The Great Aussie Promoters

The Great Aussie Promoters, by Greg Tingle - 5th October 2003


Promoters Australia Entertainment Events

Australian has produced, or is at least home to, some of the greatest promoters of all time.

What is it about Australia that is able to cultivate the great promoters?

Ok, firstly what is a promoter? One who promotes, of course.

In this case we are talking about the greats in the entertainment, media and public relations business. Ah, the lines continue to get blurred as the new wave of convergent media hits us.

Who are these mysterious promoters?

Ok, starting from the top is the man they call "Harry M", Harry M. Miller (The Harry M Miller Group). Then we have Max Markson (Markson Sparks!) Michael Chugg (Michael Chugg Entertainment), Paul Dainty (Dainty Consolidated Entertainment), Michael Gudinski (Frontier Touring Company) and Michael and Kevin Jacobsen (Jacobsen Entertainment). Ok, we know that there are others that may feel left out, however, this elite group has more than cemented their place in the history of Australian promoting. The waves these guys cause show little sign of flattening out and their positive influence in the world of entertainment continues. These movers "n" shakers are indeed here for the long haul. As AC/DC said, "It's a long way to the top", and these moguls won't be taking a fall any time soon, regardless of what the rumour mongers may have you believe.

What makes these promoters so great you ask?

Many factors. We could speculate indefinitely. Let's take a look at who they are.

The Players

Harry M. Miller - personality management, media management and marketing. His clients have included Deborah Hutton, the Rolling Stones, Judy Garland and a cast of Reality TV personalities and deals.

Max Markson - personality management, specialising in the public speaking circuit. Speakers Markson has managed include Sebastian Coe, Nelson Mandela, Kieran Perkins, Maggie Tabberer and Bill Clinton. Markson knows how to sell a story. We can't forget the Natasha Ryan tale he sold to Nine's 60 Minutes for a reported $200,000 plus. Markson is said to have his fingers in the Big Brother pie also.

Michael Chugg - Tina Arena, Robbie Williams, Duran Duran, Dixie Chicks and more.

Michael Edgley - tour management. The Moscow Circus, AIDA, Disney's Beauty & The Beast and more.

Michael Gudinski - founder of Mushroom Records. Promoted Split Enz, Kylie Minogue, Jimmy Barnes and more.

Patti Mostyn - publicist queen. ABBA and more.

Paul Dainty - tour management. World Wrestling Entertainment, ABBA, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac, Tina Turner, Harry Connick Jnr and more.

Michael & Kevin Jacobsen - tour management. Col Joye and the Joy Boys, Michael Jackson, The Bee Gees, KISS, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Marley, The Three Tenors, Barbra Streisand, Shout! - the Musical, Elton John, Fame - the Musical and Bruce Springsteen and more.

The very author of this article is tempted to include his own company, Media Man Australia, but will hold back at this point!

All of the above know how to promote not only their talent, but also themselves. They have a nose for what the public will likely respond to.

The stakes are high in this promoting and public relations game, where one scoop can net hundreds of thousands and conversely a slip up could cost the ranch.

What big, what's in, what's out, what's hot or cold…what angle…what's the vibe on the street; these are all things to consider in this deadly game of promotion and P.R. Little wonder some of these operations contain their own crisis management division, for when things turn sour.

Next time you ponder how much of your hard earned cash you have forked out to see your favourite performer, spare a thought for the promoter who helped make it a reality, by laying it all on the line, to get your favourite gig to town.

Some may say these promoters are little more than master manipulators, but those in the know, will tell you that they are smart operators who know all the tricks of trade; and that only years of trial and error, enormous risk and incredible judgement can produce the right outcome for their clients and the public.

Imagine the logistics involved in promoting a rock band, and making sure they are at the right place, at the right time, for the right money, and ensuring the right insurance measures have been taken into consideration! Time has shown that these entertainment types sure know how to whip up a frenzy in a hotel room. Talk about a recipe for sleepless nights.

Simply dealing with the egos of some of the top line performers is enough to make the average man cringe.

It wasn't many decades ago that elite international performers baulked at the idea of taking the arduous 23-hour flight from the U.S to grace our shores. As recently as last year, once of the greatest showman of all time, Hulk Hogan, pulled out of the Australian WWE tour, citing a bad back. Even Vince McMahon, American master promoter and wrestling puppeteer, apparently couldn't convince the "Hulkster" to take the trip. The storyline was that one of his opponents put his back out, but intelligent Australian fans saw through the facade. Perhaps there wasn't sufficient influence by Australian promoters and P.R. men, to make the "Hulk" deal a reality.

It's true, professional wrestling aka "sports entertainment", is in a phylum of its own; however the principles are consistent across the entertainment spectrum.

