The Bottom Line

Tim Hunter is the deputy editor of Fairfax's Auckland business bureau. He provides commentary and insight into the business issues of the day.

Sky 1, Competition 0

05:00am 21 Mar 2012 1 comment

TIM HUNTER

If there is any surprise at the Commerce Commission probe into Sky's Igloo "joint venture" with TVNZ, it should only be at how long it took to begin, or that someone had to complain before anything happened.

For Sky, the deal was always about nipping competition in the bud, as analysts immediately realised.

For example, Goldman Sachs analyst Buffy Gill wrote on December 6: "Our analysis suggests that even if there is only limited cannibalisation on SKT's existing subscriber base, the Igloo venture produces only modest earnings enhancement for shareholders. We believe the real benefits for SKT lie more in the protection of its existing business from both competition and regulation."

A key factor in the media business is exclusive content. Sky has done well, and invested heavily, to carve out a dominant position in rugby, but when it comes to movies and TV series its position is less secure.

Undermining Sky's old satellite subscription model is the spread of high speed internet, which opens the potential market for pay TV services.

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Some tips on forex trading

01:59pm 14 Mar 2012 3 comments

TIM HUNTER

Here's the deal. You pay me $12,800 and I'll send you daily text messages for the next three years telling you when to trade the Aussie and US dollars.

You should be aware that I haven't any formal training in forex trading, nor have I ever had a job trading forex, but I can assure you I've read a lot of books and attended several seminars about it, which has given me some pretty good insights.

And don't worry, this is something anyone can do by following some simple rules which I can show you. So while the pros pore over their fibonacci graphs and their interest rates announcements, you can relax and simply read my text messages which will advise you how to trade.

Well, not advise, because I'm not a financial adviser. It's really just a suggestion which you can choose to follow, or not. It's the ultimate freedom.

Have I sold you on it yet? Probably not, but one man who does a much better sales job on this type of thing is Steven Robertson, director of a company called Harrington Group.

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Port union picks one fight too many

01:48pm 08 Mar 2012 37 comments

TIM HUNTER

Some see the Auckland port dispute as a brave resistance by workers battling the jackboot of corporate oppression.

Some see Auckland Mayor Len Brown's arm's length stance as abdicating responsibility for a company ultimately owned by the people of Auckland.

Wrong on both counts.

The Maritime Union's position in the dispute has led its members down a path that will not benefit them, nor will it benefit future port workers.

While "labour flexibility" can be weasel words covering demands for more work and less pay, it means what it says for Ports of Auckland.

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Lessons from Lombard

11:43am 29 Feb 2012 17 comments

TIM HUNTER

In the last year before Lombard Finance went pear-shaped, Sir Douglas Graham was paid $81,104 to be its chairman.

Fellow directors Bill Jefferies and Lawrence Bryant received $42,187 and $33,750 respectively.

It doesn't sound like much, really, when you're carrying the can for $160 million of investors' money.

Top earner on the board was Michael Reeves, who got $397,929, reflecting his operational role as chief executive.

All four, of course, were convicted last week on Securities Act charges relating to the collapse of Lombard.

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A spinning sensation on the waterfront

05:00am 21 Feb 2012 4 comments

TIM HUNTER

There's something odd about the new ginger group getting stuck in to Ports of Auckland. Admirable, but odd.

This is an alliance of trade unions, a corporate finance consultancy, a logistics company and a city business association. There are probably not many things all four could agree on, but the future of the port appears to have galvanised them into togetherness.

It's great to have such engagement in a public debate, because lots of Aucklanders are interested in what happens on the waterfront.

However, you have to wonder what's really going on here.

Heart of the City employed public relations firm Pead PR last month to rark up fears of massive encroachment on the harbour by a giant port parking lot.

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