The Ticker: Modern business life

Forget Ten, Time Warner should just stream HBO in Australia; this graph shows why Apple is now considering reinventing the TV and why today’s youth think they have a raw deal.


On today's blog:

Got something you would like to add to the blog? Email (harrison.polites@businessspectator.com.au) or get in touch on Twitter.


3.10am - The secret behind ‘shareable content’ in one chart

Just a quick bit of intrigue for all the content marketers and bloggers out there: 

According to Upworthy, the masters of viral content, triggering content shares on social media boils down to one of two factors: you either write a strong headline that immediately triggers a share or you craft a strong piece of content that triggers a share after reading. 

We found this graph on Contently’s blog post about why clickbait is dangerous for brands.


2.05pm - What to expect from next weekend's G20 summit

Also, expect selfies. Heaps and heaps of selfies. 

By AAP

RELEVANCE: The G20 was born out of the Asian financial crisis, but now its agenda is criticised for lacking focus. Much of the work is not done by the leaders but by bureaucrats, and bilateral talks and smaller regional groups are seen as better at getting results. G20 members are at odds over a number of issues.

GLOBAL GROWTH: Australia has set a target of two per cent annual growth over next four years. But growth is patchy among G20 members - Argentina is in recession, there's zero growth in some European countries and under two per cent in others. Joe Hockey is optimistically saying 1.8 per cent is possible.

RUSSIA: Australia, US, Japan, EU and Canada have imposed trade sanctions over sister G20 member Russia's Ukraine incursion. Abbott says he will "shirt-front" Putin over the downing of flight MH17. Arm-wrestling, anyone?

TRADE: India has vetoed a new multilateral deal. Australia has signed bilateral deals with Japan and South Korea and one is pending with China. Likely to be all talk and no action.

IMF-WORLD BANK REFORM: US congress has blocked reforms which would have given more say to developing countries. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are forming their own development bank. This agenda item has been running for four years and is stalling.

TAX: Australia will benefit if a deal can be struck on big global businesses evading tax. A common reporting standard for the exchange of tax information is on the agenda. Bank secrecy is also being addressed. How thousands of tax laws can be changed at the same time without benefiting one country over another is a vexed question.

CLIMATE: Some leaders want talks on cutting emissions ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris in 2015. There is an "energy efficiency" agenda item, but expect hot air on climate.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Australia sees more private investment in roads, rail and other capital works as key to driving economic growth. It's looking for ways to encourage this while cutting domestic and global red tape.

EBOLA: US and UK are leading a push for more countries to help in west Africa. Australia has been reluctant to send medical experts but Prime Minister Tony Abbott has since announced the government will outsource the running of a 100-bed hospital in Sierra Leone and played down concerns Australians won't be involved.

TONY ABBOTT: Host PM says it will be more about action than words. Final communique will be three pages, not more than two dozen as in previous summits. Voters will be seeking results.


12.55pm - This is why today’s youth think they have a raw deal

There’s a lot to love about being young in the 21st century, but this graphic from the Foundation for Young Australians’ latest report pretty much sums up why some feel cheated by the generational change.

Analysis from the group’s Unlimited Potential Report found that Australia’s youth are worse off than their parents were 30 years ago. All of these are highlighted in red; the positives are in the green. 

It also helps explain why Australia’s youth are increasingly interested and engaged in politics, despite perceptions to the contrary.


12.50pm - Shares keep lifting for a tight-lipped Ten Network

By Chris Kohler, BusinessNow

Ten Network is trading 2.8 per cent higher at 12:10pm AEDT as investors continue to speculate about the possibility of a takeover offer being lobbed at the embattled television network.

The Australian’s Darren Davidson gave a rundown of the situation at Ten today:

Ten Network’s management has agreed to open its books to a potential joint takeover bid from local pay-TV operator Foxtel and US cable giant Discovery Communications, but sources have insisted it’s quite possible no deal will eventuate.

