Your commercial news round-up: Netflix, Meta, energy cap, wind turbines

updated on 25 May 2023

Reading time: three minutes

This week’s round-up is full of energy… literally. From the UK’s wind farms to the energy price cap falling, there’s lots for you to get stuck into in this regard. Plus, read the latest from streaming giant Netflix and social media mogul Meta. Let’s dive in. 

  • Streaming giant Netflix has finally launched its long-anticipated crackdown on password sharing across the UK and US. The new rules mean that an account can be used by only one household although multiple people within a household can have a profile. Netflix defines ‘household’ as “you and the people you live with”. That said, this doesn’t mean that you can stream in only one house because those with accounts can still use the streaming platform remotely. For example, there’s nothing in the rules that states Netflix can’t be accessed when travelling or on holiday. Although the rules have technically been in place for numerous years, the company is now enforcing them and will be kicking people out of accounts if they don’t believe them to be part of one household. Netflix hopes that the move will help it to grow its subscriptions and increase profits in a tough period for the company.
  • Meta Platforms has agreed to sell its Giphy platform to Shutterstock for an astounding $53 million, just three years after it had allegedly paid $400 million for the image supplier. The deal comes eight months after Meta said it would comply with the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) ruling to sell the business on the basis that Meta’s monopolisation of GIFs could limit other social media platforms (eg, Twitter or Snapchat) access to them. The CMA's decision marks the first time a UK regulator has forced a large US business to sell an already acquired company. Giphys new host, Shutterstock, is expected to complete the takeover within weeks, although this is subject to CMA approval. Chief executive of Shutterstock, Paul Hennessy, said: "This is an exciting next step in Shutterstock's journey as an end-to-end creative platform." The company will look to build Giphy's profits from 2024 onwards.
  • The UK’s energy price cap has fallen to £2,074 a year but the average household will still pay almost double the rate for their gas and electricity than in October 2021. Energy regulator Ofgem lowered the cap on the typical annual dual-fuel tariff to illustrate a drop in global energy prices recently. The changes will come into effect in July, with households set to see their average gas and electricity bills fall from the annual £2,500 level set by the government’s energy price guarantee. This drop signifies the end of the £400 government top-ups that have previously been paid out between October and March. In addition, households are facing an extra £10 charge a year on their energy bills from October under plans put forward by the regulator to strengthen energy provider profits. The proposal involves increasing the revenue suppliers can make from 1.9% to 2.4% to prevent them from going bust, as it’s more costly to bail them out. Jonathan Brearley, the chief executive of Ofgem, said: “After a difficult winter for consumers it’s encouraging to see signs that the market is stabilising and prices are moving in the right direction.”
  • In other UK energy market news, in the first three months of this year one-third of the country's electricity came from wind farms. New research, published by Imperial College London (ICL), has revealed that wind energy generated more energy than gas for the first time in the UK’s history. Plus, the National Grid has confirmed a record period of solar energy generation. These steps put the UK one phase closer to net-zero emissions for all electricity. Iain Staffell, an energy researcher at ICL and lead author of the report, said: "There are still many hurdles to reaching a completely fossil fuel-free grid, but wind out-supplying gas for the first time is a genuine milestone event." Electricity actually accounts for just 18% of the UK's total power needs. There are many demands for energy that electricity isn’t meeting, such as heating our homes, manufacturing and transport.

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