Facebook, Google code ‘won’t breach trade pact’

Original article by John Kehoe, Miranda Ward
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 22-Jan-21

There have been claims that proposed laws that would see Google and Facebook pay publishers for their journalism would breach the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement. However, federal government ministers are confident that this is not the case, having received legal and international trade advice on the matter, while Nine Entertainment CEO Hugh Marks stated recently that there is "clearly no breach of the free trade agreement". Executives from news publishers, the big digital platforms and the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission will appear before a Senate hearing on 22 January to be questioned about the proposed news media and digital platforms mandatory bargaining code.

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GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Google, Facebook fight code in Senate

Original article by David Swan, Patrick Commins
The Weekend Australian – Page: 3 : 16-Jan-21

A Senate committee is holding an inquiry into the proposed mandatory media bargaining code between technology companies and traditional publishers, and is due to report on 12 February. Google and Facebook are set to voice their opposition to the code at a public committee hearing on 22 January; Google has threatened to quit Australia if the code is made law, while Facebook has stated it will ban the sharing of news on its Australian platform. The code will compel Google and Facebook to mediate with publishers over the value of their news, with fines of up to $10 million possible if they fail to comply.

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GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Frydenberg joins protest against media blocking

Original article by Miranda Ward
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 2 : 15-Jan-21

Google’s revelation that it has ‘experimented’ with changes to its search and news algorithm has attracted scrutiny from the federal government. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says digital platforms should be paying for news content rather than removing stories from Australian news publishers from its search results. Communications Minister Paul Fletcher says this issue demonstrates the power imbalance between Google and traditional news publishers.

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GOOGLE INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT, REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS

Google doubles down on claims news bargaining code will break search

Original article by Miranda Ward
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 7-Jan-21

Google Australia has repeated previous claims that the federal government’s proposed bargaining code between traditional media companies and digital companies will ‘break’ the way its search function works. Google does not object to the principle of paying to support journalism, but contends it should be done differently to what the government is proposing. It argues that its $1.3 billion global licensing program is the best mechanism for it to negotiate with media publishers and pay for their content, while it contends the government’s code will favour some media companies over others.

CORPORATES
GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC

Foxtel, Telstra extend AFL rights deal

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 24-Dec-20

Foxtel has secured a deal with the Australian Football League to extend its existing broadcasting rights deal by two years. Telstra has also extended its rights deal to include the 2023 and 2024 seasons, while the Seven Network struck a similar deal earlier in 2020. The three companies will pay a combined $946m for broadcasting and streaming rights for the 2023 and 2024 seasons. Telstra will also become the official technology partner of Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium, which is owned by the AFL.

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FOXTEL MANAGEMENT PTY LTD,TELSTRA COMMUNICATIONS PVT LTD,AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE,SEVEN NETWORK LIMITED,SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM

Survival of the fittest: Media’s toughest year in decades

Original article by Zoe Samios
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 21-Dec-20

Few would disagree that 2020 has been the toughest year for the Australian media sector for decades. The year began with the remnants of the summer bushfires, before the sector was hit by the impact of COVID-19. The virus saw media companies lose huge amounts of revenue, while forcing big changes to the way that production houses and newsrooms operated. The year has been one of mergers and restructures, of shutting down newspaper and magazine titles, and of executive and talent changes. Competition increased within the streaming sector, media outlets continued their stoush with Google and Facebook, while relations between ABC chair Ita Buttrose and the federal government became increasingly strained over the course of the year.

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GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, VILLAGE ROADSHOW LIMITED – ASX VRL, OOH!MEDIA LIMITED – ASX OML, SOUTHERN CROSS MEDIA GROUP LIMITED – ASX SXL

Cricket Australia discussed shifting broadcast rights to Nine

Original article by Zoe Samios
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 21-Dec-20

Sources have indicated that the bitter legal dispute with Seven West Media prompted Cricket Australia to hold informal talks with Nine Entertainment about taking over the broadcasting rights. The informal talks are believed to have ended when Cricket Australia recently received a $12.5m instalment payment from Seven. The media group pays about $70m a year for the free-to-air rights, as part of a six-year deal with Cricket Australia and pay-TV group Foxtel. Amongst other things, Seven is seeking a discount of about 20 per cent due to coronavirus-induced changes to the cricket schedule for the 2020-21 summer.

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SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, SEVEN NETWORK LIMITED, CRICKET AUSTRALIA, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, FOXTEL MANAGEMENT PTY LTD

March court start for Seven’s cricket battle

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 15 : 16-Dec-20

The legal dispute between Seven West Media and Cricket Australia will be heard by the Federal Court in mid- March. Seven may seek damages or an order to terminate its broadcasting rights deal if the court rules in its favour. The case centres on CA’s changes to its itinerary for the 2020-21 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Seven contends that it was commercially disadvantaged by CA’s decision to start the season with three one-day international matches against India, which were broadcast exclusively by Fox Sports.

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SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, CRICKET AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Fletcher rules out sacking Buttrose over ABC investigation

Original article by Ronald Mizen
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 14-Dec-20

The ABC continues to attract scrutiny in the wake of a controversial ‘Four Corners’ report on the personal lives of two federal government ministers. However, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has refuted suggestions that the government could sack ABC chair Ita Buttrose, stating that he has confidence in the way she is handling a "challenging and very important job". Fletcher has also defended his decision to send a letter to the ABC board in late November querying the decision to broadcast the news story in question.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT, REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS

Nine opposes concession to tech giants

Original article by Max Mason, Natasha Gillezeau, John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 8 : 9-Dec-20

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the federal government’s mandatory news media bargaining code for digital platforms is a "world-first". He has dismissed suggestions that the government has made too many concessions in the final version of the code to gain the support of digital giants such as Google and Facebook. These include adding a ‘two-way value exchange’ clause which reflect the benefits that news publishers receive from having digital platforms direct users to their content. A Nine Entertainment spokesman says this will merely entrench both the monopoly powers of digital companies and the unfair imbalance in media regulation.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC