Social media influencers should worry
Also in today’s edition: Buckle up on the back seat; Streamers bet on franchises; RIP Queen Elizabeth II; Big Tech zip up purses
Good morning! The unchallenged king of anti-aging treatment for two decades, Botox, has a rival, says the Wall Street Journal. Daxxify, developed by Revance, claims it keeps skin wrinkle-free two months longer than Botox. The toxin, which relaxes muscles by blocking neural signals, keeps the skin taut for up to four months. Daxxify could potentially poke through Botox's 70% market share and dent its $4.6 billion in sales last year. For more details, watch this space.
The Market Signal*
Stocks: The mysterious appearance of Tencent shares worth $7.6 billion on Hong Kong’s clearing and settlement system has set tongues wagging. The grapevine is abuzz that Dutch e-commerce firm Prosus is trimming its holding, reports Bloomberg. European shares are waiting for the central bank’s rate action.
Meanwhile, investment strategists told Business Standard that they were preferring stocks focussed on the domestic economy such as banks, auto and FMCG.
Early Asia: The SGX Nifty rose +0.47% at 7.30 am India time. The Hang Seng Index (1.83%) and Nikkei 225 (0.26%) also advanced.
The Government Is Coming For Paid Content
If you are an influencer and reading this, you have some reasons to worry. Not if you are in the habit of disclosing the paid promotions you do with brands.
India will soon lay out rules to ensure disclosure. Failure to disclose could well be an expensive affair: a fine of up to ₹50 lakhs. And no, your follower count doesn't matter.
Don’t fake it? Also on the government radar are paid or fake reviews for products or services on social media platforms and e-commerce websites.
Murky: The government is formalising what the Advertising Standards Council of India tried last year. It has reasons to. The fast-growing and lucrative influencer industry, which operates in a regulatory grayzone, is largely opaque.
🎧 Coming soon: a rulebook for influencers in India. Will Brahmastra break the Bollywood jinx? The Signal Daily is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Cyrus Mistry’s Death Nudges Safety Rules
The Indian government has made seatbelts compulsory for all passengers—including those on rear seats—flouting of which will bring forth a penalty. It will mandate belt alarms for rear seats and urged Amazon to stop selling devices that disable them. The six-airbags rule is also expected to be fast-tracked.
Brass tacks: The action could have come earlier as there was mounting evidence of the danger of unbuckled travel. The National Crime Records Bureau recorded that over 1.3 lakh people lost their lives to road accidents in 2020. Out of this, 15,146 deaths, or 11%, were passengers who were not wearing seatbelts.
Yet, it took the violent death of a tycoon for the government to act.
Streaming Giants Throw Cash To Dazzle Viewers
The battle for eyeballs has a new playground. In the last few months, streaming giants have brought their A-Game (and big budgets) to get viewers to stare at their screens.
Amazon Prime has shelled out $465mn for the first season of The Rings of Power: the budget to make Top Gun: Maverick almost three times over, reports Financial Times. HBO Max splurged $200mn for the Game of Thrones prequel. Netflix threw its hat in the ring with Sandman ($15 million per episode), and there was talk that Disney Plus disbursed approx $25 million per episode for She-Hulk. But Disney is the outlier here.
While Rings of Power (Amazon Prime), House of the Dragon (HBO) and Sandman (Netflix) were critically acclaimed, Disney’s She-Hulk wasn't as popular with either critics or fans.
Last month, it was revealed that streaming is *finally* more popular than cable.
Current economic headwinds could cut short the honeymoon period. The cost of living crisis is making it easier to give up on expensive subscriptions. Streaming giants, which need high retention and validation more than ever, are bleeding.
Netflix is looking at cutting costs, HBO Max laid off 14% of its workforce across casting, acquisitions, and reality TV divisions. The Walt Disney Co. is also hoping its membership programme will continue to retain subscribers while Amazon Prime is betting on NFL.
Unforch, Disney, with all its might, looks like the underdog in the fight. That could change once ICC matches begin.
The Queen Is Dead
The Queen is succeeded by King Charles III, who is a year younger than independent India, Britain’s former colony. Born on April 21, 1926, Queen Elizabeth was perhaps the last living head of state who witnessed the most tumultuous events of world politics, including the transformation of Britain from a coloniser to a multicultural country, from close quarters.
Around the same time that the Queen was breathing her last, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was renaming the British-era Kingsway, now called Rajpath, in New Delhi as the more nationalist-sounding Kartvya Path. Modi said Kingsway was a symbol of slavery that had been “consigned to history and erased forever”.
Indian Twitter, meanwhile, laid claim to the crown jewel Kohinoor.
The Axes Are Out
Google is the latest among big technology companies to cut back on executive travel to save costs. Social functions, offsites and any other travel that is not considered “business critical” has to be cancelled.
The pinch: Last month Microsoft announced similar cuts on travel and managers who buy beer and doughnuts for teammates pay from their own pocket. The axe usually comes next for jobs. Microsoft has frozen hiring and is planning to cut 1% of its workforce. It’s not yet as bad as at, say, Netflix or Oracle.
Travel expenses are usually the first to go because they directly hit margins. For instance, travel shutdown during the pandemic helped Indian software exporters improve margins by 2%-3.5%.
Going under: Despite government support, small and medium industries are becoming sick. One in six Covid-19 relief loans to MSMEs have gone bad.
Mea culpa: Fitch Group company CreditSights, which called Adani Group companies deeply overleveraged, corrected the error after the management had a chat with it.
Volte face: Never say never. After saying it was a strict no-no, Google has decided to pilot Daily Fantasy Sports and Rummy apps in India on its Play Store.
Energy shield: British Prime Minister Liz Truss has pledged £150 billion to underwrite energy costs—two years for households and six months for businesses.
Look the other way: Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that the entertainment giant planned to buy Twitter in 2016 but decided otherwise after it estimated many Twitter accounts were "not real".
Let them eat (modest) mooncakes: As China gears up to celebrate its autumn festival this weekend, it wants its mooncake prices to stay in its lane. The traditional dessert has been the focus, with bakers giving it a luxurious spin. Some are selling for £20 a pop. The government isn't impressed.
Jobs’ ideas are alive again: To celebrate the life of Steve Jobs, his family members have launched an organisation–Steve Jobs Archive. Currently, the site consists only of a poem that Steve Jobs sent as an email to himself and a few of his famous speeches. The organisation plans to announce several projects later.
Train to...? Jakarta has a rather unconventional way to urge citizens to use public transport. Inspired by the 2016 South Korean film Train to Busan, commuters can experience a rather unique horror experience onboard. We have our reservations about this one.
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