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STREAMING WARS: How many services are you willing to sign up for? TICKER VIEWS

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How many times have we heard “it’s just a small monthly fee of” and signed up to another streaming service to add to the TV home screen (and the direct debit list).

Well, there is a new kid on the block.

Paramount+ is here to shake the market up. Television-focused businesses are turning their attention to streaming services instead, as cable TV’s importance slowly fades away.

Is there a limit to how many services people are willing to fork their money out for? or is the market expansion of streaming subscription services a win for all?

Gone are the days of Netflix dominating as the streaming powerhouse. Major networks are continuing to turn their attention to the way their audience consumes their content and Netflix competitors have sprung to life, all wanting a slice of the streaming pie.

Latest streaming service to go down under

The latest major network to take on Netflix will soon expand to Australasia.

ViacomCBS Australia and New Zealand announced its digital streaming network Paramount+ will launch in Australia this year.

Its global video subscription service will  feature locally produced content as well as major shows and movies from Paramount pictures.

Two years ago the ViacomCBS merger joined the power of Paramount Pictures and the TV talents of CBS, creating a single media powerhouse.

Paramount Plus is already available in the US, Canada, Latin America and Nordic countries.

Beverley McGarvey, Chief Content Officer & Executive Vice President, ViacomCBS Australia & New Zealand, said the company is “poised to become as powerful a player in streaming as we are in television.”

“By leveraging the iconic Paramount brand, leading edge infrastructure, along with an incredible super-sized pipeline of must-see content, Paramount+ will deliver an exceptional consumer entertainment experience,” she said.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 10: General views of the Paramount+ billboard campaign along the Sunset Strip promoting the launch of the new streaming service on March 10, 2021 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

When Paramount+ comes to Australia in august this year, it will be replacing Network 10’s existing subscription offering with ViacomCBS confirming that 10 All Access will rebrand in August upon Paramount+ launch.

It’s a bid to take on global giants Netflix and Stan, that dominate the Australian market.

It will transform to bring high-profile films and television shows from channels Showtime and Nickelodeon and studio Paramount Pictures. Showtime, Nickelodeon and Paramount are all divisions of ViacomCBS, which bought Ten in 2017.

10 All Access will rebrand in August 2021. Paramount+ and lean on the catalogues of US networks Showtime and Nickelodeon and the Paramount Pictures film studio

10 All Access currently screens CBS shows such as NCIS and The Good Fight, alongside programs locally produced by Network Ten in Australia.

The service will be priced at $8.99 per month and subscribers will have access to more than 20,000 episodes and blockbuster movies throughout the year. This is cheaper than basic subscriptions in Australia for Netflix ($10.99), Stan ($10), Disney+ ($11.99) and Foxtel Now ($25).

Paramount+ expects to debut new original film every week starting in 2022

New original films like Paranormal Activity and The Inbetween will debut on the service by the end of 2021. 

ViacomCBS is following the suit of other major studios that are trying to promote their streaming services by sending new movies straight to streaming,

ViacomCBS is ramping up its streaming activity, CEO Bob Bakish said during its first quarter earnings call on Thursday (May 6).

“Turning to movies where we are poised to dramatically enhance the scale of our offering,” Bakish said

He added that Paramount+ expects to debut a new original film every week starting in 2022.

ViacomCBS global streaming revenue increased 65 per cent year-on-year to $816m, driven by a demand in streaming advertising revenue. This is led primarily by free service Pluto TV, and a 69 per cent rise in streaming subscription revenue, led by Paramount+.

Subscription TV viewers soared to 17.3 million Australians

global data and insights company, Pureprofile, surveyed those in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US to benchmark what their media consumption currently looks like.

 Australians consumed subscription TV services at an astonishing rate during 2020 as Australians endured a nation-wide lockdown from late March last year, according to data from Roy Morgan.

Netflix is the top subscription service in Australia.

Netflix is by far Australia’s most watched subscription television service, with 14,168,000 viewers in an average four weeks, an increase of 2,265,000 viewers from a year ago.

Over 80 per cent of Australians watch a subscription TV service

roy morgan data
Number of Australians watching subscription television

“The strong growth for the leading services in the market shows Australians are increasingly viewing multiple services to find new and interesting content. For example over 5.6 million Australians watch both Netflix and Foxtel services in an average four weeks and nearly 4.7 million watch both Netflix and Stan,” Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says.

Will Paramount+ be chasing Stan Sport?

In the U.S, Paramount+ subscribers have access to sports as well as all entertainment offerings.

Will it compete with Stan, who according to Nine CEO Mike Sneesby, is Australia’s largest sports streaming platform.

