Roundup: TV and film tax breaks, Gaven Morris, ViacomCBS + more

• Plus Regional job losses, anti-troll social media laws, Jackie O, Natalie Barr, Peter Mitchell, Michael Vaughan

Business of Media

Local TV and film industry wins as government agrees to more generous tax breaks

Millions of dollars in tax breaks will flow to the Australian TV and film industry after the federal government capitulated to Labor’s demands and abandoned its attempts to tighten rules as it increased tax rebates, reports SMH’s Lisa Visentin.

The government’s package tried to increase the TV producer offset rebate from 20 per to 30 per cent, while making certain productions ineligible. But fearing a revolt from a volatile backbench, it agreed to amend its bill to deliver a more generous package of financial incentives to more productions, rather than risk losing a vote in the lower house.

The eleventh-hour changes saw the government drop its planned scrapping of the so-called “Gallipoli clause”, ensuring Australian productions partially filmed overseas, like Peter Weir’s Gallipoli, can still qualify for tax breaks.

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Regional Australian media outlets granted millions in federal support still slashed journalist numbers

Some regional Australian publishers that won multimillion-dollar government grants designed to protect local journalism jobs sacked staff and closed newsrooms before the ink was dry on their grant agreements, reports Guardian Australia’s Anne Davies and Amanda Meade.

Guardian Australia can also reveal that the government conducted a federal seat analysis of the Public Interest News Gathering (Ping) grants to determine which seats would benefit from the $50m program. The communications minister, Paul Fletcher, did not respond to questions about the analysis.

Documents obtained under freedom of information suggest the government’s rhetoric about the importance of the Ping grants to regional media companies to maintain or increase employment was not matched by reality.

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Who really benefits from the Coalition’s proposed anti-troll social media laws?

The Morrison government’s anti-trolling bill purports to help the victims of online abuse by improving pathways to complain about defamation and identify anonymous commenters, report Guardian Australia’s Paul Karp and Josh Taylor.

But a close analysis of the bill, released on Wednesday alongside the announcement of a parliamentary inquiry into social media, suggests the biggest beneficiaries are media companies and other operators of social media pages, including community groups and businesses.

Ordinary social media users will still face a tricky process to identify commenters, with alleged trolls able to refuse to take posts down or consent to being identified.

So how will the proposed changes work and will they really help ordinary people pursue a defamation claim?

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Amazon taps ViacomCBS Exec Kelly Day for new role overseeing Prime Video International

Digital media veteran Kelly Day is exiting ViacomCBS to join Amazon as VP of Prime Video International, a newly created role overseeing the ecommerce giant’s streaming video business in global markets, reports Todd Spangler for Variety.

Day will join Amazon in early January 2022, reporting to Mike Hopkins, senior VP of Amazon Studios and Prime Video. She will lead Prime Video’s business and video offerings available outside the U.S., including subscription VOD, transactional video sales and rentals, and Prime Video Channels.

Most recently, Day has served as president of streaming for ViacomCBS Networks International after she had been president of Viacom Digital Studios for over two years. Day first joined Viacom in late 2017 after more than four years at AwesomenessTV, the youth-focused media company that Viacom subsequently acquired in 2018 under her leadership and made part of VDS.

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ViacomCBS to sell iconic Studio Centre for US$1.85b

ViacomCBS Inc (VIAC.O), said on Tuesday it would sell CBS Studio Centre, where the iconic sitcom Seinfeld was shot, for nearly $1.85 billion, as it looks to raise funds to invest in strategic areas including streaming services, reports Reuters.

The company will sell the studio located in the highly competitive Los Angeles studio marketplace to Hackman Capital Partners LLC and Square Mile Capital Management LLC. The more than 1 million square feet property includes 22 stages, a production office and other buildings.

ViacomCBS said in September it was restructuring the operations of Paramount Pictures’ movie and television production unit, in a broader shakeup aimed at ramping up content on its cable and streaming services.

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News Brands

ABC news boss Gaven Morris flags a crackdown on social media use at the broadcaster

Outgoing ABC news boss Gaven Morris has flagged a “much more rigorous approach” to the use of social media by staff at the public broadcaster, after admitting that dealing with the issue during his tenure as an executive had “been like wrestling an octopus”, reports News Corp’s Sophie Elsworth.

