Roundup: Meta’s fight for TV’s ad dollars, Piers Morgan cans nightly talk show, Lisa Wilkinson’s Logies speech

piers morgan

Rupert Murdoch’s secret interviews, Malcolm Stuart passes away, Seven takes on News Corp, Guardian, Jase & Lauren, Ford Ennals, Sports streaming, North Sydney Bears, David Morrow diagnosed with brain cancer

Business of Media

Facebook parent Meta steps up its fight for TV’s ad dollars

Big and small businesses poured record revenue into Meta’s Facebook and Instagram in Australia last quarter, which claimed prized advertising dollars at the expense of television and despite a wider ad industry slowdown, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

In a year that will see Meta once again square off against Australia’s news industry – all of its agreements under the News Media Bargaining Code expire this year – Australia and New Zealand managing director Will Easton will talk about almost any part of the business. Except that.

“We’re obviously looking at it. When we’re ready to talk about it, we’ll probably be talking to the organisations that have either taken funding or are looking for it. So we’re not at a point yet to really discuss next steps,” he said, in a rare interview for one of Australian media’s most powerful people.

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Documents Reveal: Channel 10 lawyers approved Wilkinson’s Logies speech

A cache of explosive documents is set to be made public this week exposing the legal advice Lisa Wilkinson received from Network Ten lawyers before her disastrous Logies speech – and revealing the intense personal animosity between several of the high-profile lawyers in the case, report The Australian’s Janet Albrechtsen and Stephen Rice.

New affidavits filed with the Federal Court are understood to show that Ten’s senior management asked Wilkinson to give the Logies speech and that Ten’s lawyers and senior executives approved it. The legal advice was never revealed during the defamation trial, despite the clear preference of Justice Michael Lee to see it.

One Sydney lawyer described the upcoming hearing on Tuesday as “a shit show coming to town” with previously unseen affidavits believed to show lawyers taking pot-shots at each other in “the legal fraternity’s version of Nemesis” – a reference to the ABC documentary revealing the behind-the-scenes turmoil and back-biting in the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments.

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Rupert Murdoch’s secret hours on camera interviewed by Sky News chief

Paul “Boris” Whittaker, the (apparently) heir apparent to running News Corp Australia, has been quietly conducting a series of long, on-camera interviews with Rupert Murdoch, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

Over the course of months, Whittaker interviewed Murdoch multiple times in the US and UK, sources with knowledge of the conversations said. The interviews were planned as a special televised series, and no topic was off limits. He apparently shares his thoughts on former US president Donald Trump, various politicians, and even the decision to hand the reins of his sprawling media empire to his eldest son, Lachlan.

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3AW radio favourite dies after more than 50 years of entertaining Melbourne

3AW’s long-serving London correspondent Malcolm Stuart has died. A journalist based in the UK, Stuart began doing reports for 3AW in 1973 and has been heard on 3AW’s breakfast show each weekday since 1984, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

His last report was with Ross Stevenson and Russel Howcroft’s breakfast show on Friday, February 2.

Stuart was known for giving Melburnians a colourful and unique insight into the major news moments and quirky stories making headlines in England.

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News Brands

Stokes’ Seven takes on News Corp with nightly newspaper, supported by Gina Rinehart

Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media is targeting Australia’s “mainstream middle” with its new evening digital newspaper, backed by a major advertising deal with Australia’s richest woman, mining billionaire Gina Rinehart, reports Nine Publishing’s Calum Jaspan.

The Nightly has poached a number of current and former senior News Corp staff for its launch at the end of this month, as it looks to challenge the Murdoch-controlled company’s stronghold on Australia’s east coast.

Paired with a website, it will publish a free digital newspaper each evening, with a spokesperson for Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting confirming the company’s involvement as a major advertiser, to provide some security for the publication’s launch in an increasingly challenged ad market.

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Guardian Australia appoints Karen Middleton as political editor

Guardian Australia has appointed The Saturday Paper’s Karen Middleton as its new political editor, replacing the outgoing Katharine Murphy, reports Crikey’s Daanyal Saeed.

Middleton, who is currently the chief political correspondent at The Saturday Paper, joins after a decorated career spanning over three decades in the press gallery.

