Roundup: Spotify job cuts, Bondi Rescue, Michael Clarke

Spotify Wrapped

Twitter, Ryff, Kate Ritchie, Netflix update, Australian Open

Business of Media

Spotify to cut 600 jobs after CEO admits to expanding too quickly

The music streaming service Spotify has said it is cutting about 600 jobs, as it became the latest big tech company to admit it expanded too quickly during the coronavirus pandemic, reports The Guardian’s Dan Milmo.

Its co-founder and chief executive, Daniel Ek, told staff in a blogpost that the platform was reducing its workforce by 6% after he had been “too ambitious”.

“Like many other leaders, I hoped to sustain the strong tailwinds from the pandemic and believed that our broad global business and lower risk to the impact of a slowdown in ads would insulate us,” he wrote. “In hindsight, I was too ambitious in investing ahead of our revenue growth.”

Spotify’s operating expenditure grew at twice the speed of its revenue last year, Ek wrote, as the Stockholm-based company invested heavily in its podcast business. The company makes money from its premium service, which accounts for about 85% of its revenue, with the rest coming from its ad-supported service.

“Over the last few months we’ve made a considerable effort to rein in costs, but it simply hasn’t been enough,” Ek wrote.

Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook parent Meta, Google’s owner, Alphabet, and the business software company Salesforce have all announced significant job cuts recently, citing an uncertain economic environment and overexpansion under Covid restrictions when there was a boom in demand for tech-related products and services.

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Twitter to launch ad-free subscription tier, Elon Musk says

Twitter is planning an advertising-free version of its subscription product, as the company attempts to raise revenue and increase demand for its premium offering, reports The Guardian’s Dan Milmo.

Elon Musk has targeted an increase in subscription revenue as a key part of the social media platform’s business plan under his ownership.

The Tesla chief executive tweeted: “There will be a higher priced subscription that allows zero ads.” Twitter relaunched its premium offering for the second time under Musk in December, offering users perks including verified account status for $8 (£6.50) a month on the web or $11 a month for iPhone and Android phone users.

Advertising accounted for 90% of Twitter’s revenue in 2021 but has fallen away since Musk bought the business last October, with daily revenue reportedly dropping 40% compared with last year.

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New tech lets advertisers insert products into old TV shows

Fans of Friends may remember the “I’m Monica, I’m disgusting” scene in season five where Joey Tribbiani, played by Matt LeBlanc, is forced to cover up Monica and Chandler’s affair. Tribbiani comes home with a bucket of fried chicken and finds a naked picture of Monica on the breakfast bar, only to have Rachel walk in on him and demand he explains what he’s up to, reports Nine Publishing’s Stephen Armstrong

One thing LeBlanc is up to is doing his absolute best to cover up the Kentucky Fried Chicken name and logo on his vast bucket of fried fowl. It’s red and white with a picture that sure looks like the colonel. But not a brand name in sight.

“We can correct that,” Roy Taylor, chief executive of virtual product placement start-up Ryff – which LeBlanc has recently invested in – explains. “Usually in old TV shows, the brand name is hidden because they couldn’t do a product placement deal in time. We can go back and do it quickly and cheaply.”

Ryff has been in trial mode with a small group of customers, and has a full launch planned for this northern spring. Using AI technology, it scans scenes for context – female, kitchen, domestic, morning – and slots products into the picture using a form of 3D modelling inspired by video game graphics.

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Kate Ritchie ‘feeling great’ ahead of return to Nova drive show after rehab stint

Joel Creasey says Kate Ritchie is “feeling great” ahead of her return to their Nova drive show, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

Ritchie announced in October she would step down for the remainder of the year, with Ricki-Lee Coulter filling in on the Kate, Tim (Blackwell) and Joel show.

Ritchie said a hectic schedule and pressure had taken its toll.

She will return in a few weeks time following a stint in rehab.

“I haven’t seen her in a few months, I’ve missed her and her wicked cackle,’’ Creasey said.

