Roundup: Archetypes podcast, Queen coverage complaints, Twitter

jubilee Queen Elizabeth II

• Hollywood in Vancouver, EU to assess media mergers, Gravity Media, Optimizely and Orchard

Business of Media

Twitter whistleblower: what questions will Peiter Zatko face from lawmakers?

Twitter’s former head of security, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, will appear in front of lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday. He is expected to give damning evidence of data and information security failings at the social media platform, having outlined a litany of concerns in a whistleblower complaint last month, reports The Guardian’s Dan Milmo.

The former hacker, widely respected in his field as an information security specialist, joined Twitter on 16 November 2020 and was fired on 19 January 2022. His complaint levels allegations of incompetence and fraud at Twitter, saying that he uncovered “extreme, egregious deficiencies by Twitter in every area of his mandate”, including weak controls of employee access to user data and interference by foreign governments.

The senate judiciary committee hearing is not directly for the benefit of Elon Musk, who is trying to pull out of a US$44bn deal to buy Twitter and has been given permission to include Zatko’s revelations as another reason for walking away. Musk’s lawyers interviewed Zatko on 9 September. But if Zatko’s actions are going to have an immediate impact, it will be at a trial in Delaware on 17 October, where Twitter is attempting to force Musk to buy the company under terms he agreed in April.

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Hollywood powers Vancouver to record $3.8B production spend in 2021

Rebounding foreign location shooting has lifted film and TV production in British Columbia to a new high in 2021, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Etan Vlessing.

Series like Yellowjackets, Superman & Lois and The Flash shooting in Vancouver or around the province had Hollywood studios dropping $3.8 billion in production spending last year, the last period surveyed by the Vancouver Economic Commission.

That surpassed the previous record of $3.15 billion in overall production spending in the west coast province in 2019, which was posted before the pandemic hit. B.C. saw total film and TV production expenditures reach $2.6 billion in 2020, when the Coronavirus pandemic shut down U.S. and local shoots before an industry reopening later in the year.

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EU wants to assess media mergers for media pluralism, editorial independence

The European Union wants to enact tougher rules for media groups seeking to acquire smaller rivals on whether their deals ensure media pluralism and safeguard editorial independence, according to draft EU rules seen by Reuters, reports Foo Yun Chee.

The Media Freedom Act (MFA), which the European Commission will present later this week, comes during concerns about media freedom in Poland, Hungary and Slovenia. The EU is also worried about the allocation of some countries’ state advertising to pro-government outlets to influence the media.

The rules will apply to TV and radio broadcasters, on-demand audiovisual media services, press publications and very large online platforms and providers of video-sharing platforms.

They will need to be thrashed out with EU countries and lawmakers before they can become law in a process likely to take a year or more.

The concerns around media freedoms have grown ahead of European Parliament elections in 2024.

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Gravity Media welcomes two new senior hires

Gravity Media continues to expand its senior team by announcing the key appointment of Steve Kruger as the new executive director – technology and the promotion of Pete Newton to the new role as executive director – media services & facilities.

Kruger joins the production company from ITV Studios Entertainment where he was head of technology. In his new role, he will be based in the UK, heading up Gravity Media’s technical function across the global operation.

Kruger’s recent career highlights include designing and overseeing the implantation of the remote outside broadcast and post facilities for ITV’s Love Island during challenging Covid conditions.

Prior to ITV, Kruger worked at BBC Studios – Post Production, Cutting Edge Post UK and Cutting Edge Australia where he provided a varied skillset encompassing OB, studios and post-production.

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Optimizely partners with Orchard to scale experimentation

Optimizely has announced its partnership with Orchard to help marketers and organisations scale experimentation through the perfect mix of strategy and platform. 

The partnership between the digital experience platform (DXP) provider and creative technology agency comes in a time where online competition is fierce, experimentation can be the difference between good and great revenue and building meaningful, long-term relationships with customers.

Optimizely noted that digital experimentation allows marketers and organisations to A/B test across the entire customer journey to meet overall business goals and objectives.

Organisations can test several digital products to know which drives customer engagement, allowing them to deliver world-class customer experiences. Most importantly, digital experimentation allows businesses to make data-driven decisions to meet overall business goals. 

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BBC receives relatively few complaints over coverage of Queen’s death

The BBC’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Queen’s death has avoided the mass of complaints that accompanied its output when Prince Philip died, although broadcasters are edging back towards normal schedules as viewing figures start to dip, reports The Guardian’s Jim Waterson

Internal BBC complaints data show it received about 670 objections from people who felt last Thursday’s coverage of the Queen’s death was excessive, compared with the 100,000 who objected to its output to mark her husband dying. Sources suggested the number had increased in recent days but remained relatively low, with a formal tally due to be published later this week.

Instead, other small aspects of the BBC’s coverage have attracted the attention of the public. More than 100 people complained that two journalists in the newsroom could be seen standing behind Huw Edwards as the presenter announced the death of the monarch on Thursday night.

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Meghan Markle pauses release of ‘Archetypes’ podcast after Queen’s death

Meghan Markle is pausing the release of new episodes of Archetypes, her podcast with Spotify, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s J. Clara Chan.

“New episodes of Archetypes will be paused during the official mourning period for Her Majesty The Queen,” a note appearing in the show’s description said.

Archetypes debuted on Aug. 23 and has featured interviews with Serena Williams, Mariah Carey and Mindy Kaling in its first three episodes. As of Monday, Archetypes is listed as the No. 2 podcast in the U.S., beneath the Spotify-exclusive show The Joe Rogan Experience, though the show had unseated Rogan’s podcast in the No. 1 spot shortly after its debut. New episodes of Archetypes are typically released on Tuesdays.

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