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2UE’s revenge. Guess 2UE didn’t bother to change their password when they sacked their news department. From last week 2UE’s news has been produced at 2GB …

While we’re on the subject of radio mergers, 2GB shock jock Ray Hadley gave a fascinating interview to Fairfax site the Brisbane Times yesterday. Hadley will soon be streamed on under-performing talkback station 4BC, causing many (well, Crikey, at least) to question whether talkback can really be done across state borders. Hadley doesn’t think it’s much of a risk though, because, according to him, 4BC is just “a poor imitation of the ABC”:

“I’ve been listening to it for a number of months now to see what it’s like … It’s a left-wing station that doesn’t appear to have much to say about major issues.

“They had a minuscule audience … It’s not as if they had 300,000 people listening. There’s hardly anyone listening to the station. Something has to change. It appears to me not even the entire families of the broadcasters are listening.”

Ouch. The Brisbane Times reporter tried asking Hadley what he thought of Fairfax, who now sorta employs him, but he wouldn’t be drawn on it. “It’s immaterial to me who’s a shareholder and who’s not a shareholder. John Singleton still owns about 35 per cent and that’s who I started working for 14 years ago. I don’t work for Fairfax, I work for Macquarie Radio.” — Myriam Robin

Tele still Tory. “Tory Pravda on speed” — that’s the unimprovable verdict of UK writer Owen Jones on the UK Daily Telegraph, which has decided that it can make its best contribution to the British public sphere by pushing a fantasy version of the election in which David Cameron has already won. Here’s a few recent front pages:


Australian readers will be reminded of something by The Daily Telegraph: The Daily Telegraph. Yes, the UK paper has been Ausralianised like so much of this election. The paper known as the Torygraph once played a reasonably straight bat. Now it is destroying its credibility with a desperate boosterism, whose aim is obvious: to stop its readers from defecting to UKIP without actually mentioning UKIP by name.

This lurch into self-parody is a measure of the paper’s internal collapse. In the past six months, its cosy relationship with major advertiser HSBC has been exposed, and the chaotic reign of its “chief content officer” Jason Seiken has come to an end. Seiken, an online platform guru from the US PBS network, of all places, was put in charge of the whole operation a couple of years ago. Since then, a good editor and dozens of senior writers have quit, leaving the paper hollowed out. Online growth has been derisory.

Most likely with no principled higher staff to say no, the will of the owners for naked propaganda has prevailed. That’s the Barclay Brothers, two reclusive siblings who live on the fifth Channel Island, Brecqhou, that they own. Just as with the New Republic in the US, bought and destroyed by Chris Hughes, the guy who became a gazillionaire by being Mark Zuckerberg’s roommate when he invented Facebook , this is an example of the destructive side of the digital revolution; the accumulated value of cultural capital can be destroyed in an instant by people who don’t value autonomous culture. There’ll be a lot more of it coming. — Guy Rundle

Netflix reels it in. Netflix shares jumped 12.7% in post-market trading following a stronger-than-expected first-quarter report, which showed the streaming video giant had more subscribers than forecast, but revenue and earnings took a big hit from the rise in the value of the US dollar. The sharp rise in after-hours trading (the results were released just after Wall Street closed at 6am Sydney time) will cause Netflix shares to jump past US$500 in official trading. They closed above $US530 in after hours trading. So its no wonder the company is proposing to split its shares (like Apple did) to make them more accessible to small investors. Netflix had 62.3 million global streaming subscribers at the end of the March quarter — around half a million more than expected. It had 41.4 million domestic US streaming customers at the end of March, up 16.0% from the March quarter in 2014. Netflix added more than 4 million new subscribers in the quarter. Outside the US, Netflix had 20.9 million streaming subs, a jump of 64.6%, some of whom are in Australia as the company started its service here in March.

Netflix was originally a DVD distribution business — that’s smaller now as the streaming video expands, but it still contributed US$84.6 million in profit in the quarter, down from US$97.5 million a year earlier. But the profit margin rose to 48.8% from 47.7% — Apple like, and not to be sneezed at. In the current quarter, Netflix expects to add about 600,000 customers in the US and about 1.9 million outside the US. — Glenn Dyer

Front page of the day. Malcolm Turnbull is the cover boy for GQ Australia’s “power” issue …

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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