These promoters deserve every cent they earn. Sure, they do it for themselves of course, but they do it for you too.

It hard not to typify Australian promoters as some of the best in the world.

Perhaps our geographic remoteness has necessitated that our entertainment entrepreneurs have extraordinary insight and acute judgement for what "will fly" in the land "down under".

Dinkum Aussies all the way.



Harry M. Miller Group

Markson Sparks!

Jacobsen Entertainment

Dainty Consolidated Entertainment

Michael Chugg Entertainment

Edgley International

The Frontier Touring Company

Mushroom Records Australia

World Wrestling Entertainment


Sydney Entertainment Centre

Sydney Superdome

Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust

Sydney Cricket Ground


Melbourne Park

Telstra Dome

The State Theatre

Enmore Theatre

Sydney Opera House

The Basement

Clubs NSW

Panthers World: Panthers Entertainment Group

Madison Square Garden




Bass Online

Visa Preferred Seating

Media Man Australia interviews:

Max Markson - 2nd July 2003

Kevin Jacobsen A.O.M - 28th August 2003

Phil Tripp - 14th October 2003

Doug Mulray - 18th June 2003

Joy Hruby - 29th July 2003

Bessie Bardot - 21st March 2003

Debbie Kruger - 12th July 2003

Steve Rackman - 25th May 2003

Paul Hurst - 15th September 2003

Vaughan Buckland - 7th October 2003

Billy Wiz - 28th August 2003

Rohan Herbstreit - 3rd December 2003

Justin Lawrence - 4th January 2004

Jeff Fenech - 8th January 2004

Greg "TNT" Bounds - 15th January 2004

Media Man Australia Entertainment News:

Media Man Australia: Entertainment News

What's On

Media Man Australia articles:

The Great Yankee Promoters

The Man They Call Harry M

Wrestling Promoters Down Under

Promoters discuss 2003

i. World events hit promotions industry

Many leading promoters have publicly acknowledged that the past year has been one of the toughest for the Australian entertainment and promotions industry. After the Bali bombing, Australians became concerned that they were now targets of possible terrorist attacks and audience numbers at major events dwindled. This situation was further exacerbated by the SARS epidemic, which caused health fears around the world, and the commencement of the Iraqi conflict a few months later took its toll on box office revenues.

For example, JEL (Jacobsen Entertainment Limited), Australia's only ASX-listed entertainment and promotions company, believes that the past year's difficulties were unprecedented in the Jacobsens' long history of presenting attraction with JEL losing $8.5 million on two world-class shows - the Bruce Springsteen tour and the Witches of Eastwick - within a short period of time. As a precautionary measure, the JEL board has appointed administrators KordaMentha to assist the company to work through the current period, while protecting the company's value as restructuring options are developed.

Certainly, the Jacobsen family are determined that JEL, in which they own 78 per cent, will continue to operate and believe the strengthening outlook for the promotions industry will work in their favour.

ii. Environment looking brighter

Despite the severity and length of the recent downturn, the entertainment industry is cyclical. People want to be entertained. Most promoters are optimistic about the long-term outlook and are already seeing signs of a pick-up in shows and attendances.

*public thank you to those in the entertainment and media business that made the article and interviews possible. Greg Tingle

*don't forget to check our Online Shop for some great books including books on promoting.


Articles on Australian Promoters

Jacobsen Entertainment Fights Back (article full credit to Julius Media) 29th October 2003

Australian entertainment promotion firm Jacobsen Entertainment Limited hope to be out of administration soon, and expect to announce a restructure on November 21. Director Michael Jacobsen told CX Web that the firm is working hard on new shows for 2004, after founder Kevin Jacobsen returned from a round world trip to shore up support.

The firm has traded for almost 40 years as a family company, before floating slightly more than a year ago. “No one could have foreseen what happened”, Michael asserts, detailing the difficult trading conditions that lead to a voluntary administrator being appointed.

Employing 15 people prior to becoming a public company, JEL didn’t undergo massive expansion, according to Michael. “We had to corporatise, to appoint a CEO and a CFO”. Now some staff have been stood down, but the firm is trading, with two tours under way.

The strengthening of the Australian dollar has assisted, and trading conditions now are more suitable – but it still costs about $3 million to stage an average theatre production. “The cost is relative, it costs 3 million US dollars there, and 3 million pounds in the UK”.

The Jacobsen family loaned the public company an estimated $3 million in the months leading up to the appointment of their administrator, who is able to quarantine creditors and operate the firm with available resources.

The message from the Jacobsen family is that they are on the case, and expect to be back in business very soon.

*Julius Media Profile - Pro Sound, Lighting, Vision and Staging NEWS and TECHNICAL TRAINING. Based in Australia


*Final thank you again to all of the Great Aussie Promoters for helping make this tribute possible.