Roundup: News Corp’s annual report, Why did Wentworth end? and Louise Milligan


• Plus Twitter, YouTube, Andrew Laming, ABC to sell Artarmon site, Lynne McGranger

Business of Media

News Corp ‘gaining momentum’

News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson has forecast strong growth for the media company, following on from its most profitable 12 months since 2013, reports News Corp’s James Madden.

Releasing News Corp’s annual report on Tuesday, Thomson said he was bullish about the company’s future, noting that News Corp was “gaining momentum” despite the obvious “stresses and strains of a pandemic have stretched the social fabric and the commercial canvas.”

In the fiscal year 2021, the company’s overall revenues rose by four per cent, and by 30 per cent in the fourth quarter alone. Profitability improved by 26 per cent for the year.

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Twitter misses on earnings, hits 211M daily users

Twitter reported revenue of of $1.28 billion in the third quarter of 2021, including advertising revenue of $1.14 billion. While ad revenue was up more than 40 percent year over year, the company missed Wall Street expectations on revenue and earnings per share, with a one-time $800 million lawsuit settlement pushing the company to a loss in the quarter of $537 million, reports The Hollywood Reporter‘s Alex Weprin.

The lawsuit, which settled in September, alleged that the company provided misleading engagement numbers to investors.

Twitter’s key subscriber metric, monetizable daily active users (mDAU) hit 211 million in the quarter, up 13 percent from a year ago. U.S. mDAUs were flat from Q2.

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YouTube ad revenue increases to $7.2B in latest quarter

YouTube brought in $7.2 billion in advertising revenue during the third quarter, a modest increase from its previous quarter, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s J. Clara Chan.

The video platform is close to surpassing the revenue of Netflix, which reported $7.5 billion in Q3 revenue on Oct. 19.

Last quarter, YouTube brought in more than $7 billion in advertising revenue, outperforming the video platform’s Q1 ad revenue by roughly $1 billion. Google Advertising accounted for $53.1 billion of Alphabet’s total $65.12 in revenue reported during Q3, roughly a 5 percent increase from the $61.88 billion reported in Q2 and a 41 percent increase year over year.

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Andrew Laming defamation case costs ABC nearly $200,000

ABC managing director David Anderson has confirmed the defamation case involving star Four Corners reporter Louise Milligan over tweets she made about Liberal MP Andrew Laming has cost the public broadcaster $184,000 to date, reports AFR’s Miranda Ward.

Facing Senate estimates hearings Anderson said he received legal advice suggesting the ABC could be liable for the tweets by Milligan and the decision to indemnify the reporter was done to protect the ABC’s financial position.

“I had legal advice from my general counsel that the circumstances of this case for the ABC, that the ABC could be vicariously liable for the tweets made on a private social media account, and that we could be very well joined to proceedings later on, had that escalated,” Mr Anderson said.

“So I took that advice very seriously.”

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Mike O’Connor: $130k tweet storm shows there is no more doubt that the ABC exists in a parallel universe

If there was ever any doubt that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation now exists in a parallel universe, it has been swept away by the Commonwealth auditor-general, writes News Corp’s Mike O’Connor.

Investigating a decision by ABC management to pay $130,000 in legal costs and damages awarded against staff member Louise Milligan for a defamatory tweet she had made, Auditor-General Grant Hehir found that there was “no documented advice … prepared to support the appropriateness of the decision to meet the costs of an employee”.

In other words, someone decided that it was a good idea to burn $130,000 of taxpayer funds on behalf of an employee when there was absolutely no appropriate reason for it to do so.

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ABC proceeding with sale of Artarmon site

The ABC is proceeding with sale of its Artarmon storage and studio space in Sydney, reports TV Tonight.

Studio 26 has 700m² of production floor space, scenery runway, production offices, kitchen, parking, art department and wardrobe facilities.

It has been used for productions including The Wiggles and Dance Academy.

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Foxtel: Why Wentworth has ended

It was an explosive (literally) finale for Wentworth last night after 9 years of drama, writes TV Tonight.

Wentworth has amassed a legion of fans in Australia and overseas with fervent websites, social media accounts, fan fiction, petitions, and conventions.

As the final credits rolled to the sounds of Lynne Hamilton’s “On the Inside” from the original Prisoner, fans took to social media to express both anguish and praise.

The show was formally axed at 7 seasons but fan frenzy demanded two more instalments, taking it to a mammoth 100 episodes -the most for any Foxtel original drama.

But the show’s success left the Subscription TV company unable to proceed with other projects.

“There are other stories we want to tell,” says Foxtel Executive Director of Television Brian Walsh.

“We’re running a commercial business here. We’ve got a finite budget. I’d rather the show go out on top. Wentworth could go on, but it’s time to tell some new stories.”

Producers Fremantle have not yet shut the gates on the Wentworth world, already exploring sequel ideas. And who can blame them, with a diehard fanbase and a hit series with Netflix around the world?

Foxtel has first rights of refusal on any further stories from the Wentworth universe, so would it entertain the idea of a sequel or spin-off?

“I think it’s an obvious question,” Walsh admits.

“But I think we need to have a break. I don’t think necessarily, we’d recreate Wentworth Correctional Centre but I think that world is still tantalising and attractive.”

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Home And Away’s Lynne McGranger reveals drugs past in new book

Much-loved Summer Bay soap star Lynne McGranger has revealed her old habit of regular cannabis usage in an upcoming memoir set to shock, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

The 68-year-old Home And Away veteran has filled her tell-all with plenty of revelations, not least of which is the fact she used to love smoking marijuana.

“We used to grow it, we grew our own (in the backyard),” McGranger told The Daily Telegraph.

“(My husband) Paul has got a real green thumb, the good news is now he is into chillies.”

McGranger stopped smoking cigarettes and marijuana in 2005 after the death of her father, 12 years after she began playing Irene Roberts on the long running TV soap.

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