Business of Media
Rupert Murdoch media deal would elevate son, bet on wisdom of scale
Nearly a decade ago, Rupert Murdoch decided it was a sound strategy to split his media empire in two. Now, he wants to put it back together, report The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint, Keach Hagey, and Amol Sharma.
People familiar with Murdoch’s proposal to reunite Wall Street Journal parent News Corp and Fox News parent Fox Corp. point to a number of differences—within the companies, the industry and the Murdoch family—between now and when they were split in 2013.
Both companies could benefit from being bigger, they say. Fox is a slimmer company after selling off major entertainment assets to Walt Disney Co. years ago. News Corp has struggled to lift its stock price, despite making strides in its publishing and digital real-estate units.
The combined company would have more balance sheet strength to pursue acquisitions, people close to the proposed deal said. Some of them said the companies would be on stronger footing to compete for digital-ad dollars, using the scale of their combined properties. Those people also said the companies could join forces in sports-betting, a growing sector where each side has interests.
Disney threatens to bypass French cinemas unless release rules are relaxed
Disney is to release Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in French cinemas next month but has warned that future blockbusters may go straight to its streaming service, Disney+, unless France relaxes film distribution rules, reports The Guardian’s Mark Sweney.
There had been speculation that the Hollywood studio might bypass cinemas with one of the most eagerly anticipated releases since before the coronavirus pandemic to put pressure on the French government to reform its highly restrictive rules.
After the release of the second Black Panther film on the big screen on 9 November, Disney will not be allowed to make it available to French subscribers to Disney+ until April 2024.
Subscribers will then have access to the film for only five months, after which it will not become available permanently on Disney+ until November 2025 – unless a deal is done with a French free-to-air broadcaster – three years after its premiere in cinemas.
Kanye West to buy Parler, joining crowd of right-wing social media
Kanye West, the rapper, fashion designer and firebrand increasingly known for his antagonistic cultural and political commentary, is set to buy Parler, a social media service that bills itself as a platform for uncancelable free speech, reports The New York Times’ Tiffany Hsu and Jenny Gross.
The service’s parent company, Parlement Technologies, said on Monday that West, who now goes by Ye, would help Parler “continue the fight against censorship, cancel culture and authoritarianism.” The announcement, a little over a week after Twitter and Instagram restricted Ye’s accounts in response to antisemitic remarks that he posted, did not disclose financial details.
“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial, we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves,” Ye said in a statement released by Parlement.
Netflix seeks ways to get subscribers to return after visits decline
Netflix Inc. earlier this year saw a worrying signal in its data: Users were coming to the streaming service less often, people familiar with the matter said, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Sarah Krouse and Jessica Toonkel.
The company, which tracks how many days over a four-week period its members watch content on the service, was concerned that the decline in visits would make it more likely that customers would cancel their subscriptions, the people said.
Following that finding, co-Chief Executive Reed Hastings called on staff to find ways to make subscribers visit the platform more frequently, particularly as viewers re-establish their commuting, travel and entertainment habits after the worst of the pandemic, they said.
The mission to improve visit frequency is part of a broader effort by the company to better assess the value of content that sits somewhere between a smash hit and a flop, people familiar with the matter said.
Jim Packer reups as Lionsgate Worldwide TV distribution chief
Lionsgate has renewed its employment agreement with president of worldwide television distribution Jim Packer, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Etan Vlessing.
Terms of the new long-term contract were not disclosed, but the latest agreement with Packer follows Lionsgate inking licensing deals for the upcoming John Wick TV origin story The Continental at Peacock, the comedy Ghosts at Paramount+ and Schitt’s Creek at Hulu, among others.
Packer joined Lionsgate in 2011 from MGM and before that was at Walt Disney. During his tenure with the studio, Lionsgate’s 17,000-title film and television library has doubled its revenue to nearly $800 million last year.
Top 50 news sites in the world in September
The New York Times was the fastest-growing top ten site in the world in September, according to Press Gazette’s ranking of global online traffic to English language newsbrands, reports Press Gazette’s Aisha Majid.
Visits to nytimes.com were up 72% year-on-year to 618.6 million, according to data from digital intelligence platform Similarweb.
Mail Online, the only other top ten site to see double-digit growth, saw visits grow by 11% to 411.6 million.
They were among six top ten sites by number of visits that saw year-on-year increases in their traffic in September. Theguardian.com (384.2 million visits, up 8%), CNN (646.6 million visits, up 5%), Yahoo News (269.8 million visits, up 2%) and the BBC (1.2 billion visits, up 1%) were the other top sites with increases in visits.
The BBC remains the biggest site in the world by number of visits, although Similarweb’s data includes traffic to all pages within the bbc.com and bbc.co.uk domains and not just news. The BBC was followed by msn.com (755.6 million visits), CNN, New York Times and Google News (466 million visits).
Could Carrie Bickmore take over 2DayFM breakfast after quitting The Project?
Is Carrie Bickmore the solution to 2DayFM’s breakfast woes? With 2DayFM’s breakfast show ratings languishing at a 3.6 per cent audience share in the latest radio rating survey, speculation is rife that station owner Southern Cross Austereo will finally be forced to move on Dave Hughes, Ed Kavalee, and Erin Molan in the next month and replace the underperforming trio, reports News Corp’s Annette Sharp.
After two disastrous years in SCA’s cursed breakfast slot, SCA finally appear to have a solution at hand.
All radio execs need do is transplant their popular drive show into the slot.
Given that show is currently hosted by Bickmore and Tommy Little, such a move would make excellent sense.
Carrie Bickmore to leave network, but Tracy, Leigh staying put
Carrie Bickmore will leave Network 10 when she wraps at The Project on November 30, reports TV Tonight.
10 told TV Tonight she will depart after 17 years with the network, including 3 years on Rove Live and 13 with The Project.
“Yes, Carrie is leaving 10, but we hope to work with her again,” a spokesperson confirmed.
Bickmore has also indicated she is not leaving TV. This leaves her available to pursue new opportunities with another network, given she is not being kept on a network retainer.
2022 sees three high profile news and current affairs presenters departing long term roles.