Stan, a fully owned subsidiary of the Nine Entertainment Company, has recently expanded its content offering with the launch of ‘Stan Sport’. Stan Sport is offered as a bundle to the Stan streaming service that currently has more than two million subscribers.

Speaking at the recent Macquarie Australia conference, Sneesby said Stan’s sport streaming platform has grown to almost 150,000 subscribers.

Stan CEO Mike Sneesby. Photo Nick Moir.

“This is a powerful proposition for Australian audiences,” Sneesby said.

He says the service is providing sporting codes who partner with Nine and Stan the opportunity to reach mass free-to-air audiences and high yields subscription audiences in a model that maximises revenue opportunity.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, shares rose on the Australian Stock Exchange following Sneesby’s comments.

Stan announced its intention to start live streaming sports events after securing a three-year deal with Rugby Australia worth AUS$100 million (US$77.2 million) in November 2020.

So, do consumers want more than Netflix?

Some say the market is saturated, some say the market is just beginning.

Although, it’s clear in the numbers – both revenue and subscribers – that consumers are choosing streaming platforms as their dominant form of entertainment consumption.

Netflix still outperforms all the others, with more than 208 million subscribers around the globe. That is a massive reach… and selling point.

“Our strategy is simple: if we can continue to improve Netflix every day to better delight our members, we can be their first choice for streaming entertainment,” Netflix wrote in its January shareholder letter. 

“This past year is a testament to this approach. Disney+ had a massive first year (87 million paid subscribers!) and we recorded the biggest year of paid membership growth in our history.”

Disney Plus hit 100 million subscribers last month.

But with more players entering the so called ‘streaming wars’, Netflix’s astronomical growth appears to be slowing too.

“The production delays from covid-19 in 2020 will lead to a 2021 slate that is more heavily second half weighted with a large number of returning franchises,” it said in an investor letter recently.

Netflix may always be a part of a typical household’s content diet… but the streaming selection plate is certainly getting a lot more full.

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Gun violence epidemic – are the cries of millions falling on deaf ears?

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Gun violence is continuing to soar throughout the United States, with mass shootings taking innocent lives and dominating news headlines day after day

ticker’s Brittany Coles was joined by senior fellow at the U.S. Studies Centre, Bruce Wolpe and journalist and commentator, Misha Zelinsky.

On May 14, 2022 in Buffalo, New York, 10 people were killed when a white supremacist stormed a supermarket.

Just days later, 19 children and two teachers lost their lives after a gunman armed with a semi-automatic weapon opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

On the day Americans are supposed to celebrate their freedom and independence, seven people were shot dead by a 21-year-old man.

And this is just to name a few.

Rallies for gun reform have been held right around the country, with protestors in Washington, New York and other major cities calling on lawmakers to act.

But with gun violence only increasing and gun sales only going up and up, are the cries of millions falling on deaf ears?

Activities once considered normal are now plagued by fear thanks to the gun culture, the panelists speak on the gun epidemic across America.

How many more policy makers, celebrities, local authorities have to take to the stand to call for tighter gun restrictions to help (as Kamala Harris phrased it) “end this horror”?

March for our Lives was formed back in 2018 after a shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The activist group helped force Republicans in Florida to enact reforms including raising the age to buy long guns and enact a three-day gap between purchase and access.

Does this prove that activism does work?

Just a few weeks ago, March for our Lives happened on the very street of the Highland Park shooting.

A stark reminder a mass shooting can occur anywhere.

“And we got to take this stuff seriously, as seriously as you are – because you have been forced to have to take it seriously,” VP Kamala Harris told Highland Park residents.

“The whole nation should understand and have a level of empathy to understand that this can happen anywhere, in any peace-loving community,” Harris continued. “And we should stand together and speak out about why it’s got to stop.”

Harris also told Americans “we have to be smarter as a country”

There’s been over 300 mass shooting so far, From Uvalde to Chicago this year.

Biden signed the first significant federal bill on gun safety in decades, but that was just days after the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a fundamental right to carry a handgun in public… so what does “be smarter” mean now?

Viewed over 2 million times this is the viral moment from Philadelphia on the night of the Fourth of July of people running away from an active shooter while fireworks celebrate the country are going off in the background.. with the tweet captioned ‘america is a horror story’

National anthem playing, screams from Americans in the birthplace of their nation, it seems like the active shooter is the new symbol of the fourth of July.

The NRA are a powerful lobby group – there’s a long way to come when it comes to efficient gun reform to combat violence and crime in the states.

One thing is clear – activities once considered normal and care-free are now plagued by fear, propaganda-driven acceptance of gun ownership.

