Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Netflix subscriptions boom globally; UK inflation near 1%; Avocado toast and the Aussie generational divide

1 Netflix subscriptions boom globally (Gulf News) Netflix added over 50 per cent more subscribers than expected in the third quarter as original shows such as “Stranger Things” drew new international viewers and kept US customers despite a price hike, sending its shares soaring 20 per cent in late trade.

The company’s performance represented a turnaround from the previous quarter of disappointing subscription growth. Netflix, which has spent heavily to expand outside its home market, also said that it was on track to start harvesting “material global profits” next year, even as it raised spending on original programming.

Netflix added about 3.20 million subscribers internationally in the third quarter, higher than the 2.01 million average analyst estimate. In the US, Netflix added 370,000 subscriptions, compared with analysts’ estimate of 309,000, according to research firm FactSet StreetAccount.

Netflix has expanded into more than 130 markets worldwide, including most major countries, except China. It said it was dropping plans to launch a service in China in the near term, opting instead to licence its shows for “modest” revenue. The company said it still hopes to launch service in China “eventually.”

2 UK inflation near 1% (Phillip Inman, Sarah Butler & Larry Elliott in The Guardian) Britain’s biggest supermarket has warned that dearer food prices triggered by the plunge in the value of the pound will have a lethal impact on poor families worst affected by the expected jump in inflation over the next two years.

Although a price war among the leading food retailers has so far blunted the impact of more expensive imports on grocery bills, Tesco’s UK chief executive, Matt Davies, said rising prices would be “toxic” for consumers if stores found that they had to pass on extra costs.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the annual inflation rate rising from 0.6% to 1% in September, its highest for almost two years. The ONS said the cost of living had yet to be much affected by the drop in the value of the pound seen since the EU referendum, but the Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund and City economists believe that inflation will rise above the government’s 2% target in early 2017 and will reach at least 3% by the end of the year.

3 Avocado toast and Aussie generation divide (BBC) Millennials - give up your smashing avocado toast brunches and buy a house instead. That's the message coming from Australia this week, leaving young people on social media outraged, and those who are a little more seasoned in years scratching their heads.

A column at the weekend for The Australian newspaper by "baby boomer" columnist Bernard Salt contained one paragraph asking why young people today spend their cash on fancy breakfast rather than saving for a property.

"I can afford to eat this for lunch because I am middle-aged and have raised my family. But how can young people afford to eat like this? Shouldn't they be economising by eating at home? How often are they eating out? Twenty-two dollars several times a week could go towards a deposit on a house."

Mockery erupted on social media over the mathematics, which suggest you could stop a weekly brunch for well over a century and still not quite reach your savings goal. Comedian Deirdre Fidge, writing for SBS, decided to share her "life story", titled "I Stopped Eating Smashed Avocado And Now I Own A Castle".

But the comic reaction masked a concern by some that young people simply can't access the housing market no matter how much they save - so are spending their cash on enjoying life instead. "What do you do when you can't afford to buy somewhere to live? Well, you decide to live," Bridget Delaney wrote in The Guardian.

Australian foodie magazine Broadsheet - which is naturally at the centre of the smashed avocado circle - argued that cafes have become a social hub for millennials, whose friends are spread far and wide. But they've gone one step further - collaborating with some of their favourite cafes to launch "home savers" specials to several menus this week - at about A$11 each.

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