Roundup: Seven and Foxtel’s cricket deal, HT&E, Alex De Minaur

Alex De Minaur and Rafael Nadal

Netflix, The Guardian Australia and Avatar: The Way of Water

Business of Media

Seven, Foxtel lock in cricket TV rights deal, stumping Ten

Cricket Australia will rake in far less for free-to-air broadcasting of test matches and the Big Bash League as part of a new deal with Foxtel and Seven that leaves the struggling Network Ten without top-tier sport to lure in viewers, reports the AFR’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

Seven will pay $65 million a year for its package – a sizable decline from the $75 million it has paid since 2018, which will include test matches, live and delayed digital streaming rights and access to a shortened, five to six-week BBL. It amounts to $455 million from Seven over the seven-year term, running from the 2024-25 season to 2030-31.

The deal between the three parties was finalised on the morning of New Year’s Eve and will be officially announced on Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday’s third Test between Australia and South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

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KIIS FM owner pockets $66 million from messaging stake sale

The owner of KIIS FM and Gold FM has sold its 25 per cent stake in mobile messaging software business Soprano Design, beefing up its coffers as it strives to become the leading audio provider in the country, reports the Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Here, There & Everywhere (HT&E), which also owns WS FM and CADA FM, will receive $66.3 million in cash from the sale of its stake in Soprano to private equity firm Potentia Capital.

HT&E chief executive Ciaran Davis said the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, gives the company financial flexibility as it heads into the new calendar year.

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Guardian Australia staff sent home after cyberattack takes out systems

Online news website Guardian Australia has asked its staff to work from home until mid-January as it deals with the fallout of a cyberattack that hit its parent company, Guardian Media Group, just days before Christmas, reports Zoe Samios for The Age.

The publisher has asked the skeleton group of staff, who plan to continue working over the holiday period, to stay at home until January 9 as a precautionary measure, as the Guardian Media Group continues to grapple with the aftermath of what it says is a ransomware attack.

Guardian Media Group chief executive Anna Bateson and editor-in-chief Katherine Viner told staff on December 22 that publishing would continue despite the attack.

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Netflix to lose 700,000 UK customers in two years, analysts predict

Netflix is expected to suffer a second year of falling subscriber numbers in the UK in 2023 as the cost of living crisis takes its toll and the streaming giant’s new cheaper, ad-supported service takes time to win over users, reports The Guardian’s Mark Sweeney.

The world’s biggest streaming service is expected to have lost about 500,000 UK subscribers in 2022 and to lose a further 200,000 this year, as increasingly budget-conscious consumers cut back on spending.

The company, which has cut staff and become more disciplined with its $17bn (£14bn) annual content budget after earlier this year reporting its first global subscriber declines in a decade, will have seen its UK user base drop from 14.2 million to 13.7 million this year, according to the research firm Ampere Analysis.

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Demon pulls off epic Nadal boilover

Australian tennis’ Mr Nice Guy Alex De Minaur produced the performance of his life to stun Spanish legend Rafael Nadal at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena on Monday night, reports News Corp’s Julian Linden and Emma Greenwood.

Promoted to the role of Australia’s No.1 male in the mixed gender team event after Nick Kyrgios pulled out of the tournament, De Minaur rose to the challenge to beat Nadal 3-6 6-1 7-5.

The match may have effectively been a dead rubber with neither Australia or Spain in contention for the knockout phase of the United Cup, but it was played with all the intensity of a grand slam and the underrated Aussie fully deserved his historic win.

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‘Avatar 2’ Rocks New Years With $86.3M, No Redemption for ‘Babylon’

Avatar: The Way of Water is a powerhouse, reports The Hollywood Reporters’ Pamela McClintock.

James Cameron’s tentpole is expected to finish the long New Year’s weekend with an estimated $444.4 million domestically, well ahead of the first Avatar, which also of the year-end holidays with $352 million on its way to earning north of $750 million domestically (that includes rereleases).

The 2009 film still ranks as the top-grossing movie of all time globally with $2.92 billion in ticket sales.

Avatar: The Way of Water will cross $1.4 billion in worldwide ticket sales on Monday after sprinting past the $1.37 billion mark on Sunday (Imax accounts for a huge $152.2 million of the gross, the fourth-best showing of all time for the large-format exhibitor.)

The pricey tentpole is already among the 15 biggest films of all time, not adjusted for inflation.

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