Fairfax moving house. Fairfax is shopping around for a new Sydney headquarters. In an email to staff this morning, CEO Greg Hywood said the company had started looking for a new home for its HQ in or around the Sydney CBD which would “be fit for the modern and dynamic businesses we operate”. He said the company would likely remain in its current location in Pyrmont until the end of 2019. In a sign of the times, the Australian Financial Review, owned by Fairfax, reported the move was decided when Google agreed to take over the remaining space the media company occupied in the building.

ABC’s sound library plan. The ABC’s plan (still under consultation) to digitise its archives and move the library to one site in Melbourne comes, according to InDaily, just months after the public broadcaster moved the local library in Adelaide from one floor to another — a move that reportedly would have cost tens of thousands of dollars:

Under a plan which has angered local ABC staff and concerned heritage advocates, the sound library’s collection — containing thousands of items of local and national significance — would be moved interstate and two local librarians sacked.

Under the ABC’s plan, there could be up to 10 redundancies in the technology team, and the CD collection would be centralised in Melbourne.

Facebook users less engaged, shares fall. Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. The shares fell 4% in after-hours trading because the company said people were not as “engaged” as they once we, and that time spent on the platform fell 50 million hours every day in the December quarter. Ohhh, ahh said the “experts”, that’s bad news. Perhaps they should have not reacted so quickly because there was even more interesting news in the company’s release:

In the fourth quarter of 2017, we estimate that duplicate accounts may have represented approximately 10% of our worldwide MAUs (Monthly Active Users which totalled 2.13 billion at the end of December). We believe the percentage of duplicate accounts is meaningfully higher in developing markets such as India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as compared to more developed markets. In the fourth quarter of 2017, we estimate that false accounts may have represented approximately 3-4% of our worldwide MAUs.”

Fake news on Facebook, now fake accounts too! That means Facebook thinks that about 64 to 85 million of its monthly active users are fake, and more than 213 million are duplicate accounts. So a more accurate MAU figure would be around 1.7 to 1.8 billion, which is still huge and helps us understand why, for all the fretting about time spent on the platform, Facebook remains an immensely powerful money-sucking machine.

Net profit was US$4.3 billion in the three months to December, up 19% year-on-year and for the year it was US$15.9 billion (up 56%). Sales were US$13 billion, 47% higher than the same period of 2016. Sales for 2016 were up 47% as well to US$40.65 billion. Advertising was 89% of revenue, up from 84% at the end of 2016, so it is taking more money from established media. — Glenn Dyer

Inside the final days of TimeAs Time Inc prepares for its takeover by the smaller, less glamourous magazine company Meredith, Vanity Fair has gone inside America’s most storied news publication:

Come Thursday, Time Inc. will no longer exist, at least not in a material sense, and so for those who made their careers there, it is a significant moment — once inconceivable — and also a sad one. Meredith had floated the idea of the signage being removed even before the close of the deal, a request that perplexed Time Inc. management, according to people familiar with the discussions, who thus characterized Time Inc.’s response: ‘No fucking way.’

Fox buys NFL rights. In typical Murdoch style, 21st Century Fox has made its first post-Disney move by snapping up the rights to Thursday night NFL games for five years for US$3.3 billion — a cost that is double what rival CBS paid in 2016 for a set of games viewers abandoned last season. Fox will replace CBS and NBC which shared the rights last season while CBS had them alone the year before.

Fox is paying about US$660 million per season — up from the US$450 million CBS and NBC paid for the Thursday night games in the current season and the $US300 million CBS paid in 2016. Fox also holds rights to Sunday afternoon games and is due to broadcast the 2019 Super Bowl (NBC has next Sunday’s Superbowl 52 rights).

NFL games are the most watched programs in the US, but have suffered a sharp loss on viewers — down 10% for the season proper for 2017, after 8% in 2016. The Thursday night games though fell 12% in the 2017 season and ad revenues were down 3% (according to the US SMI index). Proper ad revenues fell 1.2% in 2017, the first such fall recorded.

Meanwhile Ten’s owners, CBS seem to be moving towards a closer relationship with its stablemate, Viacom (both used to be in the one group). US media reports say the CBS board will discuss the growing pressure from major shareholder, Shari Redstone, for the two companies to come together. Her family company National Amusements controls CBS and Viacom and she has been pressuring a reluctant CBS and its CEO, Les Moonves, to merge with Viacom. — Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. Wednesday was Seven’s night again thanks to My Kitchen Rules (1.56 million nationally), plus the one-off special The Beaumont Children which averaged 1.23 million nationally, along with solid efforts by the news and Home and Away. Nine’s Married At First Sight held up and grabbed 1.28 million — but Nine was badly let down by the movie Sisters which followed. Ten’s I’m A Celebrity averaged a solid 1.11 million nationally. MKR, Married and Celebrity all ran 90 minutes or more last night which undoubtedly saves the networks money. It is a real trial to watch these programs for more than an hour.

Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell returned to ABC TV and managed 792,000. In breakfast Seven’s Sunrise — 291,000 metro viewers, easily accounted for Today with 253,000 — Nine is missing Lisa Wilkinson. The available regional data shows that Seven News was tops with 501,000, then MKR with 487,000, Home and Away was third with 440,000, and Seven News/Today Tonight and The Beaumont Children special tied with 434,000 viewers each. — Read the rest on the Crikey website.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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