Roundup: Elon Musk’s X, ABC rejects claims of pressure to sack Lattouf, Disney

elon musk twitter

New WA studios, New CNN boss, Boy Swallows Universe, The Emmys viewership, World Surf League

Business of Media

Musk’s X approved for Virginia money transmitter license

Social media platform X received approval for a money transmitter license in Virginia, the 17th U.S. state to grant approval, as the Elon Musk-owned company advances efforts toward introducing payment features, reports Reuters’ Sheila Dang.

The Virginia license allows X to facilitate money transfers electronically as of Tuesday, according to the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry, an online database.

Musk has said that introducing payments would help X, formerly Twitter, transform into an “everything app” with services beyond social media. This would include the ability to send peer-to-peer payments, he has said.

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Disney formally rejects Nelson Peltz’s board nominees; Iger’s pay hits $31.6M

Amid an activist investor fight with Nelson Peltz and his Trian fund, the Bob Iger-led Disney formally rejected nominations that Peltz offered for the board of directors and put forward its own slate, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Weprin.

Disney’s board presented these nominees: Mary T. Barra, Safra A. Catz, Amy L. Chang, D. Jeremy Darroch, Carolyn N. Everson, Michael B.G. Froman, James P. Gorman, Robert A. Iger, Maria Elena Lagomasino, Calvin R. McDonald, Mark G. Parker and Derica W. Rice.

“The nominees reflect Disney’s ongoing commitment to a strong Board focused on the long-term performance of the company, strategic growth initiatives, the succession planning process, and increasing shareholder value,” the company stated.

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Construction begins on new WA studios

Construction of Western Australia’s new screen production facility has begun at a site on Marshall Road, near the Malaga METRONET station precinct, reports TV Tonight.

The Cook Labor Government yeterday confirmed Home Fire will build the facility, with doors to open to host the first production in 2026. The government will invest $233.5 million to construct the facility, with approximately 600 local direct and indirect new jobs to be created during its construction.

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News Brands

ABC boss rejects claims of external pressure to sack Lattouf

ABC boss David Anderson has insisted in a message to staff that the corporation was not influenced by external pressure in its sacking of broadcaster Antoinette Lattouf – but the organisation’s union committee later said he had failed to address their concerns, report Nine Publishing’s Michael Bachelard and Calum Jaspan.

On Thursday, the ABC will confront an unlawful termination claim by Lattouf at the Fair Work Commission in Sydney in which she will allege she was dismissed for her political opinion, her race, and her Lebanese-Australian cultural heritage.

ABC staff this week demanded to meet Anderson over her sacking, and have sought assurances about the transparency of the broadcaster’s complaints process and mechanisms to support staff in the face of criticism.

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See Also: ABC Sydney staff threaten walkout over Antoinette Lattouf’s termination

People should not feel ‘like their jobs are on the line’ for expressing views: Husic

People expressing their views peacefully should not feel like their jobs are on the line, says Minister for Industry Ed Husic, after ABC broadcaster Antoinette Lattouf was sacked following a high-level, co-ordinated letter-writing campaign from pro-Israel lobbyists, reports Nine Publishing’s Olivia Ireland.

Speaking in Canberra on Wednesday, Husic said he would not comment directly on Lattouf’s case as it was subject to legal action, but added that there was always room for opinion.

“One of the things we value about a democracy is the ability for us to express our opinion … there is always room for opinion in the public square [however] there is no room for hate speech, no room to create that division,” he said.

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New CNN boss shakes up news operations, explores digital subscription model

Will people pay to watch CNN videos on their phones? New CNN boss Mark Thompson seems eager to test that idea, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Isabella Simonetti.

When he took over as the network’s chief executive in October, Thompson warned staff that CNN was nowhere near ready for the future and needed to step up its digital game. One hundred days later, he is laying the groundwork to do that.

The first step, outlined in a memo Wednesday, is to combine all of CNN’s newsgathering operations into one unit that will serve its TV, streaming and digital platforms, while creating a division tasked with exploring growth opportunities.

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Tourism leaders hope for a Brisbane boom as Boy Swallows Universe hits Netflix

Tourism leaders are hoping Boy Swallows Universe will deliver a holiday feast for Brisbane, reports News Corp’s Jeremy Pierce.

The acclaimed Trent Dalton novel, adapted into a television miniseries, paints a vivid picture of retro Brisbane, and tourism bosses are hopeful it will inspire fans of the book and now the TV show to explore some of the city’s hidden gems.

Exposure on screen has long been highly coveted as a way to attract visitors to regions, with New Zealand famously enjoying a massive surge in numbers on the back of the Lord of the Rings saga, while closer to home, the children’s cartoon character Bluey is inspiring a generation of young families to travel to Brisbane to see the Queensland cattle dog’s home town.

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4.3 million watched the Emmys in the US, a new low

The Emmy Awards ratings collapse continues, reports The New York Times’ John Koblin.

An audience of 4.3 million people watched the Emmys on Fox on Monday night, the lowest viewership since records have been kept, according to preliminary Nielsen data. In 2022, the Emmys garnered 5.9 million viewers, the previous low.

The ratings have put the Emmys dangerously close to the Tony Awards, which for decades has drawn a significantly smaller audience. But in June, 4.3 million people tuned into the Tonys, an increase from its previous ceremony.

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Sports Media

World Surf League extends broadcast partnership with Foxtel and Kayo

The World Surf League has announced a significant expansion of its broadcasting partnership with the prominent Australian pay-TV network, Foxtel, reports the Ministry of Sport.

The entirety of the 2024 WSL season, taking place intermittently from January 29 to September 14, will be broadcast on Foxtel’s sports channels. Additionally, the Kayo Sports streaming service, owned by Foxtel, will also carry the live coverage of the season.

This deal also encompasses the WSL’s Challenger Series, where surfers vie for a coveted spot on the WSL tour, and the Bells Beach Longboard Classic event. Both of these events will be available for streaming on Kayo Sports, with the possibility of Foxtel linear coverage subject to scheduling considerations.

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