Roundup: ABC industrial action, Chris Smith, The Project apologises


Lisa Wilkinson, media publishing deals, Amanda Laing, Physical: 100, Jeremy Clarkson

Business of Media

Nine warns tech giants reluctant to re-sign media publishing deals

Nine Entertainment says it is concerned that millions of dollars in revenues flowing from its deals with Facebook and Google could be at risk given the technology companies’ reluctance to re-sign agreements with Australian publishers and broadcasters, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

“Nine is concerned that its existing contracts will either not be renewed once the existing term expires, or that there will be conduct which has the purpose or effect of significantly devaluing the news content prior to a commercial negotiation taking place,” its submission to a one-year review of the federal government’s news media bargaining code reads.

The document, dated May 12, was prepared by Nine lawyers but only released by the government this week. Part of the submission – including the worries that the deals, in particular the one reached with Facebook’s parent Meta – had been redacted in the public documents. However, copying the text to another document removed the redactions.

“Nine is concerned that without designation or a clear statement of expectation from the government in relation to services and platforms that should be designated, Google and Facebook will not be as willing to enter into genuine negotiations with Nine and other Australian media businesses in the future,” the submission reads.

Nine has urged the government to include TikTok, YouTube and Twitter as platforms under the mandatory code. This would force those platforms to negotiate a payment with publishers.

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Foxtel boss shrugs off cost concerns after HBO extension

Foxtel boss Patrick Delany has dismissed concerns the pay TV and streaming company could buckle under rising content costs over the next few years, having signed another lucrative agreement with HBO – the US entertainment giant behind shows like The Last of Us, The White Lotus and House of the Dragon, reports Nine Publishing’s Zoe Samios.

Delany and Foxtel’s chief content officer Amanda Laing have confirmed reports by this masthead on Sunday that the pay TV company had extended a crucial deal with HBO’s parent company, Warner Discovery, giving it exclusive access to some of the most popular television shows globally, for at least another couple of years.

Laing said costs could only be considered “too high” if they don’t translate to value. “What we bought delivers the value,” she said. “It’s a strategic decision.”

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See Also: The dealmaker: Foxtel’s Amanda Laing on securing Warner Bros Discovery

ABC staff to walk off the job on 7 March in first industrial action in 17 years

ABC journalists will walk off the job for 40 minutes next Tuesday – the first protected industrial action in 17 years, reports Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade.

The industrial action – the first step in a campaign of rolling action to improve pay and conditions, has been timed to make it difficult to cover a key news story – the Reserve Bank Australia (RBA) board meeting and official cash rate announcement on 7 March.

If no better deal is offered more action is likely, up to and including a 24-hour strike.

The last time ABC staff went on strike was in 2006 when members of the Community and Public Sector Union and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance walked off for 24 hours, also over a pay offer.

The strike caused a disruption to TV and radio services. The then director of radio, Sue Howard, read the local traffic and weather reports and Radio National and NewsRadio carried BBC programming.

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Lisa Wilkinson to rely on qualified privilege in defamation case brought by Bruce Lehrmann

Journalist Lisa Wilkinson will rely on qualified privilege to defend herself in a defamation case brought by former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann, reports the ABC’s Elizabeth Byrne.

Lehrmann is suing Wilkinson and Network 10 over an interview aired by The Project in February 2021, in which Brittany Higgins alleged she had been raped at Parliament House.

Lehrmann was not named during the program.

But he has lodged defamation proceedings in the Federal Court, claiming he could easily have been identified from the material.

Wilkinson’s lawyers say in her defence that Lehrmann was approached for comment three times before the interview was aired, but did not respond.

Wilkinson also claims in her defence, that in his police interview Lehrmann “falsely denied having sexual intercourse with Higgins”.

The defence seeks to claim Lehrmann did rape Brittany Higgins, after the pair were out drinking at a bar and later a night club in Canberra before returning to the office of Senator Linda Reynolds, where they worked.

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Radio host Chris Smith reignites feud with former 2GB colleague Ray Hadley

Embattled radio host Chris Smith has ripped into his former colleague Ray Hadley for being a “hypocrite” who allegedly “spent decades at two radio stations bullying staff,” reports News Corp’s William Tyson.

The two broadcasters have traded jibes after Smith lost gigs with Sky News Australia and 2GB in the wake of allegations of inappropriate behaviour at a work Christmas party.

But the fallen radio host took the opportunity to hit back at his former colleague during his new program as a presenter with the online talkback station TNT Radio.

“One critic in particular, the former bully boy colleague of mine at 2GB who shall remain nameless, he apparently described me as a monster I’m told,” Smith said during his program on Tuesday.

“What a hypocrite, what a shocking hypocrite, he spent decades at two radio stations bullying staff … I know these people well,” Smith claimed.

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The Project apologises after Jesus sex joke

The Project has apologised after a comedian’s joke about Jesus on Tuesday night’s show led to calls for the programme to be cancelled, reports

Queer comic Reuben Kaye was speaking about the hate he receives for his sexuality and for dressing up in drag – particularly from the Christian community – when he made the X-rated remark.

“I love Jesus, I love any man who can get nailed for three days straight and come back for more,” Kaye quipped.

Waleed Aly looked stunned by the joke, made on prime time television, while co-host Sarah Harris burst into laughter.

On Wednesday’s show, Aly apologised to viewers.

“During a live interview last night, our guest told a joke which we know was deeply and needlessly offensive to many of you.

“We want to acknowledge the particular offence and hurt that it caused our Muslim and especially our Christian viewers. Obviously, I understand how profound that offence was.”

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Rigging allegations hit Netflix’s Physical: 100

Physical: 100, a survival show that recently took Netflix by storm, has been plagued by rumours of a rigged final challenge, reports

The show, which topped Netflix‘s list of non-English-language series, aired its finale on February 21, crowning CrossFit athlete Woo Jin-yong as its winner

Olympic cyclist Jung Hae-min, who went head to head with Woo in the finale, claimed that the final challenge was halted twice. However, the episode that was shown appeared to be one continuous game.

In an interview with South Korean news portal Ilyo, Jung explained that he initially wanted to keep quiet and accept the final game’s outcome.

But he reconsidered his stance after reading that the show’s production team had claimed that there was no rematch during filming in August 2022.

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Next Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? UK series may be Jeremy Clarkson’s last

The next series of the television quizshow, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? may be the last hosted by Jeremy Clarkson after his controversial comments about the Duchess of Sussex in a newspaper column, reports The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood.

Carolyn McCall, chief executive of ITV which broadcasts the show, said the channel had “no future commitments” to renew Clarkson’s contract beyond a forthcoming series which has already been recorded.

Her comments, made in an interview given to Variety, come two months after Clarkson was forced to apologise over an article in the Sun in which he said he was dreaming of the day the Duchess of Sussex was made to parade naked in public while people threw excrement at her.

The Sun took the article off its website and apologised to readers. The press regulator, Ipso, received more than 25,000 complaints, and earlier this month launched an investigation.

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