“She said she’s feeling great and that’s lovely to hear. She’s been in showbiz since seven years of age, it’s nice to see (taking a break) being normalised and that you are allowed to have time off.”

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Major update to Netflix with new rule change set to impact viewers

Netflix has announced a major change to crack down on account sharing, reports News Corp’s Fiona Connor.

The streaming giant has unveiled its plans to alter the way users can access the service in the wake of a difficult year for the streamer, which lost one million subscribers in the quarter leading up to July last year. In the quarter before that, its stock crashed 25 per cent, wiping $US54 billion off its value.

The long-awaited shake-up to Netflix’s password settings means viewers will only be able to watch their favourite TV shows and movies if they create their own login.

During its recent earning report, the company claimed it had been testing out a new feature to stop people being able to share their Netflix account with friends and family.

Netflix said there will be a new option to add “paid sharing” which will allow multiple profiles but cost less than a full subscription.

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Bondi Rescue lifeguard reveals hit show’s secret plight: ‘They don’t show it’

Former Bondi Rescue star Clint Kimmins has opened up about the cast’s hidden struggle during filming of the long-running show, reports News Corp’s Lexie Cartwright.

Kimmins, affectionately known as ‘Clipper’, sat down on the Good Humans podcast to talk about how often the team of Bondi lifeguards were confronted with suicides at the famous Australian beach.

“It’s not a story I like to tell but I think it’s a very important thing to say, is the mental health and the suicides,” Kimmins said.

“On Bondi Rescue, they don’t show any of the suicide stuff, they don’t show any of the mental health stuff.

“The things that we were dealing with, especially throughout Covid, the mental health thing … You’ve got young lifeguards going around on jet skis doing body retrievals … And it’s ugly. It’s not healthy at all.”

CJZ production company, which produces Bondi Rescue, refuted Kimmins’ claim in a statement to, arguing the series touched on suicide “a number of times” over 16 seasons.

“It’s an incredibly sensitive topic which is traumatic for all concerned, including the lifeguards,” Executive Producer Michael Cordell said.

Bondi Rescue doesn’t shy away from difficult stories, but it’s simply not appropriate for us to cover every body retrieval the lifeguards undertake.”

Lifeline is available 24/7 on 13 11 14

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Sports Media

Felix Auger-Aliassime’s Australian Open exit completes ‘Netflix Curse’, with all 10 players out before quarterfinals

Felix Auger-Aliassime is the last tennis superstar to fall victim to the rumoured “Netflix curse” at the Australian Open, with Canada’s sixth seed knocked out in the fourth round by unheralded 21-year-old Jiri Lehecka, reports the ABC.

Auger-Aliassime won the first set but 71st-ranked Lehecka bounced back to take the match 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/3) on Margaret Court Arena.

The 22-year-old, who finished 2022 in hot form with titles in Florence, Antwerp and Basel, was the last of the 10 players still vying for the title in Melbourne who featured prominently in the first five episodes of the Netflix documentary series Break Point, which went live before the tournament.

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Clarke set to be replaced as commentator for India series after public row

Former captain Michael Clarke is set to be replaced as a commentator during Australia’s looming Test series against India as the fallout from his ugly public altercation in Noosa continues, reports Nine Publishing’s Daniel Brettig.

See Also: The Slap: How News Corp made the most of Michael Clarke v Karl Stefanovic

Multiple senior cricket sources, who did not wish to be named in order to speak frankly, have confirmed to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), India’s cricket board, is seeking other former players to replace Clarke in the spot he is meant to fill alongside Matthew Hayden for the tour.

However, Clarke has indicated he may still find another cricket commentary gig in February and March.

Given the short notice nature of the change for India, alternative commentators may be drafted in to cover the whole tour or only undertake Test or limited overs portions.

Four Tests in Nagpur, Delhi, Dharamshala and Ahmedabad take place from February 9 to March 13, then three ODIs are scheduled for Mumbai, Vizag and Chennai on March 17, 19 and 22. The Indian Premier League (IPL) starts on March 20.

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