Miscellaneous

349

Sunday Supplement: 12 July 2020

‘Sheep Country, Burra’, Douglas Dundas, 1950, Art Gallery of NSW   Macro & Markets Trump says U.S.-China relationship is ‘severely damaged,’ phase 2 trade deal not a priority – CNBC WHO says it’s ‘very unlikely’ countries can eradicate the coronavirus right now – CNBC Donald Trump hints lack of interest in a phase two US-China

54

COVID-19 mega-cluster builds in Melbourne

A disturbing development has emerged in Melbourne’s COVID-19 fight, with a mega-cluster forming: Victoria’s two largest ever coronavirus outbreaks have now been linked, forming one huge cluster that health authorities are scrambling to contain. Investigators say it is now clear the 113-case Al-Taqwa College cluster and the 159-case public housing towers outbreak have strong connections.

25

States brawl over hotel quarantine

Last week, Victoria ceased accepting international arrivals at Melbourne International Airport, owing to the explosion of COVID-19 cases arising from failed hotel quarantine. This ban meant that 65 international commercial passenger flights due to arrive at Melbourne Airport between 1 July and 14 July would need to land elsewhere. However, the NSW Government over the

6

Foxtel snatches victory from jaws of defeat

Back in April I posed the question: Does Foxtel have a future? At the time, Foxtel had just laid-off 200 staff and placed another 140 on extended leave. COVID-19 had cancelled sporting events across the world, leading to a wave of cancellation requests from Kayo Sports and Foxtel’s traditional broadcast service. This wave of cancellations

132

Melbourne’s extraordinary COVID-19 quarantine failure

Extraordinary details have emerged of Melbourne’s epic COVID-19 quarantine failures, courtesy of the Herald-Sun and Sky News. To summarise: Security companies were being paid for workers that didn’t exist. Lack of guards to properly secure the hotels due to these “phantom” people. Guards were given minimal training (six hours of ­infection control training, some had

30

China births another pandemic potential virus

It is believed that at least 1 in 10 people who work with pigs in China have contracted a newly-identified strain of swine flu. Designated genome 4, the virus is genetically descended from the H1N1 swine flu strain that caused a pandemic in 2009. Chinese scientists say the new virus has the “essential hallmarks” of

9

Foxtel turns table on Stan in streaming wars

Four months is a long time in subscription television. Back in February, Roy Morgan Research released annual subscription television numbers, which revealed that Foxtel’s subscriber base continued to shrink while its online streaming rivals experienced explosive growth: Note from the above chart that Foxtel lost 582,000 subscribers in the two years to February 2020, versus

53

The ‘Population Ponzi’ – Employment, Migrants, Incomes and Manufacturing & Australia’s lost Economic narrative

In the 1950s and 60s Australia had a policy of supporting manufacturing development in Australia, and its capacity to absorb large numbers migrants largely reflected its industry protection. Given the operation of the then Industrial Relations Commission, those industries tended to have remuneration outcomes which enabled both the migrants coming to Australia, and the pre

236

Sunday Supplement: 28 June 2020

‘Our untidy bush’ Arthur Streeton, 1927, National Gallery of Victoria   Macro & Markets US imposes visa restrictions on Chinese officials over Hong Kong security law – BBC Facebook will label newsworthy posts that break rules as ad boycott widens – Reuters Fed acts to keep banks ‘prudent’ amid virus risks – BBC Communication power

8

Foxtel’s last roll of the dice

Before COVID-19 hit the Australian economy, Foxtel was already fighting for survival. As shown below, Foxtel was bleeding subscribers at the same time as its online streaming rivals were experiencing explosive growth. Foxtel lost 582,000 subscribers over the two years to February 2020, versus 3.2 million growth in subscribers for market leader Netflix, 1.9 million

313

Sunday Supplement: 21 June 2020

  ‘Cattle on Hillside, Shoalhaven’, Arthur Boyd, 1975, Art Gallery of NSW   Macro & Markets Don’t Blame the Fed for the Robinhood Trading Blitz – Bloomberg New US space strategy targets Russia and China – Deutsche Welle H.O. Warns of ‘Dangerous Phase’ of Pandemic as Outbreaks Widen –  NY Times The Rage Unifying Boomers

531

Weekend Links 13-14 June, 2020

Arkaroola Landscape, Elisabeth Cummings, 1994, Art Gallery of NSW   Macro & Markets Sex Pistols-style anarchy threatens world economy – AsiaTimes Eight minutes that could change the world – AsiaTimes What US-China decoupling does and doesn’t mean – AsiaTimes Is Libya the new Syria? – BNE Intellinews How the protests swept the world – New

16

Are property listings rising or falling?

