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⛰️ Paramount+ is winning

The Hustle

The newest trend in podcasting is the exact opposite of the talk-heavy shows that dominate the medium. White noise podcasts, which literally play white noise, are regularly topping charts. One white noise podcaster says he’s pulling in $18k per month.

In today’s email:

  • Paramount+: An underdog story.
  • Chart: Scammers love pretending to be Tom Brady.
  • Morgan Housel: The importance of time horizons.
  • Around the web: An app for advice, a meat hedgehog, unicorn games, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s quick podcast to hear Zack, Jordan, and Rob discuss whether Paramount+ will survive the streaming wars, the BNPL bubble, why we need to bring back AIM Away Messages, and more.

The big idea
Paramount+

Can Paramount+ survive the streaming wars?

So many players have entered the streaming wars that cable looks good again.

Conventional wisdom says only a few streamers will make it out alive — while it’s generally accepted that Netflix and Disney+ are safe, the jury is still out on smaller players.

One is Paramount+, which launched in March 2021 and has established itself as a streamer that’s doing things its own way, per The New York Times.

Paramount Global…

… was created through the merger of CBS and Viacom in 2019, and encompasses a massive mix of media assets, including:

  • Paramount Pictures, the company’s movie production and distribution arm
  • Paramount Media Networks, which houses cable channels like Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Showtime, and Comedy Central
  • CBS Entertainment Group, which includes the CBS network and CBS Sports

This medley gives the company an extensive catalog of content, but also forces it to make strategic decisions about how it should all fit into a streaming service.

For starters…

… Paramount+ offers two plans, a cheaper ad-supported option and a more expensive ad-free tier. The service also delivers premium TV and movies:

  • Showtime, the company’s prestige TV channel, is available in a bundle with Paramount+
  • Movies are typically added to Paramount+ within 45 days of their theatrical release (Top Gun: Maverick is a recent exception)

One thing Paramount hasn’t done is make a splashy deal for more content. Just this year, Amazon closed its acquisition of MGM for ~$8.5B, and Discovery and WarnerMedia merged in a $43B deal.

Paramount has held out — and the numbers suggest it’s working. In Q1 2022, Paramount+ gained 6.8m subscribers. This month, Warren Buffett revealed Berkshire Hathaway has built a $2.6B stake in the company, sending its stock soaring.

But not everyone is buying in

Rich Greenfield, a media analyst and co-founder of LightShed Partners, believes it’s only a matter of time before Paramount either buys more content or is acquired by a larger player.

There’s speculation that Warren Buffett’s investment is built on a similar assessment.

That said, if Paramount can keep churning out cross-medium hits like “Yellowstone” and Top Gun: Maverick, it may prove it can hold its own in the streaming wars indefinitely.

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SNIPPETS

Looking up: The Dow Jones Industrial Average popped 400 points, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained more than 2% — ending a two-day losing streak for each index.

Billion-dollar man: LeBron James became the first active NBA player to have a net worth of $1B+. Throughout his career, James has made $385m+ in salary and ~$900m from endorsements and business dealings.

One app to rule them all: Google announced it will merge its two video platforms: Meet — its video-conferencing app, and Duo — its FaceTime competitor. The combined entity will be known as Google Meet.

Crypto layoff: Gemini, the cryptocurrency trading platform founded by the Winklevoss brothers, laid off 10% of its staff amid the current macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty.

Balancing act: Starting one successful venture is hard enough; turning several business ideas into fruition is even more rare. Learn how serial entrepreneurs juggle multiple startups and work across different industries on The Hustle blog.

Luxury brand Prada enters the metaverse with its Timecapsule NFT Collection, featuring physical items and perks for NFT holders. #ecommerce-retail

In a play to increase renewable energy supply, the Biden administration has reduced fees that companies pay to use public land for wind and solar power. #clean-energy

Bio-wear? OpenBCI’s VR headset promises to measure a user’s heart, skin, muscles, eyes, and brain. It could have applications in gaming or the medical field. #emerging-tech

Bitcoin burritos: Chipotle will now accept crypto in US stores through payments platform Flexa. #fintech-crypto

Due to covid lockdowns in China, Apple will move some of its iPad production to Vietnam, where it already manufactures AirPods. #big-tech

Chart
# of unauthorized NFTs using celeb likenesses

That Tom Brady NFT might not be real

While crypto celebs may have grown quieter in the wake of falling prices, scammers hoping to cash in on them haven’t.