Morris’s comments follow defamation proceedings earlier this year involving Four Corners journalist Louise Milligan, who was indemnified by her employer despite using her private Twitter account to accuse federal Liberal MP Andrew Laming of “upskirting” a woman.

Speaking at a Melbourne Press Club luncheon on Wednesday, Morris – who this week departs the national broadcaster after six years as head of the news and current affairs division – said from now on, if ABC journalists failed to abide by the organisation’s social media guidelines and code of conduct, they could not expect their employer to bail them out of any potential legal matters that might arise.

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KIIS host Jackie O Henderson breaks down on-air over childhood memory

KIIS radio star Jackie O Henderson broke down on-air during Wednesday’s show after an old song triggered a bizarre childhood memory, reports News Corp’s Mibengé Nsenduluka.

Henderson’s co-host Kyle Sandilands played Bette Midler’s rendition of Wind Beneath My Wings and she began sobbing and asked him to turn it off because the song reminds her of her mother Julie.

“Yeah I think of my mum, I went through a period where I was afraid she was going to die when I was young and I used to hear this song all the time and think about her,” Henderson said adding that her mother is alive and has never been sick.

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Sunrise co-host Natalie Barr in tears over social media trolling

Sunrise co-host Natalie Barr has revealed the devastating toll of social media trolling, reports News Corp’s Mibengé Nsenduluka.

The Channel 7 presenter was among guests at the 9th Annual Australian Women’s Weekly Women of the Future Awards at Sydney Opera House on Wednesday and she spoke candidly about the “dangerous” social media attacks she received over a particular segment on Sunrise.

“I have had to turn off notifications on Twitter,” Barr said during a panel discussion.

“I cried, I went into a corner, then I thought ‘I’m strong but what about the poor 15-year-old girl in the school yard? How does she cope with this’.”

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Seven confident in Big Brother, SAS after COVID-impacted schedule fix

The Voice: Generations will film this month in Sydney for Seven’s 2022 schedule, followed by the main event itself, The Voice 2022, reports TV Tonight.

Seven is also moving forward on plans for Australian Idol and Australia’s Got Talent to return after production had to be shelved this year due to the pandemic.

Seven’s Director of Programming Angus Ross tells TV Tonight, the 2022 schedule will look to put some space between talent shows.

“There’s got to be a bit of distance, particularly between The Voice and Idol. The market has comfortably sustained two shows in the past when The Voice and X Factor were on,” he says.

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How ‘Mitch’ landed his career at Seven News

This week Peter Mitchell wraps his 21st year as Seven News Melbourne anchor -the longest of any at the desk, reports TV Tonight.

For a man who wasn’t quite sure what job he wanted to pursue during Year 12, he’s built a formidable career, but he credits his mother who encouraged his interest in English to pursue journalism.

“I just applied everywhere and I got two responses back. One was from the Herald and one was from Channel Nine. I went in and had an interview with (news director) John Sorrell. I was about to go out the door at home for the interview when my mother said, ‘Take that book you did on your football team,’” he tells TV Tonight.

“I thought, ‘He won’t be interested in that’ ….sure enough, halfway through the interview he asked what was under my arm and he flipped through it.”

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Sports Media

Michael Vaughan dropped from BT Sport’s Ashes coverage on day of mixed fortunes

Michael Vaughan has been dropped from BT Sport’s Ashes coverage because of his involvement in the ongoing investigation into racism at Yorkshire cricket. But on a day of mixed fortunes for the former England captain, he was also told by the BBC that it expected to work with him again – before, hours later, revealing that he had tested positive for Covid-19, reports The Guardian’s Sean Ingle.

Vaughan, 47, had already been removed from BBC Radio’s Test Match Special team for the Ashes. However, it had been expected that he would be heard on BT Sport as part of its feed from the Australian host broadcaster Fox Sports.

But on Wednesday BT confirmed it was considering a “hybrid approach” to ensure that Vaughan does not appear due to Azeem Rafiq’s allegations during their time playing for Yorkshire.

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