Roundup: Natalie Barr addresses rumours, ACM papers for sale, The Nightly

Natalie Barr

Meta, Snap, Rupert Murdoch, Jackie O, Southern Cross, Antoinette Lattouf, Academy Awards, Kyle Sandilands

Business of Media

Meta may not care about Australian news but it’s the soul of our communities

I once rang a Catholic convent in Melbourne to ask if the sister in charge might have a comment about IVF surrogacy. It was 1988 and Victoria had just produced the nation’s first surrogate IVF child. It was a long shot, late in the day, but I needed another talking head in my ABC news story, reports The Guardian’s Virginia Haussegger.

To my delight the head nun not only knew the story, she was well versed in all the details, having followed every news instalment for weeks. She told me she never missed the evening news, had the “wireless” permanently on local 3AW and read at least three newspapers every day: “You learn so much about who we are, don’t you?”

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Antony Catalano wants to sell three of his biggest newspapers

Antony Catalano has been looking to offload part of the regional media empire he co-owns with billionaire Alex Waislitz, putting three of its most storied publications – The Newcastle Herald, Illawarra Mercury and The Canberra Times – up for sale, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

Catalano, the executive chairman of Australian Community Media (ACM), has discussed selling some of his newspapers back to Nine Entertainment, sources with knowledge of conversations confirmed.

Catalano bought the papers, alongside more than 160 other regional titles, for $125 million from Nine in 2019. Nine inherited ACM as part of its $4 billion merger with Fairfax Media in 2018.

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Snap carves its own path away from ‘social media’ category

Social media company Snap is making bold creative moves as part of a long-term plan to differentiate itself from other social behemoth channels, reports The Australian’s Kate Racovolis.

As of around a month ago, when the company launched a global advertising campaign “Less social media. More Snapchat”, that mission was ramped up with considerable creative heft, as the company looks to carve its own image and path, distanced from the “social media” category.

It comes as last quarter the company recorded revenue of USD $1.36bn, representing a 5 per cent increase year-on-year. The company says it is still focused on its advertising business, including “direct response” (shoppable) advertisements.

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‘He doesn’t like to be alone’: Why Rupert Murdoch is traipsing down the aisle a fifth time

As the world awaits the minting of Australian-born Rupert Murdoch’s fifth wife in the shape of Russian-born retired molecular biologist Elena Zhukova, 67, she joins an elite group of women who have become one of the more fascinating aspects of the powerful businessman’s much-storied life, reports Nine Publishing’s Andrew Hornery.

It’s looking likely Zhukova will be a “spring bride”, with the Californian-based couple’s friends expecting them to marry early as the northern hemisphere enters its warmer months.

As for why Murdoch would walk down the aisle one more time, one of his oldest friends, who asked to remain anonymous so he could speak freely, put it on Friday afternoon: “He doesn’t like to be alone, especially since he stepped back from the business.”

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See Also: Rupert Murdoch engaged for a sixth time, to marry retired molecular biologist Elena Zhukova

Jackie O declares ‘there is a lot more to come’ for her fledgling Besties business venture

Jackie ‘O’ Henderson has promised “a lot more to come” with her Besties business, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

Not even a year after bringing Gwyneth Paltrow to Sydney for a one-off speaking event, Jackie O and her own best friend, Gemma O’Neill, are forging ahead with their business.

“Ultimately we just want to be a one-stop-shop for women and their besties to have fun and pamper themselves, to meet other women and create these amazing memories,” the KIIS breakfast host told Confidential.

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News Brands

‘The Cat’ ups Southern Cross stake; major shareholder tips in

The circus continues. Australian Community Media executive chairman Antony Catalano has increased his stake in takeover target Southern Cross Media to 6 per cent, according to a substantial shareholder notice filed on Friday night, report Nine Publishing’s Sarah Thompson, Kanika Sood and Emma Rapaport.

The bulk of the stake was bought on-market by Catalano and his billionaire backer Alex Waislitz, sources said. It is understood circa 2 per cent of stake was collected from fellow Southern Cross major shareholder Allan Gray.

It comes after three of Southern Cross’ biggest investors supported an extraordinary intervention to remove the company’s board and management on March 1, after lacklustre results and slow progress in evaluating a takeover offer from rival ARN Media.

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Two halves of the Seven empire are at war over The Nightly

There’s plenty of palace intrigue at the Stokes family’s Seven West Media empire in recent weeks, as the arrival of new evening publication The Nightly pushes the influence of Perth-based Anthony De Ceglie eastward, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

The Nightly launched two weeks ago to great internal fanfare. Unlike the rest of Seven West’s east coast operations, it is being overseen by De Ceglie, the editor-in-chief of The West Australian, the only capital city daily operated by the Kerry Stokes-chaired group.

Despite his protestations to the contrary, it’s no secret that Stokes keeps a close hand on the company – and plenty of senior figures in the Sydney-headquartered broadcasting division seem to think he has found his favourite in The West’s boss, who jumped ship from News Corp in 2019.

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ABC boss raised concerns on first day of Lattouf radio stint

ABC managing director David Anderson raised concerns about broadcaster Antoinette Lattouf being on air on the first day of her intended week-long stint before she shared a social media post about Gaza, the Fair Work Commission in Sydney has heard, reports Nine Publishing’s Caitlin Fitzsimmons.

Lattouf has launched legal action against the national broadcaster after she was dismissed over the Human Rights Watch Instagram post. She alleges that the ABC unlawfully terminated her for sharing political opinions and that race was also a factor.

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Natalie Barr addresses rumours and speculation surrounding her hosting gig on Sunrise

Natalie Barr is setting the record straight about the “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” narrative that has shadowed her career, reports News Corp.

Before she was eventually appointed co-host on Seven’s breakfast show Sunrise in 2021, there was speculation that Barr felt overlooked when the network announced Samantha Armytage would replace host Melissa Doyle when she exited the program in 2013.

This week, the seasoned newsreader sheds light on how she really felt about the Armytage’s appointment on the show Barr’s worked on for nearly a quarter century.

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Advent and popularity of streaming servies has disrupted the Academy Awards

Whether you label it “The Rise of the Independent” or “The Rejection of the Hollywood Blockbuster”, streaming services are changing the way moviegoers and critics are watching cinema, reports News Corp’s Shane McNally.

In recent years, the Academy Awards has rewarded a string of films that would not be considered mainstream cinema with the Best Picture statuette – Everything Everywhere All at Once won it last year, and CODA, Nomadland and Parasite in the previous three years.

Over the past decade, only Green Book, Spotlight and 12 Years a Slave would qualify as mainstream US cinema and even they wouldn’t be considered typical Hollywood blockbusters.

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See Also: Where’s the Drama? Why streamers are scooping up scripted series


Nothing can prepare Melbourne for KIIS FM shock jock vile Kyle Sandilands

Melbourne shock jock Kyle Sandilands is set to unleash his sex-obsessed, profanity-laden brand of breakfast entertainment on Melbourne’s unsuspecting FM radio listeners next month when his Sydney breakfast show is syndicated to Melbourne’s KIIS FM, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

Sandilands and his accomplice Jackie ‘O’ Henderson will this week confirm the date they will start broadcasting in the KIIS Melbourne breakfast shift, with a show unlike anything Melbourne has ever heard.

Last week the Sunday Herald Sun sat through a full week of broadcasting to get a shocking taste of what is to come.

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