Roundup: Kyle’s Idol salary, News Corp to sell REA Group stake?, Heston Russell

Kyle Sandilands

Threads and Bluesky, Tucker Carlson, Make It Australian

Business of Media

Starboard pushes News Corp to sell REA Group stake

Activist investor Starboard Value LP, which has built a position in News Corp, wants the Murdoch-family controlled media giant to separate its Australian real estate business, reports Nine Publishing’s Crystal Tse.

News Corp is “significantly undervalued” and unloading its 61 per cent stake in REA Group could help unlock more than $US7 billion ($11 billion) for shareholders, Starboard said in an investor presentation on Tuesday.

Doing so would also highlight the value of News Corp’s other assets, including Dow Jones, Harper Collins, the New York Post and Foxtel, Starboard said at the 13D Monitor Active-Passive Investor Summit in New York.

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Former soldier Heston Russell savages ABC after court win

A special forces soldier awarded almost $400,000 after he was defamed by the ABC has slammed the national broadcaster for its “cloak and dagger” behaviour. Heston Russell sued the ABC and two journalists over stories published in 2020 and 2021 that he claimed implied he was involved in the shooting of an unarmed prisoner, reports The Australian’s Nathan Schmidt

Russell told 2GB’s Ben Fordham, who sat next to the former soldier in court, that he believed “justice was served”, but did not hold back in his criticism of the ABC.

“I think this whole trial exposes how dangerous the echo chamber is there at the ABC, in particular the investigations unit that allowed such red flags to be missed,” he said.

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WPP merging VMLY&R with Wunderman Thompson

Advertising holding company giant WPP is combining two of its major creative agencies, VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson, as it seeks to further simplify its business for marketer clients, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Megan Graham.

London-based WPP, which owns agencies including Ogilvy as well as media-buying giant GroupM, said the combined agency will be called VML and employ more than 30,000 people in 64 markets.

VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson were the product of mergers five years ago when WPP sought to integrate some of its iconic creative agencies with more digitally focused shops. In 2018, WPP matched creative shop Young & Rubicam with digital ad firm VML to form VMLY&R. Also that year, WPP combined J. Walter Thompson, one of the oldest ad agencies in the world, with digital agency Wunderman to create Wunderman Thompson.

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TechScape: Threads and Bluesky need to figure out what they want to be

Every time Elon Musk does something bad, you can see an influx of new users to Bluesky – one of the many social media sites to pop up as a potential Twitter/X alternative, reports The Guardian’s Josh Taylor.

The platform, still invite-only, has more than 1.5 million users but it is slowly growing. A website called Twexit, which tracks the exodus of users from Twitter to Bluesky, has noted spikes of people activating their invite codes in the past couple of months.

In the year since Musk took over Twitter, there have been peaks of new users registering that coincide with when Twitter became X, when Musk announced the block feature would be removed and when he floated the idea of charging users a subscription fee.

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Tucker Carlson’s media company secures investment led by new ‘Anti-Woke’ firm 1789 Capital

Five years ago, Omeed Malik was a self-described “run-of-the-mill corporate Democrat,” with a seat on the Council on Foreign Relations, a summer house in the Hamptons, and stints at Bank of America and white-shoe law firm Weil, Gotshal under his belt, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Keach Hagey.

Then Covid happened. Chafing under government mandates he found illogical and corporate limits on speech that felt to him like censorship, he moved from Manhattan to Florida and began hanging out with Republican donors. He discovered a business opportunity in a so-called parallel economy of conservative-friendly companies.

Now, he is one of their financiers. Malik this year launched 1789 Capital, which aims to capitalize on the opportunities that it sees left open by the “wokeness” of more traditional sources of capital.

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Kyle Sandilands accidentally reveals Idol salary on live on KIIS FM

KIIS FM star Kyle Sandilands accidentally revealed his megabucks Australian Idol salary live on air. The presenter shared the amount he was paid during an episode of The Kyle and Jackie O Show this week, reports News Corp’s Joshua Haigh.

In an interview with pop singer Dean Lewis, Sandilands was complaining about how much time working in television takes up when Lewis asked how much he got paid.

When pushed for an answer, Sandilands said: “Listen, it’s clearly over a million dollars for three months work, you’d be a fool not to do it.”

Sandilands then confessed he wasn’t sure if he was allowed to discuss his salary publicly.

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Make It Australian: “IP is a national asset that must be protected”

Industry leaders gathered at Parliament House, Canberra, last night in the latest move by the Make It Australian campaign, reports TV Tonight.

In attendance were representatives of Screen Producers Australia, the Australian Directors’ Guild, the Australian Writers’ Guild, Australian Guild of Screen Composers, and the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance.

Their latest missison is a call for Australia to prioritise the protection of Intellectual Property rights in an era when Streaming platforms are seeking longer IP licences -or even complete control.

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