Roundup: Fox v Dominion settlement?, AI journalism, Daily Tele’s TikTok

news corp rupert murdoch fox dominion

Netflix price cuts, ABC and SBS, Kyle and Jackie O, Love Is Blind

Business of Media

The $2.4b case against Murdoch is far bigger than it seems

Rupert Murdoch’s lawyers were reported to be in settlement talks hours before Dominion Voting was due to open its $US1.6 billion ($2.4 billion) defamation case against Fox News in Delaware Superior Court on Monday (Tuesday AEST), as Murdoch faced what would be the biggest threat to his empire since the 2011 hacking scandal, reports Nine Publishing’s Neil Chenoweth.

Judge Eric Davis announced the trial would begin a day later, on Tuesday. News Corporation’s The Wall Street Journal reported this followed a last minute push by Fox to settle the case.

The settlement talks come after eight weeks of pre-trial jousting revealed astonishing details about Fox News’ inner workings, and how it broadcast wild claims that secret algorithms in Dominion’s voting machines overturned the 2020 US presidential election.

Whether a settlement is possible with Dominion is complicated by an almost identical lawsuit by a second voting machine company, Smartmatic, claiming $US2.7 billion damages. That’s $US4.3 billion at stake, even before any punitive damages.

A critical issue for Fox lawyers is whether they can afford for Rupert Murdoch to take the stand, after a disastrous performance over two days in deposition on January 19-20.

Murdoch’s legacy is at stake. Unlike the UK hacking scandal, where News executives were blamed, records show Murdoch was directly responsible for Fox News management, at least on paper.

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The ethics of using generative AI to create journalism: What we know so far

The rise of generative AI in journalism has provided a powerful tool for creating news content but also raises complex ethical questions around transparency, bias, and the role of human journalists, reports Press Gazette’s Charlotte Tobitt.

I will immediately come clean: The above sentence was written by AI chatbot ChatGPT, when asked for a one-sentence introduction to this article about the ethics of using such tools in journalism.

Does this mean I should give the chatbot a joint byline? Or perhaps I should not use a sentence generated by the bot in my writing at all?

Professor Charlie Beckett, director of the Journalism AI project at LSE which produced a major report on this topic in 2019, told Press Gazettes trust, accuracy, accountability and bias continue to be the major issues around AI despite with new issues raised by the advent of generative AI such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and image generator DALL-E, and Google’s Bard. The conversation has rapidly evolved over the past six months as these new chatbots are so much more user-friendly than previous versions, increasing the possibilities of using them on a day-to-day basis.

Beckett said the general consensus appears to be that newsrooms are “quite rightly” exploring the new generative AI technologies before they make big decisions about how they might or might not use them.

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Will Netflix price cuts, ad-supported plan help add more users?

Netflix Inc is expected to report that it added some 2 million subscribers in the first quarter and investors will scrutinize whether recent price cuts and the launch of an ad-supported plan are tempting people to subscribe and stay on, reports Reuters’ Yuvraj Malik.

The company, which lost 200,000 subscribers in the year-ago quarter, returned to subscriber growth in the second half of 2022 but its pace of additions has slowed dramatically, forcing it to think of ways to squeeze out revenue from the 100 million people who use the service without paying for it.

To do that, the streaming giant has cracked down in some countries on password-sharing, or streaming Netflix by non-members who don’t belong to the same household, which may prompt people to drop the service as a knee-jerk reaction but they are likely to come back to it, analysts said.

The crackdown will have a “more meaningful impact” in the June quarter and Netflix could gain more than 10 million new subscribers as it converts free users to paid ones, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Barton Crockett said.

Netflix is expected to add 3.43 million subscribers in the April-June period, according to 16 analysts polled by Refinitiv, compared with 970,000 subscriber losses in the year-ago quarter.

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News Brands

Twitter labels ABC and SBS ‘government-funded media’

ABC and SBS will not quit Twitter, after the social media platforms labelled the public broadcasters’ news services “government-funded media”, lumping the two into a category previously used for government mouthpieces, reports The Australian’s David Ross.