Cybersecurity firm BrandShield recently looked at scams involving a handful of crypto-loving celebs, including Paris Hilton — who says she owns 150+ NFTs — and Tom Brady, co-founder of the NFT platform Autograph.

It found that 41.5k+ NFTs on OpenSea are using unauthorized celebrity names or images.

How does the scam work?

BrandShield CEO Yoav Keren told The Hustle that scammers often create social media profiles or websites impersonating celebrities or brands. They found 2.8k+ impersonations of Tom Brady alone.

The profiles might direct fans to phishing sites or fool them into buying bogus NFTs.

But what is a bogus celebrity NFT?

“When you buy an NFT of a picture of Tom Brady, what that NFT represents is that you are the only valid owner of that picture,” Keren explained. “If someone sells you a fake one, you’re not the real owner. Someone just copied it.”

So, kind of like if someone sold you a poster of the Mona Lisa claiming it was da Vinci’s original. Except in this case, it’s a graphic image and, thus, much easier to copy than robbing the Louvre — and you can’t even hang it on your wall.

Keren thinks people fall for fake NFTs because they’re hoping it’s “the next gold rush.” But you should do your due diligence before handing over your crypto for a JPG someone pulled off Google.

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Opinion
Morgan's Musings

Why you need to play your own game when investing

Here’s something that’s important but easy to ignore about money: A lot of financial debates are just people with different time horizons talking over each other.

This is especially true when the economy is in upheaval, like it is now.

It’s critical to remember…

… what you want might not be what I want. Your job’s different from mine. You have different life experiences, different risk tolerances, work-life balance targets, career incentives, on and on.

So of course we don’t always agree on what’s the best thing to do with our money. There’s no world in which we should.

Even if we own the same assets…

… we may have different time horizons. If you are exposed to the opinions of people who own the same investments as you but have different goals, you can be misled and tempted into bad decisions, even if what the other person is saying is right for them.

When different goals exist, reasonable people can and will disagree. Focusing your attention on information that aligns with your own goals is key, but harder than it sounds.

So here’s my advice

Define your own game, then play it and only it.

Few people do. Maybe they have a vague idea of their game, but they haven’t clearly defined it.

And when they don’t know what game they’re playing, they’re at risk of taking cues and advice from people playing different games, which can lead to risks they didn’t intend and outcomes they didn’t imagine.

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AROUND THE WEB

🖥️ On this day: In 1983, sci-fi thriller WarGames premiered, starring Matthew Broderick as a teenage hacker and inspiring a generation of computer geeks.

💡 Useful: Mana is an app where you can get career and practical advice from all sorts of people.

🦔 That’s interesting: The Mettigel is a hedgehog made out of meat, a German dish that’s been around since the mid-1900s.

💰 Cure boredom: Can you bring your startup to a $1B valuation in this unicorn simulator game?

🐤 Aww: And now, a dog and its ducklings.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

(A roundup of our best reads from the last couple weeks…)

🪚 Why America has so few carpenters

🤪 Why free stuff makes us irrational

🏌️‍♀️ Golf taps in to the blockchain

💬 Slack’s Trojan horse

👨‍🎤 Elvis weddings are in jeopardy

Shower Thoughts
  1. “The anti-vacation. Go somewhere really shitty and do something awful for a week so when you return, your life seems really good.”  SOURCE

  2. “Most species bare their teeth as a threat, but humans bare their teeth as a sign of friendliness.”  SOURCE

  3. “People with a good vocabulary probably get a better deal from their three genie wishes.”  SOURCE

  4. “The definition of a submarine is not a ship that can go underwater, but a ship that can go back up.”  SOURCE

  5. “Garbage guys probably constantly help cover crimes without knowing it.”  SOURCE

 
via Reddit
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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Jennifer “Goose” Wang.

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