Roundup: Contenders to replace Ita Buttrose, MAFS casting shake up, Global World Cup final numbers

Ita Buttrose

Threads, 404 Media, Tucker Carlson’s Trump interview, Footy Show special

Business of Media 

Meta launches web version of flagging Threads app

Meta has launched a web version of its “Twitter killer” social media platform Threads that can be used without an app, as it attempts to revive itself after a recent drop in usage, reports The Guardian’s Hibaq Farah.

The parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp launched the microblogging site in July, widely understood as an alternative for users disillusioned with Elon Musk-owned Twitter, which has since rebranded as X.

Meta’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, announced the release of the desktop version on Tuesday, with a photo of his younger self in his dorm room posted on Threads, captioned: “Actual footage of me building Threads for web. Rolling out over the next few days.”

The web browser functionality takes it a step closer to matching what X offers.

Threads experienced an initial boom in sign-ups after it was first launched on 5 July, with 100 million new users registering within a week.

However, just three weeks later, the number of users who engaged with the site on a daily basis had dropped significantly. It had a peak of 49 million users shortly after its launch, but on 22 July that had fallen to 12 million active users, according to the internet traffic analysts Similarweb.

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After Vice’s downfall, top journalists start their own tech publication

After watching Vice Media descend into bankruptcy this spring, a group of journalists from its popular tech brand, Motherboard, decided that the best way to do their work in a financially sustainable way was to strike out on their own, reports The New York Times’ Katie Robertson.

And so 404 Media was born. The tech publication — founded by Motherboard’s former editor in chief, Jason Koebler; two of its top editors, Emanuel Maiberg and Samantha Cole; and one of its writers, Joseph Cox — started publishing on Tuesday.

Maiberg said 404 Media would start with just the four of them and focus on topics they had extensive experience reporting on, including hacking, sex work, niche online communities and the “right to repair” movement.

“It’s very much a website by humans for humans about technology,” he said. “It’s not about the business of technology — it’s about how it impacts real people in the real world.”

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Tucker Carlson’s Trump interview showcases potential of tie-up with Elon Musk’s X

Tucker Carlson’s interview with Donald Trump is shaping up as a well-timed branding exercise for the new company the former Fox News host is launching, report The Wall Street Journal’s Keach Hagey, Amol Sharma, and Alexa Corse.

Carlson taped an interview with Trump several days ago and plans to stream it on X, formerly known as Twitter, without ads, people familiar with the situation said. Its release is expected to coincide with Wednesday’s first Republican presidential debate on Fox News.

Trump is planning to skip Wednesday’s event and has hinted he may not participate in any future Republican debates, citing his leading poll numbers among the GOP field and his record as president as reasons not to attend.

“I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!” Trump posted on his social-media platform on Sunday.

Carlson’s interview with Trump is similar to the content he has been posting on Twitter for the past several months, including monologues and interviews with newsmakers such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of the people said.

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News Brands

Contenders circle to replace Ita Buttrose at ABC

Ita Buttrose has revealed she will not seek reappointment as ABC chair when her current term ends in March. News of her upcoming departure comes just four days after she hinted she could stay on in the role, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth.

The ABC held a zoom board meeting on Tuesday morning where Buttrose is understood to have broken the news of her decision to her fellow directors.

But it hasn’t taken long for speculation to begin about who will now replace Buttrose, with a mix of Labor-aligned figures and media executives being floated for the role.

The leading internal candidate is current ABC deputy chair Peter Tonagh. But there is already talk that the Government will look outside the public broadcaster for a fresh chair.

One candidate already being mentioned in dispatches is a very Labor-friendly media figure: Kim Williams, the son-in-law of the late PM Gough Whitlam, and the one-time CEO of both Foxtel and News Corp Australia.

Another is Danny Gilbert, the co-founder of high-flying law firm Gilbert + Tobin, who is believed to have been closely considered for the ABC chair’s role when Malcolm Turnbull was still PM, before the former Telstra executive Justin Milne was appointed to the role for his short-lived but tumultuous stint back in 2017. Gilbert is seen as Labor-friendly, and is currently co-chair with Rachel Perkins of the strongly pro-voice body, Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition.

Michael Lee, communications minister under Paul Keating’s government, is also considered to be a leading contender because of his experience in the portfolio, but another Labor communications minister under the Rudd/Gillard administration, Stephen Conroy, is not popular in the current Labor administration.

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Married At First Sight shake up

Channel Nine’s ratings hit Married At First Sight is getting an overhaul with a greater focus on love and less “screechy” cast members, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

“We have tried to move away from the screechy and the shouty,” Channel Nine’s content, production and development head Adrian Swift said.

“We still give it all the drama that it needs, but we’ve tried to absolutely make sure all the relationships we see genuine potential in.

“This year what we have tried to do really carefully, exhaustively, is go ‘is this right?’.

“There will still be those moments when they (contestants) take one look (at each other) and it all goes south, but we are hoping that there is a lot of love in this season.”

The reality dating show, which is a controversy magnet each year, is filming at present with the new season expected to launch on Nine in February.

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Sports Media

Footy Show: Eddie McGuire signals AFL series return after Hot Seat axed

Just a matter of weeks after the shelving of Hot Seat, is Eddie McGuire about to add another TV show to his plate, asks News Corp’s Fiona Byrne?

McGuire is expected to be part of a Footy Show mini comeback.

Tapping into the nostalgia vein, a special celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Grand Final Footy Show Spectacular is in the works and is expected to air on Channel Nine in the lead up to this year’s AFL Grand Final.

The special will be packed with highlights plucked from Grand Final specials – no doubt there will be plenty of footage from the legendary ‘players revue’ that saw of-the-moment footy favourites perform dance routines and mime songs. It was a major ‘switch on’ factor for the show.

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2023 Women’s World Cup: Spain’s victory in final draws record global audiences

Spain brought home its first Women’s World Cup title on Sunday, and the country certainly showed out in support, reports Deadline’s Katie Campione.

The match was watched by an average of 5.6M people in Spain, according to data from Barlovento Comunicacion. That makes it the largest TV audience ever for a women’s soccer match in Spain.

With both England and Spain making their first appearances in the Women’s World Cup final, it makes sense that the countries would see record viewership. As Deadline reported earlier Monday, the match was watched by a peak of 14.4M people across the BBC and ITV.

While that didn’t match the audience for last year’s Euros final, the UK audience was well ahead of the previous women’s World Cup final between the U.S. and the Netherlands.

Globally, the final was expected to reach about 2B people, according to FIFA chief women’s football officer Sarai Brennan. A previous FIFA survey reported that just over 1B tuned in for the 2019 WWC.

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