Roundup: Spotify cuts, Forced sale of Southern Cross stake, Meta faces lawsuit


Rupert Murdoch, TikTok, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, Guardian Australia, Streaming services v homegrown film and TV

Business of Media

ARN to fight forced sale of Southern Cross stake

ARN Media will try to stop the forced sale of almost half its shares in ASX-listed rival Southern Cross Media, after the Takeovers Panel ruled the radio broadcasting giant had breached corporation rules, reports Nine Publishing’s Zoe Samios.

ARN Media and private equity firm Anchorage Capital lobbed a takeover bid for Southern Cross in mid-October. But the plans hit a roadblock when an activist shareholder, Keybridge Capital’s Nick Bolton, complained to the Takeovers Panel that an initial stake bought by ARN in June was acquired illegally.

The owner of the KIIS FM and Pure Gold radio networks, which holds a 14.8 per cent stake in Southern Cross, said on Monday it rejected the Takeover Panel’s ruling, which favoured Bolton’s complaint.

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See Also: ARN radio boss Ciaran Davis on Kyle, Jackie and Christian: Contracts, competition, networking, and risk

Rupert Murdoch steps out with Elena Zhukova, crates of wine

Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire media mogul, has been spotted in public for the first time since he left News Corporation three weeks ago, photographed arriving at an airport to board a private jet with former Russian scientist Elena Zhukova, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Backingham-Jones.

Zhukova, 66, is the mother of Dasha Zhukova, who was married to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich until 2018. Zhukova has long been rumoured to be in a relationship with Murdoch, who handed the chairmanship of his media conglomerate to his son, Lachlan Murdoch, at the company’s annual meeting last month.

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Spotify to cut 17 percent of global workforce

Music streaming giant Spotify is making another round of job cuts, slashing 17 percent of its global workforce as the company continues its strategy to become “both productive and efficient,” reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Abid Rahman.

In a blog post published Monday, founder and CEO Daniel Ek wrote that the new layoffs would “reduce our total head count by approximately [17 percent] across the company.” The Stockholm-based company says approximately 1,500 jobs will be impacted by the cuts.

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Meta faces lawsuit from Spanish media over advertising practices

A group representing more than 80 media outlets in Spain filed a lawsuit against Meta Platforms, saying the Facebook and Instagram owner hadn’t complied with European data-protection laws that require users’ consent before their data are used for advertising profiling, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Mauro Orru.

The Asociacion de Medios de Informacion said Monday that it was seeking more than 550 million euros, equivalent to $598.6 million, from Meta, citing the “massive” and “systematic” use of personal data by the group’s platforms without users’ consent that handed Meta an “unfair” advantage in the advertising market.

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US judge blocks Montana from banning TikTok use in state

A U.S. judge late on Thursday blocked Montana’s first-of-its kind state ban on the use of short-video sharing app TikTok from taking effect on Jan. 1, saying it violated the free speech rights of users, reports Reuters’ David Shepardson.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy issued a preliminary injunction to block the ban on the Chinese-owned app, saying the state ban “violates the Constitution in more ways than one” and “oversteps state power.”

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News Brands

Jacinta Price rejected 52 ABC interview requests during Voice campaign

Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price rejected 52 interview requests from the ABC during the Voice to Parliament referendum campaign, with the public broadcaster citing its futile pursuit of the senator as an example of its efforts to cover the campaign fairly, reports Nine Publishing’s Calum Jaspan.

The report, authored by Mark Maley, chair of the ABC’s Referendum Coverage Review Committee (RCRC) and editorial policy manager, said Price did not agree to a single interview on any major broadcast program over the course of the campaign (August 30 to October 14). It added that the ABC had faced significant challenges in getting voices from the No camp to present their argument as opposed to those from the Yes camp.

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Guardian bans open letters and social posts amid row over Israel

The Guardian’s most senior editors have issued a rare joint message to their staff, warning journalists against signing open letters and posting messages on social media that “risk compromising our editorial integrity”, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

Days after more than 300 local journalists, including at least 25 from Guardian Australia, called for greater scepticism of Israel’s defence forces in coverage of the Gaza conflict, the British news organisation’s editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, outlined the new rules to staff in an internal note.

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The clash between streaming services and homegrown film and TV production

Incoming president of the Australian Writers Guild discusses the challenges faced by Australian-made film and TV content when pitted against international streaming services, reports the ABC.

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