Twitter moved on Monday to label ABC News’ account on its platform “government funded media”, in the wake of similar moves in recent weeks that earned the ire of users, leading some media groups to quit the site.

SBS, which was also hit with the “government-funded media” label on Monday, told The Australian the broadcaster would push back on the move.

An SBS spokesman said the broadcaster disagreed with the label applied by Twitter, arguing it did not reflect the nature of the media group’s funding.

Twitter has applied three different labels to media groups in recent weeks, including “government-funded media”, “state-affiliated media”, or “publicly-funded media”.

“While we appreciate Twitter’s motivations with regard to transparency on its platform, we believe a “Publicly funded media” label better reflects the hybrid public-commercial nature of our funding model and the fact that SBS retains full independence from Government in our news editorial and content decision-making,” an SBS spokesman said.

The Special Broadcasting Service is understood to be concerned about the potential for the label to mislead its multicultural viewers, who may see it as government controlled or affiliated.

SBS is partially funded from ad revenues, unlike the ABC.

A spokesman for the ABC said it would contact Twitter in response to the labelling, but said the broadcaster would not stop using the social media platform.

“The ABC doesn’t currently have any plans to shut down all its Twitter accounts,” he said. “The ABC is liaising with Twitter regarding changes to account verification and labels.”

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The Daily Telegraph’s top, most-viewed TikToks amid major milestone

The Daily Telegraph achieved a significant social media milestone over the weekend, reaching 200,000 followers on its verified TikTok account, reports News Corp’s Tamaryn McGregor.

The account, which has accumulated a total of 3.5 million likes, has become one of the fastest growing and most followed news social media accounts in the country since its inception just over one year ago.

The rapid growth and success of the account can largely be attributed to The Daily Telegraph’s “Crim City” mini series on the app, where leading crime reporter Josh Hanrahan and crime editor Mark Morri reveal exclusive insights into Sydney’s criminal activity.

Hanrahan and Morri, faces of The Daily Telegraph’s most successful piece of journalism, The War, received 2.2 million views and over 100,000 likes for their video reporting on the death of two Saudi sisters in Canterbury in August 2022.

Millions of Daily Telegraph subscribers and TikTok followers engaged with this video, putting it in the top five most viewed posts on the account.

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Concerns over alarming Kyle and Jackie O call: ‘Check he’s OK’

Jackie “O” Henderson has been prompted to call for a welfare check on a listener after an alarming phone call live on air during the Kyle and Jackie O show yesterday morning, reports News Corp’s Bronte Coy.

A man named Michael was heard on the program just after 6.30am during the hosts’ “First Calls” segment, and sparked concerns after breaking into a harrowing song about suicide.

“You want to ring up for anything? First Calls, 13 1065 will get you through. Michael has called in. Hey, Michael,” Sandilands began the segment, prompting a sombre “Hello” from the caller.

The radio host then asked Michael how he was, to which he responded: “Oh, not bad. I have a quick 10-second song I’d like to sing for you … It goes like this.”

Michael then broke into an impromptu performance of Fade To Black by Metallica – which clearly came as a surprise to the hosts and producers, who had been told by Michael beforehand that he planned to share “a few jokes”.

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‘We’re having trouble’: Netflix’s latest livestreaming attempt was a disaster

On Monday morning, Love Is Blind fans settled in to watch the series’ highly anticipated season four reunion live on Netflix. Over 90 minutes after it was scheduled to start they were still waiting, after a technical glitch threw the broadcast into chaos and highlighted challenges for the streamer as it seeks to pivot to more live content, reports Nine Publishing’s Nell Geraets.

The reunion episode of the popular dating show was scheduled to be livestreamed on Netflix at 10am AEST, but when viewers attempted to tune into the widely promoted event, an error message appeared: “Pardon the interruption. We’re having trouble playing Netflix. Please check your internet and try again.”

Fifteen minutes after the Love Is Blind reunion was scheduled to begin, the streaming service posted an apology on Twitter reading: “Love is … late. #LoveIsBlindLIVE will be on in 15 minutes!”

But fans were already turning to social media to vent their frustrations and to criticise Netflix for its technical fumble.

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