Roundup: Tina Turner passes away, ABC v News Corp, Buzzfeed’s AI recipe generator

tina turner

Netflix, TikTok profits, legal threats, The Times, Erin Molan, Today, Tucker Carlson


Tina Turner dead aged 83: World mourns for the ‘Queen of Rock and Soul’

Tributes are pouring in from around the world following the death of rock legend Tina Turner, reports News Corp’s Maria Bervanakis.

Publicist Bernard Doherty confirmed the news, which he said had robbed the world of “a music legend and a role model.”

Doherty said Turner died after a long illness at her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. He gave no details of the illness.

Fellow singer Gloria Gaynor took to Instagram to hail Turner’s mould-breaking career.

“I am so, so very sad to hear of the passing of Tina Turner, the iconic, legend who paved the way for so many women in rock music, black and white,” she wrote.

“She did with great dignity and success what very few would even have dared to do in her time and in that genre of music.”

Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger lamented the loss of “an enormously talented performer and singer.

“She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her.”

[Read More]

Business of Media

Netflix’s new $8 fee in Aussie password sharing crackdown

Netflix has unveiled its long-awaited plans to crack down on the rampant sharing of passwords to make more users pay for its video streaming service as growth slows, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

It is a far cry from the company’s famous 2017 tweet “Love is sharing a password”. The US-based streaming company now says it will limit Australian viewership to people living in the same household. It will start sending emails to customers who share beyond their four walls today.

Those who subscribe to Netflix’s standard or premium plans – which cost $16.99 to $22.99 a month – will be able to allow another person living outside their household to use their password for an extra $8 a month. That is a $2.99 discount from the company’s basic plan.

“A Netflix account is for use by one household,” the company wrote on its blog. “Everyone living in that household can use Netflix wherever they are – at home, on the go, on holiday – and take advantage of new features like Transfer Profile and Manage Access and Devices.”

The company did not provide details about how it authenticates subscriber identities or accounts. But it said everyone living in the same household as a customer will still be able to stream TV series and movies.

[Read More]

What ban? TikTok rakes it in as profits surge

TikTok doubts its ban on government devices will hurt business as the Chinese-owned social media app easily more than doubled revenue and profit in Australia last year, despite facing intense scrutiny across the Western world, report Nine Publishing’s Max Mason and Sam Buckingham-Jones.

Financial statements filed with the corporate regulator reveal TikTok Australia revenue surged to $173.9 million in calendar 2022 – up from $66 million the year before. Profit was just under $5.4 million, up from $1.7 million.

That number is likely to continue to grow. Over the past few weeks, the company has also quietly given three gambling companies a green light to advertise, overriding an outright ban on betting ads to include Entain-owned Neds and Ladbrokes and Tabcorp-linked Dabble.

Sportsbet has been piloting its own gambling advertising on the platform since November. This is despite an ongoing government inquiry that is set to crack down on the $300 million spent annually on gambling advertising.

[Read More]

Journalists increasingly face legal threats, say press-freedom advocates

Laws designed to prevent the spread of misinformation and disinformation are having an opposite and chilling effect, the president of the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday, warning that some countries are using the rules to silence independent reporting, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Sugden.

“Increasingly, governments are actively creating environments that make it less safe for journalists,” Jodie Ginsberg, told a panel on press freedom at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit in London.

Legislation that punishes the use of language contrary to a government’s narrative—as was introduced in Russia after its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022—is being used to stifle press freedom, Ginsberg said.

Freedom of the press, or the right to report information without retribution, is guaranteed under law in most democracies and at least nominally in many other nations. Advocates say press freedom is under attack by authoritarian governments and being threatened in democratic countries.

[Read More]

BuzzFeed cooks up new AI-powered recipe generator, Botatouille

As media companies sort through the ways artificial intelligence will impact their operations, BuzzFeed on Tuesday launched Botatouille, a personalized recipe generator powered by generative AI, reports The Guardian’s Abené Clayton.

In addition to Botatouille, which BuzzFeed describes as, “the first AI-powered culinary companion” that suggests recipes based on factors like what you already have in your refrigerator, there’s also a chatbot feature that allows people to ask culinary questions while they cook, according to a press release from the company.

