Squiz Today / 21 April 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 21 April

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Squiz Today Podcast

We’ll take you wherever you need to go. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

SYD
13 / 23
MEL
11 / 17
BNE
17 / 28
ADL
12 / 21
PER
15 / 28
HBA
8 / 14
DRW
25 / 36
CBR
5 / 19

Squiz Sayings

“We learned, sadly, that even if you twist an Oreo perfectly, the cream will almost always end up mostly on one of the 2 wafers”

Said MIT scientist Crystal Owens, who led a study into whether the popular cookie could be evenly split in half, cream and all. ‘Oreology’ – or the study of Oreos – is apparently a real thing, and researchers built an ‘Oreometer’ to split the cookie. Makes you wonder what you’ve done with your life when jobs like that exist…

Netflix’s binge on subscribers comes to an end

THE SQUIZ

The original streaming service Netflix yesterday reported that it lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of this year – and expects to lose another 2 million by the middle of the year. It’s the company’s first negative audience result in more than a decade and has attributed it to people managing their budgets thanks to cost of living pressures and suspending access to the platform in Russia. The reaction from investors was brutal, with 25% wiped off the share price. “Our relatively high household penetration combined with competition is creating revenue growth headwinds,” the company said in a letter to investors.

THAT’S MORE OF A GALE…

It is, and it’s blowing strong after a purple patch for the content producer and streamer. In 2020, the pandemic helped Netflix pick up an additional 36 million subscribers (note: it now sits at 220 million globally). The company says COVID “obscured the picture” by significantly increasing growth during a time when we were all stuck at home, but also leading it to believe that slowing growth last year was due to people’s return to work. In fact, there are other “macro factors” at play like “sluggish” economic growth and increasing inflation. And put your hand up if you’ve shared your password with a friend of family member… Netflix says 100 million households or so are watching on someone else’s account. Since launching in 2007, its changed the way we watch TV and still operates under the “firm belief that internet-delivered, on-demand entertainment will supplant linear TV.” But right now, “we’re not growing revenue as fast as we’d like,” the company says.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

For Netflix fans, analysts say get prepared for a cheaper version with ads, measures to make people who share their login pay more – or both. And for the broader industry, these developments will shake them all up because most of the streaming services are geared to compete with Netflix. There’s been an explosion of cashed-up rivals of late, but Netflix reassured its shareholders that a new and improved service would be the key strategy to keeping subscribers. It’s a lot for CEO Reed Hastings to chew on…

Business & Finance Technology

Squiz the Rest

Leaders’ debate gets a lil’ testy

PM Scott Morrison and Labor leader Anthony Albanese clashed over China, asylum seeker boat turnbacks and welfare policies in the debate on Sky News last night. The contest – which was the first between the 2 leaders – took place in front of 100 undecided voters at the Gabba in Brisbane. Albanese got stuck in over the security pact struck between the Solomon Islands and China, saying “this isn’t so much as a Pacific Step-Up, it’s a Pacific Stuff Up.” And things got heated over immigration policy when Morrison asked why Albanese didn’t support boat turnbacks when he was deputy leader in the Rudd Government in 2013, prompting Albanese to accuse the PM of trying to sow division. Both men pointed to the rising cost of living for Aussies, and the PM said that only the Coalition could continue paying for social welfare schemes like the National Disability Insurance Scheme because it was better at managing money. The crowd gave the night to Albanese 40-35, but 25% remained undecided about where their vote will go on 21 May. 

AusPol

Argy bargy in the wake of Solomons’ deal with China

Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare shrugged off warnings from Oz and its allies about the new security deal with China, telling parliament that he signed it with his “eyes wide open.” The agreement – which opens the door to the Chinese military to be in the southwest Pacific more frequently – was signed on Tuesday night and announced by China, just a week after Senator Zed Seselja made an emergency mission to the nation to plead Australia’s case against signed. Labor has labelled it the “worst foreign policy blunder in the Pacific” that Oz has seen since the end of World War 2, a criticism PM Scott Morrison rejected yesterday. “What it highlights is there is always incredible pressure on Pacific nations that comes from China seeking to undermine the security of the region,” adding “we know the risks, we can’t always prevent them.” Senior US Diplomat Kurt Campbell met officials from Oz, Japan and NZ in Hawaii yesterday to discuss the “serious risks” posed by the agreement to a free and open Indo-Pacific region. He is due to arrive in the Solomons in the coming days.