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Tech

Does Boeing have a safety problem?

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With two crashes of the 737 Max and ongoing production problems with the 787, former employees are asking whether Boeing has a safety problem

Boeing is the biggest name in aviation. “If it aint Boeing”, as the saying goes. But today Boeing is the most scrutinised company in aviation history.

The separate crashes of the 737 Max. Production problems with the 787 Dreamliner.

Some blame management all the way back to the merger with McDonnell Douglas in the 1990s. Boeing is still one of the largest and most important companies in the US.

But past employees are pointing to a toxic safety culture.

Ticker spoke with Geoffrey Thomas from Airline Ratings, and aviation analyst Jordan Chong.

Boeing safety report

Boeing has published its 2022 Chief Aerospace Safety Officer Report which reveals a host of major changes to sharpen focus and improve culture.

The report covers four main areas; Strengthening Engineering, Enhanced Oversight Mechanisms, Safety Management System Implementation, Investing in a Safer Industry and Fostering Transparency and Openness.

The report is an extremely important document and thus we have decided to reproduce in full as under, bolding important facts and numbers.

Enhanced Oversight Mechanisms

Boeing has made fundamental changes to enhance oversight of safety processes and procedures, and strengthen accountability, transparency and collaboration across the company.

In August 2019, Boeing’s Board of Directors established an Aerospace Safety Committee (ASC) to increase the effectiveness of its oversight of safety in all aspects of operations, including engineering, design, development, manufacturing, production, maintenance and delivery of products and services. The ASC is comprised of independent directors with relevant knowledge and experience. Learn more about their responsibilities here.

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Climate Change

What is causing Australia’s flood crisis?

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Twenty Australians have lost their lives in floods this year, as authorities continue their search and rescue efforts

For the third time this year, floods have battered Australia’s largest city.

Some areas have received eight months of rain in just four days.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says some parts of New South Wales have seen 800mm alone. For perspective, Greater London receives this type of rainfall over the course of a year.

There are more than 100 evacuation orders across Greater Sydney for the current emergency.

It’s the typical narrative for disasters like these, where a cesspit of data floods headlines.

It comes as the BOM confirms this season’s La Niña has ended, so what is causing these floods?

Divulging the data

The Indian Ocean Dipole is a technical term for the differences in sea surface temperatures between the eastern and western parts of the Indian Ocean.

This phenomenon is likely to shift ‘negative’ over the coming months.

This means “warmer waters concentrate near Australia, leading to above average winter–spring rainfall as more moisture is available to weather systems crossing the continent,” according to the BOM.

“We have seen some of these impacted communities being hit by floods for a third and fourth time in 18 months, which is extremely distressing to the residents of these communities.”

Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt

Meanwhile, the SAM refers to the Southern Annular Mode. This is a term used for the non-seasonal, north-south movement of the strong westerly winds.

When the SAM is in the ‘positive’ phase, it directs more moisture-filled air into eastern Australia.

The BOM says this is “driving above average rainfall and more east coast lows”.

This has forced a cargo ship to remain at anchor by the ferocious conditions off the coast of Sydney.

In fact, this happened 15 years ago when storms grounded the Pasha Bulker—a 40,000 tonne bulk carrier ship.

The Pasha Bulker stranded off the coast of Newcastle.

Is this climate change in action?

It is difficult to link any single flood to climate change. But many climate models suggest Australia will repeatedly fall victim to climate change.

Critically, these areas have been battered by heavy rains in recent months. The La Niña has also saturated the ground and filled dams. These are some of the crucial factors that lead to flash flooding.

“Similarly, we’re now working hard together to make sure that impacted communities get the financial and other assistance they need as soon as possible,” Senator Murray Watt says.

Sydney’s bustling population has pushed development into low-lying areas, which also places residents at an increased risk.

A boat passes under the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge as heavy rain batters the city.

Greg Mullins is the leader of the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action group, who recently met with Australia’s new government.

“There is absolutely no doubt extreme weather events are being intensified because of climate change.”

“The science is very clear that we’re seeing wild fluctuations between periods of flood and fire, because of warming. On the East Coast of Australia in the last 18 months we’ve now had four major floods,” he says.

Senator Watt says he is committed to learning from past natural hazards, which turn into disasters when they intersect with vulnerable communities, devastate infrastructure, and lead to economic consequences.

This occurred when over 400 people were killed when deluge swept through South Africa in April.

“It’s time for the world to wake up and take real action on climate change. Communities having to deal with flood event after flood event is absolutely affecting our response and recovery,” Mullins says.

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