Guardian Australia editor Lenore Taylor said Middleton brought “decades of experience, judgement, a significant record of news breaking and excellent analytical skills” to the publication.

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‘Not playing in the gutter’: How the secret plan to get The Jase & Lauren Show to Nova was hatched

Jase Hawkins and Lauren Phillips have pulled radio’s ultimate Houdini act. After being brutally dumped by KIIS FM, where they hosted the Melbourne breakfast shift, in December to make way for Kyle Sandilands’ networked show from Sydney, it seemed like the much loved Jase and Lauren Show was being consigned to radio history, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

Hawkins was considering a move to Queensland with his family and Phillips and her fiance, Paul O’Brien, were also pondering taking time away from Melbourne.

But in a move that has taken the radio industry by surprise and delighted fans, the show is being reborn in the breakfast shift at Nova100.

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See Also: Radio battle ground: Ratings claim first breakfast victim before Survey 1, 2024 release

Radio industry calls for overhaul of prominence and anti-siphoning bill

The commercial radio industry has made an urgent plea for changes to a parliamentary bill to ensure Australians can access and listen to their favourite stations more easily, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth.

The peak industry body representing the radio sector, Commercial Radio & Audio, has made a submission to the senate committee working on the Communications Legislation Amendment (Prominence and Anti-Siphoning) Bill, requesting that it be amended to include radio.

CRA chief executive officer Ford Ennals said it was not too late to make changes to the bill that currently focuses on the TV industry, arguing that it should be broadened out to include the radio sector. “We’re very supportive of what TV and the government are doing to protect local Australian content on smart TVs but we feel very strongly that it should be extended to local radio services,” he said.

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Piers Morgan cans nightly talk show in blow to Sky News Australia

Piers Morgan Uncensored will no longer be screened on Sky News Australia after the influential British figure announced he was leaving News Corp’s start-up TalkTV to focus on his own YouTube channel, reports Nine Publishing’s Calum Jaspan.

Morgan called the commitment of a nightly show on the newly established Murdoch channel an “unnecessary straitjacket”, saying the program’s rigid format and fixed schedule were out of step with global audience demands.

The decision’s local implications mean the last episode of Piers Morgan Uncensored on Sky News Australia will air on Friday, a spokesperson confirmed to this masthead. The network is also set to lose his digital content, which it said had generated more than 150 million views across its online channels.

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Sports Media

Why three media giants made a Hail Mary bet on sports streaming

Executives at the National Football League were in Las Vegas on Tuesday preparing for this weekend’s Super Bowl when they got word from news reports that their business—and the sports media industry writ large—was about to change in a fundamental way, report The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint, Jessica Toonkel, Isabella Simonetti, and David Marcelis.

Disney’s ESPN and Fox, two of the league’s biggest media partners, announced that alongside Warner Bros. Discovery they would create a new streaming service to offer all their live-sports programming. The NFL, a titan that’s used to having a seat at the table in any discussion affecting its future and content, was out of the loop. Executives including Commissioner Roger Goodell and media chief Brian Rolapp were caught off guard by the news.

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See Also: Australia has Kayo Sports, now TV giants to launch US domestic multi-sport streaming platform

NRL 2024: Fox Sports, Channel 9 join push for North Sydney Bears comeback, expansion plans

Rugby league television heavyweights Foxtel and Channel 9 are backing Peter V’landys’ plan to bring back the North Sydney Bears, reports Nine Publishing’s Phil Rothfield.

“It’s a good idea and I’d back it,” said Foxtel chief executive Patrick Delany, who two years ago provided an extra $15 million a year in funding to back the Dolphins as the competition’s 17th team

Channel 9 is equally keen about reinventing the club that vanished as an NRL franchise and everyone’s second team when the Northern Eagles folded back in 2002.

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Legendary sports commentator David Morrow diagnosed with brain cancer

A radio broadcasting legend will step down from on air duties after a recent cancer diagnosis, reports News Corp’s Tess McCracken.

Speaking on 2GB on Friday, Ray Hadley revealed iconic sports broadcaster David Morrow has been diagnosed with brain cancer and will step down from his role on the radio’s Continuous Call Team indefinitely.

Hadley confirmed Morrow, often known as “Thirsty”, will take the time away from broadcasting and commentary duties to focus on cancer treatment and spend time with his loved ones.

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