Roundup: Meta lays off 11,000 workers, Ben Roberts-Smith, SBS


Midterm elections, Jim Wilson, Drama Report

Business of Media

Facebook owner Meta to sack 11,000 workers after revenue collapse

Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta is cutting 11,000 jobs, more than one in eight staff, after a disastrous collapse in revenue has left the company behind Facebook overstaffed and “inefficient”, the chief executive said in a note to staff, reports The Guardian’s Alex Hern.

However, Zuckerberg indicated he planned to continue backing the company’s controversial multibillion-dollar bet on virtual reality, saying the metaverse project was a “high-priority growth area”.

The first round of redundancies in the company’s history comes after its workforce peaked this year at 87,314.

In the note on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said Meta had overinvested at the start of Covid, banking that the increase in online activity would continue and accelerate even after the coronavirus pandemic ended.

“Unfortunately, this did not play out the way I expected,” he said.

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Ben Roberts-Smith in court over defence documents

Australia’s most decorated living soldier Ben Roberts-Smith is ­requesting access to documents concealed by the Department of Defence in court, reports The Australian’s Joanna Panagopoulos.

These documents could be ­related to meetings between journalists and the department, The Daily Telegraph has reported.

It follows the close of a more than 100-day defamation trial against Nine newspapers, which he says wrongly accused him of committing war crimes and murdering six unarmed persons while serving in Afghanistan.

This new legal action, which will be heard in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on Thursday, comes as he awaits a verdict from the Federal Court in the defamation case.

There is no indication for when the verdict will be handed down.

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Patience, Please! Networks urge caution on a chaotic midterm night

After a bitterly contested and partisan midterm election campaign, television’s top news anchors delivered a uniform message on Tuesday to Americans eager for a resolution: Check back tomorrow, report The New York Times’ Michael M. Grynbaum, John Koblin, and Jeremy W. Peters.

Or, better yet, Thursday or Friday. Or maybe next month.

Two years after a presidential race that took nearly four days to yield a winner — and Senate contests that extended into the next January — networks took pains to remind viewers that vote counting is slow, the balance of power is thin and sometimes early returns don’t tell the whole story.

“Patience is a virtue,” Rachel Maddow said on MSNBC, adding: “Patience is probably a health necessity on a night like tonight.” John King told his CNN audience to “please wait, please wait — let’s wait for more votes.” On Fox News, where the decision desk made accurate calls before its rivals in 2018 and 2020, Martha MacCallum warned, “It’s going to get pretty tricky.”

As journalism, it was a prudent strategy given the high levels of disinformation swirling around this year’s campaign, and the rash of Republican candidates who had signaled reluctance to accept results they disliked.

As television, it made for a lot of airtime to fill.

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Jim Wilson to leave 2GB

Broadcaster and senior journalist Jim Wilson has announced he’s stepping down as host of 2GB Drive to pursue other opportunities with Nine television, reports 2GB.

Jim made the announcement on his Drive program yesterday afternoon thanking his listeners for their support over the last couple of years.

“I’ve been so lucky to have been given this opportunity and my listeners have been incredible, I’m going to miss them. They’ve taken me into their lounge rooms, into their cars and to have been the #1 talk show, in a super competitive slot, three out of the last four ratings surveys is something I’m very proud of achieving.”

“In my 35 years in broadcasting, my mantra has been all about being fair and reasonable and true to myself. We’ve managed to help people and given them a voice on my program and that’s been the most satisfying part of the job – getting people a fair go. I love what I do and I’ve still got the passion to do more in the future, there’s nothing like live broadcasting and I say bring on the next chapter.”

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Talkback shake-up: Frontrunners tipped to replace 2GB Drive host Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson’s announcement he will step down from his high profile radio gig has left many wondering who will take his place, report News Corp’s Jonathon Moran and Dana Pendrick.

The 54-year-old 2GB Drive host said he is looking towards his next broadcast chapter after announcing on air that Thursday’s drive shift would be his last.

Speculation will now turn to who will replace Wilson in the coveted job with TV reporter Chris O’Keefe, husband of Fox Sports host Yvonne Sampson, widely regarded the most likely contender.

Sports broadcaster Mark Levy, who regularly fills in during the absence of breakfast host Ben Fordham, may also be in the running for the afternoon slot.

Despite becoming embroiled in heated disputes with colleagues, veteran journalist Chris Smith, who currently hosts the Weekends show at the station, could also be a contender.

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Australian drama production passes $2 billion mark for the first time

The value of screen drama made in Australia topped $2 billion for the first time last financial year as the ongoing global production boom pushed the local industry to a record high, reports Nine Publishing’s Karl Quinn.

The $2.29 billion spent on scripted content across film, television and streaming projects in 2021-22 eclipsed the previous record of $1.94 billion set just a year earlier. That 18 per cent increase came despite a drop in expenditure by foreign titles, from $1.07 billion last financial year – when Australia was reaping the advantages of being relatively COVID-free – to $777 million this year.

At $1.51 billion, the Australian component of the tally was up significantly on last year’s $872 million, and was almost three times as much as it was worth in 2019-20 ($566 million).

“Hitting well over the $2 billion mark is an incredible milestone for our sector,” said Graeme Mason, chief executive of Screen Australia, which collated the figures for its annual Drama Report. “It’s truly a bumper year for Australian scripted content – to have local productions make up 66 per cent of this spend is extraordinary.”

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SBS on Demand outranks streaming giants

SBS managing director James Taylor has regaled SBS on Demand is the top ranking streaming app in Apple -outclassing bit hitters such as Netflix, Disney+ and iview, reports TV Tonight.

“I am really pleased to say that SBS On Demand has world-class user experience,” he told a Senate Estimates hearing this week.

“If you look at your Apple device to see the highest rated streaming platform in the country, you will be delighted, I hope, to see that SBS On Demand, a public entity, is the highest rated streaming platform in the Apple app store.

“It is higher than any of the global behemoths that we compete with.”

[Read More]

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