Botatouille, which doesn’t appear to be inspired by the Disney movie about the cartoon rat-chef, is part of a slew of AI-generated content like games and quizzes that BuzzFeed hopes will drive users back to their platform as the brand shut down its award-winning news division earlier this month. BuzzFeed, chief executive Jonah Peretti told investors on 11 May, will “focus on making the internet more fun”.

“Readers are sick of all the negative news in their social media feeds,” Peretti told investors. “They will increasingly want social media platforms to provide an escape where they can find entertainment, joy and fun.”

BuzzFeed had already told employees in January it had used AI to ‘enhance’ its content and quizzes.

[Read More]

News Brands

The Times reaches a contract deal with its newsroom union

The New York Times reached a deal on Tuesday for a new contract with the union representing the majority of its newsroom employees, ending more than two years of contentious negotiations that included a 24-hour strike, reports The New York Times’ Katie Robertson.

The agreement, if ratified, will give union members immediate salary increases of up to 12.5 percent to cover the last two years and 2023, and will raise the required minimum salary to $65,000, up from about $37,500. The previous contract expired in March 2021, and union members have not received contractual raises since 2020.

Under the contract, the median salary for reporters in the union would be about $160,000.

The union negotiating the deal, which is part of the NewsGuild of New York, represents nearly 1,500 employees in the newsroom, advertising and other areas of the company. More than 1,800 people work in The Times’s newsroom.

The union said members would vote to ratify the five-year deal in the coming week.

[Read More]

ABC rejects claims it was ‘swamped’ by complaints about King Charles III coronation coverage

The ABC was not “swamped” by complaints about its coverage of Charles III’s coronation, the broadcaster has said in response to media claims of an unprecedented number of complaints after the broadcast included a discussion about the impacts of colonialism, reports The Guardian’s Amanda Meade.

The ABC says it received a total of 169 “good faith” responses from viewers, 59 of which have been referred to the ABC ombudsman for a possible breach of editorial standards.

According to the ABC’s official figures, the total number of audience contacts about the eight-hour coronation broadcast was 1,832 but 1,663 of those were discarded because they were comments not requiring a response – such as criticism of a presenter’s outfit – or they were “racist, abusive or insubstantial”.

The number of “good faith” complaints – defined as those which are an honest complaint about the content – has emerged after journalist Stan Grant stood down from the ABC’s Q+A program after racist abuse which escalated after he appeared on the coronation broadcast.

[Read More]

See Also: “Endurance is not always strength”: Stan Grant farewells Q+A

‘Time for dignified silence is over’: ABC goes to war with News Corp

The head of the ABC has declared that “the time for dignified silence is over” as it wages war with News Corp over the organisation’s sustained criticism of the public broadcaster’s recent coronation coverage, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

Fronting Senate estimates on Wednesday, managing director David Anderson and news chief Justin Stevens took examples from Sky News and headlines from News Corp newspapers and said their approach to defending against negative coverage would need to change.

There have been weeks of critical stories about the ABC across major media outlets after the ABC’s coverage of King Charles’ coronation on May 6. Star journalist Stan Grant joined the coverage to discuss the monarchy’s involvement in invading and stealing Indigenous peoples’ land.

But the pair criticised the media coverage that its more outspoken journalists receive, and called out Sky News and News Corp for making Grant the face of grievances against the ABC.

“On Sky News, Stan [Grant] was described very quickly as ‘whiner in chief’ by Sky News, or someone on Sky News,” Stevens said. “I can see some articles from the Herald Sun, where the headline says: ‘Heads should roll over coronation coverage’, and ‘coronation damnation’.

“Clearly there was a lot of coverage.”

Anderson said when commercial media outlets reported about individuals from the ABC, there was “a correlation in the abuse they receive on social media”.

“It fans the flames of abuse that comes towards our individuals,” he told the hearing.