It’s all happening, and this week Squiz Shortcuts has your back with a look at the close relationship between Russia and China, and their unprecedented ‘no-limits’ pact. You’re welcome.

AusPol World News

No more iso for close contacts in NSW and Victoria

From tomorrow night, close contacts of positive COVID cases in NSW and Victoria will no longer be required to isolate at home for 7 days as the country’s 2 most populous states eased restrictions. Close contacts are advised to work from home “if practical” they must wear a face mask in all indoor settings outside the home, and are not allowed to visit ‘sensitive’ locations, including aged care homes and hospitals. Once they are deemed a close contact, those in NSW must undertake a daily rapid antigen test for 7 days, while Victorians must get 5 negative rapid tests over a week. Positive cases in both states will still be required to isolate at home for 7 days. The decision to ease close contact rules followed growing pressure from businesses struggling with staff shortages during the latest Omicron wave, which health officials say has now passed its peak.

Health

Wimbledon bans players over Ukraine war

Tennis players from Russia and Belarus won’t be allowed to play at Wimbledon in England this year because of the war in Ukraine. That means Russian men’s world #2 Daniil Medvedev and #8 Andrey Rublev won’t take the court, as well as Belarusian women’s world #4 Aryna Sabalenka, 2-time Oz Open champion Victoria Azarenka, and 2021 French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. In its statement, the All England Club said the decision comes “with deep regret”, but “it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships.” It’s the first time players have been banned from the tournament since WWII, and 9-time Wimbledon champ Martina Navratilova says players are in a difficult spot because if they denounce their countries in order to play, it could put their families at risk. The tournament starts in late June, and Russian officials have criticised the decision.

Sport

Happy birthday, Your Majesty

Queen Elizabeth is keeping it low-key as she celebrates her 96th birthday today. She will spend time at the family’s Sandringham estate. There are no big celebrations planned, but it’s expected she will be visited by family and friends at the estate over the coming days. Royal sources said the Queen’s “mini-break” has been a “positive step” after recent health issues forced her to pull out of several engagements. According to Buckingham Palace, the monarch will now “make a decision on the day” as to whether she can attend a public event, and it’s unclear what events she will be able to attend for her upcoming Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June. Those on the guestlist for the big bash now reportedly include Prince Harry and Meghan, after they dropped by to see the Queen last week in their first joint visit to the UK since stepping down from royal duties in 2020. We wonder what expensive thing the Duchess wore…

World News

Apropos of Nothing

Japanese scientists have figured out a way to trick diners into thinking their meal contains more salt than it actually does: electrically-charged chopsticks. They found that electrical currents enhance the salty or umami flavours of food when placed in the mouth – as long as they don’t zap…

Last night, Aussie country music star Troy Cassar-Daley won the 40th Golden Guitar of his career, overtaking legends Slim Dusty and Lee Kernaghan. “It’s very weird,” he said of the honour. 

And the title of the world’s oldest living pooch goes to 21yo chihuahua TobyKeith from Florida, Guinness World Records confirmed. And here’s something for your pub trivia: the oldest dog ever was an Aussie cattledog called Bluey (not of TV fame…) – he died in 1939 at 29yo.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

The Queen’s actual birthday – she will be 96yo

World Creativity and Innovation Day

Grab a cuppa, it’s National Tea Day in the UK

Anniversary of:
• Romulus and Remus founding Rome, according to legend (753 BC)
• Elvis Presley’s first hit record Heartbreak Hotel going to #1 (1956)
• the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka (2019)
• the deaths of author Mark Twain (1910) and singers Nina Simone (2003) and Prince (2016)

Squiz the Day

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