Roundup: Lisa Wilkinson sues 10, KIIS FM-Triple M combo, Neighbours

lisa wilkinson

Advertising industry, Starboard, Russian-American journalist detained, Netflix

Business of Media

Lisa Wilkinson sues Network 10 over costs in Bruce Lehrmann defamation case

Lisa Wilkinson is suing Network 10 over claims the TV network backed out of an agreement to cover more than $700,000 in legal costs in a defamation suit brought by former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann, report The Australian’s Ellie Dudley and Sophie Elsworth.

Lehrmann is suing Wilkinson and Network 10 over an interview with Brittany Higgins that aired on The Project in 2021, which detailed accusations he had raped Higgins in Parliament House, but did not name him as the alleged attacker.

Wilkinson hired top defamation barrister Sue Chrysanthou SC and Gillis Delaney Lawyers partner Anthony Jefferies in February to defend her against Lehrmann’s defamation action, and in doing so, she opted out of using Thomson Geer – a law firm Network 10 has on retainer.

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Unloved and facing regulation, the ad industry plays a $53b card

Australia’s advertising industry has asserted itself as a bigger force than the accommodation and fast food sectors in economic output, pre-empting a crackdown by the Albanese government on gambling and wagering advertising, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

The $300.5 million-a-year slice of Australia’s media market could face renewed threat within months. There are signs the fast food industry, which spends $330 million annually, might face similar pressure.

Now, the advertising industry is pushing back against further moves to restrict ads. The three organisations representing Australia’s advertising sector have co-funded new research showing they create and support 245,000 Australian jobs and add $53 billion – 2.1 per cent – to Australia’s gross domestic product. Hotels and food add $47 billion.

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What is Starboard, News Corp’s activist investor?

This week, it was reported that Starboard Value, the noisy, activist American private equity firm headed by Jeffrey Smith — once described as the “most feared man in corporate America” — has turned its focus to News Corp, reports Crikey’s Daanyel Saeed.

Reuters reported that Starboard recently became shareholders in the NASDAQ-listed company, although the size of the stake is not yet known. The Murdoch family trust controls approximately 40% of the voting shares in the company, and recently saw the resignation of patriarch Rupert after seven decades, replaced by his eldest son Lachlan.

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Russian-American journalist detained in Russia for violating foreign agents law

A Russian-American journalist has been detained in Russia on charges of violating its foreign agents law, reportedly due to her coverage of Russia’s military mobilisation for its invasion of Ukraine, reports The Guardian’s Andrew Roth.

Alsu Kurmasheva, an editor with Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty’s (RFE-RL) Tatar-Bashkir service, was detained on Wednesday by masked Russian law enforcement agents.

RFE-RL confirmed her detention in a statement on Thursday and said Kurmasheva had been charged with failure to register as a foreign agent and faced up to five years in prison.

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Is Australian radio ready for a KIIS FM-Triple M combo?

The Australian media sector is gearing up to welcome what could be the most ambitious deal in recent memory, provided KIIS FM owner ARN Media is successful in its bid to absorb rival Southern Cross Media, which owns radio stations Fox, 2DayFM and Triple M, reports Nine Publishing’s Calum Jaspan.

ARN, valued at $300 million, already holds a 14.8 per cent stake in Southern Cross, and given the limits imposed by the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 – which prevents ARN from crossing the 15 per cent ownership threshold – a full-blooded takeover was always on the cards.

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Is Netflix’s subscriber jolt a one-hit wonder?

The stars aligned for Netflix in its latest quarter, but making sequels to this hit will be a challenge, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Dan Gallagher.

The streaming giant said Wednesday that it added about 8.8 million net new paid subscribers during the third quarter. That is the highest number added in a single quarter since early 2020, when interest in TV streaming exploded during the pandemic lockdowns. It was also 45% higher than what Wall Street had expected for subscriber additions. The company said it expects a similar jump in the fourth quarter, which would come in ahead of the 7.7 million that analysts had been predicting.

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Neighbours swears off blue language in 2023 revival

Neighbours has resisted the urge to introduce more adult language in its new-found streaming freedom, reports TV Tonight.

While the show long screened in a PG timeslot on Free to Air, its introduction to Amazon Freevee internationally, and Prime Video in Australia, meant there were potentially new horizons available to producers.

“We are still PG in the way we’re plotting and working with scripts,” Script Producer Shane Isheev tells TV Tonight.

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