Hello, it’s Thursday.
Here’s what’s happening.
1. No ads on Netflix
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings once again ruled out ads on the streaming service, despite the temptation of adding an extra US$1bn to the revenue stream, during the company’s earnings call for 2019.
Netflix posted US$20 billion in revenue for 2019, with the year’s final quarter accounting for US$5.47 billion of that figure. Netflix now has 167 million paid subscribers.
But Hastings said “there’s not easy money there” in the long-term from advertising, and chipping that slice of revenue away from the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon “is quite challenging”.
“Google, Facebook and Amazon are tremendously powerful at online advertising because they’re integrating so much data from so many sources,” he said.
“There’s a business cost to that, but it makes the advertising more targeted and effective. So I think those three are going to get most of the online advertising business.”
Hastings also emphasised that the streaming service isn’t into “exploiting users” and their data.
“We have a much simpler business model, which is just focused on streaming and customer pleasure,” he said.
“So we think with our model we’ll actually get to a larger revenue, a larger profit, larger market cap because we don’t have the exposure to something that we’re strategically disadvantaged at, which is online advertising against those big three.”
2. US sports site The Athletic raises US$50m
Modern digital media, and its value, is a far cry from the old school product, a US subscription-based sports media startup that launched in 2016, has landed US$50 million in Series D funding, led by Bedrock Capital, with Matthew McConaughey one of its backers.
The latest funding values the business at around US$500 million, with $139.5m raised all up. The Athletic makes is money from subscriptions rather advertising and the money will be used to fund overseas expansion editorially, having moved into the UK last year with football coverage.
Co-founder Alex Mather has previously stated his goal is to end the back page. The Athletic employs around 500 people, is on its way to 500,000 subscribers and is looking to hit profitability this year. Watch out.
3. Taronga Zoo accelerates
With an estimated 1 billion animals and other wildlife obliterated in the summer bushfires, Taronga Conservation Society Australia is responding with the launch of HATCH: Taronga Accelerator Program to drive innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing conservation and environmental challenges.
Applications open next month for the three-month program, which will support five finalists to develop their ideas into not-for-profit or social enterprise ventures, with the winning finalist being awarded up to $50,000. The finalists will be announced in May with the program running from late May to early September.
For more information, eligibility criteria and to register your interest, visit the Taronga site here.
4. Indian e-commerce is exploding
Putting the visit to India by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos this week, where he announced the company would spend US$1 billion local companies online, the overall transaction value of the Indian e-commerce market is projected to grow from US$49bn in 2019 to US$91bn in 2023, according to analytics firm GlobalData.
GlobalData’s latest report, ‘India Cards & Payments: Opportunities and Risks to 2023’, says the growth in the e-commerce market has been supported by rising Internet penetration rates, benefits such as discounts, faster delivery options offered by e-retailers and the rising consumer preference for online shopping.
Government initiatives such as Startup India, Make in India and Digital India, combined with online sales such as ‘Flipkart Big Billion Days’ and ‘Amazon Great Indian Sale’ have helped produce exponential growth of e-commerce sales. In May 2019, Flipkart launched online grocery store ‘Supermart’, extending its presence from fast-moving consumer goods to groceries.
5. Catalysr seeks help in Melbourne
Catalyser, the startup accelerator for migrant entrepreneurs – “migrapreneurs” – didn’t waste a second of 2020, kicking off in Melbourne with a masterclass two weeks ago. It now has 91 migrapreneurs, from 36 nations and more than half are women, in the First Gens 2.0 program by ygap X Catalysr, which kicks off on Feb 1 and runs every Saturday afternoon at the FYA Hub in Somerset Pl, Melbourne, until March 28. Here are the 72 teams involved.
Now the organisation is seeking mentors to help out support the teams through the program in areas such as general business, marketing/PR, finance/accounting, social enterprise/impact and health/medtech. They’d need you for a minimum 4-hour workshop.
If you’re interested and can help out, head here to express your interest.