Last week, SQM Research released its May Stock on Market data, which claimed that property listings had lifted “driven by older stock not selling” amid a “patchy market”: Overall, there was a rise in listings at the national level, driven by older stock not selling. We have recorded a 12% increase in listings of over 60

177

Macro Afternoon

  A red day for stocks across Asia in a wide risk off mood following the mild selloff on Wall Street overnight. This will continue tonight with futures off by at least 2% finally taking some heat out of some very overheated markets. The USD is coming back against some of the majors, with Pound

22

Stupid ScoMo to slash JobSeeker

I thought he was supposed to be walking a middle path these days, via the AFR: With Parliament back and the two major parties now sparring openly over the coronavirus crisis and the response measures, Labor demanded the JobKeeper wage subsidy of $1500 per fortnight be extended to workers who had “missed out” – including

312

Sunday Supplement: 31 May, 2020

  Albert Tucker, ‘Image of modern evil’, 1945, National Gallery of Victoria     Macro & Markets China debt: bond problems could still resurface in 2020 after defaults amid coronavirus lower than expected – SCMP The Great Depression, coronavirus style – AsiaTimes Donald Trump says the US is ‘terminating’ its relationship with the World Health

5

Last roll of the dice for Foxtel

Foxtel’s new low-cost streaming service, ‘Binge’, will join an increasingly crowded subscription television market. While Binge is priced competitively, starting at $10 a month, Victoria University screen media lecturer Marc C-Scott believes the number of streaming media providers in the Australian market is unsustainable and that some are likely to fold in the next 12 months.

4

Foxtel left floundering by streaming rivals

Roy Morgan has released new data showing explosive growth across Australia’s subscription television market from all providers except Foxtel: As shown above, Foxtel only managed to grow its subscriber base by 63,000 households in the year to March 2020, which pales against: Netflix (+1.1 million); Stan (+953,000); Disney Plus (+2 million); Amazon Prime (+1 million);

329

Sunday Supplement: 24 May, 2020

Pivot Suspension, Rupert Boynes, 1966, Art Gallery of NSW   Macro & Markets Leading economist warns of 10 years of depression and debt – BBC (Roubini) China Tests Global Diplomacy and Economy – Bloomberg, El-Erian Central banks are creating ‘fake markets,’ Bank of America strategists say – CNBC Trade conflict in the age of Covid-19

6

Cash starved Foxtel eats itself

Foxtel’s new online streaming service ‘Binge’ will reportedly launch next week with an expected monthly price tag of $15. The service will give subscribers access to over 10,000 hours of content, including curated local and international dramas and movies. Foxtel is hoping that the new service will drive subscription growth by attracting new customers that

256

Sunday Supplement: 17 May 2020

‘Ringbarked Trees with Birds’, Henri Bastin, 1969, Art Gallery of NSW   Macro & Markets Pandemic Bills Are So Big That Only Money-Printing Can Pay Them – Bloomberg US could cut ties with China over coronavirus, ‘save $500 billion’: Trump – DW Thermal coal spot price tumbles 25 per cent, putting pressure on some producers

4

Foxtel can’t compete in crowded streaming market

Foxtel is now reportedly beta testing its new streaming service Binge, which will provide ‘box set’ access to popular shows like Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, Big Little Lies, Succession, and True detective. The new Binge service is set to launch in a few weeks and will be priced to compete head-to-head with online streaming

12

Foxtel stranded as consumers cut the cord

For years Foxtel has tried and failed to swim against the tide of technological change. Once the dominant monopoly provider of cable pay-TV, Foxtel’s business model has been decimated by the rise of online video-on-demand (VOD) streaming services. These online providers have provided Australian consumers with a myriad of streaming content at low prices, without

3

Foxtel slapped with $1.7b write-down

Media analysts contend that Foxtel’s business model will need to change if it is going to survive, as it becomes an ever growing problem for majority owner News Corporation. In revealing that News Corp had lost $US1 billion ($1.5 billion) in the latest quarter as a result of the impact of COVID-19, majority owner News

402

Sunday Supplement: 10 May 2020

Street in Old Sydney, 1889, Godfrey Rivers, Art Gallery of NSW   Macro & Markets Keeping Up with the Fed – Project-Syndicate China and US must cooperate to lead world out of coronavirus danger – Nikkei Asian Review Trump Casts Doubt on Future of China Trade Deal After Phone Call – Bloomberg IMF warns of

6

Foxtel gets stay of execution

While Foxtel’s longer-term outlook remains dire, it managed to score a major win this week securing a “multi-year” content deal with HBO and Warner Bros worth up to $200 million. The new agreement will give exclusive programming rights for shows from the Warner Bros, HBO, HBO Max and WarnerMedia stable. These include existing heavy hitters

10

Foxtel “threatened with extinction”

Foxtel’s problems have been well documented on this site. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Foxtel was struggling to remain relevant in the subscription television space, rapidly losing market share to its nimble and cheaper online streaming rivals: Once the industry leader, Foxtel lost 582,000 subscribers in the two years to February 2020, according to

7

Foxtel lathers lipstick on subscription pig

It is clear to all and sundry that Foxtel has plunged into a subscription death spiral. Already facing debts of $2.5 billion, and with customers cancelling subscriptions en masse following the shuttering of live sporting events across the globe, Foxtel was forced to axe 200 jobs last month and another 70 jobs this month in

351

Sunday Supplement: 3 May 2020

‘The schooner ‘Miena’ refitting at Townsville’, 1954, Donald Friend, Art Gallery of NSW   Global Macro & Markets Coronavirus pandemic exposes fatal flaws of the ‘just-in-time’ economy– ABC, Long…good read… Oil’s Collapse Is a Geopolitical Reset In Disguise – Bloomberg Ten reasons why a ‘Greater Depression’ for the 2020s is inevitable – Guardian, Roubini Trump

6

Dying Foxtel sacks more staff

Drowning under $2.5 billion of debt and losing thousands of subscribers amid the cancellation of sporting events across the world (including the 2020 NRL and AFL seasons), Foxtel was last month forced to slash costs by laying-off 200 staff and placing another 140 on furlough. Now the situation has gone from bad to critical, with