Roundup: UK World Cup audience, Zoe Foster Blake, new Harry and Meghan show

world cup

Lachlan Murdoch, Elon Musk, Netflix partners with Amazon, Australia Day, true crime podcasters

Business of Media

Lachlan Murdoch targets Private Media chair, CEO in defamation claim

Lachlan Murdoch has taken aim at former The Sydney Morning Herald editor and Private Media chairman Eric Beecher and chief executive Will Hayward in his defamation lawsuit against news website Crikey, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

In an updated statement of claim against the publisher, filed in the Federal Court late last week, Murdoch, the CEO and executive chairman of Fox Corporation, has added the two men, who are identified as “guiding minds” behind Private Media.

The case is expected to go to mediation on Wednesday but also has been set down for a hearing on Thursday, when Murdoch’s legal team will put the new statement of claim to Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney.

Justice Wigney may not accept the new statement of claim, and the process threatens to delay the blockbuster defamation case by months. The case is due to go to a hearing over nine days in March next year.

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BWX slashes $73m from the value of Zoe Foster Blake’s Go-To beauty brand

The value of Zoe Foster Blake’s skincare range has taken a hit after BWX, the ASX-listed company behind the brand, posted a $337m annual loss, report The Australian’s Jared Lynch and Louise Brannelly

BWX took a 50.1 per cent stake in Foster Blake’s Go-To beauty brand last year for $89m but has been forced to take a knife to its value after it performed below expectations.

In its delayed financial accounts released on Monday, BWX revalued the brand, slicing $30m from the amount Foster Blake would potentially receive from the sale of her remaining 49.9 per cent stake to BWX. The ASX-listed company valued its potential liability for Ms Foster Blake’s stake at $59.2m.

BWX, which also sells the Sukin, Andalou and Mineral Fusion brands, said Go-To had contributed revenues of $24.7m and profit after tax of $4.3m to the group for the period from 1 October 2021 to 30 June 2022.

But it said the results of Go-To were “materially below the business plan for the year”.

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What we know about Elon Musk’s week and what’s in store for Twitter

If he is a man of his word, then Elon Musk will “step down as head of Twitter”, after 10 million users voted in favour him ending his reign over the company he bought just 53 days ago, reports The Guardian’s Alex Hern.

But the pledge in his tweet accompanying the poll, apparently made as he relaxed after watching the World Cup final in Doha in the company of Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, is sparse on details. Here’s what we know – and what we don’t – about what’s in store for Twitter.

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Netflix partners with Amazon on Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery marketing push

In an unusual partnership between two giants in the streaming video space, Amazon and Netflix are teaming up on a promotional effort tied to the upcoming Netflix film Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Weprin.

The partnership will see owners of Amazon Fire TV devices given access to an exclusive trailer for the film, which hits Netflix on Dec. 23, as well as unique behind-the-scenes footage. But it will also include an interactive mystery, letting owners of the Amazon streaming devices channel their inner Benoit Blanc.

The mystery (which is about a stolen Amazon Fire TV Cube) will be accessible from Fire TV home screens, and will include some of the franchise’s signature red herrings to throw users off the case. Viewers playing the game will be able to ask their Alexa devices for clues.

The partnership will kick off Dec. 19 in the U.S., and in other markets Dec. 23, timed to the release of Rian Johnson’s Knives Out sequel.

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News Brands

‘January 26 is January 26’: 10 boycotts Australia Day

The 10 Network – which has long styled itself as a vocal advocate of Indigenous rights — has made its biggest statement yet as commercial TV’s leading voice in opposition to the celebration of Australia Day, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

In an internal note sent to her key programming and editorial staff last week, and obtained by Diary, 10’s forthright chief content officer Beverley McGarvey has panned Australia Day as “not a day of celebration”.

In a letter signed off by McGarvey, and co-signed by 10’s chief commercial officer Jarrod Villani last week, the 10 boss started off by abruptly refusing to name January 26 as “Australia Day”. In the internal email, McGarvey poses herself the question: “What name does Paramount ANZ call January 26?”, and answers her own interrogation with an emphatic two-word reply: “January 26.”

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‘There are so many unsolved murders’: the true-crime podcasters reviving cold cases

Mandy Matney is tired. It is late November, and she is busy finishing up the 69th episode of her podcast Murdaugh Murders, a true-crime investigation she began in 2019, and which has now evolved into a complex puzzle of unsolved deaths, insurance fraud, drugs, power and murder, reports The Guardian’s Laura Barton.

The previous day, a jury in Charleston, South Carolina delivered the first guilty verdict related to the case, and Matney was of course there to cover it. “It was super exciting, and really felt like a huge sigh of relief,” she says. “It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.”

Hedley Thomas knows this feeling well. Earlier this year, he experienced a similar vindication when his 2018 podcast series The Teacher’s Pet led to the conviction of former high school PE teacher Chris Dawson for the murder of his wife, Lynette, who disappeared from the couple’s Sydney home 40 years ago. For the past year, Thomas has also been reporting on the murder of another Queensland woman, Shandee Blackburn, and the failings of a DNA laboratory, in Shandee’s Story.

When we speak, it is the morning after he has been a speaker at a Women in Media event in Brisbane, where the audience were dedicated fans of his podcasts. “They admitted that they were fangirling,” Thomas says, looking bemused, “which is a fairly novel thing for someone in my position.”

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle reveal latest Netflix show Live to Lead

Netflix has released a trailer for a new documentary series hosted by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, reports News Corp’s Danielle Gusmaroli.

The new series will celebrate “inspirational leaders” throughout history, including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the late US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Greta Thunberg and the late former South African president Nelson Mandela.

It comes after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s request for an urgent “sit down” with the royal family to address their “issues” was ignored.

In response to Prince Harry and Markle’s damning six-hour, destructive Netflix series, which has been dogged by criticism and heaped untold damage on the monarchy, there is silence from Buckingham Palace. In response to the royal exiles’ request as it can be revealed Prince Harry’s book Spare, published on January 10, will up the ante in his fight with The Firm.

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Sports Media

Almost 20m people in UK watched World Cup final on TV

Almost 20 million Britons watched the World Cup final on Sunday afternoon, with the BBC once again beating ITV in the ratings, reports The Guardian’s Jim Waterson.

A peak audience of 14.9 million viewers tuned in to see Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer front BBC One’s coverage, with 4.3 million watching ITV for the combination of Gary Neville and Roy Keane’s facial hair.

Although England’s exit in the quarter-finals meant this year’s World Cup did not reach record-breaking audience levels, the contest between France and Argentina shows there is still an enormous live television audience for free-to-air football.

The promise of a showdown between Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé – and cold weather keeping Britons inside – meant the British audience was substantially up on the 2018 World Cup final between France and Croatia.

The overnight television audience figures, produced by data provider Digital-i, do not include the millions of Britons likely to have watched the match on streaming services such as iPlayer and ITVX, or in communal places such as pubs.

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