Roundup: Foxtel IPO, Tegan George, Ben Roberts-Smith, Jeff Zucker

Tegan George

• Cleo Smith, Kyle Sandialnds and Rosie Batty

Business of Media

Foxtel’s IPO call edges closer as streaming shine wears thin

And just like that, as Carrie Bradshaw would put it, another financial result rolls around for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, reports SMH’s Zoe Samios.

With more than six months of industry scuttlebutt about a public float of its pay TV and streaming company, investors will be eager to see how Foxtel and its online platforms Binge, Kayo Sports and Flash fared in the lead up to summer.

Don’t get too excited. Inside the News Corp fold, executives are still mulling the next best step. But a decision will need to be made sooner rather than later.

Why? Because if Netflix is anything to go by, investors’ appetite for streaming has finally slowed.

Shares in Netflix tumbled almost 20 per cent in late January after it announced it had added 8.3 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, falling short of previous guidance of 8.5 million. It was the lowest number subscriber number it had added in the period since 2017.

While other streamers such as Disney and Amazon haven’t disclosed their latest results, American analysts warn they expect the trend to continue.

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10’s political journalist Tegan George has denied not reporting an incident of sexual harassment

10 Network political reporter Tegan George has denied that she ­refused to report an incident of sexual harassment concerning fellow staff members as she ­pursues legal action against her employer, reports News Corp’s Sophie Elsworth.

Just one day after her legal ­action against 10 was made public, George’s lawyer, Maurice Blackburn principal Josh Bornstein, issued a statement refuting claims made by the network’s political editor Peter van Onselen during an interview on ABC radio in Melbourne with host Virginia Trioli.

He told Trioli he was criticised by George in the court documents over her reporting of an alleged sexual harassment complaint that she overheard among 10 staff in Canberra.

“One of the complaints was that I didn’t tolerate, if you like, a non-co-operation of an incident that involved alleged sexual harassment,” van Onselen said on air. But in Bornstein’s statement on Wednesday he refuted these claims and said: “When Ms George overheard snippets of a ­conversation between two colleagues which contained sexist remarks about a third colleague and reported it to a manager, she was threatened with disciplinary action if she refused to make a formal written statement about it. Any suggestion that Ms George refused or failed to report an incident of sexual harassment is false”.

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‘We cool?’: Contradiction emerges in Ben Roberts-Smith case

An SAS soldier claims he watched Ben Roberts-Smith machine gun a captive Afghan minutes after ordering a junior squadmate to kill another prisoner to “blood the rookie”, reports News Corp’s Perry Duffin.

But the soldier’s account of the “blooding” episode appears to contradict Nine’s allegations against Roberts-Smith.

Roberts-Smith alleges he was falsely accused of war crimes by Nine newspapers and its journalists when they said he was involved in six killings in Afghanistan.

After six months of delays Nine’s barrister, Nicholas Owens SC, finally opened his case by calling an unnamed SAS soldier known only as Person 41.

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News Brands

CNN president Jeff Zucker quits after failing to disclose relationship with co-worker

CNN president Jeff Zucker resigned after failing to disclose a consensual relationship with a longtime co-worker, ending a nine-year run atop the cable news network, reports Bloomberg’s Gerry Smith and Kevin Miller.

Zucker, 56, made the announcement in a message to staff, according to an emailed copy obtained by Bloomberg. He said he was asked about the relationship as part of the network’s investigation into harassment claims against former program host Chris Cuomo.

“I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years,” Zucker wrote. “I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong.”

The woman in the relationship is Allison Gollust, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for CNN. Both are divorced.

“Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years,” Gollust said in a statement. “Recently, our relationship changed during COVID. I regret that we didn’t disclose it at the right time. I’m incredibly proud of my time at CNN and look forward to continuing the great work we do everyday.”

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Cleo Smith’s mum says 4yo ‘loves’ newfound fame in $2 million interview

Cleo Smith’s mother has revealed the four-year-old “loves” her new-found fame, three months after her kidnapping and miraculous rescue captured Australia’s attention, reports News Corp’s Alexis Carey.

In a new promo released in the lead up to this Sunday’s $2 million tell-all interview with 60 Minutes, Ellie Smith opens up about how her daughter is coping in the wake of her terrifying ordeal.

Smith said her daughter is coping extremely well with the attention.

“She loves it,” told the program.

“We were in Perth and someone went up to her and they’re like: ‘Hi Cleo’, and she was like: ‘Hi! Hello!’

But the youngster also doesn’t quite understand the situation.

“We walked away, and she was like, ‘Mum, how does she know my name?’” Smith continued.

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Kyle Sandilands storms off radio show after blow-up at co-stars over Gladys text

KIIS FM radio host Kyle Sandilands stormed off his own show on Wednesday morning after a dispute with his co-hosts over the leaked text in which former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian called Scott Morrison a “horrible person”, reports News Corp’s Mibengé Nsenduluka.

Sandilands labelled his co-hosts Jackie ‘O’ Henderson and newsreader Brooklyn Ross an “idiot” and “*co**head” during a 12-minute rant on-air while claiming news of Berejiklian allegedly blasting the PM in the text message was not newsworthy.

“This is the biggest news in Australia and it’s all over nothing,” Sandilands said on the Kyle and Jackie O show.

“So what if the ex-Premier called the Prime Minister a horrible, horrible person? I’ve called everyone here an effing c in text messages.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Gladys was just pacifying whatever loser minister she was talking to … this is not real news. Don’t make up fictitious bulls**t drama over nothing.”

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Rosie Batty to host One Plus One

Former Australian of the Year and domestic violence campaigner, Rosie Batty will front a new season of interview series One Plus One.

She will present in-depth conversations with accidental leaders – people who unexpectedly found themselves forging new paths, and inspiring others to make change.

Guests in the series will include comedian Hannah Gadsby, another former Australian of the Year Richard ‘Harry’ Harris, writer and artist Amani Haydar, cook and food writer Stephanie Alexander, performer and domestic violence campaigner Russell Vickery, gun control advocate Walter Mikac, plus more.

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