Roundup: Meta pulls out of Media Code, Dune sequel, Ita Buttrose on stepping down

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Elon Musk sues OpenAI, The Australian considers its own radio station, Darren Wick, TikTok, Pip Edwards

Meta Pulls Out of Media Code Deals

Onerous demands and threats: Inside Facebook’s secret media deals

A secret deal between Facebook and Network Ten included onerous requirements for the broadcaster to share some 18,000 videos to the social media platform and threats to tear up the $14 million contract if the technology giant was forced to the negotiating table by the government, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

Meta, Facebook’s parent, signed deals with the country’s largest media groups to avoid being forced to do so under the government’s News Media Bargaining Code. Details included in those agreements have never been published.

The Australian Financial Review has obtained two summaries of agreements signed between Ten, owned by media giant Paramount, and Facebook, which provide a glimpse into what the social media giant gained for its funding. On Friday, Meta said it would no longer pay for news, setting up a stoush with publishers and the Albanese government.

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See Also: Meta pulls the pin on news media deals with publishers and axes news tab

Meta’s dumping of content deals with publishers will cost jobs, says Country Press Australia

Country Press Australia has condemned the actions of Meta to abandon payment-for-content deals with news publishers and says many jobs will be lost in the regions as a result, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth

Andrew Schreyer, the president of CPA, which represents 230 regional and local newspapers across Australia, said the move by Meta – the parent company of Facebook – would severely impact the news industry.

“Meta’s actions undermine our democracy … the company displays such disdain for the work of the news industry,” he told The Australian.

“It undermines public confidence in the media sector.”

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The time has come for parliament to fire its cannon – at Meta

Meta is officially unfriending Australia. In the latest example of the company’s brazen indifference to regulations and the content creators that feed their platform, its bombshell refusal to pay for news may come as no surprise – but the shockwaves for Australia, our democracy, economy and way of life, are profound, writes Michael Miller, executive chairman of News Corp Australia.

This is shaping as a vital moment in the global battle to force this trillion-dollar company to play by the same rules of commerce and fair trading that other businesses live by.

Our nation’s response to this techno-anarchist will be watched closely on the international stage.

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Albanese government furious over Meta’s plan to pull out of Facebook news deal

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has rebuked Facebook’s parent company Meta for its decision to pull millions in funding from Australian news organisations, labelling the move “untenable” and flagging action against the tech giant, report Nine Publishing’s Calum Jaspan, James Massola and David Swan.

“It is absolutely critical that the media is able to function and be properly funded,” Albanese said in Melbourne on Friday.

“We will consider what options we have available and we will talk to the media companies as well.

“The idea that one company can profit from others’ investment, not just investment in capital but investment in people, investment in journalism is unfair. That’s not the Australian way.”

The prime minister’s comments are a clear sign the Labor government is furious with Meta’s decision and is preparing a decisive response.

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If Meta’s intransigence isn’t enough, AI poses an even greater threat to journalism

It’s hardly a surprise that Meta, owner of Facebook, is refusing to renew its deals with Australia’s media companies. It was always grudging in its negotiations and never really accepted the principle that it should pay for the benefit of using the work of journalists, reports The Guardian’s Margaret Simons.

Facebook and Google were forced to the bargaining table by the news media bargaining code. That law allowed the government to “designate” digital platforms, which would force them to negotiate with media companies.

The big stick was that if the parties could not agree, the decision would be made by an independent arbiter. In other words, Google and Facebook would lose control.

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Business of Media

Elon Musk sues OpenAI and its CEO, claiming their focus is to “Maximize Profits for Microsoft”

Elon Musk, the owner and executive chairman of social media giant X Corp., has filed a lawsuit against ChatGPT owner OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman, alleging the AI company’s alliance with Microsoft has changed its mission from building artificial intelligence systems for the benefit of humanity to corporate profits, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Georg Szalai.

“OpenAI, Inc. has been transformed into a closed-source de facto subsidiary of the largest technology company in the world: Microsoft,” Musk’s lawyers argued in a lawsuit filed in San Francisco on Thursday. “Under its new board, it is not just developing but is refining an [artificial general intelligence] AGI to maximize profits for Microsoft, rather than for the benefit of humanity.”

