Roundup: Tabcorp in discussions with Nine and Foxtel, Michael Pell out at Seven?, Forbes US ads on copycat site

Seven horse racing spring carnival tabcorp

Taylor Auerbach, Bruce Lehrmann, Meta spreads fake news in Canada, OpenAI, Jeff Howard, Nine Telethon, Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Lehrmann Trial

Judge delivers withering review of Auerbach cameo

As the former Spotlight producer Taylor Auerbach continued his evidence in the Bruce Lehrmann v Network Ten defamation trial on Friday, Justice Michael Lee had heard enough, reports Nine Publishing’s Michael Pelly.

“Can I just interrupt right there,” he asked Ten’s barrister, Matt Collins, KC.

Auerbach had just relayed a disparaging comment by Lehrmann about female members of the Canberra press gallery. Justice Lee asked Auerbach to go outside, and resumed.

“I’m just concerned how far we are going into what increasingly looks like a rabbit hole.”

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How might new evidence heard in the Federal Court this week impact the outcome of Bruce Lehrmann’s defamation trial?

The revived defamation case between Bruce Lehrmann and Network Ten captivated thousands of observers last week, as it heard from a fresh witness, and received several new exhibits, reports the ABC’s Patrick Bell.

But did it change anything about the outcome?

That depends on who you ask.

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Business of Media

Brands paid for ads on Some ran on a copycat site instead.

Forbes for years ran an alternate version of its website where it packed ads that were intended to run on, another sign that brands don’t always get what they pay for in the opaque digital-advertising market, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Patience Haggin.

The alternate site, which Forbes shut down on Tuesday following inquiries from The Wall Street Journal, featured stories from that were stretched into formats that can fit many more ads, like slideshows and articles written in a list format, known as “listicles.”

One 700-word article was turned into a 34-slide slideshow, exposing the person who read it on a computer to about 150 ads instead of around seven for someone who read the original piece.

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Meta spreads fake news in Canada, and Australia could be next

Meta’s decision to block all news articles from Facebook in Canada last August resulted in a worrying spike in the spread of disinformation and misinformation on the social media platform there, as concerns grow that the closure last week of the site’s dedicated news section in Australia will have similar consequences, report The Australian’s Cameron Stewart and James Madden.

While Australians can still see news content on Facebook for now, via shared articles, Meta – the parent company of Facebook and Instagram – has refused to rule out deploying a blanket news ban on the platform here, as it has done in Canada.

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How tech giants cut corners to harvest data for AI

In late 2021, OpenAI faced a supply problem. The artificial intelligence lab had exhausted every reservoir of reputable English-language text on the internet as it developed its latest A.I. system. It needed more data to train the next version of its technology — lots more, report The New York Times’ Cade Metz, Cecilia Kang, Sheera Frenkel, Stuart A. Thompson, and Nico Grant.

So OpenAI researchers created a speech recognition tool called Whisper. It could transcribe the audio from YouTube videos, yielding new conversational text that would make an AI system smarter.

[Read More]

News Brands

Up in the air: Seven’s new boss braces for impact

As soon as Qantas flight 738 was in the air, leaving Adelaide just after 11am on Friday, the front rows pulled out their laptops and went straight to YouTube. At 30,000 feet, media executives and morning television stars were among 20,000 others streaming former Seven Network producer Taylor Auerbach giving explosive evidence in the Federal Court – stretching the limits of Qantas’ in-flight Wi-Fi, report Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones and Max Mason.

Sitting in row one of economy was Jeff Howard, Seven’s softly spoken, low-profile chief financial officer, who takes over as chief executive in less than two weeks.

It is shaping up to be one of the most difficult executive transitions in memory. There was turbulence on Friday’s flight. There has been more at Seven West Media over the past month.

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Seven’s cost cuts claim the US ‘job’ of former Sunrise boss

Less than a year ago, in May, Seven spokesman Neil Shoebridge insisted that ex-Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell, who led the show for 11 years, was still on Seven’s books. “There is no change with Michael. He is employed by Seven,” he said, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

But no more! Pell is officially out, as per two Seven insiders – and has been for some time. His social media accounts still list him as Seven’s senior vice president of entertainment content, North America, or something, but he is no longer working for the network.

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Nine Telethon raises $6,791,588

Nine Telethon in Queensland raised $6,791,588 for Mater Little Miracles on Saturday night, reports TV Tonight.

The funds will go to Australia’s busiest maternity care provider in neonatal critical care and maternal foetal medicine and supporting families.

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Sports Media

Nine and Foxtel in battle for Tabcorp’s Sky Racing channels

Tabcorp is in discussions with Foxtel’s Kayo Sports and Nine Entertainment’s Stan Sports streaming platforms about putting a feed of its Sky Racing channels online, as it eyes a bigger, future-proofed audience for racing and gambling, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

Sources with knowledge of the discussions, who cannot speak publicly because of confidential commercial negotiations, confirmed that Tabcorp had spoken to both media companies about its racing channels.

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Surprising surge in horse racing interest among Gen Z

The Melbourne Cup Carnival has delivered a record gross economic return of $468.3 million to Victoria — making it by far Australia’s biggest major event cash cow, reports News Corp’s Peter Rolfe.

And a surprise new generation of racing fans have been credited with driving the unprecedented spending splurge across the four days of the Carnival.

An economic impact study to be released on Monday reveals last year’s race that stops a nation delivered a 10.9 per cent bigger return than ever, driven by spending surges in retail, accommodation and hospitality.

[Read More]

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