It’s understood a meeting with executives from Foxtel and Discovery will take place in Sydney on Wednesday, as Ten’s management and advisers try to get the best deal for the third-placed free-to-air network.
Ten, Citi and Foxtel all declined to comment.

Ten confirmed last week it was assessing potential strategic options for the media company.

Despite all players remaining tight-lipped the market is liking what it sees.


11.35pm - This graph shows why Apple is now considering reinventing the TV

For years, Apple fans have been calling out for the company to reinvent the humble television, and up until recently it’s failed to comment on the matter. But the graph below shows why Tim Cook recently entertained the idea at the WSJD conference.

The accelerating rate of innovation in TV technology is slowly but surely pushing down the average age of TV sets. That being said, Apple would most likely want this figure to decline even further before leaping into the market. The reason: The iPad.

The low replacement rate of iPads has hurt Apple’s bottom line and made the product less attractive to the company than its more disposable iPhone range. As analyst firm Telsyte told us earlier this year, the iPad 2 – which launched in 2011 -- is still the most popular Apple tablet in Australia. 


10.40am - Forget Ten, Time Warner should just stream HBO in Australia

It’s hard to fathom why a company that appears to be at the cutting edge of digital distribution and TV disruption would want to buy back into old media. But that’s exactly what appears to be happening, according to the latest round of speculation around the future of Australia’s embattled Ten Network.

This morning, The Australian Financial Review broke the news that Time Warner, the owner of HBO and hence the popular TV show Game Of Thrones, is looking to fully buyout Ten in a $680 million takeover. It’s reasoned that by owning Ten, Time Warner would have a cheap outlet for its premiere TV content.

The move may also be a play to counter weak interest from the other major TV networks Nine and Seven in big ticket US television series. All three networks have turned their attention towards reality TV and sport events to bolster their ratings.

All of this makes sense. But in the bigger scheme of things, the buy seems counterintuitive. The future of TV is online, and Time Warner knows it. For media companies, it’s all about creating a legitimate content channel that charges consumers a fair price for access -- and hence lessens the temptation for illegal downloading and piracy.

Last month it was revealed that that Time Warner will separate its HBO subscription service from its cable offering. In the past, HBO – and Game of Thrones – fans had to sign up for a cable TV service if they wanted to watch their favourite shows online. When launched, this new format will allow HBO’s online service to better compete with Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and other US online streaming services.

So this begs the question, why not just launch HBO’s online service in Australia? Why buy an ailing network in a foreign and turbulent TV ad market?

One answer is that Time Warner may see it as being more profitable to air its content through a TV network than through a streaming service. Given Foxtel’s incumbency and the popularity of its HBO content, it may see more sense in placing its content on Ten and capitalising on the audience and ad revenue it drives rather than trying to profit off subscriptions with a standalone service.

The other, is that by placing shows like Game of Thrones on mainstream TV, Time Warner may think it will lessen the temptation for users to pirate its shows. As we learned earlier this year, Australia is already the global leader in Game of Throne piracy. 

Game Of Thrones Season 4 downloads 12 hours after premier. Sample includes over 18,000 IPs. Source: TorrentFreak

Either way, it’s a risky play. At face value the $680 million deal could seem like pocket change to Time Warner. Time Warner recently reported a Q3 revenue of $2.3 billion, a 3 per cent year on year increase that was largely driven by HBO subscriptions and was let down by ad revenue. Australia and the US are different markets, but the trends are the same. Given this, launching HBO as a stand-alone streaming service in Australia seems like a safer, smarter long-term plan. 


9am - Interesting reads from around the web

Burning the midnight oil. Technology has broken our sleeping habits, so should our work habits follow suit?

An issue Google would rather ignore. The global porn industry is crying discrimination due to the search giant’s ongoing reluctance to help it police online piracy of adult content.

More economists, less hipsters. Australia’s green movement is going corporate, but not in the way that you would expect.

Are we undervaluing online advertising? Why Google’s move to offer ad-free YouTube subscriptions could be a game changer for the media industry.

Buzzfeed claims it’s not producing clickbait, and you’ll never guess what happened next…