Roundup: Facebook negotiations breakdown, NRL TV Deal, Nine Board + more


Google, Nine’s ASIC drama, Media Watch and ABC news, SBS suspends Chinese TV news services, Nova, Weakest Link, and Kayo

Media Code

Trust between Facebook and publishers breaks down as deals stall

Publishing industry sources are concerned social giant Facebook is attempting to delay negotiations for deals to pay news companies for journalism as a tactic to avoid both designation under the government’s media code and needing to pay for multiple deals, reports AFR‘s Miranda Ward.

The social media giant secured 11th-hour amendments to the news media bargaining code after it banned all news content from its platform in Australia.

Industry sources familiar with the discussions believe the Silicon Valley giant is not genuine in its claims it wants to reach an agreement and is drawing out discussions in an effort to see if Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will pull the trigger on designating Facebook under the media code, which became law last month.

They suggest Facebook would legally fight any attempt to designate the platform under the code, pointing to the amendment it secured that government must consider commercial deals platforms have signed before designating it under the code.

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Business of Media

Google deal ‘just the end of the beginning’: News Corp boss

The chief executive of News Corp has said deals with the likes of Google and Facebook to pay for journalism will inject new life into the fourth estate, reports AFR‘s Miranda Ward.

Speaking to the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Robert Thomson said media companies signing deals with Google for the search giant to pay for journalism was fundamentally changing the terms of trade for content.

“Without being too Churchillian about it, it’s just the end of the beginning,” he said.

Thomson said deals between tech platforms and news publishers were important for society as they would help make journalism sustainable.

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Nine’s top shareholder Bruce Gordon in push for board seat

Bermuda-based media mogul Bruce Gordon will push for a seat on the board of Nine Entertainment Co in a bid to strengthen his influence over the television, digital and publishing company, reports SMH‘s Zoe Samios.

Gordon, the Bermuda based owner of regional TV network WIN Corp, is Nine’s biggest shareholder with a 14.94 per cent stake held through his investment vehicle Birketu. His desire for a Nine board seat is known to key figures at the media company, according to industry sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is confidential.

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ASIC’s secret check on Nine Entertainment over share trading

The nation’s corporate regulator opened a file into whether a Nine Entertainment insider was involved in possible inappropriate share trading just weeks before the company’s financial results were disclosed to the market last year, reports News Corp’s David Ross.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission initially wrote to Nine on August 4, requesting information about the matter, with correspondence between the company and the regulator continuing until August 21. Both Nine and ASIC declined to respond to questions, but sources with knowledge of the deliberations said it was no longer an ongoing line of inquiry.

The Australian has confirmed that ASIC had written to Nine about the shares traded between January and July 10 last year. The regulator declined to release documents relating to their queries because it would “cause significant stress and personal reputational damage” and because a third party had “objected to the release of the documents”.

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News Brands

Media Watch v news: ABC’s (un)civil war

Paul Barry’s high-profile email spat last week with Four Corners reporter Louise Milligan was just the latest example of a growing history of internal friction between Media Watch and ABC news types, reports News Corp’s Nick Tabakoff.

Diary is told that for some time now, the ABC’s news and current affairs division, headed by Gaven Morris, has had an increasingly prickly relationship with Barry.

It goes back two years, following a stinging critique by Barry of the news division’s handling of an Adani story, in which the Media Watch host called out Morris and alleged the division had “spiked” the story after a complaint from the mining giant.

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Cyber bullying bill: ABC warns of potential government interference

The ABC warns a new bill designed to combat online bullying could compromise the editorial independence of its news arm, reports AFR‘s Finbar O’Mallon.

But the broadcaster is supportive of parts of the bill, which it says would help reduce the abuse faced by its reporters.

It also doesn’t want to be held responsible for the abusive comments left by website users and wants the power to remove them from social media.

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SBS suspends Chinese TV news services after ‘forced confessions’ complaint

SBS has suspended its broadcast of Chinese state-controlled news services after receiving a complaint from a human rights organisation that the networks had broadcast dozens of forced confessions, including one from a British journalist, reports SMH‘s Lisa Visentin.

The public broadcaster confirmed it would suspend broadcasting China Central Television (CCTV) and China Global Television Network (CGTN) news content while it reviewed a complaint letter it had received from Safeguard Defenders.

A spokesman said SBS, to the best of its knowledge, had not aired the forced confessions and the complaint letter did not allege that it had.

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Nova chief Peter Charlton upbeat on ad spending recovery

Nova Entertainment chief executive Peter Charlton is “pretty optimistic” that the advertising spending recovery will accelerate this year, as the radio company looks to supercharge its streaming and podcast line-up, reports News Corp’s Lilly Vitorovich.

The group, best known for its Nova and smoothfm radio stations, was “really buoyed” by the ad market rebound, led by national advertisers, Charlton said in his first interview since taking the company’s helm in November.

Eight of Nova’s top 10 advertisers, including Harvey Norman, Woolworths, Coles and Telstra, have spent the same or more in the first two months of the year as in the same period last year.

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Nine confirms The Weakest Link

Nine has now confirmed a new season of The Weakest Link, reports TV Tonight.

BBC Studios Australia and New Zealand, led by director of production Kylie Washington, will produce the series in Melbourne for Nine.

Nine head of content, production and development Adrian Swift said in a statement: “Weakest Link is one of the world’s most loved and enduring quiz formats. It’s not just about what you know, but also knowing who’s your biggest threat and when to bank your winnings. We are very proud to have the new Weakest Link here on Nine.”

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NRL TV rights: Free-to-air networks queue up for slice of rugby league

In an unprecedented move, the NRL is considering carving up the rugby league season program and engaging up to three free-to-air networks to televise rugby league matches in the next broadcast deal, reports News Corp’s Dean Ritchie.

And the development, similar to that employed by the American NFL, has been met with immediate and united support from NRL club chief executives.

The ARL Commission is considering mixing up the rugby league landscape with rival networks to bid for NRL games, State of Origin, finals and the grand final.

With different games showing on separate free-to-air carriers, there is a chance that games could soon be telecast on Nine, Seven and Ten.

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Female sports made free on Kayo under government grant

Pay TV company Foxtel will make some women’s AFL and cricket matches free for non-subscribers of streaming service Kayo Sports in an effort to meet its obligations under $40 million of government funding, reports SMH‘s Zoe Samios.

AFLW, women’s Big Bash games, croquet and dragon boating will be available in front of Kayo Sports’ paywall under new plans implemented because of government grants received by Foxtel dedicated to women’s, niche and under-represented sports.

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Fox Sports to monitor trash talk directed at Bulldogs player Adam Elliott

Broadcaster Fox Sports will police their on-field microphones this season amid a warning that rival teams will verbally target Canterbury’s Adam Elliott, reports News Corp’s David Riccio.

In an intriguing sub-plot ahead of the Bulldogs road trip to Newcastle on Friday, The Sunday Telegraph has learned Elliott copped a sledging barrage from Cronulla players during the Bulldogs pre-season trial match last weekend.

Elliott was recently allegedly embroiled in a love tryst with the partner of former teammate, Michael Lichaa.

The Canterbury backrower has since stepped forward to admit he has issues with alcohol and is seeking professional help.

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