer, or a sports consumer, let’s say five years ago, the typical consumption pattern was watching live on TV and maybe reading a match preview then a match report on it,” Mr Peebles said.

“The sophistication of sports fans around the world, particularly in Australia, has evolved significantly since then. What’s really important for those fans is being able to get behind-the-scenes access – fast and normally first. That involves not just match action, but seeing what these people like to do off the pitch, as well as data and statistical analysis; that is content fans need and really want to see.”

Mr Peebles said that engagement with fans has helped Perform commercialise the FFA’s digital assets.

“We’ve got an exclusive content team, both out of our offices here and at FFA headquarters, who produce exclusive editorial and video for the network, as well as working with our data and statistics team in creating engaging and unique content out of the data.”

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