The Daily Telegraph leans on the truth defence, Perth loses its community papers, the ABC shifts around its foreign journos, and other media tidbits of the day.
Tele to plead truth in Rush case. The Daily Telegraph will be allowed to use the truth defence in fighting actor Geoffrey Rush’s defamation case. The Federal Court has allowed the paper to use that defence after a statement was filed from actress Eryn Jean Norvill, who alleges Rush touched her inappropriately, made “groping” gestures toward her and texted how he thought of her “more than is socially appropriate,” the Tele reports. Rush lodged a defamation action after the Tele published allegations against him in a front-page story headlined “King Leer”. The Tele alleged Rush acted inappropriately with Norvill when they co-starred in a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear.
Perth community papers close. Five of Perth’s 17 Community Newspaper Group papers will close in a cost-cutting move by the group. The five free newspapers, distributed in Perth’s northern coastal suburbs and the Perth Hills will close due to “competition and economic pressure”, the company said in a statement.
The final editions of the Comment News, The Advocate, Hills and Avon Valley Gazette, Midland-Kalamunda Reporter and the North Coast Times will be delivered in the first week of September. Some of the remaining newspapers will expand into the suburbs affected, and continue coverage online for those suburbs. In its statement, the company said “some staff would be affected”, but has not said how many. WA Today reports that there will be about 40 redundancies of printing staff.
ABC correspondent shuffle. ABC Europe correspondent James Glenday is the latest foreign correspondent for the broadcaster to shift regions. Glenday has been based in London for the past few years, and will move to Washington, DC as North America correspondent. London bureau chief Lisa Millar and Europe correspondent Steve Cannane are also leaving the UK office, to be replaced by Samantha Hawley from the Bangkok bureau and Linton Besser. Papua New Guinea correspondent Eric Tlozek and Indonesia correspondent Adam Harvey are both headed to the Middle East as correspondents.
Foxtel remains under pressure. Foxtel and Fox Sports merged last financial year, and are now in the News Corp balance sheet. So how did Australia’s pay TV monopoly go in its most momentous year since the merger with Optus’ pay TV business 15 years ago? No better than the past couple of years: subscriber numbers and advertising and subscription revenues declined, while operating profits fell US$154 million (AU$208) million over the 12 months to June 30.
News Corp said that Foxtel had total closing subscribers of approximately 2.8 million, higher than the previous year, primarily due to the launch of Foxtel Now. The 2016-17 annual return to the US Securities and Exchange Commission from News Corp claimed a higher subscriber figure, but if it is, it can’t be by much. The fall in subscription revenues tell us the company is signing new customers on cheaper packages with no contract, which is bad for further growth prospects. Foxtel’s average revenue per user also fell 3%, following a 2% fall the year before. Churn has dropped from 13.3% to 12.5%, but it’s still a very costly and high rate of turnover that drains money from the bottom line every quarter. — Glenn Dyer
Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. At least the NRL game on Nine last night was a cracker — North QLD beat Brisbane narrowly and even the NRL Footy Show straight afterwards was more interesting than it has been for weeks. The remainder of last night’s offerings were just dire. With no AFL on Seven it must have been a dreadful night in those markets. That NRL game certainly helped Nine to a big win. The NRL game attracted 466,000 in the metros and 260,000 on Fox Sports. Read the rest on the Crikey website.