5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Netflix is doing just fine, thanks. Photo: Supplied

Welcome back to the week. Here’s what you need to know.

1. GoFundMe will be bigger than the Bill and Gates foundation. That’s a big claim by founder and CEO Rob Solomon but with 25 million people donating $2.25 billion, GoFundMe is the world’s largest crowdfunding platform. Solomon says it’s just the beginning, planning an “aggressive investment” push in Australia where donors have donated $60 million. The Australian has more.

2. Labor revealed its NBN policy on Sunday, promising it can get the FTTP broadband to an extra 2 million homes for an extra $1 billion. Labor’s capping its spend at $57 billion – $1bn more than the Coalition, saying it will get the job finished by 2022.

Labor says it will move away from the Coalition’s fibre to the node (FTTN) network and transition back to a roll-out of fibre to the premises (FTTP). A comparison between the two party’s policies here.

3. Here’s just how huge Netflix is in Australia. Roy Morgan’s regular research into the SVOD industry has just been updated and Netflix is way ahead of its rivals, reaching nearly 5 million people in 1.78 million homes. Its closest rival is Stan with with 332,000 subscriptions reaching 891,000 Australians.

But the killer number is paid subscriptions as subset of those figures. Roy Morgan estimates an astonishing 92% of Netflix subscriptions have been converted into paying punters, generating at least $15.5 million in monthly revenue. Stan is converting 78%, generating around $2.6 million a month, while Presto’s 64% rate earns it around $1 million a month.

All the numbers are here.

4. Congrats to Professor Brian Anderson, from ANU’s College of engineering and computer science, who was appointed to the top honour in the Queen’s birthday honours yesterday, made a Companion (AC) for his work in information and communications technology, service to engineering and higher education and as a mentor of young scientists. It’s a promotion from his officer appointment 23 years ago and deserved recognition as he prepares to retire at the end of the month. The Canberra Times had a chat to him about the award and he explained that most recently he’s been working on how to control drone formations: “In particular, who talks to whom, who measures what, who controls what, so that the formation shape remains cohesive?”

Looking through the 600 people recognised yesterday, we couldn’t help thinking the tech industry was underrepresented in the honours, although congratulations are also due to fellow Companion Professor Michael Ralph Fellows (AC) for his contributions to computer science, especially in the new theoretical field of “Parameterized Complexity”.

Also joining the AC list is Professor David Solomon, 86, for eminent service to science in the field of polymer chemistry and plastics. To put that in layman’s terms, he was working at the CSIRO in the ’80s when he co-invented the world’s first plastic bank note (now exported to 34 countries), thus saving the world from the fear that you’ve just lost any money left over from Friday’s big night out because you didn’t empty your pockets before washing your jeans (trust us, we know this used to happen with paper notes).

Solomon, BTW, is still working at Melbourne Uni’s department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, helping develop new paints, car oils, and biomedical applications.

And we loved that alongside his “distinguished service to the finance and digital technology sectors, particularly in the area of data intensive research and analysis”, Dr Michael Leo Briers was appointed an Officer(AO) for his contribution to judo too.

If you think there’s someone in tech worthy of recognition, check out the “It’s an Honour” website for details on how to dob them in for a gong.

5. It’s Gold! Gold! Gold! for Seven The network is offering a paid subscription service, via an app, as part of its Rio Olympics coverage in August. That makes Seven the first free-to-air broadcaster in Australia to charge for broadcasting sport. Read more here.

You can catch me on Twitter, so ping me with any tips.

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