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Dune sequel leads U.S. box office to best weekend of the year

Hollywood was waiting for a savior. In Dune: Part Two, the latest installment of director Denis Villeneuve’s science-fiction epic, it may have found one, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Robbie Whelan.

The Dune sequel, distributed by Warner Bros. and anchored by a glittery cast of next-generation movie stars including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Austin Butler and Florence Pugh, sold $81.5 million worth of tickets in the U.S. and Canada. The strong showing led the domestic box office to its first $100 million weekend since January, when a musical version of Mean Girls opened.

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News Brands

The Australian considers moving with The Times in new radio play

It’s hard enough running a newspaper. How about adding in a radio station? News Corp’s national broadsheet The Australian has been considering launching its own radio station after the (debatable) success of sister paper The Times′ Times Radio in London, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

Times Radio reaches 492,000 people a week, is taking listeners from the BBC, and has apparently been partly counted as a News Corp marketing expense given it promotes paid subscriptions to the paper.

The Australian puts out a 15-minute daily podcast, The Front, which interviews the paper’s reporters about the biggest news story of the day. By all accounts, executive chairman Michael Miller is a fan of host Claire Harvey’s style. It also helps that his daily commute from Bellevue Hill to News Corp’s Holt Street headquarters in Surry Hills neatly matches the show’s length.

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Ita Buttrose opens up about decision to step down as head of the ABC

Ita Buttrose is just days away from stepping down as head of the ABC, with her final day at the national broadcaster this Wednesday, reports News Corp.

The Australian journalism icon, 82, served a five-year term after being appointed by the former Coalition government in 2019, with former News Limited CEO Kim Williams set to replace her.

Ahead of her last day on the job, questionable reports have swirled that Buttrose’s departure – which was announced in August last year – was related to the December sacking of presenter Antoinette Lattouf, who was let go days into a fill-in radio gig for the national broadcaster’s Mornings show after she shared a social media post about the Israel Gaza war, in which she condemned the treatment of Palestinian civilians.

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Nothing sinister in disappearance of Nine news boss Darren Wick

The hot topic dominating conversations in the corridors of Nine’s offices across the country is the whereabouts of news and current affairs director Darren Wick, report The Australian’s James Madden and Sophie Elsworth.

Many have noticed his weeks-long absence from Nine’s Sydney headquarters – an odd time for any news executive to take an extended break, especially with the TV ratings season in full swing.

Diary attempted to contact Wick himself but there was no response. Sources told Diary he’s on annual leave but that hasn’t stopped the rumours from swirling.

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Cruise ship drama and dating nightmares: How TikTok replaced reality TV

Two weeks ago, a new reality drama show was unleashed on the world. Over 37 million people tuned in to hear “Reesa Teesa” begin relaying her experience of marrying, and then divorcing, an alleged pathological liar, reports Nine Publishing’s Nell Geraets.

Scandalous, shocking, it’s everything you’d want from reality TV, yet, it isn’t a reality show. Teesa told her story via a 50-part TikTok series entitled Who TF Did I Marry?.

Teesa’s videos are nine to 10 minutes long and the series takes just short of eight hours to complete. The entire series has attracted over 335 million views, including individual viewers watching all 50 parts. To put its popularity into perspective, the first reunion episode for season 10 of Vanderpump Rules, which was rocked by the “Scandoval” affair, reached 4.6 million viewers in May. This was US network Bravo’s most-watched episode of any reality series in over nine years, yet the final video of Who TF Did I Marry? attracted more than double this amount (10.3 million views).

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Television executives courting Pip Edwards for reality series on her life

There’s something about Pip Edwards at the moment – well, so TV executives seem to think, reports News Corp’s Briana Domjen.

Sunday Confidential hears the P.E Nation designer has been sounded out by two production companies in recent months to star in TV programs.

One will be a Roxy Jacenko and Lara Worthington-style reality series, which will follow the designer and mother of one around as she carries out her day-to-day activities.

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