Ahron Young is a former Sky News anchor/reporter and Melbourne bureau chief. He has recently taken the plunge in launching his own unconventional network. Ticker TV is an ad-free news channel, broadcast live on Facebook and Twitter with a focus on technology, innovation, aviation, business and breaking news. Ahron’s has spent more than 15 years at well-known media outlets such as Sky News, Russia Today and 3AW. During this time he has also covered major world events like the death of Pope John Paul II, the Asian Tsunami in 2004 and the London bombings. He tweets at @AhronYoung.
What made you take the plunge in becoming an entrepreneur and starting a network from the ground up?
I loved my 13 years at Sky News. I loved the entrepreneurial spirit and I miss my colleagues. But my bookcase is full of stories about people who created something from scratch. As a teenager, I studied the Murdoch dynasty, and recently researched the launch of CNN. What I realised is Ted and Rupert were just people who jumped off the diving board and hustled to make it work.
Tell us a little about what Ticker TV offers the Australian broadcasting market.
Ticker aims to be the next generation of news service and broadcasting model for Australians. We believe the future of TV will be online as both streaming and on-demand, and there’s no point pretending it isn’t happening. We don’t want American streaming giants to control our market. Ticker provides business news in the morning, breaking news through the day, and a live music/entertainment show in the afternoon.
How has your audience responded to Ticker TV reporting on technology, innovation and aviation in Australian broadcasting?
It’s been crazy – and an encouraging sign that Ticker was needed. I thought it might take months to gain traction. But on our first day, over 500 people reached out. We had to turn our phones off so we could provide some content! Everyone who contacts us says the same thing – Ticker has been missing in Australia. I’ve discovered amazing pockets of activity around Australia. People under 45 who were working away at their great idea, and trying to avoid the temptation to move overseas. We want to shine a spotlight.
Being an online specific network, what are some of the unforeseen trials you’ve come across and how have you overcome them?
Building a TV studio from scratch isn’t easy. I worked on the launch of Russia Today and Sky Business. They had months. We had six days. And I don’t just mean cameras and lights. I mean the whole broadcasting system. We literally picked up the keys on a Tuesday and began broadcasting the following Monday. I think people are surprised that we aren’t on traditional TV, but then I ask which TV channel they watch these days, and they admit they watch Netflix and Stan. A TV network can have 150k watch a live show on TV, but then 500k watch on Facebook Live. The challenge is to make that 500k pay the bills without any ads.
What helps a release stand out for you & what elements does it need to have that would encourage its usability?
A great story told by a great storyteller. The best release is one that paints a picture that we can visualise, and that relates to our audience. We had a guy come in the other day who can turn coal dust into magnesium. And just before the interview began, he asked if we wanted to bring the samples on set. So instead of me spending the whole interview asking him to describe it, he could just show it, giving us time to talk about the story behind it and his plans for the future.