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Nine picked a streaming guy to be its new CEO

  • Mike Sneesby is the new boss of Nine Entertainment. He is a former telco executive and the head of streaming service Stan.

  • He will be in charge of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, but Nine also owns Stan as well as television, radio and other publishing assets.

  • The company has been searching for a new CEO since Hugh Marks abruptly resigned in November because of his relationship with a former member of his executive team.

  • Sneesby has extensive experience in leading a subscription service, but does not have a background in free-to-air television, radio or publishing. There’s some commentary around that this signals the TV side of Nine is more powerful than the old Fairfax side… But I think it’s a sign that the future is digital and driven by subscription revenues. That’s good news for newspapers.

  • Investors value Stan at more than $1 billion. Stan has 2.3 million subscribers. The achievement was met through securing large content deals with US companies such as ViacomCBS, Disney and NBC Universal. There’s also Stan Sport…

  • So now Stan is looking for a new boss…

Microsoft’s new Intelligent Speakers deliver its promised meeting room of the future

Microsoft to add new shared channels, encryption for calls, webinar features to Teams

  • Microsoft Ignite is on, and the conference has a few great Teams updates so far

  • Teams Connect will allow users from two different organisations a way to create a shared channel to collaborate

  • Microsoft is getting into the smart speaker business, but in a very Microsoft way

  • Rather than coming after Google, Apple and Amazon in the personal speaker device, Microsoft’s new  Intelligent Speaker is an enterprise product

  • The new smart microphone can detect up to ten separate voices and dictate the notes of a meeting, so you can see exactly who did the talking

  • The mic can also translate, in case a host or guest is speaking in another language

  • No pricing as yet

Meanwhile, Zoom killing it

Zoom (ZM) earnings Q4 2021

  • Revenue grew 369% year over year in the quarter that ended on Jan. 31, according to a statement.

It’s too soon to kill off cash 

  • An analogue story from Woolies, which has walked away a cashless store trial at a small number of its Metro stores

  • The trial started mid-way through last year, when no one was touching cash and in smaller stores that didn’t have a high amount of cash payments.

  • But Woolies will be accepted cash again at those locations

  • Woolworths Metro general manager Justin Nolan told iTnews, “While almost all Metro customers choose to pay with cards, cash remains incredibly important to those who don’t for a whole range of reasons we didn’t fully appreciate.”

  • The concerns include: excluding people who don’t have cards or privacy concerns about data harvesting.

Spotify to overtake Apple on pods

Spotify podcast listeners to top Apple’s for the first time in 2021, forecast claims

  • Market researcher forecast has predicted that Spotify will overtake Apple as the source for podcasts in the US

  • The company says Apple has been losing podcast listeners to Spotify since it started tracking listens back in 2018

  • Currrently, Apple has a 34% market share in the US, Spotify is 23% – with the shift expected later this year

  • Ironically, the firm says Spotify’s advantage is a “one stop” experience, of music and podcasts in the one app. Apple previously had a one stop app, before splitting podcasts and music into separate apps a few years ago.