Roundup: Murdoch v Crikey update, TikTok to testify, Chris Smith

Lachlan Murdoch Fox Corp

Future of streaming, Allison Langdon ACA debut, Australian Idol

Business of Media

Lachlan Murdoch coverage drove Crikey subscriptions up 25%

Digital publisher Crikey had a 5000-strong, 25 per cent jump in subscribers after running a series of articles about Lachlan Murdoch, reaping a “windfall to the tune of $500,000” in the process, Murdoch’s lawyers told a Sydney court, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

The high-profile defamation case, in which Murdoch will take the stand against Crikey, has been delayed from late March until October 9, after a Federal Court judge allowed his team to file a revised, broader case.

In a court hearing on Monday, Murdoch’s barrister Sue Chrysanthou, SC, argued why her client needed to amend his claim against the publisher.

Crikey, she said, had engaged in a “dishonest, hypocritical, contrived scheme” and had “begged to be sued, and publicly welcomed the fact”.

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Lachlan Murdoch adds Private Media chairman and CEO to Crikey lawsuit

Lachlan Murdoch has been granted leave to expand his defamation case against Crikey, with the federal court agreeing to add the Private Media chairman, Eric Beecher, and its chief executive, Will Hayward, as respondents, reports The Guardian’s Amanda Meade.

The Fox Corporation CEO launched defamation proceedings against the independent news site last year over an article published in June that named the Murdoch family as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the US Capitol attack. After a concerns notice from Murdoch, Crikey took the article down but it was reinstated on 15 August.

In Murdoch’s original claim, Private Media, Crikey’s political editor, Bernard Keane, and editor-in-chief, Peter Fray, were the only respondents and the reposted article was not considered a separate article.

But the court ruled on Monday that the News Corp executive chairman can amend his statement of claim and characterise the original Crikey article and the reposted article as separate publications and sue over both.

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The looming political battle over the future of streaming

After years of back and forth about whether there should be local content obligations on international streaming giants like Netflix, Labor’s National Cultural Policy announcement on Monday drew a line in the sand. There will be, and they will be in place by July 1 next year, reports Nine Publishing’s Karl Quinn.

But that doesn’t really signal an end to the debate, merely the start. The form of that regulation will be hashed out over the next six months or so as the various stakeholders – streamers, Foxtel, free-to-air broadcasters, producers – sit down with the government to nut out what that regulation looks like.

Speaking to this masthead after the launch at St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel on Monday, Tony Burke, minister for the arts and for workplace and employment relations, enumerated the questions yet to be answered.

“Do you start at the endpoint percentage or do you ramp up towards it; do you have sub-quotas for children’s, documentary and scripted drama [as apply to the commercial free-to-air broadcasters]; and how do you define what’s in and what’s out, what counts as Australian,” he said.

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See Also: Make It Australian win: Labor making streamers invest more in funding shakeup

TikTok CEO to testify before congress in March

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is set to appear before the U.S. Congress on March 23 to testify on the short video app and its 2 billion strong platform’s consumer privacy and data security practices, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Etan Vlessing.

The announcement was made by House Energy and Commerce Committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Monday, as opposition to TikTok and the platform’s impact on the U.S. market grows. The U.S. government has also probed ByteDance-owned TikTok’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.

TikTok, like other social media platforms, uses a power algorithm to turn talent and performers into bankable stars who are increasingly signing up with Hollywood talent agencies to expand their careers across digital platforms. Chew will make his first appearance before a Congressional committee in March.

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Chris Smith reveals he is 50 days sober after Christmas party incident

Former radio and television personality Chris Smith, who was publicly ousted from his high-profile positions due to misconduct at a work Christmas party, has reached a significant milestone in his recovery, reports News Corp.

Smith, 60, took to Facebook to share that he has achieved 50 days of sobriety, attracting over 400 comments from followers.

In December, Smith voluntarily sought treatment at a mental health facility, where he publicly apologised for his actions and expressed remorse for the embarrassment he caused.

“I have a recurring problem with alcohol … it sends me manic,” Smith said last month.

“I am in a facility receiving professional help, to deal conclusively with my abuse of alcohol and solve this once and for all, without qualification … it can and will be done.”

Sky News Australia confirmed Smith’s departure in December.

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Allison Langdon praised for empathetic act on A Current Affair debut

Broadcaster Allison Langdon has won plaudits from viewers on her debut as the host of A Current Affair after she dealt with a heartbreaking story about domestic violence that saw the woman she was interviewing so overcome with emotion she had to step away from the cameras, reports News Corp.

Viewers called it a “stellar job,” and a “fantastic interview,” on an important issue.

Former Today host Langdon has taken the reins at ACA after Tracy Grimshaw stepped down last year after 16 years.

On her first episode, Langdon said she was “privileged” to be taking on the prime-time role before introducing a segment on Kimbarlie O’Reilly.

O’Reilly was abused by her ex-boyfriend Jake Frecker who was sent to prison but has now been released from jail after serving four years of a six-year sentence.

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Kyle Sandilands divides viewers as Australian Idol returns

Perhaps new fatherhood has softened Kyle Sandilands’ edges or Seven have instructed the shock jock to keep it nice for the return of Australian Idol after its 14 years in television mothballs, reports News Corp’s Kathy McCabe.

Anyone predicting the radio superstar and talent quest judge would unleash hell on the hapless and hopeful contestants in the first episode were way off base.

Sandilands delivered quick quips rather than brutal take-downs, even when those auditioning were clearly deluded about their singing talent.

But despite Sandilands dialling down his insults, some Idol fans remain unhappy the controversial radio host is back on the judges panel.

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