[Read More]

Did News Corp target the ABC and Stan Grant? The answer’s in the numbers

On Tuesday, the Australian boss of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire batted away suggestions that his organisation had played a major role in contributing to Stan Grant’s decision to take indefinite leave from the ABC through a sustained campaign of criticism, reports Nine Publishing’s Karl Quinn.

“ABC director of news Justin Stevens has made a raft of unsubstantiated claims about News Corp’s reporting of how the ABC covered the coronation, and the ensuing fallout that Stan Grant says contributed to his decision to stand down as host of Q+A,” News Corp Australia’s executive chairman Michael Miller told his own masthead, The Australian.

Are they right? Is Justin Stevens imagining the Murdoch media in Australia is waging a campaign against the ABC, a campaign that merely went into overdrive following the coronation coverage on May 7?

The evidence would suggest not.

A search of news stories using the terms “ABC” and “Stan Grant” turned up 34 mentions in the two weeks prior to the coronation panel that sparked sustained criticism of Grant. All but three of them were in News Corp-owned properties.

Two were in Nine properties, and referred to Grant’s cameo in the Hollywood comedy Ricky Stanicky, and one was in regional publisher Australian Community Media’s Illawarra Mercury, advising that Wollongong residents had been invited to join the studio audience of Q+A.

It is important to note, though, that Ray Hadley and Neil Mitchell, broadcasters on radio stations owned by Nine, were also highly critical of the coverage in the days following the coronation.

[Read More]


Erin Molan complains PM Anthony Albanese is ‘ghosting’ her

Broadcaster Erin Molan opened up on-air today about being “blacklisted” by a very powerful friend – none other than the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, reports News Corp’s Nick Bond.

Speaking on 2DAY FM’s Hughesy, Ed & Erin show, Molan lamented that she used to have a “great relationship” with the PM, which appeared to end abruptly after she wrote a column criticising him back in March.

“He used to come on our show all the time before he became Prime Minister,” Molan’s co-host Dave Hughes recalled.

“We used to text, he once called me at home from his Prime Ministerial plane … we’d have a laugh, we’ve had this great relationship for so long,” Molan revealed.

Molan, the daughter of late Liberal party senator Jim Molan, wrote in her fortnightly column for The Daily Telegraph on March 2 that she was publicly “breaking up” with Labor, despite not having voted for the party.

[Read More]


Channel Nine denies salary leak is causing tension on Today show

Channel Nine has strongly denied a report listing the exorbitant salaries of its high-profile talent, reports News Corp’s Lexie Cartwright

The Australian last week published a series of TV stars’ annual pay cheques, including Today host Karl Stefanovic, who reportedly makes $1.5 million per year, and his new co-host Sarah Abo, who joined the breakfast show at the start of this year to replace Allison Langdon, and is said to net around $800,000. has been told the alleged $700,000 pay gap between Stefanovic and Abo has since caused “tension” between the new co-hosts.

“I’ve heard that things are very tense at Today after those salaries were published. Relations between Karl and Sarah were already a bit strained and this has made things a lot worse,” a TV insider told us.

However, Nine’s director of morning television Steven Burling strongly denied reports of tension on-set, while also claiming the reported salaries were “not even remotely correct”.

“The salary figures for our network talent published last week in various outlets were not even remotely correct. Anyone who watches Today can confirm there’s absolutely no tension on set,” Burling said.

“We couldn’t be happier with our talented line-up of Karl, Sarah, Brooke, Alex and Tim who are working well and having a great time – end of story.”

Nine did not respond to our question about a pay gap between Stefanovic and Abo.

[Read More]

Tucker Carlson home studio reportedly dismantled by Fox News workers

As Tucker Carlson prepares to take his show to Twitter, workers from Fox News, the network which fired the primetime opinion host last month, have reportedly dismantled the home studio it built him in Maine, reports The Guardian’s Martin Pengelly.

“Fox came in last week and got all their shit out of there,” quoted Patrick Feeney, who it said was managing work to rebuild the studio, as saying.

“They took the set and everything, all the equipment, the chairs, the desk, the fake walls, everything.”

Fox News has not commented on Carlson’s firing beyond its initial statement on the day it happened, 24 April.

[Read More]

To Top